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
SA abbr. 1 Salvation Army. 2 sex appeal. 3 a South Africa. b
South America. c South Australia. 4 hist. Sturmabteilung (the
paramilitary force of the Nazi party).
sabadilla n. 1 a Mexican plant, Schoenocaulon officinale, with seeds
yielding veratrine. 2 a preparation of these seeds, used in
medicine and agriculture. [Sp. cebadilla dimin. of cebada
Sabaoth n.pl. Bibl. heavenly hosts (see HOST(1) 2) (Lord of Sabaoth).
[ME f. LL f. Gk Sabaoth f. Heb. sebaot pl. of sabѓ host (of
n. & adj. --n. 1 a strict sabbath-keeping Jew. 2 a Christian
who favours observing Sunday strictly as the sabbath. 3 a
Christian who observes Saturday as the sabbath. --adj. relating
to or holding the tenets of Sabbatarians. ЬЬSabbatarianism n.
[LL sabbatarius f. L sabbatum: see SABBATH]
sabbath n. 1 (in full sabbath day) a day of rest and religious
observance kept by Christians on Sunday, Jews on Saturday, and
Muslims on Friday. 2 a period of rest. 3 (in full witches'
sabbath) a supposed general midnight meeting of witches with the
Devil. [OE sabat, L sabbatum, & OF sabbat, f. Gk sabbaton f.
Heb. sabbat f. sabat to rest]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or appropriate to the sabbath. 2 (of
leave) granted at intervals to a university teacher for study or
travel, orig. every seventh year. --n. a period of sabbatical
leave. Ьsabbatical year 1 Bibl. every seventh year, prescribed
by the Mosaic law to be observed as a 'sabbath', during which
the land was allowed to rest. 2 a year's sabbatical leave.
ЬЬsabbatically adv. [LL sabbaticus f. Gk sabbatikos of the
saber US var. of SABRE.
Sabian adj. & n. --adj. of a sect classed in the Koran with Muslims,
Jews, and Christians, as believers in the true God. --n. a
member of this sect. [Arab. sabi']
sabicu n. 1 a W. Indian tree, Lysiloma latisiliqua, grown for timber.
2 the mahogany-like wood of this tree. [Cuban Sp. sabicЈ]
Sabine adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to a people of the central
Apennines in ancient Italy. --n. a member of this people. [L
n. an oral vaccine giving immunity against poliomyelitis. [A.
B. Sabin, US virologist b. 1906]
sable(1) n. 1 a a small brown-furred flesh-eating mammal, Martes
zibellina, of N. Europe and parts of N. Asia, related to the
marten. b its skin or fur. 2 a fine paintbrush made of sable
fur. [ME f. OF f. med.L sabelum f. Slav.]
sable(2) n. & adj. --n. 1 esp. poet. black. 2 (in pl.) mourning
garments. 3 (in full sable antelope) a large stout-horned
African antelope, Hippotragus niger, the males of which are
mostly black in old age. --adj. 1 (usu. placed after noun)
Heraldry black. 2 esp. poet. dark, gloomy. ЬЬsabled adj.
sably adv. [ME f. OF (in Heraldry): gen. taken to be identical
with SABLE(1), although sable fur is dark brown]
sabot n. 1 a kind of simple shoe hollowed out from a block of wood.
2 a wooden-soled shoe. 3 Austral. a small snub-nosed yacht.
ЬЬsaboted adj. [F, blend of savate shoe + botte boot]
sabotage n. & v. --n. deliberate damage to productive capacity, esp. as
a political act. --v.tr. 1 commit sabotage on. 2 destroy,
spoil; make useless (sabotaged my plans). [F f. saboter make a
noise with sabots, bungle, wilfully destroy: see SABOT]
saboteur n. a person who commits sabotage. [F]
sabra n. a Jew born in Israel. [mod. Heb. sabrah opuntia fruit]
sabre n. & v. (US saber) --n. 1 a cavalry sword with a curved blade.
2 a cavalry soldier and horse. 3 a light fencing-sword with a
tapering blade. --v.tr. cut down or wound with a sabre.
Ьsabre-bill any S. American bird of the genus Campylorhamphus
with a long curved bill. sabre-cut 1 a blow with a sabre. 2 a
wound made or a scar left by this. sabre-rattling a display or
threat of military force. sabre-toothed designating any of
various extinct mammals having long sabre-shaped upper canines.
sabre-wing a S. American humming-bird, Campylopterus falcatus,
with curved wings. [F, earlier sable f. G Sabel, S„bel, Schabel
f. Pol. szabla or Magyar szablya]
n. a flat satchel on long straps worn by some cavalry officers
from the left of the waist-belt. [F f. G S„beltasche (as SABRE,
sabreur n. a user of the sabre, esp. a cavalryman. [F f. sabrer SABRE
SAC abbr. (in the UK) Senior Aircraftman.
sac n. 1 a baglike cavity, enclosed by a membrane, in an animal or
plant. 2 the distended membrane surrounding a hernia, cyst,
tumour, etc. [F sac or L saccus SACK(1)]
saccade n. a brief rapid movement of the eye between fixation points.
ЬЬsaccadic adj. [F, = violent pull, f. OF saquer, sachier pull]
saccate adj. Bot. 1 dilated into a bag. 2 contained in a sac.
n. any instrument, esp. a polarimeter, for measuring the sugar
content of a solution. [F saccharimЉtre (as SACCHARIDE)]
saccharin n. a very sweet substance used as a non-fattening substitute
for sugar. [G (as SACCHARIDE) + -IN]
adj. 1 sugary. 2 of, containing, or like sugar. 3
unpleasantly over-polite, sentimental, etc.
saccharo- comb. form sugar; sugar and. [Gk sakkharon sugar]
adj. producing sugar.
n. any instrument, esp. a hydrometer, for measuring the sugar
content of a solution.
n. sucrose. [mod.L saccharum sugar + -OSE(2)]
sacciform adj. sac-shaped. [L saccus sac + -FORM]
saccule n. a small sac or cyst. ЬЬsaccular adj. [L sacculus (as SAC)]
adj. 1 of priests or the priestly office; priestly. 2 (of a
doctrine etc.) ascribing sacrificial functions and supernatural
powers to ordained priests; claiming excessive authority for the
priesthood. ЬЬsacerdotalism n. sacerdotalist n. sacerdotally
adv. [ME f. OF sacerdotal or L sacerdotalis f. sacerdos -dotis
sachem n. 1 the supreme chief of some American Indian tribes. 2 US a
political leader. [Narraganset, = SAGAMORE]
sachet n. 1 a small bag or packet containing a small portion of a
substance, esp. shampoo. 2 a small perfumed bag. 3 a dry
perfume for laying among clothes etc. b a packet of this. [F,
dimin. of sac f. L saccus]
sack(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a large strong bag, usu. made of hessian,
paper, or plastic, for storing or conveying goods. b (usu.
foll. by of) this with its contents (a sack of potatoes). c a
quantity contained in a sack. 2 (prec. by the) colloq.
dismissal from employment. 3 (prec. by the) US sl. bed. 4 a a
woman's short loose dress with a sacklike appearance. b archaic
or hist. a woman's loose gown, or a silk train attached to the
shoulders of this. 5 a man's or woman's loose-hanging coat not
shaped to the back. --v.tr. 1 put into a sack or sacks. 2
colloq. dismiss from employment. Ьsack race a race between
competitors in sacks up to the waist or neck. ЬЬsackful n.
(pl. -fuls). sacklike adj. [OE sacc f. L saccus f. Gk sakkos,
of Semitic orig.]
sack(2) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 plunder and destroy (a captured town etc.).
2 steal valuables from (a place). --n. the sacking of a
captured place. [orig. as noun, f. F sac in phr. mettre … sac
put to sack, f. It. sacco SACK(1)]
sack(3) n. hist. a white wine formerly imported into Britain from
Spain and the Canaries (sherry sack). [16th-c. wyne seck, f. F
vin sec dry wine]
sackbut n. an early form of trombone. [F saquebute, earlier saqueboute
hook for pulling a man off a horse f. saquer pull, boute (as
sackcloth n. 1 a coarse fabric of flax or hemp. 2 clothing made of this,
formerly worn as a penance or in mourning (esp. sackcloth and
sacking n. material for making sacks; sackcloth.
sacra pl. of SACRUM.
sacral adj. 1 Anat. of or relating to the sacrum. 2 Anthropol. of or
for sacred rites. [E or L sacrum: see SACRUM]
sacrament n. 1 a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Churches
regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual
grace: applied by the Eastern, pre-Reformation Western, and
Roman Catholic Churches to the seven rites of baptism,
confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, extreme unction,
ordination, and matrimony, but restricted by most Protestants to
baptism and the Eucharist. 2 a thing of mysterious and sacred
significance; a sacred influence, symbol, etc. 3 (also Blessed
or Holy Sacrament) (prec. by the) a the Eucharist. b the
consecrated elements, esp. the bread or Host. 4 an oath or
solemn engagement taken. [ME f. OF sacrement f. L sacramentum
solemn oath etc. f. sacrare hallow f. sacer SACRED, used in
Christian L as transl. of Gk musterion MYSTERY(1)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or of the nature of a sacrament or the
sacrament. 2 (of a doctrine etc.) attaching great importance to
the sacraments. --n. an observance analogous to but not
reckoned among the sacraments, e.g. the use of holy water or the
sign of the cross. ЬЬsacramentalism n. sacramentalist n.
sacramentality n. sacramentally adv. [ME f. F sacramental or
LL sacramentalis (as SACRAMENT)]
sacrarium n. (pl. sacraria) 1 the sanctuary of a church. 2 RC Ch. a
piscina. 3 Rom. Antiq. a shrine; the room (in a house)
containing the penates. [L f. sacer sacri holy]
sacred adj. 1 a (often foll. by to) exclusively dedicated or
appropriated (to a god or to some religious purpose). b made
holy by religious association. c connected with religion; used
for a religious purpose (sacred music). 2 a safeguarded or
required by religion, reverence, or tradition. b sacrosanct. 3
(of writings etc.) embodying the laws or doctrines of a
religion. ЬSacred College RC Ch. the body of cardinals.
sacred cow colloq. an idea or institution unreasonably held to
be above criticism (with ref. to the Hindus' respect for the cow
as a holy animal). Sacred Heart RC Ch. the heart of Christ as
an object of devotion. sacred number a number associated with
religious symbolism, e.g. 7. ЬЬsacredly adv. sacredness n.
[ME, past part. of obs. sacre consecrate f. OF sacrer f. L
sacrare f. sacer sacri holy]
sacrifice n. & v. --n. 1 a the act of giving up something valued for the
sake of something else more important or worthy. b a thing
given up in this way. c the loss entailed in this. 2 a the
slaughter of an animal or person or the surrender of a
possession as an offering to a deity. b an animal, person, or
thing offered in this way. 3 an act of prayer, thanksgiving, or
penitence as propitiation. 4 Theol. a Christ's offering of
himself in the Crucifixion. b the Eucharist as either a
propitiatory offering of the body and blood of Christ or an act
of thanksgiving. 5 (in games) a loss incurred deliberately to
avoid a greater loss or to obtain a compensating advantage.
--v. 1 tr. give up (a thing) as a sacrifice. 2 tr. (foll. by
to) devote or give over to. 3 tr. (also absol.) offer or kill
as a sacrifice. ЬЬsacrificial adj. sacrificially adv. [ME f.
OF f. L sacrificium f. sacrificus (as SACRED)]
sacrilege n. the violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred.
ЬЬsacrilegious adj. sacrilegiously adv. [ME f. OF f. L
sacrilegium f. sacrilegus stealer of sacred things, f. sacer
sacri sacred + legere take possession of]
sacring n. archaic 1 the consecration of the Eucharistic elements. 2
the ordination and consecration of a bishop, sovereign, etc.
Ьsacring bell a bell rung at the elevation of the elements in
the Eucharist. [ME f. obs. sacre: see SACRED]
sacristan n. 1 a person in charge of a sacristy and its contents. 2
archaic the sexton of a parish church. [ME f. med.L sacristanus
sacristy n. (pl. -ies) a room in a church, where the vestments, sacred
vessels, etc., are kept and the celebrant can prepare for a
service. [F sacristie or It. sacrestia or med.L sacristia (as
sacro- comb. form denoting the sacrum (sacro-iliac).
adj. (of a person, place, law, etc.) most sacred; inviolable.
ЬЬsacrosanctity n. [L sacrosanctus f. sacro ablat. of sacrum
sacred rite (see SACRED) + sanctus (as SAINT)]
sacrum n. (pl. sacra or sacrums) Anat. a triangular bone formed from
fused vertebrae and situated between the two hip-bones of the
pelvis. [L os sacrum transl. Gk hieron osteon sacred bone (from
its sacrificial use)]
SACW abbr. (in the UK) Senior Aircraftwoman.
SAD abbr. seasonal affective disorder.
sad adj. (sadder, saddest) 1 unhappy; feeling sorrow or regret. 2
causing or suggesting sorrow (a sad story). 3 regrettable. 4
shameful, deplorable (is in a sad state). 5 (of a colour) dull,
neutral-tinted. 6 (of dough etc.) heavy, having failed to rise.
Ьsad-iron a solid flat-iron. sad sack US colloq. a very inept
person. ЬЬsaddish adj. sadly adv. sadness n. [OE s‘d f. Gmc,
rel. to L satis]
sadden v.tr. & intr. make or become sad.
saddle n. & v. --n. 1 a seat of leather etc., usu. raised at the
front and rear, fastened on a horse etc. for riding. 2 a seat
for the rider of a bicycle etc. 3 a joint of meat consisting of
the two loins. 4 a ridge rising to a summit at each end. 5 the
part of a draught-horse's harness to which the shafts are
attached. 6 a part of an animal's back resembling a saddle in
shape or marking. 7 the rear part of a male fowl's back. 8 a
support for a cable or wire on top of a suspension-bridge, pier,
or telegraph-pole. 9 a fireclay bar for supporting ceramic ware
in a kiln. --v.tr. 1 put a saddle on (a horse etc.). 2 a
(foll. by with) burden (a person) with a task, responsibility,
etc. b (foll. by on, upon) impose (a burden) on a person. 3
(of a trainer) enter (a horse) for a race. Ьin the saddle 1
mounted. 2 in office or control. saddle-bag 1 each of a pair
of bags laid across a horse etc. behind the saddle. 2 a bag
attached behind the saddle of a bicycle or motor cycle.
saddle-bow the arched front or rear of a saddle. saddle-cloth a
cloth laid on a horse's back under the saddle. saddle-horse a
horse for riding. saddle-sore chafed by riding on a saddle.
saddle stitch a stitch of thread or a wire staple passed through
the centre of a magazine or booklet. saddle-tree 1 the frame of
a saddle. 2 a tulip-tree (with saddle-shaped leaves).
ЬЬsaddleless adj. [OE sadol, sadul f. Gmc]
n. 1 Archit. a tower-roof with two opposite gables. 2 a hill
with a concave upper outline. 3 a black pig with a white stripe
across the back. 4 any of various birds with a saddle-like
marking esp. a New Zealand bird, Philesturnus carunculatus.
saddler n. a maker of or dealer in saddles and other equipment for
saddlery n. (pl. -ies) 1 the saddles and other equipment of a saddler.
2 a saddler's business or premises.
Sadducee n. a member of a Jewish sect or party of the time of Christ
that denied the resurrection of the dead, the existence of
spirits, and the obligation of the traditional oral law (cf.
PHARISEE, ESSENE). ЬЬSadducean adj. [OE sadduceas f. LL
Sadducaeus f. Gk Saddoukaios f. Heb. sed–kЊ, prob. = descendant
of Zadok (2 Sam. 8:17)]
sadhu n. (in India) a holy man, sage, or ascetic. [Skr., = holy man]
sadism n. 1 a form of sexual perversion characterized by the enjoyment
of inflicting pain or suffering on others (cf. MASOCHISM). 2
colloq. the enjoyment of cruelty to others. ЬЬsadist n.
sadistic adj. sadistically adv. [F sadisme f. Count or
'Marquis' de Sade, Fr. writer d. 1814]
n. the combination of sadism and masochism in one person.
ЬЬsado-masochist n. sado-masochistic adj.
s.a.e. abbr. stamped addressed envelope.
safari n. (pl. safaris) 1 a hunting or scientific expedition, esp. in
E. Africa (go on safari). 2 a sightseeing trip to see African
animals in their natural habitat. Ьsafari park an enclosed area
where lions etc. are kept in relatively open spaces for public
viewing from vehicles driven through. safari suit a lightweight
suit usu. with short sleeves and four pleated pockets in the
jacket. [Swahili f. Arab. safara to travel]
safe adj. & n. --adj. 1 a free of danger or injury. b (often foll.
by from) out of or not exposed to danger (safe from their
enemies). 2 affording security or not involving danger or risk
(put it in a safe place). 3 reliable, certain; that can be
reckoned on (a safe catch; a safe method; is safe to win). 4
prevented from escaping or doing harm (have got him safe). 5
(also safe and sound) uninjured; with no harm done. 6 cautious
and unenterprising; consistently moderate. --n. 1 a strong
lockable cabinet etc. for valuables. 2 = meat safe. Ьon the
safe side with a margin of security against risks. safe bet a
bet that is certain to succeed. safe-breaker (or -blower or
-cracker) a person who breaks open and robs safes. safe conduct
1 a privilege of immunity from arrest or harm, esp. on a
particular occasion. 2 a document securing this. safe deposit
a building containing strongrooms and safes let separately.
safe house a place of refuge or rendezvous for spies etc. safe
keeping preservation in a safe place. safe light Photog. a
filtered light for use in a darkroom. safe period the time
during and near the menstrual period when conception is least
likely. safe seat a seat in Parliament etc. that is usually won
with a large margin by a particular party. safe sex sexual
activity in which precautions are taken to reduce the risk of
spreading sexually transmitted diseases, esp. Aids. ЬЬsafely
adv. safeness n. [ME f. AF saf, OF sauf f. L salvus uninjured:
(n.) orig. save f. SAVE(1)]
safeguard n. & v. --n. 1 a proviso, stipulation, quality, or
circumstance, that tends to prevent something undesirable. 2 a
safe conduct. --v.tr. guard or protect (rights etc.) by a
precaution or stipulation. [ME f. AF salve garde, OF sauve
garde (as SAFE, GUARD)]
safety n. (pl. -ies) 1 the condition of being safe; freedom from
danger or risks. 2 (attrib.) a designating any of various
devices for preventing injury from machinery (safety bar; safety
lock). b designating items of protective clothing (safety
helmet). Ьsafety-belt 1 = seat-belt. 2 a belt or strap
securing a person to prevent injury. safety-catch a contrivance
for locking a gun-trigger or preventing the accidental operation
of machinery. safety curtain a fireproof curtain that can be
lowered to cut off the auditorium in a theatre from the stage.
safety factor (or factor of safety) 1 the ratio of a material's
strength to an expected strain. 2 a margin of security against
risks. safety film a cinematographic film on a slow-burning or
non-flammable base. safety first a motto advising caution.
safety fuse 1 a fuse (see FUSE(2)) containing a slow-burning
composition for firing detonators from a distance. 2 Electr. a
protective fuse (see FUSE(1)). safety glass glass that will not
splinter when broken. safety harness a system of belts or
restraints to hold a person to prevent falling or injury.
safety lamp a miner's lamp so protected as not to ignite
firedamp. safety match a match igniting only on a specially
prepared surface. safety net a net placed to catch an acrobat
etc. in case of a fall. safety pin a pin with a point that is
bent back to the head and is held in a guard when closed.
safety razor a razor with a guard to reduce the risk of cutting
the skin. safety-valve 1 (in a steam boiler) a valve opening
automatically to relieve excessive pressure. 2 a means of
giving harmless vent to excitement etc. safety zone US an area
of a road marked off for pedestrians etc. to wait safely. [ME
sauvete f. OF sauvet‚ f. med.L salvitas -tatis f. L salvus (as
safflower n. 1 a a thistle-like plant, Carthamus tinctorius, yielding a
red dye. b its dried petals. 2 a dye made from these, used in
rouge etc. [Du. saffloer or G Safflor f. OF saffleur f. obs.
It. saffiore, of unkn. orig.]
saffron n. & adj. --n. 1 an orange flavouring and food colouring made
from the dried stigmas of the crocus, Crocus sativus. 2 the
colour of this. 3 = meadow saffron. --adj. saffron-coloured.
ЬЬsaffrony adj. [ME f. OF safran f. Arab. za' faran]
safranine n. (also safranin) any of a large group of mainly red dyes used
in biological staining etc. [F safranine (as SAFFRON): orig. of
dye from saffron]
sag v. & n. --v.intr. (sagged, sagging) 1 sink or subside under
weight or pressure, esp. unevenly. 2 have a downward bulge or
curve in the middle. 3 fall in price. 4 (of a ship) drift from
its course, esp. to leeward. --n. 1 a the amount that a rope
etc. sags. b the distance from the middle of its curve to a
straight line between its supports. 2 a sinking condition;
subsidence. 3 a fall in price. 4 Naut. a tendency to leeward.
ЬЬsaggy adj. [ME f. MLG sacken, Du. zakken subside]
saga n. 1 a long story of heroic achievement, esp. a medieval
Icelandic or Norwegian prose narrative. 2 a series of connected
books giving the history of a family etc. 3 a long involved
story. [ON, = narrative, rel. to SAW(3)]
sagacious adj. 1 mentally penetrating; gifted with discernment; having
practical wisdom. 2 acute-minded, shrewd. 3 (of a saying,
plan, etc.) showing wisdom. 4 (of an animal) exceptionally
intelligent; seeming to reason or deliberate. ЬЬsagaciously
adv. sagacity n. [L sagax sagacis]
sagamore n. = SACHEM 1. [Penobscot sagamo]
sage(1) n. 1 an aromatic herb, Salvia officinalis, with dull
greyish-green leaves. 2 its leaves used in cookery. Ьsage and
onion (or onions) a stuffing used with poultry, pork, etc. sage
Derby (or cheese) a cheese made with an infusion of sage which
flavours and mottles it. sage-green the colour of sage-leaves.
sage tea a medicinal infusion of sage-leaves. ЬЬsagy adj. [ME
f. OF sauge f. L salvia healing plant f. salvus safe]
sage(2) n. & adj. --n. 1 often iron. a profoundly wise man. 2 any of
the ancients traditionally regarded as the wisest of their time.
--adj. 1 profoundly wise, esp. from experience. 2 of or
indicating profound wisdom. 3 often iron. wise-looking;
solemn-faced. ЬЬsagely adv. sageness n. sageship n. [ME f.
OF ult. f. L sapere be wise]
sagebrush n. 1 a growth of shrubby aromatic plants of the genus
Artemisia, esp. A. tridentata, found in some semi-arid regions
of western N. America. 2 this plant.
saggar n. (also sagger) a protective fireclay box enclosing ceramic
ware while it is being fired. [prob. contr. of SAFEGUARD]
sagittal adj. Anat. 1 of or relating to the suture between the parietal
bones of the skull. 2 in the same plane as this, or in a
parallel plane. [F f. med.L sagittalis f. sagitta arrow]
n. 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as contained in
the figure of an archer. 2 a the ninth sign of the zodiac (the
Archer). b a person born when the sun is in this sign.
ЬЬSagittarian adj. & n. [ME f. L, = archer, f. sagitta arrow]
sagittate adj. Bot. & Zool. shaped like an arrowhead.
sago n. (pl. -os) 1 a kind of starch, made from the powdered pith
of the sago palm and used in puddings etc. 2 (in full sago
palm) any of several tropical palms and cycads, esp. Cycas
circinalis and Metroxylon sagu, from which sago is made. [Malay
sagu (orig. through Port.)]
saguaro n. (also sahuaro) (pl. -os) a giant cactus, Carnegiea
gigantea, of the SW United States and Mexico. [Mex. Sp.]
sahib n. 1 hist. (in India) a form of address, often placed after the
name, to European men. 2 colloq. a gentleman (pukka sahib).
[Urdu f. Arab. sahib friend, lord]
said past and past part. of SAY(1).
saiga n. an antelope, Saiga tatarica, of the Asian steppes. [Russ.]
sail n. & v. --n. 1 a piece of material (orig. canvas, now usu.
nylon etc.) extended on rigging to catch the wind and propel a
boat or ship. 2 a ship's sails collectively. 3 a a voyage or
excursion in a sailing-ship. b a voyage of specified duration.
4 a ship, esp. as discerned from its sails. 5 (collect.) ships
in a squadron or company (a fleet of twenty sail). 6 (in pl.)
Naut. a sl. a maker or repairer of sails. b hist. a chief
petty officer in charge of rigging. 7 a wind-catching
apparatus, usu. a set of boards, attached to the arm of a
windmill. 8 a the dorsal fin of a sailfish. b the tentacle of
a nautilus. c the float of a Portuguese man-of-war. --v. 1
intr. travel on water by the use of sails or engine-power. 2
tr. a navigate (a ship etc.). b travel on (a sea). 3 tr. set
(a toy boat) afloat. 4 intr. glide or move smoothly or in a
stately manner. 5 intr. (often foll. by through) colloq.
succeed easily (sailed through the exams). Ьsail-arm the arm of
a windmill. sail close to (or near) the wind 1 sail as nearly
against the wind as possible. 2 come close to indecency or
dishonesty; risk overstepping the mark. sail-fluke = MEGRIM(2).
sailing-boat (or -ship or -vessel) a vessel driven by sails.
sailing-master an officer navigating a ship, esp. Brit. a
yacht. sailing orders instructions to a captain regarding
departure, destination, etc. sail into colloq. attack
physically or verbally with force. take in sail 1 furl the sail
or sails of a vessel. 2 moderate one's ambitions. under sail
with sails set. ЬЬsailable adj. sailed adj. (also in comb.).
sailless adj. [OE segel f. Gmc]
sailboard n. a board with a mast and sail, used in windsurfing.
ЬЬsailboarder n. sailboarding n.
sailboat n. US a boat driven by sails.
sailcloth n. 1 canvas for sails. 2 a canvas-like dress material.
sailer n. a ship of specified sailing-power (a good sailer).
sailfish n. 1 any fish of the genus Istiophorus, with a large dorsal
fin. 2 a basking shark.
sailor n. 1 a seaman or mariner, esp. one below the rank of officer.
2 a person considered as liable or not liable to seasickness (a
good sailor). Ьsailor hat 1 a straw hat with a straight narrow
brim and flat top. 2 a hat with a turned-up brim in imitation
of a sailor's, worn by women and children. ЬЬsailoring n.
sailorless adj. sailorly adj. [var. of SAILER]
sailplane n. a glider designed for sustained flight.
sainfoin n. a leguminous plant, Onobrychis viciifolia, grown for fodder
and having pink flowers. [obs. F saintfoin f. mod.L sanum
foenum wholesome hay (because of its medicinal properties)]
saint n. & v. --n. (abbr. St or S; pl. Sts or SS) 1 a holy or (in
some Churches) a canonized person regarded as having a place in
heaven. 2 (Saint or St) the title of a saint or archangel,
hence the name of a church etc. (St Paul's) or (often with the
loss of the apostrophe) the name of a town etc. (St Andrews; St
Albans). 3 a very virtuous person; a person of great real or
affected holiness (would try the patience of a saint). 4 a
member of the company of heaven (with all the angels and
saints). 5 ( Bibl., archaic, and used by Puritans, Mormons,
etc.) one of God's chosen people; a member of the Christian
Church or one's own branch of it. --v.tr. 1 canonize; admit to
the calendar of saints. 2 call or regard as a saint. 3 (as
sainted adj.) sacred; of a saintly life; worthy to be regarded
as a saint. Ьmy sainted aunt see AUNT. saint's day a Church
festival in memory of a saint . ЬЬsaintdom n. sainthood n.
saintlike adj. saintling n. saintship n. [ME f. OF seint,
saint f. L sanctus holy, past part. of sancire consecrate]
St Andrew's cross
n. an X-shaped cross.
St Anthony cross
n. (also St Anthony's cross) a T-shaped cross.
St Anthony's fire
n. erysipelas or ergotism.
n. (in full St Bernard dog) 1 a very large dog of a breed orig.
kept to rescue travellers by the monks of the Hospice on the
Great St Bernard pass in the Alps. 2 this breed.
St Elmo's fire
n. a corposant.
St George's cross
n. a +-shaped cross, red on a white background.
St John's wort
n. any yellow-flowered plant of the genus Hypericum, esp. H.
St Leger n. a horse-race at Doncaster in England for three-year-olds.
[f. the founder's name]
St Luke's summer
n. Brit. a period of fine weather expected about 18 Oct.
saintly adj. (saintlier, saintliest) very holy or virtuous.
St Martin's summer
n. Brit. a period of fine weather expected about 11 Nov.
n. any plant of the genus Saintpaulia, esp. the African violet.
[Baron W. von Saint Paul, Ger. soldier d. 1910, its discoverer]
St Vitus's dance
n. = Sydenham's chorea (see CHOREA).
saith archaic 3rd sing. present of SAY(1).
saithe n. Sc. a codlike fish, Pollachius virens, with skin that soils
fingers like wet coal. Also called COALFISH, COLEY, POLLACK.
sake(1) n. (esp. for the sake of or for one's sake) 1 out of
consideration for; in the interest of; because of; owing to (for
my own sake as well as yours). 2 in order to please, honour,
get, or keep (for the sake of uniformity). Ьfor Christ's (or
God's or goodness' or Heaven's or Pete's etc.) sake an
expression of urgency, impatience, supplication, anger, etc.
for old times' sake in memory of former times. [OE sacu
contention, charge, fault, sake f. Gmc]
sake(2) n. a Japanese alcoholic drink made from rice. [Jap.]
saker n. 1 a large falcon, Falco cherrug, used in hawking, esp. the
larger female bird. 2 hist. an old form of cannon. [ME f. OF
sacre (in both senses), f. Arab. sakr]
saki n. (pl. sakis) any monkey of the genus Pithecia or Chiropotes,
native to S. America, having coarse fur and a long
non-prehensile tail. [F f. Tupi ‡ahy]
Sakta n. a member of a Hindu sect worshipping the Sakti. [Skr.
sakta relating to power or to the SAKTI]
Sakti n. (also sakti) (in Hinduism) the female principle, esp. when
personified as the wife of a god. [Skr. sakti power, divine
sal n. a N. Indian tree, Shorea robusta, yielding teaklike timber
and dammar resin. [Hindi sal]
salaam n. & v. --n. 1 the oriental salutation 'Peace'. 2 an Indian
obeisance, with or without the salutation, consisting of a low
bow of the head and body with the right palm on the forehead. 3
(in pl.) respectful compliments. --v. 1 tr. make a salaam to
(a person). 2 intr. make a salaam . [Arab. salam]
salable var. of SALEABLE.
salacious adj. 1 lustful; lecherous. 2 (of writings, pictures, talk,
etc.) tending to cause sexual desire. ЬЬsalaciously adv.
salaciousness n. salacity n. [L salax salacis f. salire leap]
salad n. 1 a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked
vegetables or herbs, usu. seasoned with oil, vinegar, etc. 2 a
vegetable or herb suitable for eating raw. Ьsalad cream creamy
salad-dressing. salad days a period of youthful inexperience.
salad-dressing a mixture of oil, vinegar, etc., used with salad.
[ME f. OF salade f. Prov. salada ult. f. L sal salt]
salade var. of SALLET.
n. 1 Zool. any tailed newtlike amphibian of the order Urodela,
esp. the genus Salamandra, once thought able to endure fire. 2
a mythical lizard-like creature credited with this property. 3
US = GOPHER(1) 1. 4 an elemental spirit living in fire. 5 a
red-hot iron used for lighting pipes, gunpowder, etc. 6 a metal
plate heated and placed over food to brown it. ЬЬsalamandrian
adj. salamandrine adj. salamandroid adj. & n. (in sense 1).
[ME f. OF salamandre f. L salamandra f. Gk salamandra]
salami n. (pl. salamis) a highly-seasoned orig. Italian sausage often
flavoured with garlic. [It., pl. of salame, f. LL salare
(unrecorded) to salt]
n. ammonium chloride, a white crystalline salt. [L sal
ammoniacus 'salt of Ammon', associated with the Roman temple of
Ammon in N. Africa]
salariat n. the salaried class. [F f. salaire (see SALARY), after
salary n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) a fixed regular payment, usu. monthly
or quarterly, made by an employer to an employee, esp. a
professional or white-collar worker (cf. WAGE n. 1). --v.tr.
(-ies, -ied) (usu. as salaried adj.) pay a salary to. [ME f. AF
salarie, OF salaire f. L salarium orig. soldier's salt-money f.
sale n. 1 the exchange of a commodity for money etc.; an act or
instance of selling. 2 the amount sold (the sales were
enormous). 3 the rapid disposal of goods at reduced prices for
a period esp. at the end of a season etc. 4 a an event at which
goods are sold. b a public auction. Ьon (or for) sale offered
for purchase. sale of work an event where goods made by
parishioners etc. are sold for charity. sale or return an
arrangement by which a purchaser takes a quantity of goods with
the right of returning surplus goods without payment. sale-ring
a circle of buyers at an auction. sales clerk US a salesman or
saleswoman in a shop. sales department etc. the section of a
firm concerned with selling as opposed to manufacturing or
dispatching goods. sales engineer a salesperson with technical
knowledge of the goods and their market. sales resistance the
opposition or apathy of a prospective customer etc. to be
overcome by salesmanship. sales talk persuasive talk to promote
the sale of goods or the acceptance of an idea etc. sales tax a
tax on sales or on the receipts from sales. [OE sala f. ON]
saleable adj. (also salable) fit to be sold; finding purchasers.
salep n. a starchy preparation of the dried tubers of various
orchids, used in cookery and formerly medicinally. [F f. Turk.
salep f. Arab. (kusa-' l-) ta' lab fox, fox's testicles]
saleratus n. US an ingredient of baking powder consisting mainly of
potassium or sodium bicarbonate. [mod.L sal aeratus aerated
saleroom n. esp. Brit. a room in which items are sold at auction.
salesgirl n. a saleswoman.
Salesian n. & adj. --n. a member of an educational religious order
within the RC Church. --adj. of or relating to this order. [St
Fran‡ois de Sales, Fr. RC bishop d. 1622]
saleslady n. (pl. -ies) a saleswoman.
salesman n. (pl. -men; fem. saleswoman, pl. -women) 1 a person
employed to sell goods in a shop, or as an agent between the
producer and retailer. 2 US a commercial traveller.
n. 1 skill in selling. 2 the techniques used in selling.
n. a salesman or saleswoman (used as a neutral alternative).
salesroom n. US = SALEROOM.
Salian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Salii, a 4th-c. Frankish
people living near the River Ijssel, from which the Merovingians
were descended. --n. a member of this people. [LL Salii]
Salic adj. = SALIAN. ЬSalic law hist. 1 a law excluding females
from dynastic succession, esp. as the alleged fundamental law of
the French monarchy. 2 a Frankish law-book extant in
Merovingian and Carolingian times. [F Salique or med.L Salicus
f. Salii (as SALIAN)]
salicet n. an organ stop like a salicional but one octave higher. [as
salicin n. (also salicine) a bitter crystalline glucoside with
analgesic properties, obtained from poplar and willow bark. [F
salicine f. L salix -icis willow]
n. an organ stop with a soft reedy tone like that of a
willow-pipe. [G f. L salix as SALICIN]
n. a bitter chemical used as a fungicide and in the manufacture
of aspirin and dyestuffs. ЬЬsalicylate n. [salicyl its radical
f. F salicyle (as SALICIN)]
salient adj. & n. --adj. 1 jutting out; prominent; conspicuous, most
noticeable. 2 (of an angle, esp. in fortification) pointing
outwards (opp. RE-ENTRANT). 3 Heraldry (of a lion etc.)
standing on its hind legs with the forepaws raised. 4 archaic a
leaping or dancing. b (of water etc.) jetting forth. --n. a
salient angle or part of a work in fortification; an outward
bulge in a line of military attack or defence. Ьsalient point
archaic the initial stage, origin, or first beginning.
ЬЬsalience n. saliency n. saliently adv. [L salire leap]
adj. & n. = ANURAN. [mod.L Salientia (as SALIENT)]
adj. Geol. (of rock etc.) containing much salt. [L sal salt +
salina n. a salt lake. [Sp. f. med.L, = salt pit (as SALINE)]
saline adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of natural waters, springs, etc.)
impregnated with or containing salt or salts. 2 (of food or
drink etc.) tasting of salt. 3 of chemical salts. 4 of the
nature of a salt. 5 (of medicine) containing a salt or salts of
alkaline metals or magnesium. --n. 1 a salt lake, spring,
marsh, etc. 2 a salt-pan or salt-works. 3 a saline substance,
esp. a medicine. 4 a solution of salt in water. ЬЬsalinity n.
salinization n. salinometer n. [ME f. L sal salt]
saliva n. liquid secreted into the mouth by glands to provide moisture
and facilitate chewing and swallowing. Ьsaliva test a
scientific test requiring a saliva sample. ЬЬsalivary adj. [ME
salivate v. 1 intr. secrete or discharge saliva esp. in excess or in
greedy anticipation. 2 tr. produce an unusual secretion of
saliva in (a person) usu. with mercury. ЬЬsalivation n. [L
salivare (as SALIVA)]
n. a vaccine developed against polio. [J. E. Salk, Amer.
scientist b. 1914]
sallee n. (also sally) (pl. -ees or -ies) Austral. any of several
eucalypts and acacias resembling the willow. [Aboriginal]
sallet n. (also salade) hist. a light helmet with an outward-curving
rear part. [F salade ult. f. L caelare engrave f. caelum
sallow(1) adj. & v. --adj. (sallower, sallowest) (of the skin or
complexion, or of a person) of a sickly yellow or pale brown.
--v.tr. & intr. make or become sallow. ЬЬsallowish adj.
sallowness n. [OE salo dusky f. Gmc]
sallow(2) n. 1 a willow-tree, esp. one of a low-growing or shrubby kind.
2 the wood or a shoot of this. ЬЬsallowy adj. [OE salh salg-
f. Gmc, rel. to OHG salaha, ON selja, L salix]
Sally n. (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 (usu. prec. by the) the Salvation
Army. 2 a member of this. [abbr.]
sally(1) n. & v. (pl. -ies) --n. 1 a sudden charge from a
fortification upon its besiegers; a sortie. 2 a going forth; an
excursion. 3 a witticism; a piece of banter; a lively remark
esp. by way of attack upon a person or thing or of a diversion
in argument. 4 a sudden start into activity; an outburst. 5
archaic an escapade. --v.intr. (-ies, -ied) 1 (usu. foll. by
out, forth) go for a walk, set out on a journey etc. 2 (usu.
foll. by out) make a military sally. 3 archaic issue or come
out suddenly. Ьsally-port an opening in a fortification for
making a sally from. [F saillie fem. past part. of saillir
issue f. OF salir f. L salire leap]
sally(2) n. (pl. -ies) 1 the part of a bell-rope prepared with inwoven
wool for holding. 2 a the first movement of a bell when set for
ringing. b the bell's position when set. Ьsally-hole the hole
through which the bell-rope passes. [perh. f. SALLY(1) in
sense 'leaping motion']
sally(3) var. of SALLEE.
n. Brit. a sweet light teacake, properly served hot. [perh.
f. the name of a woman selling them at Bath c.1800]
n. (pl. salmagundis) 1 a dish of chopped meat, anchovies,
eggs, onions, etc., and seasoning. 2 a general mixture; a
miscellaneous collection of articles, subjects, qualities, etc.
[F salmigondis of unkn. orig.]
n. a wine bottle of about 12 times the standard size.
[Shalmaneser king of Assyria (2 Kings 17-18)]
salmi n. (pl. salmis) a ragout or casserole esp. of partly roasted
game-birds. [F, abbr. formed as SALMAGUNDI]
salmon n. & adj. --n. (pl. same or (esp. of types) salmons) 1 any
anadromous fish of the family Salmonidae, esp. of the genus
Salmo, much prized for its (often smoked) pink flesh. 2
Austral. & NZ the barramundi or a similar fish. --adj.
salmon-pink. Ьsalmon-ladder (or -leap) a series of steps or
other arrangement incorporated in a dam to allow salmon to pass
upstream. salmon-pink the colour of salmon flesh. salmon trout
a large silver-coloured trout, Salmo trutta. ЬЬsalmonoid adj. &
n. (in sense 1). salmony adj. [ME f. AF sa(u)moun, OF saumon
f. L salmo -onis]
n. (pl. salmonellae) 1 any bacterium of the genus Salmonella,
esp. any of various serotypes causing food poisoning. 2 food
poisoning caused by infection with salmonellae. ЬЬsalmonellosis
n. [mod.L f. D. E. Salmon, Amer. veterinary surgeon d. 1914]
salon n. 1 the reception room of a large, esp. French or continental,
house. 2 a room or establishment where a hairdresser,
beautician, etc., conducts trade. 3 hist. a meeting of eminent
people in the reception room of a (esp. Parisian) lady of
fashion. 4 (Salon) an annual exhibition in Paris of the work of
living artists. Ьsalon music light music for the drawing-room
etc. [F: see SALOON]
saloon n. 1 a a large room or hall, esp. in a hotel or public
building. b a public room or gallery for a specified purpose
(billiard-saloon; shooting-saloon). 2 (in full saloon car) a
motor car with a closed body and no partition behind the driver.
3 a public room on a ship. 4 US a drinking-bar. 5 (in full
saloon bar) Brit. the more comfortable bar in a public house. 6
(in full saloon car) Brit. a luxurious railway carriage serving
as a lounge etc. Ьsaloon deck a deck for passengers using the
saloon. saloon-keeper US a publican or bartender. saloon
pistol (or rifle) a pistol or rifle adapted for short-range
practice in a shooting-saloon. [F salon f. It. salone augment.
of sala hall]
Salopian n. & adj. --n. a native or inhabitant of Shropshire. --adj. of
or relating to Shropshire. [AF Salopesberia f. ME f. OE
n. any solanaceous plant of the genus Salpiglossis, cultivated
for its funnel-shaped flowers. [mod.L, irreg. f. Gk salpigx
trumpet + glossa tongue]
salping- comb. form Med. denoting the Fallopian tubes. [Gk salpigx
salpiggos, lit. 'trumpet']
n. (pl. -ies) Med. the surgical removal of the Fallopian
n. Med. inflammation of the Fallopian tubes.
salsa n. 1 a kind of dance music of Latin American origin,
incorporating jazz and rock elements. 2 a dance performed to
this music. [Sp. (as SAUCE)]
salsify n. (pl. -ies) 1 a European plant, Tragopogon porrifolius, with
long cylindrical fleshy roots. 2 this root used as a vegetable.
Ьblack salsify scorzonera. [F salsifis f. obs. It. salsefica,
of unkn. orig.]
SALT abbr. Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (or Treaty).
salt n., adj., & v. --n. 1 (also common salt) sodium chloride; the
substance that gives sea water its characteristic taste, got in
crystalline form by mining from strata consisting of it or by
the evaporation of sea water, and used for seasoning or
preserving food, or for other purposes. 2 a chemical compound
formed from the reaction of an acid with a base, with all or
part of the hydrogen of the acid replaced by a metal or
metal-like radical. 3 sting; piquancy; pungency; wit (added
salt to the conversation). 4 (in sing. or pl.) a a substance
resembling salt in taste, form, etc. (bath salts; Epsom salts;
smelling-salts). b (esp. in pl.) this type of substance used as
a laxative. 5 a marsh, esp. one flooded by the tide, often used
as a pasture or for collecting water for salt-making. 6 (also
old salt) an experienced sailor. 7 (in pl.) an exceptional rush
of sea water up river. --adj. 1 impregnated with, containing,
or tasting of salt; cured or preserved or seasoned with salt. 2
(of a plant) growing in the sea or in salt marshes. 3 (of tears
etc.) bitter. 4 (of wit) pungent. --v.tr. 1 cure or preserve
with salt or brine. 2 season with salt. 3 make (a narrative
etc.) piquant. 4 sprinkle (the ground etc.) with salt esp. in
order to melt snow etc. 5 treat with a solution of salt or
mixture of salts. 6 (as salted adj.) (of a horse or person)
hardened or proof against diseases etc. caused by the climate or
by special conditions. Ьeat salt with be a guest of. in salt
sprinkled with salt or immersed in brine as a preservative. not
made of salt not disconcerted by wet weather. put salt on the
tail of capture (with ref. to jocular directions given to
children for catching a bird). salt an account sl. set an
extremely high or low price for articles. salt-and-pepper (of
materials etc. and esp. of hair) with light and dark colours
mixed together. salt away (or down) sl. put money etc. by.
salt the books sl. show receipts as larger than they really
have been. salt-cat a mass of salt mixed with gravel, urine,
etc., to attract pigeons and keep them at home. salt dome a
mass of salt forced up into sedimentary rocks. salt fish W.Ind.
preserved cod. salt-glaze a hard stoneware glaze produced by
throwing salt into a hot kiln containing the ware. salt-grass
US grass growing in salt meadows or in alkaline regions. salt
horse Naut. sl. 1 salt beef. 2 a naval officer with general
duties. salt lake a lake of salt water. salt-lick 1 a place
where animals go to lick salt from the ground. 2 this salt.
salt-marsh = sense 5 of n. salt meadow a meadow subject to
flooding with salt water. salt a mine sl. introduce extraneous
ore, material, etc., to make the source seem rich. the salt of
the earth a person or people of great worthiness, reliability,
honesty, etc.; those whose qualities are a model for the rest
(Matt. 5:13). salt-pan a vessel, or a depression near the sea,
used for getting salt by evaporation. salt-shaker US a
container of salt for sprinkling on food. salt-spoon a small
spoon usu. with a short handle and a roundish deep bowl for
taking table salt. salt water 1 sea water. 2 sl. tears.
salt-water adj. of or living in the sea. salt-well a bored
well yielding brine. salt-works a place where salt is produced.
take with a pinch (or grain) of salt regard as exaggerated; be
incredulous about; believe only part of. worth one's salt
efficient, capable. ЬЬsaltish adj. saltless adj. saltly adv.
saltness n. [OE s(e)alt s(e)altan, OS, ON, Goth. salt, OHG
salz f. Gmc]
n. (pl. -os or saltarelli) an Italian and Spanish dance for
one couple, with sudden skips. [It. salterello, Sp.
saltarelo, rel. to It. saltare and Sp. saltar leap, dance f. L
saltare (as SALTATION)]
saltation n. 1 the act or an instance of leaping or dancing; a jump. 2 a
sudden transition or movement. ЬЬsaltatory adj. saltatorial
adj. [L saltatio f. saltare frequent. of salire salt- leap]
saltbush n. = ORACHE.
n. 1 a vessel holding salt for table use. 2 colloq. an
unusually deep hollow above the collar-bone, esp. found in
women. [SALT + obs. saler f. AF f. OF salier salt-box f. L (as
SALARY), assim. to CELLAR]
salter n. 1 a manufacturer or dealer in salt. 2 a workman at a
salt-works. 3 a person who salts fish etc. 4 = dry-salter.
[OE sealtere (as SALT)]
saltern n. 1 a salt-works. 2 a set of pools for the natural
evaporation of sea water. [OE sealt‘rn (as SALT, ‘rn building)]
adj. & n. Zool. --adj. (of arthropods) moving by leaping or
jumping. --n. a saltigrade arthropod, e.g. a spider,
sand-hopper, etc. [mod.L Saltigradae f. L saltus leap f.
salire salt- + -gradus walking]
salting n. 1 in senses of SALT v. 2 (esp. in pl.) Geol. a salt marsh;
a marsh overflowed by the sea.
saltire n. Heraldry an ordinary formed by a bend and a bend sinister
crossing like a St Andrew's cross. Ьin saltire arranged in this
way. ЬЬsaltirewise adv. [ME f. OF sau(l)toir etc.
stirrup-cord, stile, saltire, f. med.L saltatorium (as
saltpetre n. (US saltpeter) potassium nitrate, a white crystalline salty
substance used in preserving meat and as a constituent of
gunpowder. [ME f. OF salpetre f. med.L salpetra prob. for sal
petrae (unrecorded) salt of rock (i.e. found as an
incrustation): assim. to SALT]
saltus n. literary a sudden transition; a breach of continuity. [L, =
saltwort n. any plant of the genus Salsola; glasswort.
salty adj. (saltier, saltiest) tasting of, containing, or preserved
with salt. ЬЬsaltiness n.
adj. 1 health-giving; healthy. 2 (of surroundings etc.)
pleasant; agreeable. ЬЬsalubriously adv. salubriousness n.
salubrity n. [L salubris f. salus health]
saluki n. (pl. salukis) 1 a tall swift slender dog of a silky-coated
breed with large ears and a fringed tail and feet. 2 this
breed. [Arab. saluki]
salutary adj. 1 producing good effects; beneficial. 2 archaic
health-giving. [ME f. F salutaire or L salutaris f. salus
n. 1 a sign or expression of greeting or recognition of
another's arrival or departure. 2 words spoken or written to
enquire about another's health or well-being. ЬЬsalutational
adj. [ME f. OF salutation or L salutatio (as SALUTE)]
adj. & n. --adj. of salutation. --n. (pl. -ies) US an
oration, esp. as given by a member of a graduating class, often
the second-ranking member. ЬЬsalutatorian n. (in sense of n.).
[L salutatorius (as SALUTE)]
salute n. & v. --n. 1 a gesture of respect, homage, or courteous
recognition, esp. made to or by a person when arriving or
departing. 2 a Mil. & Naut. a prescribed or specified movement
of the hand or of weapons or flags as a sign of respect or
recognition. b (prec. by the) the attitude taken by an
individual soldier, sailor, policeman, etc., in saluting. 3 the
discharge of a gun or guns as a formal or ceremonial sign of
respect or celebration. 4 Fencing the formal performance of
certain guards etc. by fencers before engaging. --v. 1 a tr.
make a salute to. b intr. (often foll. by to) perform a salute.
2 tr. greet; make a salutation to. 3 tr. (foll. by with)
receive or greet with (a smile etc.). 4 tr. archaic hail as
(king etc.). Ьtake the salute 1 (of the highest officer
present) acknowledge it by gesture as meant for him. 2 receive
ceremonial salutes by members of a procession. ЬЬsaluter n.
[ME f. L salutare f. salus -utis health]
salvage n. & v. --n. 1 the rescue of a ship, its cargo, or other
property, from loss at sea, destruction by fire, etc. 2 the
property etc. saved in this way. 3 a the saving and utilization
of waste paper, scrap material, etc. b the materials salvaged.
4 payment made or due to a person who has saved a ship or its
cargo. --v.tr. 1 save from a wreck, fire, etc. 2 retrieve or
preserve (something favourable) in adverse circumstances (tried
to salvage some dignity). ЬЬsalvageable adj. salvager n. [F
f. med.L salvagium f. L salvare SAVE(1)]
salvation n. 1 the act of saving or being saved; preservation from loss,
calamity, etc. 2 deliverance from sin and its consequences and
admission to heaven, brought about by Christ. 3 a religious
conversion. 4 a person or thing that saves (was the salvation
of). ЬSalvation Army a worldwide evangelical organization on
quasi-military lines for the revival of Christianity and helping
the poor. ЬЬsalvationism n. salvationist n. (both nouns esp.
with ref. to the Salvation Army). [ME f. OF sauvacion,
salvacion, f. eccl.L salvatio -onis f. salvare SAVE(1), transl.
salve(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a healing ointment. 2 (often foll. by for) a
thing that is soothing or consoling for wounded feelings, an
uneasy conscience, etc. 3 archaic a thing that explains away a
discrepancy or palliates a fault. --v.tr. 1 soothe (pride,
self-love, conscience, etc.). 2 archaic anoint (a wound etc.).
3 archaic smooth over, make good, vindicate, harmonize, etc.
[OE s(e)alf(e), s(e)alfian f. Gmc; senses 1 and 3 of v. partly
f. L salvare SAVE(1)]
salve(2) v.tr. 1 save (a ship or its cargo) from loss at sea. 2 save
(property) from fire. ЬЬsalvable adj. [back-form. f. SALVAGE]
salver n. a tray usu. of gold, silver, brass, or electroplate, on
which drinks, letters, etc., are offered. [F salve tray for
presenting food to the king f. Sp. salva assaying of food f.
salvar SAVE: assoc. with platter]
n. 1 a Roman Catholic hymn or prayer said or sung after
compline and after the Divine Office from Trinity Sunday to
Advent. 2 the music for this. [f. the opening words salve
regina hail (holy) queen]
salvia n. any plant of the genus Salvia, esp. S. splendens with red
or blue flowers. [L, = SAGE(1)]
Salvo n. (pl. -os) Austral. sl. a member of the Salvation Army.
salvo(1) n. (pl. -oes or -os) 1 the simultaneous firing of artillery or
other guns esp. as a salute, or in a sea-fight. 2 a number of
bombs released from aircraft at the same moment. 3 a round or
volley of applause. [earlier salve f. F f. It. salva
salutation (as SAVE(1))]
salvo(2) n. (pl. -os) 1 a saving clause; a reservation (with an express
salvo of their rights). 2 a tacit reservation. 3 a quibbling
evasion; a bad excuse. 4 an expedient for saving reputation or
soothing pride or conscience. [L, ablat. of salvus SAFE as used
in salvo jure without prejudice to the rights of (a person)]
n. ammonium carbonate, esp. in the form of a flavoured solution
in alcohol used as smelling-salts. [mod.L, = volatile salt]
salvor n. a person or ship making or assisting in salvage. [SALVE(2)]
SAM abbr. surface-to-air missile.
Sam. abbr. Samuel (Old Testament).
samadhi n. Buddhism & Hinduism 1 a state of concentration induced by
meditation. 2 a state into which a perfected holy man is said
to pass at his apparent death. [Skr. samadhi contemplation]
samara n. Bot. a winged seed from the sycamore, ash, etc. [mod.L f.
L, = elm-seed]
Samaritan n. & adj. --n. 1 (in full good Samaritan) a charitable or
helpful person (with ref. to Luke 10:33 etc.). 2 a member of an
organization which counsels people in distress by telephone or
face to face. 3 a native of Samaria in West Jordan . 4 the
language of this people. 5 an adherent of the Samaritan
religious system, accepting only the Samaritan Pentateuch.
--adj. of Samaria or the Samaritans. ЬSamaritan Pentateuch a
recension used by Samaritans of which the MSS are in archaic
characters. ЬЬSamaritanism n. [LL Samaritanus f. Gk Samareites
f. Samareia Samaria]
samarium n. Chem. a soft silvery metallic element of the lanthanide
series, occurring naturally in monazite etc. and used in making
ferromagnetic alloys. °Symb.: Sm. [samarskite the mineral in
which its spectrum was first observed, f. Samarski name of a
19th-c. Russ. official]
samba n. & v. --n. 1 a Brazilian dance of African origin. 2 a
ballroom dance imitative of this. 3 the music for this.
--v.intr. (sambas, sambaed or samba'd, sambaing) dance the
samba. [Port., of Afr. orig.]
sambar n. (also samba, sambhar) either of two large deer, Cervus
unicolor or C. equinus, native to S. Asia. [Hindi sa(m)bar]
Sambo n. (pl. -os or -oes) 1 sl. offens. a Black person. 2 (sambo)
hist. a person of mixed race esp. of Negro and Indian or Negro
and European blood. [Sp. zambo perh. = zambo bandy-legged;
sense 1 perh. a different word f. Foulah sambo uncle]
n. (in full Sam Browne belt) an army officer's belt and the
strap supporting it. [Sir Samuel J. Browne, Brit. military
commander d. 1901]
same adj., pron., & adv. --adj. 1 (often prec. by the) identical;
not different; unchanged (everyone was looking in the same
direction; the same car was used in another crime; saying the
same thing over and over). 2 unvarying, uniform, monotonous
(the same old story). 3 (usu. prec. by this, these, that,
those) (of a person or thing) previously alluded to; just
mentioned; aforesaid (this same man was later my husband).
--pron. (prec. by the) 1 the same person or thing (the others
asked for the same). 2 Law or archaic the person or thing just
mentioned (detected the youth breaking in and apprehended the
same). --adv. (usu. prec. by the) similarly; in the same way
(we all feel the same; I want to go, the same as you do). Ьall
(or just) the same 1 emphatically the same. 2 in spite of
changed conditions, adverse circumstances, etc. (but you should
offer, all the same). at the same time 1 simultaneously. 2
notwithstanding; in spite of circumstances etc. be all (or
just) the same to an expression of indifference or impartiality
(it's all the same to me what we do). by the same token see
TOKEN. same here colloq. the same applies to me. the same to
you! may you do, have, find, etc., the same thing; likewise.
the very same emphatically the same. ЬЬsameness n. [ME f. ON
sami, sama, with Gmc cognates]
samey adj. (samier, samiest) colloq. lacking in variety; monotonous.
samfu n. a suit consisting of a jacket and trousers, worn by Chinese
women and sometimes men. [Cantonese]
Samhain n. Brit. Nov., celebrated by the Celts as a festival marking
the beginning of winter. [Ir. Samhain]
Samian n. & adj. --n. a native or inhabitant of Samos, an island in
the Aegean sea. --adj. of Samos. ЬSamian ware fine red pottery
from various parts of the Roman Empire, esp. Gaulish pottery
often found on Roman sites in Britain. [L Samius f. Gk Samios
samisen n. a long three-stringed Japanese guitar, played with a
plectrum. [Jap. f. Chin. san-hsien f. san three + hsien
samite n. hist. a rich medieval dress-fabric of silk occas.
interwoven with gold. [ME f. OF samit f. med.L examitum f. med.
Gk hexamiton f. Gk hexa- six + mitos thread]
samizdat n. a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in
the USSR. [Russ., = self-publishing house]
Samnite n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a people of ancient Italy often
at war with republican Rome. 2 the language of this people.
--adj. of this people or their language. [ME f. L Samnites
(pl.), rel. to Sabinus SABINE]
Samoan n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Samoa, a group of islands in the
Pacific. 2 the language of this people. --adj. of or relating
to Samoa or its people or language. [Samoa]
samosa n. a triangular pastry fried in ghee or oil, containing spiced
vegetables or meat. [Hind.]
samovar n. a Russian urn for making tea, with an internal heating tube
to keep water at boiling-point. [Russ., = self-boiler]
Samoyed n. 1 a member of a people of northern Siberia. 2 the language
of this people. 3 (also samoyed) a a dog of a white Arctic
breed. b this breed. [Russ. samoed]
Samoyedic n. & adj. --n. the language of the Samoyeds. --adj. of or
relating to the Samoyeds.
samp n. US 1 coarsely-ground maize. 2 porridge made of this.
[Algonquin nasamp softened by water]
sampan n. a small boat usu. with a stern-oar or stern-oars, used in
the Far East. [Chin. san-ban f. san three + ban board]
samphire n. 1 an umbelliferous maritime rock plant, Crithmum maritimum,
with aromatic fleshy leaves used in pickles. 2 the glasswort.
[earlier samp(i)ere f. F (herbe de) Saint Pierre St Peter('s
sample n. & v. --n. 1 a small part or quantity intended to show what
the whole is like. 2 a small amount of fabric, food, or other
commodity, esp. given to a prospective customer. 3 a specimen,
esp. one taken for scientific testing or analysis. 4 an
illustrative or typical example. --v.tr. 1 take or give
samples of. 2 try the qualities of. 3 get a representative
experience of. Ьsample bag Austral. an (orig. free) bag of
advertisers' samples. [ME f. AF assample, OF essample EXAMPLE]
n. a piece of embroidery worked in various stitches as a
specimen of proficiency (often displayed on a wall etc.). [OF
essamplaire (as EXEMPLAR)]
n. 1 a person who samples. 2 US a collection of representative
samsara n. Ind. Philos. the endless cycle of death and rebirth to
which life in the material world is bound. ЬЬsamsaric adj.
[Skr. samsara a wandering through]
samskara n. Ind. Philos. 1 a purificatory ceremony or rite marking an
event in one's life. 2 a mental impression, instinct, or
memory. [Skr. samskara a making perfect, preparation]
Samson n. a person of great strength or resembling Samson in some
respect. ЬSamson- (or Samson's-) post 1 a strong pillar passing
through the hold of a ship or between decks. 2 a post in a
whaleboat to which a harpoon rope is attached. [LL f. Gk
Sampson f. Heb. sims“n (Judg. 13-16)]
samurai n. (pl. same) 1 a Japanese army officer. 2 hist. a military
retainer of the daimios; a member of a military caste in Japan.
san n. = SANATORIUM 2. [abbr.]
sanative adj. 1 healing; curative. 2 of or tending to physical or moral
health. [ME f. OF sanatif or LL sanativus f. L sanare cure]
n. (pl. sanatoriums or sanatoria) 1 an establishment for the
treatment of invalids, esp. of convalescents and the chronically
sick. 2 Brit. a room or building for sick people in a school
etc. [mod.L (as SANATIVE)]
sanctify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 consecrate; set apart or observe as holy.
2 purify or free from sin. 3 make legitimate or binding by
religious sanction; justify; give the colour of morality or
innocence to. 4 make productive of or conducive to holiness.
ЬЬsanctification n. sanctifier n. [ME f. OF saintifier f.
eccl.L sanctificare f. L sanctus holy]
adj. making a show of sanctity or piety. ЬЬsanctimoniously
adv. sanctimoniousness n. sanctimony n. [L sanctimonia
sanctity (as SAINT)]
sanction n. & v. --n. 1 approval or encouragement given to an action
etc. by custom or tradition; express permission. 2 confirmation
or ratification of a law etc. 3 a a penalty for disobeying a
law or rule, or a reward for obeying it. b a clause containing
this. 4 Ethics a consideration operating to enforce obedience
to any rule of conduct. 5 (esp. in pl.) military or esp.
economic action by a State to coerce another to conform to an
international agreement or norms of conduct. 6 Law hist. a law
or decree. --v.tr. 1 authorize, countenance, or agree to (an
action etc.). 2 ratify; attach a penalty or reward to; make
binding. ЬЬsanctionable adj. [F f. L sanctio -onis f. sancire
sanct- make sacred]
n. archaic saintliness. [ME f. L sanctitudo (as SAINT)]
sanctity n. (pl. -ies) 1 holiness of life; saintliness. 2 sacredness;
the state of being hallowed. 3 inviolability. 4 (in pl.)
sacred obligations, feelings, etc. [ME f. OF sain(c)tit‚ or L
sanctitas (as SAINT)]
sanctuary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a holy place; a church, temple, etc. 2 a the
inmost recess or holiest part of a temple etc. b the part of
the chancel containing the high altar. 3 a place where birds,
wild animals, etc., are bred and protected. 4 a place of
refuge, esp. for political refugees. 5 a immunity from arrest.
b the right to offer this. 6 hist. a sacred place where a
fugitive from the law or a debtor was secured by medieval Church
law against arrest or violence. Ьtake sanctuary resort to a
place of refuge. [ME f. AF sanctuarie, OF sanctuaire f. L
sanctuarium (as SAINT)]
sanctum n. (pl. sanctums) 1 a holy place. 2 colloq. a person's
private room, study, or den. Ьsanctum sanctorum 1 the holy of
holies in the Jewish temple. 2 = sense 2 of n. 3 an inner
retreat. 4 an esoteric doctrine etc. [L, neut. of sanctus
holy, past part. of sancire consecrate: sanctorum genit. pl. in
transl. of Heb. kodes hakkш dasЊm holy of holies]
sanctus n. (also Sanctus) 1 the prayer or hymn beginning 'Holy, holy,
holy' said or sung at the end of the Eucharistic preface. 2 the
music for this. Ьsanctus bell a handbell or the bell in the
turret at the junction of the nave and the chancel, rung at the
sanctus or at the elevation of the Eucharist. [ME f. L, = holy]
sand n. & v. --n. 1 a loose granular substance resulting from the
wearing down of esp. siliceous rocks and found on the seashore,
river-beds, deserts, etc. 2 (in pl.) grains of sand. 3 (in
pl.) an expanse or tracts of sand. 4 a light yellow-brown
colour like that of sand. 5 (in pl.) a sandbank. 6 US colloq.
firmness of purpose; grit. --v.tr. 1 smooth or polish with
sandpaper or sand. 2 sprinkle or overlay with, or bury under,
sand. 3 adulterate (sugar etc.) with sand. Ьsand bar a
sandbank at the mouth of a river or US on the coast. sand-bath
a vessel of heated sand to provide uniform heating. sand-bed a
stratum of sand. sand-cloud driving sand in a simoom.
sand-crack 1 a fissure in a horse's hoof. 2 a crack in the
human foot from walking on hot sand. 3 a crack in brick due to
imperfect mixing. sand dollar US any of various round flat sea
urchins, esp. of the order Clypeasteroida. sand-dune (or -hill)
a mound or ridge of sand formed by the wind. sand eel any
eel-like fish of the family Ammodytidae or Hypotychidae: also
called LAUNCE. sand-flea a chigoe or sand-hopper. sand-glass =
HOURGLASS. sand-groper Austral. 1 a gold-rush pioneer. 2 joc.
a Western Australian. sand-hill a dune. sand-hopper any of
various small jumping crustaceans of the order Amphipoda,
burrowing on the seashore. sand-martin a swallow-like bird,
Riparia riparia, nesting in the side of a sandy bank etc. the
sands are running out the allotted time is nearly at an end.
sand-shoe a shoe with a canvas, rubber, hemp, etc., sole for use
on sand. sand-skipper = sand-hopper. sand-yacht a boat on
wheels propelled along a beach by wind. ЬЬsander n. sandlike
adj. [OE sand f. Gmc]
sandal(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a light shoe with an openwork upper or no
upper, attached to the foot usu. by straps. 2 a strap for
fastening a low shoe, passing over the instep or around the
ankle. --v.tr. (sandalled, sandalling; US sandaled, sandaling)
1 (esp. as sandalled adj.) put sandals on (a person, his feet).
