NOUN (1)

1. the policy of pushing a dangerous situation to the brink of disaster (to the limits of safety); (

John Foster Dulles, 52nd Secretary of State
John Foster Dulles, 52nd Secretary of State

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
brinkmanship \brink”man*ship\, brinksmanship \brinks”man*ship\n. [brink + -manship. (1956).] the policy or practise of pushing a dangerous situation to the brink of disaster (to the limits of safety), in order to achieve the most advantageous outcome; used especially of diplomatic maneuvers in crisis situations, and originally applied to the policies of John Foster Dulles under President Eisenhower. [WordNet 1.5 +PJC]

Aside to the post Brinkmanship
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Did 47 Republican senators break the law in plain sight?

Senator Tom Cotton, Arizona (Rep)
Senator Tom Cotton, Arizona (Rep)

Washington (CNN)   “Forty-seven Senate Republicans may have broken the law this week. But no one’s losing any sleep over it. Pundits and legal scholars are raising questions over whether  Sen. Tom Cotton and the 46 Senate Republicans violated the Logan Act when they penned a letter to Iran’s leaders on Monday, undercutting President Barack Obama‘s efforts to negotiate a nuclear agreement with those same leaders. The law, passed in 1799, forbids any U.S. citizen — acting without official U.S. authority — from influencing “disputes or controversies” involving the U.S. and a foreign government.” …read more as CNN

© 2015 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



From our new word source, Vocabulary for College I by Paul B. Diederich and Sydell Terris Carlton, 1965.

The previous owner of the workbook composed his use-this-word-in-a-sentence assignment this way: “His rapacity was matched only by his parsimony.

Excessive greed; or a disposition to seize and carry off.  The rapacity of the bandits was not satisfied until they took all we had.

Merriam Webster Online: “Rapacity–the quality of being rapacious”

: always wanting more money, possessions, etc. : wanting more than is needed or deserved — Merriam Webster Online


As in “a grow”–one or more marijuana plants in a delineated area under intentional cultivation.

Yes, it is January 1, 2014 in America and that means new laws go into effect and old laws go off the books. And in one state in the Union the buying, selling, and using of marijuana (if you’re over 21) is now legal for recreation. However you feel about this, you are here at 3freewordsaday to upgrade your vocabulary and today is the appropriate time to learn the usage of a marijuana grow.

The term has been in the vernacular of the underground industry of buying and selling marijuana for years. Now it is coming into the mainstream as the industry comes into legality. But it has yet to enter the dictionaries save for the Urban and there incorrectly and as slang with other definitions.

A grow is a NOUN. And apart from the heretofore slang usage of the term for any number of things, it is used by the DEA to mean a segment of soil or water wherein the intentional cultivation of marijuana plants takes place, whether illegally or legally.

Happy New Year…


Resolution (NOUN) as in New Year’s Resolution–likely the best known usage of the word, at least to American ears–is listed third of six definitions/usages on Merriam  And if dictionaries are compiled the way they were when I was in junior high, that means the further down you travel in the list of definitions, the less used that iteration of the term is used. To put it more straightforward, the first definition is the most prevalent version in that language–here American English–and so on down. Some of the definitions of resolution include analyzing, answering, or determining as in an act of resolving; a formal expression of opinion; and the measure of the sharpness of an image such as on a computer screen.

Entry number three reads: (3a actually)  “something that is resolved <made a resolution to mend my ways>.” From this definition we get our first-of-the-year custom of resolving to do something to better our lives in the upcoming 365 days. (You can view all six definitions at


Do you make a New Year’s Resolution?
If you do (or have in the past), you can share it with our followers!
Just write it in the comment box for this blog entry.


When someone has a strong liking for something they have a penchant for it. This doesn’t just mean a strong liking of favorite foods or of a particular sport. It can mean a strong leaning toward a political party or a way of life (He has a penchant for slovenliness.).  Penchant for an activity can also mean a talent for it.


A definite liking; a strong inclination. See Synonyms at predilection.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
a strong inclination or liking; bent or taste
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

a strong inclination, taste, or liking for something.
Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Collectible vs. Collectable

In short, one word means objects people collect while the other means objects that can be collected–and is a variant of the first word.

Collectible means objects people collect.  Comic books are collectibles. They are also collectable; able to be collected. Collectable is a variant of collectible, but some people still argue that it is properly used as defined above because some collectors collect things that have value only to them while a collectible has a monetary/market value.


The definition of collectible is able to be brought together into a series.
An example of collectible used as an adjective is the phrase collectible coins which means coins that people collect.

A collectible is defined as one of a group of objects that people collect.
An example of a collectible is the stuffed toy called a Beanie Baby.

