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Word of the day April 1–19, 2022

Words of the day for this month, selected by Wiktionary contributors.

April 19

Calcine v
  1. (transitive)
    1. (alchemy, historical) To heat (a substance) to remove its impurities and refine it.
    2. (chemistry) To heat (a substance) without melting in order to drive off water, etc., and to oxidize or reduce it; specifically, to decompose (carbonates) into oxides, and, especially, to heat (limestone) to form quicklime.
    3. (by extension) To heat (something) to dry and sterilize it.
    4. (figuratively)
      1. To purify or refine (something).
      2. To burn up (something) completely; to incinerate; hence, to destroy (something).
  2. (intransitive, chemistry) Of a substance: to undergo heating so as to oxidize it.

calcine n

  1. Something calcined; also, material left over after burning or roasting.

April 18

Rash adj

April 17

Cold War proper n
  1. (historical) The period of hostility short of open war between the Soviet Bloc and the Western powers, especially the United States, between 1945 and 1991.

Yesterday, 16 April, was the 75th anniversary of the date in 1947 when Bernard Baruch, an American financier and adviser to President Woodrow Wilson, first used the term to describe the political situation referred to above in a speech written by the journalist Herbert Bayard Swope.

April 16

Pentimento n
  1. (art, literature) The presence of traces of a previous work in an artistic or literary work; especially (painting) an image which has been painted over but is still detectable.

Yesterday, 15 April, the anniversary of the day Italian Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci was born 570 years ago in 1452, is declared by the International Association of Art to be World Art Day to celebrate the fine arts.

April 15

Dolour n

April 14

Titanic adj
  1. (not comparable) Of or relating to the Titans, a race of giant gods in Greek mythology.
  2. (by extension)
    1. (comparable) Having great size, or great force, power, or strength.
    2. (not comparable) Of a conflict or contest: involving equally powerful participants.


Titanic proper n

  1. The R.M.S. Titanic, an ocean liner, supposedly unsinkable, that sank on its maiden voyage on 15 April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg.

Titanic n

  1. A venture that fails spectacularly, especially one perceived as overconfident.

Today is the eve of the day when the R.M.S. Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank 110 years ago in 1912. More than 1,500 people died, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

April 13

Fustian n
  1. Originally, a kind of coarse fabric made from cotton and flax; now, a kind of coarse twilled cotton, or cotton and linen, stuff with a short pile and often dyed a dull colour, which is chiefly prepared for menswear.
  2. A class of fabric including corduroy and velveteen.
  3. (figuratively) Inflated, pompous, or pretentious speech or writing; bombast; also (archaic), incoherent or unintelligible speech or writing; gibberish, nonsense.
  4. (alcoholic beverages, archaic) Chiefly in rum fustian: a hot drink made of a mixture of alcoholic beverages (as beer, gin, and sherry or white wine) with egg yolk, lemon, and spices.

fustian adj

  1. Made out of fustian (noun sense 1).
  2. Of a person, or their speech or writing: using inflated, pompous, or pretentious language; bombastic; grandiloquent; also (obsolete) using incoherent or unintelligible language.
  3. (obsolete)
    1. Imaginary; invented.
    2. Useless; worthless.

April 12

Panic adj
  1. (Greek mythology, archaic) Alternative letter-case form of Panic (pertaining to the Greek god Pan)
  2. (by extension (see the etymology))
    1. Of fear, fright, etc: overwhelming or sudden.
    2. Pertaining to or resulting from overwhelming fear or fright.

panic n

  1. (uncountable) Overwhelming fear or fright, often affecting groups of people or animals; (countable) an instance of this; a fright, a scare.
  2. (countable, computing) Short for kernel panic (on Unix-derived operating systems: an action taken by the operating system when it cannot recover from a fatal error); (by extension) any computer system crash.
  3. (countable, economics, finance) A rapid reduction in asset prices due to broad efforts to raise cash in anticipation of such prices continuing to decline.
  4. (countable, US, originally theater, colloquial) A highly amusing or entertaining performer, performance, or show; a riot, a scream.

panic v

  1. (transitive)
    1. To cause (someone) to feel panic (overwhelming fear or fright); also, to frighten (someone) into acting hastily.
    2. (computing) To cause (a computer system) to crash.
    3. (US, colloquial) To highly amuse, entertain, or impress (an audience watching a performance or show).
  2. (intransitive)
    1. To feel panic, or overwhelming fear or fright; to freak out, to lose one's head.
    2. (computing) Of a computer system: to crash. [...]

Brendon Urie, the American singer, songwriter, and musician behind the project Panic! at the Disco, was born on this day 35 years ago in 1987.

