Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


\LIN-ee-uh-muhnt\ , noun;
A distinctive shape, contour, or line, especially of the face.
A distinguishing or characteristic feature; -- usually in the plural.
If she saw herself, even in her memory, she did not see the brightness that had been hers as a wife; she saw the lined and ageing woman she had become, as if these lineaments had been waiting to emerge since her features had first been formed.
-- Anita Brookner, Visitors
Biography -- and, by definition, autobiography -- is the form of the moment. In the shape of a well-lived, well-told life we can discern the lineaments of the day and even, if the life to hand signifies more than itself, the age.
-- Fred Inglis, "No Discouragement: An Autobiography", New Statesman, December 6, 1996
Crazy wooden galleries common to the backs of half a dozen houses, with holes from which to look upon the slime beneath; windows, broken and patched, with poles thrust out, on which to dry the linen that is never there; rooms so small, so filthy, so confined, that the air would seem too tainted even for the dirt and squalor which they shelter; wooden chambers thrusting themselves out above the mud, and threatening to fall into it--as some have done; dirt-besmeared walls and decaying foundations; every repulsive lineament of poverty, every loathsome indication of filth, rot, and garbage; all these ornament the banks of Folly Ditch.
-- Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Lineament comes from Latin lineamentum, "feature, lineament," from linea, "line."
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