a whimsical or fanciful ornament or contrivance; gimmick.
Whigmaleerie “a whimsical or fanciful ornament or contrivance” is a noun from Scots, a language that is spoken today by over one million people in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Scots is not the same as Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language closely related to Irish Gaelic; instead, Scots and modern English both descend from Middle English and diverged approximately 800 years ago. Whigmaleerie, earlier figmalirie, is most likely a fanciful and elaborate invention based on common elements in expressive words. The initial fig– could be based on Scots fig “to move briskly” (perhaps related to fidget), while the medial –ma– could be inspired by the similar-sounding syllable in words such as rigmarole and thingamabob. Whigmaleerie was first recorded in English in the 1720s.
The Cathedral itself corresponds in impressive majesty with these accompaniments. We feel that its appearance is heavy, yet that the effect produced would be destroyed were it lighter or more ornamental. … Andrew Fairservice, who saw with great pride the effect which it produced upon my mind, thus accounted for its preservation. ‘Ah! [I]t’s a brave kirk—nane o’ yere whigmaleeries and curliewurlies and open-steek hems about it[.’]
“Jewelry-making is a big cottage industry here. Would you like to stop at one of the shops and look over the whigmaleeries?” …. They had paused at a window display that seemed to Dee like the open mouth of a pirate’s treasure cave. Strings of richly glowing pearls in every color imaginable hung from perches and gleamed in overflowing baskets. There were pearl bracelets, pearl earrings, armlets, pins, hair ornaments, and rings.
one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects, as beetles, forming a protective covering for the posterior or flight wings.
Elytron “one of the pair of hardened forewings of certain insects” is a borrowing by way of New Latin from Ancient Greek élytron “covering.” The ending -on in Ancient Greek is a common marker of neuter nouns, and these nouns swap the -on in their singular forms for -a in the plural. This pattern still exists today in English among many (though not nearly all) words of Ancient Greek origin that end in -on; one criterion becomes two or more criteria, and one phenomenon becomes two or more phenomena. The Latin equivalent of the -on ending is -um, as in one curriculum vs. two or more curricula and one millennium vs. two or more millennia. Elytron was first recorded in English circa 1750.
Small square pieces of the delicate wing and of the elytron of a Staphylinus were placed on some leaves, and after these had re-expanded, the pieces were carefully examined. Their angles were as sharp as ever, and they did not differ in appearance from the other wing and elytron of the same insect which had been left in water. The elytron, however, had evidently yielded some nutritious matter, for the leaf remained clasped over it for four days; whereas the leaves with bits of the true wing re-expanded on the second day.
Getting run over by a car is not a near-death experience for the diabolical ironclad beetle. How the beetle survives could inspire the development of new materials with the same herculean toughness, engineers show in a paper published Wednesday (Oct. 21) in Nature …. The study, led by engineers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and Purdue University, found that the diabolical ironclad beetle’s super-toughness lies in its two armorlike “elytron” that meet at a line, called a suture, running the length of the abdomen.
verb (used with object)
to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements.
Inveigle “to entice or lure” derives by way of Anglo-French from Old French avogle “blind” (compare modern French aveugle). Avogle, in turn, comes from a Vulgar Latin term reconstructed as aboculus “eyeless,” from the phrase ab oculīs “without eyes.” This phrase is considered to be a calque based on a phrase meaning “without eyes” in another language, such as Gaulish or Ancient Greek. A calque, also known as a loan translation, is a word or phrase that is literally translated when borrowed from one language into another. One famous literary calque appears in the series The Lord of the Rings; author J. R. R. Tolkien created the name Bag End as a calque of the French term cul-de-sac, which means “bottom of the bag.” Inveigle was first recorded in English circa 1480.
On a larger scale, the supermarket is designed to inveigle customers into spending as much time as possible within its doors. Dairy departments are almost invariably located as far from the entrance as possible, ensuring that customers—most of whom will have at least one dairy item on their lists—will have to walk the length of the store, passing a wealth of tempting products, en route to the milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Especially popular items are routinely located in the middle of aisles, so that even the most single-minded buyer has a chance to be distracted by alternatives.
The good news about the new film from Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite,” is that you are likely to emerge from it in good humor—bemused, or amused, or a mixture of the two …. One of the oddest things about this film is how many of the oddities, especially the more lubricious ones, are true. There really was an Abigail; she really did inveigle herself into the Queen’s esteem; and the Duchess of Marlborough really was incensed.
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