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worddefinition
sachem A title of leadership historically given to the head of some Native American tribes.
sachkundig Sachkenntnis besiztend, erfahren, fachmännisch.
salmi A ragout of partially cooked game, as pheasant or woodcock, stewed in wine and butter.
saltato In playing bowed instruments, using a bouncing or "jumping" bow. Usually two or more notes per bow are used.
salto mortale A dangerous and daring jump with possibly lethal outcome; a risky, dangerous or crucial step or undertaking.
salver A tray, typically one made of silver and used in formal circumstances.
salvific Pertaining to the power of salvation or redemption.
samizdat Samizdat (самиздат) was a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet-bloc; individuals reproduced censored publications by hand and passed the documents from reader to reader, thus building a foundation for the successful resistance of the 1980s.
sampaguita Jasminum sambac (syn. Nyctanthes sambac) is a species of jasmine native to southern Asia, in India, Philippines, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
sapper A military engineer who lays or detects and disarms mines.
Saracen 1. Saracen is a term used in the Middle Ages to describe any person (Arab, Turkish, etc.) who followed the religion of Islam. During the time of Roman domination, the term had referred specifically to an Arab tribe living in the Sinai Peninsula. 2. A Bedouin tribe from Sinai, the term was more generally applied to Arabs and Muslims during the Crusades.
sarcopenia Loss of muscle tissue as a natural part of the aging process.
Sassanian The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty (Persian: ساسانیان [sɒsɒnijɒn]) is the name of the last pre-Islamic Iranian empire. It was one of the two main powers in Western Asia for a period of more than 400 years.
satchel charge A satchel charge is a powerful, man-portable explosive device used by infantry and airborne forces.
satori Sudden enlightenment.
saurian Sauria is a clade of reptiles that includes all living diapsids, as well as their common ancestor and all its extinct descendants. The ancestral saurian was probably a small lizard-like creature living in the Permian Period.
scallywag (pejorative) A rascal.
scena (Ital.) Operatic scene for one character, generally embracing a recitative, aria, and finale close.
schistosomiasis Any of various generally tropical diseases caused by infestation with schistosomes, characterized by infection and gradual destruction of the tissues of the kidneys, liver, and other organs. Also called bilharziasis, snail fever.
Schlampe 1. unordentliche, nachlässig gekleidete Frau 2. Frau, die ein unsittliches Leben führt
Schlamperei Laziness, inefficiency, muddleheadedness, especially as a supposed south-German or Austrian characteristic.
schmetternd In horn playing, blared, i.e. notes produced as stopped (with hand inserted in the bell), combined with hard blowing. Normal Brit. indication is + together with ff.
sciamachy Shadow-boxing; fighting that is futile or make-believe.
sclerite A hardened body part, especially in arthropod exoskeletons.
scone A small British quickbread (or cake if recipe includes sugar) of Scottish origin.
scoria 1. The slag or dross that remains after the smelting of metal from an ore. 2. A porous rock that is formed by solidified lava, and which can be found around a volcano's crater.
scot A local tax, paid originally to the lord or ruler and later to a sheriff.
scotoma A scotoma (Greek for darkness; plural: "scotomas" or "scotomata") is an area or island of loss or impairment of visual acuity surrounded by a field of normal or relatively well-preserved vision. The term scotoma is also used metaphorically in psychology to refer to an individual's inability to perceive personality traits in themselves that are obvious to others.
scrapie A fatal disease of sheep characterized by chronic itching and loss of muscular control and progressive degeneration of the central nervous system.
scriptorium A writing room. The term is generally used of the place in a monastery or church where books are made.
scrum An abbreviated form of scrummage, which is now rarely used, except as a verb. In the sports of rugby union and rugby league, a way of restarting the game, either after an accidental infringement or (in rugby league only) when the ball has gone out of play.
scrutator One who scrutinizes; a close examiner or inquirer.
scullion A kitchen servant employed to do menial tasks, especially washing.
scunner A strong dislike; "they took a scunner against the United States."
sealift Transport of military personnel and especially equipment by ship.
sebastomania Religious insanity; religious psychosis.
sedimentology A subset of geomorphology concerned with the investigation of the structure and texture of sediments, i.e. the global term for material deposited on the earth's surface.
seiche A standing wave in an enclosed or partially enclosed body of water. Seiches and seiche-related phenomena have been observed on lakes, reservoirs, swimming pools, bays, and seas.
seigniorage 1. Profit made by a government by issuing currency, esp. the difference between the face value of coins and their production costs. 2. A thing claimed by a sovereign or feudal superior as a prerogative.
seljuk Noting or pertaining to certain Turkish dynasties which ruled over large parts of Asia from the 11th to the 13th centuries.
selvedge The tightly woven edge on a width of fabric holding it together.
