Rarely Used Words Starting With C1 Cabal • noun a secret political clique or faction.

— ORIGIN Latin cabala ‘Kabbalah’ (its original sense in English). Caber • noun a roughly trimmed tree trunk used in the Scottish Highland sport of tossing the caber. — ORIGIN Scottish Gaelic cabar ‘pole’. Caboodle • noun (in phrase the whole caboodle or the whole kit and caboodle) informal the whole number or quantity of people or things in question. — ORIGIN originally US: perhaps from the phrase kit and boodle, in the same sense. Cabotage • noun 1 navigation or trade along the coast. 2 Aviation. the legal restriction to domestic carriers of air transport between points within a country's borders. — ORIGIN1825–35; < F, deriv. of caboter to sail coastwise, v. deriv. of MF cabo < Sp cabo headland,

Cadastre • noun an official register of the ownership, extent, and value of real property in a given area, used as a basis of taxation.

ORIGIN 1795–1805; < F < Pr cadastro < It catastro, earlier (Venetian) catastico < LGk katástichon register, deriv. of phrase katà stíchon by line

Cadge • verb informal ask for or obtain (something to which one is not entitled). — DERIVATIVES cadger noun. — ORIGIN from cadger, a northern English and Scottish word meaning itinerant dealer. Cadre • noun 1 a small group of people trained for a particular purpose or profession. 2 /also kayd r/ a group of activists in a revolutionary organization. — ORIGIN French, from Latin quadrus ‘square’. Caesium • noun a soft, silvery, extremely reactive metallic chemical element. — ORIGIN from Latin caesius ‘greyish-blue’ (because it has characteristic lines in the blue part of the spectrum). Cahoots • plural noun (in phrase in cahoots) informal colluding or conspiring together secretly. — ORIGIN of unknown origin. Calamine • noun a pink powder consisting of zinc carbonate and ferric oxide, used to make a soothing lotion or ointment. — ORIGIN Latin calamina, from Greek kadmeia ge ‘Cadmean earth’, from the name of Cadmus, the legendary founder of Thebes.

By H.U.

Calcareous • adjective containing calcium carbonate; chalky. — ORIGIN Latin calcarius, from calx ‘lime’. Calliper • noun 1 (also calipers) a measuring instrument with two hinged legs and in-turned or out-turned points. 2 a motor-vehicle or bicycle brake consisting of two or more hinged components. 3 a metal support for a person’s leg. — ORIGIN probably an alteration of CALIBRE. Callisthenics • plural noun gymnastic exercises to achieve bodily fitness and grace of movement. — ORIGIN from Greek kallos ‘beauty’ + sthenos ‘strength’. Callow • adjective (of a young person) inexperienced and immature. — DERIVATIVES callowly adverb callowness noun. — ORIGIN Old English, bald, probably from Latin calvus ‘bald’, later unfledged. Callus • noun 1 a thickened and hardened part of the skin or soft tissue. 2 Botany a hard formation of tissue formed over a wound. — DERIVATIVES callused adjective. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘hardened skin’. Callumny • noun (pl. calumnies) the making of false and defamatory statements about someone. • verb (calumnies, calumnied) formal calumniate. — DERIVATIVES calumnious /k lumni ss/ adjective. — ORIGIN Latin calumnia. Calyx • noun (pl. calyces /kayliseez/ or calyxes) 1 Botany the sepals of a flower, forming a protective layer around a flower in bud. 2 Zoology a cup-like cavity or structure. — ORIGIN Greek kalux ‘case of a bud, husk’. Cambist • noun 1 a dealer in bills of exchange. 2 an expert in foreign exchange. 3 a manual giving the moneys, weights, and measures of different countries, with their equivalents. — ORIGIN 1800–10; < F cambiste < It cambista. Camphor • noun a white volatile crystalline substance with an aromatic smell and bitter taste, occurring in certain essential oils. — ORIGIN Latin camphora, from Sanskrit Canasta • noun a card game resembling rummy, using two packs and usually played by two pairs of partners. — ORIGIN Spanish, ‘basket’.

