Abolitionists
people who favoured, or campaigned for, the abolition of slavery
adduced
brought forward in argument or as evidence
agoraphobia
an abnormal fear of being in crowds, public places, or open areas, sometimes accompanied by anxiety attacks
Alderman
a member of a municipal legislative body, especially of a municipal council
aleatory
depending on chance; random
amalgamated
mixed or merged; blended
Amanuensis
a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts
ambivalent
characterised by uncertainty, fluctuation; the state of having simultaneous conflicting desires
amethystine
a purplish tint, the colour of amethyst
ammonites
a type of fossil
analogies
similarities between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based
analogue
something having analogy to something else
androgyny
having both masculine and feminine characteristics; neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance
annotating
commenting upon; adding explanatory or critical notes
apathetic
showing little interest or emotion; indifferent
approbation
approval, praise; official commendation
appurtenances
something that belongs to, or goes with, something else
arcane
mysterious; obscure
area
a small sunken yard leading to a cellar or basement entrance, or in front of a basement or cellar window
argent
silver; silvery white
argillaceous
(of rocks or sediment) consisting of or containing clay
articulated
jointed; joined together
Ases
gods of Norse mythology
ashram
(in Hinduism) a secluded building, often the residence of a guru, used for religious retreat or teaching
askew
crooked; out of line; with scorn or disapproval
atheistic
Pertaining to atheists or atheism (the belief that there is no god)
austere
severe in appearance or manner; solemn; serious
autonomous
self-governing; independent; subject to its own laws only
avarice
insatiable greed for riches
banquette
a long bench with an upholstered seat, especially one along a wall, as in a restaurant
bathetic
displaying bathos (triteness; flatness; a descent from the lofty to the commonplace)
beret
a round close-fitting brimless cap of soft wool material or felt
Bleu de Bresse
a blue cheese that was first made in the Bresse area of France following World War II
boomerang
to come back, return; to cause injury to the originator. (From 'boomerang': a curved piece of wood used as a throwing club by Australian Aborigines, and designed to return to the thrower).
bourgeois
dominated or characterized by materialistic pursuits or concerns; conventional; middle-class
bowery
with bowers (small secluded spaces enclosed by foliage within a garden)
breadwinner
a person who earns a livelihood, especially one who also supports dependents
Caetera desunt
the rest is missing
candlewick
fabric made up of small, short bunches of wicking tufted to form a design
card-table
a small folding table for playing cards on
casement
a window sash opening on hinges that are generally attached to the upright side of its frame
castrato
a male singer, especially in the 18th century, castrated before puberty to prevent his soprano or contralto voice range from changing
censorious
severely critical; finding fault
cerement
cloth used for wrapping the dead; burial clothes
Childe
a youth of noble birth
circumscribed
enclosed within bounds
claustrophobia
an abnormal fear of being in enclosed or narrow places
conciliatory
placating; reconciling
Congeries
a disorderly collection; a jumble
convolutes
to coil or twist together
cosmogony
a theory or story of the origin and development of the universe
costiveness
slowness, reluctance
counterpane
bedspread, bedcover
crêpe-de-chine
a fine crêpe of silk or similar fabric (literally 'crêpe of China')
crêpey
having a dry wrinkled appearance like crêpe (a lightweight fabric with a finely crinkled or ridged surface)
crisped
curled, wrinkled
crocheted
needlework done with a needle having a small hook at one end for drawing the thread or yarn through intertwined loops
cumuli
clouds characterised by dense individual elements in the form of puffs, mounds, or towers, with flat bases and tops that often resemble cauliflower
curmudgeon
a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person
desunt cetera
the rest is missing
dilettantism
the attitude of a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge
dimity
a thin cotton fabric, white, dyed, or printed, woven with a stripe or check of heavier yarn
disparaged
slighted; reproached; discredited
disparaging
belittling or bringing reproach upon
dispossession
to put (a person) out of possession; to banish
disputatious
fond of or given to disputation; argumentative
disquisition
a formal discourse in which a subject is examined and discussed
Divinity
the academic study of Christian and other theology
dogsbodying
carrying out small or menial tasks
don
a head, fellow, or tutor of a college (in the English universities)
donjon
the great tower or innermost keep of a castle; variant of dungeon
dromedary
a single-humped camel
ectoplasm
(in Spiritualism) the supposed emanation from the body of a medium
egoistical
preoccupied with one's self and own desires
eidolon
a spectre or phantom; an idealized person or thing
ephemeral
short-lived
epigram
a short, often satirical poem dealing concisely with a single subject and usually ending with a witty or ingenious turn of thought
epistolary
contained in or carried on by letters
epithet
descriptive word expressing a quality or attribute
equivocation
the use of equivocal or ambiguous expressions, especially in order to mislead or hedge; prevarication
espaliered
a fruit tree or shrub trained onto a trellis, with its branches spreading along even, tiered lines.
