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British. Informal. to prevent from happening or succeeding; ruin; wreck.
The origin of the verb scupper is uncertain. It originated as military slang (“to surprise and slaughter; utterly defeat”). The verb scupper may be a development from the noun scupper “an opening in a ship’s side even with the deck to allow water to flow away,” but the semantic development is unclear. Scupper entered English in the 19th century.
A row between the EEC and the US is threatening to scupper the UN Convention on the Ozone Layer, which was to have been agreed in Vienna next month.
McMaster has tried to prevent his celebrity from scuppering his career.
Edentate means “lacking teeth, toothless,” a neutral term; it is also used in taxonomic names for an order of mammals lacking front teeth, e.g. sloths, armadillos, another neutral sense. The origin of edentate is the Latin adjective ēdentātus, the past participle of the verb ēdentāre “to knock (someone’s) teeth out,” definitely not a neutral sense. Edentate entered English in the 19th century.
As would have been the case a million years ago, a typical colonist can expect to be edentate by the time he or she is thirty years old, having suffered many skull-cracking toothaches on the way.
Anyway, an edentate man led a bloated, mouth-foaming goat down a road webbed with knee-deep gullies.
secret, underhanded, or scandalous: backstairs gossip.
Backstairs was first recorded in 1635-45. It’s the adjectival extension of the noun back stairs.
I say to Lord Hartington before you all, not by any backstairs intrigue and not by any secret negotiations, but in the face of this great meeting held in this great town and before all of England … “Come over and help us!”
He would never believe it–it was a nasty piece of backstairs gossip!
clear in meaning, expression, or style: a pellucid way of writing.
English pellucid comes from the Latin adjective pellūcidus (the usual Latin spelling is perlūcidus) “very clear, transparent.” The Latin adjective lūcidus is thoroughly naturalized in English lucid, but the Latin prefix and preposition per- is worth explanation. In Latin per- is used to intensify adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, e.g., perbonus “very good, excellent,” perbrevis “very short,” perbene “very well,” perbellē “very charmingly,” and percelebrāre “to make thoroughly known.” The Greek prefix and preposition perí- serves the same purpose, as in Periklês (c495-429 b.c.), the Athenian statesman, from the adjective perikleês “very famous.” Pellucid entered English in the 17th century.
His art is highly complex, but its expression is so pellucid, so simple, that we can see only its body, never the mechanism of its body.
Trump’s ramblings about Vladimir Putin were positively pellucid in their clarity compared with his March 29 comments on the U.S.-South Korea trade deal …
to prepare (a house, car, etc.) so as to counteract the hot weather of summer: to summerize a house by adding air conditioning.
In the late 18th century, summerize meant “to spend the summer,” a sense rarely used nowadays. In the mid-19th century in the U.S. in colloquial usage, summerize acquired its usual meaning “to prepare for summer.”
Swap out the stiff white shirt for button-downs in mellower colors. “If you’re in finance, it’s hard to make a big fashion statement, but this is a good way to summerize your wardrobe,” says Coats.
The spark plugs don’t need to be changed for three years, and the motor can “summerize” itself by fogging the cylinders with oil when you put your machine away in the spring.
Biology. oriented growth of an organism in response to mechanical contact, as a plant tendril coiling around a string support.
Thigmotropism is a very rare word, restricted to biology, especially botany. All three of the components of the word come from Greek: thígma means “a touch”; trópos and tropḗ are both nouns meaning “a turning, turn”; and -ism comes from the Greek suffixes -ismós, isma, used to form nouns denoting the result of an action. Thigmotropism entered English in the early 20th century.
When touch is the stimulus, the response is thigmotropism. Positive thigmotropism occurs when a tendril touches an object and, by growing toward it, wraps around it.
Thigmotropism is what makes a vine curl around a stake or an epiphyte cling to a branch in the wild.
a connoisseur or lover of cheese.
Turophile a rare word not only in meaning but also in its spelling. The combining form -phile is very common in English, but the combining form turo- is unique: it comes from the Greek noun tȳrós, which is nearly always Romanized as tyro-, as in the technical term tyrosine (an amino acid). Tȳrós comes from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root tēu, tewe, teu, tū “to swell, coagulate, be or become thick”: for the Greeks cheese was “thickened milk.” The Latin word būtȳrum “butter” is a borrowing from Greek boútyron “butter,” literally “cow cheese.” Būtȳrum “butter” was adopted by the West Germanic languages, e.g., Old English butere, English butter, Dutch boter, Old High German butera, and German Butter. Turophile entered English in the 20th century.
For any New York turophile … there is irritation, frustration and dismay when visiting most of the town’s restaurants whether grand luxe or bistro. The cheeses, if available at all, are more often than not overripe or underaged, too cold or too few …
… as any turophile knows, microbes are the source of cheese’s vast diversity of flavors, textures, and smells.