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1 : relating to or dealing with aesthetics or its subject matter < aesthetic theories> < aesthetic philosophers> 2 a : relating to the beautiful as distinguished from the merely pleasing, the moral, and especially the useful and utilitarian <a purely aesthetic reaction> < aesthetic criteria> b : artistic <the illustrations made the book an aesthetic success> <a work of aesthetic value> c : pleasing in appearance : attractive < ... easy-to-use keyboards, clear graphics, and other ergonomic and aesthetic features. — Mark Mehler> 3 : appreciative of, responsive to, or zealous about the beautiful <an aesthetic person> <he lived in an aesthetic age> 4 : relating to sensuous cognition: a : involving pure feeling or sensation especially in contrast to ratiocination <the aesthetic component of knowledge> b : based on or derived from immediate especially sensuous experience <gustatory and tactile aesthetic delights> < aesthetic feeling> 5 : done or made to improve a person ' s appearance or to correct defects in a person ' s appearance < aesthetic plastic surgery> <Dentists are still drilling and filling, but the fastest growing part of the practices are aesthetic procedures, such as bleaching teeth and using tooth-colored material for fillings ... — Sarah Skidmore, San Diego Union-Tribune , 8 May 2005> — aes·thet·i·cal·ly \es- ˈ the-ti-k(ə-)lē, British usually ēs-\ (audio pronunciation) also es·thet·i·cal·ly adverb <a happy ending is morally and aesthetic satisfying — J. C. Bushman>
1 a : of or relating to walking < ambulatory exercise> b : capable of, adapted to, or occurring while walking <an ambulatory animal> <an ambulatory confession> 2 a : moving from place to place : itinerant , peripatetic <an ambulatory teacher> b : having no fixed headquarters <an ambulatory business> 3 : not yet fixed legally or settled past alteration : alterable <a will is ambulatory until the testator's death> 4 medical a : able to walk about : not bedridden <the ambulatory clinic patient> <All patients were ambulatory before hip fracture. — Karim Anton Calis and Frank Pucino, New England Journal of Medicine , 1 Nov. 2007> b : performed on or involving a patient who is able to walk about < ... they practice a strict triage, pouring all their energies into the promising ambulatory cases while finding it increasingly draining to think about the bedridden ones. — Phillip Lopate, New York Times Book Review , 24 May 1987> <Some patients report that ambulatory oxygen therapy helps relieve exercise-related breathlessness. — Dennis E. Niewoehner, New England Journal of Medicine , 15 Apr. 2010> c : performed on or provided to an outpatient < ambulatory care> < Ambulatory surgical procedures have proliferated in recent years as a result of increases in the cost of inpatient health services. — Mark A. Warner et al., Journal of the American Medical Association , 22 Sept. 1993> also : relating to or intended for outpatient care <an ambulatory setting> <It fuels rapid growth of free-standing ambulatory surgery centers set up separate from hospitals to install new eye lenses during cataract surgery, slice off bunions, pin ears ... and perform other alterations that once kept patients in a hospital bed at least overnight. — Charles Petit, San Francisco Chronicle , 10 Oct. 1990> d : performed on or worn by a patient during the course of normal daily activities (such as working and sleeping) <Rather than treat all patients on the basis of office blood pressure readings, some clinicians ... maintain that certain patients should first be fitted with ambulatory blood pressure monitors that automatically record their blood pressure every 15 minutes or so throughout the day and night. — Jane E. Brody, New York Times , 28 Nov. 1995> <It specializes in the Holter monitor, a device that provides 24-hour ambulatory monitoring of heart rhythms with computer analysis. — Mary Lou Loper, Los Angeles Times , 19 Jan. 1987> also : obtained by ambulatory monitoring <24-hour ambulatory blood pressure> — am·bu·la·to·ri·ly \ ˌ am-byə-lə- ˈ t ȯ r-ə-lē\ (audio pronunciation) adverb <a patient treated ambulatorily >
transitive verb 1 a : to appropriate and transform or incorporate into the substance of the assimilator : take in and appropriate as nourishment : absorb into the system <the body assimilates digested food into its protoplasm> b : to take in and absorb as one's own : receive into the mind and consider and thoroughly comprehend <the wide range of influences ... which he assimilated in his years of apprenticeship — Herbert Read> <an amazing amount of scientific information which he had assimilated — V. G. Heiser> 2 a : to make similar or alike : cause to resemble — usually used with to or with < assimilate our law in this respect to the law of Scotland — John Bright> <stains, and vegetation, which assimilate the architecture with the work of nature — John Ruskin> b : to alter by the process of assimilation <the prefix im- is an assimilated form of in- > c : to absorb into the cultural tradition of a population or group <the community assimilated persons of many nationalities> 3 : to represent as similar or alike : compare , liken < assimilated the career of a conqueror to that of a simple robber — W. E. H. Lecky> — usually used with following to or with 4 archaic : to bring into conformity : adapt intransitive verb 1 a : to become of the same substance : become absorbed or incorporated into the system <some foods assimilate more readily than others> b : to become absorbed <cannot assimilate with the Church of England — J. H. Newman> 2 a : to be or become similar or alike : resemble — usually used with following to or with < assimilates with the character of English scenery> b : to become altered by the process of assimilation <the sound m often assimilates before a following n > c : to become culturally assimilated : undergo cultural assimilation 3 archaic : to become adapted : conform
1 a : the character used in writing or printing as the first in series of the reference marks, to indicate the omission of letters or words, in linguistic works to mark hypothetical forms belonging to a reconstructed ancestral language, and in various arbitrary uses — called also star b : the character * thought of as being appended to something (such as an athletic accomplishment included in a record book) typically in order to indicate that there is a limiting fact or consideration which makes that thing less important or impressive than it would otherwise be <But the men's triumph came with an asterisk : The Soviets, three-time gold medalists, had boycotted the Games. — Brad Young, Sports Illustrated , 4 Sept. 2000> <That no-confidence vote from the police guild ... comes with a big asterisk : About 80 members didn't cast ballots at all. — Daniel Walters, Pacific Northwest Islander , 28 Apr. 2010> c : someone or something considered too minor for prominent mention : footnote <He would probably be an asterisk today if he hadn ' t stepped out from the pack and opposed the war. — Joe Klein, Time , 12 Jan. 2004> <At fifty-four, he had followed war from the hills of Italy to the islands of the Pacific to the mountains of Korea, and countless other places already becoming asterisks in the history books. — William Prochnau, Once Upon a Distant War , 1995> 2 also as·te·ris·kos \ ˌ ä-stə- ˈ rē- ˌ sk ȯ s\ -s , Eastern Church : a star-shaped liturgical utensil used to cover the eucharistic elements lying in a paten and to guard them from contact with the first veil — as·ter·isk·less adjective <Making the run at Maris' record are Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey Jr. and Sammy Sosa. In two words, who cares? The Babe will always be the asteriskless home-run champ to me. — Orlando Sentinel , 17 July 1998>
1 a : a place of refuge and protection (such as a temple, altar, or statue of a god or in later times a Christian church) where criminals and debtors found shelter and from which they could not be forcibly taken without sacrilege : sanctuary b international law : a place exempted by custom or convention from the territorial jurisdiction of a state within which it is so that refugees may not be followed to or taken from it except by the consent of the state enjoying the immunity 2 : a place of retreat and security : shelter <the land of the free and the asylum of the downtrodden — G. W. Pierson> <the ideal world ... is an asylum in which he takes refuge from the troubles of existence — John Dewey> 3 a : the protection or inviolability afforded by an asylum : refuge <the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution — U.N. Declaration of Human Rights > <fled to England, where he requested and has received political asylum — Encounter > <he can, if he wishes, seek asylum from present tumults in a past period of history — Reinhold Niebuhr> b : protection from arrest and extradition given especially to political refugees by a nation or by an embassy or other agency enjoying diplomatic immunity < ... they fled to London where, like thousands of other Iraqi Shia, they applied for political asylum . — Jason Zengerle, New Republic , 23 Dec. 2002> 4 somewhat old-fashioned : an institution providing care and protection to needy individuals (such as the infirm or destitute) and especially the mentally ill <an insane asylym > <an orphan asylum > < ... a fascinating study based on a newly discovered cache of materials about Mary Todd Lincoln, who in 1875 was committed to an asylum by her son. — Gabor S. Boritt, New York Times Book Review , 8 Feb. 1987>
1 : having an active feeling of repugnance, dislike, or distaste for something and tending to avoid, spurn, or evade it as a result — usually + to < ... is not averse to embellishing his own legend here and there ... — Frank Deford, Sports Illustrated , 18 Aug. 1986> <He lived well into the age of photography and was never averse to posing for the camera ... — Alan Walker, Times Literary Supplement (London), 10 July 1987> < ... Daniels grew increasingly averse to the liberal values of his professors. — Franklin Foer, Atlantic , March 2004> — formerly also + from , especially in British English < ... would have rubbed his hands with satisfaction had he not been constitutionally averse from every superfluous exertion. — Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent , 1907> <I am inveterately averse from any sort of fuss. — Max Beerbohm, Seven Men , 1920> — now commonly used in compounds like risk-averse , both with and without a hyphen <The fact that U.S. long-term interest rates now exceed British interest rates for only the third time in this century is striking testimony to how risk averse potential U.S. bond buyers have become. — David Hale, Wall Street Journal , 8 Aug. 1983> <From CEOs to ordinary families, we are a nation that is more cautious, more fearful, and more risk-averse . — Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek , 20 Dec. 2010> <It is unusual because Draper, a national correspondent for GQ magazine, was given extraordinary access to this press-averse president and his aides ... — Anthony Lewis, New York Times Book Review , 4 Nov. 2007> See Usage Discussion at adverse 2 obsolete : turned backward or away 3 obsolete : opposite 4 botany : turned away from the stem or axis —compare adverse 3b
1 a : to set at intervals : stud especially with ornaments <leaves whose edges were beset with thorns — J. G. Frazer> <a crown beset with pearls> b : to cover especially with plant growth < beset with tangled vegetation — Xavier Herbert> : fill or strew especially with impediments <the road is beset with dragons and evil magicians — T. B. Costain> 2 : plague , trouble , harass : weigh down : dog , bedevil <subject to none of the pressures that beset American and English papers — F. L. Mott> <distrust of himself had always beset and hampered him — S. H. Adams> 3 a : to set upon : attack repeatedly : assail <this ruffian fowl is suddenly beset by a crow, who with stubborn audacity pecks at him, and, spite of all his bravery, finally persecutes him back to his stronghold — Herman Melville> b : to lay siege to : surround so as to compel surrender : besiege <enemy troops beset the fortress> c : to occupy, take possession of, or overrun in such a way as to prevent free passage : choke off : blockade <a screaming mob beset every road into the town> d (1) : to close or hem in : encompass , surround <a town beset with towering mountains> (2) : to surround (something, such as a task or problem) with immaterial or nonphysical perils or obstacles <his task was beset with many difficulties> (3) : to surround (something, such as a ship) on all sides with ice so that free movement is totally checked — used of ice fields <in danger of being beset by the worst pack we'd ever seen — Glen Jacobsen>