Semiramis For the ancient Greeks Semiramis was a legendary Assyrian queen.
seneschal A seneschal was an officer in the houses of important nobles in the Middle Ages. In the French administrative system of the Middle Ages, sénéchal was also a royal officer in charge of justice and control of the administration in southern provinces, equivalent to the northern French bailli.
senna 1. Senna is a form of Eddic poetry consisting of an exchange of insults between participants, ranging from the use of expletives to accusing an opponent of moral or sexual impropriety. It traditionally existed in an oral form, with the famous skald Þórarinn Stuttfeldr once describing the poetry of his opponent as being like leirr ens gamla ara or 'the mud of the eagle'; literally claiming that his poetry was like dung. 2. Any of various plants of the genus Senna having pinnately compound leaves and showy usually yellow flowers; many are used medicinally.
sensum A sense datum.
sept A clan, tribe, or family, proceeding from a common progenitor. Used especially of the ancient clans in Ireland.
seral A seral community (or sere) is an intermediate stage found in ecological succession in an ecosystem advancing towards its climax community. In many cases more than one seral stage evolves until climax conditions are attained.
serape The serape or sarape is a long blanket-like shawl, often brightly colored and fringed at the ends, worn in Mexico, especially by men. "Serape" also can be used to refer to a very soft rectangular blanket with an opening in the middle for one's head, similar to a poncho. Some serapes are made with matching hoods for head covering. The length varies but front and back normally reach knee height on an average person.
seriatim In a series; one after another.
sericulture Raising silkworms in order to obtain raw silk.
sesquipedalian Given to using long words.
set-piece Scenery that will stand without support. Used especially in nonrealistic productions.
sexagesimal Sexagesimal (base 60) is a numeral system with sixty as the base. It originated with the ancient Sumerians in the 3rd millennium BC, was transmitted to the Babylonians, and is still used–in modified form–for measuring time, angles, and geographic coordinates.
shambolic (British slang) disorderly or chaotic; "it's a shambolic system."
sharper (dated) A swindler; a cheat; a professional gambler who makes his living by cheating.
sheet anchor 1. A large strong anchor for use in emergency. 2. A person or thing to be relied upon in an emergency.
shoat Piglet: a young pig.
shrive To hear or receive a confession (of sins etc.); to prescribe penance or absolution; to confess, and receive absolution.
sialorrhea An excessive secretion of saliva.
siblicide Siblicide (attributed to behavioural ecologist Doug Mock), the death of an individual by its close relatives may occur directly between siblings or indirectly across the parent-offspring relationship and is seen to have beneficial indirect results for the genetic viability of a population or direct results for the recipient individuals.
siffleur Qui siffle, particulièrement en parlant de certains oiseaux.
simony The buying or selling of ecclesiastical privileges.
simpliciter Simply; without any qualification or condition.
sinapism The use of mustard plaster for medical purposes.
sine die Without specifying a date (for a future event); indefinitely.
sippet A small piece of something, esp. a piece of toast or fried bean eaten with soup or gravy.
skein A length of thread or yarn wound in a loose, long coil.
slash pile Accumulated debris from cutting brush or trimming trees.
snaffle A broad-mouthed, loose-ringed bit. It brings pressure to bear on the tongue and bars and corners of the mouth. Often used as a training bit.
sociotropy A personality trait associated with high levels of dependence and excessive need to please others.
sodality Companionship.
solenoid A solenoid magnet is a coil of insulated wire, usually cylindrical in shape and with a length greater than its diameter. An electric current passing through the solenoid produces a magnetic field similar to that of a bar magnet.