Candela • noun Physics the SI unit of luminous intensity. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘candle’. Canker • noun 1 a destructive fungal disease of trees that results in damage to the bark. 2 an open lesion in plant tissue caused by infection or injury. 3 fungal rot in parsnips, tomatoes, or other vegetables. 4 an ulcerous condition in animals, especially an inflammation of the ear caused by a mite infestation. • verb 1 become infected with canker. 2 (cankered) infected with a pervasive and corrupting bitterness. — DERIVATIVES cankerous adjective. — ORIGIN originally denoting a tumour: from Old French chancre, from Latin cancer ‘crab, creeping ulcer’. Canoodle • verb informal kiss and cuddle amorously. — ORIGIN of unknown origin. Capacious • adjective having a lot of space inside; roomy. — DERIVATIVES capaciously adverb capaciousness noun. — ORIGIN from Latin capax ‘capable’. Capitation • noun the payment of a fee or grant to a doctor, school, etc., the amount being determined by the number of patients, pupils, etc. — ORIGIN Latin, from caput ‘head’. Carafe • noun an open-topped glass flask typically used for serving wine in a restaurant. — ORIGIN French, from Italian caraffa, probably from an Arabic word meaning draw water. Carbine • noun 1 a light automatic rifle. 2 historical a short rifle or musket used by cavalry. — ORIGIN French carabine, from carabin ‘mounted musketeer’. Carbuncle • noun 1 a severe abscess or multiple boil in the skin. 2 a bright red gem, in particular a polished garnet. — DERIVATIVES carbuncular adjective. — ORIGIN Latin carbunculus ‘small coal’, from carbo ‘coal, charcoal’. Careen • verb 1 turn (a ship) on its side for cleaning or repair. 2 (of a ship) tilt; lean over. 3 move in an uncontrolled way; career. — ORIGIN from Latin carina ‘a keel’. Caret • noun a mark (&caret;, &insert;) placed below a line of text to indicate a proposed insertion. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘is lacking’. Caries • noun decay and crumbling of a tooth or bone.

— DERIVATIVES carious adjective. — ORIGIN Latin. Carillon • noun a set of bells sounded from a keyboard or by an automatic mechanism. — ORIGIN French, from Old French quarregnon ‘peal of four bells’, from Latin quattuor ‘four’. Carmine • noun a vivid crimson pigment made from cochineal. — ORIGIN French carmin, from an Arabic word meaning kermes; related to CRIMSON. Carotid • adjective Anatomy relating to the two main arteries carrying blood to the head and neck. — ORIGIN from Greek karotides, plural of karotis ‘drowsiness, stupor’ (because compression of these arteries was thought to cause stupor). Carouse • verb drink alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way. • noun a noisy, lively drinking party. — DERIVATIVES carousal noun carouser noun. — ORIGIN originally meaning right out, completely in the phrase drink carouse, from German gar aus trinken. Carrion • noun the decaying flesh of dead animals. — ORIGIN Old French caroine, charoigne, from Latin caro ‘flesh’. Carte Blanche • noun complete freedom to act as one wishes. — ORIGIN French, ‘blank paper’. Cartography • noun the science or practice of drawing maps. — DERIVATIVES cartographer noun cartographic adjective. — ORIGIN from French carte ‘card, map’. Cassock • noun a long garment worn by some Christian clergy and members of church choirs. — ORIGIN Italian casacca ‘riding coat’. Cassowary • noun (pl. cassowaries) a very large flightless bird related to the emu, native mainly to New Guinea. — ORIGIN Malay. Casuarina • noun a tree with slender, jointed, drooping twigs bearing tiny scale-like leaves, native to Australia and SE Asia. — ORIGIN Latin casuarius ‘cassowary’ (from the resemblance of the branches to the bird’s feathers). Catacomb • noun an underground tunnels and caves, for burial.

