British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
C(1) n. (also c) (pl. Cs or C's) 1 the third letter of the
alphabet. 2 Mus. the first note of the diatonic scale of C
major (the major scale having no sharps or flats). 3 the third
hypothetical person or example. 4 the third highest class or
category (of academic marks etc.). 5 Algebra (usu. c) the
third known quantity. 6 (as a Roman numeral) 100. 7 (c) the
speed of light in a vacuum. 8 (also °) copyright.
cab n. 1 a taxi. 2 the driver's compartment in a lorry, train, or
crane. 3 hist. a hackney carriage. [abbr. of CABRIOLET]
cabal n. 1 a secret intrigue. 2 a political clique or faction. 3
hist. a committee of five ministers under Charles II, whose
surnames happened to begin with C, A, B, A, and L. [F cabale f.
med.L cabala, CABBALA]
cabala var. of CABBALA.
caballero n. (pl. -os) a Spanish gentleman. [Sp.: see CAVALIER]
cabana n. US a hut or shelter at a beach or swimming-pool. [Sp.
caba¤a f. LL (as CABIN)]
cabaret n. 1 an entertainment in a nightclub or restaurant while guests
eat or drink at tables. 2 such a nightclub etc. [F, = wooden
cabbage n. 1 a any of several cultivated varieties of Brassica
oleracea, with thick green or purple leaves forming a round
heart or head. b this head usu. eaten as vegetable. 2 colloq.
derog. a person who is inactive or lacks interest. Ьcabbage
palm a palm tree, Cordyline australis, with edible cabbage-like
terminal buds. cabbage rose a double rose with a large round
compact flower. cabbage tree = cabbage palm. cabbage white a
butterfly, Pieris brassicae, whose caterpillars feed on cabbage
leaves. ЬЬcabbagy adj. [earlier cabache, -oche f. OF (Picard)
caboche head, OF caboce, of unkn. orig.]
cabbala n. (also cabala, kabbala) 1 the Jewish mystical tradition. 2
mystic interpretation; any esoteric doctrine or occult lore.
ЬЬcabbalism n. cabbalist n. cabbalistic adj. [med.L f.
Rabbinical Heb. kabbalѓ tradition]
cabby n. (also cabbie) (pl. -ies) colloq. a taxi-driver. [CAB +
caber n. a roughly trimmed tree-trunk used in the Scottish Highland
sport of tossing the caber. [Gael. cabar pole]
cabin n. & v. --n. 1 a small shelter or house, esp. of wood. 2 a
room or compartment in an aircraft or ship for passengers or
crew. 3 a driver's cab. --v.tr. (cabined, cabining) confine
in a small place, cramp. Ьcabin-boy a boy who waits on a ship's
officers or passengers. cabin class the intermediate class of
accommodation in a ship. cabin crew the crew members on an
aeroplane attending to passengers and cargo. cabin cruiser a
large motor boat with living accommodation. [ME f. OF cabane f.
Prov. cabana f. LL capanna, cavanna]
cabinet n. 1 a a cupboard or case with drawers, shelves, etc., for
storing or displaying articles. b a piece of furniture housing
a radio or television set etc. 2 (Cabinet) the committee of
senior ministers responsible for controlling government policy.
3 archaic a small private room. Ьcabinet-maker a skilled
joiner. Cabinet Minister Brit. a member of the Cabinet.
cabinet photograph one of about 6 by 4 inches. cabinet pudding
a steamed pudding with dried fruit. [CABIN + -ET(1), infl. by F
cable n. & v. --n. 1 a thick rope of wire or hemp. 2 an encased
group of insulated wires for transmitting electricity or
electrical signals. 3 a cablegram. 4 a Naut. the chain of an
anchor. b a measure of 200 yards. 5 (in full cable stitch) a
knitted stitch resembling twisted rope. 6 Archit. a rope-shaped
ornament. --v. 1 a tr. transmit (a message) by cablegram. b
tr. inform (a person) by cablegram. c intr. send a cablegram.
2 tr. furnish or fasten with a cable or cables. 3 Archit. tr.
furnish with cables. Ьcable-car 1 a small cabin (often one of a
series) suspended on an endless cable and drawn up and down a
mountainside etc. by an engine at one end. 2 a carriage drawn
along a cable railway. cable-laid (of rope) having three triple
strands. cable railway a railway along which carriages are
drawn by an endless cable. cable television a broadcasting
system with signals transmitted by cable to subscribers' sets.
[ME f. OF chable, ult. f. LL capulum halter f. Arab. habl]
cablegram n. a telegraph message sent by undersea cable etc.
cableway n. a transporting system with a usu. elevated cable.
cabman n. (pl. -men) the driver of a cab.
cabochon n. a gem polished but not faceted. Ь en cabochon (of a gem)
treated in this way. [F dimin. of caboche: see CABBAGE]
caboodle n. Ьthe whole caboodle sl. the whole lot (of persons or
things). [19th c. US: perh. f. phr. kit and boodle]
caboose n. 1 a kitchen on a ship's deck. 2 US a guard's van; a car on
a freight train for workmen etc. [Du. cabuse, of unkn. orig.]
cabotage n. 1 Naut. coastal navigation and trade. 2 esp. Aeron. the
reservation to a country of (esp. air) traffic operation within
its territory. [F f. caboter to coast, perh. f. Sp. cabo
cabotin n. (fem. cabotine) a second-rate actor; a strolling player.
[F, = strolling player, perh. formed as CABOTAGE, from the
resemblance to vessels travelling from port to port]
cabriole n. a kind of curved leg characteristic of Queen Anne and
Chippendale furniture. [F f. cabrioler, caprioler f. It.
capriolare to leap in the air; from the resemblance to a leaping
animal's foreleg: see CAPRIOLE]
cabriolet n. 1 a light two-wheeled carriage with a hood, drawn by one
horse. 2 a motor car with a folding top. [F f. cabriole
goat's leap (cf. CAPRIOLE), applied to its motion]
ca'canny n. 1 the practice of 'going slow' at work; a trade union policy
of limiting output. 2 extreme caution. [Sc., = proceed warily:
see CALL v. 16, CANNY]
cacao n. (pl. -os) 1 a seed pod from which cocoa and chocolate are
made. 2 a small widely cultivated evergreen tree, Theobroma
cacao, bearing these. [Sp. f. Nahuatl cacauatl (uatl tree)]
cachalot n. a sperm whale. [F f. Sp. & Port. cachalote, of unkn.
cache n. & v. --n. 1 a hiding-place for treasure, provisions,
ammunition, etc. 2 what is hidden in a cache. --v.tr. put in a
cache. [F f. cacher to hide]
cachectic adj. relating to or having the symptoms of cachexia.
cachet n. 1 a distinguishing mark or seal. 2 prestige. 3 Med. a flat
capsule enclosing a dose of unpleasant-tasting medicine. [F f.
cacher press ult. f. L coactare constrain]
cachexia n. (also cachexy) a condition of weakness of body or mind
associated with chronic disease. [F cachexie or LL cachexia f.
Gk kakhexia f. kakos bad + hexis habit]
cackle n. & v. --n. 1 a clucking sound as of a hen or a goose. 2 a
loud silly laugh. 3 noisy inconsequential talk. --v. 1 intr.
emit a cackle. 2 intr. talk noisily and inconsequentially. 3
tr. utter or express with a cackle. Ьcut the cackle colloq.
stop talking aimlessly and come to the point. [ME prob. f. MLG,
MDu. kakelen (imit.)]
cacodemon n. (also cacodaemon) 1 an evil spirit. 2 a malignant person.
[Gk kakodaimon f. kakos bad + daimon spirit]
cacodyl n. a malodorous, toxic, spontaneously flammable liquid,
tetramethyldiarsine. ЬЬcacodylic adj. [Gk kakodes stinking f.
cacoethes n. an urge to do something inadvisable. [L f. Gk kakoethes
neut. adj. f. kakos bad + ethos disposition]
n. 1 bad handwriting. 2 bad spelling. ЬЬcacographer n.
cacographic adj. cacographical adj. [Gk kakos bad, after
cacology n. 1 bad choice of words. 2 bad pronunciation. [LL cacologia
f. Gk kakologia vituperation f. kakos bad]
n. any racoon-like animal of several species of the genus
Bassariscus, native to Central America, having a dark-ringed
tail. [Amer. Sp. cacomixtle f. Nahuatl tlacomiztli]
cacophony n. (pl. -ies) 1 a harsh discordant mixture of sound. 2
dissonance; discord. ЬЬcacophonous adj. [F cacophonie f. Gk
kakophonia f. kakophonos f. kakos bad + phone sound]
cactus n. (pl. cacti or cactuses) any succulent plant of the family
Cactaceae, with a thick fleshy stem, usu. spines but no leaves,
and brilliantly coloured flowers. Ьcactus dahlia any kind of
dahlia with quilled petals resembling a cactus flower.
ЬЬcactaceous adj. [L f. Gk kaktos cardoon]
cacuminal adj. Phonet. pronounced with the tongue-tip curled up towards
the hard palate. [L cacuminare make pointed f. cacumen -minis
CAD abbr. computer-aided design.
cad n. a person (esp. a man) who behaves dishonourably. ЬЬcaddish
adj. caddishly adv. caddishness n. [abbr. of CADDIE in sense
cadastral adj. of or showing the extent, value, and ownership, of land
for taxation. [F f. cadastre register of property f. Prov.
cadastro f. It. catast(r)o, earlier catastico f. late Gk
katastikhon list, register f. kata stikhon line by line]
cadaver n. esp. Med. a corpse. ЬЬcadaveric adj. [ME f. L f. cadere
caddie n. & v. (also caddy) --n. (pl. -ies) a person who assists a
golfer during a match, by carrying clubs etc. --v.intr.
(caddies, caddied, caddying) act as caddie. Ьcaddie car (or
cart) a light two-wheeled trolley for transporting golf clubs
during a game. [orig. Sc. f. F CADET]
n. (pl. -flies) any small hairy-winged nocturnal insect of the
order Trichoptera, living near water. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
caddish see CAD.
n. (also caddis) a larva of the caddis-fly, living in water and
making protective cylindrical cases of sticks, leaves, etc., and
used as fishing-bait. [as CADDIS-FLY]
caddy(1) n. (pl. -ies) a small container, esp. a box for holding tea.
[earlier catty weight of 1 1/3 lb., f. Malay kati]
caddy(2) var. of CADDIE.
cadence n. 1 a fall in pitch of the voice, esp. at the end of a phrase
or sentence. 2 intonation, tonal inflection. 3 Mus. the close
of a musical phrase. 4 rhythm; the measure or beat of sound or
movement. ЬЬcadenced adj. [ME f. OF f. It. cadenza, ult. f. L
cadential adj. of a cadence or cadenza.
cadenza n. Mus. a virtuosic passage for a solo instrument or voice,
usu. near the close of a movement of a concerto, sometimes
improvised. [It.: see CADENCE]
cadet n. 1 a young trainee in the armed services or police force. 2
NZ an apprentice in sheep-farming. 3 a younger son.
ЬЬcadetship n. [F f. Gascon dial. capdet, ult. f. L caput
cadge v. 1 tr. get or seek by begging. 2 intr. beg. ЬЬcadger n.
[19th c., earlier = ? bind, carry: orig. unkn.]
cadi n. (also kadi) (pl. -is) a judge in a Muslim country. [Arab.
kadi f. kada to judge]
n. = pyrrhic victory (see PYRRHIC(1)). [L Cadmeus f. Gk
Kadmeios f. Kadmos Cadmus: see CADMIUM]
cadmium n. a soft bluish-white metallic element occurring naturally
with zinc ores, and used in the manufacture of solders and in
electroplating. °Symb.: Cd. Ьcadmium cell Electr. a standard
primary cell. cadmium yellow an intense yellow pigment
containing cadmium sulphide and used in paints etc. [obs.
cadmia calamine f. L cadmia f. Gk kadm(e)ia (ge) Cadmean
(earth), f. Cadmus legendary founder of Thebes: see -IUM]
cadre n. 1 a basic unit, esp. of servicemen, forming a nucleus for
expansion when necessary. 2 also a a group of activists in a
communist or any revolutionary party. b a member of such a
group. [F f. It. quadro f. L quadrus square]
caduceus n. (pl. caducei) an Ancient Greek or Roman herald's wand, esp.
as carried by the messenger-god Hermes or Mercury. [L f. Doric
Gk karuk(e)ion f. kerux herald]
caducous adj. Biol. (of organs and parts) easily detached or shed at an
early stage. ЬЬcaducity n. [L caducus falling f. cadere fall]
caecilian n. (also coecilian) any burrowing wormlike amphibian of the
order Gymnophiona, having poorly developed eyes and no limbs.
[L caecilia kind of lizard]
caecitis n. (US cecitis) inflammation of the caecum.
caecum n. (US cecum) (pl. -ca) a blind-ended pouch at the junction of
the small and large intestines. ЬЬcaecal adj. [L for
intestinum caecum f. caecus blind, transl. of Gk tuphlon
Caenozoic var. of CENOZOIC.
Caerns. abbr. Caernarvonshire (a former county in Wales).
n. a kind of mild white cheese orig. made in Caerphilly in
Caesar n. 1 the title of the Roman emperors, esp. from Augustus to
Hadrian. 2 an autocrat. 3 Med. sl. a Caesarean section; a
case of this. ЬCaesar's wife a person required to be above
suspicion. [L, family name of Gaius Julius Caesar, Roman
statesman d. 44 BC]
Caesarean adj. & n. (also Caesarian, US Ces-) --adj. 1 of Caesar or the
Caesars. 2 (of a birth) effected by Caesarean section. --n. a
Caesarean section. ЬCaesarean section an operation for
delivering a child by cutting through the wall of the abdomen
(Julius Caesar supposedly having been born this way). [L
caesious adj. Bot. bluish or lavender. [L caesius]
caesium n. (US cesium) a soft silver-white element of the alkali metal
group, occurring naturally in a number of minerals, and used in
photoelectric cells. °Symb.: Cs. Ьcaesium clock an atomic
clock that uses caesium. [as CAESIOUS (from its spectrum
caesura n. (pl. caesuras) Prosody 1 (in Greek and Latin verse) a break
between words within a metrical foot. 2 (in modern verse) a
pause near the middle of a line. ЬЬcaesural adj. [L f.
caedere caes- cut]
CAF abbr. US cost and freight.
cafard n. melancholia. [F, = cockroach, hypocrite]
caf‚ n. (also cafe also joc.) 1 a small coffee-house or teashop; a
simple restaurant. 2 US a bar. Ь caf‚ au lait 1 coffee with
milk. 2 the colour of this. caf‚ noir black coffee. caf‚
society the regular patrons of fashionable restaurants and
nightclubs. [F, = coffee, coffee-house]
cafeteria n. a restaurant in which customers collect their meals on trays
at a counter and usu. pay before sitting down to eat. [Amer.
Sp. cafeterЎa coffee-shop]
caff n. Brit. sl. = CAFђ. [abbr.]
caffeine n. an alkaloid drug with stimulant action found in tea leaves
and coffee beans. [F caf‚ine f. caf‚ coffee]
caftan n. (also kaftan) 1 a long usu. belted tunic worn by men in
countries of the Near East. 2 a a woman's long loose dress. b
a loose shirt or top. [Turk. kaftan, partly through F cafetan]
cage n. & v. --n. 1 a structure of bars or wires, esp. for
confining animals or birds. 2 any similar open framework, esp.
an enclosed platform or lift in a mine or the compartment for
passengers in a lift. 3 colloq. a camp for prisoners of war.
--v.tr. place or keep in a cage. Ьcage-bird a bird of the kind
customarily kept in a cage. [ME f. OF f. L cavea]
cagoule n. a hooded thin windproof garment worn in mountaineering etc.
cahoots n.pl. Ьin cahoots (often foll. by with) sl. in collusion.
[19th c.: orig. uncert.]
CAI abbr. computer-assisted (or -aided) instruction.
caiman var. of CAYMAN.
Cain n. Ьraise Cain colloq. make a disturbance; create trouble.
[Cain, eldest son of Adam (Gen. 4)]
Cainozoic var. of CENOZOIC.
caique n. 1 a light rowing-boat on the Bosporus. 2 a Levantine
sailing-ship. [F f. It. caicco f. Turk. kayik]
cairn n. 1 a mound of rough stones as a monument or landmark. 2 (in
full cairn terrier) a a small terrier of a breed with short
legs, a longish body, and a shaggy coat (perhaps so called from
its being used to hunt among cairns). b this breed. [Gael.
cairngorm n. a yellow or wine-coloured semi-precious form of quartz.
[found on Cairngorm, a mountain in Scotland f. Gael. carn gorm
caisson n. 1 a watertight chamber in which underwater construction work
can be done. 2 a floating vessel used as a floodgate in docks.
3 an ammunition chest or wagon. Ьcaisson disease =
decompression sickness. [F (f. It. cassone) assim. to caisse
caitiff n. & adj. poet. or archaic --n. a base or despicable person; a
coward. --adj. base, despicable, cowardly. [ME f. OF caitif,
chaitif ult. f. L captivus CAPTIVE]
cajole v.tr. (often foll. by into, out of) persuade by flattery,
deceit, etc. ЬЬcajolement n. cajoler n. cajolery n. [F
cake n. & v. --n. 1 a a mixture of flour, butter, eggs, sugar,
etc., baked in the oven. b a quantity of this baked in a flat
round or ornamental shape and often iced and decorated. 2 a
other food in a flat round shape (fish cake). b = cattle-cake.
3 a flattish compact mass (a cake of soap). 4 Sc. & N.Engl.
thin oaten bread. --v. 1 tr. & intr. form into a compact mass.
2 tr. (usu. foll. by with) cover (with a hard or sticky mass)
(boots caked with mud). Ьcakes and ale merrymaking. have one's
cake and eat it colloq. enjoy both of two mutually exclusive
alternatives. like hot cakes rapidly or successfully. a piece
of cake colloq. something easily achieved. a slice of the cake
participation in benefits. [ME f. ON kaka]
cakewalk n. 1 a dance developed from an American Black contest in
graceful walking with a cake as a prize. 2 colloq. an easy
task. 3 a form of fairground entertainment consisting of a
promenade moved by machinery.
CAL abbr. computer-assisted learning.
Cal abbr. large calorie(s).
Cal. abbr. California.
cal abbr. small calorie(s).
n. a poisonous seed of the tropical African climbing plant
Physostigma venosum, yielding a medicinal extract. [Calabar in
calabash n. 1 a an evergreen tree, Crescentia cujete, native to tropical
America, bearing fruit in the form of large gourds. b a gourd
from this tree. 2 the shell of this or a similar gourd used as
a vessel for water, to make a tobacco pipe, etc. [F calebasse
f. Sp. calabaza perh. f. Pers. karbuz melon]
calaboose n. US a prison. [Black F calabouse f. Sp. calabozo dungeon]
calabrese n. a large succulent variety of sprouting broccoli. [It., =
calamanco n. (pl. -oes) hist. a glossy woollen cloth chequered on one
side. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. a fine-grained red-brown ebony streaked with black, from the
Asian tree Diospyros qualsita, used in furniture. [19th c.:
orig. unkn.: perh. conn. with Sinh. word for the tree
calamary n. (pl. -ies) any cephalopod mollusc with a long tapering
penlike horny internal shell, esp. a squid of the genus Loligo.
[med.L calamarium pen-case f. L calamus pen]
calamine n. 1 a pink powder consisting of zinc carbonate and ferric
oxide used as a lotion or ointment. 2 a zinc mineral usu. zinc
carbonate. [ME f. F f. med.L calamina alt. f. L cadmia: see
calamint n. any aromatic herb or shrub of the genus Calamintha, esp. C.
officinalis with purple or lilac flowers. [ME f. OF calament f.
med.L calamentum f. LL calaminthe f. Gk kalaminthe]
calamity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a disaster, a great misfortune. 2 a
adversity. b deep distress. ЬCalamity Jane a prophet of
disaster. ЬЬcalamitous adj. calamitously adv. [ME f. F
calamit‚ f. L calamitas -tatis]
calando adv. Mus. gradually decreasing in speed and volume. [It., =
calash n. hist. 1 a a light low-wheeled carriage with a removable
folding hood. b the folding hood itself. 2 Can. a two-wheeled
horse-drawn vehicle. 3 a woman's hooped silk hood. [F calЉche
f. G Kalesche f. Pol. kolaska or Czech kolesa]
calc- comb. form lime or calcium. [G Kalk f. L CALX]
calcaneus n. (also calcaneum) (pl. calcanei or calcanea) the bone
forming the heel. [L]
adj. (also calcarious) of or containing calcium carbonate;
chalky. [L calcarius (as CALX)]
n. Bot. any plant of the genus Calceolaria, native to S.
America, with slipper-shaped flowers. [mod.L f. L calceolus
dimin. of calceus shoe + - aria fem. = -ARY(1)]
adj. Bot. slipper-shaped.
calces pl. of CALX.
n. one of the D vitamins, routinely added to dairy products,
essential for the deposition of calcium in bones. Also called
ERGOCALCIFEROL, vitamin D. [CALCIFEROUS + -OL(1)]
calcify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) 1 harden or become hardened by
deposition of calcium salts; petrify. 2 convert or be converted
to calcium carbonate. ЬЬcalcific adj. calcification n.
calcine v. 1 tr. a reduce, oxidize, or desiccate by strong heat. b
burn to ashes; consume by fire; roast. c reduce to calcium
oxide by roasting or burning. 2 tr. consume or purify as if by
fire. 3 intr. undergo any of these. ЬЬcalcination n. [ME f.
OF calciner or med.L calcinare f. LL calcina lime f. L CALX]
calcite n. natural crystalline calcium carbonate. [G Calcit f. L CALX
calcium n. a soft grey metallic element of the alkaline earth group
occurring naturally in limestone, marble, chalk, etc., that is
important in industry and essential for normal growth in living
organisms. °Symb.: Ca. Ьcalcium carbide a greyish solid used
in the production of acetylene. calcium carbonate a white
insoluble solid occurring naturally as chalk, limestone, marble,
and calcite, and used in the manufacture of lime and cement.
calcium hydroxide a white crystalline powder used in the
manufacture of plaster and cement; slaked lime. calcium oxide a
white crystalline solid from which many calcium compounds are
manufactured: also called QUICKLIME, CALX. calcium phosphate
the main constituent of animal bones and used as bone ash
fertilizer. calcium sulphate a white crystalline solid
occurring as anhydrite and gypsum. [L CALX lime + -IUM]
calcrete n. Geol. a conglomerate formed by the cementation of sand and
gravel with calcium carbonate. [L calc lime + con crete]
calcspar n. = CALCITE. [CALC- + SPAR(3)]
adj. able to be calculated or estimated. ЬЬcalculability n.
calculate v. 1 tr. ascertain or determine beforehand, esp. by mathematics
or by reckoning. 2 tr. plan deliberately. 3 intr. (foll. by
on, upon) rely on; make an essential part of one's reckoning
(calculated on a quick response). 4 tr. US colloq. suppose,
believe. ЬЬcalculative adj. [LL calculare (as CALCULUS)]
adj. 1 (of an action) done with awareness of the likely
consequences. 2 (foll. by to + infin.) designed or suitable;
intended. ЬЬcalculatedly adv.
adj. (of a person) shrewd, scheming. ЬЬcalculatingly adv.
n. 1 the act or process of calculating. 2 a result got by
calculating. 3 a reckoning or forecast. [ME f. OF f. LL
calculatio (as CALCULATE)]
n. 1 a device (esp. a small electronic one) used for making
mathematical calculations. 2 a person or thing that calculates.
3 a set of tables used in calculation. [ME f. L (as CALCULATE)]
calculus n. (pl. calculuses or calculi) 1 Math. a a particular method
of calculation or reasoning (calculus of probabilities). b the
infinitesimal calculuses of integration or differentiation (see
integral calculus, differential calculus). 2 Med. a stone or
concretion of minerals formed within the body. ЬЬcalculous adj.
(in sense 2). [L, = small stone used in reckoning on an abacus]
caldera n. a large volcanic depression. [Sp. f. LL caldaria
caldron var. of CAULDRON.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Scotland. 2 Geol. of a
mountain-forming period in Europe in the Palaeozoic era. --n. a
Scotsman. [L Caledonia northern Britain]
n. & adj. Med. --n. a substance producing or causing a
sensation of warmth. --adj. of this substance. [L calefacere
f. calere be warm + facere make]
calendar n. & v. --n. 1 a system by which the beginning, length, and
subdivisions of the year are fixed. 2 a chart or series of
pages showing the days, weeks, and months of a particular year,
or giving special seasonal information. 3 a timetable or
programme of appointments, special events, etc. --v.tr.
register or enter in a calendar or timetable etc. Ьcalendar
month (or year) see MONTH, YEAR. ЬЬcalendric adj. calendrical
adj. [ME f. AF calender, OF calendier f. L calendarium
account-book (as CALENDS)]
calender n. & v. --n. a machine in which cloth, paper, etc., is pressed
by rollers to glaze or smooth it. --v.tr. press in a calender.
[F calendre(r), of unkn. orig.]
calends n.pl. (also kalends) the first of the month in the ancient
Roman calendar. [ME f. OF calendes f. L kalendae]
calendula n. any plant of the genus Calendula, with large yellow or
orange flowers, e.g. marigold. [mod.L dimin. of calendae (as
CALENDS), perh. = little clock]
calenture n. hist. a tropical delirium of sailors, who think the sea is
green fields. [F f. Sp. calentura fever f. calentar be hot
ult. f. L calere be warm]
calf(1) n. (pl. calves) 1 a young bovine animal, used esp. of domestic
cattle. 2 the young of other animals, e.g. elephant, deer, and
whale. 3 Naut. a floating piece of ice detached from an
iceberg. Ьcalf-love romantic attachment or affection between
adolescents. in (or with) calf (of a cow) pregnant. ЬЬcalfhood
n. calfish adj. calflike adj. [OE c‘lf f. WG]
calf(2) n. (pl. calves) the fleshy hind part of the human leg below
the knee. ЬЬ-calved adj. (in comb.). [ME f. ON k lfi, of unkn.
calfskin n. calf-leather, esp. in bookbinding and shoemaking.
calibrate v.tr. 1 mark (a gauge) with a standard scale of readings. 2
correlate the readings of (an instrument) with a standard. 3
determine the calibre of (a gun). 4 determine the correct
capacity or value of. ЬЬcalibration n. calibrator n. [CALIBRE
calibre n. (US caliber) 1 a the internal diameter of a gun or tube. b
the diameter of a bullet or shell. 2 strength or quality of
character; ability, importance (we need someone of your
calibre). ЬЬcalibred adj. (also in comb.). [F calibre or It.
calibro, f. Arab. kalib mould]
caliche n. 1 a mineral deposit of gravel, sand, and nitrates, esp.
Chile saltpetre, found in dry areas of America. 2 = CALCRETE.
calico n. & adj. --n. (pl. -oes or US -os) 1 a cotton cloth, esp.
plain white or unbleached. 2 US a printed cotton fabric.
--adj. 1 made of calico. 2 US multicoloured, piebald.
[earlier calicut f. Calicut in India]
Calif. abbr. California.
n. Chem. a transuranic radioactive metallic element produced
artificially from curium. °Symb.: Cf. [California (where it
was first made) + -IUM]
caliper var. of CALLIPER.
caliph n. esp. hist. the chief Muslim civil and religious ruler,
regarded as the successor of Muhammad. ЬЬcaliphate n. [ME f.
OF caliphe f. Arab. Kalifa successor]
var. of CALLISTHENICS.
calk US var. of CAULK.
call v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a (often foll. by out) cry, shout; speak
loudly. b (of a bird or animal) emit its characteristic note or
cry. 2 tr. communicate or converse with by telephone or radio.
3 tr. a bring to one's presence by calling; summon (will you
call the children?). b arrange for (a person or thing) to come
or be present (called a taxi). 4 intr. (often foll. by at, in,
on) pay a brief visit (called at the house; called in to see
you; come and call on me). 5 tr. a order to take place; fix a
time for (called a meeting). b direct to happen; announce (call
a halt). 6 a intr. require one's attention or consideration
(duty calls). b tr. urge, invite, nominate (call to the bar).
7 tr. name; describe as (call her Della). 8 tr. consider;
regard or estimate as (I call that silly). 9 tr. rouse from
sleep (call me at 8). 10 intr. guess the outcome of tossing a
coin etc. 11 intr. (foll. by for) order, require, demand
(called for silence). 12 tr. (foll. by over) read out (a list
of names to determine those present). 13 intr. (foll. by on,
upon) invoke; appeal to; request or require (called on us to be
quiet). 14 tr. Cricket (of an umpire) disallow a ball from (a
bowler). 15 tr. Cards specify (a suit or contract) in bidding.
16 tr. Sc. drive (an animal, vehicle, etc.). --n. 1 a shout
or cry; an act of calling. 2 a the characteristic cry of a bird
or animal. b an imitation of this. c an instrument for
imitating it. 3 a brief visit (paid them a call). 4 a an act
of telephoning. b a telephone conversation. 5 a an invitation
or summons to appear or be present. b an appeal or invitation
(from a specific source or discerned by a person's conscience
etc.) to follow a certain profession, set of principles, etc. 6
(foll. by for, or to + infin.) a duty, need, or occasion (no
call to be rude; no call for violence). 7 (foll. by for, on) a
demand (not much call for it these days; a call on one's time).
8 a signal on a bugle etc.; a signalling-whistle. 9 Stock Exch.
an option of buying stock at a fixed price at a given date. 10
Cards a a player's right or turn to make a bid. b a bid made.
Ьat call = on call. call away divert, distract. call-box a
public telephone box or kiosk. call-boy a theatre attendant who
summons actors when needed on stage. call down 1 invoke. 2
reprimand. call forth elicit. call-girl a prostitute who
accepts appointments by telephone. call in tr. 1 withdraw from
circulation. 2 seek the advice or services of. calling-card US
= visiting-card. call in (or into) question dispute; doubt the
validity of. call into play give scope for; make use of. call
a person names abuse a person verbally. call off 1 cancel (an
arrangement etc.). 2 order (an attacker or pursuer) to desist.
call of nature a need to urinate or defecate. call out 1 summon
(troops etc.) to action. 2 order (workers) to strike.
call-over 1 a roll-call. 2 reading aloud of a list of betting
prices. call the shots (or tune) be in control; take the
initiative. call-sign (or -signal) a broadcast signal
identifying the radio transmitter used. call to account see
ACCOUNT. call to mind recollect; cause one to remember. call
to order 1 request to be orderly. 2 declare (a meeting) open.
call up 1 reach by telephone. 2 imagine, recollect. 3 summon,
esp. to serve in the army. call-up n. the act or process of
calling up (sense 3). on call 1 (of a doctor etc.) available if
required but not formally on duty. 2 (of money lent) repayable
on demand. within call near enough to be summoned by calling.
[OE ceallian f. ON kalla]
calla n. 1 (in full calla lily) = arum lily. 2 an aquatic plant,
Calla palustris. [mod.L]
caller n. 1 a person who calls, esp. one who pays a visit or makes a
telephone call. 2 Austral. a racing commentator.
n. 1 handwriting, esp. when fine or pleasing. 2 the art of
handwriting. ЬЬcalligrapher n. calligraphic adj.
calligraphist n. [Gk kalligraphia f. kallos beauty]
calling n. 1 a profession or occupation. 2 an inwardly felt call or
summons; a vocation.
calliope n. US a keyboard instrument resembling an organ, with a set of
steam whistles producing musical notes. [Gk Kalliope muse of
epic poetry (lit. 'beautiful-voiced')]
calliper n. & v. (also caliper) --n. 1 (in pl.) (also calliper
compasses) compasses with bowed legs for measuring the diameter
of convex bodies, or with out-turned points for measuring
internal dimensions. 2 (in full calliper splint) a metal splint
to support the leg. --v.tr. measure with callipers. [app. var.
n.pl. (also calisthenics) gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily
fitness and grace of movement. ЬЬcallisthenic adj. [Gk kallos
beauty + sthenos strength]
callop n. Austral. a gold-coloured freshwater fish, Plectroplites
ambiguus, used as food. Also called golden perch. [Aboriginal]
callosity n. (pl. -ies) a hard thick area of skin usu. occurring in
parts of the body subject to pressure or friction. [F callosit‚
or L callositas (as CALLOUS)]
callous adj. & n. --adj. 1 unfeeling, insensitive. 2 (of skin)
hardened or hard. --n. = CALLUS 1. ЬЬcallously adv. (in sense
1 of adj.). callousness n. [ME f. L callosus (as CALLUS) or F
callow adj. inexperienced, immature. ЬЬcallowly adv. callowness n.
calluna n. any common heather of the genus Calluna, native to Europe
and N. Africa. [mod.L f. Gk kalluno beautify f. kallos beauty]
callus n. 1 a hard thick area of skin or tissue. 2 a hard tissue
formed round bone ends after a fracture. 3 Bot. a new
protective tissue formed over a wound. [L]
calm adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 tranquil, quiet, windless (a calm sea;
a calm night). 2 (of a person or disposition) settled; not
agitated (remained calm throughout the ordeal). 3 self-assured,
confident (his calm assumption that we would wait). --n. 1 a
state of being calm; stillness, serenity. 2 a period without
wind or storm. --v.tr. & intr. (often foll. by down) make or
become calm. ЬЬcalmly adv. calmness n. [ME ult. f. LL cauma
f. Gk kauma heat]
calmative adj. & n. Med. --adj. tending to calm or sedate. --n. a
calmative drug etc.
calomel n. a compound of mercury, esp. when used medicinally as a
cathartic. [mod.L perh. f. Gk kalos beautiful + melas black]
Calor gas n. propr. liquefied butane gas stored under pressure in
containers for domestic use and used as a substitute for mains
gas. [L calor heat]
caloric adj. & n. --adj. of heat or calories. --n. hist. a supposed
material form or cause of heat. [F calorique f. L calor heat]
calorie n. (also calory) (pl. -ies) a unit of quantity of heat: 1 (in
full small calorie) the amount needed to raise the temperature
of 1 gram of water through 1 шC. °Abbr.: cal. 2 (in full large
calorie) the amount needed to raise the temperature of 1
kilogram of water through 1 шC, often used to measure the energy
value of foods. °Abbr.: Cal. [F, arbitr. f. L calor heat +
calorific adj. producing heat. Ьcalorific value the amount of heat
produced by a specified quantity of fuel, food, etc.
ЬЬcalorifically adv. [L calorificus f. calor heat]
n. any of various instruments for measuring quantity of heat,
esp. to find calorific values. ЬЬcalorimetric adj.
calorimetry n. [L calor heat + -METER]
calory var. of CALORIE.
calque n. Philol. = loan-translation. [F, = copy, tracing f. calquer
trace ult. f. L calcare tread]
caltrop n. (also caltrap) 1 hist. a four-spiked iron ball thrown on the
ground to impede cavalry horses. 2 Heraldry a representation of
this. 3 any creeping plant of the genus Tribulus, with woody
carpels usu. having hard spines. [(sense 3) OE calcatrippe f.
med.L calcatrippa: (senses 1-2) ME f. OF chauchetrape f.
chauchier tread, trappe trap: ult. the same word]
calumet n. a N. American Indian peace-pipe. [F, ult. f. L calamus
v.tr. slander. ЬЬcalumniation n. calumniator n. calumniatory
adj. [L calumniari]
calumny n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 slander; malicious representation.
2 an instance of this. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) slander.
ЬЬcalumnious adj. [L calumnia]
calvados n. an apple brandy. [Calvados in France]
Calvary n. the place where Christ was crucified. [ME f. LL calvaria
skull, transl. Gk golgotha, Aram. g–lg–ltѓ (Matt. 27:33)]
calve v. 1 a intr. give birth to a calf. b tr. (esp. in passive)
give birth to (a calf). 2 tr. (also absol.) (of an iceberg)
break off or shed (a mass of ice). [OE calfian]
calves pl. of CALF(1), CALF(2).
Calvinism n. the theology of the French theologian J. Calvin (d. 1564) or
his followers, in which predestination and justification by
faith are important elements. ЬЬCalvinist n. Calvinistic adj.
Calvinistical adj. [F calvinisme or mod.L calvinismus]
calx n. (pl. calces) 1 a powdery metallic oxide formed when an ore
or mineral has been heated. 2 calcium oxide. [L calx calcis
lime prob. f. Gk khalix pebble, limestone]
calypso n. (pl. -os) a W. Indian song in African rhythm, usu.
improvised on a topical theme. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
calyx n. (also calix) (pl. calyces or calyxes) 1 Bot. the sepals
collectively, forming the protective layer of a flower in bud.
2 Biol. any cuplike cavity or structure. [L f. Gk kalux case of
bud, husk: cf. kalupto hide]
cam n. a projection on a rotating part in machinery, shaped to
impart reciprocal or variable motion to the part in contact with
it. [Du. kam comb: cf. Du. kamrad cog-wheel]
n. mutual trust and sociability among friends. [F]
camarilla n. a cabal or clique. [Sp., dimin. of camara chamber]
Camb. abbr. Cambridge.
camber n. & v. --n. 1 the slightly convex or arched shape of the
surface of a road, ship's deck, aircraft wing, etc. 2 the
slight sideways inclination of the front wheel of a motor
vehicle. --v. 1 intr. (of a surface) have a camber. 2 tr.
give a camber to; build with a camber. [F cambre arched f. L
camurus curved inwards]
n. a deep purple butterfly, Nymphalis antiopa, with
yellow-bordered wings. [Camberwell in London]
cambium n. (pl. cambia or cambiums) Bot. a cellular plant tissue
responsible for the increase in girth of stems and roots.
ЬЬcambial adj. [med.L, = change, exchange]
Cambodian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native or national of Cambodia
(Kampuchea) in SE Asia. b a person of Cambodian descent. 2 the
language of Cambodia. --adj. of or relating to Cambodia or its
people or language. Also called KAMPUCHEAN.
Cambrian adj. & n. --adj. 1 Welsh. 2 Geol. of or relating to the first
period in the Palaeozoic era, marked by the occurrence of many
forms of invertebrate life (including trilobites and
brachiopods). °Cf. Appendix II. --n. this period or system.
[L Cambria var. of Cumbria f. Welsh Cymry Welshman or Cymru
cambric n. a fine white linen or cotton fabric. [Kamerijk, Flem. form
of Cambrai in N. France, where it was orig. made]
n. & adj. a pale blue. [Cambridge in S. England]
Cambs. abbr. Cambridgeshire.
camcorder n. a combined video camera and sound recorder. [camera + re
came past of COME.
camel n. 1 either of two kinds of large cud-chewing mammals having
slender cushion-footed legs and one hump (Arabian camel, Camelus
dromedarius) or two humps (Bactrian camel, Camelus bactrianus).
2 a fawn colour. 3 an apparatus for providing additional
buoyancy to ships etc. Ьcamel (or camel's) -hair 1 the hair of
a camel. 2 a a fine soft hair used in artists' brushes. b a
fabric made of this. [OE f. L camelus f. Gk kamelos, of Semitic
cameleer n. a camel-driver.
camellia n. any evergreen shrub of the genus Camellia, native to E.
Asia, with shiny leaves and showy flowers. [J. Camellus or
Kamel, 17th-c. Jesuit botanist]
n. archaic a giraffe. [L camelopardus f. Gk kamelopardalis (as
camelry n. (pl. -ies) troops mounted on camels.
Camembert n. a kind of soft creamy cheese, usu. with a strong flavour.
[Camembert in N. France, where it was orig. made]
cameo n. (pl. -os) 1 a a small piece of onyx or other hard stone
carved in relief with a background of a different colour. b a
similar relief design using other materials. 2 a a short
descriptive literary sketch or acted scene. b a small character
part in a play or film, usu. brief and played by a distinguished
actor. [ME f. OF camahieu and med.L cammaeus]
camera n. 1 an apparatus for taking photographs, consisting of a
lightproof box to hold light-sensitive film, a lens, and a
shutter mechanism, either for still photographs or for
motion-picture film. 2 Telev. a piece of equipment which forms
an optical image and converts it into electrical impulses for
transmission or storage. Ьcamera obscura an internally darkened
box with an aperture for projecting the image of an external
object on a screen inside it. camera-ready Printing (of copy)
in a form suitable for immediate photographic reproduction. in
camera 1 Law in a judge's private room. 2 privately; not in
public. on camera (esp. of an actor or actress) being filmed or
televised at a particular moment. [orig. = chamber f. L camera
f. Gk kamara vault etc.]
cameraman n. (pl. -men) a person who operates a camera professionally,
esp. in film-making or television.
n.pl. Brit. a one-piece close-fitting undergarment formerly
worn by women. [CAMISOLE + KNICKERS]
camisole n. an under-bodice, usu. embroidered. [F f. It. camiciola or
Sp. camisola: see CHEMISE]
camomile n. (also chamomile) any aromatic plant of the genus Anthemis or
Matricaria, with daisy-like flowers. Ьcamomile tea an infusion
of its dried flowers used as a tonic. [ME f. OF camomille f. LL
camomilla or chamomilla f. Gk khamaimelon earth-apple (from the
apple-smell of its flowers)]
n. & v. --n. 1 a the disguising of military vehicles,
aircraft, ships, artillery, and installations by painting them
or covering them to make them blend with their surroundings. b
such a disguise. 2 the natural colouring of an animal which
enables it to blend in with its surroundings. 3 a misleading or
evasive precaution or expedient. --v.tr. hide or disguise by
means of camouflage. [F f. camoufler disguise f. It.
camuffare disguise, deceive]
camp(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a place where troops are lodged or trained.
b the military life (court and camp). 2 temporary overnight
lodging in tents etc. in the open. 3 a temporary accommodation
of various kinds, usu. consisting of huts or tents, for
detainees, homeless persons, and other emergency use. b a
complex of buildings for holiday accommodation, usu. with
extensive recreational facilities. 4 an ancient fortified site
or its remains. 5 the adherents of a particular party or
doctrine regarded collectively (the Labour camp was jubilant).
6 S.Afr. a portion of veld fenced off for pasture on farms. 7
Austral. & NZ an assembly place of sheep or cattle. --v.intr.
1 set up or spend time in a camp (in senses 1 and 2 of n.). 2
(often foll. by out) lodge in temporary quarters or in the open.
3 Austral. & NZ (of sheep or cattle) flock together esp. for
rest. Ьcamp-bed a folding portable bed of a kind used in
camping. camp-fire an open-air fire in a camp etc.
camp-follower 1 a civilian worker in a military camp. 2 a
disciple or adherent. camp-site a place for camping. ЬЬcamping
n. [F f. It. campo f. L campus level ground]
camp(2) adj., n., & v. colloq. --adj. 1 affected, effeminate. 2
homosexual. 3 done in an exaggerated way for effect. --n. a
camp manner or style. --v.intr. & tr. behave or do in a camp
way. Ьcamp it up overact; behave affectedly. ЬЬcampy adj.
(campier, campiest). campily adv. campiness n. [20th c.:
campaign n. & v. --n. 1 an organized course of action for a particular
purpose, esp. to arouse public interest (e.g. before a political
election). 2 a a series of military operations in a definite
area or to achieve a particular objective. b military service
in the field (on campaign). --v.intr. conduct or take part in a
campaign. ЬЬcampaigner n. [F campagne open country f. It.
campagna f. LL campania]
campanile n. a bell-tower (usu. free-standing), esp. in Italy. [It. f.
n. 1 the study of bells. 2 the art or practice of
bell-ringing. ЬЬcampanologer n. campanological adj.
campanologist n. [mod.L campanologia f. LL campana bell]
campanula n. any plant of the genus Campanula, with bell-shaped usu.
blue, purple, or white flowers. Also called BELLFLOWER. [mod.L
dimin. of L campana bell]
adj. Bot. & Zool. bell-shaped.
n. = LOGWOOD. [Campeche in Mexico, from where it was first
camper n. 1 a person who camps out or lives temporarily in a tent,
hut, etc., esp. on holiday. 2 a large motor vehicle with
accommodation for camping out.
camphor n. a white translucent crystalline volatile substance with
aromatic smell and bitter taste, used to make celluloid and in
medicine. ЬЬcamphoric adj. [ME f. OF camphore or med.L
camphora f. Arab. kafur f. Skr. karpuram]
v.tr. impregnate or treat with camphor.
campion n. 1 any plant of the genus Silene, with usu. pink or white
notched flowers. 2 any of several similar cultivated plants of
the genus Lychnis. [perh. f. obs. campion f. OF, = CHAMPION:
transl. of Gk lukhnis stephanomatike a plant used for
campus n. (pl. campuses) 1 the grounds of a university or college. 2
esp. US a university, esp. as a teaching institution. [L, =
CAMRA abbr. Campaign for Real Ale.
camshaft n. a shaft with one or more cams attached to it.
camwood n. a hard red wood from a tree Pterocarpus soyauxii, native to
W. Africa. [perh. f. Temne]
can(1) v.aux. (3rd sing. present can; past could) (foll. by infin.
without to, or absol.; present and past only in use) 1 a be able
to; know how to (I can run fast; can he?; can you speak
German?). b be potentially capable of (you can do it if you
try). 2 be permitted to (can we go to the party?). [OE cunnan
can(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a metal vessel for liquid. 2 a tin container
in which food or drink is hermetically sealed to enable storage
over long periods. 3 (prec. by the) sl. a prison (sent to the
can). b US lavatory. --v.tr. (canned, canning) 1 put or
preserve in a can. 2 record on film or tape for future use.
Ьcan of worms colloq. a complicated problem. can-opener a
device for opening cans (in sense 2 of n.). in the can colloq.
completed, ready (orig. of filmed or recorded material).
ЬЬcanner n. [OE canne]
Can. abbr. Canada; Canadian.
Canaan n. 1 a promised land (orig. that west of the River Jordan, the
Promised Land of the Israelites). 2 heaven. [eccl.L f. eccl.Gk
Khanaan f. Heb. k e na'an]
n. Biol. a yellow resin obtained from the balsam fir and used
for mounting preparations on microscope slides (its refractive
index being similar to that of glass).
n. a wild goose, Branta canadensis, of N. America, with a
brownish-grey body and white cheeks and breast.
canaille n. the rabble; the populace. [F f. It. canaglia pack of dogs
f. cane dog]
canal n. 1 an artificial waterway for inland navigation or
irrigation. 2 any of various tubular ducts in a plant or
animal, for carrying food, liquid, or air. 3 Astron. any of a
network of apparent linear markings on the planet Mars, which
are observed from earth but not at close range. Ьcanal boat a
long narrow boat for use on canals. canal ray a beam of
positive ions moving through a bored hole in the cathode of a
high-vacuum tube. [ME f. OF (earlier chanel) f. L canalis or
canalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make a canal through. 2 convert (a river)
into a canal. 3 provide with canals. 4 give the desired
direction or purpose to. ЬЬcanalization n. [F canaliser: see
canap‚ n. 1 a small piece of bread or pastry with a savoury on top,
often served as an hors-d'oeuvre. 2 a sofa. [F]
canard n. 1 an unfounded rumour or story. 2 an extra surface attached
to an aeroplane forward of the main lifting surface, for extra
stability or control. [F, = duck]
Canarese var. of KANARESE.
canary n. (pl. -ies) 1 any of various small finches of the genus
Serinus, esp. S. canaria, a songbird native to the Canary
Islands, with mainly yellow plumage. 2 hist. a sweet wine from
the Canary Islands. Ьcanary-coloured coloured canary yellow.
canary creeper a climbing plant, Tropaeolium peregrinum, with
flowers of bright yellow deeply toothed petals which give the
appearance of a small bird in flight. canary grass a
Mediterranean plant Phalaris canariensis, grown as a crop plant
for bird seed. canary yellow bright yellow. [Canary Islands f.
F Canarie f. Sp. & L Canaria f. canis dog, one of the islands
being noted in Roman times for large dogs]
canasta n. 1 a card-game using two packs and resembling rummy, the aim
being to collect sets (or melds) of cards. 2 a set of seven
cards in this game. [Sp., = basket]
canaster n. tobacco made from coarsely broken dried leaves. [orig. the
container: Sp. canastro ult. f. Gk kanastron]
cancan n. a lively stage-dance with high kicking, performed by women
in long skirts and petticoats. [F]
cancel v. & n. --v. (cancelled, cancelling; US canceled, canceling) 1
tr. a withdraw or revoke (a previous arrangement). b
discontinue (an arrangement in progress). 2 tr. obliterate or
delete (writing etc.). 3 tr. mark or pierce (a ticket, stamp,
etc.) to invalidate it. 4 tr. annul; make void; abolish. 5
(often foll. by out) a tr. (of one factor or circumstance)
neutralize or counterbalance (another). b intr. (of two factors
or circumstances) neutralize each other. 6 tr. Math. strike
out (an equal factor) on each side of an equation or from the
numerator and denominator of a fraction. --n. 1 a countermand.
2 the cancellation of a postage stamp. 3 Printing a new page or
section inserted in a book to replace the original text, usu. to
correct an error. 4 Mus. US a natural-sign. ЬЬcanceller n.
[ME f. F canceller f. L cancellare f. cancelli crossbars,
n. 1 the act or an instance of cancelling or being cancelled.
2 something that has been cancelled, esp. a booking or
reservation. [L cancellatio (as CANCEL)]
adj. (of a bone) with pores. [L cancelli lattice]
cancer n. 1 a any malignant growth or tumour from an abnormal and
uncontrolled division of body cells. b a disease caused by
this. 2 an evil influence or corruption spreading
uncontrollably. 3 (Cancer) a a constellation, traditionally
regarded as contained in the figure of a crab. b the fourth
sign of the zodiac (the Crab). c a person born when the sun is
in this sign. Ьcancer stick sl. a cigarette. Tropic of Cancer
see TROPIC. ЬЬCancerian n. & adj. (in sense 3). cancerous adj.
[ME f. L, = crab, cancer, after Gk karkinos]
cancroid adj. & n. --adj. 1 crablike. 2 resembling cancer. --n. a
disease resembling cancer.
candela n. the SI unit of luminous intensity. °Abbr.: cd. [L, =
n. (also candelabra) (pl. candelabra, US candelabrums,
candelabras) a large branched candlestick or lamp-holder.
Ьcandelabrum tree a tropical E. African tree, Euphorbia
candelabrum, with foliage shaped like a candelabrum. [L f.
adj. glowing with or as with white heat. ЬЬcandescence n. [L
candere be white]
candid adj. 1 frank; not hiding one's thoughts. 2 (of a photograph)
taken informally, usu. without the subject's knowledge. Ьcandid
camera a small camera for taking candid photographs. ЬЬcandidly
adv. candidness n. [F candide or L candidus white]
candida n. any yeastlike parasitic fungus of the genus Candida, esp.
C. albicans causing thrush. [mod.L fem. of L candidus: see
candidate n. 1 a person who seeks or is nominated for an office, award,
etc. 2 a person or thing likely to gain some distinction or
position. 3 a person entered for an examination. ЬЬcandidacy
n. candidature n. Brit. [F candidat or L candidatus
white-robed (Roman candidates wearing white)]
candle n. & v. --n. 1 a cylinder or block of wax or tallow with a
central wick, for giving light when burning. 2 = CANDLEPOWER.
--v.tr. test (an egg) for freshness by holding it to the light.
Ьcannot hold a candle to cannot be compared with; is much
inferior to. not worth the candle not justifying the cost or
trouble. ЬЬcandler n. [OE candel f. L candela f. candere
n. 1 light provided by candles. 2 dusk.
Candlemas n. a feast with blessing of candles (2 Feb.), commemorating the
Purification of the Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ
in the Temple. [OE Candelm‘sse (as CANDLE, MASS(2))]
n. a unit of luminous intensity.
n. a holder for one or more candles.
n. 1 a thick soft cotton yarn. 2 material made from this, usu.
with a tufted pattern.
candour n. (US candor) candid behaviour or action; frankness. [F
candeur or L candor whiteness]
C. & W. abbr. country-and-western.
candy n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 (in full sugar-candy) sugar
crystallized by repeated boiling and slow evaporation. 2 US
sweets; a sweet. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (usu. as candied adj.)
preserve by coating and impregnating with a sugar syrup (candied
fruit). [F sucre candi candied sugar f. Arab. kand sugar]
n. Brit. a fluffy mass of spun sugar wrapped round a stick.
n. a pattern consisting of alternate stripes of white and a
colour (usu. pink). ЬЬcandystriped adj.
candytuft n. any of various plants of the genus Iberis, native to W.
Europe, with white, pink, or purple flowers in tufts. [obs.
Candy (Candia Crete) + TUFT]
cane n. & v. --n. 1 a the hollow jointed stem of giant reeds or
grasses (bamboo cane). b the solid stem of slender palms
(malacca cane). 2 = sugar cane. 3 a raspberry-cane. 4
material of cane used for wickerwork etc. 5 a a cane used as a
walking-stick or a support for a plant or an instrument of
punishment. b any slender walking-stick. --v.tr. 1 beat with
a cane. 2 weave cane into (a chair etc.). Ьcane-brake US a
tract of land overgrown with canes. cane chair a chair with a
seat made of woven cane strips. cane-sugar sugar obtained from
sugar-cane. cane-trash see TRASH. ЬЬcaner n. (in sense 2 of
v.). caning n. [ME f. OF f. L canna f. Gk kanna]
canine adj. & n. --adj. 1 of a dog or dogs. 2 of or belonging to the
family Canidae, including dogs, wolves, foxes, etc. --n. 1 a
dog. 2 (in full canine tooth) a pointed tooth between the
incisors and premolars. [ME f. canin -ine or f. L caninus f.
canister n. 1 a small container, usu. of metal and cylindrical, for
storing tea etc. 2 a a cylinder of shot, tear-gas, etc., that
explodes on impact. b such cylinders collectively. [L
canistrum f. Gk f. kanna CANE]
canker n. & v. --n. 1 a a destructive fungus disease of trees and
plants. b an open wound in the stem of a tree or plant. 2
Zool. an ulcerous ear disease of animals esp. cats and dogs. 3
Med. an ulceration esp. of the lips. 4 a corrupting influence.
--v.tr. 1 consume with canker. 2 corrupt. 3 (as cankered
adj.) soured, malignant, crabbed. Ьcanker-worm any caterpillar
of various wingless moths which consume the buds and leaves of
shade and fruit trees in N. America. ЬЬcankerous adj. [OE
cancer & ONF cancre, OF chancre f. L cancer crab]
canna n. any tropical plant of the genus Canna with bright flowers
and ornamental leaves. [L: see CANE]
cannabis n. 1 any hemp plant of the genus Cannabis, esp. Indian hemp. 2
a preparation of parts of this used as an intoxicant or
hallucinogen. Ьcannabis resin a sticky product, esp. from the
flowering tops of the female cannabis plant. [L f. Gk]
canned adj. 1 pre-recorded (canned laughter; canned music). 2
supplied in a can (canned beer). 3 sl. drunk.
cannel n. (in full cannel coal) a bituminous coal burning with a bright
flame. [16th c.: orig. N.Engl.]
n.pl. tubes or rolls of pasta stuffed with meat or a vegetable
mixture. [It. f. cannello stalk]
cannelure n. the groove round a bullet etc. [F f. canneler f. canne
cannery n. (pl. -ies) a factory where food is canned.
cannibal n. & adj. --n. 1 a person who eats human flesh. 2 an animal
that feeds on flesh of its own species. --adj. of or like a
cannibal. ЬЬcannibalism n. cannibalistic adj.
cannibalistically adv. [orig. pl. Canibales f. Sp.: var. of
Caribes name of a W.Ind. nation]
v.tr. (also -ise) use (a machine etc.) as a source of spare
parts for others. ЬЬcannibalization n.
cannikin n. a small can. [Du. kanneken (as CAN(2), -KIN)]
cannon n. & v. --n. 1 hist. (pl. same) a large heavy gun installed
on a carriage or mounting. 2 an automatic aircraft gun firing
shells. 3 Billiards the hitting of two balls successively by
the cue-ball. 4 Mech. a hollow cylinder moving independently on
a shaft. 5 (in full cannon-bit) a smooth round bit for a horse.
--v.intr. 1 (usu. foll. by against, into) collide heavily or
obliquely. 2 Billiards make a cannon shot. Ьcannon-ball hist.
a large usu. metal ball fired by a cannon. cannon-bone the
tube-shaped bone between the hock and fetlock of a horse.
cannon-fodder soldiers regarded merely as material to be
expended in war. [F canon f. It. cannone large tube f. canna
CANE: in Billiards sense f. older CAROM]
cannonade n. & v. --n. a period of continuous heavy gunfire. --v.tr.
bombard with a cannonade. [F f. It. cannonata]
cannot v.aux. can not.
cannula n. (pl. cannulae or cannulas) Surgery a small tube for
inserting into the body to allow fluid to enter or escape. [L,
dimin. of canna cane]
cannulate v.tr. Surgery introduce a cannula into.
canny adj. (cannier, canniest) 1 a shrewd, worldly-wise. b thrifty.
c circumspect. 2 sly, drily humorous. 3 Sc. & N.Engl.
pleasant, agreeable. ЬЬcannily adv. canniness n. [CAN(1) (in
sense 'know') + -Y(1)]
canoe n. & v. --n. a small narrow boat with pointed ends usu.
propelled by paddling. --v.intr. (canoes, canoed, canoeing)
travel in a canoe. ЬЬcanoeist n. [Sp. and Haitian canoa]
canon n. 1 a a general law, rule, principle, or criterion. b a
church decree or law. 2 (fem. canoness) a a member of a
cathedral chapter. b a member of certain RC orders. 3 a a
collection or list of sacred books etc. accepted as genuine. b
the recognized genuine works of a particular author; a list of
these. 4 the part of the Roman Catholic Mass containing the
words of consecration. 5 Mus. a piece with different parts
taking up the same theme successively, either at the same or at
a different pitch. Ьcanon law ecclesiastical law. canon
regular (or regular canon) see REGULAR adj. 9b. [OE f. L f. Gk
kanon, in ME also f. AF & OF canun, -on; in sense 2 ME f. OF
canonie f. eccl.L canonicus: cf. CANONICAL]
ca¤on var. of CANYON.
canonic adj. = CANONICAL adj. [OE f. OF canonique or L canonicus f. Gk
kanonikos (as CANON)]
canonical adj. & n. --adj. 1 a according to or ordered by canon law. b
included in the canon of Scripture. 2 authoritative, standard,
accepted. 3 of a cathedral chapter or a member of it. 4 Mus.
in canon form. --n. (in pl.) the canonical dress of the clergy.
Ьcanonical hours Eccl. the times fixed for a formal set of
prayers or for the celebration of marriage. ЬЬcanonically adv.
[med.L canonicalis (as CANONIC)]
n. = CANONRY.
n. the status of being canonical. [L canonicus canonical]
canonist n. an expert in canon law. [ME f. F canoniste or f. med.L
canonista: see CANON]
canonize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 a declare officially to be a saint, usu.
with a ceremony. b regard as a saint. 2 admit to the canon of
Scripture. 3 sanction by Church authority. ЬЬcanonization n.
[ME f. med.L canonizare: see CANON]
canonry n. (pl. -ies) the office or benefice of a canon.
canoodle v.intr. colloq. kiss and cuddle amorously. [19th-c. US: orig.
Canopic adj. ЬCanopic jar (or vase) an urn used for holding the
entrails of an embalmed body in an ancient Egyptian burial. [L
Canopicus f. Canopus in ancient Egypt]
canopy n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a covering hung or held up over a
throne, bed, person, etc. b the sky. c an overhanging shelter.
2 Archit. a rooflike projection over a niche etc. 3 the
uppermost layers of foliage etc. in a forest. 4 a the expanding
part of a parachute. b the cover of an aircraft's cockpit.
--v.tr. (-ies, -ied) supply or be a canopy to. [ME f. med.L
canopeum f. L conopeum f. Gk konopeion couch with
mosquito-curtains f. konops gnat]
canorous adj. melodious, resonant. [L canorus f. canere sing]
canst archaic 2nd person sing. of CAN(1).
cant(1) n. & v. --n. 1 insincere pious or moral talk. 2 ephemeral or
fashionable catchwords. 3 language peculiar to a class,
profession, sect, etc.; jargon. --v.intr. use cant. Ьcanting
arms Heraldry arms containing an allusion to the name of the
bearer. [earlier of musical sound, of intonation, and of
beggars' whining; perh. from the singing of religious
mendicants: prob. f. L canere sing]
cant(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a a slanting surface, e.g. of a bank. b a
bevel of a crystal etc. 2 an oblique push or movement that
upsets or partly upsets something. 3 a tilted or sloping
position. --v. 1 tr. push or pitch out of level; tilt. 2
intr. take or lie in a slanting position. 3 tr. impart a bevel
to. 4 intr. Naut. swing round. Ьcant-dog (or -hook) an iron
hook at the end of a long handle, used for rolling logs. [ME f.
MLG kant, kante, MDu. cant, point, side, edge, ult. f. L
cant(h)us iron tire]
can't contr. can not.
Cant. abbr. Canticles (Old Testament).
Cantab. abbr. of Cambridge University. [L Cantabrigiensis]
cantabile adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a smooth singing style.
--n. a cantabile passage or movement. [It., = singable]
adj. & n. --adj. of Cambridge or Cambridge University. --n. 1
a member of Cambridge University. 2 a native of Cambridge. [L
cantal n. a type of hard strong French cheese. [name of a department
of Auvergne, France]
cantaloup n. (also cantaloupe) a small round ribbed variety of melon with
orange flesh. [F cantaloup f. Cantaluppi near Rome, where it
was first grown in Europe]
adj. bad-tempered, quarrelsome. ЬЬcantankerously adv.
cantankerousness n. [perh. f. Ir. cant outbidding + rancorous]
cantata n. Mus. a short narrative or descriptive composition with
vocal solos and usu. chorus and orchestral accompaniment. [It.
cantata (aria) sung (air) f. cantare sing]
canteen n. 1 a a restaurant for employees in an office or factory etc.
b a shop selling provisions or liquor in a barracks or camp. 2
a case or box of cutlery. 3 a soldier's or camper's water-flask
or set of eating or drinking utensils. [F cantine f. It.
canter n. & v. --n. a gentle gallop. --v. 1 intr. (of a horse or its
rider) go at a canter. 2 tr. make (a horse) canter. Ьin a
canter easily (win in a canter). [short for Canterbury pace,
from the supposed easy pace of medieval pilgrims to Canterbury]
n. (pl. -ies) a piece of furniture with partitions for holding
music etc. [Canterbury in Kent]
n. a cultivated campanula with large flowers. [after the bells
of Canterbury pilgrims' horses: see CANTER]
n.pl. a preparation made from dried bodies of a beetle Lytta
vesicatoria, causing blistering of the skin and formerly used in
medicine and as an aphrodisiac. Also called Spanish fly. [L f.
Gk kantharis Spanish fly]
canthus n. (pl. canthi) the outer or inner corner of the eye, where
the upper and lower lids meet. [L f. Gk kanthos]
canticle n. 1 a song or chant with a Biblical text. 2 (also Canticle of
Canticles) the Song of Solomon. [ME f. OF canticle (var. of
cantique) or L canticulum dimin. of canticum f. canere sing]
cantilena n. Mus. a simple or sustained melody. [It.]
n. & v. --n. 1 a long bracket or beam etc. projecting from a
wall to support a balcony etc. 2 a beam or girder fixed at only
one end. --v.intr. 1 project as a cantilever. 2 be supported
by cantilevers. Ьcantilever bridge a bridge made of cantilevers
projecting from the piers and connected by girders. [17th c.:
v.tr. & intr. chant or recite with musical tones.