2 fasten or provide (a shoe) with a sandal. [ME f. L sandalium
f. Gk sandalion dimin. of sandalon wooden shoe, prob. of Asiatic
sandal(2) n. = SANDALWOOD. Ьsandal-tree any tree yielding sandalwood,
esp. the white sandalwood, Santalum album, of India. [ME f.
med.L sandalum, ult. f. Skr. candana]
n. 1 the scented wood of a sandal-tree. 2 a perfume derived
from this. Ьred sandalwood the red wood from either of two SE
Asian trees, Adenanthera pavonina and Pterocarpus santalinus,
used as timber and to produce a red dye. sandalwood oil a
yellow aromatic oil made from the sandal-tree.
sandarac n. (also sandarach) 1 the gummy resin of a N. African conifer,
Tetraclinis articulata, used in making varnish. 2 = REALGAR.
[L sandaraca f. Gk sandarake, of Asiatic orig.]
sandbag n. & v. --n. a bag filled with sand for use: 1 (in
fortification) for making temporary defences or for the
protection of a building etc. against blast and splinters or
floodwaters. 2 as ballast esp. for a boat or balloon. 3 as a
weapon to inflict a heavy blow without leaving a mark. 4 to
stop a draught from a window or door. --v.tr. (-bagged,
-bagging) 1 barricade or defend. 2 place sandbags against (a
window, chink, etc.). 3 fell with a blow from a sandbag. 4 US
coerce by harsh means. ЬЬsandbagger n.
sandbank n. a deposit of sand forming a shallow place in the sea or a
sandblast v. & n. --v.tr. roughen, treat, or clean with a jet of sand
driven by compressed air or steam. --n. this jet.
sandbox n. 1 Railways a box of sand on a locomotive for sprinkling
slippery rails. 2 Golf a container for sand used in teeing. 3
a sandpit enclosed in a box. 4 hist. a device for sprinkling
sand to dry ink.
sandboy n. Ьhappy as a sandboy extremely happy or carefree. [prob. = a
boy hawking sand for sale]
n. a shape like a castle made in sand, usu. by a child on the
n. a small wading bird, Calidris alba, of the sandpiper family.
[perh. f. an OE form sandyrthling (unrecorded, as SAND +
yrthling ploughman, also the name of a bird)]
sanders n. (also saunders) sandalwood, esp. red sandalwood. [ME f. OF
sandre var. of sandle SANDAL(2)]
sandfly n. (pl. -ies) 1 any midge of the genus Simulium. 2 any biting
fly of the genus Phlebotomus transmitting the viral disease
sandhi n. Gram. the process whereby the form of a word changes as a
result of its position in an utterance (e.g. the change from a
to an before a vowel). [Skr. samdhi putting together]
sandhog n. US a person who works underwater laying foundations,
constructing tunnels, etc.
sandiver n. liquid scum formed in glass-making. [ME app. f. F suin de
verre exhalation of glass f. suer to sweat]
sandlot n. US a piece of unoccupied sandy land used for children's
sandman n. the personification of tiredness causing children's eyes to
smart towards bedtime.
sandpaper n. paper with sand or another abrasive stuck to it for
smoothing or polishing.
sandpiper n. any of various wading birds of the family Scolopacidae,
frequenting moorland and coastal areas.
sandpit n. a hollow partly filled with sand, usu. for children to play
sandsoap n. heavy-duty gritty soap.
sandstock n. brick made with sand dusted on the surface.
sandstone n. 1 any clastic rock containing particles visible to the naked
eye. 2 a sedimentary rock of consolidated sand commonly red,
yellow, brown, grey, or white.
sandstorm n. a desert storm of wind with clouds of sand.
sandwich n. & v. --n. 1 two or more slices of usu. buttered bread with
a filling of meat, cheese, etc., between them. 2 a cake of two
or more layers with jam or cream between (bake a sponge
sandwich). --v.tr. 1 put (a thing, statement, etc.) between
two of another character. 2 squeeze in between others (sat
sandwiched in the middle). Ьsandwich-board one of two
advertisement boards carried by a sandwich-man. sandwich course
a course of training with alternate periods of practical
experience and theoretical instruction. sandwich-man (pl.
-men) a man who walks the streets with sandwich-boards hanging
before and behind. [4th Earl of Sandwich, Engl. nobleman d.
1792, said to have eaten food in this form so as not to leave
sandwort n. any low-growing plant of the genus Arenaria, usu. bearing
small white flowers.
sandy adj. (sandier, sandiest) 1 having the texture of sand. 2
having much sand. 3 a (of hair) yellowish-red. b (of a person)
having sandy hair. Ьsandy blight Austral. conjunctivitis with
sandlike grains in the eye. ЬЬsandiness n. sandyish adj. [OE
sandig (as SAND)]
sane adj. 1 of sound mind; not mad. 2 (of views etc.) moderate;
sensible. ЬЬsanely adv. saneness n. [L sanus healthy]
sang past of SING.
sangar n. (also sanga) a stone breastwork round a hollow. [Pashto
sangaree n. a cold drink of wine diluted and spiced. [Sp. sangrЎa
n. composure, coolness, etc., in danger or under agitating
circumstances. [F, = cold blood]
sangrail n. = GRAIL. [ME f. OF saint graal (as SAINT, GRAIL)]
sangria n. a Spanish drink of red wine with lemonade, fruit, etc.
[Sp., = bleeding: cf. SANGAREE]
adj. 1 accompanied by or delighting in bloodshed. 2 bloody;
bloodthirsty. 3 (of laws) inflicting death freely.
ЬЬsanguinarily adv. sanguinariness n. [L sanguinarius f.
sanguis -inis blood]
sanguine adj. & n. --adj. 1 optimistic; confident. 2 (of the
complexion) florid; bright; ruddy. 3 hist. of a ruddy
complexion with a courageous and hopeful amorous disposition. 4
hist. of the temperament in which blood predominates over the
other humours. 5 Heraldry or literary blood red. 6 archaic
bloody; bloodthirsty. --n. 1 a blood-red colour. 2 a crayon
of chalk coloured red or flesh with iron oxide. ЬЬsanguinely
adv. sanguineness n. (both in sense 1 of n.). [ME f. OF
sanguin -ine blood-red f. L sanguineus (as SANGUINARY)]
adj. 1 sanguinary. 2 Med. of or relating to blood. 3
blood-red. 4 full-blooded; plethoric. [L sanguineus (as
Sanhedrin n. (also Sanhedrim) the highest court of justice and the
supreme council in ancient Jerusalem with 71 members. [late
Heb. sanhedrЊn f. Gk sunedrion (as SYN-, hedra seat)]
sanicle n. any umbelliferous plant of the genus Sanicula, esp. S.
europaea, formerly believed to have healing properties. [ME
ult. f. med.L sanicula perh. f. L sanus healthy]
sanify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) make healthy; improve the sanitary state of.
[L sanus healthy]
n. (pl. sanitariums or sanitaria) US = SANATORIUM. [pseudo-L
f. L sanitas health]
sanitary adj. 1 of the conditions that affect health, esp. with regard
to dirt and infection. 2 hygienic; free from or designed to
kill germs, infection, etc. Ьsanitary engineer a person dealing
with systems needed to maintain public health. sanitary towel
(US napkin) an absorbent pad used during menstruation. sanitary
ware porcelain for lavatories etc. ЬЬsanitarian n. & adj.
sanitarily adv. sanitariness n. [F sanitaire f. L sanitas: see
n. 1 sanitary conditions. 2 the maintenance or improving of
these. 3 the disposal of sewage and refuse from houses etc.
ЬЬsanitate v.tr. & intr. sanitationist n. [irreg. f.
sanitize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make sanitary; disinfect. 2 US colloq.
render (information etc.) more acceptable by removing improper
or disturbing material. ЬЬsanitizer n.
sanity n. 1 a the state of being sane. b mental health. 2 the
tendency to avoid extreme views. [ME f. L sanitas (as SANE)]
sank past of SINK.
sannyasi n. (also sanyasi) (pl. same) a Hindu religious mendicant.
[Hindi & Urdu sannyasi f. Skr. samnyasin laying aside f. sam
together, ni down, as throw]
sans prep. archaic or joc. without. [ME f. OF san(z), sen(s) ult.
f. L sine, infl. by L absentia in the absence of]
n. 1 hist. a lower-class Parisian republican in the French
Revolution. 2 an extreme republican or revolutionary.
ЬЬsansculottism n. [F, lit. = without knee-breeches]
sanserif n. & adj. (also sans-serif) Printing --n. a form of type
without serifs. --adj. without serifs. [app. f. SANS + SERIF]
Sanskrit n. & adj. --n. the ancient and sacred language of the Hindus in
India. --adj. of or in this language. ЬЬSanskritic adj.
Sanskritist n. [Skr. samskrta composed, elaborated, f. sam
together, kr make, -ta past part. ending]
n. (also colloq. Santa) a person said to bring children
presents on the night before Christmas. [orig. US f. Du. dial.
Sante Klaas St Nicholas]
santolina n. any aromatic shrub of the genus Santolina, with finely
divided leaves and small usu. yellow flowers. [mod.L, var. of
santonica n. 1 a shrubby wormwood plant, Artemisia cina, yielding
santonin. 2 the dried flower-heads of this used as an
anthelmintic. [L f. Santones an Aquitanian tribe]
santonin n. a toxic drug extracted from santonica and other plants of
the genus Artemisia, used as an anthelmintic. [SANTONICA + -IN]
sanyasi var. of SANNYASI.
sap(1) n. & v. --n. 1 the vital juice circulating in plants. 2
vigour; vitality. 3 = SAPWOOD. 4 US sl. a bludgeon (orig. one
made from a sapling). --v.tr. (sapped, sapping) 1 drain or dry
(wood) of sap. 2 exhaust the vigour of (my energy had been
sapped by disappointment). 3 remove the sapwood from (a log).
4 US sl. hit with a sap. Ьsap-green n. 1 the pigment made from
buckthorn berries. 2 the colour of this. --adj. of this
colour. ЬЬsapful adj. sapless adj. [OE s‘p prob. f. Gmc]
sap(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a tunnel or trench to conceal assailants'
approach to a fortified place; a covered siege-trench. 2 an
insidious or slow undermining of a belief, resolution, etc.
--v. (sapped, sapping) 1 intr. a dig a sap or saps. b
approach by a sap. 2 tr. undermine; make insecure by removing
the foundations. 3 tr. destroy insidiously. [ult. f. It.
zappa spade, spadework, in part through F sappe sap(p)er, prob.
of Arab. orig.]
sap(3) n. sl. a foolish person. [abbr. of sapskull f. SAP(1) =
sapwood + SKULL]
sapanwood var. of SAPPANWOOD.
sapele n. 1 any of several large W. African hardwood trees of the
genus Entandrophragma. 2 the reddish-brown mahogany-like timber
of these trees. [W. Afr. name]
sapid adj. literary 1 having (esp. an agreeable) flavour; savoury;
palatable; not insipid. 2 literary (of talk, writing, etc.) not
vapid or uninteresting. ЬЬsapidity n. [L sapidus f. sapere
sapient adj. literary 1 wise. 2 aping wisdom; of fancied sagacity.
ЬЬsapience n. sapiently adv. [ME f. OF sapient or L part. stem
of sapere be wise]
adj. literary of or relating to wisdom. [ME f. F sapiential or
eccl.L sapientialis f. L sapientia wisdom]
sapling n. 1 a young tree. 2 a youth. 3 a greyhound in its first
sapodilla n. a large evergreen tropical American tree, Manilkara zapota,
with edible fruit and durable wood, and sap from which chicle is
obtained. Ьsapodilla plum the fruit of this tree. [Sp.
zapotillo dimin. of zapote f. Aztec tz potl]
adj. 1 of, like, or containing soap; soapy. 2 joc. unctuous;
flattering. [mod.L saponaceus f. L sapo -onis soap]
saponify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. turn (fat or oil) into soap by reaction
with an alkali. 2 tr. convert (an ester) to an acid and
alcohol. 3 intr. become saponified. ЬЬsaponifiable adj.
saponification n. [F saponifier (as SAPONACEOUS)]
saponin n. any of a group of plant glycosides, esp. those derived from
the bark of the tree Quillaja saponaria, that foam when shaken
with water and are used in detergents and fire extinguishers.
[F saponine f. L sapo -onis soap]
sapor n. 1 a quality perceptible by taste, e.g. sweetness. 2 the
distinctive taste of a substance. 3 the sensation of taste.
[ME f. L sapere taste]
n. (also sapanwood) the heartwood of an E. Indian tree,
Caesalpinia sappan, formerly used as a source of red dye. [Du.
sapan f. Malay sapang, of S. Indian orig.]
sapper n. 1 a person who digs saps. 2 Brit. a soldier of the Royal
Engineers (esp. as the official term for a private).
Sapphic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Sappho, poetess of Lesbos
c.600 BC, or her poetry. 2 lesbian. --n. (in pl.) (sapphics)
verse in a metre associated with Sappho. [F sa(p)phique f. L
Sapphicus f. Gk Sapphikos f. Sappho]
sapphire n. & adj. --n. 1 a transparent blue precious stone consisting
of corundum. 2 precious transparent corundum of any colour. 3
the bright blue of a sapphire. 4 a humming-bird with bright
blue colouring. --adj. of sapphire blue. Ьsapphire wedding a
45th wedding anniversary. ЬЬsapphirine adj. [ME f. OF safir f.
L sapphirus f. Gk sappheiros prob. = lapis lazuli]
sappy adj. (sappier, sappiest) 1 full of sap. 2 young and vigorous.
ЬЬsappily adv. sappiness n.
sapro- comb. form Biol. rotten, putrefying. [Gk sapros putrid]
adj. causing or produced by putrefaction.
adj. feeding on decaying matter.
n. a bacterium inhabiting putrid matter. ЬЬsaprophilous adj.
n. any plant or micro-organism living on dead or decayed
organic matter. ЬЬsaprophytic adj.
sapwood n. the soft outer layers of recently formed wood between the
heartwood and the bark.
saraband n. 1 a stately old Spanish dance. 2 music for this or in its
rhythm, usu. in triple time often with a long note on the second
beat of the bar. [F sarabande f. Sp. & It. zarabanda]
Saracen n. & adj. hist. --n. 1 an Arab or Muslim at the time of the
Crusades. 2 a nomad of the Syrian and Arabian desert. --adj.
of the Saracens. ЬSaracen corn Brit. archaic buckwheat.
Saracen's head the head of a Saracen or Turk as a heraldic
charge or inn-sign. ЬЬSaracenic adj. [ME f. OF sar(r)azin,
sar(r)acin f. LL Saracenus f. late Gk Sarakenos perh. f. Arab.
sarangi n. (pl. sarangis) an Indian stringed instrument played with a
bow. [Hindi sarangi]
sarape var. of SERAPE.
sarcasm n. 1 a bitter or wounding remark. 2 a taunt, esp. one
ironically worded. 3 language consisting of such remarks. 4
the faculty of using this. ЬЬsarcastic adj. sarcastically adv.
[F sarcasme or f. LL sarcasmus f. late Gk sarkasmos f. Gk
sarkazo tear flesh, in late Gk gnash the teeth, speak bitterly
f. sarx sarkos flesh]
sarcenet var. of SARSENET.
sarcoma n. (pl. sarcomas or sarcomata) a malignant tumour of
connective or other non-epithelial tissue. ЬЬsarcomatosis n.
sarcomatous adj. [mod.L f. Gk sarkoma f. sarkoo become fleshy
f. sarx sarkos flesh]
n. (pl. sarcophagi) a stone coffin, esp. one adorned with a
sculpture or inscription. [L f. Gk sarkophagos flesh-consuming
(as SARCOMA, -phagos -eating)]
n. Anat. the cytoplasm in which muscle fibrils are embedded.
[Gk sarx sarkos flesh + PLASMA]
sarcous adj. consisting of flesh or muscle. [Gk sarx sarkos flesh]
sard n. a yellow or orange-red cornelian. [ME f. F sarde or L sarda
= LL sardius f. Gk sardios prob. f. Sardo Sardinia]
sardelle n. any of several fish resembling the sardine. [It. sardella
dimin. of sarda f. L (as SARDINE(1))]
n. a young pilchard or similar young or small herring-like
marine fish. Ьlike sardines crowded close together (as sardines
are in tins). [ME f. OF sardine = It. sardina f. L f. sarda
f. Gk, perh. f. Sardo Sardinia]
n. a precious stone mentioned in Rev. 4:3. [ME f. LL sardinus
f. Gk sardinos var. of sardios SARD]
sardius n. Bibl. etc. a precious stone. [ME f. LL f. Gk sardios sard]
sardonic adj. 1 grimly jocular. 2 (of laughter etc.) bitterly mocking
or cynical. ЬЬsardonically adv. sardonicism n. [F sardonique,
earlier sardonien f. L sardonius f. Gk sardonios of Sardinia,
alt. of sardanios Homeric epithet of bitter or scornful
sardonyx n. onyx in which white layers alternate with sard. [ME f. L f.
Gk sardonux (prob. as SARD, ONYX)]
saree var. of SARI.
sargasso n. (also sargassum) (pl. -os or -oes or sargassa) any seaweed
of the genus Sargassum, with berry-like air-vessels, found
floating in island-like masses, esp. in the Sargasso Sea of the
N. Atlantic. Also called GULFWEED. [Port. sarga‡o, of unkn.
sarge n. sl. sergeant. [abbr.]
sari n. (also saree) (pl. saris or sarees) a length of cotton or
silk draped round the body, traditionally worn as a main garment
by Indian women. [Hindi sar(h)i]
sark n. Sc. & N.Engl. a shirt or chemise. [ME serk f. ON serkr f.
sarking n. boarding between the rafters and the roof. [SARK + -ING(1)]
sarky adj. (sarkier, sarkiest) Brit. sl. sarcastic. ЬЬsarkily adv.
sarkiness n. [abbr.]
adj. (also sarmentous) Bot. having long thin trailing shoots.
[L sarmentosus f. sarmenta (pl.) twigs, brushwood, f. sarpere
sarnie n. Brit. colloq. a sandwich. [abbr.]
sarong n. 1 a Malay and Javanese garment consisting of a long strip of
(often striped) cloth worn by both sexes tucked round the waist
or under the armpits. 2 a woman's garment resembling this.
[Malay, lit. 'sheath']
saros n. Astron. a period of about 18 years between repetitions of
eclipses. [Gk f. Babylonian sar(u) 3,600 (years)]
n. a metal wind instrument played with a double reed like an
oboe. [Sarrus, 19th-c. Fr. inventor]
n. 1 a preparation of the dried roots of various plants, esp.
smilax, used to flavour some drinks and medicines and formerly
as a tonic. 2 any of the plants yielding this. [Sp.
zarzaparilla f. zarza bramble, prob. + dimin. of parra vine]
sarsen n. Geol. a sandstone boulder carried by ice during a glacial
period. [prob. var. of SARACEN]
sarsenet n. (also sarcenet) a fine soft silk material used esp. for
linings. [ME f. AF sarzinett perh. dimin. of sarzin SARACEN
after OF drap sarrasinois Saracen cloth]
sartorial adj. 1 of a tailor or tailoring. 2 of men's clothes.
ЬЬsartorially adv. [L sartor tailor f. sarcire sart- patch]
sartorius n. Anat. the long narrow muscle running across the front of
each thigh. [mod.L f. L sartor tailor (the muscle being used in
adopting a tailor's cross-legged posture)]
Sarum use n. Eccl. the order of divine service used in the diocese of
Salisbury before the Reformation. [med.L Sarum Salisbury, perh.
f. L Sarisburia]
SAS abbr. (in the UK) Special Air Service.
s.a.s.e. abbr. US self-addressed stamped envelope.
sash(1) n. a long strip or loop of cloth etc. worn over one shoulder
usu. as part of a uniform or insignia, or worn round the waist,
usu. by a woman or child. ЬЬsashed adj. [earlier shash f.
Arab. sas muslin, turban]
sash(2) n. 1 a frame holding the glass in a sash-window and usu. made
to slide up and down in the grooves of a window aperture. 2 the
glazed sliding light of a glasshouse or garden frame.
Ьsash-cord a strong cord attaching the sash-weights to a sash.
sash-tool a glazier's or painter's brush for work on
sash-windows. sash-weight a weight attached to each end of a
sash to balance it at any height. sash-window a window with one
or two sashes of which one or each can be slid vertically over
the other to make an opening. ЬЬsashed adj. [sashes corrupt.
of CHASSIS, mistaken for pl.]
sashay v.intr. esp. US colloq. walk or move ostentatiously,
casually, or diagonally. [corrupt. of CHASSђ]
sashimi n. a Japanese dish of garnished raw fish in thin slices.
sasin n. = BLACKBUCK. [Nepali]
sasine n. Sc. Law 1 the possession of feudal property. 2 an act or
document granting this. [var. of SEISIN]
Sask. abbr. Saskatchewan.
sasquatch n. a supposed yeti-like animal of NW America. [Amer. Ind.]
sass n. & v. US colloq. --n. impudence, cheek. --v.tr. be impudent
to, cheek. [var. of SAUCE]
sassaby n. (pl. -ies) a S. African antelope, Damaliscus lunatus,
similar to the hartebeest. [Tswana tsess‚be, - bi]
sassafras n. 1 a small tree, Sassafras albidum, native to N. America,
with aromatic leaves and bark. 2 a preparation of oil extracted
from the leaves, or from its bark, used medicinally or in
perfumery. [Sp. sasafr s or Port. sassafraz, of unkn. orig.]
Sassanian n. & adj. (also Sassanid) --n. a member of a Persian dynasty
ruling 211-651. --adj. of or relating to this dynasty. [Sasan,
founder of the dynasty]
Sassenach n. & adj. Sc. & Ir. usu. derog. --n. an English person.
--adj. English. [Gael. Sasunnoch, Ir. Sasanach f. L Saxones
sassy adj. (sassier, sassiest) esp. US colloq. = SAUCY. ЬЬsassily
adv. sassiness n. [var. of SAUCY]
sastrugi n.pl. wavelike irregularities on the surface of hard polar
snow, caused by winds. [Russ. zastrugi small ridges]
Sat. abbr. Saturday.
sat past and past part. of SIT.
Satan n. the Devil; Lucifer. [OE f. LL f. Gk f. Heb. satan lit.
'adversary' f. satan oppose, plot against]
Satanism n. 1 the worship of Satan, with a travesty of Christian forms.
2 the pursuit of evil for its own sake. 3 deliberate
wickedness. ЬЬSatanist n. Satanize v.tr. (also -ise).
n. 1 beliefs concerning the Devil. 2 a history or collection
satay n. (also satai, sat‚) an Indonesian and Malaysian dish
consisting of small pieces of meat grilled on a skewer and usu.
served with spiced sauce. [Malayan satai sate, Indonesian sate]
SATB abbr. Mus. soprano, alto, tenor, and bass (as a combination of
satchel n. a small bag usu. of leather and hung from the shoulder with
a strap, for carrying books etc. esp. to and from school. [ME
f. OF sachel f. L saccellus (as SACK(1))]
sate v.tr. 1 gratify (desire, or a desirous person) to the full. 2
cloy, surfeit, weary with over-abundance (sated with pleasure).
ЬЬsateless adj. poet. [prob. f. dial. sade, OE sadian (as
SAD), assim. to SATIATE]
sateen n. cotton fabric woven like satin with a glossy surface.
[satin after velveteen]
satellite n. & adj. --n. 1 a celestial body orbiting the earth or
another planet. 2 an artificial body placed in orbit round the
earth or another planet. 3 a follower; a hanger-on. 4 an
underling; a member of an important person's staff or retinue.
5 (in full satellite State) a small country etc. nominally
independent but controlled by or dependent on another. --adj.
1 transmitted by satellite (satellite communications; satellite
television). 2 esp. Computing secondary; dependent; minor
(networks of small satellite computers). Ьsatellite dish a
concave dish-shaped aerial for receiving broadcasting signals
transmitted by satellite. satellite town a small town
economically or otherwise dependent on a nearby larger town.
ЬЬsatellitic adj. satellitism n. [F satellite or L satelles
sati var. of SUTTEE.
satiate adj. & v. --adj. archaic satiated. --v.tr. = SATE.
ЬЬsatiable adj. archaic. satiation n. [L satiatus past part.
of satiare f. satis enough]
satiety n. 1 the state of being glutted or satiated. 2 the feeling of
having too much of something. 3 (foll. by of) a cloyed dislike
of. Ьto satiety to an extent beyond what is desired. [obs. F
saciet‚ f. L satietas -tatis f. satis enough]
satin n., adj., & v. --n. a fabric of silk or various man-made
fibres, with a glossy surface on one side produced by a twill
weave with the weft-threads almost hidden. --adj. smooth as
satin. --v.tr. (satined, satining) give a glossy surface to
(paper). Ьsatin finish 1 a polish given to silver etc. with a
metallic brush. 2 any effect resembling satin in texture
produced on materials in various ways. satin paper fine glossy
writing paper. satin spar a fibrous variety of gypsum. satin
stitch a long straight embroidery stitch, giving the appearance
of satin. satin white a white pigment of calcium sulphate and
alumina. ЬЬsatinized adj. (also -ised). satiny adj. [ME f.
OF f. Arab. zaytuni of Tseutung in China]
satinette n. (also satinet) a satin-like fabric made partly or wholly of
cotton or synthetic fibre.
n. 1 any plant of the genus Clarkia, with pink or lavender
flowers. 2 = HONESTY 3.
satinwood n. 1 a (in full Ceylon satinwood) a tree, Chlororylon
swietenia, native to central and southern India and Ceylon. b
(in full West Indian satinwood) a tree, Fagara flava, native to
the West Indies, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and southern Florida. 2
the yellow glossy timber of either of these trees.
satire n. 1 the use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm, etc., to expose folly
or vice or to lampoon an individual. 2 a work or composition in
prose or verse using satire. 3 this branch of literature. 4 a
thing that brings ridicule upon something else. 5 Rom. Antiq. a
poetic medley, esp. a poem ridiculing prevalent vices or
follies. [F satire or L satira later form of satura medley]
satiric adj. 1 of satire or satires. 2 containing satire (wrote a
satiric review). 3 writing satire (a satiric poet). [F
satirique or LL satiricus (as SATIRE)]
satirical adj. 1 = SATIRIC. 2 given to the use of satire in speech or
writing or to cynical observation of others; sarcastic;
humorously critical. ЬЬsatirically adv.
satirist n. 1 a writer of satires. 2 a satirical person.
satirize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 assail or ridicule with satire. 2 write a
satire upon. 3 describe satirically. ЬЬsatirization n. [F
satiriser (as SATIRE)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of satisfying; the state of being
satisfied (heard this with great satisfaction). 2 a thing that
satisfies desire or gratifies feeling (is a great satisfaction
to me). 3 a thing that settles an obligation or pays a debt. 4
a (foll. by for) atonement; compensation (demanded
satisfaction). b Theol. Christ's atonement for the sins of
mankind. Ьto one's satisfaction so that one is satisfied. [ME
f. OF f. L satisfactio -onis (as SATISFY)]
adj. 1 adequate; causing or giving satisfaction (was a
satisfactory pupil). 2 satisfying expectations or needs;
leaving no room for complaint (a satisfactory result).
ЬЬsatisfactorily adv. satisfactoriness n. [F satisfactoire or
med.L satisfactorius (as SATISFY)]
satisfy v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. a meet the expectations or desires of;
comply with (a demand). b be accepted by (a person, his taste)
as adequate; be equal to (a preconception etc.). 2 tr. put an
end to (an appetite or want) by supplying what was required. 3
tr. rid (a person) of an appetite or want in a similar way. 4
intr. give satisfaction; leave nothing to be desired. 5 tr. pay
(a debt or creditor). 6 tr. adequately meet, fulfil, or comply
with (conditions, obligations, etc.) (has satisfied all the
legal conditions). 7 tr. (often foll. by of, that) provide with
adequate information or proof, convince (satisfied the others
that they were right; satisfy the court of their innocence). 8
tr. Math. (of a quantity) make (an equation) true. 9 tr. (in
passive) a (foll. by with) contented or pleased with. b (foll.
by to) demand no more than or consider it enough to do.
Ьsatisfy the examiners reach the standard required to pass an
examination. satisfy oneself (often foll. by that + clause) be
certain in one's own mind. ЬЬsatisfiable adj. satisfiability
n. satisfiedly adv. satisfying adj. satisfyingly adv. [ME f.
OF satisfier f. L satisfacere satisfact- f. satis enough]
satori n. Buddhism sudden enlightenment. [Jap.]
satrap n. 1 a provincial governor in the ancient Persian empire. 2 a
subordinate ruler, colonial governor, etc. [ME f. OF satrape or
L satrapa f. Gk satrapes f. OPers. xsathra-pavan
satrapy n. (pl. -ies) a province ruled over by a satrap.
satsuma n. 1 also a variety of tangerine orig. grown in Japan. 2
(Satsuma) (in full Satsuma ware) cream-coloured Japanese
pottery. [Satsuma a province in Japan]
saturate v.tr. 1 fill with moisture; soak thoroughly. 2 (often foll. by
with) fill to capacity. 3 cause (a substance, solution, vapour,
metal, or air) to absorb, hold, or combine with the greatest
possible amount of another substance, or of moisture, magnetism,
electricity, etc. 4 cause (a substance) to combine with the
maximum amount of another substance. 5 supply (a market) beyond
the point at which the demand for a product is satisfied. 6
(foll. by with, in) imbue with or steep in (learning, tradition,
prejudice, etc.). 7 overwhelm (enemy defences, a target area,
etc.) by concentrated bombing. 8 (as saturated adj.) a (of
colour) full; rich; free from an admixture of white. b (of fat
molecules) containing the greatest number of hydrogen atoms.
ЬЬsaturate adj. literary. saturable adj. saturant n. & adj.
[L saturare f. satur full]
n. the act or an instance of saturating; the state of being
saturated. Ьsaturation point the stage beyond which no more can
be absorbed or accepted.
Saturday n. & adv. --n. the seventh day of the week, following Friday.
--adv. colloq. 1 on Saturday. 2 (Saturdays) on Saturdays;
each Saturday. [OE S‘tern(es) d‘g transl. of L Saturni dies day
Saturn n. 1 a the sixth planet from the sun, with a system of broad
flat rings circling it, and the most distant of the five planets
known in the ancient world. b Astrol. Saturn as a supposed
astrological influence on those born under its sign,
characterized by coldness and gloominess. 2 Alchemy the metal
lead. ЬЬSaturnian adj. [L Saturnus, Roman god of agriculture,
identified with Kronos, father of Zeus, perh. f. Etruscan]
n. (pl. same or saturnalias) 1 (usu. Saturnalia) Rom.Hist. the
festival of Saturn in December, characterized by unrestrained
merrymaking for all, the predecessor of Christmas. 2 (as sing.
or pl.) a scene of wild revelry or tumult; an orgy.
ЬЬsaturnalian adj. [L, neut. pl. of Saturnalis (as SATURN)]
saturnic adj. Med. affected with lead-poisoning. ЬЬsaturnism [SATURN
saturniid n. any large moth of the family Saturniidae, including emperor
saturnine adj. 1 a of a sluggish gloomy temperament. b (of looks etc.)
dark and brooding. 2 archaic a of the metal lead. b Med. of or
affected by lead-poisoning. ЬЬsaturninely adv. [ME f. OF
saturnin f. med.L Saturninus (as SATURN)]
n. Ind. 1 hist. a policy of passive resistance to British rule
advocated by Gandhi. 2 passive resistance as a policy. [Skr.
f. satya truth + agraha obstinacy]
satyr n. 1 (in Greek mythology) one of a class of Greek woodland gods
with a horse's ears and tail, or (in Roman representations) with
a goat's ears, tail, legs, and budding horns. 2 a lustful or
sensual man. 3 = SATYRID. [ME f. OF satyre or L satyrus f. Gk
n. Med. excessive sexual desire in men. [LL f. Gk saturiasis
satyric adj. (in Greek mythology) of or relating to satyrs. Ьsatyric
drama a kind of ancient Greek comic play with a chorus of
satyrs. [L satyricus f. Gk saturikos (as SATYR)]
satyrid n. any butterfly of the family Satyridae, with distinctive
eyelike markings on the wings. [mod.L Satyridae f. the
genus-name Satyrus (as SATYR)]
sauce n. & v. --n. 1 any of various liquid or semi-solid
preparations taken as a relish with food; the liquid constituent
of a dish (mint sauce; tomato sauce; chicken in a lemon sauce).
2 something adding piquancy or excitement. 3 colloq. impudence,
impertinence, cheek. 4 US stewed fruit etc. eaten as dessert or
used as a garnish. --v.tr. 1 colloq. be impudent to; cheek. 2
archaic a season with sauce or condiments. b add excitement to.
Ьsauce-boat a kind of jug or dish used for serving sauces etc.
sauce for the goose what is appropriate in one case (by
implication appropriate in others). ЬЬsauceless adj. [ME f. OF
ult. f. L salsus f. salere sals- to salt f. sal salt]
saucepan n. a usu. metal cooking pan, usu. round with a lid and a long
handle at the side, used for boiling, stewing, etc., on top of a
cooker. ЬЬsaucepanful n. (pl. -fuls).
saucer n. 1 a shallow circular dish used for standing a cup on and to
catch drips. 2 any similar dish used to stand a plant pot etc.
on. ЬЬsaucerful n. (pl. -fuls). saucerless adj. [ME, =
condiment-dish, f. OF saussier(e) sauce-boat, prob. f. LL
salsarium (as SAUCE)]
saucy adj. (saucier, sauciest) 1 impudent, cheeky. 2 colloq.
smart-looking (a saucy hat). 3 colloq. smutty, suggestive.
ЬЬsaucily adv. sauciness n. [earlier sense 'savoury', f.
Saudi n. & adj. (also Saudi Arabian) --n. (pl. Saudis) 1 a a native
or national of Saudi Arabia. b a person of Saudi descent. 2 a
member of the dynasty founded by King Saud. --adj. of or
relating to Saudi Arabia or the Saudi dynasty. [A. Ibn- Saud,
Arab. king d. 1953]
n. a German dish of chopped pickled cabbage. [G f. sauer SOUR
+ Kraut vegetable]
sauger n. US a small American pike-perch. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
sauna n. 1 a Finnish-style steam bath. 2 a building used for this.
saunders var. of SANDERS.
saunter v. & n. --v.intr. 1 walk slowly; amble, stroll. 2 proceed
without hurry or effort. --n. 1 a leisurely ramble. 2 a slow
gait. ЬЬsaunterer n. [ME, = muse: orig. unkn.]
saurian adj. of or like a lizard. [mod.L Sauria f. Gk saura lizard]
sauropod n. any of a group of plant-eating dinosaurs with a long neck
and tail, and four thick limbs. [Gk saura lizard + pous pod-
saury n. (pl. -ies) a long-beaked marine fish, Scomberesox saurus,
of temperate waters. [perh. f. LL f. Gk sauros horse-mackerel]
sausage n. 1 a minced pork, beef, or other meat seasoned and often
mixed with other ingredients, encased in cylindrical form in a
skin, for cooking and eating hot or cold. b a length of this.
2 a sausage-shaped object. Ьnot a sausage colloq. nothing at
all. sausage dog Brit. colloq. a dachshund. sausage machine
1 a sausage-making machine. 2 a relentlessly uniform process.
sausage meat minced meat used in sausages or as a stuffing etc.
sausage roll Brit. sausage meat enclosed in a pastry roll and
baked. [ME f. ONF saussiche f. med.L salsicia f. L salsus: see
saut‚ adj., n., & v. --adj. (esp. of potatoes etc.) quickly fried in
a little hot fat. --n. food cooked in this way. --v.tr.
(saut‚d or saut‚ed) cook in this way. [F, past part. of sauter
Sauternes n. a sweet white wine from Sauternes in the Bordeaux region of
savage adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 fierce; cruel (savage persecution; a
savage blow). 2 wild; primitive (savage tribes; a savage
animal). 3 archaic (of scenery etc.) uncultivated (a savage
scene). 4 colloq. angry; bad-tempered (in a savage mood). 5
Heraldry (of the human figure) naked. --n. 1 Anthropol.
derog. a member of a primitive tribe. 2 a cruel or barbarous
person. --v.tr. 1 (esp. of a dog, wolf, etc.) attack and bite
or trample. 2 (of a critic etc.) attack fiercely. ЬЬsavagedom
n. savagely adv. savageness n. savagery n. (pl. -ies). [ME
f. OF sauvage wild f. L silvaticus f. silva a wood]
savannah n. (also savanna) a grassy plain in tropical and subtropical
regions, with few or no trees. [Sp. zavana perh. of Carib
savant n. (fem. savante) a learned person, esp. a distinguished
scientist etc. [F, part. of savoir know (as SAPIENT)]
savate n. a form of boxing in which feet and fists are used. [F,
orig. a kind of shoe: cf. SABOT]
save(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (often foll. by from) rescue, preserve,
protect, or deliver from danger, harm, discredit, etc. (saved my
life; saved me from drowning). 2 tr. (often foll. by up) keep
for future use; reserve; refrain from spending (saved up њ150
for a new bike; likes to save plastic bags). 3 tr. (often
refl.) a relieve (another person or oneself) from spending
(money, time, trouble, etc.); prevent exposure to (annoyance
etc.) (saved myself њ50; a word processor saves time). b
obviate the need or likelihood of (soaking saves scrubbing). 4
tr. preserve from damnation; convert (saved her soul). 5 tr. &
refl. husband or preserve (one's strength, health, etc.) (saving
himself for the last lap; save your energy). 6 intr. (often
foll. by up) save money for future use. 7 tr. a avoid losing
(a game, match, etc.). b prevent an opponent from scoring (a
goal etc.). c stop (a ball etc.) from entering the goal. --n.
1 Football etc. the act of preventing an opponent's scoring etc.
2 Bridge a sacrifice-bid to prevent unnecessary losses.
Ьsave-all 1 a device to prevent waste. 2 hist. a pan with a
spike for burning up candle-ends. save appearances present a
prosperous, respectable, etc. appearance. save-as-you-earn
Brit. a method of saving by regular deduction from earnings at
source. save one's breath not waste time speaking to no effect.
save a person's face see FACE. save the situation (or day) find
or provide a solution to difficulty or disaster. save one's
skin (or neck or bacon) avoid loss, injury, or death; escape
from danger. save the tide get in or out (of port etc.) while
it lasts. save the trouble avoid useless or pointless effort.
ЬЬsavable adj. (also saveable). [ME f. AF sa(u)ver, OF salver,
sauver f. LL salvare f. L salvus SAFE]
save(2) prep. & conj. archaic or poet. --prep. except; but (all save
him). --conj. (often foll. by for) unless; but; except (happy
save for one want; is well save that he has a cold). [ME f. OF
sauf sauve f. L salvo, salva, ablat. sing. of salvus SAFE]
saveloy n. a seasoned red pork sausage, dried and smoked, and sold
ready to eat. [corrupt. of F cervelas, -at, f. It. cervellata
saver n. 1 a person who saves esp. money. 2 (often in comb.) a
device for economical use (of time etc.) (found the short cut a
time-saver). 3 Racing sl. a hedging bet.
savin n. (also savine) 1 a bushy juniper, Juniperus sabina, usu.
spreading horizontally, and yielding oil formerly used in the
treatment of amenorrhoea. 2 US = red cedar. [OE f. OF savine
f. L sabina (herba) Sabine (herb)]
saving adj., n., & prep. --adj. (often in comb.) making economical use
of (labour-saving). --n. 1 anything that is saved. 2 an
economy (a saving in expenses). 3 (usu. in pl.) money saved.
--prep. 1 with the exception of; except (all saving that one).
2 without offence to (saving your presence). Ьsaving clause Law
a clause containing a stipulation of exemption etc. saving
grace 1 the redeeming grace of God. 2 a redeeming quality or
characteristic. savings account a deposit account. savings
bank a bank receiving small deposits at interest and returning
the profits to the depositors. savings certificate Brit. an
interest-bearing document issued by the Government for the
benefit of savers. [ME f. SAVE(1): prep. prob. f. SAVE(2)
saviour n. (US savior) 1 a person who saves or delivers from danger,
destruction, etc. (the saviour of the nation). 2 (Saviour)
(prec. by the, our) Christ. [ME f. OF sauv‰our f. eccl.L
salvator -oris (transl. Gk soter) f. LL salvare SAVE(1)]
n. the ability to act suitably in any situation; tact. [F, =
know how to do]
savor US var. of SAVOUR.
savory(1) n. (pl. -ies) any herb of the genus Satureia, esp. S.
hortensis and S. montana, used esp. in cookery. [ME saverey,
perh. f. OE s‘therie f. L satureia]
savory(2) US var. of SAVOURY.
savour n. & v. (US savor) --n. 1 a characteristic taste, flavour,
relish, etc. 2 a quality suggestive of or containing a small
amount of another. 3 archaic a characteristic smell. --v. 1
tr. a appreciate and enjoy the taste of (food). b enjoy or
appreciate (an experience etc.). 2 intr. (foll. by of) a
suggest by taste, smell, etc. (savours of mushrooms). b imply
or suggest a specified quality (savours of impertinence).
ЬЬsavourless adj. [ME f. OF f. L sapor -oris f. sapere to
savoury adj. & n. (US savory) --adj. 1 having an appetizing taste or
smell. 2 (of food) salty or piquant, not sweet (a savoury
omelette). 3 pleasant; acceptable. --n. (pl. -ies) Brit. a
savoury dish served as an appetizer or at the end of dinner.
ЬЬsavourily adv. savouriness n. [ME f. OF savour‚ past part.
savoy n. a hardy variety of cabbage with wrinkled leaves. [Savoy in
Savoyard n. & adj. --n. a native of Savoy in SE France. --adj. of or
relating to Savoy or its people etc. [F f. Savoie Savoy]
savvy v., n., & adj. sl. --v.intr. & tr. (-ies, -ied) know. --n.
knowingness; shrewdness; understanding. --adj. (savvier,
savviest) US knowing; wise. [orig. Black & Pidgin E after Sp.
sabe usted you know]
saw(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a hand tool having a toothed blade used to
cut esp. wood with a to-and-fro movement. b any of several
mechanical power-driven devices with a toothed rotating disk or
moving band, for cutting. 2 Zool. etc. a serrated organ or
part. --v. (past part. sawn or sawed) 1 tr. a cut (wood
etc.) with a saw. b make (boards etc.) with a saw. 2 intr. use
a saw. 3 a intr. move to and fro with a motion as of a saw or
person sawing (sawing away on his violin). b tr. divide (the
air etc.) with gesticulations. Ьsaw-doctor a machine for making
the teeth of a saw. saw-edged with a jagged edge like a saw.
saw-frame a frame in which a saw-blade is held taut. saw-gate =
saw-frame. saw-gin = cotton-gin. saw-horse a rack supporting
wood for sawing. sawn-off (US sawed-off) 1 (of a gun) having
part of the barrel sawn off to make it easier to handle and give
a wider field of fire. 2 colloq. (of a person) short. saw-pit
a pit in which the lower of two men working a pit-saw stands.
saw-set a tool for wrenching saw-teeth in alternate directions
to allow the saw to work freely. saw-wort a composite plant,
Serratula tinctoria, yielding a yellow dye from its serrated
leaves. ЬЬsawlike adj. [OE saga f. Gmc]
saw(2) past of SEE(1).
saw(3) n. a proverb; a maxim (that's just an old saw). [OE sagu f.
Gmc, rel. to SAY: cf. SAGA]
sawbill n. a merganser.
sawbones n. sl. a doctor or surgeon.
sawbuck n. US 1 a saw-horse. 2 sl. a $10 note.
sawdust n. powdery particles of wood produced in sawing.
sawfish n. any large marine fish of the family Pristidae, with a
toothed flat snout used as a weapon.
sawfly n. (pl. -flies) any insect of the superfamily Tenthredinidae,
with a serrated ovipositor, the larvae of which are injurious to
sawmill n. a factory in which wood is sawn mechanically into planks or
sawn past part. of SAW(1).
sawtooth adj. 1 (also sawtoothed) (esp. of a roof, wave, etc.) shaped
like the teeth of a saw with one steep and one slanting side. 2
(of a wave-form) showing a slow linear rise and rapid linear
sawyer n. 1 a person who saws timber professionally. 2 US an uprooted
tree held fast by one end in a river. 3 NZ a large wingless
horned grasshopper whose grubs bore in wood. [ME, earlier
sawer, f. SAW(1)]
sax(1) n. colloq. 1 a saxophone. 2 a saxophone-player. ЬЬsaxist n.
sax(2) n. (also zax) a slater's chopper, with a point for making
nail-holes. [OE seax knife f. Gmc]
saxatile adj. living or growing on or among rocks. [F saxatile or L
saxatilis f. saxum rock]
saxboard n. the uppermost strake of an open boat. [SAX(2) + BOARD]
saxe n. (in full saxe blue) (often attrib.) a lightish blue colour
with a greyish tinge. [F, = Saxony, the source of a dye of this
saxhorn n. any of a series of different-sized brass wind instruments
with valves and a funnel-shaped mouthpiece, used mainly in
military and brass bands. [Sax, name of its Belgian inventors,
adj. (also saxicolous) Biol. = SAXATILE. [mod.L saxicolus f.
saxum rock + colere inhabit]
saxifrage n. any plant of the genus Saxifraga, growing on rocky or stony
ground and usu. bearing small white, yellow, or red flowers.
[ME f. OF saxifrage or LL saxifraga (herba) f. L saxum rock +
Saxon n. & adj. --n. 1 hist. a a member of the Germanic people that
conquered parts of England in 5th-6th c. b (usu. Old Saxon)
the language of the Saxons. 2 = ANGLO-SAXON. 3 a native of
modern Saxony in Germany. 4 the Germanic (as opposed to Latin
or Romance) elements of English. --adj. 1 hist. of or
concerning the Saxons. 2 belonging to or originating from the
Saxon language or Old English. 3 of or concerning modern Saxony
or Saxons. ЬSaxon architecture the form of Romanesque
architecture preceding the Norman in England. Saxon blue a
solution of indigo in sulphuric acid as a dye. ЬЬSaxondom n.
Saxonism n. Saxonist n. Saxonize v.tr. & intr. (also -ise).
[ME f. OF f. LL Saxo -onis f. Gk Saxones (pl.) f. WG: cf. OE
Seaxan, Seaxe (pl.)]
saxony n. 1 a fine kind of wool. 2 cloth made from this. [Saxony in
Germany f. LL Saxonia (as SAXON)]
saxophone n. 1 a keyed brass reed instrument in several sizes and
registers, used esp. in jazz and dance music. 2 a
saxophone-player. ЬЬsaxophonic adj. saxophonist n. [Sax (as
SAXHORN) + -PHONE]
say v. & n. --v. (3rd sing. present says; past and past part.
said) 1 tr. (often foll. by that + clause) a utter (specified
words) in a speaking voice; remark (said 'Damn!'; said that he
was satisfied). b put into words; express (that was well said;
cannot say what I feel). 2 tr. (often foll. by that + clause) a
state; promise or prophesy (says that there will be war). b
have specified wording; indicate (says here that he was killed;
the clock says ten to six). 3 tr. (in passive; usu. foll. by to
+ infin.) be asserted or described (is said to be 93 years old).
4 tr. (foll. by to + infin.) colloq. tell a person to do
something (he said to bring the car). 5 tr. convey
(information) (spoke for an hour but said little). 6 tr. put
forward as an argument or excuse (much to be said in favour of
it; what have you to say for yourself?). 7 tr. (often absol.)
form and give an opinion or decision as to (who did it I cannot
say; do say which you prefer). 8 tr. select, assume, or take as
an example or (a specified number etc.) as near enough (shall we
say this one?; paid, say, њ20). 9 tr. a speak the words of
(prayers, Mass, a grace, etc.). b repeat (a lesson etc.);
recite (can't say his tables). 10 tr. Art etc. convey (inner
meaning or intention) (what is the director saying in this
film?). 11 intr. a speak; talk. b (in imper.) poet. tell me
(what is your name, say!). 12 tr. (the said) Law or joc. the
previously mentioned (the said witness). 13 intr. (as int.) US
an exclamation of surprise, to attract attention, etc. --n. 1
a an opportunity for stating one's opinion etc. (let him have
his say). b a stated opinion. 2 a share in a decision (had no
say in the matter). Ьhow say you? Law how do you find?
(addressed to the jury requesting its verdict). I etc. cannot
(or could not) say I etc. do not know. I'll say colloq. yes
indeed. I say! Brit. an exclamation expressing surprise,
drawing attention, etc. it is said the rumour is that. not to
say and indeed; or possibly even (his language was rude not to
say offensive). said he (or I etc.) colloq. or poet. he etc.
said. say for oneself say by way of conversation, oratory, etc.
say much (or something) for indicate the high quality of. say
no refuse or disagree. say out express fully or candidly. says
I (or he etc.) colloq. I, he, etc., said (used in reporting
conversation). say-so 1 the power of decision. 2 mere
assertion (cannot proceed merely on his say-so). say something
make a short speech. says you! colloq. I disagree. say when
colloq. indicate when enough drink or food has been given. say
the word 1 indicate that you agree or give permission. 2 give
the order etc. say yes agree. that is to say 1 in other words,
more explicitly. 2 or at least. they say it is rumoured. to
say nothing of = not to mention (see MENTION). what do (or
would) you say to? would you like? when all is said and done
after all, in the long run. you can say that again! (or you
said it!) colloq. I agree emphatically. you don't say so
colloq. an expression of amazement or disbelief. ЬЬsayable
adj. sayer n. [OE secgan f. Gmc]
SAYE abbr. Brit. save-as-you-earn.
saying n. 1 the act or an instance of saying. 2 a maxim, proverb,
adage, etc. Ьas the saying goes (or is) an expression used in
introducing a proverb, clich‚, etc. go without saying be too
well known or obvious to need mention. there is no saying it is
impossible to know.
SC abbr. 1 US South Carolina (also in official postal use). 2
Sc symb. Chem. the element scandium.
sc. abbr. scilicet.
s.c. abbr. small capitals.
scab n. & v. --n. 1 a dry rough crust formed over a cut, sore, etc.
in healing. 2 (often attrib.) colloq. derog. a person who
refuses to strike or join a trade union, or who tries to break a
strike by working; a blackleg. 3 the mange or a similar skin
disease esp. in animals. 4 a fungous plant-disease causing
scablike roughness. 5 a dislikeable person. --v.intr.
(scabbed, scabbing) 1 act as a scab. 2 (of a wound etc.) form a
scab; heal over. ЬЬscabbed adj. scabby adj. (scabbier,
scabbiest). scabbiness n. scablike adj. [ME f. ON skabbr
(unrecorded), corresp. to OE sceabb]
scabbard n. 1 hist. a sheath for a sword, bayonet, etc. 2 US a sheath
for a revolver etc. Ьscabbard-fish any of various silvery-white
marine fish shaped like a sword-scabbard, esp. Lepidopus
caudatus. [ME sca(u)berc etc. f. AF prob. f. Frank.]
scabies n. a contagious skin disease causing severe itching (cf.
ITCH). [ME f. L f. scabere scratch]
scabious n. & adj. --n. any plant of the genus Scabiosa, Knautia, etc.,
with pink, white, or esp. blue pincushion-shaped flowers.
--adj. affected with mange; scabby. [ME f. med.L scabiosa
(herba) formerly regarded as a cure for skin disease: see
scabrous adj. 1 having a rough surface; bearing short stiff hairs,
scales, etc.; scurfy. 2 (of a subject, situation, etc.)
requiring tactful treatment; hard to handle with decency. 3 a
indecent, salacious. b behaving licentiously. ЬЬscabrously
adv. scabrousness n. [F scabreux or LL scabrosus f. L scaber
scad n. any fish of the family Carangidae native to tropical and
subtropical seas, usu. having an elongated body and very large
spiky scales. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
scads n.pl. US colloq. large quantities. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
scaffold n. & v. --n. 1 a hist. a raised wooden platform used for the
execution of criminals. b a similar platform used for drying
tobacco etc. 2 = SCAFFOLDING. 3 (prec. by the) death by
execution. --v.tr. attach scaffolding to (a building).
ЬЬscaffolder n. [ME f. AF f. OF (e)schaffaut, earlier
escadafaut: cf. CATAFALQUE]
n. 1 a a temporary structure formed of poles, planks, etc.,
erected by workmen and used by them while building or repairing
a house etc. b materials used for this. 2 a temporary
conceptual framework used for constructing theories etc.
scagliola n. imitation stone or plaster mixed with glue. [It.
scagliuola dimin. of scaglia SCALE(1)]
scalable adj. capable of being scaled or climbed. ЬЬscalability n.
scalar adj. & n. Math. & Physics --adj. (of a quantity) having only
magnitude, not direction. --n. a scalar quantity (cf. VECTOR).
[L scalaris f. scala ladder; see SCALE(3)]
scalawag var. of SCALLYWAG.
scald(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 burn (the skin etc.) with hot liquid or
steam. 2 heat (esp. milk) to near boiling-point. 3 (usu. foll.
by out) clean (a pan etc.) by rinsing with boiling water. 4
treat (poultry etc.) with boiling water to remove feathers etc.
--n. 1 a burn etc. caused by scalding. 2 a skin disease caused
esp. by air pollution etc. affecting the fruits of some plants.
Ьlike a scalded cat moving unusually fast. scalded cream a
dessert made from milk scalded and allowed to stand. scalding
tears hot bitter tears of grief etc. ЬЬscalder n. [ME f. AF,
ONF escalder, OF eschalder f. LL excaldare (as EX-(1), L calidus
scald(2) var. of SKALD.
scale(1) n. & v. --n. 1 each of the small thin bony or horny
overlapping plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles. 2
something resembling a fish-scale, esp.: a a pod or husk. b a
flake of skin; a scab. c a rudimentary leaf, feather, or bract.
d each of the structures covering the wings of butterflies and
moths. e Bot. a layer of a bulb. 3 a a flake formed on the
surface of rusty iron. b a thick white deposit formed in a
kettle, boiler, etc. by the action of heat on water. 4 plaque
formed on teeth. --v. 1 tr. remove scale or scales from (fish,
nuts, iron, etc.). 2 tr. remove plaque from (teeth) by
scraping. 3 intr. a (of skin, metal, etc.) form, come off in,
or drop, scales. b (usu. foll. by off) (of scales) come off.
Ьscale-armour hist. armour formed of metal scales attached to
leather etc. scale-board very thin wood used for the back of a
mirror, picture, etc. scale-bug = scale insect. scale-fern any
of various spleenworts, esp. Asplenium ceterach. scale insect
any of various insects, esp. of the family Coccidae, clinging to
plants and secreting a shieldlike scale as covering. scale-leaf
a modified leaf resembling a scale. scale-moss a type of
liverwort with scalelike leaves. scales fall from a person's
eyes a person is no longer deceived (cf. Acts 9:18).
scale-winged lepidopterous. scale-work an overlapping
arrangement. ЬЬscaled adj. (also in comb.). scaleless adj.
scaler n. [ME f. OF escale f. Gmc, rel. to SCALE(2)]
scale(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a (often in pl.) a weighing machine or device
(bathroom scales). b (also scale-pan) each of the dishes on a
simple scale balance. 2 (the Scales) the zodiacal sign or
constellation Libra. --v.tr. (of something weighed) show (a
specified weight) in the scales. Ьpair of scales a simple
balance. throw into the scale cause to be a factor in a
contest, debate, etc. tip (or turn) the scales 1 (usu. foll. by
at) outweigh the opposite scale-pan (at a specified weight);
weigh. 2 (of a motive, circumstance, etc.) be decisive. [ME f.
ON sk l bowl f. Gmc]
scale(3) n. & v. --n. 1 a series of degrees; a graded classification
system (pay fees according to a prescribed scale; high on the
social scale; seven points on the Richter scale). 2 a (often
attrib.) Geog. & Archit. a ratio of size in a map, model,
picture, etc. (on a scale of one centimetre to the kilometre; a
scale model). b relative dimensions or degree (generosity on a
grand scale). 3 Mus. an arrangement of all the notes in any
system of music in ascending or descending order (chromatic
scale; major scale). 4 a a set of marks on a line used in
measuring, reducing, enlarging, etc. b a rule determining the
distances between these. c a piece of metal, apparatus, etc. on
which these are marked. 5 (in full scale of notation) Math. the
ratio between units in a numerical system (decimal scale). --v.
1 tr. a (also absol.) climb (a wall, height, etc.) esp. with a
ladder. b climb (the social scale, heights of ambition, etc.).
2 tr. represent in proportional dimensions; reduce to a common
scale. 3 intr. (of quantities etc.) have a common scale; be
commensurable. Ьeconomies of scale proportionate savings gained
by using larger quantities. in scale (of drawing etc.) in
proportion to the surroundings etc. play (or sing) scales Mus.
perform the notes of a scale as an exercise for the fingers or
voice. scale down make smaller in proportion; reduce in size.
scale up make larger in proportion; increase in size.
scaling-ladder hist. a ladder used to climb esp. fortress
walls, esp. to break a siege. to scale with a uniform reduction
or enlargement. ЬЬscaler n. [(n.) ME (= ladder): (v.) ME f. OF
escaler or med.L scalare f. L scala f. scandere climb]
scalene adj. & n. --adj. (esp. of a triangle) having sides unequal in
length. --n. 1 (in full scalene muscle) = SCALENUS. 2 a
scalene triangle. Ьscalene cone (or cylinder) a cone (or
cylinder) with the axis not perpendicular to the base. [LL
scalenus f. Gk skalenos unequal, rel. to skolios bent]
scalenus n. (pl. scaleni) any of several muscles extending from the
neck to the first and second ribs. [mod.L: see SCALENE]
scallawag var. of SCALLYWAG.
scallion n. a shallot or spring onion; any long-necked onion with a
small bulb. [ME f. AF scal(o)un = OF escalo(i)gne ult. f. L
Ascalonia (caepa) (onion) of Ascalon in anc. Palestine]
scallop n. & v. (also scollop) 1 any of various bivalve molluscs of the
family Pectinidae, esp. of the genus Chlamys or Pecten, much
prized as food. 2 (in full scallop shell) a a single valve from
the shell of a scallop, with grooves and ridges radiating from
the middle of the hinge and edged with small rounded lobes,
often used for cooking or serving food. b hist. a
representation of this shell worn as a pilgrim's badge. 3 (in
pl.) an ornamental edging cut in material in imitation of a
scallop-edge. 4 a small pan or dish shaped like a scallop shell
and used for baking or serving food. --v.tr. (scalloped,
scalloping) 1 cook in a scallop. 2 ornament (an edge or
material) with scallops or scalloping. ЬЬscalloper n.
scalloping n. (in sense 3 of n.). [ME f. OF escalope prob. f.
scallywag n. (also scalawag, scallawag) a scamp; a rascal. [19th-c. US
sl.: orig. unkn.]
scalp n. & v. --n. 1 the skin covering the top of the head, with the
hair etc. attached. 2 a hist. the scalp of an enemy cut or
torn away as a trophy by an American Indian. b a trophy or
symbol of triumph, conquest, etc. 3 Sc. a bare rock projecting
above water etc. --v.tr. 1 hist. take the scalp of (an enemy).
2 criticize savagely. 3 US defeat; humiliate. 4 US colloq.
resell (shares, tickets, etc.) at a high or quick profit.
ЬЬscalpless adj. [ME, prob. of Scand. orig.]
scalpel n. a surgeon's small sharp knife shaped for holding like a pen.
[F scalpel or L scalpellum dimin. of scalprum chisel f.
scalper n. 1 a person or thing that scalps (esp. in sense 4 of v.). 2
(also scauper, scorper) an engraver's tool for hollowing out
woodcut or linocut designs. [SCALP + -ER(1): sense 2 also f. L
scalper cutting tool f. scalpere carve]
scaly adj. (scalier, scaliest) covered in or having many scales or
flakes. ЬЬscaliness n.
scam n. US sl. 1 a trick or swindle; a fraud. 2 a story or rumour.
[20th c.: orig. unkn.]
scammony n. (pl. -ies) an Asian plant, Convolvulus scammonia, bearing
white or pink flowers, the dried roots of which are used as a
purgative. [ME f. OF scamonee, escamonie or L scammonia f. Gk
scamp(1) n. colloq. a rascal; a rogue. ЬЬscampish adj. [scamp rob on
highway, prob. f. MDu. schampen decamp f. OF esc(h)amper (as
EX-(1), L campus field)]
scamp(2) v.tr. do (work etc.) in a perfunctory or inadequate way.
[perh. formed as SCAMP(1): cf. SKIMP]
scamper v. & n. --v.intr. (usu. foll. by about, through) run and skip
impulsively or playfully. --n. the act or an instance of
scampering. [prob. formed as SCAMP(1)]
scampi n.pl. 1 large prawns. 2 (often treated as sing.) a dish of
these, usu. fried. [It.]
scan v. & n. --v. (scanned, scanning) 1 tr. look at intently or
quickly (scanned the horizon; rapidly scanned the speech for
errors). 2 intr. (of a verse etc.) be metrically correct; be
capable of being recited etc. metrically (this line doesn't
scan). 3 tr. a examine all parts of (a surface etc.) to detect
radioactivity etc. b cause (a particular region) to be
traversed by a radar etc. beam. 4 tr. resolve (a picture) into
its elements of light and shade in a prearranged pattern for the
purposes esp. of television transmission. 5 tr. test the metre
of (a line of verse etc.) by reading with the emphasis on its
rhythm, or by examining the number of feet etc. 6 tr. a make a
scan of (the body or part of it). b examine (a patient etc.)
with a scanner. --n. 1 the act or an instance of scanning. 2
an image obtained by scanning or with a scanner. ЬЬscannable
adj. [ME f. L scandere climb: in LL = scan verses (from the
raising of one's foot in marking rhythm)]
scandal n. 1 a a thing or a person causing general public outrage or
indignation. b the outrage etc. so caused, esp. as a subject of
common talk. c malicious gossip or backbiting. 2 Law a public
affront, esp. an irrelevant abusive statement in court.
