Inscrutable (in-scru-ta-ble) An adjective originating during the 15th century derived from the late Latin “inscutablis” and Latin “in-scrutari” meaning “to search.” Meaning: mysterious, not easily understood, interpreted, or investigated; someone or something which causes people to be confused, perplexed, or curious. Ex. Her behavior combined with her smile were inscrutable to those who didn’t know [...]
Snafu (sna-fu) A slang term originally introduced by the military in 1940-45 as an acronym meaning s(ituation) n(ormal): a(ll) f(*cked) u(p). The term is also sometimes used as its euphemism s(ituation) n(ormal) a(ll) f(ouled) u(p). Snafu often acts as a noun, adjective, or verb and means a tremendously confusing, ridiculously tangled, chaotically snarled, or incredibly [...]
Enigma (e-nig-ma) A noun originating during 1530-40 from the Latin “aenigma” and Greek “ainigma” meaning to speak in riddles and also a derivative of “ainos” meaning fable. Meaning: a perplexing, puzzling, inexplicable, and/or ambiguous person, speech, text or a mystery that defies understanding and explanation. Ex. His demeanor was that of an enigma – though [...]
Presentiment (pre-sent-i-ment) A noun originating from 1714 and deriving from the Middle French’s “pressentir” and Latin “praesentire” meaning “to feel beforehand.” Meaning: A premonition or sense of something that may be about to happen. Ex. The presentiment of the mere thought of possibility gave him a rush unlike any other.
The German noun which best describes the “rite of passage” moments a person or character in literature experiences in terms of moral and psychological expansion which indicates the passage from youth to adulthood is Bildungsroman. It’s literal translation means an imperative change “novel of formation, education, or culture.” First used in 1819 by philologist Karl [...]
Rubicund (ru-bi-cund) An adjective originating from the 15th century’s Middle English “rubicunde” and Latin “rubicundus” stemming from “rebere” and “rubeus” meaning “to be red.” Meaning: Ruddy, high-colored, red or reddish, or rosy. Ex. His rubicund cheeks were a result of working in the crisp morning air of Spring.
Barrage (bar-rage) A noun which originated during 1845 from the French “barrer” meaning to “bar,” “block,” or “obstruct.” The meaning is a vigorous, heavy, rapid, concentrated flow, outpour, delivery or projection of many things at the same time. In the military, a barrage is the saturated firing of weapons or artillery to support position during [...]
Pastiche (pas-tiche) A noun which originated during the early 1700s in French from the Italian “pasticcio” which means a “medley,” “potpourri,” or “hodgepodge.” The meaning is an artistic, literary, or musical work based upon borrowed techniques, materials, or motifs from singular or multiple sources. Ex. The memoir combined the brilliance of pastiche and the author’s [...]
Contumacy (con-tu-ma-cy) A noun originating from the 13th century during 1150-1200 deriving from the Middle English and Anglo-French “contumacie,” as well as Latin’s “contumacia” which translates to “rebellion,” “stubbornness,” or “firmness.” The meaning is specifically resisting or having a stubborn resistance to authority as well as a willful contempt of a court order, summons, or [...]
Malevolent (ma-lev-o-lent) An adjective which originates from approximately 1509 deriving from the Latin “malevolent” or “malevolens” which translates to “male badly,” “wishing,” or “willing.” The meaning is showing, having, intending or producing an intensive ill will, hatred, evil, harm or spite toward another. Ex. The evil queen in many fairy tales often possesses a malevolent [...]