et hoc genus omne
and all this kind
exemplary
commendable, noteworthy
expatiated
spoke at great length
expurgated
amended by removing; purged
facile
moving, acting, working, proceeding, etc., with ease
felicitous
well-suited, well chosen, right for the occasion
fen
low land covered wholly or partially with water; boggy land; a marsh
fiat
a formal authorization or proposition; a decree
fin-de-siècle
relating to or characteristic of the end of a century, especially the 19th century
firmament
the vault of heaven; sky
flagstones
a flat stone slab used for paving
folly
foolishness; lack of understanding
Freshers
first year university students
fug
stale, bad-smelling air
furbelows
gathered strip or pleated border of a skirt or petticoat
garnered
gathered; collected
Gentleman's Relish
a type of anchovy paste
geometric
resembling or using the simple rectilinear or curvilinear lines or figures used in geometry
glaucous
light bluish-green or greenish-blue
glory-hole
a store-room for random items, often rather untidy
greaves
a piece of plate armor for the leg between the knee and the ankle, usually composed of front and back pieces
Grummer's
Grandma's
guillotine
a device for beheading a person by means of a heavy blade that is dropped between two posts serving as guides: widely used during the french Revolution
gules
red, as a heraldic tincture
haberdashery
small items used in sewing, such as buttons, zips, and thread
harried
harrassed, annoyed
hermaphrodite
an individual in which reproductive organs of both sexes are present
homogeneously
composed of parts or elements that are all of the same kind; having a common property throughout
idolatrous
worshipping idols
immured
shut in; secluded or confined
imprimatur
a person's authoritative approva
indefatigable
untiring, not yielding to fatigue
inexorable
unalterable; unyielding
insular
narrow-minded or illiberal; provincial
intransigent
uncompromising
inured
accustomed to hardship, difficulty
jettisoning
getting rid of; throwing away
kedgeree
a European dish consisting chiefly of fish, rice, and hard-boiled eggs
lien
a right to keep possession of property belonging to another person until a debt owed by that person is discharged
liminal
of, pertaining to, or situated at the limen (threshold)
lineaments
distinguishing features; distinctive characteristics
lionising
giving a lot of public attention and approval to (someone); treating as a celebrity
litigation
a lawsuit
mantle
a loose, sleeveless cloak or cape
mesa
an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides , found in landscapes with horizontal strata
milieu
a person's social environment
misapprehension
misunderstanding
monogram
a motif of two or more interwoven letters, typically a person's initials, used to identify a personal possession or as a logo
mouldiwarp
mole
munificence
generosity
muslin
lightweight cotton cloth in a plain weave
mythographer
a person who collects or records myths in writing
narcissism
excessive vanity, self-love, fascination with oneself
necropolis
a city of the dead; a burial ground
ne progredietur ultra
never more to be advanced
Noli me tangere
touch me not
nugatory
of no value or importance; futile
oakapples
arge, round, vaguely apple-like gall commonly found on many species of oak tree
obfuscation
making obscure or unclear
objets de vertue
curios, trinkets (literally 'objects of virtue')
obsequious
obedient; dutiful
octogenarian
a person between 80 and 90 years old
oilcloth
a cotton fabric made waterproof by being treated with oil and pigment, for use as tablecloths, shelf coverings etc
onyx
a semi-precious variety of agate with different colours in layers
orisons
prayers
orts
scraps or morsels of food left at a meal
palimpsest
something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form
palliasse
a straw-filled mattress
panegyrics
public speech or published text in praise of someone or something
panniers
each of a pair of bags or boxes on either side of the rear wheel of a bicycle
pantechnicon
pertaining to all the arts and crafts; a warehouse where items are stored
paradoxical
any person, thing, or situation exhibiting an apparently contradictory nature
parvenu
(often derogatory) a person of humble origin who has gained wealth, influence, or celebrity (literally 'arrived')
paternoster
a lift consisting of a series of linked compartments moving continuously on an endless belt
patrician
befitting or characteristic of persons of very good background, education, and refinement
peremptory
not admitting debate or question
peripeteia
