I libri non sono fatti per crederci, ma per essere sottoposti a indagine. Di fronte a un libro non dobbiamo chiederci cosa dica ma cosa vuole dire.
For a language with such a huge vocabulary, English’s words tend to be ridiculously polyssemic.
abreact: to re-live an experience aiming to release repressed emotions.
aegis: protection; auspices (under the ~).
aloft: high up [of].
anatopism: thing that is out of its proper place.
athwart: from side to side [of], across.
aureate: golden, gilded; inflated and pompous in style.
aver: to assert the truth of; to declare.
beget: to cause, produce.
belletristic: related to belles-lettres
candent: glowing with heat.
canny: cautious; astute; skilled; frugal.
cantankerous: disagreeable, contentious, peevish.
cavil: to criticize for petty reasons.
chichi: affectedly trendy; pretentious.
chide: to scold naggingly.
chirr: to make a shrill, trilling sound, like a grasshopper.
colander: kitchen utensil for straining e.g. pasta.
co-opt: to assimilate, appropriate.
copse: thicket of small tress or bushes.
countenance: appearance; face; composure; (v.) to tolerate; to approve.
crud: filth; contemptible person or thing.
crux: the vital, decisive point; perplexing difficulty.
curlicue: ornamental, fancy twist (lit. or fig.).
daffy: silly, crazy.
doughty: steadfastly courageous.
dun: dull, grayish brown; dark.
easement: relief; convenience.
ebb: to flow back; to fade away.
egress: exit, way out; act thereof.
equipoise: state of equilibrium; counterbalance.
espy: to see at a distance.
extol: to praise loudly, to laud.
festoon: decorative chain of flowers etc. suspended between two points; to adorn [as] w/ ~.
flag: to fall off in vigour; to droop.
flush (adj.): even or level; contiguous; prosperous, abundant; blushing.
fritter: to squander; to shrink (~ away).
gestalt: a unified whole; shape, form.
gumption: initiative; courage; shrewdness.
hale: sound, entire, healthy, robust.
harry: to harass, annoy; to ravage.
inchoate: not yet fully formed; chaotic, disordered, incoherent.
instantiate: to provide an instance of or evidence supporting sth.
jettison: to cast overboard; to throw off.
jones: addiction, intense craving.
jut: to protude; that which protrudes.
knotty: having knots; intricate.
lackadaisical: listless; indolent.
lay (n.): the way wherein sth. lies.
lurid: gruesome; shocking; shining fierily; livid.
mavourneen: darling, sweetheart.
miffed: annoyed, irritated.
mill: to move around aimlessly, confusedly (~ around).
moon: to act listlessly; to sentimentalize; to gaze dreamily; to spend time idly.
muggy: oppressively humid (weather).
mythopoeia: creation of any myth.
niggle: to repeatedly/pettily criticize; to spend to much effort on details.
oscitancy: act of yawning; state of being drowsy or inattentive; dullness.
outlying: lying at a distance, lying outside.
paucity: scarcity, fewness.
protean: variable in form; versatile.
prurient: having, or causing, lascivious thoughts.
rapt: deeply engrossed; enraptured.
riven: torn apart.
sallow: yellowish, dirty, murky.
saprogenic: producing or formed by putrefaction.
schema: plan, diagram; outline, framework.
send-up: humurous parody.
sinew: tendon; strength.
smarmy: excessively flattering, servile, etc.
spindly: slender and weak-looking, like a spindle.
squabble (n., v.): petty quarrel.
tack: to follow a zigzag route; to change one’s course of action.
tapered: narrowing gradually towards a point.
threnody: poem, speech or song of lamentation, esp. for the dead.
topos: a convention or motif.
travail (n., v.): toil; suffering resulting from hardship.
uxorious: too fond of or submissive to one’s wife.
wallop: heavy blow; emotional impact; thrill.
wan: pale, sickly-looking; dim; bland, uninterested.
wanton: done maliciously, unjustifiably; reckless; sexually unrestrained; excessively luxurious.
warren: bldg or area with many tenants in limited quarters.
wheedle: to (try to) influence by flattering.
whopper: uncommonly large object; big lie.
zaftig: plump, full-bodied (esp. woman).
zot: to zap, kill, destroy.