Ьscandal sheet derog. a newspaper etc. giving prominence to
esp. malicious gossip. ЬЬscandalous adj. scandalously adv.
scandalousness n. [ME f. OF scandale f. eccl.L scandalum f. Gk
skandalon snare, stumbling-block]
v.tr. (also -ise) offend the moral feelings, sensibilities,
etc. of; shock. [ME in sense 'make a scandal of' f. F
scandaliser or eccl.L scandaliso f. Gk skandalizo (as SCANDAL)]
n. a person who spreads malicious scandal.
n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native or inhabitant of Scandinavia
(Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland). b a person of
Scandinavian descent. 2 the family of languages of Scandinavia.
--adj. of or relating to Scandinavia or its people or languages.
scandium n. Chem. a rare soft silver-white metallic element occurring
naturally in lanthanide ores. °Symb.: Sc. [mod.L f. Scandia
Scandinavia (source of the minerals containing it)]
scannable see SCAN.
scanner n. 1 a device for scanning or systematically examining all the
parts of something. 2 a machine for measuring the intensity of
radiation, ultrasound reflections, etc., from the body as a
diagnostic aid. 3 a person who scans or examines critically. 4
a person who scans verse.
scansion n. 1 the metrical scanning of verse. 2 the way a verse etc.
scans. [L scansio (LL of metre) f. scandere scans- climb]
scant adj. & v. --adj. barely sufficient; deficient (with scant
regard for the truth; scant of breath). --v.tr. archaic
provide (a supply, material, a person, etc.) grudgingly; skimp;
stint. ЬЬscantly adv. scantness n. [ME f. ON skamt neut. of
scantling n. 1 a a timber beam of small cross-section. b a size to which
a stone or timber is to be cut. 2 a set of standard dimensions
for parts of a structure, esp. in shipbuilding. 3 (usu. foll.
by of) archaic a a specimen or sample. b one's necessary
supply; a modicum or small amount. [alt. after -LING(1) f. obs.
scantlon f. OF escantillon sample]
scanty adj. (scantier, scantiest) 1 of small extent or amount. 2
barely sufficient. ЬЬscantily adv. scantiness n. [obs. scant
scanty supply f. ON skamt neut. adj.: see SCANT]
scape n. 1 a long flower-stalk coming directly from the root. 2 the
base of an insect's antenna. [L scapus f. Gk skapos, rel. to
-scape comb. form forming nouns denoting a view or a representation of
a view (moonscape; seascape). [after LANDSCAPE]
scapegoat n. & v. --n. 1 a person bearing the blame for the sins,
shortcomings, etc. of others, esp. as an expedient. 2 Bibl. a
goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had
symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16).
--v.tr. make a scapegoat of. ЬЬscapegoater n. [scape (archaic,
= escape) + GOAT, = the goat that escapes]
n. a rascal; a scamp, esp. a young person or child. [scape (as
SCAPEGOAT) + GRACE = one who escapes the grace of God]
scaphoid adj. & n. Anat. = NAVICULAR. [mod.L scaphoides f. Gk
skaphoeides f. skaphos boat]
scapula n. (pl. scapulae or scapulas) the shoulder-blade. [LL, sing.
of L scapulae]
scapular adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the shoulder or
shoulder-blade. --n. 1 a a monastic short cloak covering the
shoulders. b a symbol of affiliation to an ecclesiastical
order, consisting of two strips of cloth hanging down the breast
and back and joined across the shoulders. 2 a bandage for or
over the shoulders. 3 a scapular feather. Ьscapular feather a
feather growing near the insertion of the wing. [(adj.) f.
SCAPULA: (n.) f. LL scapulare (as SCAPULA)]
scapulary n. (pl. -ies) 1 = SCAPULAR n. 1. 2 = SCAPULAR n. 3. [ME f.
OF eschapeloyre f. med.L scapelorium, scapularium (as SCAPULA)]
scar(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a usu. permanent mark on the skin left after
the healing of a wound, burn, or sore. 2 the lasting effect of
grief etc. on a person's character or disposition. 3 a mark
left by damage etc. (the table bore many scars). 4 a mark left
on the stem etc. of a plant by the fall of a leaf etc. --v.
(scarred, scarring) 1 tr. (esp. as scarred adj.) mark with a
scar or scars (was scarred for life). 2 intr. heal over; form a
scar. 3 tr. form a scar on. ЬЬscarless adj. [ME f. OF
eschar(r)e f. LL eschara f. Gk eskhara scab]
scar(2) n. (also scaur) a steep craggy outcrop of a mountain or cliff.
[ME f. ON sker low reef in the sea]
scarab n. 1 a the sacred dung-beetle of ancient Egypt. b =
SCARABAEID. 2 an ancient Egyptian gem cut in the form of a
beetle and engraved with symbols on its flat side, used as a
signet etc. [L scarabaeus f. Gk skarabeios]
n. any beetle of the family Scarabaeidae, including the
dung-beetle, cockchafer, etc. [mod.L Scarabaeidae (as SCARAB)]
n. archaic a boastful coward; a braggart. [It. Scaramuccia
stock character in Italian farce f. scaramuccia = SKIRMISH,
infl. by F form Scaramouche]
scarce adj. & adv. --adj. 1 (usu. predic.) (esp. of food, money,
etc.) insufficient for the demand; scanty. 2 hard to find;
rare. --adv. archaic or literary scarcely. Ьmake oneself
scarce colloq. keep out of the way; surreptitiously disappear.
ЬЬscarceness n. [ME f. AF & ONF (e)scars, OF eschars f. L
excerpere: see EXCERPT]
scarcely adv. 1 hardly; barely; only just (I scarcely know him). 2
surely not (he can scarcely have said so). 3 a mild or
apologetic or ironical substitute for 'not' (I scarcely expected
to be insulted).
scarcity n. (pl. -ies) (often foll. by of) a lack or inadequacy, esp.
scare v. & n. --v. 1 tr. frighten, esp. suddenly (his expression
scared us). 2 tr. (as scared adj.) (usu. foll. by of, or to +
infin.) frightened; terrified (scared of his own shadow). 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by away, off, up, etc.) drive away by frightening.
4 intr. become scared (they don't scare easily). --n. 1 a
sudden attack of fright (gave me a scare). 2 a general, esp.
baseless, fear of war, invasion, epidemic, etc. (a measles
scare). 3 a financial panic causing share-selling etc.
Ьscaredy-cat colloq. a timid person. scare-heading (or -head)
a shockingly sensational newspaper headline. scare up (or out)
esp. US 1 frighten (game etc.) out of cover. 2 colloq. manage
to find; discover (see if we can scare up a meal). ЬЬscarer n.
[ME skerre f. ON skirra frighten f. skjarr timid]
scarecrow n. 1 a human figure dressed in old clothes and set up in a
field to scare birds away. 2 colloq. a badly-dressed,
grotesque-looking, or very thin person. 3 archaic an object of
n. a person who spreads frightening reports or rumours.
scarf(1) n. (pl. scarves or scarfs) a square, triangular, or esp. long
narrow strip of material worn round the neck, over the
shoulders, or tied round the head (of a woman), for warmth or
ornament. Ьscarf-pin (or -ring) Brit. an ornamental device for
fastening a scarf. scarf-skin the outermost layer of the skin
constantly scaling off, esp. that at the base of the nails.
scarf-wise worn diagonally across the body from shoulder to hip.
ЬЬscarfed adj. [prob. alt. of scarp (infl. by SCARF(2)) f. ONF
escarpe = OF escherpe sash]
scarf(2) v. & n. --v.tr. join the ends of (pieces of esp. timber, metal,
or leather) by bevelling or notching them to fit and then
bolting, brazing, or sewing them together; cut the blubber of (a
whale). --n. 1 a joint made by scarfing. 2 a cut on a whale
made by scarfing. [ME (earlier as noun) prob. f. OF escarf
(unrecorded) perh. f. ON]
scarifier n. 1 a thing or person that scarifies. 2 a machine with prongs
for loosening soil without turning it. 3 a spiked road-breaking
v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 a make superficial incisions in. b cut
off skin from. 2 hurt by severe criticism etc. 3 loosen (soil)
with a scarifier. ЬЬscarification n. [ME f. F scarifier f. LL
scarificare f. L scarifare f. Gk skariphaomai f. skariphos
scarious adj. (of a part of a plant etc.) having a dry membranous
appearance; thin and brittle. [F scarieux or mod.L scariosus]
n. = scarlet fever. [mod.L f. It. scarlattina (febbre fever)
dimin. of scarlatto SCARLET]
scarlet n. & adj. --n. 1 a brilliant red colour tinged with orange. 2
clothes or material of this colour (dressed in scarlet). --adj.
of a scarlet colour. Ьscarlet fever an infectious bacterial
fever, affecting esp. children, with a scarlet rash. scarlet
hat RC Ch. a cardinal's hat as a symbol of rank. scarlet
pimpernel a small annual wild plant, Anagallis arvensis, with
small esp. scarlet flowers closing in rainy or cloudy weather:
also called poor man's weather-glass. scarlet rash = ROSEOLA 1.
scarlet runner 1 a runner bean. 2 a scarlet-flowered climber
bearing this bean. scarlet woman derog. a notoriously
promiscuous woman, a prostitute. [ME f. OF escarlate: ult.
scaroid n. & adj. --n. any colourful marine fish of the family
Scaridae, native to tropical and temperate seas, including the
scarus. --adj. of or relating to this family.
scarp n. & v. --n. 1 the inner wall or slope of a ditch in a
fortification (cf. COUNTERSCARP). 2 a steep slope. --v.tr. 1
make (a slope) perpendicular or steep. 2 provide (a ditch) with
a steep scarp and counterscarp. 3 (as scarped adj.) (of a
hillside etc.) steep; precipitous. [It. scarpa]
scarper v.intr. Brit. sl. run away; escape. [prob. f. It. scappare
escape, infl. by rhyming sl. Scapa Flow = go]
scarus n. any fish of the genus Scarus, with brightly coloured scales,
and teeth fused to form a parrot-like beak used for eating
coral. Also called parrot-fish. [L f. Gk skaros]
scat(1) v. & int. colloq. --v.intr. (scatted, scatting) depart
quickly. --int. go! [perh. abbr. of SCATTER]
scat(2) n. & v. --n. improvised jazz singing using sounds imitating
instruments, instead of words. --v.intr. (scatted, scatting)
sing scat. [prob. imit.]
scathe v. & n. --v.tr. 1 poet. injure esp. by blasting or withering.
2 (as scathing adj.) witheringly scornful (scathing sarcasm). 3
(with neg.) do the least harm to (shall not be scathed) (cf.
UNSCATHED). --n. (usu. with neg.) archaic harm; injury (without
scathe). ЬЬscatheless predic.adj. scathingly adv. [(v.) ME f.
ON skatha = OE sceathian: (n.) OE f. ON skathi = OE sceatha
malefactor, injury, f. Gmc]
scatology n. 1 a a morbid interest in excrement. b a preoccupation with
obscene literature, esp. that concerned with the excretory
functions. c such literature. 2 the study of fossilized dung.
3 the study of excrement for esp. diagnosis. ЬЬscatological
adj. [Gk skor skatos dung + -LOGY]
scatter v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a throw here and there; strew (scattered
gravel on the road). b cover by scattering (scattered the road
with gravel). 2 tr. & intr. a move or cause to move in flight
etc.; disperse (scattered to safety at the sound). b disperse
or cause (hopes, clouds, etc.) to disperse. 3 tr. (as scattered
adj.) not clustered together; wide apart; sporadic (scattered
villages). 4 tr. Physics deflect or diffuse (light, particles,
etc.). 5 a intr. (of esp. a shotgun) fire a charge of shot
diffusely. b tr. fire (a charge) in this way. --n. 1 the act
or an instance of scattering. 2 a small amount scattered. 3
the extent of distribution of esp. shot. Ьscatter cushions (or
rugs, etc.) cushions, rugs, etc., placed here and there for
effect. scatter-shot n. & adj. US firing at random.
ЬЬscatterer n. [ME, prob. var. of SHATTER]
n. a person given to silly or disorganized thought with lack of
concentration. ЬЬscatterbrained adj.
scaup n. any diving duck of the genus Aythya. [scaup Sc. var. of
scalp mussel-bed, which it frequents]
scauper var. of SCALPER 2.
scaur var. of SCAR(2).
scavenge v. 1 tr. & intr. (usu. foll. by for) search for and collect
(discarded items). 2 tr. remove unwanted products from (an
internal-combustion engine cylinder etc.). [back-form. f.
scavenger n. 1 a person who seeks and collects discarded items. 2 an
animal, esp. a beetle, feeding on carrion, refuse, etc. 3 Brit.
archaic a person employed to clean the streets etc.
ЬЬscavengery n. [ME scavager f. AF scawager f. scawage f. ONF
escauwer inspect f. Flem. scauwen, rel. to SHOW: for -n- cf.
scazon n. Prosody a Greek or Latin metre of limping character, esp. a
trimeter of two iambuses and a spondee or trochee. [L f. Gk
skazon f. skazo limp]
Sc.D. abbr. Doctor of Science. [L scientiae doctor]
SCE abbr. Scottish Certificate of Education.
scena n. Mus. 1 a scene or part of an opera. 2 an elaborate
dramatic solo usu. including recitative. [It. f. L: see SCENE]
scenario n. (pl. -os) 1 an outline of the plot of a play, film, opera,
etc., with details of the scenes, situations, etc. 2 a
postulated sequence of future events. ЬЬscenarist n. (in sense
1). [It. (as SCENA)]
scend n. & v. Naut. --n. 1 the impulse given by a wave or waves
(scend of the sea). 2 a plunge of a vessel. --v.intr. (of a
vessel) plunge or pitch owing to the impulse of a wave. [alt.
f. SEND or DESCEND]
scene n. 1 a place in which events in real life, drama, or fiction
occur; the locality of an event etc. (the scene was set in
India; the scene of the disaster). 2 a an incident in real
life, fiction, etc. (distressing scenes occurred). b a
description or representation of an incident etc. (scenes of
clerical life). 3 a public incident displaying emotion, temper,
etc., esp. when embarrassing to others (made a scene in the
restaurant). 4 a a continuous portion of a play in a fixed
setting and usu. without a change of personnel; a subdivision
of an act. b a similar section of a film, book, etc. 5 a any
of the pieces of scenery used in a play. b these collectively.
6 a landscape or a view (a desolate scene). 7 colloq. a an
area of action or interest (not my scene). b a way of life; a
milieu (well-known on the jazz scene). 8 archaic the stage of a
theatre. Ьbehind the scenes 1 Theatr. among the actors,
scenery, etc. offstage. 2 not known to the public; secret.
behind-the-scenes (attrib.) secret, using secret information (a
behind-the-scenes investigation). change of scene a variety of
surroundings esp. through travel. come on the scene arrive.
quit the scene die; leave. scene-dock a space for storing
scenery near the stage. scene-shifter a person who moves
scenery in a theatre. scene-shifting this activity. set the
scene 1 describe the location of events. 2 give preliminary
information. [L scena f. Gk skene tent, stage]
scenery n. 1 the general appearance of the natural features of a
landscape, esp. when picturesque. 2 Theatr. the painted
representations of landscape, rooms, etc., used as the
background in a play etc. Ьchange of scenery = change of scene
(see SCENE). [earlier scenary f. It. SCENARIO: assim. to -ERY]
scenic adj. 1 a picturesque; impressive or beautiful (took the scenic
route). b of or concerning natural scenery (flatness is the
main scenic feature). 2 (of a picture etc.) representing an
incident. 3 Theatr. of or on the stage (scenic performances).
Ьscenic railway 1 a miniature railway running through artificial
scenery at funfairs etc. 2 = big dipper 1. ЬЬscenically adv.
[L scenicus f. Gk skenikos of the stage (as SCENE)]
scent n. & v. --n. 1 a distinctive, esp. pleasant, smell (the scent
of hay). 2 a a scent trail left by an animal perceptible to
hounds etc. b clues etc. that can be followed like a scent
trail (lost the scent in Paris). c the power of detecting or
distinguishing smells etc. or of discovering things (some dogs
have little scent; the scent for talent). 3 Brit. = PERFUME 2.
4 a trail laid in a paper-chase. --v. 1 tr. a discern by
scent (the dog scented game). b sense the presence of (scent
treachery). 2 tr. make fragrant or foul-smelling. 3 tr. (as
scented adj.) having esp. a pleasant smell (scented soap). 4
intr. exercise the sense of smell (goes scenting about). 5 tr.
apply the sense of smell to (scented the air). Ьfalse scent 1 a
scent trail laid to deceive. 2 false clues etc. intended to
deflect pursuers. on the scent having a clue. put (or throw)
off the scent deceive by false clues etc. scent-bag a bag of
aniseed etc. used to lay a trail in drag-hunting. scent-gland
(or -organ) a gland in some animals secreting musk, civet, etc.
scent out discover by smelling or searching. ЬЬscentless adj.
[ME sent f. OF sentir perceive, smell, f. L sentire; -c- (17th
scepsis n. (US skepsis) 1 philosophic doubt. 2 sceptical philosophy.
[Gk skepsis inquiry, doubt f. skeptomai consider]
scepter US var. of SCEPTRE.
sceptic n. & adj. (US skeptic) --n. 1 a person inclined to doubt all
accepted opinions; a cynic. 2 a person who doubts the truth of
Christianity and other religions. 3 hist. a person who accepts
the philosophy of Pyrrhonism. --adj. = SCEPTICAL. ЬЬscepticism
n. [F sceptique or L scepticus f. Gk skeptikos (as SCEPSIS)]
sceptical adj. (US skeptical) 1 inclined to question the truth or
soundness of accepted ideas, facts, etc.; critical; incredulous.
2 Philos. of or accepting the philosophy of Pyrrhonism, denying
the possibility of knowledge. ЬЬsceptically adv.
sceptre n. (US scepter) 1 a staff borne esp. at a coronation as a
symbol of sovereignty. 2 royal or imperial authority.
ЬЬsceptred adj. [ME f. OF (s)ceptre f. L sceptrum f. Gk
skeptron f. skepto lean on]
sch. abbr. 1 scholar. 2 school. 3 schooner.
n. the malicious enjoyment of another's misfortunes. [G f.
Schaden harm + Freude joy]
schappe n. fabric or yarn made from waste silk. [G, = waste silk]
schedule n. & v. --n. 1 a a list or plan of intended events, times,
etc. b a plan of work (not on my schedule for next week). 2 a
list of rates or prices. 3 US a timetable. 4 a tabulated
inventory etc. esp. as an appendix to a document. --v.tr. 1
include in a schedule. 2 make a schedule of. 3 Brit. include
(a building) in a list for preservation or protection.
Ьaccording to schedule (or on schedule) as planned; on time.
behind schedule behind time. scheduled flight (or service etc.)
a public flight, service, etc., according to a regular
timetable. scheduled territories hist. = sterling area.
ЬЬscheduler n. [ME f. OF cedule f. LL schedula slip of paper,
dimin. of scheda f. Gk skhede papyrus-leaf]
scheelite n. Mineral. calcium tungstate in its mineral crystalline form.
[K. W. Scheele, Sw. chemist d. 1786]
schema n. (pl. schemata or schemas) 1 a synopsis, outline, or
diagram. 2 a proposed arrangement. 3 Logic a syllogistic
figure. 4 (in Kantian philosophy) a conception of what is
common to all members of a class; a general type or essential
form. [Gk skhema -atos form, figure]
schematic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or concerning a scheme or schema. 2
representing objects by symbols etc. --n. a schematic diagram,
esp. of an electronic circuit. ЬЬschematically adv.
n. a schematic arrangement or presentation. [mod.L
schematismus f. Gk skhematismos (as SCHEMATIZE)]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 put in a schematic form; arrange. 2
represent by a scheme or schema. ЬЬschematization n.
scheme n. & v. --n. 1 a a systematic plan or arrangement for work,
action, etc. b a proposed or operational systematic arrangement
(a colour scheme). 2 an artful or deceitful plot. 3 a
timetable, outline, syllabus, etc. --v. 1 intr. (often foll.
by for, or to + infin.) plan esp. secretly or deceitfully;
intrigue. 2 tr. plan to bring about, esp. artfully or
deceitfully (schemed their downfall). ЬЬschemer n. [L schema
f. Gk (as SCHEMA)]
scheming adj. & n. --adj. artful, cunning, or deceitful. --n. plots;
intrigues. ЬЬschemingly adv.
var. of SHEMOZZLE.
adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a playful manner. --n.
(pl. scherzandos or scherzandi) a passage played in this way.
[It., gerund of scherzare to jest (as SCHERZO)]
scherzo n. (pl. -os) Mus. a vigorous, light, or playful composition,
usu. as a movement in a symphony, sonata, etc. [It., lit.
schilling n. 1 the chief monetary unit of Austria. 2 a coin equal to the
value of one schilling. [G (as SHILLING)]
n. 1 a small black tailless dog of a breed with a ruff of fur
round its neck. 2 this breed. [Du. dial., = little boatman, f.
its use as a watchdog on barges]
schism n. 1 a the division of a group into opposing sections or
parties. b any of the sections so formed. 2 a the separation
of a Church into two Churches or the secession of a group owing
to doctrinal, disciplinary, etc., differences. b the offence of
causing or promoting such a separation. [ME f. OF s(c)isme f.
eccl.L schisma f. Gk skhisma -atos cleft f. skhizo to split]
adj. & n. (also schismatical) --adj. inclining to, concerning,
or guilty of, schism. --n. 1 a holder of schismatic opinions.
2 a member of a schismatic faction or a seceded branch of a
Church. ЬЬschismatically adv. [ME f. OF scismatique f. eccl.L
schismaticus f. eccl.Gk skhismatikos (as SCHISM)]
schist n. a foliated metamorphic rock composed of layers of different
minerals and splitting into thin irregular plates. ЬЬschistose
adj. [F schiste f. L schistos f. Gk skhistos split (as SCHISM)]
n. = BILHARZIASIS. [mod.L Schistosoma (the genus-name, as
n. any plant of the genus Schizanthus, with showy flowers in
various colours, and finely-divided leaves. [mod.L f. Gk skhizo
to split + anthos flower]
schizo adj. & n. colloq. --adj. schizophrenic. --n. (pl. -os) a
n. Bot. any of a group of dry fruits that split into
single-seeded parts when ripe. ЬЬschizocarpic adj.
schizocarpous adj. [Gk skhizo to split + karpos fruit]
schizoid adj. & n. --adj. (of a person or personality etc.) tending to
or resembling schizophrenia or a schizophrenic, but usu. without
delusions. --n. a schizoid person.
n. a former name for a bacterium. [Gk skhizo to split + mukes
n. a mental disease marked by a breakdown in the relation
between thoughts, feelings, and actions, frequently accompanied
by delusions and retreat from social life. ЬЬschizophrenic adj.
& n. [mod.L f. Gk skhizo to split + phren mind]
n. Psychol. an introvert condition with a tendency to
schizophrenia. ЬЬschizothymic adj. [mod.L (as SCHIZOPHRENIA +
Gk thumos temper)]
schlemiel n. US colloq. a foolish or unlucky person. [Yiddish shlumiel]
schlep v. & n. (also schlepp) colloq. --v. (schlepped, schlepping) 1
tr. carry, drag. 2 intr. go or work tediously or effortfully.
--n. esp. US trouble or hard work. [Yiddish shlepn f. G
schlieren n. 1 a visually discernible area or stratum of different
density in a transparent medium. 2 Geol. an irregular streak of
mineral in igneous rock. [G, pl. of Schliere streak]
schlock n. US colloq. inferior goods; trash. [Yiddish shlak a blow]
schmaltz n. esp. US colloq. sentimentality, esp. in music, drama, etc.
ЬЬschmaltzy adj. (schmaltzier, schmaltziest). [Yiddish f. G
Schmalz dripping, lard]
schmuck n. esp. US sl. a foolish or contemptible person. [Yiddish]
schnapps n. any of various spirits drunk in N. Europe. [G, = dram of
liquor f. LG & Du. snaps mouthful (as SNAP)]
schnauzer n. 1 a dog of a German breed with a close wiry coat and heavy
whiskers round the muzzle. 2 this breed. [G f. Schnauze
schnitzel n. an escalope of veal. ЬWiener (or Vienna) schnitzel a
breaded, fried, and garnished schnitzel. [G, = slice]
schnorkel var. of SNORKEL.
schnorrer n. esp. US sl. a beggar or scrounger; a layabout. [Yiddish
f. G Schnurrer]
scholar n. 1 a learned person, esp. in language, literature, etc.; an
academic. 2 the holder of a scholarship. 3 a a person with
specified academic ability (is a poor scholar). b a person who
learns (am a scholar of life). 4 archaic colloq. a person able
to read and write. 5 archaic a schoolboy or schoolgirl.
Ьscholar's mate see MATE(2). ЬЬscholarly adv. scholarliness n.
[ME f. OE scol(i)ere & OF escol(i)er f. LL scholaris f. L schola
n. 1 a academic achievement; learning of a high level. b the
methods and standards characteristic of a good scholar (shows
great scholarship). 2 payment from the funds of a school,
university, local government, etc., to maintain a student in
full-time education, awarded on the basis of scholarly
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or concerning universities, schools,
education, teachers, etc. 2 pedantic; formal (shows scholastic
precision). 3 Philos. hist. of, resembling, or concerning the
schoolmen, esp. in dealing with logical subtleties. --n. 1 a
student. 2 Philos. hist. a schoolman. 3 a theologian of
scholastic tendencies. 4 RC Ch. a member of any of several
religious orders, who is between the novitiate and the
priesthood. ЬЬscholastically adv. scholasticism n. [L
scholasticus f. Gk skholastikos studious f. skholazo be at
leisure, formed as SCHOOL]
scholiast n. hist. an ancient or medieval scholar, esp. a grammarian,
who annotated ancient literary texts. ЬЬscholiastic adj.
[med.Gk skholiastes f. skholiazo write scholia: see SCHOLIUM]
scholium n. (pl. scholia) a marginal note or explanatory comment, esp.
by an ancient grammarian on a classical text. [mod.L f. Gk
skholion f. skhole disputation: see SCHOOL]
school(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a an institution for educating or giving
instruction, esp. Brit. for children under 19 years, or US for
any level of instruction including college or university. b
(attrib.) associated with or for use in school (a school bag;
school dinners). 2 a the buildings used by such an institution.
b the pupils, staff, etc. of a school. c the time during which
teaching is done, or the teaching itself (no school today). 3 a
a branch of study with separate examinations at a university; a
department or faculty (the history school). b Brit. the hall in
which university examinations are held. c (in pl.) Brit. such
examinations. 4 a the disciples, imitators, or followers of a
philosopher, artist, etc. (the school of Epicurus). b a group
of artists etc. whose works share distinctive characteristics.
c a group of people sharing a cause, principle, method, etc.
(school of thought). 5 Brit. a group of gamblers or of persons
drinking together (a poker school). 6 colloq. instructive or
disciplinary circumstances, occupation, etc. (the school of
adversity; learnt in a hard school). 7 hist. a medieval
lecture-room. 8 Mus. (usu. foll. by of) a handbook or book of
instruction (school of counterpoint). 9 (in pl.; prec. by the)
hist. medieval universities, their teachers, disputations, etc.
--v.tr. 1 send to school; provide for the education of. 2
(often foll. by to) discipline; train; control. 3 (as schooled
adj.) (foll. by in) educated or trained (schooled in humility).
Ьat (US in) school attending lessons etc. go to school 1 begin
one's education. 2 attend lessons. leave school finish one's
education. of the old school according to former and esp.
better tradition (a gentleman of the old school). school age
the age-range in which children normally attend school. school
board US or hist. a board or authority for local education.
school-days the time of being at school, esp. in retrospect.
school-inspector a government official reporting on the
efficiency, teaching standards, etc. of schools. school-leaver
Brit. a child leaving school esp. at the minimum specified age.
school-leaving age the minimum age at which a schoolchild may
leave school. school-ma'm (or -marm) US colloq. a
schoolmistress. school-marmish colloq. prim and fussy.
school-ship a training-ship. school-time 1 lesson-time at
school or at home. 2 school-days. school year = academic year.
[ME f. OE scol, scolu, & f. OF escole ult. f. L schola school f.
Gk skhole leisure, disputation, philosophy, lecture-place]
school(2) n. & v. --n. (often foll. by of) a shoal of fish, porpoises,
whales, etc. --v.intr. form schools. [ME f. MLG, MDu. schole
adj. liable by age etc. to compulsory education.
schoolboy n. a boy attending school.
n. a child attending school.
n. a past or esp. present member of the same school.
n. a girl attending school.
n. Brit. 1 a building used as a school, esp. in a village. 2
a dwelling-house adjoining a school.
schoolie n. Austral. sl. & dial. a schoolteacher.
schooling n. 1 education, esp. at school. 2 training or discipline, esp.
of an animal.
schoolman n. (pl. -men) 1 hist. a teacher in a medieval European
university. 2 RC Ch. hist. a theologian seeking to deal with
religious doctrines by the rules of Aristotelian logic. 3 US a
n. a head or assistant male teacher. ЬЬschoolmasterly adj.
n. teaching as a profession.
n. = SCHOOLFELLOW.
n. a head or assistant female teacher.
adj. colloq. prim and fussy.
n. a room used for lessons in a school or esp. in a private
n. a person who teaches in a school. ЬЬschoolteaching n.
schooner n. 1 a fore-and-aft rigged ship with two or more masts, the
foremast being smaller than the other masts. 2 a Brit. a
measure or glass for esp. sherry. b US & Austral. a tall
beer-glass. 3 US hist. = prairie schooner. [18th c.: orig.
schorl n. black tourmaline. [G Sch”rl]
n. 1 a kind of slow polka. 2 the music for this. [G der
schottische Tanz the Scottish dance]
n. Electronics the increase in thermionic emission from a solid
surface due to the presence of an external electric field. [W.
Schottky, Ger. physicist d. 1976]
n. Physics a differential equation used in quantum mechanics
for the wave function of a particle. [E. Schr”dinger, Austrian
physicist d. 1961]
schuss n. & v. --n. a straight downhill run on skis. --v.intr. make a
schuss. [G, lit. 'shot']
schwa n. (also sheva) Phonet. 1 the indistinct unstressed vowel
sound as in a mom ent ago. 2 the symbol representing this in
the International Phonetic Alphabet. [G f. Heb. sewa, app. f.
n. (also skiagraphy) the art of shading in drawing etc.
ЬЬsciagram n. sciagraph n. & v.tr. sciagraphic adj. [F
sciagraphie f. L sciagraphia f. Gk skiagraphia f. skia shadow]
sciamachy n. (also skiamachy) formal 1 fighting with shadows. 2
imaginary or futile combat. [Gk skiamakhia (as SCIAGRAPHY,
sciatic adj. 1 of the hip. 2 of or affecting the sciatic nerve. 3
suffering from or liable to sciatica. Ьsciatic nerve the
largest nerve in the human body, running from the pelvis to the
thigh. ЬЬsciatically adv. [F sciatique f. LL sciaticus f. L
ischiadicus f. Gk iskhiadikos subject to sciatica f. iskhion
sciatica n. neuralgia of the hip and thigh; a pain in the sciatic nerve.
[ME f. LL sciatica (passio) fem. of sciaticus: see SCIATIC]
science n. 1 a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles
involving the systematized observation of and experiment with
phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the
physical universe (see also natural science). 2 a systematic
and formulated knowledge, esp. of a specified type or on a
specified subject (political science). b the pursuit or
principles of this. 3 an organized body of knowledge on a
subject (the science of philology). 4 skilful technique rather
than strength or natural ability. 5 archaic knowledge of any
kind. Ьscience fiction fiction based on imagined future
scientific discoveries or environmental changes, frequently
dealing with space travel, life on other planets, etc. science
park an area devoted to scientific research or the development
of science-based industries. [ME f. OF f. L scientia f. scire
scienter adv. Law intentionally; knowingly. [L f. scire know]
sciential adj. concerning or having knowledge. [LL scientialis (as
adj. 1 a (of an investigation etc.) according to rules laid
down in exact science for performing observations and testing
the soundness of conclusions. b systematic, accurate. 2 used
in, engaged in, or relating to (esp. natural) science
(scientific discoveries; scientific terminology). 3 assisted by
expert knowledge. ЬЬscientifically adv. [F scientifique or LL
scientificus (as SCIENCE)]
scientism n. 1 a a method or doctrine regarded as characteristic of
scientists. b the use or practice of this. 2 often derog. an
excessive belief in or application of scientific method.
scientist n. 1 a person with expert knowledge of a (usu. physical or
natural) science. 2 a person using scientific methods.
n. a religious system based on self-improvement and promotion
through grades of esp. self-knowledge. ЬЬscientologist n. [L
scientia knowledge + -LOGY]
sci-fi n. (often attrib.) colloq. science fiction. [abbr.: cf.
scilicet adv. to wit; that is to say; namely (introducing a word to be
supplied or an explanation of an ambiguity). [ME f. L, = scire
licet one is permitted to know]
scilla n. any liliaceous plant of the genus Scilla, related to the
bluebell, usu. bearing small blue star-shaped or bell-shaped
flowers and having long glossy straplike leaves. [L f. Gk
adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Scilly Isles off the
coast of Cornwall. --n. a native of the Scilly Isles. [Scilly,
perh. after Devonian]
scimitar n. an oriental curved sword usu. broadening towards the point.
[F cimeterre, It. scimitarra, etc., of unkn. orig.]
n. an image of an internal part of the body, produced by
n. the use of a radioisotope and a scintillation counter to get
an image or record of a bodily organ etc. [SCINTILLATION +
scintilla n. 1 a trace. 2 a spark. [L]
v.intr. 1 (esp. as scintillating adj.) talk cleverly or
wittily; be brilliant. 2 sparkle; twinkle; emit sparks. 3
Physics fluoresce momentarily when struck by a charged particle
etc. ЬЬscintillant adj. scintillatingly adv. [L scintillare
n. 1 the process or state of scintillating. 2 the twinkling of
a star. 3 a flash produced in a material by an ionizing
particle etc. Ьscintillation counter a device for detecting and
n. an image or other record showing the distribution of
radioactive traces in parts of the body, used in the detection
and diagnosis of various diseases. [SCINTILLATION + SCAN]
sciolist n. a superficial pretender to knowledge. ЬЬsciolism n.
sciolistic adj. [LL sciolus smatterer f. L scire know]
scion n. 1 (US cion) a shoot of a plant etc., esp. one cut for
grafting or planting. 2 a descendant; a younger member of (esp.
a noble) family. [ME f. OF ciun, cion, sion shoot, twig, of
n. Law a writ to enforce or annul a judgement, patent, etc.
[L, = let (him) know]
scirocco var. of SIROCCO.
scirrhus n. (pl. scirrhi) a carcinoma which is hard to the touch.
ЬЬscirrhoid adj. scirrhosity n. scirrhous adj. [mod.L f. Gk
skir(r)os f. skiros hard]
scissel n. waste clippings etc. of metal produced during coin
manufacture. [F cisaille f. cisailler clip with shears]
scissile adj. able to be cut or divided. [L scissilis f. scindere
scission n. 1 the act or an instance of cutting; the state of being cut.
2 a division or split. [ME f. OF scission or LL scissio (as
scissor v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by off, up, into, etc.) cut with scissors.
2 (usu. foll. by out) clip out (a newspaper cutting etc.).
scissors n.pl. 1 (also pair of scissors sing.) an instrument for cutting
fabric, paper, hair, etc., having two pivoted blades with finger
and thumb holes in the handles, operating by closing on the
material to be cut. 2 (treated as sing.) a a method of
high-jumping with a forward and backward movement of the legs.
b a hold in wrestling in which the opponent's body or esp. head
is gripped between the legs. Ьscissor-bill = SKIMMER 4.
scissor-bird (or -tail) a fork-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus
forficatus. scissors and paste a method of compiling a book,
article, etc., from extracts from others or without independent
research. ЬЬscissorwise adv. [ME sisoures f. OF cisoires f. LL
cisoria pl. of cisorium cutting instrument (as CHISEL): assoc.
with L scindere sciss- cut]
sciurine adj. 1 of or relating to the family Sciuridae, including
squirrels and chipmunks. 2 squirrel-like. ЬЬsciuroid adj. [L
sciurus f. Gk skiouros squirrel f. skia shadow + oura tail]
sclera n. the white of the eye; a white membrane coating the eyeball.
ЬЬscleral adj. scleritis n. sclerotomy n. (pl. -ies).
[mod.L f. fem. of Gk skleros hard]
n. the woody tissue found in a plant, formed from lignified
cells and usu. providing support. [mod.L f. Gk skleros hard +
egkhuma infusion, after parenchyma]
scleroid adj. Bot. & Zool. having a hard texture; hardened. [Gk
scleroma n. (pl. scleromata) an abnormal patch of hardened skin or
mucous membrane. [mod.L f. Gk skleroma (as SCLEROSIS)]
n. an instrument for determining the hardness of materials.
[Gk skleros hard + -METER]
n. any woody plant with leathery leaves retaining water.
ЬЬsclerophyllous adj. [Gk skleros hard + phullon leaf]
n. Biochem. any insoluble structural protein. [Gk skleros
hard + PROTEIN]
sclerosed adj. affected by sclerosis.
sclerosis n. 1 an abnormal hardening of body tissue (see also
ARTERIOSCLEROSIS, ATHEROSCLEROSIS). 2 (in full multiple or
disseminated sclerosis) a chronic and progressive disease of the
nervous system resulting in symptoms including paralysis and
speech defects. 3 Bot. the hardening of a cell-wall with
lignified matter. [ME f. med.L f. Gk sklerosis f. skleroo
sclerotic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or having sclerosis. 2 of or relating
to the sclera. --n. = SCLERA. ЬЬsclerotitis n. [med.L
sclerotica (as SCLEROSIS)]
SCM abbr. (in the UK) 1 State Certified Midwife. 2 Student
scoff(1) v. & n. --v.intr. (usu. foll. by at) speak derisively, esp. of
serious subjects; mock; be scornful. --n. 1 mocking words; a
taunt. 2 an object of ridicule. ЬЬscoffer n. scoffingly adv.
[perh. f. Scand.: cf. early mod. Da. skuf, skof jest, mockery]
scoff(2) v. & n. colloq. --v.tr. & intr. eat greedily. --n. food; a
meal. [(n.) f. Afrik. schoff repr. Du. schoft quarter of a
day (hence, meal): (v.) orig. var. of dial. scaff, assoc. with
scold v. & n. --v. 1 tr. rebuke (esp. a child, employee, or
inferior). 2 intr. find fault noisily; complain; rail. --n.
archaic a nagging or grumbling woman. ЬЬscolder n. scolding n.
[ME (earlier as noun), prob. f. ON sk ld SKALD]
scolex n. (pl. scoleces or scolices) the head of a larval or adult
tapeworm. [mod.L f. Gk skolex worm]
scoliosis n. an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine. ЬЬscoliotic
adj. [mod.L f. Gk f. skolios bent]
scollop var. of SCALLOP.
n. any of various ferns, esp. hart's tongue. [mod.L f. Gk
skolopendrion f. skolopendra millipede (because of the supposed
scomber n. any marine fish of the family Scombridae, including
mackerels, tunas, and bonitos. ЬЬscombrid n. scombroid adj. &
n. [L f. Gk skombros]
sconce(1) n. 1 a flat candlestick with a handle. 2 a bracket candlestick
to hang on a wall. [ME f. OF esconse lantern or med.L sconsa f.
L absconsa fem. past part. of abscondere hide: see ABSCOND]
sconce(2) n. 1 a small fort or earthwork usu. defending a ford, pass,
etc. 2 archaic a shelter or screen. [Du. schans brushwood f.
scone n. a small sweet or savoury cake of flour, fat, and milk, baked
quickly in an oven. [orig. Sc., perh. f. MDu. schoon(broot),
MLG schon(brot) fine (bread)]
scoop n. & v. --n. 1 any of various objects resembling a spoon,
esp.: a a short-handled deep shovel used for transferring grain,
sugar, coal, coins, etc. b a large long-handled ladle used for
transferring liquids. c the excavating part of a
digging-machine etc. d Med. a long-handled spoonlike instrument
used for scraping parts of the body etc. e an instrument used
for serving portions of mashed potato, ice-cream, etc. 2 a
quantity taken up by a scoop. 3 a movement of or resembling
scooping. 4 a piece of news published by a newspaper etc. in
advance of its rivals. 5 a large profit made quickly or by
anticipating one's competitors. 6 Mus. a singer's exaggerated
portamento. 7 a scooped-out hollow etc. --v.tr. 1 (usu. foll.
by out) hollow out with or as if with a scoop. 2 (usu. foll. by
up) lift with or as if with a scoop. 3 forestall (a rival
newspaper, reporter, etc.) with a scoop. 4 secure (a large
profit etc.) esp. suddenly. Ьscoop-neck the rounded low-cut
neck of a garment. scoop-net a net used for sweeping a river
bottom, or for catching bait. ЬЬscooper n. scoopful n. (pl.
-fuls). [ME f. MDu., MLG schope bucket etc., rel. to SHAPE]
scoot v. & n. colloq. --v.intr. run or dart away, esp. quickly.
--n. the act or an instance of scooting. [19th-c. US (earlier
scout): orig. unkn.]
scooter n. & v. --n. 1 a child's toy consisting of a footboard mounted
on two wheels and a long steering-handle, propelled by resting
one foot on the footboard and pushing the other against the
ground. 2 (in full motor scooter) a light two-wheeled open
motor vehicle with a shieldlike protective front. 3 US a
sailboat able to travel on both water and ice. --v.intr. travel
or ride on a scooter. ЬЬscooterist n.
scopa n. (pl. scopae) a small brushlike tuft of hairs, esp. on the
leg of a bee for collecting pollen. [sing. of L scopae = twigs,
scope(1) n. 1 a the extent to which it is possible to range; the
opportunity for action etc. (this is beyond the scope of our
research). b the sweep or reach of mental activity,
observation, or outlook (an intellect limited in its scope). 2
Naut. the length of cable extended when a ship rides at anchor.
3 archaic a purpose, end, or intention. [It. scopo aim f. Gk
skopos target f. skeptomai look at]
scope(2) n. colloq. a telescope, microscope, or other device ending in
-scope comb. form forming nouns denoting: 1 a device looked at or
through (kaleidoscope; telescope). 2 an instrument for
observing or showing (gyroscope; oscilloscope). ЬЬ-scopic comb.
form forming adjectives. [from or after mod.L -scopium f. Gk
skopeo look at]
n. = HYOSCINE. [Scopolia genus-name of the plants yielding it,
f. G. A. Scopoli, It. naturalist d. 1788 + AMINE]
scopula n. (pl. scopulae) any of various small brushlike structures,
esp. on the legs of spiders. [LL, dimin. of L scopa: see SCOPA]
-scopy comb. form indicating viewing or observation, usu. with an
instrument ending in -scope (microscopy).
scorbutic adj. & n. --adj. relating to, resembling, or affected with
scurvy. --n. a person affected with scurvy. ЬЬscorbutically
adv. [mod.L scorbuticus f. med.L scorbutus scurvy, perh. f. MLG
schorbuk f. schoren break + buk belly]
scorch v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a burn the surface of with flame or heat
so as to discolour, parch, injure, or hurt. b affect with the
sensation of burning. 2 intr. become discoloured etc. with
heat. 3 tr. (as scorching adj.) colloq. a (of the weather)
very hot. b (of criticism etc.) stringent; harsh. 4 intr.
colloq. (of a motorist etc.) go at excessive speed. --n. 1 a
mark made by scorching. 2 colloq. a spell of fast driving etc.
Ьscorched earth policy the burning of crops etc. and the
removing or destroying of anything that might be of use to an
enemy force occupying a country. ЬЬscorchingly adv. [ME, perh.
rel. to skorkle in the same sense]
scorcher n. 1 a person or thing that scorches. 2 colloq. a a very hot
day. b a fine specimen.
score n. & v. --n. 1 a the number of points, goals, runs, etc., made
by a player, side, etc., in some games. b the total number of
points etc. at the end of a game (the score was five-nil). c
the act of gaining esp. a goal (a superb score there!). 2 (pl.
same or scores) twenty or a set of twenty. 3 (in pl.) a great
many (scores of people arrived). 4 a a reason or motive
(rejected on the score of absurdity). b topic, subject (no
worries on that score). 5 Mus. a a usu. printed copy of a
composition showing all the vocal and instrumental parts
arranged one below the other. b the music composed for a film
or play, esp. for a musical. 6 colloq. a a piece of good
fortune. b the act or an instance of scoring off another
person. 7 colloq. the state of affairs; the present situation
(asked what the score was). 8 a notch, line, etc. cut or
scratched into a surface. 9 a an amount due for payment. b a
running account kept by marks against a customer's name. 10
Naut. a groove in a block or dead-eye to hold a rope. --v. 1
tr. a win or gain (a goal, run, points, etc., or success etc.)
(scored a century). b count for a score of (points in a game
etc.) (a bull's-eye scores most points). c allot a score to (a
competitor etc.). d make a record of (a point etc.). 2 intr.
a make a score in a game (failed to score). b keep the tally of
points, runs, etc. in a game. 3 tr. mark with notches,
incisions, lines, etc.; slash; furrow (scored his name on the
desk). 4 intr. secure an advantage by luck, cunning, etc. (that
is where he scores). 5 tr. Mus. a orchestrate (a piece of
music). b (usu. foll. by for) arrange for an instrument or
instruments. c write the music for (a film, musical, etc.). d
write out in a score. 6 tr. a (usu. foll. by up) mark (a total
owed etc.) in a score (see sense 9b of n.). b (usu. foll. by
against, to) enter (an item of debt to a customer). 7 intr.
sl. a obtain drugs illegally. b (of a man) make a sexual
conquest. 8 tr. (usu. foll. by against, to) mentally record (an
offence etc.). 9 tr. US criticize (a person) severely. Ьkeep
score (or the score) register the score as it is made. know the
score colloq. be aware of the essential facts. on the score of
for the reason that; because of. on that score so far as that
is concerned. score-book (or -card or -sheet) a book etc.
prepared for entering esp. cricket scores in. score draw a draw
in football in which goals are scored. score off (or score
points off) colloq. humiliate, esp. verbally in repartee etc.
score out draw a line through (words etc.). score under
underline. ЬЬscorer n. scoring n. Mus. [(n.) f. OE: sense 5
f. the line or bar drawn through all staves: (v.) partly f. ON
skora f. ON skor notch, tally, twenty, f. Gmc: see SHEAR]
n. a large board for publicly displaying the score in a game or
scoria n. (pl. scoriae) 1 cellular lava, or fragments of it. 2 the
slag or dross of metals. ЬЬscoriaceous adj. [L f. Gk skoria
refuse f. skor dung]
scorify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 reduce to dross. 2 assay (precious metal)
by treating a portion of its ore fused with lead and borax.
ЬЬscorification n. scorifier n.
scorn n. & v. --n. 1 disdain, contempt, derision. 2 an object of
contempt etc. (the scorn of all onlookers). --v.tr. 1 hold in
contempt or disdain. 2 (often foll. by to + infin.) abstain
from or refuse to do as unworthy (scorns lying; scorns to lie).
Ьthink scorn of despise. ЬЬscorner n. [ME f. OF esc(h)arn(ir)
ult. f. Gmc: cf. OS skern MOCKERY]
scornful adj. (often foll. by of) full of scorn; contemptuous.
ЬЬscornfully adv. scornfulness n.
scorper var. of SCALPER 2.
Scorpio n. (pl. -os) 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as
contained in the figure of a scorpion. 2 a the eighth sign of
the zodiac (the Scorpion). b a person born when the sun is in
this sign. ЬЬScorpian adj. & n. [ME f. L (as SCORPION)]
scorpioid adj. & n. --adj. 1 Zool. of, relating to, or resembling a
scorpion; of the scorpion order. 2 Bot. (of an inflorescence)
curled up at the end, and uncurling as the flowers develop.
--n. this type of inflorescence. [Gk skorpioeides (as SCORPIO)]
scorpion n. 1 an arachnid of the order Scorpionida, with lobster-like
pincers and a jointed tail that can be bent over to inflict a
poisoned sting on prey held in its pincers. 2 (in full false
scorpion) a similar arachnid of the order Pseudoscorpionida,
smaller and without a tail. 3 (the Scorpion) the zodiacal sign
or constellation Scorpio. 4 Bibl. a whip with metal points (1
Kings 12:11). Ьscorpion fish any of various marine fish of the
family Scorpaenidae, with venomous spines on the head and gills.
scorpion fly any insect of the order Mecoptera, esp. of the
family Panorpidae, the males of which have a swollen abdomen
curved upwards like a scorpion's sting. scorpion grass =
forget-me-not. [ME f. OF f. L scorpio -onis f. scorpius f. Gk
n. 1 a composite plant, Scorzonera hispanica, with long
tapering purple-brown roots. 2 the root used as a vegetable.
[It. f. scorzone venomous snake ult f. med.L curtio]
Scot n. 1 a a native of Scotland. b a person of Scottish descent.
2 hist. a member of a Gaelic people that migrated from Ireland
to Scotland around the 6th c. [OE Scottas (pl.) f. LL Scottus]
scot n. hist. a payment corresponding to a modern tax, rate, etc.
Ьpay scot and lot share the financial burdens of a borough etc.
(and so be allowed to vote). scot-free unharmed; unpunished;
safe. [ME f. ON skot & f. OF escot, of Gmc orig.: cf. SHOT(1)]
Scotch adj. & n. --adj. var. of SCOTTISH or SCOTS. --n. 1 var. of
SCOTTISH or SCOTS. 2 Scotch whisky. ЬScotch broth a soup made
from beef or mutton with pearl barley etc. Scotch cap = BONNET
n. 1b. Scotch catch Mus. a short note on the beat followed by
a long one. Scotch egg a hard-boiled egg enclosed in sausage
meat and fried. Scotch fir (or pine) a pine tree, Pinus
sylvestris, native to Europe and Asia. Scotch kale a variety of
kale with purplish leaves. Scotch mist 1 a thick drizzly mist
common in the Highlands. 2 a retort made to a person implying
that he or she has imagined or failed to understand something.
Scotch pebble agate, jasper, cairngorm, etc., found in Scotland.
Scotch pine = Scotch fir. Scotch snap = Scotch catch. Scotch
terrier 1 a small terrier of a rough-haired short-legged breed.
2 this breed. Scotch whisky whisky distilled in Scotland, esp.
from malted barley. ° Scots or Scottish is generally preferred
in Scotland, except in the special compounds given above.
[contr. of SCOTTISH]
scotch(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 put an end to; frustrate (injury scotched
his attempt). 2 archaic a wound without killing; slightly
disable. b make incisions in; score. --n. 1 archaic a slash.
2 a line on the ground for hopscotch. [ME: orig. unkn.]
scotch(2) n. & v. --n. a wedge or block placed against a wheel etc. to
prevent its slipping. --v.tr. hold back (a wheel, barrel, etc.)
with a scotch. [17th c.: perh. = scatch stilt f. OF escache]
Scotchman n. (pl. -men; fem. Scotchwoman, pl. -women) = SCOTSMAN. °
Scotsman etc. are generally preferred in Scotland.
scoter n. (pl. same or scoters) a large marine duck of the genus
Melanitta. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
scotia n. a concave moulding, esp. at the base of a column. [L f. Gk
skotia f. skotos darkness, with ref. to the shadow produced]
Scoticism var. of SCOTTICISM.
Scoticize var. of SCOTTICIZE.
n. 1 the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police. 2 its
Criminal Investigation Department. [Great and New Scotland
Yard, streets where it was successively situated until 1967]
scotoma n. (pl. scotomata) a partial loss of vision or blind spot in
an otherwise normal visual field. [LL f. Gk skotoma f. skotoo
darken f. skotos darkness]
Scots adj. & n. esp. Sc. --adj. 1 = SCOTTISH adj. 2 in the
dialect, accent, etc., of (esp. Lowlands) Scotland. --n. 1 =
SCOTTISH n. 2 the form of English spoken in (esp. Lowlands)
Scotland. [ME orig. Scottis, north. var. of SCOTTISH]
Scotsman n. (pl. -men; fem. Scotswoman, pl. -women) 1 a native of
Scotland. 2 a person of Scottish descent.
n. (also Scoticism) a Scottish phrase, word, or idiom. [LL
v. (also Scoticize, -ise) 1 tr. imbue with or model on Scottish
ways etc. 2 intr. imitate the Scottish in idiom or habits.
Scottie n. colloq. 1 (also Scottie dog) a Scotch terrier. 2 a Scot.
Scottish adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Scotland or its inhabitants.
--n. (prec. by the; treated as pl.) the people of Scotland (see
also SCOTS). ЬЬScottishness n.
scoundrel n. an unscrupulous villain; a rogue. ЬЬscoundreldom n.
scoundrelism n. scoundrelly adj. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
scour(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a cleanse or brighten by rubbing, esp. with
soap, chemicals, sand, etc. b (usu. foll. by away, off, etc.)
clear (rust, stains, reputation, etc.) by rubbing, hard work,
etc. (scoured the slur from his name). 2 (of water, or a person
with water) clear out (a pipe, channel, etc.) by flushing
through. 3 hist. purge (the bowels) drastically. --n. 1 the
act or an instance of scouring; the state of being scoured, esp.
by a swift water current (the scour of the tide). 2 diarrhoea
in cattle. 3 a substance used for scouring. Ьscouring-rush any
of various horsetail plants with a rough siliceous coating used
for polishing wood etc. ЬЬscourer n. [ME f. MDu., MLG schuren
f. F escurer f. LL excurare clean (off) (as EX-(1), CURE)]
scour(2) v. 1 tr. hasten over (an area etc.) searching thoroughly
(scoured the streets for him; scoured the pages of the
newspaper). 2 intr. range hastily esp. in search or pursuit.
[ME: orig. unkn.]
scourge n. & v. --n. 1 a whip used for punishment, esp. of people. 2
a person or thing seen as punishing, esp. on a large scale (the
scourge of famine; Genghis Khan, the scourge of Asia). --v.tr.
1 whip. 2 punish; afflict; oppress. ЬЬscourger n. [ME f. OF
escorge (n.), escorgier (v.) (ult. as EX-(1), L corrigia thong,
Scouse n. & adj. colloq. --n. 1 the dialect of Liverpool. 2 (also
Scouser) a native of Liverpool. 3 (scouse) = LOBSCOUSE. --adj.
of or relating to Liverpool. [abbr. of LOBSCOUSE]
scout(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a person, esp. a soldier, sent out to get
information about the enemy's position, strength, etc. 2 the
act of seeking (esp. military) information (on the scout). 3 =
talent-scout. 4 (Scout) a member of the Scout Association, a
boys' association intended to develop character esp. by open-air
activities. 5 a college servant, esp. at Oxford University. 6
colloq. a person; a fellow. 7 a ship or aircraft designed for
reconnoitring, esp. a small fast aircraft. --v. 1 intr. act as
a scout. 2 intr. (foll. by about, around) make a search. 3 tr.
(often foll. by out) colloq. explore to get information about
(territory etc.). ЬQueen's (or King's) Scout a Scout who has
reached the highest standard of proficiency. ЬЬscouter n.
scouting n. [ME f. OF escouter listen, earlier ascolter ult. f.
scout(2) v.tr. reject (an idea etc.) with scorn. [Scand.: cf. ON skЈta,
Scouter n. an adult member of the Scout Association.
n. a person in charge of a group of Scouts.
scow n. esp. US a flat-bottomed boat used as a lighter etc. [Du.
scowl n. & v. --n. a severe frown producing a sullen, bad-tempered,
or threatening look on a person's face. --v.intr. make a scowl.
ЬЬscowler n. [ME, prob. f. Scand.: cf. Da. skule look down or
SCPS abbr. (in the UK) Society of Civil and Public Servants.
SCR abbr. Brit. Senior Common (or Combination) Room.
scr. abbr. scruple(s) (of weight).
scrabble v. & n. --v.intr. (often foll. by about, at) scratch or grope
to find or collect or hold on to something. --n. 1 an act of
scrabbling. 2 (Scrabble) propr. a game in which players build
up words from letter-blocks on a board. [MDu. schrabbelen
frequent. of schrabben SCRAPE]
scrag n. & v. --n. 1 (also scrag-end) the inferior end of a neck of
mutton. 2 a skinny person or animal. 3 colloq. a person's
neck. --v.tr. (scragged, scragging) sl. 1 strangle, hang. 2
seize roughly by the neck. 3 handle roughly; beat up. [perh.
alt. f. dial. crag neck, rel. to MDu. craghe, MLG krage]
scraggly adj. sparse and irregular.
scraggy adj. (scraggier, scraggiest) thin and bony. ЬЬscraggily adv.
scram v.intr. (scrammed, scramming) (esp. in imper.) colloq. go
away. [20th c.: perh. f. SCRAMBLE]
scramble v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make one's way over rough ground, rocks,
etc., by clambering, crawling, etc. 2 intr. (foll. by for, at)
struggle with competitors (for a thing or share of it). 3 intr.
move with difficulty, hastily, or anxiously. 4 tr. a mix
together indiscriminately. b jumble or muddle. 5 tr. cook
(eggs) by heating them when broken and well mixed with butter,
milk, etc. 6 tr. change the speech frequency of (a broadcast
transmission or telephone conversation) so as to make it
unintelligible without a corresponding decoding device. 7 intr.
move hastily. 8 tr. colloq. execute (an action etc.) awkwardly
and inefficiently. 9 intr. (of fighter aircraft or their
pilots) take off quickly in an emergency or for action. --n. 1
an act of scrambling. 2 a difficult climb or walk. 3 (foll. by
for) an eager struggle or competition. 4 Brit. a motor-cycle
race over rough ground. 5 an emergency take-off by fighter
aircraft. Ьscrambled egg colloq. gold braid on a military
officer's cap. [16th c. (imit.): cf. dial. synonyms scamble,
scrambler n. a device for scrambling telephone conversations.
scran n. sl. 1 food, eatables. 2 remains of food. Ьbad scran Ir.
bad luck. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
scrap(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a small detached piece; a fragment or remnant.
2 rubbish or waste material. 3 an extract or cutting from
something written or printed. 4 discarded metal for
reprocessing (often attrib.: scrap metal). 5 (with neg.) the
smallest piece or amount (not a scrap of food left). 6 (in pl.)
a odds and ends. b bits of uneaten food. 7 (in sing or pl.) a
residuum of melted fat or of fish with the oil expressed.
--v.tr. (scrapped, scrapping) discard as useless. Ьscrap heap
1 a pile of scrap materials. 2 a state of uselessness. scrap
merchant a dealer in scrap. [ME f. ON skrap, rel. to skrapa
scrap(2) n. & v. colloq. --n. a fight or rough quarrel, esp. a
spontaneous one. --v.tr. (scrapped, scrapping) (often foll. by
with) have a scrap. ЬЬscrapper n. [perh. f. SCRAPE]
scrapbook n. a book of blank pages for sticking cuttings, drawings, etc.,
scrape v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a move a hard or sharp edge across (a
surface), esp. to make something smooth. b apply (a hard or
sharp edge) in this way. 2 tr. (foll. by away, off, etc.)
remove (a stain, projection, etc.) by scraping. 3 tr. a rub (a
surface) harshly against another. b scratch or damage by
scraping. 4 tr. make (a hollow) by scraping. 5 a tr. draw or
move with a sound of, or resembling, scraping. b intr. emit or
produce such a sound. c tr. produce such a sound from. 6 intr.
(often foll. by along, by, through, etc.) move or pass along
while almost touching close or surrounding features, obstacles,
etc. (the car scraped through the narrow lane). 7 tr. just
manage to achieve (a living, an examination pass, etc.). 8
intr. (often foll. by by, through) a barely manage. b pass an
examination etc. with difficulty. 9 tr. (foll. by together, up)
contrive to bring or provide; amass with difficulty. 10 intr.
be economical. 11 intr. draw back a foot in making a clumsy
bow. 12 tr. clear (a ship's bottom) of barnacles etc. 13 tr.
completely clear (a plate) of food. 14 tr. (foll. by back) draw
(the hair) tightly back off the forehead. --n. 1 the act or
sound of scraping. 2 a scraped place (on the skin etc.). 3 a
thinly applied layer of butter etc. on bread. 4 the scraping of
a foot in bowing. 5 colloq. an awkward predicament, esp.
resulting from an escapade. Ьscrape acquaintance with contrive
to get to know (a person). scrape the barrel colloq. be
reduced to one's last resources. [ME f. ON skrapa or MDu.
scraper n. a device used for scraping, esp. for removing dirt etc. from
n. Brit. cardboard or board with a blackened surface which can
be scraped off for making white-line drawings.
scrapie n. a viral disease of sheep involving the central nervous
system and characterized by lack of coordination causing
affected animals to rub against trees etc. for support.
scraping n. 1 in senses of SCRAPE v. & n. 2 (esp. in pl.) a fragment
produced by this.
scrappy adj. (scrappier, scrappiest) 1 consisting of scraps. 2
incomplete; carelessly arranged or put together. ЬЬscrappily
adv. scrappiness n.
scrapyard n. a place where (esp. metal) scrap is collected.
scratch v., n., & adj. --v. 1 tr. score or mark the surface of with a
sharp or pointed object. 2 tr. a make a long narrow
superficial wound in (the skin). b cause (a person or part of
the body) to be scratched (scratched himself on the table). 3
tr. (also absol.) scrape without marking, esp. with the hand to
relieve itching (stood there scratching). 4 tr. make or form by
scratching. 5 tr. scribble; write hurriedly or awkwardly
(scratched a quick reply; scratched a large A). 6 tr. (foll. by
together, up, etc.) obtain (a thing) by scratching or with
difficulty. 7 tr. (foll. by out, off, through) cancel or strike
(out) with a pencil etc. 8 tr. (also absol.) withdraw (a
competitor, candidate, etc.) from a race or competition. 9
intr. (often foll. by about, around, etc.) a scratch the ground
etc. in search. b look around haphazardly (they were scratching
about for evidence). --n. 1 a mark or wound made by
scratching. 2 a sound of scratching. 3 a spell of scratching
oneself. 4 colloq. a superficial wound. 5 a line from which
competitors in a race (esp. those not receiving a handicap)
start. 6 (in pl.) a disease of horses in which the pastern
appears scratched. 7 sl. money. --attrib.adj. 1 collected by
chance. 2 collected or made from whatever is available;
heterogeneous (a scratch crew). 3 with no handicap given (a
scratch race). Ьfrom scratch 1 from the beginning. 2 without
help or advantage. scratch along make a living etc. with
difficulty. scratch one's head be perplexed. scratch my back
and I will scratch yours 1 do me a favour and I will return it.
