any person who exercises great but insidious influence.
Grigori Efimovich Rasputin (c1871-1916) was a Russian peasant and self-proclaimed mystic and holy man (he had no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church). By 1904 Rasputin was popular among the high society of St. Petersburg, and in 1906 he became the healer of Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, heir to the Russian throne and the hemophiliac son of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a carrier of hemophilia). In December 1916 Rasputin was murdered by Russian noblemen because of his influence over Czar Nicholas and the czarina.
… the dynamics of the situation do not permit him to be a Rasputin, whispering in Nixon’s ear.
Others have described Isaacs as “a Rasputin or Svengali-like character in Kerner’s life who exploited his undue influence over the governor and led him astray.”
to make or render fantastic.
Fantasticate was first recorded in 1590-1600.
Parallel universes are another trope borrowed from the repertory of science fiction. They are a marvelous convenience for authors who want to fantasticate at a high rpm without having to offer a rational explanation for the wonders they evoke.
She also fantasticates about food, and her Catholicism surfaces in her lingering on the cannibalism at the heart of the eucharist.
terse and ingenious in expression; of or like an epigram.
In Greek epígramma means “inscription, commemorative or memorial inscription, short poem, written estimate of or demand for damages.” Probably the most famous epigram is that attributed to Simonides of Ceos (c566 b.c.–c468 b.c.) for the Spartans who fell at Thermoplylae (480 b.c.): “Stranger, report to the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their orders,” which is spartan in its terseness. Epigrammatic entered English in the early 18th century.
… the dialogue is sanded and sharpened to an epigrammatic elegance …
His is the sort of epigrammatic utterance to which there can be no rejoinder, the clean hit and quick-killing witticism: once over lightly and leave.
lacking in mental or moral vigor; weak, spiritless, or timid.
First recorded in 1300-50, thewless is from the Middle English word theweles.
For indeed they were but thewless creatures, pallid with the damp caves of the moors, and so starved that they seemed to have eaten grass like Nebuchadnezzar.
Here I stand amid my clan / Spoiled of my fame a thewless man.
the status, influence, or power of a boss, especially a political boss.
Bossdom has a crude, graceless sound. It is originally an Americanism referring to the bosses of political machines at the municipal and state level. Bossdom first entered English in the late 19th century.
Señor So-and-so is the most powerful boss in the province of Tarragona, and even at that there are those who dispute his bossdom.
This was Lepke’s first bid for bossdom. He was ready to try his theories.
a skillful glide over snow or ice in descending a mountain, as on skis or a toboggan.
The English noun glissade shows its obviously French origin. The French noun means “glide, slide, slip, faux pas” and derives from the verb glisser ”to slip, slide.” The French verb comes from Old French glicier, an alteration of glier “to glide,” a verb of Germanic (Frankish) origin, related to Old English glīdan and Old High German glītan “to glide.” Glissade entered English in the 19th century.
A rapid scramble down the shattered ridge to the col, and a careful kicking of steps along the first two or three hundred feet of the glacier which led northwards to our picnic place, then a glissade … gradually easing off into a run down.
“Don’t worry,” she cheerily assured us over her shoulder. “In some places glissade is just about the only thing you can do. Plus, it’s fun.”
to reproach or denounce vehemently; upbraid harshly; berate sharply.
The English verb objurgate comes from Latin objūrgāt-, the past participle stem of the verb objūrgāre “to reprimand, rebuke.” The Latin verb is composed of the prefix ob- “against,” and the verb jūrgāre or jūrigāre “to rebuke.” Jūrigāre, in turn, is composed of the noun stem jūr- (from jūs “right, law, justice”) and the verb suffix -igāre, from -ig-, a noun derivative of agere “to drive, do,” as in fumigate, litigate, and navigate. Objurgate entered English in the early 17th century.
Let his fellows grumble and objurgate, said he; they would cringe to him when he became a dragoman, with his pockets stuffed with piastres.
It would be my advice to persons situated in this way, to not roll or thrash around, because this excites the interest of all the different sorts of animals and makes every last one of them want to turn out and see what is going on, and this makes things worse than they were before, and of course makes you objurgate harder, too, if you can.