The Phrontistery

Books by Stephen Chrisomalis
Numerical Notation: A Comparative History Human Expeditions: Inspired by Bruce Trigger



Word Definition
babeldom a confused sound of voices
baccate having berries; berry-like
bacchanal drunkard; reveller
bacciferous bearing berries
bacciform shaped like a berry
baccivorous eating berries
bacillicide killer of berries
backstay stay extending from ship's mastheads to the side of the ship
bactericide killer of bacteria
baculiform rod-shaped
baculine of, like or pertaining to the stick or cane; of, like or pertaining to flogging
baculum penis bone in some mammals
baculus rod, staff or scepter of power
badigeon plaster and ground stone mixture for repairing masonry
badinage playful repartee or banter
badious chestnut-coloured
baedeker guide book
baetyl magical or holy meteoric stone
baft cheap coarse cotton fabric
bagarre scuffle or brawl
bagging coarse fabric for making bags or sacks
bagnio bathing house
bahadur self-important official
bahuvrihi compound word whose second part is a noun but that acts as an adjective
bail barrier or pole separating horses in an open stable
bailivate office of a bailiff
bailment delivery of goods in trust
baisemain kiss on the hand
baize coarse napped cotton or wool fabric
bakelite type of solid plastic
balaniferous acorn-bearing
balanism use of suppositories
balanoid acorn-shaped
balatron joker; clown
balbriggan knitted cotton fabric
balbutient stammering
baldachin rich embroidered silk and gold fabric
baldaquin covering or canopy over a throne or altar
baldric shoulder strap for holding sword
balefire bonfire or beacon-fire
balisaur long-tailed badger
balistarius crossbowman
balistraria cross-shaped opening in wall for firing arrows
balize pole mounted on seashore as beacon
ballaster one who supplies ships with ballast
balletomania abnormal fondness for ballet
ballistocardiograph instrument for detecting body movements caused by heartbeat
ballistophobia fear of missiles
ballottement diagnosis of pregnancy by applying sharp force to abdomen
balmorality superficial enthusiasm for Scottish culture
balneary bath
balneology the science of the therapeutic use of baths
balustrade row of columns supporting a stair rail
balzarine light cotton dress material
banausic materialistic; merely mechanical; pertaining to workshops
bandelet small flat moulding around a column
banderol flat band with an inscription; small banner
bandobast detailed organization; settlement
bandolier shoulder belt for carrying ammunition
bangtail mustang or wild horse
bannock flat unleavened loaf of bread
banquette raised way or footway above a parapet
bantling brat; whelp; bastard child
baptistery part of church reserved for performing baptisms
bar unit of pressure of one million dynes per square centimeter
baragnosis loss of ability to distinguish weight
baragouin any jargon or unintelligible language
barathea pebbly silk or worsted fabric with broken rib weave
barathrum an abyss; an insatiable person
barbarocracy government by barbarians
barbate bearded
barbette earthen terrace inside the parapet of a rampart
barbican projecting watchtower over the gate of a castle
barbigerous bearded; bearing a beard
barbula small tuft of hair just below the lower lip
barcarole gondolier's song
bardel pack saddle
bardocucullus hooded cloak worn by monks
bardolatry excessive devotion to or worship of Shakespeare
barege gauzy fabric of silk, cotton, wool, or worsted
bargemaster owner of a barge
barkentine three-masted vessel
barleycorn old unit of length equal to one-third inch
barm yeast; froth on fermenting liquor
barmaster local judge among miners
barmcloth an apron
barmkin battlement or turret on the outer wall of a castle
barn unit of area measurement of particles equal to 100 square femtometres
barnard member of gang of thieves who acts as decoy
barodynamics science of the support and mechanics of bridges
barognosis ability to perceive weight
barograph instrument for recording air pressure
barology study of gravitation
baroscope weather-glass
barouche four-wheeled hooded carriage
barracan fine silk cloth
barracoon depot for slaves
barras coarse linen fabric
barrateen some kind of fabric