2 used in reference to mutual aid or flattery. scratch pad 1
esp. US a pad of paper for scribbling. 2 Computing a small
fast memory for the temporary storage of data. scratch the
surface deal with a matter only superficially. up to scratch up
to the required standard. ЬЬscratcher n. [ME, prob. f.
synonymous ME scrat & cratch, both of uncert. orig.: cf. MLG
kratsen, OHG krazzon]
scratchy adj. (scratchier, scratchiest) 1 tending to make scratches or a
scratching noise. 2 (esp. of a garment) tending to cause
itchiness. 3 (of a drawing etc.) done in scratches or
carelessly. ЬЬscratchily adv. scratchiness n.
scrawl v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. write in a hurried untidy way. 2
tr. (foll. by out) cross out by scrawling over. --n. 1 a piece
of hurried writing. 2 a scrawled note. ЬЬscrawly adj. [perh.
f. obs. scrawl sprawl, alt. of CRAWL]
scrawny adj. (scrawnier, scrawniest) lean, scraggy. ЬЬscrawniness n.
[var. of dial. scranny: cf. archaic scrannel (of sound) weak,
scream n. & v. --n. 1 a loud high-pitched piercing cry expressing
fear, pain, extreme fright, etc. 2 the act of emitting a
scream. 3 colloq. an irresistibly funny occurrence or person.
--v. 1 intr. emit a scream. 2 tr. speak or sing (words etc.)
in a screaming tone. 3 intr. make or move with a shrill sound
like a scream. 4 intr. laugh uncontrollably. 5 intr. be
blatantly obvious or conspicuous. 6 intr. colloq. turn
informer. [OE or MDu.]
screamer n. 1 a person or thing that screams. 2 any S. American
goose-like bird of the family Anhimidae, frequenting marshland
and having a characteristic shrill cry. 3 colloq. a tale that
raises screams of laughter. 4 US colloq. a sensational
scree n. (in sing. or pl.) 1 small loose stones. 2 a mountain slope
covered with these. [prob. back-form. f. screes (pl.) ult. f.
ON skritha landslip, rel. to skrЎtha glide]
screech n. & v. --n. a harsh high-pitched scream. --v.tr. & intr.
utter with or make a screech. Ьscreech-owl any owl that
screeches instead of hooting, esp. a barn-owl or a small
American owl, Otus asio. ЬЬscreecher n. screechy adj.
(screechier, screechiest). [16th-c. var. of ME scritch (imit.)]
screed n. 1 a long usu. tiresome piece of writing or speech. 2 a a
strip of plaster or other material placed on a surface as a
guide to thickness. b a levelled layer of material (e.g.
cement) applied to a floor or other surface. [ME, prob. var. of
screen n. & v. --n. 1 a fixed or movable upright partition for
separating, concealing, or sheltering from draughts or excessive
heat or light. 2 a thing used as a shelter, esp. from
observation. 3 a a measure adopted for concealment. b the
protection afforded by this (under the screen of night). 4 a a
blank usu. white or silver surface on which a photographic image
is projected. b (prec. by the) the cinema industry. 5 the
surface of a cathode-ray tube or similar electronic device, esp.
of a television, VDU, etc., on which images appear. 6 =
sight-screen. 7 = WINDSCREEN. 8 a frame with fine wire netting
to keep out flies, mosquitoes, etc. 9 Physics a body
intercepting light, heat, electric or magnetic induction, etc.,
in a physical apparatus. 10 Photog. a piece of ground glass in
a camera for focusing. 11 a large sieve or riddle, esp. for
sorting grain, coal, etc., into sizes. 12 a system of checking
for the presence or absence of a disease, ability, attribute,
etc. 13 Printing a transparent finely-ruled plate or film used
in half-tone reproduction. 14 Mil. a body of troops, ships,
etc., detached to warn of the presence of an enemy force.
--v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) a afford shelter to; hide
partly or completely. b protect from detection, censure, etc.
2 (foll. by off) shut off or hide behind a screen. 3 a show (a
film etc.) on a screen. b broadcast (a television programme).
4 prevent from causing, or protect from, electrical
interference. 5 a test (a person or group) for the presence or
absence of a disease. b check on (a person) for the presence or
absence of a quality, esp. reliability or loyalty. 6 pass
(grain, coal, etc.) through a screen. Ьscreen printing a
process like stencilling with ink forced through a prepared
sheet of fine material (orig. silk). screen test an audition
for a part in a cinema film. ЬЬscreenable adj. screener n.
[ME f. ONF escren, escran: cf. OHG skrank barrier]
n.pl. refuse separated by sifting.
n. the script of a film, with acting instructions, scene
n. a person who writes a screenplay.
screw n. & v. --n. 1 a thin cylinder or cone with a spiral ridge or
thread running round the outside (male screw) or the inside
(female screw). 2 (in full wood-screw) a metal male screw with
a slotted head and a sharp point for fastening things, esp. in
carpentry, by being rotated to form a thread in wood etc. 3 (in
full screw-bolt) a metal male screw with a blunt end on which a
nut is threaded to bolt things together. 4 a wooden or metal
straight screw used to exert pressure. 5 (in sing. or pl.) an
instrument of torture acting in this way. 6 (in full
screw-propeller) a form of propeller with twisted blades acting
like a screw on the water or air. 7 one turn of a screw. 8
(foll. by of) Brit. a small twisted-up paper (of tobacco etc.).
9 Brit. (in billiards etc.) an oblique curling motion of the
ball. 10 sl. a prison warder. 11 Brit. sl. an amount of
salary or wages. 12 coarse sl. a an act of sexual intercourse.
b a partner in this. °Usually considered a taboo use. 13 sl. a
mean or miserly person. 14 sl. a worn-out horse. --v. 1 tr.
fasten or tighten with a screw or screws. 2 tr. turn (a screw).
3 intr. twist or turn round like a screw. 4 intr. (of a ball
etc.) swerve. 5 tr. a put psychological etc. pressure on to
achieve an end. b oppress. 6 tr. (foll. by out of) extort
(consent, money, etc.) from (a person). 7 tr. (also absol.)
coarse sl. have sexual intercourse with. °Usually considered a
taboo use. 8 intr. (of a rolling ball, or of a person etc.)
take a curling course; swerve. 9 intr. (often foll. by up) make
tenser or more efficient. Ьhave one's head screwed on the right
way colloq. have common sense. have a screw loose colloq. be
slightly crazy. put the screws on colloq. exert pressure, esp.
to extort or intimidate. screw cap = screw top. screw-coupling
a female screw with threads at both ends for joining lengths of
pipes or rods. screw eye a screw with a loop for passing cord
etc. through instead of a slotted head. screw gear an endless
screw with a cog-wheel or pinion. screw hook a hook to hang
things on, with a screw point for fastening it. screw-jack a
vehicle jack (see JACK(1)) worked by a screw device. screw pine
any plant of the genus Pandanus, with its leaves arranged
spirally and resembling those of a pineapple. screw-plate a
steel plate with threaded holes for making male screws.
screw-tap a tool for making female screws. screw top (also
(with hyphen) attrib.) a cap or lid that can be screwed on to a
bottle, jar, etc. screw up 1 contract or contort (one's face
etc.). 2 contract and crush into a tight mass (a piece of paper
etc.). 3 summon up (one's courage etc.). 4 sl. a bungle or
mismanage. b spoil or ruin (an event, opportunity, etc.).
screw-up n. sl. a bungle, muddle, or mess. screw valve a
stopcock opened and shut by a screw. ЬЬscrewable adj. screwer
n. [ME f. OF escroue female screw, nut, f. L scrofa sow]
screwball n. & adj. US sl. --n. a crazy or eccentric person. --adj.
n. a tool with a shaped tip to fit into the head of a screw to
screwed adj. 1 twisted. 2 sl. a ruined; rendered ineffective. b
screwy adj. (screwier, screwiest) sl. 1 crazy or eccentric. 2
absurd. ЬЬscrewiness n.
v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. write carelessly or hurriedly. 2
intr. often derog. be an author or writer. 3 intr. & tr. draw
carelessly or meaninglessly. --n. 1 a scrawl. 2 a hasty note
etc. 3 careless handwriting. ЬЬscribbler n. scribbly adj.
[ME f. med.L scribillare dimin. of L scribere write]
v.tr. card (wool, cotton, etc.) coarsely. [prob. f. LG: cf. G
schrubbeln (in the same sense), frequent. f. LG schrubben: see
scribe n. & v. --n. 1 a person who writes out documents, esp. an
ancient or medieval copyist of manuscripts. 2 Bibl. an ancient
Jewish record-keeper or professional theologian and jurist. 3
(in full scribe-awl) a pointed instrument for making marks on
wood, bricks, etc., to guide a saw, or in sign-writing. 4 US
colloq. a writer, esp. a journalist. --v.tr. mark (wood etc.)
with a scribe (see sense 3 of n.). ЬЬscribal adj. scriber n.
[(n.) ME f. L scriba f. scribere write: (v.) perh. f.
scrim n. open-weave fabric for lining or upholstery etc. [18th c.:
scrimmage n. & v. --n. 1 a rough or confused struggle; a brawl. 2 Amer.
Football a sequence of play beginning with the placing of the
ball on the ground with its longest axis at right angles to the
goal-line. --v. 1 intr. engage in a scrimmage. 2 tr. Amer.
Football put (the ball) into a scrimmage. ЬЬscrimmager n.
[var. of SKIRMISH]
scrimp v. 1 intr. be sparing or parsimonious. 2 tr. use sparingly.
ЬЬscrimpy adj. [18th c., orig. Sc.: perh. rel. to SHRIMP]
v.intr. Brit. sl. esp. Mil. shirk duty. ЬЬscrimshanker n.
[19th c.: orig. unkn.]
scrimshaw v. & n. --v.tr. (also absol.) adorn (shells, ivory, etc.) with
carved or coloured designs (as sailors' pastime at sea). --n.
work or a piece of work of this kind. [19th c.: perh. f. a
scrip n. 1 a provisional certificate of money subscribed to a bank or
company etc. entitling the holder to a formal certificate and
dividends. 2 (collect.) such certificates. 3 an extra share or
shares instead of a dividend. [abbr. of subscription receipt]
script n. & v. --n. 1 handwriting as distinct from print; written
characters. 2 type imitating handwriting. 3 an alphabet or
system of writing (the Russian script). 4 the text of a play,
film, or broadcast. 5 an examinee's set of written answers. 6
Law an original document as distinct from a copy. --v.tr. write
a script for (a film etc.). [ME, = thing written, f. OF
escri(p)t f. L scriptum, neut. past part. of scribere write]
n. (pl. scriptoria or scriptoriums) a room set apart for
writing, esp. in a monastery. ЬЬscriptorial adj. [med.L (as
adj. 1 of or relating to a scripture, esp. the Bible. 2 having
the authority of a scripture. ЬЬscripturally adv. [LL
scripturalis f. L scriptura: see SCRIPTURE]
scripture n. 1 sacred writings. 2 (Scripture or the Scriptures) a the
Bible as a collection of sacred writings in Christianity. b the
sacred writings of any other religion. [ME f. L scriptura (as
n. a person who writes a script for a film, broadcast, etc.
scrivener n. hist. 1 a copyist or drafter of documents. 2 a notary. 3
a broker. 4 a moneylender. [ME f. obs. scrivein f. OF
escrivein ult. f. L (as SCRIBE)]
scrod n. US a young cod or haddock, esp. as food. [19th c.: perh.
rel. to SHRED]
scrofula n. archaic a disease with glandular swellings, prob. a form of
tuberculosis. Also called king's evil. ЬЬscrofulous adj. [ME
f. med.L (sing.) f. LL scrofulae (pl.) scrofulous swelling,
dimin. of L scrofa a sow]
scroll n. & v. --n. 1 a roll of parchment or paper esp. with writing
on it. 2 a book in the ancient roll form. 3 an ornamental
design or carving imitating a roll of parchment. --v. 1 tr.
(often foll. by down, up) move (a display on a VDU screen) in
order to view new material. 2 tr. inscribe in or like a scroll.
3 intr. curl up like paper. Ьscroll saw a saw for cutting along
curved lines in ornamental work. [ME scrowle alt. f. rowle
ROLL, perh. after scrow (in the same sense), formed as ESCROW]
scrolled adj. having a scroll ornament.
decoration of spiral lines, esp. as cut by a scroll saw.
Scrooge n. a mean or miserly person. [a character in Dickens's
scrotum n. (pl. scrota or scrotums) a pouch of skin containing the
testicles. ЬЬscrotal adj. scrotitis n. [L]
scrounge v. & n. colloq. --v. 1 tr. (also absol.) obtain (things)
illicitly or by cadging. 2 intr. search about to find something
at no cost. --n. an act of scrounging. Ьon the scrounge
engaged in scrounging. ЬЬscrounger n. [var. of dial. scrunge
scrub(1) v. & n. --v. (scrubbed, scrubbing) 1 tr. rub hard so as to
clean, esp. with a hard brush. 2 intr. use a brush in this way.
3 intr. (often foll. by up) (of a surgeon etc.) thoroughly clean
the hands and arms by scrubbing, before operating. 4 tr.
colloq. scrap or cancel (a plan, order, etc.). 5 tr. use water
to remove impurities from (gas etc.). --n. the act or an
instance of scrubbing; the process of being scrubbed.
Ьscrubbing-brush (US scrub-brush) a hard brush for scrubbing
floors. scrub round colloq. circumvent, avoid. [ME prob. f.
MLG, MDu. schrobben, schrubben]
scrub(2) n. 1 a vegetation consisting mainly of brushwood or stunted
forest growth. b an area of land covered with this. 2 (of
livestock) of inferior breed or physique (often attrib.: scrub
horse). 3 a small or dwarf variety (often attrib.: scrub pine).
4 US Sport colloq. a team or player not of the first class.
Ьscrub turkey a megapode. scrub typhus a rickettsial disease of
the W. Pacific transmitted by mites. ЬЬscrubby adj. [ME, var.
scrubber n. 1 an apparatus using water or a solution for purifying gases
etc. 2 sl. derog. a sexually promiscuous woman.
scruff(1) n. the back of the neck as used to grasp and lift or drag an
animal or person by (esp. scruff of the neck). [alt. of scuff,
perh. f. ON skoft hair]
scruff(2) n. colloq. an untidy or scruffy person. [orig. = SCURF, later
'worthless thing', or back-form. f. SCRUFFY]
scruffy adj. (scruffier, scruffiest) colloq. shabby, slovenly, untidy.
ЬЬscruffily adv. scruffiness n. [scruff var. of SCURF + -Y(1)]
scrum n. 1 Rugby Football an arrangement of the forwards of each team
in two opposing groups, each with arms interlocked and heads
down, with the ball thrown in between them to restart play. 2
colloq. a milling crowd. Ьscrum-half a half-back who puts the
ball into the scrum. [abbr. of SCRUMMAGE]
scrummage n. Rugby Football = SCRUM 1. [as SCRIMMAGE]
scrump v.tr. Brit. colloq. steal (fruit) from an orchard or garden.
scrumple v.tr. crumple, wrinkle. [var. of CRUMPLE]
scrumpy n. Brit. colloq. rough cider, esp. as made in the West
Country of England. [dial. scrump small apple]
scrunch v. & n. --v.tr. & intr. 1 (usu. foll. by up) make or become
crushed or crumpled. 2 make or cause to make a crunching sound.
--n. the act or an instance of scrunching. [var. of CRUNCH]
scruple n. & v. --n. 1 (in sing. or pl.) a regard to the morality or
propriety of an action. b a feeling of doubt or hesitation
caused by this. 2 Brit. hist. an apothecaries' weight of 20
grains. 3 archaic a very small quantity. --v.intr. 1 (foll.
by to + infin.; usu. with neg.) be reluctant because of scruples
(did not scruple to stop their allowance). 2 feel or be
influenced by scruples. [F scrupule or L scrupulus f. scrupus
rough pebble, anxiety]
adj. 1 conscientious or thorough even in small matters. 2
careful to avoid doing wrong. 3 punctilious; over-attentive to
details. ЬЬscrupulosity n. scrupulously adv. scrupulousness
n. [ME f. F scrupuleux or L scrupulosus (as SCRUPLE)]
n. a person who scrutinizes or examines something, esp. the
conduct and result of a ballot.
v.tr. (also -ise) look closely at; examine with close scrutiny.
scrutiny n. (pl. -ies) 1 a critical gaze. 2 a close investigation or
examination of details. 3 an official examination of
ballot-papers to check their validity or accuracy of counting.
[ME f. L scrutinium f. scrutari search f. scruta rubbish:
orig. of rag-collectors]
scry v.intr. (-ies, -ied) divine by crystal-gazing. ЬЬscryer n.
[shortening f. DESCRY]
scuba n. (pl. scubas) an aqualung. [acronym f. self- contained
underwater breathing apparatus]
n. swimming underwater using a scuba, esp. as a sport.
ЬЬscuba-dive v.intr. scuba-diver n.
scud v. & n. --v.intr. (scudded, scudding) 1 fly or run straight,
fast, and lightly; skim along. 2 Naut. run before the wind.
--n. 1 a spell of scudding. 2 a scudding motion. 3 vapoury
driving clouds. 4 a driving shower; a gust. 5 wind-blown
spray. [perh. alt. of SCUT, as if to race like a hare]
scuff v. & n. --v. 1 tr. graze or brush against. 2 tr. mark or wear
down (shoes) in this way. 3 intr. walk with dragging feet;
shuffle. --n. a mark of scuffing. [imit.]
scuffle n. & v. --n. a confused struggle or disorderly fight at close
quarters. --v.intr. engage in a scuffle. [prob. f. Scand.: cf.
Sw. skuffa to push, rel. to SHOVE]
var. of SKULDUGGERY.
scull n. & v. --n. 1 either of a pair of small oars used by a single
rower. 2 an oar placed over the stern of a boat to propel it,
usu. by a twisting motion. 3 (in pl.) a race between boats
with single pairs of oars. --v.tr. propel (a boat) with sculls.
[ME: orig. unkn.]
sculler n. 1 a user of sculls. 2 a boat intended for sculling.
scullery n. (pl. -ies) a small kitchen or room at the back of a house
for washing dishes etc. [ME f. AF squillerie, OF escuelerie f.
escuele dish f. L scutella salver dimin. of scutra wooden
scullion n. archaic 1 a cook's boy. 2 a person who washes dishes etc.
[ME: orig. unkn.]
sculpin n. any of numerous fish of the family Cottidae, native to
non-tropical regions, having large spiny heads. [perh. f. obs.
scorpene f. L scorpaena f. Gk skorpaina a fish]
sculpt v.tr. & intr. (also sculp) sculpture. [F sculpter f.
sculpteur SCULPTOR: now regarded as an abbr.]
sculptor n. (fem. sculptress) an artist who makes sculptures. [L (as
sculpture n. & v. --n. 1 the art of making forms, often
representational, in the round or in relief by chiselling stone,
carving wood, modelling clay, casting metal, etc. 2 a work or
works of sculpture. 3 Zool. & Bot. raised or sunken markings on
a shell etc. --v. 1 tr. represent in or adorn with sculpture.
2 intr. practise sculpture. ЬЬsculptural adj. sculpturally
adv. sculpturesque adj. [ME f. L sculptura f. sculpere
scum n. & v. --n. 1 a layer of dirt, froth, or impurities etc.
forming at the top of liquid, esp. in boiling or fermentation.
2 (foll. by of) the most worthless part of something. 3 colloq.
a worthless person or group. --v. (scummed, scumming) 1 tr.
remove scum from; skim. 2 tr. be or form a scum on. 3 intr.
(of a liquid) develop scum. ЬЬscummy adj. (scummier,
scummiest) adj. [ME f. MLG, MDu. schum, OHG scum f. Gmc]
scumble v. & n. --v.tr. 1 modify (a painting) by applying a thin
opaque coat of paint to give a softer or duller effect. 2
modify (a drawing) similarly with light pencilling etc. --n. 1
material used in scumbling. 2 the effect produced by scumbling.
[perh. frequent. of SCUM v.tr.]
scuncheon n. the inside face of a door-jamb, window-frame, etc. [ME f.
OF escoinson (as EX-(1), COIN)]
scunge n. Austral. & NZ colloq. 1 dirt, scum. 2 a dirty or
disagreeable person. ЬЬscungy adj. (scungier, scungiest).
[perh. f. E dial. scrunge steal: cf. SCROUNGE]
scunner v. & n. Sc. --v.intr. feel disgust or nausea. --n. 1 a
strong dislike (esp. take a scunner at or against). 2 an
object of loathing. [14th c.: orig. uncert.]
scup n. an E. American fish, Stenostomus chrysops, a kind of porgy.
[Narraganset mishcup thick-scaled f. mishe large + cuppi scale]
n. a hole in a ship's side to carry off water from the deck.
[ME (perh. f. AF) f. OF escopir f. Rmc skuppire (unrecorded) to
spit: orig. imit.]
v.tr. Brit. sl. 1 sink (a ship or its crew). 2 defeat or
ruin (a plan etc.). 3 kill. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
scurf n. 1 flakes on the surface of the skin, cast off as fresh skin
develops below, esp. those of the head; dandruff. 2 any scaly
matter on a surface. ЬЬscurfy adj. [OE, prob. f. ON & earlier
OE sceorf, rel. to sceorfan gnaw, sceorfian cut to shreds]
adj. 1 (of a person or language) grossly or indecently abusive.
2 given to or expressed with low humour. ЬЬscurrility n. (pl.
-ies). scurrilously adv. scurrilousness n. [F scurrile or L
scurrilus f. scurra buffoon]
scurry v. & n. --v.intr. (-ies, -ied) run or move hurriedly, esp.
with short quick steps; scamper. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 the act or
sound of scurrying. 2 bustle, haste. 3 a flurry of rain or
snow. [abbr. of hurry-scurry redupl. of HURRY]
scurvy n. & adj. --n. a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C,
characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of
previously healed wounds, esp. formerly affecting sailors.
--adj. (scurvier, scurviest) paltry, low, mean, dishonourable,
contemptible. Ьscurvy grass any cresslike seaside plant of the
genus Cochlearia, orig. taken as a cure for scurvy. ЬЬscurvied
adj. scurvily adv. [SCURF + -Y(1): noun sense by assoc. with F
scorbut (cf. SCORBUTIC)]
scut n. a short tail, esp. of a hare, rabbit, or deer. [ME: orig.
unkn.: cf. obs. scut short, shorten]
scuta pl. of SCUTUM.
scutage n. hist. money paid by a feudal landowner instead of personal
service. [ME f. med.L scutagium f. L scutum shield]
scutch v.tr. dress (fibrous material, esp. retted flax) by beating.
ЬЬscutcher n. [OF escouche, escoucher (dial.), escousser, ult.
f. L excutere excuss- (as EX-(1), quatere shake)]
scutcheon n. 1 = ESCUTCHEON. 2 an ornamented brass etc. plate round or
over a keyhole. 3 a plate for a name or inscription. [ME f.
scute n. Zool. etc. = SCUTUM. [L (as SCUTUM)]
scutellum n. (pl. scutella) Bot. & Zool. a scale, plate, or any
shieldlike formation on a plant, insect, bird, etc., esp. one of
the horny scales on a bird's foot. ЬЬscutellate adj.
scutellation n. [mod.L dimin. of L scutum shield]
scutter v. & n. --v.intr. colloq. scurry. --n. the act or an instance
of scuttering. [perh. alt. of SCUTTLE(2)]
n. 1 a receptacle for carrying and holding a small supply of
coal. 2 Brit. the part of a motor-car body between the
windscreen and the bonnet. [ME f. ON skutill, OHG scuzzila f. L
v. & n. --v.intr. 1 scurry; hurry along. 2 run away; flee
from danger or difficulty. --n. 1 a hurried gait. 2 a
precipitate flight or departure. [cf. dial. scuddle frequent.
n. & v. --n. a hole with a lid in a ship's deck or side.
--v.tr. let water into (a ship) to sink it, esp. by opening the
seacocks. [ME, perh. f. obs. F escoutille f. Sp. escotilla
hatchway dimin. of escota cutting out cloth]
n. 1 a water-butt on the deck of a ship, for drinking from. 2
colloq. rumour, gossip.
scutum n. (pl. scuta) each of the shieldlike plates or scales forming
the bony covering of a crocodile, sturgeon, turtle, armadillo,
etc. ЬЬscutal adj. scutate adj. [L, = oblong shield]
Scylla and Charybdis
n.pl. two dangers such that avoidance of one increases the risk
from the other. [the names of a sea-monster and whirlpool in Gk
n. & adj. --n. any marine jellyfish of the class Scyphozoa,
with tentacles bearing stinging cells. --adj. of or relating to
this class. [as SCYPHUS + Gk zoion animal]
scyphus n. (pl. scyphi) 1 Gk Antiq. a footless drinking-cup with two
handles below the level of the rim. 2 Bot. a cup-shaped part as
in a narcissus flower or in lichens. ЬЬscyphose adj. [mod.L f.
scythe n. & v. --n. a mowing and reaping implement with a long curved
blade swung over the ground by a long pole with two short
handles projecting from it. --v.tr. cut with a scythe. [OE
sithe f. Gmc]
Scythian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to ancient Scythia, a region
north of the Black Sea. --n. 1 an inhabitant of Scythia. 2
the language of this region. [L Scythia f. Gk Skuthia Scythia]
se- prefix apart, without (seclude; secure). [L f. OL se (prep. &
sea n. 1 the expanse of salt water that covers most of the earth's
surface and surrounds its land masses. 2 any part of this as
opposed to land or fresh water. 3 a particular (usu. named)
tract of salt water partly or wholly enclosed by land (the North
Sea; the Dead Sea). 4 a large inland lake (the Sea of Galilee).
5 the waves of the sea, esp. with reference to their local
motion or state (a choppy sea). 6 (foll. by of) a vast quantity
or expanse (a sea of troubles; a sea of faces). 7 (attrib.)
living or used in, on, or near the sea (often prefixed to the
name of a marine animal, plant, etc., having a superficial
resemblance to what it is named after) (sea lettuce). Ьat sea 1
in a ship on the sea. 2 (also all at sea) perplexed, confused.
by sea in a ship or ships. go to sea become a sailor. on the
sea 1 in a ship at sea. 2 situated on the coast. put (or put
out) to sea leave land or port. sea anchor a device such as a
heavy bag dragged in the water to retard the drifting of a ship.
sea anemone any of various coelenterates of the order Actiniaria
having a polypoid body bearing a ring of tentacles around the
mouth. sea-angel an angel-fish. sea bass any of various marine
fishes like the bass, esp. Centropristis striatus. sea bird a
bird frequenting the sea or the land near the sea. sea bream =
PORGY. sea breeze a breeze blowing towards the land from the
sea, esp. during the day (cf. land breeze). sea buckthorn a
maritime shrub, Hippopha‰ rhamnoides with orange berries. sea
change a notable or unexpected transformation (with ref. to
Shakesp. Tempest I. ii. 403). sea-chest a sailor's
storage-chest. sea coal archaic mineral coal, as distinct from
charcoal etc. sea cow 1 a sirenian. 2 a walrus. sea cucumber
a holothurian, esp. a b€che-de-mer. sea dog an old or
experienced sailor. sea eagle any fish-eating eagle esp. of the
genus Halia‰tus. sea-ear = ORMER. sea elephant any large seal
of the genus Mirounga, the male of which has a proboscis: also
called elephant seal. sea fan any colonial coral of the order
Gorgonacea supported by a fanlike horny skeleton. sea front the
part of a coastal town directly facing the sea. sea-girt
literary surrounded by sea. sea gooseberry any marine animal of
the phylum Ctenophora, with an ovoid body bearing numerous
cilia. sea-green bluish-green (as of the sea). sea hare any of
various marine molluscs of the order Anaspidea, having an
internal shell and long extensions from its foot. sea holly a
spiny-leaved blue-flowered evergreen plant, Eryngium maritimum.
sea horse 1 any of various small upright marine fish of the
family Syngnathidae, esp. Hippocampus hippocampus, having a
body suggestive of the head and neck of a horse. 2 a mythical
creature with a horse's head and fish's tail. sea-island cotton
a fine-quality long-stapled cotton grown on islands off the
southern US. sea lavender any maritime plant of the genus
Limonium, with small brightly-coloured funnel-shaped flowers.
sea legs the ability to keep one's balance and avoid seasickness
when at sea. sea level the mean level of the sea's surface,
used in reckoning the height of hills etc. and as a barometric
standard. sea lily any of various sessile echinoderms, esp. of
the class Crinoidea, with long jointed stalks and feather-like
arms for trapping food. sea lion any large, eared seal of the
Pacific, esp. of the genus Zalophus or Otaria. sea loch = LOCH
2. Sea Lord (in the UK) a naval member of the Admiralty Board.
sea mile = nautical mile. sea mouse any iridescent marine
annelid of the genus Aphrodite. sea onion = SQUILL 2. sea
otter a Pacific otter, Enhydra lutris, using a stone balanced on
its abdomen to crack bivalve molluscs. sea pink a maritime
plant, Armeria maritima, with bright pink flowers: also called
THRIFT. sea purse the egg-case of a skate or shark. sea room
clear space at sea for a ship to turn or manoeuvre in. sea salt
salt produced by evaporating sea water. Sea Scout a member of
the maritime branch of the Scout Association. sea serpent (or
snake) 1 a snake of the family Hydrophidae, living in the sea.
2 an enormous legendary serpent-like sea monster. sea shell the
shell of a salt-water mollusc. sea snail 1 a small slimy fish
of the family Liparididae, with a ventral sucker. 2 any
spiral-shelled mollusc, e.g. a whelk. sea squirt any marine
turnicate of the class Ascidiacea, consisting of a bag-like
structure with apertures for the flow of water. sea trout =
salmon trout. sea urchin a small marine echinoderm of the class
Echinoidea, with a spherical or flattened spiny shell. sea wall
a wall or embankment erected to prevent encroachment by the sea.
sea water water in or taken from the sea. [OE s‘ f. Gmc]
seabed n. the ground under the sea; the ocean floor.
seaboard n. 1 the seashore or coastal region. 2 the line of a coast.
seaborne adj. transported by sea.
seacock n. a valve below a ship's water-line for letting water in or
seafarer n. 1 a sailor. 2 a traveller by sea.
seafaring adj. & n. travelling by sea, esp. regularly.
seafood n. edible sea fish or shellfish.
seagoing adj. 1 (of ships) fit for crossing the sea. 2 (of a person)
seagull n. = GULL(1).
seakale n. a cruciferous maritime plant, Crambe maritima, having
coarsely-toothed leaves and used as a vegetable. Ьseakale beet
seal(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a piece of wax, lead, paper, etc., with a
stamped design, attached to a document as a guarantee of
authenticity. 2 a similar material attached to a receptacle,
envelope, etc., affording security by having to be broken to
allow access to the contents. 3 an engraved piece of metal,
gemstone, etc., for stamping a design on a seal. 4 a a
substance or device used to close an aperture or act as a
fastening. b an amount of water standing in the trap of a drain
to prevent foul air from rising. 5 an act or gesture or event
regarded as a confirmation or guarantee. 6 a significant or
prophetic mark (has the seal of death in his face). 7 a
decorative adhesive stamp. 8 esp. Eccl. a vow of secrecy; an
obligation to silence. --v.tr. 1 close securely or
hermetically. 2 stamp or fasten with a seal. 3 fix a seal to.
4 certify as correct with a seal or stamp. 5 (often foll. by
up) confine or fasten securely. 6 settle or decide (their fate
is sealed). 7 (foll. by off) put barriers round (an area) to
prevent entry and exit, esp. as a security measure. 8 apply a
non-porous coating to (a surface) to make it impervious. ЬGreat
Seal (in the UK) the seal in the charge of the Lord Chancellor
or Lord Keeper used in sealing important State papers. one's
lips are sealed one is obliged to keep a secret. sealed-beam
(attrib.) designating a vehicle headlamp with a sealed unit
consisting of the light source, reflector, and lens. sealed
book see BOOK. sealed orders orders for procedure not to be
opened before a specified time. sealing-wax a mixture of
shellac and rosin with turpentine and pigment, softened by
heating and used to make seals. seal ring a finger ring with a
seal. seals of office (in the UK) those held during tenure esp.
by the Lord Chancellor or a Secretary of State. set one's seal
to (or on) authorize or confirm. ЬЬsealable adj. [ME f. AF
seal, OF seel f. L sigillum dimin. of signum SIGN]
seal(2) n. & v. --n. any fish-eating amphibious sea mammal of the
family Phocidae or Otariidae, with flippers and webbed feet.
--v.intr. hunt for seals. [OE seolh seol- f. Gmc]
sealant n. material for sealing, esp. to make something airtight or
sealer n. a ship or person engaged in hunting seals.
sealery n. (pl. -ies) a place for hunting seals.
sealskin n. 1 the skin or prepared fur of a seal. 2 (often attrib.) a
garment made from this.
Sealyham n. (in full Sealyham terrier) 1 a terrier of a wire-haired
short-legged breed. 2 this breed. [Sealyham in S. Wales]
seam n. & v. --n. 1 a line where two edges join, esp. of two pieces
of cloth etc. turned back and stitched together, or of boards
fitted edge to edge. 2 a fissure between parallel edges. 3 a
wrinkle or scar. 4 a stratum of coal etc. --v.tr. 1 join with
a seam. 2 (esp. as seamed adj.) mark or score with or as with a
seam. Ьbursting at the seams full to overflowing. seam bowler
Cricket a bowler who makes the ball deviate by bouncing off its
seam. ЬЬseamer n. seamless adj. [OE seam f. Gmc]
seaman n. (pl. -men) 1 a sailor, esp. one below the rank of officer.
2 a person regarded in terms of skill in navigation (a poor
seaman). ЬЬseamanlike adj. seamanly adj. [OE s‘man (as SEA,
n. skill in managing a ship or boat.
n. (also sempstress) a woman who sews, esp. professionally; a
needlewoman. [OE seamestre fem. f. seamere tailor, formed as
SEAM + -STER + -ESS(1)]
seamy adj. (seamier, seamiest) 1 marked with or showing seams. 2
unpleasant, disreputable (esp. the seamy side). ЬЬseaminess n.
Seanad n. the upper House of Parliament in the Republic of Ireland.
[Ir., = senate]
seance n. (also s‚ance) a meeting at which spiritualists attempt to
make contact with the dead. [F s‚ance f. OF seoir f. L sedere
seaplane n. an aircraft designed to take off from and land and float on
seaport n. a town with a harbour for seagoing ships.
sear v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 a scorch, esp. with a hot iron; cauterize,
brand. b (as searing adj.) scorching, burning (searing pain).
2 cause pain or great anguish to. 3 brown (meat) quickly at a
high temperature so that it will retain its juices in cooking.
4 make (one's conscience, feelings, etc.) callous. 5 archaic
blast, wither. --adj. (also sere) literary (esp. of a plant
etc.) withered, dried up. [OE sear (adj.), searian (v.), f.
search v. & n. --v. 1 tr. look through or go over thoroughly to find
something. 2 tr. examine or feel over (a person) to find
anything concealed. 3 tr. a probe or penetrate into. b
examine or question (one's mind, conscience, etc.) thoroughly.
4 intr. (often foll. by for) make a search or investigation. 5
intr. (as searching adj.) (of an examination) thorough; leaving
no loopholes. 6 tr. (foll. by out) look probingly for; seek
out. --n. 1 an act of searching. 2 an investigation. Ьin
search of trying to find. right of search a belligerent's right
to stop a neutral vessel and search it for prohibited goods.
search me! colloq. I do not know. search-party a group of
people organized to look for a lost person or thing. search
warrant an official authorization to enter and search a
building. ЬЬsearchable adj. searcher n. searchingly adv. [ME
f. AF sercher, OF cerchier f. LL circare go round (as CIRCUS)]
n. 1 a powerful outdoor electric light with a concentrated beam
that can be turned in any direction. 2 the light or beam from
seascape n. a picture or view of the sea.
seashore n. 1 land close to or bordering on the sea. 2 Law the area
between high and low water marks.
seasick adj. suffering from sickness or nausea from the motion of a
ship at sea. ЬЬseasickness n.
seaside n. the sea-coast, esp. as a holiday resort.
season n. & v. --n. 1 each of the four divisions of the year (spring,
summer, autumn, and winter) associated with a type of weather
and a stage of vegetation. 2 a time of year characterized by
climatic or other features (the dry season). 3 a the time of
year when a plant is mature or flowering etc. b the time of
year when an animal breeds or is hunted. 4 a proper or suitable
time. 5 a time when something is plentiful or active or in
vogue. 6 (usu. prec. by the) = high season. 7 the time of year
regularly devoted to an activity (the football season). 8 the
time of year dedicated to social life generally (went up to
London for the season). 9 a period of indefinite or varying
length. 10 Brit. colloq. = season ticket. --v. 1 tr. flavour
(food) with salt, herbs, etc. 2 tr. enhance with wit,
excitement, etc. 3 tr. temper or moderate. 4 tr. & intr. a
make or become suitable or in the desired condition, esp. by
exposure to the air or weather; mature. b make or become
experienced or accustomed (seasoned soldiers). Ьin season 1 (of
foodstuff) available in plenty and in good condition. 2 (of an
animal) on heat. 3 timely. season ticket a ticket entitling
the holder to any number of journeys, admittances, etc., in a
given period. ЬЬseasoner n. [ME f. OF seson f. L satio -onis
(in Rmc sense 'seed-time') f. serere sat- sow]
adj. 1 suitable to or usual in the season. 2 opportune. 3
meeting the needs of the occasion. ЬЬseasonableness n.
seasonal adj. of, depending on, or varying with the season. Ьseasonal
affective disorder a depressive state associated with late
autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light.
ЬЬseasonality n. seasonally adv.
seasoning n. condiments added to food.
seat n. & v. --n. 1 a thing made or used for sitting on; a chair,
stool, saddle, etc. 2 the buttocks. 3 the part of the trousers
etc. covering the buttocks. 4 the part of a chair etc. on which
the sitter's weight directly rests. 5 a place for one person in
a theatre, vehicle, etc. 6 the occupation of a seat. 7 esp.
Brit. a the right to occupy a seat, esp. as a Member of the
House of Commons. b a member's constituency. 8 the part of a
machine that supports or guides another part. 9 a site or
location of something specified (a seat of learning; the seat of
the emotions). 10 a country mansion, esp. with large grounds.
11 the manner of sitting on a horse etc. --v.tr. 1 cause to
sit. 2 a provide sitting accommodation for (the cinema seats
500). b provide with seats. 3 (as seated adj.) sitting. 4 put
or fit in position. Ьbe seated sit down. by the seat of one's
pants colloq. by instinct rather than logic or knowledge.
seat-belt a belt securing a person in the seat of a car or
aircraft. take a (or one's) seat sit down. ЬЬseatless adj.
[ME f. ON s‘ti (= OE gesete f. Gmc)]
-seater n. (in comb.) having a specified number of seats (a 16-seater
seating n. 1 seats collectively. 2 sitting accommodation.
SEATO abbr. South-East Asia Treaty Organization.
seaward adv., adj., & n. --adv. (also seawards) towards the sea.
--adj. going or facing towards the sea. --n. such a direction
seaway n. 1 an inland waterway open to seagoing ships. 2 a ship's
progress. 3 a ship's path across the sea.
seaweed n. any of various algae growing in the sea or on the rocks on a
seaworthy adj. (esp. of a ship) fit to put to sea. ЬЬseaworthiness n.
sebaceous adj. fatty; of or relating to tallow or fat. Ьsebaceous gland
(or follicle or duct) a gland etc. secreting or conveying oily
matter to lubricate the skin and hair. [L sebaceus f. sebum
n. (US seborrhea) excessive discharge of sebum from the
sebaceous glands. ЬЬseborrhoeic adj. [SEBUM after gonorrhoea
sebum n. the oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. [mod.L f. L
Sec. abbr. secretary.
sec adj. (of wine) dry. [F f. L siccus]
sec(1) abbr. secant.
sec(2) n. colloq. (in phrases) a second (of time). [abbr.]
sec. abbr. second(s).
secant adj. & n. Math. --adj. cutting (secant line). --n. 1 a line
cutting a curve at one or more points. 2 the ratio of the
hypotenuse to the shorter side adjacent to an acute angle (in a
right-angled triangle). °Abbr.: sec. [F s‚cant(e) f. L secare
secateurs n.pl. esp. Brit. a pair of pruning clippers for use with one
hand. [F s‚cateur cutter, irreg. f. L secare cut]
secco n. the technique of painting on dry plaster with pigments mixed
in water. [It., = dry, f. L siccus]
secede v.intr. (usu. foll. by from) withdraw formally from membership
of a political federation or a religious body. ЬЬseceder n. [L
secedere secess- (as SE-, cedere go)]
secession n. 1 the act or an instance of seceding. 2 (Secession) hist.
the withdrawal of eleven southern States from the US Union in
1860, leading to the Civil War. ЬЬsecessional adj.
secessionism n. secessionist n. [F s‚cession or L secessio (as
seclude v.tr. (also refl.) 1 keep (a person or place) retired or away
from company. 2 (esp. as secluded adj.) hide or screen from
view. [ME f. L secludere seclus- (as SE-, claudere shut)]
seclusion n. 1 a secluded state; retirement, privacy. 2 a secluded
place. ЬЬseclusionist n. seclusive adj. [med.L seclusio (as
second(1) n., adj., & v. --n. 1 the position in a sequence corresponding
to that of the number 2 in the sequence 1-2. 2 something
occupying this position. 3 the second person etc. in a race or
competition. 4 Mus. a an interval or chord spanning two
consecutive notes in the diatonic scale (e.g. C to D). b a note
separated from another by this interval. 5 = second gear. 6
another person or thing in addition to one previously mentioned
or considered (the policeman was then joined by a second). 7
(in pl.) a goods of a second or inferior quality. b coarse
flour, or bread made from it. 8 (in pl.) colloq. a a second
helping of food at a meal. b the second course of a meal. 9 an
attendant assisting a combatant in a duel, boxing-match, etc.
10 a a place in the second class of an examination. b a person
having this. --adj. 1 that is the second; next after first. 2
additional, further; other besides one previously mentioned or
considered (ate a second cake). 3 subordinate in position or
importance etc.; inferior. 4 Mus. performing a lower or
subordinate part (second violins). 5 such as to be comparable
to; closely reminiscent of (a second Callas). --v.tr. 1
supplement, support; back up. 2 formally support or endorse (a
nomination or resolution etc., or its proposer). Ьat second
hand by hearsay, not direct observation etc. in the second
place as a second consideration etc. second advent a supposed
return of Christ to earth. second ballot a deciding ballot
between candidates coming first (without an absolute majority)
and second in a previous ballot. second-best adj. next after
best. --n. a less adequate or desirable alternative. second
cause Logic a cause that is itself caused. second chamber the
upper house of a bicameral parliament. second class the
second-best group or category, esp. of hotel or train
accommodation or (in the UK) of postal services. second-class
adj. 1 of or belonging to the second class. 2 inferior in
quality, status, etc. (second-class citizens). --adv. by
second-class post, train, etc. (travelled second-class). second
coming Theol. the second advent of Christ on earth. second
cousin see COUSIN. second-degree Med. denoting burns that
cause blistering but not permanent scars. second fiddle see
FIDDLE. second floor 1 Brit. the floor two levels above the
ground floor. 2 US the floor above the ground floor. second
gear the second (and next to lowest) in a sequence of gears.
second-generation denoting the offspring of a first generation,
esp. of immigrants. second-guess colloq. 1 anticipate or
predict by guesswork. 2 judge or criticize with hindsight.
second honeymoon a holiday like a honeymoon, taken by a couple
after some years of marriage. second in command the officer
next in rank to the commanding or chief officer. second
lieutenant an army officer next below lieutenant or US first
lieutenant. second name a surname. second nature (often foll.
by to) an acquired tendency that has become instinctive (is
second nature to him). second officer an assistant mate on a
merchant ship. second person Gram. see PERSON. second-rate of
mediocre quality; inferior. second-rater a person or thing that
is second-rate. second reading a second presentation of a bill
to a legislative assembly, in the UK to approve its general
principles and in the US to debate committee reports. second
self a close friend or associate. second sight the supposed
power of being able to perceive future or distant events.
second-sighted having the gift of second sight. second string
an alternative course of action, means of livelihood, etc.,
invoked if the main one is unsuccessful. second teeth the teeth
that replace the milk teeth in a mammal. second thoughts a new
opinion or resolution reached after further consideration.
second to none surpassed by no other. second wind 1 recovery of
the power of normal breathing during exercise after initial
breathlessness. 2 renewed energy to continue an effort.
ЬЬseconder n. (esp. in sense 2 of v.). [ME f. OF f. L secundus
f. sequi follow]
second(2) n. 1 a sixtieth of a minute of time or angular distance.
°Symb.:'. 2 the SI unit of time, based on the natural
periodicity of the caesium atom. °Abbr.: s. 3 colloq. a very
short time (wait a second). Ьsecond hand an extra hand in some
watches and clocks, recording seconds. [F f. med.L secunda
(minuta) secondary (minute)]
second(3) v.tr. Brit. transfer (a military officer or other official or
worker) temporarily to other employment or to another position.
ЬЬsecondment n. [F en second in the second rank (of officers)]
secondary adj. & n. --adj. 1 coming after or next below what is primary.
2 derived from or depending on or supplementing what is primary.
3 (of education, a school, etc.) for those who have had primary
education, usu. from 11 to 18 years. 4 Electr. a (of a cell or
battery) having a reversible chemical reaction and therefore
able to store energy. b denoting a device using electromagnetic
induction, esp. a transformer. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a secondary
thing. 2 a secondary device or current. Ьsecondary colour the
result of mixing two primary colours. secondary feather a
feather growing from the second joint of a bird's wing.
secondary picketing the picketing of premises of a firm not
otherwise involved in the dispute in question. secondary planet
a satellite of a planet (cf. primary planet). secondary sexual
characteristics those distinctive of one sex but not directly
related to reproduction. ЬЬsecondarily adv. secondariness n.
[ME f. L secundarius (as SECOND(1))]
seconde n. Fencing the second of eight parrying positions. [F, fem. of
adj. & adv. --adj. also 1 a (of goods) having had a previous
owner; not new. b (of a shop etc.) where such goods can be
bought. 2 (of information etc.) accepted on another's authority
and not from original investigation. --adv. 1 on a second-hand
basis. 2 at second hand; not directly.
secondly adv. 1 furthermore; in the second place. 2 as a second item.
secondo n. (pl. secondi) Mus. the second or lower part in a duet etc.
secrecy n. 1 the keeping of secrets as a fact, habit, or faculty. 2 a
state in which all information is withheld (was done in great
secrecy). Ьsworn to secrecy having promised to keep a secret.
[ME f. secretie f. obs. secre (adj.) or SECRET adj.]
secret adj. & n. --adj. 1 kept or meant to be kept private, unknown,
or hidden from all or all but a few. 2 acting or operating
secretly. 3 fond of, prone to, or able to preserve secrecy. 4
(of a place) hidden, completely secluded. --n. 1 a thing kept
or meant to be kept secret. 2 a thing known only to a few. 3 a
mystery. 4 a valid but not commonly known or recognized method
of achieving or maintaining something (what's their secret?;
correct breathing is the secret of good health). 5 RC Ch. a
prayer concluding the offertory of the mass. Ьin secret
secretly. in (or in on) the secret among the number of those
who know it. keep a secret not reveal it. secret agent a spy
acting for a country. secret ballot a ballot in which votes are
cast in secret. secret police a police force operating in
secret for political purposes. secret service a government
department concerned with espionage. secret society a society
whose members are sworn to secrecy about it. ЬЬsecretly adv.
[ME f. OF f. L secretus (adj.) separate, set apart f. secernere
secret- (as SE-, cernere sift)]
n. an escritoire. [F (as SECRETARY)]
n. 1 a permanent administrative office or department, esp. a
governmental one. 2 its members or premises. 3 the office of
secretary. [F secr‚tariat f. med.L secretariatus (as
secretary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a person employed by an individual or in an
office etc. to assist with correspondence, keep records, make
appointments, etc. 2 an official appointed by a society etc. to
conduct its correspondence, keep its records, etc. 3 (in the
UK) the principal assistant of a government minister,
ambassador, etc. Ьsecretary bird a long-legged snake-eating
African bird, Sagittarius serpentarius, with a crest likened to
a quill pen stuck over a writer's ear. Secretary-General the
principal administrator of an organization. Secretary of State
1 (in the UK) the head of a major government department. 2 (in
the US) the chief government official responsible for foreign
affairs. ЬЬsecretarial adj. secretaryship n. [ME f. LL
secretarius (as SECRET)]
v.tr. Biol. (of a cell, organ, etc.) produce by secretion.
ЬЬsecretor n. secretory adj. [back-form. f. SECRETION]
v.tr. conceal; put into hiding. [obs. secret (v.) f. SECRET]
secretion n. 1 Biol. a a process by which substances are produced and
discharged from a cell for a function in the organism or for
excretion. b the secreted substance. 2 the act or an instance
of concealing (the secretion of stolen goods). [F s‚cr‚tion or
L secretio separation (as SECRET)]
secretive adj. inclined to make or keep secrets; uncommunicative.
ЬЬsecretively adv. secretiveness n. [back-form. f.
secretiveness after F secr‚tivit‚ (as SECRET)]
sect n. 1 a a body of people subscribing to religious doctrines usu.
different from those of an established Church from which they
have separated. b usu. derog. a nonconformist or other Church.
c a party or faction in a religious body. d a religious
denomination. 2 the followers of a particular philosopher or
philosophy, or school of thought in politics etc. [ME f. OF
secte or L secta f. the stem of sequi secut- follow]
sect. abbr. section.
sectarian adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or concerning a sect. 2 bigoted or
narrow-minded in following the doctrines of one's sect. --n. 1
a member of a sect. 2 a bigot. ЬЬsectarianism n. sectarianize
v.tr. (also -ise). [SECTARY]
sectary n. (pl. -ies) a member of a religious or political sect.
[med.L sectarius adherent (as SECT)]
section n. & v. --n. 1 a part cut off or separated from something. 2
each of the parts into which a thing is divided (actually or
conceptually) or divisible or out of which a structure can be
fitted together. 3 a distinct group or subdivision of a larger
body of people (the wind section of an orchestra). 4 a
subdivision of a book, document, statute, etc. 5 US a an area
of land. b one square mile of land. c a particular district of
a town (residential section). 6 a subdivision of an army
platoon. 7 esp. Surgery a separation by cutting. 8 Biol. a
thin slice of tissue etc., cut off for microscopic examination.
9 a the cutting of a solid by or along a plane. b the resulting
figure or the area of this. 10 a representation of the internal
structure of something as if cut across along a vertical or
horizontal plane. 11 Biol. a group, esp. a subgenus. --v.tr.
1 arrange in or divide into sections. 2 Brit. cause (a person)
to be compulsorily committed to a psychiatric hospital in
accordance with a section of a mental health act. 3 Biol. cut
into thin slices for microscopic examination. Ьsection-mark the
sign (°) used as a reference mark to indicate the start of a
section of a book etc. [F section or L sectio f. secare sect-
sectional adj. 1 a relating to a section, esp. of a community. b
partisan. 2 made in sections. 3 local rather than general.
ЬЬsectionalism n. sectionalist n. & adj. sectionalize v.tr.
(also -ise). sectionally adv.
sector n. 1 a distinct part or branch of an enterprise, or of society,
the economy, etc. 2 Mil. a subdivision of an area for military
operations, controlled by one commander or headquarters. 3 the
plane figure enclosed by two radii of a circle, ellipse, etc.,
and the arc between them. 4 a mathematical instrument
consisting of two arms hinged at one end and marked with sines,
tangents, etc., for making diagrams etc. ЬЬsectoral adj. [LL,
techn. use of L sector cutter (as SECTION)]
sectorial adj. 1 of or like a sector or sectors. 2 = CARNASSIAL.
secular adj. & n. --adj. 1 concerned with the affairs of this world;
not spiritual or sacred. 2 (of education etc.) not concerned
with religion or religious belief. 3 a not ecclesiastical or
monastic. b (of clergy) not bound by a religious rule. 4
occurring once in an age or century. 5 lasting for or occurring
over an indefinitely long time. --n. a secular priest.
Ьsecular variation Astron. variation compensated over a long
period of time. ЬЬsecularism n. secularist n. secularity n.
secularize v.tr. (also -ise). secularization n. secularly
adv. [ME (in senses 1-3 f. OF seculer) f. L saecularis f.
saeculum generation, age]
secund adj. Bot. arranged on one side only (as the flowers of lily of
the valley). ЬЬsecundly adv. [L secundus (as SECOND)]
secure adj. & v. --adj. 1 untroubled by danger or fear. 2 safe
against attack: impregnable. 3 reliable; certain not to fail
(the plan is secure). 4 fixed or fastened so as not to give way
or get loose or be lost (made the door secure). 5 a (foll. by
of) certain to achieve (secure of victory). b (foll. by
against, from) safe, protected (secure against attack). --v.tr.
1 make secure or safe; fortify. 2 fasten, close, or confine
securely. 3 succeed in obtaining or achieving (have secured
front seats). 4 guarantee against loss (a loan secured by
property). 5 compress (a blood-vessel) to prevent bleeding.
Ьsecure arms Mil. hold a rifle with the muzzle downward and the
lock in the armpit to guard it from rain. ЬЬsecurable adj.
securely adv. securement n. [L securus (as SE-, cura care)]
security n. (pl. -ies) 1 a secure condition or feeling. 2 a thing that
guards or guarantees. 3 a the safety of a State, company, etc.,
against espionage, theft, or other danger. b an organization
for ensuring this. 4 a thing deposited or pledged as a
guarantee of the fulfilment of an undertaking or the payment of
a loan, to be forfeited in case of default. 5 (often in pl.) a
certificate attesting credit or the ownership of stock, bonds,
etc. Ьon security of using as a guarantee. security blanket 1
an official sanction on information in the interest of security.
2 a blanket or other familiar object given as a comfort to a
child. Security Council a permanent body of the United Nations
seeking to maintain peace and security. security guard a person
employed to protect the security of buildings, vehicles, etc.
security risk a person whose presence may threaten security.
[ME f. OF securit‚ or L securitas (as SECURE)]
sedan n. 1 (in full sedan chair) an enclosed chair for conveying one
person, carried between horizontal poles by two porters, common
in the 17th-18th c. 2 US an enclosed motor car for four or more
people. [perh. alt. f. It. dial., ult. f. L sella saddle f.
sedate(1) adj. tranquil and dignified; equable, serious. ЬЬsedately adv.
sedateness n. [L sedatus past part. of sedare settle f. sedere
sedate(2) v.tr. put under sedation. [back-form. f. SEDATION]
sedation n. a state of rest or sleep esp. produced by a sedative drug.
[F s‚dation or L sedatio (as SEDATE(1))]
sedative n. & adj. --n. a drug, influence, etc., that tends to calm or
soothe. --adj. calming, soothing; inducing sleep. [ME f. OF
sedatif or med.L sedativus (as SEDATE(1))]
sedentary adj. 1 sitting (a sedentary posture). 2 (of work etc.)
characterized by much sitting and little physical exercise. 3
(of a person) spending much time seated. 4 Zool. not migratory,
free-swimming, etc. ЬЬsedentarily adv. sedentariness n. [F
s‚dentaire or L sedentarius f. sedere sit]
Seder n. the ritual for the first night or first two nights of the
Passover. [Heb. seder order]
sederunt n. Sc. a sitting of an ecclesiastical assembly or other body.
[L, = (the following persons) sat f. sedere sit]
sedge n. 1 any grasslike plant of the genus Carex with triangular
stems, usu. growing in wet areas. 2 an expanse of this plant.
Ьsedge-warbler (or -wren) a small warbler, Acrocephalus
schoenobaenus, that breeds in sedge. ЬЬsedgy adj. [OE secg f.
sedile n. (pl. sedilia) (usu. in pl.) Eccl. each of usu. three stone
seats for priests in the south wall of a chancel, often canopied
and decorated. [L, = seat f. sedere sit]
sediment n. 1 matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid; dregs. 2
Geol. matter that is carried by water or wind and deposited on
the surface of the land, and may in time become consolidated
into rock. ЬЬsedimentary adj. sedimentation n. [F s‚diment or
L sedimentum (as SEDILE)]
sedition n. 1 conduct or speech inciting to rebellion or a breach of
public order. 2 agitation against the authority of a State.
ЬЬseditious adj. seditiously adv. [ME f. OF sedition or L
seditio f. sed- = SE- + ire it- go]
seduce v.tr. 1 tempt or entice into sexual activity or into
wrongdoing. 2 coax or lead astray; tempt (seduced by the smell
of coffee). ЬЬseducer n. seducible adj. [L seducere seduct-
(as SE-, ducere lead)]
seduction n. 1 the act or an instance of seducing; the process of being
seduced. 2 something that tempts or allures. [F s‚duction or L
seductio (as SEDUCE)]
seductive adj. tending to seduce; alluring, enticing. ЬЬseductively adv.
seductiveness n. [SEDUCTION after inductive etc.]
n. a female seducer. [obs. seductor male seducer (as SEDUCE)]
sedulous adj. 1 persevering, diligent, assiduous. 2 (of an action etc.)
deliberately and consciously continued; painstaking. ЬЬsedulity
n. sedulously adv. sedulousness n. [L sedulus zealous]
sedum n. any plant of the genus Sedum, with fleshy leaves and
star-shaped yellow, pink, or white flowers, e.g. stonecrop. [L,
see(1) v. (past saw; past part. seen) 1 tr. discern by use of the
eyes; observe; look at (can you see that spider?; saw him fall
over). 2 intr. have or use the power of discerning objects with
the eyes (sees best at night). 3 tr. discern mentally;
understand (I see what you mean; could not see the joke). 4 tr.
watch; be a spectator of (a film, game, etc.). 5 tr. ascertain
or establish by inquiry or research or reflection (I will see if
the door is open). 6 tr. consider; deduce from observation (I
see that you are a brave man). 7 tr. contemplate; foresee
mentally (we saw that no good would come of it; can see myself
doing this job indefinitely). 8 tr. look at for information
(usu. in imper. as a direction in or to a book: see page 15). 9
tr. meet or be near and recognize (I saw your mother in town).
10 tr. a meet socially (sees her sister most weeks). b meet
regularly as a boyfriend or girlfriend; court (is still seeing
that tall man). 11 tr. give an interview to (the doctor will
see you now). 12 tr. visit to consult (went to see the doctor).
13 tr. find out or learn, esp. from a visual source (I see the
match has been cancelled). 14 intr. reflect; consider further;
wait until one knows more (we shall have to see). 15 tr.
interpret or have an opinion of (I see things differently now).
16 tr. experience; have presented to one's attention (I never
thought I would see this day). 17 tr. recognize as acceptable;
foresee (do you see your daughter marrying this man?). 18 tr.
observe without interfering (stood by and saw them squander my
money). 19 tr. find attractive (can't think what she sees in
him). 20 intr. (usu. foll. by to, or that + infin.) make
provision for; ensure; attend to (shall see to your request
immediately; see that he gets home safely) (cf. see to it). 21
tr. escort or conduct (to a place etc.) (saw them home). 22 tr.
be a witness of (an event etc.) (see the New Year in). 23 tr.
supervise (an action etc.) (will stay and see the doors locked).
24 tr. a (in gambling, esp. poker) equal (a bet). b equal the
bet of (a player), esp. to see the player's cards. Ьas far as I
can see to the best of my understanding or belief. as I see it
in my opinion. do you see? do you understand? has seen better
days has declined from former prosperity, good condition, etc.
I'll be seeing you colloq. an expression on parting. I see I
understand (referring to an explanation etc.). let me see an
appeal for time to think before speaking etc. see about attend
to. see after 1 take care of. 2 = see about. see the back of
colloq. be rid of (an unwanted person or thing). see a person
damned first colloq. refuse categorically and with hostility to
do what a person wants. see eye to eye see EYE. see fit see
FIT(1). see here! = look here. see into investigate. see life
gain experience of the world, often by enjoying oneself. see
the light 1 realize one's mistakes etc. 2 suddenly see the way
to proceed. 3 undergo religious conversion. see the light of
day (usu. with neg.) come into existence. see off 1 be present
at the departure of (a person) (saw them off at Heathrow). 2
colloq. ward off, get the better of (managed to see off an
investigation into their working methods). see out 1 accompany
out of a building etc. 2 finish (a project etc.) completely. 3
remain awake, alive, etc., until the end of (a period). 4 last
longer than; outlive. see over inspect; tour and examine. see
reason see REASON. see red become suddenly enraged. see a
person right make sure that a person is rewarded, safe, etc.
see service see SERVICE. see stars colloq. see lights before
one's eyes as a result of a blow on the head. see things have
hallucinations or false imaginings. see through 1 not be
deceived by; detect the true nature of. 2 penetrate visually.
see-through adj. (esp. of clothing) translucent. see a person
through support a person during a difficult time. see a thing
through persist with it until it is completed. see to it (foll.
by that + clause) ensure (see to it that I am not disturbed)
(cf. sense 20 of v.). see one's way clear to feel able or
entitled to. see the world see WORLD. see you (or see you
later) colloq. an expression on parting. we shall see 1 let us
await the outcome. 2 a formula for declining to act at once.
will see about it a formula for declining to act at once. you
see 1 you understand. 2 you will understand when I explain.
ЬЬseeable adj. [OE seon f. Gmc]
see(2) n. 1 the area under the authority of a bishop or archbishop, a
diocese (the see of Norwich). 2 the office or jurisdiction of a
bishop or archbishop (fill a vacant see). ЬSee of Rome the
papacy, the Holy See. [ME f. AF se(d) ult. f. L sedes seat f.
seed n. & v. --n. 1 a a flowering plant's unit of reproduction
(esp. in the form of grain) capable of developing into another
such plant. b seeds collectively, esp. as collected for sowing
(is full of seed; to be kept for seed). 2 a semen. b milt. 3
(foll. by of) prime cause, beginning, germ (seeds of doubt). 4
archaic offspring, progeny, descendants (the seed of Abraham).
5 Sport a seeded player. 6 a small seedlike container for the
application of radium etc. 7 a seed crystal. --v. 1 tr. a
place seeds in. b sprinkle with or as with seed. 2 intr. sow
seeds. 3 intr. produce or drop seed. 4 tr. remove seeds from
(fruit etc.). 5 tr. place a crystal or crystalline substance in
(a solution etc.) to cause crystallization or condensation
(esp. in a cloud to produce rain). 6 tr. Sport a assign to (a
strong competitor in a knockout competition) a position in an
ordered list so that strong competitors do not meet each other
in early rounds (is seeded seventh). b arrange (the order of
play) in this way. 7 intr. go to seed. Ьgo (or run) to seed 1
cease flowering as seed develops. 2 become degenerate, unkempt,
ineffective, etc. raise up seed archaic beget children.
seed-bed 1 a bed of fine soil in which to sow seeds. 2 a place
of development. seed-cake cake containing whole seeds esp. of
caraway as flavouring. seed-coat the outer integument of a
seed. seed-corn 1 good quality corn kept for seed. 2 assets
reused for future profit or benefit. seed crystal a crystal
used to initiate crystallization. seed-eater a bird (esp. a
finch) living mainly on seeds. seed-fish a fish that is ready
to spawn. seed-leaf a cotyledon. seed-lip a basket for seed in
sowing by hand. seed money money allocated to initiate a
project. seed-pearl a very small pearl. seed-plot a place of
development. seed-potato a potato kept for seed. seed-time the
sowing season. seed-vessel a pericarp. ЬЬseedless adj. [OE
s‘d f. Gmc, rel. to SOW(1)]
seeder n. 1 a person or thing that seeds. 2 a machine for sowing
seed, esp. a drill. 3 an apparatus for seeding raisins etc. 4
Brit. a spawning fish.
seedling n. a young plant, esp. one raised from seed and not from a
seedsman n. (pl. -men) a dealer in seeds.
seedy adj. (seedier, seediest) 1 full of seed. 2 going to seed. 3
shabby-looking, in worn clothes. 4 colloq. unwell. ЬЬseedily
adv. seediness n.
seeing conj. & n. --conj. (usu. foll. by that + clause) considering
that, inasmuch as, because (seeing that you do not know it
yourself). --n. Astron. the quality of observed images as
determined by atmospheric conditions.
seek v. (past and past part. sought) 1 a tr. make a search or
inquiry for. b intr. (foll. by for, after) make a search or
inquiry. 2 tr. a try or want to find or get. b ask for;
request (sought help from him; seeks my aid). 3 tr. (foll. by
to + infin.) endeavour or try. 4 tr. make for or resort to (a
place or person, for advice, health, etc.) (sought his bed;
sought a fortune-teller; sought the shore). 5 tr. archaic aim
at, attempt. 6 intr. (foll. by to) archaic resort. Ьseek dead
an order to a retriever to find killed game. seek out 1 search
for and find. 2 single out for companionship, etc.
sought-after much in demand; generally desired or courted. to
seek (or much to seek or far to seek) deficient, lacking, or not
yet found (the reason is not far to seek; an efficient leader is
yet to seek). ЬЬseeker n. (also in comb.). [OE secan f. Gmc]
seel v.tr. archaic close (a person's eyes). [obs. sile f. F
ciller, siller, or med.L ciliare f. L cilium eyelid]
seem v.intr. 1 give the impression or sensation of being (seems
ridiculous; seems certain to win). 2 (foll. by to + infin.)
appear or be perceived or ascertained (he seems to be breathing;
they seem to have left). Ьcan't seem to colloq. seem unable
to. do not seem to colloq. somehow do not (I do not seem to
like him). it seems (or would seem) (often foll. by that +
clause) it appears to be true or the fact (in a hesitant,
guarded, or ironical statement). [ME f. ON soema honour f.
adj. 1 apparent but perhaps not real (with seeming sincerity).
