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cabal

cabal \kuh-BAHL; kuh-BAL\, noun:
1. A secret, conspiratorial association of plotters or intriguers whose purpose is usually to bring about an overturn especially in public affairs.
2. The schemes or plots of such an association.

intransitive verb: To form a cabal; to conspire; to intrigue; to plot.

If you constantly disagreed with Winters, he wrote you out of his cabal, his conspiracy against the poetry establishment.
--Richard Elman, [?]Namedropping: Mostly Literary Memoirs

My father always had been a collector. There were the stamps, National Geographics, scrapbooks filled with his favorite political cartoons, and booklets justifying his belief that the world was under the control of a global cabal of elites unified by such organizations as the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Freemasons.
--Frederick Kempe, [?]Father/Land

But the new world of toys is by no means simply the product of a profit-mad cabal of toy pushers discovering new ways of exploiting the child market.
--Gary Cross, [?]Kids' Stuff

The Anti-Federalists were not simply concerned that Congress was too small relatively--too small to be truly representative of the great diversity of the nation. Congress was also too small absolutely--too small to be immune from cabal and intrigue.
--Akhil Reed Amar, [?]The Bill of Rights



Cabal derives from Medieval Latin cabala, a transliteration of Hebrew qabbalah, "received," hence "traditional, lore," from qabal, "to receive." The evolution in sense is: "(secret) tradition, secret, secret plots or intrigues, secret meeting, secret meeters, a group of plotters or intriguers."
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fugacious

fugacious \fyoo-GAY-shuhs\, adjective:
Lasting but a short time; fleeting.

The fugacious nature of life and time.
--Harriet Martineau, Autobiography

Tastes, smells... being, in comparison, fugacious.
--John Stuart Mill, Examination of Sir W. Hamilton's Philosophy

When he proposed the tax in May, Altman thought it would follow the fugacious nature of some flowers: bloom quickly and die just as fast.
--Will Rodgers, "Parks proposal falls on 3-2 vote," [?]Tampa Tribune, June 27, 2001



Fugacious is derived from Latin fugax, fugac-, "ready to flee, flying; hence, fleeting, transitory," from fugere, "to flee, to take flight." Other words derived from the same root include fugitive, one who flees, especially from the law; refuge, a place to which to flee back (re-, "back"), and hence to safety; and fugue, literally a musical "flight."
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quotidian

quotidian \kwoh-TID-ee-uhn\, adjective:
1. Occurring or returning daily; as, a quotidian fever.
2. Of an everyday character; ordinary; commonplace.

Erasmus thought More's career as a lawyer was a waste of a fine mind, but it was precisely the human insights More derived from his life in the quotidian world that gave him a moral depth Erasmus lacked. --"More man than saint," [?]Irish Times, April 4, 1998

She also had a sense of fun that was often drummed out under the dull, quotidian beats of suburban life.
--Meg Wolitzer, [?]Surrender, Dorothy



Quotidian is from Latin quotidianus, from quotidie, "daily," from quotus, "how many, as many, so many" + dies, "day."
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nimiety

nimiety \nih-MY-uh-tee\, noun:
The state of being too much; excess.

What a nimiety of ... riches have we here! I am quite undone.
--James J. Kilpatrick, "Buckley: The Right Word," [?]National Review, December 23, 1996

Just as daily life contains all the comforts of what one owns, there is also a natural shedding or forgetting and a natural dulling, otherwise one becomes burdened with a sense of nimiety, a sense (as Kenneth Clark put it in his autobiography) of the "too-muchness" of life.
--Nicholas Poburko, "Poetry, Past And Present: F. T. Prince's Walks in Rome," Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, January 1, 1999



Nimiety is from Late Latin nimietas, from Latin nimius, "very much, too much," from nimis, "excessively."
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parse

parse \PAHRS\, transitive verb:
1. To resolve (as a sentence) into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part.
2. To describe grammatically by stating its part of speech, form, and syntactical relationships in a sentence.
3. To examine closely or analyze critically, especially by breaking up into components.
4. To make sense of; to comprehend.
5. (Computer Science) To analyze or separate (input, for example) into more easily processed components.

intransitive verb: To admit of being parsed.

