Category Archives: Word of the Week

REH Word of the Week: baobab

(painting: “Baobab Tree, South Africa” by Thomas Baines) noun 1. a broad-trunked tropical tree (Adansonia digitata) of the silk-cotton family that is native to Africa and has an edible acidic fruit resembling a gourd and bark used in making paper, cloth, and rope; also any of several related trees chiefly of Madagascar and Australia. [origin: […]

REH Work of the Week: neophyte

noun 1. a person who has just started learning or doing something; a new convert [origin: 14th century; Middle English, from Late Latin neophytus, from Greek neophytos, from neophytes newly planted, newly converted, from ne- + phyein to bring forth] HOWARD’S USAGE: Shatter the shrines and let the idols fall; The gods are dead; Time […]

REH Word of the Week: reinless

    adjective 1. lacking control or guidance; unchecked; unrestrained [origin: Old French reine (Fr. rêne) through Late Latin. retina, from retinēre, to hold back] HOWARD’S USAGE: The day that I die shall the sky be clear And the east sea-wind blow free, Sweeping along with its rover’s song To bear my soul to sea. […]

REH Word of the Week 2009 Revisited: bill

(the bill weapon in the center, upper row is compared to other bladed weapons) noun 1. a weapon in use up to the 18th century that consists of a long staff ending in a hook-shaped blade. [origin: 14th century; Middle English bil, from Old English bill sword; akin to old High German bill pickax HOWARD’S USAGE: There’s […]

REH Word of the Week: bawcocks

Sir Francis Drake by Thomas Heath Robinson noun 1. archaic. a fine fellow [origin: 1599; French beau coq, from beau fine + coq fellow] HOWARD’S USAGE: On Devon downs I met the ghost of Drake; His sigh was a sea-wind that whispered past: “Dost know barnacles crust the rotting strake, And salt weed shrines the […]

REH Word of the Week: censer

noun 1. a container in which incense is burned, typically in a religious ceremony especially a covered vessel swung on chains. [origin: 13th century; Middle English: from Old French censier, from encensier, from encens] HOWARD’S USAGE: “Ages ago (said the lost god) was I born from the flaming dew and the deep blue caverns of […]

REH Word of the Week: avatar

noun 1. the human or animal form of a Hindu god on earth; someone who represents a type of person, an idea or an embodiment (as of a concept or philosophy) often in a person, or a quality; computers: a small picture that represents a computer user. [origin: 1784; Sanskrit avataraḥ descent, from avatarati he descends, […]

REH Word of the Week: veldt

(Boers trekking through South African veldt) original painting by James McConnell) noun 1. an area of grassy land with few trees or shrubs especially in southern Africa [origin: ca 1855; Afrikaans veld, from Dutch, field; akin to Old English field] HOWARD’S USAGE: Along the road to Babel When dawn was in the sky I met […]

REH Word of the Week 2010 Revisited: dree

(The wreck of the SS American Star beneath the ocean) verb 1. endure or suffer (something burdensome or painful) [origin: before 12th century; Middle English from Old English; chiefly Scottish ] HOWARD’S USAGE: There’s a kingdom far from the sun and star With never a wind to dree; Where the golden balls of the silence […]

REH Word of the Week: bloodstone

noun 1. a green chalcedony sprinkled with red spots resembling blood; used as a gemstone [origin: 1551; no etymology for bloodstone but often referred to as heliotrope which is Greek for sun turning.) HOWARD’S USAGE: Through the scented gloom of the great cavern the voice sank to a lulling refrain, and the silken and velvet […]