Sunday, January 04, 2015

Word of the Day: minatory

What's "the word I'm thinking of"? Today, it's...

minatory [MIN-uh-tor-ee](adjective) [TWITO, page 89]

Menacing or threatening

"He was often observed peeping through the bars of a gate and making minatory gestures with his small forefinger while he scolded the sheep with an inarticulate burr, intended to strike terror into their astonished minds."
--George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860)

I observed a sheep being sheered once, at a state fair. The animal was scared and made a weird, keening sound that was undoubtedly the sheep equivalent of a scream. Those huge, noisy electric clippers were minatory, to the sheep -- something I occasionally think about when I wear wool.

Here is a photo of the author of a book about weird words. He is attempting to look minatory.

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