1 a : a measure of war involving the isolation by a belligerent of a particular area vital to the interests of an enemy through deployment of any part of its armed forces so as to effectively hamper ingress and egress and harass the enemy by cutting off trade, communications, and supplies, being commonly agreed as legal against neutral nations only after due notice has been given and when carried on with such force as required to make passage through the area a real hazard but when so established and maintained permitting the seizure, detention, or sometimes destruction of neutral property found in the area; broadly : any restrictive measure or measures designed to obstruct the commerce and communications of an unfriendly nation whether or not a formal state of war exists b : something that acts in the manner of a blockade to prevent free and normal exchange (as of ideas) <only clear thinking can free us from our emotional blockade and dissipate our prejudices> 2 a : something that constitutes an obstacle to passage; especially : a blocking of a pass or way (as by snow) b : 1 block 3b, 3c c : interruption of normal physiological function (such as transmission of nerve impulses) of a cellular receptor, tissue, or organ; also : inhibition of a physiologically active substance (such as a hormone) d : the process of reducing the phagocytic capabilities of the reticuloendothelial system by loading it with harmless material (such as India ink or lampblack) which engages its cells in phagocytosis and prevents them from reacting to new antigenic material — compare blocking antibody 3 chiefly Midland : moonshine 3
1 a : a long pillow or cushion that is used to support the head of a person lying on a bed and that usually extends across the bed and is placed under the pillows and often under the sheets b : any soft pad, padding, cushion, or support resembling a bolster 2 a : a structural part of a mechanism designed to eliminate friction between moving parts, reduce pressure, deaden noise, or accomplish similar cushioning effects b : any structural part designed to afford support or give a bearing: such as (1) : a transverse bar above the axle of a wagon on which the bed of the wagon rests (2) : a plate often with a hole in the center or T slots on its surface bolted to the top of a punch-press bed (3) : the spindle bearing in the rail of a support or spinning frame and the support for the drafting rolls (4) : the crossbeam forming the bearing piece of the body of a railroad car : the central and principal crossbeam of a railroad-car truck (5) : a short timber or block set horizontally upon a post so as to secure a structural advantage (such as attaining a greater bearing surface for girders, shortening their span, or allowing erection of an upper post between their ends) (6) : the horizontal connection between the volutes of an Ionic capital (7) : one of the small pieces of scantling nailed across the outer curve of the centering for an arch and taking the weight of the arch masonry (8) : a crosspiece connecting the ribs of the centering that supports the voussoirs of an arch 3 : any contrivance that prevents chafing; specifically : a block of wood or a stuffed canvas used on shipboard to reduce or eliminate chafing between ropes or other rigging 4 a : the part of a knife blade that abuts upon the handle b : the metallic end of a pocketknife handle 5 : 2 bunk 2a 6 a : the slight excrescence at the junction of branch and stem or of the leafstalk and its axis b : the cupule of the hazelnut c : the husk of the English walnut
1 a : to hold dear : feel or show fond affection for <he admired them ... cherished and protected them like pets — Edmund Wilson> b : to keep or guard with care and affection <a birthright of freedom to be cherished and fought for> <to cherish an illusion> <to love and to cherish , till death us do part — Book of Common Prayer > c : to care for, tend, cultivate, or nurture usually with care, affection, or love <sought to cherish whatever of these forms could be made to work — John Buchan> < cherish the seeds of love> d archaic : pat , fondle 2 obsolete : entertain 3 archaic : warm 4 a : to have a heart : think of fondly or reverentially <Socrates would have men cherish preciously this fraction of knowledge — Irving Babbitt> b : to contemplate, imagine, or recall fondly with joy or pleasure <she only cherishes her illness as an instrument of power — Scott Fitzgerald> c : to entertain or harbor in one's mind deeply and resolutely, often tacitly and often pleasurably <a large school of thought cherishes a curious animus against what it calls intellectualism — W. R. Inge> <few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency — Jane Austen> — cher·ish·able \ ˈ cher-i-shə-bəl, ˈ che-ri-\ (audio pronunciation) adjective <a cherishable memory> <What will last forever, though, are those specific cherishable moments in close games, shutouts, ties, wins, losses and anything in between. — Dustan Sedgwick, Daily Guide (Waynesville, Missouri), 22 Sept. 2012> — cherished adjective <a cherished memory of happy times> <By substituting ingredients with lower fat and lower calorie content for higher calorie and higher fat ingredients, those cherished holiday foods can still be delicious, but healthier. — Karma Champagne, Daily Iberian (New Iberia, Louisiana), 13 Dec. 2012> — cher·ish·er noun , plural cher·ish·ers <The book ... concludes, among other things, that religions urge us to trust women as the principal cherishers and caretakers of life. — Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star , 18 May 2002>
1 a : related by blood : kindred by birth < cognate families> <a family cognate with another> <a boy cognate to several royal families> b : related on the mother's side — used in some legal systems 2 a of a language : related by descent from the same recorded or assumed ancestral language <Spanish and French are cognate languages> — often used with with , sometimes with to <English is cognate to German> b of a word or morpheme : related by descent from the same root or affixal element in a recorded or assumed ancestral language <English eat and German essen are cognate > <Latin -us and Old Norse -r are cognate > or by the processes of derivation or composition within a single language <English boyish and boyhood are cognate > — often used with with , sometimes with to <English foot is cognate with Greek pous > c of a word : related in a manner that involves borrowing rather than descent from or as well as descent from an ancestral language <English tobacco and French tabac are cognate > — often used with with , sometimes with to <German panzer is cognate with English paunch > d of a substantive : related usually in derivation but sometimes only in meaning to the verb of which it is the object (as song in " she sang the song " ; race in " he ran the race " ) < cognate object> < cognate accusative> 3 : related, akin, or similar especially in having the same or common or similar nature, elements, qualities, or origin <illustrated books and cognate reference materials — Current Biography > <you know exactly how a man looks and behaves and, with cognate clarity, something of what he feels and thinks — Thomas Dozier> <action engendered in regard to drugs may spill over into the cognate problem of the alcoholic — New Republic > 4 a : closely related logically through certain specifiable factors; especially , of propositions : having the same subject or predicate b : belonging to volcanic fragments in solidified lava which are part of the same extrusion c : homorganic — cog·nate·ly adverb
1 archaic : to bring to ruin : destroy a : to inflict defeat on (as an army or adversary) b : to cause to fail : baffle < confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks — Henry Carey> 2 a : spoil , corrupt <their native speech was not confounded with a vulgarized spoken Latin — M. W. Baldwin> b obsolete : consume , waste <he did confound the best part of an hour in changing hardiment with great Glendower — Shakespeare> 3 a : to put to shame : discomfit , abash <the influence of ... El Greco ... lay dormant for centuries and rose to confound the critics of later times — Bernard Smith> b : to refute especially by argument or demonstration : overthrow <this new arm of science may corroborate or confound the theories of the universe — David England> 4 : to send to perdition : damn — used as a mild imprecation < confound it> 5 : to throw (a person) into confusion : strike with amazement : stupefy , perplex , confuse <attacks which confounded opponents with bewildering reverses [of direction] — Springfield ( Massachusetts ) Union > 6 : to ignore, overlook, or fail to discern a difference between (two or more things) : mistake (one thing) for another : confuse , mingle <they implored Charles not to confound the innocent with the guilty — T. B. Macaulay> 7 : to cause or to increase disorder in (an existing situation) <ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, confusion worse confounded — John Milton> <to divide Europe as the politicians have done is to invite confusion and to divide the frontier as the Europeans did is to confound the confusion — W. P. Webb>
1 a : a small, sweet, baked good that is made from a dough which is typically denser and richer than cake batter and that is formed by any of various methods: such as (1) : one made by rolling a large piece of dough into a thin, flat shape and cutting it into smaller pieces or shapes before baking — called also cutout cookie , rolled cookie (2) : one made by molding or manipulating a small piece of dough into a ball or other shape before baking — called also molded cookie , shaped cookie (3) : one made from a small, irregular mound of dough that is deposited onto a baking sheet — called also drop cookie (4) : one made by pressing dough into an even layer in a baking pan, baking it, and then cutting it into serving pieces — called also bar cookie , bar (5) : one made by forming dough into a long cylinder or similar shape, refrigerating it until it is firm, and cutting it into slices before baking — called also refrigerator cookie ( old-fashioned ) icebox cookie (6) : one made by forming dough into small, fancy shapes by extruding it from a cookie press — called also pressed cookie , spritz b : no-bake cookie 2 : a moderate brown that is yellower, lighter, and stronger than bay or auburn and lighter, stronger, and slightly redder than chestnut brown 3 : an appliance or strip of material (as of leather or metal) inserted in a shoe over the insole from heel to shank to support the arch 4 a : a little girl : child , sweetheart — used usually as an affectionate term of address b slang : person , guy <tough cookie > <smart cookie > 5 cookies plural , slang : the contents of one's stomach : what one has recently eaten <she got sick and tossed her cookies > 6 cookie : a small file or part of a file that is stored on the computer of a World Wide Web user, that is created and subsequently read by a website server, and that contains personal user information (such as a user identification code, customized preferences, or a record of pages visited)
transitive verb 1 a obsolete : to set over : overlay , inlay b : to embroider by laying an outlining thread along the surface and fastening it with small stitches at regular intervals 2 a : to compose, settle, or recline for sleep or rest <at the end of the day's journey the camels needed no urging to be couched — John Skölle> — used of an animal usually reflexively or passively <a lion couching himself by the tree> b : to compose for sleep : cause to lie down : bed — used of a person usually reflexively or passively < couched on the ground> c : to place, locate, or settle especially in a position suggesting security, protection, or repose : place in a particular setting or background < couched in the magnificence of gorgeous and elaborate costumes — Faubion Bowers> 3 archaic : to lay or deposit in a bed or layer (as in building or gardening) : bed 4 : to place or hold in a position level and pointed forward ready or as if ready for use <advancing with spears couched > < couching his lance, he seated himself firmly in his saddle — W. S. Maugham> 5 : express : a : to place or compose in a specified kind of language : word , phrase <prayer, couched in the idiom of the Bible — Edna Ferber> b : to include or imply obscurely or so as to make comprehension difficult <all this and more ... lies naturally couched under this allegory — Roger L'Estrange> 6 archaic : to place in hiding or ambush : set in hiding or lurking — usually used reflexively or in the passive 7 : to treat (a cataract or a person having a cataract) by an operation intended to restore partial vision by displacing the lens of the eye into the vitreous 8 : to bring down : lower , depress , contract <some of the quills couched , some still erect> 9 a : to press (a wet sheet of new handmade paper still on the mold) onto a felt b : to press (a sheet of paper stock) on the wire of a cylinder machine and transfer onto a felt for further pressing and drying c : to press water from (a sheet) on a couch roll of a fourdrinier machine or extract it by a suction couch preparatory to transferring to a felt intransitive verb 1 : to lie down for or as if for sleep or rest a of a person : to recline on or as if on a bed; sometimes : to couple in sexual intercourse <a goddess couching with a mortal — Andrew Lang> b of an animal : to lie down, recline, or kneel for or as if for rest <boars couching > <the odd way a camel couches > c : to lie or be situated <the deep that couches beneath — Deuteronomy 33:13 (Revised Standard Version)> 2 : to bend down low: a : to kneel, stoop, or bow especially in obeisance, subserviency, or submission b : to lie or lurk in concealment or ambush < couching in the wood to waylay the traveler> 3 of leaves : to lie in a heap or mass while decomposition or fermentation proceeds
