Word of the Day

Thursday, September 26, 2013


\SEK-til\ , adjective;
capable of being cut smoothly with a knife.
The sound of rapid steps made me raise my morose gaze from the sectile mosaic of the court—realistic rose petals cut out of rodstein and large, almost palpable thorns cut out of green marble.
-- Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire, 1962
The poet describes his residence as "the frame house between Goldsworth and Wordsmith on its square of green"; the Rose Court in the royal palace in Onhava (Far Away), the Zemblan capital, is a sectile mosaic with rose petals cut out of red stone and large thorns cut out of green marble.
-- Mary McCarthy, "A Bolt from the Blue," The Writing on the Wall, 1971
Sectile comes from the Latin word sectilis meaning "cuttable."
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