ЬЬcantillation n. [L cantillare sing low: see CHANT]
cantina n. a bar-room or wine-shop. [Sp. & It.]
canto n. (pl. -os) a division of a long poem. [It., = song, f. L
canton n. & v. --n. 1 a a subdivision of a country. b a State of the
Swiss confederation. 2 Heraldry a square division, less than a
quarter, in the upper (usu. dexter) corner of a shield. --v.tr.
1 put (troops) into quarters. 2 divide into cantons.
ЬЬcantonal adj. [OF, = corner (see CANT(2)): (v.) also partly
f. F cantonner]
Cantonese adj. & n. --adj. of Canton or the Cantonese dialect of Chinese.
--n. (pl. same) 1 a native of Canton. 2 the dialect of Chinese
spoken in SE China and Hong Kong. [Canton in China]
n. 1 a lodging assigned to troops. 2 a permanent military
station in India. [F cantonnement: see CANTON]
cantor n. 1 the leader of the singing in church; a precentor. 2 the
precentor in a synagogue. [L, = singer f. canere sing]
cantorial adj. 1 of or relating to the cantor. 2 of the north side of
the choir in a church (cf. DECANAL).
cantoris adj. Mus. to be sung by the cantorial side of the choir in
antiphonal singing (cf. DECANI). [L, genit. of CANTOR
cantrail n. Brit. a timber etc. support for the roof of a railway
carriage. [CANT(2) + RAIL]
cantrip n. Sc. 1 a witch's trick. 2 a piece of mischief; a playful
act. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
Canuck n. & adj. US sl. usu. derog. --n. 1 a Canadian, esp. a
French Canadian. 2 a Canadian horse or pony. --adj. Canadian,
esp. French Canadian. [app. f. Canada]
canvas n. & v. --n. 1 a a strong coarse kind of cloth made from hemp
or flax or other coarse yarn and used for sails and tents etc.
and as a surface for oil-painting. b a piece of this. 2 a
painting on canvas, esp. in oils. 3 an open kind of canvas used
as a basis for tapestry and embroidery. 4 sl. the floor of a
boxing or wrestling ring. 5 a racing-boat's covered end.
--v.tr. (canvassed, canvassing; US canvased, canvasing) cover
with canvas. Ьby a canvas (in boat-racing) by a small margin
(win by a canvas). canvas-back a wild duck Aythya valisineria,
of N. America, with back feathers the colour of unbleached
canvas. under canvas 1 in a tent or tents. 2 with sails
spread. [ME & ONF canevas, ult. f. L cannabis hemp]
canvass v. & n. --v. 1 a intr. solicit votes. b tr. solicit votes
from (electors in a constituency). 2 tr. a ascertain opinions
of. b seek custom from. c discuss thoroughly. 3 tr. Brit.
propose (an idea or plan etc.). 4 intr. US check the validity
of votes. --n. the process of or an instance of canvassing,
esp. of electors. ЬЬcanvasser n. [orig. = toss in a sheet,
agitate, f. CANVAS]
canyon n. (also ca¤on) a deep gorge, often with a stream or river.
[Sp. ca¤ўn tube, ult. f. L canna CANE]
n. (also canzonet) 1 a short light song. 2 a kind of madrigal.
[It., dimin. of canzone song f. L cantio -onis f. canere sing]
n. raw rubber. [F f. Carib cahuchu]
CAP abbr. Common Agricultural Policy (of the EEC).
cap n. & v. --n. 1 a a soft brimless head-covering, usu. with a
peak. b a head-covering worn in a particular profession
(nurse's cap). c esp. Brit. a cap awarded as a sign of
membership of a sports team. d an academic mortarboard or soft
hat. e a special hat as part of Highland costume. 2 a a cover
like a cap in shape or position (knee cap; toecap). b a device
to seal a bottle or protect the point of a pen, lens of a
camera, etc. 3 a = Dutch cap. b = percussion cap. 4 = CROWN
n. 9b. --v.tr. (capped, capping) 1 a put a cap on. b cover
the top or end of. c set a limit to (rate-capping). 2 a esp.
Brit. award a sports cap to. b Sc. & NZ confer a university
degree on. 3 a lie on top of; form the cap of. b surpass,
excel. c improve on (a story, quotation, etc.) esp. by
producing a better or more apposite one. Ьcap in hand humbly.
cap of maintenance a cap or hat worn as a symbol of official
dignity or carried before the sovereign etc. cap rock a hard
rock or stratum overlying a deposit of oil, gas, coal, etc. cap
sleeve a sleeve extending only a short distance from the
shoulder. if the cap fits (said of a generalized comment) it
seems to be true (of a particular person). set one's cap at try
to attract as a suitor. ЬЬcapful n. (pl. -fuls). capping n.
[OE c‘ppe f. LL cappa, perh. f. L caput head]
cap. abbr. 1 capital. 2 capital letter. 3 chapter. [L capitulum
n. (pl. -ies) 1 (often foll. by of, for, to) ability, power;
the condition of being capable. 2 an undeveloped or unused
capable adj. 1 competent, able, gifted. 2 (foll. by of) a having the
ability or fitness or necessary quality for. b susceptible or
admitting of (explanation or improvement etc.). ЬЬcapably adv.
[F f. LL capabilis f. L capere hold]
capacious adj. roomy; able to hold much. ЬЬcapaciously adv.
capaciousness n. [L capax -acis f. capere hold]
n. Electr. 1 the ability of a system to store an electric
charge. 2 the ratio of the change in an electric charge in a
system to the corresponding change in its electric potential.
°Symb.: C. [CAPACITY + -ANCE]
v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by for, or to + infin.) render capable. 2
make legally competent.
capacitor n. Electr. a device of one or more pairs of conductors
separated by insulators used to store an electric charge.
capacity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the power of containing, receiving,
experiencing, or producing (capacity for heat, pain , etc.). b
the maximum amount that can be contained or produced etc. c the
volume, e.g. of the cylinders in an internal-combustion engine.
d (attrib.) fully occupying the available space, resources, etc.
(a capacity audience). 2 a mental power. b a faculty or
talent. 3 a position or function (in a civil capacity; in my
capacity as a critic). 4 legal competence. 5 Electr.
capacitance. Ьmeasure of capacity a measure used for vessels
and liquids or grains etc. to capacity fully; using all
resources (working to capacity). ЬЬcapacitative adj. (also
capacitive) (in sense 5). [ME f. F f. L capacitas -tatis (as
caparison n. & v. --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) a horse's trappings. 2
equipment, finery. --v.tr. put caparisons on; adorn richly.
[obs. F caparasson f. Sp. caparazўn saddle-cloth f. capa
cape(1) n. 1 a sleeveless cloak. 2 a short sleeveless cloak as a fixed
or detachable part of a longer cloak or coat. [F f. Prov. capa
f. LL cappa CAP]
cape(2) n. 1 a headland or promontory. 2 (the Cape) a the Cape of Good
Hope. b the S. African province containing it. ЬCape Coloured
adj. S.Afr. of the Coloured (see COLOURED 2) population of
Cape Province. --n. a member of this population. Cape doctor
S.Afr. colloq. a strong SE wind. Cape Dutch archaic
Afrikaans. Cape gooseberry 1 an edible soft roundish yellow
berry enclosed in a lantern-like husk. 2 the plant, Physalis
peruviana, bearing these. [ME f. OF cap f. Prov. cap ult. f. L
capelin n. (also caplin) a small smeltlike fish, Mallotus villosus, of
the N. Atlantic, used as food and as bait for catching cod etc.
[F f. Prov. capelan: see CHAPLAIN]
caper(1) v. & n. --v.intr. jump or run about playfully. --n. 1 a
playful jump or leap. 2 a a fantastic proceeding; a prank. b
sl. any activity or occupation. Ьcut a caper (or capers) act
friskily. ЬЬcaperer n. [abbr. of CAPRIOLE]
caper(2) n. 1 a bramble-like S. European shrub, Capparis spinosa. 2 (in
pl.) its flower buds cooked and pickled for use as flavouring
esp. for a savoury sauce. [ME capres & F cѓpres f. L capparis
f. Gk kapparis, treated as pl.: cf. CHERRY, PEA]
n. (also capercailzie) a large European grouse, Tetrao
urogallus. [Gael. capull coille horse of the wood]
capeskin n. a soft leather made from S. African sheepskin.
capias n. Law a writ ordering the arrest of the person named. [L, =
you are to seize, f. capere take]
n. a phenomenon at liquid boundaries resulting in the rise or
depression of liquids in narrow tubes. Also called capillary
action. [F capillarit‚ (as CAPILLARY)]
capillary adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or like a hair. 2 (of a tube) of
hairlike internal diameter. 3 of one of the delicate ramified
blood vessels intervening between arteries and veins. --n.
(pl. -ies) 1 a capillary tube. 2 a capillary blood vessel.
Ьcapillary action = CAPILLARITY. [L capillaris f. capillus
n., adj., & int. --n. 1 the most important town or city of a
country or region, usu. its seat of government and
administrative centre. 2 a the money or other assets with which
a company starts in business. b accumulated wealth, esp. as
used in further production. c money invested or lent at
interest. 3 capitalists generally. 4 a capital letter. --adj.
1 a principal; most important; leading. b colloq. excellent,
first-rate. 2 a involving or punishable by death (capital
punishment; a capital offence). b (of an error etc.) vitally
harmful; fatal. 3 (of letters of the alphabet) large in size
and of the form used to begin sentences and names etc. --int.
expressing approval or satisfaction. Ьcapital gain a profit
from the sale of investments or property. capital goods goods,
esp. machinery, plant, etc., used or to be used in producing
commodities (opp. consumer goods). capital levy 1 the
appropriation by the State of a fixed proportion of the wealth
in the country. 2 a wealth tax. capital sum a lump sum of
money, esp. payable to an insured person. capital territory a
territory containing the capital city of a country. capital
transfer tax hist. (in the UK) a tax levied on the transfer of
capital by gift or bequest etc. °Replaced in 1986 by
inheritance tax. make capital out of use to one's advantage.
with a capital -- emphatically such (art with a capital A).
ЬЬcapitally adv. [ME f. OF f. L capitalis f. caput -itis head]
n. Archit. the head or cornice of a pillar or column. [ME f.
OF capitel f. LL capitellum dimin. of L caput head]
n. 1 a an economic system in which the production and
distribution of goods depend on invested private capital and
profit-making. b the possession of capital or wealth. 2 Polit.
the dominance of private owners of capital and production for
n. & adj. --n. 1 a person using or possessing capital; a rich
person. 2 an advocate of capitalism. --adj. of or favouring
capitalism. ЬЬcapitalistic adj. capitalistically adv.
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. a convert into or provide with capital.
b calculate or realize the present value of an income. c reckon
(the value of an asset) by setting future benefits against the
cost of maintenance. 2 tr. a write (a letter of the alphabet)
as a capital. b begin (a word) with a capital letter. 3 intr.
(foll. by on) use to one's advantage; profit from.
ЬЬcapitalization n. [F capitaliser (as CAPITAL(1))]
n. 1 a tax or fee at a set rate per person. 2 the levying of
such a tax or fee. Ьcapitation grant a grant of a sum
calculated from the number of people to be catered for, esp. in
education. [F capitation or LL capitatio poll-tax f. caput
capitular adj. 1 of or relating to a cathedral chapter. 2 Anat. of or
relating to a terminal protuberance of a bone. [LL capitularis
f. L capitulum CHAPTER]
n. (pl. -ies) a collection of ordinances, esp. of the Frankish
kings. [LL capitularius (as CAPITULAR)]
v.intr. surrender, esp. on stated conditions. ЬЬcapitulator n.
capitulatory adj. [med.L capitulare draw up under headings f. L
n. 1 the act of capitulating; surrender. 2 a statement of the
main divisions of a subject. 3 an agreement or set of
capitulum n. (pl. capitula) Bot. an inflorescence with flowers
clustered together like a head, as in the daisy family. [L,
dimin. of caput head]
caplin var. of CAPELIN.
cap'n n. sl. captain. [contr.]
capo n. (in full capo tasto) (pl. capos or capo tastos) Mus. a
device secured across the neck of a fretted instrument to raise
equally the tuning of all strings by the required amount. [It.
capo tasto head stop]
capon n. a domestic cock castrated and fattened for eating.
ЬЬcaponize v.tr. (also -ise). [OE f. AF capun, OF capon, ult.
f. L capo -onis]
caponier n. a covered passage across a ditch round a fort. [Sp.
caponera, lit. 'capon-pen']
capot n. & v. --n. (in piquet) the winning of all the tricks by one
player. --v.tr. (capotted, capotting) score a capot against
(an opponent). [F]
capote n. hist. a long cloak with a hood, formerly worn by soldiers
and travellers etc. [F, dimin. of cape CAPE(1)]
n. (pl. -os) coffee with milk made frothy with pressurized
steam. [It., = CAPUCHIN]
capriccio n. (pl. -os) 1 a lively and usu. short musical composition. 2
a painting etc. representing a fantasy or a mixture of real and
imaginary features. [It., = sudden start, orig. 'horror']
adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a free and impulsive
style. --n. (pl. -os) a capriccioso passage or movement.
[It., = capricious]
caprice n. 1 a an unaccountable or whimsical change of mind or conduct.
b a tendency to this. 2 a work of lively fancy in painting,
drawing, or music; a capriccio. [F f. It. CAPRICCIO]
adj. 1 guided by or given to caprice. 2 irregular,
unpredictable. ЬЬcapriciously adv. capriciousness n. [F
capricieux f. It. CAPRICCIOSO]
Capricorn n. (also Capricornus) 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded
as contained in the figure of a goat's horns. 2 a the tenth
sign of the zodiac (the Goat). b a person born when the sun is
in this sign. ЬЬCapricornian n. & adj. [ME f. OF capricorne f.
L capricornus f. caper -pri goat + cornu horn]
caprine adj. of or like a goat. [ME f. L caprinus f. caper -pri goat]
capriole n. & v. --n. 1 a leap or caper. 2 a trained horse's high leap
and kick without advancing. --v. 1 intr. (of a horse or its
rider) perform a capriole. 2 tr. make (a horse) capriole. [F
f. It. capriola leap, ult. f. caper -pri goat]
Capris n.pl. (also Capri pants) women's close-fitting tapered
trousers. [Capri, an island in the bay of Naples]
caps. abbr. capital letters.
Capsian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to a palaeolithic culture of N.
Africa and S. Europe. --n. this culture. [L Capsa = Gafsa in
capsicum n. 1 any plant of the genus Capsicum, having edible capsular
fruits containing many seeds, esp. C. annuum yielding several
varieties of pepper. 2 the fruit of any of these plants, which
vary in size, colour, and pungency. [mod.L, perh. f. L capsa
capsid(1) n. any bug of the family Capsidae, esp. one that feeds on
plants. [mod.L Capsus a genus of them]
capsid(2) n. the protein coat or shell of a virus. [F capside f. L capsa
capsize v. 1 tr. upset or overturn (a boat). 2 intr. be capsized.
ЬЬcapsizal n. [cap- as in Prov. capvirar, F chavirer: -size
capstan n. 1 a thick revolving cylinder with a vertical axis, for
winding an anchor cable or a halyard etc. 2 a revolving spindle
on a tape recorder, that guides the tape past the head.
Ьcapstan lathe a lathe with a revolving tool-holder. [Prov.
cabestan, ult. f. L capistrum halter f. capere seize]
capstone n. coping; a coping-stone.
capsule n. 1 a small soluble case of gelatine enclosing a dose of
medicine and swallowed with it. 2 a detachable compartment of a
spacecraft or nose-cone of a rocket. 3 an enclosing membrane in
the body. 4 a a dry fruit that releases its seeds when ripe. b
the spore-producing part of mosses and liverworts. 5 Biol. an
enveloping layer surrounding certain bacteria. 6 (attrib.)
concise; highly condensed (a capsule history of jazz).
ЬЬcapsular adj. capsulate adj. [F f. L capsula f. capsa
capsulize v.tr. (also -ise) put (information etc.) in compact form.
Capt. abbr. Captain.
captain n. & v. --n. 1 a a chief or leader. b the leader of a team,
esp. in sports. c a powerful or influential person (captain of
industry). 2 a the person in command of a merchant or passenger
ship. b the pilot of a civil aircraft. 3 (as a title Captain)
a an army or US Air Force officer next above lieutenant. b a
Navy officer in command of a warship; one ranking below
commodore or rear admiral and above commander. c US a police
officer in charge of a precinct, ranking below Chief Officer. 4
a a foreman. b a head boy or girl in a school. c US a
supervisor of waiters or bellboys. 5 a a great soldier or
strategist. b an experienced commander. --v.tr. be captain of;
lead. Ьcaptain-general an honorary officer, esp. of artillery.
Captain of the Fleet Brit. a Navy staff officer in charge of
maintenance. ЬЬcaptaincy n. (pl. -ies). captainship n. [ME
& OF capitain f. LL capitaneus chief f. L caput capit- head]
caption n. & v. --n. 1 a title or brief explanation appended to an
illustration, cartoon, etc. 2 wording appearing on a cinema or
television screen as part of a film or broadcast. 3 the heading
of a chapter or article etc. 4 Law a certificate attached to or
written on a document. --v.tr. provide with a caption. [ME f.
L captio f. capere capt- take]
captious adj. given to finding fault or raising petty objections.
ЬЬcaptiously adv. captiousness n. [ME f. OF captieux or L
captiosus (as CAPTION)]
captivate v.tr. 1 overwhelm with charm or affection. 2 fascinate.
ЬЬcaptivatingly adv. captivation n. [LL captivare take captive
captive n. & adj. --n. a person or animal that has been taken prisoner
or confined. --adj. 1 a taken prisoner. b kept in confinement
or under restraint. 2 a unable to escape. b in a position of
having to comply (captive audience; captive market). 3 of or
like a prisoner (captive state). Ьcaptive balloon a balloon
held by a rope from the ground. [ME f. L captivus f. capere
captivity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the condition or circumstances of being a
captive. b a period of captivity. 2 (the Captivity) the
captivity of the Jews in Babylon in the 6th c. BC.
captor n. a person who captures (a person, place, etc.). [L (as
capture v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a take prisoner; seize as a prize. b obtain
by force or trickery. 2 portray in permanent form (could not
capture the likeness). 3 Physics absorb (a subatomic particle).
4 (in board games) make a move that secures the removal of (an
opposing piece) from the board. 5 (of a stream) divert the
upper course of (another stream) by encroaching on its basin. 6
cause (data) to be stored in a computer. --n. 1 the act of
capturing. 2 a thing or person captured. ЬЬcapturer n. [F f.
L captura f. capere capt- take]
Capuchin n. 1 a Franciscan friar of the new rule of 1529. 2 a cloak and
hood formerly worn by women. 3 (capuchin) a any monkey of the
genus Cebus of S. America, with cowl-like head hair. b a
variety of pigeon with head and neck feathers resembling a cowl.
[F f. It. cappuccino f. cappuccio cowl f. cappa CAPE(1)]
capybara n. a very large semi-aquatic rodent, Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris,
native to S. America. [Tupi]
car n. 1 (in full motor car) a road vehicle with an enclosed
passenger compartment, powered by an internal-combustion engine.
2 (in comb.) a a wheeled vehicle, esp. of a specified kind
(tramcar). b a railway carriage of a specified type
(dining-car). 3 US any railway carriage or van. 4 the
passenger compartment of a lift, cableway, balloon, etc. 5
poet. a wheeled vehicle; a chariot. Ьcar bomb a terrorist bomb
concealed in or under a parked car. car-boot sale an outdoor
sale at which participants sell unwanted possessions from the
boots of their cars. car coat a short coat designed esp. for
car drivers. car park an area for parking cars. car phone a
radio-telephone for use in a motor vehicle. ЬЬcarful n. (pl.
-fuls). [ME f. AF & ONF carre ult. f. L carrum, carrus, of
n. (also carabinier) hist. 1 a soldier whose principal weapon
is a carbine. 2 (the Carabineers) the Royal Scots Dragoon
Guards. [F carabinier f. carabine CARBINE]
n. (pl. carabinieri pronunc. same) an Italian gendarme. [It.]
caracal n. a lynx, Felis caracal, native to N. Africa and SW Asia. [F
or Sp. f. Turk. karakulak f. kara black + kulak ear]
caracole n. & v. --n. a horse's half-turn to the right or left. --v. 1
intr. (of a horse or its rider) perform a caracole. 2 tr. make
(a horse) caracole. [F]
caracul var. of KARAKUL.
carafe n. a glass container for water or wine, esp. at a table or
bedside. [F f. It. caraffa, ult. f. Arab. garrafa drinking
carambola n. 1 a small tree, Averrhoa carambola, native to SE Asia,
bearing golden-yellow ribbed fruit. 2 this fruit. Also called
star fruit. [Port., prob. of Indian or E. Indian orig.]
caramel n. 1 a sugar or syrup heated until it turns brown, then used as
a flavouring or to colour spirits etc. b a kind of soft toffee
made with sugar, butter, etc., melted and further heated. 2 the
light-brown colour of caramel. [F f. Sp. caramelo]
v. (also -ise) 1 a tr. convert (sugar or syrup) into caramel.
b intr. (of sugar or syrup) be converted into caramel. 2 tr.
coat or cook (food) with caramelized sugar or syrup.
carapace n. the hard upper shell of a tortoise or a crustacean. [F f.
carat n. 1 a unit of weight for precious stones, now equivalent to
200 milligrams. 2 (US karat) a measure of purity of gold, pure
gold being 24 carats. [F f. It. carato f. Arab. kirat weight
of four grains, f. Gk keration fruit of the carob (dimin. of
caravan n. & v. --n. 1 a Brit. a vehicle equipped for living in and
usu. towed by a motor vehicle or a horse. b US a covered motor
vehicle equipped for living in. 2 a company of merchants or
pilgrims etc. travelling together, esp. across a desert in Asia
or N. Africa. 3 a covered cart or carriage. --v.intr.
(caravanned, caravanning) travel or live in a caravan. Ьcaravan
site (or park) a place where caravans are parked as dwellings,
often with special amenities. ЬЬcaravanner n. [F caravane f.
n. a motor vehicle with a caravan-like rear compartment for
eating, sleeping, etc.
n. an Eastern inn with a central court where caravans (see
CARAVAN 2) may rest. [Pers. karwansaray f. saray palace]
caravel n. (also carvel) hist. a small light fast ship, chiefly
Spanish and Portuguese of the 15th-17th c. [F caravelle f.
Port. caravela f. Gk karabos horned beetle, light ship]
caraway n. an umbelliferous plant, Carum carvi, bearing clusters of
tiny white flowers. Ьcaraway seed its fruit used as flavouring
and as a source of oil. [prob. OSp. alcarahueya f. Arab.
alkarawiya, perh. f. Gk karon, kareon cumin]
carb n. colloq. a carburettor. [abbr.]
carbamate n. Chem. a salt or ester of an amide of carbonic acid.
[CARBONIC + AMIDE]
carbide n. Chem. 1 a binary compound of carbon. 2 = calcium carbide.
carbine n. a short firearm, usu. a rifle, orig. for cavalry use. [F
carabine (this form also earlier in Engl.), weapon of the
carabin mounted musketeer]
carbo- comb. form carbon (carbohydrate; carbolic; carboxyl).
n. Biochem. any of a large group of energy-producing organic
compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, e.g. starch,
glucose, and other sugars.
carbolic n. (in full carbolic acid) phenol, esp. when used as a
disinfectant. Ьcarbolic soap soap containing this. [CARBO- +
-OL(1) + -IC]
carbon n. 1 a non-metallic element occurring naturally as diamond,
graphite, and charcoal, and in all organic compounds. °Symb.:
C. 2 a = carbon copy. b = carbon paper. 3 a rod of carbon in
an arc lamp. Ьcarbon black a fine carbon powder made by burning
hydrocarbons in insufficient air. carbon copy 1 a copy made
with carbon paper. 2 a person or thing identical or similar to
another (is a carbon copy of his father). carbon cycle Biol.
the cycle in which carbon compounds are interconverted, usu. by
living organisms. carbon dating the determination of the age of
an organic object from the ratio of isotopes which changes as
carbon-14 decays. carbon dioxide a colourless odourless gas
occurring naturally in the atmosphere and formed by respiration.
°Chem. formula: CO. carbon disulphide a colourless liquid
used as a solvent. °Chem. formula: CS. carbon fibre a thin
strong crystalline filament of carbon used as strengthening
material in resins, ceramics, etc. carbon-14 a long-lived
radioactive carbon isotope of mass 14, used in radiocarbon
dating, and as a tracer in biochemistry. carbon monoxide a
colourless odourless toxic gas formed by the incomplete burning
of carbon. °Chem. formula: CO. carbon paper a thin
carbon-coated paper used for making (esp. typed) copies. carbon
steel a steel with properties dependent on the percentage of
carbon present. carbon tetrachloride a colourless volatile
liquid used as a solvent. °Chem. formula: CCl. carbon-12 a
carbon isotope of mass 12, used in calculations of atomic mass
units. [F carbone f. L carbo -onis charcoal]
adj. 1 consisting of or containing carbon. 2 of or like coal
carbonade n. a rich beef stew made with onions and beer. [F]
carbonado n. (pl. -os) a dark opaque or impure kind of diamond used as
an abrasive, for drills etc. [Port.]
carbonate n. & v. --n. Chem. a salt of carbonic acid. --v.tr. 1
impregnate with carbon dioxide; aerate. 2 convert into a
carbonate. ЬЬcarbonation n. [F carbonat f. mod.L carbonatum
carbonic adj. Chem. containing carbon. Ьcarbonic acid a very weak acid
formed from carbon dioxide dissolved in water. carbonic acid
gas archaic carbon dioxide.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 producing coal. 2 (Carboniferous) Geol. of
or relating to the fifth period in the Palaeozoic era, with
evidence of the first reptiles and extensive coal-forming swamp
forests. °Cf. Appendix II. --n. (Carboniferous) Geol. this
period or system.
carbonize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 convert into carbon by heating. 2 reduce
to charcoal or coke. 3 coat with carbon. ЬЬcarbonization n.
carbonyl n. (used attrib.) Chem. the divalent radical CO.
n. a compound of carbon and silicon used esp. as an abrasive.
[CARBON + CORUNDUM]
carboxyl n. Chem. the univalent acid radical (-COOH), present in most
organic acids. ЬЬcarboxylic adj. [CARBON + OXYGEN + -YL]
carboy n. a large globular glass bottle usu. protected by a frame, for
containing liquids. [Pers. karaba large glass flagon]
carbuncle n. 1 a severe abscess in the skin. 2 a bright red gem.
ЬЬcarbuncular adj. [ME f. OF charbucle etc. f. L carbunculus
small coal f. carbo coal]
n. the process of charging air with a spray of liquid
hydrocarbon fuel, esp. in an internal-combustion engine. [as
carburet v.tr. (carburetted, carburetting; US carbureted, carbureting)
combine (a gas etc.) with carbon. [earlier carbure f. F f. L
carbo (as CARBON)]
n. (also carburetter, US carburetor) an apparatus for
carburation of petrol and air in an internal-combustion engine.
[as CARBURET + -OR(1)]
carcajou n. US = WOLVERINE. [F, app. of Amer. Ind. orig.]
carcass n. (also carcase) 1 the dead body of an animal, esp. a trunk
for cutting up as meat. 2 the bones of a cooked bird. 3 derog.
the human body, living or dead. 4 the skeleton, framework of a
building, ship, etc. 5 worthless remains. Ьcarcass meat raw
meat, not preserved. [ME f. AF carcois (OF charcois) & f. F
carcasse: ult. orig. unkn.]
n. any substance that produces cancer. [as CARCINOMA + -GEN]
n. the production of cancer.
adj. producing cancer. ЬЬcarcinogenicity n.
carcinoma n. (pl. carcinomata or carcinomas) a cancer, esp. one arising
in epithelial tissue. ЬЬcarcinomatous adj. [L f. Gk karkinoma
f. karkinos crab]
card(1) n. & v. --n. 1 thick stiff paper or thin pasteboard. 2 a a
flat piece of this, esp. for writing or printing on. b =
POSTCARD. c a card used to send greetings, issue an invitation,
etc. (birthday card). d = visiting-card. e = business card.
f a ticket of admission or membership. 3 a = PLAYING-CARD. b a
similar card in a set designed for particular games, e.g. happy
families. c (in pl.) card-playing; a card-game. 4 (in pl.)
colloq. an employee's documents, esp. for tax and national
insurance, held by the employer. 5 a a programme of events at a
race-meeting etc. b Cricket a score-card. c a list of holes on
a golf course, on which a player's scores are entered. 6
colloq. a person, esp. an odd or amusing one (what a card!; a
knowing card). 7 a plan or expedient (sure card). 8 a printed
or written notice, set of rules, etc., for display. 9 a small
rectangular piece of plastic issued by a bank, building society,
etc., with personal (often machine-readable) data on it, chiefly
to obtain cash or credit (cheque card; credit card; do you have
a card?). --v.tr. 1 fix to a card. 2 write on a card, esp.
for indexing. Ьask for (or get) one's cards ask (or be told) to
leave one's employment. card-carrying being a registered member
of an organization, esp. a political party or trade union.
card-game a game in which playing-cards are used. card index an
index in which each item is entered on a separate card.
card-index v.tr. make a card index of. card-playing the
playing of card-games. card-sharp (or -sharper) a swindler at
card-games. card-table a table for card-playing, esp. a folding
one. card up one's sleeve a plan in reserve. card vote US a
block vote, esp. in trade-union meetings. on (US in) the cards
possible or likely. put (or lay) one's cards on the table
reveal one's resources, intentions, etc. [ME f. OF carte f. L
charta f. Gk khartes papyrus-leaf]
card(2) n. & v. --n. a toothed instrument, wire brush, etc., for
raising a nap on cloth or for disentangling fibres before
spinning. --v.tr. brush, comb, cleanse, or scratch with a card.
Ьcarding-wool short-stapled wool. ЬЬcarder n. [ME f. OF carde
f. Prov. carda f. cardar tease, comb, ult. f. L carere card]
Card. abbr. Cardinal.
cardamom n. (also cardamum) 1 an aromatic SE Asian plant, Elettaria
cardamomum. 2 the seed-capsules of this used as a spice. [L
cardamomum or F cardamome f. Gk kardamomon f. kardamon cress +
amomon a spice plant]
n. Engin. a universal joint. [G. Cardano, It. mathematician
n. Engin. a shaft with a universal joint at one or both ends.
cardboard n. & adj. --n. pasteboard or stiff paper, esp. for making cards
or boxes. --adj. 1 made of cardboard. 2 flimsy,
cardiac adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to the heart. 2 of or
relating to the part of the stomach nearest the oesophagus.
--n. a person with heart disease. [F cardiaque or L cardiacus
f. Gk kardiakos f. kardia heart]
cardie var. of CARDY.
cardigan n. a knitted jacket fastening down the front, usu. with long
sleeves. [named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan d. 1868]
cardinal n. & adj. --n. 1 (as a title Cardinal) a leading dignitary of
the RC Church, one of the college electing the Pope. 2 any
small American songbird of the genus Richmondena, the males of
which have scarlet plumage. 3 hist. a woman's cloak, orig. of
scarlet cloth with a hood. --adj. 1 chief, fundamental; on
which something hinges. 2 of deep scarlet (like a cardinal's
cassock). Ьcardinal-flower the scarlet lobelia. cardinal
humour see HUMOUR. cardinal numbers those denoting quantity
(one, two, three, etc.), as opposed to ordinal numbers (first,
second, third, etc.). cardinal points the four main points of
the compass (N., S., E., W.). cardinal virtues the chief moral
attributes: justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude.
ЬЬcardinalate n. (in sense 1 of n.). cardinally adv.
cardinalship n. (in sense 1 of n.). [ME f. OF f. L cardinalis
f. cardo -inis hinge: in Eng. first applied to the four virtues
on which conduct 'hinges']
cardio- comb. form heart (cardiogram; cardiology). [Gk kardia heart]
n. a record of muscle activity within the heart, made by a
n. an instrument for recording heart muscle activity.
ЬЬcardiographer n. cardiography n.
n. the branch of medicine concerned with diseases and
abnormalities of the heart. ЬЬcardiologist n.
adj. of or relating to the heart and blood vessels.
cardoon n. a thistle-like plant, Cynara cardunculus, allied to the
globe artichoke, with leaves used as a vegetable. [F cardon
ult. f. L cardu(u)s thistle]
cardphone n. a public telephone operated by the insertion of a prepaid
plastic machine-readable card instead of money.
cardy n. (also cardie) (pl. -ies) colloq. a cardigan. [abbr.]
care n. & v. --n. 1 worry, anxiety. 2 an occasion for this. 3
serious attention; heed, caution, pains (assembled with care;
handle with care). 4 a protection, charge. b Brit. = child
care. 5 a thing to be done or seen to. --v.intr. 1 (usu.
foll. by about, for, whether) feel concern or interest. 2 (usu.
foll. by for, about, and with neg. expressed or implied) feel
liking, affection, regard, or deference (don't care for jazz).
3 (foll. by to + infin.) wish or be willing (should not care to
be seen with him; would you care to try them?). Ьcare for
provide for; look after. care-label a label attached to
clothing, with instructions for washing etc. care of at the
address of (sent it care of his sister). for all one cares
colloq. denoting uninterest or unconcern (for all I care they
can leave tomorrow; I could be dying for all you care). have a
care take care; be careful. I (etc.) couldn't (US could) care
less colloq. an expression of complete indifference. in care
Brit. (of a child) taken into the care of a local authority.
take care 1 be careful. 2 (foll. by to + infin.) not fail or
neglect. take care of 1 look after; keep safe. 2 deal with. 3
dispose of. [OE caru, carian, f. Gmc]
careen v. 1 tr. turn (a ship) on one side for cleaning, caulking, or
repair. 2 a intr. tilt; lean over. b tr. cause to do this. 3
intr. US swerve about; career. °Sense 3 is infl. by career
(v.). ЬЬcareenage n. [earlier as noun, = careened position of
ship, f. F carЉne f. It. carena f. L carina keel]
career n. & v. --n. 1 a one's advancement through life, esp. in a
profession. b the progress through history of a group or
institution. 2 a profession or occupation, esp. as offering
advancement. 3 (attrib.) a pursuing or wishing to pursue a
career (career woman). b working permanently in a specified
profession (career diplomat). 4 swift course; impetus (in full
career). --v.intr. 1 move or swerve about wildly. 2 go
swiftly. [F carriЉre f. It. carriera ult. f. L carrus CAR]
careerist n. a person predominantly concerned with personal advancement.
carefree adj. free from anxiety or responsibility; light-hearted.
careful adj. 1 painstaking, thorough. 2 cautious. 3 done with care
and attention. 4 (usu. foll. by that + clause, or to + infin.)
taking care; not neglecting. 5 (foll. by for, of) concerned
for; taking care of. ЬЬcarefully adv. carefulness n. [OE
carful (as CARE, -FUL)]
careless adj. 1 not taking care or paying attention. 2 unthinking,
insensitive. 3 done without care; inaccurate. 4 light-hearted.
5 (foll. by of) not concerned about; taking no heed of. 6
effortless. ЬЬcarelessly adv. carelessness n. [OE carleas (as
carer n. a person who cares for a sick or elderly person.
caress v. & n. --v.tr. 1 touch or stroke gently or lovingly; kiss. 2
treat fondly or kindly. --n. a loving or gentle touch or kiss.
[F caresse (n.), caresser (v.), f. It. carezza ult. f. L carus
caret n. a mark (*,*) indicating a proposed insertion in printing or
writing. [L, = is lacking]
caretaker n. 1 a person employed to look after something, esp. a house in
the owner's absence, or Brit. a public building. 2 (attrib.)
exercising temporary authority (caretaker government).
careworn adj. showing the effects of prolonged worry.
carfare n. US a passenger's fare to travel by bus.
cargo n. (pl. -oes or -os) 1 goods carried on a ship or aircraft. 2
US goods carried in a motor vehicle. Ьcargo cult (orig. in the
Pacific Islands) a belief in the forthcoming arrival of
ancestral spirits bringing cargoes of food and other goods.
[Sp. (as CHARGE)]
carhop n. US colloq. a waiter at a drive-in restaurant.
cariama var. of SERIEMA.
Carib n. & adj. --n. 1 an aboriginal inhabitant of the southern W.
Indies or the adjacent coasts. 2 the language of this people.
--adj. of or relating to this people. [Sp. Caribe f. Haitian]
Caribbean n. & adj. --n. the part of the Atlantic between the southern W.
Indies and Central America. --adj. 1 of or relating to this
region. 2 of the Caribs or their language or culture.
caribou n. (pl. same) a N. American reindeer. [Can. F, prob. f. Amer.
n. & v. --n. 1 a grotesque usu. comic representation of a
person by exaggeration of characteristic traits, in a picture,
writing, or mime. 2 a ridiculously poor or absurd imitation or
version. --v.tr. make or give a caricature of. ЬЬcaricatural
adj. caricaturist n. [F f. It. caricatura f. caricare load,
exaggerate: see CHARGE]
caries n. (pl. same) decay and crumbling of a tooth or bone. [L]
carillon n. 1 a set of bells sounded either from a keyboard or
mechanically. 2 a tune played on bells. 3 an organ-stop
imitating a peal of bells. [F f. OF quarregnon peal of four
bells, alt. of Rmc quaternio f. L quattuor four]
carina n. Biol. a keel-shaped structure, esp. the ridge of a bird's
breastbone. ЬЬcarinal adj. [L, = keel]
carinate adj. (of a bird) having a keeled breastbone (opp. RATITE). [L
carinatus keeled f. carina keel]
caring adj. compassionate, esp. with reference to the professional
care of the sick or elderly.
carioca n. 1 a a Brazilian dance like the samba. b the music for this.
2 a native of Rio de Janeiro. [Port.]
adj. causing caries.
carious adj. (of bones or teeth) decayed. [L cariosus]
carking adj. archaic burdensome (carking care). [part. of obs. cark
(v.) f. ONF carkier f. Rmc, rel. to CHARGE]
carl n. Sc. a man; a fellow. [OE f. ON karl, rel. to CHURL]
carline n. any plant of the genus Carlina, esp. the thistle-like C.
vulgaris. [F f. med.L carlina perh. for cardina (L carduus
thistle), assoc. with Carolus Magnus Charlemagne]
carload n. 1 a quantity that can be carried in a car. 2 US the minimum
quantity of goods for which a lower rate is charged for
var. of CAROLINGIAN.
carman n. US 1 the driver of a van. 2 a carrier.
Carmelite n. & adj. --n. 1 a friar of the Order of Our Lady of Mount
Carmel, following a rule of extreme asceticism. 2 a nun of a
similar order. --adj. of or relating to the Carmelites. [F
Carmelite or med.L carmelita f. Mt. Carmel in Palestine, where
the order was founded in the 12th c.]
adj. & n. --adj. relieving flatulence. --n. a carminative
drug. [F carminatif -ive or med.L carminare heal (by
incantation): see CHARM]
carmine adj. & n. --adj. of a vivid crimson colour. --n. 1 this
colour. 2 a vivid crimson pigment made from cochineal. [F
carmin or med.L carminium perh. f. carmesinum crimson + minium
carnage n. great slaughter, esp. of human beings in battle. [F f. It.
carnaggio f. med.L carnaticum f. L caro carnis flesh]
carnal adj. 1 of the body or flesh; worldly. 2 sensual, sexual.
Ьcarnal knowledge Law sexual intercourse. ЬЬcarnality n.
carnalize v.tr. (also -ise). carnally adv. [ME f. LL carnalis
f. caro carnis flesh]
adj. & n. --adj. (of a carnivore's upper premolar and lower
molar teeth) adapted for shearing flesh. --n. such a tooth.
Also called SECTORIAL. [F carnassier carnivorous]
n. 1 any of several cultivated varieties of clove-scented pink,
with variously coloured showy flowers (see also CLOVE(1) 2). 2
this flower. [orig. uncert.: in early use varying with
n. & adj. --n. a rosy pink colour. --adj. of this colour. [F
f. It. carnagione ult. f. L caro carnis flesh]
carnauba n. 1 a fan palm, Copernicia cerifera, native to NE Brazil. 2
(in full carnauba wax) the yellowish leaf-wax of this tree used
as a polish etc. [Port.]
carnelian var. of CORNELIAN.
carnet n. 1 a customs permit to take a motor vehicle across a frontier
for a limited period. 2 a permit allowing use of a camp-site.
[F, = notebook]
carnival n. 1 a the festivities usual during the period before Lent in
Roman Catholic countries. b any festivities, esp. those
occurring at a regular date. 2 merrymaking, revelry. 3 US a
travelling funfair or circus. [It. carne-, carnovale f. med.L
carnelevarium etc. Shrovetide f. L caro carnis flesh + levare
carnivore n. 1 a any mammal of the order Carnivora, with powerful jaws
and teeth adapted for stabbing, tearing, and eating flesh,
including cats, dogs, and bears. b any other flesh-eating
mammal. 2 any flesh-eating plant.
adj. 1 (of an animal) feeding on flesh. 2 (of a plant)
digesting trapped insects or other animal substances. 3 of or
relating to the order Carnivora. ЬЬcarnivorously adv.
carnivorousness n. [L carnivorus f. caro carnis flesh +
carob n. 1 (in full carob-tree) an evergreen tree, Ceratonia siliqua,
native to the Mediterranean, bearing edible pods. 2 its
bean-shaped edible seed pod sometimes used as a substitute for
chocolate. [obs. F carobe f. med.L carrubia, -um f. Arab.
carol n. & v. --n. a joyous song, esp. a Christmas hymn. --v.
(carolled, carolling; US caroled, caroling) 1 intr. sing carols,
esp. outdoors at Christmas. 2 tr. & intr. sing joyfully.
ЬЬcaroler n. (also caroller). [ME f. OF carole, caroler, of
Caroline adj. 1 (also Carolean) of the time of Charles I or II of
England. 2 = CAROLINGIAN adj. 2. [L Carolus Charles]
adj. & n. (also Carlovingian) --adj. 1 of or relating to the
second Frankish dynasty, founded by Charlemagne (d. 814). 2 of
a style of script developed in France at the time of
Charlemagne. --n. 1 a member of the Carolingian dynasty. 2
the Carolingian style of script. [F carlovingien f. Karl
Charles after m‚rovingien (see MEROVINGIAN): re-formed after L
carom n. & v. US Billiards --n. a cannon. --v.intr. 1 make a carom.
2 (usu. foll. by off) strike and rebound. [abbr. of carambole
f. Sp. carambola]
carotene n. any of several orange-coloured plant pigments found in
carrots, tomatoes, etc., acting as a source of vitamin A. [G
Carotin f. L carota CARROT]
n. any of a group of yellow, orange, or brown pigments giving
characteristic colour to plant organs, e.g. ripe tomatoes,
carrots, autumn leaves, etc.
carotid n. & adj. --n. each of the two main arteries carrying blood to
the head and neck. --adj. of or relating to either of these
arteries. [F carotide or mod.L carotides f. Gk karotides (pl.)
f. karoo stupefy (compression of these arteries being thought
to cause stupor)]
carouse v. & n. --v.intr. 1 have a noisy or lively drinking-party. 2
drink heavily. --n. a noisy or lively drinking-party.
ЬЬcarousal n. carouser n. [orig. as adv. = right out, in phr.
drink carouse f. G gar aus trinken]
carousel n. (US carrousel) 1 US a merry-go-round or roundabout. 2 a
rotating delivery or conveyor system, esp. for passengers'
luggage at an airport. 3 hist. a kind of equestrian tournament.
[F carrousel f. It. carosello]
carp(1) n. (pl. same) any freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae,
esp. Cyprinus carpio, often bred for use as food. [ME f. OF
carpe f. Prov. or f. LL carpa]
carp(2) v.intr. (usu. foll. by at) find fault; complain pettily.
ЬЬcarper n. [obs. ME senses 'talk, say, sing' f. ON karpa to
brag: mod. sense (16th c.) from or infl. by L carpere pluck at,
carpal adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the bones in the wrist.
--n. any of the bones forming the wrist. [CARPUS + -AL]
carpel n. Bot. the female reproductive organ of a flower, consisting
of a stigma, style, and ovary. ЬЬcarpellary adj. [F carpelle
or mod.L carpellum f. Gk karpos fruit]
carpenter n. & v. --n. a person skilled in woodwork, esp. of a structural
kind (cf. JOINER). --v. 1 intr. do carpentry. 2 tr. make by
means of carpentry. 3 tr. (often foll. by together) construct;
fit together. Ьcarpenter ant any large ant of the genus
Camponotus, boring into wood to nest. carpenter bee any of
various solitary bees, which bore into wood. [ME & AF; OF
carpentier f. LL carpentarius f. carpentum wagon f. Gaulish]
carpentry n. 1 the work or occupation of a carpenter. 2 timber-work
constructed by a carpenter. [ME f. OF carpenterie f. L
carpentaria: see CARPENTER]
carpet n. & v. --n. 1 a thick fabric for covering a floor or stairs.
b a piece of this fabric. 2 an expanse or layer resembling a
carpet in being smooth, soft, bright, or thick (carpet of snow).
--v.tr. (carpeted, carpeting) 1 cover with or as with a carpet.
2 colloq. reprimand, reprove. Ьcarpet-bag a travelling-bag of a
kind orig. made of carpet-like material. carpet-bagger 1 esp.
US a political candidate in an area where the candidate has no
local connections (orig. a northerner in the southern US after
the Civil War). 2 an unscrupulous opportunist. carpet bombing
intensive bombing. carpet slipper a kind of slipper with the
upper made orig. of carpet-like material. carpet-sweeper a
household implement with a revolving brush or brushes for
sweeping carpets. on the carpet 1 colloq. being reprimanded. 2
under consideration. sweep under the carpet conceal (a problem
or difficulty) in the hope that it will be forgotten. [ME f. OF
carpite or med.L carpita, f. obs. It. carpita woollen
counterpane, ult. f. L carpere pluck, pull to pieces]
carpeting n. 1 material for carpets. 2 carpets collectively.
carpology n. the study of the structure of fruit and seeds. [Gk karpos
carport n. a shelter with a roof and open sides for a car, usu. beside
carpus n. (pl. carpi) the small bones between the forelimb and
metacarpus in terrestrial vertebrates, forming the wrist in
humans. [mod.L f. Gk karpos wrist]
carrack n. hist. a large armed merchant-ship. [ME f. F caraque f. Sp.
carraca f. Arab. karakir]
carrageen n. (also carragheen) an edible red seaweed, Chondrus crispus,
of the N. hemisphere. Also called Irish moss. [orig. uncert.:
perh. f. Ir. cos inЎn carraige carrageen, lit. 'little stem of
carrel n. 1 a small cubicle for a reader in a library. 2 hist. a
small enclosure or study in a cloister. [OF carole, med.L
carola, of unkn. orig.]
carriage n. 1 Brit. a railway passenger vehicle. 2 a wheeled passenger
vehicle, esp. one with four wheels and pulled by horses. 3 a
the conveying of goods. b the cost of this (carriage paid). 4
the part of a machine (e.g. a typewriter) that carries other
parts into the required position. 5 a gun-carriage. 6 a manner
of carrying oneself; one's bearing or deportment. Ьcarriage and
pair a carriage with two horses pulling it. carriage clock a
portable clock in a rectangular case with a handle on top.
carriage-dog a dalmatian. [ME f. ONF cariage f. carier CARRY]
n. Brit. the part of a road intended for vehicles.
n. Naut. a kind of knot used to join ropes. [BEND(2): carrick
perh. f. CARRACK]
carrier n. 1 a person or thing that carries. 2 a person or company
undertaking to convey goods or passengers for payment. 3 =
carrier bag. 4 a part of a bicycle etc. for carrying luggage or
a passenger. 5 a person or animal that may transmit a disease
or a hereditary characteristic without suffering from or
displaying it. 6 = aircraft-carrier. 7 a substance used to
support or convey a pigment, a catalyst, radioactive material,
etc. 8 Physics a mobile electron or hole that carries a charge
in a semiconductor. Ьcarrier bag Brit. a disposable plastic or
paper bag with handles. carrier pigeon a pigeon trained to
carry messages tied to its neck or leg. carrier wave a
high-frequency electromagnetic wave modulated in amplitude or
frequency to convey a signal.
carriole n. 1 a small open carriage for one. 2 a covered light cart. 3
a Canadian sledge. [F f. It. carriuola, dimin. of carro CAR]
carrion n. & adj. --n. 1 dead putrefying flesh. 2 something vile or
filthy. --adj. rotten, loathsome. Ьcarrion crow a black crow,
Corvus corone, native to Europe, feeding mainly on carrion.
carrion flower = STAPELIA. [ME f. AF & ONF caroine, -oigne, OF
charoigne ult. f. L caro flesh]
carrot n. 1 a an umbelliferous plant, Daucus carota, with a tapering
orange-coloured root. b this root as a vegetable. 2 a means of
enticement or persuasion. 3 (in pl.) sl. a red-haired person.
ЬЬcarroty adj. [F carotte f. L carota f. Gk karoton]
carrousel US var. of CAROUSEL.
carry v. & n. --v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. support or hold up, esp. while
moving. 2 tr. convey with one from one place to another. 3 tr.
have on one's person (carry a watch). 4 tr. conduct or transmit
(pipe carries water; wire carries electric current). 5 tr. take
(a process etc.) to a specified point (carry into effect; carry
a joke too far). 6 tr. (foll. by to) continue or prolong (carry
modesty to excess). 7 tr. involve, imply; have as a feature or
consequence (carries a two-year guarantee; principles carry
consequences). 8 tr. (in reckoning) transfer (a figure) to a
column of higher value. 9 tr. hold in a specified way (carry
oneself erect). 10 tr. a (of a newspaper or magazine) publish;
include in its contents, esp. regularly. b (of a radio or
television station) broadcast, esp. regularly. 11 tr. (of a
retailing outlet) keep a regular stock of (particular goods for
sale) (have stopped carrying that brand). 12 intr. a (of
sound, esp. a voice) be audible at a distance. b (of a missile)
travel, penetrate. 13 tr. (of a gun etc.) propel to a specified
distance. 14 tr. a win victory or acceptance for (a proposal
etc.). b win acceptance from (carried the audience with them).
c win, capture (a prize, a fortress, etc.). d US gain (a State
or district) in an election. e Golf cause the ball to pass
beyond (a bunker etc.). 15 tr. a endure the weight of; support
(columns carry the dome). b be the chief cause of the
effectiveness of; be the driving force in (you carry the sales
department). 16 tr. be pregnant with (is carrying twins). 17
tr. a (of a motive, money, etc.) cause or enable (a person) to
go to a specified place. b (of a journey) bring (a person) to a
specified point. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an act of carrying. 2
Golf the distance a ball travels before reaching the ground. 3
a portage between rivers etc. 4 the range of a gun etc.
Ьcarry-all 1 a light carriage (cf. CARRIOLE). 2 US a car with
seats placed sideways. 3 US a large bag or case. carry all
before one succeed; overcome all opposition. carry away 1
remove. 2 inspire; affect emotionally or spiritually. 3
deprive of self-control (got carried away). 4 Naut. a lose (a
mast etc.) by breakage. b break off or away. carry back take
(a person) back in thought to a past time. carry one's bat
Cricket be not out at the end of a side's completed innings.
carry the can colloq. bear the responsibility or blame. carry
conviction be convincing. carry-cot a portable cot for a baby.
carry the day be victorious or successful. carry forward
transfer to a new page or account. carrying-on (or
carryings-on) = carry-on. carrying-trade the conveying of goods
from one country to another by water or air as a business.
carry it off (or carry it off well) do well under difficulties.
carry off 1 take away, esp. by force. 2 win (a prize). 3 (esp.
of a disease) kill. 4 render acceptable or passable. carry on
1 continue (carry on eating; carry on, don't mind me). 2 engage
in (a conversation or a business). 3 colloq. behave strangely
or excitedly. 4 (often foll. by with) colloq. flirt or have a
love affair. 5 advance (a process) by a stage. carry-on n.
Brit. sl. 1 a state of excitement or fuss. 2 a questionable
piece of behaviour. 3 a flirtation or love affair. carry out
put (ideas, instructions, etc.) into practice. carry-out
attrib.adj. & n. esp. Sc. & US = take-away. carry over 1 =
carry forward. 2 postpone (work etc.). 3 Stock Exch. keep over
to the next settling-day. carry-over n. 1 something carried
over. 2 Stock Exch. postponement to the next settling-day.
carry through 1 complete successfully. 2 bring safely out of
difficulties. carry weight be influential or important. carry
with one bear in mind. [ME f. AF & ONF carier (as CAR)]
carse n. Sc. fertile lowland beside a river. [ME, perh. f. carrs
carsick adj. affected with nausea caused by the motion of a car.
cart n. & v. --n. 1 a strong vehicle with two or four wheels for
carrying loads, usu. drawn by a horse. 2 a light vehicle for
pulling by hand. 3 a light vehicle with two wheels for driving
in, drawn by a single horse. --v.tr. 1 convey in or as in a
cart. 2 sl. carry (esp. a cumbersome thing) with difficulty or
over a long distance (carted it all the way home). Ьcart-horse
a thickset horse suitable for heavy work. cart-load 1 an amount
filling a cart. 2 a large quantity of anything. cart off
remove, esp. by force. cart-track (or -road) a track or road
too rough for ordinary vehicles. cart-wright a maker of carts.
in the cart sl. in trouble or difficulty. put the cart before
the horse 1 reverse the proper order or procedure. 2 take an
effect for a cause. ЬЬcarter n. cartful n. (pl. -fuls). [ME
f. ON kartr cart & OE cr‘t, prob. infl. by AF & ONF carete
dimin. of carre CAR]
cartage n. the price paid for carting.
carte var. of QUART 4.
n. full discretionary power given to a person. [F, = blank
cartel n. 1 an informal association of manufacturers or suppliers to
maintain prices at a high level, and control production,
marketing arrangements, etc. 2 a political combination between
parties. ЬЬcartelize v.tr. & intr. (also -ise). [G Kartell f.
F cartel f. It. cartello dimin. of carta CARD(1)]
Cartesian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to R. Descartes, 17th-c. French
philosopher and mathematician. --n. a follower of Descartes.
ЬCartesian coordinates a system for locating a point by
reference to its distance from two or three axes intersecting at
right angles. ЬЬCartesianism n. [mod.L Cartesianus f.
Cartesius, name of Descartes]
n. & adj. --n. a monk of a contemplative order founded by St
Bruno in 1084. --adj. of or relating to this order. [med.L
Carthusianus f. L Cart(h)usia Chartreuse, near Grenoble]
cartilage n. gristle, a firm flexible connective tissue forming the
infant skeleton, which is mainly replaced by bone in adulthood.
ЬЬcartilaginoid adj. cartilaginous adj. [F f. L cartilago
cartogram n. a map with diagrammatic statistical information. [F
cartogramme f. carte map, card]
n. the science or practice of map-drawing. ЬЬcartographer n.
cartographic adj. cartographical adj. [F cartographie f.
carte map, card]
n. fortune-telling by interpreting a random selection of
playing-cards. [F cartomancie f. carte CARD(1)]
carton n. a light box or container, esp. one made of cardboard. [F
cartoon n. & v. --n. 1 a humorous drawing in a newspaper, magazine,
etc., esp. as a topical comment. 2 a sequence of drawings,
often with speech indicated, telling a story (strip cartoon). 3
a filmed sequence of drawings using the technique of animation.
4 a full-size drawing on stout paper as an artist's preliminary
design for a painting, tapestry, mosaic, etc. --v. 1 tr. draw
a cartoon of. 2 intr. draw cartoons. ЬЬcartoonist n. [It.
cartone f. carta CARD(1)]
cartouche n. 1 a Archit. a scroll-like ornament, e.g. the volute of an
Ionic capital. b a tablet imitating, or a drawing of, a scroll
with rolled-up ends, used ornamentally or bearing an
inscription. c an ornate frame. 2 Archaeol. an oval ring
enclosing Egyptian hieroglyphs, usu. representing the name and
title of a king. [F, = cartridge, f. It. cartoccio f. carta
cartridge n. 1 a case containing a charge of propelling explosive for
firearms or blasting, with a bullet or shot if for small arms.
2 a spool of film, magnetic tape, etc., in a sealed container
ready for insertion. 3 a component carrying the stylus on the
pick-up head of a record-player. 4 an ink-container for
insertion in a pen. Ьcartridge-belt a belt with pockets or
loops for cartridges (in sense 1). cartridge paper thick rough
paper used for cartridges, for drawing, and for strong
envelopes. [corrupt. of CARTOUCHE (but recorded earlier)]
cartwheel n. 1 the (usu. spoked) wheel of a cart. 2 a circular sideways
handspring with the arms and legs extended.
caruncle n. 1 Zool. a fleshy excrescence, e.g. a turkeycock's wattles or
the red prominence at the inner angle of the eye. 2 Bot. an
outgrowth from a seed near the micropyle. ЬЬcaruncular adj.
[obs. F f. L caruncula f. caro carnis flesh]
carve v. 1 tr. produce or shape (a statue, representation in relief,
etc.) by cutting into a hard material (carved a figure out of
rock; carved it in wood). 2 tr. a cut patterns, designs,
letters, etc. in (hard material). b (foll. by into) form a
pattern, design, etc., from (carved it into a bust). c (foll.
by with) cover or decorate (material) with figures or designs
cut in it. 3 tr. (absol.) cut (meat etc.) into slices for
eating. Ьcarve out 1 take from a larger whole. 2 establish (a
career etc.) purposefully (carved out a name for themselves).
carve up divide into several pieces; subdivide (territory etc.).
carve-up n. sl. a sharing-out, esp. of spoils. carving knife
a knife with a long blade, for carving meat. [OE ceorfan cut f.
carvel n. var. of CARAVEL. Ьcarvel-built (of a boat) made with planks
flush, not overlapping (cf. CLINKER-BUILT). [as CARAVEL]
carven archaic past part. of CARVE.
Carver n. US a chair with arms, a rush seat, and a back having
horizontal and vertical spindles. [J. Carver, first governor
of Plymouth Colony, d. 1621, for whom a prototype was allegedly
carver n. 1 a person who carves. 2 a a carving knife. b (in pl.) a
knife and fork for carving. 3 Brit. the principal chair, with
arms, in a set of dining-chairs, intended for the person who
carves. °To be distinguished (in sense 3) from Carver.
carvery n. (pl. -ies) a buffet or restaurant with joints displayed,
and carved as required, in front of customers.
carving n. a carved object, esp. as a work of art.
caryatid n. (pl. caryatides or caryatids) Archit. a pillar in the form
of a draped female figure, supporting an entablature. [F
caryatide f. It. cariatide or L f. Gk karuatis -idos priestess
at Caryae (Karuai) in Laconia]
caryopsis n. (pl. caryopses) Bot. a dry one-seeded indehiscent fruit,
as in wheat and maize. [mod.L f. Gk karuon nut + opsis
Casanova n. a man notorious for seducing women. [G. J. Casanova de
Seingalt, It. adventurer d. 1798]
casbah var. of KASBAH.
cascade n. & v. --n. 1 a small waterfall, esp. forming one in a series
or part of a large broken waterfall. 2 a succession of
electrical devices or stages in a process. 3 a quantity of
material etc. draped in descending folds. 4 a process of
disseminating information from senior to junior levels in an
organization. --v.intr. fall in or like a cascade. [F f. It.
cascata f. cascare to fall ult. f. L casus: see CASE(1)]
cascara n. (in full cascara sagrada) the bark of a Californian
buckthorn, Rhamnus purshiana, used as a purgative. [Sp., =
case(1) n. 1 an instance of something occurring. 2 a state of affairs,
hypothetical or actual. 3 a an instance of a person receiving
professional guidance, e.g. from a doctor or social worker. b
this person or the circumstances involved. 4 a matter under
official investigation, esp. by the police. 5 Law a a cause or
suit for trial. b a statement of the facts in a cause sub
judice, drawn up for a higher court's consideration (judge
states a case). c a cause that has been decided and may be
cited (leading case). 6 a the sum of the arguments on one side,
esp. in a lawsuit (that is our case). b a set of arguments,
esp. in relation to persuasiveness (have a good case; have a
weak case). c a valid set of arguments (have no case). 7 Gram.
a the relation of a word to other words in a sentence. b a form
of a noun, adjective, or pronoun expressing this. 8 colloq. a
comical person. 9 the position or circumstances in which one
is. Ьas the case may be according to the situation. case
history information about a person for use in professional
treatment, e.g. by a doctor. case-law the law as established by
the outcome of former cases (cf. common law, statute law).
case-load the cases with which a doctor etc. is concerned at one
time. case-study 1 an attempt to understand a person,
institution, etc., from collected information. 2 a record of
such an attempt. 3 the use of a particular instance as an
exemplar of general principles. in any case whatever the truth
is; whatever may happen. in case 1 in the event that; if. 2
lest; in provision against a stated or implied possibility (take
an umbrella in case it rains; took it in case). in case of in
the event of. in the case of as regards. in no case under no
circumstances. in that case if that is true; should that
happen. is (or is not) the case is (or is not) so. [ME f. OF
cas f. L casus fall f. cadere cas- to fall]
case(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a container or covering serving to enclose or
contain. 2 a container with its contents. 3 the outer
protective covering of a watch, book, seed-vessel, sausage, etc.
4 an item of luggage, esp. a suitcase. 5 Printing a partitioned
receptacle for type. 6 a glass box for showing specimens,
curiosities, etc. --v.tr. 1 enclose in a case. 2 (foll. by
with) surround. 3 sl. reconnoitre (a house etc.) esp. with a
view to robbery. Ьcase-bound (of a book) in a hard cover.
case-harden 1 harden the surface of, esp. give a steel surface
to (iron) by carbonizing. 2 make callous. case-knife a knife
carried in a sheath. case-shot 1 bullets in an iron case fired
from a cannon. 2 shrapnel. lower case small letters. upper
case capitals. [ME f. OF casse, chasse, f. L capsa f. capere
casebook n. a book containing a record of legal or medical cases.
casein n. the main protein in milk, esp. in coagulated form as in
cheese. [L caseus cheese]
n. the soluble form of casein as it occurs in milk.
casemate n. 1 a chamber in the thickness of the wall of a fortress, with
embrasures. 2 an armoured enclosure for guns on a warship. [F
casemate & It. casamatta or Sp. -mata, f. camata, perh. f. Gk
khasma -atos gap]
casement n. 1 a window or part of a window hinged vertically to open
like a door. 2 poet. a window. [ME f. AL cassimentum f. cassa
casework n. social work concerned with individuals, esp. involving
understanding of the client's family and background.
cash(1) n. & v. --n. 1 money in coins or notes, as distinct from
cheques or orders. 2 (also cash down) money paid as full
payment at the time of purchase, as distinct from credit. 3
colloq. wealth. --v.tr. give or obtain cash for (a note,
cheque, etc.). Ьcash and carry 1 a system of wholesaling in
which goods are paid for in cash and taken away by the
purchaser. 2 a store where this system operates. cash-book a
book in which receipts and payments of cash are recorded. cash
crop a crop produced for sale, not for use as food etc. cash
desk a counter or compartment in a shop where goods are paid
for. cash dispenser an automatic machine from which customers
of a bank etc. may withdraw cash, esp. by using a cashcard.
cash flow the movement of money into and out of a business, as a
measure of profitability, or as affecting liquidity. cash in 1
obtain cash for. 2 colloq. (usu. foll. by on) profit (from);
take advantage (of). 3 pay into a bank etc. 4 (in full cash in
one's checks) colloq. die. cash on delivery a system of paying
the carrier for goods when they are delivered. cash register a
machine in a shop etc. with a drawer for money, recording the
amount of each sale, totalling receipts, etc. cash up Brit.
count and check cash takings at the end of a day's trading.
