Visual Dictionary: Loupe

Jen Dziura —  November 3, 2010 — 3 Comments

Welcome to Visual Dictionary, a series of posts about words that are better expressed in pictures.

This is a loupe. Most of us would call it a “magnifying glass.”

Let’s try a sample problem.

LENS : LOUPE ::
A. PAINT : PAINTING
B. GLASS : WINDOW
C. IDEAS : BOOK
D. BROTH : SOUP
E. WATER : ICE

Choose your own answer, then click “more.”

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quizPop Quiz!

Because the GRE is a computer-adaptive test, chances are you’re going to see words you don’t know. When that happens, one useful strategy is to try to ferret out whether the unknown words have positive or negative connotations. You can do this using roots, your knowledge of similar words in English or Romance languages, or just your “gut” feeling.

Decide whether each word is positive, negative, or neutral, then click “more.”

MALAISE
DELETERIOUS
VARIEGATED
SPECIOUS
PULCHRITUDINOUS

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Welcome to Vocab in the Classics. This is the fifth and final installment of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Click on any of the linked words for a definition; there will be a quiz at the end!

poeThe officers were satisfied. My manner had convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: –it continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness –until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears.

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Welcome to Vocab in the Classics. This is Part I of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Click on any of the linked words for a definition; there will be a quiz at the end!

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye — not even his –could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out –no stain of any kind –no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all –ha! ha!

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Welcome to Vocab in the Classics. This is Part III of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Click on any of the linked words for a definition; there will be a quiz at the end!

When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little –a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So I opened it –you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily –until, at length a single dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye.

It was open –wide, wide open –and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness –all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot.

And have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over acuteness of the senses? –now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I knew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the old man’s heart. It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage.

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Welcome to Vocab in the Classics. This is Part II of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Click on any of the linked words for a definition; we’ll discuss at the end!

Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers –of my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that I drew back –but no. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.

I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out –“Who’s there?”

I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bed listening; –just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall.

(“Death watches” are beetles that make creepy tapping sounds in the wall. You don’t need to know that for the GRE).

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Welcome to Vocab in the Classics. This is Part I of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Click on any of the linked words for a definition; there will be a quiz at the end!

TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.

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Welcome to Visual Dictionary, a series of posts about words that are better expressed in pictures.

antediluvian

This thing isn’t just old, it’s antediluvian.

Don’t confuse the ante- at the beginning of antediluvian with anti-. The prefix ante means “before,” and also occurs in antebellum (before war — in the US, before the Civil War).

Antediluvian actually means “before the flood” — as in Noah’s flood, from the Bible. Most of the time when people use antediluvian, they are being humorous.

My grandfather’s so antediluvian, when I told him that video stores were being replaced by digital media, he asked if I thought he should finally give in and buy one of those newfangled VHS players.

Brand Name Vocab: Kindle

Jen Dziura —  October 21, 2010 — Leave a comment

Amazon’s Kindle is an e-reader that allows you to carry many more books than you’re ever going to read on a small computer-like device that, in some people’s opinion, makes you look a bit pretentious in coffeeshops.

But what does kindle really mean?

To kindle is to set or ignite (as in a fire), or to metaphorically start a flame, such as by arousing interest or passion.

You can kindle a fire for your campsite, and you can kindle a love of reading in your toddler, although probably not with a Kindle, since electronic reading devices don’t work with pop-up books.

Choose your own answer to this GRE Antonyms problem before clicking “more”:

KINDLE:
A. tout
B. deluge
C. damp
D. dilute
E. tamp

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jibe ≠ gibe

To jibe is to be in harmony or accord with. Her adopt-a-highway plan didn’t jibe with my idea of a good spring break. Surprisingly, jibe also means “to shift from one side to the other when running before the wind, as a fore-and-aft sail or its boom.”

To gibe is to jeer, taunt, or deride. Or, as a noun, gibes are insults.

After putting up with my lab partner’s gibes for the entire length of the project, I requested a less asinine classmate for the next semester’s project. As I told the professor, our styles just didn’t jibe, because I am amiable and she is an intractable boor.