Tuesday 30 April 2013

Z is For Zephyr

Here we are - the 30th April and the last  post in this year's A To Z challenge.

And it's one of those tough letters again - Z.

zephyr (zef-fer) n a soft gentle breeze [Greek zephuros the west wind]

I can see me using this word in summer (as long as we actually get some decent weather in the UK).

Now I know I said that this was the last post in this year's challenge, which is true, however from 3rd May you'll be able to sign up for the A To Z Reflections post.

You can write the post whenever you want but the linky list will only be available for a week after 3rd May. Click here for more details.

Monday 29 April 2013

Y is For Yarborough

Welcome to the penultimate post in this year's A To Z challenge - the letter Y

And today's previouslu unknown word is:

yarborough n bridge, whist a hand in which no card is higher than nine [supposedly after the second earl of Yarborough, said to have bet a thousand to one against its occurrence]

There is a very good reason why I didn't know this word... I've never played bridge or whist in my life.

See you tomorrow for the last post in this year's challenge.

Saturday 27 April 2013

X is For Xerography

Aargh - everybody run for here comes one of if not the most feared letter in the alphabet (for this sort of challenge anyway) - X

Aargh! Run away!

My dictionary has only one A4 page for X and just under half of that is empty.

So X's previously unknown word is:

xerography (zeer-og-ra-fee) n a photocopying process in which an image of the written or printed material is electrically charged on a surface and attracts oppositely charged dry ink particles which are then fixed by heating [Greek xeros dry + -GRAPHY] xerographic adj

That explains where Xerox probably got it's name from. I didn't realise that photocopying had another name... I thought it was just called photocopying.

See you on Monday for our penultimate letter in this year's challenge.

Friday 26 April 2013

W is For Waddy

Only three more letters to go for this A To Z Challenge after this one.

So the previously unknown word for W is:

waddy n, pl -dies a heavy wooden club used by Australian Aborigines

A quick internet search doesn't bring up many photos of a waddy unfortunately.

See you tomorrow

Thursday 25 April 2013

V is For Vacillate

Is V another feared letter in the A To Z Challenge? I'm not sure. Maybe it's feared a little but not as much as some of it's friends - a couple of which who are yet to come.

So today's word is:

vacillate (vass-ill-late) vb -lating, -lated to keep changing one's mind or opinions about something: he vacillated between republican and monarchist sentiments [Latin vacillare to sway] vacillation n

So there you have it - a fancy word for changing your mind.

See you tomorrow

Wednesday 24 April 2013

U is For Ululate

Today's A To Z Challenge letter is the last of the vowels (and another one of those feared letters) - U

Now looking through my dictionary I hadn't realised how many words there are that begin with 'ultra'. But I eventually came to the end of them and arrived at my previously unknown word beginning with U:

ululate (yewl-yew-late) vb literary -lating, -lated to howl or wail [Latin ululare] ululation n

This is one of those words where I'm not entirely sure whether or not I have heard it before. But it did take me a couple of run ups to be able to pronounce it - it's a good thing this definition tells you how to pronounce it.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

T is For Tabla

 In a way I'll be glad when this challenge is over. I keep trying to come up with a new way to introduce each post... but end up introducing every post in more or less the exact same way - give or take a word or two.

So here is T's previously unknown word:

tabla n, pl -bla or -blas one of a pair of Indian drums played with the hands [Hindi, from Arabic: drum]

This link has a photo of a tabla.

See you tomorrow.

Monday 22 April 2013

S is For Sacerdotal

Welcome back to the A To Z Challenge 2013. And so we start week three with the letter 'S'.

So today's previously unknown word is:

sacerdotal adj formal of priests or the priesthood [Latin sacerdos priest]

Never even heard of this one let alone knew what it meant.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday 20 April 2013

R is For Raceme

The last A To Z post for week 3 of the A To Z Challenge is given to the letter R.

And today's previously unknown word is:

raceme (rass-eem) n bot a cluster of flowers along a central stem, as in the foxglove [Latin racemus bunch of grapes]

I'm not particular green fingered, so that is probably why I'd never heard of this word (but I did know what a foxglove was).