— ORIGIN Latin catacumbas, the name of the subterranean cemetery of St Sebastian near Rome. Catarrh • noun excessive discharge of mucus in the nose or throat. — DERIVATIVES catarrhal adjective. — ORIGIN Latin catarrhus, from Greek katarrhein ‘flow down’. Caterwaul • verb make a shrill howling or wailing noise. • noun a shrill howling or wailing noise. Catharsis • noun the release of pent-up emotions, for example through drama. — DERIVATIVES cathartic adjective & noun. — ORIGIN Greek katharsis, from kathairein ‘cleanse’. Catheter • noun a flexible tube inserted into a body cavity, particularly the bladder, for removing fluid. — ORIGIN Greek katheter, from kathienai ‘send or let down’. Caul • noun the amniotic membrane enclosing a fetus, part of which is occasionally found on a baby’s head at birth. — ORIGIN perhaps from Old French cale ‘head covering’. Caulk • noun a waterproof filler and sealant, used in building work and repairs. • verb 1 seal with caulk. 2 make (a boat or its seams) watertight. — ORIGIN from Latin calcare ‘to tread’. Cauterise • verb burn the skin or flesh of (a wound) to stop bleeding or prevent infection. — DERIVATIVES cauterization noun. — ORIGIN Greek kauteriazein, from kauterion ‘branding iron’. Cavalcade • noun a procession of vehicles, riders, or people on foot. — ORIGIN Italian cavalcata, from cavalcare ‘to ride’. Cavil • verb (cavilled, cavilling; US caviled, caviling) make petty objections. • noun a petty objection. — ORIGIN Latin cavillari, from cavilla ‘mockery’. Censorious • adjective severely critical. — DERIVATIVES censoriously adverb censoriousness noun. Censure • verb express strong disapproval of.

• noun strong disapproval or criticism. — DERIVATIVES censurable adjective. — ORIGIN from Latin censura ‘judgement, assessment’, from censere ‘assess’. Cephalic • adjective relating to the head. — ORIGIN from Greek kephale ‘head’. Chablis • noun a dry white burgundy wine from Chablis in eastern France. Charge D’affaires • noun (pl. chargés pronunc. same) 1 an ambassador’s deputy. 2 a state’s diplomatic representative in a minor country. — ORIGIN French, ‘a person in charge of affairs’. Chary • adjective (charier, chariest) cautiously reluctant: leaders are chary of reform. — ORIGIN Old English, sorrowful, anxious. Cheep • noun 1 a shrill squeaky cry made by a young bird. 2 informal the slightest sound: there hasn’t been a cheep from anybody. • verb make a cheep. — ORIGIN imitative. Cheroot • noun a cigar with both ends open. — ORIGIN French cheroute, from a Tamil word meaning ‘roll of tobacco’. Chicanery • noun the use of trickery to achieve one’s purpose. Chilblain • noun a painful, itching swelling on a hand or foot caused by poor circulation in the skin when exposed to cold.

ORIGIN from CHILL + archaic blain, from an Old English word meaning inflamed swelling or sore.

Chink • noun 1 a narrow opening or crack. 2 a beam of light admitted by a chink.

ORIGIN related to CHINE.

• verb make a light, high-pitched ringing sound, as of glasses or coins striking together. • noun a high-pitched ringing sound. — ORIGIN imitative. Chintz • noun printed multicoloured cotton fabric with a glazed finish, used for curtains and upholstery. — ORIGIN Hindi, ‘spattering, stain’. Chipmunk • noun a burrowing ground squirrel with light and dark stripes running down the body.

— ORIGIN Ojibwa (an American Indian language). Chiropody • noun the treatment of the feet and their ailments. — DERIVATIVES chiropodist noun. — ORIGIN from Greek kheir ‘hand’ + pous ‘foot’. Chit • noun derogatory an impudent or arrogant young woman. — ORIGIN originally meaning whelp, cub, or kitten: perhaps related to dialect chit sprout. • noun a short official note recording a sum owed. — ORIGIN Hindi, ‘note, pass’. Chock • noun 1 a wedge or block placed against a wheel to prevent it from moving. 2 a ring with a gap at the top, through which a rope or line is run. — ORIGIN Old French çoche ‘block, log’. Chortle • verb laugh in a breathy, gleeful way. • noun a breathy, gleeful laugh. — ORIGIN coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking Glass; probably a blend of CHUCKLE and SNORT. Chronograph • noun an instrument for recording time with great accuracy. Chronometer • noun an instrument for measuring time accurately in spite of motion or varying conditions. Chrysalis • noun (pl. chrysalises) 1 an insect pupa, especially of a butterfly or moth. 2 the hard outer case enclosing this. — ORIGIN Greek khrusallis, from khrusos ‘gold’ (because of the metallic sheen of some pupae). Chump • noun 1 informal, dated a foolish person. 2 Brit. the thick end of something, especially a loin of lamb or mutton.