sorites A complex variety of argument consisting entirely of categorical syllogisms linked together by the use of the same propositions as the conclusions.
soteriology Soteriology is the study of religious doctrines of salvation; salvation theory occupies a place of special significance and importance in many religions. In the academic field of religious studies, soteriology is understood by scholars as signifying a key theme in a number of different religions and is often studied in a comparative context: that is, comparing various ideas about what salvation is and how it is obtained.
souk A street market, particularly in Arabic and Somali speaking countries; a place where people buy and sell goods; a bazaar.
soutane A long cassock with buttons down the front; worn by Roman Catholic priests.
spall Flakes of a material that are broken off a larger solid body and can be produced by a variety of mechanisms, including as a result of projectile impact, corrosion, weathering, cavitation, or excessive rolling pressure (as in a ball bearing).
spalpeen (Irish) Rascal, scamp, blackguard.
spaneria Scarcity of men, as in a particular region, society, or part of the world (contrast spanogyny).
spanogyny A scarcity of women (contrast spaneria).
spavin Bone spavin is osteoarthritis, or the final phase of degenerative joint disease (DJD), in the lower three hock joints. It usually affects the two lowest joints of the hock (the tarsometatarsal and the distal intertarsal joints), with the third joint, the proximal intertarsal, being the least likely to develop bone spavin. This condition has various types: jack spavin when lesion on the tarsal and carpal bones is large, and high spavin when the pathology occurs higher in the joint than is typical.
specie Coinage: coins collectively.
spicatto A bowing technique for stringed instruments in which the bow bounces lightly upon the string.
spindling In computers spindling is the allocation of different files (e.g., the data files and index files of a database) on different hard disks. This practice usually reduces contention for read or write resources, thus increasing the system's performance.
spintronics 1. Spintronics (a neologism meaning "spin transport electronics"), also known as magnetoelectronics, is an emerging technology that exploits the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge, in solid-state devices. 2. The storage and transfer of information using the spin state of electrons as well as their charge.
spirometry Spirometry (meaning the measuring of breath) is the most common of the Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs), measuring lung function, specifically the measurement of the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. Spirometry is an important tool used for generating pneumotachographs which are helpful in assessing conditions such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
spiv A smartly dressed person who trades in illicit, black-market or stolen goods; a flashy con artist, often homeless, who lives by his wits; in Scotland Yard usage, a low and common thief; a slacker; one who shirks responsibility.
spodosol A soil type characteristic of moist climates, with dense subsurface layers of organic matter, aluminum and iron.
sporopollenin A major component of the tough outer (exine) walls of spores and pollen grains. It is chemically very stable and is usually well preserved in soils and sediments.
sporran A small pouch, usually made of either fur or plain or fur-trimmed leather, which is worn, suspended from a belt or chain, on the front of a kilt and used to hold various items normally carried in pants pockets.
sprats Small fatty European fish; usually smoked or canned like sardines.
spume Frothy matter on liquids: foam, scum.
squill 1. A coastal Mediterranean plant (Drimia maritima) of the lily family, with broad leaves, white flowers, and a very large bulb. 2. An extract of the bulb of this plant, which is poisonous and has medicinal and other uses.
squinch A squinch in architecture is a piece of construction used for filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a proper base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome. It was the primitive solution of this problem, the perfected one being eventually provided by the pendentive.
Stabreim Stabreim ist der deutsche Begriff für die Alliteration in germanischen Versmaßen. Die am stärksten betonten Wörter eines Verses werden durch gleiche Anfangslaute (Anlaute) hervorgehoben.
stang A long bar; a pole; a shaft; a stake. In land measure, a pole, rod, or perch.
steatopygia Steatopygia (στεατοπυγία) is a high degree of fat accumulation in and around the buttocks. The deposit of fat is not confined to the gluteal regions, but extends to the outside and front of the thighs.