ЬЬcashable adj. cashless adj. [obs. F casse box or It. cassa
f. L capsa CASE(2)]
cash(2) n. (pl. same) hist. any of various small coins of China or the
E. Indies. [ult. f. Port. ca(i)xa f. Tamil kasu f. Skr.
cashcard n. a plastic card (see CARD(1) n. 9) which enables the holder
to draw money from a cash dispenser.
cashew n. 1 a bushy evergreen tree, Anacardium occidentale, native to
Central and S. America, bearing kidney-shaped nuts attached to
fleshy fruits. 2 (in full cashew nut) the edible nut of this
tree. Ьcashew apple the edible fleshy fruit of this tree.
[Port. f. Tupi (a)caju]
n. a person dealing with cash transactions in a shop, bank,
etc. [Du. cassier or F caissier (as CASH(1))]
v.tr. dismiss from service, esp. from the armed forces with
disgrace. [Flem. kasseren disband, revoke, f. F casser f. L
cashmere n. 1 a fine soft wool, esp. that of a Kashmir goat. 2 a
material made from this. [Kashmir in Asia]
cashpoint n. = cash dispenser.
casing n. 1 a protective or enclosing cover or shell. 2 the material
casino n. (pl. -os) a public room or building for gambling. [It.,
dimin. of casa house f. L casa cottage]
cask n. 1 a large barrel-like container made of wood, metal, or
plastic, esp. one for alcoholic liquor. 2 its contents. 3 its
capacity. [F casque or Sp. casco helmet]
casket n. 1 a small often ornamental box or chest for jewels, letters,
etc. 2 a a small wooden box for cremated ashes. b US a coffin,
esp. a rectangular one. [perh. f. AF form of OF cassette f. It.
cassetta dimin. of cassa f. L capsa CASE(2)]
casque n. 1 hist. or poet. a helmet. 2 Zool. a helmet-like structure,
e.g. the process on the bill of the cassowary. [F f. Sp.
Cassandra n. a prophet of disaster, esp. one who is disregarded. [L f.
Gk Kassandra, daughter of Priam King of Troy: she was condemned
by Apollo to prophesy correctly but not be believed]
cassata n. a type of ice-cream containing candied or dried fruit and
cassation n. Mus. an informal instrumental composition of the 18th c.,
similar to a divertimento and orig. often for outdoor
performance. [It. cassazione]
cassava n. 1 a any plant of the genus Manihot, esp. the cultivated
varieties M. esculenta (bitter cassava) and M. dulcis (sweet
cassava), having starchy tuberous roots. b the roots
themselves. 2 a starch or flour obtained from these roots. Also
called TAPIOCA, MANIOC. [earlier cas(s)avi etc., f. Taino
casavi, infl. by F cassave]
casserole n. & v. --n. 1 a covered dish, usu. of earthenware or glass,
in which food is cooked, esp. slowly in the oven. 2 food cooked
in a casserole. --v.tr. cook in a casserole. [F f. cassole
dimin. of casse f. Prov. casa f. LL cattia ladle, pan f. Gk
kuathion dimin. of kuathos cup]
cassette n. a sealed case containing a length of tape, ribbon, etc.,
ready for insertion in a machine, esp.: 1 a length of magnetic
tape wound on to spools, ready for insertion in a tape recorder.
2 a length of photographic film, ready for insertion in a
camera. [F, dimin. of casse CASE(2)]
cassia n. 1 any tree of the genus Cassia, bearing leaves from which
senna is extracted. 2 the cinnamon-like bark of this tree used
as a spice. [L f. Gk kasia f. Heb. kesЊ'ah bark like cinnamon]
cassis n. a syrupy usu. alcoholic blackcurrant flavouring for drinks
etc. [F, = blackcurrant]
n. a naturally occurring ore of tin dioxide, from which tin is
extracted. Also called TINSTONE. [Gk kassiteros tin]
cassock n. a long close-fitting usu. black or red garment worn by
clergy, members of choirs, etc. ЬЬcassocked adj. [F casaque
long coat f. It. casacca horseman's coat, prob. f. Turkic: cf.
cassoulet n. a ragout of meat and beans. [F, dimin. of dial. cassolo
cassowary n. (pl. -ies) any large flightless Australasian bird of the
genus Casuarius, with heavy body, stout legs, a wattled neck,
and a bony crest on its forehead. [Malay kasuari, kasavari]
cast v. & n. --v. (past and past part. cast) 1 tr. throw, esp.
deliberately or forcefully. 2 tr. (often foll. by on, over) a
direct or cause to fall (one's eyes, a glance, light, a shadow,
a spell, etc.). b express (doubts, aspersions, etc.). 3 tr.
throw out (a fishing-line) into the water. 4 tr. let down (an
anchor or sounding-lead). 5 tr. a throw off, get rid of. b
shed (skin etc.) esp. in the process of growth. c (of a horse)
lose (a shoe). 6 tr. record, register, or give (a vote). 7 tr.
a shape (molten metal or plastic material) in a mould. b make
(a product) in this way. 8 tr. Printing make (type). 9 tr. a
(usu. foll. by as) assign (an actor) to play a particular
character. b allocate roles in (a play, film, etc.). 10 tr.
(foll. by in, into) arrange or formulate (facts etc.) in a
specified form. 11 tr. & intr. reckon, add up, calculate
(accounts or figures). 12 tr. calculate and record details of
(a horoscope). --n. 1 a the throwing of a missile etc. b the
distance reached by this. 2 a throw or a number thrown at dice.
3 a throw of a net, sounding-lead, or fishing-line. 4 Fishing a
that which is cast, esp. the gut with hook and fly. b a place
for casting (a good cast). 5 a an object of metal, clay, etc.,
made in a mould. b a moulded mass of solidified material, esp.
plaster protecting a broken limb. 6 the actors taking part in a
play, film, etc. 7 form, type, or quality (cast of features;
cast of mind). 8 a tinge or shade of colour. 9 a (in full cast
in the eye) a slight squint. b a twist or inclination. 10 a a
mass of earth excreted by a worm. b a mass of indigestible food
thrown up by a hawk, owl, etc. 11 the form into which any work
is thrown or arranged. 12 a a wide area covered by a dog or
pack to find a trail. b Austral. & NZ a wide sweep made by a
sheepdog in mustering sheep. Ьcast about (or around or round)
make an extensive search (actually or mentally) (cast about for
a solution). cast adrift leave to drift. cast ashore (of waves
etc.) throw to the shore. cast aside give up using; abandon.
cast away 1 reject. 2 (in passive) be shipwrecked (cf.
CASTAWAY). cast one's bread upon the waters see BREAD. cast
down depress, deject (cf. DOWNCAST). casting vote a deciding
vote usu. given by the chairperson when the votes on two sides
are equal. °From an obsolete sense of cast = turn the scale.
cast iron a hard alloy of iron, carbon, and silicon cast in a
mould. cast-iron adj. 1 made of cast iron. 2 hard,
unchallengeable, unchangeable. cast loose detach; detach
oneself. cast lots see LOT. cast-net a net thrown out and
immediately drawn in. cast off 1 abandon. 2 Knitting take the
stitches off the needle by looping each over the next to finish
the edge. 3 Naut. a set a ship free from a quay etc. b loosen
and throw off (rope etc.). 4 Printing estimate the space that
will be taken in print by manuscript copy. cast-off adj.
abandoned, discarded. --n. a cast-off thing, esp. a garment.
cast on Knitting make the first row of loops on the needle.
cast out expel. cast up 1 (of the sea) deposit on the shore. 2
add up (figures etc.). [ME f. ON kasta]
castanet n. (usu. in pl.) a small concave piece of hardwood, ivory,
etc., in pairs held in the hands and clicked together by the
fingers as a rhythmic accompaniment, esp. by Spanish dancers.
[Sp. casta¤eta dimin. of casta¤a f. L castanea chestnut]
castaway n. & adj. --n. a shipwrecked person. --adj. 1 shipwrecked. 2
cast aside; rejected.
caste n. 1 any of the Hindu hereditary classes whose members have no
social contact with other classes, but are socially equal with
one another and often follow the same occupations. 2 a more or
less exclusive social class. 3 a system of such classes. 4 the
position it confers. 5 Zool. a form of social insect having a
particular function. Ьcaste mark a symbol on the forehead
denoting a person's caste. lose caste descend in the social
order. [Sp. and Port. casta lineage, race, breed, fem. of
casto pure, CHASTE]
casteism n. often derog. the caste system.
castellan n. hist. the governor of a castle. [ME f. ONF castelain f.
med.L castellanus: see CASTLE]
adj. 1 having battlements. 2 castle-like. ЬЬcastellation n.
[med.L castellatus: see CASTLE]
caster n. 1 var. of CASTOR(1). 2 a person who casts. 3 a machine for
castigate v.tr. rebuke or punish severely. ЬЬcastigation n. castigator
n. castigatory adj. [L castigare reprove f. castus pure]
n. a fine hard white or mottled soap made with olive oil and
soda. [as CASTILIAN]
Castilian n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Castile in Spain. 2 the language
of Castile, standard spoken and literary Spanish. --adj. of or
relating to Castile.
casting n. an object made by casting, esp. of molten metal.
castle n. & v. --n. 1 a a large fortified building or group of
buildings; a stronghold. b a formerly fortified mansion. 2
Chess = ROOK(2). --v. Chess 1 intr. make a special move (once
only in a game on each side) in which the king is moved two
squares along the back rank and the nearer rook is moved to the
square passed over by the king. 2 tr. move (the king) by
castling. Ьcastles in the air (or in Spain) a visionary
unattainable scheme; a day-dream. ЬЬcastled adj. [AF & ONF
castel, chastel f. L castellum dimin. of castrum fort]
castor(1) n. (also caster) 1 a small swivelled wheel (often one of a set)
fixed to a leg (or the underside) of a piece of furniture. 2 a
small container with holes in the top for sprinkling the
contents. Ьcastor action swivelling of vehicle wheels to ensure
stability. castor sugar finely granulated white sugar. [orig.
a var. of CASTER (in the general sense)]
castor(2) n. an oily substance secreted by beavers and used in medicine
and perfumes. [F or L f. Gk kastor beaver]
n. 1 an oil from the seeds of a plant, Ricinus communis, used
as a purgative and lubricant. 2 (in full castor oil plant) this
plant. Ьcastor oil bean (or castor bean) a seed of the castor
oil plant. [18th c.: orig. uncert.: perh. so called as having
succeeded CASTOR(2) in the medical sense]
castrate v.tr. 1 remove the testicles of; geld. 2 deprive of vigour.
ЬЬcastration n. castrator n. [L castrare]
castrato n. (pl. castrati) hist. a male singer castrated in boyhood so
as to retain a soprano or alto voice. [It., past part. of
castrare: see CASTRATE]
casual adj. & n. --adj. 1 accidental; due to chance. 2 not regular
or permanent; temporary, occasional (casual work; a casual
affair). 3 a unconcerned, uninterested (was very casual about
it). b made or done without great care or thought (a casual
remark). c acting carelessly or unmethodically. 4 (of clothes)
informal. --n. 1 a casual worker. 2 (usu. in pl.) casual
clothes or shoes. ЬЬcasually adv. casualness n. [ME f. OF
casuel & L casualis f. casus CASE(1)]
casualty n. (pl. -ies) 1 a person killed or injured in a war or
accident. 2 a thing lost or destroyed. 3 = casualty
department. 4 an accident, mishap, or disaster. Ьcasualty
department (or ward) the part of a hospital where casualties are
treated. [ME f. med.L casualitas (as CASUAL), after ROYALTY
casuarina n. any tree of the genus Casuarina, native to Australia and SE
Asia, having tiny scale leaves on slender jointed branches,
resembling gigantic horsetails. [mod.L casuarius cassowary
(from the resemblance between branches and feathers)]
casuist n. 1 a person, esp. a theologian, who resolves problems of
conscience, duty, etc., often with clever but false reasoning.
2 a sophist or quibbler. ЬЬcasuistic adj. casuistical adj.
casuistically adv. casuistry n. [F casuiste f. Sp. casuista
f. L casus CASE(1)]
n. an act or situation provoking or justifying war. [L]
cat n. & v. --n. 1 a small soft-furred four-legged domesticated
animal, Felis catus. 2 a any wild animal of the genus Felis,
e.g. a lion, tiger, or leopard. b = wild cat. 3 a catlike
animal of any other species (civet cat). 4 colloq. a malicious
or spiteful woman. 5 sl. a jazz enthusiast. 6 Naut. = CATHEAD.
7 = cat-o'-nine-tails. 8 a short tapered stick in the game of
tipcat. --v.tr. (also absol.) (catted, catting) Naut. raise (an
anchor) from the surface of the water to the cathead.
Ьcat-and-dog (of a relationship etc.) full of quarrels. cat
burglar a burglar who enters by climbing to an upper storey.
cat flap (or door) a small swinging flap in an outer door, for a
cat to pass in and out. cat-ice thin ice unsupported by water.
cat-o'-nine-tails hist. a rope whip with nine knotted lashes
for flogging sailors, soldiers, or criminals. cat's cradle a
child's game in which a loop of string is held between the
fingers and patterns are formed. Cat's-eye Brit. propr. one
of a series of reflector studs set into a road. cat's-eye a
precious stone of Sri Lanka and Malabar. cat's-foot any small
plant of the genus Antennaria, having soft woolly leaves and
growing on the surface of the ground. cat's-paw 1 a person used
as a tool by another. 2 a slight breeze rippling the surface of
the water. cat's-tail = reed-mace (see REED(1)). cat's
whiskers (or pyjamas) sl. an excellent person or thing. let
the cat out of the bag reveal a secret, esp. involuntarily.
like a cat on hot bricks (or on a hot tin roof) very agitated or
agitatedly. put (or set) the cat among the pigeons cause
trouble. rain cats and dogs rain very hard. [OE catt(e) f. LL
cata- prefix (usu. cat- before a vowel or h) 1 down, downwards
(catadromous). 2 wrongly, badly (catachresis). [Gk kata down]
n. (also katabolism) Biochem. the breakdown of complex
molecules in living organisms to form simpler ones with the
release of energy; destructive metabolism (opp. ANABOLISM).
ЬЬcatabolic adj. [Gk katabole descent f. kata down + bole f.
n. (pl. catachreses) an incorrect use of words.
ЬЬcatachrestic adj. [L f. Gk katakhresis f. khraomai use]
n. (pl. cataclases) Geol. the natural process of fracture,
shearing, or breaking up of rocks. ЬЬcataclastic adj. [mod.L
f. Gk kataklasis breaking down]
cataclasm n. a violent break; a disruption. [Gk kataklasma (as CATA-,
klao to break)]
cataclysm n. 1 a a violent, esp. social or political, upheaval or
disaster. b a great change. 2 a great flood or deluge.
ЬЬcataclysmal adj. cataclysmic adj. cataclysmically adv. [F
cataclysme f. L cataclysmus f. Gk kataklusmos f. klusmos flood
f. kluzo wash]
catacomb n. (often in pl.) 1 an underground cemetery, esp. a Roman
subterranean gallery with recesses for tombs. 2 a similar
underground construction; a cellar. [F catacombes f. LL
catacumbas (name given in the 5th c. to the cemetery of St
Sebastian near Rome), of unkn. orig.]
adj. (of a fish, e.g. the eel) that swims down rivers to the
sea to spawn (cf. ANADROMOUS). [Gk katadromos f. kata down +
n. a decorated wooden framework for supporting the coffin of a
distinguished person during a funeral or while lying in state.
[F f. It. catafalco, of unkn. orig.: cf. SCAFFOLD]
Catalan n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Catalonia in Spain. 2 the
language of Catalonia. --adj. of or relating to Catalonia or
its people or language. [F f. Sp.]
catalase n. Biochem. an enzyme that catalyses the reduction of hydrogen
catalepsy n. a state of trance or seizure with loss of sensation and
consciousness accompanied by rigidity of the body. ЬЬcataleptic
adj. & n. [F catalepsie or LL catalepsia f. Gk katalepsis (as
CATA-, lepsis seizure)]
catalogue n. & v. (US catalog) --n. 1 a complete list of items (e.g.
articles for sale, books held by a library), usu. in
alphabetical or other systematic order and often with a
description of each. 2 an extensive list (a catalogue of
crimes). 3 US a university course-list etc. --v.tr.
(catalogues, catalogued, cataloguing; US catalogs, cataloged,
cataloging) 1 make a catalogue of. 2 enter in a catalogue.
ЬЬcataloguer n. (US cataloger). [F f. LL catalogus f. Gk.
katalogos f. katalego enrol (as CATA-, lego choose)]
n. a descriptive catalogue with explanations or comments. [F,
= explained catalogue]
catalpa n. any tree of the genus Catalpa, with heart-shaped leaves,
trumpet-shaped flowers, and long pods. [Amer. Ind. (Creek)]
catalyse v.tr. (US catalyze) Chem. produce (a reaction) by catalysis.
[as CATALYSIS after analyse]
catalysis n. (pl. catalyses) Chem. & Biochem. the acceleration of a
chemical or biochemical reaction by a catalyst. [Gk katalusis
dissolution (as CATA-, luo set free)]
catalyst n. 1 Chem. a substance that, without itself undergoing any
permanent chemical change, increases the rate of a reaction. 2
a person or thing that precipitates a change. [as CATALYSIS
catalytic adj. Chem. relating to or involving catalysis. Ьcatalytic
converter a device incorporated in the exhaust system of a motor
vehicle, with a catalyst for converting pollutant gases into
harmless products. catalytic cracker a device for cracking (see
CRACK v. 9) petroleum oils by catalysis.
catalyze US var. of CATALYSE.
catamaran n. 1 a boat with twin hulls in parallel. 2 a raft of yoked
logs or boats. 3 colloq. a quarrelsome woman. [Tamil
kattumaram tied wood]
catamite n. 1 a boy kept for homosexual practices. 2 the passive
partner in sodomy. [L catamitus through Etruscan f. Gk
Ganumedes Ganymede, cupbearer of Zeus]
n. 1 a lynx, leopard, puma, or other tiger-cat. 2 a wild
quarrelsome person. [ME f. cat of the mountain]
n. any composite plant of the genus Catananche, with blue or
yellow flowers. [mod.L f. L catanance plant used in
love-potions f. Gk katanagke (as CATA-, anagke compulsion)]
cataplexy n. sudden temporary paralysis due to fright etc. ЬЬcataplectic
adj. [Gk kataplexis stupefaction]
catapult n. & v. --n. 1 a forked stick etc. with elastic for shooting
stones. 2 hist. a military machine worked by a lever and ropes
for hurling large stones etc. 3 a mechanical device for
launching a glider, an aircraft from the deck of a ship, etc.
--v. 1 tr. a hurl from or launch with a catapult. b fling
forcibly. 2 intr. leap or be hurled forcibly. [F catapulte or
L catapulta f. Gk katapeltes (as CATA-, pallo hurl)]
cataract n. 1 a a large waterfall or cascade. b a downpour; a rush of
water. 2 Med. a condition in which the eye-lens becomes
progressively opaque resulting in blurred vision. [L cataracta
f. Gk katarrhaktes down-rushing; in med. sense prob. f. obs.
catarrh n. 1 inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, air
passages, etc. 2 a watery discharge in the nose or throat due
to this. ЬЬcatarrhal adj. [F catarrhe f. LL catarrhus f. Gk
katarrhous f. katarrheo flow down]
adj. & n. Zool. --adj. (of primates) having nostrils close
together, and directed downwards, e.g. a baboon, chimpanzee, or
human. --n. such an animal (cf. PLATYRRHINE). [CATA- + rhis
n. 1 a great and usu. sudden disaster. 2 the denouement of a
drama. 3 a disastrous end; ruin. 4 an event producing a
subversion of the order of things. ЬЬcatastrophic adj.
catastrophically adv. [L catastropha f. Gk katastrophe (as
CATA-, strophe turning f. strepho turn)]
n. Geol. the theory that changes in the earth's crust have
occurred in sudden violent and unusual events. ЬЬcatastrophist
catatonia n. 1 schizophrenia with intervals of catalepsy and sometimes
violence. 2 catalepsy. ЬЬcatatonic adj. & n. [G Katatonie (as
catawba n. 1 a US variety of grape. 2 a white wine made from it.
[River Catawba in S. Carolina]
catboat n. a sailing-boat with a single mast placed well forward and
carrying only one sail. [perh. f. cat a former type of coaler
in NE England, + BOAT]
catcall n. & v. --n. a shrill whistle of disapproval made at meetings
etc. --v. 1 intr. make a catcall. 2 tr. make a catcall at.
catch v. & n. --v. (past and past part. caught) 1 tr. a lay hold
of so as to restrain or prevent from escaping; capture in a
trap, in one's hands, etc. b (also catch hold of) get into
one's hands so as to retain, operate, etc. (caught hold of the
handle). 2 tr. detect or surprise (a person, esp. in a wrongful
or embarrassing act) (caught me in the act; caught him smoking).
3 tr. a intercept and hold (a moving thing) in the hands etc.
(failed to catch the ball; a bowl to catch the drips). b
Cricket dismiss (a batsman) by catching the ball before it
reaches the ground. 4 tr. a contract (a disease) by infection
or contagion. b acquire (a quality or feeling) from another's
example (caught her enthusiasm). 5 tr. a reach in time and
board (a train, bus, etc.). b be in time to see etc. (a person
or thing about to leave or finish) (if you hurry you'll catch
them; caught the end of the performance). 6 tr. a apprehend
with the senses or the mind (esp. a thing occurring quickly or
briefly) (didn't catch what he said). b (of an artist etc.)
reproduce faithfully. 7 a intr. become fixed or entangled; be
checked (the bolt began to catch). b tr. cause to do this
(caught her tights on a nail). c tr. (often foll. by on) hit,
deal a blow to (caught him on the nose; caught his elbow on the
table). 8 tr. draw the attention of; captivate (caught his eye;
caught her fancy). 9 intr. begin to burn. 10 tr. (often foll.
by up) reach or overtake (a person etc. ahead). 11 tr. check
suddenly (caught his breath). 12 tr. (foll. by at) grasp or try
to grasp. --n. 1 a an act of catching. b Cricket a chance or
act of catching the ball. 2 a an amount of a thing caught, esp.
of fish. b a thing or person caught or worth catching, esp. in
marriage. 3 a a question, trick, etc., intended to deceive,
incriminate, etc. b an unexpected or hidden difficulty or
disadvantage. 4 a device for fastening a door or window etc. 5
Mus. a round, esp. with words arranged to produce a humorous
effect. Ьcatch-all (often attrib.) a thing designed to be
all-inclusive. catch-as-catch-can a style of wrestling with few
holds barred. catch at a straw see STRAW. catch crop a crop
grown between two staple crops (in position or time). catch
one's death see DEATH. catch fire see FIRE. catch it sl. be
punished or in trouble. catch me! etc. (often foll. by pres.
part.) colloq. you may be sure I etc. shall not. catch on
colloq. 1 (of a practice, fashion, etc.) become popular. 2 (of
a person) understand what is meant. catch out 1 detect in a
mistake etc. 2 take unawares; cause to be bewildered or
confused. 3 = sense 3b of v. catch-phrase a phrase in frequent
use. catch the sun 1 be in a sunny position. 2 become
sunburnt. catch up 1 a (often foll. by with) reach a person
etc. ahead (he caught up in the end; he caught us up; he caught
up with us). b (often foll. by with, on) make up arrears (of
work etc.) (must catch up with my correspondence). 2 snatch or
pick up hurriedly. 3 (often in passive) a involve; entangle
(caught up in suspicious dealings). b fasten up (hair caught up
in a ribbon). ЬЬcatchable adj. [ME f. AF & ONF cachier, OF
chacier, ult. f. L captare try to catch]
catcher n. 1 a person or thing that catches. 2 Baseball a fielder who
stands behind the batter.
catchfly n. (pl. -ies) any plant of the genus Silene or Lychnis with a
catching adj. 1 a (of a disease) infectious. b (of a practice, habit,
etc.) likely to be imitated. 2 attractive; captivating.
catchline n. Printing a short line of type esp. at the head of copy or as
a running headline.
catchment n. the collection of rainfall. Ьcatchment area 1 the area from
which rainfall flows into a river etc. 2 the area served by a
school, hospital, etc.
adj. intended merely to sell quickly; superficially attractive.
catch-22 n. (often attrib.) colloq. a dilemma or circumstance from
which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or
dependent conditions. [title of a novel by J. Heller (1961)
featuring a dilemma of this kind]
catchup var. of KETCHUP.
adj. & n. --adj. unrestricted as regards weight. --n.
unrestricted weight, as a weight category in sports.
catchword n. 1 a word or phrase in common (often temporary) use; a
topical slogan. 2 a word so placed as to draw attention. 3
Theatr. an actor's cue. 4 Printing the first word of a page
given at the foot of the previous one.
catchy adj. (catchier, catchiest) 1 (of a tune) easy to remember;
attractive. 2 that snares or entraps; deceptive. 3 (of the
wind etc.) fitful, spasmodic. ЬЬcatchily adv. catchiness n.
[CATCH + -Y(1)]
cate n. archaic (usu. in pl.) choice food, delicacies. [obs. acate
purchase f. AF acat, OF achat f. acater, achater buy: see
adj. (also catechetic) 1 of or by oral teaching. 2 according
to the catechism of a Church. 3 consisting of or proceeding by
question and answer. ЬЬcatechetically adv. catechetics n.
[eccl.Gk katekhetikos f. katekhetes oral teacher: see
catechism n. 1 a a summary of the principles of a religion in the form of
questions and answers. b a book containing this. 2 a series of
questions put to anyone. ЬЬcatechismal adj. [eccl.L
catechismus (as CATECHIZE)]
catechist n. a religious teacher, esp. one using a catechism.
catechize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 instruct by means of question and answer,
esp. from a catechism. 2 put questions to; examine.
ЬЬcatechizer n. [LL catechizare f. eccl.Gk katekhizo f.
katekheo make hear (as CATA-, ekheo sound)]
catechu n. (also cachou) gambier or similar vegetable extract,
containing tannin. [mod.L f. Malay kachu]
n. a Christian convert under instruction before baptism. [ME
f. OF catechumene or eccl.L catechumenus f. Gk katekheo: see
adj. unconditional, absolute; explicit, direct (a categorical
refusal). Ьcategorical imperative Ethics an unconditional moral
obligation derived from pure reason; the bidding of conscience
as ultimate moral law. ЬЬcategorically adv. [F cat‚gorique or
LL categoricus f. Gk kategorikos: see CATEGORY]
v.tr. (also -ise) place in a category or categories.
category n. (pl. -ies) 1 a class or division. 2 Philos. a one of a
possibly exhaustive set of classes among which all things might
be distributed. b one of the a priori conceptions applied by
the mind to sense-impressions. c any relatively fundamental
philosophical concept. ЬЬcategorial adj. [F cat‚gorie or LL
categoria f. Gk kategoria statement f. kategoros accuser]
catena n. (pl. catenae or catenas) 1 a connected series of patristic
comments on Scripture. 2 a series or chain. [L, = chain: orig.
catena patrum chain of the Fathers (of the Church)]
catenary n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) a curve formed by a uniform chain
hanging freely from two points not in the same vertical line.
--adj. of or resembling such a curve. Ьcatenary bridge a
suspension bridge hung from such chains. [L catenarius f.
catenate v.tr. connect like links of a chain. ЬЬcatenation n. [L
catenare catenat- (as CATENARY)]
cater v.intr. 1 supply food. 2 (foll. by for) a provide meals for.
b provide entertainment for. 3 (foll. by to) pander to (evil
inclinations). [obs. noun cater (now caterer), f. acater f. AF
acatour buyer f. acater buy f. Rmc]
cateran n. Sc. a Highland irregular fighting man; a marauder. [ME f.
med.L cateranus & Gael. ceathairne peasantry]
adj. & adv. (also cater-corner, catty-cornered) US --adj.
placed or situated diagonally. --adv. diagonally. [dial. adv.
cater diagonally (cf. obs. cater the four on dice f. F quatre
f. L quattuor four)]
caterer n. a person who supplies food for social events, esp.
catering n. the profession or work of a caterer.
n. 1 a the larva of a butterfly or moth. b (in general use)
any similar larva of various insects. 2 (Caterpillar) a (in
full Caterpillar track or tread) propr. a steel band passing
round the wheels of a tractor etc. for travel on rough ground.
b a vehicle with these tracks, e.g. a tractor or tank. [perh.
AF var. of OF chatepelose lit. hairy cat, infl. by obs. piller
caterwaul v. & n. --v.intr. make the shrill howl of a cat. --n. a
caterwauling noise. [ME f. CAT + -waul etc. imit.]
catfish n. any of various esp. freshwater fish, usu. having
whisker-like barbels round the mouth.
catgut n. a material used for the strings of musical instruments and
surgical sutures, made of the twisted intestines of the sheep,
horse, or ass (but not the cat).
Cath. abbr. 1 Cathedral. 2 Catholic.
Cathar n. (pl. Cathars or Cathari) a member of a medieval sect which
sought to achieve great spiritual purity. ЬЬCatharism n.
Catharist n. [med.L Cathari (pl.) f. Gk katharoi pure]
catharsis n. (pl. catharses) 1 an emotional release in drama or art. 2
Psychol. the process of freeing repressed emotion by association
with the cause, and elimination by abreaction. 3 Med.
purgation. [mod.L f. Gk katharsis f. kathairo cleanse: sense 1
f. Aristotle's Poetics]
cathartic adj. & n. --adj. 1 effecting catharsis. 2 purgative. --n. a
cathartic drug. ЬЬcathartically adv. [LL catharticus f. Gk
kathartikos (as CATHARSIS)]
Cathay n. archaic or poet. the country China. [med.L Cataya]
cathead n. Naut. a horizontal beam from each side of a ship's bow for
raising and carrying the anchor.
cathectic see CATHEXIS.
cathedral n. the principal church of a diocese, containing the bishop's
throne. Ьcathedral city a city in which there is a cathedral.
[ME (as adj.) f. OF cathedral or f. LL cathedralis f. L f. Gk
n. 1 a firework in the form of a flat coil which spins when
fixed and lit. 2 a circular window with radial divisions.
[mod.L Catharina f. Gk Aikaterina name of a saint martyred on a
catheter n. Med. a tube for insertion into a body cavity for
introducing or removing fluid. [LL f. Gk katheter f. kathiemi
v.tr. (also -ise) Med. insert a catheter into.
n. a telescope mounted on a graduated scale along which it can
slide, used for accurate measurement of small vertical
distances. [L cathetus f. Gk kathetos perpendicular line (as
CATHETER + -METER)]
cathexis n. (pl. cathexes) Psychol. concentration of mental energy in
one channel. ЬЬcathectic adj. [Gk kathexis retention]
cathode n. (also kathode) Electr. 1 the negative electrode in an
electrolytic cell or electronic valve or tube. 2 the positive
terminal of a primary cell such as a battery (opp. ANODE).
Ьcathode ray a beam of electrons emitted from the cathode of a
high-vacuum tube. cathode-ray tube a high-vacuum tube in which
cathode rays produce a luminous image on a fluorescent screen.
°Abbr.: CRT. ЬЬcathodal adj. cathodic adj. [Gk kathodos
descent f. kata down + hodos way]
catholic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of interest or use to all; universal. 2
all-embracing; of wide sympathies or interests (has catholic
tastes). 3 (Catholic) a of the Roman Catholic religion. b
including all Christians. c including all of the Western
Church. --n. (Catholic) a Roman Catholic. ЬЬcatholically adv.
Catholicism n. catholicity n. catholicly adv. [ME f. OF
catholique or LL catholicus f. Gk katholikos universal f. kata
in respect of + holos whole]
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) 1 make or become catholic. 2
(Catholicize) make or become a Roman Catholic.
cation n. a positively charged ion; an ion that is attracted to the
cathode in electrolysis (opp. ANION). [CATA- + ION]
cationic adj. 1 of a cation or cations. 2 having an active cation.
catkin n. a spike of usu. downy or silky male or female flowers
hanging from a willow, hazel, etc. [obs. Du. katteken kitten]
catlick n. colloq. a perfunctory wash.
catlike adj. 1 like a cat. 2 stealthy.
catmint n. a white-flowered plant, Nepeta cataria, having a pungent
smell attractive to cats. Also called CATNIP.
catnap n. & v. --n. a short sleep. --v.intr. (-napped, -napping)
have a catnap.
catnip n. = CATMINT. [CAT + dial. nip catmint, var. of dial. nep]
catoptric adj. of or relating to a mirror, a reflector, or reflection.
ЬЬcatoptrics n. [Gk katoptrikos f. katoptron mirror]
catsuit n. a close-fitting garment with trouser legs, covering the body
from neck to feet.
catsup esp. US var. of KETCHUP.
cattery n. (pl. -ies) a place where cats are boarded or bred.
cattish adj. = CATTY. ЬЬcattishly adv. cattishness n.
cattle n.pl. 1 any bison, buffalo, yak, or domesticated bovine animal,
esp. of the genus Bos. 2 archaic livestock. Ьcattle-cake Brit.
a concentrated food for cattle, in cake form. cattle-grid Brit.
a grid covering a ditch, allowing vehicles to pass over but not
cattle, sheep, etc. cattle-guard US = cattle-grid.
cattle-plague rinderpest. cattle-stop NZ = cattle-grid. [ME &
AF catel f. OF chatel CHATTEL]
cattleman n. (pl. -men) US a person who tends or rears cattle.
cattleya n. any epiphytic orchid of the genus Cattleya, with handsome
violet, pink, or yellow flowers. [mod.L f. W. Cattley, Engl.
patron of botany d. 1832]
catty adj. (cattier, cattiest) 1 sly, spiteful; deliberately hurtful
in speech. 2 catlike. ЬЬcattily adv. cattiness n.
var. of CATER-CORNERED.
catwalk n. 1 a narrow footway along a bridge, above a theatre stage,
etc. 2 a narrow platform or gangway used in fashion shows etc.
Caucasian adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to the White or
light-skinned division of mankind. 2 of or relating to the
Caucasus. --n. a Caucasian person. [Caucasus, mountains in the
USSR, its supposed place of origin]
Caucasoid adj. of or relating to the Caucasian division of mankind.
caucus n. 1 US a a meeting of the members of a political party, esp.
in the Senate etc., to decide policy. b a bloc of such members.
c this system as a political force. 2 often derog. (esp. in
the UK) a a usu. secret meeting of a group within a larger
organization or party. b such a group. [18th-c. US, perh. f.
Algonquin cau' -cau-as' u adviser]
caudal adj. 1 of or like a tail. 2 of the posterior part of the body.
ЬЬcaudally adv. [mod.L caudalis f. L cauda tail]
caudate adj. having a tail. [see CAUDAL]
caudillo n. (pl. -os) (in Spanish-speaking countries) a military or
political leader. [Sp. f. LL capitellum dimin. of caput head]
caught past and past part. of CATCH.
caul n. 1 a the inner membrane enclosing a foetus. b part of this
occasionally found on a child's head at birth, thought to bring
good luck. 2 hist. a a woman's close-fitting indoor
head-dress. b the plain back part of a woman's indoor
head-dress. 3 the omentum. [ME perh. f. OF cale small cap]
cauldron n. (also caldron) a large deep bowl-shaped vessel for boiling
over an open fire; an ornamental vessel resembling this. [ME f.
AF & ONF caudron, ult. f. L caldarium hot bath f. calidus hot]
n. 1 a variety of cabbage with a large immature flower-head of
small usu. creamy-white flower-buds. 2 the flower-head eaten as
a vegetable. Ьcauliflower cheese a savoury dish of cauliflower
in a cheese sauce. cauliflower ear an ear thickened by repeated
blows, esp. in boxing. [earlier cole-florie etc. f. obs. F chou
fleuri flowered cabbage, assim. to COLE and FLOWER]
caulk v.tr. (US calk) 1 stop up (the seams of a boat etc.) with oakum
etc. and waterproofing material, or by driving plate-junctions
together. 2 make (esp. a boat) watertight by this method.
ЬЬcaulker n. [OF dial. cauquer tread, press with force, f. L
calcare tread f. calx heel]
causal adj. 1 of, forming, or expressing a cause or causes. 2
relating to, or of the nature of, cause and effect. ЬЬcausally
adv. [LL causalis: see CAUSE]
causality n. 1 the relation of cause and effect. 2 the principle that
everything has a cause.
causation n. 1 the act of causing or producing an effect. 2 = CAUSALITY.
[F causation or L causatio pretext etc., in med.L the action of
causing, f. causare CAUSE]
causative adj. 1 acting as cause. 2 (foll. by of) producing; having as
effect. 3 Gram. expressing cause. ЬЬcausatively adv. [ME f.
OF causatif or f. LL causativus: see CAUSATION]
cause n. & v. --n. 1 a that which produces an effect, or gives rise
to an action, phenomenon, or condition. b a person or thing
that occasions something. c a reason or motive; a ground that
may be held to justify something (no cause for complaint). 2 a
reason adjudged adequate (show cause). 3 a principle, belief,
or purpose which is advocated or supported (faithful to the
cause). 4 a a matter to be settled at law. b an individual's
case offered at law (plead a cause). 5 the side taken by any
party in a dispute. --v.tr. 1 be the cause of, produce, make
happen (caused a commotion). 2 (foll. by to + infin.) induce
(caused me to smile; caused it to be done). Ьin the cause of to
maintain, defend, or support (in the cause of justice). make
common cause with join the side of. ЬЬcausable adj. causeless
adj. causer n. [ME f. OF f. L causa]
'cause conj. & adv. colloq. = BECAUSE. [abbr.]
n. (pl. causes c‚lЉbres pronunc. same) a lawsuit that attracts
much attention. [F]
causerie n. (pl. causeries pronunc. same) an informal article or talk,
esp. on a literary subject. [F f. causer talk]
causeway n. 1 a raised road or track across low or wet ground or a
stretch of water. 2 a raised path by a road. [earlier cauce,
cauceway f. ONF cauci‚ ult. f. L CALX lime, limestone]
causey n. archaic or dial. = CAUSEWAY.
caustic adj. & n. --adj. 1 that burns or corrodes organic tissue. 2
sarcastic, biting. 3 Chem. strongly alkaline. 4 Physics formed
by the intersection of reflected or refracted parallel rays from
a curved surface. --n. 1 a caustic substance. 2 Physics a
caustic surface or curve. Ьcaustic potash potassium hydroxide.
caustic soda sodium hydroxide. ЬЬcaustically adv. causticity
n. [L causticus f. Gk kaustikos f. kaustos burnt f. kaio
cauterize v.tr. (also -ise) Med. burn or coagulate (tissue) with a
heated instrument or caustic substance, esp. to stop bleeding.
ЬЬcauterization n. [F caut‚riser f. LL cauterizare f. Gk
kauteriazo f. kauterion branding-iron f. kaio burn]
cautery n. (pl. -ies) Med. 1 an instrument or caustic for
cauterizing. 2 the operation of cauterizing. [L cauterium f.
Gk kauterion: see CAUTERIZE]
caution n. & v. --n. 1 attention to safety; prudence, carefulness. 2
a esp. Brit. a warning, esp. a formal one in law. b a formal
warning and reprimand. 3 colloq. an amusing or surprising
person or thing. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by against, or to +
infin.) warn or admonish. 2 esp. Brit. issue a caution to.
Ьcaution money Brit. a sum deposited as security for good
conduct. [ME f. OF f. L cautio -onis f. cavere caut- take
adj. that gives or serves as a warning (a cautionary tale).
cautious adj. careful, prudent; attentive to safety. ЬЬcautiously adv.
cautiousness n. [ME f. OF f. L: see CAUTION]
cavalcade n. a procession or formal company of riders, motor vehicles,
etc. [F f. It. cavalcata f. cavalcare ride ult. f. L caballus
cavalier n. & adj. --n. 1 hist. (Cavalier) a supporter of Charles I in
the Civil War. 2 a courtly gentleman, esp. as a lady's escort.
3 archaic a horseman. --adj. offhand, supercilious, blas‚.
ЬЬcavalierly adv. [F f. It. cavaliere: see CHEVALIER]
cavalry n. (pl. -ies) (usu. treated as pl.) soldiers on horseback or
in armoured vehicles. Ьcavalry twill a strong fabric in a
double twill. [F cavallerie f. It. cavalleria f. cavallo
horse f. L caballus]
n. (pl. -men) a soldier of a cavalry regiment.
cavatina n. 1 a short simple song. 2 a similar piece of instrumental
music, usu. slow and emotional. [It.]
cave(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a large hollow in the side of a cliff, hill,
etc., or underground. 2 Brit. hist. a dissident political
group. --v.intr. explore caves, esp. interconnecting or
underground. Ьcave-bear an extinct kind of large bear, whose
bones have been found in caves. cave-dweller = CAVEMAN. cave
in 1 a (of a wall, earth over a hollow, etc.) subside, collapse.
b cause (a wall, earth, etc.) to do this. 2 yield or submit
under pressure; give up. cave-in n. a collapse, submission,
etc. ЬЬcavelike adj. caver n. [ME f. OF f. L cava f. cavus
hollow: cave in prob. f. E. Anglian dial. calve in]
cave(2) int. Brit. schoolsl. look out! (as a warning cry). Ьkeep
cave act as lookout. [L, = beware]
caveat n. 1 a warning or proviso. 2 Law a process in court to suspend
proceedings. [L, = let a person beware]
n. the principle that the buyer alone is responsible if
dissatisfied. [L, = let the buyer beware]
caveman n. (pl. -men) 1 a prehistoric man living in a cave. 2 a
primitive or crude person.
cavern n. 1 a cave, esp. a large or dark one. 2 a dark cavelike
place, e.g. a room. ЬЬcavernous adj. cavernously adv. [ME f.
OF caverne or f. L caverna f. cavus hollow]
caviare n. (US caviar) the pickled roe of sturgeon or other large fish,
eaten as a delicacy. [early forms repr. It. caviale, Fr.
caviar, prob. f. med.Gk khavЎari]
cavil v. & n. --v.intr. (cavilled, cavilling; US caviled, caviling)
(usu. foll. by at, about) make petty objections; carp. --n. a
trivial objection. ЬЬcaviller n. [F caviller f. L cavillari f.
caving n. exploring caves as a sport or pastime.
n. 1 the formation of a cavity in a structure. 2 the formation
of bubbles, or of a vacuum, in a liquid.
cavity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a hollow within a solid body. 2 a decayed
part of a tooth. Ьcavity wall a wall formed from two skins of
brick or blockwork with a space between. [F cavit‚ or LL
cavitas f. L cavus hollow]
cavort v.intr. sl. caper excitedly; gambol, prance. [US, perh. f.
cavy n. (pl. -ies) any small rodent of the family Caviidae, native
to S. America and having a sturdy body and vestigial tail,
including guinea pigs. [mod.L cavia f. Galibi cabiai]
caw n. & v. --n. the harsh cry of a rook, crow, etc. --v.intr.
utter this cry. [imit.]
cay n. a low insular bank or reef of coral, sand, etc. (cf.
KEY(2)). [Sp. cayo shoal, reef f. F quai: see QUAY]
cayenne n. (in full cayenne pepper) a pungent red powder obtained from
various plants of the genus Capsicum and used for seasoning.
[Tupi kyynha assim. to Cayenne capital of French Guiana]
cayman n. (also caiman) any of various S. American alligator-like
reptilians, esp. of the genus Caiman. [Sp. & Port. caiman, f.
CE abbr. 1 Church of England. 2 civil engineer. 3 Common Era.
Ce symb. Chem. the element cerium.
ceanothus n. any shrub of the genus Ceanothus, with small blue or white
flowers. [mod.L f. Gk keanothos kind of thistle]
cease v. & n. --v.tr. & intr. stop; bring or come to an end (ceased
breathing). --n. (in without cease) unending. Ьcease fire Mil.
stop firing. cease-fire n. 1 the order to do this. 2 a period
of truce; a suspension of hostilities. [ME f. OF cesser, L
cessare frequent. of cedere cess- yield]
ceaseless adj. without end; not ceasing. ЬЬceaselessly adv.
cecitis US var. of CAECITIS.
cecum US var. of CAECUM.
cedar n. 1 any spreading evergreen conifer of the genus Cedrus,
bearing tufts of small needles and cones of papery scales. 2
any of various similar conifers yielding timber. 3 (in full
cedar wood) the fragrant durable wood of any cedar tree.
ЬЬcedarn adj. poet. [ME f. OF cedre f. L cedrus f. Gk kedros]
cede v.tr. give up one's rights to or possession of. [F c‚der or L
cedilla n. 1 a mark written under the letter c, esp. in French, to show
that it is sibilant (as in fa‡ade). 2 a similar mark under s in
Turkish and other oriental languages. [Sp. cedilla dimin. of
zeda f. Gk zeta letter Z]
Ceefax n. Brit. propr. a teletext service provided by the BBC.
CEGB abbr. (in the UK) Central Electricity Generating Board.
ceilidh n. orig. Ir. & Sc. an informal gathering for conversation,
music, dancing, songs, and stories. [Gael.]
ceiling n. 1 a the upper interior surface of a room or other similar
compartment. b the material forming this. 2 an upper limit on
prices, wages, performance, etc. 3 Aeron. the maximum altitude
a given aircraft can reach. 4 Naut. the inside planking of a
ship's bottom and sides. [ME celynge, siling, perh. ult. f. L
caelum heaven or celare hide]
celadon n. & adj. --n. 1 a willow-green colour. 2 a grey-green glaze
used on some pottery. 3 Chinese pottery glazed in this way.
--adj. of a grey-green colour. [F, f. the name of a character
in d'Urf‚'s L'Astr‚e (1607-27)]
celandine n. either of two yellow-flowered plants, the greater celandine,
Chelidonium majus, and the lesser celandine, Ranunculus ficaria.
[ME and OF celidoine ult. f. Gk khelidon swallow: the flowering
of the plant was associated with the arrival of swallows]
-cele comb. form (also -coele) Med. swelling, hernia (gastrocele).
[Gk kele tumour]
celebrant n. a person who performs a rite, esp. a priest at the
Eucharist. [F c‚l‚brant or L celebrare celebrant-: see
celebrate v. 1 tr. mark (a festival or special event) with festivities
etc. 2 tr. perform publicly and duly (a religious ceremony
etc.). 3 a tr. officiate at (the Eucharist). b intr.
officiate, esp. at the Eucharist. 4 intr. engage in
festivities, usu. after a special event etc. 5 tr. (as
celebrated adj.) publicly honoured, widely known. ЬЬcelebration
n. celebrator n. celebratory adj. [L celebrare f. celeber
-bris frequented, honoured]
celebrity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a well-known person. 2 fame. [F c‚l‚brit‚ or
L celebritas f. celeber: see CELEBRATE]
celeriac n. a variety of celery with a swollen turnip-like stem-base
used as a vegetable. [CELERY: -ac is unexplained]
celerity n. archaic or literary swiftness (esp. of a living creature).
[ME f. F c‚l‚rit‚ f. L celeritas -tatis f. celer swift]
celery n. an umbelliferous plant, Apium graveolens, with closely
packed succulent leaf-stalks used as a vegetable. Ьcelery pine
an Australasian tree, Phyllocladus trichomanoides, with
branchlets like celery leaves. [F c‚leri f. It. dial. selleri
f. L selinum f. Gk selinon parsley]
celesta n. Mus. a small keyboard instrument resembling a glockenspiel,
with hammers striking steel plates suspended over wooden
resonators, giving an ethereal bell-like sound. [pseudo-L f. F
c‚leste: see CELESTE]
celeste n. Mus. 1 an organ and harmonium stop with a soft tremulous
tone. 2 = CELESTA. [F c‚leste heavenly f. L caelestis f.
celestial adj. 1 heavenly; divinely good or beautiful; sublime. 2 a of
the sky; of the part of the sky commonly observed in astronomy
etc. b of heavenly bodies. Ьcelestial equator the great circle
of the sky in the plane perpendicular to the earth's axis.
celestial horizon see HORIZON 1c. celestial navigation
navigation by the stars etc. ЬЬcelestially adv. [ME f. OF f.
med.L caelestialis f. L caelestis: see CELESTE]
celiac US var. of COELIAC.
celibate adj. & n. --adj. 1 committed to abstention from sexual
relations and from marriage, esp. for religious reasons. 2
abstaining from sexual relations. --n. a celibate person.
ЬЬcelibacy n. [F c‚libat or L caelibatus unmarried state f.
caelebs -ibis unmarried]
cell n. 1 a small room, esp. in a prison or monastery. 2 a small
compartment, e.g. in a honeycomb. 3 a small group as a nucleus
of political activity, esp. of a subversive kind. 4 hist. a
small monastery or nunnery dependent on a larger one. 5 Biol.
a the structural and functional usu. microscopic unit of an
organism, consisting of cytoplasm and a nucleus enclosed in a
membrane. b an enclosed cavity in an organism etc. 6 Electr. a
vessel for containing electrodes within an electrolyte for
current-generation or electrolysis. ЬЬcelled adj. (also in
comb.). [ME f. OF celle or f. L cella storeroom etc.]
cellar n. & v. --n. 1 a room below ground level in a house, used for
storage, esp. of wine or coal. 2 a stock of wine in a cellar
(has a good cellar). --v.tr. store or put in a cellar. [ME f.
AF celer, OF celier f. LL cellarium storehouse]
cellarage n. 1 cellar accommodation. 2 the charge for the use of a
cellar or storehouse.
cellarer n. a monastic officer in charge of wine.
cellaret n. a case or sideboard for holding wine bottles in a
cello n. (pl. -os) a bass instrument of the violin family, held
upright on the floor between the legs of the seated player.
ЬЬcellist n. [abbr. of VIOLONCELLO]
n. propr. a thin transparent wrapping material made from
viscose. [CELLULOSE + -phane (cf. DIAPHANOUS)]
cellphone n. a small portable radio-telephone having access to a cellular
cellular adj. 1 of or having small compartments or cavities. 2 of open
texture; porous. 3 Physiol. of or consisting of cells.
Ьcellular blanket a blanket of open texture. cellular plant a
plant with no distinct stem, leaves, etc. cellular radio a
system of mobile radio-telephone transmission with an area
divided into 'cells' each served by its own small transmitter.
ЬЬcellularity n. cellulate adj. cellulation n. cellulous adj.
[F cellulaire f. mod.L cellularis: see CELLULE]
cellule n. Biol. a small cell or cavity. [F cellule or L cellula
dimin. of cella CELL]
cellulite n. a lumpy form of fat, esp. on the hips and thighs of women,
causing puckering of the skin. [F (as CELLULE)]
n. inflammation of cellular tissue.
celluloid n. 1 a transparent flammable plastic made from camphor and
cellulose nitrate. 2 cinema film. [irreg. f. CELLULOSE]
cellulose n. 1 Biochem. a carbohydrate forming the main constituent of
plant-cell walls, used in the production of textile fibres. 2
(in general use) a paint or lacquer consisting of esp. cellulose
acetate or nitrate in solution. ЬЬcellulosic adj. [F (as
celom US var. of COELOM.
Celsius adj. of or denoting a temperature on the Celsius scale.
ЬCelsius scale a scale of temperature on which water freezes at
0ш and boils at 100ш under standard conditions. [A. Celsius,
Sw. astronomer d. 1744]
Celt n. (also Kelt) a member of a group of W. European peoples,
including the pre-Roman inhabitants of Britain and Gaul and
their descendants, esp. in Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall,
Brittany, and the Isle of Man. [L Celtae (pl.) f. Gk Keltoi]
celt n. Archaeol. a stone or metal prehistoric implement with a
chisel edge. [med.L celtes chisel]
Celtic adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Celts. --n. a group of
languages spoken by Celtic peoples, including Gaelic, Welsh,
Cornish, and Breton. ЬCeltic cross a Latin cross with a circle
round the centre. ЬЬCelticism n. [L celticus (as CELT) or F
cembalo n. (pl. -os) a harpsichord. [abbr. of CLAVICEMBALO]
cement n. & v. --n. 1 a powdery substance made by calcining lime and
clay, mixed with water to form mortar or used in concrete (see
also Portland cement). 2 any similar substance that hardens and
fastens on setting. 3 a uniting factor or principle. 4 a
substance for filling cavities in teeth. 5 (also cementum)
Anat. a thin layer of bony material that fixes teeth to the jaw.
--v.tr. 1 a unite with or as with cement. b establish or
strengthen (a friendship etc.). 2 apply cement to. 3 line or
cover with cement. Ьcement-mixer a machine (usu. with a
revolving drum) for mixing cement with water. ЬЬcementer n.
[ME f. OF ciment f. L caementum quarry stone f. caedere hew]
n. 1 the act or process of cementing or being cemented. 2 the
heating of iron with charcoal powder to form steel.
cemetery n. (pl. -ies) a burial ground, esp. one not in a churchyard.
[LL coemeterium f. Gk koimeterion dormitory f. koimao put to
C.Eng. abbr. Brit. chartered engineer.
cenobite US var. of COENOBITE.
cenotaph n. a tomblike monument, esp. a war memorial, to a person whose
body is elsewhere. [F c‚notaphe f. LL cenotaphium f. Gk kenos
empty + taphos tomb]
Cenozoic (also Cainozoic, Caenozoic) adj. & n. Geol. --adj. of or
relating to the most recent era of geological time, marked by
the evolution and development of mammals, birds, and flowers.
°Cf. Appendix II. --n. this era (cf. MESOZOIC, PALAEOZOIC).
[Gk kainos new + zoion animal]
censer n. a vessel in which incense is burnt, esp. during a religious
procession or ceremony. [ME f. AF censer, OF censier aphetic of
encensier f. encens INCENSE(1)]
censor n. & v. --n. 1 an official authorized to examine printed
matter, films, news, etc., before public release, and to
suppress any parts on the grounds of obscenity, a threat to
security, etc. 2 Rom.Hist. either of two annual magistrates
responsible for holding censuses and empowered to supervise
public morals. 3 Psychol. an impulse which is said to prevent
certain ideas and memories from emerging into consciousness.
--v.tr. 1 act as a censor of. 2 make deletions or changes in.
°As a verb, often confused with censure. ЬЬcensorial adj.
censorship n. [L f. censere assess: in sense 3 mistransl. of G
adj. severely critical; fault-finding; quick or eager to
criticize. ЬЬcensoriously adv. censoriousness n. [L
censorius: see CENSOR]
censure v. & n. --v.tr. criticize harshly; reprove. °Often confused
with censor. --n. harsh criticism; expression of disapproval.
ЬЬcensurable adj. [ME f. OF f. L censura f. censere assess]
census n. (pl. censuses) the official count of a population or of a
class of things, often with various statistics noted. [L f.
cent n. 1 a a monetary unit valued at one-hundredth of a dollar or
other metric unit. b a coin of this value. 2 colloq. a very
small sum of money. 3 see PER CENT. [F cent or It. cento or L
cent. abbr. century.
centaur n. a creature in Greek mythology with the head, arms, and torso
of a man and the body and legs of a horse. [ME f. L centaurus
f. Gk kentauros, of unkn. orig.]
centaury n. (pl. -ies) any plant of the genus Centaurium, esp. C.
erythraea, formerly used in medicine. [LL centaurea ult. f. Gk
kentauros CENTAUR: from the legend that it was discovered by the
centavo n. a small coin of Spain, Portugal, and some Latin American
countries, worth one-hundredth of the standard unit. [Sp. f. L
n. & adj. --n. a person a hundred or more years old. --adj. a
hundred or more years old.
centenary n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a hundredth anniversary. 2 a
celebration of this. --adj. 1 of or relating to a centenary.
2 occurring every hundred years. [L centenarius f. centeni a
hundred each f. centum a hundred]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 lasting for a hundred years. 2 occurring
every hundred years. --n. US = CENTENARY n. [L centum a
hundred, after BIENNIAL]
center US var. of CENTRE.
US var. of CENTREBOARD.
US var. of CENTREFOLD.
centering US var. of CENTRING.
adj. reckoning or reckoned by hundredths. ЬЬcentesimally adv.
[L centesimus hundredth f. centum hundred]
centi- comb. form 1 one-hundredth, esp. of a unit in the metric system
(centigram; centilitre). 2 hundred. °Abbr.: c. [L centum
adj. 1 = CELSIUS. 2 having a scale of a hundred degrees. °In
sense 1 Celsius is usually preferred in technical use. [F f. L
centum hundred + gradus step]
centigram n. (also centigramme) a metric unit of mass, equal to
one-hundredth of a gram.
n. (US centiliter) a metric unit of capacity, equal to
one-hundredth of a litre.
centime n. 1 a monetary unit valued at one-hundredth of a franc. 2 a
coin of this value. [F f. L centum a hundred]
n. (US centimeter) a metric unit of length, equal to
one-hundredth of a metre. Ьcentimetre-gram-second system the
system using these as basic units of length, mass, and time.
°Abbr.: cgs system.
centipede n. any arthropod of the class Chilopoda, with a wormlike body
of many segments each with a pair of legs. [F centipЉde or L
centipeda f. centum hundred + pes pedis foot]
cento n. (pl. -os) a composition made up of quotations from other
authors. [L, = patchwork garment]
central adj. 1 of, at, or forming the centre. 2 from the centre. 3
chief, essential, most important. ЬCentral America the isthmus
joining North and South America. central bank a national bank
issuing currency etc. central heating a method of warming a
building by pipes, radiators, etc., fed from a central source of
heat. central nervous system Anat. the complex of nerve
tissues that controls the activities of the body, in vertebrates
the brain and spinal cord. central processor (or processing
unit) the principal operating part of a computer. ЬЬcentrality
n. centrally adv. [F central or L centralis f. centrum
n. a system that centralizes (esp. an administration) (see also
democratic centralism). ЬЬcentralist n.
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. & intr. bring or come to a centre. 2 tr.
a concentrate (administration) at a single centre. b subject (a
State) to this system. ЬЬcentralization n.
centre n. & v. (US center) --n. 1 the middle point, esp. of a line,
circle, or sphere, equidistant from the ends or from any point
on the circumference or surface. 2 a pivot or axis of rotation.
3 a a place or group of buildings forming a central point in a
district, city, etc., or a main area for an activity (shopping
centre; town centre). b (with preceding word) a piece or set of
equipment for a number of connected functions (music centre). 4
a point of concentration or dispersion; a nucleus or source. 5
a political party or group holding moderate opinions. 6 the
filling in a chocolate etc. 7 Sport a the middle player in a
line or group in some field games. b a kick or hit from the
side to the centre of the pitch. 8 (in a lathe etc.) a conical
adjustable support for the workpiece. 9 (attrib.) of or at the
centre. --v. 1 intr. (foll. by in, on; disp. foll. by round)
have as its main centre. 2 tr. place in the centre. 3 tr. mark
with a centre. 4 tr. (foll. by in etc.) concentrate. 5 tr.
Sport kick or hit (the ball) from the side to the centre of the
pitch. Ьcentre-bit a boring tool with a centre point and side
cutters. centre forward Sport the middle player or position in
a forward line. centre half Sport the middle player or position
in a half-back line. centre of attention 1 a person or thing
that draws general attention. 2 Physics the point to which
bodies tend by gravity. centre of gravity (or mass) the point
at which the weight of a body may be considered to act.
centre-piece 1 an ornament for the middle of a table. 2 a
principal item. centre spread the two facing middle pages of a
newspaper etc. ЬЬcentred adj. (often in comb.). centremost
adj. centric adj. centrical adj. centricity n. [ME f. OF
centre or L centrum f. Gk kentron sharp point]
n. (US centerboard) a board for lowering through a boat's keel
to prevent leeway.
n. (US centerfold) a printed and usu. illustrated sheet folded
to form the centre spread of a magazine etc.
centreing var. of CENTRING.
-centric comb. form forming adjectives with the sense 'having a
(specified) centre' (anthropocentric; eccentric). [after
concentric etc. f. Gk kentrikos: see CENTRE]
adj. moving or tending to move from a centre (cf.
CENTRIPETAL). Ьcentrifugal force an apparent force that acts
outwards on a body moving about a centre. ЬЬcentrifugally adv.
[mod.L centrifugus f. L centrum centre + fugere flee]
n. & v. --n. a machine with a rapidly rotating device designed
to separate liquids from solids or other liquids (e.g. cream
from milk). --v.tr. 1 subject to the action of a centrifuge.
2 separate by centrifuge. ЬЬcentrifugation n.
centring (also centreing, US centering) n. a temporary frame used to
support an arch, dome, etc., while under construction.
centriole n. Biol. a minute organelle usu. within a centrosome involved
esp. in the development of spindles in cell division. [med.L
centriolum dimin. of centrum centre]
adj. moving or tending to move towards a centre (cf.
CENTRIFUGAL). Ьcentripetal force the force acting on a body
causing it to move about a centre. ЬЬcentripetally adv. [mod.L
centripetus f. L centrum centre + petere seek]
centrist n. Polit. often derog. a person who holds moderate views.
n. Biol. the point on a chromosome to which the spindle is
attached during cell division. [L centrum centre + Gk meros
n. Biol. a distinct part of the cytoplasm in a cell, usu. near
the nucleus, that contains the centriole. [G Centrosoma f. L
centrum centre + Gk soma body]
centuple n., adj., & v. --n. a hundredfold amount. --adj. increased a
hundredfold. --v.tr. multiply by a hundred; increase a
hundredfold. [F centuple or eccl.L centuplus, centuplex f. L
centurion n. the commander of a century in the ancient Roman army. [ME
f. L centurio -onis (as CENTURY)]
century n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a period of one hundred years. b any of the
centuries reckoned from the birth of Christ (twentieth century =
1901-2000; fifth century BC = 500-401 BC). °In modern use often
reckoned as (e.g.) 1900-1999. 2 a a score etc. of a hundred in
a sporting event, esp. a hundred runs by one batsman in cricket.
b a group of a hundred things. 3 a a company in the ancient
Roman army, orig. of 100 men. b an ancient Roman political
division for voting. Ьcentury plant a plant, Agave americana,
flowering once in many years and yielding sap from which tequila
is distilled: also called American aloe (see ALOE). [L centuria
f. centum hundred]
cep n. an edible mushroom, Boletus edulis, with a stout stalk and
brown smooth cap. [F cЉpe f. Gascon cep f. L cippus stake]
cephalic adj. of or in the head. Ьcephalic index Anthropol. a number
expressing the ratio of a head's greatest breadth and length.
[F c‚phalique f. L cephalicus f. Gk kephalikos f. kephale head]
-cephalic comb. form = -CEPHALOUS.
n. any mollusc of the class Cephalopoda, having a distinct
tentacled head, e.g. octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. [Gk
kephale head + pous podos foot]
n. (pl. -thoraces or -thoraxes) Anat. the fused head and
thorax of a spider, crab, or other arthropod.
comb. form -headed (brachycephalous; dolichocephalic). [Gk
cepheid n. (in full cepheid variable) Astron. any of a class of
variable stars with a regular cycle of brightness that can be
used to measure distances. [L Cepheus f. Gk Kepheus, a mythical
king whose name was given to a constellation]
ceramic adj. & n. --adj. 1 made of (esp.) clay and permanently
hardened by heat (a ceramic bowl). 2 of or relating to ceramics
(the ceramic arts). --n. 1 a ceramic article or product. 2 a
substance, esp. clay, used to make ceramic articles. [Gk
keramikos f. keramos pottery]
ceramics n.pl. 1 ceramic products collectively (exhibition of ceramics).