ORIGIN originally in the sense thick lump of wood: probably a blend of CHUNK and LUMP or STUMP.

Chunder • verb vomit. • noun vomit. — ORIGIN probably from rhyming slang Chunder Loo spew, from the name of a cartoon character. Churl • noun 1 an impolite and mean-spirited person. 2 archaic a peasant. — ORIGIN Old English. Circumstantiate • verb 1 to set forth or support with circumstances or particulars: Documents circumstantiated her evidence. 2 to describe fully or minutely: He circumstantiated the accident.

ORIGIN 1640–50; < L circumstanti(a) CIRCUMSTANCE + -ATE

Cirrus • noun (pl. cirri /sirri/) 1 cloud forming wispy streaks at high altitude. 2 Zoology & Botany a slender tendril or hair-like filament. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘a curl’. Clack • verb make a sharp sound as of a hard object striking another. • noun a clacking sound. — ORIGIN imitative. Clamber • verb climb or move in an awkward and laborious way. • noun an act of clambering. — ORIGIN probably from clamb, obsolete past tense of CLIMB. Clamour • noun 1 a loud and confused noise. 2 a vehement protest or demand. • verb (of a group) make a clamour. — DERIVATIVES clamorous adjective. — ORIGIN Latin clamor, from clamare ‘cry out’. Clammy • adjective (clammier, clammiest) 1 unpleasantly damp and sticky. 2 (of air) cold and damp. — DERIVATIVES clammily adverb clamminess noun. — ORIGIN from dialect clam to be sticky; related to CLAY. Clang • noun a loud metallic sound. • verb make a clang. — ORIGIN imitative, influenced by Latin clangere ‘resound’. Clangour • noun a continuous clanging sound. — DERIVATIVES clangorous adjective. — ORIGIN Latin clangor, from clangere ‘resound’. Claret • noun 1 a red wine, especially from Bordeaux. 2 a deep purplish red colour. — ORIGIN from Latin claratum vinum ‘clarified wine’, from clarus ‘clear’. Clarion • noun chiefly historical a shrill war trumpet. • adjective loud and clear. — PHRASES clarion call a strongly expressed demand for action.

— ORIGIN Latin, from clarus ‘clear’. Clavicle • noun Anatomy technical term for COLLARBONE. — DERIVATIVES clavicular adjective. — ORIGIN Latin clavicula ‘small key’ (because of its shape). Cleat • noun 1 a T-shaped or similar projection to which a rope may be attached. 2 a projecting wedge on a spar, tool, etc., to prevent slippage. — DERIVATIVES cleated adjective. — ORIGIN Germanic, related to CLOT and CLOUT. Cleft past participle of CLEAVE. • adjective split, divided, or partially divided into two. • noun 1 a fissure or split in rock or the ground. 2 an indentation in a person’s forehead or chin, or a hollow between two parts of the body. — PHRASES be (or be caught) in a cleft stick chiefly Brit. be in a situation in which any action one takes will have adverse consequences. Clement • adjective 1 (of weather) mild. 2 merciful. — DERIVATIVES clemency noun. — ORIGIN Latin clemens. Clique • noun a small group of people who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them. — DERIVATIVES cliquey adjective cliquish adjective. — ORIGIN French, from Old French cliquer ‘make a noise’. Clod • noun 1 a lump of earth. 2 informal a stupid person. — ORIGIN variant of CLOT. Clodhoppers • noun 1 a clumsy boor; rustic; bumpkin. 2 clodhoppers, strong, heavy shoes.


Cloy • verb disgust or sicken with an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment. — DERIVATIVES cloying adjective cloyingly adverb. — ORIGIN shortening of obsolete accloy block up, from Old French encloyer ‘drive a nail into’, from Latin clavus ‘a nail’. Cobber • noun Austral./NZ informal a companion or friend.

