Lexicon: catacomb – cause

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catacomb, n. [Fr.]

Cave; grotto in Rome; subterranean burial place; passage with recesses used as tombs for the dead.

cataract, n. [Fr. cataracte, waterfall, portcullis, floodgate < Gk καταρ(ρ)άκτης, down-rushing.]

Waterfall; cascade; flood; downpour; deluge; torrent of water; [fig.] dusk; cloud cover; darkness after the sun goes down; [word play] opacity of the eye; reduced vision; cloudiness in the lens of the eye; visual impairment treated with iodine.

catch (-ing, caught), v. [ME cache-n < late L. capt-us, taken captive.] (webplay: book).

  1. Hear; discern; perceive.
  2. Clutch; grab; grasp.
  3. Reflect; shine forth.
  4. Seize; intercept; gather in passing through the air.
  5. Get; obtain; secure; maintain.
  6. Phrase. “caught a ride with”: become a passenger; be conveyed by; [fig.] glide through the air by means of.

caterpillar, n. [possibly OFr chatepelos, hairy or downy cat < ONFr. catepelo < piller, pillager, destroyer.] (webplay: emerges, feet).

Larva; fuzzy worm; middle stage for a butterfly in its metamorphosis.

cathedral, adj. [noun modifier; Fr. < med. L. cathedralis, of or belonging to a bishop's seat.] (webplay: aisles).

  1. Sanctuary; chancel; large chapel; house of worship; beautiful church building; [fig.] hallowed; consecrated.
  2. Organ; church keyboard.

Cato (-'s), proper n. [L. catus, sharp, shrewd, cunning.]

  1. Marcus Porcius Cato (95-46 B.C.); Cato the younger; vocal opponent to Caesar; Roman politician, orator, and military hero; uncle of Brutus; father of Portia; protagonist of a 1712 tragedy that Joseph Addison wrote; [fig.] a persuasive speech maker; a stoic orator; a lecturing moralist.
  2. Senator; congressman; representative; [fig.] Edward Dickinson; Massachusetts statesman; father of Emily Dickinson; [metaphor] God; Father in Heaven; higher power in nature and the universe.

cattle, n. [ME < L. capitals, head, principle, capital; in medieval times 'principle sum of money, capital, wealth, property'; compare variant form “chattel.”] (webplay: herd, tillage).

  1. Livestock; kine; bovine animals; herd of cows.
  2. Oxen; large slow-moving four-footed creatures; [fig.] cloud.
  3. Cow; steer; [generalization] creature; animal; [fig.] pest; insect.

caucus, n. [New England dialect; origin obscure.]

Confederacy; private meeting; gathering of the leaders of a political party, prior to an election; assembly of representatives to select candidates for office; [word play] cacophony; clamor; opposite of chorus.

caught, v. [past tense form; see catch, v.]

cause (-s), n. [Fr. < L. chose, matter, thing.] (webplay: mind, power).

  1. Problem; trouble.
  2. Reason.
  3. Justification; motive; necessity; occasion; source.
  4. Crusade; goal; interest; idea served with dedication.