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[edit] paladin

PAL-uh-dun

noun

Etymology

In ancient Rome, the emperor's palace was located on the Palatine Hill, known as "Palatium" in Latin. Since the site was the seat of imperial power, the word "palatium" came to mean "imperial" and later "imperial official." Different forms of the word passed through Latin, Italian, and French, picking up various meanings along the way, until eventually some of those forms made their way into English. "Paladin" is one of the etymological heirs of "palatium"; another descendant is the word "palace." [1]

Definition
  1. a trusted military leader (as for a medieval prince)
  2. a leading champion of a cause [2]


[edit] pamphlet

PAM-flet

noun

Etymology

a popular short form of "Pamphilus, seu de Amore" ("Pamphilus, or about Love"), a short Latin love poem of the 12th century, popular and widely copied in the Middle Ages; the name from Greek pamphilos "loved by all," from pan- "all" + philos "loving, dear." Meaning "brief work dealing with questions of current interest" in the late 16th century. [3]

Definition

an unbound printed publication with no cover or with a paper cover[4]


[edit] panic

PA-nik

adjective, noun, verb

Etymology

Pan, the god of woods and fields who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots. As a noun, first recorded 1708. Meaning "widespread apprehension about financial matters" is first recorded 1757. The verb is 1827, from the noun. Panicky is first recorded 1869. Panic button in figurative sense is first recorded 1955, the literal sense apparently is from parachuting. [5]

Definition
  1. of, relating to, or resembling the mental or emotional state believed induced by the god Pan
  2. of, relating to, or arising from a panic <a wave of panic buying>
  3. of or relating to the god Pan [6]


[edit] panpipe

PAN-pipe

noun

Etymology

Pan, the god of woods and fields who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious, groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots. As a noun, first recorded 1708. Meaning "widespread apprehension about financial matters" is first recorded 1757. The verb is 1827, from the noun. Panicky is first recorded 1869. Panic button in figurative sense is first recorded 1955, the literal sense apparently is from parachuting. [7]

Definition

a primitive wind instrument consisting of a series of hollow pipes of graduated length, the tones being produced by blowing across the upper ends. [8]


[edit] pantagruelian

pan-tuh-groo-EL-ee-uhn

adjective

Etymology

after Pantagruel, a giant king and son of Gargantua, represented as dealing with serious matters in a spirit of broad and somewhat cynical good humor in the satirical novel, Pantagruel and Gargantua, (1532) by François Rabelais. [9]

Definition

displaying extravagant and coarse humor [10]


[edit] paparazzo

PAH-puh-RAHZ-zo

noun

Etymology

It began with the discovery by Tazio Secchiaroli and some young colleagues in the late 1950s, whose beat was the bars and clubs of the Via Veneto in Rome, that magazines were becoming bored with staged photographs of the famous, and were prepared to pay good money for candid or “surprise” shots. He became famous on a single night in 1958 when he snapped the enraged former King Farouk of Egypt overturning a restaurant table, and the actor Anthony Steele reacting in fury while Anita Ekberg waited for him in a car. The context is now hugely familiar, but at that time Secchiaroli and his comrades and rivals would have been known only as street photographers. By chance, the Italian film producer Federico Fellini was at the time thinking about the plot of a film that would focus on Rome’s new status as a decadent haunt of high society, a film which was to become La Dolce Vita of 1960 (an Italian phrase that itself has become a catchphrase). Fellini contacted Secchiaroli, who gave him a lot of help in researching the story, and so the photographer in the film was modelled on him. By chance again, Fellini happened at the time to be reading the Italian translation of a work by the English author George Gissing, a writer of the late nineteenth-century perhaps best remembered for his novels New Grub Street and The Odd Women. He died young, in 1903, and his works sank into obscurity during the first half of the century, but in the late 1950s were beginning to be revived and appreciated. Gissing went on a tour of southern Italy at the end of the century, recording his impressions in a travel book called By the Ionian Sea, published in 1901. His descriptions are revealing of social conditions in this very poor area and remain valuable as a historical record. At one point during the latter part of his journey, he stopped at a hotel in Catanzaro, which was run by a man named Coriolano Paparazzo. It may be of Greek origin, from papasaratsis, literally “priest-saddlemaker”. The name took Fellini’s fancy and he borrowed it for the character of the photographer companion of Marcello Mastroianni. [11]