2 (usu. treated as sing.) the art of making ceramic articles.
ceramist n. a person who makes ceramics.
cerastes n. any viper of the genus Cerastes, esp. C. cerastes having a
sharp upright spike over each eye and moving forward in a
lateral motion. [L f. Gk kerastes f. keras horn]
cerastium n. any plant of the genus Cerastium, with white flowers and
often horn-shaped capsules. [mod.L f. Gk kerastes horned f.
cere n. a waxy fleshy covering at the base of the upper beak in some
birds. [L cera wax]
cereal n. & adj --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) a any kind of grain used for
food. b any grass producing this, e.g. wheat, maize, rye, etc.
2 a breakfast food made from a cereal and requiring no cooking.
--adj. of edible grain or products of it. [L cerealis f. Ceres
goddess of agriculture]
n. (pl. cerebellums or cerebella) the part of the brain at the
back of the skull in vertebrates, which coordinates and
regulates muscular activity. ЬЬcerebellar adj. [L dimin. of
cerebral adj. 1 of the brain. 2 intellectual rather than emotional. 3
= CACUMINAL. Ьcerebral hemisphere each of the two halves of the
vertebrate cerebrum. cerebral palsy Med. spastic paralysis
from brain damage before or at birth, with jerky or uncontrolled
movements. ЬЬcerebrally adv. [L cerebrum brain]
n. working of the brain. Ьunconscious cerebration action of
the brain with results reached without conscious thought.
cerebro- comb. form brain (cerebrospinal).
adj. of the brain and spine.
adj. of the brain and its blood vessels.
cerebrum n. (pl. cerebra) the principal part of the brain in
vertebrates, located in the front area of the skull, which
integrates complex sensory and neural functions. [L, = brain]
cerecloth n. hist. waxed cloth used as a waterproof covering or (esp.)
as a shroud. [earlier cered cloth f. cere to wax f. L cerare
f. cera wax]
cerement n. (usu. in pl.) literary grave-clothes; cerecloth. [first
used by Shakesp. in Hamlet (1602): app. f. CERECLOTH]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 with or concerning ritual or ceremony. 2
formal (a ceremonial bow). --n. 1 a system of rites etc. to be
used esp. at a formal or religious occasion. 2 the formalities
or behaviour proper to any occasion (with all due ceremonial).
3 RC Ch. a book containing an order of ritual. ЬЬceremonialism
n. ceremonialist n. ceremonially adv. [LL caerimonialis (as
adj. 1 excessively polite; punctilious. 2 having or showing a
fondness for ritualistic observance or formality.
ЬЬceremoniously adv. ceremoniousness n. [F c‚r‚monieux or LL
caerimoniosus (as CEREMONY)]
ceremony n. (pl. -ies) 1 a formal religious or public occasion, esp.
celebrating a particular event or anniversary. 2 formalities,
esp. of an empty or ritualistic kind (ceremony of exchanging
compliments). 3 excessively polite behaviour (bowed low with
great ceremony). ЬMaster of Ceremonies 1 ( also MC) a person
introducing speakers at a banquet, or entertainers in a variety
show. 2 a person in charge of ceremonies at a state or public
occasion. stand on ceremony insist on the observance of
formalities. without ceremony informally. [ME f. OF ceremonie
or L caerimonia religious worship]
n. (also Cherenkov) the electromagnetic radiation emitted by
particles moving in a medium at speeds faster than that of light
in the same medium. [P. A. Cherenkov, Russian physicist b.
ceresin n. a hard whitish wax used with or instead of beeswax. [mod.L
ceres f. L cera wax + -IN]
cerise adj. & n. --adj. of a light clear red. --n. this colour. [F,
cerium n. Chem. a silvery metallic element of the lanthanide series
occurring naturally in various minerals and used in the
manufacture of lighter flints. °Symb.: Ce. [named after the
asteroid Ceres, discovered (1801) about the same time as this]
cermet n. a heat-resistant material made of ceramic and sintered
metal. [ceramic + metal]
CERN abbr. European Organization for Nuclear Research. [F Conseil
Europ‚en pour la Recherche Nucl‚aire, its former title]
cero- comb. form wax (cf. CEROGRAPHY, CEROPLASTIC). [L cera or Gk
n. the technique of engraving or designing on or with wax.
adj. 1 modelled in wax. 2 of or concerning wax-modelling.
cert n. sl. (esp. dead cert) 1 an event or result regarded as
certain to happen. 2 a horse strongly tipped to win. [abbr. of
cert. abbr. 1 a certificate. 2 certified.
certain adj. & pron. --adj. 1 a (often foll. by of, or that + clause)
confident, convinced (certain that I put it here). b (often
foll. by that + clause) indisputable; known for sure (it is
certain that he is guilty). 2 (often foll. by to + infin.) a
that may be relied on to happen (it is certain to rain). b
destined (certain to become a star). 3 definite, unfailing,
reliable (a certain indication of the coming storm; his touch is
certain). 4 (of a person, place, etc.) that might be specified,
but is not (a certain lady; of a certain age). 5 some though
not much (a certain reluctance). 6 (of a person, place, etc.)
existing, though probably unknown to the reader or hearer (a
certain John Smith). --pron. (as pl.) some but not all (certain
of them were wounded). Ьfor certain without doubt. make
certain = make sure (see SURE). [ME f. OF ult. f. L certus
certainly adv. 1 undoubtedly, definitely. 2 confidently. 3 (in
affirmative answer to a question or command) yes; by all means.
certainty n. (pl. -ies) 1 a an undoubted fact. b a certain prospect
(his return is a certainty). 2 (often foll. by of, or that +
clause) an absolute conviction (has a certainty of his own
worth). 3 (often foll. by to + infin.) a thing or person that
may be relied on (a certainty to win the Derby). Ьfor a
certainty beyond the possibility of doubt. [ME f. AF certaint‚,
OF -et‚ (as CERTAIN)]
Cert. Ed. abbr. (in the UK) Certificate in Education.
adj. 1 able or needing to be certified. 2 colloq. insane.
n. & v. --n. a formal document attesting a fact, esp. birth,
marriage, or death, a medical condition, a level of achievement,
a fulfilment of requirements, ownership of shares, etc. --v.tr.
(esp. as certificated adj.) provide with or license or attest by
a certificate. ЬCertificate of Secondary Education hist. 1 an
examination set for secondary-school pupils in England and
Wales. 2 the certificate gained by passing it. °Replaced in
1988 by the General Certificate of Secondary Education.
ЬЬcertification n. [F certificat or med.L certificatum f.
certificare: see CERTIFY]
certify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 make a formal statement of; attest; attest
to (certified that he had witnessed the crime). 2 declare by
certificate (that a person is qualified or competent) (certified
as a trained bookkeeper). 3 officially declare insane (he
should be certified). Ьcertified cheque a cheque the validity
of which is guaranteed by a bank. certified mail US = recorded
delivery (see RECORD). certified milk milk guaranteed free from
the tuberculosis bacillus. [ME f. OF certifier f. med.L
certificare f. L certus certain]
n. Law a writ from a higher court requesting the records of a
case tried in a lower court. [LL passive of certiorare inform
f. certior compar. of certus certain]
certitude n. a feeling of absolute certainty or conviction. [ME f. LL
certitudo f. certus certain]
cerulean adj. & n. literary --adj. deep blue like a clear sky. --n.
this colour. [L caeruleus sky-blue f. caelum sky]
cerumen n. the yellow waxy substance in the outer ear. ЬЬceruminous
adj. [mod.L f. L cera wax]
ceruse n. white lead. [ME f. OF f. L cerussa, perh. f. Gk keros wax]
cervelat n. a kind of smoked pork sausage. [obs. F f. It. cervellata]
cervical adj. Anat. 1 of or relating to the neck (cervical vertebrae).
2 of or relating to the cervix. Ьcervical screening examination
of a large number of apparently healthy women for cervical
cancer. cervical smear a specimen of cellular material from the
neck of the womb for detection of cancer. [F cervical or mod.L
cervicalis f. L cervix -icis neck]
cervine adj. of or like a deer. [L cervinus f. cervus deer]
cervix n. (pl. cervices) Anat. 1 the neck. 2 any necklike
structure, esp. the neck of the womb. [L]
Cesarean (also Cesarian) US var. of CAESAREAN.
n. (also cesarewitch) 1 hist. the eldest son of the emperor of
Russia (cf. TSAREVICH). 2 (Cesarewitch) a horse-race run
annually at Newmarket. [Russ. tsesarevich]
cesium US var. of CAESIUM.
cess(1) n. (also sess) Sc., Ir., & Ind. etc. a tax, a levy. [properly
sess for obs. assess n.: see ASSESS]
cess(2) n. Ir. Ьbad cess to may evil befall (bad cess to their clan).
[perh. f. CESS(1)]
cessation n. 1 a ceasing (cessation of the truce). 2 a pause (resumed
fighting after the cessation). [ME f. L cessatio f. cessare
cesser n. Law a coming to an end; a cessation (of a term, a liability,
etc.). [AF & OF, = CEASE]
cession n. 1 (often foll. by of) the ceding or giving up (of rights,
property, and esp. of territory by a State). 2 the territory
etc. so ceded. [ME f. OF cession or L cessio f. cedere cess-
n. (pl. -ies) Law = ASSIGN n.
cesspit n. 1 a pit for the disposal of refuse. 2 = CESSPOOL. [cess in
CESSPOOL + PIT(1)]
cesspool n. 1 an underground container for the temporary storage of
liquid waste or sewage. 2 a centre of corruption, depravity,
etc. [perh. alt., after POOL(1), f. earlier cesperalle, f.
suspiral vent, water-pipe, f. OF souspirail air-hole f. L
suspirare breathe up, sigh (as SUB-, spirare breathe)]
cestode n. (also cestoid) any flatworm of the class Cestoda, including
tapeworms. [L cestus f. Gk kestos girdle]
CET abbr. Central European Time.
cetacean n. & adj. --n. any marine mammal of the order Cetacea with
streamlined hairless body and dorsal blowhole for breathing,
including whales, dolphins, and porpoises. --adj. of cetaceans.
ЬЬcetaceous adj. [mod.L Cetacea f. L cetus f. Gk ketos whale]
cetane n. Chem. a colourless liquid hydrocarbon of the alkane series
used in standardizing ratings of diesel fuel. Ьcetane number a
measure of the ignition properties of diesel fuel. [f.
SPERMACETI after methane etc.]
adv. other things being equal. [L]
n. a red seaweed, Gracilaria lichenoides, from E. India.
[Ceylon, now Sri Lanka]
cf. abbr. compare. [L confer imper. of conferre compare]
c.f. abbr. carried forward.
CFC abbr. Chem. chloro-fluorocarbon, any of various usu. gaseous
compounds of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine, used in
refrigerants, aerosol propellants, etc., and thought to be
harmful to the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere.
Chablis n. (pl. same) a dry white burgundy wine. [Chablis in E.
cha-cha (also cha-cha-cha) n. & v. --n. 1 a ballroom dance with a
Latin-American rhythm. 2 music for or in the rhythm of a
cha-cha. --v.intr. (cha-chas, cha-chaed or cha-cha'd,
cha-chaing) dance the cha-cha. [Amer. Sp.]
chaconne n. Mus. 1 a a musical form consisting of variations on a
ground bass. b a musical composition in this style. 2 hist. a
dance performed to this music. [F f. Sp. chacona]
chador n. (also chadar, chuddar) a large piece of cloth worn in some
countries by Muslim women, wrapped around the body to leave only
the face exposed. [Pers. chador, Hindi chador]
n. any dart-shaped worm of the phylum Chaetognatha, usu. living
among marine plankton, and having a head with external thorny
teeth. [mod.L Chaetognatha f. Gk khaite long hair + gnathos
chafe v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become sore or damaged by
rubbing. 2 tr. rub (esp. the skin to restore warmth or
sensation). 3 tr. & intr. make or become annoyed; fret (was
chafed by the delay). --n. 1 a an act of chafing. b a sore
resulting from this. 2 a state of annoyance. [ME f. OF chaufer
ult. f. L calefacere f. calere be hot + facere make]
chafer n. any of various large slow-moving beetles of the family
Scarabeidae, esp. the cockchafer. [OE ceafor, cefer f. Gmc]
chaff n. & v. --n. 1 the husks of corn or other seed separated by
winnowing or threshing. 2 chopped hay and straw used as fodder.
3 light-hearted joking; banter. 4 worthless things; rubbish. 5
strips of metal foil released in the atmosphere to obstruct
radar detection. --v. 1 tr. & intr. tease; banter. 2 tr. chop
(straw etc.). Ьchaff-cutter a machine for chopping fodder.
separate the wheat from the chaff distinguish good from bad.
ЬЬchaffy adj. [OE ceaf, c‘f prob. f. Gmc: sense 3 of n. & 1 of
v. perh. f. CHAFE]
chaffer v. & n. --v.intr. haggle; bargain. --n. bargaining; haggling.
ЬЬchafferer n. [ME f. OE ceapfaru f. ceap bargain + faru
chaffinch n. Brit. a common European finch, Fringilla coelebs, the male
of which has a blue-grey head with pinkish cheeks. [OE
ceaffinc: see CHAFF, FINCH]
n. 1 a cooking pot with an outer pan of hot water, used for
keeping food warm. 2 a dish with a spirit-lamp etc. for cooking
at table. [obs. sense of CHAFE = warm]
(also Chagas's disease) n. a kind of sleeping sickness caused
by a protozoan transmitted by blood-sucking bugs. [C. Chagas,
Braz. physician d. 1934]
chagrin n. & v. --n. acute vexation or mortification. --v.tr. affect
with chagrin. [F chagrin(er), of uncert. orig.]
chain n. & v. --n. 1 a a connected flexible series of esp. metal
links as decoration or for a practical purpose. b something
resembling this (formed a human chain). 2 (in pl.) a fetters
used to confine prisoners. b any restraining force. 3 a
sequence, series, or set (chain of events; mountain chain). 4 a
group of associated hotels, shops, newspapers, etc. 5 a badge
of office in the form of a chain worn round the neck (mayoral
chain). 6 a a jointed measuring-line consisting of linked metal
rods. b its length (66 ft.). 7 Chem. a group of (esp. carbon)
atoms bonded in sequence in a molecule. 8 a figure in a
quadrille or similar dance. 9 (in pl.) Naut. channels (see
CHANNEL(2)). 10 (also chain-shot) hist. two cannon-balls or
half balls joined by a chain and used in sea battles for
bringing down a mast etc. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by up) secure
or confine with a chain. 2 confine or restrict (a person) (is
chained to the office). Ьchain-armour armour made of interlaced
rings. chain bridge a suspension bridge on chains. chain drive
a system of transmission by endless chains. chain-gang a team
of convicts chained together and forced to work in the open air.
chain-gear a gear transmitting motion by means of an endless
chain. chain-letter one of a sequence of letters the recipient
of which is requested to send copies to a specific number of
other people. chain-link made of wire in a diamond-shaped mesh
(chain-link fencing). chain-mail = chain-armour. chain
reaction 1 Physics a self-sustaining nuclear reaction, esp. one
in which a neutron from a fission reaction initiates a series of
these reactions. 2 Chem. a self-sustaining molecular reaction
in which intermediate products initiate further reactions. 3 a
series of events, each caused by the previous one. chain-saw a
motor-driven saw with teeth on an endless chain. chain-smoker a
person who smokes continually, esp. one who lights a cigarette
etc. from the stub of the last one smoked. chain-stitch an
ornamental embroidery or crochet stitch resembling chains.
chain store one of a series of shops owned by one firm and
selling the same sort of goods. chain-wale = CHANNEL(2).
chain-wheel a wheel transmitting power by a chain fitted to its
edges. [ME f. OF cha(e)ine f. L catena]
chair n. & v. --n. 1 a separate seat for one person, of various
forms, usu. having a back and four legs. 2 a a professorship
(offered the chair in physics). b a seat of authority, esp. on
a board of directors. c a mayoralty. 3 a a chairperson. b the
seat or office of a chairperson (will you take the chair?; I'm
in the chair). 4 US = electric chair. 5 an iron or steel
socket holding a railway rail in place. 6 hist. = sedan chair.
--v.tr. 1 act as chairperson of or preside over (a meeting). 2
Brit. carry (a person) aloft in a chair or in a sitting
position, in triumph. 3 install in a chair, esp. as a position
of authority. Ьchair-bed a chair that unfolds into a bed.
chair-borne colloq. (of an administrator) not active.
chair-car a railway carriage with chairs instead of long seats;
a parlour car. chair-lift a series of chairs on an endless
cable for carrying passengers up and down a mountain etc. take
a chair sit down. [ME f. AF chaere, OF chaiere f. L cathedra f.
Gk kathedra: see CATHEDRAL]
chairlady n. (pl. -ies) = CHAIRWOMAN.
chairman n. (pl. -men; fem. chairwoman, pl. -women) 1 a person chosen
to preside over a meeting. 2 the permanent president of a
committee, a board of directors, a firm, etc. 3 the master of
ceremonies at an entertainment etc. 4 hist. either of two
sedan-bearers. ЬЬchairmanship n.
n. a chairman or chairwoman (used as a neutral alternative).
chaise n. 1 esp. hist. a horse-drawn carriage for one or two persons,
esp. one with an open top and two wheels. 2 = post-chaise (see
POST(2)). [F var. of chaire, formed as CHAIR]
n. a sofa with only one arm rest. [F, lit. long chair]
chalaza n. (pl. chalazae) each of two twisted membranous strips
joining the yolk to the ends of an egg. [mod.L f. Gk, =
n. a type of quartz occurring in several different forms, e.g.
onyx, agate, tiger's eye, etc. ЬЬchalcedonic adj. [ME f. L
c(h)alcedonius f. Gk khalkedon]
adj. Archaeol. of a prehistoric period in which both stone and
bronze implements were used. [Gk khalkos copper + lithos stone]
n. a yellow mineral of copper-iron sulphide, which is the
principal ore of copper. [Gk khalkos copper + PYRITE]
Chaldean n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native of ancient Chaldea or Babylonia.
b the language of the Chaldeans. 2 an astrologer. 3 a member
of the Uniat (formerly Nestorian) sect in Iran etc. --adj. 1
of or relating to ancient Chaldea or its people or language. 2
of or relating to astrology. 3 of or relating to the Uniat
sect. [L Chaldaeus f. Gk Khaldaios f. Assyr. Kaldu]
Chaldee n. 1 the language of the Chaldeans. 2 a native of ancient
Chaldea. 3 the Aramaic language as used in Old Testament books.
[ME, repr. L Chaldaei (pl.) (as CHALDEAN)]
chalet n. 1 a small suburban house or bungalow, esp. with an
overhanging roof. 2 a small, usu. wooden, hut or house on a
beach or in a holiday camp. 3 a Swiss cowherd's hut, or wooden
cottage, with overhanging eaves. [Swiss F]
chalice n. 1 literary a goblet. 2 a wine-cup used in the Communion
service. [ME f. OF f. L calix -icis cup]
chalk n. & v. --n. 1 a white soft earthy limestone (calcium
carbonate) formed from the skeletal remains of sea creatures. 2
a a similar substance (calcium sulphate), sometimes coloured,
used for writing or drawing. b a piece of this (a box of
chalks). 3 a series of strata consisting mainly of chalk. 4 =
French chalk. --v.tr. 1 rub, mark, draw, or write with chalk.
2 (foll. by up) a write or record with chalk. b register (a
success etc.). c charge (to an account). Ьas different as
chalk and (or from) cheese fundamentally different. by a long
chalk Brit. by far (from the use of chalk to mark the score in
games). chalk and talk traditional teaching (employing
blackboard, chalk, and interlocution). chalk out sketch or plan
a thing to be accomplished. chalk-pit a quarry in which chalk
is dug. chalk-stone a concretion of urates like chalk in
tissues and joints esp. of hands and feet. chalk-stripe a
pattern of thin white stripes on a dark background.
chalk-striped having chalk-stripes. [OE cealc ult. f. WG f. L
n. US = BLACKBOARD.
chalky adj. (chalkier, chalkiest) 1 a abounding in chalk. b white as
chalk. 2 like or containing chalk stones. ЬЬchalkiness n.
challenge n. & v. --n. 1 a a summons to take part in a contest or a
trial of strength etc., esp. to a duel. b a summons to prove or
justify something. 2 a demanding or difficult task (rose to the
challenge of the new job). 3 Law an objection made to a jury
member. 4 a call to respond, esp. a sentry's call for a
password etc. 5 an invitation to a sporting contest, esp. one
issued to a reigning champion. 6 Med. a test of immunity after
immunization treatment. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by to + infin.)
a invite to take part in a contest, game, debate, duel, etc. b
invite to prove or justify something. 2 dispute, deny (I
challenge that remark). 3 a stretch, stimulate (challenges him
to produce his best). b (as challenging adj.) demanding;
stimulatingly difficult. 4 (of a sentry) call to respond. 5
claim (attention, etc.). 6 Law object to (a jury member,
evidence, etc.). 7 Med. test by a challenge. ЬЬchallengeable
adj. challenger n. [ME f. OF c(h)alenge, c(h)alenger f. L
calumnia calumniari calumny]
challis n. a lightweight soft clothing fabric. [perh. f. a surname]
adj. (of mineral water etc.) impregnated with iron salts.
[mod.L chalybeatus f. L chalybs f. Gk khalups -ubos steel]
n. a plant whose buds are on or near the ground. [Gk khamai on
the ground + -PHYTE]
chamber n. 1 a a hall used by a legislative or judicial body. b the
body that meets in it. c any of the houses of a parliament
(Chamber of Deputies; second chamber). 2 (in pl.) Brit. Law a
rooms used by a barrister or group of barristers, esp. in the
Inns of Court. b a judge's room used for hearing cases not
needing to be taken in court. 3 poet. or archaic a room, esp. a
bedroom. 4 Mus. (attrib.) of or for a small group of
instruments (chamber orchestra; chamber music). 5 an enclosed
space in machinery etc. (esp. the part of a gun-bore that
contains the charge). 6 a a cavity in a plant or in the body of
an animal. b a compartment in a structure. 7 = chamber-pot.
ЬChamber of Commerce an association to promote local commercial
interests. chamber-pot a receptacle for urine etc., used in a
bedroom. [ME f. OF chambre f. L CAMERA]
chambered adj. (of a tomb) containing a burial chamber.
n. 1 an officer managing the household of a sovereign or a
great noble. 2 the treasurer of a corporation etc. ЬLord
Chamberlain (of the Household) the official in charge of the
Royal Household, formerly the licenser of plays. Lord Great
Chamberlain of England the hereditary holder of a ceremonial
office. ЬЬchamberlainship n. [ME f. OF chamberlain etc. f.
Frank. f. L camera CAMERA]
n. 1 a housemaid at a hotel etc. 2 US a housemaid.
n. a high-quality dry red burgundy wine. [Gevrey Chambertin
region in E. France]
chambray n. a linen-finished gingham cloth with a white weft and a
coloured warp. [irreg. f. Cambrai: see CAMBRIC]
chambr‚ adj. (of red wine) brought to room temperature. [F, past part.
of chambrer f. chambre room: see CHAMBER]
chameleon n. 1 any of a family of small lizards having grasping tails,
long tongues, protruding eyes, and the power of changing colour.
2 a variable or inconstant person. ЬЬchameleonic adj. [ME f. L
f. Gk khamaileon f. khamai on the ground + leon lion]
chamfer v. & n. --v.tr. bevel symmetrically (a right-angled edge or
corner). --n. a bevelled surface at an edge or corner.
[back-form. f. chamfering f. F chamfrain f. chant edge
(CANT(2)) + fraint broken f. OF fraindre break f. L frangere]
chamois n. (pl. same) 1 an agile goat antelope, Rupicapra rupicapra,
native to the mountains of Europe and Asia. 2 (in full chamois
leather) a soft pliable leather from sheep, goats, deer, etc. b
a piece of this for polishing etc. [F: cf. Gallo-Roman camox]
chamomile var. of CAMOMILE.
champ(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. munch or chew noisily. 2 tr. (of a
horse etc.) work (the bit) noisily between the teeth. 3 intr.
fret with impatience (is champing to be away). --n. a chewing
noise or motion. Ьchamp at the bit be restlessly impatient.
champ(2) n. sl. a champion. [abbr.]
champagne n. 1 a a white sparkling wine from Champagne. b (loosely) a
similar wine from elsewhere. °Use in sense b is strictly
incorrect. 2 a pale cream or straw colour. [Champagne, former
province in E. France]
champaign n. literary 1 open country. 2 an expanse of open country. [ME
f. OF champagne f. LL campania: cf. CAMPAIGN]
champers n. sl. champagne.
champerty n. (pl. -ies) Law an illegal agreement in which a person not
naturally interested in a lawsuit finances it with a view to
sharing the disputed property. ЬЬchampertous adj. [ME f. AF
champartie f. OF champart feudal lord's share of produce, f. L
campus field + pars part]
champion n., v., adj., & adv. --n. 1 (often attrib.) a person (esp. in
a sport or game), an animal, plant, etc., that has defeated or
surpassed all rivals in a competition etc. 2 a a person who
fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of another person. b
hist. a knight etc. who fought in single combat on behalf of a
king etc. --v.tr. support the cause of, defend, argue in favour
of. --adj. colloq. or dial. first-class, splendid. --adv.
colloq. or dial. splendidly, well. ЬChampion of England (or
King's or Queen's Champion) a hereditary official at
coronations. [ME f. OF f. med.L campio -onis fighter f. L
n. 1 (often in pl.) a contest for the position of champion in a
sport etc. 2 the position of champion over all rivals. 3 the
advocacy or defence (of a cause etc.).
champlev‚ n. & adj. --n. a type of enamel-work in which hollows made in a
metal surface are filled with coloured enamels. --adj. of or
relating to champlev‚ (cf. CLOISONNђ). [F, = raised field]
chance n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a a possibility (just a chance we will
catch the train). b (often in pl.) probability (the chances are
against it). 2 a risk (have to take a chance). 3 a an
undesigned occurrence (just a chance that they met). b the
absence of design or discoverable cause (here merely because of
chance). 4 an opportunity (didn't have a chance to speak to
him). 5 the way things happen; fortune; luck (we'll just leave
it to chance). 6 (often Chance) the course of events regarded
as a power; fate (blind Chance rules the universe). 7 Cricket
an opportunity for dismissing a batsman. --adj. fortuitous,
accidental (a chance meeting). --v. 1 tr. colloq. risk (we'll
chance it and go). 2 intr. (often foll. by that + clause, or to
+ infin.) happen without intention (it chanced that I found it;
I chanced to find it). Ьby any chance as it happens; perhaps.
by chance without design; unintentionally. chance one's arm
make an attempt though unlikely to succeed. chance on (or upon)
happen to find, meet, etc. game of chance a game decided by
luck, not skill. the off chance the slight possibility. on the
chance (often foll. by of, or that + clause) in view of the
possibility. stand a chance have a prospect of success etc.
take a chance (or chances) behave riskily; risk failure. take a
(or one's) chance on (or with) consent to take the consequences
of; trust to luck. [ME f. AF ch(e)aunce, OF ch‰ance ch‰oir fall
ult. f. L cadere]
chancel n. the part of a church near the altar, reserved for the
clergy, the choir, etc., usu. enclosed by a screen or separated
from the nave by steps. [ME f. OF f. L cancelli lattice]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the position, office, staff, department,
etc., of a chancellor. b the official residence of a
chancellor. 2 US an office attached to an embassy or consulate.
[ME f. OF chancellerie (as CHANCELLOR)]
n. 1 a State or legal official of various kinds. 2 the head of
the government in some European countries, e.g. W. Germany. 3
the non-resident honorary head of a university. 4 a bishop's
law officer. 5 US the president of a chancery court.
ЬChancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster a member of the government
legally representing the Queen as Duke of Lancaster, often a
Cabinet Minister employed on non-departmental work. Chancellor
of the Exchequer the finance minister of the United Kingdom.
Chancellor of the Garter etc. a government officer who seals
commissions etc. Lord (or Lord High) Chancellor an officer
presiding in the House of Lords, the Chancery Division, or the
Court of Appeal. ЬЬchancellorship n. [OE f. AF c(h)anceler, OF
-ier f. LL cancellarius porter, secretary, f. cancelli lattice]
n. (pl. -eys) 1 Law a fight, esp. homicidal, beginning
unintentionally. 2 inadvertency. [AF chance medlee (see
MEDDLE) mixed chance]
chancery n. (pl. -ies) 1 Law (Chancery) the Lord Chancellor's court, a
division of the High Court of Justice. 2 hist. the records
office of an order of knighthood. 3 hist. the court of a
bishop's chancellor. 4 an office attached to an embassy or
consulate. 5 a public record office. 6 US a court of equity.
Ьin chancery sl. (of a boxer or wrestler) with the head held
under the opponent's arm and being pummelled. [ME, contracted
chancre n. a painless ulcer developing in venereal disease etc. [F f.
chancroid n. ulceration of lymph nodes in the groin, from venereal
chancy adj. (chancier, chanciest) subject to chance; uncertain; risky.
ЬЬchancily adv. chanciness n.
n. an ornamental branched hanging support for several candles
or electric light bulbs. [F (chandelle f. as CANDLE)]
chandler n. a dealer in candles, oil, soap, paint, groceries, etc.
Ьcorn chandler a dealer in corn. ship (or ship's) chandler a
dealer in cordage, canvas, etc. [ME f. AF chaundeler, OF
chandelier (as CANDLE)]
chandlery n. the goods sold by a chandler.
change n. & v. --n. 1 a the act or an instance of making or becoming
different. b an alteration or modification (the change in her
expression). 2 a money given in exchange for money in larger
units or a different currency. b money returned as the balance
of that given in payment. c = small change. 3 a new
experience; variety (fancied a change; for a change). 4 a the
substitution of one thing for another; an exchange (change of
scene). b a set of clothes etc. put on in place of another. 5
(in full change of life) colloq. the menopause. 6 (usu. in pl.)
the different orders in which a peal of bells can be rung. 7
(Change) (also 'Change) hist. a place where merchants etc. met
to do business. 8 (of the moon) arrival at a fresh phase, esp.
at the new moon. --v. 1 tr. & intr. undergo, show, or subject
to change; make or become different (the wig changed his
appearance; changed from an introvert into an extrovert). 2 tr.
a take or use another instead of; go from one to another (change
one's socks; changed his doctor; changed trains). b (usu. foll.
by for) give up or get rid of in exchange (changed the car for a
van). 3 tr. a give or get change in smaller denominations for
(can you change a ten-pound note?). b (foll. by for) exchange
(a sum of money) for (changed his dollars for pounds). 4 tr. &
intr. put fresh clothes or coverings on (changed the baby as he
was wet; changed into something loose). 5 tr. (often foll. by
with) give and receive, exchange (changed places with him; we
changed places). 6 intr. change trains etc. (changed at Crewe).
7 intr. (of the moon) arrive at a fresh phase, esp. become new.
Ьchange colour blanch or flush. change down engage a lower gear
in a vehicle. change gear engage a different gear in a vehicle.
change hands 1 pass to a different owner. 2 substitute one hand
for another. change one's mind adopt a different opinion or
plan. change of air a different climate; variety. change of
heart a conversion to a different view. change over change from
one system or situation to another. change-over n. such a
change. change step begin to keep step with the opposite leg
when marching etc. change the subject begin talking of
something different, esp. to avoid embarrassment. change one's
tune 1 voice a different opinion from that expressed previously.
2 change one's style of language or manner, esp. from an
insolent to a respectful tone. change up engage a higher gear
in a vehicle. get no change out of sl. 1 fail to get
information from. 2 fail to get the better of (in business
etc.). ring the changes (on) vary the ways of expressing,
arranging, or doing something. ЬЬchangeful adj. changer n.
[ME f. AF chaunge, OF change, changer f. LL cambiare, L cambire
barter, prob. of Celt. orig.]
adj. 1 irregular, inconstant. 2 that can change or be changed.
ЬЬchangeability n. changeableness n. changeably adv. [ME f.
OF, formed as CHANGE]
adj. unchanging. ЬЬchangelessly adv. changelessness n.
n. a child believed to be substituted for another by stealth,
esp. an elf-child left by fairies.
n. & v. --n. 1 a a length of water wider than a strait,
joining two larger areas, esp. seas. b (the Channel) the
English Channel between Britain and France. 2 a medium of
communication; an agency for conveying information (through the
usual channels). 3 Broadcasting a a band of frequencies used in
radio and television transmission, esp. as used by a particular
station. b a service or station using this. 4 the course in
which anything moves; a direction. 5 a a natural or artificial
hollow bed of water. b the navigable part of a waterway. 6 a
tubular passage for liquid. 7 Electronics a lengthwise strip on
recording tape etc. 8 a groove or a flute, esp. in a column.
--v.tr. (channelled, channelling; US channeled, channeling) 1
guide, direct (channelled them through customs). 2 form
channels in; groove. [ME f. OF chanel f. L canalis CANAL]
n. Naut. any of the broad thick planks projecting horizontally
from a ship's side abreast of the masts, used to widen the basis
for the shrouds. [for chain-wale: cf. gunnel for gunwale]
v.tr. (also -ise) convey in, or as if in, a channel; guide.
chanson de geste
n. (pl. chansons pronunc. same) any of a group of medieval
French epic poems. [F, = song of heroic deeds]
chant n. & v. --n. 1 a a spoken singsong phrase, esp. one performed
in unison by a crowd etc. b a repetitious singsong way of
speaking. 2 Mus. a a short musical passage in two or more
phrases used for singing unmetrical words, e.g. psalms,
canticles. b the psalm or canticle so sung. c a song, esp.
monotonous or repetitive. 3 a musical recitation, esp. of
poetry. --v.tr. & intr. 1 talk or repeat monotonously (a crowd
chanting slogans). 2 sing or intone (a psalm etc.). [ME (orig.
as verb) f. OF chanter sing f. L cantare frequent. of canere
chanter n. Mus. the melody-pipe, with finger-holes, of a bagpipe.
n. an edible fungus, Cantharellus cibarius, with a yellow
funnel-shaped cap and smelling of apricots. [F f. mod.L
cantharellus dimin. of cantharus f. Gk kantharos a kind of
chanteuse n. a female singer of popular songs. [F]
n. literary a name given to a domestic cock, esp. in fairy
tales etc. [ME f. OF chantecler (as CHANT, CLEAR), a name in
Reynard the Fox]
Chantilly n. 1 a delicate kind of bobbin-lace. 2 sweetened or flavoured
whipped cream. [Chantilly near Paris]
chantry n. (pl. -ies) 1 an endowment for a priest or priests to
celebrate masses for the founder's soul. 2 the priests, chapel,
altar, etc., endowed. [ME f. AF chaunterie, OF chanterie f.
chanty var. of SHANTY(2).
Chanukkah var. of HANUKKAH.
chaos n. 1 utter confusion. 2 the formless matter supposed to have
existed before the creation of the universe. ЬЬchaotic adj.
chaotically adv. [F or L f. Gk khaos: - otic after erotic etc.]
chap(1) v. & n. --v. (chapped, chapping) 1 intr. (esp. of the skin;
also of dry ground etc.) crack in fissures, esp. because of
exposure and dryness. 2 tr. (of the wind, cold, etc.) cause to
chap. --n. (usu. in pl.) 1 a crack in the skin. 2 an open
seam. [ME, perh. rel. to MLG, MDu. kappen chop off]
chap(2) n. colloq. a man; a boy; a fellow. [abbr. of CHAPMAN]
chap(3) n. the lower jaw or half of the cheek, esp. of a pig as food.
Ьchap-fallen dispirited, dejected (with the lower jaw hanging).
[16th c.: var. of CHOP(2), of unkn. orig.]
chap. abbr. chapter.
n.pl. US a cowboy's leather protection for the front of the
legs. [Mex. Sp.]
chaparral n. US dense tangled brushwood; undergrowth. Ьchaparral cock =
ROADRUNNER. [Sp. f. chaparra evergreen oak]
chapatti n. (also chapati, chupatty) (pl. -is or chupatties) Ind. a
flat thin cake of unleavened wholemeal bread. [Hindi capati]
chap-book n. hist. a small pamphlet containing tales, ballads, tracts,
etc., hawked by chapmen. [19th c.: see CHAPMAN]
chape n. 1 the metal cap of a scabbard-point. 2 the back-piece of a
buckle attaching it to a strap etc. 3 a sliding loop on a belt
or strap. [ME f. OF, = cope, hood, formed as CAP]
n. (pl. chapeaux-bras pronunc. same) a three-cornered flat
silk hat often carried under the arm. [F f. chapeau hat + bras
chapel n. 1 a a place for private Christian worship in a large church
or esp. a cathedral, with its own altar and dedication (Lady
chapel). b a place of Christian worship attached to a private
house or institution. 2 Brit. a a place of worship for
nonconformist bodies. b (predic.) an attender at or believer in
nonconformist worship (they are strictly chapel). c a chapel
service. d attendance at a chapel. 3 an Anglican church
subordinate to a parish church. 4 Printing a the members or
branch of a printers' trade union at a specific place of work.
b a meeting of them. Ьchapel of ease an Anglican chapel for the
convenience of remote parishioners. chapel of rest an
undertaker's mortuary. chapel royal a chapel in a royal palace.
father of chapel (or the chapel) the shop steward of a printers'
chapel. [ME f. OF chapele f. med.L cappella dimin. of cappa
cloak: the first chapel was a sanctuary in which St Martin's
sacred cloak (cappella) was preserved]
chapelry n. (pl. -ies) a district served by an Anglican chapel.
chaperon n. & v. (also chaperone) --n. 1 a person, esp. an older woman,
who ensures propriety by accompanying a young unmarried woman on
social occasions. 2 a person who takes charge of esp. young
people in public. --v.tr. act as a chaperon to. ЬЬchaperonage
n. [F, = hood, chaperon, dimin. of chape cope, formed as CAP]
chaplain n. a member of the clergy attached to a private chapel,
institution, ship, regiment, etc. ЬЬchaplaincy n. (pl. -ies).
[ME f. AF & OF c(h)apelain f. med.L cappellanus, orig. custodian
of the cloak of St Martin: see CHAPEL]
chaplet n. 1 a garland or circlet for the head. 2 a string of 55 beads
(one-third of the rosary number) for counting prayers, or as a
necklace. 3 a bead-moulding. ЬЬchapleted adj. [ME f. OF
chapelet, ult. f. LL cappa CAP]
chapman n. (pl. -men) hist. a pedlar. [OE ceapman f. ceap barter]
chappal n. an Indian sandal, usu. of leather. [Hindi]
chappie n. colloq. = CHAP(2).
chappy adj. full of chaps; chapped (chappy knuckles).
chaps n. = CHAPAREJOS. [abbr.]
chapstick n. US a cylinder of a cosmetic substance used to prevent
chapping of the lips.
chapter n. 1 a main division of a book. 2 a period of time (in a
person's life, a nation's history, etc.). 3 a series or
sequence (a chapter of misfortunes). 4 a the canons of a
cathedral or other religious community or knightly order. b a
meeting of these. 5 an Act of Parliament numbered as part of a
session's proceedings. 6 US a local branch of a society.
Ьchapter and verse an exact reference or authority. chapter
house 1 a building used for the meetings of a chapter. 2 US the
place where a college fraternity or sorority meets. [ME f. OF
chapitre f. L capitulum dimin. of caput -itis head]
char(1) v.tr. & intr. (charred, charring) 1 make or become black by
burning; scorch. 2 burn or be burnt to charcoal. [app.
back-form. f. CHARCOAL]
char(2) n. & v. Brit. colloq. --n. = CHARWOMAN. --v.intr. (charred,
charring) work as a charwoman. [earlier chare f. OE cerr a
turn, cierran to turn]
char(3) n. (also cha) Brit. sl. tea. [Chin. cha]
char(4) n. (also charr) (pl. same) any small troutlike fish of the
genus Salvelinus. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
charabanc n. Brit. hist. an early form of motor coach. [F char … bancs
character n. & v. --n. 1 the collective qualities or characteristics,
esp. mental and moral, that distinguish a person or thing. 2 a
moral strength (has a weak character). b reputation, esp. good
reputation. 3 a a person in a novel, play, etc. b a part
played by an actor; a role. 4 colloq. a person, esp. an
eccentric or outstanding individual (he's a real character). 5
a a printed or written letter, symbol, or distinctive mark
(Chinese characters). b Computing any of a group of symbols
representing a letter etc. 6 a written description of a
person's qualities; a testimonial. 7 a characteristic (esp. of
a biological species). --v.tr. archaic inscribe; describe.
Ьcharacter actor an actor who specializes in playing eccentric
or unusual persons. character assassination a malicious attempt
to harm or destroy a person's good reputation. in (or out of)
character consistent (or inconsistent) with a person's
character. ЬЬcharacterful adj. characterfully adv.
characterless adj. [ME f. OF caractere f. L character f. Gk
kharakter stamp, impress]
adj. & n. --adj. typical, distinctive (with characteristic
expertise). --n. 1 a characteristic feature or quality. 2
Math. the whole number or integral part of a logarithm.
Ьcharacteristic curve a graph showing the relationship between
two variable but interdependent quantities. characteristic
radiation radiation the wavelengths of which are peculiar to the
element which emits them. ЬЬcharacteristically adv. [F
caract‚ristique or med.L characterizare f. Gk kharakterizo]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 a describe the character of. b (foll. by
as) describe as. 2 be characteristic of. 3 impart character
to. ЬЬcharacterization n. [F caract‚riser or med.L
characterizare f. Gk kharakterizo]
charade n. 1 a (usu. in pl., treated as sing.) a game of guessing a
word from a written or acted clue given for each syllable and
for the whole. b one such clue. 2 an absurd pretence. [F f.
mod.Prov. charrado conversation f. charra chatter]
charas n. a narcotic resin from the flower-heads of hemp; cannabis
charcoal n. 1 a an amorphous form of carbon consisting of a porous black
residue from partially burnt wood, bones, etc. b (usu. in pl.)
a piece of this used for drawing. 2 a drawing in charcoal. 3
(in full charcoal grey) a dark grey colour. Ьcharcoal biscuit a
biscuit containing wood-charcoal to aid digestion. [ME COAL =
charcoal: first element perh. chare turn (cf. CHAR(1),
chard n. a kind of beet, Beta vulgaris, with edible broad white
leaf-stalks and green blades. Also called seakale beet. [F
carde, and chardon thistle: cf. CARDOON]
n. 1 a variety of white grape used for making champagne and
other wines. 2 the vine on which this grape grows. 3 a wine
made from Chardonnay grapes. [F]
charge v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a ask (an amount) as a price (charges њ5 a
ticket). b ask (a person) for an amount as a price (you forgot
to charge me). 2 tr. a (foll. by to, up to) debit the cost of
to (a person or account) (charge it to my account; charge it up
to me). b debit (a person or an account) (bought a new car and
charged the company). 3 tr. a (often foll. by with) accuse (of
an offence) (charged him with theft). b (foll. by that +
clause) make an accusation that. 4 tr. (foll. by to + infin.)
instruct or urge. 5 (foll. by with) a tr. entrust with. b
refl. undertake. 6 a intr. make a rushing attack; rush
headlong. b tr. make a rushing attack on; throw oneself
against. 7 tr. (often foll. by up) a give an electric charge to
(a body). b store energy in (a battery). 8 tr. (often foll. by
with) load or fill (a vessel, gun, etc.) to the full or proper
extent. 9 tr. (usu. as charged adj.) a (foll. by with)
saturated with (air charged with vapour). b (usu. foll. by
with) pervaded (with strong feelings etc.) (atmosphere charged
with emotion; a charged atmosphere). --n. 1 a a price asked
for goods or services. b a financial liability or commitment.
2 an accusation, esp. against a prisoner brought to trial. 3 a
a task, duty, or commission. b care, custody, responsible
possession. c a person or thing entrusted; a minister's
congregation. 4 a an impetuous rush or attack, esp. in a
battle. b the signal for this. 5 the appropriate amount of
material to be put into a receptacle, mechanism, etc. at one
time, esp. of explosive for a gun. 6 a a property of matter
that is a consequence of the interaction between its constituent
particles and exists in a positive or negative form, causing
electrical phenomena. b the quantity of this carried by a body.
c energy stored chemically for conversion into electricity. d
the process of charging a battery. 7 an exhortation;
directions, orders. 8 a burden or load. 9 Heraldry a device; a
bearing. Ьcharge account US a credit account at a shop etc.
charge card a credit card for which the account must be paid in
full when a statement is issued. charge-hand Brit. a worker,
ranking below a foreman, in charge of others on a particular
job. charge-nurse Brit. a nurse in charge of a ward etc.
charge-sheet Brit. a record of cases and charges made at a
police station. free of charge gratis. give a person in charge
hand a person over to the police. in charge having command.
lay to a person's charge accuse a person of. put a person on a
charge charge a person with a specified offence. return to the
charge begin again, esp. in argument. take charge (often foll.
by of) assume control or direction. ЬЬchargeable adj. [ME f.
OF charger f. LL car(ri)care load f. L carrus CAR]
n. (also charg‚) (pl. charg‚s pronunc. same) 1 an ambassador's
deputy. 2 an envoy to a minor country. [F, = in charge (of
n. 1 a a cavalry horse. b poet. any horse. 2 an apparatus for
charging a battery. 3 a person or thing that charges.
n. archaic a large flat dish. [ME f. AF chargeour]
chariot n. & v. --n. 1 hist. a a two-wheeled vehicle drawn by horses,
used in ancient warfare and racing. b a four-wheeled carriage
with back seats only. 2 poet. a stately or triumphal vehicle.
--v.tr. literary convey in or as in a chariot. [ME f. OF,
augment. of char CAR]
n. a chariot-driver.
charisma n. (pl. charismata) 1 a the ability to inspire followers with
devotion and enthusiasm. b an attractive aura; great charm. 2
a divinely conferred power or talent. [eccl.L f. Gk kharisma f.
kharis favour, grace]
adj. 1 having charisma; inspiring enthusiasm. 2 (of Christian
worship) characterized by spontaneity, ecstatic utterances, etc.
Ьcharismatic movement a neo-pentecostal movement affecting Roman
Catholic, Anglican, and other Christian Churches.
adj. 1 generous in giving to those in need. 2 of, relating to,
or connected with a charity or charities. 3 apt to judge
favourably of persons, acts, and motives. ЬЬcharitableness n.
charitably adv. [ME f. OF f. charit‚ CHARITY]
charity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a giving voluntarily to those in need;
alms-giving. b the help, esp. money, so given. 2 an
institution or organization for helping those in need. 3 a
kindness, benevolence. b tolerance in judging others. c love
of one's fellow men. ЬCharity Commission (in the UK) a board
established to control charitable trusts. [OE f. OF charit‚ f.
L caritas -tatis f. carus dear]
charivari n. (also shivaree) 1 a serenade of banging saucepans etc. to a
newly-married couple. 2 a medley of sounds; a hubbub. [F, =
serenade with pans, trays, etc., to an unpopular person]
charlady n. (pl. -ies) = CHARWOMAN.
charlatan n. a person falsely claiming a special knowledge or skill.
ЬЬcharlatanism n. charlatanry n. [F f. It. ciarlatano f.
(also Charles's Law) n. Chem. the law stating that the volume
of an ideal gas at constant pressure is directly proportional to
the absolute temperature. [J. A. C. Charles, Fr. scientist d.
n. the constellation Ursa Major or its seven bright stars. Also
called PLOUGH. [OE Carles w‘gn the wain of Carl (Charles the
Great, Charlemagne), perh. by assoc. of the star Arcturus with
legends of King Arthur and Charlemagne]
n. & v. (also Charleston) --n. a lively American dance of the
1920s with side-kicks from the knee. --v.intr. dance the
charleston. [Charleston in S. Carolina, US]
n. US sl. stiffness or cramp in an arm or leg. [19th c.:
charlie n. Brit. sl. 1 a fool. 2 (in pl.) a woman's breasts.
[dimin. of the name Charles]
charlock n. a wild mustard, Sinapis arvensis, with yellow flowers. Also
called field mustard. [OE cerlic, of unkn. orig.]
charlotte n. a pudding made of stewed fruit with a casing or layers or
covering of bread, sponge cake, biscuits, or breadcrumbs (apple
charlotte). Ьcharlotte russe custard etc. enclosed in sponge
cake or a casing of sponge fingers. [F]
charm n. & v. --n. 1 a the power or quality of giving delight or
arousing admiration. b fascination, attractiveness. c (usu. in
pl.) an attractive or enticing quality. 2 a trinket on a
bracelet etc. 3 a an object, act, or word(s) supposedly having
occult or magic power; a spell. b a thing worn to avert evil
etc.; an amulet. 4 Physics a property of matter manifested by
some elementary particles. --v.tr. 1 delight, captivate
(charmed by the performance). 2 influence or protect as if by
magic (leads a charmed life). 3 a gain by charm (charmed
agreement out of him). b influence by charm (charmed her into
consenting). 4 cast a spell on, bewitch. Ьcharm-bracelet a
bracelet hung with small trinkets. like a charm perfectly,
wonderfully. ЬЬcharmer n. [ME f. OF charme, charmer f. L
charmeuse n. a soft smooth silky dress-fabric. [F, fem. of charmeur (as
charming adj. 1 delightful, attractive, pleasing. 2 (often as int.)
iron. expressing displeasure or disapproval. ЬЬcharmingly adv.
charmless adj. lacking charm; unattractive. ЬЬcharmlessly adv.
n. a house or vault in which dead bodies or bones are piled.
[ME & OF charnel burying-place f. med.L carnale f. LL carnalis
n. (also Charolais) (pl. same) 1 an animal of a breed of large
white beef-cattle. 2 this breed. [Monts du Charollais in E.
charpoy n. Ind. a light bedstead. [Hind. charpai]
charr var. of CHAR(4).
chart n. & v. --n. 1 a geographical map or plan, esp. for navigation
by sea or air. 2 a sheet of information in the form of a table,
graph, or diagram. 3 (usu. in pl.) colloq. a listing of the
currently most popular gramophone records. --v.tr. make a chart
of, map. [F charte f. L charta CARD(1)]
n. colloq. a best-selling popular song, record, etc.
charter n. & v. --n. 1 a a written grant of rights, by the sovereign
or legislature, esp. the creation of a borough, company,
university, etc. b a written constitution or description of an
organization's functions etc. 2 a contract to hire an aircraft,
ship, etc., for a special purpose. 3 = CHARTER-PARTY. --v.tr.
1 grant a charter to. 2 hire (an aircraft, ship, etc.).
Ьchartered accountant, engineer, librarian, surveyor , etc.
Brit. a member of a professional body that has a royal charter.
chartered libertine a person allowed to do as he or she pleases.
charter flight a flight by a chartered aircraft. charter-member
an original member of a society, corporation, etc. Great
Charter = MAGNA CARTA. ЬЬcharterer n. [ME f. OF chartre f. L
chartula dimin. of charta CARD(1)]
n. (pl. -ies) a deed between a ship-owner and a merchant for
the hire of a ship and the delivery of cargo. [F charte partie
f. med.L charta partita divided charter, indenture]
Chartism n. hist. the principles of the UK Parliamentary reform
movement of 1837-48. ЬЬChartist n. [L charta charter + -ISM:
name taken from the manifesto 'People's Charter']
n. 1 a pale green or yellow liqueur of brandy and aromatic
herbs etc. 2 the pale yellow or pale green colour of this. 3 a
dish of fruit enclosed in jelly etc. [La Grande Chartreuse
(Carthusian monastery near Grenoble)]
charwoman n. (pl. -women) a woman employed as a cleaner in houses or
chary adj. (charier, chariest) 1 cautious, wary (chary of employing
such people). 2 sparing; ungenerous (chary of giving praise).
3 shy. ЬЬcharily adv. chariness n. [OE cearig]
Charybdis see SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS.
Chas. abbr. Charles.
chase(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. pursue in order to catch. 2 tr. (foll. by
from, out of, to, etc.) drive. 3 intr. a (foll. by after)
hurry in pursuit of (a person). b (foll. by round etc.)
colloq. act or move about hurriedly. 4 tr. (usu. foll. by up)
colloq. pursue (overdue work, payment, etc. or the person
responsible for it). 5 tr. colloq. a try to attain. b court
persistently and openly. --n. 1 pursuit. 2 unenclosed
hunting-land. 3 (prec. by the) hunting, esp. as a sport. 4 an
animal etc. that is pursued. 5 = STEEPLECHASE. Ьgo and chase
oneself (usu. in imper.) colloq. depart. [ME f. OF chace
chacier, ult. f. L capere take]
chase(2) v.tr. emboss or engrave (metal). [app. f. earlier enchase f. F
enchѓsser (as EN-(1), CASE(2))]
chase(3) n. Printing a metal frame holding composed type. [F chѓsse f.
L capsa CASE(2)]
chase(4) n. 1 the part of a gun enclosing the bore. 2 a trench or
groove cut to receive a pipe etc. [F chas enclosed space f.
Prov. ca(u)s f. med.L capsum thorax]
chaser n. 1 a person or thing that chases. 2 a horse for
steeplechasing. 3 colloq. a drink taken after another of a
different kind, e.g. beer after spirits. 4 US colloq. an
amorous pursuer of women.
chasm n. 1 a deep fissure or opening in the earth, rock, etc. 2 a
wide difference of feeling, interests, etc.; a gulf. 3 archaic
a hiatus. ЬЬchasmic adj. [L chasma f. Gk khasma gaping hollow]
chasse n. a liqueur taken after coffee etc. [F f. chasser CHASE(1)]
chass‚ n. & v. --n. a gliding step in dancing. --v.intr. (chass‚d;
chass‚ing) make this step. [F, = chasing]
chassis n. (pl. same) 1 the base-frame of a motor vehicle, carriage,
etc. 2 a frame to carry radio etc. components. [F chѓssis ult.
f. L capsa CASE(2)]
chaste adj. 1 abstaining from extramarital, or from all, sexual
intercourse. 2 (of behaviour, speech, etc.) pure, virtuous,
decent. 3 (of artistic etc. style) simple, unadorned.
Ьchaste-tree an ornamental shrub, Vitex agnus-castus, with blue
or white flowers. ЬЬchastely adv. chasteness n. [ME f. OF f.
chasten v.tr. 1 (esp. as chastening, chastened adjs.) subdue, restrain
(a chastening experience; chastened by his failure). 2
discipline, punish. 3 moderate. ЬЬchastener n. [obs. chaste
(v.) f. OF chastier f. L castigare CASTIGATE]
chastise v.tr. 1 rebuke or reprimand severely. 2 punish, esp. by
beating. ЬЬchastisement n. chastiser n. [ME, app. irreg.
formed f. obs. verbs chaste, chasty: see CHASTEN]
chastity n. 1 being chaste. 2 sexual abstinence; virginity. 3
simplicity of style or taste. Ьchastity belt hist. a garment
designed to prevent a woman from having sexual intercourse. [ME
f. OF chastet‚ f. L castitas -tatis f. castus CHASTE]
chasuble n. a loose sleeveless usu. ornate outer vestment worn by a
priest celebrating Mass or the Eucharist. [ME f. OF chesible,
later -uble, ult. f. L casula hooded cloak, little cottage,
dimin. of casa cottage]
chat(1) v. & n. --v.intr. (chatted, chatting) talk in a light familiar
way. --n. 1 informal conversation or talk. 2 an instance of
this. Ьchat show Brit. a television or radio programme in
which celebrities are interviewed informally. chat up Brit.
colloq. chat to, esp. flirtatiously or with an ulterior motive.
[ME: shortening of CHATTER]
chat(2) n. any of various small birds with harsh calls, esp. a
stonechat or whinchat or any of certain American or Australian
warblers. [prob. imit.]
chѓteau n. (pl. chѓteaux) a large French country house or castle,
often giving its name to wine made in its neighbourhood. [F f.
OF chastel CASTLE]
n. a thick fillet of beef steak. [Vicomte de Chateaubriand (d.
1848), Fr. writer and statesman]
n. 1 the mistress of a large house. 2 hist. a set of short
chains attached to a woman's belt, for carrying keys etc. [F
chѓtelaine, fem. of -ain lord of a castle, f. med.L castellanus
chattel n. (usu. in pl.) a moveable possession; any possession or piece
of property other than real estate or a freehold. Ьchattel
mortgage US the conveyance of chattels by mortgage as security
for a debt. goods and chattels personal possessions. [ME f. OF
chatel: see CATTLE]
chatter v. & n. --v.intr. 1 talk quickly, incessantly, trivially, or
indiscreetly. 2 (of a bird) emit short quick notes. 3 (of the
teeth) click repeatedly together (usu. from cold). 4 (of a
tool) clatter from vibration. --n. 1 chattering talk or
sounds. 2 the vibration of a tool. ЬЬchatterer n. chattery
adj. [ME: imit.]
n. a talkative person.
chatty adj. (chattier, chattiest) 1 fond of chatting; talkative. 2
resembling chat; informal and lively (a chatty letter).
ЬЬchattily adv. chattiness n.
adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the English poet Chaucer (d.
1400) or his style. --n. a student of Chaucer.
n. a dish of cold cooked meat or fish in jelly or sauce. [F f.
chaud hot + froid cold]
chauffeur n. & v. --n. (fem. chauffeuse) a person employed to drive a
private or hired motor car. --v.tr. drive (a car or a person)
as a chauffeur. [F, = stoker]
n. any tree of the genus Hydnocarpus, esp. H. wightiana, with
seeds yielding an oil formerly used in the treatment of leprosy.
n. US a summer school or similar educational course.
[Chautauqua in New York State]
n. 1 exaggerated or aggressive patriotism. 2 excessive or
prejudiced support or loyalty for one's cause or group or sex
(male chauvinism). [Chauvin, a Napoleonic veteran in the
Cogniards' Cocarde Tricolore (1831)]
n. 1 a person exhibiting chauvinism. 2 (in full male
chauvinist) a man showing excessive loyalty to men and prejudice
against women. ЬЬchauvinistic adj. chauvinistically adv.
Ch.B. abbr. Bachelor of Surgery. [L Chirurgiae Baccalaureus]
cheap adj. & adv. --adj. 1 low in price; worth more than its cost (a
cheap holiday; cheap labour). 2 charging low prices; offering
good value (a cheap restaurant). 3 of poor quality; inferior
(cheap housing). 4 a costing little effort or acquired by
discreditable means and hence of little worth (cheap popularity;
a cheap joke). b contemptible; despicable (a cheap criminal).
--adv. cheaply (got it cheap). Ьcheap and nasty of low cost and
bad quality. dirt cheap very cheap. feel cheap feel ashamed or
contemptible. on the cheap cheaply. ЬЬcheapish adj. cheaply
adv. cheapness n. [obs. phr. good cheap f. cheap a bargain
f. OE ceap barter, ult. f. L caupo innkeeper]
cheapen v.tr. & intr. make or become cheap or cheaper; depreciate,
cheapjack n. & adj. --n. a seller of inferior goods at low prices.
--adj. inferior, shoddy. [CHEAP + JACK(1)]
cheapo attrib.adj. sl. cheap.
n. esp. US colloq. a mean or contemptible person.
cheat v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a (often foll. by into, out of) deceive or
trick (cheated into parting with his savings). b (foll. by of)
deprive of (cheated of a chance to reply). 2 intr. gain unfair
advantage by deception or breaking rules, esp. in a game or
examination. 3 tr. avoid (something undesirable) by luck or
skill (cheated the bad weather). 4 tr. archaic divert
attention from, beguile (time, tedium, etc.). --n. 1 a person
who cheats. 2 a trick, fraud, or deception. 3 an act of
cheating. Ьcheat on colloq. be sexually unfaithful to.
ЬЬcheatingly adv. [ME chete f. achete, var. of ESCHEAT]
cheater n. 1 a person who cheats. 2 (in pl.) US sl. spectacles.
check(1) v., n., & int. --v. 1 tr. (also absol.) a examine the
accuracy, quality, or condition of. b (often foll. by that +
clause) make sure; verify; establish to one's satisfaction
(checked that the doors were locked; checked the train times).
2 tr. a stop or slow the motion of; curb, restrain (progress
was checked by bad weather). b colloq. find fault with; rebuke.
3 tr. Chess move a piece into a position that directly
threatens (the opposing king). 4 intr. US agree or correspond
when compared. 5 tr. US mark with a tick etc. 6 tr. US
deposit (luggage etc.) for storage or dispatch. 7 intr. (of
hounds) pause to ensure or regain scent. --n. 1 a means or act
of testing or ensuring accuracy, quality, satisfactory
condition, etc. 2 a a stopping or slowing of motion; a
restraint on action. b a rebuff or rebuke. c a person or thing
that restrains. 3 Chess (also as int.) a the exposure of a king
to direct attack from an opposing piece. b an announcement of
this by the attacking player. 4 US a bill in a restaurant. 5
esp. US a token of identification for left luggage etc. 6 US
Cards a counter used in various games. 7 a temporary loss of
the scent in hunting. 8 a crack or flaw in timber. --int. US
expressing assent or agreement. Ьcheck in 1 arrive or register
at a hotel, airport, etc. 2 record the arrival of. check-in n.
the act or place of checking in. check into register one's
arrival at (a hotel etc.). check-list a list for reference and
verification. check-nut = lock-nut. check off mark on a list
etc. as having been examined or dealt with. check on examine
carefully or in detail; ascertain the truth about; keep a watch
on (a person, work done, etc.). check out 1 (often foll. by of)
leave a hotel etc. with due formalities. 2 US investigate;
examine for authenticity or suitability. check over examine for
errors; verify. check-rein a rein attaching one horse's rein to
another's bit, or preventing a horse from lowering its head.
check through inspect or examine exhaustively; verify successive
items of. check up ascertain, verify, make sure. check-up n.
a thorough (esp. medical) examination. check up on = check on.
check-valve a valve allowing flow in one direction only. in
check under control, restrained. ЬЬcheckable adj. [ME f. OF
eschequier play chess, give check to, and OF eschec, ult. f.
Pers. sah king]
check(2) n. 1 a pattern of small squares. 2 fabric having this pattern.
[ME, prob. f. CHEQUER]
check(3) US var. of CHEQUE.
checked adj. having a check pattern.
n. 1 a person or thing that verifies or examines, esp. in a
factory etc. 2 US a cashier in a supermarket etc.
n. 1 var. of CHEQUER. 2 US a (in pl., usu. treated as sing.)
the game of draughts. b = CHECKERMAN.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens. 2 the
fruit of this plant. [checkers berries of service-tree]
n. US = DRAUGHTBOARD.
n. (pl. -men) each of the 'men' in a game of draughts.
n. US a current account at a bank. [CHECK(3)]
checkmate n. & v. --n. 1 (also as int.) Chess a check from which a king
cannot escape. b an announcement of this. 2 a final defeat or
deadlock. --v.tr. 1 Chess put into checkmate. 2 defeat;
frustrate. [ME f. OF eschec mat f. Pers. sah mat the king is
checkout n. 1 an act of checking out. 2 a point at which goods are paid
for in a supermarket etc.
n. a place, esp. a barrier or manned entrance, where documents,
vehicles, etc., are inspected.
checkroom n. US 1 a cloakroom in a hotel or theatre. 2 an office for
left luggage etc.
Cheddar n. a kind of firm smooth cheese orig. made in Cheddar in S.
cheek n. & v. --n. 1 a the side of the face below the eye. b the
side-wall of the mouth. 2 a impertinent speech. b
impertinence; cool confidence (had the cheek to ask for more).
3 sl. either buttock. 4 a either of the side-posts of a door
etc. b either of the jaws of a vice. c either of the
side-pieces of various parts of machines arranged in lateral
pairs. --v.tr. speak impertinently to. Ьcheek-bone the bone
below the eye. cheek by jowl close together; intimate. turn
the other cheek accept attack etc. meekly; refuse to retaliate.