Collectable–Variant of collectible.
that can be collected
suitable or desirable for collecting, as by a hobbyist

any of a class of old things, but not antiques, that people collect as a hobby, specif. a thing of no great intrinsic value The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Webster’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Ordnance vs. Ordinance

As explosive as they might seem, ordinances are not weapons by which to cause physical damage. They are decreesboom or laws made to bring the populace under a suitable form of conformity. Ordnance on the other hand are indeed intended to cause explosive results.

Ordnance defined: 1a : military supplies including weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and maintenance tools and equipment b : a service of the army charged with the procuring, distributing, and safekeeping of ordnance 2: cannon, artillery–

Ordinance defined: 1a : an authoritative decree or direction : order b : a law set forth by a governmental authority; specifically : a municipal regulation 2: something ordained or decreed by fate or a deity 3: a prescribed usage, practice, or ceremony–


The father of detective fiction, Edgar Allan Poe, coined a word. Like his works, it is large and sometimes unfathomable. Ratiocination means “reasoning abilitypoe (‘ratiocination’ traces to ‘ratio,’ Latin for ‘reason’ or ‘computation’,” and describes the process by which reason and exact thinking bring about solution.

A few Poe facts
Poe was not in fact a maudlin person. He had quite the sense of humor. He did not die of a drug overdose. Some think he succumbed to rabies, as he had a fondness for cats and kept several as pets. What exists as Poe lore was published after his death in a biography written by a rival.


Conflation defined: a combining, as of two variant readings of a text into a composite reading.

Origin: ME conflacioun < LL conflatio < L conflare, to blow together < com-, together + flare, to blow
NOUNYour’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

blend, fusion; especially :  a composite reading or text.
Examples of CONFLATION: the word “robustious” is probably a conflation of “robust” and “boisterous”–Merriam

See also on 3freewordsaday: amalgam.

Click on the link at the bottom of this post to revisit "amalgam."
Click on the link at the bottom of this
post to revisit “amalgam.”

Intervene, Ascribe, Counterpart

Intervene defined:
1. To come, appear, or lie between two things: You can’t see the lake from there because the house intervenes.
2. To come or occur between two periods or points of time: A year intervened between the two dynasties.
3. To occur as an extraneous or unplanned circumstance: He would have his degree by now if his laziness hadn’t intervened.
4. a. To involve oneself in a situation so as to alter or hinder an action or development: “Every gardener faces choices about how and how much to intervene in nature’s processes” (Dora Galitzki).
b. To interfere, usually through force or threat of force, in the affairs of another nation.
5. Law To enter into a suit as a third party for one’s own interests. INTRANSITIVE VERB–The Free American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Ascribe defined:
1. to credit or assign, as to a particular origin or period to ascribe parts of a play to Shakespeare
2. to attribute as a quality; consider as belonging to to ascribe beauty to youth [from Latin ascrībere to enrol, from ad in addition + scrībere to write] TRANSITIVE VERB–The Free English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


Counterpart defined:
1. a person or thing closely resembling another, esp. in function.
2. a copy or duplicate, as of a legal document.
one of two parts that fit, complete, or complement one another. NOUN–The Free House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

Discriminate, Implore, Debacle

Discriminate is defined as to recognize or see the difference between two or more people or things. An example of discriminate is a dress maker seeing the height difference between two bridesmaids and making adjustments accordingly. The definition of discriminate is to show partiality or prejudice based on a general category not on individual merit. An example of discriminate is to refuse to rent an apartment to a black man because he is black.” VERB–Your


“The definition of implore is to beg or plead. An example of implore is when you beg and plead for a loaf of bread when you are hungry.” VERB–Your

to ask or beg earnestly for; beseech
to ask or beg (a person) to do something; entreat TRANSITIVE VERB–Your’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


“The definition of a debacle is a sudden downfall or a total failure. An example of a debacle is a poorly run political campaign that ends in overwhelming defeat.” NOUN–Your


Ancillary defined: (ADJECTIVE) subordinate or helping. An extra workbook and live recordings of chapter are examples of ancillary items to a textbook.The definition of ancillary means something that is helping or subordinate, but not as necessary. (NOUN) An example of ancillary is an overflow valve that is designed to take the pressure off of a main pumping system. —Your

Exponential, Overspread, Veritable

I’m attempting to stick to good internet form here and combine the extra 3freewords into a single post; the better to not flood the inboxes of my loyal and tolerant followers. And there are two bonus words on the 3freewordsaday Facebook page instead of the usual one.

Exponential (ADJECTIVE)

Oft heard (and spoken) but rarely used literally, exponential is another word–like tangential–that has entered the mainstream voice from a mathematical field of study. Recall calculus from an earlier post.

