Demarcate (verb) – To demarcate (dih-MAR-kate) is to define the boundaries or limits of something. As used by Christopher Morley in Pipefuls: “Out at Hillside the stones that demarcate the territory of an old-fashioned house are new and snowily whitewashed.”

Agglomeration (noun) – An agglomeration (uh-glom-uh-RAY-shun) is a group of many (usually disparate) things that have been collected or brought together. As used by Voltaire: “This agglomeration which was called… the Holy Roman Empire was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire.”

Bootstrap (noun, verb, adjective) – To bootstrap (BOOT-strap) is to rely entirely on your own efforts and resources, to help yourself succeed without the aid of others. As used by journalist David Sax: “Unlike in Europe, where serving is often a career rather than a backup plan, American table-waiting remains a bootstrap business, and some of the biggest skeptics of waiter training courses and schools are seasoned servers themselves.”

Aspersion (noun) – An aspersion (uh-SPUR-zhun) is a damaging or derogatory remark. As used by George Santayana: “The philosophy of the common man is an old wife that gives him no pleasure, yet he cannot live without her, and resents any aspersions that strangers may cast on her character.”

Nebulous (adjective) – Nebulous (NEB-yuh-lus) can mean hazy, vague, indistinct, or confused. As I used it in today’s essay: “When you think of investing as something as nebulous as putting money into stocks and bonds  (or commodities or futures or real estate or gold mines), you lose the opportunity to examine the difference between different modalities of ‘investing’ – such as trading, speculating, betting, and gambling.”

Scry (verb) – To scry (SKRAYE) is to divine the future or discover secrets, primarily with a crystal ball. As used by Andrew Lang in Cock Lane and Common-Sense: “The antiquity and world-wide diffusion of scrying, in one form or another, interests the student of human nature.”

Temerity (noun) – Temerity (tuh-MARE-ih-tee) is rashness, recklessness, boldness. As used by Emile Zola in Therese Raquin: “There was a sort of brutal temerity in his prudence, the temerity of a man with big fists.”

Feint (noun) – A feint (FEYNT) is a deceptive move. As used by Dani Shapiro: “Our minds have a tendency to wander. To duck and feint and keep us at a slight remove from the moment at hand.”