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                    "Famous" Semantics Words 4                    
                                2001 - 2002  
          
chad        (chad)   
     
                 1)  n.  [?<alternative of shad]  a small European sea fish
                 2)  n.  [?<Scots]  a small piece of paper or cardboard
                            produced by punching paper tape or punch cards
                 3)  adj.  [<Chad, a republic formerly part of French Equatorial Africa]
                            of, or relating to, the nation of Chad
                 4)  n.  a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family
                          comprising a large number of languages of
                          northern Nigeria and Cameroons
     
                      Should you, or should you not, count a ballot with a hanging chad?
    
                       (The word [definition 2] came into prominence during the disputed
                         2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore,
                         especially in Florida.)
                            
amanuensis        (uh-man-yuh-WENT-suhs)    n.    [<Latin]
       
                            one who is employed to write from dictation or to copy
                            what another has written; a secretary
     
                                   Kit Carson was illiterate but his Memoirs were written by an
                                   amanuensis, a lieutenant in the army.
       
                            (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1959.  Appears in How to
                             Spell Like a Champ, p. 43.  On the City Written Spelling Test in 1985.)
       
usufruct        (YOOS-uh-frukt), (YOOZ-uh-frukt)    n.    [<Latin]
     
                       the right to use or enjoy something; the right of using
                       or enjoying the fruits or profits of an estate belonging
                       to another 
     
                             The land is held to be the property of the tribe, and the individual
                             only enjoys the usufruct of a certain piece as long as he
                             continues to cultivate it.
        
zugzwang        (TSOOK-tsfawng)    n.    [<German]
     
                           in chess, because you cannot pass, the necessity of
                           moving when it is to one's disadvantage
  
                                 Checkmate and game were at hand when black forced white
                                 into zugzwang.
   
                                 (A real tongue twister, it first appeared in PAIDEIA in
                                   2001 - Sports and Games.)
      
circumlocution        (suhr-kuhm-loh-KYOO-shuhn)    n.    [<Latin]
            
                                    a roundabout way of saying something
   
                                        An accomplished writer avoids circumlocution and gets right
                                         to the point.
     
                                 (The winning word for Michael Wilkerson of Smiley Middle School
                                   when he won the 2001 "City Orals" Spelling Bee.  On American
                                   Heritage Dictionary's list of 100 words every college student
                                   should know.  On the NSB 2012 Grade-Specific study list.  First
                                   appeared in PAIDEIA in 1997 - Literary Terms.)
     
periphrasis        (puh-RIF-ruh-suhs)     n.     [<Latin<Greek]
       
                        the use of a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter
                        and plainer form of expression; a roundabout way of
                        speaking; a circumlocution 
               
                               The phrase "the answer is in the negative" is a periphrasis for "no."
     
                                   (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1997 - Literary Terms.)
     
wildebeest        (WIL-duh-beest)    n.    [<Afrikaans]
     
                        a large, but compact and stocky, African antelope; a gnu 
     
                                  A wildebeest has an ox-like head, a short mane, a long and
                                  flowing tail, and horns that curve down, then out, and then up.
              
                                  (On the Colorado State Written Test in 1983.  Be careful
                                    to spell it "-beest" not "-beast.")
       
onychophagist        (awn-uh-KAWF-uh-juhst)    n.    [<Latin]
     
                                  one who bites their fingernails; a nail-biter
     
                                          Sally is an onychophagist who is trying to break the habit
                                          by putting pepper on her fingertips.
    
kaleidoscope        (kuh-LY-duh-skohp)    n.    [<Greek + <English]
                                          
                               1)  a small tube containing bits of colored glass
                                    reflected by mirrors to form symmetrical patterns
                                    as the tube is rotated
                               2)  anything that constantly changes 
     
                                       On a clear day the ripples in the lake provide a
                                        kaleidoscope of color.
   
                          (First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953.  Appears in How
                           to Spell Like a Champ, p. 95.  Appeared on the Colorado State Written
                           Test in 1973, 1976, and 1983.)
    
queue        (kyoo)    [<French]
   
                     1)  n.  a hair braid hanging at the back of the head
                     2)  n.  a line, especially a line of persons or vehicles
                     3)  v.  to form a line; to line up
    
                          Those who want tickets to the championship must queue up
                          at the box office.
      
