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The act of washing oneself; ceremonial washing as part of a religious rite. Middle French “ablucion” < Latin “abluere”=to wash off < “ab-“=away + “lavere”=to wash.


A smallness of quantity or quality; a lack of something. Old French “paucité” < Latin “paucitas”=smallness of number < “paucus”=few.

To make something that is bad feel more tolerable or better. Old French “ameillorer”=to make better < “à”=to + Latin “meliorare” < “melior”=better.

To fall, usually from being top-heavy; to cause to fall. To fall on the top of one’s head. Old English “topp”=tuft or crest on the head + “-lian”=verb-forming suffix.

An item of movable or immovable property except real estate and things (such as buildings) connected with real property. Old French “chatel” < Latin “capitalis”=property, goods < “caput”=head.

A big communal room in an educational or religious institution where food is served and eaten. Latin “refectorium”< “reficere”=to refresh + “-orium”=suffix indicating a place.

A word (or morpheme) from which a later word is derived; an earlier form of a word in the same language or an ancestral language. Greek “etumon”=true thing.

A pale brown, beige color. Originally French referring to the color of unbleached linen < “écru”=raw, unbleached.

Following one after the other in order, such as numbers. French “consecutif” < Latin “consequi”=to follow closely < “con-“=together + “sequi”=to follow.

The use of a word or phrase to refer back to a word used earlier in a text or conversation, in order to avoid repetition e.g. with pronouns as in “I saw Tom and HE was happy.” Greek “anafora”=carry back < “ana”=back + “ferein”=to bear.

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