1 : the act of deposing or the process of being deposed (as a sovereign from a throne) : deprivation of authority <the forceful deposition of the vice-regent> specifically : the depriving of a clergyperson of an ecclesiastical office or the suspension of a clergyperson from the ministry 2 a : an alleging or a giving of testimony : a testifying especially before a court b : an opinion asserted : a statement made : something alleged : declaration , testimony , allegation ; specifically : testimony taken down in writing under oath or affirmation in reply to interrogatories before a competent officer to replace the viva voce testimony of the witness or to supply necessary information for pretrial procedure — compare affidavit 3 [Latin deposit us + English -ion ] : deposition from the cross 4 : the act or process of depositing or the state of being deposited : such as a obsolete : a putting down or laying aside (as of a burden) b : a giving over or committing for safekeeping < deposition of the valuables into the hands of police> c : a placing or a laying or throwing down often by a natural process <glaciers caused denudation ... more widely than deposition — Samuel Van Valkenberg & Ellsworth Huntington> <pneumoconiosis involves the deposition of foreign particles in the substance of the lungs> d : precipitation <the ... deposition of metals on cotton from salt solutions — R. S. Horsfall & L. G. Lawrie> <sedimentary rocks ... formed by the deposition of solids from the waters — S. F. Mason> 5 : burial : interment (as of a saint's body) in a new place; also : a festival commemorating a burial 6 [ 1 deposit + -ion ] : something deposited : deposit , sediment <excavation revealed more than one type of deposition in the dry river bed>
1 a : exciting horror or terror especially because of the great suffering or loss or devastating ruin actually caused or only threatened <the dire days of bombing raids> <if South America were to seek her imports elsewhere, it would be a dire blow to us — Gustave Weigel> <the dire fate which the Lord had seen fit to visit upon her sinful employers — W. H. Wright> b : inducing mental suffering or depression by reason of concern with a dreaded eventuality or a grievous circumstance : afflictive , painful <palsied by the dire news of the president's death> c : oppressive to the feelings or spirit : dismal , cheerless <the heavy drag of winter is then at its most dire — F. M. Ford> <despite its dire point of view, the book jests and jostles with life — Time > 2 : warning of disaster to come : ominous , sinister <in the fight against foot-and-mouth disease proposals to substitute vaccination for eradication evoked dire forecasts> 3 a : demanding immediate action to fend off disastrous consequences : exigent , urgent <spokesmen talked about the dire need for school buildings, which had been at least equally dire during the previous two years — W. L. Miller> <this was due to dire necessities elsewhere and not to direct intent or indifference — Herbert Feis> b : close to the utmost limit of sufferance : most acute : extreme , desperate <scope is left for instantaneous action, but only in the direst emergency — A. P. Ryan> <while their means were always modest there was no trace of dire poverty — J. T. Ellis> <left his family in dire financial straits>
1 a : a supremacy in determining and directing the actions of others or in governing politically, socially, or personally : acknowledged ascendancy over human or nonhuman forces such as assures cogency in commanding or restraining and being obeyed : sovereignty <the federal government's claim of dominion over the resources of the marginal sea> <I became profoundly conscious of the dominion of unalterable law — John Buchan> <theorists who suggested that man had dominion over the environment through his intellect — S. F. Mason> b : the exercise of such supremacy or ascendancy : rule <little people striving to free themselves from the dominion of their oppressors> <of the way young people should look, and of the things they should do, under the dominion of the passion — George Meredith> c : preponderant or overriding influence : dominance <the fact is that the free dominion of the mind and of art has never been achieved in capitalist democracy — J. T. Farrell> <neither in their lives nor their work were they able to escape the dream's dominion — Leo Marx> <he possessed, superlatively, that air of dominion by which it is possible to single out the stage favorite — Osbert Sitwell> 2 : something that is subject to sovereignty or control 3 a : the estate or domain of a feudal lord b : a territory or country subject to a ruler or under the control of a particular government <the dominions of a king> c : the special realm of activity or influence of a particular branch of art or knowledge : domain 4 dominions plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy 5 often capitalized : one of the self-governing, autonomous states within the British Commonwealth equal in status with the United Kingdom and with each other <as far as the world of states is concerned, Dominion status is tantamount to statehood — H. M. Clokie> <born in reaction against colonial inferiority, Dominion nationalism was promptly stimulated by the advances in autonomy and in turn furthered these advances — Alexander Brady> 6 : absolute ownership : dominium
1 a (1) : the superficial destruction of a surface area of tissue (such as mucous membrane) by inflammation, ulceration, or trauma < erosion of the uterine cervix> <gizzard erosion in chicks> (2) : progressive loss of the hard substance of a tooth b : corrosion 1a 2 a : the general process whereby materials of the earth's crust are worn away and removed by natural agencies including weathering, solution, corrasion, and transportation; specifically : land destruction and simultaneous removal of particles (as of soil) by running water, waves and currents, moving ice, or wind <stream erosion > <glacial erosion > — compare denudation b : surface destruction of a metal or refractory material effected by the abrasive or the corrosive and abrasive action of a moving liquid or gas and often accelerated by solid particles in suspension <range errors due to gun erosion > <severe erosion of the furnace lining caused by the scouring motion of molten slag> c : even disintegration of a paint surface caused by chalking and washing away 3 : an instance or product of erosion <a circular erosion on the skin half an inch in diameter> <a canyon with red tower-shaped erosions > 4 : progressive impairment or destruction as if by eating or wearing away (as of resources, strength, or effectiveness) : depletion , deterioration < erosion of real earnings by inflation> <the great ideals of liberty and equality are preserved against ... the erosion of small encroachments — B. N. Cardozo> — ero·sion·al·ly \i- ˈ rōzh-nəl-ē, - ˈ rō-zhə-n ə l-ē\ (audio pronunciation) adverb <He explained that once the slopes are recontoured to be erosionally stable ... " then it is really just a matter of getting the trees planted " for them to do well. — Adam Rankin, Albuquerque Journal , 31 Oct. 2003>
: special : a : not general : directed toward a specific end : designed or intended for a part, purpose, or occasion <gave especial greetings to his family> <an especial ceremony for the holiday> <took especial pains to make himself clear to the young readers> b : of special note : exceptional , unusual , notable <gave especial attention to the reactions> c : particular , peculiar <he had an especial aversion to reform — New Republic > <several excellent regional orchestras, each with its own especial character — T. O. Beachcroft> <personal experience with hospital buildings, where I was able to discover that especial physical and psychological reactions by patients provided good pointers for ordinary housing — Current Biography > <the special temptation of our especial way of life — American Guide Series: Vermont > d : close , dear , intimate <he was supposed to be her especial friend — Bruce Marshall> <his own and most especial tree shading his borders — C. G. Glover> e : capable of being specified : specific <he drove with no especial destination in mind> <chose especial targets for attack> <is there any especial piece of furniture that you might care to have — Agatha Christie> — in especial adverb : in particular <the work of the mind and in especial of consciousness — J. H. Muirhead> <it would implicate everybody, the councilors in especial being unable to evade — Francis Hackett> < in especial we shall be able to see whether the individual is training towards cooperation or against it — Alfred Adler>
transitive verb 1 a : to produce (something, such as a design) usually on a metal or glass surface by covering it with an acid-resistant ground through which a design is scratched with a pointed instrument and submitting the surface to an acid bath or other mordant <panels of glass etched to simulate clouds — American Guide Series: Minnesota > b : to treat (something, such as a copper or zinc plate) in a similar manner to produce a relief printing image by photoengraving — compare halftone c : to treat (a lithographic printing surface) with dilute nitric or other acid in order to fix the design and make the exposed parts more repellent to grease 2 : to corrode the surface of (something, such as a metal) usually with acid for the purpose of microscopic examination of structural details 3 a : to draw the main features of (something, such as a face) : outline <a little leaned by the years, and the features a little more sharply etched — C. I. Lewis> <nor has the relationship between crime and politics been more clearly etched than in Chicago — Seth Agnew> b : to set forth in a clear-cut manner : delineate <the most sharply etched character in the book — Times Literary Supplement > 4 : to produce (a feature of the landscape) by erosion : erode , chisel <barrier of towering peaks and deeply etched canyons — R. A. Billington> <streams etched out new valleys — American Guide Series: New Jersey > 5 : to impress usually on the mind or in the memory : imprint <the place, the people, are etched in our minds to stay — New York Herald Tribune Book Review > <lasting impressions on the American mind, etched deeply into a national consciousness — J. D. Hart> intransitive verb 1 : to practice the art of etching : make etchings <has been etching busily the past month> 2 : to be susceptible of etching with acid <magnesium is said to etch faster than copper or zinc>
transitive verb 1 a : to set forth : state , present , teach < expounds his conviction that the economic outlook is brightening> < expounding a philosophy from which she shrank — William McFee> < expounding to the literate but uninformed some of the mysteries of economics — Quincy Howe> <it's the personality of the teacher that counts, far more than the topic he expounds — R. B. Merriman> < expounded with distinguished precision the difference between an extinct and an extirpated bird — Edmund Wilson> b : to defend with argument : advocate <welcomed ... the suggestions of a union with the Church of England, which some ... clergymen in the two churches expounded because of an alleged similarity in spirit and ritual — R. C. Wood> 2 : to make clear the meaning of : comment on : interpret , explain , construe , gloss < expounded to his monks ... the religious significance of ... the Song of Songs — G. C. Sellery> <spent much of his time expounding the conflict between Christianity and Communism — Current Biography > <used to take me riding before breakfast and expound my shortcomings — John Buchan> < expound a law> intransitive verb 1 : to make a statement : present a view : discourse , comment — often used with on <when executives expound on the subject their views coincide remarkably — W. H. Whyte> < expound on the many good reasons for getting to know Great Britain — Richard Joseph> <sportsmen will expound for hours on their observations — G. J. Knudsen> 2 : to make explanatory comments : explain <you speak of the time assigned ... I ... would like you to expound — O. W. Holmes †1935>