[OE ce(a)ce, ceoce]
cheeky adj. (cheekier, cheekiest) impertinent, impudent. ЬЬcheekily
adv. cheekiness n.
cheep n. & v. --n. the weak shrill cry of a young bird. --v.intr.
make such a cry. [imit.: cf. PEEP(2)]
cheer n. & v. --n. 1 a shout of encouragement or applause. 2 mood,
disposition (full of good cheer). 3 (in pl.; as int.) Brit.
colloq. a expressing good wishes on parting or before drinking.
b expressing gratitude. --v. 1 tr. a applaud with shouts. b
(usu. foll. by on) urge or encourage with shouts. 2 intr. shout
for joy. 3 tr. gladden; comfort. Ьcheer-leader a person who
leads cheers of applause etc. cheer up make or become less
depressed. three cheers three successive hurrahs for a person
or thing honoured. [ME f. AF chere face etc., OF chiere f. LL
cara face f. Gk kara head]
cheerful adj. 1 in good spirits, noticeably happy (a cheerful
disposition). 2 bright, pleasant (a cheerful room). 3 willing,
not reluctant. ЬЬcheerfully adv. cheerfulness n.
cheerio int. Brit. colloq. expressing good wishes on parting or
cheerless adj. gloomy, dreary, miserable. ЬЬcheerlessly adv.
cheerly adv. & adj. --adv. esp. Naut. heartily, with a will. --adj.
cheery adj. (cheerier, cheeriest) lively; in good spirits; genial,
cheering. ЬЬcheerily adv. cheeriness n.
cheese(1) n. 1 a a food made from the pressed curds of milk. b a
complete cake of this with rind. 2 a conserve having the
consistency of soft cheese (lemon cheese). 3 a round flat
object, e.g. the heavy flat wooden disc used in skittles.
Ьcheese-cutter 1 a knife with a broad curved blade. 2 a device
for cutting cheese by pulling a wire through it. cheese-fly
(pl. -flies) a small black fly, Piophila casei, breeding in
cheese. cheese-head the squat cylindrical head of a screw etc.
cheese-mite any mite of the genus Tyroglyphus feeding on cheese.
cheese-paring adj. stingy. --n. stinginess. cheese plant =
Swiss cheese plant. cheese-skipper = cheese-fly. cheese straw
a thin cheese-flavoured strip of pastry. hard cheese sl. bad
luck. [OE cese etc. ult. f. L caseus]
cheese(2) v.tr. Brit. sl. (as cheesed adj.) (often foll. by off) bored,
fed up. Ьcheese it stop it, leave off. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
cheese(3) n. (also big cheese) sl. an important person. [perh. f. Hind.
n. 1 a board from which cheese is served. 2 a selection of
n. a hamburger with cheese in or on it.
n. 1 a tart filled with sweetened curds etc. 2 sl. the
portrayal of women in a sexually attractive manner.
n. thin loosely woven cloth, used orig. for wrapping cheese.
n. a dealer in cheese, butter, etc.
n. 1 an Australian tree of the genus Pittosporum. 2 its hard
cheesy adj. (cheesier, cheesiest) 1 like cheese in taste, smell,
appearance, etc. 2 sl. inferior; cheap and nasty. ЬЬcheesiness
cheetah n. a swift-running feline, Acinonyx jubatus, with a
leopard-like spotted coat. [Hindi cita, perh. f. Skr. citraka
chef n. a (usu. male) cook, esp. the chief cook in a restaurant etc.
[F, = head]
n. (pl. chefs-d'oeuvre pronunc. same) a masterpiece. [F]
cheiro- comb. form var. of CHIRO-.
chela(1) n. (pl. chelae) a prehensile claw of crabs, lobsters,
scorpions, etc. [mod.L f. L chele, or Gk khele claw]
chela(2) n. 1 (in esoteric Buddhism) a novice qualifying for initiation.
2 a disciple; a pupil. [Hindi, = servant]
chelate n., adj., & v. --n. Chem. a usu. organometallic compound
containing a bonded ring of atoms including a metal atom.
--adj. 1 Chem. of a chelate. 2 Zool. & Anat. of or having
chelae. --v.intr. Chem. form a chelate. ЬЬchelation n.
Chellean adj. Archaeol. = ABBEVILLIAN. [F chell‚en f. Chelles near
chelonian n. & adj. --n. any reptile of the order Chelonia, including
turtles, terrapins, and tortoises, having a shell of bony plates
covered with horny scales. --adj. of or relating to this order.
[mod.L Chelonia f. Gk khelone tortoise]
n. a kind of currant bun in the form of a flat spiral.
[Chelsea in London]
n. an inmate of the Chelsea Royal Hospital for old or disabled
n. any of various soft-paste porcelains made at Chelsea in the
chemi- comb. form var. of CHEMO-.
chemical adj. & n. --adj. of, made by, or employing chemistry or
chemicals. --n. a substance obtained or used in chemistry.
Ьchemical bond the force holding atoms together in a molecule or
crystal. chemical engineer one engaged in chemical engineering,
esp. professionally. chemical engineering the design,
manufacture, and operation of industrial chemical plants.
chemical reaction a process that involves change in the
structure of atoms, molecules, or ions. chemical warfare
warfare using poison gas and other chemicals. fine chemicals
chemicals of high purity usu. used in small amounts. heavy
chemicals bulk chemicals used in industry and agriculture.
ЬЬchemically adv. [chemic alchemic f. F chimique or mod.L
chimicus, chymicus, f. med.L alchymicus: see ALCHEMY]
chemico- comb. form chemical; chemical and (chemico-physical).
n. the emission of light during a chemical reaction.
ЬЬchemiluminescent adj. [G Chemilumineszenz (as CHEMI-,
chemin de fer
n. a form of baccarat. [F, = railway, lit. road of iron]
chemise n. hist. a woman's loose-fitting under-garment or dress
hanging straight from the shoulders. [ME f. OF f. LL camisia
n. adsorption by chemical bonding. [CHEMI- + ADSORPTION (see
chemist n. 1 Brit. a a dealer in medicinal drugs, usu. also selling
other medical goods and toiletries. b an authorized dispenser
of medicines. 2 a person practising or trained in chemistry.
[earlier chymist f. F chimiste f. mod.L chimista f. alchimista
ALCHEMIST (see ALCHEMY)]
chemistry n. (pl. -ies) 1 the study of the elements and the compounds
they form and the reactions they undergo. 2 any complex (esp.
emotional) change or process (the chemistry of fear). 3 colloq.
a person's personality or temperament.
chemo- comb. form (also chemi-) chemical.
n. the synthesis of organic compounds by energy derived from
n. the treatment of disease, esp. cancer, by use of chemical
substances. ЬЬchemotherapist n.
chemurgy n. US the chemical and industrial use of organic raw materials.
ЬЬchemurgic adj. [CHEMO-, after metallurgy]
chenille n. 1 a tufty velvety cord or yarn, used in trimming furniture
etc. 2 fabric made from this. [F, = hairy caterpillar f. L
canicula dimin. of canis dog]
cheongsam n. a Chinese woman's garment with a high neck and slit skirt.
cheque n. (US check) 1 a written order to a bank to pay the stated sum
from the drawer's account. 2 the printed form on which such an
order is written. Ьcheque-book a book of forms for writing
cheques. cheque-book journalism the payment of large sums for
exclusive rights to material for (esp. personal) newspaper
stories. cheque card a card issued by a bank to guarantee the
honouring of cheques up to a stated amount. [special use of
CHECK(1) to mean 'device for checking the amount of an item']
chequer n. & v. (also checker) --n. 1 (often in pl.) a pattern of
squares often alternately coloured. 2 (in pl.) (usu. as
checkers) US the game of draughts. --v.tr. 1 mark with
chequers. 2 variegate; break the uniformity of. 3 (as
chequered adj.) with varied fortunes (a chequered career).
Ьchequer-board 1 a chessboard. 2 a pattern resembling it. [ME
var. of CERENKOV RADIATION.
cherish v.tr. 1 protect or tend (a child, plant, etc.) lovingly. 2
hold dear, cling to (hopes, feelings, etc.). [ME f. OF cherir
f. cher f. L carus dear]
chernozem n. a fertile black soil rich in humus, found in temperate
regions, esp. S. Russia. Also called black earth. [Russ. f.
chernyi black + zemlya earth]
Cherokee n. & adj. --n. 1 a an American Indian tribe formerly
inhabiting much of the southern US. b a member of this tribe.
2 the language of this tribe. --adj. of or relating to the
Cherokees or their language. ЬCherokee rose a fragrant white
rose, Rosa laevigata, of the southern US. [Cherokee Ts lagi]
cheroot n. a cigar with both ends open. [F cheroute f. Tamil shuruttu
cherry n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a small soft round stone-fruit.
b any of several trees of the genus Prunus bearing this or grown
for its ornamental flowers. 2 (in full cherry wood) the wood of
a cherry. 3 US sl. a virginity. b a virgin. --adj. of a
light red colour. Ьcherry brandy a dark-red liqueur of brandy
in which cherries have been steeped. cherry-laurel Brit. a
small evergreen tree, Prunus laurocerasus, with white flowers
and cherry-like fruits. cherry-picker colloq. a crane for
raising and lowering people. cherry-pie 1 a pie made with
cherries. 2 a garden heliotrope. cherry plum 1 a tree, Prunus
cerasifera, native to SW Asia, with solitary white flowers and
red fruits. 2 the fruit of this tree. cherry tomato a
miniature tomato with a strong flavour. [ME f. ONF cherise
(taken as pl.: cf. PEA) f. med.L ceresia perh. f. L f. Gk
n. a peninsula, esp. the Thracian peninsula west of the
Hellespont. [L chersonesus f. Gk khersonesos f. khersos dry +
chert n. a flintlike form of quartz composed of chalcedony. ЬЬcherty
adj. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
cherub n. 1 (pl. cherubim) an angelic being of the second order of
the celestial hierarchy. 2 a a representation of a winged child
or the head of a winged child. b a beautiful or innocent child.
ЬЬcherubic adj. cherubically adv. [ME f. OE cherubin and f.
Heb. kerub, pl. kerubЊm]
chervil n. an umbelliferous plant, Anthriscus cerefolium, with small
white flowers, used as a herb for flavouring soup, salads, etc.
[OE cerfille f. L chaerephylla f. Gk khairephullon]
Ches. abbr. Cheshire.
Cheshire n. a kind of firm crumbly cheese, orig. made in Cheshire.
Ьlike a Cheshire cat with a broad fixed grin. [Cheshire, a
county in England]
chess n. a game for two with 16 men each, played on a chessboard.
[ME f. OF esches pl. of eschec CHECK(1)]
n. a chequered board of 64 squares on which chess and draughts
chessman n. (pl. -men) any of the 32 pieces and pawns with which chess
chest n. 1 a large strong box, esp. for storage or transport e.g. of
blankets, tea, etc. 2 a the part of a human or animal body
enclosed by the ribs. b the front surface of the body from neck
to waist. 3 a small cabinet for medicines etc. 4 a the
treasury or financial resources of an institution. b the money
available from it. Ьchest of drawers a piece of furniture
consisting of a set of drawers in a frame. chest-voice the
lowest register of the voice in singing or speaking. get a
thing off one's chest colloq. disclose a fact, secret, etc., to
relieve one's anxiety about it. play (one's cards, a thing ,
etc.) close to one's chest colloq. be cautious or secretive
about. ЬЬ-chested adj. (in comb.). [OE cest, cyst f. Gmc f. L
f. Gk kiste]
n. 1 a sofa with arms and back of the same height and curved
outwards at the top. 2 a man's plain overcoat usu. with a
velvet collar. [19th-c. Earl of Chesterfield]
chestnut n. & adj. --n. 1 a a glossy hard brown edible nut. b the tree
Castanea sativa, bearing flowers in catkins and nuts enclosed in
a spiny fruit. Also called Spanish chestnut or sweet chestnut.
2 any other tree of the genus Castanea. 3 = horse chestnut. 4
(in full chestnut-wood) the heavy wood of any chestnut tree. 5
a horse of a reddish-brown or yellowish-brown colour. 6 colloq.
a stale joke or anecdote. 7 a small hard patch on a horse's
leg. 8 a reddish-brown colour. --adj. of the colour chestnut.
Ьliver chestnut a dark kind of chestnut horse. [obs. chesten
f. OF chastaine f. L castanea f. Gk kastanea]
chesty adj. (chestier, chestiest) 1 Brit. colloq. inclined to or
symptomatic of chest disease. 2 colloq. having a large chest or
prominent breasts. 3 US sl. arrogant. ЬЬchestily adv.
chetnik n. hist. a member of a guerrilla force in the Balkans, esp.
during the wars of 1914-18 and 1939-45. [Serbian cetnik f.
ceta band, troop]
n. a tall mirror swung on an upright frame. [F cheval horse,
chevalier n. 1 a a member of certain orders of knighthood, and of modern
French orders, as the Legion of Honour. b archaic or hist. a
knight. 2 hist. the title of the Old and Young Pretenders. 3 a
chivalrous man; a cavalier. [ME f. AF chevaler, OF chevalier f.
med.L caballarius f. L caballus horse]
chevet n. the apsidal end of a church, sometimes with an attached
group of apses. [F, = pillow, f. L capitium f. caput head]
Cheviot n. 1 a a large sheep of a breed with short thick wool. b this
breed. 2 (cheviot) the wool or cloth obtained from this breed.
[Cheviot Hills in N. England and Scotland]
chЉvre n. a variety of goat's-milk cheese. [F, = goat, she-goat]
chevron n. 1 a badge in a V shape on the sleeve of a uniform indicating
rank or length of service. 2 Heraldry & Archit. a bent bar of
an inverted V shape. 3 any V-shaped line or stripe. [ME f. OF
ult. f. L caper goat: cf. L capreoli pair of rafters]
(also chevrotin) n. any small deerlike animal of the family
Tragulidae, native to Africa and SE Asia, having small tusks.
Also called mouse deer. [F, dimin. of OF chevrot dimin. of
chevy var. of CHIVVY.
chew v. & n. --v.tr. (also absol.) work (food etc.) between the
teeth; crush or indent with the teeth. --n. 1 an act of
chewing. 2 something for chewing, esp. a chewy sweet. Ьchew
the cud reflect, ruminate. chew the fat (or rag) sl. 1 chat.
2 grumble. chewing-gum flavoured gum, esp. chicle, for chewing.
chew on 1 work continuously between the teeth (chewed on a piece
of string). 2 think about; meditate on. chew out US colloq.
reprimand. chew over 1 discuss, talk over. 2 think about;
meditate on. ЬЬchewable adj. chewer n. [OE ceowan]
chewy adj. (chewier, chewiest) 1 needing much chewing. 2 suitable
for chewing. ЬЬchewiness n.
Cheyenne n. & adj. --n. 1 a an American Indian tribe formerly living
between the Missouri and Arkansas rivers. b a member of this
tribe. 2 the language of this tribe. --adj. of or relating to
the Cheyennes or their language. [Canadian F f. Dakota
adj. Med. (of a breathing cycle) with a gradual decrease of
movement to a complete stop, followed by a gradual increase.
[J. Cheyne, Sc. physician d. 1836, and W. Stokes, Ir.
physician d. 1878]
chez prep. at the house or home of. [F f. OF chiese f. L casa
chi n. the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet (X).
Ьchi-rho a monogram of chi and rho as the first two letters of
Greek Khristos Christ. chi-square test a method of comparing
observed and theoretical values in statistics. [ME f. Gk khi]
Chianti n. (pl. Chiantis) a dry red Italian wine. [Chianti, an area
in Tuscany, Italy]
n. 1 the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.
2 the use of contrast in literature etc. 3 (attrib.)
half-revealed. [It. f. chiaro CLEAR + oscuro dark, OBSCURE]
chiasma n. (pl. chiasmata) Biol. the point at which paired
chromosomes remain in contact after crossing over during
meiosis. [mod.L f. Gk chiasma a cross-shaped mark]
chiasmus n. inversion in the second of two parallel phrases of the order
followed in the first (e.g. to stop too fearful and too faint
to go). ЬЬchiastic adj. [mod.L f. Gk khiasmos crosswise
arrangement f. khiazo mark with letter CHI]
chibouk n. (also chibouque) a long Turkish tobacco-pipe. [Turk. ‡ubuk
chic adj. & n. --adj. (chic-er, chic-est) stylish, elegant (in
dress or appearance). --n. stylishness, elegance. ЬЬchicly
chicane n. & v. --n. 1 chicanery. 2 an artificial barrier or obstacle
on a motor racecourse. 3 Bridge a hand without trumps, or
without cards of one suit. --v. archaic 1 intr. use chicanery.
2 tr. (usu. foll. by into, out of, etc.) cheat (a person). [F
chicanery n. (pl. -ies) 1 clever but misleading talk; a false argument.
2 trickery, deception. [F chicanerie (as CHICANE)]
chicano n. (pl. -os) US an American of Mexican origin. [Sp. mejicano
chichi adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a thing) frilly, showy. 2 (of a person
or behaviour) fussy, affected. --n. 1 over-refinement,
pretentiousness, fussiness. 2 a frilly, showy, or pretentious
chick(1) n. 1 a young bird, esp. one newly hatched. 2 sl. a a young
woman. b a child. [ME: shortening of CHICKEN]
chick(2) n. Ind. a screen for a doorway etc., made from split bamboo
and twine. [Hindi chik]
chickadee n. US any of various small birds of the tit family, esp. Parus
atricapillus with a distinctive dark-crowned head. [imit.]
chicken n., adj., & v. --n. (pl. same or chickens) 1 a young bird of a
domestic fowl. 2 a a domestic fowl prepared as food. b its
flesh. 3 a youthful person (usu.with neg. : is no chicken). 4
colloq. a children's pastime testing courage, usu. recklessly.
--adj. colloq. cowardly. --v.intr. (foll. by out) colloq.
withdraw from or fail in some activity through fear or lack of
nerve. Ьchicken-and-egg problem (or dilemma etc.) the
unresolved question as to which of two things caused the other.
chicken brick an earthenware container in two halves for
roasting a chicken in its own juices. chicken cholera see
CHOLERA. chicken-feed 1 food for poultry. 2 colloq. an
unimportant amount, esp. of money. chicken-hearted (or
-livered) easily frightened; lacking nerve or courage.
chicken-wire a light wire netting with a hexagonal mesh. [OE
cicen, cycen f. Gmc]
n. an infectious disease, esp. of children, with a rash of
small blisters. Also called VARICELLA.
chick-pea n. 1 a leguminous plant, Cicer arietinum, with short swollen
pods containing yellow beaked seeds. 2 this seed used as a
vegetable. [orig. ciche pease f. L cicer: see PEASE]
chickweed n. any of numerous small plants, esp. Stellaria media, a
garden weed with slender stems and tiny white flowers.
chicle n. the milky juice of the sapodilla tree, used in the
manufacture of chewing-gum. [Amer. Sp. f. Nahuatl tzietli]
chicory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a blue flowered plant, Cichorium intybus,
cultivated for its salad leaves and its root. 2 its root,
roasted and ground for use with or instead of coffee. 3 US =
ENDIVE. [ME f. obs. F cicor‚e endive f. med.L cic(h)orea f. L
cichorium f. Gk kikhorion SUCCORY]
chide v.tr. & intr. (past chided or chid; past part. chided or
chidden) archaic or literary scold, rebuke. ЬЬchider n.
chidingly adv. [OE cidan, of unkn. orig.]
chief n. & adj. --n. 1 a a leader or ruler. b the head of a tribe,
clan, etc. 2 the head of a department; the highest official. 3
Heraldry the upper third of a shield. --adj. (usu. attrib.) 1
first in position, importance, influence, etc. (chief engineer).
2 prominent, leading. ЬChief of Staff the senior staff officer
of a service or command. -in-Chief supreme
(Commander-in-Chief). ЬЬchiefdom n. [ME f. OF ch(i)ef ult. f.
L caput head]
chiefly adv. above all; mainly but not exclusively.
chieftain n. (fem. chieftainess) the leader of a tribe, clan, etc.
ЬЬchieftaincy n. (pl. -ies). chieftainship n. [ME f. OF
chevetaine f. LL capitaneus CAPTAIN: assim. to CHIEF]
n. a small European bird, Phylloscopus collybita, of the
warbler family. [imit.]
chiffon n. & adj. --n. a light diaphanous fabric of silk, nylon, etc.
--adj. 1 made of chiffon. 2 (of a pie-filling, dessert, etc.)
light-textured. [F f. chiffe rag]
n. a movable low cupboard with a sideboard top. [F
chiffonnier, -iЉre rag-picker, chest of drawers for odds and
chigger n. 1 = CHIGOE. 2 any harvest mite of the genus Leptotrombidium
with parasitic larvae. [var. of CHIGOE]
chignon n. a coil or mass of hair at the back of a woman's head. [F,
orig. = nape of the neck]
chigoe n. a tropical flea, Tunga penetrans, the females of which
burrow beneath the skin causing painful sores. Also called
chihuahua n. 1 a very small dog of a smooth-haired large-eyed breed
originating in Mexico. 2 this breed. [Chihuahua State and city
chilblain n. a painful itching swelling of the skin usu. on a hand, foot,
etc., caused by exposure to cold and by poor circulation.
ЬЬchilblained adj. [CHILL + BLAIN]
child n. (pl. children) 1 a a young human being below the age of
puberty. b an unborn or newborn human being. 2 one's son or
daughter (at any age). 3 (foll. by of) a descendant, follower,
adherent, or product of (children of Israel; child of God; child
of nature). 4 a childish person. Ьchild abuse maltreatment of
a child, esp. by physical violence or sexual interference.
child benefit (in the UK) regular payment by the State to the
parents of a child up to a certain age. child care the care of
children, esp. by a local authority. child-minder a person who
looks after children for payment. child's play an easy task.
ЬЬchildless adj. childlessness n. [OE cild]
childbed n. archaic = CHILDBIRTH.
n. the act of giving birth to a child.
Childe n. archaic a youth of noble birth (Childe Harold). [var. of
n. archaic the feast of the Holy Innocents, 28 Dec. [OE
cildram‘sse f. cildra genit. pl. of cild CHILD + m‘sse MASS(2)]
childhood n. the state or period of being a child. Ьsecond childhood a
person's dotage. [OE cildhad]
childish adj. 1 of, like, or proper to a child. 2 immature, silly.
ЬЬchildishly adv. childishness n.
childlike adj. having the good qualities of a child as innocence,
adj. that cannot be damaged or operated by a child.
children pl. of CHILD.
Chilean n. & adj. --n. 1 a native or national of Chile in S. America.
2 a person of Chilean descent. --adj. of or relating to Chile.
n. a monkey-puzzle tree.
n. (also Chile nitre) naturally occurring sodium nitrate.
chili var. of CHILLI.
chiliad n. 1 a thousand. 2 a thousand years. [LL chilias chiliad- f.
Gk khilias -ados]
chiliasm n. the doctrine of or belief in Christ's prophesied reign of
1000 years on earth (see MILLENNIUM). [Gk khiliasmos: see
chiliast n. a believer in chiliasm. ЬЬchiliastic adj. [LL chiliastes:
see CHILIAD, CHILIASM]
chill n., v., & adj. --n. 1 a an unpleasant cold sensation; lowered
body temperature. b a feverish cold (catch a chill). 2
unpleasant coldness (of air, water, etc.). 3 a a depressing
influence (cast a chill over). b a feeling of fear or dread
accompanied by coldness. 4 coldness of manner. --v. 1 tr. &
intr. make or become cold. 2 tr. depress, dispirit. 3 tr. cool
(food or drink); preserve by cooling. 4 tr. harden (molten
metal) by contact with cold material. --adj. literary chilly.
Ьtake the chill off warm slightly. ЬЬchiller n. chillingly
adv. chillness n. chillsome adj. literary. [OE cele, ciele,
etc.: in mod. use the verb is the oldest (ME), and is of obscure
chilli n. (pl. -ies) (also US chili) a small hot-tasting dried red
pod of a capsicum, Capsicum frutescens, used as seasoning and in
curry powder, cayenne pepper, etc. Ьchilli con carne a stew of
chilli-flavoured minced beef and beans. chilli sauce a hot
sauce made with tomatoes, chillies, and spices. [Sp. chile,
chili, f. Aztec chilli]
chilly adj. (chillier, chilliest) 1 (of the weather or an object)
somewhat cold. 2 (of a person or animal) feeling somewhat cold;
sensitive to the cold. 3 unfriendly; unemotional. ЬЬchilliness
n.pl. a Crown manor, whose administration is a nominal office
for which an MP applies as a way of resigning from the House of
Commons. [Chiltern Hills in S. England]
chimaera var. of CHIMERA.
chime(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a set of attuned bells. b the series of
sounds given by this. c (usu. in pl.) a set of attuned bells as
a door bell. 2 agreement, correspondence, harmony. --v. 1 a
intr. (of bells) ring. b tr. sound (a bell or chime) by
striking. 2 tr. show (the hour) by chiming. 3 intr. (usu.
foll. by together, with) be in agreement, harmonize. Ьchime in
1 interject a remark. 2 join in harmoniously. 3 (foll. by
with) agree with. ЬЬchimer n. [ME, prob. f. chym(b)e bell f.
OE cimbal f. L cymbalum f. Gk kumbalon CYMBAL]
chime(2) n. (also chimb) the projecting rim at the end of a cask. [ME:
cf. MDu., MLG kimme]
chimera (also chimaera) n. 1 (in Greek mythology) a fire-breathing
female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a
serpent's tail. 2 a fantastic or grotesque product of the
imagination; a bogey. 3 any fabulous beast with parts taken
from various animals. 4 Biol. a an organism containing
genetically different tissues, formed by grafting, mutation,
etc. b a nucleic acid formed by laboratory manipulation. 5 any
cartilaginous fish of the family Chimaeridae, usu. having a long
tapering caudal fin. ЬЬchimeric adj. chimerical adj.
chimerically adv. [L f. Gk khimaira she-goat, chimera]
chimney n. (pl. -eys) 1 a vertical channel conducting smoke or
combustion gases etc. up and away from a fire, furnace, engine,
etc. 2 the part of this which projects above a roof. 3 a glass
tube protecting the flame of a lamp. 4 a narrow vertical crack
in a rock-face, often used by mountaineers to ascend.
Ьchimney-breast a projecting interior wall surrounding a
chimney. chimney-piece an ornamental structure around an open
fireplace; a mantelpiece. chimney-pot an earthenware or metal
pipe at the top of a chimney, narrowing the aperture and
increasing the up draught. chimney-stack 1 a number of chimneys
grouped in one structure. 2 = sense 2. chimney-sweep a person
whose job is removing soot from inside chimneys. [ME f. OF
chemin‚e f. LL caminata having a fire-place, f. L caminus f. Gk
chimp n. colloq. = CHIMPANZEE. [abbr.]
n. a small African anthropoid ape, Pan troglodytes. [F
chimpanz‚ f. Kongo]
chin n. the front of the lower jaw. Ьchin-strap a strap for
fastening a hat etc. under the chin. chin up colloq. cheer up.
chin-wag sl. n. a talk or chat. --v.intr. (-wagged,
-wagging) have a gossip. keep one's chin up colloq. remain
cheerful, esp. in adversity. take on the chin 1 suffer a severe
blow from (a misfortune etc.). 2 endure courageously.
ЬЬ-chinned adj. (in comb.). [OE cin(n) f. Gmc]
china n. & adj. --n. 1 a kind of fine white or translucent ceramic
ware, porcelain, etc. 2 things made from ceramic, esp.
household tableware. 3 rhymingsl. one's 'mate', i.e. husband or
wife (short for china plate). --adj. made of china. Ьchina
clay kaolin. China tea smoke-cured tea from a small-leaved tea
plant grown in China. [orig. China ware (from China in Asia):
name f. Pers. chini]
n. propr. a waxy coloured pencil used to write on china,
Chinaman n. (pl. -men) 1 archaic or derog. (now usu. offens.) a
native of China. 2 Cricket a ball bowled by a left-handed
bowler that spins from off to leg.
Chinatown n. a district of any non-Chinese town, esp. a city or seaport,
in which the population is predominantly Chinese.
chinch n. (in full chinch-bug) US 1 a small insect, Blissus
leucopterus, that destroys the shoots of grasses and grains. 2
a bedbug. [Sp. chinche f. L cimex -icis]
n. a white-flowered bulbous plant, Ornithogalum thyrsoides,
native to S. Africa. [imit. of the squeaky rubbing of its
n. 1 a any small rodent of the genus Chinchilla, native to S.
America, having soft silver-grey fur and a bushy tail. b its
highly valued fur. 2 a breed of cat or rabbit. [Sp. prob. f.
S. Amer. native name]
chin-chin int. Brit. colloq. a toast; a greeting or farewell. [Chin.
qingqing (pr. ch-)]
Chindit n. hist. a member of the Allied forces behind the Japanese
lines in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1943-5. [Burm. chinth‚, a
chine(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a backbone, esp. of an animal. b a joint of
meat containing all or part of this. 2 a ridge or ar€te.
--v.tr. cut (meat) across or along the backbone. [ME f. OF
eschine f. L spina SPINE]
chine(2) n. a deep narrow ravine in the Isle of Wight or Dorset. [OE
cinu chink etc. f. Gmc]
chine(3) n. the join between the side and the bottom of a ship etc.
[var. of CHIME(2)]
Chinese adj. & n. --adj. a of or relating to China. b of Chinese
descent. --n. 1 the Chinese language. 2 (pl. same) a a native
or national of China. b a person of Chinese descent. ЬChinese
cabbage = Chinese leaf. Chinese gooseberry = kiwi fruit.
Chinese lantern 1 a collapsible paper lantern. 2 a solanaceous
plant, Physalis alkekengi, bearing white flowers and globular
orange fruits enclosed in an orange-red papery calyx. Chinese
leaf a lettuce-like cabbage, Brassica chinensis. Chinese puzzle
a very intricate puzzle or problem. Chinese water chestnut see
water chestnut 2. Chinese white zinc oxide as a white pigment.
chink(1) n. 1 an unintended crack that admits light or allows an attack.
2 a narrow opening; a slit. [16th c.: rel. to CHINE(2)]
chink(2) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make a slight ringing sound, as of
glasses or coins striking together. 2 tr. cause to make this
sound. --n. this sound. [imit.]
Chink n. sl. offens. a Chinese. ЬЬChinky adj. [abbr.]
chinless adj. colloq. weak or feeble in character. Ьchinless wonder
Brit. an ineffectual esp. upper class person.
Chino- comb. form = SINO-.
chino n. US (pl. -os) 1 a cotton twill fabric, usu. khaki-coloured.
2 (in pl.) a garment, esp. trousers, made from this. [Amer.
Sp., = toasted]
n. 1 the imitation of Chinese motifs and techniques in painting
and in decorating furniture. 2 an object or objects in this
chinook n. 1 a warm dry wind which blows east of the Rocky Mountains.
2 a warm wet southerly wind west of the Rocky Mountains.
Ьchinook salmon a large salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, of the
N. Pacific. [Amer. Ind. name of a tribe]
chintz n. & adj. --n. a printed multicoloured cotton fabric with a
glazed finish. --adj. made from or upholstered with this
fabric. [earlier chints (pl.) f. Hindi chint f. Skr. citra
chintzy adj. (chintzier, chintziest) 1 like chintz. 2 gaudy, cheap. 3
characteristic of the d‚cor associated with chintz soft
furnishings. ЬЬchintzily adv. chintziness n.
n. any liliaceous plant of the genus Chionodoxa, having
early-blooming blue flowers. Also called glory-of-the-snow.
[mod.L f. Gk khion snow + doxa glory]
chip n. & v. --n. 1 a small piece removed by or in the course of
chopping, cutting, or breaking, esp. from hard material such as
wood or stone. 2 the place where such a chip has been made. 3
a (usu. in pl.) a strip of potato, deep fried. b (in pl.) US
potato crisps. 4 a counter used in some gambling games to
represent money. 5 Electronics = MICROCHIP. 6 a a thin strip
of wood, straw, etc., used for weaving hats, baskets, etc. b a
basket made from these. 7 Football etc. & Golf a short shot,
kick, or pass with the ball describing an arc. --v. (chipped,
chipping) 1 tr. (often foll. by off, away) cut or break (a
piece) from a hard material. 2 intr. (often foll. by at, away
at) cut pieces off (a hard material) to alter its shape, break
it up, etc. 3 intr. (of stone, china, etc.) be susceptible to
being chipped; be apt to break at the edge (will chip easily).
4 tr. (also absol.) Football etc. & Golf strike or kick (the
ball) with a chip (cf. sense 7 of n.). 5 tr. (usu. as chipped
adj.) cut (potatoes) into chips. Ьchip heater Austral. & NZ a
domestic water-heater that burns wood chips. chip in colloq. 1
interrupt or contribute abruptly to a conversation (chipped in
with a reminiscence). 2 contribute (money or resources). a
chip off the old block a child who resembles a parent, esp. in
character. a chip on one's shoulder colloq. a disposition or
inclination to feel resentful or aggrieved. chip shot = sense 7
of n. have had one's chips Brit. colloq. be unable to avoid
defeat, punishment, etc. when the chips are down colloq. when
it comes to the point. [ME f. OF cipp, cyp beam]
chipboard n. a rigid sheet or panel made from compressed wood chips and
chipmunk n. any ground squirrel of the genus Tamias or Eutamias, having
alternate light and dark stripes running down the body.
chipolata n. Brit. a small thin sausage. [F f. It. cipollata a dish of
onions f. cipolla onion]
adj. 1 (of furniture) designed or made by the English
cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale (d. 1779). 2 in the ornately
elegant style of Chippendale's furniture.
chipper adj. esp. US colloq. 1 cheerful. 2 smartly dressed. [perh.
f. N.Engl. dial. kipper lively]
chippie var. of CHIPPY.
chipping n. 1 a small fragment of stone, wood, etc. 2 (in pl.) these
used as a surface for roads, roofs, etc.
chippy n. (also chippie) (pl. -ies) Brit. colloq. 1 a fish-and-chip
shop. 2 a carpenter.
Chips n. Naut. sl. a ship's carpenter.
chiral adj. Chem. (of a crystal etc.) not superposable on its mirror
image. ЬЬchirality n. [Gk kheir hand]
chiro- (also cheiro-) comb. form of the hand. [Gk kheir hand]
n. handwriting, calligraphy.
chiropody n. the treatment of the feet and their ailments. ЬЬchiropodist
n. [CHIRO- + Gk pous podos foot]
n. the diagnosis and manipulative treatment of mechanical
disorders of the joints, esp. of the spinal column.
ЬЬchiropractor n. [CHIRO- + Gk praktikos: see PRACTICAL]
n. any member of the order Chiroptera, with membraned limbs
serving as wings including bats and flying foxes.
ЬЬchiropterous adj. [CHIRO- + Gk pteron wing]
chirp v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (usu. of small birds, grasshoppers, etc.)
utter a short sharp high-pitched note. 2 tr. & intr. (esp. of a
child) speak or utter in a lively or jolly way. --n. a chirping
sound. ЬЬchirper n. [ME, earlier chirk, chirt: imit.]
chirr v. & n. (also churr) --v.intr. (esp. of insects) make a
prolonged low trilling sound. --n. this sound. [imit.]
chirrup v. & n. --v.intr. (chirruped, chirruping) (esp. of small
birds) chirp, esp. repeatedly; twitter. --n. a chirruping
sound. ЬЬchirrupy adj. [trilled form of CHIRP]
chisel n. & v. --n. a hand tool with a squared bevelled blade for
shaping wood, stone, or metal. --v. 1 tr. (chiselled,
chiselling; US chiseled, chiseling) cut or shape with a chisel.
2 tr. (as chiselled adj.) (of facial features) clear-cut, fine.
3 tr. & intr. sl. cheat, swindle. ЬЬchiseller n. [ME f. ONF
ult. f. LL cisorium f. L caedere caes- cut]
chit(1) n. 1 derog. or joc. a young, small, or frail girl or woman
(esp. a chit of a girl). 2 a young child. [ME, = whelp, cub,
kitten, perh. = dial. chit sprout]
chit(2) n. 1 a note of requisition; a note of a sum owed, esp. for food
or drink. 2 esp. Brit. a note or memorandum. [earlier chitty:
Anglo-Ind. f. Hindi citthi pass f. Skr. citra mark]
chital n. = AXIS(2). [Hindi cital]
chit-chat n. & v. colloq. --n. light conversation; gossip. --v.intr.
(-chatted, -chatting) talk informally; gossip. [redupl. of
chitin n. Chem. a polysaccharide forming the major constituent in the
exoskeleton of arthropods and in the cell walls of fungi.
ЬЬchitinous adj. [F chitine irreg. f. Gk khiton: see CHITON]
chiton n. 1 a long woollen tunic worn by ancient Greeks. 2 any marine
mollusc of the class Amphineura, having a shell of overlapping
plates. [Gk khiton tunic]
n. (usu. in pl.) the smaller intestines of pigs etc., esp. as
cooked for food. [ME: orig. uncert.]
adj. 1 (usu. of a male) gallant, honourable, courteous. 2
involving or showing chivalry. ЬЬchivalrously adv. [ME f. OF
chevalerous: see CHEVALIER]
chivalry n. 1 the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral,
and social code. 2 the combination of qualities expected of an
ideal knight, esp. courage, honour, courtesy, justice, and
readiness to help the weak. 3 a man's courteous behaviour, esp.
towards women. 4 archaic knights, noblemen, and horsemen
collectively. ЬЬchivalric adj. [ME f. OF chevalerie etc. f.
med.L caballerius for LL caballarius horseman: see CAVALIER]
chive n. a small alliaceous plant, Allium schoenoprasum, having
purple-pink flowers and dense tufts of long tubular leaves which
are used as a herb. [ME f. OF cive f. L cepa onion]
chivvy v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (also chivy, chevy) harass, nag; pursue.
[chevy (n. & v.), prob. f. the ballad of Chevy Chase, a place on
the Scottish border]
chlamydia n. (pl. chlamydiae) any parasitic bacterium of the genus
Chlamydia, some of which cause diseases such as trachoma,
psittacosis, and nonspecific urethritis. [mod.L f. Gk khlamus
n. any unicellular green freshwater alga of the genus
Chlamydomonas. [mod.L (as CHLAMYDIA)]
chlor- var. of CHLORO-.
chloral n. 1 a colourless liquid aldehyde used in making DDT. 2 (in
full chloral hydrate) Pharm. a colourless crystalline solid made
from chloral and used as a sedative. [F f. chlore chlorine +
n. Pharm. an antibiotic prepared from Streptomyces venezuelae
or produced synthetically and used esp. against typhoid fever.
[CHLORO- + AMIDE + PHENO- + NITRO- + GLYCOL]
chlorate n. Chem. any salt of chloric acid.
chlorella n. any non-motile unicellular green alga of the genus
Chlorella. [mod.L, dimin. of Gk khloros green]
n. Chem. a colourless liquid acid with strong oxidizing
properties. [CHLORO- + -IC]
chloride n. Chem. 1 any compound of chlorine with another element or
group. 2 any bleaching agent containing chloride. [CHLORO- +
v.tr. 1 impregnate or treat with chlorine. 2 Chem. cause to
react or combine with chlorine. ЬЬchlorinator n.
n. 1 the treatment of water with chlorine to disinfect it. 2
Chem. a reaction in which chlorine is introduced into a
chlorine n. Chem. a poisonous greenish-yellow gaseous element of the
halogen group occurring naturally in salt, sea-water, rock-salt,
etc., and used for purifying water, bleaching, and the
manufacture of many organic chemicals. °Symb.: Cl. [Gk khloros
green + -INE(4)]
chlorite n. Chem. any salt of chlorous acid. ЬЬchloritic adj.
chloro- comb. form (also chlor- esp. before a vowel) 1 Bot. & Mineral.
green. 2 Chem. chlorine. [Gk khloros green: in sense 2 f.
n. & v. --n. a colourless volatile sweet-smelling liquid used
as a solvent and formerly used as a general anaesthetic. °Chem.
formula: CHCl. --v.tr. render (a person) unconscious with
this. [F chloroforme formed as CHLORO- + formyle: see FORMIC
n. the green pigment found in most plants, responsible for
light absorption to provide energy for photosynthesis.
ЬЬchlorophyllous adj. [F chlorophylle f. Gk phullon leaf: see
n. a plastid containing chlorophyll, found in plant cells
undergoing photosynthesis. [G: (as CHLORO-, PLASTID)]
chlorosis n. 1 hist. a severe form of anaemia from iron deficiency esp.
in young women, causing a greenish complexion (cf. GREENSICK).
2 Bot. a reduction or loss of the normal green coloration of
plants. ЬЬchlorotic adj. [CHLORO- + -OSIS]
n. Chem. a pale yellow liquid acid with oxidizing properties.
°Chem. formula: HClO. [CHLORO- + -OUS]
n. Pharm. a drug used as a sedative and to control nausea and
vomiting. [F (as CHLORO-, PROMETHAZINE)]
Ch.M. abbr. Master of Surgery. [L Chirurgiae Magister]
choc n. & adj. colloq. chocolate. Ьchoc-ice a bar of ice-cream
covered with a thin coating of chocolate. [abbr.]
chocho n. (pl. -os) W.Ind. = CHOKO.
chock n., v., & adv. --n. a block or wedge of wood to check motion,
esp. of a cask or a wheel. --v.tr. 1 fit or make fast with
chocks. 2 (usu. foll. by up) Brit. cram full. --adv. as
closely or tightly as possible. [prob. f. OF ‡ouche, ‡oche, of
adj. & adv. crammed close together; crammed full (a street
chock-a-block with cars). [orig. Naut., with ref. to tackle
with the two blocks run close together]
chocker adj. Brit. sl. fed up, disgusted. [CHOCK-A-BLOCK]
adj. & adv. = CHOCK-A-BLOCK (chock-full of rubbish). [CHOCK +
FULL(1): ME chokkefulle (rel. to CHOKE(1)) is doubtful]
chocolate n. & adj. --n. 1 a a food preparation in the form of a paste
or solid block made from roasted and ground cacao seeds, usually
sweetened. b a sweet made of or coated with this. c a drink
made with chocolate. 2 a deep brown colour. --adj. 1 made
from or of chocolate. 2 chocolate-coloured. Ьchocolate-box 1 a
decorated box filled with chocolates. 2 (attrib.)
stereotypically pretty or romantic. ЬЬchocolatey adj. (also
chocolaty). [F chocolat or Sp. chocolate f. Aztec chocolatl]
Choctaw n. (pl. same or Choctaws) 1 a a member of a N. American people
orig. from Alabama. b the language of this people. 2 (in
skating) a step from one edge of a skate to the other edge of
the other skate in the opposite direction. [native name]
choice n. & adj. --n. 1 a the act or an instance of choosing. b a
thing or person chosen (not a good choice). 2 a range from
which to choose. 3 (usu. foll. by of) the ‚lite, the best. 4
the power or opportunity to choose (what choice have I?).
--adj. of superior quality; carefully chosen. ЬЬchoicely adv.
choiceness n. [ME f. OF chois f. choisir CHOOSE]
choir n. 1 a regular group of singers, esp. taking part in church
services. 2 the part of a cathedral or large church between the
altar and the nave, used by the choir and clergy. 3 a company
of singers, birds, angels etc. (a heavenly choir). 4 Mus. a
group of instruments of one family playing together. Ьchoir
organ the softest of three parts making up a large organ having
its row of keys the lowest of the three. choir-stall = STALL(1)
n. 3a. [ME f. OF quer f. L chorus: see CHORUS]
choirboy n. a boy who sings in a church or cathedral choir.
choke(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. hinder or impede the breathing of (a person
or animal) esp. by constricting the windpipe or (of gas, smoke,
etc.) by being unbreathable. 2 intr. suffer a hindrance or
stoppage of breath. 3 tr. & intr. make or become speechless
from emotion. 4 tr. retard the growth of or kill (esp. plants)
by the deprivation of light, air, nourishment, etc. 5 tr.
(often foll. by back) suppress (feelings) with difficulty. 6
tr. block or clog (a passage, tube, etc.). 7 tr. (as choked
adj.) colloq. disgusted, disappointed. 8 tr. enrich the fuel
mixture in (an internal-combustion engine) by reducing the
intake of air. --n. 1 the valve in the carburettor of an
internal-combustion engine that controls the intake of air, esp.
to enrich the fuel mixture. 2 Electr. an inductance coil used
to smooth the variations of an alternating current or to alter
its phase. Ьchoke-chain a chain looped round a dog's neck to
exert control by pressure on its windpipe when the dog pulls.
choke-cherry (pl. -cherries) an astringent N. American cherry,
Prunus virginiana. choke-damp carbon dioxide in mines, wells,
etc. choke down swallow with difficulty. choke up block (a
channel etc.). [ME f. OE aceocian f. ceoce, cece CHEEK]
choke(2) n. the centre part of an artichoke. [prob. confusion of the
ending of artichoke with CHOKE(1)]
n. (pl. -ies) Bot. 1 any rosaceous shrub of the genus Aronia.
2 its scarlet berry-like fruit.
choker n. 1 a close-fitting necklace or ornamental neckband. 2 a
clerical or other high collar.
choko n. (pl. -os) Austral. & NZ a succulent green pear-shaped
vegetable like a cucumber in flavour. [Braz. Ind. chocho]
choky(1) n. (also chokey) (pl. -ies or -eys) Brit. sl. prison.
[orig. Anglo-Ind., f. Hindi cauki shed]
choky(2) adj. (chokier, chokiest) tending to choke or to cause choking.
n. Med. X-ray examination of the bile ducts, used to find the
site and nature of any obstruction. [CHOLE- + Gk aggeion vessel
chole- comb. form (also chol- esp. before a vowel) Med. & Chem. bile.
[Gk khole gall, bile]
n. one of the D vitamins, produced by the action of sunlight on
a cholesterol derivative widely distributed in the skin, a
deficiency of which results in rickets in children and
osteomalacia in adults. Also called vitamin D. [CHOLE- +
n. Med. X-ray examination of the gall-bladder, esp. used to
detect the presence of any gallstones. [CHOLE- + CYSTO- +
choler n. 1 hist. one of the four humours, bile. 2 poet. or archaic
anger, irascibility. [ME f. OF colere bile, anger f. L cholera
f. Gk kholera diarrhoea, in LL = bile, anger, f. Gk khole bile]
cholera n. Med. an infectious and often fatal disease of the small
intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, resulting in
severe vomiting and diarrhoea. Ьchicken (or fowl) cholera an
infectious disease of fowls. ЬЬcholeraic adj. [ME f. L f. Gk
kholera: see CHOLER]
choleric adj. irascible, angry. ЬЬcholerically adv. [ME f. OF
cholerique f. L cholericus f. Gk kholerikos: see CHOLER]
n. Biochem. a sterol found in most body tissues, including the
blood, where high concentrations promote arteriosclerosis.
[cholesterin f. Gk khole bile + stereos stiff]
choli n. (pl. cholis) a type of short-sleeved bodice worn by Indian
women. [Hindi coli]
choliamb n. Prosody = SCAZON. ЬЬcholiambic adj. [LL choliambus f. Gk
kholiambos f. kholos lame: see IAMBUS]
choline n. Biochem. a basic nitrogenous organic compound occurring
widely in living matter. [G Cholin f. Gk khole bile]
chomp v.tr. = CHAMP(1). [imit.]
chondrite n. a stony meteorite containing small mineral granules. [G
Chondrit f. Gk khondros granule]
n. Anat. the embryonic skull composed of cartilage and later
replaced by bone. [Gk khondros grain, cartilage]
choo-choo n. colloq. (esp. as a child's word) a railway train or
locomotive, esp. a steam engine. [imit.]
chook n. (also chookie) Austral. & NZ colloq. 1 a chicken or fowl.
2 sl. an older woman. [E dial. chuck chicken]
choose v. (past chose; past part. chosen) 1 tr. select out of a
greater number. 2 intr. (usu. foll. by between, from) take or
select one or another. 3 tr. (usu. foll. by to + infin.)
decide, be determined (chose to stay behind). 4 tr. (foll. by
complement) select as (was chosen king). 5 tr. Theol. (esp. as
chosen adj.) destine to be saved (God's chosen people). Ьcannot
choose but archaic must. nothing (or little) to choose between
them they are equivalent. ЬЬchooser n. [OE ceosan f. Gmc]
choosy adj. (choosier, choosiest) colloq. fastidious. ЬЬchoosily
adv. choosiness n.
chop(1) v. & n. --v.tr. (chopped, chopping) 1 (usu. foll. by off,
down, etc.) cut or fell by a blow, usu. with an axe. 2 (often
foll. by up) cut (esp. meat or vegetables) into small pieces. 3
strike (esp. a ball) with a short heavy edgewise blow. 4 Brit.
colloq. dispense with; shorten or curtail. --n. 1 a cutting
blow, esp. with an axe. 2 a thick slice of meat (esp. pork or
lamb) usu. including a rib. 3 a short heavy edgewise stroke or
blow in tennis, cricket, boxing, etc. 4 the broken motion of
water, usu. owing to the action of the wind against the tide. 5
(prec. by the) Brit. sl. a dismissal from employment. b the
action of killing or being killed. Ьchop logic argue
pedantically. [ME, var. of CHAP(1)]
chop(2) n. (usu. in pl.) the jaw of an animal etc. [16th-c. var.
(occurring earlier) of CHAP(3), of unkn. orig.]
chop(3) v.intr. (chopped, chopping) Ьchop and change vacillate; change
direction frequently. [ME, perh. rel. to chap f. OE ceapian (as
chop(4) n. Brit. archaic a trade mark; a brand of goods. Ьnot much
chop esp. Austral. & NZ no good. [orig. in India & China, f.
Hindi chap stamp]
chopper n. 1 a Brit. a short axe with a large blade. b a butcher's
cleaver. 2 colloq. a helicopter. 3 a device for regularly
interrupting an electric current or light-beam. 4 colloq. a
type of bicycle or motor cycle with high handlebars. 5 (in pl.)
Brit. sl. teeth. 6 US sl. a machine-gun.
choppy adj. (choppier, choppiest) (of the sea, the weather, etc.)
fairly rough. ЬЬchoppily adv. choppiness n. [CHOP(1) + -Y(1)]
chopstick n. each of a pair of small thin sticks of wood or ivory etc.,
held both in one hand as eating utensils by the Chinese,
Japanese, etc. [pidgin Engl. f. chop = quick + STICK(1)
equivalent of Cantonese k' wѓi-tsze nimble ones]
chopsuey n. (pl. -eys) a Chinese-style dish of meat stewed and fried
with bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, onions, and served with rice.
[Cantonese shap sui mixed bits]
choral adj. of, for, or sung by a choir or chorus. Ьchoral society a
group which meets regularly to sing choral music. ЬЬchorally
adv. [med.L choralis f. L chorus: see CHORUS]
chorale n. (also choral) 1 a stately and simple hymn tune; a harmonized
version of this. 2 esp. US a choir or choral society. [G
Choral(gesang) f. med.L cantus choralis]
chord(1) n. Mus. a group of (usu. three or more) notes sounded
together, as a basis of harmony. ЬЬchordal adj. [orig. cord
f. ACCORD: later confused with CHORD(2)]
chord(2) n. 1 Math. & Aeron. etc. a straight line joining the ends of
an arc, the wings of an aeroplane, etc. 2 Anat. = CORD. 3
poet. the string of a harp etc. 4 Engin. one of the two
principal members, usu. horizontal, of a truss. Ьstrike a chord
1 recall something to a person's memory. 2 elicit sympathy.
touch the right chord appeal skilfully to the emotions.
ЬЬchordal adj. [16th-c. refashioning of CORD after L chorda]
chordate n. & adj. --n. any animal of the phylum Chordata, possessing a
notochord at some stage during its development. --adj. of or
relating to the chordates. [mod.L chordata f. L chorda CHORD(2)
after Vertebrata etc.]
chore n. a tedious or routine task, esp. domestic. [orig. dial. & US
form of CHAR(2)]
chorea n. Med. a disorder characterized by jerky involuntary
movements affecting esp. the shoulders, hips, and face.
ЬHuntington's chorea chorea accompanied by a progressive
dementia. Sydenham's chorea chorea esp. in children as one of
the manifestations of rheumatic fever: also called ST VITUS'S
DANCE. [L f. Gk khoreia (as CHORUS)]
v.tr. compose the choreography for (a ballet etc.).
ЬЬchoreographer n. [back-form. f. CHOREOGRAPHY]
n. 1 the design or arrangement of a ballet or other staged
dance. 2 the sequence of steps and movements in dance. 3 the
written notation for this. ЬЬchoreographic adj.
choreographically adv. [Gk khoreia dance + -GRAPHY]
n. the study and description of the movements of dancing.
n. (pl. choriambi) Prosody a metrical foot consisting of two
short (unstressed) syllables between two long (stressed) ones.
ЬЬchoriambic adj. [LL Gk khoriambos f. khoreios of the dance +
choric adj. of, like, or for a chorus in drama or recitation. [LL
choricus f. Gk khorikos (as CHORUS)]
chorine adj. US a chorus girl. [CHORUS + -INE(3)]
chorion n. the outermost membrane surrounding an embryo of a reptile,
bird, or mammal. ЬЬchorionic adj. [Gk khorion]
chorister n. 1 a member of a choir, esp. a choirboy. 2 US the leader of
a church choir. [ME, ult. f. OF cueriste f. quer CHOIR]
n. the systematic description of regions or districts.
ЬЬchorographer n. chorographic adj. [F chorographie or L f. Gk
khorographia f. khora region]
choroid adj. & n. --adj. like a chorion in shape or vascularity. --n.
(in full choroid coat or membrane) a layer of the eyeball
between the retina and the sclera. [Gk khoroeides for
khorioeides: see CHORION]
chorology n. the study of the geographical distribution of animals and
plants. ЬЬchorological adj. chorologist n. [Gk khora region +
chortle v. & n. --v.intr. colloq. chuckle gleefully. --n. a gleeful
chuckle. [portmanteau word coined by Lewis Carroll, prob. f.
CHUCKLE + SNORT]
chorus n. & v. --n. (pl. choruses) 1 a group (esp. a large one) of
singers; a choir. 2 a piece of music composed for a choir. 3
the refrain or the main part of a popular song, in which a
chorus participates. 4 any simultaneous utterance by many
persons etc. (a chorus of disapproval followed). 5 a group of
singers and dancers performing in concert in a musical comedy,
opera, etc. 6 Gk Antiq. a in Greek tragedy, a group of
performers who comment together in voice and movement on the
main action. b an utterance of the chorus. 7 esp. in
Elizabethan drama, a character who speaks the prologue and other
linking parts of the play. 8 the part spoken by this character.
--v.tr. & intr. (of a group) speak or utter simultaneously.
Ьchorus girl a young woman who sings or dances in the chorus of
a musical comedy etc. in chorus (uttered) together; in unison.
[L f. Gk khoros]
chose past of CHOOSE.
chosen past part. of CHOOSE.
chough n. any corvine bird of the genus Pyrrhocorax, with a glossy
blue-black plumage and red legs. [ME, prob. orig. imit.]
n. very light pastry enriched with eggs. [F, pl. of chou
chow n. 1 sl. food. 2 offens. a Chinese. 3 a a dog of a Chinese
breed with long hair and bluish-black tongue. b this breed.
[shortened f. CHOW-CHOW]
chow-chow n. 1 = CHOW. 2 a Chinese preserve of ginger, orange-peel,
etc., in syrup. 3 a mixed vegetable pickle. [pidgin Engl.]
chowder n. US a soup or stew usu. of fresh fish, clams, or corn with
bacon, onions, etc. [perh. F chaudiЉre pot: see CAULDRON]
chow mein n. a Chinese-style dish of fried noodles with shredded meat or
shrimps etc. and vegetables. [Chin. chao mian fried flour]
Chr. abbr. Chronicles (Old Testament).
n. (pl. -ies) a selection of passages used esp. to help in
learning a language. [F chrestomathie or Gk khrestomatheia f.
khrestos useful + -matheia learning]
chrism n. a consecrated oil or unguent used esp. for anointing in
Catholic and Greek Orthodox rites. [OE crisma f. eccl.L f. Gk
chrisom n. 1 = CHRISM. 2 (in full chrisom-cloth) hist. a white robe
put on a child at baptism, and used as its shroud if it died
within the month. [ME, as pop. pronunc. of CHRISM]
Christ n. & int. --n. 1 the title, also now treated as a name, given
to Jesus of Nazareth, believed by Christians to have fulfilled
the Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah. 2 the Messiah
as prophesied in the Old Testament. 3 an image or picture of
Jesus. --int. sl. expressing surprise, anger, etc.
ЬЬChristhood n. Christlike adj. Christly adj. [OE Crist f. L
Christus f. Gk khristos anointed one f. khrio anoint: transl.
of Heb. masЊah MESSIAH]
n. & adj. --n. a member of a Christian sect rejecting the
doctrine of the Trinity and expecting a second coming of Christ
on earth. --adj. of or adhering to this sect and its beliefs.
[CHRIST + Gk adelphos brother]
christen v.tr. 1 give a Christian name to at baptism as a sign of
admission to a Christian Church. 2 give a name to anything,
esp. formally or with a ceremony. 3 colloq. use for the first
time. ЬЬchristener n. christening n. [OE cristnian make
n. Christians worldwide, regarded as a collective body. [OE
cristendom f. cristen CHRISTIAN + -DOM]
Christian adj. & n. --adj. 1 of Christ's teaching or religion. 2
believing in or following the religion of Jesus Christ. 3
showing the qualities associated with Christ's teaching. 4
colloq. (of a person) kind, fair, decent. --n. 1 a a person
who has received Christian baptism. b an adherent of Christ's
teaching. 2 a person exhibiting Christian qualities.
ЬChristian era the era reckoned from the traditional date of
Christ's birth. Christian name a forename, esp. as given at
baptism. Christian Science a Christian sect believing in the
power of healing by prayer alone. Christian Scientist an
adherent of Christian Science. ЬЬChristianize v.tr. & intr.
(also -ise). Christianization n. Christianly adv.
[Christianus f. Christus CHRIST]
n. 1 the Christian religion; its beliefs and practices. 2
being a Christian; Christian quality or character. 3 =
CHRISTENDOM. [ME cristianite f. OF crestient‚ f. crestien
Christie n. (also Christy) (pl. -ies) Skiing a sudden turn in which the
skis are kept parallel, used for changing direction fast or
stopping short. [abbr. of Christiania (now Oslo) in Norway]
n. a lighted candle symbolizing Christ as the light of the
world, held by children esp. at Advent services. [perh. f. G
Christkindl dimin. of Christkind Christ child]
Christmas n. & int. --n. (pl. Christmases) 1 (also Christmas Day) the
annual festival of Christ's birth, celebrated on 25 Dec. 2 the
season in which this occurs; the time immediately before and
after 25 Dec. --int. sl. expressing surprise, dismay, etc.
ЬChristmas-box a present or gratuity given at Christmas esp. to
tradesmen and employees. Christmas cake Brit. a rich fruit
cake usu. covered with marzipan and icing and eaten at
Christmas. Christmas card a card sent with greetings at
Christmas. Christmas Eve the day or the evening before
Christmas Day. Christmas pudding Brit. a rich boiled pudding
eaten at Christmas, made with flour, suet, dried fruit, etc.
Christmas rose a white-flowered winter-blooming evergreen,
Helleborus niger. Christmas tree an evergreen (usu. spruce) or
artificial tree set up with decorations at Christmas.
ЬЬChristmassy adj. [OE Cristes m‘sse (MASS(2))]
Christo- comb. form Christ.
n. the branch of theology relating to Christ.
Christy var. of CHRISTIE. [abbr.]
chroma n. purity or intensity of colour. [Gk khroma colour]
chromate n. Chem. a salt or ester of chromic acid.
chromatic adj. 1 of or produced by colour; in (esp. bright) colours. 2
Mus. a of or having notes not belonging to a diatonic scale. b
(of a scale) ascending or descending by semitones. Ьchromatic
aberration Optics the failure of different wavelengths of
electromagnetic radiation to come to the same focus after
refraction. chromatic semitone Mus. an interval between a note
and its flat or sharp. ЬЬchromatically adv. chromaticism n.
[F chromatique or L chromaticus f. Gk khromatikos f. khroma
n. the quality of colour regarded independently of brightness.
chromatid n. either of two threadlike strands into which a chromosome
divides longitudinally during cell division. [Gk khroma -atos
colour + -ID(2)]
chromatin n. the material in a cell nucleus that stains with basic dyes
and consists of protein, RNA, and DNA, of which eukaryotic
chromosomes are composed. [G: see CHROMATID]
n. Chem. the separation of the components of a mixture by slow
passage through or over a material which adsorbs them
differently. ЬЬchromatograph n. chromatographic adj. [G
Chromatographie (as CHROMATO-, -GRAPHY)]
chrome n. 1 chromium, esp. as plating. 2 (in full chrome yellow) a
yellow pigment obtained from lead chromate. Ьchrome leather
leather tanned with chromium salts. chrome-nickel (of stainless
steel) containing chromium and nickel. chrome steel a hard
fine-grained steel containing much chromium and used for tools
etc. [F, = chromium, f. Gk khroma colour]
chromic adj. Chem. of or containing trivalent chromium. Ьchromic acid
an acid that exists only in solution or in the form of chromate
chromite n. 1 Mineral. a black mineral of chromium and iron oxides,
which is the principal ore of chromium. 2 Chem. a salt of
chromium n. Chem. a hard white metallic transition element, occurring
naturally as chromite and used as a shiny decorative
electroplated coating. °Symb.: Cr. Ьchromium steel = chrome
steel. [mod.L f. F CHROME]
n. & v. --n. an electrolytically deposited protective coating
of chromium. --v.tr. 1 coat with this. 2 (as chromium-plated
adj.) pretentiously decorative.
comb. form Chem. chromium.
comb. form var. of CHROMATO-.
n. & v. --n. a coloured picture printed by lithography.
--v.tr. print or produce by this process. ЬЬchromolithographer
n. chromolithographic adj. chromolithography n.
n. Biochem. one of the threadlike structures, usu. found in
the cell nucleus, that carry the genetic information in the form
of genes. Ьchromosome map a plan showing the relative positions
of genes along the length of a chromosome. ЬЬchromosomal adj.
[G Chromosom (as CHROMO-(2), -SOME(3))]
n. a gaseous layer of the sun's atmosphere between the
photosphere and the corona. ЬЬchromospheric adj. [CHROMO-(2) +
Chron. abbr. Chronicles (Old Testament).
chronic adj. 1 persisting for a long time (usu. of an illness or a
personal or social problem). 2 having a chronic complaint. 3
colloq. disp. habitual, inveterate (a chronic liar). 4 Brit.
colloq. very bad; intense, severe. ЬЬchronically adv.
chronicity n. [F chronique f. L chronicus (in LL of disease) f.
