Thursday, 21 November 2013

Entry: sybaritically (adj.)

In context: "He sees in his imagination two-thirds of NNE's largest urban city inert, sybaritically entrances, staring, without bodily movement, home-bounded, fouling their divans and the chairs which may recline."

Definition: Voluptuously

Other: This one turned out to be rather interest.  Turns out sybarite (n.) isn't a mineral, which would have been my first guess, apart from the context here.  Sybarite (n.): (With capital initial.) A native or citizen of Sybaris, an ancient Greek city of southern Italy, traditionally noted for its effeminacy and luxury.

More generally: A person devoted to luxury or pleasure; an effeminate voluptuary or sensualist.

The Wikipedia article is quite interesting.  Here is a gem:

The city and its inhabitants were well known in Antiquity for their excessive luxury. An illustrative anecdote concerning their defeat by Croton is given by Athenaeus. He relates that to amuse themselves the Sybarite cavalrymen trained their horses to dance to pipe music. Armed with pipes, an invading army from nearby Croton assailed the Sybarite cavalry with music. The attacking forces easily passed through the dancing horses and their helpless riders, and conquered the city. This association transferred to the English language, in which the words "sybarite" and "sybaritic" have become bywords for opulent luxury and outrageous pleasure seeking. One story, mentioned in Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, has a Sybarite sleeping on a bed of rose petals, but unable to get to sleep because one of the petals was folded over.

SNOOT score:  5
Page: 728

Source: Oxford English Dictionary, Wikipedia   

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