Category: Word of the Day

Daily definitions and usage information for all who want to increase and hone their vocabulary.

Aug
20
2014

dissolute

Posted in Word of the Day by admin

dI sə lut

adjective
inclined to immoral behavior or dissipation; lacking or ignoring moral restraints.

Alexander Vronsky, in spite of the dissolute life, and in especial the drunken habits, for which he was notorious, was quite one of the court circle. (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina)

 

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Aug
19
2014

magisterial

Posted in Word of the Day by admin

mae jih sti ri əl
adjective
1. of the nature of an intellectual master or authority such as a professor or scholar.
She has written a magisterial treatment of modern philosophy.

2. arrogantly dominating; overbearing.
He delivers his opinions with a magisterial air that everyone resents.

 

George Crabbe on the difference between “magisterial” and “majestic”

Magisterial, from magister, a master, and majestic, from majestax, are both derived from magis, moreor major, greater, that is, more or greater than others; but they differ in this respect, that the magisterial is something assumed, and is therefore often false; external. the majestic is natural, and consequently always real: an upstart, or an intruder into any high station or office, may put on a magisterial air, in order to impose on the multitude; but it will not be in his power to be majestic, which never shows itself in a borrowed shape; none but those who have a superiority of character or birth, or outward station, can be majestic: a petty magistrate in the country may be magisterial; a king or queen cannot uphold their station without a majestic deportment. (Dictionary of English Synonymes, 1816)

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Aug
18
2014

subdued

Posted in Word of the Day by admin

səb dud
adjective
restrained in emotion, spirit, or intensity.
No longer denying the accusations, the mayor seemed subdued as he spoke of the scandal.
For the funeral, you should wear a black dress, or at least something in a subdued color.

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Aug
15
2014

prostrate

Posted in Word of the Day by admin

transitive verb

pra streIt

1: to lie or throw (oneself) flat on the ground, esp. face down in an act of humility, worship, or the like.
He prostrated himself in front of the altar and lay for some time on the cold floor.

2: to overcome or overthrow.

3: to exhaust physically or emotionally.

adjective

1: lying flat on the ground or other surface.
The bank customers and employees remained prostrate until the robbers left.

2: lying full-length, esp. face down as in submission or worship.

3: overcome or exhausted.
The new recruits were prostrate after completing the obstacle course.

 

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Aug
14
2014

repartee

Posted in Word of the Day by admin

re pər ti [or] re par teI

noun

definition 1: a quick, clever reply; witty retort.
He was stunned at her clever repartee and was momentarily at a loss for words.
definition 2: conversation characterized by this type of reply; clever banter.
She invited brilliant playwrights and novelists to her dinner parties because she enjoyed their repartee.
definition 3: skill in making witty replies.
He’s intelligent and thoughtful, but he has little repartee.

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