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[edit] sadism

SAY-di-zum

noun

Etymology

1888, from the French sadisme, from Count Donatien A.F. de Sade (1740-1815). Not a marquis, though usually now called one, he was notorious for the cruel sexual practices he described in his novels. [1]

Definition
  1. a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others (as on a love object)
  2. delight in cruelty
  3. excessive cruelty [2]

compare with masochism


[edit] sandwich

SAND-wich

noun, verb

Etymology

1762, said to be an allusion to John Montagu (1718-92), Fourth Earl Sandwich, who was said to be an inveterate gambler who ate slices of cold meat between bread at the gaming table during marathon sessions rather than get up for a proper meal (this account dates to 1770). It was in his honor that Cook named the Hawaiian islands (1778) when Montagu was first lord of the Admiralty. The verb is from 1861. The family name is from the place in Kent, Old English Sandwicæ, literally "sandy harbor (or trading center)." [3]

Definition
  1. two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between
  2. one slice of bread covered with food
  3. something resembling a sandwich; especially a composite structural material consisting of layers often of high-strength facings bonded to a low strength central core [4]
  4. to put into a sandwich
  5. to insert between two other things [5]


[edit] sardine

sar-DEEN

noun

Etymology

c.1430, from Latin sardina, from Greek sardine, often said to be from Sardinia, the Mediterranean island, near which the fish were probably caught and from which they were exported [6]

Definition
  1. any of several small or immature fishes of the herring family; especially : the European pilchard (Sardina pilchardus) especially when young and of a size suitable for preserving for food
  2. any of various small fishes (as an anchovy) resembling the true sardines or similarly preserved for food [7]


[edit] sardonic

sar-DON-ick

adjective

Etymology

1638, from French sardonique (16c.), from Latin sardonius (but as if from Latin *sardonicus) in Sardonius risus, loan-translation of Greek sardonios (gelos) "of bitter or scornful (laughter)," altered from Homeric sardanios (of uncertain origin) by influence of Sardonios "Sardinian," because the Greeks believed that eating a certain plant they called sardonion (literally "plant from Sardinia," see Sardinia) caused facial convulsions resembling those of sardonic laughter, usually followed by death. [8]

Definition
  1. disdainfully or skeptically humorous
  2. derisively mocking [9]


[edit] saturnine

SAT-er-nyne

adjective

Etymology

medieval physiology believed these characteristics to be caused by the astrological influence of the planet Saturn, which was the most remote from the Sun (in the limited knowledge of the times) and thus coldest and slowest in its revolution [10]

Definition
  1. born under or influenced astrologically by the planet Saturn
  2. cold and steady in mood
  3. slow to act or change
  4. of a gloomy or surly disposition
  5. having a sardonic aspect [11]


[edit] saxophone

SAX-uh-fone

noun

Etymology

1851, from French saxophone, named for Antoine Joseph "Adolphe" Sax (1814-1894), Belgian instrument maker who devised it c.1840 [12]

Definition

one of a group of single-reed woodwind instruments ranging from soprano to bass and characterized by a conical metal tube and finger keys [13]


[edit] scaramouch

skair-uh-MOOSH

noun

Etymology

from the French Scaramouche, from Italian Scaramuccia, from scaramuccia skirmish. Scaramouche was a stock character in the Italian commedia dell'arte that burlesques the Spanish don and is characterized by boastfulness and cowardliness. [14]

Definition
  1. a cowardly buffoon
  2. rascal, scamp [15]


[edit] scrooge

SCROOJ

noun

Etymology

from Ebenezer Scrooge, a character in the story A Christmas Carol (1843) by Charles Dickens [16]

Definition

a miserly person [17]


[edit] serendipity

SER-un-DIP-i-tee

noun

Etymology

1754 (but rare before 20c.), coined by Horace Walpole (1717-92) in a letter to Mann (dated January 28); he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale "The Three Princes of Serendip," whose heroes "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of." The name is from Serendip, an old name for Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), from Arabic Sarandib, from Sanskrit Simhaladvipa "Dwelling-Place-of-Lions Island." [18]

Definition

the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way [19]


[edit] sericeous

suh-RISH-us

adjective

Etymology

In the writings of the ancient Greeks, there is mention of the Sēres, an eastern Asian people who made "sērikos" fabrics. Historians now believe that the Sēres were the Chinese, from whom the ancient Greeks first obtained silk. The English word silk also comes from the same Greek root. Both "silk" and "silken" have been in the English language for many, many centuries, but scientists of the 18th century wanted a new term to describe the silky hairs on some leaves and bodies, and so they adapted the Late Latin word "sericeus" ("silken") to create "sericeous. [20]

Definition

covered with fine silky hair [21]


[edit] shalloon

shu-LOON

noun

Etymology

from French chalon, after Châlons-sur-Marne [22]

Definition

a lightweight wool or worsted twill fabric, used chiefly for coat linings [23]


[edit] shanghai

SHANG-hye

verb

Etymology

1854, from the practice of kidnapping to fill the crews of ships making extended voyages, such as to the Chinese seaport of Shanghai. [24]

