<![CDATA[Over Hell, Under Heaven - WFT - Word For Today]]>Thu, 10 Dec 2015 09:46:37 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[sophistry]]>Thu, 10 Mar 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/sophistry\noun\

Cleverly deceptive reasoning or argument.

The defendant's claim that he wasn't guilty of the crime because he didn't actually pull the trigger was dismissed as pure sophistry.

Our words sophist and sophistry come from the name of a group of Greek teachers of rhetoric and philosophy who were famous during the 5th century B.C. Originally, the Sophists represented a respectable school of philosophy and were involved in serious educational efforts. But in time they fell into disrepute and gained a reputation for their abilities to persuade more by means of clever and often misleading arguments than by the merits of their positions. It is not difficult to see the Sophists as the natural ancestors of many of today's politicians. ]]>
<![CDATA[sensational]]>Tue, 08 Mar 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/sensational\adjective\

(1) Exciting an intense but usually brief interest or emotional reaction. (2) Extremely or unexpectedly excellent.

The sensational newspaper accounts of the marital problems of the royal couple fascinated many readers but made others a little uncomfortable.

The photos sent back from Jupiter by the Voyager satellite were sensational -- both excellent and exciting. The murder of a pregnant woman by her husband was sensational also, although in a very different sense, since it was picked up by the tabloid press and sensationalist TV journalists, who thrive on such sordid tales and sensationalize every detail. Both stories, however, can be said to have created a sensation. ]]>
<![CDATA[perimeter]]>Tue, 01 Mar 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/perimeter\noun\

The boundary or distance around a body or figure.

All along the city's perimeter the guerillas kept up their attack night after night.

The perimeter of a prison is ringed with high walls and watchtowers, and the entire perimeter of Australia is bounded by water. To measure the perimeter of a square, multiply the length of one of its sides by four. Try not to confuse this word with parameter, which usually means a characteristic element or factor or a limit or boundary. ]]>
<![CDATA[curative]]>Sat, 26 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/curative\adjective\

Having to do with curing diseases.

As soon as the antibiotic entered his system, he imagined he could begin to feel its curative effects.

Medical researchers are finding curative substances in places that surprise them. Folklore has led to some "new" cures of old diseases, and natural substances never before tried have often proved effective. Taxol, a drug used in treating some cancers comes from the bark of a certain yew tree; the challenge is now to produce this curative synthetically, since natural supplies are limited. ]]>
<![CDATA[cacophony]]>Thu, 24 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/cacophony\noun\

Harsh or unpleasant sound.

To some people, much recent jazz sounds more like cacophony than like real music.

Cacophony employs the Greek prefix caco-, meaning "bad," but not everything we call cacophonous is necessarily bad. Open-air food markets may be marked by a cacophony of voices but also by wonderful sights and sounds. Heavy metal is probably the most cacophonous form of modern music but it is still very popular. On the other hand, few people can really enjoy, for more than a few minutes, the cacophony of jackhammers, car horns, and truck engines that assaults the city pedestrian on a hot day in August. ]]>
<![CDATA[equivocate]]>Fri, 18 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/equivocate\verb\

(1) To use ambiguous language, especially in order to deceive. (2) To avoid giving a direct answer.

As the company directors continued to equivocate, the union prepared to return to the picket lines.

Equivocate contains the root equi, meaning "equal." It thus suggests that whatever is said has two equally possible meanings. The person who equivocates avoids giving a clear, unequivocal message. Politicians are often said to equivocate, but equivocating is also typical of used-car salesmen or nervous witnesses in a courtroom. Sometimes even husbands and wives will equivocate to avoid a quarrel. ]]>
<![CDATA[auspicious]]>Wed, 16 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/auspicious\adjective\

(1) Promising success; favorable. (2) Fortunate, prosperous.

Martha was mildly superstitious, so breaking her mirror didn't seem an auspicious start to the day.

In ancient Rome there was an entire order of priests, the auspices, whose job it was to watch birds fly across the Roman sky. After noting what kind of birds and how many had flown in which direction, they delivered prophecies according to what they had seen. For example, two eagles flying from east to west was usually considered auspicious, or favorable; two or more vultures flying west to east was inauspicious, unless the Romans were looking forward to a war. Thus, the auspices were birdwatchers, although not quite like birdwatchers today. ]]>
<![CDATA[visage]]>Tue, 15 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/visage\noun\

The face or appearance of a person.

A kindly man, he had a bright, cheerful visage that people found attractive.

Visage is one of several words for the human face. Countenance and physiognomy are two others. Countenance is usually used to refer to the face as it reveals moods or character, and physiognomy is used when referring to the shape or contour of the face. Visage is a more literary term and may refer either to the shape of the face or the impression it gives or the mood it reveals. FBI Most Wanted posters seem to emphasize the threatening visages of the suspects. Unlike countenance and physiognomy, the use of visage is not restricted to humans. We can speak, for instance, of the grimy visage of a mining town. ]]>
<![CDATA[stygian]]>Sat, 12 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/stygian\adjective\

Extremely dark, dank, gloomy, and forbidding, like the River Styx.

When the power went out in the building, the halls and stairwells were plunged in stygian darkness.

The word stygian comes from the name of the River Styx, which was the chief river of the Greek underground world of the dead and which had to be crossed in order to enter this world. ]]>
<![CDATA[Pyrrhic victory]]>Fri, 11 Feb 2011 08:00:00 GMThttp://macaronisupreme.weebly.com/wft---word-for-today/pyrrhic-victory\adjective\

A victory won at excessive cost.

The coach regarded their win as a Pyrrhic victory, as his best players sustained injuries that would sideline them for weeks.

Pyrrhic victories take their name from Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, an ancient country in northwest Greece. Pyrrhus defeated the Romans at the Battle of Ausculum (279 B.C.) but lost all of his best officers and many men. He is said to have exclaimed after the battle "One more such victory and we are lost." ]]>