                         (Has a homonym [cue].  The winning word for Tom Moe Jr. of John
                           F. Kennedy Jr. High School when he won the 1970 Colorado State
                           Spelling Bee.  On the 1985 Colorado State Written Spelling Test.)
     
fusillade        (fyoo-suh-LAYD), (fyoo-suh-LAWD)    n.    [<French]
             
                      a number of shots fired simultaneously or in rapid
                      succession; a volley; a spirited outburst of any sort;
                      a barage of criticism     
     
                           Never has a head of government come under such a fusillade of
                           of criticism from his own party.
       
                            (The winning word for Mitesh Shridhar of West Middle School when he
                              won the 2001 Colorado State Spelling Bee.  First appeared in Words
                              of the Champions in 1953, in PAIDEIA in 2002 - Spelling Counts and
                              in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from French.)     
     
schwa        (shwaw)    n.    [<German<Hebrew]
       
                   a faint, unstressed, indistinct vowel sound (as the "e" in
                    quiet or both "a's" in America) indicated by the diacritical
                    symbol, an up-side-down and backwards "e,"
                    or the phonetic "uh"                    
      
                         A spelling bee pronouncer must not over-pronounce the schwa.
     
pecksniffian        (pek-SNIF-ee-uhn)    adj.    [<Seth Pecksniff, a character
                                                        in Charles Dickens' 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit]
            
                          hypocritical; corrupt; sanctimonious; "holier-than-thou"
          
                                    The committee's censorship of some books is no more
                                    than pecksniffian suppression.
    
                                  (A final round word in the 2001 Colorado State Spelling Bee.)
    
perspicacious        (puhr-spuh-KAY-shuhs)    adj.    [<Latin]
    
                                  having acute mental vision; shrewd;
                                    having keen judgment
   
                                        Only the perspicacious reader can find the irony in
                                          this novel's convoluted plot.
     
                               (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Personality.  Appears in
                                 How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 117.  On the Colorado State
                                 Written Test in 1972 and 1981.)
      
jabberwocky        (JAB-uhr-waw-kee)    n.    [<Jabberwocky, a meaningless
                                        nonsense poem in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll]   
     
                                    meaningless speech or writing; jibberish
    
                                    Flustered, the angry politician began spouting jabberwocky.
     
                                     (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1997 - Talk About It.  On the City
                                       Written Spelling Test in 1986.)
    
basilisk        (BAS-uh-lisk)    n.    [<English<Latin<Greek]
     
                      1)  a legendary reptile with a fatal breath and a fatal glance
                      2)  a tropical American lizard 
    
                            Harry Potter drove his sword into the neck of the basilisk, thus
                            ending the menace of the Chamber of Secrets.
     
                            (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2001 - Fabulous Words.  On the City
                              Written Spelling Test in 2001.)
    
supersede        (soo-puhr-SEED)    v.    [<Latin]
     
                             to replace or succeed
    
                       The automobile began to supersede the horse between 1900 and 1920.
      
                         (One of two words spelled -sede from the Latin root "sedere" meaning
                          "to sit."  The other is obsede.  First appeared in Words of the Champions
                           in 1953.)
     
vicissitudes        (vuh-SIS-uh-toodz)    n. pl.    [<French<Latin]
     
                               unpredictable changes in life; ups and downs
    
                                   Golf pros endure the vicissitudes of weather, playing in heat,
                                    cold, rain, and wind.
     
                               (The winning word for Alberta Micek from a one-room schoolhouse
                                in Rouse, Colorado, when she won the Colorado-Wyoming Spelling
                                Bee in 1953.  Appeared on the Colorado State Written Test in 1973,
                                1983 and 2008.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1953
                                and in PAIDEIA in 2002 - Poe Words.)
     
succedaneum        (suk-suh-DAYN-ee-uhm)    n.    [<Latin<Latin]  
   
                                  one that succeeds to the place of another;
                                     a substitute     
    
                                     Mr. Jarvis served as succedaneum for the mayor while he was
                                      away on his world tour.
    
                                      (The winning word when Sean Conley of Aitkin, Missesota, won
                                        the 2001 National Spelling Bee.)
    
pulchritudinous        (pul-kruh-TOOD-uh-nuhs)    adj.    [<Latin]
     
                                         beautiful
    
                                            No matter how homely historical females were in real life,
                                            pulchritudinous movie stars always play them in film.
      
                                         (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 2000 - English, Latin, & Greek. 
                                          On the 2000 City Written Spelling Test.  A form of this word,
                                          pulchritude, was the national championship word for Akeelah
                                          in the 2006 movie Akeelah and the Bee.)


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