a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances, especially in reference to fictional narrative
periwinkle
a trailing plant, Vinca minor, having glossy, evergreen foliage and usually blue-violet flowers
personae
a character in a novel or play, sometimes identified with the author; perceived or evident personality
perspicuous
clearly expressed; plain; distinct
phalanstery
a group of people living together in a community and holding property in common
pharaohs
the title of ancient Egyptian kings
phosphorescent
luminous, glowing
pique
sharp irritation and resentment, especially by some wound to pride
planchette
a small board supported on castors, and fitted with a vertical pencil, used for automatic writing and in seances
plethora
overabundance; excess
polysemous
having many possible meanings
portico
a structure consisting of a roof supported by columns at regular intervals, typically attached as a porch to a building
pother
a heated discussion, debate; commotion
predestinarian
a person who believes in predestination (fate; destiny)
premeditation
forethought; intent to commit (an act or crime)
prie-dieu
a piece of furniture for kneeling on during prayer, having a rest above, as for a book
prohibition
state of being forbidden
prolixity
(of speech or writing) using or containing too many words
psychedelic
pertaining to a mental state characterised by a deep sense of intensified sensory perception
purloined
stolen
quatrain
a stanza of four lines , especially one having alternate rhymes
quietus
discharge or release from life
quondam
that once was; former
ratatouille
a French dish, of stewed vegetables
recalcitrant
resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant
recuperating
recovering; regaining health
relumed
to light or illuminate again
revers
the turned-back edge of a garment revealing the undersurface, especially at the lapel
roquelaure
a heavy cloak, usually knee-length, often fur-trimmed and silk-lined
sagacious
shrewd; of keen sense
sarcophagus
coffin
satire
the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc
scryed
divined
selkie
a mythical creature that resembles a seal in the water but assumes human form on land
semper eadem
always the same
sexpot
sexually attractive person, especially a woman
sine qua non
an essential element or condition
slow-worm
a limbless European lizard, Anguis fragilis
somnolence
sleep
somnolent
sleepy; drowsy
Spartan
suggestive of the ancient Spartans; sternly disciplined and rigorously simple, frugal, or austere
spectrograms
a representation or photograph of a spectrum
sphinxes
(in ancient Egypt) a figure of an imaginary creature having the head of a man or an animal and the body of a lion
spleen
spite; ill humour
Stout
a dark-coloured beer, made using barley or malt, hops, yeast and water
strictures
a remark or comment, especially an adverse criticism
stringent
strict; severe; compelling
sublimity
the state or quality of being sublime (elevated or lofty in thought, language, etc)
subordinate
subject to or under the authority of a superior; of less importance
summa cum laude
with highest honours
supercilious
haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression
syntax
the grammatical arrangement of words
taciturn
inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation
tenacious
keeping a firm hold (of something); persistent
tergiversations
conflicting statements
theodolite
a surveying instrument with a rotating telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles
theological
of, pertaining to, or involved with theology (study of religion)
tisanes
herb tea
touchstone
a test or criterion for the qualities of a thing
transcended
rose above; went beyond
trilobites
a type of fossil
trounced
defeated; punished severely
turbulences
the haphazard motion caused by eddies within a moving liquid
ubiquitous
existing or being everywhere
undine
water nymph
venerable
commanding respect; worthy of reverence
ventriloquism
the practice of speaking (or sometimes writing), in order that the voice appears to come from another source
vestibule
a passage, hall, or antechamber between the outer door and the interior parts of a house or building
vestigially
a trace, mark, or visible sign left by something vanished or lost
Virginia creeper
a woody vine, native to North America
wolf-whistle
a whistling noise made to express physical attraction, especially by a man towards a woman
xerox
photocopying machine
yuppies
well-paid young middle-class professionals who work in a city job and have luxurious lifestyles