Definition

a freelance photographer who aggressively pursues celebrities for the purpose of taking candid photographs [12]


[edit] pariah

puh-RYE-uh

noun

Etymology

The caste system of India placed pariahs, also known as Untouchables, very low in society. The word pariah, which we have extended in meaning, came into English from Tamil paaiyar, the plural of Paaiyan, the caste name, which literally means “(hereditary) drummer” and comes from the word paai, the name of a drum used at certain festivals. [13]

Definition
  1. a member of a low caste of southern India
  2. one that is despised or rejected
  3. outcast [14]


[edit] pasquinade

pass-kwuh-NAYD

noun

Etymology

In 1501, a marble statue from ancient times was unearthed in Rome and erected near that city's Piazza Navona. The statue depicted a male torso and was christened Pasquino by the Romans, perhaps after a local tailor. In those days, the citizens of Rome could not speak out against their political and religious leaders without fear of punishment, so criticism was expressed anonymously, often by means of publicly posted lampoons. The Pasquino statue became a prime location for posting such lampoons. These postings, which still appear to this day, became known in English as "pasquinades" (from the Italian "pasquinata"). The term has since expanded in usage to refer to any kind of satirical writing (such as in a magazine). [15]

Definition
  1. a lampoon posted in a public place
  2. satirical writing
  3. satire [16]


[edit] pasteurize

PASS-teur-ize

verb

Etymology

1881, after Louis Pasteur (1822-95), French chemist and bacteriologist, who invented the process of heating food, milk, wine, etc., to kill most of the micro-organisms in it; distinguished from sterilization, which involves killing all of them. [17]

Definition

to heat (milk, cheese, beer, or the like) to a high temperature for a certain period in order to kill most of the harmful bacteria and retard fermentation [18]


[edit] pettifogger

PET-tee-fog-ger

noun

Etymology

1564, from "petty" and Fugger the renowned family of merchants and financiers of the 15th and 16th century. [19]

Definition
  1. a lawyer whose methods are petty, underhanded, or disreputable
  2. shyster
  3. one given to quibbling over trifles [20]


[edit] pharology

fa-RALL-uh-gee

noun

Etymology

from the famous lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, that was erected around 280BC on the island of Pharos, off the coast of Alexandria [21]

Definition

the scientific study of lighthouses and signal lights [22]


[edit] philippic

fuh-LIP-ick

noun

Etymology

from Middle French philippique, from Latin orationes Philippicæ, translation of Greek Philippikoi logoi. The Latin phrase was used of the speeches made by Cicero against Marc Antony in 44 and 43 B.C.E.; originally of speeches made in Athens by Demosthenes in 351-341 B.C.E. urging Greeks to unite and fight the rising power of Philip II of Macedon. [23]

Definition
  1. a discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation
  2. tirade [24]


[edit] philistine

FI-luh-steen

noun

Etymology

the Philistines were inhabitants of a Biblical land, neighbors (and enemies) of Israel. Popularized in 1827 by Carlyle, popularized by him and Matthew Arnold, from German Philister. Popularized in German student slang as a contemptuous term for "townies," and hence, by extension, "any uncultured person." [25]

Definition
  1. a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values
  2. one uninformed in a special area of knowledge [26]


[edit] photoshop

FOE-toe-shop

verb

Etymology

1992, originally in reference to Photoshop, a bitmap graphics editor trademarked and published by Adobe, released in 1990 [27]

Definition

to digitally edit or alter a picture or photograph [28]


