Vocabulary / Aphorisms


Ecology = 1. the branch of biology that deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. 2. the political movement that seeks to protect the environment, especially from pollution. From the Greek, οικος, "house", or "environment"; -λογια, "study of." The scientific analysis and study of interactions among organisms and their environment. It is an interdisciplinary field that includes biology, geography, and Earth science. Phytology = the study of plants, botany. Hessian = British term for burlap

Bale - in Spanish means "ok"

Invidious - 1 : tending to cause discontent, animosity, or envy 2 : envious. 3 a : of an unpleasant or objectionable nature : obnoxious b : of a kind to cause harm or resentment . Cui bono - whom does it benefit? [lit. to whom the good] from Roman legal theory

Sesquipedalian - a lover of obscure words.

Festina Lente = Make haste slowly.

Serried - standing close together, close-set, dense, tight. ["he then points out his serried rows of books" quoting Conan Doyle in Through the Magic Door, found in Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle, p. 84].

Spleen = bad temper, spite, vexation, annoyance, rancor, displeasure, dissatisfaction. ["Acquiring knowledge and expressing the intellect are ways of driving off the spleen." Discussing Sherlock Holmes in Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle, p. 107].

Diabetes Mellitus = comes from two words: diabetes (Greek for "to pass through or siphon" and mellitus (Latin for "honey sweet"). DM is characterized by chronically elevated levels of sugar in your blood [Greger How Not to Die, p. 100]

Polymath = a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning. From the Ancient Greek, πολυμαθης, "having learned much," is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems (Wikipedia). "Watson tells us, he heard this polymath [Holmes] speak on a quick succession of subjects... " in Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle, p. 107].

Jeu d'esprit = a lighthearted display of wit and cleverness, especially in a work of literature. "Little did I realize what this brief jeu d'esprit would ultimately lead to" in Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle, p. 125].

Ecdysiast = (n.) a striptease performer. Related to ecdysis, from the Ancient Greek verb, 'εκδυσις, "stripping", from 'εκδ'υω, "I take off", from 'εκ, "out" (Wikipedia). "...Irene Adler ("to Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman") making O'Connor the latest in a BSI [Baker Street Irregulars] tradition that started with ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee" in Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle, p. 125].

Sodality = a confraternity or association, especially a Roman Catholic religious guild or brotherhood. (In Christian theology, a sodality, also known as a syndiakonia, is a form of the "Universal Church" expressed in specialized, task-oriented form as opposed to the Christian church in its local, diocesan form (which is termed modality).. In social anthropology, a sodality is a non-kin group organized for a specific purpose - Wikipedia). "Better still, I was also now eligible to participate in that most exclusive of all local dining sodalities: the Half Pay Club; open only to DC area members of the BSI (Baker Street Irregulars)" from Michael Dirda's On Conan Doyle, p. 140].

Wehrwirtschaft = n. M20. [G, f. Wehr defence + Wirtschaft economy.] The principle or policy of directing a nation's economic activity towards preparation for or support of a war effort, esp. (Hist.) as applied in Germany in the 1930s.


Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus