John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Good words to have handy


Sinuous \SIN-yuh-wus\ of a serpentine or wavy form : winding, marked by strong lithe movements, intricate, complex

 The hikers followed a sinuous path that curved around a lake and in between two small hills.
Although it probably makes you think more of snakes than head colds, "sinuous" is 

etymologically more like "sinus" than "serpent." "Sinuous" and "sinus" both derive from the Latin noun "sinus," which means "curve, fold, or hollow." Other "sinus" descendents include "insinuate" ("to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way") and two terms you might remember from math class: "sine" and "cosine." In English, "sinus" is the oldest of these words; it entered the language in the 1400s. "Insinuate" appeared next, in 1529, and was followed by "sinuous" (1578), "sine" (1593), and "cosine" (1635). "Serpent," by the way, entered English in the 13th century and comes from the Latin verb "serpere," meaning "to creep."


quip \KWIP\    a clever usually taunting remark : gibe,             a witty or funny observation or response usually made on the spur of the moment,something strange, droll, curious, or eccentric : oddity

"Quip" is an abbreviation of "quippy," a noun that is no longer in use. Etymologists believe that "quippy" derived from Latin "quippe," a word meaning "indeed" or "to be sure" that was often used ironically. The earliest sense of "quip," referring to a cutting or sarcastic remark, was common for approximately a century after it first appeared in print in 1532. It then fell out of use until the beginning of the 19th century, when it underwent a revival that continues to the present day.

 Auspices (AW-spi-seez)

MEANING: . Patronage, support, or sponsorship. A favorable sign.

ETYMOLOGY: Plural of auspice, from Latin auspicium (divination from flight of birds), from auspex (bird watcher), from avis (bird) + specere (to look at). Ultimately from the Indo-European root awi- (bird), which is also the source of avian, ostrich, osprey, oval, ovum, ovary, egg, and caviar. Earliest documented use: 1611.



Meaning readily or frequently changing: as, readily or continually undergoing chemical, physical, or biological change or breakdown, characterized by wide fluctuations (as in blood pressure) emotionally unstable

 "Labile" was borrowed into English from French and can be traced back (by way of Middle French "labile," meaning "prone to err") to the Latin verb "labi," meaning "to slip or fall." Indeed, the first sense of "labile" in English was "prone to slip, err, or lapse," but that usage is now obsolete. Other "labi" descendants in English include "collapse," "elapse," "prolapse," and simply "lapse."


Suffuse \suh-FYOOZ\to spread over or through in the manner of fluid or light : flush, fill

 If you are cold or embarrassed, your cheeks may become suffused with a red glow, as though coated on one side with paint. This is reflected in the word’s etymology. "Suffuse" derives from Latin "suffundere," meaning "to pour beneath," a blend of the prefix "sub-" ("under") and "fundere" ("to pour"). Other verbs related to "fundere" continue the theme of pouring or spreading: "diffuse" ("to pour out and spread freely"), "effuse" ("to pour or flow out"), "transfuse" ("to cause to pass from one to another"), and the verb "fuse" itself when it's used to mean "to meld or join."