— ORIGIN perhaps related to English dialect cob take a liking to. Coccyx • noun (pl. coccyges /koksijeez/ or coccyxes) a small triangular bone at the base of the spinal column in humans and some apes, formed of fused vestigial vertebrae. — DERIVATIVES coccygeal /koksiji l/ adjective. — ORIGIN Greek kokkux ‘cuckoo’ (because the shape of the human bone resembles the cuckoo’s bill). Cochineal • noun a scarlet dye used for colouring food, made from the crushed dried bodies of a female scale insect. — ORIGIN French cochenille or Spanish cochinilla, from Latin coccinus ‘scarlet’. Coddle • verb 1 treat in an indulgent or overprotective way. 2 cook (an egg) in water below boiling point. — DERIVATIVES coddler noun. — ORIGIN origin uncertain; sense 1 is probably a variant of obsolete caudle ‘administer invalids’ gruel’. Codger • noun informal, derogatory an elderly man. — ORIGIN perhaps a variant of cadger (see CADGE). Codicil • noun an addition or supplement that explains, modifies, or revokes a will or part of one. — ORIGIN Latin codicillus ‘little book’, from codex ‘block of wood’. Coelenterate • noun Zoology a member of a large group of aquatic invertebrate animals (phylum Cnidaria), including jellyfish, corals, and sea anemones, which typically have a tube- or cup-shaped body with a single opening ringed with tentacles. — ORIGIN from Greek koilos ‘hollow’ + enteron ‘intestine’. Coemption • noun The act of buying the whole quantity of any commodity. Cogitate • verb formal meditate or reflect. — DERIVATIVES cogitation noun cogitative adjective cogitator noun. — ORIGIN Latin cogitare ‘to consider’.

Coiffure • noun a person’s hairstyle. — DERIVATIVES coiffured adjective. Collocate • verb /koll kayt/ (of a word) form a collocation with another. • noun /koll k t/ a word that forms a collocation with another. Colonnade • noun a row of evenly spaced columns supporting a roof or other structure. — DERIVATIVES colonnaded adjective.

— ORIGIN French, from Latin columna ‘column’. Colophon • noun a publisher’s emblem or imprint. — ORIGIN Greek kolophon ‘summit or finishing touch’. Colostomy • noun (pl. colostomies) a surgical operation in which the colon is shortened and the cut end diverted to an opening in the abdominal wall. — ORIGIN from COLON + Greek stoma ‘mouth’. Colt • noun 1 a young uncastrated male horse, in particular one less than four years old. 2 a member of a junior sports team. — ORIGIN Old English. Commercialese • noun jargon used by those involved in commercial activities Commissionaire • noun chiefly Brit. a uniformed door attendant at a hotel, theatre, or other building. — ORIGIN French. Commode • noun 1 a piece of furniture containing a concealed chamber pot. 2 a chest of drawers of a decorative type popular in the 18th century. — ORIGIN French, ‘convenient, suitable’. Commodious • adjective formal roomy and comfortable. — ORIGIN Latin commodus ‘convenient’. Compendium • noun (pl. compendiums or compendia /k pendi /) 1 a collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject. 2 a collection of similar items. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘profit, saving’ (literally ‘what is weighed together’), from compendere ‘weigh together’. Comport • verb (comport oneself) formal conduct oneself; behave. — ORIGIN Latin comportare, from portare ‘carry, bear’. Compositor • noun a person who arranges type for printing or who keys text into a composing machine. Compos Mentis • adjective having full control of one’s mind. — ORIGIN Latin. Compunction • noun a feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows wrongdoing: he felt no compunction in letting her worry. — DERIVATIVES compunctious adjective. — ORIGIN Latin, from compungere ‘prick sharply’. Conch • noun (pl. conchs /kongks/ or conches /konchiz/) a tropical marine mollusc with a spiral shell.