Gk khronikos f. khronos time]
chronicle n. & v. --n. 1 a register of events in order of their
occurrence. 2 a narrative, a full account. 3 (Chronicles) the
name of two of the historical books of the Old Testament or
Hebrew bible. --v.tr. record (events) in the order of their
occurrence. ЬЬchronicler n. [ME f. AF cronicle ult. f. L
chronica f. Gk khronika annals: see CHRONIC]
chrono- comb. form time. [Gk khronos time]
n. 1 an instrument for recording time with extreme accuracy. 2
a stopwatch. ЬЬchronographic adj.
adj. 1 (of a number of events) arranged or regarded in the
order of their occurrence. 2 of or relating to chronology.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the study of historical records to establish
the dates of past events. 2 a the arrangement of events, dates,
etc. in the order of their occurrence. b a table or document
displaying this. ЬЬchronologist n. chronologize v.tr. (also
-ise). [mod.L chronologia (as CHRONO-, -LOGY)]
n. a time-measuring instrument, esp. one keeping accurate time
at all temperatures and used in navigation.
n. the science of accurate time-measurement. ЬЬchronometric
adj. chronometrical adj. chronometrically adv.
chrysalis n. (pl. chrysalises or chrysalides) 1 a a quiescent pupa of a
butterfly or moth. b the hard outer case enclosing it. 2 a
preparatory or transitional state. [L f. Gk khrusallis -idos f.
chrysanth n. colloq. any of the autumn-blooming cultivated varieties of
n. any composite plant of the genus Chrysanthemum, having
brightly coloured flowers. [L f. Gk khrusanthemon f. khrusos
gold + anthemon flower]
adj. (of ancient Greek sculpture) overlaid with gold and ivory.
[Gk khruselephantinos f. khrusos gold + elephas ivory]
n. a yellowish-green gem consisting of a beryllium salt. [L
chrysoberyllus f. Gk khrusos gold + berullos beryl]
n. a precious stone, a yellowish-green or brownish variety of
olivine. [ME f. OF crisolite f. med.L crisolitus f. L
chrysolithus f. Gk khrusolithos f. khrusos gold + lithos stone]
n. 1 an apple-green variety of chalcedony containing nickel and
used as a gem. 2 (in the New Testament) prob. a golden-green
variety of beryl. [ME f. OF crisopace f. L chrysopassus var. of
L chrysoprasus f. Gk khrusoprasos f. khrusos gold + prason
chthonic (also chthonian) adj. of, relating to, or inhabiting the
underworld. [Gk khthon earth]
chub n. a thick-bodied coarse-fleshed river fish, Leuciscus
cephalus. [15th c.: orig. unkn.]
chubby adj. (chubbier, chubbiest) plump and rounded (esp. of a person
or a part of the body). ЬЬchubbily adv. chubbiness n. [CHUB]
chuck(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 colloq. fling or throw carelessly or with
indifference. 2 colloq. (often foll. by in, up) give up; reject
(chucked in my job). 3 touch playfully, esp. under the chin.
--n. a playful touch under the chin. Ьthe chuck sl. dismissal
(he got the chuck). chucker-out colloq. a person employed to
expel troublesome people from a gathering etc. chuck it sl.
stop, desist. chuck out colloq. 1 expel (a person) from a
gathering etc. 2 get rid of, discard. [16th c., perh. f. F
chuquer, choquer to knock]
chuck(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a cut of beef between the neck and the ribs. 2
a device for holding a workpiece in a lathe or a tool in a
drill. --v.tr. fix (wood, a tool, etc.) to a chuck. [var. of
chuck(3) n. US colloq. food. Ьchuck-wagon 1 a provision-cart on a
ranch etc. 2 a roadside eating-place. [19th c.: perh. f.
chuckle v. & n. --v.intr. laugh quietly or inwardly. --n. a quiet or
suppressed laugh. ЬЬchuckler n. [chuck cluck]
n. colloq. a stupid person. ЬЬchuckleheaded adj. [chuckle
clumsy, prob. rel. to CHUCK(2)]
chuddar var. of CHADOR.
chuff v.intr. (of a steam engine etc.) work with a regular sharp
puffing sound. [imit.]
chuffed adj. Brit. sl. delighted. [dial. chuff pleased]
chug v. & n. --v.intr. (chugged, chugging) 1 emit a regular muffled
explosive sound, as of an engine running slowly. 2 move with
this sound. --n. a chugging sound. [imit.]
chukar n. a red-legged partridge, Alectoris chukar, native to India.
chukker n. (also chukka) each of the periods of play into which a game
of polo is divided. Ьchukka boot an ankle-high leather boot as
worn for polo. [Hindi cakkar f. Skr. cakra wheel]
chum(1) n. & v. --n. colloq. (esp. among schoolchildren) a close
friend. --v.intr. (often foll. by with) share rooms. Ьchum up
(often foll. by with) become a close friend (of). ЬЬchummy adj.
(chummier, chummiest). chummily adv. chumminess n. [17th c.:
prob. short for chamber-fellow]
chum(2) n. & v. US --n. 1 refuse from fish. 2 chopped fish used as
bait. --v. 1 intr. fish using chum. 2 tr. bait (a fishing
place) using chum. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
chump n. 1 colloq. a foolish person. 2 Brit. the thick end, esp. of
a loin of lamb or mutton (chump chop). 3 a short thick block of
wood. 4 Brit. sl. the head. Ьoff one's chump Brit. sl.
crazy. [18th c.: blend of CHUNK and LUMP(1)]
chunder v.intr. & n. Austral. sl. vomit. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
chunk n. 1 a thick solid slice or piece of something firm or hard. 2
a substantial amount or piece. [prob. var. of CHUCK(2)]
chunky adj. (chunkier, chunkiest) 1 containing or consisting of
chunks. 2 short and thick; small and sturdy. 3 (of clothes)
made of a thick material. ЬЬchunkiness n.
Chunnel n. colloq. a projected tunnel under the English Channel
linking England and France. [portmanteau word f. Channel
church n. & v. --n. 1 a building for public (usu. Christian) worship.
2 a meeting for public worship in such a building (go to church;
met after church). 3 (Church) the body of all Christians. 4
(Church) the clergy or clerical profession (went into the
Church). 5 (Church) an organized Christian group or society of
any time, country, or distinct principles of worship (the
primitive Church; Church of Scotland; High Church). 6 (Church)
institutionalized religion as a political or social force
(Church and State). --v.tr. bring (esp. a woman after
childbirth) to church for a service of thanksgiving. ЬChurch
Army an organization of the Church of England concerned with
social welfare. Church Commissioners a body managing the
finances of the Church of England. Church of England the
English Church, recognized by the State and having the sovereign
as its head. church school a school founded by or associated
with the Church of England. [OE cirice, circe, etc. f. med. Gk
kurikon f. Gk kuriakon (doma) Lord's (house) f. kurios Lord:
n. a person who goes to church, esp. regularly. ЬЬchurchgoing
n. & adj.
churchman n. (pl. -men) 1 a member of the clergy or of a church. 2 a
supporter of the church.
n. 1 either of two elected lay representatives of a parish,
assisting with routine administration. 2 a long-stemmed clay
n. (pl. -women) 1 a woman member of the clergy or of a church.
2 a woman supporter of the Church.
churchy adj. 1 obtrusively or intolerantly devoted to the Church or
opposed to religious dissent. 2 like a church. ЬЬchurchiness
n. the enclosed ground around a church, esp. as used for
churinga n. (pl. same or churingas) a sacred object, esp. an amulet,
among the Australian Aboriginals. [Aboriginal]
churl n. 1 an ill-bred person. 2 archaic a peasant; a person of low
birth. 3 archaic a surly or mean person. [OE ceorl f. a WG
root, = man]
churlish adj. surly; mean. ЬЬchurlishly adv. churlishness n. [OE
cierlisc, ceorlisc f. ceorl CHURL]
churn n. & v. --n. 1 Brit. a large milk-can. 2 a machine for making
butter by agitating milk or cream. --v. 1 tr. agitate (milk or
cream) in a churn. 2 tr. produce (butter) in this way. 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by up) cause distress to; upset, agitate. 4 intr.
(of a liquid) seethe, foam violently (the churning sea). 5 tr.
agitate or move (liquid) vigorously, causing it to foam. Ьchurn
out produce routinely or mechanically, esp. in large quantities.
[OE cyrin f. Gmc]
churr var. of CHIRR.
chute(1) n. 1 a sloping channel or slide, with or without water, for
conveying things to a lower level. 2 a slide into a
swimming-pool. [F chute fall (of water etc.), f. OF cheoite
fem. past part. of cheoir fall f. L cadere; in some senses =
chute(2) n. colloq. parachute. ЬЬchutist n. [abbr.]
chutney n. (pl. -eys) a pungent orig. Indian condiment made of fruits
or vegetables, vinegar, spices, sugar, etc. [Hindi catni]
chutzpah n. sl. shameless audacity; cheek. [Yiddish]
chyle n. a milky fluid consisting of lymph and absorbed food
materials from the intestine after digestion. ЬЬchylous adj.
[LL chylus f. Gk khulos juice]
chyme n. the acidic semisolid and partly digested food produced by
the action of gastric secretion. ЬЬchymous adj. [LL chymus f.
Gk khumos juice]
chypre n. a heavy perfume made from sandalwood. [F, = Cyprus, perh.
where it was first made]
CI abbr. 1 Channel Islands. 2 hist. Order of the Crown of India.
Ci abbr. curie.
CIA abbr. Central Intelligence Agency (US).
ciao int. colloq. 1 goodbye. 2 hello. [It.]
ciborium n. (pl. ciboria) 1 a vessel with an arched cover used to hold
the Eucharist. 2 Archit. a a canopy. b a shrine with a
canopy. [med.L f. Gk kiborion seed-vessel of the water-lily, a
cup made from it]
cicada n. (also cicala) any transparent-winged large insect of the
family Cicadidae, the males of which make a loud rhythmic
chirping sound. [L cicada, It. f. L cicala, It. cigala]
cicatrice n. (also cicatrix) (pl. cicatrices) 1 any mark left by a
healed wound; a scar. 2 Bot. a a mark on a stem etc. left when
a leaf or other part becomes detached. b a scar on the bark of
a tree. ЬЬcicatricial adj. [ME f. OF cicatrice or L cicatrix
cicatrize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. heal (a wound) by scar formation. 2 intr.
(of a wound) heal by scar formation. ЬЬcicatrization n. [F
cicatriser: see CICATRICE]
cicely n. (pl. -ies) any of various umbelliferous plants, esp. sweet
cicely (see SWEET). [app. f. L seselis f. Gk, assim. to the
woman's Christian name]
cicerone n. (pl. ciceroni pronunc. same) a guide who gives information
about antiquities, places of interest, etc. to sightseers.
[It.: see CICERONIAN]
adj. (of language) eloquent, classical, or rhythmical, in the
style of Cicero. [L Ciceronianus f. Cicero -onis Roman
statesman and orator d. 43 BC]
cichlid n. any tropical freshwater fish of the family Cichlidae, esp.
the kinds kept in aquariums. [mod.L Cichlidae f. Gk kikhle a
kind of fish]
CID abbr. (in the UK) Criminal Investigation Department.
-cide suffix forming nouns meaning: 1 a person or substance that kills
(regicide; insecticide). 2 the killing of (infanticide;
suicide). [F f. L - cida (sense 1), - cidium (sense 2), caedere
cider n. (also cyder) 1 Brit. an alcoholic drink made from fermented
apple-juice. 2 US an unfermented drink made from apple-juice.
Ьcider-press a press for crushing apples to make cider. [ME f.
OF sidre, ult. f. Heb. sekar strong drink]
ci-devant adj. & adv. that has been (with person's earlier name or
status); former or formerly. [F, = heretofore]
CIE abbr. hist. Companion (of the Order) of the Indian Empire.
c.i.f. abbr. cost, insurance, freight (as being included in a price).
cig n. colloq. cigarette, cigar. [abbr.]
cigala n. = CICADA. [F cigale, It. & Prov. cigala f. L cicada]
cigar n. a cylinder of tobacco rolled in tobacco leaves for smoking.
[F cigare or Sp. cigarro]
cigarette n. (US also cigaret) 1 a thin cylinder of finely-cut tobacco
rolled in paper for smoking. 2 a similar cylinder containing a
narcotic or medicated substance. Ьcigarette card a small
picture card of a kind formerly included in a packet of
cigarettes. cigarette-end the unsmoked remainder of a
cigarette. [F, dimin. of cigare CIGAR]
cigarillo n. (pl. -os) a small cigar. [Sp., dimin. of cigarro CIGAR]
ciggy n. (pl. -ies) colloq. cigarette. [abbr.]
CIGS abbr. hist. Chief of the Imperial General Staff.
cilice n. 1 haircloth. 2 a garment of this. [F f. L cilicium f. Gk
kilikion f. Kilikia Cilicia in Asia Minor]
cilium n. (pl. cilia) 1 a short minute hairlike vibrating structure
on the surface of some cells, causing currents in the
surrounding fluid. 2 an eyelash. ЬЬciliary adj. ciliate adj.
ciliated adj. ciliation n. [L, = eyelash]
cill var. of SILL.
cimbalom n. a dulcimer. [Magyar f. It. cembalo]
C.-in-C. abbr. Commander-in-Chief.
cinch n. & v. --n. 1 colloq. a a sure thing; a certainty. b an
easy task. 2 a firm hold. 3 esp. US a girth for a saddle or
pack. --v.tr. 1 a tighten as with a cinch (cinched at the
waist with a belt). b secure a grip on. 2 sl. make certain of.
3 esp. US put a cinch (sense 3) on. [Sp. cincha]
cinchona n. 1 a any evergreen tree or shrub of the genus Cinchona,
native to S. America, with fragrant flowers and yielding
cinchona bark. b the bark of this tree, containing quinine. 2
any drug from this bark formerly used as a tonic and to
stimulate the appetite. ЬЬcinchonic adj. cinchonine n. [mod.L
f. Countess of Chinchўn d. 1641, introducer of drug into Spain]
cincture n. 1 literary a girdle, belt, or border. 2 Archit. a ring at
either end of a column-shaft. [L cinctura f. cingere cinct-
cinder n. a the residue of coal or wood etc. that has stopped giving
off flames but still has combustible matter in it. b slag. c
(in pl.) ashes. Ьburnt to a cinder made useless by burning.
ЬЬcindery adj. [OE sinder, assim. to the unconnected F cendre
and L cinis ashes]
n. 1 a person or thing of unrecognized or disregarded merit or
beauty. 2 a neglected or despised member of a group. [the name
of a girl in a fairy-tale]
cine- comb. form cinematographic (cine-camera; cinephotography).
cineaste n. (also cineast) a cinema enthusiast. [F cin‚aste (as CINE-):
cinema n. 1 Brit. a theatre where motion-picture films (see FILM n.
3) are shown. 2 a films collectively. b the production of
films as an art or industry; cinematography. Ьcinema organ Mus.
a kind of organ with extra stops and special effects. [F
cin‚ma: see CINEMATOGRAPH]
n. 1 a film library or archive. 2 a small cinema. [F]
cinematic adj. 1 having the qualities characteristic of the cinema. 2 of
or relating to the cinema. ЬЬcinematically adv.
(also kinematograph) n. an apparatus for showing motion-picture
films. [F cin‚matographe f. Gk kinema -atos movement f. kineo
n. the art of making motion-picture films. ЬЬcinematographer
n. cinematographic adj. cinematographically adv.
n. Cinematog. 1 the art or process of making realistic (esp.
documentary) films which avoid artificiality and artistic
effect. 2 such films collectively. [F, = cinema truth]
cineraria n. any of several varieties of the composite plant, Cineraria
cruentus, having bright flowers and ash-coloured down on its
leaves. [mod.L, fem. of L cinerarius of ashes f. cinis -eris
ashes, from the ash-coloured down on the leaves]
n. (pl. cinerariums) a place where a cinerary urn is
deposited. [LL, neut. of cinerarius: see CINERARIA]
cinerary adj. of ashes. Ьcinerary urn an urn for holding the ashes
after cremation. [L cinerarius: see CINERARIA]
cinereous adj. (esp. of a bird or plumage) ash-grey. [L cinereus f.
cinis -eris ashes]
n. Cinematog. = CINђMA-VђRITђ.
Cingalese adj. & n. (pl. same) archaic Sinhalese. [F cing(h)alais: see
cingulum n. (pl. cingula) Anat. a girdle, belt, or analogous
structure, esp. a ridge surrounding the base of the crown of a
tooth. [L, = belt]
cinnabar n. 1 a bright red mineral form of mercuric sulphide from which
mercury is obtained. 2 vermilion. 3 a moth (Callimorpha
jacobaeae) with reddish marked wings. [ME f. L cinnabaris f. Gk
kinnabari, of oriental orig.]
cinnamon n. 1 an aromatic spice from the peeled, dried, and rolled bark
of a SE Asian tree. 2 any tree of the genus Cinnamomum, esp.
C. zeylanicum yielding the spice. 3 yellowish-brown. [ME f. OF
cinnamome f. L cinnamomum f. Gk kinnamomon, and L cinnamon f. Gk
kinnamon, f. Semitic (cf. Heb. kinnam“n)]
cinque n. (also cinq) the five on dice. [ME f. OF cinc, cink, f. L
n. the style of Italian art and literature of the 16th c., with
a reversion to classical forms. ЬЬcinquecentoist n. [It., =
500, used with ref. to the years 1500-99]
n. 1 any plant of the genus Potentilla, with compound leaves of
five leaflets. 2 Archit. a five-cusped ornament in a circle or
arch. [ME f. L quinquefolium f. quinque five + folium leaf]
n.pl. a group of ports (orig. five only) on the SE coast of
England with ancient privileges. [ME f. OF cink porz, L quinque
portus five ports]
cion US var. of SCION 1.
cipher n. & v. (also cypher) --n. 1 a a secret or disguised way of
writing. b a thing written in this way. c the key to it. 2
the arithmetical symbol (0) denoting no amount but used to
occupy a vacant place in decimal etc. numeration (as in 12.05).
3 a person or thing of no importance. 4 the interlaced initials
of a person or company etc.; a monogram. 5 any Arabic numeral.
6 continuous sounding of an organ-pipe, caused by a mechanical
defect. --v. 1 tr. put into secret writing, encipher. 2 a tr.
(usu. foll. by out) work out by arithmetic, calculate. b intr.
archaic do arithmetic. [ME, f. OF cif(f)re, ult. f. Arab sifr
cipolin n. an Italian white-and-green marble. [F cipolin or It.
cipollino f. cipolla onion]
circa prep. (preceding a date) about. [L]
circadian adj. Physiol. occurring or recurring about once per day.
[irreg. f. L circa about + dies day]
circinate adj. Bot. & Zool. rolled up with the apex in the centre, e.g.
of young fronds of ferns. [L circinatus past part. of circinare
make round f. circinus pair of compasses]
circle n. & v. --n. 1 a a round plane figure whose circumference is
everywhere equidistant from its centre. b the line enclosing a
circle. 2 a roundish enclosure or structure. 3 a ring. 4 a
curved upper tier of seats in a theatre etc. (dress circle). 5
a circular route. 6 Archaeol. a group of (usu. large embedded)
stones arranged in a circle. 7 Hockey = striking-circle. 8
persons grouped round a centre of interest. 9 a set or class or
restricted group (literary circles; not done in the best
circles). 10 a period or cycle (the circle of the year). 11
(in full vicious circle) a an unbroken sequence of reciprocal
cause and effect. b an action and reaction that intensify each
other (cf. virtuous circle). c the fallacy of proving a
proposition from another which depends on the first for its own
proof. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by round, about) move in a
circle. 2 tr. a revolve round. b form a circle round.
Ьcircle back move in a wide loop towards the starting-point.
come full circle return to the starting-point. go round in
circles make no progress despite effort. great (or small)
circle a circle on the surface of a sphere whose plane passes
(or does not pass) through the sphere's centre. run round in
circles colloq. be fussily busy with little result. ЬЬcircler
n. [ME f. OF cercle f. L circulus dimin. of circus ring]
circlet n. 1 a small circle. 2 a circular band, esp. of gold or
jewelled etc., as an ornament.
circs n.pl. colloq. circumstances. [abbr.]
circuit n. 1 a a line or course enclosing an area; the distance round.
b the area enclosed. 2 Electr. a the path of a current. b the
apparatus through which a current passes. 3 a the journey of a
judge in a particular district to hold courts. b this district.
c the lawyers following a circuit. 4 a chain of theatres or
cinemas etc. under a single management. 5 Brit. a motor-racing
track. 6 a a sequence of sporting events (the US tennis
circuit). b a sequence of athletic exercises. 7 a roundabout
journey. 8 a a group of local Methodist churches forming a
minor administrative unit. b the journey of an itinerant
minister within this. Ьcircuit-breaker an automatic device for
stopping the flow of current in an electrical circuit. [ME f.
OF, f. L circuitus f. CIRCUM- + ire it- go]
adj. 1 indirect (and usu. long). 2 going a long way round.
ЬЬcircuitously adv. circuitousness n. [med.L circuitosus f.
circuitry n. (pl. -ies) 1 a system of electric circuits. 2 the
equipment forming this.
circular adj. & n. --adj. 1 a having the form of a circle. b moving or
taking place along a circle (circular tour). 2 Logic (of
reasoning) depending on a vicious circle. 3 (of a letter or
advertisement etc.) printed for distribution to a large number
of people. --n. a circular letter, leaflet, etc. Ьcircular saw
a power saw with a rapidly rotating toothed disc. ЬЬcircularity
n. circularly adv. [ME f. AF circuler, OF circulier, cerclier
f. LL circularis f. L circulus CIRCLE]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 distribute circulars to. 2 US seek
opinions of (people) by means of a questionnaire.
circulate v. 1 intr. go round from one place or person etc. to the next
and so on; be in circulation. 2 tr. a cause to go round; put
into circulation. b give currency to (a report etc.). c
circularize. 3 intr. be actively sociable at a party,
gathering, etc. Ьcirculating library a small library with books
lent to a group of subscribers in turn. circulating medium
notes or gold etc. used in exchange. ЬЬcirculative adj.
circulator n. [L circulare circulat- f. circulus CIRCLE]
n. 1 a movement to and fro, or from and back to a starting
point, esp. of a fluid in a confined area or circuit. b the
movement of blood from and to the heart. c a similar movement
of sap etc. 2 a the transmission or distribution (of news or
information or books etc.). b the number of copies sold, esp.
of journals and newspapers. 3 a currency, coin, etc. b the
movement or exchange of this in a country etc. Ьin (or out of)
circulation participating (or not participating) in activities
etc. [F circulation or L circulatio f. circulare CIRCULATE]
adj. of or relating to the circulation of blood or sap.
circum- comb. form round, about, around, used: 1 adverbially
(circumambient; circumfuse). 2 prepositionally (circumlunar;
circumocular). [from or after L circum prep. = round, about]
adj. (esp. of air or another fluid) surrounding.
ЬЬcircumambience n. circumambiency n.
v.tr. & intr. formal walk round or about. ЬЬcircumambulation
n. circumambulatory adj. [CIRCUM- + ambulate f. L ambulare
n. Geom. a circle touching all the vertices of a triangle or
v.tr. 1 cut off the foreskin, as a Jewish or Muslim rite or a
surgical operation. 2 cut off the clitoris (and sometimes the
labia), usu. as a religious rite. 3 Bibl. purify (the heart
etc.). [ME f. OF f. L circumcidere circumcis- (as CIRCUM-,
n. 1 the act or rite of circumcising or being circumcised. 2
(Circumcision) Eccl. the feast of the Circumcision of Christ, 1
Jan. [ME f. OF circoncision f. LL circumcisio - onis (as
n. 1 the enclosing boundary, esp. of a circle or other figure
enclosed by a curve. 2 the distance round. ЬЬcircumferential
adj. circumferentially adv. [ME f. OF circonference f. L
circumferentia (as CIRCUM-, ferre bear)]
n. & adj. --n. (in full circumflex accent) a mark. placed over
a vowel in some languages to indicate a contraction, length, or
a special quality. --adj. Anat. curved, bending round
something else (circumflex nerve). [L circumflexus (as CIRCUM-,
flectere flex- bend), transl. of Gk perispomenos drawn around]
n. 1 a a roundabout expression. b evasive talk. 2 the use of
many words where fewer would do; verbosity. ЬЬcircumlocutional
adj. circumlocutionary adj. circumlocutionist n.
circumlocutory adj. [ME f. F circumlocution or L circumlocutio
(as CIRCUM-, LOCUTION), transl. of Gk PERIPHRASIS]
adj. moving or situated around the moon.
v.tr. sail round (esp. the world). ЬЬcircumnavigation n.
circumnavigator n. [L circumnavigare (as CIRCUM-, NAVIGATE)]
adj. 1 Geog. around or near one of the earth's poles. 2
Astron. (of a star or motion etc.) above the horizon at all
times in a given latitude.
v.tr. 1 (of a line etc.) enclose or outline. 2 lay down the
limits of; confine, restrict. 3 Geom. draw (a figure) round
another, touching it at points but not cutting it (cf.
INSCRIBE). ЬЬcircumscribable adj. circumscriber n.
circumscription n. [L circumscribere (as CIRCUM-, scribere
adj. moving or situated around or near the sun.
adj. wary, cautious; taking everything into account.
ЬЬcircumspection n. circumspectly adv. [ME f. L circumspicere
circumspect- (as CIRCUM-, specere spect- look)]
n. 1 a a fact, occurrence, or condition, esp. (in pl.) the
time, place, manner, cause, occasion etc., or surroundings of an
act or event. b (in pl.) the external conditions that affect or
might affect an action. 2 (often foll. by that + clause) an
incident, occurrence, or fact, as needing consideration (the
circumstance that he left early). 3 (in pl.) one's state of
financial or material welfare (in reduced circumstances). 4
ceremony, fuss (pomp and circumstance). 5 full detail in a
narrative (told it with much circumstance). Ьin (or under) the
(or these) circumstances the state of affairs being what it is.
in (or under) no circumstances not at all; never.
ЬЬcircumstanced adj. [ME f. OF circonstance or L circumstantia
(as CIRCUM-, stantia f. sto stand)]
adj. 1 given in full detail (a circumstantial account). 2 (of
evidence, a legal case, etc.) tending to establish a conclusion
by inference from known facts hard to explain otherwise. 3 a
depending on circumstances. b adventitious, incidental.
ЬЬcircumstantiality n. circumstantially adv. [L circumstantia:
adj. moving or situated around the earth.
v.tr. surround with or as with a rampart. [L circumvallare
circumvallat- (as CIRCUM-, vallare f. vallum rampart)]
v.tr. 1 a evade (a difficulty); find a way round. b baffle,
outwit. 2 entrap (an enemy) by surrounding. ЬЬcircumvention n.
[L circumvenire circumvent- (as CIRCUM-, venire come)]
n. 1 rotation. 2 the winding of one thing round another. 3 a
sinuous movement. [ME f. L circumvolvere circumvolut- (as
CIRCUM-, volvere roll)]
circus n. (pl. circuses) 1 a travelling show of performing animals,
acrobats, clowns, etc. 2 colloq. a a scene of lively action; a
disturbance. b a group of people in a common activity, esp.
sport. 3 Brit. an open space in a town, where several streets
converge (Piccadilly Circus). 4 a circular hollow surrounded by
hills. 5 Rom. Antiq. a a rounded or oval arena with tiers of
seats, for equestrian and other sports and games. b a
performance given there (bread and circuses). [L, = ring]
cir‚ n. & adj. --n. a fabric with a smooth shiny surface obtained
esp. by waxing and heating. --adj. having such a surface. [F,
n. a method of bronze-casting using a clay core and a wax
coating placed in a mould: the wax is melted in the mould and
bronze poured into the space left, producing a hollow bronze
figure when the core is discarded. [F, = lost wax]
cirque n. 1 Geol. a deep bowl-shaped hollow at the head of a valley or
on a mountainside. 2 poet. a a ring. b an amphitheatre or
arena. [F f. L CIRCUS]
cirrhosis n. a chronic disease of the liver marked by the degeneration of
cells and the thickening of surrounding tissues, as a result of
alcoholism, hepatitis, etc. ЬЬcirrhotic adj. [mod.L f. Gk
cirriped n. (also cirripede) any marine crustacean of the class
Cirripedia, having a valved shell and usu. sessile when adult,
e.g. a barnacle. [mod.L Cirripedia f. L cirrus curl (from the
form of the legs) + pes pedis foot]
cirro- comb. form cirrus (cloud).
cirrus n. (pl. cirri) 1 Meteorol. a form of white wispy cloud, esp.
at high altitude. 2 Bot. a tendril. 3 Zool. a long slender
appendage or filament. ЬЬcirrose adj. cirrous adj. [L, =
cis- prefix (opp. TRANS- or ULTRA-). 1 on this side of; on the side
nearer to the speaker or writer (cisatlantic). 2 Rom. Antiq. on
the Roman side of (cisalpine). 3 (of time) closer to the
present (cis-Elizabethan). 4 Chem. (of an isomer) having two
atoms or groups on the same side of a given plane in the
molecule. [L cis on this side of]
cisalpine adj. on the southern side of the Alps.
adj. on this side of the Atlantic.
cisco n. (pl. -oes) any of various freshwater whitefish of the genus
Coregonus, native to N. America. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
cislunar adj. between the earth and the moon.
adj. on the north side of the Thames in London. [CIS- (orig.
the better-known side) + L pons pont- bridge]
cissy var. of SISSY.
cist(1) n. (also kist) Archaeol. a coffin or burial-chamber made from
stone or a hollowed tree. [Welsh, = CHEST]
cist(2) n. Gk Antiq. a box used for sacred utensils. [L cista f. Gk
n. & adj. --n. a monk or nun of an order founded in 1098 as a
stricter branch of the Benedictines. --adj. of the Cistercians.
[F cistercien f. L Cistercium CЊteaux near Dijon in France,
where the order was founded]
cistern n. 1 a tank for storing water, esp. one in a roof-space
supplying taps or as part of a flushing lavatory. 2 an
underground reservoir for rainwater. [ME f. OF cisterne f. L
cisterna (as CIST(2))]
cistus n. any shrub of the genus Cistus, with large white or red
flowers. Also called rock rose. [mod.L f. Gk kistos]
citadel n. 1 a fortress, usu. on high ground protecting or dominating a
city. 2 a meeting-hall of the Salvation Army. [F citadelle or
It. citadella, ult. f. L civitas -tatis city]
citation n. 1 the citing of a book or other source; a passage cited. 2
a mention in an official dispatch. 3 a note accompanying an
award, describing the reasons for it.
cite v.tr. 1 adduce as an instance. 2 quote (a passage, book, or
author) in support of an argument etc. 3 mention in an official
dispatch. 4 summon to appear in a lawcourt. ЬЬcitable adj.
[ME f. F f. L citare f. ciere set moving]
citified adj. (also cityfied) usu. derog. city-like or urban in
appearance or behaviour.
citizen n. 1 a member of a State or Commonwealth, either native or
naturalized (British citizen). 2 (usu. foll. by of) a an
inhabitant of a city. b a freeman of a city. 3 US a civilian.
Ьcitizen of the world a person who is at home anywhere; a
cosmopolitan. Citizens' Advice Bureau (in the UK) an office at
which the public can receive free advice and information on
civil matters. citizen's arrest an arrest by an ordinary person
without a warrant, allowable in certain cases. citizen's band a
system of local intercommunication by individuals on special
radio frequencies. ЬЬcitizenhood n. citizenry n. citizenship
n. [ME f. AF citesein, OF citeain ult. f. L civitas -tatis
city: cf. DENIZEN]
citole n. a small cittern. [ME f. OF: rel. to CITTERN with dimin.
citric adj. derived from citrus fruit. Ьcitric acid a sharp-tasting
water-soluble organic acid found in the juice of lemons and
other sour fruits. ЬЬcitrate n. [F citrique f. L citrus
citrin n. a group of substances occurring mainly in citrus fruits and
blackcurrants, and formerly thought to be a vitamin. Also called
citrine adj. & n. --adj. lemon-coloured. --n. a transparent yellow
variety of quartz. Also called false topaz. [ME f. OF citrin
citron n. 1 a shrubby tree, Citrus medica, bearing large lemon-like
fruits with thick fragrant peel. 2 this fruit. [F f. L CITRUS,
after limon lemon]
n. 1 any fragrant grass of the genus Cymbopogon, native to S.
Asia. 2 the scented oil from these, used in insect repellent,
and perfume and soap manufacture. [mod.L, formed as CITRON +
citrus n. 1 any tree of the genus Citrus, including citron, lemon,
lime, orange, and grapefruit. 2 (in full citrus fruit) a fruit
from such a tree. ЬЬcitrous adj. [L, = citron-tree or thuja]
cittern n. hist. a wire-stringed lutelike instrument usu. played with
a plectrum. [L cithara, Gk kithara a kind of harp, assim. to
city n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a large town. b Brit. (strictly) a town
created a city by charter and containing a cathedral. c US a
municipal corporation occupying a definite area. 2 (the City) a
the part of London governed by the Lord Mayor and the
Corporation. b the business part of this. c commercial
circles; high finance. 3 (attrib.) of a city or the City.
ЬCity Company a corporation descended from an ancient
trade-guild. city desk a department of a newspaper dealing with
business news or US with local news. City editor 1 the editor
dealing with financial news in a newspaper or magazine. 2 (city
editor) US the editor dealing with local news. city father
(usu. in pl.) a person concerned with or experienced in the
administration of a city. city hall US municipal offices or
officers. city manager US an official directing the
administration of a city. city page Brit. the part of a
newspaper or magazine dealing with the financial and business
news. city slicker usu. derog. 1 a smart and sophisticated
city-dweller. 2 a plausible rogue as found in cities.
city-state esp. hist. a city that with its surrounding
territory forms an independent state. ЬЬcityward adj. & adv.
citywards adv. [ME f. OF cit‚ f. L civitas -tatis f. civis
cityfied var. of CITIFIED.
cityscape n. 1 a view of a city (actual or depicted). 2 city scenery.
civet n. 1 (in full civet-cat) any catlike animal of the mongoose
family, esp. Civettictis civetta of Central Africa, having well
developed anal scent glands. 2 a strong musky perfume obtained
from the secretions of these scent glands. [F civette f. It.
zibetto f. med.L zibethum f. Arab. azzabad f. al the + zabad
civic adj. 1 of a city; municipal. 2 of or proper to citizens (civic
virtues). 3 of citizenship, civil. Ьcivic centre Brit. the
area where municipal offices and other public buildings are
situated; the buildings themselves. ЬЬcivically adv. [F
civique or L civicus f. civis citizen]
civics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the study of the rights and
duties of citizenship.
civil adj. 1 of or belonging to citizens. 2 of ordinary citizens and
their concerns, as distinct from military or naval or
ecclesiastical matters. 3 polite, obliging, not rude. 4 Law
relating to civil law (see below), not criminal or political
matters (civil court; civil lawyer). 5 (of the length of a day,
year, etc.) fixed by custom or law, not natural or astronomical.
Ьcivil aviation non-military, esp. commercial aviation. civil
commotion a riot or similar disturbance. civil defence the
organization and training of civilians for the protection of
lives and property during and after attacks in wartime. civil
disobedience the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay
taxes etc. as a peaceful form of political protest. civil
engineer an engineer who designs or maintains roads, bridges,
dams, etc. civil engineering this work. civil law 1 law
concerning private rights (opp. criminal law). 2 hist. Roman
or non-ecclesiastical law. civil libertarian an advocate of
increased civil liberty. civil liberty (often in pl.) freedom
of action and speech subject to the law. civil list (in the UK)
an annual allowance voted by Parliament for the royal family's
household expenses. civil marriage a marriage solemnized as a
civil contract without religious ceremony. civil rights the
rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.
civil servant a member of the civil service. civil service the
permanent professional branches of State administration,
excluding military and judicial branches and elected
politicians. civil state being single or married or divorced
etc. civil war a war between citizens of the same country.
civil year see YEAR 2. ЬЬcivilly adv. [ME f. OF f. L civilis
f. civis citizen]
civilian n. & adj. --n. a person not in the armed services or the police
force. --adj. of or for civilians.
v.tr. (also -ise) make civilian in character or function.
civility n. (pl. -ies) 1 politeness. 2 an act of politeness. [ME f.
OF civilit‚ f. L civilitas -tatis (as CIVIL)]
n. (also -isation) 1 an advanced stage or system of social
development. 2 those peoples of the world regarded as having
this. 3 a people or nation (esp. of the past) regarded as an
element of social evolution (ancient civilizations; the Inca
civilization). 4 making or becoming civilized.
civilize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 bring out of a barbarous or primitive stage
of society. 2 enlighten; refine and educate. ЬЬcivilizable
adj. civilizer n. [F civiliser (as CIVIL)]
civvies n.pl. sl. civilian clothes. [abbr.]
n. sl. civilian life. [abbr.]
clack v. & n. --v.intr. 1 make a sharp sound as of boards struck
together. 2 chatter, esp. loudly. --n. 1 a clacking sound. 2
clacking talk. ЬЬclacker n. [ME, = to chatter, prob. f. ON
klaka, of imit. orig.]
clad(1) adj. 1 clothed. 2 provided with cladding. [past part. of
clad(2) v.tr. (cladding; past and past part. cladded or clad) provide
with cladding. [app. f. CLAD(1)]
cladding n. a covering or coating on a structure or material etc.
clade n. Biol. a group of organisms evolved from a common ancestor.
[Gk klados branch]
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) Biol. a method of classification
of animals and plants on the basis of shared characteristics,
which are assumed to indicate common ancestry. ЬЬcladism n.
[as CLADE + -IST + -ICS]
cladode n. a flattened leaflike stem. [Gk kladodes many-shooted f.
claim v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a (often foll. by that + clause) demand as
one's due or property. b (usu. absol.) submit a request for
payment under an insurance policy. 2 a represent oneself as
having or achieving (claim victory; claim accuracy). b (foll.
by to + infin.) profess (claimed to be the owner). c assert,
contend (claim that one knows). 3 have as an achievement or a
consequence (could then claim five wins; the fire claimed many
victims). 4 (of a thing) deserve (one's attention etc.). --n.
1 a a demand or request for something considered one's due (lay
claim to; put in a claim). b an application for compensation
under the terms of an insurance policy. 2 (foll. by to, on) a
right or title to a thing (his only claim to fame; have many
claims on my time). 3 a contention or assertion. 4 a thing
claimed. 5 a statement of the novel features in a patent. 6
Mining a piece of land allotted or taken. Ьno claim (or claims)
bonus a reduction of an insurance premium after an agreed period
without a claim under the terms of the policy. ЬЬclaimable adj.
claimer n. [ME f. OF claime f. clamer call out f. L clamare]
claimant n. a person making a claim, esp. in a lawsuit or for a State
n. the supposed faculty of perceiving, as if by hearing, what
is inaudible. ЬЬclairaudient adj. & n. [F clair CLEAR, +
AUDIENCE, after CLAIRVOYANCE]
n. 1 the supposed faculty of perceiving things or events in the
future or beyond normal sensual contact. 2 exceptional insight.
[F clairvoyance f. clair CLEAR + voir voy- see]
n. & adj. --n. (fem. clairvoyante) a person having
clairvoyance. --adj. having clairvoyance. ЬЬclairvoyantly adv.
clam n. & v. --n. 1 any bivalve mollusc, esp. the edible N.
American hard or round clam (Mercenaria mercenaria) or the soft
or long clam (Mya arenaria). 2 colloq. a shy or withdrawn
person. --v.intr. (clammed, clamming) 1 dig for clams. 2
(foll. by up) colloq. refuse to talk. [16th c.: app. f. clam a
clamber v. & n. --v.intr. climb with hands and feet, esp. with
difficulty or laboriously. --n. a difficult climb. [ME, prob.
f. clamb, obs. past tense of CLIMB]
clammy adj. (clammier, clammiest) 1 unpleasantly damp and sticky or
slimy. 2 (of weather) cold and damp. ЬЬclammily adv.
clamminess n. [ME f. clam to daub]
clamour n. & v. (US clamor) --n. 1 loud or vehement shouting or noise.
2 a protest or complaint; an appeal or demand. --v. 1 intr.
make a clamour. 2 tr. utter with a clamour. ЬЬclamorous adj.
clamorously adv. clamorousness n. [ME f. OF f. L clamor -oris
f. clamare cry out]
clamp(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a device, esp. a brace or band of iron etc.,
for strengthening other materials or holding things together. 2
a device for immobilizing an illegally parked car. --v.tr. 1
strengthen or fasten with a clamp. 2 place or hold firmly. 3
immobilize (an illegally parked car) by fixing a clamp to one of
its wheels. Ьclamp down 1 (often foll. by on) be rigid in
enforcing a rule etc. 2 (foll. by on) try to suppress.
clamp-down n. severe restriction or suppression. [ME prob. f.
MDu., MLG klamp(e)]
clamp(2) n. 1 a heap of potatoes or other root vegetables stored under
straw or earth. 2 a pile of bricks for burning. 3 a pile of
turf or peat or garden rubbish etc. [16th c.: prob. f. Du.
klamp heap (in sense 2 related to CLUMP)]
clan n. 1 a group of people with a common ancestor, esp. in the
Scottish Highlands. 2 a large family as a social group. 3 a
group with a strong common interest. 4 a a genus, species, or
class. b a family or group of animals, e.g. elephants. [ME f.
Gael. clann f. L planta sprout]
adj. surreptitious, secret. ЬЬclandestinely adv.
clandestinity n. [F clandestin or L clandestinus f. clam
clang n. & v. --n. a loud resonant metallic sound as of a bell or
hammer etc. --v. 1 intr. make a clang. 2 tr. cause to clang.
[imit.: infl. by L clangere resound]
clanger n. sl. a mistake or blunder. Ьdrop a clanger commit a
clangour n. (US clangor) 1 a prolonged or repeated clanging noise. 2 an
uproar or commotion. ЬЬclangorous adj. clangorously adv. [L
clangor noise of trumpets etc.]
clank n. & v. --n. a sound as of heavy pieces of metal meeting or a
chain rattling. --v. 1 intr. make a clanking sound. 2 tr.
cause to clank. ЬЬclankingly adv. [imit.: cf. CLANG,
CLINK(1), Du. klank]
clannish adj. usu. derog. 1 (of a family or group) tending to hold
together. 2 of or like a clan. ЬЬclannishly adv. clannishness
clanship n. 1 a patriarchal system of clans. 2 loyalty to one's clan.
clansman n. (pl. -men; fem. clanswoman, pl. -women) a member or
fellow-member of a clan.
clap(1) v. & n. --v. (clapped, clapping) 1 a intr. strike the palms of
one's hands together as a signal or repeatedly as applause. b
tr. strike (the hands) together in this way. 2 tr. applaud or
show one's approval of (esp. a person) in this way. 3 tr. (of a
bird) flap (its wings) audibly. 4 tr. put or place quickly or
with determination (clapped him in prison; clap a tax on
whisky). --n. 1 the act of clapping, esp. as applause. 2 an
explosive sound, esp. of thunder. 3 a slap, a pat. Ьclap eyes
on colloq. see. clap on the back = slap on the back. clapped
out Brit. sl. worn out (esp. of machinery etc.); exhausted.
[OE clappian throb, beat, of imit. orig.]
clap(2) n. coarse sl. venereal disease, esp. gonorrhoea. [OF clapoir
clapboard n. US = WEATHERBOARD. [Anglicized f. LG klappholt cask-stave]
clapper n. the tongue or striker of a bell. Ьlike the clappers Brit.
sl. very fast or hard.
n. Cinematog. a device of hinged boards struck together to
synchronize the starting of picture and sound machinery in
claptrap n. 1 insincere or pretentious talk, nonsense. 2 language used
or feelings expressed only to gain applause. [CLAP(1) +
claque n. a group of people hired to applaud in a theatre etc. [F f.
claquer to clap]
claqueur n. a member of a claque. [F (as CLAQUE)]
n. an organ-stop of flute quality. [fem. forms of L clarus
clear and bellus pretty]
clarence n. hist. a four-wheeled closed carriage with seats for four
inside and two on the box. [Duke of Clarence, afterwards
n. Heraldry (in the UK) the title given to the second King of
Arms, with jurisdiction south of the Trent (cf. NORROY, King of
Arms). [ME f. AF f. Duke of Clarence f. Clare in Suffolk]
claret n. & adj. --n. 1 red wine, esp. from Bordeaux. 2 a deep
purplish-red. 3 archaic sl. blood. --adj. claret-coloured.
[ME f. OF (vin) claret f. med.L claratum (vinum) f. L clarus
clarify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. & intr. make or become clearer. 2 tr. a
free (liquid, butter, etc.) from impurities. b make
transparent. c purify. ЬЬclarification n. clarificatory n.
clarifier n. [ME f. OF clarifier f. L clarus clear]
clarinet n. 1 a a woodwind instrument with a single-reed mouthpiece, a
cylindrical tube with a flared end, holes, and keys. b its
player. 2 an organ-stop with a quality resembling a clarinet.
ЬЬclarinettist n. (US clarinetist). [F clarinette, dimin. of
clarine a kind of bell]
clarion n. & adj. --n. 1 a clear rousing sound. 2 hist. a shrill
narrow-tubed war trumpet. 3 an organ-stop with the quality of a
clarion. --adj. clear and loud. [ME f. med.L clario -onis f. L
clarity n. the state or quality of being clear, esp. of sound or
expression. [ME f. L claritas f. clarus clear]
clarkia n. any plant of the genus Clarkia, with showy white, pink, or
purple flowers. [mod.L f. W. Clark, US explorer d. 1838]
clary n. (pl. -ies) any of various aromatic herbs of the genus
Salvia. [ME f. obs. F clarie repr. med.L sclarea]
clash n. & v. --n. 1 a a loud jarring sound as of metal objects
being struck together. b a collision, esp. with force. 2 a a
conflict or disagreement. b a discord of colours etc. --v. 1
a intr. make a clashing sound. b tr. cause to clash. 2 intr.
collide; coincide awkwardly. 3 intr. (often foll. by with) a
come into conflict or be at variance. b (of colours) be
discordant. ЬЬclasher n. [imit.: cf. clack, clang, crack,
clasp n. & v. --n. 1 a a device with interlocking parts for
fastening. b a buckle or brooch. c a metal fastening on a
book-cover. 2 a an embrace; a person's reach. b a grasp or
handshake. 3 a bar of silver on a medal-ribbon with the name of
the battle etc. at which the wearer was present. --v. 1 tr.
fasten with or as with a clasp. 2 tr. a grasp, hold closely.
b embrace, encircle. 3 intr. fasten a clasp. Ьclasp hands
shake hands with fervour or affection. clasp one's hands
interlace one's fingers. clasp-knife a folding knife, usu. with
a catch holding the blade when open. ЬЬclasper n. [ME: orig.
clasper n. (in pl.) the appendages of some male fish and insects used
to hold the female in copulation.
class n. & v. --n. 1 any set of persons or things grouped together,
or graded or differentiated from others esp. by quality (first
class; economy class). 2 a a division or order of society
(upper class; professional classes). b a caste system, a system
of social classes. c (the classes) archaic the rich or
educated. 3 colloq. distinction or high quality in appearance,
behaviour, etc.; stylishness. 4 a a group of students or pupils
taught together. b the occasion when they meet. c their course
of instruction. 5 US all the college or school students of the
same standing or graduating in a given year (the class of 1990).
6 (in conscripted armies) all the recruits of a given year (the
1950 class). 7 Brit. a division of candidates according to
merit in an examination. 8 Biol. a grouping of organisms, the
next major rank below a division or phylum. --v.tr. assign to a
class or category. Ьclass-conscious aware of and reacting to
social divisions or one's place in a system of social class.
class-consciousness this awareness. class-list Brit. a list of
candidates in an examination with the class achieved by each.
class war conflict between social classes. in a class of (or
on) its (or one's) own unequalled. no class colloq. lacking
quality or distinction. [L classis assembly]
classic adj. & n. --adj. 1 a of the first class; of acknowledged
excellence. b remarkably typical; outstandingly important (a
classic case). 2 a of ancient Greek and Latin literature, art,
or culture. b (of style in art, music, etc.) simple,
harmonious, well-proportioned; in accordance with established
forms (cf. ROMANTIC). 3 having literary or historic
associations (classic ground). 4 (of clothes) made in a simple
elegant style not much affected by changes in fashion. --n. 1
a classic writer, artist, work, or example. 2 a an ancient
Greek or Latin writer. b (in pl.) the study of ancient Greek
and Latin literature and history. c archaic a scholar of
ancient Greek and Latin. 3 a follower of classic models (cf.
ROMANTIC). 4 a garment in classic style. 5 (in pl.) Brit. the
classic races. Ьclassic races Brit. the five main flat races,
namely the Two Thousand and the One Thousand Guineas, the Derby,
the Oaks, and the St Leger. [F classique or L classicus f.
classical adj. 1 a of ancient Greek or Latin literature or art. b (of
language) having the form used by the ancient standard authors
(classical Latin; classical Hebrew). c based on the study of
ancient Greek and Latin (a classical education). d learned in
classical studies. 2 a (of music) serious or conventional;
following traditional principles and intended to be of permanent
rather than ephemeral value (cf. POPULAR, LIGHT). b of the
period from c.1750-1800 (cf. ROMANTIC). 3 a in or following
the restrained style of classical antiquity (cf. ROMANTIC). b
in or relating to a long-established style. 4 Physics relating
to the concepts which preceded relativity and quantum theory.
ЬЬclassicalism n. classicalist n. classicality n. classically
adv. [L classicus (as CLASSIC)]
n. 1 the following of a classic style. 2 a classical
scholarship. b the advocacy of a classical education. 3 an
ancient Greek or Latin idiom. ЬЬclassicist n.
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. make classic. 2 intr. imitate a classical
adj. 1 arranged in classes or categories. 2 (of information
etc.) designated as officially secret. 3 Brit. (of a road)
assigned to a category according to its importance. 4 Brit. (of
newspaper advertisements) arranged in columns according to
classify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 a arrange in classes or categories. b
assign (a thing) to a class or category. 2 designate as
officially secret or not for general disclosure. ЬЬclassifiable
adj. classification n. classificatory adj. classifier n.
[back-form. f. classification f. F (as CLASS)]
classless adj. making or showing no distinction of classes (classless
society; classless accent). ЬЬclasslessness n.
classmate n. a fellow-member of a class, esp. at school.
classroom n. a room in which a class of students is taught, esp. in a
clastic adj. Geol. composed of broken pieces of older rocks. Ьclastic
rocks conglomerates, sandstones, etc. [F clastique f. Gk
klastos broken in pieces]
clathrate n. Chem. a solid in which one component is enclosed in the
structure of another. [L clathratus f. clathri lattice-bars f.
clatter n. & v. --n. 1 a rattling sound as of many hard objects struck
together. 2 noisy talk. --v. 1 intr. a make a clatter. b
fall or move etc. with a clatter. 2 tr. cause (plates etc.) to
clatter. [OE, of imit. orig.]
n. Med. a cramping pain, esp. in the leg, caused by arterial
obstruction; limping. [L claudicare limp f. claudus lame]
clause n. 1 Gram. a distinct part of a sentence, including a subject
and predicate. 2 a single statement in a treaty, law, bill, or
contract. ЬЬclausal adj. [ME f. OF f. L clausula conclusion f.
claudere claus- shut]
claustral adj. 1 of or associated with the cloister; monastic. 2
narrow-minded. [ME f. LL claustralis f. claustrum CLOISTER]
n. an abnormal fear of confined places. ЬЬclaustrophobe n.
[mod.L f. L claustrum: see CLOISTER]
clavate adj. Bot. club-shaped. [mod.L clavatus f. L clava club]
clave(1) n. Mus. a hardwood stick used in pairs to make a hollow sound
when struck together. [Amer. Sp. f. Sp., = keystone, f. L
clave(2) past of CLEAVE(2).
n. (pl. -os) a harpsichord. [It.]
n. a small keyboard instrument with a very soft tone. [ME f.
med.L clavichordium f. L clavis key, chorda string: see
clavicle n. the collar-bone. ЬЬclavicular adj. [L clavicula dimin. of
clavis key (from its shape)]
clavier n. Mus. 1 any keyboard instrument. 2 its keyboard. [F
clavier or G Klavier f. med.L claviarius, orig. = key-bearer, f.
L clavis key]
claviform adj. club-shaped. [L clava club]
claw n. & v. --n. 1 a a pointed horny nail on an animal's or bird's
foot. b a foot armed with claws. 2 the pincers of a shellfish.
3 a device for grappling, holding, etc. --v. 1 tr. & intr.
scratch, maul, or pull (a person or thing) with claws. 2 tr. &
intr. Sc. scratch gently. 3 intr. Naut. beat to windward.
Ьclaw back 1 regain laboriously or gradually. 2 recover (money
paid out) from another source (e.g. taxation). claw-back n. 1
the act of clawing back. 2 money recovered in this way.
claw-hammer a hammer with one side of the head forked for
extracting nails. ЬЬclawed adj. (also in comb.). clawer n.
clawless adj. [OE clawu, clawian]
clay n. 1 a stiff sticky earth, used for making bricks, pottery,
ceramics, etc. 2 poet. the substance of the human body. 3 (in
full clay pipe) a tobacco-pipe made of clay. Ьclay-pan Austral.
a natural hollow in clay soil, retaining water after rain. clay
pigeon a breakable disc thrown up from a trap as a target for
shooting. ЬЬclayey adj. clayish adj. claylike adj. [OE cl‘g
claymore n. 1 hist. a a Scottish two-edged broadsword. b a broadsword,
often with a single edge, having a hilt with a basketwork
design. 2 US a type of anti-personnel mine. [Gael. claidheamh
mўr great sword]
clean adj., adv., v., & n. --adj. 1 (often foll. by of) free from
dirt or contaminating matter, unsoiled. 2 clear; unused or
unpolluted; preserving what is regarded as the original state
(clean air; clean page). 3 free from obscenity or indecency. 4
a attentive to personal hygiene and cleanliness. b (of children
and animals) toilet-trained or house-trained. 5 complete,
clear-cut, unobstructed, even. 6 a (of a ship, aircraft, or
car) streamlined, smooth. b well-formed, slender and shapely
(clean-limbed; the car has clean lines). 7 adroit, skilful
(clean fielding). 8 (of a nuclear weapon) producing relatively
little fallout. 9 a free from ceremonial defilement or from
disease. b (of food) not prohibited. 10 a free from any record
of a crime, offence, etc. (a clean driving-licence). b sl. free
from suspicion; not carrying incriminating material. 11 (of a
taste, smell, etc.) sharp, fresh, distinctive. 12 (of timber)
free from knots. --adv. 1 completely, outright, simply (clean
bowled; cut clean through; clean forgot). 2 in a clean manner.
--v. 1 tr. (also foll. by of) & intr. make or become clean. 2
tr. eat all the food on (one's plate). 3 tr. Cookery remove
the innards of (fish or fowl). 4 intr. make oneself clean.
--n. the act or process of cleaning or being cleaned (give it a
clean). Ьclean bill of health see BILL(1). clean break a quick
and final separation. clean-cut sharply outlined. clean down
clean by brushing or wiping. clean hands freedom from guilt.
clean-living of upright character. clean out 1 clean
thoroughly. 2 sl. empty or deprive (esp. of money).
clean-shaven without beard, whiskers, moustache. clean sheet
(or slate) freedom from commitments or imputations; the removal
of these from one's record. clean up 1 a clear (a mess) away.
b (also absol.) put (things) tidy. c make (oneself) clean. 2
restore order or morality to. 3 sl. a acquire as gain or
profit. b make a gain or profit. clean-up n. an act of
cleaning up. come clean colloq. own up; confess everything.
make a clean breast of see BREAST. make a clean job of colloq.
do thoroughly. make a clean sweep of see SWEEP. ЬЬcleanable
adj. cleanish adj. cleanness n. [OE cl‘ne (adj. & adv.),
clene (adv.), f. WG]
cleaner n. 1 a person employed to clean the interior of a building. 2
(usu. in pl.) a commercial establishment for cleaning clothes.
3 a device or substance for cleaning. Ьtake to the cleaners sl.
1 defraud or rob (a person) of all his or her money. 2
adv. 1 in a clean way. 2 efficiently; without difficulty. [OE
cl‘nlice: see CLEAN, -LY(2)]
adj. (cleanlier, cleanliest) habitually clean; with clean
habits. ЬЬcleanlily adv. cleanliness n. [OE cl‘nlic: see
cleanse v.tr. 1 usu. formal. make clean. 2 (often foll. by of) purify
from sin or guilt. 3 archaic cure (a leper etc.). Ьcleansing
cream cream for removing unwanted matter from the face, hands,
etc. cleansing department Brit. a local service of refuse
collection etc. ЬЬcleanser n. [OE cl‘nsian (see CLEAN)]
cleanskin n. Austral. 1 an unbranded animal. 2 sl. a person free from
blame, without a police record, etc.
clear adj., adv., & v. --adj. 1 free from dirt or contamination. 2
(of weather, the sky, etc.) not dull or cloudy. 3 a
transparent. b lustrous, shining; free from obscurity. 4 (of
soup) not containing solid ingredients. 5 (of a fire) burning
with little smoke. 6 a distinct, easily perceived by the
senses. b unambiguous, easily understood (make a thing clear;
make oneself clear). c manifest; not confused or doubtful
(clear evidence). 7 that discerns or is able to discern readily
and accurately (clear thinking; clear-sighted). 8 (usu. foll.
by about, on, or that + clause) confident, convinced, certain.
9 (of a conscience) free from guilt. 10 (of a road etc.)
unobstructed, open. 11 a net, without deduction (a clear
њ1000). b complete (three clear days). 12 (often foll. by of)
free, unhampered; unencumbered by debt, commitments, etc. 13
(foll. by of) not obstructed by. --adv. 1 clearly (speak loud
and clear). 2 completely (he got clear away). 3 apart, out of
contact (keep clear; stand clear of the doors). 4 (foll. by to)
US all the way. --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become clear. 2 a
tr. (often foll. by of) free from prohibition or obstruction. b
tr. & intr. make or become empty or unobstructed. c tr. free
(land) for cultivation or building by cutting down trees etc. d
tr. cause people to leave (a room etc.). 3 tr. (often foll. by
of) show or declare (a person) to be innocent (cleared them of
complicity). 4 tr. approve (a person) for special duty, access
to information, etc. 5 tr. pass over or by safely or without
touching, esp. by jumping. 6 tr. make (an amount of money) as a
net gain or to balance expenses. 7 tr. pass (a cheque) through
a clearing-house. 8 tr. pass through (a customs office etc.).
9 tr. remove (an obstruction, an unwanted object, etc.) (clear
them out of the way). 10 tr. (also absol.) Football send (the
ball) out of one's defensive zone. 11 intr. (often foll. by
away, up) (of physical phenomena) disappear, gradually diminish
(mist cleared by lunchtime; my cold has cleared up). 12 tr.
(often foll. by off) discharge (a debt). Ьclear the air 1 make
the air less sultry. 2 disperse an atmosphere of suspicion,
tension, etc. clear away 1 remove completely. 2 remove the
remains of a meal from the table. clear-cut sharply defined.
clear the decks prepare for action, esp. fighting. clear off 1
get rid of. 2 colloq. go away. clear out 1 empty. 2 remove.
3 colloq. go away. clear one's throat cough slightly to make
one's voice clear. clear up 1 tidy up. 2 solve (a mystery
etc.). 3 (of weather) become fine. clear the way 1 remove
obstacles. 2 stand aside. clear a thing with get approval or
authorization for a thing from (a person). in clear not in
cipher or code. in the clear free from suspicion or difficulty.
out of a clear sky as a complete surprise. ЬЬclearable adj.
clearer n. clearly adv. clearness n. [ME f. OF cler f. L
clearance n. 1 the removal of obstructions etc., esp. removal of
buildings, persons, etc., so as to clear land. 2 clear space
allowed for the passing of two objects or two parts in machinery
etc. 3 special authorization or permission (esp. for an
aircraft to take off or land, or for access to information
etc.). 4 a the clearing of a person, ship, etc., by customs. b
a certificate showing this. 5 the clearing of cheques. 6
Football a kick sending the ball out of a defensive zone. 7
making clear. Ьclearance order an order for the demolition of
buildings. clearance sale Brit. a sale to get rid of
clearcole n. & v. --n. a mixture of size and whiting or white lead, used
as a primer for distemper. --v.tr. paint with clearcole. [F
claire colle clear glue]
clearing n. 1 in senses of CLEAR v. 2 an area in a forest cleared for
cultivation. Ьclearing bank Brit. a bank which is a member of
a clearing-house. clearing-house 1 a bankers' establishment
where cheques and bills from member banks are exchanged, so that
only the balances need be paid in cash. 2 an agency for
collecting and distributing information etc.
US var. of CLERESTORY.
clearway n. Brit. a main road (other than a motorway) on which vehicles
are not normally permitted to stop.
cleat n. 1 a piece of metal, wood, etc., bolted on for fastening
ropes to, or to strengthen woodwork etc. 2 a projecting piece
on a spar, gangway, boot, etc., to give footing or prevent a
rope from slipping. 3 a wedge. [OE: cf. CLOT]
cleavage n. 1 the hollow between a woman's breasts, esp. as exposed by a
low-cut garment. 2 a division or splitting. 3 the splitting of
rocks, crystals, etc., in a preferred direction.
cleave(1) v. (past clove or cleft or cleaved; past part. cloven or cleft
or cleaved) literary 1 a tr. chop or break apart, split, esp.
along the grain or the line of cleavage. b intr. come apart in
this way. 2 tr. make one's way through (air or water).
ЬЬcleavable adj. [OE cleofan f. Gmc]
cleave(2) v.intr. (past cleaved or clave) (foll. by to) literary stick
fast; adhere. [OE cleofian, clifian f. WG: cf. CLAY]
cleaver n. 1 a tool for cleaving, esp. a heavy chopping tool used by
butchers. 2 a person who cleaves.
cleavers n. (also clivers) (treated as sing. or pl.) a plant, Galium
aparine, having hooked bristles on its stem that catch on
clothes etc. Also called GOOSEGRASS. [OE clife, formed as
clef n. Mus. any of several symbols placed at the beginning of a
staff, indicating the pitch of the notes written on it. [F f. L
cleft(1) adj. split, partly divided. Ьcleft palate a congenital split
in the roof of the mouth. in a cleft stick in a difficult
position, esp. one allowing neither retreat nor advance. [past
part. of CLEAVE(1)]
cleft(2) n. a split or fissure; a space or division made by cleaving.
[OE (rel. to CLEAVE(1)): assim. to CLEFT(1)]
cleg n. Brit. a horsefly. [ON kleggi]
adj. Bot. (of a flower) permanently closed and
self-fertilizing. [Gk kleistos closed + gamos marriage]
clematis n. any erect or climbing plant of the genus Clematis, bearing
white, pink, or purple flowers and feathery seeds, e.g. old
man's beard. [L f. Gk klematis f. klema vine branch]
clement adj. 1 mild (clement weather). 2 merciful. ЬЬclemency n. [ME
f. L clemens -entis]
n. a small citrus fruit, thought to be a hybrid between a
tangerine and sweet orange. [F cl‚mentine]
clench v. & n. --v.tr. 1 close (the teeth or fingers) tightly. 2
grasp firmly. 3 = CLINCH v. 4. --n. 1 a clenching action. 2
a clenched state. [OE f. Gmc: cf. CLING]
clepsydra n. an ancient time-measuring device worked by a flow of water.
[L f. Gk klepsudra f. klepto steal + hudor water]
n. (US clearstory) (pl. -ies) 1 an upper row of windows in a
cathedral or large church, above the level of the aisle roofs.
