sacrosanct \SAK-roh-sankt\ (adjective) -
Sacred or inviolable.
"The public's right to know is sacrosanct, and it is our sacrosanct duty as journalists to respect this right. Otherwise we could no longer proudly call ourselves journalists in the public service." -- Andrea Camilleri, Stephen Sartarelli, 'The Patience of the Spider'
Sacrosanct comes from Latin sacrosanctus, "consecrated with religious ceremonies, hence holy, sacred," from sacrum, "religious rite" (from sacer, "holy") + sanctus, "consecrated," from sancire, "to make sacred by a religious act."
salmagundi \sal-muh-GUHN-dee\ (noun) -
1 : A salad plate usually consisting of chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, and onions, served with oil and vinegar.
2 : Any mixture or assortment; a medley; a potpourri; a miscellany.
"While the movie purported to be a historical drama, most found it to be a baffling salmagundi of underaged, contemporary stars going through the motions of their spoiled television personas in fancier clothing and settings."
Salmagundi comes from French salmigondis.
sapid \SAP-id\ (adjective) -
1 : Having taste or flavor, especially having a strong pleasant flavor.
2 : Agreeable to the mind; to one's liking.
"Chemistry can concentrate the sapid and odorous elements of the peach and the bitter almond into a transparent fluid" -- David William Cheever, 'Tobacco', The Atlantic, August 1860
Sapid comes from Latin sapidus, "savory," from sapere, "to taste."
sartorial \sah(r)-TOR-i-yehl\ (adjective) - Related to tailors and tailoring and, more broadly, to clothes.
"Molly couldn't imagine even the Duke of Wales bedecked in more sartorial splendor than Thomas wore that evening."
From Medieval Latin sartorius, pertaining to a sartor "clothes mender or tailor" (in classical Latin "a hoer, cultivator"). The English noun "sartorius" refers to the longest muscle in the human anatomy, stretching from the hip to the inside of the tibia. The name is related to the cross-legged position assumed by tailors during fittings.
satiety \suh-TY-uh-tee\ (noun) -
The state of being full or gratified to or beyond the point of satisfaction.
"His hungry eyes looked with a hitherto unknown, amazed satiety. More than that: here hunger was satiety and satiety, hunger." -- Harry Steinhauer, 'The Heretic of Soana'
Satiety is from Latin satietas, from satis, "enough."
schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\ (noun) -
A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others.
"That the report of Franklin's grave illness might also have been tinged with Schadenfreude appears not to have crossed Albert's mind."
Schadenfreude comes from the German, from Schaden, "damage" + Freude, "joy." It is often capitalized, as it is in German.
sexcentenary \seks-sen-TEN-uh-ree\ (adjective) -
Relating to the number 600 or a period of 600 years. (noun) - A 600th anniversary.
'As the company looked back on its history on the occasion of its sexcentenary it became obvious that the slow, steady, safe path had gotten them to where they were while competitiors had fallen by the wayside.'
From Latin sex (six) + centenary (a period of 100 year), from centenarius.
sinecure \SY-nih-kyur; SIN-ih-\ (noun) - An office or position that requires or involves little or no responsibility, work, or active service.
"With layoffs looming due to an alleged decrease in attendance, Ronald was puzzled as to why none of the sinecures who peppered the top of the company's rank structure in the role of 'vice-presidents' were being considered for cuts, as one of their salaries would keep dozens of hourly employees working."
Sinecure is from Medieval Latin sine cura, "without care (of souls)," from Latin sine, "without" + cura, "care." Originally the term signified an ecclesiastical benefice without the care of souls.
slugabed \SLUHG-uh-bed\ (noun) -
One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard.
"Perhaps he would lie slugabed till the household had departed for the procession, then get up late. Creep around unobtrusively, lie in the sun with the castle cats." -- Lois McMaster Bujold, 'The Curse of Chalion'
Slugabed is from slug, "sluggard" + abed, "in bed."
small beer \small beer\ (noun) -
1 : Weak beer.
2 : Insignificant matters; something of little importance.
(adjective) - 1 : Unimportant; trivial.
"While Mary was concerned that they would be considered insignificant posers by the 'old money' in their neighborhood, Hugh considered that small beer as their house was one of the most architecturally significant on their block."
Small beer is beer of only slight alcoholic strength; the other senses are derivative.
sockdolager \sok-DOL-uh-juhr\ noun -
1 : A decisive blow or remark.
2 : Something exceptional or outstanding.
"This winter storm was described on the news as a 'real sockdolager,' as the white stuff piled up all along the East Coast like Japanese beetles in a rose trap."
Of unknown origin, apparently from 'sock' as in to hit or strike forcefully.
solecism \SOL-uh-siz-uhm\ (noun) -
1 : A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction; also, a minor blunder in speech.
