Word of the Day

Sunday, December 16, 2001


\ik-SKRESS-uhn(t)s\ , noun;
Something (especially something abnormal) growing out from something else.
A disfiguring or unwanted mark, part, or addition.
Even Henry Mee's well-known portrait of Anthony Powell makes the novelist look as if he had some odd excrescence growing out of his head.
-- DJ Taylor, "Picture this dead chicken, then ponder a fine artistic tradition", Independent, June 22, 2001
Conservatives have always opposed the independent counsel as an extra-constitutional excrescence unmoored from any political accountability.
-- "Enough", National Review, February 5, 2001
It wasn't just predictable curmudgeons like Dr. Johnson who thought the Scottish hills ugly; if anybody had something to say about mountains at all, it was sure to be an insult. (The Alps: "monstrous excrescences of nature," in the words of one wholly typical 18th-century observer.)
-- Stephen Budiansky, "Nature? A bit overdone", U.S. News & World Report, December 2, 1996
Excrescence is from Latin excrescentia, "excrescences," from excrescere, "to grow out," from ex-, "out" + crescere, "to grow."
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