steganography Steganography is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message, a form of security through obscurity. The word steganography is of Greek origin and means "concealed writing" from the Greek words steganos (στεγανός) meaning "covered or protected", and graphein (γράφειν) meaning "to write." The first recorded use of the term was in 1499 by Johannes Trithemius in his Steganographia, a treatise on cryptography and steganography disguised as a book on magic. Generally, messages will appear to be something else: images, articles, shopping lists, or some other covertext and, classically, the hidden message may be in invisible ink between the visible lines of a private letter. The advantage of steganography, over cryptography alone, is that messages do not attract attention to themselves. Plainly visible encrypted messages–no matter how unbreakable–will arouse suspicion, and may in themselves be incriminating in countries where encryption is illegal. Therefore, whereas cryptography protects the contents of a message, steganography can be said to protect both messages and communicating parties. Steganography includes the concealment of information within computer files. In digital steganography, electronic communications may include steganographic coding inside of a transport layer, such as a document file, image file, program or protocol. Media files are ideal for steganographic transmission because of their large size. As a simple example, a sender might start with an innocuous image file and adjust the color of every 100th pixel to correspond to a letter in the alphabet, a change so subtle that someone not specifically looking for it is unlikely to notice it.
sterane A tetracyclic hydrocarbon related to the steroids.
stichomythia A technique in verse drama in which sequences of single alternating lines, or half-lines (hemistichomythia) or two-line speeches (distichomythia) are given to alternating characters. It typically features repetition and antithesis. The term originated in the theatre of Ancient Greece, though many dramatists since have used the technique. Stichomythia is particularly well suited to sections of dramatic dialogue where two characters are in violent dispute. The rhythmic intensity of the alternating lines combined with quick, biting ripostes in the dialogue can create a powerful effect.
stoat The stoat or ermine, Mustela erminea, is a small predatory mammal of the family Mustelidae. It is also known as a Shorttail (or Short-tailed) Weasel and less frequently as the ermelin.
stock jobber A stock salesperson, esp. one who sells or promotes worthless securities.
Stokes basket A rescue stretcher for moving a casualty or patient to safety in most types of rescue situations, usually built of a high-density polyethylene shell supported by a permanently attached heavy-duty aluminum frame.
stomachion Ostomachion, also known as loculus Archimedius (Archimedes' box in Latin) and also as syntomachion, is a mathematical treatise attributed to Archimedes. This work has survived fragmentarily in an Arabic version and in a copy of the original ancient Greek text made in Byzantine times. The word Ostomachion has as its roots in the Greek "Ὀστομάχιον," which means "bone-fight," from "ὀστέον" (osteon), "bone" + "μάχη" (mache), "fight, battle, combat." Note that the manuscripts refer to the word as "Stomachion," an apparent corruption of the original Greek. Ausonius gives us the correct name "Ostomachion" (quod Graeci ostomachion vocavere). The Ostomachion which he describes was a puzzle similar to tangrams and was played perhaps by several persons with pieces made of bone. It is not known which is older, Archimedes' geometrical investigation of the figure, or the game.
Streltsy Streltsy (Russian: стрельцы́, streltsý, literally "shooters"; sg. стреле́ц, streléts, "shooter", from strelyat' , "to shoot") were the units of Russian guardsmen from the 16th to the early 18th centuries, armed with firearms. They are also collectively known as Marksman Troops (Стрелецкое Войско).
stretta (Italian) a passage at the end of an aria, act or ensemble, in which the tempo is accelerated to effect a climax.
streusel In baking and pastry making, the term streusel (a German word meaning "something scattered or sprinkled," from the verb streuen, akin to the English verb "strew") refers to a crumb topping of butter, flour, and white sugar (traditional German) that is baked on top of muffins, breads, and cakes (e.g. Streuselkuchen).
strigil 1. A strigil was a small, curved, metal tool used in ancient Greece and Rome to scrape dirt and sweat from the body before effective soaps became available. 2. A comblike structure on the forelegs of some insects, used chiefly for grooming.
stromatolite A laminated, rock-like structure built over geologic time by microorganisms such as cyanobacteria.
strudel A strudel is a type of sweet layered pastry with a filling inside, that became well known and gained popularity in the 18th century through the Habsburg Empire.
stupa A stupa (from Sanskrit: m., स्तूप, stūpa, Pāli: थुप "thūpa," literally meaning "heap") is a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of a Buddha or saint, used by Buddhists as a place of worship.
stygian Dark and gloomy; infernal or hellish; of, or relating to the river Styx.