[edit] pilsner

PILZ-ner

noun

Etymology

1877, after Pilsen, German town in Bohemia (Czech Plzen) where this style of beer was first brewed. Now designating a type, not an origin; pilsner from Plzen is Pilsner Urquell, from Ger. Urquell "primary source." The place name is from Old Czech plz "damp, moist." [29]

Definition
  1. a light beer with a strong flavor of hops
  2. a tall slender footed glass for beer [30]


[edit] pinchbeck

PINCH-beck

adjective

Etymology

after Christopher Pinchbeck, a clockmaker born in Clerkenwell in London. He was also a well-known maker of musical automata such as singing birds. He seems to have invented the alloy sometime in the early 1700s, though there’s no contemporary reference and we have to rely on statements by his sons. He created it as a way to make ornaments that looked like gold but were less expensive. There was no attempt at deception here--he clearly labelled the metal for what it was. [31]

Definition
  1. an alloy of copper and zinc used especially to imitate gold in jewelry
  2. something counterfeit or spurious [32]


[edit] platonic

pluh-TON-ick

adjective

Etymology

Plato did not invent the term or the concept that bears his name, but he did see sexual desire as the germ for higher loves. Marsilio Ficino, a Renaissance follower of Plato, used the terms amor socraticus and amor platonicus interchangeably for a love between two humans that was preparatory for the love of God. From Ficino's usage, Platonic (already present in English as an adjective to describe what related to Plato and first recorded in 1533) came to be used for a spiritual love between persons of opposite sexes. In our own century Platonic has been used of relationships between members of the same sex. [33]

Definition
  1. of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex
  2. relating to or based on platonic love
  3. experiencing or professing platonic love
  4. theoretical
  5. nominal [34]


[edit] pleiad

PLEE-id

noun

Etymology

from the French Pléiade, circa 1839 group of seven 16th century French poets, from Middle French, group of seven tragic poets of ancient Alexandria, from Greek Pleiad-, Pleias, from singular of Pleiades [35]

Definition

a group of usually seven illustrious or brilliant persons or things [36]


[edit] plutoid

PLOO-toyd

noun

Etymology

from Pluto, formerly the ninth planet, which lost its designation as a planet in 2006 [37]

Definition

a celestial body in orbit around the sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (near-spherical) shape, and that has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit. [38]


[edit] pococurante

POH-koh-kyoo-RAN-tee

adjective

Etymology

The French writer Voltaire carefully named his characters in Candide (1759) to create allegories. He appended the prefix "pan-," meaning "all," to "glōssa," the Greek word for "tongue," to name his optimistic tutor "Pangloss," a sobriquet suggesting glibness and talkativeness. Then there is the apathetic Venetian Senator Pococurante, whose name appropriately means "caring little" in Italian. Voltaire's characters did not go unnoticed by later writers. Laurence Sterne used "Pococurante" in part six of Tristram Shandy, published three years after Candide, to ! mean "a careless person," and Irish poet Thomas Moore first employed the word as an adjective when he described Dublin as a poco-curante place in his memoirs of 1815. [39]

Definition
  1. indifferent
  2. nonchalant [40]


[edit] poinsettia

poin-ZE-tee-uh

noun

Etymology

1836, genus name, in allusion to Joel R. Poinsett (1779-1851), U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who is said to have brought the plant to the attention of botanists [41]

Definition

Any of several spurges (genus Euphorbia) with flower clusters subtended by showy involucral bracts; especially : a showy Mexican and Central American plant (East pulcherrima) with tapering usually scarlet bracts that suggest petals and surround small yellow flowers [42]


[edit] pojmanym

POY-muh-nim

noun

Etymology

The word is itself a pojmanym as it refers to brothers Jim and John Pojman who first used the word in 1975.