2 apparent only; ostensible (the seeming and the real;
seeming-virtuous). ЬЬseemingly adv.
n. literary 1 appearance, aspect. 2 deceptive appearance.
seemly adj. (seemlier, seemliest) conforming to propriety or good
taste; decorous, suitable. ЬЬseemliness n. [ME f. ON soemiligr
seen past part. of SEE(1).
seep v. & n. --v.intr. ooze out; percolate slowly. --n. US a place
where petroleum etc. oozes slowly out of the ground. [perh.
dial. form of OE sipian to soak]
seepage n. 1 the act of seeping. 2 the quantity that seeps out.
seer(1) n. 1 a person who sees. 2 a prophet; a person who sees
visions; a person of supposed supernatural insight esp. as
regards the future. [ME f. SEE(1)]
seer(2) n. an Indian (varying) measure of weight (about one kilogram)
or liquid measure (about one litre). [Hindi ser]
n. material of linen, cotton, etc., with a puckered surface.
[Pers. sir o sakar, lit. 'milk and sugar']
see-saw n., v., adj., & adv. --n. 1 a a device consisting of a long
plank balanced on a central support for children to sit on at
each end and move up and down by pushing the ground with their
feet. b a game played on this. 2 an up-and-down or to-and-fro
motion. 3 a contest in which the advantage repeatedly changes
from one side to the other. --v.intr. 1 play on a see-saw. 2
move up and down as on a see-saw. 3 vacillate in policy,
emotion, etc. --adj. & adv. with up-and-down or
backward-and-forward motion (see-saw motion). Ьgo see-saw
vacillate or alternate. [redupl. of SAW(1)]
seethe v. 1 intr. boil, bubble over. 2 intr. be very agitated, esp.
with anger (seething with discontent; I was seething inwardly).
3 tr. & intr. archaic cook by boiling. ЬЬseethingly adv. [OE
seothan f. Gmc]
segment n. & v. --n. 1 each of several parts into which a thing is or
can be divided or marked off. 2 Geom. a part of a figure cut
off by a line or plane intersecting it, esp.: a the part of a
circle enclosed between an arc and a chord. b the part of a
line included between two points. c the part of a sphere cut
off by any plane not passing through the centre. 3 the smallest
distinct part of a spoken utterance. 4 Zool. each of the
longitudinal sections of the body of certain animals (e.g.
worms). --v. usu. 1 intr. & tr. divide into segments. 2
intr. Biol. (of a cell) undergo cleavage or divide into many
cells. ЬЬsegmental adj. segmentalize v.tr. (also -ise).
segmentalization n. segmentally adv. segmentary adj.
segmentation n. [L segmentum f. secare cut]
sego n. (pl. -os) (in full sego lily) a N. American plant,
Calochortus nuttallii, with green and white bell-shaped flowers.
v. 1 tr. put apart from the rest; isolate. 2 tr. enforce
racial segregation on (persons) or in (a community etc.). 3
intr. separate from a mass and collect together. 4 intr. Biol.
(of alleles) separate into dominant and recessive groups.
ЬЬsegregable adj. segregative adj. [L segregare (as SE-, grex
adj. 1 Zool. simple or solitary, not compound. 2 archaic set
apart, separate. [L segregatus past part. (as SEGREGATE(1))]
n. 1 enforced separation of racial groups in a community etc.
2 the act or an instance of segregating; the state of being
segregated. ЬЬsegregational adj. segregationist n. & adj. [LL
segregatio (as SEGREGATE(1))]
segue v. & n. esp. Mus. --v.intr. (segues, segued, seguing) (usu.
foll. by into) go on without a pause. --n. an uninterrupted
transition from one song or melody to another. [It., = follows]
n. 1 a Spanish dance in triple time. 2 the music for this.
[Sp. f. seguida following f. seguir follow]
Sehnsucht n. yearning, wistful longing. [G]
sei n. a small rorqual, Balaenoptera borealis. [Norw. sejhval sei
seicento n. the style of Italian art and literature of the 17th c.
ЬЬseicentist n. seicentoist n. [It., = 600, used with ref. to
the years 1600-99]
seiche n. a fluctuation in the water-level of a lake etc., usu. caused
by changes in barometric pressure. [Swiss F]
n. (US Seidlitz powders) a laxative medicine of two powders
mixed separately with water and then poured together to
effervesce. [named with ref. to the mineral water of Seidlitz
seif n. (in full seif dune) a sand-dune in the form of a long narrow
ridge. [Arab. saif sword (from its shape)]
seigneur n. (also seignior) a feudal lord; the lord of a manor. Ьgrand
seigneur a person of high rank or noble presence. ЬЬseigneurial
adj. seigniorial adj. [ME f. OF seigneur, seignor f. L SENIOR]
n. (also seignorage) 1 a a profit made by issuing currency,
esp. by issuing coins rated above their intrinsic value. b
hist. the Crown's right to a percentage on bullion brought to a
mint for coining. 2 hist. something claimed by a sovereign or
feudal superior as a prerogative. [ME f. OF seignorage,
seigneurage (as SEIGNEUR)]
seigniory n. (pl. -ies) 1 lordship, sovereign authority. 2 (also
seigneury) a seigneur's domain. [ME f. OF seignorie (as
seine n. & v. --n. (also seine-net) a fishing-net for encircling
fish, with floats at the top and weights at the bottom edge, and
usu. hauled ashore. --v.intr. & tr. fish or catch with a seine.
ЬЬseiner n. [ME f. OF sa‹ne, & OE segne f. WG f. L sagena f. Gk
seise var. of SEIZE 9.
seisin n. (also seizin) Law 1 possession of land by freehold. 2 the
act of taking such possession. 3 what is so held. [ME f. AF
sesine, OF seisine, saisine (as SEIZE)]
seismic adj. of or relating to an earthquake or earthquakes. ЬЬseismal
adj. seismical adj. seismically adv. [Gk seismos earthquake
f. seio shake]
seismo- comb. form earthquake. [Gk seismos]
n. a record given by a seismograph.
n. an instrument that records the force, direction, etc., of
earthquakes. ЬЬseismographic adj. seismographical adj.
n. the scientific study and recording of earthquakes and
related phenomena. ЬЬseismological adj. seismologically adv.
seize v. 1 tr. take hold of forcibly or suddenly. 2 tr. take
possession of forcibly (seized the fortress; seized power). 3
tr. take possession of (contraband goods, documents, etc.) by
warrant or legal right, confiscate, impound. 4 tr. affect
suddenly (panic seized us; was seized by apoplexy; was seized
with remorse). 5 tr. take advantage of (an opportunity). 6 tr.
comprehend quickly or clearly. 7 intr. (usu. foll. by on, upon)
a take hold forcibly or suddenly. b take advantage eagerly
(seized on a pretext). 8 intr. (usu. foll. by up) (of a moving
part in a machine) become stuck or jammed from undue heat,
friction, etc. 9 tr. (also seise) (usu. foll. by of) Law put
in possession of. 10 tr. Naut. fasten or attach by binding
with turns of yarn etc. Ьseized (or seised) of 1 possessing
legally. 2 aware or informed of. ЬЬseizable adj. seizer n.
[ME f. OF seizir, saisir give seisin f. Frank. f. L sacire f.
seizin var. of SEISIN.
seizing n. Naut. a cord or cords used for seizing (see SEIZE 10).
seizure n. 1 the act or an instance of seizing; the state of being
seized. 2 a sudden attack of apoplexy etc., a stroke.
sejant adj. (placed after noun) Heraldry (of an animal) sitting
upright on its haunches. [properly seiant f. OF var. of seant
sitting f. seoir f. L sedere sit]
Sekt n. a German sparkling white wine. [G]
selachian n. & adj. --n. any fish of the subclass Selachii, including
sharks and dogfish. --adj. of or relating to this subclass.
[mod.L Selachii f. Gk selakhos shark]
seladang n. a Malayan gaur. [Malay]
selah int. often used at the end of a verse in Psalms and Habakkuk,
supposed to be a musical direction. [Heb. se. lah]
seldom adv. & adj. --adv. rarely, not often. --adj. rare, uncommon.
[OE seldan f. Gmc]
select v. & adj. --v.tr. choose, esp. as the best or most suitable.
--adj. 1 chosen for excellence or suitability; choice. 2 (of a
society etc.) exclusive, cautious in admitting members. Ьselect
committee see COMMITTEE. ЬЬselectable adj. selectness n. [L
seligere select- (as SE-, legere choose)]
selectee n. US a conscript.
selection n. 1 the act or an instance of selecting; the state of being
selected. 2 a selected person or thing. 3 things from which a
choice may be made. 4 Biol. the process in which environmental
and genetic influences determine which types of organism thrive
better than others, regarded as a factor in evolution.
ЬЬselectional adj. selectionally adv. [L selectio (as SELECT)]
selective adj. 1 using or characterized by selection. 2 able to select,
esp. (of a radio receiver) able to respond to a chosen frequency
without interference from others. Ьselective service US hist.
service in the armed forces under conscription. ЬЬselectively
adv. selectiveness n. selectivity n.
selector n. 1 a person who selects, esp. one who selects a
representative team in a sport. 2 a device that selects, esp. a
device in a vehicle that selects the required gear.
selenite n. a form of gypsum occurring as transparent crystals or thin
plates. ЬЬselenitic adj. [L selenites f. Gk selenites lithos
moonstone f. selene moon]
selenium n. Chem. a non-metallic element occurring naturally in various
metallic sulphide ores and characterized by the variation of its
electrical resistivity with intensity of illumination. °Symb.:
Se. Ьselenium cell a piece of this used as a photoelectric
device. ЬЬselenate n. selenic adj. selenious adj. [mod.L f.
Gk selene moon + -IUM]
seleno- comb. form moon. [Gk selene moon]
n. the study or mapping of the moon. ЬЬselenographer n.
n. the scientific study of the moon. ЬЬselenologist n.
self n. & adj. --n. (pl. selves) 1 a person's or thing's own
individuality or essence (showed his true self). 2 a person or
thing as the object of introspection or reflexive action (the
consciousness of self). 3 a one's own interests or pleasure
(cares for nothing but self). b concentration on these (self is
a bad guide to happiness). 4 Commerce or colloq. myself,
yourself, himself, etc. (cheque drawn to self; ticket admitting
self and friend). 5 used in phrases equivalent to myself,
yourself, himself, etc. (his very self; your good selves). 6
(pl. selfs) a flower of uniform colour, or of the natural wild
colour. --adj. 1 of the same colour as the rest or throughout.
2 (of a flower) of the natural wild colour. 3 (of colour)
uniform, the same throughout. Ьone's better self one's nobler
impulses. one's former (or old) self oneself as one formerly
was. [OE f. Gmc]
self- comb. form expressing reflexive action: 1 of or directed towards
oneself or itself (self-respect; self-cleaning). 2 by oneself
or itself, esp. without external agency (self-evident). 3 on,
in, for, or relating to oneself or itself (self-absorbed;
n. (also self-abandonment) the abandonment of oneself, esp. to
passion or an impulse. ЬЬself-abandoned adj.
n. the abasement of oneself; self-humiliation; cringing.
n. the abhorrence of oneself; self-hatred.
n. the abnegation of oneself, one's interests, needs, etc.;
n. 1 absorption in oneself. 2 Physics the absorption, by a
body, of radiation emitted within it. ЬЬself-absorbed adj.
n. 1 the reviling or abuse of oneself. 2 archaic masturbation.
n. the accusing of oneself. ЬЬself-accusatory adj.
adj. acting without external influence or control; automatic.
ЬЬself-action n. self-activity n.
adj. (of an envelope etc.) having one's own address on for
adj. (of an envelope, label, etc.) adhesive, esp. without being
adj. (of machinery etc.) adjusting itself. ЬЬself-adjustment
n. the admiration of oneself; pride; conceit.
n. the advancement of oneself.
n. the advertising or promotion of oneself. ЬЬself-advertiser
n. Psychol. the recognition and assertion of the existence of
the conscious self.
n. the act or process of enriching oneself or making oneself
powerful. ЬЬself-aggrandizing adj.
n. Psychol. the analysis of oneself, one's motives, character,
etc. ЬЬself-analysing adj.
adj. designated so by oneself, not authorized by another (a
n. a good opinion of oneself; conceit.
n. = SELF-APPRECIATION.
n. = SELF-APPRECIATION.
n. the aggressive promotion of oneself, one's views, etc.
ЬЬself-asserting adj. self-assertive adj. self-assertiveness
n. confidence in one's own abilities etc. ЬЬself-assured adj.
adj. conscious of one's character, feelings, motives, etc.
adj. produced by oneself or itself; not made externally.
n. 1 the betrayal of oneself. 2 the inadvertent revelation of
one's true thoughts etc.
n. a reaping machine with an automatic mechanism for binding
self-born adj. produced by itself or oneself; not made externally.
adj. (esp. of a holiday or holiday premises) providing rented
accommodation with cooking facilities but without food.
n. the censoring of oneself.
adj. preoccupied with one's own personality or affairs.
ЬЬself-centredly adv. self-centredness n.
n. the practice by which an employee declares in writing that
an absence from work was due to illness.
adj. (esp. of an oven) cleaning itself when heated etc.
adj. (of a door etc.) closing automatically.
adj. (of a gun) with the hammer raised by the trigger, not by
adj. 1 a having the same colour throughout (buttons and belt
are self-coloured). b (of material) natural; undyed. 2 a (of a
flower) of uniform colour. b having its colour unchanged by
cultivation or hybridization.
n. = SELF-CONTROL.
n. meditation upon one's own character, conduct, etc.
n. = SELF-SATISFACTION. ЬЬself-conceited adj.
n. 1 the blaming of oneself. 2 the inadvertent revelation of
one's own sin, crime, etc. ЬЬself-condemned adj.
adj. openly admitting oneself to be (a self-confessed thief).
n. = SELF-ASSURANCE. ЬЬself-confident adj. self-confidently
n. = SELF-SATISFACTION. ЬЬself-congratulatory adj.
n. the overcoming of one's worst characteristics etc.
adj. 1 socially inept through embarrassment or shyness. 2
Philos. having knowledge of one's own existence;
self-contemplating. ЬЬself-consciously adv. self-consciousness
adj. (of parts of the same whole etc.) consistent; not
conflicting. ЬЬself-consistency n.
adj. (of a person, group, etc.) assuming a function without
authorization or right; self-appointed.
adj. 1 (of a person) uncommunicative; independent. 2 Brit.
(esp. of living-accommodation) complete in itself.
n. contempt for oneself. ЬЬself-contemptuous adj.
n. satisfaction with oneself, one's life, achievements, etc.
n. internal inconsistency. ЬЬself-contradictory adj.
n. the power of controlling one's external reactions, emotions,
etc. ЬЬself-controlled adj.
adj. = SELF-CONDEMNED (see SELF-CONDEMNATION).
adj. correcting itself without external help.
adj. created by oneself or itself. ЬЬself-creation n.
adj. critical of oneself, one's abilities, etc.
n. deceiving oneself esp. concerning one's true feelings etc.
ЬЬself-deceit n. self-deceiver n. self-deceiving adj.
adj. (of an attempt, action, etc.) doomed to failure because of
internal inconsistencies etc.
n. 1 an aggressive act, speech, etc., intended as defence (had
to hit him in self-defence). 2 (usu. the noble art of
self-defence) boxing. ЬЬself-defensive adj.
n. delight in oneself or one's existence.
n. the act or an instance of deluding oneself.
n. = SELF-ABNEGATION. Ьself-denying ordinance hist. a
resolution of the Long Parliament 1645 depriving Members of
Parliament of civil and military office. ЬЬself-denying adj.
adj. dependence only on oneself or itself; independence.
n. the act of disparaging or belittling oneself.
ЬЬself-deprecating adj. self-deprecatingly adv.
n. despair with oneself.
adj. destroying oneself or itself.
v. & adj. esp. US --v.intr. (of a spacecraft, bomb, etc.)
explode or disintegrate automatically, esp. when pre-set to do
so. --attrib.adj. enabling a thing to self-destruct (a
n. 1 the process or an act of destroying oneself or itself. 2
esp. US the process or an act of self-destructing.
ЬЬself-destructive adj. self-destructively adv.
n. 1 a nation's right to determine its own allegiance,
government, etc. 2 the ability to act with free will, as
opposed to fatalism etc. ЬЬself-determined adj.
n. the development of oneself, one's abilities, etc.
n. the devotion of oneself to a person or cause.
n. the act of or ability to apply oneself, control one's
feelings, etc.; self-control. ЬЬself-disciplined adj.
n. the process of acquiring insight into oneself, one's
character, desires, etc.
n. disgust with oneself.
n. lack of confidence in oneself, one's abilities, etc.
adj. (of a hired vehicle) driven by the hirer.
adj. educated by oneself by reading etc., without formal
instruction. ЬЬself-education n.
adj. retiring; modest; timid. ЬЬself-effacement n.
adj. (of a committee etc.) proceeding esp. by co-opting members
adj. working for oneself, as a freelance or owner of a business
etc.; not employed by an employer. ЬЬself-employment n.
n. a good opinion of oneself.
adj. obvious; without the need of evidence or further
explanation. ЬЬself-evidence n. self-evidently adv.
n. 1 the study of one's own conduct, reasons, etc. 2 the
examining of one's body for signs of illness etc.
adj. Law (of a law, legal clause, etc.) not needing legislation
etc. to be enforced; automatic.
adj. existing without prior cause; independent.
adj. easily understood; not needing explanation.
n. the expression of one's feelings, thoughts, etc., esp. in
writing, painting, music, etc. ЬЬself-expressive adj.
adj. (of stone) unhewn; undressed.
n. 1 a furnace, machine, etc., that renews its own fuel or
material automatically. 2 a device for supplying food to farm
animals automatically. ЬЬself-feeding adj.
adj. (of a plant etc.) self-fertilizing. ЬЬself-fertility n.
n. the fertilization of plants by their own pollen, not from
others. ЬЬself-fertilized adj. self-fertilizing adj.
adj. that finances itself, esp. (of a project or undertaking)
that pays for its own implementation or continuation.
n. = SELF-APPRECIATION. ЬЬself-flattering adj.
adj. unselfish. ЬЬself-forgetfulness n.
adj. (of a prophecy, forecast, etc.) bound to come true as a
result of actions brought about by its being made.
n. (US -fulfillment) the fulfilment of one's own hopes and
adj. generated by itself or oneself, not externally.
n. the proclamation of oneself, one's abilities, etc.;
n. 1 (esp. of a former colony etc.) government by its own
people. 2 = SELF-CONTROL. ЬЬself-governed adj. self-governing
self-hate n. = SELF-HATRED.
n. hatred of oneself, esp. of one's actual self when contrasted
with one's imagined self.
self-heal n. any of several plants, esp. Prunella vulgaris, believed to
have healing properties.
self-help n. 1 the theory that individuals should provide for their own
support and improvement in society. 2 the act or faculty of
providing for or improving oneself.
selfhood n. personality, separate and conscious existence.
n. one's own idea or picture of oneself, esp. in relation to
n. a high opinion of oneself; pompousness. ЬЬself-important
adj. self-importantly adv.
adj. (of a task or condition etc.) imposed on and by oneself,
not externally (self-imposed exile).
n. the improvement of one's own position or disposition by
one's own efforts.
adj. 1 induced by oneself or itself. 2 Electr. produced by
n. Electr. the property of an electric circuit that causes an
electromotive force to be generated in it by a change in the
current flowing through it (cf. mutual inductance).
n. Electr. the production of an electromotive force in a
circuit when the current in that circuit is varied.
adj. indulging or tending to indulge oneself in pleasure,
idleness, etc. ЬЬself-indulgence n. self-indulgently adv.
adj. (esp. of a wound, damage, etc.) inflicted by and on
oneself, not externally.
n. one's personal interest or advantage. ЬЬself-interested
selfish adj. 1 deficient in consideration for others; concerned chiefly
with one's own personal profit or pleasure; actuated by
self-interest. 2 (of a motive etc.) appealing to self-interest.
ЬЬselfishly adv. selfishness n.
n. the justification or excusing of oneself, one's actions,
n. the understanding of oneself, one's motives, etc.
selfless adj. disregarding oneself or one's own interests; unselfish.
ЬЬselflessly adv. selflessness n.
adj. (esp. of a gun) loading itself. ЬЬself-loader n.
adj. locking itself.
self-love n. 1 selfishness; self-indulgence. 2 Philos. regard for one's
own well-being and happiness.
self-made adj. 1 successful or rich by one's own effort. 2 made by
n. = SELF-CONTROL.
selfmate n. Chess checkmate in which a player forces the opponent to
adj. mocking oneself or itself.
n. motion caused by oneself or itself, not externally.
adj. acting on one's own initiative without external pressure.
n. = SUICIDE. ЬЬself-murderer n.
n. neglect of oneself.
selfness n. 1 individuality, personality, essence. 2 selfishness or
adj. 1 stubbornly adhering to one's own opinions. 2 arrogant.
adj. perpetuating itself or oneself without external agency.
self-pity n. extreme sorrow for one's own troubles etc. ЬЬself-pitying
adj. self-pityingly adv.
n. the pollination of a flower by pollen from the same plant.
ЬЬself-pollinated adj. self-pollinating adj. self-pollinator
n. a portrait or description of an artist, writer, etc., by
himself or herself.
adj. habitually exercising self-control; composed.
n. boasting; self-glorification.
n. 1 the preservation of one's own life, safety, etc. 2 this
as a basic instinct of human beings and animals.
adj. proclaimed by oneself or itself to be such.
adj. (esp. of a plant) able to propagate itself.
adj. (esp. of a motor vehicle etc.) moving or able to move
without external propulsion. ЬЬself-propelling adj.
n. protecting oneself or itself. ЬЬself-protective adj.
adj. Brit. (of flour) having a raising agent already added.
n. 1 the development of one's faculties, abilities, etc. 2
this as an ethical principle.
adj. (of a scientific instrument etc.) automatically recording
n. 1 a proper regard for oneself. 2 a selfishness. b conceit.
adj. (of a scientific instrument etc.) automatically
registering its measurements.
adj. regulating oneself or itself without intervention.
ЬЬself-regulation n. self-regulatory adj.
n. reliance on one's own resources etc.; independence.
ЬЬself-reliant adj. self-reliantly adv.
n. the act or process of renewing oneself or itself.
n. 1 = SELF-SACRIFICE. 2 unselfishness.
n. reproach or blame directed at oneself. ЬЬself-reproachful
n. respect for oneself, a feeling that one is behaving with
honour, dignity, etc. ЬЬself-respecting adj.
n. = SELF-CONTROL. ЬЬself-restrained adj.
adj. excessively conscious of or insistent on one's rectitude,
correctness, etc. ЬЬself-righteously adv. self-righteousness
adj. (of a boat) righting itself when capsized.
adj. US = SELF-RAISING.
self-rule n. = SELF-GOVERNMENT 1.
n. the negation of one's own interests, wishes, etc., in favour
of those of others. ЬЬself-sacrificing adj.
selfsame attrib.adj. (prec. by the) the very same (the selfsame
n. excessive and unwarranted satisfaction with oneself, one's
achievements, etc.; complacency. ЬЬself-satisfied adj.
adj. 1 (of a pneumatic tyre, fuel tank, etc.) automatically
able to seal small punctures. 2 (of an envelope) self-adhesive.
adj. & n. seeking one's own welfare before that of others.
n. the act of selecting oneself or itself. ЬЬself-selecting
adj. & n. --adj. (often attrib.) 1 (of a shop, restaurant,
garage, etc.) where customers serve themselves and pay at a
checkout counter etc. 2 (of a machine) serving goods after the
insertion of coins. --n. colloq. a self-service store, garage,
adj. = SELF-SEEKING.
n. = SUICIDE.
self-sown adj. grown from seed scattered naturally.
n. 1 an electric appliance for starting a motor vehicle engine
without the use of a crank. 2 an ambitious person who needs no
adj. Biol. not being self-fertile. ЬЬself-sterility n.
adj. called so by oneself; would-be; pretended (a self-styled
adj. 1 a needing nothing; independent. b (of a person, nation,
etc.) able to supply one's needs for a commodity, esp. food,
from one's own resources. 2 content with one's own opinion;
arrogant. ЬЬself-sufficiency n. self-sufficiently adv.
n. = AUTO-SUGGESTION.
adj. 1 capable of maintaining oneself or itself financially. 2
staying up or standing without external aid. ЬЬself-support n.
n. the surrender of oneself or one's will etc. to an influence,
emotion, or other person.
adj. sustaining oneself or itself. ЬЬself-sustained adj.
adj. educated or trained by oneself, not externally.
n. the inflicting of pain, esp. mental, on oneself.
adj. obstinately pursuing one's own wishes. ЬЬself-will n.
adj. (of a watch etc.) having an automatic winding apparatus.
n. = SELF-ESTEEM.
Seljuk n. & adj. --n. a member of any of the Turkish dynasties
(11th-13th c.) of central and western Asia preceding Ottoman
rule. --adj. of or relating to the Seljuks. ЬЬSeljukian adj. &
n. [Turk. seljuq (name of their reputed ancestor)]
sell v. & n. --v. (past and past part. sold) 1 tr. make over or
dispose of in exchange for money. 2 tr. keep a stock of for
sale or be a dealer in (do you sell candles?). 3 intr. (of
goods) be purchased (will never sell; these are selling well).
4 intr. (foll. by at, for) have a specified price (sells at њ5).
5 tr. betray for money or other reward (sell one's country). 6
tr. offer dishonourably for money or other consideration; make a
matter of corrupt bargaining (sell justice; sell oneself; sell
one's honour). 7 tr. a advertise or publish the merits of. b
give (a person) information on the value of something, inspire
with a desire to buy or acquire or agree to something. 8 tr.
cause to be sold (the author's name alone will sell many
copies). 9 tr. sl. disappoint by not keeping an engagement
etc., by failing in some way, or by trickery (sold again!).
--n. colloq. 1 a manner of selling (soft sell). 2 a deception
or disappointment. Ьsell-by date the latest recommended date of
sale marked on the packaging of esp. perishable food. sell down
the river see RIVER. sell the (or a) dummy see DUMMY.
selling-point an advantageous feature. selling-race a
horse-race after which the winning horse must be auctioned.
sell one's life dear (or dearly) do great injury before being
killed. sell off sell the remainder of (goods) at reduced
prices. sell out 1 a sell all one's stock-in-trade, one's
shares in a company, etc. b sell (all or some of one's stock,
shares, etc.). 2 a betray. b be treacherous or disloyal.
sell-out n. 1 a commercial success, esp. the selling of all
tickets for a show. 2 a betrayal. sell the pass see PASS(2).
sell a pup see PUP. sell short disparage, underestimate. sell
up Brit. 1 sell one's business, house, etc. 2 sell the goods
of (a debtor). sold on colloq. enthusiastic about. ЬЬsellable
adj. [OE sellan f. Gmc]
seller n. 1 a person who sells. 2 a commodity that sells well or
badly. Ьseller's (or sellers') market an economic position in
which goods are scarce and expensive.
Sellotape n. & v. --n. propr. adhesive usu. transparent cellulose or
plastic tape. --v.tr. (sellotape) fix with Sellotape.
[CELLULOSE + TAPE]
seltzer n. (in full seltzer water) 1 medicinal mineral water from
Nieder-Selters in Germany. 2 an artificial substitute for this;
soda water. [G Selterser (adj.) f. Selters]
selvage n. (also selvedge) 1 a an edging that prevents cloth from
unravelling (either an edge along the warp or a specially woven
edging). b a border of different material or finish intended to
be removed or hidden. 2 Geol. an alteration zone at the edge of
a rock mass. 3 the edge-plate of a lock with an opening for the
bolt. [ME f. SELF + EDGE, after Du. selfegghe]
selves pl. of SELF.
semanteme n. Linguistics a fundamental element expressing an image or
idea. [F s‚mantЉme (as SEMANTIC)]
semantic adj. relating to meaning in language; relating to the
connotations of words. ЬЬsemantically adv. [F s‚mantique f. Gk
semantikos significant f. semaino signify f. sema sign]
semantics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the branch of linguistics
concerned with meaning. ЬЬsemantician n. semanticist n.
semaphore n. & v. --n. 1 Mil. etc. a system of sending messages by
holding the arms or two flags in certain positions according to
an alphabetic code. 2 a signalling apparatus consisting of a
post with a movable arm or arms, lanterns, etc., for use (esp.
on railways) by day or night. --v.intr. & tr. signal or send by
semaphore. ЬЬsemaphoric adj. semaphorically adv. [F
s‚maphore, irreg. f. Gk sema sign + -phoros -PHORE]
n. semantics. ЬЬsemasiological adj. [G Semasiologie f. Gk
semasia meaning f. semaino signify]
sematic adj. Zool. (of colouring, markings, etc.) significant; serving
to warn off enemies or attract attention. [Gk sema sematos
semblable n. & adj. --n. a counterpart or equal. --adj. archaic having
the semblance of something, seeming. [ME f. OF (as SEMBLANCE)]
semblance n. 1 the outward or superficial appearance of something (put on
a semblance of anger). 2 resemblance. [ME f. OF f. sembler f.
L similare, simulare SIMULATE]
sem‚ adj. (also sem‚e) Heraldry covered with small bearings of
indefinite number (e.g. stars, fleurs-de-lis) arranged all over
the field. [F, past part. of semer to sow]
var. of SEMIOLOGY.
var. of SEMIOTICS.
sememe n. Linguistics the unit of meaning carried by a morpheme. [as
semen n. the reproductive fluid of male animals, containing
spermatozoa in suspension. [ME f. L semen seminis seed f.
serere to sow]
semester n. a half-year course or term in (esp. German and US)
universities. [G f. L semestris six-monthly f. sex six +
semi n. (pl. semis) colloq. 1 Brit. a semi-detached house. 2 US a
semi- prefix 1 half (semicircle). 2 partly; in some degree or
particular (semi-official; semi-detached). 3 almost (a
semi-smile). 4 occurring or appearing twice in a specified
period (semi-annual). [F, It., etc. or L, corresp. to Gk HEMI-,
adj. occurring, published, etc., twice a year. ЬЬsemi-annually
adj. 1 partially automatic. 2 (of a firearm) having a
mechanism for continuous loading but not for continuous firing.
n. a storey partly below ground level.
semi-bold adj. Printing printed in a type darker than normal but not as
dark as bold.
semibreve n. Mus. the longest note now in common use, having the time
value of two minims or four crochets, and represented by a ring
with no stem. Also called whole note.
n. 1 half of a circle or of its circumference. 2 a set of
objects ranged in, or an object forming, a semicircle. [L
semicirculus (as SEMI-, CIRCLE)]
adj. 1 forming or shaped like a semicircle. 2 arranged as or
in a semicircle. Ьsemicircular canal one of three fluid-filled
channels in the ear giving information to the brain to help
maintain balance. [LL semicircularis (as SEMICIRCLE)]
adj. partially civilized.
semicolon n. a punctuation mark (;) of intermediate value between a comma
and full stop.
adj. having the properties of a semiconductor.
n. a solid substance that is a non-conductor when pure or at a
low temperature but has a conductivity between that of
insulators and that of most metals when containing a suitable
impurity or at a higher temperature and is used in integrated
circuits, transistors, diodes, etc.
adj. partly or imperfectly conscious.
n. half of a cylinder cut longitudinally. ЬЬsemicylindrical
n. Mus. = HEMIDEMISEMIQUAVER. [SEMI- + DEMISEMIQUAVER]
adj. Gram. (of a Latin verb) having active forms in present
tenses and passive forms with active sense in perfect tenses.
adj. & n. --adj. (of a house) joined to another by a party-wall
on one side only. --n. a semi-detached house.
n. half of a diameter. [LL (as SEMI-, DIAMETER)]
adj. & n. --adj. (of a film) having a factual background and a
fictitious story. --n. (pl. -ies) a semi-documentary film.
semi-dome n. 1 a half-dome formed by vertical section. 2 a part of a
structure more or less resembling a dome.
adj. (of a flower) intermediate between single and double in
having only the outer stamens converted to petals.
semifinal n. a match or round immediately preceding the final.
n. a competitor in a semifinal.
adj. prepared for the final stage of manufacture.
adj. (of a garment) shaped to the body but not closely fitted.
semifluid adj. & n. --adj. of a consistency between solid and liquid.
--n. a semifluid substance.
adj. Math. limited in one direction and stretching to infinity
in the other.
n. a person somewhat enfeebled or partially disabled.
adj. & n. = SEMIFLUID.
adj. shaped like a half moon or crescent. Ьsemi-lunar bone a
bone of this shape in the carpus. semi-lunar cartilage a
cartilage of this shape in the knee. semi-lunar valve a valve
of this shape in the heart. [mod.L semilunaris (as SEMI-,
n. a substance with some of the properties of metals. [mod.L
semimetallum (as SEMI-, METAL)]
adj. & adv. --adj. occurring, published, etc., twice a month.
--adv. twice a month.
seminal adj. 1 of or relating to seed, semen, or reproduction. 2
germinal. 3 rudimentary, undeveloped. 4 (of ideas etc.)
providing the basis for future development. Ьseminal fluid
semen. ЬЬseminally adv. [ME f. OF seminal or L seminalis (as
seminar n. 1 a small class at a university etc. for discussion and
research. 2 a short intensive course of study. 3 a conference
of specialists. [G (as SEMINARY)]
seminary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a training-college for priests, rabbis, etc.
2 a place of education or development. ЬЬseminarist n. [ME f.
L seminarium seed-plot, neut. of seminarius (adj.) (as SEMEN)]
adj. 1 partly official; rather less than official. 2 (of
communications to newspapers etc.) made by an official with the
stipulation that the source should not be revealed.
semiology n. (also semeiology) = SEMIOTICS. ЬЬsemiological adj.
semiologist n. [Gk semeion sign f. sema mark]
adj. not fully transparent.
semiotics n. (also semeiotics) 1 the study of signs and symbols in
various fields, esp. language. 2 Med. symptomatology.
ЬЬsemiotic adj. semiotical adj. semiotically adv. semiotician
n. [Gk semeiotikos of signs (as SEMIOLOGY)]
adj. rather less than permanent.
adj. (of a membrane etc.) allowing small molecules, but not
large ones, to pass through.
n. a feather with a firm stem but a downy web.
adj. (of a gem) less valuable than a precious stone.
semi-pro adj. & n. (pl. -os) US colloq. = SEMI-PROFESSIONAL.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 receiving payment for an activity but not
relying on it for a living. 2 involving semi-professionals.
--n. a semi-professional musician, sportsman, etc.
n. Mus. a note having the time value of half a quaver and
represented by a large dot with a two-hooked stem. Also called
adj. (of an airship) having a stiffened keel attached to a
flexible gas container.
adj. (of work or a worker) having or needing some training but
less than for a skilled worker.
n. an expression that is not quite a smile.
adj. Chem. (of a substance) that is prepared synthetically but
derives from a naturally occurring material.
Semite n. a member of any of the peoples supposed to be descended from
Shem, son of Noah (Gen. 10:21 ff.), including esp. the Jews,
Arabs, Assyrians, and Phoenicians. ЬЬSemitism n. Semitist n.
Semitize v.tr. (also -ise). Semitization n. [mod.L Semita f.
LL f. Gk Sem Shem]
Semitic adj. 1 of or relating to the Semites, esp. the Jews. 2 of or
relating to the languages of the family including Hebrew and
Arabic. [mod.L Semiticus (as SEMITE)]
semitone n. Mus. the smallest interval used in classical European
music; half a tone.
n. a trailer having wheels at the back but supported at the
front by a towing vehicle.
adj. partially or imperfectly transparent.
n. 1 a sound intermediate between a vowel and a consonant (e.g.
w, y). 2 a letter representing this. [after L semivocalis]
adj. & adv. --adj. occurring, published, etc., twice a week.
--adv. twice a week.
semmit n. Sc. an undershirt. [ME: orig. unkn.]
semolina n. 1 the hard grains left after the milling of flour, used in
puddings etc. and in pasta. 2 a pudding etc. made of this.
[It. semolino dimin. of semola bran f. L simila flour]
adj. rhet. eternal, everlasting. ЬЬsempiternally adv.
sempiternity n. [ME f. OF sempiternel f. LL sempiternalis f. L
sempiternus f. semper always + aeternus eternal]
semplice adv. Mus. in a simple style of performance. [It., = SIMPLE]
sempre adv. Mus. throughout, always (sempre forte). [It.]
var. of SEAMSTRESS.
SEN abbr. (in the UK) State Enrolled Nurse.
Sen. abbr. 1 Senior. 2 US a Senator. b Senate.
senarius n. (pl. senarii) Prosody a verse of six feet, esp. an iambic
trimeter. [L: see SENARY]
senary adj. of six, by sixes. [L senarius f. seni distrib. of sex
senate n. 1 a legislative body, esp. the upper and smaller assembly in
the US, France, and other countries, in the States of the US,
etc. 2 the governing body of a university or (in the US) a
college. 3 Rom.Hist. the State council of the republic and
empire sharing legislative power with the popular assemblies,
administration with the magistrates, and judicial power with the
knights. [ME f. OF senat f. L senatus f. senex old man]
senator n. 1 a member of a senate. 2 (in Scotland) a Lord of Session.
ЬЬsenatorial adj. senatorship n. [ME f. OF senateur f. L
senator -oris (as SENATE)]
send v. (past and past part. sent) 1 tr. a order or cause to go or
be conveyed (send a message to headquarters; sent me a book;
sends goods all over the world). b propel; cause to move (send
a bullet; sent him flying). c cause to go or become (send into
raptures; send to sleep). d dismiss with or without force (sent
her away; sent him about his business). 2 intr. send a message
or letter (he sent to warn me). 3 tr. (of God, providence,
etc.) grant or bestow or inflict; bring about; cause to be (send
rain; send a judgement; send her victorious!). 4 tr. sl.
affect emotionally, put into ecstasy. Ьsend away for send an
order to a dealer for (goods). send down Brit. 1 rusticate or
expel from a university. 2 sentence to imprisonment. 3 Cricket
bowl (a ball or an over). send for 1 summon. 2 order by post.
send in 1 cause to go in. 2 submit (an entry etc.) for a
competition etc. send off 1 get (a letter, parcel, etc.)
dispatched. 2 attend the departure of (a person) as a sign of
respect etc. 3 Sport (of a referee) order (a player) to leave
the field and take no further part in the game. send-off n. a
demonstration of goodwill etc. at the departure of a person, the
start of a project, etc. send off for = send away for. send on
transmit to a further destination or in advance of one's own
arrival. send a person to Coventry see COVENTRY. send up 1
cause to go up. 2 transmit to a higher authority. 3 Brit.
colloq. satirize or ridicule, esp. by mimicking. 4 US sentence
to imprisonment. send-up n. Brit. colloq. a satire or
parody. send word send information. ЬЬsendable adj. sender n.
[OE sendan f. Gmc]
sendal n. hist. 1 a thin rich silk material. 2 a garment of this.
[ME f. OF cendal, ult. f. Gk sindon]
senecio n. any composite plant of the genus Senecio, including many
cultivated species as well as groundsel and ragwort. [L senecio
old man, groundsel, with ref. to the hairy fruits]
senesce v.intr. grow old. ЬЬsenescence n. senescent adj. [L
senescere f. senex old]
seneschal n. 1 the steward or major-domo of a medieval great house. 2 a
judge in Sark. [ME f. OF f. med.L seniscalus f. Gmc, = old
senhor n. a title used of or to a Portuguese or Brazilian man. [Port.
f. L senior: see SENIOR]
senhora n. a title used of or to a Portuguese woman or a Brazilian
married woman. [Port., fem. of SENHOR]
senhorita n. a title used of or to a Brazilian unmarried woman. [Port.,
dimin. of SENHORA]
senile adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or characteristic of old age (senile
apathy; senile decay). 2 having the weaknesses or diseases of
old age. --n. a senile person. ЬЬsenility n. [F s‚nile or L
senilis f. senex old man]
senior adj. & n. --adj. 1 (often foll. by to) more or most advanced
in age or standing. 2 of high or highest position. 3 (placed
after a person's name) senior to another of the same name. 4
(of a school) having pupils in an older age-range (esp. over
11). 5 US of the final year at a university, high school, etc.
--n. 1 a person of advanced age or comparatively long service
etc. 2 one's elder, or one's superior in length of service,
membership, etc. (is my senior). 3 a senior student. Ьsenior
citizen an elderly person, esp. an old-age pensioner. senior
college US a college in which the last two years' work for a
bachelor's degree is done. senior common (or combination) room
Brit. a room for use by senior members of a college. senior
nursing officer the person in charge of nursing services in a
hospital. senior officer an officer to whom a junior is
responsible. senior partner the head of a firm. senior service
Brit. the Royal Navy as opposed to the Army. senior tutor
Brit. a college tutor in charge of the teaching arrangements.
ЬЬseniority n. [ME f. L, = older, older man, compar. of senex
senis old man, old]
senna n. 1 a cassia tree. 2 a laxative prepared from the dried pod
of this. [med.L sena f. Arab. sana]
sennet(1) n. hist. a signal call on a trumpet or cornet (in the stage
directions of Elizabethan plays). [perh. var. of SIGNET]
sennet(2) var. of SINNET.
sennight n. archaic a week. [OE seofon nihta seven nights]
sennit n. 1 hist. plaited straw, palm leaves, etc., used for making
hats. 2 = SINNET. [var. of SINNET]
se¤or n. (pl. se¤ores) a title used of or to a Spanish-speaking man.
[Sp. f. L senior: see SENIOR]
se¤ora n. a title used of or to a Spanish-speaking married woman.
[Sp., fem. of SEҐOR]
se¤orita n. a title used of or to a Spanish-speaking unmarried woman.
[Sp., dimin. of SEҐORA]
Senr. abbr. Senior.
sensate adj. perceived by the senses. [LL sensatus having senses (as
sensation n. 1 the consciousness of perceiving or seeming to perceive
some state or condition of one's body or its parts or senses or
of one's mind or its emotions; an instance of such consciousness
(lost all sensation in my left arm; had a sensation of
giddiness; a sensation of pride; in search of a new sensation).
2 a a stirring of emotions or intense interest esp. among a
large group of people (the news caused a sensation). b a
person, event, etc., causing such interest. 3 the sensational
use of literary etc. material. [med.L sensatio f. L sensus
adj. 1 causing or intended to cause great public excitement
etc. 2 of or causing sensation. ЬЬsensationally adv.
n. 1 the use of or interest in the sensational in literature,
political agitation, etc. 2 Philos. the theory that ideas are
derived solely from sensation (opp. RATIONALISM).
ЬЬsensationalist n. & adj. sensationalistic adj.
sense n. & v. --n. 1 a any of the special bodily faculties by which
sensation is roused (has keen senses; has a dull sense of
smell). b sensitiveness of all or any of these. 2 the ability
to perceive or feel or to be conscious of the presence or
properties of things. 3 (foll. by of) consciousness (sense of
having done well; sense of one's own importance). 4 (often
foll. by of) a quick or accurate appreciation, understanding, or
instinct regarding a specified matter (sense of the ridiculous;
road sense; the moral sense). b the habit of basing one's
conduct on such instinct. 5 practical wisdom or judgement,
common sense; conformity to these (has plenty of sense; what is
the sense of talking like that?; has more sense than to do
that). 6 a a meaning; the way in which a word etc. is to be
understood (the sense of the word is clear; I mean that in the
literal sense). b intelligibility or coherence or possession of
a meaning. 7 the prevailing opinion among a number of people.
8 (in pl.) a person's sanity or normal state of mind. 9 Math.
etc. a a direction of movement. b that which distinguishes a
pair of entities which differ only in that each is the reverse
of the other. --v.tr. 1 perceive by a sense or senses. 2 be
vaguely aware of. 3 realize. 4 (of a machine etc.) detect. 5
US understand. Ьbring a person to his or her senses 1 cure a
person of folly. 2 restore a person to consciousness. come to
one's senses 1 regain consciousness. 2 become sensible after
acting foolishly. the five senses sight, hearing, smell, taste,
and touch. in a (or one) sense if the statement is understood
in a particular way (what you say is true in a sense). in one's
senses sane. make sense be intelligible or practicable. make
sense of show or find the meaning of. man of sense a sagacious
man. out of one's senses in or into a state of madness (is out
of her senses; frightened him out of his senses). sense-datum
(pl. -data) Philos. an element of experience received through
the senses. sense of direction the ability to know without
guidance the direction in which one is or should be moving.
sense of humour see HUMOUR. sense-organ a bodily organ
conveying external stimuli to the sensory system. take leave of
one's senses go mad. take the sense of the meeting ascertain
the prevailing opinion. under a sense of wrong feeling wronged.
[ME f. L sensus faculty of feeling, thought, meaning, f.
sentire sens- feel]
senseless adj. 1 unconscious. 2 wildly foolish. 3 without meaning or
purpose. 4 incapable of sensation. ЬЬsenselessly adv.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 capacity to feel (little finger lost its
sensibility). 2 a openness to emotional impressions,
susceptibility, sensitiveness (sensibility to kindness). b an
exceptional or excessive degree of this (sense and sensibility).
3 (in pl.) a tendency to feel offended etc. [ME f. LL
sensibilitas (as SENSIBLE)]
sensible adj. 1 having or showing wisdom or common sense; reasonable,
judicious (a sensible person; a sensible compromise). 2 a
perceptible by the senses (sensible phenomena). b great enough
to be perceived; appreciable (a sensible difference). 3 (of
clothing etc.) practical and functional. 4 (foll. by of) aware;
not unmindful (was sensible of his peril). Ьsensible horizon
see HORIZON 1b. ЬЬsensibleness n. sensibly adv. [ME f. OF
sensible or L sensibilis (as SENSE)]
sensitive adj. & n. --adj. 1 (often foll. by to) very open to or acutely
affected by external stimuli or mental impressions; having
sensibility. 2 (of a person) easily offended or emotionally
hurt. 3 (often foll. by to) (of an instrument etc.) responsive
to or recording slight changes. 4 (often foll. by to) a (of
photographic materials) prepared so as to respond (esp.
rapidly) to the action of light. b (of any material) readily
affected by or responsive to external action. 5 (of a topic
etc.) subject to restriction of discussion to prevent
embarrassment, ensure security, etc. 6 (of a market) liable to
quick changes of price. --n. a person who is sensitive (esp. to
supposed occult influences). Ьsensitive plant 1 a plant whose
leaves curve downwards and leaflets fold together when touched,
esp. mimosa. 2 a sensitive person. ЬЬsensitively adv.
sensitiveness n. [ME, = sensory, f. OF sensitif -ive or med.L
sensitivus, irreg. f. L sentire sens- feel]
n. the quality or degree of being sensitive.
sensitize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make sensitive. 2 Photog. make sensitive
to light. 3 make (an organism etc.) abnormally sensitive to a
foreign substance. ЬЬsensitization n. sensitizer n.
n. Photog. a device for measuring sensitivity to light.
sensor n. a device giving a signal for the detection or measurement of
a physical property to which it responds. [SENSORY, after
sensorium n. (pl. sensoria or sensoriums) 1 the seat of sensation, the
brain, brain and spinal cord, or grey matter of these. 2 Biol.
the whole sensory apparatus including the nerve-system.
ЬЬsensorial adj. sensorially adv. [LL f. L sentire sens- feel]
sensory adj. of sensation or the senses. ЬЬsensorily adv. [as
sensual adj. 1 a of or depending on the senses only and not on the
intellect or spirit; carnal, fleshly (sensual pleasures). b
given to the pursuit of sensual pleasures or the gratification
of the appetites; self-indulgent sexually or in regard to food
and drink; voluptuous, licentious. c indicative of a sensual
nature (sensual lips). 2 of sense or sensation, sensory. 3
Philos. of, according to, or holding the doctrine of,
sensationalism. ЬЬsensualism n. sensualist n. sensualize
v.tr. (also -ise). sensually adv. [ME f. LL sensualis (as
n. gratification of the senses, self-indulgence. [ME f. F
sensualit‚ f. LL sensualitas (as SENSUAL)]
sensum n. (pl. sensa) Philos. a sense-datum. [mod.L, neut. past
part. of L sentire feel]
sensuous adj. of or derived from or affecting the senses, esp.
aesthetically rather than sensually. ЬЬsensuously adv.
sensuousness n. [L sensus sense]
sent past and past part. of SEND.
sentence n. & v. --n. 1 a a set of words complete in itself as the
expression of a thought, containing or implying a subject and
predicate, and conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or
command. b a piece of writing or speech between two full stops
or equivalent pauses, often including several grammatical
sentences (e.g. I went; he came). 2 a a decision of a
lawcourt, esp. the punishment allotted to a person convicted in
a criminal trial. b the declaration of this. 3 Logic a series
of signs or symbols expressing a proposition in an artificial or
logical language. --v.tr. 1 declare the sentence of (a
convicted criminal etc.). 2 (foll. by to) declare (such a
person) to be condemned to a specified punishment. Ьunder
sentence of having been condemned to (under sentence of death).
[ME f. OF f. L sententia opinion f. sentire be of opinion]
adj. Gram. & Logic of a sentence. [L sententialis (as
adj. 1 (of a person) fond of pompous moralizing. 2 (of a
style) affectedly formal. 3 aphoristic, pithy, given to the use
of maxims, affecting a concise impressive style.
ЬЬsententiously adv. sententiousness n. [L sententiosus (as
sentient adj. having the power of perception by the senses. ЬЬsentience
n. sentiency n. sentiently adv. [L sentire feel]
sentiment n. 1 a mental feeling (the sentiment of pity). 2 a the sum of
what one feels on some subject. b a verbal expression of this.
3 the expression of a view or desire esp. as formulated for a
toast (concluded his speech with a sentiment). 4 an opinion as
distinguished from the words meant to convey it (the sentiment
is good though the words are injudicious). 5 a view or tendency
based on or coloured with emotion (animated by noble
sentiments). 6 such views collectively, esp. as an influence
(sentiment unchecked by reason is a bad guide). 7 the tendency
to be swayed by feeling rather than by reason. 8 a mawkish
tenderness. b the display of this. 9 an emotional feeling
conveyed in literature or art. [ME f. OF sentement f. med.L
sentimentum f. L sentire feel]
adj. 1 of or characterized by sentiment. 2 showing or affected
by emotion rather than reason. 3 appealing to sentiment.
Ьsentimental value the value of a thing to a particular person
because of its associations. ЬЬsentimentalism n.
sentimentalist n. sentimentality n. sentimentalize v.intr. &
tr. (also -ise). sentimentalization n. sentimentally adv.
sentinel n. & v. --n. a sentry or lookout. --v.tr. (sentinelled,
sentinelling; US sentineled, sentineling) 1 station sentinels at
or in. 2 poet. keep guard over or in. [F sentinelle f. It.
sentinella, of unkn. orig.]
sentry n. (pl. -ies) a soldier etc. stationed to keep guard.
Ьsentry-box a wooden cabin intended to shelter a standing
sentry. sentry-go the duty of pacing up and down as a sentry.
[perh. f. obs. centrinel, var. of SENTINEL]
sepal n. Bot. each of the divisions or leaves of the calyx. [F
s‚pale, mod.L sepalum, perh. formed as SEPARATE + PETAL]
separable adj. 1 able to be separated. 2 Gram. (of a prefix, or a verb
in respect of a prefix) written as a separate word in some
collocations. ЬЬseparability n. separableness n. separably
adv. [F s‚parable or L separabilis (as SEPARATE)]
separate adj., n., & v. --adj. (often foll. by from) forming a unit
that is or may be regarded as apart or by itself; physically
disconnected, distinct, or individual (living in separate rooms;
the two questions are essentially separate). --n. 1 (in pl.)
separate articles of clothing suitable for wearing together in
various combinations. 2 an offprint. --v. 1 tr. make
separate, sever, disunite. 2 tr. prevent union or contact of.
3 intr. go different ways, disperse. 4 intr. cease to live
together as a married couple. 5 intr. (foll. by from) secede.
6 tr. a divide or sort (milk, ore, fruit, light, etc.) into
constituent parts or sizes. b (often foll. by out) extract or
remove (an ingredient, waste product, etc.) by such a process
for use or rejection. 7 tr. US discharge, dismiss.
ЬЬseparately adv. separateness n. separative adj. separatory
adj. [L separare separat- (as SE-, parare make ready)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of separating; the state of being
separated. 2 (in full judicial separation or legal separation)
an arrangement by which a husband and wife remain married but
live apart. 3 any of three or more monochrome reproductions of
a coloured picture which can combine to reproduce the full
colour of the original. Ьseparation order an order of court for
judicial separation. [ME f. OF f. L separatio -onis (as
n. a person who favours separation, esp. for political or
ecclesiastical independence (opp. UNIONIST 2). ЬЬseparatism n.
separator n. a machine for separating, e.g. cream from milk.
Sephardi n. (pl. Sephardim) a Jew of Spanish or Portuguese descent (cf.
ASHKENAZI). ЬЬSephardic adj. [LHeb., f. separad, a country
mentioned in Obad. 20 and taken to be Spain]
sepia n. 1 a dark reddish-brown colour. 2 a a brown pigment prepared
from a black fluid secreted by cuttlefish, used in monochrome
drawing and in water-colours. b a brown tint used in
photography. 3 a drawing done in sepia. 4 the fluid secreted
by cuttlefish. [L f. Gk sepia cuttlefish]
sepoy n. hist. a native Indian soldier under European, esp. British,
discipline. [Urdu & Pers. sipahi soldier f. sipah army]
seppuku n. hara-kiri. [Jap.]
sepsis n. 1 the state of being septic. 2 blood-poisoning. [mod.L f.
Gk sepsis f. sepo make rotten]
Sept. abbr. 1 September. 2 Septuagint.
sept n. a clan, esp. in Ireland. [prob. alt. of SECT]
sept- var. of SEPTI-.
septa pl. of SEPTUM.
septal(1) adj. 1 of a septum or septa. 2 Archaeol. (of a stone or slab)
separating compartments in a burial chamber. [SEPTUM]
septal(2) adj. of a sept or septs.
septate adj. Bot., Zool., & Anat. having a septum or septa;
partitioned. ЬЬseptation n.
n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a seven-hundredth anniversary. 2
a festival marking this. --adj. of or concerning a
September n. the ninth month of the year. [ME f. L September f. septem
seven: orig. the seventh month of the Roman year]
n. (pl. septenarii) Prosody a verse of seven feet, esp. a
trochaic or iambic tetrameter catalectic. [L f. septeni
distributive of septem seven]
septenary adj. & n. --adj. of seven, by sevens, on the basis of seven.
--n. (pl. -ies) 1 a group or set of seven (esp. years). 2 a
septenarius. [L septenarius (as SEPTENARIUS)]
septenate adj. Bot. 1 growing in sevens. 2 having seven divisions. [L
septeni (as SEPTENARIUS)]
adj. 1 lasting for seven years. 2 recurring every seven years.
[LL septennis f. L septem seven + annus year]
n. (pl. septenniums or septennia) a period of seven years.
septet n. (also septette) 1 Mus. a a composition for seven
performers. b the performers of such a composition. 2 any
group of seven. [G Septett f. L septem seven]
septfoil n. 1 a seven-lobed ornamental figure. 2 archaic tormentil.
[LL septifolium after CINQUEFOIL, TREFOIL]
septi- comb. form (also sept- before a vowel) seven. [L f. septem
septic adj. contaminated with bacteria from a festering wound etc.,
putrefying. Ьseptic tank a tank in which the organic matter in
sewage is disintegrated through bacterial activity.
ЬЬseptically adv. septicity n. [L septicus f. Gk septikos f.
sepo make rotten]
n. (US septicemia) blood-poisoning. ЬЬsepticaemic adj. [mod.L
f. Gk septikos + haima blood]
n. (pl. same) a thousand raised to the eighth (or formerly,
esp. Brit., the fourteenth) power (10(24) and 10(42)
respectively). [F f. sept seven, after billion etc.]
septimal adj. of the number seven. [L septimus seventh f. septem
septime n. Fencing the seventh of the eight parrying positions. [L
septimus (as SEPTIMAL)]
adj. (also septavalent) Chem. having a valency of seven.
n. & adj. --n. a person from 70 to 79 years old. --adj. of
this age. [L septuagenarius f. septuageni distributive of
n. (in full Septuagesima Sunday) the Sunday before Sexagesima.
[ME f. L, = seventieth (day), formed as SEPTUAGINT, perh. after
QUINQUAGESIMA or with ref. to the period of 70 days from
Septuagesima to the Saturday after Easter]
n. a Greek version of the Old Testament including the
Apocrypha, said to have been made about 270 BC by seventy-two
translators. [L septuaginta seventy]
septum n. (pl. septa) Anat., Bot., & Zool. a partition such as that
between the nostrils or the chambers of a poppy-fruit or of a
shell. [L s(a)eptum f. saepire saept- enclose f. saepes
septuple adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 sevenfold, having seven parts. 2
being seven times as many or as much. --n. a sevenfold number
or amount. --v.tr. & intr. multiply by seven. [LL septuplus f.
L septem seven]
septuplet n. 1 one of seven children born at one birth. 2 Mus. a group
of seven notes to be played in the time of four or six. [as
SEPTUPLE, after TRIPLET etc.]
adj. 1 of a tomb or interment (sepulchral mound; sepulchral
customs). 2 suggestive of the tomb, funereal, gloomy, dismal
(sepulchral look). ЬЬsepulchrally adv. [F s‚pulchral or L
sepulchralis (as SEPULCHRE)]
sepulchre n. & v. (US sepulcher) --n. a tomb esp. cut in rock or built of
stone or brick, a burial vault or cave. --v.tr. 1 lay in a
sepulchre. 2 serve as a sepulchre for. Ьthe Holy Sepulchre the
tomb in which Christ was laid. whited sepulchre a hypocrite
(with ref. to Matt. 23:27). [ME f. OF f. L sepulc(h)rum f.
sepelire sepult- bury]
sepulture n. literary the act or an instance of burying or putting in the
grave. [ME f. OF f. L sepultura (as SEPULCHRE)]
seq. abbr. (pl. seqq.) the following. [L sequens etc.]
adj. 1 (of reasoning or a reasoner) not inconsequent, coherent.
2 archaic inclined to follow, lacking independence or
originality, servile. ЬЬsequaciously adv. sequacity n. [L
sequax f. sequi follow]
sequel n. 1 what follows (esp. as a result). 2 a novel, film, etc.,
that continues the story of an earlier one. Ьin the sequel as
things developed afterwards. [ME f. OF sequelle or L sequel(l)a
f. sequi follow]
sequela n. (pl. sequelae) Med. (esp. in pl.) a morbid condition or
symptom following a disease. [L f. sequi follow]
sequence n. & v. --n. 1 succession, coming after or next. 2 order of
succession (shall follow the sequence of events; give the facts
in historical sequence). 3 a set of things belonging next to
one another on some principle of order; a series without gaps.
4 a part of a film dealing with one scene or topic. 5 a set of
poems on one theme. 6 a set of three or more playing-cards next
to one another in value. 7 Mus. repetition of a phrase or
melody at a higher or lower pitch. 8 Eccl. a hymn said or sung
after the Gradual or Alleluia that precedes the Gospel. 9
succession without implication of causality (opp. CONSEQUENCE).
--v.tr. 1 arrange in a definite order. 2 Biochem. ascertain
the sequence of monomers in (esp. a polypeptide or nucleic
acid). Ьsequence of tenses Gram. the dependence of the tense
of a subordinate verb on the tense of the principal verb,
according to certain rules (e.g. I think you are, thought you
were, wrong). ЬЬsequencer n. [ME f. LL sequentia f. L sequens
pres. part. of sequi follow]
sequent adj. 1 following as a sequence or consequence. 2 consecutive.
ЬЬsequently adv. [OF sequent or L sequens (as SEQUENCE)]
adj. forming a sequence or consequence or sequela.
ЬЬsequentiality n. sequentially adv. [SEQUENCE, after
sequester v.tr. 1 (esp. as sequestered adj.) seclude, isolate, set apart
(sequester oneself from the world; a sequestered life; a
sequestered cottage). 2 = SEQUESTRATE. 3 Chem. bind (a metal
ion) so that it cannot react. [ME f. OF sequestrer or LL
sequestrare commit for safe keeping f. L sequester trustee]
v.tr. 1 confiscate, appropriate. 2 Law take temporary
possession of (a debtor's estate etc.). 3 Eccl. apply (the
income of a benefice) to clearing the incumbent's debts or
accumulating a fund for the next incumbent. ЬЬsequestrable adj.
sequestration n. sequestrator n. [LL sequestrare (as
n. (pl. sequestra) a piece of dead bone or other tissue
detached from the surrounding parts. ЬЬsequestral adj.
sequestrotomy n. (pl. -ies). [mod.L, neut. of L sequester
sequin n. 1 a circular spangle for attaching to clothing as an
ornament. 2 hist. a Venetian gold coin. ЬЬsequinned adj.
(also sequined). [F f. It. zecchino f. zecca a mint f. Arab.
sikka a die]
sequoia n. a Californian evergreen coniferous tree, Sequoia
sempervirens, of very great height. [mod.L genus-name, f.
Sequoiah, the name of a Cherokee]
sera pl. of SERUM.
serac n. one of the tower-shaped masses into which a glacier is
divided at steep points by crevasses crossing it. [Swiss F
s‚rac, orig. the name of a compact white cheese]
seraglio n. (pl. -os) 1 a harem. 2 hist. a Turkish palace, esp. that
of the Sultan with government offices etc. at Constantinople.
[It. serraglio f. Turk. f. Pers. saray palace: cf. SERAI]
serai n. a caravanserai. [Turk. f. Pers. (as SERAGLIO)]
serang n. Anglo-Ind. a native head of a Lascar crew. [Hindi f. Pers.
serape n. (also sarape, zarape) a shawl or blanket worn as a cloak by
Spanish Americans. [Mexican Sp.]
seraph n. (pl. seraphim or seraphs) an angelic being, one of the
highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy gifted esp.
with love and associated with light, ardour, and purity.