See you on Monday!

Friday 19 April 2013

Q is For Quagmire (No, Not That Quagmire)

Today's A To Z Challenge letter is one of the feared ones... Q.

Although given my theme I should do ok with this one. The Q section in my dictionary is only 5 and a bit pages long.

So today's previously unknown word beginning with Q is:

quagmire (kwog-mire) n a soft wet area of land that gives way under the feet; bog [from quag bog + mire]

Now I had heard of quagmire but not as another word for a bog. I had heard of Quagmire - the name of a peculiar and vaguely disturbing character from Family Guy.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 18 April 2013

P is For Paean

Day 16 of the A To Z Challenge is here (yes I know it's the 18th April but you don't count the Sundays in April).

And with it - the letter P.

So today's word is:

paean (pee-an) n literary an expression of praise or joy [Greek paian hymn to Apollo]

I'm pretty sure that I've never heard of this word before... or if I had heard it I'm pretty sure I didn't know what it actually meant.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

O is For Oast

Oh... I mean O - that's today's letter in the A To Z Challenge.

And today's previously unknown word that begins with O is:

oast n chiefly Brit an oven for drying hops [Old English āst)

This link shows you photos of oast houses where the oasts would be. 

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

N is For Nacelle

Welcome back to the A To Z Challenge and today's' letter - N.

So today's word is:

nacelle (nah-sell) n a streamlined enclosure on an aircraft, esp. one housing an engine [French: small boat]

In case you didn't know this word and you are not still sure what it means this link shows you a photo and a slightly more in depth definition.

See you tomorrow.

Monday 15 April 2013

M is For Machiavellian

Week 3 of the A To Z Challenge has arrived. And with comes our next letter - M.

So the first word that I came to that I didn't know and began with M was:

Machiavellian (mak-ee-a-vel-yan) adj cleverly deceitful and unscrupulous [after Machiavelli, political philosopher] Machiavellianism n

Now I think I've heard this word before, but I'm pretty sure that I've never known what it meant.

See you tomorrow

Saturday 13 April 2013

L is For Lachrymose


The last letter for the second week of the A To Z Challenge is 'L'.

And so today's definition is:

lachrymose adj 1 given to weeping; tearful 2 mournful; sad [Latin lacrima a tear]

 I'll be back next week - see you then.

Friday 12 April 2013

K is For Kabaddi

Today's definition is:

kabaddi n a game in which players try to touch opposing players but avoid being captured by them.

Now I had never heard of this game before and the above definition doesn't really give a lot away does it?

So I looked up a more in depth definition.

And then I looked it up on YouTube - this link is for a video of India Vs Pakistan in the Kabbadi World Cup last year (it does last an hour so if you want to just see the game in action start it at about 5.30).

It looks to me like a (probably) more complicated version of tig (or tag in the US) - but I don't even pretend to know all the rules.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday 11 April 2013

J is For Jacaranda

So today's previously unknown word is:

jacaranda n a tropical American tree with sweet-smelling wood and pale purple flowers [from a Native American language]

The second I saw the word purple (my favourite colour) I had to find a photo of a jacaranda tree - it's soooo pretty! :)

I want one!

Which is a shame as it sounds as though it is really difficult to grow them in the UK - so I probably can't have one! Unless I move to a hotter country or something...

That's my exclamation mark quota all used up so I guess I'll just have to keep looking out of the window at my other favourite blossoming tree - cherry blossom... which is also soooo pretty.

This is the cherry blossom tree in my garden but it doesn't look quite like this at the moment as it has only just started to flower (actually it started to flower just before the last snowfall - poor confused cherry blossom). We actually have two of these trees but the second one doesn't blossom until about two weeks after this one finishes - weird huh?

So there we are jacaranda trees (and cherry blossom too :) ).

Wednesday 10 April 2013

I is For Iamb (Iamb Not Lamb!)