barratry inciting riot or violence
barre placing capo or finger across guitar strings
barrulet narrow heraldic bar
bartisan parapet or battlement
barton farmyard
baryecoia deafness; hardness of hearing
baryphonic having difficulty speaking
bascule apparatus of which one end rises as the other sinks
basial of, like or pertaining to kissing
basiation kissing
basilica Roman Catholic church given special privileges
basilicon kind of ointment
bassinet light, conical helmet
bastinade to beat with a stick or baton, especially on the feet
bastion tower at the corner of a fortification
bastle fortified house with vaulted ground floor
bathmism directive evolutionary force
batholith large mass of intruded igneous rock
bathophobia fear of falling from a high place
bathos appearance of the commonplace in elevated matter
bathykolpian deep-bosomed
bathymeter instrument for recording contours of deep oceans
bathyorographical of, like or pertaining to depth underwater or elevation above sea level
bathypelagic found in the depths of the sea
bathysmal of, like or pertaining to the depths of the ocean
bathythermograph instrument for recording water temperature as compared to depth
batik method of dyeing fabric by covering certain sections with wax
batiste fine soft sheer fabric of plain weave
batology the study of brambles
batophobia fear of heights or being close to tall buildings
batrachian of, like or pertaining to frogs or toads
batrachivorous frog-eating
batrachophobia fear of frogs and toads
batraquomancy divination using frogs
batten timber used to fasten down a door or hatch
battledore bat used to strike shuttlecock; game played with such a bat
battology futile, futile repetition in speech or writing
battue indiscriminate slaughter; driving game towards slaughter
baud unit of data transmission speed of one signal event per second
bausond having white spots on the forehead
bavardage chattering; prattle
bavian insignificant or unskilled poet
bavin a bundle of brushwood
bayadere fabric with horizontal stripes in strongly contrasting colours
bdellism use of leeches for blood-letting
bdelloid of, like or pertaining to leeches
bdellotomy act of cutting a leech to increase its suction
beadle church caretaker or usher
beadle mace-bearing official of an institution
beadsman monk or almoner who prays for benefactor
beata beatified woman
Beatlemania obsession with the Beatles
beatster fish net repairer
beatus beatified man
beaupers linen fabric used for flags
beaver hinged face guard on a helmet
beblubbered disfigured from weeping
bechic relieving coughs
becket large hook or bracket used to hold tackle or spars
beckets rope handles
bedaggle to soil by dragging along the wet ground
bedswerver unfaithful spouse
bee hardwood on either side of bowsprit through which forestays are reeved
beele double-pointed miner's pick
beerocracy government by brewers or brewing interests
beeskep straw beehive
beestings the first milk drawn from a cow after calving
beforetime formerly
behoof a benefit resulting from some course of action
bel unit of noise intensity equal to ten decibels
belay to secure a rope by winding on a pin or cleat
belcher coloured; spotted neckerchief
beldam an old woman; a hag; an ancestress
belemnoid shaped like a dart
belike most likely; probably
bellarmine large jug with rounded belly and narrow neck
bellcote ornamental structure to hold one or two large bells
bellecism inclination towards violence; hawkishness
belleter bell-founder
belliferous bringing war
belling deer's mating call
bellipotent militarily powerful
bellonion mechanical instrument combining trumpets and drums
bellwether one who takes the lead; indicator of trends
beloid shaped like an arrow
belomancy divination by means of arrows
belonephilia sexual obsession with sharp objects
belonephobia fear of pins and needles
belonoid shaped like a needle
belvedere raised covered terrace or pavilion
belvedere raised turret or lantern on the top of a house
bema raised part of an Eastern church containing the altar
benedict a newly married man who has long been a bachelor
benefactive indicating for whom or which
benefic kindly; benign; beneficent
benefice ecclesiastical office to which revenue is attached