[back-form. f. seraphim (cf. CHERUB) (pl.) f. LL f. Gk
seraphim f. Heb. serapim]
seraphic adj. 1 of or like the seraphim. 2 ecstatically adoring,
fervent, or serene. ЬЬseraphically adv. [med.L seraphicus f.
LL (as SERAPH)]
seraskier n. hist. the Turkish Commander-in-Chief and minister of war.
[Turk. f. Pers. sar' askar head of army]
Serb n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Serbia in Yugoslavia. 2 a person
of Serbian descent. --adj. = SERBIAN. [Serbian Srb]
Serbian n. & adj. --n. 1 the dialect of the Serbs (cf. SERBO-CROAT).
2 = SERB. --adj. of or relating to the Serbs or their dialect.
Serbo- comb. form Serbian.
n. & adj. (also Serbo-Croatian) --n. the main official language
of Yugoslavia, combining Serbian and Croatian dialects. --adj.
of or relating to this language.
SERC abbr. (in the UK) Science and Engineering Research Council.
sere(1) n. a catch of a gunlock holding the hammer at half or full
cock. [prob. f. OF serre lock, bolt, grasp, f. serrer (see
sere(2) var. of SEAR adj.
sere(3) n. Ecol. a sequence of animal or plant communities. [L serere
join in a SERIES]
serein n. a fine rain falling in tropical climates from a cloudless
sky. [F f. OF serain ult. f. L serum evening f. serus late]
serenade n. & v. --n. 1 a piece of music sung or played at night, esp.
by a lover under his lady's window, or suitable for this. 2 =
SERENATA. --v.tr. sing or play a serenade to. ЬЬserenader n.
[F s‚r‚nade f. It. serenata f. sereno SERENE]
serenata n. Mus. 1 a cantata with a pastoral subject. 2 a simple form
of suite for orchestra or wind band. [It. (as SERENADE)]
n. the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by
accident. ЬЬserendipitous adj. serendipitously adv. [coined
by Horace Walpole (1754) after The Three Princes of Serendip
(Sri Lanka), a fairy-tale]
serene adj. & n. --adj. (serener, serenest) 1 a (of the sky, the air,
etc.) clear and calm. b (of the sea etc.) unruffled. 2 placid,
tranquil, unperturbed. --n. poet. a serene expanse of sky,
sea, etc. Ьall serene Brit. sl. all right. Serene Highness a
title used in addressing and referring to members of some
European royal families (His Serene Highness; Their Serene
Highnesses; Your Serene Highness). ЬЬserenely adv. sereneness
n. [L serenus]
serenity n. (pl. -ies) 1 tranquillity, being serene. 2 (Serenity) a
title used in addressing and referring to a reigning prince or
similar dignitary (your Serenity). [F s‚r‚nit‚ or L serenitas
serf n. 1 hist. a labourer not allowed to leave the land on which he
worked, a villein. 2 an oppressed person, a drudge. ЬЬserfage
n. serfdom n. serfhood n. [OF f. L servus slave]
serge n. a durable twilled worsted etc. fabric. [ME f. OF sarge,
serge ult. f. L serica (lana): see SILK]
sergeant n. 1 a non-commissioned Army or Air Force officer next below
warrant officer. 2 a police officer ranking below (Brit.)
inspector or (US) captain. Ьcompany sergeant-major Mil. the
highest non-commissioned officer of a company. Sergeant Baker
Austral. a large brightly-coloured marine fish, Aulopus
purpurissatus. sergeant-fish a marine fish, Rachycentron
canadum, with lateral stripes suggesting a chevron.
sergeant-major Mil. 1 (in full regimental sergeant-major) Brit.
a warrant-officer assisting the adjutant of a regiment or
battalion. 2 US the highest-ranking non-commissioned officer.
ЬЬsergeancy n. (pl. -ies). sergeantship n. [ME f. OF sergent
f. L serviens -entis servant f. servire SERVE]
Sergt. abbr. Sergeant.
serial n. & adj. --n. 1 a story, play, or film which is published,
broadcast, or shown in regular instalments. 2 a periodical.
--adj. 1 of or in or forming a series. 2 (of a story etc.) in
the form of a serial. 3 Mus. using transformations of a fixed
series of notes (see SERIES). 4 (of a publication) appearing in
successive parts published usu. at regular intervals,
periodical. Ьserial killer a person who murders continuously
with no apparent motive. serial number a number showing the
position of an item in a series. serial rights the right to
publish a story or book as a serial. ЬЬseriality n. serially
adv. [SERIES + -AL]
serialist n. a composer or advocate of serial music. ЬЬserialism n.
serialize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 publish or produce in instalments. 2
arrange in a series. 3 Mus. compose according to a serial
technique. ЬЬserialization n.
seriate adj. & v. --adj. in the form of a series; in orderly sequence.
--v.tr. arrange in a seriate manner. ЬЬseriation n.
seriatim adv. point by point; taking one subject etc. after another in
regular order (consider seriatim). [med.L f. L series, after
n. 1 silkworm-breeding. 2 the production of raw silk.
ЬЬsericultural adj. sericulturist n. [F s‚riciculture f. LL
sericum: see SILK, CULTURE]
seriema n. (also cariama) Zool. any S. American bird of the family
Cariamidae, having a long neck and legs and a crest above the
bill. [mod.L f. Tupi siriema etc. crested]
series n. (pl. same) 1 a number of things of which each is similar to
the preceding or in which each successive pair are similarly
related; a sequence, succession, order, row, or set. 2 a set of
successive games between the same teams. 3 a set of programmes
with the same actors etc. or on related subjects but each
complete in itself. 4 a set of lectures by the same speaker or
on the same subject. 5 a a set of successive issues of a
periodical, of articles on one subject or by one writer, etc.,
esp. when numbered separately from a preceding or following set
(second series). b a set of independent books in a common
format or under a common title or supervised by a common general
editor. 6 Philately a set of stamps, coins, etc., of different
denominations but issued at one time, in one reign, etc. 7
Geol. a a set of strata with a common characteristic. b the
rocks deposited during a specific epoch. 8 Mus. an arrangement
of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale as a basis for serial
music. 9 Electr. a a set of circuits or components arranged so
that the current passes through each successively. b a set of
batteries etc. having the positive electrode of each connected
with the negative electrode of the next. 10 Chem. a set of
elements with common properties or of compounds related in
composition or structure. 11 Math. a set of quantities
constituting a progression or having the several values
determined by a common relation. Ьarithmetical (or geometrical)
series a series in arithmetical (or geometrical) progression.
in series 1 in ordered succession. 2 Electr. (of a set of
circuits or components) arranged so that the current passes
through each successively. [L, = row, chain f. serere join,
serif n. a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter as in
T contrasted with T! (cf. SANSERIF). ЬЬseriffed adj. [perh.
f. Du. schreef dash, line f. Gmc]
n. the art or process of printing designs by means of a silk
screen. ЬЬserigraph n. serigrapher n. [irreg. f. L sericum
serin n. any small yellow Mediterranean finch of the genus Serinus,
esp. the wild canary S. serinus. [F, of uncert. orig.]
serinette n. an instrument for teaching cage-birds to sing. [F (as
seringa n. 1 = SYRINGA. 2 any of various rubber-trees of the genus
Hevea, native to Brazil. [F (as SYRINGA)]
adj. combining the serious and the comic, jocular in intention
but simulating seriousness or vice versa. ЬЬserio-comically
serious adj. 1 thoughtful, earnest, sober, sedate, responsible, not
reckless or given to trifling (has a serious air; a serious
young person). 2 important, demanding consideration (this is a
serious matter). 3 not slight or negligible (a serious injury;
a serious offence). 4 sincere, in earnest, not ironical or
joking (are you serious?). 5 (of music and literature) not
merely for amusement (opp. LIGHT(2) 5a). 6 not perfunctory
(serious thought). 7 not to be trifled with (a serious
opponent). 8 concerned with religion or ethics (serious
subjects). ЬЬseriousness n. [ME f. OF serieux or LL seriosus
f. L serius]
seriously adv. 1 in a serious manner (esp. introducing a sentence,
implying that irony etc. is now to cease). 2 to a serious
serjeant n. 1 (in full serjeant-at-law, pl. serjeants-at-law) hist. a
barrister of the highest rank. 2 Brit. (in official lists) a
sergeant in the Army. ЬCommon Serjeant Brit. a circuit judge
of the Central Criminal Court with duties in the City of London.
serjeant-at-arms (pl. serjeants-at-arms) an official of a court
or city or parliament, with ceremonial duties. ЬЬserjeantship
n. [var. of SERGEANT]
sermon n. 1 a spoken or written discourse on a religious or moral
subject, esp. a discourse based on a text or passage of
Scripture and delivered in a service by way of religious
instruction or exhortation. 2 a piece of admonition or reproof,
a lecture. 3 a moral reflection suggested by natural objects
etc. (sermons in stones). ЬSermon on the Mount the discourse of
Christ recorded in Matt. 5-7. [ME f. AF sermun, OF sermon f. L
sermo -onis discourse, talk]
n. a short sermon.
sermonize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. deliver a moral lecture to. 2 intr.
deliver a moral lecture. ЬЬsermonizer n.
serology n. the scientific study of blood sera and their effects.
ЬЬserological adj. serologist n.
serosa n. a serous membrane. [mod.L, fem. of med.L serosus SEROUS]
serotine n. a chestnut-coloured European bat, Eptesicus serotinus. [F
s‚rotine f. L serotinus late, of the evening, f. serus late]
serotonin n. Biol. a compound present in blood serum, which constricts
the blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter. [SERUM +
TONIC + -IN]
serous adj. of or like or producing serum; watery. Ьserous gland (or
membrane) a gland or membrane with a serous secretion.
ЬЬserosity n. [F s‚reux or med.L serosus (as SERUM)]
serpent n. 1 usu. literary. a a snake, esp. of a large kind. b a
scaly limbless reptile. 2 a sly or treacherous person, esp. one
who exploits a position of trust to betray it. 3 Mus. an old
bass wind instrument made from leather-covered wood, roughly in
the form of an S. 4 (the Serpent) Bibl. Satan (see Gen. 3, Rev.
20). [ME f. OF f. L serpens -entis part. of serpere creep]
adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 of or like a serpent. 2 coiling,
tortuous, sinuous, meandering, writhing (the serpentine windings
of the stream). 3 cunning, subtle, treacherous. --n. 1 a soft
rock mainly of hydrated magnesium silicate, usu. dark green and
sometimes mottled or spotted like a serpent's skin, taking a
high polish and used as a decorative material. 2 Skating a
figure of three circles in a line. --v.intr. move sinuously,
meander. Ьserpentine verse a metrical line beginning and ending
with the same word. [ME f. OF serpentin f. LL serpentinus (as
adj. (of a skin-disease etc.) creeping from one part to
another. [med.L serpigo -ginis ringworm f. L serpere creep]
SERPS abbr. (in the UK) State earnings-related pension scheme.
serpula n. (pl. serpulae) any of various marine worms of the family
Serpulidae, living in intricately twisted shell-like tubes.
[LL, = small serpent, f. L serpere creep]
serra n. (pl. serrae) a serrated organ, structure, or edge. [L, =
n. (pl. serradillae) a clover, Ornithopus sativus, grown as
fodder. [Port., dimin. of serrado serrated]
serran n. any marine fish of the family Serranidae. [mod.L serranus
f. L serra saw]
serrate v. & adj. --v.tr. (usu. as serrated adj.) provide with a
sawlike edge. --adj. esp. Anat., Bot., & Zool. notched like a
saw. ЬЬserration n. [LL serrare serrat- f. L serra saw]
serried adj. (of ranks of soldiers, rows of trees, etc.) pressed
together; without gaps; close. [past part. of serry press close
prob. f. F serr‚ past part. of serrer close ult. f. L sera lock,
or past part. of obs. serr f. OF serrer]
serrulate adj. esp. Anat., Bot., & Zool. finely serrate; with a series
of small notches. ЬЬserrulation n. [mod.L serrulatus f. L
serrula dimin. of serra saw]
serum n. (pl. sera or serums) 1 a an amber-coloured liquid that
separates from a clot when blood coagulates. b whey. 2 Med.
blood serum (usu. from a non-human mammal) as an antitoxin or
therapeutic agent, esp. in inoculation. 3 a watery fluid in
animal bodies. Ьserum sickness a reaction to an injection of
serum, characterized by skin eruption, fever, etc. [L, = whey]
serval n. a tawny black-spotted long-legged African cat, Felis serval.
[F f. Port. cerval deerlike f. cervo deer f. L cervus]
servant n. 1 a person who has undertaken (usu. in return for stipulated
pay) to carry out the orders of an individual or corporate
employer, esp. a person employed in a house on domestic duties
or as a personal attendant. 2 a devoted follower, a person
willing to serve another (a servant of Jesus Christ). Ьyour
humble servant Brit. archaic a formula preceding a signature or
expressing ironical courtesy. your obedient servant Brit. a
formula preceding a signature, now used only in certain formal
letters. [ME f. OF (as SERVE)]
serve v. & n. --v. 1 tr. do a service for (a person, community,
etc.). 2 tr. (also absol.) be a servant to. 3 intr. carry out
duties (served on six committees). 4 intr. a (foll. by in) be
employed in (an organization, esp. the armed forces, or a place,
esp. a foreign country) (served in the air force). b be a
member of the armed forces. 5 a tr. be useful to or serviceable
for; meet the needs of; do what is required for (serve a
purpose; one packet serves him for a week). b intr. meet
requirements; perform a function (a sofa serving as a bed). c
intr. (foll. by to + infin.) avail, suffice (his attempt served
only to postpone the inevitable; it serves to show the folly of
such action). 6 tr. go through a due period of (office,
apprenticeship, a prison sentence, etc.). 7 tr. set out or
present (food) for those about to eat it (asparagus served with
butter; dinner was then served). 8 intr. (in full serve at
table) act as a waiter. 9 tr. a attend to (a customer in a
shop). b (foll. by with) supply with (goods) (was serving a
customer with apples; served the town with gas). 10 tr. treat
or act towards (a person) in a specified way (has served me
shamefully; you may serve me as you will). 11 tr. a (often
foll. by on) deliver (a writ etc.) to the person concerned in a
legally formal manner (served a warrant on him). b (foll. by
with) deliver a writ etc. to (a person) in this way (served her
with a summons). 12 tr. Tennis etc. a (also absol.) deliver (a
ball etc.) to begin or resume play. b produce (a fault etc.) by
doing this. 13 tr. Mil. keep (a gun, battery, etc.) firing.
14 tr. (of an animal, esp. a stallion etc. hired for the
purpose) copulate with (a female). 15 tr. distribute (served
the ammunition out; served the rations round). 16 tr. render
obedience to (a deity etc.). 17 Eccl. a intr. act as a server.
b tr. act as a server at (a service). 18 intr. (of a tide) be
suitable for a ship to leave harbour etc. 19 tr. Naut. bind (a
rope etc.) with thin cord to strengthen it. 20 tr. play (a
trick etc.) on. --n. 1 Tennis etc. a the act or an instance of
serving. b a manner of serving. c a person's turn to serve. 2
Austral. sl. a reprimand. Ьit will serve it will be adequate.
serve one's needs (or need) be adequate. serve out retaliate
on. serve the purpose of take the place of, be used as. serve
a person right be a person's deserved punishment or misfortune.
serve one's time 1 hold office for the normal period. 2 (also
serve time) undergo imprisonment, apprenticeship, etc. serve
one's (or the) turn be adequate. serve up offer for acceptance.
[ME f. OF servir f. L servire f. servus slave]
server n. 1 a person who serves. 2 Eccl. a person assisting the
celebrant at a service, esp. the Eucharist.
servery n. (pl. -ies) a room from which meals etc. are served and in
which utensils are kept.
n. & v. --n. 1 the act of helping or doing work for another or
for a community etc. 2 work done in this way. 3 assistance or
benefit given to someone. 4 the provision or system of
supplying a public need, e.g. transport, or (often in pl.) the
supply of water, gas, electricity, telephone, etc. 5 a the fact
or status of being a servant. b employment or a position as a
servant. 6 a state or period of employment doing work for an
individual or organization (resigned after 15 years' service).
7 a a public or Crown department or organization employing
officials working for the State (civil service; secret service).
b employment in this. 8 (in pl.) the armed forces. 9 (attrib.)
of the kind issued to the armed forces (a service revolver). 10
a a ceremony of worship according to prescribed forms. b a form
of liturgy for this. 11 a the provision of what is necessary
for the installation and maintenance of a machine etc. or
operation. b a periodic routine maintenance of a motor vehicle
etc. 12 assistance or advice given to customers after the sale
of goods. 13 a the act or process of serving food, drinks, etc.
b an extra charge nominally made for this. 14 a set of dishes,
plates, etc., used for serving meals (a dinner service). 15
Tennis etc. a the act or an instance of serving. b a person's
turn to serve. c the manner or quality of serving. d (in full
service game) a game in which a particular player serves.
--v.tr. 1 provide service or services for, esp. maintain. 2
maintain or repair (a car, machine, etc.). 3 pay interest on (a
debt). 4 supply with a service. Ьat a person's service ready
to serve or assist a person. be of service be available to
assist. in service 1 employed as a servant. 2 available for
use. on active service serving in the armed forces in wartime.
out of service not available for use. see service 1 have
experience of service, esp. in the armed forces. 2 (of a thing)
be much used. service area 1 an area beside a major road for
the supply of petrol, refreshments, etc. 2 the area served by a
broadcasting station. service-book a book of authorized forms
of worship of a Church. service bus (or car) Austral. & NZ a
motor coach. service charge an additional charge for service in
a restaurant, hotel, etc. service dress ordinary military etc.
uniform. service flat a flat in which domestic service and
sometimes meals are provided by the management. service
industry one providing services not goods. service line (in
tennis etc.) a line marking the limit of the area into which the
ball must be served. service road a road parallel to a main
road, serving houses, shops, etc. service station an
establishment beside a road selling petrol and oil etc. to
motorists and often able to carry out maintenance. take service
with become a servant to. [ME f. OF service or L servitium f.
n. (in full service tree) a European tree of the genus Sorbus,
esp. S. domestica with toothed leaves, cream-coloured flowers,
and small round or pear-shaped fruit eaten when overripe.
Ьservice-berry 1 the fruit of the service tree. 2 a any
American shrub of the genus Amelanchier. b the edible fruit of
this. [earlier serves, pl. of obs. serve f. OE syrfe f. Gmc
surbhjon ult. f. L sorbus]
adj. 1 useful or usable. 2 able to render service. 3 durable;
capable of withstanding difficult conditions. 4 suited for
ordinary use rather than ornament. ЬЬserviceability n.
serviceableness n. serviceably adv. [ME f. OF servisable (as
n. (pl. -men) 1 a man serving in the armed forces. 2 a man
providing service or maintenance.
n. (pl. -women) a woman serving in the armed forces.
serviette n. esp. Brit. a napkin for use at table. [ME f. OF f.
servile adj. 1 of or being or like a slave or slaves. 2 slavish,
fawning; completely dependent. ЬЬservilely adv. servility n.
[ME f. L servilis f. servus slave]
serving n. a quantity of food served to one person.
servitor n. 1 archaic a a servant. b an attendant. 2 hist. an Oxford
undergraduate performing menial duties in exchange for
assistance from college funds. ЬЬservitorship n. [ME f. OF f.
LL (as SERVE)]
servitude n. 1 slavery. 2 subjection (esp. involuntary); bondage. 3 Law
the subjection of property to an easement. [ME f. OF f. L
servitudo -inis f. servus slave]
servo n. (pl. -os) 1 (in full servo-mechanism) a powered mechanism
producing motion or forces at a higher level of energy than the
input level, e.g. in the brakes and steering of large motor
vehicles, esp. where feedback is employed to make the control
automatic. 2 (in full servo-motor) the motive element in a
servo-mechanism. 3 (in comb.) of or involving a servo-mechanism
(servo-assisted). [L servus slave]
sesame n. Bot. 1 an E. Indian herbaceous plant, Sesamum indicum, with
seeds used as food and yielding an edible oil. 2 its seeds.
Ьopen sesame a means of acquiring or achieving what is normally
unattainable (from the magic words used in the Arabian Nights'
Entertainments). [L sesamum f. Gk sesamon, sesame]
sesamoid adj. & n. --adj. shaped like a sesame seed; nodular (esp. of
small independent bones developed in tendons passing over an
angular structure such as the kneecap and the navicular bone).
--n. a sesamoid bone.
sesqui- comb. form 1 denoting one and a half. 2 Chem. (of a compound)
in which there are three equivalents of a named element or
radical to two others. [L (as SEMI-, -que and)]
n. (pl. -ies) a one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary.
n. & adj. --n. = SESQUICENTENARY. --adj. of or relating to a
sess var. of CESS(1).
sessile adj. 1 Bot. & Zool. (of a flower, leaf, eye, etc.) attached
directly by its base without a stalk or peduncle. 2 fixed in
one position; immobile. Ьsessile oak = DURMAST. [L sessilis f.
sedere sess- sit]
session n. 1 the process of assembly of a deliberative or judicial body
to conduct its business. 2 a single meeting for this purpose.
3 a period during which such meetings are regularly held. 4 a
an academic year. b the period during which a school etc. has
classes. 5 a period devoted to an activity (poker session;
recording session). 6 the governing body of a Presbyterian
Church. Ьin session assembled for business; not on vacation.
petty sessions 1 a meeting of two or more magistrates for the
summary trial of certain offences. 2 = quarter sessions.
ЬЬsessional adj. [ME f. OF session or L sessio -onis (as
sesterce n. (also sestertius) (pl. sesterces or sestertii) an ancient
Roman coin and monetary unit equal to one quarter of a denarius.
[L sestertius (nummus coin) = 2« f. semis half + tertius third]
sestet n. 1 the last six lines of a sonnet. 2 a sextet. [It.
sestetto f. sesto f. L sextus a sixth]
sestina n. a form of rhymed or unrhymed poem with six stanzas of six
lines and a final triplet, all stanzas having the same six words
at the line-ends in six different sequences. [It. (as SESTET)]
set(1) v. (setting; past and past part. set) 1 tr. put, lay, or stand
(a thing) in a certain position or location (set it on the
table; set it upright). 2 tr. (foll. by to) apply (one thing)
to (another) (set pen to paper). 3 tr. a fix ready or in
position. b dispose suitably for use, action, or display. 4
tr. a adjust the hands of (a clock or watch) to show the right
time. b adjust (an alarm clock) to sound at the required time.
5 tr. a fix, arrange, or mount. b insert (a jewel) in a ring,
framework, etc. 6 tr. make (a device) ready to operate. 7 tr.
lay (a table) for a meal. 8 tr. arrange (the hair) while damp
so that it dries in the required style. 9 tr. (foll. by with)
ornament or provide (a surface, esp. a precious item) (gold set
with gems). 10 tr. bring by placing or arranging or other means
into a specified state; cause to be (set things in motion; set
it on fire). 11 intr. & tr. harden or solidify (the jelly is
set; the cement has set). 12 intr. (of the sun, moon, etc.)
appear to move towards and below the earth's horizon (as the
earth rotates). 13 tr. represent (a story, play, scene, etc.)
as happening in a certain time or place. 14 tr. a (foll. by to
+ infin.) cause or instruct (a person) to perform a specified
activity (set them to work). b (foll. by pres. part.) start (a
person or thing) doing something (set him chatting; set the ball
rolling). 15 tr. present or impose as work to be done or a
matter to be dealt with (set them an essay). 16 tr. exhibit as
a type or model (set a good example). 17 tr. initiate; take the
lead in (set the fashion; set the pace). 18 tr. establish (a
record etc.). 19 tr. determine or decide (the itinerary is
set). 20 tr. appoint or establish (set them in authority). 21
tr. join, attach, or fasten. 22 tr. a put parts of (a broken
or dislocated bone, limb, etc.) into the correct position for
healing. b deal with (a fracture or dislocation) in this way.
23 tr. (in full set to music) provide (words etc.) with music
for singing. 24 tr. (often foll. by up) Printing a arrange or
produce (type or film etc.) as required. b arrange the type or
film etc. for (a book etc.). 25 intr. (of a tide, current,
etc.) have a certain motion or direction. 26 intr. (of a face)
assume a hard expression. 27 tr. a cause (a hen) to sit on
eggs. b place (eggs) for a hen to sit on. 28 tr. put (a seed,
plant, etc.) in the ground to grow. 29 tr. give the teeth of (a
saw) an alternate outward inclination. 30 tr. esp. US start (a
fire). 31 intr. (of eyes etc.) become motionless. 32 intr.
feel or show a certain tendency (opinion is setting against it).
33 intr. a (of blossom) form into fruit. b (of fruit) develop
from blossom. c (of a tree) develop fruit. 34 intr. (in full
set to partner) (of a dancer) take a position facing one's
partner. 35 intr. (of a hunting dog) take a rigid attitude
indicating the presence of game. 36 intr. dial. or sl. sit.
Ьset about 1 begin or take steps towards. 2 colloq. attack.
set (a person or thing) against (another) 1 consider or reckon
(a thing) as a counterpoise or compensation for. 2 cause to
oppose. set apart separate, reserve, differentiate. set aside
see ASIDE. set back 1 place further back in place or time. 2
impede or reverse the progress of. 3 colloq. cost (a person) a
specified amount. set-back n. 1 a reversal or arrest of
progress. 2 a relapse. set by archaic save for future use.
set down 1 record in writing. 2 allow to alight from a vehicle.
3 (foll. by to) attribute to. 4 (foll. by as) explain or
describe to oneself as. set eyes on see EYE. set one's face
against see FACE. set foot on (or in) see FOOT. set forth 1
begin a journey. 2 make known; expound. set forward begin to
advance. set free release. set one's hand to see HAND. set
one's heart (or hopes) on want or hope for eagerly. set in 1
(of weather, a condition, etc.) begin (and seem likely to
continue), become established. 2 insert (esp. a sleeve etc.
into a garment). set little by consider to be of little value.
set a person's mind at rest see MIND. set much by consider to
be of much value. set off 1 begin a journey. 2 detonate (a
bomb etc.). 3 initiate, stimulate. 4 cause (a person) to start
laughing, talking, etc. 5 serve as an adornment or foil to;
enhance. 6 (foll. by against) use as a compensating item.
set-off n. 1 a thing set off against another. 2 a thing of
which the amount or effect may be deducted from that of another
or opposite tendency. 3 a counterpoise. 4 a counter-claim. 5
a thing that embellishes; an adornment to something. 6 Printing
= OFFSET 7. set on (or upon) 1 attack violently. 2 cause or
urge to attack. set out 1 begin a journey. 2 (foll. by to +
infin.) aim or intend. 3 demonstrate, arrange, or exhibit. 4
mark out. 5 declare. set sail 1 hoist the sails. 2 begin a
voyage. set the scene see SCENE. set store by (or on) see
STORE. set one's teeth 1 clench them. 2 summon one's resolve.
set to begin doing something vigorously, esp. fighting, arguing,
or eating. set-to n. (pl. -tos) colloq. a fight or argument.
set up 1 place in position or view. 2 organize or start (a
business etc.). 3 establish in some capacity. 4 supply the
needs of. 5 begin making (a loud sound). 6 cause or make
arrangements for (a condition or situation). 7 prepare (a task
etc. for another). 8 restore or enhance the health of (a
person). 9 establish (a record). 10 propound (a theory). 11
colloq. put (a person) in a dangerous or vulnerable position.
set-up n. 1 an arrangement or organization. 2 the manner or
structure or position of this. set oneself up as make
pretensions to being. [OE settan f. Gmc]
set(2) n. 1 a number of things or persons that belong together or
resemble one another or are usually found together. 2 a
collection or group. 3 a section of society consorting together
or having similar interests etc. 4 a collection of implements,
vessels, etc., regarded collectively and needed for a specified
purpose (cricket set; teaset; a set of teeth). 5 a piece of
electric or electronic apparatus, esp. a radio or television
receiver. 6 (in tennis etc.) a group of games counting as a
unit towards a match for the player or side that wins a defined
number or proportion of the games. 7 Math. & Logic a collection
of distinct entities, individually specified or satisfying
specified conditions, forming a unit. 8 a group of pupils or
students having the same average ability. 9 a a slip, shoot,
bulb, etc., for planting. b a young fruit just set. 10 a a
habitual posture or conformation; the way the head etc. is
carried or a dress etc. flows. b (also dead set) a setter's
pointing in the presence of game. 11 the way, drift, or
tendency (of a current, public opinion, state of mind, etc.)
(the set of public feeling is against it). 12 the way in which
a machine, device, etc., is set or adjusted. 13 esp. Austral.
& NZ colloq. a grudge. 14 a the alternate outward deflection of
the teeth of a saw. b the amount of this. 15 the last coat of
plaster on a wall. 16 Printing a the amount of spacing in type
controlling the distance between letters. b the width of a
piece of type. 17 a warp or bend or displacement caused by
continued pressure or a continued position. 18 a setting,
including stage furniture etc., for a play or film etc. 19 a
sequence of songs or pieces performed in jazz or popular music.
20 the setting of the hair when damp. 21 (also sett) a badger's
burrow. 22 (also sett) a granite paving-block. 23 a
predisposition or expectation influencing a response. 24 a
number of people making up a square dance. Ьmake a dead set at
1 make a determined attack on. 2 seek to win the affections of.
set point Tennis etc. 1 the state of a game when one side needs
only one more point to win the set. 2 this point. set theory
the branch of mathematics concerned with the manipulation of
sets. [sense 1 (and related senses) f. OF sette f. L secta
SECT: other senses f. SET(1)]
set(3) adj. 1 in senses of SET(1). 2 prescribed or determined in
advance. 3 fixed, unchanging, unmoving. 4 (of a phrase or
speech etc.) having invariable or predetermined wording; not
extempore. 5 prepared for action. 6 (foll. by on, upon)
determined to acquire or achieve etc. 7 (of a book etc.)
specified for reading in preparation for an examination. 8 (of
a meal) served according to a fixed menu. Ьset fair (of the
weather) fine without a sign of breaking. set phrase an
invariable or usual arrangement of words. set piece 1 a formal
or elaborate arrangement, esp. in art or literature. 2
fireworks arranged on scaffolding etc. set screw a screw for
adjusting or clamping parts of a machine. set scrum Rugby
Football a scrum ordered by the referee. set square a
right-angled triangular plate for drawing lines, esp. at 90ш,
45ш, 60ш, or 30ш. [past part. of SET(1)]
seta n. (pl. setae) Bot. & Zool. stiff hair; bristle. ЬЬsetaceous
adj. [L, = bristle]
seton n. Surgery a skein of cotton etc. passed below the skin and
left with the ends protruding to promote drainage etc. [ME f.
med.L seto, seta silk, app. f. L seta bristle]
setose adj. Biol. bristly. [L seta bristle]
Setswana var. of TSWANA (and the preferred form for the language).
sett var. of SET(2) 21, 22.
settee n. a seat (usu. upholstered), with a back and usu. arms, for
more than one person. [18th c.: perh. a fanciful var. of
setter n. 1 a a dog of a large long-haired breed trained to stand
rigid when scenting game (see SET(1) 35). b this breed. 2 a
person or thing that sets.
setting n. 1 the position or manner in which a thing is set. 2 the
immediate surroundings (of a house etc.). 3 the surroundings of
any object regarded as its framework; the environment of a
thing. 4 the place and time, scenery, etc., of a story, drama,
etc. 5 a frame in which a jewel is set. 6 the music to which
words of a poem, song, etc., are set. 7 a set of cutlery and
other accessories for one person at a table. 8 the way in which
or level at which a machine is set to operate. Ьsetting lotion
lotion used to prepare the hair for being set.
settle(1) v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by down) establish or become
established in a more or less permanent abode or way of life. 2
intr. & tr. (often foll. by down) a cease or cause to cease from
wandering, disturbance, movement, etc. b adopt a regular or
secure style of life. c (foll. by to) apply oneself (to work,
an activity, a way of life, etc.) (settled down to writing
letters). 3 a intr. sit or come down to stay for some time. b
tr. cause to do this. 4 tr. & intr. bring to or attain fixity,
certainty, composure, or quietness. 5 tr. determine or decide
or agree upon (shall we settle a date?). 6 tr. a resolve (a
dispute etc.). b deal with (a matter) finally. 7 tr. terminate
(a lawsuit) by mutual agreement. 8 intr. a (foll. by for)
accept or agree to (esp. an alternative not one's first choice).
b (foll. by on) decide on. 9 tr. (also absol.) pay (a debt, an
account, etc.). 10 intr. (as settled adj.) not likely to change
for a time (settled weather). 11 tr. a aid the digestion of
(food). b remedy the disordered state of (nerves, the stomach,
etc.). 12 tr. a colonize. b establish colonists in. 13 intr.
subside; fall to the bottom or on to a surface (the foundations
have settled; wait till the sediment settles; the dust will
settle). 14 intr. (of a ship) begin to sink. 15 tr. get rid of
the obstruction of (a person) by argument or conflict or
killing. Ьsettle one's affairs make any necessary arrangements
(e.g. write a will) when death is near. settle a person's hash
see HASH(1). settle in become established in a place. settle
up 1 (also absol.) pay (an account, debt, etc.). 2 finally
arrange (a matter). settle with 1 pay all or part of an amount
due to (a creditor). 2 get revenge on. settling day the
fortnightly pay-day on the Stock Exchange. ЬЬsettleable adj.
[OE setlan (as SETTLE(2)) f. Gmc]
settle(2) n. a bench with a high back and arms and often with a box
fitted below the seat. [OE setl place to sit f. Gmc]
n. 1 the act or an instance of settling; the process of being
settled. 2 a the colonization of a region. b a place or area
occupied by settlers. c a small village. 3 a a political or
financial etc. agreement. b an arrangement ending a dispute. 4
a the terms on which property is given to a person. b a deed
stating these. c the amount of property given. d = marriage
settlement. 5 the process of settling an account. 6 subsidence
of a wall, house, soil, etc.
settler n. a person who goes to settle in a new country or place; an
settlor n. Law a person who makes a settlement esp. of a property.
seven n. & adj. --n. 1 one more than six, or three less than ten;
the sum of four units and three units. 2 a symbol for this (7,
vii, VII). 3 a size etc. denoted by seven. 4 a set or team of
seven individuals. 5 the time of seven o'clock (is it seven
yet?). 6 a card with seven pips. --adj. that amount to seven.
Ьthe seven deadly sins the sins of pride, covetousness, lust,
anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth. the seven seas the oceans of
the world: the Arctic, Antarctic, N. Pacific, S. Pacific, N.
Atlantic, S. Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. the seven wonders of
the world see WONDER. seven year itch a supposed tendency to
infidelity after seven years of marriage. [OE seofon f. Gmc]
sevenfold adj. & adv. 1 seven times as much or as many. 2 consisting of
seventeen n. & adj. --n. 1 one more than sixteen, or seven more than
ten. 2 a symbol for this (17, xvii, XVII). 3 a size etc.
denoted by seventeen. --adj. that amount to seventeen.
ЬЬseventeenth adj. & n. [OE seofontiene]
seventh n. & adj. --n. 1 the position in a sequence corresponding to
the number 7 in the sequence 1-7. 2 something occupying this
position. 3 one of seven equal parts of a thing. 4 Mus. a an
interval or chord spanning seven consecutive notes in the
diatonic scale (e.g. C to B). b a note separated from another
by this interval. --adj. that is the seventh. Ьin seventh
heaven see HEAVEN. Seventh-Day Adventists a staunchly
protestant branch of the Adventists with beliefs based rigidly
on faith and the Scriptures and the imminent return of Christ to
earth, and observing the sabbath on Saturday. ЬЬseventhly adv.
seventy n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 the product of seven and ten. 2
a symbol for this (70, lxx, LXX). 3 (in pl.) the numbers from
70 to 79, esp. the years of a century or of a person's life.
--adj. that amount to seventy. Ьseventy-first, -second , etc.
the ordinal numbers between seventieth and eightieth.
seventy-one, -two , etc. the cardinal numbers between seventy
and eighty. ЬЬseventieth adj. & n. seventyfold adj. & adv.
sever v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by from) divide, break, or make
separate, esp. by cutting. 2 tr. & intr. break off or away;
separate, part, divide (severed our friendship). 3 tr. end the
employment contract of (a person). ЬЬseverable adj. [ME f. AF
severer, OF sevrer ult. f. L separare SEPARATE v.]
several adj. & n. --adj. & n. more than two but not many. --adj. 1
separate or respective; distinct (all went their several ways).
2 Law applied or regarded separately (opp. JOINT). ЬЬseverally
adv. [ME f. AF f. AL separalis f. L separ SEPARATE adj.]
severalty n. 1 separateness. 2 the individual or unshared tenure of an
estate etc. (esp. in severalty). [ME f. AF severalte (as
severance n. 1 the act or an instance of severing. 2 a severed state.
Ьseverance pay an amount paid to an employee on the early
termination of a contract.
severe adj. 1 rigorous, strict, and harsh in attitude or treatment (a
severe critic; severe discipline). 2 serious, critical (a
severe shortage). 3 vehement or forceful (a severe storm). 4
extreme (in an unpleasant quality) (a severe winter; severe
cold). 5 arduous or exacting; making great demands on energy,
skill, etc. (severe competition). 6 unadorned; plain in style
(severe dress). ЬЬseverely adv. severity n. [F s‚vЉre or L
severy n. (pl. -ies) Archit. a space or compartment in a vaulted
ceiling. [ME f. OF civoire (as CIBORIUM)]
n. a bitter orange used for marmalade. [Seville in Spain]
SЉvres n. fine porcelain, often with elaborate decoration, made at
SЉvres in the suburbs of Paris.
sew v.tr. (past part. sewn or sewed) 1 (also absol.) fasten, join,
etc., by making stitches with a needle and thread or a
sewing-machine. 2 make (a garment etc.) by sewing. 3 (often
foll. by on, in, etc.) attach by sewing (shall I sew on your
buttons?). Ьsew up 1 join or enclose by sewing. 2 colloq.
(esp. in passive) satisfactorily arrange or finish dealing with
(a project etc.). 3 esp. US obtain exclusive use of. ЬЬsewer
n. [OE si(o)wan]
sewage n. waste matter, esp. excremental, conveyed in sewers. Ьsewage
farm (or works) a place where sewage is treated, esp. to produce
sewen var. of SEWIN.
sewer n. a conduit, usu. underground, for carrying off drainage water
and sewage. Ьsewer rat the common brown rat. [ME f. AF
sever(e), ONF se(u)wiere channel to carry off the overflow from
a fishpond, ult. f. L ex- out of + aqua water]
sewerage n. a system of or drainage by sewers.
sewin n. (also sewen) a salmon trout of Welsh etc. rivers. [16th c.:
sewing n. a piece of material or work to be sewn.
n. a machine for sewing or stitching.
sewn past part. of SEW.
sex n., adj., & v. --n. 1 either of the main divisions (male and
female) into which living things are placed on the basis of
their reproductive functions. 2 the fact of belonging to one of
these. 3 males or females collectively. 4 sexual instincts,
desires, etc., or their manifestation. 5 colloq. sexual
intercourse. --adj. 1 of or relating to sex (sex education).
2 arising from a difference or consciousness of sex (sex
antagonism; sex urge). --v.tr. 1 determine the sex of. 2 (as
sexed adj.) a having a sexual appetite (highly sexed). b having
sexual characteristics. Ьsex act (usu. prec. by the) the (or
an) act of sexual intercourse. sex appeal sexual
attractiveness. sex change an apparent change of sex by
surgical means and hormone treatment. sex chromosome a
chromosome concerned in determining the sex of an organism,
which in most animals are of two kinds, the X-chromosome and the
Y-chromosome. sex hormone a hormone affecting sexual
development or behaviour. sex kitten colloq. a young woman who
asserts her sex appeal. sex life a person's activity related to
sexual instincts. sex-linked Genetics carried on or by a sex
chromosome. sex maniac colloq. a person needing or seeking
excessive gratification of the sexual instincts. sex object a
person regarded mainly in terms of sexual attractiveness.
sex-starved lacking sexual gratification. sex symbol a person
widely noted for sex appeal. ЬЬsexer n. [ME f. OF sexe or L
n. & adj. --n. a person from 60 to 69 years old. --adj. of
this age. [L sexagenarius f. sexageni distrib. of sexaginta
n. the Sunday before Quinquagesima. [ME f. eccl.L, = sixtieth
(day), prob. named loosely as preceding QUINQUAGESIMA]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of sixtieths. 2 of sixty. 3 reckoning or
reckoned by sixtieths. --n. (in full sexagesimal fraction) a
fraction with a denominator equal to a power of 60 as in the
divisions of the degree and hour. ЬЬsexagesimally adv. [L
sexagesimus (as SEXAGESIMA)]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a six-hundredth anniversary. 2 a
celebration of this. --adj. 1 of or relating to a
sexcentenary. 2 occurring every six hundred years.
sexennial adj. 1 lasting six years. 2 recurring every six years. [SEXI-
+ L annus year]
sexfoil n. a six-lobed ornamental figure. [SEXI-, after CINQUEFOIL,
sexi- comb. form (also sex- before a vowel) six. [L sex six]
sexism n. prejudice or discrimination, esp. against women, on the
grounds of sex. ЬЬsexist adj. & n.
adj. (also sexvalent) Chem. having a valency of six.
sexless adj. 1 Biol. neither male nor female. 2 lacking in sexual
desire or attractiveness. ЬЬsexlessly adv. sexlessness n.
sexology n. the study of sexual life or relationships, esp. in human
beings. ЬЬsexological adj. sexologist n.
adj. divided into six parts.
n. colloq. the exploitation of sex, esp. commercially.
sexpot n. colloq. a sexy person (esp. a woman).
sext n. Eccl. 1 the canonical hour of prayer appointed for the
sixth daytime hour (i.e. noon). 2 the office of sext. [ME f. L
sexta hora sixth hour f. sextus sixth]
sextant n. an instrument with a graduated arc of 60(0) used in
navigation and surveying for measuring the angular distance of
objects by means of mirrors. [L sextans -ntis sixth part f.
sextet n. (also sextette) 1 Mus. a composition for six voices or
instruments. 2 the performers of such a piece. 3 any group of
six. [alt. of SESTET after L sex six]
n. (pl. same or sextillions) a thousand raised to the seventh
(or formerly, esp. Brit., the twelfth) power (10(21) and 10(36)
respectively) (cf. BILLION). ЬЬsextillionth [F f. L sex six,
after septillion etc.]
sexto n. (pl. -os) 1 a size of book or page in which each leaf is
one-sixth that of a printing-sheet. 2 a book or sheet of this
size. [L sextus sixth, as QUARTO]
n. (pl. -os) 1 a size of book or page in which each leaf is
one-sixteenth that of a printing-sheet. 2 a book or sheet of
this size. [L sextus decimus 16th (as QUARTO)]
sexton n. a person who looks after a church and churchyard, often
acting as bell-ringer and gravedigger. Ьsexton beetle any
beetle of the genus Necrophorus, burying carrion to serve as a
nidus for its eggs. [ME segerstane etc., f. AF, OF segerstein,
secrestein f. med.L sacristanus SACRISTAN]
sextuple adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 sixfold. 2 having six parts. 3 being
six times as many or much. --n. a sixfold number or amount.
--v.tr. & intr. multiply by six; increase sixfold. ЬЬsextuply
adv. [med.L sextuplus, irreg. f. L sex six, after LL quintuplus
sextuplet n. 1 each of six children born at one birth. 2 Mus. a group of
six notes to be played in the time of four. [SEXTUPLE, after
sexual adj. 1 of or relating to sex, or to the sexes or the relations
between them. 2 Bot. (of classification) based on the
distinction of sexes in plants. 3 Biol. having a sex. Ьsexual
intercourse the insertion of a man's erect penis into a woman's
vagina, usu. followed by the ejaculation of semen. ЬЬsexuality
n. sexually adv. [LL sexualis (as SEX)]
sexvalent var. of SEXIVALENT.
sexy adj. (sexier, sexiest) 1 sexually attractive or stimulating. 2
sexually aroused. 3 concerned with or engrossed in sex.
ЬЬsexily adv. sexiness n.
sforzando adj., adv., & n. (also sforzato) --adj. & adv. Mus. with
sudden emphasis. --n. (pl. -os or sforzandi) 1 a note or
group of notes especially emphasized. 2 an increase in emphasis
and loudness. [It., verbal noun and past part. of sforzare use
sfumato adj. & n. Painting --adj. with indistinct outlines. --n. the
technique of allowing tones and colours to shade gradually into
one another. [It., past part. of sfumare shade off f. s- =
EX-(1) + fumare smoke]
SG abbr. 1 US senior grade. 2 Law Solicitor-General. 3 specific
sgd. abbr. signed.
sgraffito n. (pl. sgraffiti) a form of decoration made by scratching
through wet plaster on a wall or through slip on ceramic ware,
showing a different-coloured under-surface. [It., past part. of
sgraffire scratch f. s- = EX-(1) + graffio scratch]
shabby adj. (shabbier, shabbiest) 1 in bad repair or condition; faded
and worn, dingy, dilapidated. 2 dressed in old or worn clothes.
3 of poor quality. 4 contemptible, dishonourable (a shabby
trick). ЬЬshabbily adv. shabbiness n. shabbyish adj. [shab
scab f. OE sceabb f. ON, rel. to SCAB]
shabrack n. hist. a cavalry saddle-cloth. [G Schabracke of E. European
orig.: cf. Russ. shabrak]
shack n. & v. --n. a roughly built hut or cabin. --v.intr. (foll. by
up) sl. cohabit, esp. as lovers. [perh. f. Mex. jacal, Aztec
xacatli wooden hut]
shackle n. & v. --n. 1 a metal loop or link, closed by a bolt, to
connect chains etc. 2 a fetter enclosing the ankle or wrist. 3
(usu. in pl.) a restraint or impediment. --v.tr. fetter,
impede, restrain. Ьshackle-bolt 1 a bolt for closing a shackle.
2 a bolt with a shackle at its end. [OE sc(e)acul fetter,
corresp. to LG sh„kel link, coupling, ON sk”kull wagon-pole f.
shad n. (pl. same or shads) Zool. any deep-bodied edible marine
fish of the genus Alosa, spawning in fresh water. [OE sceadd,
of unkn. orig.]
shaddock n. Bot. 1 the largest citrus fruit, with a thick yellow skin
and bitter pulp. Also called POMELO. 2 the tree, Citrus
grandis, bearing these. [Capt. Shaddock, who introduced it to
the W. Indies in the 17th c.]
shade n. & v. --n. 1 comparative darkness (and usu. coolness) caused
by shelter from direct light and heat. 2 a place or area
sheltered from the sun. 3 a darker part of a picture etc. 4 a
colour, esp. with regard to its depth or as distinguished from
one nearly like it. 5 comparative obscurity. 6 a slight amount
(am a shade better today). 7 a translucent cover for a lamp
etc. 8 a screen excluding or moderating light. 9 an
eye-shield. 10 (in pl.) esp. US colloq. sunglasses. 11 a
slightly differing variety (all shades of opinion). 12 literary
a a ghost. b (in pl.) Hades. 13 (in pl.; foll. by of)
suggesting reminiscence or unfavourable comparison (shades of Dr
Johnson!). --v. 1 tr. screen from light. 2 tr. cover,
moderate, or exclude the light of. 3 tr. darken, esp. with
parallel pencil lines to represent shadow etc. 4 intr. & tr.
(often foll. by away, off, into) pass or change by degrees. Ьin
the shade in comparative obscurity. ЬЬshadeless adj. [OE
sc(e)adu f. Gmc]
shading n. 1 the representation of light and shade, e.g. by pencilled
lines, on a map or drawing. 2 the graduation of tones from
light to dark to create a sense of depth.
shadoof n. a pole with a bucket and counterpoise used esp. in Egypt for
raising water. [Egypt. Arab. saduf]
shadow n. & v. --n. 1 shade or a patch of shade. 2 a dark figure
projected by a body intercepting rays of light, often regarded
as an appendage. 3 an inseparable attendant or companion. 4 a
person secretly following another. 5 the slightest trace (not
the shadow of a doubt). 6 a weak or insubstantial remnant or
thing (a shadow of his former self). 7 (attrib.) Brit. denoting
members of a political party in opposition holding
responsibilities parallel to those of the government (shadow
Home Secretary; shadow cabinet). 8 the shaded part of a
picture. 9 a substance used to colour the eyelids. 10 gloom or
sadness. --v.tr. 1 cast a shadow over. 2 secretly follow and
watch the movements of. Ьshadow-boxing boxing against an
imaginary opponent as a form of training. ЬЬshadower n.
shadowless adj. [repr. OE scead(u)we, oblique case of sceadu
n. 1 an image or photograph made by means of X-rays; =
RADIOGRAM 2. 2 a picture formed by a shadow cast on a lighted
surface. 3 an image formed by light refracted differently by
different densities of a fluid.
shadowy adj. 1 like or having a shadow. 2 full of shadows. 3 vague,
indistinct. ЬЬshadowiness n.
shady adj. (shadier, shadiest) 1 giving shade. 2 situated in shade.
3 (of a person or behaviour) disreputable; of doubtful honesty.
ЬЬshadily adv. shadiness n.
shaft n. & v. --n. 1 a an arrow or spear. b the long slender stem
of these. 2 a remark intended to hurt or provoke (a shaft of
malice; shafts of wit). 3 (foll. by of) a a ray (of light). b
a bolt (of lightning). 4 the stem or handle of a tool,
implement, etc. 5 a column, esp. between the base and capital.
6 a long narrow space, usu. vertical, for access to a mine, a
lift in a building, for ventilation, etc. 7 a long and narrow
part supporting or connecting or driving a part or parts of
greater thickness etc. 8 each of the pair of poles between
which a horse is harnessed to a vehicle. 9 the central stem of
a feather. 10 Mech. a large axle or revolving bar transferring
force by belts or cogs. 11 US colloq. harsh or unfair
treatment. --v.tr. US colloq. treat unfairly. [OE sc‘ft,
sceaft f. Gmc]
shafting n. Mech. 1 a system of connected shafts for transmitting
motion. 2 material from which shafts are cut.
shag(1) n. 1 a rough growth or mass of hair etc. 2 a coarse kind of
cut tobacco. 3 a cormorant, esp. the crested cormorant,
Phalacrocorax aristotelis. [OE sceacga, rel. to ON skegg beard,
OE sceaga coppice]
shag(2) v.tr. (shagged, shagging) coarse sl. °Usually considered a
taboo word. 1 have sexual intercourse with. 2 (usu. in
passive; often foll. by out) exhaust; tire out. [18th c.: orig.
shaggy adj. (shaggier, shaggiest) 1 hairy, rough-haired. 2 unkempt.
3 (of the hair) coarse and abundant. 4 Biol. having a hairlike
covering. Ьshaggy-dog story a long rambling story amusing only
by its being inconsequential. ЬЬshaggily adv. shagginess n.
shagreen n. 1 a kind of untanned leather with a rough granulated
surface. 2 a sharkskin rough with natural papillae, used for
rasping and polishing. [var. of CHAGRIN in the sense 'rough
shah n. hist. a title of the former monarch of Iran. ЬЬshahdom n.
[Pers. sah f. OPers. ksaytiya king]
shaikh var. of SHEIKH.
shake v. & n. --v. (past shook; past part. shaken) 1 tr. & intr.
move forcefully or quickly up and down or to and fro. 2 a intr.
tremble or vibrate markedly. b tr. cause to do this. 3 tr. a
agitate or shock. b colloq. upset the composure of. 4 tr.
weaken or impair; make less convincing or firm or courageous
(shook his confidence). 5 intr. (of a voice, note, etc.) make
tremulous or rapidly alternating sounds; trill (his voice shook
with emotion). 6 tr. brandish; make a threatening gesture with
(one's fist, a stick, etc.). 7 intr. colloq. shake hands (they
shook on the deal). 8 tr. esp. US colloq. = shake off. --n.
1 the act or an instance of shaking; the process of being
shaken. 2 a jerk or shock. 3 (in pl.; prec. by the) a fit of
or tendency to trembling or shivering. 4 Mus. a trill. 5 =
milk shake. Ьin two shakes (of a lamb's or dog's tail) very
quickly. no great shakes colloq. not very good or significant.
shake a person by the hand = shake hands. shake down 1 settle
or cause to fall by shaking. 2 settle down. 3 become
established; get into harmony with circumstances, surroundings,
etc. 4 US sl. extort money from. shake the dust off one's feet
depart indignantly or disdainfully. shake hands (often foll. by
with) clasp right hands at meeting or parting, in reconciliation
or congratulation, or over a concluded bargain. shake one's
head move one's head from side to side in refusal, denial,
disapproval, or concern. shake in one's shoes tremble with
apprehension. shake a leg 1 begin dancing. 2 make a start.
shake off 1 get rid of (something unwanted). 2 manage to evade
(a person who is following or pestering one). shake out 1 empty
by shaking. 2 spread or open (a sail, flag, etc.) by shaking.
shake-out n. = shake-up. shake up 1 mix (ingredients) by
shaking. 2 restore to shape by shaking. 3 disturb or make
uncomfortable. 4 rouse from lethargy, apathy, conventionality,
etc. shake-up n. an upheaval or drastic reorganization.
ЬЬshakeable adj. (also shakable). [OE sc(e)acan f. Gmc]
shakedown n. 1 a makeshift bed. 2 US sl. a swindle; a piece of
extortion. 3 (attrib.) US colloq. denoting a voyage, flight,
etc., to test a new ship or aircraft and its crew.
shaken past part. of SHAKE.
shaker n. 1 a person or thing that shakes. 2 a container for shaking
together the ingredients of cocktails etc. 3 (Shaker) a member
of an American religious sect living simply, in celibate mixed
communities. ЬЬShakeress n. (in sense 3). Shakerism n. (in
sense 3). [ME, f. SHAKE: sense 3 from religious dances]
adj. & n. (also Shakespearean) --adj. 1 of or relating to
William Shakespeare, English dramatist d. 1616. 2 in the style
of Shakespeare. --n. a student of Shakespeare's works etc.
shako n. (pl. -os) a cylindrical peaked military hat with a plume.
[F schako f. Magyar cs kў (sЃveg) peaked (cap) f. cs k peak f.
G Zacken spike]
n. (pl. shakuhachis) a Japanese bamboo flute. [Jap. f. shaku
a measure of length + hachi eight (tenths)]
shaky adj. (shakier, shakiest) 1 unsteady; apt to shake; trembling.
2 unsound, infirm (a shaky hand). 3 unreliable, wavering (a
shaky promise; got off to a shaky start). ЬЬshakily adv.
shale n. soft finely stratified rock that splits easily, consisting
of consolidated mud or clay. Ьshale oil oil obtained from
bituminous shale. ЬЬshaly adj. [prob. f. G Schale f. OE
sc(e)alu rel. to ON sk l (see SCALE(2))]
shall v.aux. (3rd sing. present shall; archaic 2nd sing. present
shalt as below; past should) (foll. by infin. without to, or
absol.; present and past only in use) 1 (in the 1st person)
expressing the future tense (I shall return soon) or (with shall
stressed) emphatic intention (I shall have a party). 2 (in the
2nd and 3rd persons) expressing a strong assertion or command
rather than a wish (cf. WILL(1)) (you shall not catch me again;
they shall go to the party). °For the other persons in senses
1, 2 see WILL(1). 3 expressing a command or duty (thou shalt
not steal; they shall obey). 4 (in 2nd-person questions)
expressing an enquiry, esp. to avoid the form of a request (cf.
WILL(1)) (shall you go to France?). Ьshall I? do you want me
to? [OE sceal f. Gmc]
shallot n. an onion-like plant, Allium ascalonicum, with a cluster of
small bulbs. [eschalot f. F eschalotte alt. of OF eschaloigne:
shallow adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 of little depth. 2 superficial,
trivial (a shallow mind). --n. (often in pl.) a shallow place.
--v.intr. & tr. become or make shallow. ЬЬshallowly adv.
shallowness n. [ME, prob. rel. to schald, OE sceald SHOAL(2)]
shalom n. & int. a Jewish salutation at meeting or parting. [Heb.
shalt archaic 2nd person sing. of SHALL.
sham v., n., & adj. --v. (shammed, shamming) 1 intr. feign,
pretend. 2 tr. a pretend to be. b simulate (is shamming
sleep). --n. 1 imposture, pretence. 2 a person or thing
pretending or pretended to be what he or she or it is not.
--adj. pretended, counterfeit. ЬЬshammer n. [perh. north.
dial. var. of SHAME]
shaman n. a witch-doctor or priest claiming to communicate with gods
etc. ЬЬshamanism n. shamanist n. & adj. shamanistic adj. [G
Schamane & Russ. shaman f. Tungusian sam n]
shamateur n. derog. a sports player who makes money from sporting
activities though classed as an amateur. ЬЬshamateurism n.
[SHAM + AMATEUR]
shamble v. & n. --v.intr. walk or run with a shuffling or awkward gait.
--n. a shambling gait. [prob. f. dial. shamble (adj.)
ungainly, perh. f. shamble legs with ref. to straddling
trestles: see SHAMBLES]
shambles n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) 1 colloq. a mess or muddle (the
room was a shambles). 2 a butcher's slaughterhouse. 3 a scene
of carnage. [pl. of shamble stool, stall f. OE sc(e)amul f. WG
f. L scamellum dimin. of scamnum bench]
shambolic adj. colloq. chaotic, unorganized. [SHAMBLES, prob. after
shame n. & v. --n. 1 a feeling of distress or humiliation caused by
consciousness of the guilt or folly of oneself or an associate.
2 a capacity for experiencing this feeling, esp. as imposing a
restraint on behaviour (has no sense of shame). 3 a state of
disgrace, discredit, or intense regret. 4 a a person or thing
that brings disgrace etc. b a thing or action that is wrong or
regrettable. --v.tr. 1 bring shame on; make ashamed; put to
shame. 2 (foll. by into, out of) force by shame (was shamed
into confessing). Ьfor shame! a reproof to a person for not
showing shame. put to shame disgrace or humiliate by revealing
superior qualities etc. shame on you! you should be ashamed.
what a shame! how unfortunate! [OE sc(e)amu]
adj. 1 showing shame. 2 bashful, diffident. ЬЬshamefacedly
also adv. shamefacedness n. [16th-c. alt. of shamefast, by
assim. to FACE]
shameful adj. 1 that causes or is worthy of shame. 2 disgraceful,
scandalous. ЬЬshamefully adv. shamefulness n. [OE sc(e)amful
(as SHAME, -FUL)]
shameless adj. 1 having or showing no sense of shame. 2 impudent.
ЬЬshamelessly adv. shamelessness n. [OE sc(e)amleas (as SHAME,
shammy n. (pl. -ies) (in full shammy leather) colloq. = CHAMOIS 2.
[repr. corrupted pronunc.]
shampoo n. & v. --n. 1 liquid or cream used to lather and wash the
hair. 2 a similar substance for washing a car or carpet etc. 3
an act or instance of cleaning with shampoo. --v.tr.
(shampoos, shampooed) wash with shampoo. [Hind. chhampo,
imper. of chhampna to press]
shamrock n. any of various plants with trifoliate leaves, esp.
Trifolium repens or Medicago lupulina, used as the national
emblem of Ireland. [Ir. seamrўg trefoil, dimin. of seamar
clover + og young]
shamus n. US sl. a detective. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
shandy n. (pl. -ies) a mixture of beer with lemonade or ginger beer.
[19th c.: orig. unkn.]
shanghai v. & n. --v.tr. (shanghais, shanghaied, shanghaiing) 1 force
(a person) to be a sailor on a ship by using drugs or other
trickery. 2 colloq. put into detention or an awkward situation
by trickery. 3 Austral. & NZ shoot with a catapult. --n. (pl.
shanghais) Austral. & NZ a catapult. [Shanghai in China]
n. an imaginary paradise on earth. [the name of a hidden
Tibetan valley in J. Hilton's Lost Horizon (1933)]
shank n. 1 a the leg. b the lower part of the leg; the leg from knee
to ankle. c the shin-bone. 2 the lower part of an animal's
foreleg, esp. as a cut of meat. 3 a shaft or stem. 4 a the
long narrow part of a tool etc. joining the handle to the
working end. b the stem of a key, spoon, anchor, etc. c the
straight part of a nail or fish-hook. 5 the narrow middle of
the sole of a shoe. Ьshanks's mare (or pony) one's own legs as
a means of conveyance. ЬЬshanked adj. (also in comb.). [OE
sceanca f. WG]
shanny n. (pl. -ies) a long-bodied olive-green European marine fish,
Blennius pholis. [19th c.: orig. unkn.: cf. 18th-c. shan]
shan't contr. shall not.
shantung n. soft undressed Chinese silk, usu. undyed. [Shantung,
shanty(1) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a hut or cabin. 2 a crudely built shack.
Ьshanty town a poor or depressed area of a town, consisting of
shanties. [19th c., orig. N.Amer.: perh. f. Can.F chantier]
shanty(2) n. (also chanty) (pl. -ies) (in full sea shanty) a song with
alternating solo and chorus, of a kind orig. sung by sailors
while hauling ropes etc. [prob. F chantez, imper. pl. of
chanter sing: see CHANT]
SHAPE abbr. Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
shape n. & v. --n. 1 the total effect produced by the outlines of a
thing. 2 the external form or appearance of a person or thing.
3 a specific form or guise. 4 a description or sort or way (not
on offer in any shape or form). 5 a definite or proper
arrangement (must get our ideas into shape). 6 a condition, as
qualified in some way (in good shape; in poor shape). b (when
unqualified) good condition (back in shape). 7 a person or
thing as seen, esp. indistinctly or in the imagination (a shape
emerged from the mist). 8 a mould or pattern. 9 a jelly etc.
shaped in a mould. 10 a piece of material, paper, etc., made or
cut in a particular form. --v. 1 tr. give a certain shape or
form to; fashion, create. 2 tr. (foll. by to) adapt or make
conform. 3 intr. give signs of a future shape or development.
4 tr. frame mentally; imagine. 5 intr. assume or develop into a
shape. 6 tr. direct (one's life, course, etc.). Ьlick (or
knock) into shape make presentable or efficient. shape up 1
take a (specified) form. 2 show promise; make good progress.
shape up well be promising. ЬЬshapable adj. (also shapeable).
shaped adj. (also in comb.). shaper n. [OE gesceap creation f.
shapeless adj. lacking definite or attractive shape. ЬЬshapelessly adv.
shapely adj. (shapelier, shapeliest) 1 well formed or proportioned. 2
of elegant or pleasing shape or appearance. ЬЬshapeliness n.
shard n. 1 a broken piece of pottery or glass etc. 2 = POTSHERD. 3
a fragment of volcanic rock. 4 the wing-case of a beetle. [OE
sceard: sense 3 f. shard-borne (Shakesp.) = born in a shard
(dial., = cow-dung), wrongly taken as 'borne on shards']
share(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a portion that a person receives from or gives
to a common amount. 2 a a part contributed by an individual to
an enterprise or commitment. b a part received by an individual
from this (got a large share of the credit). 3
part-proprietorship of property held by joint owners, esp. any
of the equal parts into which a company's capital is divided
entitling its owner to a proportion of the profits. --v. 1 tr.
get or have or give a share of. 2 tr. use or benefit from
jointly with others. 3 intr. have a share; be a sharer (shall I
share with you?). 4 intr. (foll. by in) participate. 5 tr.