— ORIGIN Greek konkhe ‘mussel, cockle, or shell-like cavity’. Concomitant • adjective naturally accompanying or associated. • noun a concomitant phenomenon. — DERIVATIVES concomitance noun concomitantly adverb. — ORIGIN from Latin concomitari ‘accompany’, from comes ‘companion’. Concourse • noun 1 a large open area inside or in front of a public building. 2 formal a crowd of people. — ORIGIN Latin concursus, from concurrere ‘assemble in crowds’. Confabulate • verb formal converse. — DERIVATIVES confabulation noun. — ORIGIN Latin confabulari ‘chat together’. Confute • verb formal prove to be wrong. — DERIVATIVES confutation noun. — ORIGIN Latin confutare ‘restrain, answer conclusively’. Congenital • adjective 1 (of a disease or abnormality) present from birth. 2 having a particular trait from or as if from birth: a congenital liar. — DERIVATIVES congenitally adverb. — ORIGIN from Latin congenitus ‘born together’. Conjugate • verb /konjoogayt/ 1 give the different forms of (a verb). 2 (of bacteria or unicellular organisms) become temporarily united in order to exchange genetic material. • adjective /konjoog t/ 1 technical joined or related as a pair. 2 Biology (of gametes) fused. • noun /konjoog t/ a conjugate thing. — DERIVATIVES conjugation noun. — ORIGIN Latin conjugare ‘yoke together’. Conjunctiva • noun the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelids. — DERIVATIVES conjunctival adjective. — ORIGIN from Latin membrana conjunctiva ‘conjunctive membrane’. Conk • verb (conk out) informal 1 (of a machine) break down. 2 faint or go to sleep. 3 die. — ORIGIN of unknown origin.

• noun Brit. informal a person’s nose. — ORIGIN perhaps an alteration of CONCH. Consanguineous • adjective descended from the same ancestor. — DERIVATIVES consanguinity noun. — ORIGIN Latin consanguineus ‘of the same blood’. Contemporaneous • adjective existing at or occurring in the same period of time. — DERIVATIVES contemporaneity noun contemporaneously adverb contemporaneousness noun. — ORIGIN Latin, from tempus ‘time’. Conterminous • adjective 1 sharing a common boundary. 2 having the same area, context, or meaning. — DERIVATIVES conterminously adverb. — ORIGIN Latin conterminus, from terminus ‘boundary’. Contiguous • adjective 1 sharing a common border. 2 next or together in sequence. — DERIVATIVES contiguity noun contiguously adverb. — ORIGIN Latin contiguus ‘touching’. Continence • noun 1 self-restraint or abstinence, esp. in regard to sexual activity; temperance; moderation. 2 Physiology. the ability to voluntarily control urinary and fecal discharge. — ORIGIN 1350–1400; ME < L continentia. Contumely • noun (pl. contumelies) archaic insolent or insulting language or treatment. — DERIVATIVES contumelious /kontyoomeeli ss/ adjective. — ORIGIN Latin contumelia, perhaps from tumere ‘to swell’. Contuse • noun Medicine a bruise. — DERIVATIVES contuse verb. — ORIGIN Latin, from contundere ‘to bruise, crush’. Convolution • noun 1 a coil or twist. 2 the state of being or process of becoming coiled or twisted. 3 a complex argument, statement, etc. — DERIVATIVES convolutional adjective. — ORIGIN Latin, from convolvere ‘roll together’. Cooee • exclamation used to attract attention. — PHRASES within cooee Austral./NZ within reach.

— ORIGIN imitative of a signal used by Australian Aboriginals and copied by settlers. Coolibah • noun a North Australian gum tree which typically grows near watercourses and has very strong, hard wood. — ORIGIN from an Aboriginal language. Coopt • noun 1 to elect into a body by the votes of the existing members. 2 to assimilate, take, or win over into a larger or established group: The fledgling Labor party was coopted by the Socialist party. 3 to appropriate as one's own; preempt: The dissidents have coopted the title of her novel for their slogan.

ORIGIN 1645–55; < L cooptāre.

Copha • noun from coconut flesh used as shortening. Copperplate • noun 1 a polished copper plate with a design engraved or etched into it. 2 an elaborate looped style of handwriting. the copybooks for this were originally printed from copperplates. Coppice • noun an area of woodland in which the trees or shrubs are periodically cut back to ground level to stimulate growth and provide wood. • verb cut back (a tree or shrub) in this way. — ORIGIN Old French copeiz, from Greek kolaphus ‘a blow with the fist’. Copra • noun dried coconut kernels, from which oil is obtained. — ORIGIN Portuguese and Spanish, from an Indian word meaning coconut. Copula • noun Grammar a connecting word, in particular a form of the verb be connecting a subject and complement. — DERIVATIVES copular adjective. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘connection, linking of words’. Cormorant • noun a large diving seabird with a long neck, long hooked bill, and mainly black plumage. — ORIGIN Old French cormaran, from Latin corvus marinus ‘sea-raven’. Corona • noun (pl. coronae /k ronee/) 1 the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun or a star. 2 (also corona discharge) Physics the glow around a conductor at high potential. 3 a small circle of light seen round the sun or moon. 4 Anatomy a crown or crown-like structure. 5 Botany the trumpet-shaped central part of a daffodil or narcissus flower. 6 a long, straight-sided cigar. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘wreath, crown’; sense 6 comes from a proprietary name of a Havana cigar. Coronet • noun 1 a small or simple crown. 2 a decorative band encircling the head. — ORIGIN Old French coronete, ‘little crown’. Corpora plural of CORPUS. Corporal • noun a rank of non-commissioned officer in the army, above lance corporal or private first class and below sergeant.

