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alexandrine (sometimes cap.) in poetry, a twelve-syllable line with alternating unstressed and stressed syllables, usu. with a clear pause after six syllables. [2 definitions]
Alex Haley a U.S. author celebrated for his pulitzer prize-winning work of historical fiction, Roots: The Saga of an American Family (1976), a publication whose subsequent television broadcast adaptation spawned a national discussion about race and race relations (b.1921--d.1992).
alexia the loss of reading ability, caused by lesions in the brain.
alfalfa a legume with purple flowers that is grown widely as forage for cattle and horses.
al fine to the finish (used as a musical direction to continue to the end of a repeated section).
Alfred Nobel a Swedish engineer, industrialist, and philanthropist who invented dynamite and established the Nobel prizes (b.1833--d.1896).
alfresco in the open air; outdoors.
alga any of various primitive, chiefly aquatic plants that have no roots, stems, or leaves, including the seaweeds and diatoms.
algae organisms that live mainly in the water and make their food through photosynthesis. Algae are different from plants in that they have no true leaves, roots, or stems. Seaweeds are algae. "Algae" is a plural noun; the singular form is "alga."
algebra a form of elementary mathematics, used esp. in solving equations, in which letters stand for unknown or variable quantities. [2 definitions]
algebraic of, used in, or of the nature of algebra.
Alger Hiss a lawyer and U.S. public official accused in 1948 of having acted as a Communist spy in the 1930s. Convicted in 1950 on counts of perjury related to the investigation, Hiss was sentenced to five years in prison but maintained his innocence until his death (b.1904--d.1996).
Algeria a North African country located between Morocco and Libya, formerly a French colony.
-algia pain.
algid cold; chill.
Algiers the seaport capital of Algeria.
Algol an eclipsing binary star in the constellation Perseus, having a magnitude that varies between 2.3 and 3.4.
Algonkian of, relating to, or designating the later of two geological periods of the Precambrian Era, from approximately 2.5 billion to 600 million years ago, when the first evidence of life appeared; Late Precambrian; Proterozoic. [4 definitions]
Algonquian a family of North American Indian languages spoken by tribes from Labrador to the Carolinas and from the Atlantic coast to the Rocky Mountains. [3 definitions]
Algonquin any of several Algonquian Indian tribes formerly living in the region of southern Canada and the St. Lawrence River, or a member of one of these tribes. [3 definitions]
algorism the system of numbering and calculating in Arabic numerals and decimals; decimal system.