(often foll. by out) a divide and distribute. b give away part
of. Ьshare and share alike make an equal division.
share-farmer Austral. & NZ a tenant farmer who receives a share
of the profits from the owner. ЬЬshareable adj. (also
sharable). sharer n. [ME f. OE scearu division, rel. to SHEAR]
share(2) n. = PLOUGHSHARE. [OE scear, sc‘r f. Gmc]
n. esp. US a tenant farmer who gives a part of each crop as
rent. ЬЬsharecrop v.tr. & intr. (-cropped, -cropping).
n. an owner of shares in a company.
shariah n. the Muslim code of religious law. [Arab. sari' a]
sharif n. (also shereef, sherif) 1 a descendant of Muhammad through
his daughter Fatima, entitled to wear a green turban or veil. 2
a Muslim leader. [Arab. sarif noble f. sarafa be exalted]
shark(1) n. any of various large usu. voracious marine fish with a long
body and prominent dorsal fin. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
shark(2) n. colloq. a person who unscrupulously exploits or swindles
others. [16th c.: orig. perh. f. G Schurke worthless rogue:
infl. by SHARK(1)]
sharkskin n. 1 the skin of a shark. 2 a smooth dull-surfaced fabric.
sharp adj., n., adv., & v. --adj. 1 having an edge or point able to
cut or pierce. 2 tapering to a point or edge. 3 abrupt, steep,
angular (a sharp fall; a sharp turn). 4 well-defined,
clean-cut. 5 a severe or intense (has a sharp temper). b (of
food etc.) pungent, keen (a sharp appetite). c (of a frost)
severe, hard. 6 (of a voice or sound) shrill and piercing. 7
(of sand etc.) composed of angular grains. 8 (of words or
temper etc.) harsh or acrimonious (had a sharp tongue). 9 (of a
person) acute; quick to perceive or comprehend. 10 quick to
take advantage; artful, unscrupulous, dishonest. 11 vigorous or
brisk. 12 Mus. a above the normal pitch. b (of a key) having
a sharp or sharps in the signature. c (C, F, etc., sharp) a
semitone higher than C, F, etc. 13 colloq. stylish or flashy
with regard to dress. --n. 1 Mus. a a note raised a semitone
above natural pitch. b the sign (**) indicating this. 2
colloq. a swindler or cheat. 3 a fine sewing-needle. --adv. 1
punctually (at nine o'clock sharp). 2 suddenly, abruptly,
promptly (pulled up sharp). 3 at a sharp angle. 4 Mus. above
the true pitch (sings sharp). --v. 1 intr. archaic cheat or
swindle at cards etc. 2 tr. US Mus. make sharp. Ьsharp end
colloq. 1 the bow of a ship. 2 the scene of direct action or
decision. sharp practice dishonest or barely honest dealings.
sharp-set 1 set with a sharp edge. 2 hungry. ЬЬsharply adv.
sharpness n. [OE sc(e)arp f. Gmc]
sharpen v.tr. & intr. make or become sharp. ЬЬsharpener n.
n. a skilled marksman. ЬЬsharpshooting n. & adj.
adj. keenly perceptive or intelligent. ЬЬsharp-wittedly adv.
shashlik n. (in Asia and E. Europe) a kebab of mutton and garnishings.
[Russ. shashlyk, ult. f. Turk. sis spit, skewer: cf. SHISH
Shasta n. (in full Shasta daisy) a European plant, Chrysanthemum
maximum, with large daisy-like flowers. [Shasta in California]
Shastra n. Hindu sacred writings. [Hindi sastr, Skr. sastra]
shatter v. 1 tr. & intr. break suddenly in pieces. 2 tr. severely
damage or utterly destroy (shattered hopes). 3 tr. greatly
upset or discompose. 4 tr. (usu. as shattered adj.) exhaust.
ЬЬshatterer n. shattering adj. shatteringly adv.
shatter-proof adj. [ME, rel. to SCATTER]
shave v. & n. --v.tr. (past part. shaved or (as adj.) shaven) 1
remove (bristles or hair) from the face etc. with a razor. 2
(also absol.) remove bristles or hair with a razor from the face
etc. of (a person) or (a part of the body). 3 a reduce by a
small amount. b take (a small amount) away from. 4 cut thin
slices from the surface of (wood etc.) to shape it. 5 pass
close to without touching; miss narrowly. --n. 1 an act of
shaving or the process of being shaved. 2 a close approach
without contact. 3 a narrow miss or escape; = close shave (see
CLOSE(1)). 4 a tool for shaving wood etc. [OE sc(e)afan (sense
4 of noun f. OE sceafa) f. Gmc]
shaveling n. archaic 1 a shaven person. 2 a monk, friar, or priest.
shaven see SHAVE.
shaver n. 1 a person or thing that shaves. 2 an electric razor. 3
colloq. a young lad.
Shavian adj. & n. --adj. of or in the manner of G. B. Shaw, Irish-born
dramatist d. 1950, or his ideas. --n. an admirer of Shaw.
[Shavius, Latinized form of Shaw]
shaving n. 1 a thin strip cut off the surface of wood etc. 2 (attrib.)
used in shaving the face (shaving-cream).
Shavuoth n. (also Shavuot) the Jewish Pentecost. [Heb. sab–' “t, =
weeks, with ref. to the weeks between Passover and Pentecost]
shaw n. esp. Brit. the stalks and leaves of potatoes, turnips,
etc. [perh. = SHOW n.]
shawl n. a piece of fabric, usu. rectangular and often folded into a
triangle, worn over the shoulders or head or wrapped round a
baby. Ьshawl collar a rolled collar extended down the front of
a garment without lapel notches. ЬЬshawled adj. [Urdu etc. f.
Pers. sal, prob. f. Shaliat in India]
shawm n. Mus. a medieval double-reed wind instrument with a sharp
penetrating tone. [ME f. OF chalemie, chalemel, chalemeaus
(pl.), ult. f. L calamus f. Gk kalamos reed]
shchi n. a Russian cabbage soup. [Russ.]
she pron. & n. --pron. (obj. her; poss. her; pl. they) 1 the
woman or girl or female animal previously named or in question.
2 a thing regarded as female, e.g. a vehicle or ship. 3
Austral. & NZ colloq. it; the state of affairs (she'll be
right). --n. 1 a female; a woman. 2 (in comb.) female
(she-goat). Ьshe-devil a malicious or spiteful woman. [ME sc‘,
sche, etc., f. OE fem. demonstr. pron. & adj. sio, seo, acc.
s/he pron. a written representation of 'he or she' used to indicate
shea n. a W. African tree, Vitellaria paradoxa, bearing nuts
containing a large amount of fat. Ьshea-butter a butter made
from this fat. [Mandingo si, se, sye]
sheading n. each of the six administrative divisions of the Isle of Man.
[SHED(1) + -ING(1)]
sheaf n. & v. --n. (pl. sheaves) a group of things laid lengthways
together and usu. tied, esp. a bundle of cornstalks tied after
reaping, or a collection of papers. --v.tr. make into sheaves.
[OE sceaf f. Gmc (as SHOVE)]
shealing var. of SHIELING.
shear v. & n. --v. (past sheared, archaic except Austral. & NZ
shore; past part. shorn or sheared) 1 tr. cut with scissors or
shears etc. 2 tr. remove or take off by cutting. 3 tr. clip
the wool off (a sheep etc.). 4 tr. (foll. by of) a strip bare.
b deprive. 5 tr. & intr. (often foll. by off) distort or be
distorted, or break, from a structural strain. --n. 1 Mech. &
Geol. a strain produced by pressure in the structure of a
substance, when its layers are laterally shifted in relation to
each other. 2 (in pl.) (also pair of shears sing.) a large
clipping or cutting instrument shaped like scissors for use in
gardens etc. ЬЬshearer n. [OE sceran f. Gmc]
shearling n. 1 a sheep that has been shorn once. 2 wool from a
n. 1 any long-winged sea bird of the genus Puffinus, usu.
flying near the surface of the water. 2 = SKIMMER 4.
sheatfish n. (pl. same or sheatfishes) a large freshwater catfish,
Silurus glanis, native to European waters. [earlier
sheath-fish, prob. after G Scheid]
sheath n. (pl. sheaths) 1 a close-fitting cover, esp. for the blade
of a knife or sword. 2 a condom. 3 Bot., Anat., & Zool. an
enclosing case or tissue. 4 the protective covering round an
electric cable. 5 a woman's close-fitting dress. Ьsheath knife
a dagger-like knife carried in a sheath. ЬЬsheathless adj. [OE
sheathe v.tr. 1 put into a sheath. 2 encase; protect with a sheath.
[ME f. SHEATH]
sheathing n. a protective casing or covering.
sheave(1) v.tr. make into sheaves.
sheave(2) n. a grooved wheel in a pulley-block etc., for a rope to run
on. [ME f. OE scife (unrecorded) f. Gmc]
sheaves pl. of SHEAF.
shebang n. US sl. 1 a matter or affair (esp. the whole shebang). 2 a
shed or hut. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
shebeen n. esp. Ir. an unlicensed house selling alcoholic liquor.
[Anglo-Ir. sЎbЎn f. s‚ibe mugful]
shed(1) n. 1 a one-storeyed structure usu. of wood for storage or
shelter for animals etc., or as a workshop. 2 a large roofed
structure with one side open, for storing or maintaining
machinery etc. 3 Austral. & NZ an open-sided building for
shearing sheep or milking cattle. [app. var. of SHADE(1)]
shed(2) v.tr. (shedding; past and past part. shed) 1 let or cause to
fall off (trees shed their leaves). 2 take off (clothes). 3
reduce (an electrical power load) by disconnection etc. 4 cause
to fall or flow (shed blood; shed tears). 5 disperse, diffuse,
radiate (shed light). Ьshed light on see LIGHT(1). [OE
sc(e)adan f. Gmc]
she'd contr. 1 she had. 2 she would.
shedder n. 1 a person or thing that sheds. 2 a female salmon after
shedhand n. Austral. & NZ an unskilled assistant in a shearing shed.
sheen n. 1 a gloss or lustre on a surface. 2 radiance, brightness.
ЬЬsheeny adj. [obs. sheen beautiful, resplendent f. OE scene:
sense assim. to SHINE]
sheep n. (pl. same) 1 any ruminant mammal of the genus Ovis with a
thick woolly coat, esp. kept in flocks for its wool or meat, and
noted for its timidity. 2 a bashful, timid, or silly person. 3
(usu. in pl.) a a member of a minister's congregation. b a
parishioner. Ьseparate the sheep from the goats divide into
superior and inferior groups (cf. Matt. 25:33). sheep-dip 1 a
preparation for cleansing sheep of vermin or preserving their
wool. 2 the place where sheep are dipped in this. sheep-run an
extensive sheepwalk, esp. in Australia. sheep's-bit a plant,
Jasione montana, resembling a scabious. ЬЬsheeplike adj. [OE
scep, sc‘p, sceap]
sheepdog n. 1 a dog trained to guard and herd sheep. 2 a a dog of
various breeds suitable for this. b any of these breeds.
sheepfold n. an enclosure for penning sheep.
sheepish adj. 1 bashful, shy, reticent. 2 embarrassed through shame.
ЬЬsheepishly adv. sheepishness n.
n. a knot used to shorten a rope temporarily.
sheepskin n. 1 a garment or rug of sheep's skin with the wool on. 2
leather from a sheep's skin used in bookbinding.
sheepwalk n. Brit. a tract of land on which sheep are pastured.
sheer(1) adj. & adv. --adj. 1 no more or less than; mere, unqualified,
absolute (sheer luck; sheer determination). 2 (of a cliff or
ascent etc.) perpendicular; very steep. 3 (of a textile) very
thin; diaphanous. --adv. 1 directly, outright. 2
perpendicularly. ЬЬsheerly adv. sheerness n. [ME schere prob.
f. dial. shire pure, clear f. OE scir f. Gmc]
sheer(2) v. & n. --v.intr. 1 esp. Naut. swerve or change course. 2
(foll. by away, off) go away, esp. from a person or topic one
dislikes or fears. --n. Naut. a deviation from a course.
[perh. f. MLG scheren = SHEAR v.]
sheer(3) n. the upward slope of a ship's lines towards the bow and
stern. [prob. f. SHEAR n.]
sheerlegs n.pl. (treated as sing.) a hoisting apparatus made from poles
joined at or near the top and separated at the bottom for
masting ships, installing engines, etc. [sheer, var. of SHEAR
n. + LEG]
sheet(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a large rectangular piece of cotton or other
fabric, used esp. in pairs as inner bedclothes. 2 a a broad
usu. thin flat piece of material (e.g. paper or metal). b
(attrib.) made in sheets (sheet iron). 3 a wide continuous
surface or expanse of water, ice, flame, falling rain, etc. 4 a
set of unseparated postage stamps. 5 derog. a newspaper, esp. a
disreputable one. 6 a complete piece of paper of the size in
which it was made, for printing and folding as part of a book.
--v. 1 tr. provide or cover with sheets. 2 tr. form into
sheets. 3 intr. (of rain etc.) fall in sheets. Ьsheet
lightning a lightning flash with its brightness diffused by
reflection. sheet metal metal formed into thin sheets by
rolling, hammering, etc. sheet music music published in cut or
folded sheets, not bound. [OE scete, sciete f. Gmc]
sheet(2) n. 1 a rope or chain attached to the lower corner of a sail for
securing or controlling it. 2 (in pl.) the space at the bow or
stern of an open boat. Ьflowing sheets sheets eased for free
movement in the wind. sheet anchor 1 a second anchor for use in
emergencies. 2 a person or thing depended on in the last
resort. sheet bend a method of temporarily fastening one rope
through the loop of another. [ME f. OE sceata, ON skaut (as
sheeting n. material for making bed linen.
sheikh n. (also shaikh, sheik) 1 a chief or head of an Arab tribe,
family, or village. 2 a Muslim leader. ЬЬsheikhdom n. [ult.
f. Arab. sayk old man, sheikh, f. saka be or grow old]
sheila n. Austral. & NZ sl. a girl or young woman. [orig. shaler
(of unkn. orig.): assim. to the name Sheila]
shekel n. 1 the chief monetary unit of modern Israel. 2 hist. a
silver coin and unit of weight used in ancient Israel and the
Middle East. 3 (in pl.) colloq. money; riches. [Heb. sekel f.
shelduck n. (pl. same or shelducks; masc. sheldrake, pl. same or
sheldrakes) any bright-plumaged coastal wild duck of the genus
Tadorna, esp. T. tadorna. [ME prob. f. dial. sheld pied, rel.
to MDu. schillede variegated, + DRAKE]
shelf(1) n. (pl. shelves) 1 a a thin flat piece of wood or metal etc.
projecting from a wall, or as part of a unit, used to support
books etc. b a flat-topped recess in a wall etc. used for
supporting objects. 2 a a projecting horizontal ledge in a
cliff face etc. b a reef or sandbank under water. c =
continental shelf. Ьon the shelf 1 (of a woman) past the age
when she might expect to be married. 2 (esp. of a retired
person) no longer active or of use. shelf-life the amount of
time for which a stored item of food etc. remains usable.
shelf-mark a notation on a book showing its place in a library.
shelf-room available space on a shelf. ЬЬshelved adj. shelfful
n. (pl. -fuls). shelflike adj. [ME f. (M)LG schelf, rel. to
OE scylfe partition, scylf crag]
shelf(2) n. & v. Austral. sl. --n. an informer. --v.tr. inform upon.
[20th c.: orig. uncert.]
shell n. & v. --n. 1 a the hard outer case of many marine molluscs
(cockle shell). b the esp. hard but fragile outer covering of a
bird's, reptile's, etc. egg. c the usu. hard outer case of a
nut-kernel, seed, etc. d the carapace of a tortoise, turtle,
etc. e the wing-case or pupa-case of many insects etc. 2 a an
explosive projectile or bomb for use in a big gun or mortar. b
a hollow metal or paper case used as a container for fireworks,
explosives, cartridges, etc. c US a cartridge. 3 a mere
semblance or outer form without substance. 4 any of several
things resembling a shell in being an outer case, esp.: a a
light racing-boat. b a hollow pastry case. c the metal
framework of a vehicle body etc. d the walls of an unfinished
or gutted building, ship, etc. e an inner or roughly-made
coffin. f a building shaped like a conch. g the handguard of a
sword. 5 a group of electrons with almost equal energy in an
atom. --v. 1 tr. remove the shell or pod from. 2 tr. bombard
(a town, troops, etc.) with shells. 3 tr. provide or cover with
a shell or shells. 4 intr. (usu. foll. by off) (of metal etc.)
come off in scales. 5 intr. (of a seed etc.) be released from a
shell. Ьcome out of one's shell cease to be shy; become
communicative. shell-bit a gouge-shaped boring bit. shell
company an unimportant firm made the subject of a take-over bid
because of its status on the Stock Exchange etc. shell egg an
egg still in its shell, not dried etc. shell-heap (or -mound)
hist. a kitchen midden. shell-jacket an army officer's
tight-fitting undress jacket reaching to the waist. shell-lime
fine quality lime produced by burning sea shells. shell-money
shells used as a medium of exchange, e.g. wampum. shell out
(also absol.) colloq. 1 pay (money). 2 hand over (a required
sum). shell-out n. 1 the act of shelling out. 2 a game of
snooker etc. played by three or more people. shell-pink a
delicate pale pink. shell-shock a nervous breakdown resulting
from exposure to battle. shell-shocked suffering from
shell-shock. shell-work ornamentation consisting of shells
cemented on to wood etc. ЬЬshelled adj. shell-less adj.
shell-like adj. shellproof adj. (in sense 2a of n.). shelly
adj. [OE sc(i)ell f. Gmc: cf. SCALE(1)]
she'll contr. she will; she shall.
shellac n. & v. --n. lac resin melted into thin flakes and used for
making varnish (cf. LAC(1)). --v.tr. (shellacked,
shellacking) 1 varnish with shellac. 2 US sl. defeat or thrash
soundly. [SHELL + LAC, transl. F laque en ‚cailles lac in thin
shellback n. sl. an old sailor.
shellfish n. 1 an aquatic shelled mollusc, e.g. an oyster, winkle, etc.
2 a crustacean, e.g. a crab, shrimp, etc.
Shelta n. an ancient hybrid secret language used by Irish tinkers,
gypsies, etc. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
shelter n. & v. --n. 1 anything serving as a shield or protection from
danger, bad weather, etc. 2 a a place of refuge provided esp.
for the homeless etc. b US an animal sanctuary. 3 a shielded
condition; protection (took shelter under a tree). --v. 1 tr.
act or serve as shelter to; protect; conceal; defend (sheltered
them from the storm; had a sheltered upbringing). 2 intr. &
refl. find refuge; take cover (sheltered under a tree; sheltered
themselves behind the wall). Ьshelter-belt a line of trees etc.
planted to protect crops from the wind. ЬЬshelterer n.
shelterless adj. [16th c.: perh. f. obs. sheltron phalanx f.
OE scieldtruma (as SHIELD, truma troop)]
sheltie n. (also shelty) (pl. -ies) a Shetland pony or sheepdog.
[prob. repr. ON Hjalti Shetlander as pronounced in Orkney]
shelve(1) v.tr. 1 put (books etc.) on a shelf. 2 a abandon or defer (a
plan etc.). b remove (a person) from active work etc. 3 fit (a
cupboard etc.) with shelves. ЬЬshelver n. shelving n.
[shelves pl. of SHELF]
shelve(2) v.intr. (of ground etc.) slope in a specified direction (land
shelved away to the horizon). [perh. f. shelvy (adj.) having
underwater reefs f. shelve (n.) ledge, f. SHELVE(1)]
shelves pl. of SHELF.
shemozzle n. (also schemozzle) sl. 1 a brawl or commotion. 2 a muddle.
[Yiddish after LHeb. sel-lo' -mazzal of no luck]
n. (esp. in pl.) colloq. 1 high-spirited behaviour; nonsense.
2 trickery; dubious manoeuvres. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
Sheol n. the Hebrew underworld abode of the dead. [Heb. se'“l]
shepherd n. & v. --n. 1 (fem. shepherdess) a person employed to tend
sheep, esp. at pasture. 2 a member of the clergy etc. who cares
for and guides a congregation. --v.tr. 1 a tend (sheep etc.)
as a shepherd. b guide (followers etc.). 2 marshal or drive (a
crowd etc.) like sheep. Ьthe Good Shepherd Christ. shepherd
dog a sheepdog. shepherd's crook a staff with a hook at one end
used by shepherds. shepherd's needle a white-flowered common
plant, Scandix pecten-veneris, with spiny fruit. shepherd's pie
a dish of minced meat under a layer of mashed potato.
shepherd's plaid 1 a small black and white check pattern. 2
woollen cloth with this pattern. shepherd's purse a
white-flowered hairy cornfield plant, Capsella bursa-pastoris,
with triangular or cordate pods. [OE sceaphierde (as SHEEP,
v.tr. (also -ise) coat (iron or steel) with zinc by heating in
contact with zinc dust. [Sherard Cowper-Coles, Engl. inventor
Sheraton n. (often attrib.) a style of furniture introduced in England
c.1790, with delicate and graceful forms. [T. Sheraton, Engl.
furniture-maker d. 1806]
sherbet n. 1 a a flavoured sweet effervescent powder or drink. b US a
water-ice. 2 a cooling drink of sweet diluted fruit-juices esp.
in Arabic countries. 3 Austral. joc. beer. [Turk. serbet,
Pers. serbet f. Arab. sarba drink f. sariba to drink: cf.
sherd n. = POTSHERD. [var. of SHARD]
shereef (also sherif) var. of SHARIF.
sheriff n. 1 Brit. a (also High Sheriff) the chief executive officer
of the Crown in a county, administering justice etc. b an
honorary officer elected annually in some towns. 2 US an
elected officer in a county, responsible for keeping the peace.
Ьsheriff court Sc. a county court. sheriff-depute Sc. the
chief judge of a county or district. ЬЬsheriffalty n. (pl.
-ies). sheriffdom n. sheriffhood n. sheriffship n. [OE
scir-gerefa (as SHIRE, REEVE(1))]
Sherpa n. (pl. same or Sherpas) 1 a Himalayan people living on the
borders of Nepal and Tibet, and skilled in mountaineering. 2 a
member of this people. [native name]
sherry n. (pl. -ies) 1 a fortified wine orig. from S. Spain. 2 a
glass of this. Ьsherry cobbler see COBBLER 2. sherry-glass a
small wineglass used for sherry. [earlier sherris f. Sp. (vino
de) Xeres (now Jerez de la Frontera) in Andalusia]
she's contr. 1 she is. 2 she has.
n. a native of the Shetland Islands, NNE of the mainland of
n. openwork woollen trimming.
n. 1 a pony of a small hardy rough-coated breed. 2 this breed.
n. 1 a small dog of a collie-like breed. 2 this breed.
n. a fine loosely twisted wool from Shetland sheep.
sheva var. of SCHWA.
shew archaic var. of SHOW.
shewbread n. twelve loaves that were displayed in a Jewish temple and
renewed each sabbath.
Shiah n. one of the two main branches of Islam, esp. in Iran, that
rejects the first three Sunni Caliphs and regards Ali as
Muhammad's first successor. [Arab. si' a party (of Ali,
Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law)]
shiatsu n. a kind of therapy of Japanese origin, in which pressure is
applied with the thumbs and palms to certain points of the body.
[Jap., = finger pressure]
n. a long-standing formula, doctrine, or phrase, etc., held to
be true by a party or sect (must abandon outdated shibboleths).
[ME f. Heb. sibbolet ear of corn, used as a test of nationality
for its difficult pronunciation (Judg. 12:6)]
shicer n. Austral. 1 Mining an unproductive claim or mine. 2 sl. a
a swindler, welsher, or cheat. b a worthless thing; a failure.
[G Scheisser contemptible person]
shicker adj. (also shickered) Austral. & NZ sl. drunk. [Yiddish
shiker f. Heb. sikk“r f. sakar be drunk]
shield n. & v. --n. 1 a esp. hist. a piece of armour of esp. metal,
carried on the arm or in the hand to deflect blows from the head
or body. b a thing serving to protect (insurance is a shield
against disaster). 2 a thing resembling a shield, esp.: a a
trophy in the form of a shield. b a protective plate or screen
in machinery etc. c a shieldlike part of an animal, esp. a
shell. d a similar part of a plant. e Geol. a large rigid area
of the earth's crust, usu. of Precambrian rock, which has been
unaffected by later orogenic episodes. f US a policeman's
shield-shaped badge. 3 Heraldry a stylized representation of a
shield used for displaying a coat of arms etc. --v.tr. protect
or screen, esp. from blame or lawful punishment. Ьshield fern 1
any common fern of the genus Polystichum, with shield-shaped
indusia. 2 = BUCKLER 2. ЬЬshieldless adj. [OE sc(i)eld f.
Gmc: prob. orig. = board, rel. to SCALE(1)]
shieling n. (also shealing) Sc. 1 a roughly constructed hut orig. esp.
for pastoral use. 2 pasture for cattle. [Sc. shiel hut: ME,
of unkn. orig.]
shier compar. of SHY(1).
shiest superl. of SHY(1).
shift v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. change or move or cause to change
or move from one position to another. 2 tr. remove, esp. with
effort (washing won't shift the stains). 3 sl. a intr. hurry
(we'll have to shift!). b tr. consume (food or drink) hastily
or in bulk. c tr. sell (esp. dubious goods). 4 intr. contrive
or manage as best one can. 5 US a tr. change (gear) in a
vehicle. b intr. change gear. 6 intr. (of cargo) get shaken
out of place. 7 intr. archaic be evasive or indirect. --n. 1
a the act or an instance of shifting. b the substitution of one
thing for another; a rotation. 2 a a relay of workers (the
night shift). b the time for which they work (an eight-hour
shift). 3 a a device, stratagem, or expedient. b a dodge,
trick, or evasion. 4 a a woman's straight unwaisted dress. b
archaic a loose-fitting undergarment. 5 a displacement of
spectral lines (see also red shift). 6 (also sound shift) a
systematic change in pronunciation as a language evolves. 7 a
key on a keyboard used to switch between lower and upper case
etc. 8 Bridge a a change of suit in bidding. b US a change of
suit in play. 9 the positioning of successive rows of bricks so
that their ends do not coincide. 10 US a a gear lever in a
motor vehicle. b a mechanism for this. Ьmake shift manage or
contrive; get along somehow (made shift without it). shift for
oneself rely on one's own efforts. shift one's ground take up a
new position in an argument etc. shift off get rid of
(responsibility etc.) to another. ЬЬshiftable adj. shifter n.
[OE sciftan arrange, divide, etc., f. Gmc]
shiftless adj. lacking resourcefulness; lazy; inefficient. ЬЬshiftlessly
adv. shiftlessness n.
shifty adj. colloq. (shiftier, shiftiest) not straightforward;
evasive; deceitful. ЬЬshiftily adv. shiftiness n.
shigella n. any airborne bacterium of the genus Shigella, some of which
cause dysentery. [mod.L f. K. Shiga, Jap. bacteriologist d.
1957 + dimin. suffix]
shih-tzu n. 1 a dog of a breed with long silky erect hair and short
legs. 2 this breed. [Chin. shizi lion]
Shiite n. & adj. --n. an adherent of the Shiah branch of Islam.
--adj. of or relating to Shiah. ЬЬShiism n.
shikar n. Ind. hunting. [Urdu f. Pers. sikar]
shiksa n. often offens. (used by Jews) a gentile girl or woman.
[Yiddish shikse f. Heb. si&qdbelow.sѓ f. sheqes detested thing
+ -ѓ fem. suffix]
shill n. US a person employed to decoy or entice others into buying,
gambling, etc. [prob. f. earlier shillaber, of unkn. orig.]
n. a thick stick of blackthorn or oak used in Ireland esp. as a
weapon. [Shillelagh in Co. Wicklow, Ireland]
shilling n. 1 hist. a former British coin and monetary unit worth
one-twentieth of a pound or twelve pence. 2 a monetary unit in
Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Ьshilling-mark hist. = SOLIDUS.
take the King's (or Queen's) shilling hist. enlist as a soldier
(formerly a soldier was paid a shilling on enlisting). [OE
scilling, f. Gmc]
v., adj., & n. --v.intr. (-ies, -ied) hesitate to act or
choose; be undecided; vacillate. --adj. vacillating. --n.
indecision; vacillation. ЬЬshilly-shallyer n. (also
-shallier). [orig. shill I, shall I, redupl. of shall I?]
shily var. of SHYLY (see SHY(1)).
shim n. & v. --n. a thin strip of material used in machinery etc. to
make parts fit. --v.tr. (shimmed, shimming) fit or fill up
with a shim. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
shimmer v. & n. --v.intr. shine with a tremulous or faint diffused
light. --n. such a light. ЬЬshimmeringly adv. shimmery adj.
[OE scymrian f. Gmc: cf. SHINE]
shimmy n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 hist. a kind of ragtime dance in
which the whole body is shaken. 2 archaic colloq. = CHEMISE. 3
US an abnormal vibration of esp. the front wheels of a motor
vehicle. --v.intr. (-ies, -ied) 1 a hist. dance a shimmy. b
move in a similar manner. 2 shake or vibrate abnormally. [20th
c.: orig. uncert.]
shin n. & v. --n. 1 the front of the leg below the knee. 2 a cut
of beef from the lower foreleg. --v.tr. & (usu. foll. by up,
down) intr. (shinned, shinning) climb quickly by clinging with
the arms and legs. Ьshin-bone = TIBIA. shin-pad (or -guard) a
protective pad for the shins, worn when playing football etc.
shindig n. colloq. 1 a festive, esp. noisy, party. 2 = SHINDY 1.
[prob. f. SHINDY]
shindy n. (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 a brawl, disturbance, or noise
(kicked up a shindy). 2 = SHINDIG 1. [perh. alt. of SHINTY]
shine v. & n. --v. (past and past part. shone or shined) 1 intr.
emit or reflect light; be bright; glow (the lamp was shining;
his face shone with gratitude). 2 intr. (of the sun, a star,
etc.) not be obscured by clouds etc.; be visible. 3 tr. cause
(a lamp etc.) to shine. 4 tr. (past and past part. shined)
make bright; polish (shined his shoes). 5 intr. be brilliant in
some respect; excel (does not shine in conversation; is a
shining example). --n. 1 light; brightness, esp. reflected. 2
a high polish; lustre. 3 US the act or an instance of shining
esp. shoes. Ьshine up to US seek to ingratiate oneself with.
take the shine out of 1 spoil the brilliance or newness of. 2
throw into the shade by surpassing. take a shine to colloq.
take a fancy to; like. ЬЬshiningly adv. [OE scinan f. Gmc]
shiner n. 1 a thing that shines. 2 colloq. a black eye. 3 US any of
various small silvery freshwater fish, esp. of the genus
Notropis. 4 (usu. in pl.) sl. a archaic money. b a jewel.
n. (in sing. or pl.) small rounded pebbles, esp. on a
sea-shore. ЬЬshingly adj. [16th c.: orig. uncert.]
n. & v. --n. 1 a rectangular wooden tile used on roofs,
spires, or esp. walls. 2 archaic a shingled hair. b the act
of shingling hair. 3 US a small signboard, esp. of a doctor,
lawyer, etc. --v.tr. 1 roof or clad with shingles. 2 archaic
a cut (a woman's hair) very short. b cut the hair of (a person
or head) in this way. [ME app. f. L scindula, earlier scandula]
shingles n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) an acute painful viral
inflammation of the nerve ganglia, with a skin eruption often
forming a girdle around the middle of the body. [ME f. med.L
cingulus f. L cingulum girdle f. cingere gird]
shinny v.intr. (-ies, -ied) (usu. foll. by up, down) US colloq. shin
(up or down a tree etc.).
Shinto n. the official religion of Japan incorporating the worship of
ancestors and nature-spirits. ЬЬShintoism n. Shintoist n.
[Jap. f. Chin. shen dao way of the gods]
shinty n. (pl. -ies) Brit. 1 a game like hockey played with a ball
and curved sticks, and taller goalposts. 2 a stick or ball used
in shinty. [earlier shinny, app. f. the cry used in the game
shin ye, shin you, shin t' ye, of unkn. orig.]
shiny adj. (shinier, shiniest) 1 having a shine; glistening;
polished; bright. 2 (of clothing, esp. the seat of trousers
etc.) having the nap worn off. ЬЬshinily adv. shininess n.
ship n. & v. --n. 1 a any large seagoing vessel (cf. BOAT). b a
sailing-vessel with a bowsprit and three, four, or five
square-rigged masts. 2 US an aircraft. 3 a spaceship. 4
colloq. a boat, esp. a racing-boat. --v. (shipped, shipping) 1
tr. put, take, or send away (goods, passengers, sailors, etc.)
on board ship. 2 tr. a take in (water) over the side of a
ship, boat, etc. b take (oars) from the rowlocks and lay them
inside a boat. c fix (a rudder etc.) in its place on a ship
etc. d step (a mast). 3 intr. a take ship; embark. b (of a
sailor) take service on a ship (shipped for Africa). 4 tr.
deliver (goods) to a forwarding agent for conveyance.
Ьship-breaker a contractor who breaks up old ships. ship-broker
an agent in shipping goods and insuring ships. ship burial
Archaeol. burial in a wooden ship under a mound. ship-canal a
canal large enough for ships to pass inland. ship (or ship's)
chandler see CHANDLER. ship-fever typhus. ship-money hist. a
tax raised to provide ships for the navy in the 17th c. ship of
the desert the camel. ship off 1 send or transport by ship. 2
colloq. send (a person) away. ship of the line hist. a large
battleship fighting in the front line of battle. ship-rigged
square-rigged. ship's articles the terms on which seamen take
service on a ship. ship's biscuit hist. a hard coarse kind of
biscuit kept and eaten on board ship. ship's boat a small boat
carried on board a ship. ship's company a ship's crew. ship's
corporal see CORPORAL(1) 2. ship a sea be flooded by a wave.
ship's husband an agent appointed by the owners to see to the
provisioning of a ship in port. ship's papers documents
establishing the ownership, nationality, nature of the cargo,
etc., of a ship. take ship embark. when a person's ship comes
home (or in) when a person's fortune is made. ЬЬshipless adj.
shippable adj. [OE scip, scipian f. Gmc]
-ship suffix forming nouns denoting: 1 a quality or condition
(friendship; hardship). 2 status, office, or honour
(authorship; lordship). 3 a tenure of office (chairmanship). 4
a skill in a certain capacity (workmanship). 5 the collective
individuals of a group (membership). [OE -scipe etc. f. Gmc]
shipboard n. (usu. attrib.) used or occurring on board a ship (a
shipboard romance). Ьon shipboard on board ship.
n. a person, company, etc., that constructs ships.
shiplap v. & n. --v.tr. fit (boards) together for cladding etc. so that
each overlaps the one below. --n. such cladding.
shipload n. a quantity of goods forming a cargo.
n. a ship's captain.
shipmate n. a fellow member of a ship's crew.
shipment n. 1 an amount of goods shipped; a consignment. 2 the act or
an instance of shipping goods etc.
shipowner n. a person owning a ship or ships or shares in ships.
shipper n. a person or company that sends or receives goods by ship, or
US by land or air. [OE scipere (as SHIP)]
shipping n. 1 the act or an instance of shipping goods etc. 2 ships,
esp. the ships of a country, port, etc. Ьshipping-agent a
person acting for a ship or ships at a port etc.
shipping-articles = ship's articles. shipping-bill Brit. a
manifest of goods shipped. shipping-master Brit. an official
presiding at the signing of ship's articles, paying off of
seamen, etc. shipping-office the office of a shipping-agent or
shipshape adv. & predic.adj. in good order; trim and neat.
shipway n. a slope on which a ship is built and down which it slides to
shipworm n. = TEREDO.
shipwreck n. & v. --n. 1 a the destruction of a ship by a storm,
foundering, etc. b a ship so destroyed. 2 (often foll. by of)
the destruction of hopes, dreams, etc. --v. 1 tr. inflict
shipwreck on (a ship, a person's hopes, etc.). 2 intr. suffer
n. 1 a shipbuilder. 2 a ship's carpenter.
shipyard n. a place where ships are built, repaired, etc.
shiralee n. Austral. a tramp's swag or bundle. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
shire n. Brit. 1 a county. 2 (the Shires) a a group of English
counties with names ending or formerly ending in -shire,
extending NE from Hampshire and Devon. b the midland counties
of England. c the fox-hunting district of mainly Leicestershire
and Northants. 3 Austral. a rural area with its own elected
council. Ьshire-horse a heavy powerful type of draught-horse
bred chiefly in the midland counties of England. [OE scir, OHG
scira care, official charge: orig. unkn.]
-shire suffix forming the names of counties (Derbyshire; Hampshire).
shirk v. & n. --v.tr. (also absol.) shrink from; avoid; get out of
(duty, work, responsibility, fighting, etc.). --n. a person who
shirks. ЬЬshirker n. [obs. shirk (n.) sponger, perh. f. G
shirr n. & v. --n. 1 two or more rows of esp. elastic gathered
threads in a garment etc. forming smocking. 2 elastic webbing.
--v.tr. 1 gather (material) with parallel threads. 2 US bake
(eggs) without shells. ЬЬshirring n. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
shirt n. 1 a man's upper-body garment of cotton etc., having a
collar, sleeves, and esp. buttons down the front, and often worn
under a jacket or sweater. 2 a similar garment worn by a woman;
a blouse. 3 = NIGHTSHIRT. Ьkeep one's shirt on colloq. keep
one's temper. put one's shirt on colloq. bet all one has on;
be sure of. shirt blouse = sense 2 of n. shirt-dress =
SHIRTWAISTER. shirt-front the breast of a shirt, esp. of a
stiffened evening shirt. the shirt off one's back colloq.
one's last remaining possessions. shirt-tail the lower curved
part of a shirt below the waist. ЬЬshirted adj. shirting n.
shirtless adj. [OE scyrte, corresp. to ON skyrta (cf. SKIRT)
f. Gmc: cf. SHORT]
n. (usu. in pl.) the sleeve of a shirt. Ьin shirtsleeves
wearing a shirt with no jacket etc. over it.
n. esp. US a woman's blouse resembling a shirt.
n. US a woman's dress with a bodice like a shirt. [SHIRT,
n. a dish of pieces of marinated meat and vegetables cooked and
served on skewers. [Turk. sis kebabi f. sis skewer, KEBAB
shit v., n., & int. coarse sl. °Usually considered a taboo word.
--v. (shitting; past and past part. shitted or shit) intr. &
tr. expel faeces from the body or cause (faeces etc.) to be
expelled. --n. 1 faeces. 2 an act of defecating. 3 a
contemptible or worthless person or thing. 4 nonsense. 5 an
intoxicating drug, esp. cannabis. --int. an exclamation of
disgust, anger, etc. [OE scitan (unrecorded) f. Gmc]
shitty adj. (shittier, shittiest) coarse sl. 1 disgusting,
contemptible. 2 covered with excrement.
Shiva var. of SIVA.
shivaree esp. US var. of CHARIVARI.
shiver(1) v. & n. --v.intr. 1 tremble with cold, fear, etc. 2 suffer a
quick trembling movement of the body; shudder. --n. 1 a
momentary shivering movement. 2 (in pl.) an attack of
shivering, esp. from fear or horror (got the shivers in the
dark). ЬЬshiverer n. shiveringly adv. shivery adj. [ME
chivere, perh. f. chavele chatter (as JOWL(1))]
shiver(2) n. & v. --n. (esp. in pl.) each of the small pieces into which
esp. glass is shattered when broken; a splinter. --v.tr. &
intr. break into shivers. Ьshiver my timbers a reputed
piratical curse. [ME scifre, rel. to OHG scivaro splinter f.
shivoo n. Austral. colloq. a party or celebration.
shoal(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a great number of fish swimming together (cf.
SCHOOL(2)). 2 a multitude; a crowd (shoals of letters).
--v.intr. (of fish) form shoals. [prob. re-adoption of MDu.
shoal(2) n., v., & adj. --n. 1 a an area of shallow water. b a
submerged sandbank visible at low water. 2 (esp. in pl.) hidden
danger or difficulty. --v. 1 intr. (of water) get shallower.
2 tr. (of a ship etc.) move into a shallower part of (water).
--adj. archaic (of water) shallow. ЬЬshoaly adj. [OE sceald
f. Gmc, rel. to SHALLOW]
shoat n. US a young pig, esp. newly weaned. [ME: cf. W.Flem.
shock(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a violent collision, impact, tremor, etc. 2 a
sudden and disturbing effect on the emotions, physical
reactions, etc. (the news was a great shock). 3 an acute state
of prostration following a wound, pain, etc., esp. when much
blood is lost (died of shock). 4 = electric shock. 5 a
disturbance in stability causing fluctuations in an
organization, monetary system, etc. --v. 1 tr. a affect with
shock; horrify; outrage; disgust; sadden. b (absol.) cause
shock. 2 tr. (esp. in passive) affect with an electric or
pathological shock. 3 intr. experience shock (I don't shock
easily). 4 intr. archaic collide violently. Ьshock absorber a
device on a vehicle etc. for absorbing shocks, vibrations, etc.
shock-brigade (or -workers) a body of esp. voluntary workers in
the USSR engaged in an especially arduous task. shock stall
excessive strain produced by air resistance on an aircraft
approaching the speed of sound. shock tactics 1 sudden and
violent action. 2 Mil. a massed cavalry charge. shock therapy
(or treatment) Psychol. a method of treating depressive
patients by electric shock or drugs inducing coma and
convulsions. shock troops troops specially trained for assault.
shock wave a sharp change of pressure in a narrow region
travelling through air etc. caused by explosion or by a body
moving faster than sound. ЬЬshockable adj. shockability n. [F
choc, choquer, of unkn. orig.]
shock(2) n. & v. --n. a group of usu. twelve corn-sheaves stood up with
their heads together in a field. --v.tr. arrange (corn) in
shocks. [ME, perh. repr. OE sc(e)oc (unrecorded)]
shock(3) n. an unkempt or shaggy mass of hair. [cf. obs. shock(-dog),
earlier shough, shaggy-haired poodle]
shocker n. colloq. 1 a shocking, horrifying, unacceptable, etc. person
or thing. 2 hist. a sordid or sensational novel etc. 3 a shock
shocking adj. & adv. --adj. 1 causing indignation or disgust. 2
colloq. very bad (shocking weather). --adv. colloq. shockingly
(shocking bad manners). Ьshocking pink a vibrant shade of pink.
ЬЬshockingly adv. shockingness n.
adj. resistant to the effects of (esp. physical) shock.
shod past and past part. of SHOE.
shoddy adj. & n. --adj. (shoddier, shoddiest) 1 trashy; shabby;
poorly made. 2 counterfeit. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a an inferior
cloth made partly from the shredded fibre of old woollen cloth.
b such fibre. 2 any thing of shoddy quality. ЬЬshoddily adv.
shoddiness n. [19th c.: orig. dial.]
shoe n. & v. --n. 1 either of a pair of protective foot-coverings
of leather, plastic, etc., having a sturdy sole and, in Britain,
not reaching above the ankle. 2 a metal rim nailed to the hoof
of a horse etc.; a horseshoe. 3 anything resembling a shoe in
shape or use, esp.: a a drag for a wheel. b = brake shoe (see
BRAKE(1)). c a socket. d a ferrule, esp. on a sledge-runner.
e a mast-step. f a box from which cards are dealt in casinos at
baccarat etc. --v.tr. (shoes, shoeing; past and past part.
shod) 1 fit (esp. a horse etc.) with a shoe or shoes. 2 protect
(the end of a pole etc.) with a metal shoe. 3 (as shod adj.)
(in comb.) having shoes etc. of a specified kind (dry-shod;
roughshod). Ьbe in a person's shoes be in his or her situation,
difficulty, etc. dead men's shoes property or a position etc.
coveted by a prospective successor. if the shoe fits US = if
the cap fits (see CAP). shoe-bill an African stork-like bird,
Balaeniceps rex, with a large flattened bill for catching
aquatic prey. shoe-buckle a buckle worn as ornament or as a
fastening on a shoe. shoe-leather leather for shoes, esp. when
worn through by walking. shoe-tree a shaped block for keeping a
shoe in shape when not worn. where the shoe pinches where one's
difficulty or trouble is. ЬЬshoeless adj. [OE scoh, scog(e)an
shoeblack n. a person who cleans the shoes of passers-by for payment.
shoebox n. 1 a box for packing shoes. 2 a very small space or
shoehorn n. a curved piece of horn, metal, etc., for easing the heel
into a shoe.
shoelace n. a cord for lacing up shoes.
shoemaker n. a maker of boots and shoes. ЬЬshoemaking n.
shoeshine n. esp. US a polish given to shoes.
n. 1 a shoelace. 2 colloq. a small esp. inadequate amount of
money (living on a shoestring). 3 (attrib.) barely adequate;
precarious (a shoestring majority).
shofar n. (pl. shofroth) a ram's-horn trumpet used by Jews in
religious ceremonies and as an ancient battle-signal. [Heb.
s“par, pl. s“par“t]
shogun n. hist. any of a succession of Japanese hereditary
Commanders-in-Chief and virtual rulers before 1868. ЬЬshogunate
n. [Jap., = general, f. Chin. jiang jun]
shone past and past part. of SHINE.
shonky adj. (shonkier, shonkiest) Austral. sl. unreliable,
dishonest. [perh. E dial. shonk smart]
shoo int. & v. --int. an exclamation used to frighten away birds,
children, etc. --v. (shoos, shooed) 1 intr. utter the word
'shoo!'. 2 tr. (usu. foll. by away) drive (birds etc.) away by
shooing. Ьshoo-in US something easy or certain to succeed.
shook(1) past of SHAKE. --predic.adj. colloq. 1 (foll. by up)
emotionally or physically disturbed; upset. 2 (foll. by on)
Austral. & NZ keen on; enthusiastic about (not too shook on the
shook(2) n. US a set of staves and headings for a cask, ready for
fitting together. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
shoot v., n., & int. --v. (past and past part. shot) 1 tr. a cause
(a gun, bow, etc.) to fire. b discharge (a bullet, arrow, etc.)
from a gun, bow, etc. c kill or wound (a person, animal, etc.)
with a bullet, arrow, etc. from a gun, bow, etc. 2 intr.
discharge a gun etc. esp. in a specified way (shoots well). 3
tr. send out, discharge, propel, etc., esp. violently or swiftly
(shot out the contents; shot a glance at his neighbour). 4
intr. (often foll. by out, along, forth, etc.) come or go
swiftly or vigorously. 5 intr. a (of a plant etc.) put forth
buds etc. b (of a bud etc.) appear. 6 intr. a hunt game etc.
with a gun. b (usu. foll. by over) shoot game over an estate
etc. 7 tr. shoot game in or on (coverts, an estate, etc.). 8
tr. film or photograph (a scene, film, etc.). 9 tr. (also
absol.) esp. Football a score (a goal). b take a shot at (the
goal). 10 tr. (of a boat) sweep swiftly down or under (a
bridge, rapids, falls, etc.). 11 tr. move (a door-bolt) to
fasten or unfasten a door etc. 12 tr. let (rubbish, a load,
etc.) fall or slide from a container, lorry, etc. 13 intr. a
(usu. foll. by through, up, etc.) (of a pain) pass with a
stabbing sensation. b (of part of the body) be intermittently
painful. 14 intr. (often foll. by out) project abruptly (the
mountain shoots out against the sky). 15 tr. (often foll. by
up) sl. inject esp. oneself with (a drug). 16 tr. US colloq.
a play a game of (craps, pool, etc.). b throw (a die or dice).
17 tr. Golf colloq. make (a specified score) for a round or
hole. 18 tr. colloq. pass (traffic-lights at red). 19 tr.
plane (the edge of a board) accurately. 20 intr. Cricket (of a
ball) dart along the ground after pitching. --n. 1 the act or
an instance of shooting. 2 a a young branch or sucker. b the
new growth of a plant. 3 Brit. a a hunting party, expedition,
etc. b land shot over for game. 4 = CHUTE(1). 5 a rapid in a
stream. --int. colloq. 1 a demand for a reply, information,
etc. 2 US euphem. an exclamation of disgust, anger, etc. (see
SHIT). Ьshoot ahead come quickly to the front of competitors
etc. shoot one's bolt see BOLT(1). shoot down 1 kill (a
person) by shooting. 2 cause (an aircraft, its pilot, etc.) to
crash by shooting. 3 argue effectively against (a person,
argument, etc.). shoot it out sl. engage in a decisive
gun-battle. shoot a line sl. talk pretentiously. shoot one's
mouth off sl. talk too much or indiscreetly. shoot-out colloq.
a decisive gun battle. shoot through Austral. & NZ sl. depart;
escape, abscond. shoot up 1 grow rapidly, esp. (of a person)
grow taller. 2 rise suddenly. 3 terrorize (a district) by
indiscriminate shooting. 4 sl. = sense 15 of v. the whole
shoot = the whole shooting match (see SHOOTING). ЬЬshootable
adj. [OE sceotan f. Gmc: cf. SHEET(1), SHOT(1), SHUT]
shooter n. 1 a person or thing that shoots. 2 a (in comb.) a gun or
other device for shooting (peashooter; six-shooter). b sl. a
pistol etc. 3 a player who shoots or is able to shoot a goal in
football, netball, etc. 4 Cricket a ball that shoots. 5 a
person who throws a die or dice.
shooting n. & adj. --n. 1 the act or an instance of shooting. 2 a the
right of shooting over an area of land. b an estate etc. rented
to shoot over. --adj. moving, growing, etc. quickly (a shooting
pain in the arm). Ьshooting-box Brit. a lodge used by
sportsmen in the shooting-season. shooting-brake (or -break)
Brit. an estate car. shooting-coat (or -jacket) a coat
designed to be worn when shooting game. shooting-gallery a
place used for shooting at targets with rifles etc.
shooting-iron esp. US colloq. a firearm. shooting-range a
ground with butts for rifle practice. shooting star a small
meteor moving rapidly and burning up on entering the earth's
atmosphere. shooting-stick a walking-stick with a foldable
seat. shooting war a war in which there is shooting (opp. cold
war, war of nerves etc.). the whole shooting match colloq.
shop n. & v. --n. 1 a building, room, etc., for the retail sale of
goods or services (chemist's shop; betting-shop). 2 a place in
which manufacture or repairing is done; a workshop
(engineering-shop). 3 a profession, trade, business, etc., esp.
as a subject of conversation (talk shop). 4 colloq. an
institution, establishment, place of business, etc. --v.
(shopped, shopping) 1 intr. a go to a shop or shops to buy
goods. b US = window-shop. 2 tr. esp. Brit. sl. inform
against (a criminal etc.). Ьall over the shop colloq. 1 in
disorder (scattered all over the shop). 2 in every place
(looked for it all over the shop). 3 wildly (hitting out all
over the shop). set up shop establish oneself in business etc.
shop around look for the best bargain. shop assistant Brit. a
person who serves customers in a shop. shop-boy (or -girl) an
assistant in a shop. shop-floor workers in a factory etc. as
distinct from management. shop-soiled 1 (of an article) soiled
or faded by display in a shop. 2 (of a person, idea, etc.)
grubby; tarnished; no longer fresh or new. shop steward a
person elected by workers in a factory etc. to represent them in
dealings with management. shop-window 1 a display window in a
shop. 2 an opportunity for displaying skills, talents, etc.
shop-worn = shop-soiled. ЬЬshopless adj. shoppy adj. [ME f.
AF & OF eschoppe booth f. MLG schoppe, OHG scopf porch]
n. the owner and manager of a shop. ЬЬshopkeeping n.
n. a person who steals goods while appearing to shop.
shopman n. (pl. -men) 1 Brit. a shopkeeper or shopkeeper's assistant.
2 a workman in a repair shop.
shopper n. 1 a person who makes purchases in a shop. 2 a shopping bag
or trolley. 3 sl. an informer.
shopping n. 1 (often attrib.) the purchase of goods etc. (shopping
expedition). 2 goods purchased (put the shopping on the table).
Ьshopping centre an area or complex of shops, with associated
n. Brit. an attendant in a large shop who directs customers,
supervises assistants, etc.
shoran n. a system of aircraft navigation using the return of two
radar signals by two ground stations. [short range navigation]
shore(1) n. 1 the land that adjoins the sea or a large body of water. 2
(usu. in pl.) a country; a sea-coast (often visits these shores;
on a distant shore). 3 Law land between ordinary high and low
water marks. Ьin shore on the water near or nearer to the shore
(cf. INSHORE). on shore ashore. shore-based operating from a
base on shore. shore leave Naut. 1 permission to go ashore. 2
a period of time ashore. ЬЬshoreless adj. shoreward adj. &
adv. shorewards adv. [ME f. MDu., MLG schore, perh. f. the
root of SHEAR]
shore(2) v. & n. --v.tr. (often foll. by up) support with or as if with
a shore or shores; hold up. --n. a prop or beam set obliquely
against a ship, wall, tree, etc., as a support. ЬЬshoring n.
[ME f. MDu., MLG schore prop, of unkn. orig.]
shore(3) see SHEAR.
shoreweed n. a stoloniferous plant, Littorella uniflora, growing in
shorn past part. of SHEAR.
short adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. 1 a measuring little; not long
from end to end (a short distance). b not long in duration;
brief (a short time ago; had a short life). c seeming less than
the stated amount (a few short years of happiness). 2 of small
height; not tall (a short square tower; was shorter than
average). 3 a (usu. foll. by of, on) having a partial or total
lack; deficient; scanty (short of spoons; is rather short on
sense). b not far-reaching; acting or being near at hand
(within short range). 4 a concise; brief (kept his speech
short). b curt; uncivil (was short with her). 5 (of the
memory) unable to remember distant events. 6 Phonet. & Prosody
of a vowel or syllable: a having the lesser of the two
recognized durations. b unstressed. c (of an English vowel)
having a sound other than that called long (cf. LONG(1) adj.
8). 7 a (of pastry) crumbling; not holding together. b (of
clay) having poor plasticity. 8 esp. Stock Exch. a (of stocks,
a stockbroker, crops, etc.) sold or selling when the amount is
not in hand, with reliance on getting the deficit in time for
delivery. b (of a bill of exchange) maturing at an early date.
9 Cricket a (of a ball) pitching relatively near the bowler. b
(of a fielder or his position) relatively near the batsman. 10
(of a drink of spirits) undiluted. --adv. 1 before the natural
or expected time or place; abruptly (pulled up short; cut short
the celebrations). 2 rudely; uncivilly (spoke to him short).
--n. 1 colloq. a short drink, esp. spirits. 2 a short circuit.
3 a short film. 4 Stock Exch. a a person who sells short. b
(in pl.) short-dated stocks. 5 Phonet. a a short syllable or
vowel. b a mark indicating that a vowel is short. 6 (in pl.) a
mixture of bran and coarse flour. --v.tr. & intr.
short-circuit. Ьbe caught (or taken) short 1 be put at a
disadvantage. 2 colloq. urgently need to urinate or defecate.
bring up (or pull up) short check or pause abruptly. come short
be inadequate or disappointing. come short of fail to reach or
amount to. for short as a short name (Tom for short). get (or
have) by the short hairs colloq. be in complete control of (a
person). go short (often foll. by of) not have enough. in
short to use few words; briefly. in short order US immediately.
in the short run over a short period of time. in short supply
scarce. in the short term = in the short run. make short work
of accomplish, dispose of, destroy, consume, etc. quickly.
short and sweet esp. iron. brief and pleasant. short-arm (of a
blow etc.) delivered with the arm not fully extended. short
back and sides a haircut in which the hair is cut short at the
back and the sides. short change insufficient money given as
change. short-change v.tr. rob or cheat by giving short
change. short circuit an electric circuit through small
resistance, esp. instead of the resistance of a normal circuit.
short-circuit 1 cause a short circuit or a short circuit in. 2
shorten or avoid (a journey, work, etc.) by taking a more direct
route etc. short commons insufficient food. short cut 1 a
route shortening the distance travelled. 2 a quick way of
accomplishing something. short date an early date for the
maturing of a bill etc. short-dated due for early payment or
redemption. short-day (of a plant) needing the period of light
each day to fall below some limit to cause flowering. short
division Math. division in which the quotient is written
directly without being worked out in writing. short drink a
strong alcoholic drink served in small measures. short-eared
owl an owl, Asio flammeus, frequenting open country and hunting
at dawn or dusk. short for an abbreviation for ('Bob' is short
for 'Robert'). short fuse a quick temper. short game Golf
approaching and putting. short-handed undermanned or
understaffed. short haul 1 the transport of goods over a short
distance. 2 a short-term effort. short head Racing a distance
less than the length of a horse's head. short-head v.tr. beat
by a short head. short hundredweight see HUNDREDWEIGHT. short
list Brit. a list of selected candidates from which a final
choice is made. short-list v.tr. Brit. put on a short list.
short-lived ephemeral; not long-lasting. short mark = BREVE 2.
short measure less than the professed amount. short metre
Prosody a hymn stanza of four lines with 6, 6, 8, and 6
syllables. short notice an insufficient length of warning time.
short odds nearly equal stakes or chances in betting. short of
1 see sense 3a of adj. 2 less than (nothing short of a
miracle). 3 distant from (two miles short of home). 4 without
going so far as; except (did everything short of destroying it).
short of breath panting, short-winded. short on colloq. see
sense 3a of adj. short order US an order in a restaurant for
quickly cooked food. short-pitched Cricket (of a ball) pitching
relatively near the bowler. short-range 1 having a short range.
2 relating to a fairly immediate future time (short-range
possibilities). short rib = floating rib. short score Mus. a
score not giving all parts. short shrift curt or dismissive
treatment. short sight the inability to focus except on
comparatively near objects. short-sleeved with sleeves not
reaching below the elbow. short-staffed having insufficient
staff. short story a story with a fully developed theme but
shorter than a novel. short suit a suit of less than four
cards. short temper self-control soon or easily lost.
short-term occurring in or relating to a short period of time.
short time the condition of working fewer than the regular hours
per day or days per week. short title an abbreviated form of a
title of a book etc. short ton see TON. short view a
consideration of the present only, not the future. short waist
1 a high or shallow waist of a dress. 2 a short upper body.
short wave a radio wave of frequency greater than 3 MHz. short
weight weight less than it is alleged to be. short whist whist
with ten or five points to a game. short wind quickly exhausted
breathing-power. short-winded 1 having short wind. 2 incapable
of sustained effort. ЬЬshortish adj. shortness n. [OE sceort
f. Gmc: cf. SHIRT, SKIRT]
shortage n. (often foll. by of) a deficiency; an amount lacking (a
shortage of 100 tons).
n. a crisp rich crumbly type of biscuit made with butter,
flour, and sugar.
shortcake n. 1 = SHORTBREAD. 2 a cake made of short pastry and filled
with fruit and cream.
n. failure to come up to a standard; a defect.
n. (in full shortcrust pastry) a type of crumbly pastry made
with flour and fat.
shorten v. 1 intr. & tr. become or make shorter or short; curtail. 2
tr. Naut. reduce the amount of (sail spread). 3 intr. & tr.
(with reference to gambling odds, prices, etc.) become or make
n. fat used for making pastry, esp. for making short pastry.
shortfall n. a deficit below what was expected.
shorthand n. 1 (often attrib.) a method of rapid writing in abbreviations
and symbols esp. for taking dictation. 2 an abbreviated or
symbolic mode of expression. Ьshorthand typist Brit. a typist
qualified to take and transcribe shorthand.
shorthorn n. 1 an animal of a breed of cattle with short horns. 2 this
shortie var. of SHORTY.
shortly adv. 1 (often foll. by before, after) before long; soon (will
arrive shortly; arrived shortly after him). 2 in a few words;
briefly. 3 curtly. [OE scortlice (as SHORT, -LY(2))]
shorts n.pl. 1 trousers reaching only to the knees or higher. 2 US
adj. 1 having short sight. 2 lacking imagination or foresight.
ЬЬshort-sightedly adv. short-sightedness n.
shortstop n. a baseball fielder near second base.
shorty n. (also shortie) (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 a person shorter than
average. 2 a short garment, esp. a nightdress or raincoat.
shot(1) n. 1 the act or an instance of firing a gun, cannon, etc.
(several shots were heard). 2 an attempt to hit by shooting or
throwing etc. (took a shot at him). 3 a a single non-explosive
missile for a cannon, gun, etc. b (pl. same or shots) a small
lead pellet used in quantity in a single charge or cartridge in
a shotgun. c (as pl.) these collectively. 4 a a photograph. b
a film sequence photographed continuously by one camera. 5 a a
stroke or a kick in a ball game. b colloq. an attempt to guess
or do something (let him have a shot at it). 6 colloq. a person
having a specified skill with a gun etc. (is not a good shot).
7 a heavy ball thrown by a shot-putter. 8 the launch of a space
rocket (a moonshot). 9 the range, reach, or distance to or at
which a thing will carry or act (out of earshot). 10 a remark
aimed at a person. 11 colloq. a a drink of esp. spirits. b an
injection of a drug, vaccine, etc. (has had his shots). Ьlike a
shot colloq. without hesitation; willingly. make a bad shot
guess wrong. not a shot in one's (or the) locker 1 no money
left. 2 not a chance left. shot-blasting the cleaning of metal
etc. by the impact of a stream of shot. shot-firer a person who
fires a blasting-charge in a mine etc. shot in the arm colloq.
1 stimulus or encouragement. 2 an alcoholic drink. shot in the
dark a mere guess. shot-put an athletic contest in which a shot
is thrown a great distance. shot-putter an athlete who puts the
shot. shot-tower hist. a tower in which shot was made from
molten lead poured through sieves at the top and falling into
water at the bottom. ЬЬshotproof adj. [OE sc(e)ot, gesc(e)ot
f. Gmc: cf. SHOOT]
shot(2) past and past part. of SHOOT. --adj. 1 (of coloured material)
woven so as to show different colours at different angles. 2
colloq. a exhausted; finished. b drunk. 3 (of a board-edge)
accurately planed. Ьbe (or get) shot of sl. be (or get) rid
of. shot through permeated or suffused. [past part. of SHOOT]
shot(3) n. colloq. a reckoning, a bill, esp. at an inn etc. (paid his
shot). [ME, = SHOT(1): cf. OE sceotan shoot, pay, contribute,
shotgun n. a smooth-bore gun for firing small shot at short range.
Ьshotgun marriage (or wedding) colloq. an enforced or hurried
wedding, esp. because of the bride's pregnancy.
n. 1 a herring that has spawned. 2 archaic a weakened or
dispirited person. [ME, archaic past part. of SHOOT]
should v.aux. (3rd sing. should) past of SHALL, used esp.: 1 in
reported speech, esp. with the reported element in the 1st
person (I said I should be home by evening). ° Cf. WILL(1),
WOULD, now more common in this sense, esp. to avoid implications
of sense 2. 2 a to express a duty, obligation, or likelihood; =
OUGHT(1) (I should tell you; you should have been more careful;
they should have arrived by now). b (in the 1st person) to
express a tentative suggestion (I should like to say something).
3 a expressing the conditional mood in the 1st person (cf.
WOULD) (I should have been killed if I had gone). b forming a
conditional protasis or indefinite clause (if you should see
him; should they arrive, tell them where to go). 4 expressing
purpose = MAY, MIGHT(1) (in order that we should not worry).
shoulder n. & v. --n. 1 a the part of the body at which the arm,
foreleg, or wing is attached. b (in full shoulder joint) the
end of the upper arm joining with the collar-bone and
blade-bone. c either of the two projections below the neck from
which the arms depend. 2 the upper foreleg and shoulder blade
of a pig, lamb, etc. when butchered. 3 (in pl.) a the upper
part of the back and arms. b this part of the body regarded as
capable of bearing a burden or blame, providing comfort, etc.
