Become A Better Writer
a person who excels in musical technique or execution.
We might refer to a gifted violinist, for instance, as a virtuoso. First recorded in English in the early 1600s with a now-obsolete sense of “learned person,” virtuoso is borrowed from Italian virtuoso “a person with exceptional skill in the arts or sciences,” in Italian used especially of musicians by the latter part of the 1500s. Italian virtuoso is a noun form of the adjective virtuoso “skilled, virtuous.” English virtuous (via Anglo-French) and virtuoso are indeed related. Both ultimately derive from Late Latin virtuōsus, which joins the Latin adjective-forming suffix –ōsus “full of” with Latin virtūs (inflectional stem virtūt-). Latin virtūs means “manliness, strength, courage.” Apparently due to associations with honor and bravery (as of soldiers), the meaning of Latin virtūs was extended to “moral excellence,” hence English virtue. The root of virtūs is vir “man,” which yields virile “manly” and virago, which evolved from “heroic woman, female warrior” to the unsavory “scolding woman, shrew.” The Proto-Indo-European root wi-ro-, the source of Latin vir, resulted in Old English wer “man,” which survives in werewolf, literally “man-wolf,” a virtuosic vocalist, perhaps, in its own howling way.
What was it like to be the first pop virtuoso of the recorded era—the man whose earliest releases set the tune for America’s love affair with modern black music, and who went on to become one of history’s most famous entertainers?
… he is a literary virtuoso who understands the charisma needed to make songs you can play in a club.
anything seen as preserving or protecting some quality, condition, etc.: a bastion of solitude.
The English noun bastion still looks French. It comes from Middle French, from Upper Italian bastione “rampart, bulwark, bastion,” an augmentative noun formed from bastita “fortified,” from the verb bastire “to build,” from Medieval Latin bastīre, possibly of Germanic origin and akin to bastille “tower, small fortress, bastion.” Bastion entered English in the late 16th century.
… Notre Dame went from being a football school to being not just academically respected but a bastion of intellectual freedom and ideological pluralism ….
… he’d seen it as a bastion of the familiar and orderly, where negotiations took place the way they were supposed to, in high-backed chairs, with checkbooks and contracts and balance sheets.
a descriptive name or designation, as Bald in Charles the Bald.
Appellative comes from the Late Latin grammatical term appellātīvus “pertaining to a common noun” and nōmen appellātīvum “a common noun” (in contrast to nōmen proprium “a proper noun”). Appellātīvus is a derivative of the verb appellāre “to speak to, address, call upon, invoke.” Appellative in the sense “descriptive name,” as Great in Alfred the Great, is a development in English dating from the first half of the 17th century. Appellative in its original Latin sense entered English in the early 16th century.
In connection with this appellative of “Whalebone whales,” it is of great importance to mention, that however such a nomenclature may be convenient in facilitating allusions to some kind of whales, yet it is in vain to attempt a clear classification of the leviathan …
In addition too to this almost Cimmerian gloom was the agrément of a penetrating rain, known perhaps to some of my readers by the gentle appellative of a Scotch mist …
a writer of fiction, especially a prolific one whose works are of mediocre quality.
The noun fictioneer is composed of the noun fiction and the noun suffix –eer denoting agency. The suffix is neutral in words like engineer and mountaineer, but it frequently has a pejorative sense, as in profiteer and racketeer. Fictioneer, too, has always had a hint of contempt in it: an early (1901) definition of fictioneer reads “a writer of ‘machine-made’ fiction.” Fictioneer entered English in the early 20th century.
If you were not a fictioneer, if you did not place a monetary value on the efforts of your imagination, I should be inclined to think that you were lying ….
That was long ago, and she’s a grandmother today, but still she can toss around the lingo of the Wild West with a fluency that would be the envy of a Hollywood scenarist or a fictioneer of the great open spaces.
very productive or creative intellectually: the fecund years of the Italian Renaissance.
The English adjective fecund ultimately comes from Latin fēcundus “fertile, productive,” used of humans, animals, and plants. The first syllable fē– is a Latin development of the Proto-Indo-European root dhē(i)– “to suck, suckle.” From fē– Latin forms the derivatives fēlīx “fruitful, productive, fortunate, blessed, lucky” (source of the English name Felix and felicity), fēmina “woman” (originally a feminine participle meaning “suckling”), fētus “parturition, birth, conception, begetting, young (plant or animal), child,” and fīlius and fīlia “son” and “daughter,” respectively (and source of filial). Dhē(i)– appears in Greek as thē(i)-, as in thêsthai “to suckle” and thēlḗ “nipple, teat” (an element of the uncommon English noun thelitis “inflammation of the nipple”). Fecund entered English in the 15th century.
… he possesses a fecund imagination able to spin out one successful series after another ….
He sort of reminded me of Billy Name … the guy who pretty much functioned as the Factory’s foreman during its most fecund years.
Jactation comes straight from the Latin noun jactātiōn– (the inflectional stem of jactātiō) “a flinging or throwing about, a shaking or jolting, tossing of the waves at sea,” and by extension, “frequent changing of one’s mind or attitude, boastfulness, grounds for boasting.” Jactātiō is a derivative of the verb jactāre “to throw, hurl, toss,” a frequentative verb from jacere “to throw, toss, sow (seed), cast (anchor).” Jactation entered English in the 16th century.
Judge of my mortification, t’other day, when in a moment of jactation, I boasted of being born in that illustrious, ancient, and powerful kingdom!
Others see in them merely the jactation of a limited wit, which is nothing more.
verb (used with object)
to undo the invention of; to reverse the existence of.
Disinvent is an obvious compound of the prefix dis-, here having a reversing force, and the verb invent. It is quite rare, first appearing in the second half of the 19th century (for the “disinventing” of the telegraph). In the 20th century disinvent has been applied to the impossibility of “disinventing” nuclear or chemical weapons.
However alarmed we are by those weapons, we cannot disinvent them. The world cannot cancel the knowledge of how to make them. It is an irreversible fact.
A number of science fiction movies have actually had to “disinvent” existing technologies in order to retell the myth of how rebels against “the system” help preserve free and open societies.