beneficiate to treat ores to remove impurities
benet exorcist
bengaline crosswise ribbed fabric
benthic of, like or pertaining to the depths of the ocean
benthos flora and fauna of the ocean floor
berceau covered walk
berceuse lullaby
bergamask country dance
berge spy glass or telescope
berlin four-wheeled covered carriage
berline crude winter sled
berm narrow shelf or ledge at the top or bottom of a slope
bersatrix baby-sitter
besom curler's broom
bestiarian individual opposed to vivisection
bestiocracy rule by beasts
bethel a place of worship for seamen; nonconformist chapel
betimes in short time; speedily
bêtise foolish act or situation
betwixt between
bewray to reveal; to betray; to divulge
bezel oblique side or face of a cut gem
bezesteen Eastern marketplace
bezique card game played with two decks of cards
bezoar stony material found in ruminants' stomachs
bialate two-winged
biarchy government by two people; diarchy
bibacious overly fond of drinking
bibelot trinket; miniature book of elegant design
bibitory of, like or pertaining or pertaining to drinking
biblioclasm destruction of books or the Bible
bibliogenesis production of books
bibliognost well-read individual; person with wide knowledge of books
biblioklept book-thief
bibliolatry worship of the Bible or other books
bibliology study of books
bibliomancy divination by opening a book at random
bibliomania craze for books or reading
bibliopegist bookbinder
bibliophagist one who devours books, literally or figuratively
bibliophily love or fondness for books or reading
bibliophobia fear of books
bibliopoesy making of books
bibliopolist bookseller
bibliopoly bookselling
bibliotaph one who hoards or hides books
bibliotics study of documents to determine authenticity
bibulous addicted to alcohol
bicapitate two-headed
bickern anvil pointed at both ends
bicollateral having two identical sides
bicorn having two horns or points
biddery metal alloy inlaid with silver and/or gold
bidenticulate having two teeth
biduous lasting two days
bienséance something appropriate or proper
bifarious organized in two rows
bifid divided in two by a deep split
bifilar having two threads
bigential consisting of two races, genera, or subspecies
biggin a building
bight a wide bay; a bend or coil in a rope
bijugate having heads on both sides of a coin
bilbo iron bar used to shackle prisoners' feet
bilge lower point of inner hull of a ship
bilious ill-tempered; very unpleasant
billingsgate coarsely abusive language
billon base metal, alloy of copper, tin or silver
bilocation ability to be in two places at once
biloquist one capable of speaking with two distinct voices
bimetallism currency exchange on both the gold and silver standards
binarchy government by two people; diarchy
binate doubled; coupled
binaural of, pertaining to or heard by both ears
bindle blanket roll
binnacle case in which a ship's compass is kept
binotonous consisting or comprised of two musical tones
biobibliography annotated biographical bibliography
biocenosis state of association of creatures in a certain region
biocentric having life as main principle
biocide killing living material
bioecology study of interaction of life in the environment
biogenesis theory that all life is derived from living matter alone
biognosy general study or theory of life
biolith rock formed by living creatures
biometrics study of biological measurement
bionergy vital essence or force
bionomics study of organisms interacting in their environments
biopic film telling the life-story of a celebrity
biotaxy classification of living organisms
biotope region of uniform environment and types of organisms
bipennate two-winged
biramous forked; with two branches
bireme rowed ship or galley with two banks of oars
biretta square three-ridged cap worn by Catholic clergy
birl to make a log spin by walking on it
birostrate double-beaked
bis twice; in two places
biserial in two rows or columns
bismer shame; disgrace; scorn
bisociation association of an object with two or more ideas
bisontine of, like or pertaining to bison
bistoury narrow surgical knife
bistre pigment with brownish colour derived from soot
bisulcate cloven-footed; cleft in two
bitheism belief in two gods