submental Located in, affecting, or performed on the area under the chin.
suborn Incite to commit a crime or an evil deed; "He suborned his butler to cover up the murder of his wife."
subtend 1. In geometry, an angle subtended by an arc is one whose two rays pass through the endpoints of the arc. The precise meaning varies with the context. For example, one may speak of the angle subtended by an arc of a circumference when the angle's vertex is a point on the circumference. A simple theorem of plane geometry states that arcs of equal lengths subtend equal angles in such a situation. 2. To be situated immediately below, as in bracts beneath a flower.
subvention A subsidy; provision of financial or other support.
succès d'estime Success in critical acclaim, though not with the general public or in financial terms.
sui generis In a class of its own; one of a kind; by itself; of its own.
sul ponticello On the bridge; i.e., in string playing, an indication to bow (or sometimes to pluck) very near to the bridge, producing a characteristic glassy sound, which emphasizes the higher harmonics at the expense of the fundamental; the opposite of sul tasto.
sul tasto On the fingerboard; i.e., in string playing, an indication to bow (or sometimes to pluck) over the fingerboard; the opposite of sul ponticello. Playing over the fingerboard produces a warmer, gentler tone.
sulcus Any of the narrow grooves in an organ or tissue especially those that mark the convolutions on the surface of the brain.
sumptuary Sumptuary laws (from Latin sumptuariae leges) are laws that attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were laws that regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions on clothing, food, and luxury expenditures. In most times and places they were ineffectual.
supersession 1. Supersedure: act of replacing one person or thing by another especially one held to be superior. 2. Supersessionism (British English: supercessionism) and replacement theology are particular interpretations of New Testament claims, viewing God's relationship with Christians as being either the "replacement" or "completion" of the promise made to the Jews (or Israelites) and Jewish Proselytes. Biblical expressions of God's relationships with people are known as covenants, so the contentious element of supersessionism is the idea that the New Covenant with the Christians and the Christian Church somehow "replaces" or "completes" the Mosaic Covenant (or Torah) with the Israelites and B'nei Noah.
supervenience In philosophy, supervenience is an ontological relation that is used to describe cases where (roughly speaking) the lower-level properties of a system determine its higher level properties. Many people believe that the world is structured in to a kind of hierarchy of properties, where the higher level properties supervene on the lower level properties. According to this type of view, social properties supervene on psychological properties, psychological properties supervene on biological properties, biological properties supervene on chemical properties, etc. That is, the chemical properties of the world determine a distribution of biological properties, those biological properties determine a distribution of psychological properties, and so forth.
surd 1. A voiceless consonant. 2. An irrational number, especially one expressed using the √ symbol.
sutler A sutler or victualer is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to an army in the field, in camp or in quarters.
swidden An area of land that has been cleared by cutting the vegetation and burning it.
sybarite Voluptuary: a person addicted to luxury and pleasures of the senses.
sybaritic 1. Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Sybarites. 2. Loving luxury or sensuous pleasure.
synapomorphy In cladistics, a synapomorphy or synapomorphic character is a trait that is shared ("symmorphy") by two or more taxa and their last common ancestor, whose ancestor in turn does not possess the trait. Shared derived characters that are regarded as homologous are called synapomorphies, e.g. the presence of mammary glands in all three lineages of mammals (monotremes, marsupials and placentals). These sorts of characters suggest a close relationship of the organisms that share them.
synderesis A technical term from scholastic philosophy, signifying the innate principle in the moral consciousness of every person which directs the agent to good and restrains him from evil.
syndicalism The belief that capitalism is undesirable and should be replaced with labor unions.
synecdoche A figure of speech involving the use of a narrower or a more general term to designate something, e.g. "a sail!" meaning "a ship!"
synoptic 1. Affording a general view of a whole. 2. Manifesting or characterized by comprehensiveness or breadth of view. 3. Relating to or displaying conditions (as of the atmosphere or weather) as they exist simultaneously over a broad area. 4. Of or relating to the first three Gospels of the New Testament.
syrup of ipecac A syrup derived from the dried rhizome and roots of the ipecacuanha plant and is a well-known emetic (substance used to induce vomiting). Commonly referred to as simply Ipecac.
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