Lexicon: a – A-B-C

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | w | x | y | z |


a (an), article. [OE án, one; see one, adj.] Any; some; non-specific; one of many possible; indicating general membership in a class of entities; indefinite determiner.

  1. [The form “a” appears preceding words that begin with a consonant.]
  2. [The form “an” appears preceding words that begin with a vowel.]
  3. [To indicate a special or geographical direction.] Phrase. “A little … of.”
  4. [To indicate a unit of time.] Phrase. “A little while.”
  5. Any.

a (a'-), particle. [OE y- or I- < Germanic ge-.]

  1. [Prothesis form that provides a syllable in lyric poetry.]
  2. [Archaic prefix form.]

abandoned, verbal adj. [OFr abandoner, put under jurisdiction.]

Bereft; forsaken; deserted; mourning.

abase (-d), v. [Fr. abaisser < bas, low, or the bottom.] (webplay: life).

Humble; cast down; place in a lower state.

abash (-eth), v. [AngFr abaissier, natural exclamation of astonishment.] (webplay: heard).

  1. Confuse; shame; cause to be silent; confound by silencing; [word play; prothesis of “bash” and “a'bash”] strike, beat down.
  2. Confound; frighten; mortify.

abashless, adv. [see abash, v.]

Shamelessly; unabashedly; [word play on bash] without bashing.

abate (-d), v. [Fr. abattre, to beat down.]

Lessen; diminish; (see Genesis 8:8-11).

abbey (-s), n. [Aramaic abbā, father.] (webplay: authority, ignorance, places, possessing, privileges, superior, world).

  1. Tomb; sepulcher; vault; burial chamber; resting place for the dead; church building which houses tombs for the dead.
  2. Chrysalis; colored sheath of a butterfly; protective casing for a larvae; colorful body and wings that a butterfly leaves behind at death; silky container holding a new larvae that a butterfly leaves behind at death; [fig.] metamorphosis; mortal tabernacle; symbol of birth, life, death, and resurrection.
  3. Haunted sanctuary; dilapidated medieval church building.

abbreviate, v. [L. brevis, short.]

Deprive; cut off from.

A-B-C, n.

Alphabet; letters; spelling book; textbook for teaching children the elements of reading; [fig.] mortality; book of life; the basics of life on earth; [metaphor] literacy; creative writing; composition of poems and letters; see Shakespeare “like a schoolboy that had lost his A B C” (Two Gentlemen of Verona 2.1.22-23).