2 US a raised section of the roof of a railway carriage, with
windows or ventilators. [ME f. CLEAR + STOREY]
clergy n. (pl. -ies) (usu. treated as pl.) 1 (usu. prec. by the) the
body of all persons ordained for religious duties in the
Christian churches. 2 a number of such persons (ten clergy were
present). [ME, partly f. OF clerg‚ f. eccl.L clericatus, partly
f. OF clergie f. clerc CLERK]
clergyman n. (pl. -men) a member of the clergy, esp. of the Church of
cleric n. a member of the clergy. [(orig. adj.) f. eccl.L f. Gk
klerikos f. kleros lot, heritage, as in Acts 1:17]
clerical adj. 1 of the clergy or clergymen. 2 of or done by a clerk or
clerks. Ьclerical collar a stiff upright white collar fastening
at the back, as worn by the clergy in some Churches. clerical
error an error made in copying or writing out. ЬЬclericalism n.
clericalist n. clerically adv. [eccl.L clericalis (as CLERIC)]
clerihew n. a short comic or nonsensical verse, usu. in two rhyming
couplets with lines of unequal length and referring to a famous
person. [E. Clerihew Bentley, Engl. writer d. 1956, its
clerk n. & v. --n. 1 a person employed in an office, bank, shop,
etc., to keep records, accounts, etc. 2 a secretary, agent, or
record-keeper of a local council (town clerk), court, etc. 3 a
lay officer of a church (parish clerk), college chapel, etc. 4
a senior official in Parliament. 5 US an assistant in a shop or
hotel. 6 archaic a clergyman. --v.intr. work as a clerk.
Ьclerk in holy orders formal a clergyman. clerk of the course
the judges' secretary etc. in horse or motor racing. clerk of
the works (or of works) an overseer of building works etc.
ЬЬclerkdom n. clerkess n. Sc. clerkish adj. clerkly adj.
clerkship n. [OE cleric, clerc, & OF clerc, f. eccl.L clericus
clever adj. (cleverer, cleverest) 1 skilful, talented; quick to
understand and learn. 2 adroit, dextrous. 3 (of the doer or
the thing done) ingenious, cunning. Ьclever Dick (or clogs
etc.) colloq. a person who is or purports to be smart or
knowing. not too clever Austral. colloq. unwell, indisposed.
ЬЬcleverly adv. cleverness n. [ME, = adroit: perh. rel. to
CLEAVE(2), with sense 'apt to seize']
clevis n. 1 a U-shaped piece of metal at the end of a beam for
attaching tackle etc. 2 a connection in which a bolt holds one
part that fits between the forked ends of another. [16th c.:
rel. to CLEAVE(1)]
clew n. & v. --n. 1 Naut. a a lower or after corner of a sail. b
a set of small cords suspending a hammock. 2 archaic a a ball
of thread or yarn, esp. with reference to the legend of Theseus
and the labyrinth. b = CLUE. --v.tr. Naut. 1 (foll. by up)
draw the lower ends of (a sail) to the upper yard or the mast
ready for furling. 2 (foll. by down) let down (a sail) by the
clews in unfurling. [OE cliwen, cleowen]
clianthus n. any leguminous plant of the genus Clianthus, native to
Australia and New Zealand, bearing drooping clusters of red
pealike flowers. [mod.L, app. f. Gk klei-, kleos glory + anthos
clich‚ n. 1 a hackneyed phrase or opinion. 2 Brit. a metal casting of
a stereotype or electrotype. [F f. clicher to stereotype]
clich‚d adj. (also clich‚'d) hackneyed; full of clich‚s.
click n. & v. --n. 1 a slight sharp sound as of a switch being
operated. 2 a sharp non-vocal suction, used as a speech-sound
in some languages. 3 a catch in machinery acting with a slight
sharp sound. 4 (of a horse) an action causing a hind foot to
touch the shoe of a fore foot. --v. 1 a intr. make a click. b
tr. cause (one's tongue, heels, etc.) to click. 2 intr.
colloq. a become clear or understandable (often prec. by it as
subject : when I saw them it all clicked). b be successful,
secure one's object. c (foll. by with) become friendly, esp.
with a person of the opposite sex. d come to an agreement.
Ьclick beetle any of a family of beetles (Elateridae) that make
a click in recovering from being overturned. ЬЬclicker n.
[imit.: cf. Du. klikken, F cliquer]
client n. 1 a person using the services of a lawyer, architect, social
worker, or other professional person. 2 a customer. 3
Rom.Hist. a plebeian under the protection of a patrician. 4
archaic a dependant or hanger-on. ЬЬclientship n. [ME f. L
cliens -entis f. cluere hear, obey]
clientele n. 1 clients collectively. 2 customers, esp. of a shop. 3 the
patrons of a theatre etc. [L clientela clientship & F
cliff n. a steep rock-face, esp. at the edge of the sea.
Ьcliff-hanger a story etc. with a strong element of suspense; a
suspenseful ending to an episode of a serial. cliff-hanging
full of suspense. ЬЬclifflike adj. cliffy adj. [OE clif f.
n. & adj. --n. 1 Med. the period of life when fertility and
sexual activity are in decline. 2 a supposed critical period in
life (esp. occurring at intervals of seven years). --adj. 1
Med. occurring at the climacteric. 2 constituting a crisis;
critical. [F climat‚rique or L climactericus f. Gk
klimakterikos f. klimakter critical period f. klimax -akos
climactic adj. of or forming a climax. ЬЬclimactically adv. [CLIMAX +
-IC, perh. after SYNTACTIC or CLIMACTERIC]
climate n. 1 the prevailing weather conditions of an area. 2 a region
with particular weather conditions. 3 the prevailing trend of
opinion or public feeling. ЬЬclimatic adj. climatical adj.
climatically adv. [ME f. OF climat or LL clima climat- f. Gk
klima f. klino slope]
n. the scientific study of climate. ЬЬclimatological adj.
climax n. & v. --n. 1 the event or point of greatest intensity or
interest; a culmination or apex. 2 a sexual orgasm. 3 Rhet. a
a series arranged in order of increasing importance etc. b the
last term in such a series. 4 Ecol. a state of equilibrium
reached by a plant community. --v.tr. & intr. colloq. bring or
come to a climax. [LL f. Gk klimax -akos ladder, climax]
climb v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by up) ascend, mount,
go or come up, esp. by using one's hands. 2 intr. (of a plant)
grow up a wall, tree, trellis, etc. by clinging with tendrils or
by twining. 3 intr. make progress from one's own efforts, esp.
in social rank, intellectual or moral strength, etc. 4 intr.
(of an aircraft, the sun, etc.) go upwards. 5 intr. slope
upwards. --n. 1 an ascent by climbing. 2 a a place, esp. a
hill, climbed or to be climbed. b a recognized route up a
mountain etc. Ьclimb down 1 descend with the help of one's
hands. 2 withdraw from a stance taken up in argument,
negotiation, etc. climb-down n. such a withdrawal.
climbing-frame a structure of joined bars etc. for children to
climb on. climbing-iron a set of spikes attachable to a boot
for climbing trees or ice slopes. ЬЬclimbable adj. [OE climban
f. WG, rel. to CLEAVE(2)]
climber n. 1 a mountaineer. 2 a climbing plant. 3 a person with
strong social etc. aspirations.
clime n. literary 1 a region. 2 a climate. [LL clima: see CLIMATE]
clinch v. & n. --v. 1 tr. confirm or settle (an argument, bargain,
etc.) conclusively. 2 intr. Boxing & Wrestling (of
participants) become too closely engaged. 3 intr. colloq.
embrace. 4 tr. secure (a nail or rivet) by driving the point
sideways when through. 5 tr. Naut. fasten (a rope) with a
particular half hitch. --n. 1 a a clinching action. b a
clinched state. 2 colloq. an (esp. amorous) embrace. 3 Boxing
& Wrestling an action or state in which participants become too
closely engaged. [16th-c. var. of CLENCH]
clincher n. colloq. a remark or argument that settles a matter
var. of CLINKER-BUILT.
cline n. Biol. the graded sequence of differences within a species
etc. ЬЬclinal adj. [Gk klino to slope]
cling v. & n. --v.intr. (past and past part. clung) 1 (foll. by to)
adhere, stick, or hold on (by means of stickiness, suction,
grasping, or embracing). 2 (foll. by to) remain persistently or
stubbornly faithful (to a friend, habit, idea, etc.). 3
maintain one's grasp; keep hold; resist separation. --n. =
CLINGSTONE. Ьcling film a very thin clinging transparent
plastic film, used as a covering esp. for food. cling together
remain in one body or in contact. ЬЬclinger n. clingingly adv.
[OE clingan f. Gmc: cf. CLENCH]
n. a variety of peach or nectarine in which the flesh adheres
to the stone (cf. FREESTONE 2).
clingy adj. (clingier, clingiest) liable to cling. ЬЬclinginess n.
clinic n. 1 Brit. a private or specialized hospital. 2 a place or
occasion for giving specialist medical treatment or advice (eye
clinic; fertility clinic). 3 a gathering at a hospital bedside
for the teaching of medicine or surgery. 4 US a conference or
short course on a particular subject (golf clinic). ЬЬclinician
n. [F clinique f. Gk klinike (tekhne) clinical, lit. bedside
clinical adj. 1 Med. a of or for the treatment of patients. b taught
or learnt at the hospital bedside. 2 dispassionate, coldly
detached. Ьclinical death death judged by observation of a
person's condition. clinical medicine medicine dealing with the
observation and treatment of patients. clinical thermometer a
thermometer with a small range, for taking a person's
temperature. ЬЬclinically adv. [L clinicus f. Gk klinikos f.
clink(1) n. & v. --n. a sharp ringing sound. --v. 1 intr. make a
clink. 2 tr. cause (glasses etc.) to clink. [ME, prob. f. MDu.
klinken; cf. CLANG, CLANK]
clink(2) n. (often prec. by in) sl. prison. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
n. 1 a mass of slag or lava. 2 a stony residue from burnt
coal. [earlier clincard etc. f. obs. Du. klinkaerd f. klinken
n. 1 Brit. sl. something excellent or outstanding. 2 US sl. a
mistake or blunder. [CLINK(1) + -ER(1)]
adj. (also clincher-built) (of a boat) having external planks
overlapping downwards and secured with clinched copper nails.
[clink N.Engl. var. of CLINCH + -ER(1)]
n. a kind of feldspar that rings like iron when struck.
n. Surveying an instrument for measuring slopes. [Gk klino to
slope + -METER]
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) a method of historical research
making much use of statistical information and methods. [Clio,
Muse of history + METRIC + -ICS]
clip(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a device for holding things together or for
attachment to an object as a marker, esp. a paper-clip or a
device worked by a spring. 2 a piece of jewellery fastened by a
clip. 3 a set of attached cartridges for a firearm. --v.tr.
(clipped, clipping) 1 fix with a clip. 2 grip tightly. 3
surround closely. Ьclip-on attached by a clip. [OE clyppan
embrace f. WG]
clip(2) v. & n. --v.tr. (clipped, clipping) 1 cut with shears or
scissors, esp. cut short or trim (hair, wool, etc.). 2 trim or
remove the hair or wool of (a person or animal). 3 colloq. hit
smartly. 4 a omit (a letter etc.) from a word. b omit letters
or syllables of (words pronounced). 5 Brit. remove a small
piece of (a ticket) to show that it has been used. 6 cut (an
extract) from a newspaper etc. 7 sl. swindle, rob. 8 pare the
edge of (a coin). --n. 1 an act of clipping, esp. shearing or
hair-cutting. 2 colloq. a smart blow, esp. with the hand. 3 a
short sequence from a motion picture. 4 the quantity of wool
clipped from a sheep, flock, etc. 5 colloq. speed, esp. rapid.
Ьclip-joint sl. a club etc. charging exorbitant prices. clip a
person's wings prevent a person from pursuing ambitions or
acting effectively. ЬЬclippable adj. [ME f. ON klippa, prob.
clipboard n. a small board with a spring clip for holding papers etc. and
providing support for writing.
clip-clop n. & v. --n. a sound such as the beat of a horse's hooves.
--v.intr. (-clopped, -clopping) make such a sound. [imit.]
clipper n. 1 (usu. in pl.) any of various instruments for clipping
hair, fingernails, hedges, etc. 2 a fast sailing-ship, esp. one
with raking bows and masts. 3 a fast horse.
clippie n. Brit. colloq. a bus conductress.
clipping n. a piece clipped or cut from something, esp. from a
clique n. a small exclusive group of people. ЬЬcliquey adj.
(cliquier, cliquiest). cliquish adj. cliquishness n. cliquism
n. [F f. cliquer CLICK]
C.Lit. abbr. Brit. Companion of Literature.
clitic n. (often attrib.) an enclitic or proclitic. ЬЬcliticization
clitoris n. a small erectile part of the female genitals at the upper
end of the vulva. ЬЬclitoral adj. [mod.L f. Gk kleitoris]
clivers var. of CLEAVERS.
Cllr. abbr. Brit. Councillor.
cloaca n. (pl. cloacae) 1 the genital and excretory cavity at the end
of the intestinal canal in birds, reptiles, etc. 2 a sewer.
ЬЬcloacal adj. [L, = sewer]
cloak n. & v. --n. 1 an outdoor over-garment, usu. sleeveless,
hanging loosely from the shoulders. 2 a covering (cloak of
snow). 3 (in pl.) = CLOAKROOM. --v.tr. 1 cover with a cloak.
2 conceal, disguise. Ьcloak-and-dagger involving intrigue and
espionage. under the cloak of using as a pretext. [ME f. OF
cloke, dial. var. of cloche bell, cloak (from its bell shape) f.
med.L clocca bell: see CLOCK(1)]
cloakroom n. 1 a room where outdoor clothes or luggage may be left by
visitors, clients, etc. 2 Brit. euphem. a lavatory.
n. Brit. sl. clothing or personal belongings. [19th c.:
v.tr. sl. 1 hit repeatedly; beat up. 2 defeat. 3 criticize
severely. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
cloche n. 1 a small translucent cover for protecting or forcing
outdoor plants. 2 (in full cloche hat) a woman's close-fitting
bell-shaped hat. [F, = bell, f. med.L clocca: see CLOCK(1)]
clock(1) n. & v. --n. 1 an instrument for measuring time, driven
mechanically or electrically and indicating hours, minutes,
etc., by hands on a dial or by displayed figures. 2 a any
measuring device resembling a clock. b colloq. a speedometer,
taximeter, or stopwatch. 3 time taken as an element in
competitive sports etc. (ran against the clock). 4 Brit. sl. a
person's face. 5 a downy seed-head, esp. that of a dandelion.
--v.tr. 1 colloq. a (often foll. by up) attain or register (a
stated time, distance, or speed, esp. in a race). b time (a
race) with a stopwatch. 2 Brit. sl. hit, esp. on the head.
Ьclock golf a game in which a golf ball is putted into a hole
from successive points in a circle. clock in (or on) register
one's arrival at work, esp. by means of an automatic recording
clock. clock off (or out) register one's departure similarly.
clock radio a combined radio and alarm clock. round the clock
all day and (usu.) night. watch the clock = CLOCK-WATCH. [ME
f. MDu., MLG klocke f. med.L clocca bell, perh. f. Celt.]
clock(2) n. an ornamental pattern on the side of a stocking or sock near
the ankle. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
v.intr. work over-anxiously to time, esp. so as not to exceed
minimum working hours. ЬЬclock-watcher n. clock-watching n.
clockwise adj. & adv. in a curve corresponding in direction to the
movement of the hands of a clock.
clockwork n. 1 a mechanism like that of a mechanical clock, with a spring
and gears. 2 (attrib.) a driven by clockwork. b regular,
mechanical. Ьlike clockwork smoothly, regularly, automatically.
clod n. 1 a lump of earth, clay, etc. 2 sl. a silly or foolish
person. 3 meat cut from the neck of an ox. ЬЬcloddy adj. [ME:
var. of CLOT]
cloddish adj. loutish, foolish, clumsy. ЬЬcloddishly adv. cloddishness
n. 1 (usu. in pl.) colloq. a large heavy shoe. 2 = CLOD 2.
adj. = CLODDISH.
clodpoll n. sl. = CLOD 2.
clog n. & v. --n. 1 a shoe with a thick wooden sole. 2 archaic an
encumbrance or impediment. 3 a block of wood to impede an
animal's movement. --v. (clogged, clogging) 1 (often foll. by
up) a tr. obstruct, esp. by accumulation of glutinous matter. b
intr. become obstructed. 2 tr. impede, hamper. 3 tr. & intr.
(often foll. by up) fill with glutinous or choking matter.
Ьclog-dance a dance performed in clogs. [ME: orig. unkn.]
cloisonn‚ n. & adj. --n. 1 an enamel finish produced by forming areas of
different colours separated by strips of wire placed edgeways on
a metal backing. 2 this process. --adj. (of enamel) made by
this process. [F f. cloison compartment]
cloister n. & v. --n. 1 a covered walk, often with a wall on one side
and a colonnade open to a quadrangle on the other, esp. in a
convent, monastery, college, or cathedral. 2 monastic life or
seclusion. 3 a convent or monastery. --v.tr. seclude or shut
up usu. in a convent or monastery. ЬЬcloistral adj. [ME f. OF
cloistre f. L claustrum, clostrum lock, enclosed place f.
claudere claus- CLOSE(2)]
clone n. & v. --n. 1 a a group of organisms produced asexually from
one stock or ancestor. b one such organism. 2 a person or
thing regarded as identical with another. --v.tr. propagate as
a clone. ЬЬclonal adj. [Gk klon twig, slip]
clonk n. & v. --n. an abrupt heavy sound of impact. --v. 1 intr.
make such a sound. 2 tr. colloq. hit. [imit.]
clonus n. Physiol. a spasm with alternate muscular contractions and
relaxations. ЬЬclonic adj. [Gk klonos turmoil]
clop n. & v. --n. the sound made by a horse's hooves. --v.intr.
(clopped, clopping) make this sound. [imit.]
cloqu‚ n. a fabric with an irregularly raised surface. [F, =
close(1) adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 (often foll. by to) situated at only
a short distance or interval. 2 a having a strong or immediate
relation or connection (close friend; close relative). b in
intimate friendship or association (were very close). c
corresponding almost exactly (close resemblance). d fitting
tightly (close cap). e (of hair etc.) short, near the surface.
3 in or almost in contact (close combat; close proximity). 4
dense, compact, with no or only slight intervals (close texture;
close writing; close formation; close thicket). 5 in which
competitors are almost equal (close contest; close election). 6
leaving no gaps or weaknesses, rigorous (close reasoning). 7
concentrated, searching (close examination; close attention). 8
(of air etc.) stuffy or humid. 9 closed, shut. 10 limited or
restricted to certain persons etc. (close corporation; close
scholarship). 11 a hidden, secret, covered. b secretive. 12
(of a danger etc.) directly threatening, narrowly avoided (that
was close). 13 niggardly. 14 (of a vowel) pronounced with a
relatively narrow opening of the mouth. 15 narrow, confined,
contracted. 16 under prohibition. --adv. 1 (often foll. by
by, on, to, upon) at only a short distance or interval (they
live close by; close to the church). 2 closely, in a close
manner (shut close). --n. 1 an enclosed space. 2 Brit. a
street closed at one end. 3 Brit. the precinct of a cathedral.
4 Brit. a school playing-field or playground. 5 Sc. an entry
from the street to a common stairway or to a court at the back.
Ьat close quarters very close together. close-fisted niggardly.
close-fitting (of a garment) fitting close to the body.
close-grained without gaps between fibres etc. close harmony
harmony in which the notes of the chord are close together.
close-hauled (of a ship) with the sails hauled aft to sail close
to the wind. close-knit tightly bound or interlocked; closely
united in friendship. close-mouthed reticent. close score Mus.
a score with more than one part on the same staff. close season
Brit. the season when something, esp. the killing of game etc.,
is illegal. close-set separated only by a small interval or
intervals. close shave colloq. a narrow escape. close to the
wind see WIND(1). close-up 1 a photograph etc. taken at close
range and showing the subject on a large scale. 2 an intimate
description. go close (of a racehorse) win or almost win.
ЬЬclosely adv. closeness n. closish adj. [ME f. OF clos f. L
clausum enclosure & clausus past part. of claudere shut]
close(2) v. & n. --v. 1 a tr. shut (a lid, box, door, room, house,
etc.). b intr. be shut (the door closed slowly). c tr. block
up. 2 a tr. & intr. bring or come to an end. b intr. finish
speaking (closed with an expression of thanks). c tr. settle (a
bargain etc.). 3 a intr. end the day's business. b tr. end the
day's business at (a shop, office, etc.). 4 tr. & intr. bring
or come closer or into contact (close ranks). 5 tr. make (an
electric circuit etc.) continuous. 6 intr. (foll. by with)
express agreement (with an offer, terms, or the person offering
them). 7 intr. (often foll. by with) come within striking
distance; grapple. 8 intr. (foll. by on) (of a hand, box, etc.)
grasp or entrap. --n. 1 a conclusion, an end. 2 Mus. a
cadence. Ьclose down 1 (of a shop, factory, etc.) discontinue
business, esp. permanently. 2 Brit. (of a broadcasting station)
end transmission esp. until the next day. close one's eyes 1
(foll. by to) pay no attention. 2 die. close in 1 enclose. 2
come nearer. 3 (of days) get successively shorter with the
approach of the winter solstice. close out US discontinue,
terminate, dispose of (a business). close up 1 (often foll. by
to) move closer. 2 shut, esp. temporarily. 3 block up. 4 (of
an aperture) grow smaller. 5 coalesce. closing-time the time
at which a public house, shop, etc., ends business. ЬЬclosable
adj. closer n. [ME f. OF clos- stem of clore f. L claudere
closed adj. 1 not giving access; shut. 2 (of a shop etc.) having
ceased business temporarily. 3 (of a society, system, etc.)
self-contained; not communicating with others. 4 (of a sport
etc.) restricted to specified competitors etc. Ьclosed book see
BOOK. closed-circuit (of television) transmitted by wires to a
restricted set of receivers. closed-end having a predetermined
extent (cf. open-ended). closed season US = close season (see
CLOSE(1)). closed shop 1 a place of work etc. where all
employees must belong to an agreed trade union. 2 this system.
closed syllable a syllable ending in a consonant.
closet n. & v. --n. 1 a small or private room. 2 a cupboard or
recess. 3 = water-closet. 4 (attrib.) secret, covert (closet
homosexual). --v.tr. (closeted, closeting) shut away, esp. in
private conference or study. ЬClerk of the Closet (in the UK)
the sovereign's principal chaplain. closet play a play to be
read rather than acted. [ME f. OF, dimin. of clos: see
closure n. & v. --n. 1 the act or process of closing. 2 a closed
condition. 3 something that closes or seals, e.g. a cap or tie.
4 a procedure for ending a debate and taking a vote, esp. in
Parliament. --v.tr. apply the closure to (a motion, speakers,
etc.). [ME f. OF f. LL clausura f. claudere claus- CLOSE(2)]
clot n. & v. --n. 1 a a thick mass of coagulated liquid, esp. of
blood exposed to air. b a mass of material stuck together. 2
Brit. colloq. a silly or foolish person. --v.tr. & intr.
(clotted, clotting) form into clots. Ьclotted cream esp. Brit.
thick cream obtained by slow scalding. [OE clot(t) f. WG: cf.
cloth n. (pl. cloths) 1 woven or felted material. 2 a piece of
this. 3 a piece of cloth for a particular purpose; a
tablecloth, dishcloth, etc. 4 woollen woven fabric as used for
clothes. 5 a profession or status, esp. of the clergy, as shown
by clothes (respect due to his cloth). b (prec. by the) the
clergy. Ьcloth-cap relating to or associated with the working
class. cloth-eared colloq. somewhat deaf. cloth of gold (or
silver) tissue of gold (or silver) threads interwoven with silk
or wool. [OE clath, of unkn. orig.]
clothe v.tr. (past and past part. clothed or formal clad) 1 put
clothes on; provide with clothes. 2 cover as with clothes or a
cloth. 3 (foll. by with) endue (with qualities etc.). [OE:
rel. to CLOTH]
clothes n.pl. 1 garments worn to cover the body and limbs. 2
bedclothes. Ьclothes-horse 1 a frame for airing washed clothes.
2 colloq. an affectedly fashionable person. clothes-line a rope
or wire etc. on which washed clothes are hung to dry.
clothes-moth any moth of the family Tineidae, with a larva
destructive to wool, fur, etc. clothes-peg Brit. a clip or
forked device for securing clothes to a clothes-line.
clothes-pin US a clothes-peg. [OE clathas pl. of clath CLOTH]
clothier n. a seller of men's clothes. [ME clother f. CLOTH]
clothing n. clothes collectively.
cloture n. & v. US --n. the closure of a debate. --v.tr. closure. [F
cl“ture f. OF CLOSURE]
clou n. 1 the point of greatest interest; the chief attraction. 2
the central idea. [F, = nail]
cloud n. & v. --n. 1 a visible mass of condensed watery vapour
floating in the atmosphere high above the general level of the
ground. 2 a mass of smoke or dust. 3 (foll. by of) a great
number of insects, birds, etc., moving together. 4 a a state of
gloom, trouble, or suspicion. b a frowning or depressed look (a
cloud on his brow). 5 a local dimness or a vague patch of
colour in or on a liquid or a transparent body. 6 an
unsubstantial or fleeting thing. 7 obscurity. --v. 1 tr.
cover or darken with clouds or gloom or trouble. 2 intr. (often
foll. by over, up) become overcast or gloomy. 3 tr. make
unclear. 4 tr. variegate with vague patches of colour.
Ьcloud-castle a daydream. cloud chamber a device containing
vapour for tracking the paths of charged particles, X-rays, and
gamma rays. clouded leopard a mottled arboreal S. Asian feline,
Neofelis nebulosa. cloud-hopping movement of an aircraft from
cloud to cloud esp. for concealment. cloud-land a utopia or
fairyland. in the clouds 1 unreal, imaginary, mystical. 2 (of
a person) abstracted, inattentive. on cloud nine (or seven)
colloq. extremely happy. under a cloud out of favour,
discredited, under suspicion. with one's head in the clouds
day-dreaming, unrealistic. ЬЬcloudless adj. cloudlessly adv.
cloudlet n. [OE clud mass of rock or earth, prob. rel. to CLOD]
n. (pl. -ies) a small mountain bramble, Rubus chamaemorus,
with a white flower and an orange-coloured fruit.
n. a sudden violent rainstorm.
n. a fanciful or ideal place. [transl. of Gk Nephelokokkugia
f. nephele cloud + kokkux cuckoo (in Aristophanes' Birds)]
n. 1 a picturesque grouping of clouds. 2 a picture or view of
clouds. [CLOUD n., after landscape]
cloudy adj. (cloudier, cloudiest) 1 a (of the sky) covered with
clouds, overcast. b (of weather) characterized by clouds. 2
not transparent; unclear. ЬЬcloudily adv. cloudiness n.
clough n. dial. a steep valley usu. with a torrent bed; a ravine.
[OE cloh f. Gmc]
clout n. & v. --n. 1 a heavy blow. 2 colloq. influence, power of
effective action esp. in politics or business. 3 dial. a piece
of cloth or clothing (cast not a clout). 4 Archery hist. a
piece of canvas on a frame, used as a mark. 5 a nail with a
large flat head. 6 a patch. --v.tr. 1 hit hard. 2 mend with
a patch. [OE clut, rel. to CLEAT, CLOT]
clove(1) n. 1 a a dried flower-bud of a tropical plant, Eugenia
aromatica, used as a pungent aromatic spice. b this plant. 2
(in full clove gillyflower or clove pink) a clove-scented pink,
Dianthus caryophyllus, the original of the carnation and other
double pinks. [ME f. OF clou (de girofle) nail (of
gillyflower), from its shape, GILLYFLOWER being orig. the name
of the spice; later applied to the similarly scented pink]
clove(2) n. any of the small bulbs making up a compound bulb of garlic,
shallot, etc. [OE clufu, rel. to CLEAVE(1)]
clove(3) past of CLEAVE(1).
n. a knot by which a rope is secured by passing it twice round
a spar or rope that it crosses at right angles. [old past part.
of CLEAVE(1), as showing parallel separate lines]
cloven adj. split, partly divided. Ьcloven hoof (or foot) the divided
hoof of ruminant quadrupeds (e.g. oxen, sheep, goats); also
ascribed to the god Pan, and so to the Devil. show the cloven
hoof reveal one's evil nature. ЬЬcloven-footed adj.
cloven-hoofed adj. [past part. of CLEAVE(1)]
clover n. any leguminous fodder plant of the genus Trifolium, having
dense flower heads and leaves each consisting of usu. three
leaflets. Ьclover leaf a junction of roads intersecting at
different levels with connecting sections forming the pattern of
a four-leaved clover. in clover in ease and luxury. [OE clafre
clown n. & v. --n. 1 a comic entertainer, esp. in a pantomime or
circus, usu. with traditional costume and make-up. 2 a silly,
foolish, or playful person. 3 archaic a rustic. --v. 1 intr.
(often foll. by about, around) behave like a clown; act
foolishly or playfully. 2 tr. perform (a part, an action, etc.)
like a clown. ЬЬclownery n. clownish adj. clownishly adv.
clownishness n. [16th c.: perh. of LG orig.]
cloy v.tr. (usu. foll. by with) satiate or sicken with an excess of
sweetness, richness, etc. ЬЬcloyingly adv. [ME f. obs. acloy
f. AF acloyer, OF encloyer f. Rmc: cf. ENCLAVE]
cloze n. the exercise of supplying a word that has been omitted from
a passage as a test of readability or comprehension (usu.
attrib. : cloze test). [CLOSURE]
club n. & v. --n. 1 a heavy stick with a thick end, used as a
weapon etc. 2 a stick used in a game, esp. a stick with a head
used in golf. 3 a a playing-card of a suit denoted by a black
trefoil. b (in pl.) this suit. 4 an association of persons
united by a common interest, usu. meeting periodically for a
shared activity (tennis club; yacht club). 5 an organization or
premises offering members social amenities, meals and temporary
residence, etc. 6 an organization offering subscribers certain
benefits (book club). 7 a group of persons, nations, etc.,
having something in common. 8 = CLUBHOUSE. 9 a structure or
organ, esp. in a plant, with a knob at the end. --v. (clubbed,
clubbing) 1 tr. beat with or as with a club. 2 intr. (foll. by
together, with) combine for joint action, esp. making up a sum
of money for a purpose. 3 tr. contribute (money etc.) to a
common stock. Ьclub-class a class of fare on aircraft etc.
designed for the business traveller. club-foot a congenitally
deformed foot. club-footed having a club-foot. club-man (pl.
-men) a member of one or more clubs (in sense 5 of n.).
club-root a disease of cabbages etc. with swelling at the base
of the stem. club sandwich US a sandwich with two layers of
filling between three slices of toast or bread. in the club
Brit. sl. pregnant. on the club colloq. receiving relief
from the funds of a benefit society. ЬЬclubber n. [ME f. ON
klubba assim. form of klumba club, rel. to CLUMP]
clubbable adj. sociable; fit for membership of a club. ЬЬclubbability n.
clubby adj. (clubbier, clubbiest) esp. US sociable; friendly.
clubhouse n. the premises used by a club.
clubland n. Brit. an area where many clubs are, esp. St James's in
clubmoss n. any pteridophyte of the family Lycopodiaceae, bearing
upright spikes of spore-cases.
cluck n. & v. --n. 1 a guttural cry like that of a hen. 2 sl. a
silly or foolish person (dumb cluck). --v.intr. emit a cluck or
clucky adj. (of a hen) sitting on eggs.
clue n. & v. --n. 1 a fact or idea that serves as a guide, or
suggests a line of inquiry, in a problem or investigation. 2 a
piece of evidence etc. in the detection of a crime. 3 a verbal
formula serving as a hint as to what is to be inserted in a
crossword. 4 a the thread of a story. b a train of thought.
--v.tr. (clues, clued, cluing or clueing) provide a clue to.
Ьclue in (or up) sl. inform. not have a clue colloq. be
ignorant or incompetent. [var. of CLEW]
clueless adj. colloq. ignorant, stupid. ЬЬcluelessly adv.
clump n. & v. --n. 1 (foll. by of) a cluster of plants, esp. trees
or shrubs. 2 an agglutinated mass of blood-cells etc. 3 a
thick extra sole on a boot or shoe. --v. 1 a intr. form a
clump. b tr. heap or plant together. 2 intr. (also clomp)
walk with heavy tread. 3 tr. colloq. hit. ЬЬclumpy adj.
(clumpier, clumpiest). [MLG klumpe, MDu. klompe: see CLUB]
clumsy adj. (clumsier, clumsiest) 1 awkward in movement or shape;
ungainly. 2 difficult to handle or use. 3 tactless.
ЬЬclumsily adv. clumsiness n. [obs. clumse be numb with cold
(prob. f. Scand.)]
clung past and past part. of CLING.
clunk n. & v. --n. a dull sound as of thick pieces of metal meeting.
--v.intr. make such a sound. [imit.]
cluster n. & v. --n. 1 a close group or bunch of similar things
growing together. 2 a close group or swarm of people, animals,
faint stars, gems, etc. 3 a group of successive consonants or
vowels. --v. 1 tr. bring into a cluster or clusters. 2 intr.
be or come into a cluster or clusters. 3 intr. (foll. by round,
around) gather, congregate. Ьcluster bomb an anti-personnel
bomb spraying pellets on impact. cluster pine a Mediterranean
pine Pinus pinaster with clustered cones: also called PINASTER.
[OE clyster: cf. CLOT]
clustered adj. 1 growing in or brought into a cluster. 2 Archit. (of
pillars, columns, or shafts) several close together, or disposed
round or half detached from a pier.
clutch(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. seize eagerly; grasp tightly. 2 intr.
(foll. by at) snatch suddenly. --n. 1 a a tight grasp. b
(foll. by at) grasping. 2 (in pl.) grasping hands, esp. as
representing a cruel or relentless grasp or control. 3 a (in a
motor vehicle) a device for connecting and disconnecting the
engine to the transmission. b the pedal operating this. c an
arrangement for connecting or disconnecting working parts of a
machine. Ьclutch bag a slim flat handbag without handles. [ME
clucche, clicche f. OE clyccan crook, clench, f. Gmc]
clutch(2) n. 1 a set of eggs for hatching. 2 a brood of chickens. [18th
c.: prob. S.Engl. var. of cletch f. cleck to hatch f. ON
klekja, assoc. with CLUTCH(1)]
clutter n. & v. --n. 1 a crowded and untidy collection of things. 2
an untidy state. --v.tr. (often foll. by up, with) crowd
untidily, fill with clutter. [partly var. of clotter coagulate,
partly assoc. with CLUSTER, CLATTER]
n. 1 a a horse of a heavy powerful breed, used as
draught-horses. b this breed. 2 a kind of small terrier.
[orig. bred near the river Clyde in Scotland: see DALE]
clypeus n. (pl. clypei) the hard protective area of an insect's head.
ЬЬclypeal adj. clypeate adj. [L, = round shield]
clyster n. & v. archaic --n. an enema. --v.tr. treat with an enema.
[ME f. OF clystere or f. L f. Gk kluster syringe f. kluzo wash
CO abbr. 1 Commanding Officer. 2 conscientious objector. 3 US
Colorado (in official postal use).
Co symb. Chem. the element cobalt.
Co. abbr. 1 company. 2 county. Ьand Co. colloq. and the rest of
them; and similar things.
co- prefix 1 added to: a nouns, with the sense 'joint, mutual,
common' (co-author; coequality). b adjectives and adverbs, with
the sense 'jointly, mutually' (co-belligerent; coequal;
coequally). c verbs, with the sense 'together with another or
others' (cooperate; co-author). 2 Math. a of the complement of
an angle (cosine). b the complement of (co-latitude; coset).
[orig. a form of COM-]
c/o abbr. care of.
coach n. & v. --n. 1 a single-decker bus, usu. comfortably equipped
for longer journeys. 2 a railway carriage. 3 a horse-drawn
carriage, usu. closed, esp. a State carriage or a stagecoach. 4
a an instructor or trainer in sport. b a private tutor. 5 US
economy-class seating in an aircraft. 6 Austral. a docile cow
or bullock used as a decoy to attract wild cattle. --v. 1 tr.
a train or teach (a pupil, sports team, etc.) as a coach. b
give hints to; prime with facts. 2 intr. travel by stagecoach
(in the old coaching days). Ьcoach-built (of motor-car bodies)
individually built by craftsmen. coach-house an outhouse for
carriages. coach station a stopping-place for a number of
coaches, usu. with buildings and amenities. [F coche f. Magyar
kocsi (adj.) f. Kocs in Hungary]
coachload n. a number of people, esp. holiday-makers, taken by coach.
coachman n. (pl. -men) the driver of a horse-drawn carriage.
coachwood n. Austral. any tree esp. Ceratopetalum apetalum with
close-grained wood suitable for cabinet-making.
coachwork n. the bodywork of a road or rail vehicle.
coadjutor n. an assistant, esp. an assistant bishop. [ME f. OF
coadjuteur f. LL coadjutor (as CO-, adjutor f. adjuvare -jut-
coagulant n. a substance that produces coagulation.
coagulate v.tr. & intr. 1 change from a fluid to a solid or semisolid
state. 2 clot, curdle. 3 set, solidify. ЬЬcoagulable adj.
coagulative adj. coagulator n. [ME f. L coagulare f. coagulum
n. the process by which a liquid changes to a semisolid mass.
coagulum n. (pl. coagula) a mass of coagulated matter. [L: see
coal n. & v. --n. 1 a a hard black or blackish rock, mainly
carbonized plant matter, found in underground seams and used as
a fuel and in the manufacture of gas, tar, etc. b Brit. a piece
of this for burning. 2 a red-hot piece of coal, wood, etc. in a
fire. --v. 1 intr. take in a supply of coal. 2 tr. put coal
into (an engine, fire, etc.). Ьcoal-bed a stratum of coal.
coal-black completely black. coal-fired heated or driven by
coal. coal gas mixed gases extracted from coal and used for
lighting and heating. coal-hole Brit. a compartment or small
cellar for storing coal. coal measures a series of rocks formed
by seams of coal with intervening strata. coal oil US petroleum
or paraffin. coal-sack 1 a sack for carrying coal. 2 a black
patch in the Milky Way, esp. the one near the Southern Cross.
coal-scuttle a container for coal to supply a domestic fire.
coal-seam a stratum of coal suitable for mining. coals to
Newcastle something brought or sent to a place where it is
already plentiful. coal tar a thick black oily liquid distilled
from coal and used as a source of benzene. coal-tit (or
cole-tit) a small greyish bird, Parus ater, with a black head:
also called COALMOUSE. haul (or call) over the coals reprimand.
ЬЬcoaly adj. [OE col f. Gmc]
coaler n. a ship etc. transporting coal.
coalesce v.intr. 1 come together and form one whole. 2 combine in a
coalition. ЬЬcoalescence n. coalescent adj. [L coalescere (as
CO-, alescere alit- grow f. alere nourish)]
coalface n. an exposed surface of coal in a mine.
coalfield n. an extensive area with strata containing coal.
coalfish n. = SAITHE.
coalition n. 1 Polit. a temporary alliance for combined action, esp. of
distinct parties forming a government, or of States. 2 fusion
into one whole. ЬЬcoalitionist n. [med.L coalitio (as
coalman n. (pl. -men) a man who carries or delivers coal.
coalmine n. a mine in which coal is dug. ЬЬcoalminer n.
coalmouse n. (also colemouse) (pl. -mice) = coal-tit. [OE colmase f.
col COAL + mase as TITMOUSE]
coaming n. a raised border round the hatches etc. of a ship to keep out
water. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
coarse adj. 1 a rough or loose in texture or grain; made of large
particles. b (of a person's features) rough or large. 2
lacking refinement or delicacy; crude, obscene (coarse humour).
3 rude, uncivil. 4 inferior, common. Ьcoarse fish Brit. any
freshwater fish other than salmon and trout. ЬЬcoarsely adv.
coarseness n. coarsish adj. [ME: orig. unkn.]
coarsen v.tr. & intr. make or become coarse.
coast n. & v. --n. 1 a the border of the land near the sea; the
seashore. b (the Coast) US the Pacific coast of the US. 2 a a
run, usu. downhill, on a bicycle without pedalling or in a motor
vehicle without using the engine. b US a toboggan slide or
slope. --v.intr. 1 ride or move, usu. downhill, without use of
power, free-wheel. 2 make progress without much effort. 3 US
slide down a hill on a toboggan. 4 a sail along the coast. b
trade between ports on the same coast. Ьthe coast is clear
there is no danger of being observed or caught. coast-to-coast
across an island or continent. ЬЬcoastal adj. [ME f. OF coste,
costeier f. L costa rib, flank, side]
coaster n. 1 a ship that travels along the coast from port to port. 2
a small tray or mat for a bottle or glass. 3 US a a sledge for
coasting. b a roller-coaster.
n. 1 an organization keeping watch on the coasts and on local
shipping to save life, prevent smuggling, etc. 2 a member of
coastline n. the line of the seashore, esp. with regard to its shape (a
coastwise adj. & adv. along, following, or connected with the coast.
coat n. & v. --n. 1 an outer garment with sleeves and often
extending below the hips; an overcoat or jacket. 2 a an
animal's fur, hair, etc. b Physiol. a structure, esp. a
membrane, enclosing or lining an organ. c a skin, rind, or
husk. d a layer of a bulb etc. 3 a a layer or covering. b a
covering of paint etc. laid on a surface at one time. --v.tr.
1 (usu. foll. by with, in) a apply a coat of paint etc. to;
provide with a layer or covering. b (as coated adj.) covered
with. 2 (of paint etc.) form a covering to. Ьcoat armour coats
of arms. coat dress a woman's tailored dress resembling a coat.
coat-hanger see HANGER(1). coat of arms the heraldic bearings
or shield of a person, family, or corporation. coat of mail a
jacket of mail armour (see MAIL(2)). on a person's coat-tails
undeservedly benefiting from another's success. ЬЬcoated adj.
(also in comb.). [ME f. OF cote f. Rmc f. Frank., of unkn.
coatee n. 1 a woman's or infant's short coat. 2 archaic a
close-fitting short coat.
coati n. (pl. coatis) any racoon-like flesh-eating mammal of the
genus Nasua, with a long flexible snout and a long usu. ringed
tail. [Tupi f. cua belt + tim nose]
n. (pl. coatimundis) = COATI. [as COATI + Tupi mondi
coating n. 1 a thin layer or covering of paint etc. 2 material for
co-author n. & v. --n. a joint author. --v.tr. be a joint author of.
coax v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by into, or to + infin.) persuade (a
person) gradually or by flattery. 2 (foll. by out of) obtain (a
thing from a person) by coaxing. 3 manipulate (a thing)
carefully or slowly. ЬЬcoaxer n. coaxingly adv. [16th c.: f.
'make a cokes of' f. obs. cokes simpleton, of unkn. orig.]
coaxial adj. 1 having a common axis. 2 Electr. (of a cable or line)
transmitting by means of two concentric conductors separated by
an insulator. ЬЬcoaxially adv.
cob(1) n. 1 a roundish lump of coal etc. 2 Brit. a domed loaf of
bread. 3 Brit. = corn-cob (see CORN(1)). 4 (in full cob-nut) a
large hazelnut. 5 a sturdy riding- or driving-horse with short
legs. 6 a male swan. [ME: orig. unkn.]
cob(2) n. a material for walls, made from compressed earth, clay, or
chalk reinforced with straw. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
cobalt n. Chem. a silvery-white magnetic metallic element occurring
naturally as a mineral in combination with sulphur and arsenic,
and used in many alloys. °Symb.: Co. Ьcobalt blue 1 a pigment
containing a cobalt salt. 2 the deep-blue colour of this.
ЬЬcobaltic adj. cobaltous adj. [G Kobalt etc., prob. = KOBOLD
cobber n. Austral. & NZ colloq. a companion or friend. [19th c.:
perh. rel. to E dial. cob take a liking to]
cobble(1) n. & v. --n. 1 (in full cobblestone) a small rounded stone of
a size used for paving. 2 (in pl.) Brit. coal in lumps of this
size. --v.tr. pave with cobbles. [ME cobel(- ston), f.
cobble(2) v.tr. 1 mend or patch up (esp. shoes). 2 (often foll. by
together) join or assemble roughly. [back-form. f. COBBLER]
cobbler n. 1 a person who mends shoes, esp. professionally. 2 an iced
drink of wine etc., sugar, and lemon (sherry cobbler). 3 a a
fruit pie topped with scones. b esp. US a fruit pie with a
rich thick crust. 4 (in pl.) Brit. sl. nonsense. 5 Austral. &
NZ sl. the last sheep to be shorn. Ьcobbler's wax a resinous
substance used for waxing thread. [ME, of unkn. orig.: sense 4
f. rhyming sl. cobbler's awls = balls: sense 5 with pun on
n. & adj. --n. any of two or more nations engaged in war as
allies. --adj. of or as a co-belligerent. ЬЬco-belligerence n.
coble n. a flat-bottomed fishing-boat in Scotland and NE England.
[OE, perh. f. Celt.]
COBOL n. Computing a programming language designed for use in
commerce. [common business oriented language]
cobra n. any venomous snake of the genus Naja, native to Africa and
Asia, with a neck dilated like a hood when excited. [Port. f. L
cobweb n. 1 a a fine network of threads spun by a spider from a liquid
secreted by it, used to trap insects etc. b the thread of this.
2 anything compared with a cobweb, esp. in flimsiness of
texture. 3 a trap or insidious entanglement. 4 (in pl.) a
state of languishing; fustiness. ЬЬcobwebbed adj. cobwebby
adj. [ME cop(pe)web f. obs. coppe spider]
coca n. 1 a S. American shrub, Erythroxylum coca. 2 its dried
leaves, chewed as a stimulant. [Sp. f. Quechua cuca]
Coca-Cola n. propr. an aerated non-alcoholic drink sometimes flavoured
with cola seeds.
cocaine n. a drug derived from coca or prepared synthetically, used as
a local anaesthetic and as a stimulant. [COCA + -INE(4)]
n. a disease of birds and mammals caused by any of various
parasitic protozoa, esp. of the genus Eimeria, affecting the
intestine. [coccidium (mod.L f. Gk kokkis dimin. of kokkos
berry) + -OSIS]
coccus n. (pl. cocci) any spherical or roughly spherical bacterium.
ЬЬcoccal adj. coccoid adj. [mod.L f. Gk kokkos berry]
coccyx n. (pl. coccyges or coccyxes) the small triangular bone at the
base of the spinal column in humans and some apes. ЬЬcoccygeal
adj. [L f. Gk kokkux -ugos cuckoo (from being shaped like its
cochin n. (in full cochin-china) 1 a fowl of an Asian breed with
feathery legs. 2 this breed. [Cochin China in Vietnam]
cochineal n. 1 a scarlet dye used esp. for colouring food. 2 the dried
bodies of the female of the Mexican insect, Dactylopius coccus,
yielding this. [F cochenille or Sp. cochinilla f. L coccinus
scarlet f. Gk kokkos berry]
cochlea n. (pl. cochleae) the spiral cavity of the internal ear.
ЬЬcochlear adj. [L, = snail-shell, f. Gk kokhlias]
cock(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a male bird, esp. of a domestic fowl. b a
male lobster, crab, or salmon. c = WOODCOCK. 2 Brit. sl.
(usu. old cock as a form of address) a friend; a fellow. 3
coarse sl. the penis. 4 Brit. sl. nonsense. °In senses 3, 4
usually considered a taboo word. 5 a a firing lever in a gun
which can be raised to be released by the trigger. b the cocked
position of this (at full cock). 6 a tap or valve controlling
flow. --v.tr. 1 raise or make upright or erect. 2 turn or
move (the eye or ear) attentively or knowingly. 3 set aslant,
or turn up the brim of (a hat). 4 raise the cock of (a gun).
Ьat half cock only partly ready. cock-a-doodle-doo a cock's
crow. cock-and-bull story an absurd or incredible account.
cock crow dawn. cocked hat a brimless triangular hat pointed at
the front, back, and top. cock-fight a fight between cocks as
sport. cock-fighting this sport. cock-of-the-rock a S.
American bird, Rupicola rupicola, having a crest and bright
orange plumage. cock-of-the-walk a dominant or arrogant person.
cock-of-the-wood 1 a capercaillie. 2 US a red-crested
woodpecker. cock-shy 1 a a target for throwing at with sticks,
stones, etc. b a throw at this. 2 an object of ridicule or
criticism. cock a snook see SNOOK(1). cock sparrow 1 a male
sparrow. 2 a lively quarrelsome person. cock up Brit. sl.
bungle; make a mess of. cock-up n. Brit. sl. a muddle or
mistake. knock into a cocked hat defeat utterly. [OE cocc and
OF coq prob. f. med.L coccus]
cock(2) n. & v. --n. a small pile of hay, straw, etc. with vertical
sides and a rounded top. --v.tr. pile into cocks. [ME, perh.
of Scand. orig.]
cockade n. a rosette etc. worn in a hat as a badge of office or party,
or as part of a livery. ЬЬcockaded adj. [F cocarde orig. in
bonnet … la coquarde, f. fem. of obs. coquard saucy f. coq
adj. & adv. --adj. exultant; crowing boastfully. --adv.
exultantly. [16th c.: orig. in phr. set cock a hoop denoting
some action preliminary to hard drinking]
n. (also cocky-leeky) a soup traditionally made in Scotland
with boiling fowl and leeks. [COCK(1) + LEEK]
n. colloq. a self-important little man. [18th c.: arbitr. f.
cockatiel n. (also cockateel) Austral. a small delicately coloured
crested parrot, Nymphicus hollandicus. [Du. kaketielje]
cockatoo n. 1 any of several parrots of the family Cacatuinae, having
powerful beaks and erectile crests. 2 Austral. & NZ colloq. a
small farmer. [Du. kaketoe f. Malay kakatua, assim. to
n. 1 = BASILISK 1. 2 Heraldry a fabulous animal, a cock with a
serpent's tail. [ME f. OF cocatris f. L calcare tread, track,
rendering Gk ikhneumon tracker: see ICHNEUMON]
cockboat n. a small ship's-boat. [obs. cock small boat (f. OF coque) +
n. a large nocturnal beetle, Melolontha melolontha, which feeds
on leaves and whose larva feeds on roots of crops etc. Also
called May-bug. [perh. f. COCK(1) as expressing size or vigour
cocker n. (in full cocker spaniel) 1 a small spaniel of a breed with a
silky coat. 2 this breed. [as COCK(1), from use in hunting
cockerel n. a young cock. [ME: dimin. of COCK(1)]
cock-eyed adj. colloq. 1 crooked, askew, not level. 2 (of a scheme
etc.) absurd, not practical. 3 drunk. 4 squinting. [19th c.:
app. f. COCK(1) + EYE]
cockle(1) n. 1 a any edible mollusc of the genus Cardium, having a chubby
ribbed bivalve shell. b its shell. 2 (in full cockle-shell) a
small shallow boat. Ьwarm the cockles of one's heart make one
contented; be satisfying. [ME f. OF coquille shell ult. f. Gk
kogkhulion f. kogkhe CONCH]
cockle(2) n. 1 any of various plants, esp. the pink-flowered corn-cockle,
Agrostemma githago, growing among corn, esp. wheat. 2 a disease
of wheat that turns the grains black. [OE coccul, perh. ult. f.
cockle(3) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. pucker, wrinkle. 2 tr. cause to cockle.
--n. a pucker or wrinkle in paper, glass, etc. [F coquiller
blister (bread in cooking) f. coquille: see COCKLE(1)]
cockney n. & adj. --n. (pl. -eys) 1 a a native of East London, esp.
one born within hearing of Bow Bells. b the dialect or accent
typical of this area. 2 Austral. a young snapper fish,
Chrysophrys auratus. --adj. of or characteristic of cockneys or
their dialect or accent. ЬЬcockneyism n. [ME cokeney cock's
egg, later derog. for 'townsman']
cockpit n. 1 a a compartment for the pilot (or the pilot and crew) of
an aircraft or spacecraft. b a similar compartment for the
driver in a racing car. c a space for the helmsman in some
small yachts. 2 an arena of war or other conflict. 3 a place
where cock-fights are held. [orig. in sense 3, f. COCK(1) +
cockroach n. any of various flat brown insects, esp. Blatta orientalis,
infesting kitchens, bathrooms, etc. [Sp. cucaracha, assim. to
cockscomb n. 1 the crest or comb of a cock. 2 a garden plant Celosia
cristata, with a terminal plume of tiny white or red flowers.
cocksfoot n. any pasture grass of the genus Dactylis, with broad leaves
and green or purplish spikes.
cocksure adj. 1 presumptuously or arrogantly confident. 2 (foll. by of,
about) absolutely sure. ЬЬcocksurely adv. cocksureness n.
[cock = God + SURE]
cocktail n. 1 a usu. alcoholic drink made by mixing various spirits,
fruit juices, etc. 2 a dish of mixed ingredients (fruit
cocktail; shellfish cocktail). 3 any hybrid mixture. Ьcocktail
dress a usu. short evening dress suitable for wearing at a
drinks party. cocktail stick a small pointed stick for serving
an olive, cherry, small sausage, etc. [orig. unkn.: cf. earlier
sense 'docked horse' f. COCK(1): the connection is unclear]
cocky(2) n. (pl. -ies) Austral. & NZ colloq. = COCKATOO 2. [abbr.]
var. of COCK-A-LEEKIE.
coco n. (also cocoa) (pl. cocos or cocoas) a tall tropical palm
tree, Cocos nucifera, bearing coconuts. [Port. & Sp. coco
grimace: the base of the shell resembles a face]
cocoa n. 1 a powder made from crushed cacao seeds, often with other
ingredients. 2 a drink made from this. Ьcocoa bean a cacao
seed. cocoa butter a fatty substance obtained from cocoa beans
and used for confectionery, cosmetics, etc. [alt. of CACAO]
n. a tall palm-tree, Lodoicea maldivica, of the Seychelles.
coconut n. (also cocoanut) 1 a a large ovate brown seed of the coco,
with a hard shell and edible white fleshy lining enclosing a
milky juice. b = COCO. c the edible white fleshy lining of a
coconut. 2 sl. the human head. Ьcoconut butter a solid oil
obtained from the lining of the coconut, and used in soap,
candles, ointment, etc. coconut ice a sweet of sugar and
desiccated coconut. coconut matting a matting made of fibre
from coconut husks. coconut shy a fairground sideshow where
balls are thrown to dislodge coconuts. double coconut a very
large nut of the coco-de-mer. [COCO + NUT]
cocoon n. & v. --n. 1 a a silky case spun by many insect larvae for
protection as pupae. b a similar structure made by other
animals. 2 a protective covering, esp. to prevent corrosion of
metal equipment. --v. 1 tr. & intr. wrap in or form a cocoon.
2 tr. spray with a protective coating. [F cocon f. mod. Prov.
coucoun dimin. of coca shell]
cocotte n. 1 a a small fireproof dish for cooking and serving an
individual portion of food. b a deep cooking pot with a
tight-fitting lid and handles. 2 archaic a fashionable
COD abbr. 1 a cash on delivery. b US collect on delivery. 2
Concise Oxford Dictionary.
cod(1) n. (pl. same) any large marine fish of the family Gadidae, used
as food, esp. Gadus morhua. Ьcod-liver oil an oil pressed from
the fresh liver of cod, which is rich in vitamins D and A. [ME:
cod(2) n. & v. Brit. sl. --n. 1 a parody. 2 a hoax. 3 (attrib.) =
MOCK adj. --v. (codded, codding) 1 a intr. perform a hoax. b
tr. play a trick on; fool. 2 tr. parody. [19th c.: orig.
cod(3) n. sl. nonsense. [abbr. of CODSWALLOP]
coda n. 1 Mus. the concluding passage of a piece or movement, usu.
forming an addition to the basic structure. 2 Ballet the
concluding section of a dance. 3 a concluding event or series
of events. [It. f. L cauda tail]
coddle v.tr. 1 a treat as an invalid; protect attentively. b (foll.
by up) strengthen by feeding. 2 cook (an egg) in water below
boiling point. ЬЬcoddler n. [prob. dial. var. of caudle
code n. & v. --n. 1 a system of words, letters, figures, or
symbols, used to represent others for secrecy or brevity. 2 a
system of prearranged signals, esp. used to ensure secrecy in
transmitting messages. 3 Computing a piece of program text. 4
a a systematic collection of statutes, a body of laws so
arranged as to avoid inconsistency and overlapping. b a set of
rules on any subject. 5 a the prevailing morality of a society
or class (code of honour). b a person's standard of moral
behaviour. --v.tr. put (a message, program, etc.) into code.
Ьcode-book a list of symbols etc. used in a code. code-name (or
-number) a word or symbol (or number) used for secrecy or
convenience instead of the usual name. ЬЬcoder n. [ME f. OF f.
codeine n. an alkaloid derived from morphine and used to relieve pain.
[Gk kodeia poppy-head + -INE(4)]
n. cooperation between management and workers in
decision-taking. [CO- + DETERMINATION, after G Mitbestimmung]
codex n. (pl. codices) 1 an ancient manuscript text in book form. 2
a collection of pharmaceutical descriptions of drugs etc. [L, =
block of wood, tablet, book]
codfish n. = COD(1).
codger n. (usu. in old codger) colloq. a person, esp. an old or
strange one. [perh. var. of cadger: see CADGE]
codices pl. of CODEX.
codicil n. an addition explaining, modifying, or revoking a will or
part of one. ЬЬcodicillary adj. [L codicillus, dimin. of
n. the study of manuscripts. ЬЬcodicological adj.
codicologically adv. [F codicologie f. L codex codicis: see
codify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) arrange (laws etc.) systematically into a
code. ЬЬcodification n. codifier n.
n. (also codlin) 1 any of several varieties of cooking-apple,
having a long tapering shape. 2 a small moth, Carpocapsa
pomonella, the larva of which feeds on apples.
Ьcodlings-and-cream the great willow-herb, Epilobium
angustifolium. [ME f. AF quer de lion lion-heart]
n. a small codfish.
codomain n. Math. a set that includes all the possible expressions of a
given function. [CO- 2 + DOMAIN]
codon n. Biochem. a sequence of three nucleotides, forming a unit of
genetic code in a DNA or RNA molecule. [CODE + -ON]
codpiece n. hist. an appendage like a small bag or flap at the front of
a man's breeches. [ME, f. cod scrotum + PIECE]
co-driver n. a person who shares the driving of a vehicle with another,
esp. in a race, rally, etc.
n. Brit. sl. nonsense. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
coecilian var. of CAECILIAN.
coed n. & adj. colloq. --n. 1 a coeducational system or
institution. 2 esp. US a female student at a coeducational
institution. --adj. coeducational. [abbr.]
n. the education of pupils of both sexes together.
n. 1 Math. a quantity placed before and multiplying an
algebraic expression (e.g. 4 in 4x(y)). 2 Physics a multiplier
or factor that measures some property (coefficient of
expansion). [mod.L coefficiens (as CO-, EFFICIENT)]
n. a large bony marine fish, Latimeria chalumnae, formerly
thought to be extinct, having a trilobed tail-fin and fleshy
pectoral fins. [mod.L Coelacanthus f. Gk koilos hollow +
-coele comb. form var. of -CELE.
n. any marine animal of the phylum Coelenterata with a simple
tube-shaped or cup-shaped body, e.g. jellyfish, corals, and sea
anemones. [mod.L Coelenterata f. Gk koilos hollow + enteron
coeliac adj. (US celiac) of or affecting the belly. Ьcoeliac disease a
digestive disease of the small intestine brought on by contact
with dietary gluten. [L coeliacus f. Gk koiliakos f. koilia
coelom n. (US celom) (pl. -oms or -omata) Zool. the principal body
cavity in animals, between the intestinal canal and the body
wall. ЬЬcoelomate adj. & n. [Gk koiloma cavity]
coelostat n. Astron. an instrument with a rotating mirror that
continuously reflects the light from the same area of sky
allowing the path of a celestial body to be monitored. [L
caelum sky + -STAT]
coenobite n. (US cenobite) a member of a monastic community.
ЬЬcoenobitic adj. coenobitical adj. [OF cenobite or eccl.L
coenobita f. LL coenobium f. Gk koinobion convent f. koinos
common + bios life]
coenzyme n. Biochem. a non-proteinaceous compound that assists in the
action of an enzyme.
coequal adj. & n. archaic or literary --adj. equal with one another.
--n. an equal. ЬЬcoequality n. coequally adv. [ME f. L or
eccl.L coaequalis (as CO-, EQUAL)]
coerce v.tr. (often foll. by into) persuade or restrain (an unwilling
person) by force (coerced you into signing). ЬЬcoercible adj.
[ME f. L coercere restrain (as CO-, arcere restrain)]
coercion n. 1 the act or process of coercing. 2 government by force.
ЬЬcoercive adj. coercively adv. coerciveness n. [OF
cohercion, -tion f. L coer(c)tio, coercitio -onis (as COERCE)]
coeval adj. & n. --adj. 1 having the same age or date of origin. 2
living or existing at the same epoch. 3 having the same
duration. --n. a coeval person, a contemporary. ЬЬcoevality n.
coevally adv. [LL coaevus (as CO-, L aevum age)]
coexist v.intr. (often foll. by with) 1 exist together (in time or
place). 2 (esp. of nations) exist in mutual tolerance though
professing different ideologies etc. ЬЬcoexistence n.
coexistent adj. [LL coexistere (as CO-, EXIST)]
adj. extending over the same space or time.
C. of E. abbr. Church of England.
coffee n. 1 a a drink made from the roasted and ground beanlike seeds
of a tropical shrub. b a cup of this. 2 a any shrub of the
genus Coffea, yielding berries containing one or more seeds. b
these seeds raw, or roasted and ground. 3 a pale brown colour,
of coffee mixed with milk. Ьcoffee bar a bar or caf‚ serving
coffee and light refreshments from a counter. coffee bean the
beanlike seeds of the coffee shrub. coffee-cup a small cup for
serving coffee. coffee-essence a concentrated extract of coffee
usu. containing chicory. coffee-house a place serving coffee
and other refreshments. coffee-mill a small machine for
grinding roasted coffee beans. coffee-morning a morning
gathering at which coffee is served, often in aid of charity.
coffee nibs coffee beans removed from their shells. coffee-shop
a small informal restaurant, esp. in a hotel or department
store. coffee-table a small low table. coffee-table book a
large lavishly illustrated book. [ult. f. Turk. kahveh f.
Arab. kahwa, the drink]
coffer n. 1 a box, esp. a large strongbox for valuables. 2 (in pl.) a
treasury or store of funds. 3 a sunken panel in a ceiling etc.
Ьcoffer-dam a watertight enclosure pumped dry to permit work
below the waterline on building bridges etc., or for repairing a
ship. ЬЬcoffered adj. [ME f. OF coffre f. L cophinus f. Gk
coffin n. & v. --n. 1 a long narrow usu. wooden box in which a corpse
is buried or cremated. 2 the part of a horse's hoof below the
coronet. --v.tr. (coffined, coffining) put in a coffin.
Ьcoffin-bone a bone in a horse's hoof. coffin corner US
Football the corner between the goal-line and sideline.
coffin-joint the joint at the top of a horse's hoof.
coffin-nail sl. a cigarette. [ME f. OF cof(f)in little basket
etc. f. L cophinus: see COFFER]
coffle n. a line of animals, slaves, etc., fastened together. [Arab.
cog n. 1 each of a series of projections on the edge of a wheel or
bar transferring motion by engaging with another series. 2 an
unimportant member of an organization etc. Ьcog-wheel a wheel
with cogs. ЬЬcogged adj. [ME: prob. of Scand. orig.]
cogitable adj. able to be grasped by the mind; conceivable. [L
cogitabilis (as COGITATE)]
cogitate v.tr. & intr. ponder, meditate. ЬЬcogitation n. cogitative
adj. cogitator n. [L cogitare think (as CO-, AGITATE)]
cogito n. Philos. the principle establishing the existence of a being
from the fact of its thinking or awareness. [L, = I think, in
Fr. philosopher Descartes's formula (1641) cogito, ergo sum I
think, therefore I exist]
cognac n. a high-quality brandy, properly that distilled in Cognac in
cognate adj. & n. --adj. 1 related to or descended from a common
ancestor (cf. AGNATE). 2 Philol. (of a word) having the same
linguistic family or derivation (as another); representing the
same original word or root (e.g. English father, German Vater,
Latin pater). --n. 1 a relative. 2 a cognate word. Ьcognate
object Gram. an object that is related in origin and sense to
the verb governing it (as in live a good life). ЬЬcognately
adv. cognateness n. [L cognatus (as CO-, natus born)]
cognition n. 1 Philos. knowing, perceiving, or conceiving as an act or
faculty distinct from emotion and volition. 2 a result of this;
a perception, sensation, notion, or intuition. ЬЬcognitional
adj. cognitive adj. [L cognitio (as CO-, gnoscere gnit-
adj. (also -isable) 1 perceptible, recognizable; clearly
identifiable. 2 within the jurisdiction of a court.
