Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dictionary Highlights: Day 18

back staff - an obsolete instrument for determining the altitude of the sun by facing away from the sun, sighting upon the horizon, adjusting a cursor until its shadow falls upon the sight through which the horizon appears, and measuring the resulting arc.

Obsolete? This looks like an awesome instrument!

backsword -
1. a sword with only one sharp edge; broadsword.
2. (formerly) a cudgel having a basket hilt, used in fencing exhibitions.
3. a backswordman.

I wonder if this can be applied metaphorically to someone's wit (that half is razor sharp and the other half is dull)

backwardation - (on the London stock exchange) the fee paid by a seller of securities to the buyer for the privilege of deferring delivery of purchased securities.

badger plane - in carpentry, a plane for finishing rabbets or the like.

Badger? Rabbets? Is carpentry poaching the vocabulary of hunters?

bafflegab - confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledegook: an insurance policy written in bafflegab impenetrable to a lay person.

Baile Atha Cliath - Gaelic name of Dublin

I vote that Dublin be henceforth known only by its Gaelic name.

baked alaska - a dessert consisting of ice cream on a cake base, placed briefly in a hot oven to brown its topping of meringue.

Sounds like the title to a really stupid buddy comedy.

baleboste - a capable, efficient housewife, esp. a traditional Jewish one, devoted to maintaining a well-run home.

The many advantages of a traditional Jewish home. Gentiles, take note!

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