I had a great time at the Bennington residency. So many good people who are so talented. I still managed to read, however, and finished all words beginning with A.
Archine/arshin: a Russian unit of linear measure
Ardeb: an Egyptian unit of capacity
Are: a unit of surface measure (from the OED:
"The unit of superficial measurement in the French metric system; a square of which the side measures ten metres, equal to 119·6 sq. yards").
Area: a particular extent of space or surface (okay, this is a vague unit, but a measure of something nonetheless)
Ariary: a monetary unit of Madagascar
Arles: money paid to bind a bargain
Arpen/arpent: an old French unit of area (OED: "An obsolete French measure of land, containing a hundred square perches, and varying with the different values of the perch from about an acre and a quarter to about five-sixths of an acre").
Arroba: a Spanish unit of weight
Artal: plural of rotl, a unit of weight in Muslim countries
Asper: a Turkish money of account
Atom: the smallest unit of an element
Att: a monetary unit of Laos
Aurar/eyrir: monetary unit of Iceland
Aureus: a gold coin of ancient Rome
Austral: a former monetary unit of Argentina
Avo: a monetary unit of Macao
!!! Words of the Week
Argufy: to argue stubbornly. As in, "Don't argufy!" The word looks goofy.
Armiger/armigero: one who carries the armor of a knight
Armorial: a treatise on heraldry
Arvo: afternoon (Australian slang)
Ascorbic: relieving scurvy (a-scorbic meaning not-scorbutic, with scorbutic meaning of or pertaining to scurvy).
Ashlar/ashler: to build with squared stones
Assagai/assegai: to pierce with a light spear (ouch)
Assignat: one of the notes issued as currency by the French
Atresia: absence or closure of a natural bodily passage
Ate, n.: reckless ambition that drives one to ruin (OED: "Infatuation, mad impulse; personified by the Greeks as goddess of mischief and authoress of rash destructive deeds").
Autotomy: the shedding of a damaged body part
Axilla: the armpit
Babbitry: conventional middle-class attitudes and behavior stressing respectability and material success (named after George Babbitt, the protagonist in a book by Sinclair Lewis). Need to read this.
Baboo: a Hindu gentleman
👀 Other Observations
Arame is an edible seaweed. Did you know there are at least 32 common types of edible seaweed? Now you know.
Ashcake is my favorite camping food.
To assoil a person is actually to absolve them, to pardon them. "I assoil you" still seems an insult.
Of ships and pirates: atrip/aweigh is to hang just clear of the bottom—used of an anchor. So "Up, up, up and aweigh" instead of "Up, up, up and away" would make ever so much more sense to me, but I am unable to confirm it. But I am able to confirm because of this week's reading that "Avast ye!" means "Stop!" instead of "Hey ho, I'm a pirate!" which is what I thought it meant.
We've got some strange sexist words still in here—more a function of society than of the Scrabble Dictionary compilers, I suspect, but nevertheless, still sexist. Auntlike has no corresponding unclelike, which I think is bizarre (I know it's 9 letters, but it's not in the OED either), and axman has no corresponding axwoman, which miffs me. I find it most irritating—and this is the main problem—that the base word for someone often refers to a man, and suffixes were attached to indicate the woman. Thus the female becomes "marked" and the male is the natural or the neutral state of things—aviatrix vs. aviator, for example, or bachelorette (first recorded use in 1935) and bachelor (first recorded use in 1297, although a woman can now have a bachelor's degree). Some of these words have been reclaimed as honestly neutral words--author, for example—others have yet to refer to any gender. This section of the dictionary had a bunch of unequal words, such as the admittedly outdated automan, an automobile maker (but what about Rosy the Riveter!? Or Wendy the Welder!?) and, because women can be bad too, badman has no corresponding badwoman. Cuts both ways. Down with stereotypes!
♡ Favorite Words of the Week
Archaize: to use archaisms. I wish I knew more outdated expressions so I could be a genuine archaist (until now I didn't know that it was possible to be one).
Arrogate: to claim or take without right
Arval: pertaining to plowed land
Asquint: with a sidelong glance
Astringe: to bind or draw together
♡♡♡Ataraxia: peace of mind. Sounds like it should be some kind of heart attack. This gets triple hearts for being such an awesome word. Etymology is Greek ἀταραξία impassiveness, < ἀ priv. + ταράσσειν to disturb, stir up.
Atoll: a coral island. I think I know more about atolls than I ever thought I would. Miss you, Majuro!
Avulse: to tear off forcibly
Awayness: the state of being distant
Azonic: not restricted to any particular zone
Backrush: the seaward return of water from a wave