The 2021 Word Of The Year is…
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.