Definition

an uncapitalized word that is derived from a proper noun. [43]


[edit] pompadour

POM-pah-door

noun

Etymology

in allusion to Jeanne-Antionette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour (1721-64), mistress of Louis XV from 1745-50, who wore her hair in an upswept style. [44]

Definition
  1. a man's style of hairdressing in which the hair is combed into a high mound in front
  2. a woman's style of hairdressing in which the hair is brushed into a loose full roll around the face
  3. hair dressed in a pompadour [45]


[edit] pooh-bah

POO-bah

noun

Etymology

Pooh-Bah was a character in Gilbert and Sullivan's opera The Mikado (1885) bearing the title Lord-High-Everything-Else [46]

Definition
  1. a person holding many public or private offices
  2. a person in high position or of great influence [47]


[edit] port

PORT

noun

Etymology

1691, shortened from Oporto, city in northwest Portugal from which the wine was originally shipped, from O Porto "the port [48]

Definition

sweet dark-red wine [49]


[edit] portland cement

PORT-land suh-MENT

noun

Etymology

derived from its similarity to Portland stone, a type of building stone that was quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England [50]

Definition

a hydraulic cement made by finely pulverizing the clinker produced by calcining to incipient fusion a mixture of clay and limestone or similar materials [51]


[edit] priapism

PRY-uh-PIZ-um

noun

Etymology

1786, from Priapus, from Greek Priapos, son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, the god who personified male reproductive power [52]

Definition
  1. continuous, usually nonsexual erection of the penis, especially due to disease
  2. prurient behavior or display [53]


[edit] procrustean

proh-KRUS-tee-un

adjective

Etymology

from Procrustes (1583), mythical robber of Attica who seized travelers, tied them to his bed, and either stretched their limbs or lopped off their legs to make them fit it [54]

Definition
  1. of, relating to, or typical of Procrustes
  2. marked by arbitrary, often ruthless, disregard of individual differences or special circumstances [55]


[edit] protean

PROH-tee-un

adjective

Etymology

from Proteus, the grizzled old shepherd of Poseidon's sea creatures who possessed the gift of prophecy but didn't like to share his knowledge. Proteus would escape those who wanted to question him by changing his shape. The only way to get a straight answer from him was to sneak up behind him during his midday nap and hold onto him (while he frantically changed from shape to shape) until he eventually revealed what he knew. [56]

Definition
  1. having a varied nature or ability to assume different forms
  2. displaying great diversity or variety
  3. versatile [57]


[edit] puckish

PUCK-ish

adjective

Etymology

We know Puck as "that merry wanderer of the night," the shape-changing, maiden-frightening, mischief-sowing henchman to the king of the fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Bard drew on English folklore in casting his character, but the traditional Puck was more malicious than the Shakespearean imp; he was an evil spirit or demon. In medieval England, this nasty hobgoblin was known as the "puke" or "pouke," names related to the Old Norse "puki," meaning "devil." But it was the Bard's characterization that stuck, and by the time the adjective "puckish" started appearing regularly in English texts in the late 1800s the association was one of impishness, not evil. [58]

Definition
  1. impish
  2. whimsical [59]


[edit] pyrrhic

'pir-ik

adjective

Etymology
  1. the dance and rhythmic sense is said to be named after Pyrrhichus, the inventor of the dance [60]
  2. the 1885, from Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, who defeated Roman armies at Asculum, 280 B.C.E., but at such cost to his own troops that he was unable to follow up and attack Rome itself, and is said to have remarked, "one more such victory and we are lost." [61]
Definition
  1. a metrical foot of two short or unaccented syllables [62]
  2. relating to an ancient Greek war dance [63]
  3. of a victory won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor [64]


[edit] python

PYE-thon

noun

Etymology

1590, from the fabled serpent, slain by Apollo, near Delphi, from Greek Python, probably related to Pytho, the old name of Delphi, perhaps itself related to pythein "to rot" [65]

Definition

any of various large constricting snakes (as a boa); especially : any of the large oviparous snakes (subfamily Pythoninae of the family Boidae) of Africa, Asia, Australia, and adjacent islands that include some of the largest existing snakes [66]

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