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                     "Famous" Semantics Words 8
                             2005 - 2006
chateaubriand        (sha-toh-bree-AWN)    n.   [<French name,
                                             François René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, 19th century
                                             French writer and statesman]
                           a steak in which a pocket is cut and stuffed with salt,
                           shallots, chives, and cayenne; a thick tenderloin steak 
                                      The prospective clients were wined and dined with a
                                      vintage bordeaux and chateaubriand.
                                 (An eponym, it first appeared in Words of the Champions in 1969.)
sfumato        (sfoo-MAW-toh)    n.    [<Italian]
                      the definition of form without abrupt outline by the delicate
                      gradation from light to shadow producing an atmospheric
                      effect (as in the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci)
                           "Foggy.  That’s called the sfumato style of painting...Leonardo da
                            Vinci was better at it than anyone."  - Dan Brown, The da Vinci Code, 2003
                            (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Light.  On the City Written
                              Test in 1995.)
doppelganger        (DAWP-uhl-gang-uhr)    n.    [<German]
                            a ghostly counterpart and companion of a person,
                            especially a ghostly double of a live person that haunts
                            him through life and is usually visible only to himself
                                Providing sympathetic company, a doppelganger almost always
                                stands behind a person but casts no reflection in a mirror.
                                  (Subject of the famous palindromic poem by J. A. Lindon. 
                                   Provides the main plot twist in the 2003 Anna Pigeon
                                   mystery Flashback by Nevada Barr.)   
papilionaceous        (puh-pil-ee-uh-NAY-shuhs)    adj.    [<Latin + <English]
                                  resembling a butterfly; specifically, irregular and
                                  suggestive of a butterfly in shape
                                          The corolla in most leguminous plants is papilionaceous.
halcyon        (HAL-see-uhn)    adj.    [<English<Latin<Greek]
                      calm, peaceful, serene; happy, golden; prosperous
                           The poet dreams nostalgic, recalling the halcyon days of youth.
                   (Greek legend relates that Halcyone threw herself into the sea when she
                    found the drowned body of her husband.  The Greek gods turned them
                    both into birds, called halcyons by the Greeks, kingfishers by us.  The
                    Greeks believed these birds built nests upon the sea and that the sea was
                    charmed by them into calmness for the 14 days around the winter solstice. 
                    The halcyon days were a period of peace and tranquil serenity.  On the
                    Colorado State Written Spelling Test in 1982, 1995, 2000, 2002, and
                    2004 and on the City Written Test in 1985.  First appeared in Words of the 
                    Champions in 1953 and in PAIDEIA in 2001 - Fabulous Words.  On the 2012
                    NSB Grade-Specific study list.)
plagiarism        (PLAY-juhr-iz-uhm)    n.    [<Latin + Ecf]
                       the stealing and passing off as one’s own, the ideas or
                       words of another; copying another’s work word for word
                             When it was discovered that her thesis was straight-out
                             plagiarism, Sally was expelled from the university.
                            (On American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every college
                             student should know.  On the Colorado State Written Test in
                             1972.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in 1952 and
                             in PAIDEIA in 1995 - The Printed Word.)
oxymoron        (awk-suh-MOHR-awn), (awk-see-MOHR-awn)  n.  [<Greek]
                          a figure of speech in which contradictory words are
                          combined (examples:  cruel kindness, thunderous silence,
                                 pretty ugly, clearly ambiguous, jumbo shrimp, same difference)
                                Writers sometimes use an oxymoron for epigrammatic effect.
                                (On the City Written Test in 2001.  First appeared in PAIDEIA
                                 in 1997 - Literary Terms.  On the Colorado State Spelling Bee
                                 vocabulary test in 2014.)  
eructation        (uh-ruhk-TAY-shuhn)    n.    [<Latin]
                           the act of belching gas from the stomach; a belch
                                 The sound of an eructation removed any pretense of good
                                 table manners from the Thanksgiving meal.
defenestration        (dee-fen-uh-STRAY-shuhn)    n.    [<Latin + Ecf]
                                 a throwing of a person or thing out the window
                                        The Thirty Years’ War followed the defenestration
                                         of deputies at Prague.
                                        (The winning word in Merriam-Webster’s "What’s Your
                                          Favorite Word?" online survey conducted during the early
                                          part of 2004.  On the Colorado State Test in 1975.)
blog        (blawg)    n.    [<a portmanteau word Web log]
                 a Web site that contains an online personal journal with
                 reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by
                 the author
                     Many a political pundit has created their own blog on which to
                     express their opinions about the upcoming election.
                     (Merriam-Webster’s number one word for 2004 based on the number
                      of hits on their online dictionary and thesaurus.  This neologism first
                      appeared in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2005.)
hypotenuse        (hy-PAWT-uh-noos)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
                           the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle
                           The square of the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is
                           equal to sum of the squares of the lengths of the other two sides. 
                            (On the American Heritage Dictionary’s list of 100 words every
                              college student should know.  On the City Written test in 2016.)
goldwynism        (GOHLD-wuhn-iz-uhm)    n.    [<American name,
                                                        Samuel Goldwyn (1879-1974), Polish-born
                                                        U. S. film producer, known for such remarks]
                         a humorous statement or phrase resulting from the
                         grotesque use of incongruous or contradictory words,
                         phrases or idioms
                              "Continuing in the tradition of such eponyms as spoonerism,
                               malapropism, and goldwynism, will bushism enter the dictionary
                               as the latest word in this category?"