Today's previously unknown word that begins with 'I' is:

iamb (eye-am) or iambus n, pl iambs or iambuses prosody a metrical foot of two syllables, a short one followed by a long one [Greek iambos]

Now that might seem like a complicated definition. However thanks to a comment on my post defining 'dactyl' from Donna of Mainely Write I'm pretty sure I understand what it means.

Thanks Donna :)

See you tomorrow

Tuesday 9 April 2013

H is For Hachure

Day 8 of the A to Z Challenge has arrived and with it the letter H.

hachure (hash-yoor) n shading of short lines drawn on a map to indicate the degree of steepness of a hill [French]

I knew that such lines existed on a map but I didn't know that this is what they were called.

Granted I don't look at maps that often these days... and I didn't look at them a great deal whilst I was at school - occasionally in geography until I stopped studying that and the odd couple of times they sent us orienteering.

See you tomorrow.

Monday 8 April 2013

G is For Gado-gado

Did you enjoy your break from A to Zing yesterday?

Well we're back in week 2 of the A To Z Challenge with the the letter G.

gado-gado n an Indonesian dish of cooked mixed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs served with a peanut sauce [Bahasa Indonesia]

I'm not sure whether that sounds appetising to me or not - it might greatly depend on what type of vegetables are in it and what it looks like once it's on the plate (or in the dish depending on it's consistency).

A little further down the page I spied the word gadzooks which made me giggle just a little bit - I don't know why it made me laugh.

See you tomorrow

Saturday 6 April 2013

F is For Factotum

Today's previously unknown word is:

factotum n a person employed to do all kinds of work [Latin fac! do! + totum all]

Sounds kind of like a 'jack of all trades'.

I will not see you tomorrow as Sundays are our days off in the A To Z Challenge - so I will see you Monday instead.

Friday 5 April 2013

E is For Ebullient

Day 5 is here and so on we go to the letter E in the A To Z Challenge. This one took me a little longer to find. The previous four letters I found a word a didn't know on the very first page - about the fourth or fifth entry. But this one was more difficult to find - I seem to know quite a few words that begin with E - well words that begin with 'ea' anyway (I'm not saying I know all the words that begin with 'es' - just the ones in the dictionary that I am using).

Today's formerly unknown to me word is:

ebullient adj full of enthusiasm or excitement [Latin ebullire to bubble forth, be boisterous] ebullience n

Til tomorrow!

Thursday 4 April 2013

D is For Dactyl

Welcome to day 4 of the A To Z Challenge.

And today's previously unknown word beginning with the letter D is:

dactyl n prosody a metrical foot of three syllables, one long followed by two short [Greek daktulos finger, comparing the finger's three joints to the three syllables] dactylic adj

And I'll be honest I'm still not sure what it means although I am led to believe it is something to do with poetry - this is the moment when any poets in the audience starting hurling things at me for not knowing what it means... unless of course it has nothing to do with poetry then the poets won't be all that concerned.

I think I'd heard the word before now but after having read the definition I doubt that I've ever known what it meant let alone used the word.

See you tomorrow

Wednesday 3 April 2013

C is For Cabal


The A To Z Challenge has entered it's 3rd day and so I come to my next new word (well new for me anyway).

So today's word is:

cabal (kab-bal) n 1 a small group of political plotters 2 a secret plot or conspiracy [French cabale

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday 2 April 2013

B is For Baas

Day 2 of the A To Z Challenge has arrived and so on to the next letter.

So the first word that I came to in my dictionary that I didn't know and began with B was:

baas n S African a boss [Afrikaans]

Now after I had found my word my eyes drifted down the page and landed on another word I didn't know - babaco - which according to my dictionary is a greenish yellow egg shaped fruit. Curiosity got the better of me so I decided to look for a picture of a babaco. If you click that link you can look at a photo or you can do an internet image search for babaco.

Now I don't know about you but I've never seen an egg shaped like that before. Now I might be wrong - there may be an animal out there that lays eggs like that but I don't know of one.

I'm beginning to wonder if I can completely trust my dictionary...

But anyway today you got two words for the price of one.