(needs a shoulder to cry on). 4 a strip of land next to a
metalled road (pulled over on to the shoulder). 5 a part of a
garment covering the shoulder. 6 a part of anything resembling
a shoulder in form or function, as in a bottle, mountain, tool,
etc. --v. 1 a tr. push with the shoulder; jostle. b intr.
make one's way by jostling (shouldered through the crowd). 2
tr. take (a burden etc.) on one's shoulders (shouldered the
family's problems). Ьput (or set) one's shoulder to the wheel
make an effort. shoulder arms hold a rifle with the barrel
against the shoulder and the butt in the hand. shoulder-bag a
woman's handbag that can be hung from the shoulder.
shoulder-belt a bandolier or other strap passing over one
shoulder and under the opposite arm. shoulder-blade Anat.
either of the large flat bones of the upper back; the scapula.
shoulder-high up to or as high as the shoulders.
shoulder-holster a gun holster worn in the armpit.
shoulder-knot a knot of ribbon, metal, lace, etc. worn as part
of a ceremonial dress. shoulder-length (of hair etc.) reaching
to the shoulders. shoulder loop US the shoulder-strap of an
army, air-force, or marines officer. shoulder mark US the
shoulder-strap of a naval officer. shoulder-note Printing a
marginal note at the top of a page. shoulder-of-mutton sail =
leg-of-mutton sail. shoulder-pad a pad sewn into a garment to
bulk out the shoulder. shoulder-strap 1 a strip of fabric,
leather, etc. suspending a bag or garment from the shoulder. 2
a strip of cloth from shoulder to collar on a military uniform
bearing a symbol of rank etc. 3 a similar strip on a raincoat.
shoulder to shoulder 1 side by side. 2 with closed ranks or
united effort. ЬЬshouldered adj. (also in comb.). [OE sculdor
shouldn't contr. should not.
shout v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make a loud cry or vocal sound; speak
loudly (shouted for attention). 2 tr. say or express loudly;
call out (shouted that the coast was clear). 3 tr. (also
absol.) Austral. & NZ colloq. treat (another person) to drinks
etc. --n. 1 a loud cry expressing joy etc. or calling
attention. 2 colloq. one's turn to order a round of drinks etc.
(your shout I think). Ьall over bar (or but) the shouting
colloq. the contest is virtually decided. shout at speak
loudly to etc. shout down reduce to silence by shouting. shout
for call for by shouting. shout-up colloq. a noisy argument.
ЬЬshouter n. [ME, perh. rel. to SHOOT: cf. ON skЈta SCOUT]
shove v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (also absol.) push vigorously; move by hard
or rough pushing (shoved him out of the way). 2 intr. (usu.
foll. by along, past, through, etc.) make one's way by pushing
(shoved through the crowd). 3 tr. colloq. put somewhere
(shoved it in the drawer). --n. an act of shoving or of
prompting a person into action. Ьshove-halfpenny a form of
shovelboard played with coins etc. on a table esp. in licensed
premises. shove off 1 start from the shore in a boat. 2 sl.
depart; go away (told him to shove off). [OE scufan f. Gmc]
shovel n. & v. --n. 1 a a spadelike tool for shifting quantities of
coal, earth, etc., esp. having the sides curved upwards. b the
amount contained in a shovel; a shovelful. 2 a machine or part
of a machine having a similar form or function. --v.tr.
(shovelled, shovelling; US shoveled, shoveling) 1 shift or clear
(coal etc.) with or as if with a shovel. 2 colloq. move (esp.
food) in large quantities or roughly (shovelled peas into his
mouth). Ьshovel hat a broad-brimmed hat esp. worn by some
clergymen. ЬЬshovelful n. (pl. -fuls). [OE scofl f. Gmc (see
n. a game played esp. on a ship's deck by pushing discs with
the hand or with a long-handled shovel over a marked surface.
[earlier shoveboard f. SHOVE + BOARD]
n. a shark, Sphyrna tiburo, like the hammerhead but smaller.
Also called BONNETHEAD.
shoveller n. (also shoveler) 1 a person or thing that shovels. 2 a duck,
Anas clypeata, with a broad shovel-like beak. [SHOVEL: sense 2
earlier shovelard f. -ARD, perh. after mallard]
show v. & n. --v. (past part. shown or showed) 1 intr. & tr. be,
or allow or cause to be, visible; manifest; appear (the buds are
beginning to show; white shows the dirt). 2 tr. (often foll. by
to) offer, exhibit, or produce (a thing) for scrutiny etc. (show
your tickets please; showed him my poems). 3 tr. a indicate
(one's feelings) by one's behaviour etc. (showed mercy to him).
b indicate (one's feelings to a person etc.) (showed him
particular favour). 4 intr. (of feelings etc.) be manifest (his
dislike shows). 5 tr. a demonstrate; point out; prove (has
shown it to be false; showed that he knew the answer). b (usu.
foll. by how to + infin.) cause (a person) to understand or be
capable of doing (showed them how to knit). 6 tr. (refl.)
exhibit oneself as being (showed herself to be fair). 7 tr. &
intr. (with ref. to a film) be presented or cause to be
presented. 8 tr. exhibit (a picture, animal, flower, etc.) in a
show. 9 tr. (often foll. by in, out, up, etc.) conduct or lead
(showed them to their rooms). 10 intr. = show up 3 (waited but
he didn't show). 11 intr. US finish in the first three in a
race. --n. 1 the act or an instance of showing; the state of
being shown. 2 a a spectacle, display, exhibition, etc. (a fine
show of blossom). b a collection of things etc. shown for
public entertainment or in competition (dog show; flower show).
3 a a play etc., esp. a musical. b a light entertainment
programme on television etc. c any public entertainment or
performance. 4 a an outward appearance, semblance, or display
(made a show of agreeing; a show of strength). b empty
appearance; mere display (did it for show; that's all show). 5
colloq. an undertaking, business, etc. (sold the whole show). 6
colloq. an opportunity of acting, defending oneself, etc. (gave
him a fair show; made a good show of it). 7 Med. a discharge of
blood etc. from the vagina at the onset of childbirth. Ьgive
the show (or whole show) away demonstrate the inadequacies or
reveal the truth. good (or bad or poor) show! colloq. 1 that
was well (or badly) done. 2 that was lucky (or unlucky).
nothing to show for no visible result of (effort etc.). on show
being exhibited. show business colloq. the theatrical
profession. show-card a card used for advertising. show one's
cards = show one's hand. show cause Law allege with
justification. show a clean pair of heels colloq. retreat
speedily; run away. show one's colours make one's opinion
clear. show a person the door dismiss or eject a person. show
one's face make an appearance; let oneself be seen. show fight
be persistent or belligerent. show the flag see FLAG(1). show
forth archaic exhibit; expound. show one's hand 1 disclose
one's plans. 2 reveal one's cards. show house (or flat etc.) a
furnished and decorated house (or flat etc.) on a new estate
shown to prospective buyers. show in see sense 9 of v. show a
leg colloq. get out of bed. show off 1 display to advantage.
2 colloq. act pretentiously; display one's wealth, knowledge,
etc. show-off n. colloq. a person who shows off. show of
force proof that one is prepared to use force. show of hands
raised hands indicating a vote for or against, usu. without
being counted. show oneself 1 be seen in public. 2 see sense 6
of v. show out see sense 9 of v. show-piece 1 an item of work
presented for exhibition or display. 2 an outstanding example
or specimen. show-place a house etc. that tourists go to see.
show round take (a person) to places of interest; act as guide
for (a person) in a building etc. show-stopper colloq. a
performance receiving prolonged applause. show one's teeth
reveal one's strength; be aggressive. show through 1 be visible
although supposedly concealed. 2 (of real feelings etc.) be
revealed inadvertently. show trial esp. hist. a judicial
trial designed by the State to terrorize or impress the public.
show up 1 make or be conspicuous or clearly visible. 2 expose
(a fraud, impostor, inferiority, etc.). 3 colloq. appear; be
present; arrive. 4 colloq. embarrass or humiliate (don't show
me up by wearing jeans). show the way 1 indicate what has to be
done etc. by attempting it first. 2 show others which way to go
etc. show the white feather appear cowardly (see also white
feather). show willing display a willingness to help etc.
show-window a window for exhibiting goods etc. [ME f. OE
sceawian f. WG: cf. SHEEN]
showbiz n. colloq. = show business.
showboat n. US a river steamer on which theatrical performances are
showcase n. & v. --n. 1 a glass case used for exhibiting goods etc. 2
a place or medium for presenting (esp. attractively) to general
attention. --v.tr. display in or as if in a showcase.
showdown n. 1 a final test or confrontation; a decisive situation. 2
the laying down face up of the players' cards in poker.
shower n. & v. --n. 1 a brief fall of esp. rain, hail, sleet, or
snow. 2 a a brisk flurry of arrows, bullets, dust, stones,
sparks, etc. b a similar flurry of gifts, letters, honours,
praise, etc. 3 (in full shower-bath) a a cubicle, bath, etc. in
which one stands under a spray of water. b the apparatus etc.
used for this. c the act of bathing in a shower. 4 a group of
particles initiated by a cosmic-ray particle in the earth's
atmosphere. 5 US a party for giving presents to a prospective
bride, etc. 6 Brit. sl. a contemptible or unpleasant person or
group of people. --v. 1 tr. discharge (water, missiles, etc.)
in a shower. 2 intr. use a shower-bath. 3 tr. (usu. foll. by
on, upon) lavishly bestow (gifts etc.). 4 intr. descend or come
in a shower (it showered on and off all day). ЬЬshowery adj.
[OE scur f. Gmc]
adj. & v. --adj. resistant to light rain. --v.tr. render
showgirl n. an actress who sings and dances in musicals, variety shows,
showing n. 1 the act or an instance of showing. 2 a usu. specified
quality of performance (made a poor showing). 3 the
presentation of a case; evidence (on present showing it must be
true). [OE sceawung (as SHOW)]
n. the sport of riding horses over a course of fences and other
obstacles, with penalty points for errors. ЬЬshowjump v.intr.
showman n. (pl. -men) 1 the proprietor or manager of a circus etc. 2
a person skilled in self-advertisement or publicity.
shown past part. of SHOW.
showroom n. a room in a factory, office building, etc. used to display
goods for sale.
shrapnel n. 1 fragments of a bomb etc. thrown out by an explosion. 2 a
shell containing bullets or pieces of metal timed to burst short
of impact. [Gen. H. Shrapnel, Brit. soldier d. 1842, inventor
of the shell]
shred n. & v. --n. 1 a scrap, fragment, or strip of esp. cloth,
paper, etc. 2 the least amount, remnant (not a shred of
evidence). --v.tr. (shredded, shredding) tear or cut into
shreds. Ьtear to shreds completely refute (an argument etc.).
[OE scread (unrecorded) piece cut off, screadian f. WG: see
shredder n. 1 a machine used to reduce documents to shreds. 2 any
device used for shredding.
shrew n. 1 any small usu. insect-eating mouselike mammal of the
family Soricidae, with a long pointed snout. 2 a bad-tempered
or scolding woman. ЬЬshrewish adj. (in sense 2). shrewishly
adv. shrewishness n. [OE screawa, scr‘wa shrew-mouse: cf. OHG
scrawaz dwarf, MHG schrawaz etc. devil]
shrewd adj. 1 a showing astute powers of judgement; clever and
judicious (a shrewd observer; made a shrewd guess). b (of a
face etc.) shrewd-looking. 2 archaic a (of pain, cold, etc.)
sharp, biting. b (of a blow, thrust, etc.) severe, hard. c
mischievous; malicious. ЬЬshrewdly adv. shrewdness n. [ME, =
malignant, f. SHREW in sense 'evil person or thing', or past
part. of obs. shrew to curse, f. SHREW]
shriek v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a utter a shrill screeching sound or
words esp. in pain or terror. b (foll. by of) provide a clear
or blatant indication of. 2 tr. a utter (sounds or words) by
shrieking (shrieked his name). b indicate clearly or blatantly.
--n. a high-pitched piercing cry or sound; a scream. Ьshriek
out say in shrill tones. shriek with laughter laugh
uncontrollably. ЬЬshrieker n. [imit.: cf. dial. screak, ON
skr‘kja, and SCREECH]
shrieval adj. of or relating to a sheriff. [shrieve obs. var. of
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a sheriff's office or jurisdiction. 2 the
tenure of this. [as SHRIEVAL + -alty as in mayoralty etc.]
shrift n. archaic 1 confession to a priest. 2 confession and
absolution. Ьshort shrift 1 curt treatment. 2 archaic little
time between condemnation and execution or punishment. [OE
scrift (verbal noun) f. SHRIVE]
shrike n. any bird of the family Laniidae, with a strong hooked and
toothed bill, that impales its prey of small birds and insects
on thorns. Also called butcher-bird. [perh. rel. to OE scric
thrush, MLG schrik corncrake (imit.): cf. SHRIEK]
shrill adj. & v. --adj. 1 piercing and high-pitched in sound. 2
derog. (esp. of a protester) sharp, unrestrained, unreasoning.
--v. 1 intr. (of a cry etc.) sound shrilly. 2 tr. (of a person
etc.) utter or send out (a song, complaint, etc.) shrilly.
ЬЬshrilly adv. shrillness n. [ME, rel. to LG schrell sharp in
tone or taste f. Gmc]
shrimp n. & v. --n. 1 (pl. same or shrimps) any of various small
(esp. marine) edible crustaceans, with ten legs, grey-green when
alive and pink when boiled. 2 colloq. a very small slight
person. --v.intr. go catching shrimps. Ьshrimp plant an
evergreen shrub, Justicia brandegeana, bearing small white
flowers in clusters of pinkish-brown bracts. ЬЬshrimper n.
[ME, prob. rel. to MLG schrempen wrinkle, MHG schrimpfen
contract, and SCRIMP]
shrine n. & v. --n. 1 esp. RC Ch. a a chapel, church, altar, etc.,
sacred to a saint, holy person, relic, etc. b the tomb of a
saint etc. c a casket esp. containing sacred relics; a
reliquary. d a niche containing a holy statue etc. 2 a place
associated with or containing memorabilia of a particular
person, event, etc. 3 a Shinto place of worship. --v.tr.
poet. enshrine. [OE scrin f. Gmc f. L scrinium case for books
shrink v. & n. --v. (past shrank; past part. shrunk or (esp. as
adj.) shrunken) 1 tr. & intr. make or become smaller; contract,
esp. by the action of moisture, heat, or cold. 2 intr. (usu.
foll. by from) a retire; recoil; flinch; cower (shrank from her
touch). b be averse from doing (shrinks from meeting them). 3
(as shrunken adj.) (esp. of a face, person, etc.) having grown
smaller esp. because of age, illness, etc. --n. 1 the act or
an instance of shrinking; shrinkage. 2 sl. a psychiatrist (from
'head-shrinker'). Ьshrinking violet an exaggeratedly shy
person. shrink into oneself become withdrawn. shrink on slip
(a metal tyre etc.) on while expanded with heat and allow to
tighten. shrink-resistant (of textiles etc.) resistant to
shrinkage when wet etc. shrink-wrap (-wrapped, -wrapping)
enclose (an article) in (esp. transparent) film that shrinks
tightly on to it. ЬЬshrinkable adj. shrinker n. shrinkingly
adv. shrink-proof adj. [OE scrincan: cf. skrynka to wrinkle]
shrinkage n. 1 a the process or fact of shrinking. b the degree or
amount of shrinking. 2 an allowance made for the reduction in
takings due to wastage, theft, etc.
shrive v.tr. (past shrove; past part. shriven) RC Ch. archaic 1 (of
a priest) hear the confession of, assign penance to, and
absolve. 2 (refl.) (of a penitent) submit oneself to a priest
for confession etc. [OE scrifan impose as penance, WG f. L
shrivel v.tr. & intr. (shrivelled, shrivelling or US shriveled,
shriveling) contract or wither into a wrinkled, folded,
rolled-up, contorted, or dried-up state. [perh. f. ON: cf. Sw.
dial. skryvla to wrinkle]
shriven past part. of SHRIVE.
shroud n. & v. --n. 1 a sheetlike garment for wrapping a corpse for
burial. 2 anything that conceals like a shroud (wrapped in a
shroud of mystery). 3 (in pl.) Naut. a set of ropes forming
part of the standing rigging and supporting the mast or topmast.
--v.tr. 1 clothe (a body) for burial. 2 cover, conceal, or
disguise (hills shrouded in mist). Ьshroud-laid (of a rope)
having four strands laid right-handed on a core. ЬЬshroudless
adj. [OE scrud f. Gmc: see SHRED]
shrove past of SHRIVE.
n. Shrove Tuesday and the two days preceding it when it was
formerly customary to be shriven. [ME shrove abnormally f.
n. the day before Ash Wednesday.
shrub(1) n. a woody plant smaller than a tree and having a very short
stem with branches near the ground. ЬЬshrubby adj. [ME f. OE
scrubb, scrybb shrubbery: cf. NFris. skrobb brushwood, WFlem.
schrobbe vetch, Norw. skrubba dwarf cornel, and SCRUB(2)]
shrub(2) n. a cordial made of sweetened fruit-juice and spirits, esp.
rum. [Arab. surb, sarab f. sariba to drink: cf. SHERBET,
shrubbery n. (pl. -ies) an area planted with shrubs.
shrug v. & n. --v. (shrugged, shrugging) 1 intr. slightly and
momentarily raise the shoulders to express indifference,
helplessness, contempt, etc. 2 tr. a raise (the shoulders) in
this way. b shrug the shoulders to express (indifference etc.)
(shrugged his consent). --n. the act or an instance of
shrugging. Ьshrug off dismiss as unimportant etc. by or as if
by shrugging. [ME: orig. unkn.]
shrunk (also shrunken) past part. of SHRINK.
shtick n. sl. a theatrical routine, gimmick, etc. [Yiddish f. G
shuck n. & v. US --n. 1 a husk or pod. 2 the shell of an oyster or
clam. 3 (in pl.) colloq. an expression of contempt or regret or
self-deprecation in response to praise. --v.tr. remove the
shucks of; shell. ЬЬshucker n. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
shudder v. & n. --v.intr. 1 shiver esp. convulsively from fear, cold,
repugnance, etc. 2 feel strong repugnance etc. (shudder to
think what might happen). 3 (of a machine etc.) vibrate or
quiver. --n. 1 the act or an instance of shuddering. 2 (in
pl.; prec. by the) colloq. a state of shuddering.
ЬЬshudderingly adv. shuddery adj. [ME shod(d)er f. MDu.
schuderen, MLG schoderen f. Gmc]
shuffle v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. move with a scraping, sliding, or
dragging motion (shuffles along; shuffling his feet). 2 tr. a
(also absol.) rearrange (a pack of cards) by sliding them over
each other quickly. b rearrange; intermingle; confuse (shuffled
the documents). 3 tr. (usu. foll. by on, off, into) assume or
remove (clothes, a burden, etc.) esp. clumsily or evasively
(shuffled on his clothes; shuffled off responsibility). 4 intr.
a equivocate; prevaricate. b continually shift one's position;
fidget. 5 intr. (foll. by out of) escape evasively (shuffled
out of the blame). --n. 1 a shuffling movement. 2 the act or
an instance of shuffling cards. 3 a general change of relative
positions. 4 a piece of equivocation; sharp practice. 5 a
quick scraping movement of the feet in dancing (see also double
shuffle). Ьshuffle-board = SHOVELBOARD. shuffle the cards
change policy etc. ЬЬshuffler n. [perh. f. LG schuffeln walk
clumsily f. Gmc: cf. SHOVE]
shufti n. (pl. shuftis) Brit. colloq. a look or glimpse. [Arab.
saffa try to see]
shun v.tr. (shunned, shunning) avoid; keep clear of (shuns human
company). [OE scunian, of unkn. orig.]
shunt v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. diverge or cause (a train) to be
diverted esp. on to a siding. 2 tr. Electr. provide (a
current) with a shunt. 3 tr. a postpone or evade. b divert (a
decision etc.) on to another person etc. --n. 1 the act or an
instance of shunting on to a siding. 2 Electr. a conductor
joining two points of a circuit, through which more or less of a
current may be diverted. 3 Surgery an alternative path for the
circulation of the blood. 4 sl. a motor accident, esp. a
collision of vehicles travelling one close behind another.
ЬЬshunter n. [ME, perh. f. SHUN]
shush int. & v. --int. = HUSH int. --v. 1 intr. a call for silence
by saying shush. b be silent (they shushed at once). 2 tr.
make or attempt to make silent. [imit.]
shut v. (shutting; past and past part. shut) 1 tr. a move (a door,
window, lid, lips, etc.) into position so as to block an
aperture (shut the lid). b close or seal (a room, window, box,
eye, mouth, etc.) by moving a door etc. (shut the box). 2 intr.
become or be capable of being closed or sealed (the door shut
with a bang; the lid shuts automatically). 3 intr. & tr. become
or make (a shop, business, etc.) closed for trade (the shops
shut at five; shuts his shop at five). 4 tr. bring (a book,
hand, telescope, etc.) into a folded-up or contracted state. 5
tr. (usu. foll. by in, out) keep (a person, sound, etc.) in or
out of a room etc. by shutting a door etc. (shut out the noise;
shut them in). 6 tr. (usu. foll. by in) catch (a finger, dress,
etc.) by shutting something on it (shut her finger in the door).
7 tr. bar access to (a place etc.) (this entrance is shut). Ьbe
(or get) shut of sl. be (or get) rid of (were glad to get shut
of him). shut the door on refuse to consider; make impossible.
shut down 1 stop (a factory, nuclear reactor, etc.) from
operating. 2 (of a factory etc.) stop operating. 3 push or
pull (a window-sash etc.) down into a closed position.
shut-down n. the closure of a factory etc. shut-eye colloq.
sleep. shut one's eyes (or ears or heart or mind) to pretend
not, or refuse, to see (or hear or feel sympathy for or think
about). shut in (of hills, houses, etc.) encircle, prevent
access etc. to or escape from (were shut in by the sea on three
sides) (see also sense 5). shut off 1 stop the flow of (water,
gas, etc.) by shutting a valve. 2 separate from society etc.
shut-off n. 1 something used for stopping an operation. 2 a
cessation of flow, supply, or activity. shut out 1 exclude (a
person, light, etc.) from a place, situation, etc. 2 screen
(landscape etc.) from view. 3 prevent (a possibility etc.). 4
block (a painful memory etc.) from the mind. 5 US prevent (an
opponent) from scoring (see also sense 5). shut-out bid Bridge
a pre-emptive bid. shut to 1 close (a door etc.). 2 (of a door
etc.) close as far as it will go. shut up 1 close all doors and
windows of (a house etc.); bolt and bar. 2 imprison (a person).
3 close (a box etc.) securely. 4 colloq. reduce to silence by
rebuke etc. 5 put (a thing) away in a box etc. 6 (esp. in
imper.) colloq. stop talking. shut up shop 1 close a business,
shop, etc. 2 cease business etc. permanently. shut your face
(or head or mouth or trap)! sl. an impolite request to stop
talking. [OE scyttan f. WG: cf. SHOOT]
shutter n. & v. --n. 1 a person or thing that shuts. 2 a each of a
pair or set of panels fixed inside or outside a window for
security or privacy or to keep the light in or out. b a
structure of slats on rollers used for the same purpose. 3 a
device that exposes the film in a photographic camera. 4 Mus.
the blind of a swell-box in an organ used for controlling the
sound-level. --v.tr. 1 put up the shutters of. 2 provide with
shutters. Ьput up the shutters 1 cease business for the day. 2
cease business etc. permanently. ЬЬshutterless adj.
n. 1 a temporary structure usu. of wood, used to hold concrete
during setting. 2 material for making shutters.
shuttle n. & v. --n. 1 a a bobbin with two pointed ends used for
carrying the weft-thread across between the warp-threads in
weaving. b a bobbin carrying the lower thread in a
sewing-machine. 2 a train, bus, etc., going to and fro over a
short route continuously. 3 = SHUTTLECOCK. 4 = space shuttle.
--v. 1 intr. & tr. move or cause to move to and fro like a
shuttle. 2 intr. travel in a shuttle. Ьshuttle armature
Electr. an armature with a single coil wound on an elongated
iron bobbin. shuttle diplomacy negotiations conducted by a
mediator who travels successively to several countries. shuttle
service a train or bus etc. service operating to and fro over a
short route. [OE scytel dart f. Gmc: cf. SHOOT]
n. 1 a cork with a ring of feathers, or a similar device of
plastic, used instead of a ball in badminton and in battledore
and shuttlecock. 2 a thing passed repeatedly back and forth.
[SHUTTLE + COCK(1), prob. f. the flying motion]
shy(1) adj., v., & n. --adj. (shyer, shyest or shier, shiest) 1 a
diffident or uneasy in company; timid. b (of an animal, bird,
etc.) easily startled; timid. 2 (foll. by of) avoiding; chary
of (shy of his aunt; shy of going to meetings). 3 (in comb.)
showing fear of or distaste for (gun-shy; work-shy). 4 (often
foll. by of, on) colloq. having lost; short of (I'm shy three
quid; shy of the price of admission). --v.intr. (shies, shied)
1 (usu. foll. by at) (esp. of a horse) start suddenly aside (at
an object, noise, etc.) in fright. 2 (usu. foll. by away from,
at) avoid accepting or becoming involved in (a proposal etc.) in
alarm. --n. a sudden startled movement. ЬЬshyer n. shyly adv.
(also shily). shyness n. [OE sceoh f. Gmc]
shy(2) v. & n. --v.tr. (shies, shied) (also absol.) fling or throw (a
stone etc.). --n. the act or an instance of shying. Ьhave a
shy at colloq. 1 try to hit with a stone etc. 2 make an
attempt at. 3 jeer at. ЬЬshyer n. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
Shylock n. a hard-hearted money-lender; a miser. [character in
Shakesp. Merchant of Venice]
shyster n. esp. US colloq. a person, esp. a lawyer, who uses
unscrupulous methods. [19th c.: orig. uncert.]
SI abbr. 1 (Order of the) Star of India. 2 the international
system of units of measurement (F SystЉme International).
Si symb. Chem. the element silicon.
si n. Mus. = TE. [F f. It., perh. f. the initials of Sancte
Iohannes: see GAMUT]
n. & adj. --n. a medicine inducing the flow of saliva. --adj.
inducing such a flow. [F f. Gk sialon saliva + agogos leading]
siamang n. a large black gibbon, Hylobates syndactylus, native to
Sumatra and the Malay peninsula. [Malay]
Siamese n. & adj. --n. (pl. same) 1 a a native of Siam (now Thailand)
in SE Asia. b the language of Siam. 2 (in full Siamese cat) a
a cat of a cream-coloured short-haired breed with a brown face
and ears and blue eyes. b this breed. --adj. of or concerning
Siam, its people, or language. ЬSiamese twins 1 twins joined at
any part of the body and sometimes sharing organs etc. 2 any
closely associated pair.
sib n. & adj. --n. 1 a brother or sister (cf. SIBLING). 2 a
blood relative. 3 a group of people recognized by an individual
as his or her kindred. --adj. (usu. foll. by to) esp. Sc.
related; akin. [OE sib(b)]
Siberian n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Siberia in the northern Soviet
Union. 2 a person of Siberian descent. --adj. of or relating
sibilant adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a letter or set of letters, as s, sh)
sounded with a hiss. 2 hissing (a sibilant whisper). --n. a
sibilant letter or letters. ЬЬsibilance n. sibilancy n. [L
sibilare sibilant- hiss]
sibilate v.tr. & intr. pronounce with or utter a hissing sound.
sibling n. each of two or more children having one or both parents in
common. [SIB + -LING(1)]
sibship n. 1 the state of belonging to a sib or the same sib. 2 a
group of children having the same two parents.
sibyl n. 1 any of the women in ancient times supposed to utter the
oracles and prophecies of a god. 2 a prophetess,
fortune-teller, or witch. [ME f. OF Sibile or med.L Sibilla f.
L Sibylla f. Gk Sibulla]
sibylline adj. 1 of or from a sibyl. 2 oracular; prophetic. Ьthe
Sibylline books a collection of oracles belonging to the ancient
Roman State and used for guidance by magistrates etc. [L
Sibyllinus (as SIBYL)]
sic adv. (usu. in brackets) used, spelt, etc., as written
(confirming, or calling attention to, the form of quoted or
copied words). [L, = so, thus]
siccative n. & adj. --n. a substance causing drying, esp. mixed with
oil-paint etc. for quick drying. --adj. having such properties.
[LL siccativus f. siccare to dry]
sice(1) n. the six on dice. [ME f. OF sis f. L sex six]
sice(2) var. of SYCE.
Sicilian n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Sicily, an island off the S.
coast of Italy. 2 a person of Sicilian descent. --adj. of or
relating to Sicily. [L Sicilia Sicily]
siciliano n. (pl. -os) (also siciliana) a dance, song, or instrumental
piece in 6/8 or 12/8 time, often in a minor key, and evoking a
pastoral mood. [It., = Sicilian]
sick(1) adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 (often in comb.) esp. Brit. vomiting
or tending to vomit (feels sick; has been sick; seasick). 2
esp. US ill; affected by illness (has been sick for a week; a
sick man; sick with measles). 3 a (often foll. by at) esp.
mentally perturbed; disordered (the product of a sick mind; sick
at heart). b (often foll. by for, or in comb.) pining; longing
(sick for a sight of home; lovesick). 4 (often foll. by of)
colloq. a disgusted; surfeited (sick of chocolates). b angry,
esp. because of surfeit (am sick of being teased). 5 colloq.
(of humour etc.) jeering at misfortune, illness, death, etc.;
morbid (sick joke). 6 (of a ship) needing repair (esp. of a
specified kind) (paint-sick). --n. Brit. colloq. vomit.
--v.tr. (usu. foll. by up) Brit. colloq. vomit (sicked up his
dinner). Ьgo sick report oneself as ill. look sick colloq. be
unimpressive or embarrassed. sick at (or to) one's stomach US
vomiting or tending to vomit. sick-benefit Brit. an allowance
made by the State to a person absent from work through sickness.
sick building syndrome a high incidence of illness in office
workers, attributed to the immediate working surroundings.
sick-call 1 a visit by a doctor to a sick person etc. 2 Mil. a
summons for sick men to attend. sick-flag a yellow flag
indicating disease at a quarantine station or on ship. sick
headache a migraine headache with vomiting. sick-leave leave of
absence granted because of illness. sick-list a list of the
sick, esp. in a regiment, ship, etc. sick-making colloq.
sickening. sick nurse = NURSE. sick-pay pay given to an
employee etc. on sick-leave. take sick colloq. be taken ill.
ЬЬsickish adj. [OE seoc f. Gmc]
sick(2) v.tr. (usu. in imper.) (esp. to a dog) set upon (a rat etc.).
[19th c., dial. var. of SEEK]
sickbay n. 1 part of a ship used as a hospital. 2 any room etc. for
sickbed n. 1 an invalid's bed. 2 the state of being an invalid.
sicken v. 1 tr. affect with loathing or disgust. 2 intr. a (often
foll. by for) show symptoms of illness (is sickening for
measles). b (often foll. by at, or to + infin.) feel nausea or
disgust (he sickened at the sight). 3 (as sickening adj.) a
loathsome, disgusting. b colloq. very annoying. ЬЬsickeningly
sickie n. Austral. & NZ colloq. a period of sick-leave, usu. taken
with insufficient medical reason.
sickle n. 1 a short-handled farming tool with a semicircular blade,
used for cutting corn, lopping, or trimming. 2 anything
sickle-shaped, esp. the crescent moon. Ьsickle-bill any of
various curlews with a sickle-shaped bill. sickle-cell a
sickle-shaped blood-cell, esp. as found in a type of severe
hereditary anaemia. sickle-feather each of the long middle
feathers of a cock's tail. [OE sicol, sicel f. L secula f.
sickly adj. (sicklier, sickliest) 1 a of weak health; apt to be ill.
b (of a person's complexion, look, etc.) languid, faint, or
pale, suggesting sickness (a sickly smile). c (of light or
colour) faint, pale, feeble. 2 causing ill health (a sickly
climate). 3 (of a book etc.) sentimental or mawkish. 4
inducing or connected with nausea (a sickly taste). 5 (of a
colour etc.) of an unpleasant shade inducing nausea (a sickly
green). ЬЬsickliness n. [ME, prob. after ON sjukligr (as
sickness n. 1 the state of being ill; disease. 2 a specified disease
(sleeping sickness). 3 vomiting or a tendency to vomit.
Ьsickness benefit (in the UK) benefit paid by the State for
sickness interrupting paid employment. [OE seocnesse (as
sickroom n. 1 a room occupied by a sick person. 2 a room adapted for
sidalcea n. any mallow-like plant of the genus Sidalcea, bearing racemes
of white, pink, or purple flowers. [mod.L f. Sida + Alcea,
names of related genera]
side n. & v. --n. 1 a each of the more or less flat surfaces
bounding an object (a cube has six sides; this side up). b a
more or less vertical inner or outer plane or surface (the side
of a house; a mountainside). c such a vertical lateral surface
or plane as distinct from the top or bottom, front or back, or
ends (at the side of the house). 2 a the half of a person or
animal that is on the right or the left, esp. of the torso (has
a pain in his right side). b the left or right half or a
specified part of a thing, area, building, etc. (put the box on
that side). c (often in comb.) a position next to a person or
thing (grave-side; seaside; stood at my side). d a specified
direction relating to a person or thing (on the north side of;
came from all sides). e half of a butchered carcass (a side of
bacon). 3 a either surface of a thing regarded as having two
surfaces. b the amount of writing needed to fill one side of a
sheet of paper (write three sides). 4 any of several aspects of
a question, character, etc. (many sides to his character; look
on the bright side). 5 a each of two sets of opponents in war,
politics, games, etc. (the side that bats first; much to be
said on both sides). b a cause or philosophical position etc.
regarded as being in conflict with another (on the side of
right). 6 a a part or region near the edge and remote from the
centre (at the side of the room). b (attrib.) a subordinate,
peripheral, or detached part (a side-road; a side-table). 7 a
each of the bounding lines of a plane rectilinear figure (a
hexagon has six sides). b each of two quantities stated to be
equal in an equation. 8 a position nearer or farther than, or
right or left of, a dividing line (on this side of the Alps; on
the other side of the road). 9 a line of hereditary descent
through the father or the mother. 10 (in full side spin) Brit.
a spinning motion given to a billiard-ball etc. by hitting it on
one side, not centrally. 11 Brit. sl. boastfulness; swagger
(has no side about him). 12 Brit. colloq. a television channel
(shall we try another side?). --v.intr. (usu. foll. by with)
take part or be on the same side as a disputant etc. (sided with
his father). Ьby the side of 1 close to. 2 compared with.
from side to side 1 right across. 2 alternately each way from a
central line. let the side down fail one's colleagues, esp. by
frustrating their efforts or embarrassing them. on one side 1
not in the main or central position. 2 aside (took him on one
side to explain). on the ... side fairly, somewhat (qualifying
an adjective: on the high side). on the side 1 as a sideline;
in addition to one's regular work etc. 2 secretly or illicitly.
3 US as a side dish. on this side of the grave in life.
side-arms swords, bayonets, or pistols. side-band a range of
frequencies near the carrier frequency of a radio wave,
concerned in modulation. side-bet a bet between opponents, esp.
in card-games, over and above the ordinary stakes. side-bone
either of the small forked bones under the wings of poultry.
side by side standing close together, esp. for mutual support.
side-car 1 a small car for a passenger or passengers attached to
the side of a motor cycle. 2 a cocktail of orange liqueur,
lemon juice, and brandy. 3 a jaunting car. side-chapel a
chapel in the aisle or at the side of a church. side dish an
extra dish subsidiary to the main course. side-door 1 a door in
or at the side of a building. 2 an indirect means of access.
side-drum a small double-headed drum in a jazz or military band
or in an orchestra (orig. hung at the drummer's side).
side-effect a secondary, usu. undesirable, effect. side-glance
a sideways or brief glance. side-issue a point that distracts
attention from what is important. side-note a marginal note.
side-on adv. from the side. --adj. 1 from or towards one
side. 2 (of a collision) involving the side of a vehicle.
side-road a minor or subsidiary road, esp. joining or diverging
from a main road. side-saddle n. a saddle for a woman rider
with both feet on the same side of the horse. --adv. sitting in
this position on a horse. side salad a salad served as a side
dish. side-seat a seat in a vehicle etc. in which the occupant
has his back to the side of the vehicle. side-slip n. 1 a
skid. 2 Aeron. a sideways movement instead of forward.
--v.intr. 1 skid. 2 Aeron. move sideways instead of forward.
side-splitting causing violent laughter. side-street a minor or
subsidiary street. side-stroke 1 a stroke towards or from a
side. 2 an incidental action. 3 a swimming stroke in which the
swimmer lies on his or her side. side-swipe n. 1 a glancing
blow along the side. 2 incidental criticism etc. --v.tr. hit
with or as if with a side-swipe. side-table a table placed at
the side of a room or apart from the main table. side-trip a
minor excursion during a voyage or trip; a detour. side valve a
valve in a vehicle engine, operated from the side of the
cylinder. side-view 1 a view obtained sideways. 2 a profile.
side-wheeler US a steamer with paddle-wheels. side-whiskers
whiskers growing on the cheeks. side wind 1 wind from the side.
2 an indirect agency or influence. take sides support one or
other cause etc. ЬЬsideless adj. [OE side f. Gmc]
sideboard n. a table or esp. a flat-topped cupboard at the side of a
dining-room for supporting and containing dishes, table linen,
n.pl. Brit. colloq. hair grown by a man down the sides of his
sideburns n.pl. = SIDEBOARDS. [burnsides pl. of burnside f. General
Burnside d. 1881 who affected this style]
sided adj. 1 having sides. 2 (in comb.) having a specified side or
sides (one-sided). ЬЬ-sidedly adv. sidedness n. (also in
sidehill n. US a hillside.
sidekick n. colloq. a close associate.
sidelight n. 1 a light from the side. 2 incidental information etc. 3
Brit. a light at the side of the front of a motor vehicle to
warn of its presence. 4 Naut. the red port or green starboard
light on a ship under way.
sideline n. & v. --n. 1 work etc. done in addition to one's main
activity. 2 (usu. in pl.) a a line bounding the side of a
hockey-pitch, tennis-court, etc. b the space next to these
where spectators etc. sit. --v.tr. US remove (a player) from a
team through injury, suspension, etc. Ьon (or from) the
sidelines in (or from) a position removed from the main action.
sidelong adj. & adv. --adj. inclining to one side; oblique (a sidelong
glance). --adv. obliquely (moved sidelong). [sideling (as
SIDE, -LING(2)): see -LONG]
sidereal adj. of or concerning the constellations or fixed stars.
Ьsidereal clock a clock showing sidereal time. sidereal day the
time between successive meridional transits of a star or esp.
of the first point of Aries, about four minutes shorter than the
solar day. sidereal time time measured by the apparent diurnal
motion of the stars. sidereal year a year longer than the solar
year by 20 minutes 23 seconds because of precession. [L
sidereus f. sidus sideris star]
siderite n. 1 a mineral form of ferrous carbonate. 2 a meteorite
consisting mainly of nickel and iron. [Gk sideros iron]
n. an instrument used for keeping the image of a celestial body
in a fixed position. [L sidus sideris star, after heliostat]
sideshow n. 1 a minor show or attraction in an exhibition or
entertainment. 2 a minor incident or issue.
sidesman n. (pl. -men) an assistant churchwarden, who shows worshippers
to their seats, takes the collection, etc.
sidestep n. & v. --n. a step taken sideways. --v.tr. (-stepped,
-stepping) 1 esp. Football avoid (esp. a tackle) by stepping
sideways. 2 evade. ЬЬsidestepper n.
sidetrack n. & v. --n. a railway siding. --v.tr. 1 turn into a siding;
shunt. 2 a postpone, evade, or divert treatment or
consideration. b divert (a person) from considering etc.
sidewalk n. US a pedestrian path at the side of a road; a pavement.
sideways adv. & adj. --adv. 1 to or from a side (moved sideways). 2
with one side facing forward (sat sideways on the bus). --adj.
to or from a side (a sideways movement). ЬЬsidewise adv. & adj.
n. 1 a desert rattlesnake, Crotalus cerastes, native to N.
America, moving with a lateral motion. 2 US a sideways blow.
siding n. 1 a short track at the side of and opening on to a railway
line, used for shunting trains. 2 US cladding material for the
outside of a building.
sidle v. & n. --v.intr. (usu. foll. by along, up) walk in a timid,
furtive, stealthy, or cringing manner. --n. the act or an
instance of sidling. [back-form. f. sideling, SIDELONG]
SIDS abbr. sudden infant death syndrome; = cot-death (see COT(1)).
siege n. 1 a a military operation in which an attacking force seeks
to compel the surrender of a fortified place by surrounding it
and cutting off supplies etc. b a similar operation by police
etc. to force the surrender of an armed person. c the period
during which a siege lasts. 2 a persistent attack or campaign
of persuasion. Ьlay siege to esp. Mil. conduct the siege of.
raise the siege of abandon or cause the abandonment of an
attempt to take (a place) by siege. siege-gun hist. a heavy
gun used in sieges. siege-train artillery and other equipment
for a siege, with vehicles etc. [ME f. OF sege seat f.
siemens n. Electr. the SI unit of conductance, equal to one reciprocal
ohm. °Abbr.: S. [W. von Siemens, Ger. electrical engineer, d.
sienna n. 1 a kind of ferruginous earth used as a pigment in paint. 2
its colour of yellowish-brown (raw sienna) or reddish-brown
(burnt sienna). [It. (terra di) Sienna (earth of) Siena in
sierra n. a long jagged mountain chain, esp. in Spain or Spanish
America. [Sp. f. L serra saw]
siesta n. an afternoon sleep or rest esp. in hot countries. [Sp. f. L
sexta (hora) sixth hour]
sieve n. & v. --n. a utensil having a perforated or meshed bottom for
separating solids or coarse material from liquids or fine
particles, or for reducing a soft solid to a fine pulp. --v.tr.
1 put through or sift with a sieve. 2 examine (evidence etc.)
to select or separate. Ьhead like a sieve colloq. a memory
that retains little. ЬЬsievelike adj. [OE sife f. WG]
siffleur n. (fem. siffleuse) a professional whistler. [F f. siffler
sift v. 1 tr. sieve (material) into finer and coarser parts. 2 tr.
(usu. foll. by from, out) separate (finer or coarser parts) from
material. 3 tr. sprinkle (esp. sugar) from a perforated
container. 4 tr. examine (evidence, facts, etc.) in order to
assess authenticity etc. 5 intr. (of snow, light, etc.) fall as
if from a sieve. Ьsift through examine by sifting. ЬЬsifter n.
(also in comb.). [OE siftan f. WG]
Sig. abbr. Signor.
sigh v. & n. --v. 1 intr. emit a long deep audible breath
expressive of sadness, weariness, longing, relief, etc. 2 intr.
(foll. by for) yearn for (a lost person or thing). 3 tr. utter
or express with sighs ('Never!' he sighed). 4 intr. (of the
wind etc.) make a sound like sighing. --n. 1 the act or an
instance of sighing. 2 a sound made in sighing (a sigh of
relief). [ME sihen etc., prob. back-form. f. sihte past of
sihen f. OE sican]
sight n. & v. --n. 1 a the faculty of seeing with the eyes (lost his
sight). b the act or an instance of seeing; the state of being
seen. 2 a thing seen; a display, show, or spectacle (not a
pretty sight; a beautiful sight). 3 a way of looking at or
considering a thing (in my sight he can do no wrong). 4 a range
of space within which a person etc. can see or an object be seen
(he's out of sight; they are just coming into sight). 5 (usu.
in pl.) noteworthy features of a town, area, etc. (went to see
the sights). 6 a a device on a gun or optical instrument used
for assisting the precise aim or observation. b the aim or
observation so gained (got a sight of him). 7 colloq. a person
or thing having a ridiculous, repulsive, or dishevelled
appearance (looked a perfect sight). 8 colloq. a great quantity
(will cost a sight of money; is a sight better than he was).
--v.tr. 1 get sight of, esp. by approaching (they sighted
land). 2 observe the presence of (esp. aircraft, animals, etc.)
(sighted buffalo). 3 take observations of (a star etc.) with an
instrument. 4 a provide (a gun, quadrant, etc.) with sights. b
adjust the sight of (a gun etc.). c aim (a gun etc.) with
sights. Ьat first sight on first glimpse or impression. at (or
on) sight as soon as a person or a thing has been seen (plays
music at sight; liked him on sight). catch (or lose) sight of
begin (or cease) to see or be aware of. get a sight of manage
to see; glimpse. have lost sight of no longer know the
whereabouts of. in sight 1 visible. 2 near at hand (salvation
is in sight). in (or within) sight of so as to see or be seen
from. lower one's sights become less ambitious. out of my
sight! go at once! out of sight 1 not visible. 2 colloq.
excellent; delightful. out of sight out of mind we forget the
absent. put out of sight hide, ignore. set one's sights on aim
at (set her sights on a directorship). sight for the gods (or
sight for sore eyes) a welcome person or thing, esp. a visitor.
sight-glass a transparent device for observing the interior of
apparatus etc. sighting shot an experimental shot to guide
riflemen in adjusting their sights. sight-line a hypothetical
line from a person's eye to what is seen. sight-read (past and
past part. -read) read and perform (music) at sight.
sight-reader a person who sight-reads. sight-screen Cricket a
large white screen on wheels placed near the boundary in line
with the wicket to help the batsman see the ball. sight-sing
sing (music) at sight. sight unseen without previous
inspection. ЬЬsighter n. [OE (ge)sihth]
sighted adj. 1 capable of seeing; not blind. 2 (in comb.) having a
specified kind of sight (long-sighted).
sightly adj. attractive to the sight; not unsightly. ЬЬsightliness n.
sightseer n. a person who visits places of interest; a tourist.
ЬЬsightsee v.intr. & tr. sightseeing n.
adj. worth seeing.
sigillate adj. 1 (of pottery) having impressed patterns. 2 Bot. having
seal-like marks. [L sigillatus f. sigillum seal dimin. of
siglum n. (pl. sigla) a letter (esp. an initial) or other symbol used
to denote a word in a book, esp. to refer to a particular text.
[LL sigla (pl.), perh. f. singula neut. pl. of singulus single]
sigma n. the eighteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. [L f. Gk]
sigmate adj. 1 sigma-shaped. 2 S-shaped.
sigmoid adj. & n. --adj. 1 curved like the uncial sigma;
crescent-shaped. 2 S-shaped. --n. (in full sigmoid flexure)
Anat. the curved part of the intestine between the colon and the
rectum. [Gk sigmoeides (as SIGMA)]
sign n. & v. --n. 1 a a thing indicating or suggesting a quality or
state etc.; a thing perceived as indicating a future state or
occurrence (violence is a sign of weakness; shows all the signs
of decay). b a miracle evidencing supernatural power; a portent
(did signs and wonders). 2 a a mark, symbol, or device used to
represent something or to distinguish the thing on which it is
put (marked the jar with a sign). b a technical symbol used in
algebra, music, etc. (a minus sign; a repeat sign). 3 a gesture
or action used to convey information, an order, request, etc.
(gave him a sign to leave; conversed by signs). 4 a publicly
displayed board etc. giving information; a signboard or
signpost. 5 any objective evidence of a disease, usu. specified
(Babinski's sign). 6 a password (advanced and gave the sign).
7 any of the twelve divisions of the zodiac, named from the
constellations formerly situated in them (the sign of Cancer).
8 US the trail of a wild animal. 9 Math. etc. the positiveness
or negativeness of a quantity. --v. 1 tr. a (also absol.)
write (one's name, initials, etc.) on a document etc. indicating
that one has authorized it. b write one's name etc. on (a
document) as authorization. 2 intr. & tr. communicate by
gesture (signed to me to come; signed their assent). 3 tr. &
intr. engage or be engaged by signing a contract etc. (see also
sign on, sign up). 4 tr. mark with a sign (esp. with the sign
of the cross in baptism). Ьmake no sign seem unconscious; not
protest. sign and countersign secret words etc. used as
passwords. sign away convey (one's right, property, etc.) by
signing a deed etc. sign for acknowledge receipt of by signing.
sign language a system of communication by visual gestures, used
esp. by the deaf. sign of the cross a Christian sign made in
blessing or prayer, by tracing a cross from the forehead to the
chest and to each shoulder, or in the air. sign off 1 end work,
broadcasting, a letter, etc., esp. by writing or speaking one's
name. 2 a end a period of employment, contract, etc. b end the
period of employment or contract of (a person). 3 Brit. stop
receiving unemployment benefit after finding work. 4 Bridge
indicate by a conventional bid that one is seeking to end the
bidding. sign-off n. Bridge such a bid. sign of the times a
portent etc. showing a likely trend. sign on 1 agree to a
contract, employment, etc. 2 begin work, broadcasting, etc.,
esp. by writing or announcing one's name. 3 employ (a person).
4 Brit. register as unemployed. sign-painter (or -writer) a
person who paints signboards etc. sign up 1 engage or employ (a
person). 2 enlist in the armed forces. 3 a commit (another
person or oneself) by signing etc. (signed you up for dinner).
b enrol (signed up for evening classes). ЬЬsignable adj.
signer n. [ME f. OF signe, signer f. L signum, signare]
signal(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a usu. prearranged sign conveying
information, guidance, etc. esp. at a distance (waved as a
signal to begin). b a message made up of such signs (signals
made with flags). 2 an immediate occasion or cause of movement,
action, etc. (the uprising was a signal for repression). 3
Electr. a an electrical impulse or impulses or radio waves
transmitted as a signal. b a sequence of these. 4 a light,
semaphore, etc., on a railway giving instructions or warnings to
train-drivers etc. 5 Bridge a prearranged mode of bidding or
play to convey information to one's partner. --v. (signalled,
signalling; US signaled, signaling) 1 intr. make signals. 2 tr.
a (often foll. by to + infin.) make signals to; direct. b
transmit (an order, information, etc.) by signal; announce
(signalled her agreement; signalled that the town had been
taken). Ьsignal-book a list of signals arranged for sending
esp. naval and military messages. signal-box Brit. a building
beside a railway track from which signals are controlled.
signal of distress esp. Naut. an appeal for help, esp. from a
ship by firing guns. signal-tower US = signal-box. ЬЬsignaller
n. [ME f. OF f. Rmc & med.L signale neut. of LL signalis f. L
signal(2) adj. remarkably good or bad; noteworthy (a signal victory).
ЬЬsignally adv. [F signal‚ f. It. past part. segnalato
distinguished f. segnale SIGNAL(1)]
signalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make noteworthy or remarkable. 2 lend
distinction or lustre to. 3 indicate.
signalman n. (pl. -men) 1 a railway employee responsible for operating
signals and points. 2 a person who displays or receives naval
signary n. (pl. -ies) a list of signs constituting the syllabic or
alphabetic symbols of a language. [L signum SIGN + -ARY(1),
signatory n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) a party or esp. a State that has
signed an agreement or esp. a treaty. --adj. having signed
such an agreement etc. [L signatorius of sealing f. signare
signature n. 1 a a person's name, initials, or mark used in signing a
letter, document, etc. b the act of signing a document etc. 2
archaic a distinctive action, characteristic, etc. 3 Mus. a =
key signature. b = time signature. 4 Printing a a letter or
figure placed at the foot of one or more pages of each sheet of
a book as a guide for binding. b such a sheet after folding. 5
US directions given to a patient as part of a medical
prescription. Ьsignature tune esp. Brit. a distinctive tune
used to introduce a particular programme or performer on
television or radio. [med.L signatura (LL = marking of sheep),
signboard n. a board with a name or symbol etc. displayed outside a shop
or hotel etc.
signet n. 1 a seal used instead of or with a signature as
authentication. 2 (prec. by the) the royal seal formerly used
for special purposes in England and Scotland, and in Scotland
later as the seal of the Court of Session. Ьsignet-ring a ring
with a seal set in it. [ME f. OF signet or med.L signetum (as
n. 1 importance; noteworthiness (his opinion is of no
significance). 2 a concealed or real meaning (what is the
significance of his statement?). 3 the state of being
significant. 4 Statistics the extent to which a result deviates
from a hypothesis such that the difference is due to more than
errors in sampling. [OF significance or L significantia (as
adj. 1 having a meaning; indicative. 2 having an unstated or
secret meaning; suggestive (refused it with a significant
gesture). 3 noteworthy; important; consequential (a significant
figure in history). 4 Statistics of or relating to the
significance in the difference between an observed and
calculated result. Ьsignificant figure Math. a digit conveying
information about a number containing it, and not a zero used
simply to fill vacant space at the beginning or end.
ЬЬsignificantly adv. [L significare: see SIGNIFY]
n. 1 the act of signifying. 2 (usu. foll. by of) exact meaning
or sense, esp. of a word or phrase. [ME f. OF f. L significatio
-onis (as SIGNIFY)]
adj. 1 (esp. of a symbol etc.) signifying. 2 having a meaning.
3 (usu. foll. by of) serving as a sign or evidence. [ME f. OF
significatif -ive, or LL significativus (as SIGNIFY)]
signify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. be a sign or indication of (a yawn
signifies boredom). 2 tr. mean; have as its meaning ('Dr'
signifies 'doctor'). 3 tr. communicate; make known (signified
their agreement). 4 intr. be of importance; matter (it
signifies little). ЬЬsignifier n. [ME f. OF signifier f. L
significare (as SIGN)]
signing n. a person who has signed a contract, esp. to join a
professional sports team.
signor n. (pl. signori) 1 a title or form of address used of or to an
Italian-speaking man, corresponding to Mr or sir. 2 an Italian
man. [It. f. L senior: see SENIOR]
signora n. 1 a title or form of address used of or to an
Italian-speaking married woman, corresponding to Mrs or madam.
2 a married Italian woman. [It., fem. of SIGNOR]
signorina n. 1 a title or form of address used of or to an
Italian-speaking unmarried woman. 2 an Italian unmarried woman.
[It., dimin. of SIGNORA]
signory n. (pl. -ies) 1 = SEIGNIORY. 2 hist. the governing body of a
medieval Italian republic. [ME f. OF s(e)ignorie (as SEIGNEUR)]
signpost n. & v. --n. 1 a post erected at a crossroads with arms
indicating the direction to and sometimes also the distance from
various places. 2 a means of guidance; an indication. --v.tr.
1 provide with a signpost or signposts. 2 indicate (a course of
action, direction, etc.).
sika n. a small forest-dwelling deer, Cervus nippon, native to
Japan. [Jap. shika]
Sikh n. a member of an Indian monotheistic sect founded in the 16th
c. [Hindi, = disciple, f. Skr. sishya]
Sikhism n. the religious tenets of the Sikhs.
silage n. & v. --n. 1 storage in a silo. 2 green fodder that has
been stored in a silo. --v.tr. put into a silo. [alt. of
ENSILAGE after silo]
sild n. a small immature herring, esp. one caught in N. European
seas. [Da. & Norw.]
silence n. & v. --n. 1 absence of sound. 2 abstinence from speech or
noise. 3 the avoidance of mentioning a thing, betraying a
secret, etc. 4 oblivion; the state of not being mentioned.
--v.tr. make silent, esp. by coercion or superior argument. Ьin
silence without speech or other sound. reduce (or put) to
silence refute in argument. [ME f. OF f. L silentium (as
silencer n. any of various devices for reducing the noise emitted by the
exhaust of a motor vehicle, a gun, etc.
silent adj. 1 not speaking; not uttering or making or accompanied by
any sound. 2 (of a letter) written but not pronounced, e.g. b
in doubt. 3 (of a film) without a synchronized soundtrack. 4
(of a person) taciturn; speaking little. 5 saying or recording
nothing on some subject (the records are silent on the
incident). 6 (of spirits) unflavoured. Ьsilent majority those
of moderate opinions who rarely assert them. silent partner US
= sleeping partner (see SLEEP). ЬЬsilently adv. [L silere
silent- be silent]
silenus n. (pl. sileni) (in Greek mythology) a bearded old man like a
satyr, sometimes with the tail and legs of a horse. [L f. Gk
silex n. a kind of glass made of fused quartz. [L (as SILICA)]
n. & v. --n. 1 a representation of a person or thing showing
the outline only, usu. done in solid black on white or cut from
paper. 2 the dark shadow or outline of a person or thing
against a lighter background. --v.tr. represent or (usu. in
passive) show in silhouette. Ьin silhouette seen or placed in
outline. [ђtienne de Silhouette, Fr. author and politician d.
silica n. silicon dioxide, occurring as quartz etc. and as a principal
constituent of sandstone and other rocks. Ьsilica gel hydrated
silica in a hard granular form used as a desiccant. ЬЬsiliceous
adj. (also silicious). silicic adj. silicify v.tr. & intr.
(-ies, -ied). silicification n. [L silex -icis flint, after
silicate n. any of the many insoluble compounds of a metal combined with
silicon and oxygen, occurring widely in the rocks of the earth's
silicon n. Chem. a non-metallic element occurring widely in silica and
silicates, and used in the manufacture of glass. °Symb.: Si.
Ьsilicon chip a silicon microchip. silicon carbide =
CARBORUNDUM. Silicon Valley an area with a high concentration
of electronics industries. [L silex -icis flint (after carbon,
boron), alt. of earlier silicium]
silicone n. any of the many polymeric organic compounds of silicon and
oxygen with high resistance to cold, heat, water, and the
passage of electricity.
silicosis n. lung fibrosis caused by the inhalation of dust containing
silica. ЬЬsilicotic adj.
siliqua n. (also silique) (pl. siliquae or siliques) the long narrow
seed-pod of a cruciferous plant. ЬЬsiliquose adj. siliquous
adj. [L, = pod]
silk n. 1 a fine strong soft lustrous fibre produced by silkworms in
making cocoons. 2 a similar fibre spun by some spiders etc. 3
thread or cloth made from silk fibre. 4 (in pl.) kinds of silk
cloth or garments made from it, esp. as worn by a jockey in a
horse-owner's colours. 5 Brit. colloq. Queen's (or King's)
Counsel, as having the right to wear a silk gown. 6 (attrib.)
made of silk (silk blouse). 7 the silky styles of the female
maize-flower. Ьsilk cotton kapok or a similar substance.
silk-fowl a breed of fowl with a silky plumage. silk-gland a
gland secreting the substance produced as silk. silk hat a tall
cylindrical hat covered with silk plush. silk moth any of
various large moths of the family Saturniidae, esp. Hyalophora
cecropia. silk-screen printing = screen printing. take silk
Brit. become a Queen's (or King's) Counsel. ЬЬsilklike adj.
[OE sioloc, seolec (cf. ON silki) f. LL sericum neut. of L
sericus f. seres f. Gk Seres an oriental people]
silken adj. 1 made of silk. 2 wearing silk. 3 soft or lustrous as
silk. 4 (of a person's manner etc.) suave or insinuating. [OE
seolcen (as SILK)]
silkworm n. the caterpillar of the moth Bombyx mori, which spins its
cocoon of silk.
silky adj. (silkier, silkiest) 1 like silk in smoothness, softness,
fineness, or lustre. 2 (of a person's manner etc.) suave,
insinuating. ЬЬsilkily adv. silkiness n.
sill n. (also cill) 1 a shelf or slab of stone, wood, or metal at
the foot of a window or doorway. 2 a horizontal timber at the
bottom of a dock or lock entrance, against which the gates
close. 3 Geol. a tabular sheet of igneous rock intruded between
other rocks and parallel with their planar structure. [OE syll,
sillabub var. of SYLLABUB.
n. an aluminium silicate occurring in orthorhombic crystals or
fibrous masses. [B. Silliman, Amer. chemist d. 1864]
silly adj. & n. --adj. (sillier, silliest) 1 lacking sense; foolish,
imprudent, unwise. 2 weak-minded. 3 Cricket (of a fielder or
position) very close to the batsman (silly mid-off). 4 archaic
innocent, simple, helpless. --n. (pl. -ies) colloq. a foolish
person. Ьsilly billy colloq. a foolish person. the silly
season high summer as the season when newspapers often publish
trivial material for lack of important news. ЬЬsillily adv.
silliness n. [later form of ME sely (dial. seely) happy, repr.
OE s‘lig (recorded in uns‘lig unhappy) f. Gmc]
silo n. & v. --n. (pl. -os) 1 a pit or airtight structure in which
green crops are pressed and kept for fodder, undergoing
fermentation. 2 a pit or tower for the storage of grain,
cement, etc. 3 an underground chamber in which a guided missile
is kept ready for firing. --v.tr. (-oes, -oed) make silage of.
[Sp. f. L sirus f. Gk siros corn-pit]
silt n. & v. --n. sediment deposited by water in a channel, harbour,
etc. --v.tr. & intr. (often foll. by up) choke or be choked
with silt. ЬЬsiltation n. silty adj. [ME, perh. rel. to Da.,
Norw. sylt, OLG sulta, OHG sulza salt marsh, formed as SALT]
siltstone n. rock of consolidated silt.
Silurian adj. & n. Geol. --adj. of or relating to the third period of
the Palaeozoic era with evidence of the first fish and land
plants, and the formation of mountains and new land areas. °Cf.
Appendix II. --n. this period or system. [L Silures, a people
of ancient SE Wales]
silva var. of SYLVA.
silvan var. of SYLVAN.
silver n., adj., & v. --n. Chem. 1 a greyish-white lustrous
malleable ductile precious metallic element, occurring naturally
as the element and in mineral form, and used chiefly with an
admixture of harder metals for coin, plate, and ornaments, as a
subordinate monetary medium, and in compounds for photography
etc. °Symb.: Ag. 2 the colour of silver. 3 silver or
cupro-nickel coins. 4 esp. Sc. money. 5 silver vessels or
implements, esp. cutlery. 6 household cutlery of any material.
7 = silver medal. --adj. 1 made wholly or chiefly of silver.
2 coloured like silver. --v. 1 tr. coat or plate with silver.
2 tr. provide (a mirror-glass) with a backing of tin amalgam
etc. 3 tr. (of the moon or a white light) give a silvery
appearance to. 4 a tr. turn (the hair) grey or white. b intr.
(of the hair) turn grey or white. Ьsilver age a period regarded
as inferior to a golden age, e.g. that of post-classical Latin
literature in the early Imperial period. silver band Brit. a
band playing silver-plated instruments. silver birch a common
birch, Betula alba, with silver-coloured bark. silver fir any
fir of the genus Abies, with the under-sides of its leaves
coloured silver. silver fox 1 an American red fox at a time
when its fur is black with white tips. 2 its fur. silver gilt
1 gilded silver. 2 an imitation gilding of yellow lacquer over
silver leaf. silver-grey a lustrous grey. silver jubilee 1 the
25th anniversary of a sovereign's accession. 2 any other 25th
anniversary. silver Latin literary Latin of the early Imperial
period. silver-leaf a fungal disease of fruit trees. silver
lining a consolation or hopeful feature in misfortune. silver
medal a medal of silver, usu. awarded as second prize. silver
nitrate a colourless solid that is soluble in water and formerly
used in photography. silver paper 1 a fine white tissue-paper
for wrapping silver. 2 aluminium or tin foil. silver plate
vessels, spoons, etc., of copper etc. plated with silver.
silver salmon a coho. silver sand a fine pure sand used in
gardening. silver screen (usu. prec. by the) motion pictures
collectively. silver solder solder containing silver. silver
spoon a sign of future prosperity. silver standard a system by
which the value of a currency is defined in terms of silver, for
which the currency may be exchanged. silver thaw a glassy
coating of ice formed on the ground or an exposed surface,
caused by freezing rain or a sudden light frost. silver tongue
eloquence. silver wedding the 25th anniversary of a wedding.
silver weed a plant with silvery leaves, esp. a potentilla,
Potentilla anserina, with silver-coloured leaves. [OE seolfor
n. (pl. same or -fishes) 1 any small silvery wingless insect of
the order Thysanura, esp. Lepisma saccharina in houses and