                                             *  Include me out.
                                             *  When I want your opinion I will give it to you.
                                             *  I’ll give you a definite maybe.
                                             *  If I could drop dead right now, I would be the
                                                   happiest man alive.
                                             *  Anybody who goes to a psychiatrist should have their
                                                   head examined.
                                             *  I may not always be right, but I am never wrong.
                                             *  In two words, im-possible.
                                             *  "If they won’t go the the box office, you can’t
                                                   stop them."  -  Gregory Peck
                                             *  Your verbal commitment isn’t worth the paper it’s
                                                    written on.
zucchini        (zoo-KEE-nee)    n.    [<Italian]    
                        a slender green summer squash           
                            For supper we had T-bone steaks and a choice of vegetables--
                            asparagus, broccoli, or zucchini.
                   (On the City Written Spelling Test in 1997 and 2005 and on the Colorado
                     State Written Test in 1975, 1983, 1995 and 2002.  First appeared in Words
                     of the Champions in 1988, in PAIDEIA in 1997 - What’s For Lunch? and again
                     in 2005 - Little Words, and in Spell It! in 2007 - Words from Italian
                     Appears in How to Spell Like a Champ, p. 47 and 78.) 
quetzal        (ket-SAWL), (ket-SAL)    n.    [<American Spanish<Nahuatl]
                     a)  a large Central American trogan having a compressed
                          crest, brilliant plumage with the upper part and throat
                          iridescent green and the underparts crimson, and, in the
                          male, tail feathers that often exceed two feet in length
                     b)  the basic monetary unit of Guatemala
                               Though often pictured in travel brochures, the quetzal
                                 is rarely seen by tourists.
                               (The national bird of Guatemala.)
decimate        (DES-uh-mayt)    v.    [<Latin]
                        a)  to select by lot and kill every tenth man of
                        b)  to destroy a considerable part of; to reduce to the
                              point of almost complete extermination   
                                Industrial pollution can decimate the fish population.
                 (Originally, some Roman generals kept their troops in line by periodically
                  killing one out of every ten soldiers.  The first use of this word in English
                  dates to 1599 when a company of British soldiers under Sir Henry Harington
                  showed cowardice by running away from Irish rebels at Wicklow that they were
                  sent to control.  One soldier in every ten was executed by the Earl of Essex.
                  By the second half of the 17th century the word took on its second meaning,
                  the one in common use today.  First appeared in Words of the Champions in
                  1971 and in PAIDEIA in 2002 - Spelling Counts.)
potpourri        (poh-puh-REE)    n.    [<French]
                        a jar of flower petals mixed with spices and used for
                        scent or perfume; any medley, mixture, or variety
                              The book is a potpourri of stories, sketches, poetry, and drama.
                         (On the Colorado State Written Test in 1999 and 2002 and the City
                          Written Test in 1984.  It was spelled correctly by 1955 Colorado State
                          Spelling Champion Linda Kay Stone of Byers Jr. High after it was missed 
                          by runner-up Joanna Reckler of Gove Jr. High.  First appeared in Words
                          of the Champions in 1979 and in PAIDEIA in 1995 - Odors.)
taphephobia        (taf-ee-FOH-bee-uh)    n.    [New Latin<Greek]
                                 the fear of being buried alive
                               The mortuary sells coffins with air tubes extending above ground
                               to those suffering from taphephobia, you know, just in case!
                                (On the 1999 City Written Spelling Test.)
algebra        (AL-juh-bruh)    n.    [<Latin<Arabic]
                    a branch of mathematics in which arithmetic relations are
                    generalized and explored by using letter symbols to represent
                    numbers, variable quantities, or other mathematical entities 
                            One of the primary objectives in first year algebra is learning how
                             to solve a quadratic equation.
                    (Originally the Ababic term al-jebr meant the restoring of broken parts and
                     referred to the setting of fractured bones.  Later it referred to the "science
                     of restoration and equation" and denoted algebraic calculation.  First
                     appeared in PAIDEIA in 2003 - Hitting the Books and in Spell It! in 2007 -
                     Words from Arabic.  On the City Written Spelling Test in 2006 and 2012.)  
eudaemonic        (yoo-dee-MAWN-ik)    adj.    [<Greek] 
                             producing happiness; of the philosophy that happiness
                             is the proper end to human endeavor                    
                                     People have responsibilities and cannot always pursue
                                     their eudaemonic desires.
                                     (The winning word for Henry Feldman of Knowville, Tennessee,
                                      when he won the 1960 National Spelling Bee.)
palimpsest        (PAL-uhmp-sest)    n.    [<Latin<Greek]
                           a parchment or manuscript previously written upon
                            that bears traces of the erased texts
                            "All great books are symbolical myths, overlaid like a palimpsest
                             with the meanings that men at various times assign to them."
                                                   - Clifton Fadiman in his Introduction to Moby Dick
                               (First appeared in PAIDEIA in 1995 - The Printed Word.)


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