Saturday, January 30, 2010

Vocab #2

This week, I have found as many new English words as I did Serbian words during my last week in Belgrade.    I am both impressed and depressed by this fact.  I feel like a push button made out of Play-Doh.  It is amazing how much  I can learn when I really focus my attention on new things that would normally just zip right by me.

Here are the words:

Ad hoc (adj./adv.)- for the current, specific instance/purpose and none other (I had heard this many times, but never stopped to figure out exactly what it meant.)
Carapace- a protective, shell-like covering likened to that of a turtle
Efface- to rub out, erase
Helot- a serf or slave
Commissariat- the department of an army charged with supplying provisions
Feral- wild, undomesticated; Of or relating to death, mournful
Ptarmigan- a kind of mountain grouse with feathered feet
Perfidy- treachery, betrayal, deliberate breach of trust
Copse- a thicket of small trees
Acrid- sharp, irritating; bitterly pungent
Obverse- front, facing the observer
Bole- stem, trunk
Ague- a malarial fever, accompanied by chills and aching joints (I mostly just didn't know how to pronounce this one.  It's "ay-gyoo", I think.)
Caparison- a decorative covering for a horse, for its saddle or harness
Ebullient- bubbling with excitement
Cuirass- a combination of a breastplate and backplate, traditionally leather
Massif- a large mountain mass; a compact group of mountains
Specious- superficially pleasing; deceptively attractive
Escheat- the returning of unclaimed property to the state
Inured- accustomed to; weathered; hardened through tough experience
Stele- an upright stone marker, monument; an ancient burial stone
Portico- a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns, like a porch or balcony
Lurid- gruesome, horrible, revolting; extremely intense
Acerbic- sour; harsh or severe

1 comment :

  1. Specifically the helots were Spartan slaves. In order for a young Spartan to be a fully-accepted as an adult citizen-soldier one of his tasks was to kill a helot and not get caught. The Spartans were great soldiers but they couldn't effectively launch expeditionary armies to far lands because they needed a large garrison at home to keep the slaves in line. It was sufficient for the Spartans to send one general to Syracuse to successfully defeat the Sicilian Expedition from Athens. Of some 12,000 troops sent, none returned.