2006-07-31

Michaelmas

(Pronounced "Micklemas".)

The feast of St. Michael, September 29.

Spotted in Pride and Prejudice; definition taken from the Oxford American Dictionary.

See also: the Wikipedia entry.

2006-07-24

juju

(Hi, Pedraum!)

A charm or fetish, esp. of a type used by some West African peoples; supernatural power attributed to such a charm or fetish.

Definition from the Oxford American Dictionary.

I've heard Pedraum use this word, and also recently spotted it in a Scrabble dictionary.

2006-07-17

phlogiston

a substance supposed by 18th-century chemists to exist in all combustible bodies, and to be released in combustion.

Taken from the Oxford American Dictionary.

2006-07-10

apophasis

Mentioning by not mentioning.

The most common English construction is the phrase "not to mention", as in "She is talented, not to mention rich." This construction is so common that it has lost much, if not all, of the device's rhetorical power. "Not to mention" no longer serves here as a device to separate the speaker from the claim of richness, but is just another way of saying "and". Another is the clause "if I don't say so myself" which is mistaken from the affirmative "if I do say so myself", meant to show the speaker's modesty.

See the Wikipedia entry.

2006-07-03

sally

A sudden charge out of a besieged place against the enemy; a sortie. (Oxford American Dictionary)