1 a : easily accomplished or attained : involving no special difficulty or expenditure of skill or effort : easy <a facile victory> sometimes : specious , superficial <the work is well-organized but the conclusions and interpretations are often unduly facile > <I am not concerned ... with offering any facile solution for so complex a problem — T. S. Eliot> b : used or comprehended with ease <the techniques of paper chromatography have provided facile means of separating complex organic mixtures> <the report proved to be surprisingly facile reading> c of feelings, emotions, attitudes : readily experienced or manifest and often lacking sincerity, depth, or real basis <sick of words and phrases and facile emotions and situations and insincerities — Rose Macaulay> <we must possess a peculiarly facile turn of mind when we can virtuously condemn the cruelties perpetrated in other countries, while ... we avert our eyes from the cruelties we ourselves continue to condone — Farley Mowat> 2 a archaic : easily led or prevailed upon : compliant , docile , yielding b Scots law : so easily influenced as to require curatorship or guardianship — used of the mentally weak —compare facility 3b 3 : mild or pleasing in manner or disposition: a archaic : lenient and gentle : not stern, severe, or harsh b obsolete : kind and affable c : exhibiting ease of bearing or manner : assured , poised 4 : free and unrestrained in performing or expressing : ready , resourceful , quick , fluent , expert : not hesitant, barren, slow, or awkward <a man facile in expedients> <the most facile and prolific of humorists — Alfred Kreymborg>
1 : very full and abundant : copious <The magnolia was in fulsome bloom, great waxy cups in dark green saucers pressing against the windows. — Caroline Graham, The Killings at Badger's Drift , 1987> < Fulsome bird life. The feeder overcrowded with rose-breasted grosbeaks, purple finches, and half a dozen goldfinches queued up on the clothesline awaiting an opportunity. — Maxine Kumin, In Deep , 1987> 2 a (1) : notably or appealingly full or rounded in shape : plump , shapely <In an effort to get glamorous roles, former child star Margaret O'Brien, now a fulsome 20-year-old, unsheathes sinuous curves in a sophisticated style. — Life , 19 May 1957> <Blond hair aside, she looked a lot like his mother when young: those fulsome English lips, ... big hazel eyes. — Zadie Smith, White Teeth , 2001> <I knew from my father's example that a jolly equatorial amplitude, a fulsome girth, does not guarantee an adventuresome eater ... — William Least Heat-Moon, Gourmet , May 2004> (2) obsolete : fat , corpulent b : impressively full and well developed in sound < ... she was in generally fulsome , limpid voice ... — Thor Eckert, Jr., Christian Science Monitor , 13 Feb. 1980> 3 obsolete : lustful , wanton 4 a obsolete : offensive to the senses : nauseating , sickening b archaic : offensive to moral or aesthetic sensibility : repulsive , disgusting < ... that odious word; you know I detest it; such fulsome stuff is nauseous to the ears of a woman of strict virtue. — Henry Fielding, The Fathers , 1778> 5 a : exceeding the bounds of good taste : overdone <The fulsome chromium glitter of the escalators dominating the central hall ... — Lewis Mumford, New Yorker , 10 Mar. 1951> especially : excessively or insincerely complimentary <Her servility and fulsome compliments when Emmy was in prosperity were not more to that lady's liking. — William Thackeray, Vanity Fair , 1848> <He was sick of them. They were blighters. Creatures that it would be fulsome flattery to describe as human beings. — P. G. Wodehouse, Love Among the Chickens , 1906> <His old colleague ..., who has not done as well in the years since they were boys together in the mailroom, comes in to congratulate him — very fulsome congratulations, tinged with sycophancy ... — Edith Oliver, New Yorker , 16 May 1988> b : expressed with or expressing full and unrestrained emotion or approval < ... the greetings have been fulsome , the farewells tender ... — Simon Gray, Times Literary Supplement (London), 2 Sept. 1983> < ... Grant gave fulsome praise to the Navy's contributions in both his official report and again in his Memoirs. — James R. Arnold, Naval History , September/October 1999> <In a letter to the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, he offered an " unreserved, wholehearted and fulsome apology " ... — Associated Press, 18 Dec. 2011> <With 18 novels to her credit, Ms. Tyler is a past master of writer's craft. Her novels have received fulsome praise from the likes of John Updike ... — James E. Person Jr., Washington Times , 22 Jan. 2010> — ful·some·ly adverb — ful·some·ness noun , plural -es
1 a : of, relating to, or resembling the Goths, their civilization, or their language b : teutonic , germanic <in German they have a kind of Gothic eloquence that does not survive translation — Winthrop Sargeant> <the eclectic idiosyncracy and studied barbarism of Carlyle's Gothic style — W. H. Gardner> c (1) : of or relating to the middle ages : medieval <his face was calm and beautiful ... above the Gothic splendor of his raiment — Elinor Wylie> <the monkish or Gothic ages ... were therefore despised by the scholar and the philosopher — L. G. Pine> <a whole Gothic world had come to grief ... there was now no armor glittering in the forest glades — Evelyn Waugh> (2) : uncouth , primitive , barbarous , uncivilized <the Gothic obscurities and barbarities of the past — Ernest Barker> <the Gothic and barbarous self-complacency of his contemporaries — P. E. More> (3) : savage , ferocious <tetanus is a disease of Gothic ferocity — Berton Roueché> 2 a (1) : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a style of architecture developed in northern France and spreading through western Europe from the middle of the 12th century to the early 16th century that is characterized by the converging of weights and strains at isolated points upon slender vertical piers and counterbalancing buttresses with the building becoming essentially a stone skeleton of pillars, props, and ribs upon which rest shells of vaulting, with the enclosing walls made thin or sometimes almost wholly replaced by large windows of colored glass stiffened with metalwork and stone tracery, and with pointed arches and vaulting replacing the round of the Romanesque (2) : of or relating to an architectural style or an example of such style patterned upon or reflecting the strong influence of the medieval Gothic especially in outward form <a Gothic Presbyterian church> < Gothic buildings on an American campus> <the eye singles out the Gothic Woolworth Tower — Ford Times > b : of or relating to an art style flourishing especially in northern Europe from the 12th through the 19th centuries and distinguished by an austere verticality and a tendency toward naturalism c (1) : of or relating to a late 18th and early 19th century style of fiction characterized by the use of medieval settings, a murky atmosphere of horror and gloom, and macabre, mysterious, and violent incidents (2) : of or relating to a literary style or an example of such style characterized by grotesque, macabre, or fantastic incidents or by an atmosphere of irrational violence, desolation, and decay <the foremost current ... practitioner of the gruesomely Gothic weird tale — Fantasy & Science Fiction > <compounded of fantasy surrealism, allegory, and Gothic sensationalism — William Peden> (3) : romantic in style or content as opposed to classical 3 a of handwriting : characterized by angularity and lateral compression — used specifically of a minuscule type of handwriting which developed in the 12th century in France from the Caroline minuscule and which in turn was the prototype of the modern black letter b : of or relating to this type of handwriting <the characteristic Gothic features> 4 gothic : fantastic , unreal , extravagant , baroque <a world of spooks and goblins ... a gothic world — Herbert Read> <allowing them lunch hours of gothic proportions — New Yorker >
1 a obsolete : the lowest part : the surface that limits the downward extent of something : bottom , foundation b : the bottom of the sea or a body of water : solid bottom — now used chiefly in nautical phrases <had to anchor about a mile off shore and the holding ground was not good — A. F. Ellis> <the boat struck ground > — compare aground c grounds plural (1) : sediment at the bottom of a liquor or liquid (2) : ground coffee beans after brewing d obsolete : the pit of a theater 2 a : the foundation or basis on which knowledge, belief, or conviction rests : a premise, reason, or collection of data upon which something (as a legal action or an argument) is made to rely for cogency or validity <the reference to natural law as a ground for the authority of civil law — Glenn Negley> <opposing divorce on religious grounds > b : a sufficient and determining condition : a logical condition, physical cause, or metaphysical basis — used especially of what is regarded as more fundamental than a merely natural cause <the first principle or ground of the universe — Frank Thilly> 3 a : the area surrounding and delimiting a figure or design : background b : the basic surface for figures in relief c : the surface upon which a picture or decoration is painted (as a preliminary coating laid on a canvas) d : the surface appearance of a fabric distinguished by a weave, color, texture; specifically : the plain or background portion of a patterned fabric e : a stiff yet yielding substance (as wood or a pitch bed) on which a design is beaten into relief in repoussé work f : the pieces of net or the brides that support or hold together the patterns in lace; also : the net that serves as a foundation (as for appliqué) g : an acid-resistant liquid or paste that is made from varying proportions of wax, gum, and resin and that is used in etching to carry the design and to protect areas of the plate where no biting action is intended — see hard ground , lift ground , soft ground h : a plain tinted coat which is applied to a wallpaper and over which a pattern is then printed i : wood or metal strips placed around all openings and along the top of the wall base to serve as guides in finishing the plaster 4 a : a plainsong or other traditional tune used as the bass of a polyphonic musical composition b : ground bass c : a composition making use of a ground 5 : the surface on which people stand, move, and dwell and on which objects naturally rest: such as a : the surface of the earth <deep under the ground > <a branch 60 feet above the ground > <uneven ground > <high ground > : the earth as contrasted with the air < ground troops> < ground attack> or the water <glad to feel firm ground again after the rough voyage> b obsolete : country , land c now dialectal : a parcel of land enclosed for tillage or pasture : field d : an area appropriated to or used for a particular purpose <picnic ground > <parade ground > <camping ground > e grounds plural : the gardens, lawn, and planted areas immediately surrounding and belonging to a house or other building <hospital grounds > f : an area to be won or defended in or as if in battle <yielding ground step by step> <shifting the ground of his attack> g : a topic or field of study or discourse : subject <touch on forbidden ground > <cover a great deal of ground in an hour's lecture> h (1) : a cricket field (2) : the part of the field beginning at the popping crease and extending backward past the stumps <a batsman may be stumped or run out only when he is out of his ground > (3) or ground staff : the professional players employed by a cricket club i chiefly British : floor <kneeling on the ground beside the couch he leaned over her — Aldous Huxley> <her gown swept the ground > 6 a : soil , earth <till the ground — Genesis 2:5 (Authorized Version)> b : a special soil <produce of each ground > c : rock or formation through which mine workings are driven <soft, wet, or loose ground > 7 a : a metal object buried in the earth to make electrical connection with it (as in a telephone or radio circuit) b : a large conducting body (as the chassis of a car or radio, the fuselage of a plane, or the earth itself) used as a common return for an electric circuit and as an arbitrary zero of potential c : electric connection with the earth or other ground 8 : a football offense utilizing primarily running plays — from the ground up 1 : entirely anew or afresh <if one could begin from the ground up in each generation — Thomas Munro> 2 : from top to bottom : thoroughly <learning the business from the ground up > — into the ground adverb : beyond what is necessary or tolerable : to exhaustion : to death <patiently labored an issue into the ground — Newsweek > <caution is no doubt a virtue but don't run it into the ground > <ran the other horses into the ground in the first half mile> — off the ground adverb : in or as if in flight <the story ... dramatically never gets off the ground — New Republic > : off to a good start : under way <difficult for his second-party movement to get off the ground — Time > — on the ground adverb : at the scene of action : on the spot <already on the ground , energetically organizing — S. H. Adams> — take the ground : to run aground <choose a boat that is able to take the ground easily — Peter Heaton> — to ground adverb : into a burrow : into hiding <the fox went to ground under a rocky escarpment — James Reynolds> <gone to ground in his country estate to avoid awkward questions> <till I have run the author to ground and exposed the whole shameful affair — John Buchan> — to the ground adverb : entirely , completely , utterly <this life here suits me to the ground — Rose Macaulay>