We must learn to parse sentences and to analyse the grammar of our text, for, as Roman Jakobson has taught us, there is no access to the grammar of poetry, to the nerve and sinew of the poem, if one is blind to the poetry of grammar.
--George Steiner, [?]No Passion Spent: Essays 1978-1995

There are too many spots where the rhythm goes momentarily awry; where words are used with murk, sloppiness or phonetic imprecision; where sentences are so twisted around that they become hard to parse; even times where it's hard to be sure just who or what is being referred to.
--Douglas Hofstadter, "What's Gained in Translation," [?]New York Times, December 8, 1996

The American Constitution, for example, says that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech."... once we parse notions like "abridging" and "the freedom of speech," perhaps we will decide cases on the basis of an inquiry into two, three, or more relevant considerations.
--Cass R. Sunstein, [?]Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict



Parse comes from the Latin pars (orationis), "part (of speech)."
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potboiler

potboiler \POT-boi-lur\, noun:
A usually inferior literary or artistic work, produced quickly for the purpose of making money.

The play was a mixed blessing. Through it O'Neill latched on to a perennial source of income, but the promise of his youth was essentially squandered on a potboiler.
--Jane Scovell, [?]Oona. Living in the Shadows

If reading and travel are two of life's most rewarding experiences, to combine them is heavenly. I don't mean sitting on a beach reading the latest potboiler, a fine form of relaxation but not exactly mind-expanding.
--Stephen Kinzer, "Traveling Companions," [?]New York Times, April 19, 1998



Potboiler comes from the phrase "boil the pot," meaning "to provide one's livelihood."
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coquette

coquette \koh-KET\, noun:
A woman who habitually trifles with the affections of men; a flirt.

Their love is frustrated when the orphaned Bertha is adopted by "the old lady of the near castle" and becomes "somewhat of a coquette in manner," perversely entertaining suitors but accepting none.
--Lawrence Venuti, "The Awful Crime of I. U. Tarchetti: Plagiarism as Propaganda," [?]New York Times, August 23, 1992

She was an energetic woman, always singing, dancing, a coquette. Her flirtatiousness infuriated my father.
--William Herrick, [?]Jumping the Line

Here sat I, a personal student of Freud, of Adler, liberators of the erotic emotions, pioneers of sexual freedom; yet the nearness of this coquette had made me awash in perplexity and perspiration.
--Leslie Epstein, [?]Pandaemonium



Coquette is the feminine form of French coquet, "flirtatious man," diminutive of coq, "rooster, cock." The adjective form is coquettish. The verb coquet (also coquette) means "to flirt or trifle with."

Trivia: The male version is a coquet (pronounced the same as the female version). However, this word has fallen into disuse and is now considered obsolete.
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lachrymose

lachrymose \LAK-ruh-mohs\, adjective:
1. Given to shedding tears; suffused with tears; tearful.
2. Causing or tending to cause tears.

At the farewell party on the boat, Joyce was surrounded by a lachrymose family.
--Edna O'Brien, "She Was the Other Ireland," [?]New York Times, June 19, 1988

I promise to do my best, and if at any time my resolution lapses, pen me a few fierce vitriolic words and you shall receive by the next post a lachrymose & abject apology in my most emotional hand writing.
--Rupert Brooke, letter to James Strachey, July 7, 1905

The game is perpetuated by the sons in a sometimes vicious sibling rivalry that inevitably subsides into lachrymose reconciliation.
--Arthur Gelb and Barbara Gelb, [?]O'Neill: Life With Monte Cristo

Meanwhile, a lachrymose new waltz, "After The Ball Is Over," was sweeping the nation.
--Benjamin Welles, [?]Sumner Welles: FDR's Global Strategist



Lachrymose is from Latin lacrimosus, from lacrima, "tear."
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ambuscade

ambuscade \AM-buh-skayd; am-buh-SKAYD\, noun:
An ambush.

transitive verb: To attack by surprise from a concealed place; to ambush.

But so great were his fears for the army, lest in those wild woods it should fall into some Indian snare, that the moment his fever left him, he got placed on his horse, and pursued, and overtook them the very evening before they fell into that ambuscade which he had all along dreaded.
--Mason Locke Weems, [?]The Life of Washington

The storm is distant, just the lights behind The eyes are left of lightning's ambuscade.
--Peter Porter, "The Last Wave Before the Breakwater"

No more ambuscades, no more shooting from behind trees.
--William Murchison, "What the voters chose," Human Life Review, January 1, 1995



Ambuscade comes from Middle French embuscade, from Old Italian imboscata, from past participle of imboscare, "to ambush," from in, (from Latin) + bosco, "forest," of Germanic origin.