2 : A breach of good manners or etiquette.
3 : Any inconsistency, mistake, or impropriety.
"In the grammar of their life the honeymoon was an embarrassing solecism, a misplaced modifier or dangling participle remembered forever with a raised eyebrown and a comical shudder." -- Ward S. Just, "The Translator" Solecism comes from Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikizein, "to speak incorrectly," from soloikos, "speaking incorrectly," literally, "an inhabitant of Soloi," a city in ancient Cilicia where a dialect regarded as substandard was spoken.
sporadic \spuh-RAD-ik\ (adjective) - Occurring singly, or occasionally, or in scattered instances.
"The panoply of personages gathered at the head of the hall formed an impressive sight. At the base of the Imperial dais, the High Priests and Priestesses of the Twenty Gods of the Higher Heaven and the Twenty God of the Lower Heaven stood in full regalia." -- Raymond E. Feist, Janny Wurts, 'Mistress of the Empire'
Sporadic derives from Medieval Latin sporadicus, scattered, from Greek sporadikos, from sporas, sporad-, scattered like seed.
sycophant \SIK-uh-fuhnt\ (noun) -
A person who seeks favor by flattering people of wealth or influence; a parasite; a toady.
"But many wiser than McGonagle succumb to the blandishments of the sycophant because, as is well known, the sycophant praises in them what they believe most worthy of praise." -- Alan Isler, 'Clerical Errors'
Sycophant derives from Greek sukophantes, "an accuser (especially a false accuser) or rogue," from sukon, "fig" + phantes, "one who shows," from phainein, "to show."
suasion \SWAY-zhun\ (noun) - The act of persuading; persuasion.
"Melvin always wanted to work in an office wherein power was exercised peacefully by moral suasion and political acumen -- however, his actual experience indicated that such was a world of idealism."
Suasion comes from Latin suasio, from suadere, "to present in a pleasing manner," hence, "to advise." It is related to suave, "gracious or agreeable in manner."
subterfuge \SUB-tur-fyooj\ (noun) -
A deceptive device or stratagem.
"In the end, however, all the stealth and subterfuge were for naught, as the young publicity agent couldn't keep the secret." -- Larry Tye, 'The Father of Spin'
Subterfuge comes from Late Latin subterfugium, "a secret flight," from Latin subterfugere, "to flee in secret, to evade," from subter, "underneath, underhand, in secret" + fugere, "to flee." It is related to fugitive, one who flees.
succor \SUH-kuhr\ (noun) -
1 : Aid; help; assistance; especially, assistance that relieves and delivers from difficulty, want, or distress.
2 : The person or thing that brings relief.
(transitive verb) - To help or relieve when in difficulty, want, or distress; to assist and deliver from suffering; to relieve.
"There was some talk about the perils of the sea, and a landsman delivered himself of the customary nonsense about the poor mariner wandering in far oceans, tempest-tossed, pursued by dangers, every storm blast and thunderbolt in the home skies moving the friends by snug firesides to compassion for that poor mariner, and prayers for his succor." -- Mark Twain, "Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion", The Atlantic, November 1877
Succor derives from Latin succurrere, "to run under, to run or hasten to the aid or assistance of someone," from sub-, "under" + currere, "to run."
superfluous \soo-PER-floo-us\ (adjective) - More than is wanted or is sufficient; rendered unnecessary by superabundance; unnecessary; useless; excessive. (adverb) superfluously, (noun) superfluousness
"You must consider that what is necessary always occurs, and what is superfluous usually, but what is almost necessary, at least in my case, rarely, as a result of which, robbed of all context, it can become slightly pathetic, i.e. amusing." -- Hanns Zischler, 'Kafka Goes to the Movies'
Superfluous comes ultimately from the Latin superfluus, from superfluo, superfluere, to overflow, from super-, over, above + fluo, fluere, to flow.
supposititious \suh-poz-uh-TISH-uhs\ (adjective) - 1 : Fraudulently substituted for something else; not being what it purports to be; not genuine; spurious; counterfeit. 2 : Hypothetical; supposed.
"When it was revealed that the mouse the couple had claimed to find in their soup was supposititious it was thought they would necessarily withdraw their claim."
Supposititious is from Latin suppositicius, from suppositus, past participle of supponere, "to put under, to substitute," from sub-, "under" + ponere, "to put." It is related to suppose.
surreptitious \suhr-uhp-TISH-uhs; suh-rep-\ (adjective) - 1 : Done, made, or gotten by stealth. 2 : Acting with or marked by stealth.
"The company's surreptitious activities regarding its retirement plan, once discovered, were a cause for great concern amongst all the employees."
Surreptitious comes from Latin surrepticius, "stolen, secret, surreptitious," from surripere, "to take away secretly; to steal," from sub-, "under" + rapere, "to seize, to snatch."