1 a : an official at a tournament of arms whose duties consisting originally of making announcements came to include keeping the scores, interpreting the rules, and marshaling the combatants b : an officer whose original duties of a tournament official came to include also the marshaling of other chivalric ceremonials, the making of official announcements, and the carrying of messages to or from rulers or commanders especially in war with the status of ambassador c : such an officer of a monarch or government also having the responsibility for devising, granting, registering, and confirming armorial bearings, this responsibility coming to constitute the officer's chief function as earlier functions became obsolete : officer of arms d : a member of the second of three grades of officers of arms ranking above a pursuivant and below a king of arms 2 a : an official crier or messenger having duties similar in one or more respects to those of the herald of medieval and modern Europe <Mercury was the gods' herald > b : one (as a soldier) who signals with a trumpet <more chieftains came, with heralds who blew on trumpets that were twelve feet long — Hector Bolitho> c : avant-courier 3 a : one that precedes or foreshadows : harbinger , forerunner <flights of ravens ... are the sure heralds of the approach of the deer — Farley Mowat> <revolutions ... were the heralds of social changes — R. W. Livingstone> b (1) : one that conveys news or proclaims : announcer <hark the herald angels sing — George Whitefield> <it was the lark, the herald of the morn — Shakespeare> (2) : one that supports or advocates : spokesman <conspicuous herald of this enfranchising movement — C. A. Dinsmore> 4 : a specialist in heraldry : heraldist 5 : a European noctuid moth ( Scoliopteryx libatrix ) 6 : the identifying symbol or monogram of a railroad usually displayed on its freight cars
intransitive verb 1 a : to hang fluttering in the air or on the wing <the hawk hovered searching the ground below> : remain floating or suspended about or over a place or object <clouds of smoke hovered over the building> b of an airplane : to maintain altitude without forward motion 2 a : to hang about : move to and fro near a place threateningly, watchfully, uncertainly, irresolutely <doormen annoy me ... hovering anxiously over people — Evelyn Barkins> <the shark was still hovering about — Francis Birtles> <the thermometer hovered around 90> <the boat hovered outside the three-mile limit> b : to be in a state of uncertainty, irresolution, or suspense <when he was hesitating or hovering over a word — David Abercrombie> < hovering uncomfortably behind a cigar — Tennessee Williams> <the country hovered on the brink of famine> 3 : to crouch in hiding : cower <as if a gash had been torn in the web of restraint behind which she forced him to hover — Marcia Davenport> <the bathtub fell ... and crushed the woman hovering in the cellar — Springfield (Massachusetts) Union > 4 dialectal, British : wait , linger transitive verb 1 obsolete : to flutter (the wings) so as to remain suspended in air 2 : to brood over <a hen hovers her chicks> 3 : to position (a computer cursor) over something (such as an image or icon) without selecting it <Many in the class hovered their cursors over words and icons for long periods before committing to clicking their mouse. Researchers who study seniors call the phenomenon " cautious clicking " and say it is unique to older generations. While young computer users are eager to experiment and explore, older users raised in an era of mechanical devices harbor the feeling that one wrong click could break the machine. — Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican , 25 Mar. 2007> <You start typing in a search term, then hover your cursor over the item you want to delete and press the delete key. — Jay Lee, Houston Chronicle , 15 Nov. 2011>
1 a : belonging to the inmost constitution or essential nature of a thing : essential or inherent and not merely apparent, relative, or accidental <form was treated as something intrinsic , as the very essence of the thing in virtue of the metaphysical structure of the universe — John Dewey> <recommend this book for its intrinsic interest — Daniel George> < intrinsic merit> <the intrinsic worth of a gem> <a wide gap between intrinsic feelings and the social expressions of them — H. J. Muller> — opposed to extrinsic b : being good in itself or irreducible : being desirable or desired for its own sake and without regard to anything else <when anyone says that values are merely matters of opinion or subjective liking, he is speaking only of intrinsic values — L. W. Beck> 2 a : originating or due to causes or factors within a body, organ, or part < intrinsic asthma> <an intrinsic metabolic disease> b : originating and included wholly within an organ or part — used especially of certain muscles — opposed to extrinsic 3 being or relating to a semiconductor in which the concentration of charge carriers is characteristic of the material itself instead of the content of any impurities it contains <In an intrinsic semiconductor, the conductivity increases with increasing temperature because the number of charge carriers increases with increasing temperature. — Robert E. Reed-Hill, Physical Metallurgy Principles , 1973> 4 obsolete : private , secret — in·trin·si·cal·ly \( ˈ )in- ¦ trin-zi-k(ə-)lē, - ¦ trin(t)-si-\ (audio pronunciation) adverb — in·trin·si·cal·ness \( ˈ )in- ¦ trin-zi-kəl-nəs, - ¦ trin(t)-si-\ (audio pronunciation) noun
1 : an act or result of turning inside out or upside down : flexure , doubling : such as a : a folding back of rock strata upon themselves by which their sequence seems reversed b : a dislocation of a bodily organ in which it is turned partially or wholly inside out < inversion of the uterus> c : a condition of being turned inward < inversion of the foot> d : retroflexion 3 2 : a reversal of position, order, or relationship: such as a : the reverse of an established pattern <the structure of an insect ... is an almost complete inversion of what prevails in a vertebrate animal — A. D. Imms> <so strange an inversion of the paternal and filial relations as this proposition of his son to pay him a hundred pounds — George Eliot> b (1) : inverted order (2) : anastrophe c : a change of cadence by the introduction in a metrical series of a foot in which arsis and thesis have positions symmetrically opposed to the positions they have in the normal especially adjacent feet of the series : shift of cadence from rising to falling or from falling to rising — compare substitution d (1) : the raising of the lower note or the lowering of the upper note of a musical interval ( see interval 2c ) by an octave (2) : the moving of a musical chord ' s root ( see 1 root 7 ) into some voice other than the bass — compare first inversion , second inversion , third inversion (3) : a version of a melody in which each ascending interval becomes the corresponding descending interval and vice versa (4) : an operation performed on a tone row in twelve-tone music in which each pitch class is replaced by its complement modulo 12 (5) : the transposition of an upper and a lower voice part in double counterpoint (6) : the transferring of a pedal point from the bass to an upper part e logic : the operation of immediate inference which gives an inverse proposition —see 3 inverse 2 f (1) : a breaking off of a chromosome section and its subsequent reattachment in reversed position (2) : such a chromosome section 3 a : a change in the order of the terms of a mathematical proportion effected by inverting each ratio b : the operation of inverting or forming the inverse either of a magnitude or of an operation c : a change from the order in which elements or parcels of objects are arranged naturally or normally 4 : homosexuality 5 a : a conversion of a substance showing dextrorotation into one showing levorotation or vice versa <the inversion of sucrose involves hydrolysis of a dextrorotatory material to an equimolar mixture of d -glucose and d -fructose that is levorotatory> b : a substitution of one of the groups attached to the asymmetric atom of an optically active organic molecule so that an original clockwise arrangement of atoms or groups becomes counterclockwise c : a change of a crystalline substance from one polymorphic form into another 6 : a conversion of direct current into alternating current 7 : a reversal of normal atmospheric temperature gradient : increase of temperature of the air with increasing altitude 8 : a corporate reorganization in which a U.S. corporation merges with or acquires a foreign corporation and restructures the U.S. corporation as a subsidiary of the the newly created multinational company for the purpose of establishing a domicile in a foreign country and taking advantage of the country's corporate tax structure — called also corporate inversion , tax inversion
transitive verb 1 a (1) : to prove or show to be just, desirable, warranted, or useful : vindicate <science justifies itself when it contributes to the desire to know — Scientific American Reader > < justified to herself his every fault — Ruth Park> <most cats must justify themselves by catching mice — Charlton Laird> < justify the ways of God to man — John Milton> <undertaking to justify a single scale of rates for the entire country — Collier's Year Book > <the welcome he received justified his visit — A. R. Forde> (2) obsolete : to confirm, maintain, or acknowledge as true, lawful, or legitimate b : to prove or show to be valid, sound, or conforming to fact or reason : furnish grounds or evidence for : confirm , support , verify <their immediate jubilant reaction has been abundantly justified by the sales — Peter Forster> <attempts to justify his definition of cartography — Geographical Journal > <insinuation of personal interest as a determining factor seems to me not justified by the facts shown — O. W. Holmes †1935> < justified my fondest hopes — D. G. Gerahty> c (1) : to show to have had a sufficient legal reason (as that the libel charged is true or that the trespass charged was by license of the possessor) for (an act made the subject of a charge or accusation) (2) : to qualify (oneself) as a surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property 2 a archaic : to execute justice upon : administer justice to b archaic : to pronounce free from guilt or blame : absolve <I think—or at least hope—you would have justified me — George Meredith> c : to judge, regard, or treat as righteous, worthy of salvation, or as freed from the future penalty of sin <God justifies with his forgiveness and grace the man who comes to him — Will Herberg> 3 a : to make level and square the body of (a typefounder's strike) b : to set to fit the measure or space closely (as a line of type, matrices, photocomposition, typewriting) or so that all full lines are of equal length and flush right and left (as typewritten matter) c : to cause to align evenly at the bottom (as letters of different size) d : to adjust to fit and lock up securely (set letterpress matter) intransitive verb 1 a : to show a sufficient lawful reason (as that the plaintiff consented to an act alleged to be a trespass) for an act done or not done b : to qualify as bail or surety by taking oath to the ownership of sufficient property <the surety justified on the bail bond> 2 : to accept and receive as just or righteous those who respond in faith to God <believing with all their being that God justified through faith — John Dillenberger & Claude Welch> 3 printing a : to be capable of or susceptible of justification b : to become justified
1 a : a place where goods or supplies are stored : warehouse <each hamlet ... possesses a magazine inside which families deposit all their provisions — H. T. Norris> <in the compting rooms and fur magazines of the concern — Walter O'Meara> b archaic : a country or district especially rich in natural resources or produce <set down in a perfect magazine of fruit and vegetables, grain and wine — Leitch Ritchie> c archaic : a city viewed as a marketing center <islands ... are now converted into complete magazines for all kinds of European goods — Gentleman's Magazine > 2 a : a place to store ammunition: such as (1) : a building in which ammunition and explosives are kept on a military installation (2) : a compartment of a ship used to store ammunition and explosives b archaic : something resembling a place to store ammunition <stored his magazine of malice with weapons equally sharp — Samuel Johnson> 3 a : the contents stored in a magazine: such as (1) : an accumulation of munitions of war <a large magazine of darts and arrows — Edward Gibbon> (2) : a stock or store of provisions or goods < magazine of flesh, milk, butter, and cheese — Daniel Defoe> b : something resembling the contents of a magazine <truth becomes ... a new weapon in the magazine of power — R. W. Emerson> 4 a (1) : a periodical that usually contains a miscellaneous collection of articles, stories, poems, and pictures and is directed at the general reading public (2) : a periodical containing special material directed at a group having a particular hobby, interest, or profession (as education, photography, or medicine) or at a particular age group (as children, teen-agers) <alumni magazine > — compare little magazine b : a special section of a newspaper usually appearing on Sunday <seek a much wider audience for the paper ... through an enlarged magazine — Bruce Bliven, born 1889> c : a radio or television program presenting usually several short segments on a variety of topics 5 : a supply chamber: such as a : a holder that is incorporated in or attachable to a gun and that contains cartridges to be fed into the gun chamber by the operation of the piece —see clip e b : a lighttight chamber containing plates, sheet film, or rollable film for use in or on a camera or containing both feed and take-up spools for film for use in or on a motion-picture camera or projector c : the chambers to hold circulating matrices in a typesetting machine