Exponential defined: Relating to a mathematical expression containing one or more exponents.  Something is said to increase or decrease exponentially if its rate of change must be expressed using exponents. A graph of such a rate would appear not as a straight line, but as a curve that continually becomes steeper or shallower.–The Free American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Exponential refers to a large number in smaller terms, or something that is increasing at a faster and faster rate.

An example of exponential is 25 being shown as 5×5. An example of exponential is the erosion that is happening on the Holderness coast in eastern England.–Your

Overspread (NOUN)

  • <the butter should evenly overspread the baking pan>
  • <autumn leaves overspreading one another on the lawn to form a colorful mosaic>

Veritable (ADJECTIVE)

1. (intensifier; usually qualifying a word used metaphorically) he’s a veritable swine!

2. Rare genuine or true; proper I require veritable proof


Paradigm defined: a widely accepted example, belief or concept. NOUN

  1. An example of paradigm is evolution.
  2. An example of paradigm is the earth being round.
  • a pattern, example, or model
  • an overall concept accepted by most people in an intellectual community, as those in one of the natural sciences, because of its effectiveness in explaining a complex process, idea, or set of data
  • GRAM. an example of a declension or conjugation, giving all the inflectional forms of a word

Your’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.



My intention since the commencement of 3freewordsaday is to post three words each day that will fit into your active vocabulary. Refresh your memory of the intention of this blog by reading the Intro.

Commencement defined:  the time when something begins : a ceremony during which degrees or diplomas are given to students who have graduated from a school or college NOUN


As a concession to my absence, I am posting more than 3freewords today.

Concession defined:  NOUN

1 a :  the act or an instance of conceding (as by granting something as a right, accepting something as true, or acknowledging defeat) b :  the admitting of a point claimed in argument

2 a”  something conceded or granted:  acknowledgmentadmission  b :  something done or agreed to usually grudgingly in order to reach an agreement or improve a situation

c (1) :  a grant of land or property especially by a government in return for services or for a particular use (2) :  a right to undertake and profit by a specified activity (3) :  a lease of a portion of premises for a particular purpose; also :  the portion leased or the activities carried on–

Synonyms: shine, gleam, sparkle

Shine defined:  Shine is defined as brightness, light or luster. A gold ring that has just been cleaned and polished is an example of something that has a shine. NOUN–Your

Gleam defined:

  1. a flash or beam of light
  2. a faint light
  3. a reflected brightness, as from a polished surface
  4. a brief, faint manifestation or trace, as of hope, understanding, etc.


Sparkle defined:

  • a spark or glowing particle
  • a sparkling, or glittering
  • brilliance; liveliness; vivacity


Synonyms: mystery, puzzle, quandary

Mystery defined: something that is a secret, something where there is no clear explanation, something difficult to understand or explain or something unexplainable or unsolvable.   NOUN

  1. An example of a mystery is the location of your Christmas presents.
  2. An example of a mystery is whether there is proof that God exists.
  3. An example of a mystery is how exactly people came to be.
  4. An example of a mystery is a situation where it is unclear who committed a crime. —Your

Puzzle defined:  a question or problem that requires thought, skill, or cleverness to be answered or solved: something or someone that is difficult to understand  NOUN–

Quandary defined:  a situation or circumstance that presents problems difficult to solve; predicament; dilemma NOUN–Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Synonyms: excuse, reason, cause

I am referring to the NOUN forms of these three words.  An excuse, a reason, a cause.

Some sentences:

To be absent from school you need an excuse, a reason, or a cause.

There is no excuse for bad behavior, but there is likely a reason for it and a cause.

Drought is the reason for the high water prices.  Climate change is the cause of the drought.  There is no excuse for unnatural global warming.

Here the use of these synonyms has moved from the general to the specific.  Excuse, reason, and cause are interchangeable in general.  But their definitions define and delimit their reach.

Excuse defined:  an explanation or a reason for an action.  An example of an excuse is a student saying that his dog ate his homework.

  1. An explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness.
  2. A reason or grounds for excusing: Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.
  3. The act of excusing.
  4. A note explaining an absence.

Reason defined:  the cause for something to happen or the power of your brain to think, understand and engage in logical thought.

  1. An example of reason is when you are late because your car ran out of gas.
  2. An example of reason is the ability to think logically.

Cause defined:  anyone or anything that brings about a result.  An example of cause is a washing machine making clothes clean.

  • anything producing an effect or result
  • a person or thing acting voluntarily or involuntarily as the agent that brings about an effect or result: drinking was the cause of his downfall
  • a reason, motive, or ground for some action, feeling, etc.; esp., sufficient reason: cause for complaint
  • any objective or movement that a person or group is interested in and supports, esp. one involving social reform

Definitions from Your