Parlay: Turn an initial stake or winnings from a previous bet into (a greater amount) by gambling.
Source: “How the Empire developed after 1815 — primarily as a means to protect British commercial investment and exploitation — and how a small island parlayed an early industrial revolution, supported by large domestic reserves of coal, into one of the largest and most successful empires, commerical, financial and governmental, the world has ever seen, is the primary story of Dawson’s book.”
Source of the source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15793661-unfinished-empire
Ebullient: cheerful and full of energy.
- Each of three sisters, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, with snakes for hair, who had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone.
- A fierce, frightening, or repulsive woman.
Gorgonzola: a moldy Gorgon often added to salad and the like.
Conundra: plural of conundrum.
This word is worth posting because I didn’t know it existed! How can you get worse than having a conundrum? By having multiple of them, apparently. Also, the term feels quite feminine as it ends in “a”. And it also makes me want to say The Conundra in the Tundra.
Final thought: “conundrum” can mean something other than I had ever heard before and it’s delightful: a riddle whose answer is or involves a pun.
I think “Conundra” should be the staring role of a play, in which she is a very problematic woman, *unsolvabley so.
* Yes, I just made up that word.
I can take no credit for the catchiness of that title. It’s the name of a chapter in “The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought“. It’s written by Marilynne Robinson published in 1998, and I enjoyed it immensely, at least this chapter (as that’s all I’ve read). This is no post on the things I’ve learned but instead a list of words this author employed that I had to look up. She has quite a vocabulary! (Although I can’t say I’m always a fan of the at least semi-academic style of writing she uses. Any writing that feels academic feels that way because it’s poorly written. And I promise I don’t have strong opinions.)
- hypertrophy – 1) abnormal enlargement of a part or organ; excessive growth. 2) excessive growth or accumulation of any kind.
- ersatz – (of a product) made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one, for something else; not real or genuine.
- inveigle – persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery.
- palmy – 1) (especially of a previous period of time) flourishing or successful. 2) covered with palms.
- lapidary – (of language) engraved on or suitable for engraving on stone and therefore elegant and concise.
- solipsism – the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
- steppe – a large area of flat unforested grassland in southeastern Europe or Siberia.
- anomie – lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group.
- frisson – a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill.
I can’t imagine how long this list would be if I actually read her whole book, as opposed to one chapter. I hope to read more about her/by her – she felt delightfully curmudgeonly.
- the greenness of growing vegetation; such vegetation itself
- lush green vegetation
- a condition of health and vigor
- a condition of freshness
Bemuse: to cause someone to be
1) confused and often also somewhat amused
2) lost in thought; preoccupied.
Elegy: a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, especially a funeral song or a lament for the dead, a sad or mournful musical composition.
Panoply: a complete or impressive collection of things.
Foible: a minor weakness or eccentricity in someone’s character.