bitts posts mounted on a ship for fastening ropes
biune combining two entities into one
biverbal of, like or pertaining to two words; having a double sense
bivious offering a choice; splitting between two directions
blackguard a menial helper
blackguard to vituperate; to portray as a scoundrel
blackmaster undertaker
blague humbug; pretentious nonsense
blain a boil or blister
blandiloquence complimentary speech; flattery
blandish to flatter and coax; to cajole
blarney skilful flattery
blastogenesis reproduction by budding
blattnerphone instrument used to record sound on magnetic tape
blattoid of, like or pertaining to cockroaches
blauwbok extinct bluish-coloured antelope of southern Africa
blazon heraldic arms painted on knight's shield or surcoat
blench to shrink or flinch
blendling hybrid
blendure mixing
blennoid of or resembling mucus
blennophobia fear of slime
blepharal of, like or pertaining to eyelids
bletcherous having an ugly design
bletherskate a garrulous talker of nonsense
bletonism alleged ability to find an underground water supply
blewit type of edible toadstool
blissom subject to or having strong sexual desires
bloomery factory where iron bars are manufactured
bloviate to write or speak windily
blucher leather half-boot
bluepeter blue flag with white square in centre used as ship's signal
bluestocking early feminist; educated or literary woman
blunge to mix clay with water
blype piece of skin that peels off after a sunburn
boanerges skilled orator with powerful voice
boatswain ship's crewmember in charge of equipment and maintenance
bobeche circular wax catcher that fits over a candle
bobstay rope used on ships to steady the bowsprit
bocking smoked herring
bodach old man; churl; goblin or spectre
bodement prediction or prophecy
bodewash cow dung
bodge piece of poor or clumsy workmanship
bodkin small tool for pricking holes; small dagger
boeotian stupid; dull
boethetic helpful, curative
bogan quiet tributary or backwater
boggart spectre; bugbear; goblin
bolar of, like or pertaining to clay
bolection moulding around a panel
bolero Spanish dance with sudden pauses and sharp turns
bolide large meteor that bursts; a fireball
bollard short post on a wharf or ship to which ropes are tied
bolometer instrument for measuring radiant energy or infrared light
bolthead straight-necked distillation vessel or flask
boltrope strong rope stitched to edges of a sail
bolus rounded mass
boman well dressed criminal
bombaster one who stuffs or pads things
bombastry bombastic language or composition
bombazine twilled silk and worsted fabric
bombé bulging outwards
bombic of, like or pertaining to silkworms
bombilate to hum, buzz or drone
bombosity the buttocks
bombous convex; rounded
bombycine of, like or pertaining to silk or cotton
bombylious humming or buzzing
bonasus bison
bonbonnière small box used for sweetmeats
bonce large marble used in games
bonification paying of bonus or reward
boniform having the form of good
bonify to improve or ameliorate
boning estimating straightness by looking along a row of poles
bonism the doctrine that the world is good but not perfect
bonzery Buddhist monastery
bonzoline artificial ivory-like substance used to make billiard balls
boodle counterfeit money; funds obtained by corruption
boopic ox-eyed
borage rough-stemmed herb used in salads
borasco violent wind squall
borato thin fabric
borborology filthy talk
borborygmus rumbling noise in the intestines
bordar tenant who holds land at his lord's pleasure
bordereau detailed bill or invoice
bordure border surrounding a heraldic shield
bore tidal flow of water up estuaries
borné limited; narrow-minded
borsella instrument for shaping glass vessels
bort diamond fragments or dust
borzoi wolf-hound
boscage thick foliage; woodland
boschveldt bush country; wilderness
bosket thicket; plantation
bosky covered with trees or shrubs
bossa-nova Brazilian dance similar to samba
bosselated knobby
boston waltz-like dance
bosun boatswain
bot larva of a botfly that infests horses
botanomancy divination using burning branches or plants
botryoidal like a bunch of grapes
bottine small boot
bottomry using the ship as collateral to finance a sea voyage
bottony having three buds like a trefoil