April 11

Piepowder n
  1. (obsolete) Chiefly in court of piepowders, etc. (sense 2): a traveller, particularly one on foot; a wayfarer; specifically, a travelling merchant.
  2. (Britain, law, historical) In full court of piepowders (also court of piepowder) or piepowder court: an ancient court in England held in conjunction with a fair or a market to administer summary justice over occurrences therein such as disputes between merchants and acts of theft and violence; they were presided over by the mayor and bailiffs of the borough, or by the steward if the fair or market was held by a lord.

Today is the eve of the tongue-in-cheek International Be Kind to Lawyers Day created by Steve Hughes, which falls every year on the second Tuesday of April.

April 10

Abject adj
  1. Existing in or sunk to a low condition, position, or state; contemptible, despicable, miserable.
  2. (by extension)
    1. (chiefly with a negative connotation) Complete; downright; utter.
    2. (rare) Lower than nearby areas; low-lying.
  3. Of a person: cast down in hope or spirit; showing utter helplessness, hopelessness, or resignation; also, grovelling; ingratiating; servile.

abject n

  1. A person in the lowest and most despicable condition; an oppressed person; an outcast; also, such people as a class.

abject v

  1. To cast off or out (someone or something); to reject, especially as contemptible or inferior.
  2. To cast down (someone or something); to abase; to debase; to degrade; to lower; also, to forcibly impose obedience or servitude upon (someone); to subjugate.
  3. (mycology) Of a fungus: to (forcibly) give off (spores or sporidia).

April 9

Stopgap n
  1. (rare) That which stops up or fills a gap or hole.
  2. (figuratively)
    1. Something spoken to fill up an uncomfortable pause in speech; a filled pause or filler.
    2. A short-term fix or temporary measure used until something better can be obtained; that which serves as an expedient in an emergency; a band-aid solution.
      1. (specifically) A person appointed or hired to fill a position temporarily until a permanent appointment or hire can be made; a temp.

stopgap adj

  1. Filling a gap or pause.
  2. Short-term; temporary.

stopgap v

  1. (transitive) To stop up or fill (a physical gap or hole, or a hiatus).
  2. (intransitive) To use something as a short-term fix or temporary measure until a better alternative can be obtained.
    1. (specifically) To work at a position temporarily until a permanent appointment or hire is made.

April 8

Uproarious adj
  1. Causing, or likely to cause, an uproar.
  2. Characterized by uproar, that is, loud, confused noise, or by noisy and uncontrollable laughter.
  3. (by extension) Extremely funny; hilarious.
  4. (figuratively) In a mess; dishevelled, untidy.

April 7

Fartlek n
  1. An athletic training technique, used especially in running, in which periods of intense effort alternate with periods of less strenuous effort in a continuous workout.

Today is recognized by the United Nations as World Health Day to draw attention to global health issues.

April 6

Titanic adj
  1. (inorganic chemistry) Of or relating to titanium, especially tetravalent titanium.
  2. (mineralogy) Of a mineral, especially iron ore: containing titanium, or from which titanium may be extracted.

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, we are featuring a series of words with unexpected meanings. Enjoy!

April 5

Internet v
  1. (transitive, intransitive, archaic, rare) To entwine or link (several thing) together, so as to form a network; to interconnect, to network. [...]

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, we are featuring a series of words with unexpected meanings. Enjoy!

April 4

Google v
  1. (transitive) To bowl (a cricket ball) so that it performs a googly (a ball by a leg-break bowler that spins from off to leg (to a right-handed batsman), unlike a normal leg-break delivery).
  2. (intransitive)
    1. Of a bowler: to bowl or deliver a googly.
    2. Of a cricket ball: to move as in a googly.

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, we are featuring a series of words with unexpected meanings. Enjoy!

April 3

Monkey business n
  1. Activity that is mischievous, stupid, or time-wasting.
  2. Activity that is morally questionable or even mildly illegal.

The English anthropologist and primatologist Jane Goodall, considered the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, was born on this day in 1934.

April 2

Fungi n
  1. Alternative spelling of fungee (a cornmeal dish from the Caribbean, usually made with okra and served with salt fish, shellfish, or chicken)
  2. (by extension, music) A style of folk and popular music from the Virgin Islands, traditionally performed by bands consisting of banjo, guitar, ukulele, and washboard with various percussion instruments on rhythm.

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, we are featuring a series of words with unexpected meanings. Enjoy!

April 1

Crappo n
  1. (Caribbean, chiefly Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago) A toad (chiefly from the family Bufonidae).


  1. (Trinidad and Tobago) The andiroba or crabwood tree (Carapa guianensis).

To celebrate April Fools’ Day, we are featuring a series of words with unexpected meanings. Enjoy!

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