ЬЬcognizably adv. [COGNIZANCE + -ABLE]
n. (also cognisance) 1 knowledge or awareness; perception,
notice. 2 the sphere of one's observation or concern. 3 Law
the right of a court to deal with a matter. 4 Heraldry a
distinctive device or mark. Ьhave cognizance of know, esp.
officially. take cognizance of attend to; take account of. [ME
f. OF conoisance ult. f. L cognoscent- f. cognitio: see
cognizant adj. (also cognisant) (foll. by of) having knowledge or being
cognomen n. 1 a nickname. 2 an ancient Roman's personal name or
epithet, as in Marcus Tullius Cicero, Publius Cornelius Scipio
n. (pl. cognoscenti) (usu. in pl.) a connoisseur. [It., lit.
one who knows]
cohabit v.intr. (cohabited, cohabiting) live together, esp. as husband
and wife without being married to one another. ЬЬcohabitant n.
cohabitation n. cohabitee n. cohabiter n. [L cohabitare (as
CO-, habitare dwell)]
cohere v.intr. 1 (of parts or a whole) stick together, remain united.
2 (of reasoning etc.) be logical or consistent. [L cohaerere
cohaes- (as CO-, haerere stick)]
coherent adj. 1 (of a person) able to speak intelligibly and
articulately. 2 (of speech, an argument, etc.) logical and
consistent; easily followed. 3 cohering; sticking together. 4
Physics (of waves) having a constant phase relationship.
ЬЬcoherence n. coherency n. coherently adv. [L cohaerere
cohaerent- (as COHERE)]
cohesion n. 1 a the act or condition of sticking together. b a tendency
to cohere. 2 Chem. the force with which molecules cohere.
ЬЬcohesive adj. cohesively adv. cohesiveness n. [L cohaes-
(see COHERE) after adhesion]
coho n. (also cohoe) (pl. -os or -oes) a silver salmon,
Oncorhynchus kisutch, of the N. Pacific. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
cohort n. 1 an ancient Roman military unit, equal to one-tenth of a
legion. 2 a band of warriors. 3 a persons banded or grouped
together, esp. in a common cause. b a group of persons with a
common statistical characteristic. 4 US a companion or
colleague. [ME f. F cohorte or L cohors cohort- enclosure,
COHSE abbr. (in the UK) Confederation of Health Service Employees.
COI abbr. (in the UK) Central Office of Information.
coif n. hist. 1 a close-fitting cap, esp. as worn by nuns under a
veil. 2 a protective metal skullcap worn under armour. [ME f.
OF coife f. LL cofia helmet]
coiffeur n. (fem. coiffeuse) a hairdresser. [F]
coiffure n. the way hair is arranged; a hairstyle. [F]
coign n. Ьcoign of vantage a favourable position for observation or
action. [earlier spelling of COIN in the sense 'cornerstone']
coil(1) n. & v. --n. 1 anything arranged in a joined sequence of
concentric circles. 2 a length of rope, a spring, etc.,
arranged in this way. 3 a single turn of something coiled, e.g.
a snake. 4 a lock of hair twisted and coiled. 5 an
intra-uterine contraceptive device in the form of a coil. 6
Electr. a device consisting of a coiled wire for converting low
voltage to high voltage, esp. for transmission to the sparking
plugs of an internal-combustion engine. 7 a piece of wire,
piping, etc., wound in circles or spirals. 8 a roll of postage
stamps. --v. 1 tr. arrange in a series of concentric loops or
rings. 2 tr. & intr. twist or be twisted into a circular or
spiral shape. 3 intr. move sinuously. [OF coillir f. L
coil(2) n. Ьthis mortal coil the difficulties of earthly life (with
ref. to Shakesp. Hamlet III. i. 67). [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
coin n. & v. --n. 1 a piece of flat usu. round metal stamped and
issued by authority as money. 2 (collect.) metal money.
--v.tr. 1 make (coins) by stamping. 2 make (metal) into coins.
3 invent or devise (esp. a new word or phrase). Ьcoin-box 1 a
telephone operated by inserting coins. 2 the receptacle for
these. coin money make much money quickly. coin-op a
launderette etc. with automatic machines operated by inserting
coins. to coin a phrase iron. introducing a banal remark or
clich‚. [ME f. OF, = stamping-die, f. L cuneus wedge]
coinage n. 1 the act or process of coining. 2 a coins collectively. b
a system or type of coins in use (decimal coinage; bronze
coinage). 3 an invention, esp. of a new word or phrase. [ME f.
coincide v.intr. 1 occur at or during the same time. 2 occupy the same
portion of space. 3 (often foll. by with) be in agreement; have
the same view. [med.L coincidere (as CO-, INCIDENT)]
n. 1 a occurring or being together. b an instance of this. 2
a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without
apparent causal connection. 3 Physics the presence of ionizing
particles etc. in two or more detectors simultaneously, or of
two or more signals simultaneously in a circuit. [med.L
coincidentia (as COINCIDE)]
adj. 1 occurring together in space or time. 2 (foll. by with)
in agreement; harmonious. ЬЬcoincidently adv.
adj. 1 in the nature of or resulting from a coincidence. 2
happening or existing at the same time. ЬЬcoincidentally adv.
coiner n. 1 a person who coins money, esp. Brit. the maker of
counterfeit coin. 2 a person who invents or devises something
(esp. a new word or phrase).
Cointreau n. propr. a colourless orange-flavoured liqueur. [F]
coir n. fibre from the outer husk of the coconut, used for ropes,
matting, etc. [Malayalam kayar cord f. kayaru be twisted]
coition n. Med. = COITUS. [L coitio f. coire coit- go together]
coitus n. Med. sexual intercourse. Ьcoitus interruptus sexual
intercourse in which the penis is withdrawn before ejaculation.
ЬЬcoital adj. [L (as COITION)]
Coke n. propr. Coca-Cola. [abbr.]
coke(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a solid substance left after the gases have
been extracted from coal. 2 a residue left after the incomplete
combustion of petrol etc. --v.tr. convert (coal) into coke.
[prob. f. N.Engl. dial. colk core, of unkn. orig.]
coke(2) n. sl. cocaine. [abbr.]
Col. abbr. 1 Colonel. 2 Colossians (New Testament).
col n. 1 a depression in the summit-line of a chain of mountains,
generally affording a pass from one slope to another. 2
Meteorol. a low-pressure region between anticyclones. [F, =
neck, f. L collum]
col. abbr. column.
col- prefix assim. form of COM- before l.
cola n. (also kola) 1 any small tree of the genus Cola, native to W.
Africa, bearing seeds containing caffeine. 2 a carbonated drink
usu. flavoured with these seeds. Ьcola nut a seed of the tree.
colander n. a perforated vessel used to strain off liquid in cookery.
[ME, ult. f. L colare strain]
n. Astron. the complement of the latitude, the difference
between it and 90ш.
n. a yellow alkaloid obtained from colchicum, used in the
treatment of gout.
colchicum n. 1 any liliaceous plant of the genus Colchicum, esp. meadow
saffron. 2 its dried corm or seed. Also called autumn crocus.
[L f. Gk kolkhikon of Kolkhis, a region east of the Black Sea]
cold adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 of or at a low or relatively low
temperature, esp. when compared with the human body. 2 not
heated; cooled after being heated. 3 (of a person) feeling
cold. 4 lacking ardour, friendliness, or affection;
undemonstrative, apathetic. 5 depressing, dispiriting,
uninteresting (cold facts). 6 a dead. b colloq. unconscious.
7 colloq. at one's mercy (had me cold). 8 sexually frigid. 9
(of soil) slow to absorb heat. 10 (of a scent in hunting)
having become weak. 11 (in children's games) far from finding
or guessing what is sought. 12 without preparation or
rehearsal. --n. 1 a the prevalence of a low temperature, esp.
in the atmosphere. b cold weather; a cold environment (went out
into the cold). 2 an infection in which the mucous membrane of
the nose and throat becomes inflamed, causing running at the
nose, sneezing, sore throat, etc. --adv. esp. US completely,
entirely (was stopped cold mid-sentence). Ьcatch a cold 1
become infected with a cold. 2 encounter trouble or
difficulties. cold call sell goods or services by making
unsolicited calls on prospective customers by telephone or in
person. cold cathode a cathode that emits electrons without
being heated. cold chisel a chisel suitable for cutting metal.
cold comfort poor or inadequate consolation. cold cream
ointment for cleansing and softening the skin. cold cuts slices
of cold cooked meats. cold feet colloq. loss of nerve or
confidence. cold frame an unheated frame with a glass top for
growing small plants. cold front the forward edge of an
advancing mass of cold air. cold fusion nuclear fusion at room
temperature esp. as a possible energy source. cold shoulder a
show of intentional unfriendliness. cold-shoulder v.tr. be
deliberately unfriendly to. cold sore inflammation and blisters
in and around the mouth, caused by a virus infection. cold
storage 1 storage in a refrigerator or other cold place for
preservation. 2 a state in which something (esp. an idea) is
put aside temporarily. cold sweat a state of sweating induced
by fear or illness. cold table a selection of dishes of cold
food. cold turkey US sl. 1 a series of blunt statements or
behaviour. 2 abrupt withdrawal from addictive drugs; the
symptoms of this. cold war a state of hostility between nations
without actual fighting. cold wave 1 a temporary spell of cold
weather over a wide area. 2 a kind of permanent wave for the
hair using chemicals and without heat. in cold blood without
feeling or passion; deliberately, ruthlessly. out in the cold
ignored, neglected. throw (or pour) cold water on be
discouraging or depreciatory about. ЬЬcoldish adj. coldly adv.
coldness n. [OE cald f. Gmc, rel. to L gelu frost]
adj. 1 having a body temperature varying with that of the
environment (e.g. of fish); poikilothermic. 2 callous;
deliberately cruel. ЬЬcold-bloodedly adv. cold-bloodedness n.
adj. lacking affection or warmth; unfriendly. ЬЬcold-heartedly
adv. cold-heartedness n.
adj. (of a metal) brittle in its cold state. [Sw. kallsk”r f.
kall cold + sk”r brittle: assim. to SHORT]
cole n. (usu. in comb.) 1 cabbage. 2 = RAPE(2). [ME f. ON k l f. L
caulis stem, cabbage]
colemouse var. of COALMOUSE.
n. any insect of the order Coleoptera, with front wings
modified into sheaths to protect the hinder wings, e.g. a beetle
or weevil. ЬЬcoleopterist n. coleopterous adj. [mod.L
Coleoptera f. Gk koleopteros f. koleon sheath + pteron wing]
n. Bot. a sheath protecting a young shoot tip in grasses. [Gk
koleon sheath + ptilon feather]
coleseed n. = COLE 2.
coleslaw n. a dressed salad of sliced raw cabbage, carrot, onion, etc.
[Du. koolsla: see COLE, SLAW]
cole-tit var. of coal-tit.
coleus n. any plant of the genus Coleus, having variegated coloured
leaves. [mod.L f. Gk koleon sheath]
coley n. (pl. -eys) Brit. any of various fish used as food, esp.
the saithe or rock-salmon. [perh. f. coal-fish]
colic n. a severe spasmodic abdominal pain. ЬЬcolicky adj. [ME f. F
colique f. LL colicus: see COLON(2)]
coliseum n. US = COLOSSEUM.
colitis n. inflammation of the lining of the colon.
Coll. abbr. College.
v.intr. (often foll. by with) 1 work jointly, esp. in a
literary or artistic production. 2 cooperate traitorously with
an enemy. ЬЬcollaboration n. collaborationist n. & adj.
collaborative adj. collaborator n. [L collaborare collaborat-
(as COM-, laborare work)]
collage n. 1 a form of art in which various materials (e.g.
photographs, pieces of paper, matchsticks) are arranged and
glued to a backing. 2 a work of art done in this way. 3 a
collection of unrelated things. ЬЬcollagist n. [F, = gluing]
collagen n. a protein found in animal connective tissue, yielding
gelatin on boiling. [F collagЉne f. Gk kolla glue + -gЉne =
collapsar n. Astron. = black hole 1.
collapse n. & v. --n. 1 the tumbling down or falling in of a structure;
folding up; giving way. 2 a sudden failure of a plan,
undertaking, etc. 3 a physical or mental breakdown. --v. 1 a
intr. undergo or experience a collapse. b tr. cause to
collapse. 2 intr. colloq. lie or sit down and relax, esp.
after prolonged effort (collapsed into a chair). 3 a intr. (of
furniture etc.) be foldable into a small space. b tr. fold
(furniture) in this way. ЬЬcollapsible adj. collapsibility n.
[L collapsus past part. of collabi (as COM-, labi slip)]
collar n. & v. --n. 1 the part of a shirt, dress, coat, etc., that
goes round the neck, either upright or turned over. 2 a band of
linen, lace, etc., completing the upper part of a costume. 3 a
band of leather or other material put round an animal's (esp. a
dog's) neck. 4 a restraining or connecting band, ring, or pipe
in machinery. 5 a coloured marking resembling a collar round
the neck of a bird or animal. 6 Brit. a piece of meat rolled up
and tied. --v.tr. 1 seize (a person) by the collar or neck. 2
capture, apprehend. 3 colloq. accost. 4 sl. take, esp.
illicitly. Ьcollar-beam a horizontal beam connecting two
rafters and forming with them an A-shaped roof-truss.
collar-bone either of two bones joining the breastbone and the
shoulder-blades. collared dove a dove, Streptopelia decaoto,
having distinct neck-markings. ЬЬcollared adj. (also in comb.).
collarless adj. [ME f. AF coler, OF colier, f. L collare f.
collate v.tr. 1 analyse and compare (texts, statements, etc.) to
identify points of agreement and difference. 2 Bibliog. verify
the order of (sheets) by their signatures. 3 assemble
(information) from different sources. 4 (often foll. by to)
Eccl. appoint (a clergyman) to a benefice. ЬЬcollator n. [L
collat- past part. stem of conferre compare]
n. & adj. --n. 1 security pledged as a guarantee for repayment
of a loan. 2 a person having the same descent as another but by
a different line. --adj. 1 descended from the same stock but
by a different line. 2 side by side; parallel. 3 a additional
but subordinate. b contributory. c connected but aside from
the main subject, course, etc. ЬЬcollaterality n. collaterally
adv. [ME f. med.L collateralis (as COM-, LATERAL)]
collation n. 1 the act or an instance of collating. 2 RC Ch. a light
meal allowed during a fast. 3 a light informal meal. [ME f. OF
f. L collatio -onis (see COLLATE): sense 2 f. Cassian's
Collationes Patrum (= Lives of the Fathers) read by Benedictines
and followed by a light meal]
colleague n. a fellow official or worker, esp. in a profession or
business. [F collЉgue f. L collega (as COM-, legare depute)]
v., adj., & adv. --v. 1 tr. & intr. bring or come together;
assemble, accumulate. 2 tr. systematically seek and acquire
(books, stamps, etc.), esp. as a continuing hobby. 3 a tr.
obtain (taxes, contributions, etc.) from a number of people. b
intr. colloq. receive money. 4 tr. call for; fetch (went to
collect the laundry). 5 a refl. regain control of oneself esp.
after a shock. b tr. concentrate (one's energies, thoughts,
etc.). c tr. (as collected adj.) calm and cool; not perturbed
or distracted. 6 tr. infer, gather, conclude. --adj. & adv.
US to be paid for by the receiver (of a telephone call, parcel,
etc.). ЬЬcollectable adj. collectedly adv. [F collecter or
med.L collectare f. L collectus past part. of colligere (as
COM-, legere pick)]
n. a short prayer of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church,
esp. one assigned to a particular day or season. [ME f. OF
collecte f. L collecta fem. past part. of colligere: see
adj. & n. --adj. worth collecting. --n. an item sought by
n. 1 the act or process of collecting or being collected. 2 a
group of things collected together, esp. systematically. 3
(foll. by of) an accumulation; a mass or pile (a collection of
dust). 4 a the collecting of money, esp. in church or for a
charitable cause. b the amount collected. 5 the regular
removal of mail, esp. from a postbox, for dispatch. 6 (in pl.)
Brit. college examinations held at the end of a term, esp. at
Oxford University. [ME f. OF f. L collectio -onis (as
adj. & n. --adj. 1 formed by or constituting a collection. 2
taken as a whole; aggregate (our collective opinion). 3 of or
from several or many individuals; common. --n. 1 a =
collective farm. b any cooperative enterprise. c its members.
2 = collective noun. Ьcollective bargaining negotiation of
wages etc. by an organized body of employees. collective farm a
jointly-operated esp. State-owned amalgamation of several
smallholdings. collective noun Gram. a noun that is
grammatically singular and denotes a collection or number of
individuals (e.g. assembly, family, troop). collective
ownership ownership of land, means of production, etc., by all
for the benefit of all. collective unconscious Psychol. (in
Jungian theory) the part of the unconscious mind derived from
ancestral memory and experience common to all mankind, as
distinct from the personal unconscious. ЬЬcollectively adv.
collectiveness n. collectivity n. [F collectif or L
collectivus (as COLLECT(1))]
n. the theory and practice of the collective ownership of land
and the means of production. ЬЬcollectivist n. collectivistic
v.tr. (also -ise) organize on the basis of collective
ownership. ЬЬcollectivization n.
collector n. 1 a person who collects, esp. things of interest as a hobby.
2 a person who collects money etc. due (tax-collector;
ticket-collector). 3 Electronics the region in a transistor
that absorbs carriers of a charge. Ьcollector's item (or piece)
a valuable object, esp. one of interest to collectors. [ME f.
AF collectour f. med.L collector (as COLLECT(1))]
colleen n. Ir. a girl. [Ir. cailЎn, dimin. of caile country-woman]
college n. 1 an establishment for further or higher education,
sometimes part of a university. 2 an establishment for
specialized professional education (business college; college of
music; naval college). 3 the buildings or premises of a college
(lived in college). 4 the students and teachers in a college.
5 Brit. a public school. 6 an organized body of persons with
shared functions and privileges (College of Physicians).
ЬCollege of Arms (in the UK) a corporation recording lineage and
granting arms. college of education Brit. a training college
for schoolteachers. college pudding Brit. a small baked or
steamed suet pudding with dried fruit. ЬЬcollegial adj. [ME f.
OF college or L collegium f. collega (as COLLEAGUE)]
collegian n. a member of a college. [med.L collegianus (as COLLEGE)]
adj. constituted as or belonging to a college; corporate.
Ьcollegiate church 1 a church endowed for a chapter of canons
but without a bishop's see. 2 US & Sc. a church or group of
churches established under a joint pastorate. ЬЬcollegiately
adv. [LL collegiatus (as COLLEGE)]
n. Bot. a tissue of cells with thick cellulose cell walls,
strengthening young stems etc. [Gk kolla glue + egkhuma
n. a fracture of the lower end of the radius with a backward
displacement of the hand. [A. Colles, Ir. surgeon d. 1843]
collet n. 1 a flange or socket for setting a gem in jewellery. 2
Engin. a segmented band or sleeve put round a shaft or spindle
and tightened to grip it. 3 Horol. a small collar to which the
inner end of a balance spring is attached. [F, dimin. of COL]
collide v.intr. (often foll. by with) 1 come into abrupt or violent
impact. 2 be in conflict. [L collidere collis- (as COM-,
laedere strike, damage)]
collie n. 1 a sheepdog orig. of a Scottish breed, with a long pointed
nose and usu. dense long hair. 2 this breed. [perh. f. coll
COAL (as being orig. black)]
collier n. 1 a coalminer. 2 a a coal-ship. b a member of its crew.
[ME, f. COAL + -IER]
colliery n. (pl. -ies) a coalmine and its associated buildings.
colligate v.tr. bring into connection (esp. isolated facts by a
generalization). ЬЬcolligation n. [L colligare colligat- (as
COM-, ligare bind)]
collimate v.tr. 1 adjust the line of sight of (a telescope etc.). 2 make
(telescopes or rays) accurately parallel. ЬЬcollimation n. [L
collimare, erron. for collineare align (as COM-, linea line)]
n. 1 a device for producing a parallel beam of rays or
radiation. 2 a small fixed telescope used for adjusting the
line of sight of an astronomical telescope, etc.
collinear adj. Geom. (of points) lying in the same straight line.
ЬЬcollinearity n. collinearly adv.
Collins n. an iced drink made of gin or whisky etc. with soda, lemon or
lime juice, and sugar. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
collision n. 1 a violent impact of a moving body, esp. a vehicle or ship,
with another or with a fixed object. 2 the clashing of opposed
interests or considerations. 3 Physics the action of particles
striking or coming together. Ьcollision course a course or
action that is bound to cause a collision or conflict.
ЬЬcollisional adj. [ME f. LL collisio (as COLLIDE)]
collocate v.tr. 1 place together or side by side. 2 arrange; set in a
particular place. 3 (often foll. by with) Linguistics juxtapose
(a word etc.) with another. ЬЬcollocation n. [L collocare
collocat- (as COM-, locare to place)]
n. a person who takes part in a conversation. [LL f. colloqui
(as COM-, loqui locut- talk)]
collodion n. a syrupy solution of cellulose nitrate in a mixture of
alcohol and ether, used in photography and surgery. [Gk
kollodes gluelike f. kolla glue]
collogue v.intr. (collogues, collogued, colloguing) (foll. by with) talk
confidentially. [prob. alt. of obs. colleague conspire, by
assoc. with L colloqui converse]
colloid n. 1 Chem. a a substance consisting of ultramicroscopic
particles. b a mixture of such a substance uniformly dispersed
through a second substance esp. to form a viscous solution. 2
Med. a substance of a homogeneous gelatinous consistency.
ЬЬcolloidal adj. [Gk kolla glue + -OID]
collop n. a slice, esp. of meat or bacon; an escalope. [ME, = fried
bacon and eggs, of Scand. orig.]
adj. belonging to or proper to ordinary or familiar
conversation, not formal or literary. ЬЬcolloquially adv. [L
n. 1 a colloquial word or phrase. 2 the use of colloquialisms.
n. (pl. colloquiums or colloquia) an academic conference or
seminar. [L: see COLLOQUY]
colloquy n. (pl. -quies) 1 the act of conversing. 2 a conversation. 3
Eccl. a gathering for discussion of theological questions. [L
colloquium (as COM-, loqui speak)]
collotype n. Printing 1 a thin sheet of gelatin exposed to light, treated
with reagents, and used to make high quality prints by
lithography. 2 a print made by this process. [Gk kolla glue +
collude v.intr. come to an understanding or conspire together, esp. for
a fraudulent purpose. ЬЬcolluder n. [L colludere collus- (as
COM-, ludere lus- play)]
collusion n. 1 a secret understanding, esp. for a fraudulent purpose. 2
Law such an understanding between ostensible opponents in a
lawsuit. ЬЬcollusive adj. collusively adv. [ME f. OF
collusion or L collusio (as COLLUDE)]
collyrium n. (pl. collyria) a medicated eye-lotion. [L f. Gk kollurion
poultice f. kollura coarse bread-roll]
n.pl. colloq. 1 a rumbling or pain in the stomach. 2 a
feeling of strong apprehension. [fanciful, f. COLIC + WOBBLE]
Colo. abbr. Colorado.
colobus n. any leaf-eating monkey of the genus Colobus, native to
Africa, having shortened thumbs. [mod.L f. Gk kolobos docked]
colocynth n. (also coloquintida) 1 a a plant of the gourd family,
Citrullus colocynthis, bearing a pulpy fruit. b this fruit. 2
a bitter purgative drug obtained from the fruit. [L colocynthis
f. Gk kolokunthis]
cologne n. (in full cologne water) eau-de-Cologne or a similar scented
toilet water. [abbr.]
colon(1) n. a punctuation mark (:), used esp. to introduce a quotation
or a list of items or to separate clauses when the second
expands or illustrates the first; also between numbers in a
statement of proportion (as in 10:1) and in Biblical references
(as in Exodus 3:2). [L f. Gk kolon limb, clause]
colon(2) n. Anat. the lower and greater part of the large intestine,
from the caecum to the rectum. ЬЬcolonic adj. [ME, ult. f. Gk
colonel n. 1 an army officer in command of a regiment, immediately
below a brigadier in rank. 2 US an officer of corresponding
rank in the Air Force. 3 = lieutenant-colonel. ЬColonel Blimp
see BLIMP n. 1. ЬЬcolonelcy n. (pl. -ies). [obs. F coronel
f. It. colonnello f. colonna COLUMN]
colonial adj. & n. --adj. 1 of, relating to, or characteristic of a
colony or colonies, esp. of a British Crown Colony. 2 (esp. of
architecture or furniture) built or designed in, or in a style
characteristic of, the period of the British colonies in America
before independence. --n. 1 a native or inhabitant of a
colony. 2 a house built in colonial style. Ьcolonial goose
Austral. & NZ a boned and stuffed roast leg of mutton.
n. 1 a policy of acquiring or maintaining colonies. 2 derog.
this policy regarded as the esp. economic exploitation of weak
or backward peoples by a larger power. ЬЬcolonialist n.
colonist n. a settler in or inhabitant of a colony.
colonize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. a establish a colony or colonies in (a
country or area). b settle as colonists. 2 intr. establish or
join a colony. 3 tr. US Polit. plant voters in (a district)
for party purposes. 4 tr. Biol. (of plants and animals) become
established (in an area). ЬЬcolonization n. colonizer n.
colonnade n. a row of columns, esp. supporting an entablature or roof.
ЬЬcolonnaded adj. [F f. colonne COLUMN]
colony n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a group of settlers in a new country
(whether or not already inhabited) fully or partly subject to
the mother country. b the settlement or its territory. 2 a
people of one nationality or race or occupation in a city, esp.
if living more or less in isolation or in a special quarter. b
a separate or segregated group (nudist colony). 3 Biol. a
collection of animals, plants, etc., connected, in contact, or
living close together. [ME f. L colonia f. colonus farmer f.
colophon n. 1 a publisher's device or imprint, esp. on the title-page.
2 a tailpiece in a manuscript or book, often ornamental, giving
the writer's or printer's name, the date, etc. [LL f. Gk
kolophon summit, finishing touch]
colophony n. = ROSIN. [L colophonia (resin) from Colophon in Asia Minor]
var. of COLOCYNTH.
color etc. US var. of COLOUR etc.
n. a yellow and black striped beetle, Leptinotarsa
decemlineata, the larva of which is highly destructive to the
potato plant. [Colorado in the US]
n. (also colouration) 1 colouring; a scheme or method of
applying colour. 2 the natural (esp. variegated) colour of
living things or animals. [F coloration or LL coloratio f.
n. 1 elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody. 2 a singer
(esp. a soprano) skilled in coloratura singing. [It. f. L
n. an instrument for measuring the intensity of colour.
ЬЬcolorimetric adj. colorimetry n. [L color COLOUR + -METER]
colossal adj. 1 of immense size; huge, gigantic. 2 colloq. remarkable,
splendid. 3 Archit. (of an order) having more than one storey
of columns. 4 Sculpture (of a statue) about twice life size.
ЬЬcolossally adv. [F f. colosse COLOSSUS]
colosseum n. a large stadium or amphitheatre. [med.L, neut. of colosseus
gigantic (as COLOSSUS)]
colossus n. (pl. colossi or colossuses) 1 a statue much bigger than
life size. 2 a gigantic person, animal, building, etc. 3 an
imperial power personified. [L f. Gk kolossos]
colostomy n. (pl. -ies) Surgery an operation on the colon to make an
opening in the abdominal wall to provide an artificial anus.
[as COLON(2) + Gk stoma mouth]
colostrum n. the first secretion from the mammary glands occurring after
giving birth. [L]
colotomy n. (pl. -ies) Surgery an incision in the colon. [as COLON(2)
colour n. & v. --n. (US color) 1 a the sensation produced on the eye
by rays of light when resolved as by a prism, selective
reflection, etc., into different wavelengths. b perception of
colour; a system of colours. 2 one, or any mixture, of the
constituents into which light can be separated as in a spectrum
or rainbow, sometimes including (loosely) black and white. 3 a
colouring substance, esp. paint. 4 the use of all colours, not
only black and white, as in photography and television. 5 a
pigmentation of the skin, esp. when dark. b this as a ground
for prejudice or discrimination. 6 ruddiness of complexion (a
healthy colour). 7 (in pl.) appearance or aspect (see things in
their true colours). 8 (in pl.) a Brit. a coloured ribbon or
uniform etc. worn to signify membership of a school, club, team,
etc. b the flag of a regiment or ship. c a national flag. 9
quality, mood, or variety in music, literature, speech, etc.;
distinctive character or timbre. 10 a show of reason; a pretext
(lend colour to; under colour of). --v. 1 tr. apply colour to,
esp. by painting or dyeing or with coloured pens or pencils. 2
tr. influence (an attitude coloured by experience). 3 tr.
misrepresent, exaggerate, esp. with spurious detail (a highly
coloured account). 4 intr. take on colour; blush. Ьcolour bar
the denial of services and facilities to non-White people.
colour-blind unable to distinguish certain colours.
colour-blindness the condition of being colour-blind. colour
code use of colours as a standard means of identification.
colour-code v.tr. identify by means of a colour code.
colour-fast dyed in colours that will not fade or be washed out.
colour-fastness the condition of being colour-fast. colour
scheme an arrangement or planned combination of colours esp. in
interior design. colour-sergeant the senior sergeant of an
infantry company. colour supplement Brit. a magazine with
coloured illustrations, issued as a supplement to a newspaper.
colour wash coloured distemper. colour-wash v.tr. paint with
coloured distemper. Queen's (or King's or regimental) colour a
flag carried by a regiment. show one's true colours reveal
one's true character or intentions. under false colours
falsely, deceitfully. with flying colours see FLYING. [ME f.
OF color, colorer f. L color, colorare]
coloured adj. & n. (US colored) --adj. 1 having colour(s). 2
(Coloured) a wholly or partly of non-White descent. b S.Afr. of
mixed White and non-White descent. c of or relating to Coloured
people (a Coloured audience). --n. (Coloured) 1 a Coloured
person. 2 S.Afr. a person of mixed descent speaking Afrikaans
or English as the mother tongue.
colourful adj. (US colorful) 1 having much or varied colour; bright. 2
full of interest; vivid, lively. ЬЬcolourfully adv.
colouring n. (US coloring) 1 the process of or skill in using colour(s).
2 the style in which a thing is coloured, or in which an artist
uses colour. 3 facial complexion.
colourist n. (US colorist) a person who uses colour, esp. in art.
adj. (US colorless) 1 without colour. 2 lacking character or
interest. 3 dull or pale in hue. 4 neutral, impartial,
indifferent. ЬЬcolourlessly adv.
coloury adj. US (colory) having a distinctive colour, esp. as
indicating good quality.
n. examination of the vagina and the neck of the womb.
ЬЬcolposcope n. [Gk kolpos womb + -SCOPY]
colt n. 1 a young uncastrated male horse, usu. less than four years
old. 2 Sport a young or inexperienced player; a member of a
junior team. ЬЬcolthood n. coltish adj. coltishly adv.
coltishness n. [OE, = young ass or camel]
colter US var. of COULTER.
coltsfoot n. (pl. coltsfoots) a wild composite plant, Tussilago farfara,
with large leaves and yellow flowers.
colubrine adj. 1 snakelike. 2 of the subfamily Colubrinae of
non-poisonous snakes. [L colubrinus f. coluber snake]
Columbine n. the partner of Harlequin in pantomime. [F Colombine f. It.
Colombina f. colombino dovelike]
columbine n. any plant of the genus Aquilegia, esp. A. vulgaris, having
purple-blue flowers. Also called AQUILEGIA. [ME f. OF colombine
f. med.L colombina herba dovelike plant f. L columba dove (from
the supposed resemblance of the flower to a cluster of 5 doves)]
columbite n. US Chem. an ore of iron and niobium found in America.
[Columbia, a poetic name for America, + -ITE(1)]
columbium n. US Chem. = NIOBIUM.
column n. 1 Archit. an upright cylindrical pillar often slightly
tapering and usu. supporting an entablature or arch, or
standing alone as a monument. 2 a structure or part shaped like
a column. 3 a vertical cylindrical mass of liquid or vapour. 4
a a vertical division of a page, chart, etc., containing a
sequence of figures or words. b the figures or words
themselves. 5 a part of a newspaper regularly devoted to a
particular subject (gossip column). 6 a Mil. an arrangement of
troops in successive lines, with a narrow front. b Naut. a
similar arrangement of ships. Ьcolumn-inch a quantity of print
(esp. newsprint) occupying a one-inch length of a column. dodge
the column colloq. shirk one's duty; avoid work. ЬЬcolumnar
adj. columned adj. [ME f. OF columpne & L columna pillar]
columnist n. a journalist contributing regularly to a newspaper.
colure n. Astron. either of two great circles intersecting at right
angles at the celestial poles and passing through the ecliptic
at either the equinoxes or the solstices. [ME f. LL colurus f.
Gk kolouros truncated]
colza n. = RAPE(2). [F kolza(t) f. LG kolsat (as COLE, SEED)]
COM abbr. computer output on microfilm or microfiche.
com- prefix (also co-, col-, con-, cor-) with, together, jointly,
altogether. ° com- is used before b, m, p, and occas. before
vowels and f; co- esp. before vowels, h, and gn; col- before l,
cor- before r, and con- before other consonants. [L com-, cum
coma(1) n. (pl. comas) a prolonged deep unconsciousness, caused esp.
by severe injury or excessive use of drugs. [med.L f. Gk koma
coma(2) n. (pl. comae) 1 Astron. a cloud of gas and dust surrounding
the nucleus of a comet. 2 Bot. a tuft of silky hairs at the end
of some seeds. [L f. Gk kome hair of head]
comatose adj. 1 in a coma. 2 drowsy, sleepy, lethargic.
comb n. & v. --n. 1 a toothed strip of rigid material for tidying
and arranging the hair, or for keeping it in place. 2 a part of
a machine having a similar design or purpose. 3 a the red
fleshy crest of a fowl, esp. a cock. b an analogous growth in
other birds. 4 a honeycomb. --v.tr. 1 arrange or tidy (the
hair) by drawing a comb through. 2 curry (a horse). 3 dress
(wool or flax) with a comb. 4 search (a place) thoroughly.
Ьcomb out 1 tidy and arrange (hair) with a comb. 2 remove with
a comb. 3 search or attack systematically. 4 search out and
get rid of (anything unwanted). ЬЬcombed adj. [OE camb f. Gmc]
combat n. & v. --n. a fight, struggle, or contest. --v. (combated,
combating) 1 intr. engage in combat. 2 tr. engage in combat
with. 3 tr. oppose; strive against. Ьcombat fatigue a mental
disorder caused by stress in wartime combat. single combat a
duel. [F combat f. combattre f. LL (as COM-, L batuere fight)]
combatant n. & adj. --n. a person engaged in fighting. --adj. 1
fighting. 2 for fighting.
combative adj. ready or eager to fight; pugnacious. ЬЬcombatively adv.
combe var. of COOMB.
comber(1) n. 1 a person or thing that combs, esp. a machine for combing
cotton or wool very fine. 2 a long curling wave; a breaker.
comber(2) n. Brit. a fish of the perch family, Serranus cabrilla. [18th
c.: orig. unkn.]
n. 1 the act or an instance of combining; the process of being
combined. 2 a combined state (in combination with). 3 a
combined set of things or people. 4 a sequence of numbers or
letters used to open a combination lock. 5 Brit. a motor cycle
with side-car attached. 6 (in pl.) Brit. a single undergarment
for the body and legs. 7 a group of things chosen from a larger
number without regard to their arrangement. 8 a united action.
b Chess a coordinated and effective sequence of moves. 9 Chem.
a union of substances in a compound with new properties.
Ьcombination lock a lock that can be opened only by a specific
sequence of movements. ЬЬcombinative adj. combinational adj.
combinatory adj. [obs. F combination or LL combinatio (as
adj. Math. relating to combinations of items.
combine v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. join together; unite for a common
purpose. 2 tr. possess (qualities usually distinct) together
(combines charm and authority). 3 a intr. coalesce in one
substance. b tr. cause to do this. c intr. form a chemical
compound. 4 intr. cooperate. 5 tr. harvest (crops etc.) by
means of a combine harvester. --n. a combination of esp.
commercial interests to control prices etc. Ьcombine harvester
a mobile machine that reaps and threshes in one operation.
combining form Gram. a linguistic element used in combination
with another element to form a word (e.g. Anglo- = English,
bio- = life, -graphy writing). °In this dictionary, combining
form is used of an element that contributes to the particular
sense of words (as with both elements of biography), as distinct
from a prefix or suffix that adjusts the sense of or determines
the function of words (as with un-, -able, and -ation).
ЬЬcombinable adj. [ME f. OF combiner or LL combinare (as COM-,
L bini two)]
combing n. (in pl.) hairs combed off. Ьcombing wool long-stapled wool,
suitable for combing and making into worsted.
combo n. (pl. -os) sl. a small jazz or dance band. [abbr. of
COMBINATION + -O]
combs n.pl. colloq. combinations (see COMBINATION 6).
combust v.tr. subject to combustion. [obs. combust (adj.) f. L
combustus past part. (as COMBUSTION)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 capable of or used for burning. 2
excitable; easily irritated. --n. a combustible substance.
ЬЬcombustibility n. [F combustible or med.L combustibilis (as
n. 1 burning; consumption by fire. 2 Chem. the development of
light and heat from the chemical combination of a substance with
oxygen. ЬЬcombustive adj. [ME f. F combustion or LL combustio
f. L comburere combust- burn up]
come v. & n. --v.intr. (past came; past part. come) 1 move, be
brought towards, or reach a place thought of as near or familiar
to the speaker or hearer (come and see me; shall we come to your
house?; the books have come). 2 reach or be brought to a
specified situation or result (you'll come to no harm; have come
to believe it; has come to be used wrongly; came into
prominence). 3 reach or extend to a specified point (the road
comes within a mile of us). 4 traverse or accomplish (with
compl. : have come a long way). 5 occur, happen; become
present instead of future (how did you come to break your leg?).
6 take or occupy a specified position in space or time (it comes
on the third page; Nero came after Claudius; it does not come
within the scope of the inquiry). 7 become perceptible or known
(the church came into sight; the news comes as a surprise; it
will come to me). 8 be available (the dress comes in three
sizes; this model comes with optional features). 9 become (with
compl. : the handle has come loose). 10 (foll. by of) a be
descended from (comes of a rich family). b be the result of
(that comes of complaining). 11 colloq. play the part of;
behave like (with compl. : don't come the bully with me). 12
sl. have a sexual orgasm. 13 (in subj.) colloq. when a
specified time is reached (come next month). 14 (as int.)
expressing caution or reserve (come, it cannot be that bad).
--n. sl. semen ejaculated at a sexual orgasm. Ьas ... as they
come typically or supremely so (is as tough as they come). come
about happen; take place. come across 1 be effective or
understood. 2 (foll. by with) sl. hand over what is wanted. 3
meet or find by chance (came across an old jacket). come again
colloq. 1 make a further effort. 2 (as imper.) what did you
say? come along 1 make progress; move forward. 2 (as imper.)
hurry up. come and go 1 pass to and fro; be transitory. 2 pay
brief visits. come apart fall or break into pieces,
disintegrate. come at 1 reach, discover; get access to. 2
attack (came at me with a knife). come-at-able adj. reachable,
accessible. come away 1 become detached or broken off (came
away in my hands). 2 (foll. by with) be left with a feeling,
impression, etc. (came away with many misgivings). come back 1
return. 2 recur to one's memory. 3 become fashionable or
popular again. 4 US reply, retort. come before be dealt with
by (a judge etc.). come between 1 interfere with the
relationship of. 2 separate; prevent contact between. come by
1 pass; go past. 2 call on a visit (why not come by tomorrow?).
3 acquire, obtain (came by a new bicycle). come clean see
CLEAN. come down 1 come to a place or position regarded as
lower. 2 lose position or wealth (has come down in the world).
3 be handed down by tradition or inheritance. 4 be reduced;
show a downward trend (prices are coming down). 5 (foll. by
against, in favour of) reach a decision or recommendation (the
report came down against change). 6 (foll. by to) signify or
betoken basically; be dependent on (a factor) (it comes down to
who is willing to go). 7 (foll. by on) criticize harshly;
rebuke, punish. 8 (foll. by with) begin to suffer from (a
disease). come for 1 come to collect or receive. 2 attack
(came for me with a hammer). come forward 1 advance. 2 offer
oneself for a task, post, etc. come-hither attrib.adj. colloq.
(of a look or manner) enticing, flirtatious. come in 1 enter a
house or room. 2 take a specified position in a race etc. (came
in third). 3 become fashionable or seasonable. 4 a have a
useful role or function. b (with compl.) prove to be (came in
very handy). c have a part to play (where do I come in?). 5 be
received (more news has just come in). 6 begin speaking, esp.
in radio transmission. 7 be elected; come to power. 8 Cricket
begin an innings. 9 (foll. by for) receive; be the object of
(usu. something unwelcome) (came in for much criticism). 10
(foll. by on) join (an enterprise etc.). 11 (of a tide) turn to
high tide. 12 (of a train, ship, or aircraft) approach its
destination. come into 1 see senses 2, 7 of v. 2 receive, esp.
as heir. come near see NEAR. come of age see AGE. come off 1
colloq. (of an action) succeed; be accomplished. 2 (with
compl.) fare; turn out (came off badly; came off the winner). 3
coarse sl. have a sexual orgasm. 4 be detached or detachable
(from). 5 fall (from). 6 be reduced or subtracted from (њ5
came off the price). come off it (as imper.) colloq. an
expression of disbelief or refusal to accept another's opinion,
behaviour, etc. come on 1 continue to come. 2 advance, esp. to
attack. 3 make progress; thrive (is really coming on). 4
(foll. by to + infin.) begin (it came on to rain). 5 appear on
the stage, field of play, etc. 6 be heard or seen on
television, on the telephone, etc. 7 arise to be discussed. 8
(as imper.) expressing encouragement. 9 = come upon. come-on
n. sl. a lure or enticement. come out 1 emerge; become known
(it came out that he had left). 2 appear or be published (comes
out every Saturday). 3 a declare oneself; make a decision (came
out in favour of joining). b openly declare that one is a
homosexual. 4 Brit. go on strike. 5 a be satisfactorily
visible in a photograph etc., or present in a specified way (the
dog didn't come out; he came out badly). b (of a photograph) be
produced satisfactorily or in a specified way (only three have
come out; they all came out well). 6 attain a specified result
in an examination etc. 7 (of a stain etc.) be removed. 8 make
one's d‚but on stage or in society. 9 (foll. by in) be covered
with (came out in spots). 10 (of a problem) be solved. 11
(foll. by with) declare openly; disclose. come over 1 come from
some distance or nearer to the speaker (came over from Paris;
come over here a moment). 2 change sides or one's opinion. 3 a
(of a feeling etc.) overtake or affect (a person). b colloq.
feel suddenly (came over faint). 4 appear or sound in a
specified way (you came over very well; the ideas came over
clearly). 5 affect or influence (I don't know what came over
me). come round 1 pay an informal visit. 2 recover
consciousness. 3 be converted to another person's opinion. 4
(of a date or regular occurrence) recur; be imminent again.
come through 1 be successful; survive. 2 be received by
telephone. 3 survive or overcome (a difficulty) (came through
the ordeal). come to 1 recover consciousness. 2 Naut. bring a
vessel to a stop. 3 reach in total; amount to. 4 refl. a
recover consciousness. b stop being foolish. 5 have as a
destiny; reach (what is the world coming to?). come to hand
become available; be recovered. come to light see LIGHT(1).
come to nothing have no useful result in the end; fail. come to
pass happen, occur. come to rest cease moving. come to one's
senses see SENSE. come to that colloq. in fact; if that is the
case. come under 1 be classified as or among. 2 be subject to
(influence or authority). come up 1 come to a place or position
regarded as higher. 2 attain wealth or position (come up in the
world ). 3 (of an issue, problem, etc.) arise; present itself;
be mentioned or discussed. 4 (often foll. by to) a approach a
person, esp. to talk. b approach or draw near to a specified
time, event, etc. (is coming up to eight o'clock). 5 (foll. by
to) match (a standard etc.). 6 (foll. by with) produce (an idea
etc.), esp. in response to a challenge. 7 (of a plant etc.)
spring up out of the ground. 8 become brighter (e.g. with
polishing); shine more brightly. come up against be faced with
or opposed by. come upon 1 meet or find by chance. 2 attack by
surprise. come what may no matter what happens. have it coming
to one colloq. be about to get one's deserts. how come?
colloq. how did that happen? if it comes to that in that case.
to come future; in the future (the year to come; many problems
were still to come). [OE cuman f. Gmc]
comeback n. 1 a return to a previous (esp. successful) state. 2 sl. a
retaliation or retort. 3 Austral. a sheep bred from crossbred
and purebred parents for both wool and meat.
Comecon n. an economic association of Communist countries in E. Europe.
[abbr. of Council for Mutual Economic Assistance]
comedian n. 1 a humorous entertainer on stage, television, etc. 2 an
actor in comedy. [F com‚dien f. com‚die COMEDY]
n. a female comedian. [F fem. (as COMEDIAN)]
comedist n. a writer of comedies.
comedo n. (pl. comedones) Med. a blackhead. [L, = glutton f.
comedere eat up]
comedown n. 1 a loss of status; decline or degradation. 2 a
comedy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a play, film, etc., of an amusing or
satirical character, usu. with a happy ending. b the dramatic
genre consisting of works of this kind (she excels in comedy)
(cf. TRAGEDY). 2 an amusing or farcical incident or series of
incidents in everyday life. 3 humour, esp. in a work of art
etc. Ьcomedy of manners see MANNER. ЬЬcomedic adj. [ME f. OF
comedie f. L comoedia f. Gk komoidia f. komoidos comic poet f.
comely adj. (comelier, comeliest) (usu. of a woman) pleasant to look
at. ЬЬcomeliness n. [ME cumelich, cumli prob. f. becumelich
comer n. 1 a person who comes, esp. as an applicant, participant,
etc. (offered the job to the first comer). 2 colloq. a person
likely to be a success. Ьall comers any applicants (with
reference to a position, or esp. a challenge to a champion, that
is unrestricted in entry).
n. (usu. in pl.) formal or joc. food. [ME f. F f. med.L
comestibilis f. L comedere comest- eat up]
comet n. a hazy object usu. with a nucleus of ice and dust surrounded
by gas and with a tail pointing away from the sun, moving about
the sun in an eccentric orbit. ЬЬcometary adj. [ME f. OF
comete f. L cometa f. Gk kometes long-haired (star)]
n. colloq. one's deserved fate or punishment (got his
comeuppance). [COME + UP + -ANCE]
comfit n. archaic a sweet consisting of a nut, seed, etc., coated in
sugar. [ME f. OF confit f. L confectum past part. of conficere
prepare: see CONFECTION]
comfort n. & v. --n. 1 consolation; relief in affliction. 2 a a state
of physical well-being; being comfortable (live in comfort). b
(usu. in pl.) things that make life easy or pleasant (has all
the comforts). 3 a cause of satisfaction (a comfort to me that
you are here). 4 a person who consoles or helps one (he's a
comfort to her in her old age). 5 US a warm quilt. --v.tr. 1
soothe in grief; console. 2 make comfortable (comforted by the
warmth of the fire). Ьcomfort station US euphem. a public
lavatory. [ME f. OF confort(er) f. LL confortare strengthen (as
COM-, L fortis strong)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 ministering to comfort; giving ease (a
comfortable pair of shoes). 2 free from discomfort; at ease
(I'm quite comfortable thank you). 3 colloq. having an adequate
standard of living; free from financial worry. 4 having an easy
conscience (did not feel comfortable about refusing him). 5
with a wide margin (a comfortable win). --n. US a warm quilt.
ЬЬcomfortableness n. comfortably adv. [ME f. AF confortable
comforter n. 1 a person who comforts. 2 a baby's dummy. 3 archaic a
woollen scarf. 4 US a warm quilt. [ME f. AF confortour, OF
-‰or (as COMFORT)]
adj. 1 dreary, cheerless. 2 without comfort.
comfrey n. (pl. -eys) any of various plants of the genus Symphytum,
esp. S. officinale having large hairy leaves and clusters of
usu. white or purple bell-shaped flowers. [ME f. AF cumfrie,
ult. f. L conferva (as COM-, fervere boil)]
comic adj. & n. --adj. 1 (often attrib.) of, or in the style of,
comedy (a comic actor; comic opera). 2 causing or meant to
cause laughter; funny (comic to see his struggles). --n. 1 a
professional comedian. 2 a a children's periodical, mainly in
the form of comic strips. b a similar publication intended for
adults. Ьcomic opera 1 an opera with much spoken dialogue, usu.
with humorous treatment. 2 this genre of opera. comic strip a
horizontal series of drawings in a comic, newspaper, etc.,
telling a story. [L comicus f. Gk komikos f. komos revel]
comical adj. funny; causing laughter. ЬЬcomicality n. comically adv.
coming adj. & n. --attrib.adj. 1 approaching, next (in the coming
week; this coming Sunday). 2 of potential importance (a coming
man). --n. arrival; approach.
Comintern n. the Third International (see INTERNATIONAL n. 2), a
communist organization (1919-43). [Russ. Komintern f. Russ.
forms of communist, international]
comitadji n. (also komitadji, komitaji) a member of an irregular band of
soldiers in the Balkans. [Turk. komitaci, lit. 'member of a
comity n. (pl. -ies) 1 courtesy, civility; considerate behaviour
towards others. 2 a an association of nations etc. for mutual
benefit. b (in full comity of nations) the mutual recognition
by nations of the laws and customs of others. [L comitas f.
comma n. 1 a punctuation mark (,) indicating a pause between parts of
a sentence, or dividing items in a list, string of figures, etc.
2 Mus. a definite minute interval or difference of pitch.
Ьcomma bacillus a comma-shaped bacillus causing cholera. [L f.
Gk komma clause]
command v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by to + infin., or that +
clause) give formal order or instructions to (commands us to
obey; commands that it be done). 2 (also absol.) have authority
or control over. 3 a (often refl.) restrain, master. b gain
the use of; have at one's disposal or within reach (skill,
resources, etc.) (commands an extensive knowledge of history;
commands a salary of њ40,000). 4 deserve and get (sympathy,
respect, etc.). 5 Mil. dominate (a strategic position) from a
superior height; look down over. --n. 1 an authoritative
order; an instruction. 2 mastery, control, possession (a good
command of languages; has command of the resources). 3 the
exercise or tenure of authority, esp. naval or military (has
command of this ship). 4 Mil. a a body of troops etc. (Bomber
Command). b a district under a commander (Western Command). 5
Computing a an instruction causing a computer to perform one of
its basic functions. b a signal initiating such an operation.
Ьat command ready to be used at will. at (or by) a person's
command in pursuance of a person's bidding. command module the
control compartment in a spacecraft. Command Paper (in the UK)
a paper laid before Parliament by command of the Crown. command
performance (in the UK) a theatrical or film performance given
by royal command. command post the headquarters of a military
unit. in command of commanding; having under control. under
command of commanded by. word of command 1 Mil. an order for a
movement in a drill etc. 2 a prearranged spoken signal for the
start of an operation. [ME f. AF comaunder, OF comander f. LL
n. a commanding officer, esp. of a particular force, military
academy, etc. ЬCommandant-in-Chief the supreme commandant.
ЬЬcommandantship n. [F commandant, or It. or Sp. commandante
v.tr. 1 seize (men or goods) for military purposes. 2 take
possession of without authority. [S.Afr. Du. kommanderen f. F
commander n. 1 a person who commands, esp.: a a naval officer next in
rank below captain. b = wing commander. 2 an officer in charge
of a London police district. 3 (in full knight commander) a
member of a higher class in some orders of knighthood. 4 a
large wooden mallet. Ьcommander-in-chief the supreme commander,
esp. of a nation's forces. Commander of the Faithful a title of
a Caliph. ЬЬcommandership n. [ME f. OF comandere, -e”r f. Rmc
adj. 1 dignified, exalted, impressive. 2 (of a hill or other
high point) giving a wide view. 3 (of an advantage, a position,
etc.) controlling; superior (has a commanding lead).
n. a divine command. Ьthe Ten Commandments the divine rules of
conduct given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, according to Exod.
20:1-17. [ME f. OF comandement (as COMMAND)]
commando n. (pl. -os) Mil. 1 a a unit of British amphibious shock
troops. b a member of such a unit. c a similar unit or member
of such a unit elsewhere. 2 a a party of men called out for
military service. b a body of troops. 3 (attrib.) of or
concerning a commando (a commando operation). [Port. f.
comme ci, comme ‡a
adv. & adj. so so; middling or middlingly. [F, = like this,
n. an improvised kind of popular comedy in Italian theatres in
the 16th-18th c., based on stock characters. [It., = comedy of
comme il faut
adj. & adv. --predic.adj. (esp. of behaviour, etiquette, etc.)
proper, correct. --adv. properly, correctly. [F, = as is
v.tr. 1 celebrate in speech or writing. 2 a preserve in memory
by some celebration. b (of a stone, plaque, etc.) be a memorial
of. ЬЬcommemorative adj. commemorator n. [L commemorare (as
COM-, memorare relate f. memor mindful)]
n. 1 an act of commemorating. 2 a service or part of a service
in memory of a person, an event, etc. [ME f. F commemoration or
L commemoratio (as COMMEMORATE)]
commence v.tr. & intr. formal begin. [ME f. OF com(m)encier f. Rmc (as
COM-, L initiare INITIATE)]
n. formal 1 a beginning. 2 esp. US a ceremony of degree
conferment. [ME f. OF (as COMMENCE)]
commend v.tr. 1 (often foll. by to) entrust, commit (commends his soul
to God). 2 praise (commends her singing voice). 3 recommend
(method commends itself). Ьcommend me to archaic remember me
kindly to. highly commended (of a competitor etc.) just missing
the top places. [ME f. L commendare (as COM-, mendare = mandare
entrust: see MANDATE)]
adj. praiseworthy. ЬЬcommendably adv. [ME f. OF f. L
commendabilis (as COMMEND)]
n. 1 an act of commending or recommending (esp. a person to
another's favour). 2 praise. [ME f. OF f. L commendatio (as
commensal adj. & n. --adj. 1 Biol. of, relating to, or exhibiting
commensalism. 2 (of a person) eating at the same table as
another. --n. 1 Biol. a commensal organism. 2 one who eats at
the same table as another. ЬЬcommensality n. [ME f. F
commensal or med.L commensalis (in sense 2) (as COM-, mensa
n. Biol. an association between two organisms in which one
benefits and the other derives no benefit or harm.
adj. 1 (often foll. by with, to) measurable by the same
standard. 2 (foll. by to) proportionate to. 3 Math. (of
numbers) in a ratio equal to the ratio of integers.
ЬЬcommensurability n. commensurably adv. [LL commensurabilis
(as COM-, MEASURE)]
adj. 1 (usu. foll. by with) having the same size, duration,
etc.; coextensive. 2 (often foll. by to, with) proportionate.
ЬЬcommensurately adv. [LL commensuratus (as COM-, MEASURE)]
comment n. & v. --n. 1 a a remark, esp. critical; an opinion (passed a
comment on her hat). b commenting; criticism (his behaviour
aroused much comment; an hour of news and comment). 2 a an
explanatory note (e.g. on a written text). b written criticism
or explanation (e.g. of a text). 3 (of a play, book, etc.) a
critical illustration; a parable (his art is a comment on
society). --v.intr. 1 (often foll. by on, upon, or that +
clause) make (esp. critical) remarks (commented on her choice of
friends). 2 (often foll. by on, upon) write explanatory notes.
Ьno comment colloq. I decline to answer your question.
ЬЬcommenter n. [ME f. L commentum contrivance (in LL also =
interpretation), neut. past part. of comminisci devise, or F
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a set of explanatory or critical notes on a
text etc. 2 a descriptive spoken account (esp. on radio or
television) of an event or a performance as it happens. [L
commentarius, -ium adj. used as noun (as COMMENT)]
v.intr. disp. act as a commentator. [back-form. f.
n. 1 a person who provides a commentary on an event etc. 2 the
writer of a commentary. 3 a person who writes or speaks on
current events. [L f. commentari frequent. of comminisci
commerce n. 1 financial transactions, esp. the buying and selling of
merchandise, on a large scale. 2 social intercourse (the daily
commerce of gossip and opinion). 3 archaic sexual intercourse.
[F commerce or L commercium (as COM-, mercium f. merx mercis
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of, engaged in, or concerned with,
commerce. 2 having profit as a primary aim rather than artistic
etc. value; philistine. 3 (of chemicals) supplied in bulk more
or less unpurified. --n. 1 a television or radio
advertisement. 2 archaic a commercial traveller. Ьcommercial
art art used in advertising, selling, etc. commercial
broadcasting television or radio broadcasting in which
programmes are financed by advertisements. commercial traveller
a firm's travelling salesman or saleswoman who visits shops to
get orders. commercial vehicle a vehicle used for carrying
goods or fare-paying passengers. ЬЬcommercialism n.
commerciality n. commercially adv.
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 exploit or spoil for the purpose of gaining
profit. 2 make commercial. ЬЬcommercialization n.
commЉre n. Brit. a female compЉre. [F, fem. of COMP°RE]
Commie n. sl. derog. a Communist. [abbr.]
n. 1 the threatening of divine vengeance. 2 a the recital of
divine threats against sinners in the Anglican Liturgy for Ash
Wednesday. b the service that includes this. [ME f. L
comminatio f. comminari threaten]
comminute v.tr. 1 reduce to small fragments. 2 divide (property) into
small portions. Ьcomminuted fracture a fracture producing
multiple bone splinters. ЬЬcomminution n. [L comminuere
comminut- (as COM-, minuere lessen)]
commis n. (pl. commis) a junior waiter or chef. [orig. = deputy,
clerk, f. F, past part. of commettre entrust (as COMMIT)]
v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by with) express or feel pity. 2 tr.
archaic express or feel pity for (commiserate you on your loss).
ЬЬcommiseration n. commiserative adj. commiserator n. [L
commiserari (as COM-, miserari pity f. miser wretched)]
commissar n. 1 an official of the Soviet Communist Party responsible for
political education and organization. 2 hist. the head of a
government department in the USSR before 1946. [Russ. komissar
f. F commissaire (as COMMISSARY)]
n. 1 esp. Mil. a a department for the supply of food etc. b
the food supplied. 2 hist. a government department of the USSR
before 1946. [F commissariat & med.L commissariatus (as
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a deputy or delegate. 2 a representative or
deputy of a bishop. 3 Mil. an officer responsible for the
supply of food etc. to soldiers. 4 US a a restaurant in a film
studio etc. b the food supplied. 5 US Mil. a store for the
supply of food etc. to soldiers. ЬЬcommissarial adj.
commissaryship n. [ME f. med.L commissarius person in charge
n. & v. --n. 1 a the authority to perform a task or certain
duties. b a person or group entrusted esp. by a government with
such authority (set up a commission to look into it). c an
instruction, command, or duty given to such a group or person
(their commission was to simplify the procedure; my commission
was to find him). 2 an order for something, esp. a work of art,
to be produced specially. 3 Mil. a a warrant conferring the
rank of officer in the army, navy, or air force. b the rank so
conferred. 4 a the authority to act as agent for a company etc.
in trade. b a percentage paid to the agent from the profits of
goods etc. sold, or business obtained (his wages are low, but he
gets 20 per cent commission). c the pay of a commissioned
agent. 5 the act of committing (a crime, sin, etc.). 6 the
office or department of a commissioner. --v.tr. 1 authorize or
empower by a commission. 2 a give (an artist etc.) a commission
for a piece of work. b order (a work) to be written
(commissioned a new concerto). 3 Naut. a give (an officer) the
command of a ship. b prepare (a ship) for active service. 4
bring (a machine, equipment, etc.) into operation.
Ьcommission-agent a bookmaker. commission of the peace 1
Justices of the Peace. 2 the authority given to them. in
commission (of a warship etc.) manned, armed, and ready for
service. out of commission (esp. of a ship) not in service, not
in working order. Royal Commission 1 a commission of inquiry
appointed by the Crown at the instance of the Government. 2 a
committee so appointed. [ME f. OF f. L commissio -onis (as
n. esp. Brit. a uniformed door-attendant at a theatre,
cinema, etc. [F (as COMMISSIONER)]
n. 1 a person appointed by a commission to perform a specific
task, e.g. the head of the London police, a delegate to the
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, etc. 2 a person
appointed as a member of a government commission (Charity
Commissioner; Civil Service Commissioner). 3 a representative
of the supreme authority in a district, department, etc.
ЬCommissioner for Oaths a solicitor authorized to administer an
oath to a person making an affidavit. Lord (or Lord High)
Commissioner the representative of the Crown at the General
Assembly of the Church of Scotland. [ME f. med.L
commissionarius (as COMMISSION)]
n. 1 a junction, joint, or seam. 2 Anat. a the joint between
two bones. b a band of nerve tissue connecting the hemispheres
of the brain, the two sides of the spinal cord, etc. c the line
where the upper and lower lips, or eyelids, meet. 3 Bot. any of
several joints etc. between different parts of a plant.
ЬЬcommissural adj. [ME f. L commissura junction (as COMMIT)]
commit v.tr. (committed, committing) 1 (usu. foll. by to) entrust or
consign for: a safe keeping (I commit him to your care). b
treatment, usu. destruction (committed the book to the flames).
2 perpetrate, do (esp. a crime, sin, or blunder). 3 pledge,
involve, or bind (esp. oneself) to a certain course or policy
(does not like committing herself; committed by the vow he had
made). 4 (as committed adj.) (often foll. by to) a morally
dedicated or politically aligned (a committed Christian;
committed to the cause; a committed socialist). b obliged (to
take certain action) (felt committed to staying there). 5
Polit. refer (a bill etc.) to a committee. Ьcommit to memory
memorize. commit to prison consign officially to custody, esp.
on remand. ЬЬcommittable adj. committer n. [ME f. L
committere join, entrust (as COM-, mittere miss- send)]
n. 1 an engagement or (esp. financial) obligation that
restricts freedom of action. 2 the process or an instance of
committing oneself; a pledge or undertaking.
committal n. 1 the act of committing a person to an institution, esp.
prison or a mental hospital. 2 the burial of a dead body.
committee n. 1 a a body of persons appointed for a specific function by,
and usu. out of, a larger body. b such a body appointed by
Parliament etc. to consider the details of proposed legislation.
c (Committee) Brit. the whole House of Commons when sitting as a
committee. 2 Law a person entrusted with the charge of another
person or another person's property. Ьcommittee-man (pl. -men;
fem. committee-woman, pl. -women) a member of a committee,
esp. a habitual member of committees. committee stage Brit.
the third of five stages of a bill's progress through Parliament