bouclé fabric of uneven looped yarn
bouillotte card game resembling poker
bouleuterion meeting-place; assembly hall
bouleversement overturning; reversal; ruin
boult to sift through cloth; to examine by sifting
boun to prepare; to dress; to set out
bourasque tempest
bourdon drone bass of a bagpipe or organ
bourrée French baroque dance with quick rhythm
boustrophedon writing alternating left-right then right-left
boutade sudden outburst
bovicide slaughter of cattle; one who kills cattle
boviform cow-shaped
bower anchor carried at bow of a ship
bowery seedy or run-down district of a city
bowline rope used to keep weather edge of a sail taut
bowsprit spar that extends at bows of a ship
boyau communication trench
boyg a problem difficult to get to grips with
brabble to squabble or quarrel
braccate having feathered legs or feet
bracciale bracket or socket mounted on a wall
brach female hunting hound
brachet whelp; brat; bitch hound
brachiation act of swinging by one's arms from place to place
brachiferous bearing or having branches or arms
brachiotomy amputation of an arm
brachycatalectic lacking two syllables from end of a line of verse
brachycerous having horns or antennae clipped or removed
brachydactylous having short or stubby fingers
brachymetropia short-sightedness
brachyology laconic, abbreviated or interrupted speech
brachypodous short-legged
brachypterous short-winged
brackish saltish; very salty
brackle to break bread or cake into pieces
bracteate thin beaten plate of gold or silver
bradawl small boring tool
bradyseism slow up-and-down movement of the earth's crust
brail leather strap to bind a hawk's wing
brails ropes on edge of sail for hauling up
braird to appear above ground (of crops)
branchial of, like or pertaining to gills
branchiferous having or bearing gills
branchiform gill-shaped
brandling striped earthworm used as fishing bait
brank to prance; toss the head; to strut
bransle an old French follow-the-leader dance
brasero a place where criminals and heretics are burned
brash collection of broken pieces of rock or ice
brassage difference between cost of minting coin and its value
brassard badge worn on the arm; piece of armour for the arm
brattice fixed tower of wood on a castle wall
brattice partition in mine shaft used to support walls and roof
braxy disease of sheep causing fits
brayer instrument for spreading ink in printing
bream to clean a ship's bottom by burning off seaweed
breastsummer beam supporting front of a building; bressummer
breccia geological formation of angular fragments of rock
breedbate someone looking for an argument
brehon judge or magistrate in ancient Ireland
breloque an ornament attached to a watch
breme fierce; cruel; keen
bressummer beam supporting a wall over an opening
bretasche partition to control ventilation in a mine
breve mark over letter to indicate a short vowel sound
brevet commission enabling officer to take higher rank
breviary book containing daily church service
breviate a brief compendium; a lawyer's brief
brevicaudate short-tailed
breviloquence short-windedness; tendency towards brevity in speech
breviped short-legged creature
brevipennate having short wings
briarean many-handed
bricole harness for humans to pull heavy loads
bridewell house of corrections; jail
bridgewater anything undesirable or worthless
bridoon light military bridle
brigandine leather armour with metal scales
brigantine two-masted ship
brigue to intrigue
brilliantine light lustrous cotton and worsted fabric
brilliantine perfumed oil for making hair glossy
brindled marked with streaks or spots
brio enthusiastic vigour
brisure part of a parapet breaking from the general direction
britska open four-wheeled carriage
broadcloth dense twilled wool or worsted fabric
brobdingnagian immense
brocade rich silk fabric with raised patterns
brocard elementary law or principle; canon; axiom; maxim
broch luminous ring around the moon
broché with raised pattern
brochette skewer for holding food steady while cooking
brocken two-year-old stag
brockfaced having a white mark on the face or snout
brodequin light boot worn inside heavier boots
broderie embroidery pattern
brogan strong and tough working shoe
broma food; aliment