1 a : a public official under the Chinese Empire of any of nine superior grades that were filled by individuals from the ranks of lesser officeholders that passed examinations in Chinese literary classics b (1) : a pedantic official (2) : bureaucrat c : a person of position and influence especially in intellectual or literary circles; often : an elder and often traditionalist or reactionary member of such a circle 2 capitalized a : the primarily northern dialect of Chinese used by the court and the official classes under the Empire b : the chief dialect of China that is spoken in about four fifths of the country and has a southern variety centering about Nanking, a western variety centering about Chengtu, and a northern now standard variety centering about Peking 3 : a small grotesque seated image in Chinese costume with the head so fixed as to continue nodding when set in motion 4 also man·da·rine \"\ a or mandarin tree or mandarin orange [French mandarine , from Spanish mandarina , probably from mandarín mandarin, from Portuguese mandarim ; probably from the color of a mandarin's robes] (1) : a small spiny Chinese citrus tree ( Citrus reticulata ) having slender twigs and lanceolate leaves, small white flowers, and yellow to reddish orange loose-skinned fruits (2) : any of several cultivated citrus trees that are selections or hybrids of the Chinese mandarin — see satsuma , tangerine b or mandarin orange (1) : the fruit of a mandarin tree — called also kid-glove orange , tangerine (2) : a yellow or pale orange mandarin — distinguished from tangerine c usually mandarine : a sweet liqueur flavored with the dried peel of mandarin 5 : mandarin porcelain 6 a : mandarin red b : mandarin orange 2
1 : an official note or report : memorandum , record <wrote a memoir on the subject for his royal master> 2 a : a history or narrative composed from or stressing personal experience and acquaintance with the events, scenes, or persons described <a satirical memoir of the city of his birth — Saxe Commins> — usually used in plural <have written memoirs of the event — Ruth McKenney> b : an autobiographical account often anecdotal or intimate in tone whose focus of attention is usually on the persons, events, or times known to the writer <a best-selling memoir that a duke paid a fortune to keep unpublished — New York Herald Tribune > <an autobiographical memoir by the dean of American literary historians — Saturday Review > — usually used in plural <in his memoirs he describes the framework — American Guide Series: Minnesota > <a secret emergency fund ... for the acquisition of just such memoirs — S. H. Adams> c : a biography or biographical sketch usually based on personal acquaintance with the subject and sometimes having the character of a memorial <a memoir of his brilliant pupil ... who died early — Sarah G. Bowerman> <its spirit is so devout as to make it ... more a memoir than a biography — A. J. Nock> <a memoir ... by his colleague — Edmund Wilson> 3 a : an account of something regarded as noteworthy : a record of investigations of some subject : dissertation , report <the work described and discussed in this memoir represents a first-class investigation — J. A. Steers> b memoirs plural : the record of the proceedings of a learned society
transitive verb 1 obsolete a : to put to death : destroy <if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live — Romans 8:13 (Authorized Version)> b : to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of : deaden the effect of <the tendons were mortified and ... he could never have the use of his leg — Daniel Defoe> <the knowledge of future evils mortifies present felicities — Sir Thomas Browne> 2 : to subdue or deaden (as the body or bodily appetites) by abstinence, self-discipline, or self-inflicted pain or discomfort <the flesh tended to corruption, and to achieve the pious ends of life one must mortify it ... lessening its appetites by fasting and abstention — Lewis Mumford> <one is taught in the noviceship to mortify one's palate at least once during every meal — Monica Baldwin> 3 Scots law : to grant in mortmain for religious, charitable, or public uses <to administer and manage the whole revenue and property of the University including funds mortified for bursaries and other purposes — Edinburgh University Calendar > 4 obsolete : to make (meat) tender by aging 5 : to subject to or cause to feel embarrassment, chagrin, or vexation : humiliate <it would mortify me that you shouldn't be perfectly dressed — W. S. Maugham> <was no longer mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her own — Jane Austen> intransitive verb 1 : to practice mortification : lead an ascetic life <a sort of mammoth lay monastery relieved of the obligation to mortify — James Binder> 2 : to lose organic structure : become gangrenous : decay
1 a : name , appellation , designation <the patricians—mainly of Etruscan origin and nomenclature — R. A. Hall, born 1911> <the generally accepted nomenclature of Theileria was proposed — John Legg> <whose main obsession was his nomenclature — Sydney (Australia) Bulletin > <an example of the odd nomenclature of coal patches — American Guide Series: Pennsylvania > <has a magnitude of nomenclature second to none — St. Clair McKelway> <the changing nomenclature of her streets is even more baffling — Cornelia O. Skinner> b : the collective names given to or borne by places in a particular area or region <whose names are preserved in the village nomenclature of the Danelaw — F. M. Stenton> 2 : the act or process or an instance of naming <by an odd quirk of nomenclature — Green Peyton> <problems of nomenclature > < nomenclature ... is at its simplest the task of assigning a name to each distinct species — R. I. Smith> 3 a : list , catalog <no more than an annotated nomenclature of the rich and varied writings — R. L. Bruckberger> b obsolete : vocabulary , dictionary , glossary 4 a : a system or set of names, designations, or symbols used by a person or group <the following nomenclature is used in the paper — A. W. Cochardt> <employs a very strange nomenclature > <most textual critics have refused to adopt this nomenclature — B. M. Metzger> b : a system or set of names or designations used in a particular science, discipline, or art and formally adopted or sanctioned by the usage of its practitioners : terminology <the course includes a survey of the nature of law; its subject matter ... and nomenclature — College of William & Mary Catalog > <the standard nomenclature of diseases and operations — Journal of the American Medical Association > <reflects changes in the aircraft nomenclature — William Wallrich> <the nomenclatures of politics and law — E. J. Kimble> c : an international vocabulary of New Latin names of kinds and groups of kinds of animals and plants standardized under rules set up by international commissions sponsored by the basic biological taxonomic disciplines — see binary nomenclature , binomial nomenclature — compare family , genus , order , species , -aceae , -ales , -idae , -inae , taxonomy d : a set of chemical names that may be systematic (as according to decisions of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) or not and that aims to tell the composition and often the structure of a given compound by naming the elements, groups, radicals, or ions present and employing suffixes denoting function (as -ic and -ate for acids and salts, -ane, -ol, -one for hydrocarbons and some of their derivatives, -ine for organic bases), prefixes denoting composition (as hypo-, per-, chloro- , Greek numerical prefixes), configuration prefixes (as cis-, syn-, xylo-, meso- ), operational prefixes (as cyclo-, dehydro-, deoxy-, homo- ), arabic numbers or Greek letters for indicating structure (as positions of substituents), or Roman numerals for indicating oxidation state — see geneva system , stock system — compare structural formula
1 a : having an abstract or speculative character : not based on fact or empirical investigation : theoretical <distinguishes between ... notional assent and apprehension and real assent and apprehension — Times Literary Supplement > <a notional figure of cost is given to them so that they may determine their production costs — Packet Foods > <more notional than empirical> b archaic : given to speculation or holding speculative views 2 : existing in the mind only : visionary , imaginary , unreal <is fictional only, as furnishing ... a repository and notional vehicle for the later transfer of title — McLean v. Keith > 3 a : given to, marked by, or reflecting foolish or fanciful moods or ideas : whimsical , crotchety <subject to all the notional vagaries of childhood — Gerald Beaumont> <ships weren't notional — Richard Hallet> <both reactionary and notional to reject so much of modern history — L. P. Curtis> b dialectal : being of the opinion <I'm notional that there is something queer afoot — S. H. Adams> 4 a : of, relating to, or being a notion or idea <can improve notional comprehension — J. T. Clark> b (1) : carrying a full meaning of its own : having descriptive value in presenting an idea of a thing or quality < has is notional in he has luck , relational in he has gone > (2) : of or representing what exists or occurs in the world of things as distinguished from syntactic categories <sex is a notional , gender a syntactic category> — no·tion·al·i·ty \ ˌ nōshə ˈ nalətē\ (audio pronunciation) noun , plural -es — no·tion·al·ly \ ˈ nōshən ə lē, -shnəl-, -i\ (audio pronunciation) adverb
1 a (1) : the highest point, level, or part of something : the upper end, edge, or extremity : summit , crown <looked over the tops of his half-spectacles — Marcia Davenport> <slopes leading toward the mesa- top — American Antiquity > <the top of the beach — Sally Carrighar> <the top of the pass> (2) : the highest part of the body : the head or top of the head — used especially in the phrase top to toe (3) : the head of a plant; especially : the part of a plant with edible roots that is above ground <beet tops > (4) : the part of a cut gem above the girdle : crown , bezel (5) : the upper part of a garment; especially : the jacket of pajamas (6) : a garment worn on the upper body (7) : top milk b (1) : the highest or uppermost region or parts <dive bombers ... dive off the top of the sky — Ira Wolfert> especially : the uppermost story (as the attic) of a building <at the top of the house lived a medical student — W. B. Yeats> — compare treetop (2) : the surface normally or at present facing upward as opposed to the undersurface : the side that overlies the whole <cumulus clouds ... with flat bases and rounded tops — O. W. Perrie> <marked at several places to indicate where the top of the concrete should be — Building, Estimating & Contracting > (3) : the part of a thing placed uppermost in use <the top of the page> (4) : the surface of the land or ocean <the submarine came to the top > also : the point at which an underground shaft, tunnel, or well reaches the surface 2 a dialectal : a crowning tuft: (1) : the hair on the head (2) : crest 1a b dialectal : a tuft of textile fiber; specifically : a bunch of flax tow placed on a distaff c (1) : a continuous strand of the longer wool fibers after straightening and separating from the short fibers by combing (2) : a similar strand of rayon staple fiber 3 : a fitted, integral, or attached part or unit serving as an upper piece, endpiece, lid, or covering <an ornamented steamboat smokestack top — Frederick Way> <saving box tops for premiums> <a jar with a threaded top > : such as a : a metal, plastic, or fabric roof over the passenger compartment of a vehicle that is permanent or capable of being folded back, lowered, or removed b : the turndown part or band on a top boot c British : a ceiling especially in a mine d : the upper of a shoe; especially : the parts above the vamp e : a circus or carnival tent 