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Dictionary Suite
act of God in law, a sudden unforeseen event, esp. a natural disaster such as an earthquake, flood, or tornado, that is caused entirely by forces of nature and could not have been prevented.
apocalypse any instance of terrible destruction and devastation, esp. on a scale that could bring about an end to the world. [1/3 definitions]
best-case scenario the best possible way that things could proceed from a particular point on.
couldn't contracted form of "could not."
could've contracted form of "could have."
deathtrap a place or situation in which death could readily occur, such as an unsafe building.
expedient a means used in an emergency, and not necessarily the best one that could be used; contrivance. [1/4 definitions]
Gordian knot in Greek legend, a knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia and cut by Alexander the Great, after an oracle had said it could be untied only by the next ruler of Asia. [1/2 definitions]
Humpty Dumpty (sometimes l.c.) an English nursery rhyme character shaped like a large egg, who fell off a wall, broke into pieces, and could not be reassembled.
mercantilism the doctrine, developed in the West after the decline of feudalism, that a nation's economy could be strengthened by governmental protection of home industries, by increased foreign exports, and by accumulating gold and silver. [1/2 definitions]
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. an influential U.S. Supreme Court justice (1902-1932), known for exercising judicial restraint and cited frequently for the opinion he wrote for Schenck v. United States, in which he argued that freedom of speech could be limited only in cases when particular acts of expression presented a "clear and present danger" to the country or its people (b.1841--d.1935).
post road a road along which there were stations at which travelers on horseback or in horse-drawn wagons could acquire fresh horses. [1/2 definitions]
relative humidity the amount of moisture present in the air compared to the maximum amount the air could hold at the same temperature.
tranche one of several portions of a bond or other financial product that has been separated out by risk, maturity, or other factors so as to suit the needs of different investors who could not invest in the whole. [1/2 definitions]
traumatic causing an emotional shock that could have a deep and lasting effect on one's mental and emotional life. [1/2 definitions]
trigger-happy inclined to be impetuous and irresponsible no matter how grave the situation, esp. in advocating an action that could result in war. [1/2 definitions]
worst-case scenario the worst possible set of events that could follow.