Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Thursday Thirteen 290: Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is this week in Washington DC, and you know what that meanstime to add a few new words to your vocabulary! All words and examples featured in today's post are taken from the vintage mystery novel
The Window at the White Cat by Mary Roberts Rinehart, which was originally published in 1961, and teased here in March.

There are 42 semifinalists this year, out of a pool of 280 contestants. If you'd like to follow The Bee, the semifinals are on ESPN2 Thursday at 2pm eastern time. The finals will air Thursday night on ESPN at 8pm eastern time. Personally, I wish they'd bring the finals back to Prime Time. These kids work hard and deserve to have a wider audience.

1. facetiously [fuh-see-shuhs] adjective
1. not meant to be taken seriously or literally: a facetious remark.
2. amusing; humorous.

Ex: “You heard a goblin quadrille. First couple forward and back,“ I said facetiously.

2. stolid [stol-id] adjective
not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive.

Ex: Her stolid face was not even intelligent, certainly not cunning.

3. prepossessing [pree-puh-zes-ing] adjective
that impresses favorably; engaging or attractive

Ex: Wardrop was a man of perhaps twenty-seven, as tall as I, although not so heavy, with direct blue eyes and fair hair; altogether a manly and prepossessing sort of fellow.

4. ulster [uhl-ster] noun
(lowercase) a long, loose, heavy overcoat, originally of Irish frieze, now also of any of various other woolen cloths.

Ex: Once a man turned the corner and came toward me, his head down, his long ulster flapping around his legs.

5. obtruded [uhb-trood] verb, [obtruded, obtruding: verb used with object]
to thrust forward, especially unduly; intrude.

Ex: I tried to forget the queer events of the night, but the throbbing of my head kept me awake, and through it all one question obtruded itself—who had unlocked the front door and left it open?

6. precipitate [pri-sip-i-teyt] verb
1. to hasten the occurrence of; bring about prematurely, hastily, or suddenly: to precipitate an international crisis.
2. to cast down headlong; fling or hurl down.
3. to cast, plunge, or send, especially violently or abruptly

Ex: The gate I stood in was evidently the entrance to its yard, and in fact, some uncomfortable movement of mine just then struck the latch, and almost precipitated me backward by its sudden opening.

7. profanation [prof-uh-ney-shuhn] noun
the act of profaning; desecration; defilement; debasement.

Ex: To turn loose that mob of half-drunken men in such a place seemed profanation.

8. untenable [uhn-ten-uh-buhl] adjective
incapable of being defended, as an argument, thesis, etc.; indefensible.

Ex: Everything that had gone before pointed to a position so untenable that suicide seemed its natural and inevitable result.

9. sepulchral [suh-puhl-kruhl] adjective [sepulchrally, adverb]
1. of, pertaining to, or serving as a tomb.
2. of or pertaining to burial.
3. proper to or suggestive of a tomb; funereal or dismal.
4. hollow and deep: sepulchral tones.

Ex: He had not gone to bed, and we filed into his library sepulchrally.

10. pugnacious [puhg-ney-shuhs] adjective [pugnacity, noun]
inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative.

Ex: He was rather stocky in build, and the pugnacity of his features did not hide the shrewdness of his eyes.

11. scarehead [skair-hed] noun
a headline in exceptionally large type.

Ex: "If then he makes a scarehead of it, and gets in three columns of space and as many photographs, it is his just reward."

12. opportune [op-er-toon, -tyoon] adjective
1. appropriate, favorable, or suitable: an opportune phrase for the occasion.
2. occurring or coming at an appropriate time; well-timed: an opportune warning.

Ex: By good luck, we found one unlocked and not entirely closed; it shrieked hideously as we pried it up, but an opportune clap of thunder covered the sound.

13. malefactor [mal-uh-fak-ter] noun
1. a person who violates the law; criminal.
2. a person who does harm or evil, especially toward another.

Ex: “I felt all the nervous dread of a real malefactor. . .”

How many words did you recognize? Any new-to-you words you particularly liked?

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen


Alice Audrey said...

The only one I didn't learn in my childhood from parent and grandparents who never talked down was scarehead.

anthonynorth said...

Yes, I learnt them all except no 11, too.

CountryDew said...

I knew them all, but then, I have been around newspapers a lot so was familiar with a scarehead (#11). Though it's not a term you hear much anymore, with computers we're losing a lot of those old terms.

colleen said...

Interesting that ulster is a long coat and also the name of the name of the province in Northern Ireland. I think the second came before the first. I love the word stolid because it mixes solid and stoic in sound and meaning.

Janet said...

the only one that was new to me was scarehead.

Jannie Funster said...

Scarehead, ulster and profanation were new to me. (Okay 2 others were too, but I can't come off that stupid now, can I?) :) I connect ulster to Ireland, a place or tribe, or something. Will have to Google. it.

Very interesting this language of ours.

I shall attempt to use scarehead somehow today, correctly.

Mia Celeste said...

Thanks. Ulster and scarehead were new to me. I like to learn new words.

Heather said...

Alice: Scarehead was one I had not seen before, though it was easy to figure out by the context used. I think one of the reasons my youngest niece has such a huge vocabulary is because the adults in her life never talk down to her. My sister would have killed anyone addressing her with baby talk.

Heather said...

Anthony: Number eleven seems to be the one with which most people were not familiar. Thanks for visiting!

Heather said...

Anita: Yes, we are losing a lot - at least where language is concerned - due to gadgets and computers. I cannot tell you how much "text talk" makes me cringe when I see it used in writing. I try to employ what little I use (such as LOL or BTW) sparingly.

Heather said...

Colleen: Yes, the use of "ulster" for overcoat comes from the Irish province.

Heather said...

Janet: Ah, another vote for scarehead as the least known word.

Heather said...

Jannie: Yes, we certainly do have an interesting language -- but what can you expect from a tongue that pillages from other languages as much as ours does? And now you have me wondering which other two words were unfamilar to you... *G*

Heather said...

Hi Mia! You know me -- I love introducing new words and books to people. *VBG*

Jana said...

I'm shocked at myself...I actually recognized most of these. I'm not as ignorant as I thought I was. ;-)

Heather said...

Jana: Surprised yourself, huh? But then, you do work in a library. ;-)