4 a : a platform surrounding the head of a lower mast that serves to spread the topmast rigging, strengthen the mast, and furnish a standing place for men aloft b : a comparable part of the superstructure; especially : such a part on a warship used as a fire-control station or antiaircraft gun platform 5 : the part that is nearest in space or time to the source or beginning <the top of the lake> <the top of the morning> specifically : the first half of an inning in the game of baseball 6 : topsail 7 a (1) : the highest degree conceivable, attainable, or attained : acme , pinnacle <singing at the top of a form that is unmatched anywhere — Theatre Arts > <the high temperature reading ... compared with an 87.2 top on Friday — New York Times > (2) : the loudest or highest range of a sound <shouted at the top of his lungs> <a soprano with a weak top > (3) British : 3 high 2b (4) : the price of the most expensive seats for a performance <a show having a six-dollar top > b archaic : the highest realization or embodiment : the most perfect actualization or instance c : the height at which something that has been advancing recedes : culminating point : maximum <sail with the top of the tide — Rachel Henning> <the all-time top for fishermen's earnings — Pacific Fisherman > <stocks bought at the top of the market> 8 a (1) : the highest position in rank, achievement, honor, success, or fame <the top of his profession> < top of the bill> <the top of his class> especially : the position of a person or group wielding supreme authority <bribery has reached from the top right down to the lowest clerical level — Atlantic > <access to someone very near the top — Thomas Barman> (2) : a person or thing at the top <the news of the rising situation got through ... to the Congress ... tops — Spark > b (1) : a playing card higher than any held in the same suit by an opponent (2) tops plural : aces and kings in a hand or the three highest honors in a suit (3) or top score : the highest match-point score made at duplicate bridge on a particular board or the highest total of match points scored during a session by one contestant or team 9 a : the choicest part : the best or finest of its lot or kind : cream , pick b tops plural : the choicest animals in a flock or herd c tops plural , British : aristocrats 10 a : the part of a thing that is conventionally highest or occupies the most important position <the arctic, the frozen top of the world — Carey Longmire> <our pilots rolled to the top of the runway — P. J. C. Friedlander> <the top of the room> <set her down at the top of the street — Maurice Hewlett> b : the end of a billiard table opposite to that marked with the balkline in English billiards <a top -of-the-table game> 11 : top boot 12 : a button finished (as by plating) only on the face 13 : a forward spin given to a ball (as in golf, tennis, billiards, or cricket) by striking it on or near the top or above the center; also : the blow or stroke so given 14 : first sergeant 1 15 : the most volatile part that passes over first on distillation — often used in plural <refinery tops > 16 : a die marked with usually only three different numbers rather than the usual six 17 : an outer ornamental or protective coating or layer <a stainless steel watch band with a gold top > — compare blacktop 18 physics : a fundamental quark that has an electric charge of +2/3 and a measured energy of approximately 175 GeV <The Standard Model describes the interactions among these building blocks. It requires that leptons and quarks each come in pairs, often called generations. Physicists had known that the top must exist since 1977, when its partner, the bottom, was discovered. — Tony M. Liss et al., Scientific American , September 1997> — often used before another noun <The quark hypothesis, validated by the discovery of the top quark, was supposed to simplify rather than complicate our understanding of the way the world works. — Popular Mechanics , July 1996> ; also : the flavor characterizing this particle <This should mean that the three heaviest of the six quark flavors—charm, bottom, and top —should be rare within the proton. The lightest, up and down, should be present in equal amounts, and strange quarks, with a slightly higher mass, should be a bit less numerous. — Andrew Watson, Science , 22 Jan. 1999> — off one's top : in a state of insanity or mental agitation — on top adverb (or adjective) 1 a : in a state of accomplishment, success, or dominance <extreme reactionary ... elements have come out on top — Nation > b : in the lead <the horse went on top in the backstretch> 2 also on the top British : in high gear 3 : above the clouds or bad weather <when flying on top , your plane is in brilliant sunshine — What Goes On Up There > — on top of preposition 1 a : in control of <acted like a man on top of his job — Newsweek > b : informed about <readers right on top of all the news that's fit to print — New York Times > 2 : in sudden and unexpected proximity to <I was right on top of the coffin shop when the door opened — Margery Allingham> 3 : in addition to : superadded to <writing on top of a regular job becomes a matter of stamina — N. M. Loomis> — on top of the world : in a position of eminent success, happiness, or fame <she was young, and prettier than the sea, and I was on top of the world — Barnaby Conrad> — over the top adverb (or adjective) 1 : over the front of a trench in attacking 2 : over the assigned goal or limit <the drive had gone over the top and considerably more than 200 dollars was collected — Irish Digest > 3 : beyond the bounds of what is expected, usual, normal, or appropriate — the top of one's head or the top of one's mind : mental elements not directly involved in a present task or only partially directed or controlled <with the top of his mind he listened to them — William Faulkner> <countless conferences at which everyone talked off the top of their heads — Goodman Ace>
1 a : a large often sumptuous tent <amongst them rose the white pavilions of the Turkish irregular cavalry — A. H. Layard> b : something resembling a canopy or tent <tree ferns spread their delicate pavilions — Blanche E. Baughan> 2 a : a part of a building usually having some distinguishing feature and projecting from the rest <rang the bell of the little pavilion and was taken into the tiny hall and then into the small dining room — Gertrude Stein> <the country house ... accented by two-story terminal pavilions at the ends — H. S. Morrison> b : one of several detached or semidetached units into which a building (as a hospital) is sometimes divided <became supervisor of the dependents' pavilion — Current Biography > 3 a : a light sometimes ornamental structure in a garden, park, or place of recreation that is used for entertainment or shelter <picnicked in pavilions — Green Peyton> <the band pavilion ... is the scene of summer concerts — American Guide Series: Minnesota > <there was a pavilion , a dance hall up on the highway — Morley Callaghan> b : a temporary structure erected at an exposition by an individual exhibitor <the national pavilions ... are the actual property of the nations which display their wares in them — David Sylvester> 4 : the lower faceted part of a brilliant between the girdle and the culet — compare bezel —see brilliant illustration 5 a : pinna 2b b : infundibulum f 6 chiefly British : a permanent structure erected for the use of players and often spectators on a cricket ground
1 a : a disastrous evil or affliction : calamity , scourge <rebel regiments were a plague upon the country, robbing, burning and committing every conceivable outrage — Kenneth Roberts> <the numbers racket and the dope plague thrive — Herman Kogan> — often used interjectionally to express annoyance or impatience <a plague o' both your houses — Shakespeare> < plague take it, what's keeping that boy> b : a destructively numerous influx or multiplication of a noxious animal : infestation < plague of swarming locusts> <tremendous plagues of rats have devastated the rice fields — J. F. Embree & W. L. Thomas> <a plague of leafworms destroyed a large part of the crops — American Guide Series: Texas > 2 a : an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality : pestilence <a plague of cholera> <the great plague diseases ... are rapidly approaching extinction — A. C. Morrison> b : a virulent contagious febrile disease that is caused by a bacterium of the genus Yersinia ( Y. pestis synonym Pasteurella pestis ), that occurs in bubonic, pneumonic, and septicemic forms, and that is usually transmitted from rats to humans by the bite of infected fleas (as in bubonic plague ) or directly from person to person (as in pneumonic plague ) — called also black death 3 a : a cause of irritation or distress : nuisance , harassment <having ... been her husband's plague because of the violence of her temper — W. B. Yeats> <wild dogs are a ... plague to squatters — Rachel Henning> b : a sudden unwelcome increase or prevalence : outbreak <a plague of broken dishes in the cafeteria — Stuart Chase> <a plague of hot-dog stands and cheap amusements — American Guide Series: New York City > <a plague of burglaries>
: the quality or state of being polar : such as a : the quality or condition inherent in a body that exhibits opposite properties or powers in opposite parts or directions or that exhibits contrasted properties or powers in contrasted parts or directions : the having of poles — compare magnet b : direction or attraction (as of inclination, feeling, or thought) toward a particular object : tendency or trend in a specific direction c : the particular either positive or negative state (as of a body) with reference to the two poles or to electrification d (1) : the observed axial differentiation of an organism or tissue into parts with distinctive properties or form (as head and tail or shoot and root) (2) : the underlying structural orientation held to account for orderly regeneration of lost parts of normal type in proper axial relation to the body as a whole (as in the growth of roots from the base of a cutting or the growth of a head at the anterior end of a planaria fragment) — compare gradient concept e (1) : the principle, property, or condition of diametrical opposition (as in nature, tendency, or action) <a cabinet system ... produces a certain polarity in a nation — Ernest Barker> <the acute polarity between extreme passion and extreme control — Gilbert Highet> (2) : an instance or case of such a relationship : something that is or is held to be diametrically opposite from something else f (1) : the relationship existing between two apparently opposed objects that nevertheless involve each other usually by being dependent upon a mutual factor (as day and night or birth and death) —compare dialectic 2b (2) : an instance or case of such a relationship
1 : concerned with or relating to matters of fact or practical affairs : practical rather than idealistic or theoretical <a pragmatic leader> <a pragmatic approach to reform> < ... their pragmatic successors like Benjamin Franklin were concerned with lightning's ... power but not its thrilling scenic value. — John Updike, New York Review of Books , 15 Aug. 2002> < ... and her mysticism never failed to exasperate her pragmatic , mountain-climbing daughter. — Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses , 1989> : concerned with practical results or consequences <Philosophical questions about means and ends interest him very little. His viewpoint is pragmatic —not so much " Is it right? " as " Will it work? " — Dwight MacDonald, New Yorker , 11 July 1953> <Most imaginative programming is still done on a wholly pragmatic ... basis—we make this change, and we see what happens. — Martin Meyer, Esquire , January 1969> 2 : of or relating to the affairs of a community or state <In its most simple form, the compromise divided the Habsburg Empire into a western, " German, " half and an eastern or " Hungarian " half and placed foreign, military, and financial affairs ... as pragmatic affairs under the authority of shared ministries. — Robert A. Selig, German Life , August 2007> — see also pragmatic sanction 3 : dealing with historical events in a way that shows their interconnection <What we get is a pragmatic history of economic cause and effect, an insider's account of why China, which dominated the world economy into the 19th century, fell so far behind the West and how it has come roaring back. — James Pressley, Chicago Tribune , 16 Jan. 2012> < ... the pragmatic history emerging from the inscriptions on dynastic monuments ... — Norman Hammond, Antiquity , 1 June 2004> 4 : relating to or being in accordance with philosophic pragmatism ; especially : of or relating to the philosophic pragmatism of Peirce, James, and Dewey <James ' s embrace of uncertainty goes to the heart of the pragmatic philosophy, which denies the existence of fixed, absolute truth and seeks to undermine the notion that first principles are reliable guides to human behavior. For the pragmatist, truth is not a static essence but rather a provisional, ever-evolving relationship between ideas and their consequences. A true idea is one that, if put into practice, achieves its intended result. — Theo Anderson, Wilson Quarterly , Summer 2007> — see also pragmatic anthropology , pragmatic maxim 5 archaic : active in affairs : busy ; often : officious , meddling 6 archaic : having strong and unchangeable opinions : opinionated , dogmatic <But the expression of Wolf Larsen's face never changed. He did not change his position either, but continued to gaze down with a great curiosity. For all his pragmatic certitude, it seemed as if he watched the play and movement of life in the hope of discovering something more about it ... — Jack London, The Sea-Wolf , 1904>
