Word of the Day: Sublimate

Sublimate, in chemistry, means to purify a substance or to transform a compound from solid to gas state (without passing through the liquid one). In psychology, on the other hand, it means to direct a sexual impulse to a more accepted social activity (e.g., art or sports), thus calming the sexual impulse. For Mailer, incest … Read more

Word of the Day: Indulge

Indulge means to yield to a desire, to be permissive. The adjective is indulgent. The expression self-indulgent is often used to describe a person who is indulgent with her own desires. Francis must sublimate his passion for forces and fulcrums while he is playing; he would be pummeled, on the mound or otherwise. But in … Read more

Word of the Day: Standstill

Standstill is a state of rest or the cessation of a certain activity. The word originated from the stand still phrase. The announcement of a debt standstill on November 25th by Dubai World, a conglomerate based in the desert emirate, was almost as effective in catching investors unaware. (The Economist) A general strike called by … Read more

Word of the Day: Vex

Vex means to annoy, disturb or torment. Usually the distress is a mental one, but vex can also mean to cause physical pain. What appeared to vex Mr. Cheney the most were Mr. Emanuel’s remarks, which the former vice president cast as an attempt to shift the blame for inaction onto the Bush administration. (NY … Read more

Word of the Day: Hustle

Hustle means to work energetically, to push, or to be aggressive in certain endeavors (e.g., playing a sport or conducting business). When used with a subject it means to urge, coerce, push or force to move (e.g., hustle something out of the way). They had a second, stand-by offense ready to rush to the line … Read more

Word of the Day: Ecclesiastic

Ecclesiastic is a person inside a religious order. The adjective, on other other hand, is ecclesiastical. Two centuries after Olaus Magnus, another ecclesiastic, the Danish missionary Hans Egede (who eventually became the bishop of Greenland), visited that icy island early in the eighteenth century, in hope of converting the natives to Christianity. (NY Times) Rome’s … Read more

Word of the Day: Secular

Secular is an adjective used to describe things or people that are not religious. When Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq, spoke out a week ago, calling for full national elections instead of the caucus-style balloting envisioned in the American plan for self-rule, most secular politicians concluded that he hoped … Read more

Word of the Day: Peripatetic

Peripatetic, the noun, is a person who walks or travels about. It can be used as an adjective as well, with the same meaning. The word makes allusion to Aristotle, who used to teach his philosophy while walking in the Lyceum. The youngest son, by 13 years, of rentier parents, Wilson was born at Bexhill-on-Sea … Read more

Word of the Day: Browbeat

Browbeat means to intimidate or subjugate by the use of verbal harassment or force. A synonym to browbeat is to bully. If we follow the usual script, this means it’s time for upset listeners and viewers to rally to the cause, as they have in the past, and browbeat Congress into restoring the budget. (NY … Read more

Word of the Day: Debase

Debase is a verb that means to reduce the quality or value of something, or to lower the rank or dignity of someone. So the Pentagon contends that it has no choice but to exclude its sufferers from the Purple Heart, given to those whose injuries result from direct and intentional action by the enemy. … Read more

Word of the Day: Ecumenical

Ecumenical, which can also be spelled as ecumenic, is an adjective that means universal or general. Ecumenical is also used to describe things pertaining to or promoting the Christian church. Among the council’s key developments were its ecumenical outreach and the development of the New Mass in the vernacular, which essentially replaced the old Latin … Read more

Word of the Day: Frantic

Frantic is an adjective that means desperate or frenzied. The adverb is frantically. They culminated a weekend of frantic around-the-clock negotiations, as Wall Street bankers huddled in meetings at the behest of Bush administration officials to try to avoid a downward spiral in the markets stemming from a crisis of confidence. (NY Times) The broader … Read more