— ORIGIN Italian caporale, probably from Latin corpus ‘body (of troops)’. Corporeal • adjective relating to a person’s body; physical rather than spiritual. — DERIVATIVES corporeality /korporialiti/ noun. — ORIGIN Latin corporealis, from corpus ‘body’. Corpulent • adjective (of a person) fat. — DERIVATIVES corpulence noun. — ORIGIN Latin corpulentus, from corpus ‘body’. Corpuscle • noun a minute body or cell in an organism, especially a red or white blood cell. — DERIVATIVES corpuscular adjective. — ORIGIN Latin corpusculum ‘small body’. Corpus Delicti • noun Law the facts and circumstances constituting a breach of a law. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘body of offence’. Corrigendum • noun (pl. corrigenda /korrijend /) a thing to be corrected, especially an error in a book. — ORIGIN Latin. Corrugate • verb contract into wrinkles or folds. — ORIGIN Latin corrugare ‘to wrinkle’. Corsage • noun 1 a spray of flowers worn pinned to a woman’s clothes. 2 the bodice of a woman’s dress. — ORIGIN French, from Old French cors ‘body’. Cortege • noun a solemn procession, especially for a funeral. — ORIGIN Italian corteggio ‘entourage or retinue’. Corvette • noun a small warship designed for convoy escort duty. — ORIGIN French, from Dutch korf, denoting a kind of ship. Cosset • verb (cosseted, cosseting) care for and protect in an overindulgent way. — ORIGIN orginally denoting a lamb brought up by hand, later a spoiled child: probably from Old English, ‘cottar’. Countermand • verb 1 revoke (an order). 2 declare (voting) invalid. — ORIGIN Latin contramandare, from mandare ‘to order’. Cower • verb crouch down or shrink back in fear.

— ORIGIN Low German kuren ‘lie in wait’. Cowry • noun (pl. cowries) a marine gastropod mollusc with a smooth, glossy, domed shell with a long, narrow opening. — ORIGIN Hindi. Coxcomb • noun 1 archaic a vain and conceited man; a dandy. 2 variant spelling of COCKSCOMB. Coxswain • noun 1 the steersman of a boat. 2 the senior petty officer in a small ship or submarine in the Royal Navy. — ORIGIN from obsolete cock ‘small boat’ + SWAIN. Cozen • verb literary trick or deceive. — ORIGIN perhaps from obsolete Italian cozzonare ‘to cheat’. Crag • noun a steep or rugged cliff or rock face. — ORIGIN Celtic. Craggy • adjective (craggier, craggiest) 1 having many crags. 2 (of a man’s face) attractively rugged and rough-textured. — DERIVATIVES craggily adverb cragginess noun. Cranium • noun (pl. craniums or crania /krayni /) the skull, especially the part enclosing the brain. — ORIGIN Latin, from Greek kranion. Cranny • noun (pl. crannies) a small, narrow space or opening. — ORIGIN Latin crena ‘notch’. Cravat • noun a strip of fabric worn by men round the neck and tucked inside an open-necked shirt. — ORIGIN French cravate, from Cravate ‘Croat’, because of the scarves worn by Croatian mercenaries in 17th-century France. Craven • adjective contemptibly lacking in courage; cowardly. — DERIVATIVES cravenly adverb. — ORIGIN from obsolete cravant defeated, perhaps from Old French cravanter ‘crush, overwhelm’. Creche • noun Brit. a nursery where babies and young children are cared for during the working day. — ORIGIN French, related to CRIB. Credit Foncier • noun A company licensed for the purpose of carrying out improvements, by means of loans and advances upon real securities. Crenellated • adjective (of a building) having battlements.