transitive verb 1 a : to throw violently (as upon an object of attack) : hurl <in dismay he precipitates himself once more upon his task — Eric Blom> b : to throw down <the Congo precipitates itself between the mountains, forming some thirty-two separate rapids and cataracts — Tom Marvel> < precipitated himself into skepticism — Kingsley Price> 2 a : to cause to move or act very rapidly : urge or press on with eager haste or violence <the completion of the railroad ... precipitated the extinction of water-borne commerce — American Guide Series: Maine > b : to cause to happen or come to a crisis suddenly, unexpectedly, or too soon : bring on quickly or abruptly <that the sudden withdrawal of alcohol from a chronic alcoholic may precipitate a delirium — Encylopedia Americana > <the power of dissolving Congress and precipitating a national election — A. N. Holcombe> 3 a (1) : to cause to separate as a precipitate <water precipitates camphor from its alcoholic solution> (2) : to cause (vapor) to condense and fall or deposit <an ice-filled glass precipitates moisture from the air> b : to give distinct or substantial form to : body forth <ward membership ... may easily precipitate itself into many visible forms of behavior — Edward Sapir> intransitive verb 1 a : to fall headlong b : to descend steeply c : to fall or come suddenly into some condition (as ruin) <Fascism precipitated toward its agony — Cecil Sprigge> 2 : to move or act precipitately 3 : to become separate or distinct : take material or observable form <this desire or tendency precipitates into observable motion whenever counteracting causes are removed — Arthur Pap> : such as a : to separate from a solution as a precipitate b : to condense from a vapor and fall as rain or snow
1 a obsolete : peculiar, proper , or true nature, character, or condition <the baseness of thy fear that makes thee strangle thy propriety — Shakespeare> b obsolete : special nature : peculiarity 2 a obsolete : private ownership : proprietorship b obsolete : privately owned possessions : property 3 a obsolete : a special characteristic of a language : idiom b obsolete : precise literal or strict sense 4 : the quality or state of being proper or fitting : suitability , fitness , appropriateness <not so easy to see the propriety in an image which divests a snake of " winter weeds " — T. S. Eliot> < propriety and necessity of preventing interference with the course of justice by premature statement, argument, or intimidation — O. W. Holmes †1935> 5 a : the standard of what is socially acceptable in conduct, behavior, speech : decorum <passionately, deeply devoted to propriety ... one of the most formal high U.S. officers in Europe — Time > <many of the topics denied by propriety to the newspaper's columns are considered suitable in a barbershop atmosphere — G. S. Perry> often : prudent regard for or fear of offending against conventional rules of behavior especially as between the sexes <a long-ago love affair and the dead Welsh girl who was too innocent-hearted for his propriety — Time > <in her re-creation of the Victorian age she antedates ... the victory of bourgeois propriety over the more raffish and glaring manners of the Regency — R. E. Roberts> b proprieties plural : the customs and manners of polite society : conventionally correct behavior — used with the <they talked the stupid, polite conversation that occurs between strangers; and then, the proprieties satisfied, ... drifted back into the realm of music — Louis Bromfield> <feels compelled to observe the established proprieties of textbook writing — J. C. Cooley>
1 obsolete a : marked as cunning, scheming, crafty, artful, or wily <the quaint smooth rogue — Thomas Otway> b : characterized by knowledge, skill, or learning; especially : skilled in the use of language <how quaint an orator — Shakespeare> 2 a : characterized by cleverness or ingenuity : skillfully wrought or artfully contrived <the arming of each joint, in every piece how neat and quaint — Michael Drayton> < quaint with many a device in India ink — Herman Melville> <set in the close-grained wood were quaint devices — Amy Lowell> b : marked by beauty or elegance of appearance : handsome <a body so fantastic, trim, and quaint in its deportment and attire — William Cowper> <the quaint , powerful simplicity which sculptors sometimes had — Nathaniel Hawthorne> c : marked by ingenuity or refinement of language <a new thought or conceit dressed up in smooth quaint language — Richard Steele> 3 a (1) : unusual or different in character or appearance : odd , strange <came forth a quaint and fearful sight — Sir Walter Scott> <my stroll was marked ... by only one quaint happening — William Beebe> (2) : so unusual or different as to be bizarre, eccentric, or incongruous <the head terminating in the quaint duck bill which gives the animal its vernacular name — Bill Beatty> <this horse ... with so many quaint points and characteristics — Johnston Forbes-Robertson> b : uncommon, old-fashioned, or unfamiliar but often agreeable or attractive in character, appearance, or action : picturesque <a vaulted roof supporting a quaint chimney, much admired — Aubrey Drury> <dresses with a quaint old-fashioned elegance — Current Biography > <a quaint pronunciation of English words that delighted her listeners — C. B. Nordhoff & J. N. Hall> <to make our present knowledge seem incomplete and quaint — Alan Gregg> c : affectedly or artificially unfamiliar, old-fashioned, or picturesque <a tendency to be a little too quaint — Jerome Stone> <they appeal to tourists as quaint — C. K. Kluckhohn> <the summer folk ... left the land to the quaint natives — W. G. O'Donnell> 4 obsolete : overly discriminating or needlessly meticulous : fastidious <being too quaint and finical in his expression — Roger L'Estrange> 5 : highly incongruous, inappropriate, or illogical : naive , unreasonable — usually used ironically <out of a quaint sense of honesty — Paul Engle> <the quaint notion that a speaker should be heard as well as understood — H. F. & Katharine Pringle> < quaint notion that it is a writer's business to write — J. K. Hutchens>
1 a : a revolving device used in winding yarn or thread into hanks or skeins and in winding raw silk from cocoons and consisting usually of a light frame with radial arms on a central axle b : any of various revolving devices (as a flanged cylinder) for winding up or paying out something flexible (as rope, wire, strip metal or plastic, hose) <lamps that pull down from overhead tension reels > <a surveyor's reel containing a tape measure> <a garden hose reel on wheels> <an industrial reel for feeding coiled steel stock to a punch press> c (1) : a flanged metal cylinder and crank attached to the butt of a fishing rod for winding up or letting out line (2) chiefly British : a spool or bobbin of wood to hold sewing thread <a cotton reel > (3) : a shaft or drum on which the full-width sheet coming from a papermaking machine is wound (4) : a flanged spool on which image-bearing motion-picture film or signal-bearing tape or wire is wound <a standard reel of 35 mm. film containing 1000 or 2000 feet> d : a reel with its contents : the amount on a reel <steel rope in reels of 1800 feet> : such as (1) : web ; specifically : the part of a web in process of manufacture that has passed the driers of a paper machine (2) : a strip of image-bearing motion picture film (3) : a roll of postage stamps for use in a dispenser 2 a : a rotating conveyer used in dyeing b : a frame carrying the bolting cloth or mesh wire screen used to sift ground grain (as wheat, corn) or to grade and size hulled rice c : the upright revolving wheel in a reel oven consisting of connected pairs of radial arms from which the trays holding the baking pans are suspended d : a revolving set of bars that feed grain stalks through a harvester e : the spiral blading of a lawn mower f : a clothes dryer consisting of lines on a frame of usually radial arms revolving on a vertical pole 3 : a humming noise like that made by a moving reel <a kingfisher ... with his loud clicking reel — John Burroughs> — off the reel adverb 1 : in straight succession : without interruption <can sell 20 percent more cars right off the reel — Time > 2 : without hesitation : as if reeled off : directly <write his impressions off the reel >
1 : the art of expressive speech or discourse; specifically a : the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by ancient critics (such as Aristotle and Quintilian) and interpreted by classical scholars for application to discourse in the vernacular b : the art or practice of writing or speaking as means of communication or persuasion often with special concern for literary effect <freshman composition is a course in rhetoric — H. C. Bowersox> <the cultivation of grammar and rhetoric — John Dewey> 2 a : skill in the effective use of speech : eloquence b (1) : artificial elegance of language : discourse without conviction or earnest feeling (2) : inflated language : verbosity , bombast <that passage, sir, is not empty rhetoric — Virginia Woolf> <the enemy of rhetoric and every kind of artifice and virtuosity — Philip Rahv> <the mocking rhetoric upon a tombstone — J. C. Powys> c : style of language <large, and sometimes loose, exalted simplicities of his rhetoric — Times Literary Supplement > 3 a : verbal communication : discourse , speech <the temptation to establish peace by rhetoric — W. W. Van Kirk> <a rhetoric of fantastic slang — Edmund Wilson> b : the verbal content of a composition (such as a poem) or a body of literature <the deep hold that the symbols of free speech and other civil liberties have in American rhetoric — Max Lerner> c : the verbal elements employed in or characteristic of discourse relating to a particular subject or area <made effective use of the rhetoric of liberalism — Sidney Hook> 4 : persuasive or moving power <mastery of expressive musical rhetoric — Carl Parrish & J. F. Ohl> <sweet, silent rhetoric of persuading eyes — Samuel Daniel> 5 : a treatise on rhetoric; especially : a textbook on literary composition <the authors of freshman rhetorics — C. W. Shumaker>
1 : one that rides horseback: such as a archaic : a mounted highwayman, freebooter, or moss-trooper b : cowboy 3a c : a circus performer who rides horses d : a mounted agent employed on a plantation — compare ditch rider e : jockey 2 : one that rides a vehicle <train rider > <motorcycle rider > 3 a [translation of Dutch rijder ] : rijder b : a Scotch gold coin issued in the late 15th century by James III and his successor 4 a : an addition or amendment to a manuscript, printer's proof, or other document often attached on a separate piece of paper : allonge , annex , codicil b : something added as an extra to a seemingly completed statement or act c British : a recommendation by a jury appended to its verdict d : a clause appended to a legislative bill to secure an object usually entirely distinct from that of the bill itself <wantonly violates the Constitution in attaching legislative riders to appropriation bills — New Republic > 5 : something used to overlie or cover another (as an upper tier of casks, a turn of a rope, or a tree placed on a wall) 6 a : a rail laid slanting in the forks of the cross stakes at the corner of a worm fence as a reinforcement b : a small movable adjusting weight on the beam of a balance resembling the weight on a steelyard c : a pipe above and parallel to a main pipe into which part of the flow is diverted over a considerable distance and from which the flow is redirected into the main 7 archaic : traveling salesman 8 a : the top raker of a set of raking shores b : the strap of a hinge 9 : endorsement 2b 10 a : a thin parallel coal seam or mineral vein overlying a larger seam or vein b : the country rock between them c : a body of barren or country rock occurring as a horse within a vein 11 : a vibrating steel roller that rests on and rotates in contact with a form roller to augment the distribution of printing ink 12 : a man who rides a freight car being switched over the hump of a railroad classification yard in order to set the brakes and stop the car at the proper point 13 : an extra rib timber set in between the frames of a wooden ship 14 : a logger who drives a horse or mule to haul rigging equipment back to the woods after each log has been skidded to the yard or landing