Definition
  1. to put aboard a ship by force often with the help of liquor or a drug
  2. to put by force or threat of force into or as if into a place of detention
  3. to put by trickery into an undesirable position [25]


[edit] sherry

SHAR-ee

noun

Etymology

1608, mistaken singular from sherris (1540), from Spanish vino de Xeres "wine from Xeres," modern Jerez (Latin urbs Caesaris), near the port of Cadiz, where the wine was made [26]

Definition
  1. a Spanish fortified wine with a distinctive nutty flavor
  2. a similar wine produced elsewhere [27]


[edit] shigella

shi-GELL-uh

noun

Etymology

new Latin Shigella, genus name, after Kiyoshi Shiga (1870–1957), Japanese bacteriologist [28]

Definition

any of various nonmotile, rod-shaped bacteria of the genus Shigella, which includes some species that cause dysentery [29]


[edit] shrapnel

SHRAP-nel

noun

Etymology

1806, from General Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), who invented a type of exploding, fragmenting shell when he was a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery during the Peninsular War. The invention consisted of a hollow cannon ball, filled with shot, which burst in mid-air; his name for it was spherical case ammunition. The surname is attested from 13c., and is believed to be a metathesized form of Charbonnel, a form of Old French charbon "charcoal," in reference to complexion, hair color, or some other quality [30]

Definition
  1. a projectile that consists of a case provided with a powder charge and a large number of usually lead balls and that is exploded in flight
  2. bomb, mine, or shell fragments [31]


[edit] shylock

SHY-lock

noun, verb

Etymology

1786, from Shylock, the Jewish money-lender character in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (c.1596) [32]

Definition
  1. a ruthless moneylender
  2. a loan shark
  3. to lend money at exorbitant rates [33]


[edit] sibyl

SIB-ul

noun

Etymology

The original Sibyl (her Greek name was Sibylla) was an old woman who made predictions in an ecstatic frenzy; by the 5th century B.C. she was no more than a legendary figure in Greek mythology, but her prophecies, in Greek hexameters, were handed down in writing. She must have been good at prophesying, because her name came to be used as a title for the varied "sibyls" at oracle centers dispersed throughout the ancient world. By the time we began to use the word to refer to prophetesses and female fortune-tellers in general, in the late 16th century, we had arrived at our modern spelling. [[34]]

Definition
  1. any of several prophetesses usually accepted as 10 in number and credited to widely separate parts of the ancient world (as Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, and Italy)
  2. prophetess
  3. fortune-teller [35]


[edit] sideburn

SIDE-burn

noun

Etymology

originally burnside, named after the American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside (1824-81), who had sideburns [36]

Definition

Beard grown down the side of a man's face in front of the ears (especially when the rest of the beard is shaved off) [37]


[edit] silhouette

sill-uh-WET

noun, verb

Etymology

1798, from French silhouette, in allusion to Étienne de Silhouette (1709-67), French minister of finance in 1759. Usually said to be so called because it was an inexpensive way of making a likeness of someone, a derisive reference to Silhouette's petty economies to finance the Seven Years' War, which were unpopular among the nobility. But other theories are that it refers to his brief tenure in office, or the story that he decorated his chateau with such portraits. The verb is recorded from 1876. The family name is a Frenchified form of a Basque surname; Arnaud de Silhouette, the finance minister's father, was from Biarritz in the French Basque country; the southern Basque form of the name would be Zuloeta or Zulueta, which contains the suffix -eta "abundance of" and zulo "hole" (possibly here meaning "cave"). [38]

Definition
  1. a likeness cut from dark material and mounted on a light ground or one sketched in outline and solidly colored in
  2. the outline of a body viewed as circumscribing a mass [39]


[edit] smartaleck

SMART-a-leck

noun

Etymology

1865, from Aleck, nickname for Alexander [[40]]

Definition

an obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness [41]


[edit] smoot

SMOOT

noun

Etymology

named after an MIT fraternity pledge to Lambda Chi Alpha, Oliver R. Smoot (class of 1962), who in October 1958 was used by his fraternity brothers to measure the length of the Harvard Bridge between Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The bridge's length was measured to be "364.4 smoots plus one ear". Smoot repeatedly lay down on the bridge, let his companions mark his new position in chalk or paint, and then got up again. Eventually, he tired from all this exercise and was thereafter carried by the fraternity brothers to each new position. Everyone walking across the bridge today sees painted markings indicating how many smoots they are from the Boston-side river bank. The marks are repainted each year by the incoming associate member class (similar to pledge class) of Lambda Chi Alpha. Smoot later became Chairman of the American National Standards Institute and President of the International Organization for Standardization. [42]

Definition

a non-standard unit of measure equal to five feet and seven inches ~1.70 meters [43]


[edit] smurf

SMURF

noun, verb

Etymology

from Les Schtroumpfs (1958) by Pierre Culliford, in Le Journal de Spirou [44]

Definition
  1. a fictional character, a blue pixie with white stocking cap, from the television program The Smurfs
  2. to structure a deposit
  3. to split a large financial transaction into smaller ones so as to avoid scrutiny [45]


