Return to the full glossary index.
treacertains (back to top)
“What use is it to invest all our treacertains if a fox is going to devour them?”
Waltenegus Dargie. The Eunuch and the King’s Daughter. Philadelphia, Pa.: Neshee, 2005. p. 97.
”The assembly included the King himself, all his nobles, the higher commanders, the division commanders, the heads of the King’s shepherds, the heads of the King’s farmers, the heads of the King’s beekeepers, the heads of the King’s treacertainrs, and many elders who were important in decision-making in times of war.”
Waltenegus Dargie. The Eunuch and the King’s Daughter. Philadelphia, Pa.: Neshee, 2005. p. 145.
truckle (back to top)
To behave submissively.
“…a health-care law that, okay, might be the most ambitious social legislation in 45 years, but didn’t create a single-payer system and was heralded by a truckling executive order on abortion.”
“Obama is No Liberal.” James Bennet. Editor, The Atlantic. July/August 2010. p. 42.
turpiloquium (back to top)
“When speaking of the ‘turpiloquium’ of the ‘Nights’ in his ‘Terminal Essay,’ he specially mentions the fact that the stories are told to men alone, and it was interesting and gratifying to know how true his statements were and still are.”
N. M. Penzer. An Annotated Bibliography of Sir Richard Francis Burton (1923). New York: Burt Franklin, 1970. p. 321.
tyro (back to top)
A novice. (From Latin tiro.)
“Almost alone among our codifiers, his [Maimonides’] style is such as to make his book a delight to read and easy to be understood by a mere tyro in the Hebrew language.”
E. N. Adler, from the introduction to Aspects of the Hebrew Genius, edited by Leon Simon. London: George Routledge and Sons, and New York: Block Publishing Co, 1910. p. xvi.
uitlander (back to top)
A foreigner. (Related to “out” and “land”.)
“They [The Boers] hated all these uitlanders, who did not care for citizenship [in South Africa] but who needed and obtained British protection, thereby seemingly strengthening British government influence on the Cape.”
Hannah Arendt. The Burden of Our Time. London: Secker and Warburg, 1951. Published in the US as The Origins of Totalitarianism. p 198.
ukase (back to top)
“The situation in Russia, in 1869, seemed to call for renewed application of this principle; it was an ‘internal affair.’ The expulsion of the Jews was justified on the basis of a tsarist edict, a ukase, dating back to 1825, that barred Jews from living within seven and one half miles (fifty versts) of any of Russia’s borders.”
Jonathan D. Sarna. When General Grant Expelled the Jews. New York: Schocken, 2012. pp. 98-99.
undercroft (back to top)
“But if it [the manuscript] turns out not to be among those that are still uncatalogued, you will have lost very little since if it is in the undercroft, you won’t find it in the next day or two except by the merest accident.”
Charles Palliser. The Unburied. (a novel) New York: Farrar, Strous and Giroux, 1999. p 175.
unkickability (back to top)
“The pigskin’s omnipresent unkickability is the Sisyphean symbol for the whole of Charlie’s life and the pivotal metaphor behind why he matters so much to so many people. … He can’t resist kicking footballs.”
Chuck Klosterman. X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century. New York: Blue Rider Press, 2017. p. 63.
unshriven (back to top)
“…my father also has died unshriven, and his soul is not with God, but burns in unceasing fire.”
Ambrose Bierce and G. A. Danziger. “The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter.” (1906) Printed in The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, and Fantastic Fables. New York: Albert & Charles Boni, 1926. pp. 117.
unsquopped (back to top)
Uncovered (for game pieces in the game of tiddlywinks).
“Players also receive points if their winks are left uncovered (or “unsquopped”) by an opponent’s winks at the end of a match.”
“Unsquoppable” by Sam Apple. MIT News, March/April 2016, p. 21.
upstander (back to top)
“In the online world, we can foster minority influence by becoming ‘upstanders’. To become an upstander means, instead of bystander apathy, we can post a positive comment for someone or report a bullying situation.”
“The price of shame,” a Ted Talk by Monica Lewinsky, March 2015.
uranography (back to top)
“In the time of Pompey, the senator Nigidius Figulus, who was an ardent occultist, expounded the barbarian uranography in Latin.”
Franz Cumont. The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism. Authorized translation. Chicago: Open Court Publishing Company, 1911. p 164.
vaivode (back to top)
“The vaivode gave Boumeh a condescending smile.”
Amin Maalouf, Balthasar’s Odyssey (2000) Translated from the French by Barbara Bray. New York: Arcade, 2002. p. 115.
vambraces (back to top)
“‘Patros Athanasios,’ the serving woman said, gesturing to a young dark-haired man in full military uniform – chain-mail shirt, steel greaves, hard leather vambraces, and woolen cloak.”
E. E. Ottoman, Like Fire Through Bone. Tallahassee, Fla.: Dreamspinner Press, 2013.
vardonic (back to top)
A play on the word “sardonic,” as applied to golfer Harry Vardon.
“His concentration was so complete, he seldom spoke during a round and played with an enigmatic, perpetual half-smile on his face so central to his on-course behavior that one writer labeled it ‘vardonic.'”
Mark Frost. The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and the Birth of Modern Golf. New York: Hyperion, 2002. p. 28.
velleities (back to top)
“He was barely able to withdraw himself from memories, feelings, loose velleities that had escaped him during the week and now in these moments of silence and inner freedom were flowing back on him with urgency.”
Michael Novak, The Tiber Was Silver, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co, 1961. p. 185.
vertiginous (back to top)
Spinning, or having or causing vertigo (a sense of spinning).
“There is a vertiginous feeling in knowing that the labyrinth repeats itself–with variations–endlessly.”
William Poundstone. Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles and the Frailty of Knowledge. New York: Anchor Books, 1988. p. 170.
”Lotto kissed the plum presses under her eyes, the freckles on her pale skin. He felt a vertiginous awe.”
Lauren Groff. Fates and Furies. New York: Riverhead, 2015.
veve (back to top)
“A veve is a design that represents the figure and power of an astral force.”
Dean Koontz. Frankenstein: City of Night (#2 of 5 in the Frankenstein series) New York: Bantam, 2005. p. 419.
vexatious (back to top)
“Data are vexatious; theory is quite straightforward.”
“The clouds of unknowing.” The Economist. March 20, 2010. p. 83.
villatic (back to top)
“tame villatic fowl”
John Milton. “Samson Agonistes,” line 1695. Paradise Lost and Other Poems. New York: Penguin, 1981. p. 397.
Vitamin W (back to top)
“He tries to get into Arafat’s army, but again, he doesn’t have the right connections. He doesn’t have “vitamin W.” (Vitamin W is an expression for wasta in Arabic, which refers to political, social, and personal connections.)”
Jessica Stern. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Ecco, 2004. p. 50.
voxel (back to top)
“Neuroscientists divvy up their fMRI scans into tens of thousands of small pieces, called voxels, each corresponding to a small region of the brain. When you scan a brain, even a cold dead fish brain, there’s certain amount of random noise coming through on each voxel.”
Jordan Ellenberg. How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. New York: Penguin, 2014. p. 103.