Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day marries YouTube

27Oct Saturday, October 25, 2008 – Quandary

Quandary \KWAHN-duh-ree; -dree\, noun: A state of difficulty, perplexity, doubt, or uncertainty. Don . . . told me of the quandary that the authorities were in. Should the ruins be left untouched or should they be reconstructed for a new wave of tourists? — Benjamin Hopkins, “How to avoid the tourists in Peru”, Times (London), […]

27Oct Friday, October 24, 2008 – Limn

Limn \LIM\, transitive verb: 1. To depict by drawing or painting. 2. To portray in words; to describe. Oh, yes, I write, as I limn the familiar perfections of his profile, “you look very well.” — Kimberly Elkins, “What Is Visible”, The Atlantic, March 2003 In telling these people’s stories Mr. Butler draws upon the […]

27Oct Thursday, October 23, 2008 – Plenary

Plenary \PLEE-nuh-ree; PLEN-uh-ree\, adjective: 1. Full in all respects; complete; absolute; as, plenary authority. 2. Fully attended by all qualified members. Judges like to quote a 1936 Supreme Court opinion that spoke of “the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the Federal Government in the field of […]

27Oct Tuesday, October 21, 2008 – Synecdoche

Synecdoche \si-NEK-duh-kee\, noun: a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole or whole for a part or general for the special or vice versa Photographers had to resort to visual synecdoche, hoping that a small part of the scene — a wailing child, an emaciated mother, a pile of corpses […]

20Oct Monday, October 20, 2008 – Malfeasance

Malfeasance \mal-FEE-zuhn(t)s\, noun: Wrongdoing, misconduct, or misbehavior, especially by a public official. But more often than not the same board members who were removed by the chancellor for malfeasance subsequently manage to get reelected in a political process that defies any form of accountability. — Diane Ravitch and Joseph Viteritti, New Schools for a New […]

20Oct Sunday, October 19, 2008 – Bailiwick

Bailiwick \BAY-luh-wik\, noun: 1. A person’s specific area of knowledge, authority, interest, skill, or work. 2. The office or district of a bailiff. I’ll give it a try, but this is not my bailiwick. — Sue Grafton, ‘L’ Is for Lawless He “professed ignorance, as of something outside my bailiwick.” — Marc Aronson, “Wharton and […]

18Oct Saturday, October 18, 2008 – Alfresco

Alfresco \al-FRES-koh\, adverb: 1. In the open air; outdoors. 2. Taking place or located in the open air; outdoor. Turner escaped from the entangled politics of London’s art world, where the Royal Academy was marooned in petty disputes, to paint alfresco on the riverbanks. — Siri Huntoon, “Down by the Riverside”, New York Times, November […]

17Oct Friday, October 17, 2008 – Expeditious

Expeditious \ek-spuh-DISH-uhs\, adjective: Characterized by or acting with speed and efficiency. His problem was to get from Lookout Valley to Chattanooga Valley in the most expeditious way possible. — Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs The criminal may of course use some short-term act of violence to ‘terrorize’ his victim, such as waving a gun in […]

16Oct Thursday, October 16, 2008 – Misprize

Misprize \mis-PRYZ\, transitive verb: 1. To hold in contempt. 2. To undervalue. I hesitate to appear to misprize my native city, but how can the history of dear, sedate old London town possibly compare to Paris for sheer excitement? — Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris Or did he misprize such fidelity and harden his […]

15Oct Wednesday, October 15, 2008 – Waylay

Waylay \WAY-lay\, transitive verb: 1. To lie in wait for and attack from ambush. 2. To approach or stop (someone) unexpectedly. When his mother praised certain well-behaved and neatly dressed boys in the village, Jung was filled with hate for them, and would waylay and beat them up. — Frank McLynn, Carl Gustav Jung He […]