Thursday, March 6, 2008

Taciturn, prepossessing, umbrage -- three from the Latin


taciturn (TAS-i-tuhrn) adjective
Temperamentally untalkative. [From Latin taciturnus (quiet), from tacitus (silent), past participle of tacere (to be silent).]
"The voiceover may be the best way to express the taciturn main character's ideas and desires, no matter how awkward it seems."
-- Daniel Neman; Review: Perfume; Richmond, Va. Times-Dispatch, Jan 5, 2007.

prepossessing (pree-puh-ZES-ing) adjective
Creating a favorable impression; attractive. [From pre- + possess, from Latin possidere (to occupy, dominate, seize), from potis (able) + sedere (to sit).]
"A prepossessing performer with a beautiful baritone, Murray is tall, blond and Midwestern-looking."
-- F. Kathleen Foley; Not Quite the Last Word on Irving Berlin; Los Angeles Times; Jun 27, 2005.

umbrage (UHM-brij) noun
1. Offense or annoyance arising from some insult.
2. Shade, as from a tree.
3. A vague suggestion or a feeling of suspicion.
[From Latin umbra (shade, shadow), which also gave us the words umbrella, adumbrate, and somber.]
"A number of judges clearly took umbrage at McDowell's comments; Supreme Court judge Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman implicitly criticised him from the bench."
-- Pat Leahy; Judiciary Considers McDowell's Watchdog Proposal; The Sunday Business Post (Dublin, Ireland); Jan 7, 2007.

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