[edit] sodomy

SAH-duh-mee

noun

Etymology

from Latin peccatum Sodomiticum "anal sex," literally "sin of Sodom," from Latin Sodoma, from Hebrew s'dom in reference to Sodom, the morally corrupt city in ancient Palestine, said to have been destroyed, with neighboring Gomorrah, by fire from heaven (Gen. xviii-xix). [46]

Definition
  1. anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex
  2. copulation with an animal [47]


[edit] solecism

SAH-luh-sih-zum

noun

Etymology

Soloi had a reputation for bad grammar. That city, located in Cilicia, an ancient coastal nation in Asia Minor, was populated by Athenian colonists called "soloikos" (literally "inhabitant of Soloi"). According to historians, the colonists of Soloi allowed their native Athenian Greek to be corrupted and they fell to using words incorrectly. [48]

Definition
  1. an ungrammatical combination of words in a sentence
  2. a minor blunder in speech
  3. something deviating from the proper, normal, or accepted order
  4. a breach of etiquette or decorum [49]


[edit] solon

SOE-lun

noun

Etymology

from Greek, Solon, name of early lawgiver of Athens, one of the seven sages [50]

Definition
  1. a wise and skillful lawgiver
  2. a member of a legislative body [51]


[edit] spartan

SPAR-tun

noun, adjective

Etymology

1425, from Sparta, the capital of Laconia, famed for severity of its social order, the frugality of its people, the valor of its army, and the brevity of its speech [52]

Definition
  1. rigorously self-disciplined or self-restrained
  2. simple, frugal, or austere
  3. marked by brevity of speech
  4. laconic
  5. courageous in the face of pain, danger, or adversity [53]


[edit] sputnik

SPUT-nik

noun

Etymology

1957, from Russian Sputnik, literally "traveling companion" [54] Sputnik was the first man-made satellite launched into space (on October 4, 1957).

Definition
  1. any of a series of earth-orbiting satellites launched by the Soviet Union beginning in 1957 [55]
  2. a satellite, spacecraft [56]


[edit] stakhanovism

sta-KHA-nuh-vi-zum

noun

Etymology

named for Aleksey Grigorevich Stakhanov, a coal miner in the Donets Basin, whose team increased its daily output sevenfold by organizing a more efficient division of labor. The Soviet government, eager to ensure the success of the Five-Year Plan, encouraged the Stakhanov movement by offering higher pay and other privileges. In many cases the emphasis on speed resulted in poor quality. Stakhanovism was widely criticized outside the Soviet Union as another form of the speed-up system and was fought by labor unions in other countries. After World War II the Stakhanov movement gradually lapsed. [57]

Definition

a method for increasing production by rewarding individual initiative, developed in the Soviet Union in 1935 [58]


[edit] star chamber

STAR CHAYM-ber

noun

Etymology

1398, an apartment in the royal palace at Westminster in which members of the king's council sat to exercise jurisdiction 14-15c., it evolved in the 15th century. into a court of criminal jurisdiction, proverbial under James I and Charles I for arbitrary and oppressive proceedings. Abolished 1641. Supposedly so called because gilt stars were painted on the ceiling. [59]

Definition
  1. harsh and arbitrary tribunal
  2. a court or tribunal noted for being harsh, arbitrary, and unaccountable in its proceedings [60]


[edit] stentorian

sten-TORE-ee-en

adjective

Etymology

1605, from Stentor, legendary Greek herald in the Trojan War, whose voice (described in the Iliad) was as loud as fifty men. [61]

Definition
  1. using a very loud voice
  2. (of a voice) very loud [62]


[edit] stoic

STOH-ik

noun, adjective

Etymology

1382, pertaining to a member of or the teachings of the school founded by Zeno (c.334-c.262 B.C.E.), characterized by austere ethical doctrines, literally "pertaining to a portico," from stoa "porch," specifically Stoa Poikile "the Painted Porch," the great hall in Athens (decorated with frescoes depicting the Battle of Marathon) where Zeno taught. [63]

Definition
  1. one apparently or professedly indifferent to pleasure or pain
  2. not affected by or showing passion or feeling
  3. firmly restraining response to pain or distress [64]


[edit] stokes

STOKES

noun

Etymology

named after George Gabriel Stokes (1819–1903), a British mathematician and physicist who studied fluid dynamics. [65] [66]

Definition

the cgs physical unit for kinematic viscosity. In U.S. usage, stoke is sometimes used as the singular form. It is sometimes expressed in terms of centistokes (cSt or ctsk). [67]


[edit] stygian

adjective

Etymology

1566, from Latin Stygius, from Greek, Stygios, from Styx, genitive Stygos [68]

Definition
  1. gloomy and dark
  2. infernal
  3. hellish
  4. f or relating to the river Styx [69]


[edit] swiftboat

SWIFT BOTE

verb

Etymology

from Swift Boat, a small, shallow draft water vessel used by the United States Navy for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War, also known as a Fast Patrol Craft (PCF)

Definition

to put forth sensational negative stories about a political figure as part of a public relations campaign against him/her [70]

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