— ORIGIN from Latin crena ‘notch’. Creole • noun 1 a person of mixed European and black descent. 2 a descendant of European settlers in the Caribbean or Central or South America. 3 a white descendant of French settlers in Louisiana. 4 a mother tongue formed from the contact of a European language with another language, especially an African language. — ORIGIN French, from Spanish criollo, probably from Portuguese crioulo ‘black person born in Brazil’. Crestfallen • adjective sad and disappointed. — ORIGIN originally referring to an animal with a fallen or drooping crest. Cretin • noun 1 a stupid person. 2 Medicine, dated a person who is deformed and mentally handicapped because of congenital thyroid deficiency. — DERIVATIVES cretinism noun. — ORIGIN from Swiss French crestin ‘Christian’, apparently used to convey a reminder that handicapped people are human. Cribbage • noun a card game for two players, the objective of which is to play cards whose value reaches exactly 15 or 31. — ORIGIN related to CRIB. Crick • noun a painful stiff feeling in the neck or back. • verb twist or strain (one’s neck or back), causing painful stiffness. — ORIGIN of unknown origin. Crock • noun 1 an old person considered to be feeble and useless. 2 Brit. an old worn-out vehicle. • verb 1 Brit. cause an injury to. 2 crocked N. Amer. drunk. — ORIGIN originally denoting an old ewe or horse: probably related to CRACK. • noun 1 an earthenware pot or jar. 2 an item of crockery. 3 N. Amer. informal something considered to be complete nonsense. — ORIGIN Old English. Crone • noun an ugly old woman. — ORIGIN Old French caroigne ‘carrion’. Cropper • noun 1 a plant which yields a specified crop. 2 a machine or person that cuts or trims something. 3 chiefly US a person who raises a crop, especially as a sharecropper. — PHRASES come a cropper informal 1 fall heavily. 2 suffer a defeat or disaster. Crotchety • adjective irritable. Croupier • noun the person in charge of a gaming table, gathering in and paying out money or tokens.

— ORIGIN originally denoting a person standing behind a gambler to give advice: from Old French cropier ‘pillion rider’. Cryogenics • plural noun treated as sing. 1 the branch of physics concerned with the production and effects of very low temperatures. 2 another term for CRYONICS. — DERIVATIVES cryogenic adjective. — ORIGIN from Greek kruos ‘frost’. Cuckold • noun the husband of an adulteress, regarded as an object of derision. • verb make (a married man) a cuckold. — DERIVATIVES cuckoldry noun. — ORIGIN Old French cucuault, from cucu ‘cuckoo’ (from the cuckoo’s habit of laying its egg in another bird’s nest). Cud • noun partly digested food returned from the first stomach of cattle or other ruminants to the mouth for further chewing. — PHRASES chew the cud think or talk reflectively. — ORIGIN Old English. Cumulus • noun (pl. cumuli /kyoomyooli/) cloud forming rounded masses heaped on each other above a flat base at fairly low altitude. — ORIGIN Latin, ‘heap’. Cunnilingus • noun stimulation of the female genitals using the tongue or lips. — ORIGIN from Latin cunnus ‘vulva’ + lingere ‘lick’. Cur • noun 1 an aggressive dog, especially a mongrel. 2 informal a despicable man. — ORIGIN perhaps from Old Norse kurr ‘grumbling’. Curlicue • noun a decorative curl or twist in calligraphy or in the design of an object. — ORIGIN from curly + CUE2 (in the sense pigtail), or -cue representing the letter q. Currawong • noun an Australian songbird with mainly black or grey plumage and a resonant call. — ORIGIN from an Aboriginal word. Cutlass • noun a short sword with a slightly curved blade, formerly used by sailors. — ORIGIN Latin cultellus ‘little knife’. Cybernetics • plural noun treated as sing. the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things. — DERIVATIVES cybernetic adjective.

— ORIGIN from Greek kubernetes ‘steersman’. Cygent • noun young swan. Reference Compact Oxford Dictionary Dictionary.com

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