Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:
We owe this eponymous adjective to Cervantes, whose 17th-century satirical novel about Don Quixote's naive attempts to live out the values and behaviors of chivalry in our post-chivalric world gave a name to apply to all we consider idealistic, impractical and unrealistic.
Though the character's name is pronounced, as in Spanish, as "kee-HO-tee," the English adjective is pronounced as "kwix-OT-ick." The English, as George Orwell pointed out, thought it effeminate to pronounce a foreign word correctly.
Example: Since Sept. 27, 2010, John McIntyre has persisted in his quixotic campaign to enlarge vocabularies through weekly postings at baltimoresun.com, offering to date gnomic, lachrymose, louche, chthonic, nonage, rebarbative, irenic, borborygmus, milquetoast, quidnunc, demirep, eleemosynary, otiose, rodomontade, haruspicy, eructate, lapidary, exiguous, euhemeristic, panegyric, philtrum, maladroit, bastinado, sagacity, prescient, satrap, halcyon, egregious, jacquerie, pawky, desuetude, consanguinity, scapegrace, gracile, gravamen, mephitic, tendentious, boustrophedon, evaginate, recondite, flaneur, adumbrate, penumbra, craquelure, gonfalon, amour-propre, tergiversation, hegemony and obdurate.