bromatology study of food
bromidrosis strong-smelling sweat
bromopnea bad breath
bronchos temporary loss of voice; laryngitis
bronchoscope instrument for examining the windpipe
brontology scientific study of thunder
brontomancy divination using thunder
brontophobia fear of thunder and lightning
brouette small two-wheeled carriage
brougham one-horse closed carriage
bruit something rumoured widely; to report or spread rumour
brumal of, like or pertaining to winter
brumous foggy; wintry
brunneous dark brown
bruxism habitual grinding of the teeth
bruxomania compulsion for grinding teeth
bryology the study of mosses and liverworts
bubaline of, like or pertaining to buffalo or antelopes
bubonalgia painful inflammation of the groin
buccal of, like or pertaining to the mouth or cheek
buccan metal frame on which meat is dried and/or roasted
buccina Roman curved trumpet
buccinal shaped or sounding like a trumpet
buccula double chin
bucentaur legendary half-man and half-ox
buck-and-wing solo tap dance with many leg flings and leaps
buckram stiff-finished cotton or linen used for linings of garments
bucoliast writer of pastoral poems
bucolic of, like or pertaining to the tending of cattle; rustic; rural
buddle sloping container for washing ore
bufoniform shaped like a toad
bufotenine hallucinogen found in certain tropical toads
buhl inlaying of precious material onto furniture
bulbiferous bearing bulbs
bulgur cooked broken wheat
bulimy extreme hunger
bulla round seal attached to a papal bull
bullace wild plum
bullantic capitalized and ornamented, as letters used on papal bulls
bullary collection of papal bulls
bullate having a blistered or puckered appearance
bulliform shaped like a blister or boil
bullionism belief in the importance of metallic currency in economics
bullition the act of boiling
bullock an ox or castrated bull
bullyrag to assault with abusive language; to badger
bulse a small bag for diamonds or gold dust
bulwark the side of a ship above the deck
bumboat small boat used in harbours to carry provisions
bumicky cement mixed with stone chips used in masonry
bummel stroll; leisurely journey
bump coarse cotton fabric
bumpkin spar projecting from stern of ship
bumptious offensively conceited or self-assertive
buncombe speech-making intended for the mass media
bunt middle of sail, fish-net or cloth when slack
bunting light loosely woven fabric used for flags
buntline rope attached to middle of square sail to haul it up to the yard
burdet cotton fabric
burgage tenure in socage for a yearly rent
burganet light helmet with nose and cheek protection
burgee small ship's flag used for identification or signalling
burgensic of, like or pertaining to a borough or its citizens
burgrave commander of a German town or castle
burke to suppress quietly; to bypass or avoid
burlap coarse plain-woven jute or hemp fabric
burnet dark brown; dark woollen cloth
burrel coarse russet cloth
burrole an eavesdropper
burrstone type of rock used to make millstones
bursal of, like or pertaining to a state's revenues
bursary treasury of a monastery or college
burse square cloth case to carry the corporal during Communion service
bursiculate resembling a small pouch
bursiform shaped like a pouch or purse
buskin tragedy as a dramatic genre
buss rude or playful kiss
buteonine of, like or pertaining to buzzards
butt unit of volume equal to two hogsheads or 126 gallons
buttery storeroom for provisions and liquors
butyraceous resembling, producing or having the qualities of butter
butyric of, like or pertaining to butter
byre a cow barn
byrnie coat of mail or breastplate
byssaceous delicately filamentous
byssiferous having tufts or threads
byssine silky; soft; having many threads
byssoid fibrous; cottony soft
byssus mummy-wrapping fabric
bywoner agricultural labourer

I hope you have found this site to be useful. If you have any corrections, additions, or comments, please contact me. Please note that I am not able to respond to all requests. Please consult a major dictionary before e-mailing your query. All material on this page © 1996-2013 Stephen Chrisomalis. Links to this page may be made without permission.

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