Quadrivial Quandary:  Logophiles, Rejoice!  Each day we give you four unusual words.  Can you fit them all in one illustrative sentence?

Today's attempts to resolve the Quandary (login or register to compose yours):


This #Hobbesian mood, this dog-eat-dog creed,
Drowns out the good-natured #raillery we need
It #frets at the fabric that covers the people
Sticks out like #proboscide, juts up like a steeple.
(by OldRawgabbit)
The Quandary for today, Monday, May 21, 2018, consists of:
  • hobbesian
  • fret
  • raillery
  • proboscide, n.
Challenge: use all four words together in one illustrative sentence.

Since September 2009, word lovers have offered 6974 sentences — each one a surprise — to QQ's unique and growing library. Explore earlier Quandaries through our word list or the calendar below. View yesterday's QQ resolutions or pick a day at random.

Definitions Of Today's Words:

adjective: 1. Of or relating to Thomas Hobbes or his ideas. 2. Grim, selfish, unrestrained, etc.
  1. (transitive, obsolete or poetic) Especially when describing animals: to consume, devour, or eat.
  2. (transitive) To chafe or irritate; to worry.
  3. (transitive) To make rough, to agitate or disturb; to cause to ripple.
  4. (transitive) In the form fret out: to squander, to waste.
  5. (transitive, intransitive) To gnaw; to consume, to eat away.
  6. (transitive, intransitive) To be chafed or irritated; to be angry or vexed; to utter peevish expressions through irritation or worry.
  7. (intransitive) To be worn away; to chafe; to fray.
  8. (intransitive) To be anxious, to worry.
  9. (intransitive) To be agitated; to rankle; to be in violent commotion.
  10. (intransitive, brewing, oenology) To have secondary fermentation (fermentation occurring after the conversion of sugar to alcohol in beers and wine) take place.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 21, 2018 is:

raillery • \RAIL-uh-ree\  • noun

1 : good-natured ridicule : banter

2 : an instance of joking or ridicule : jest


"Hardin rarely got angry at anyone. Fuzz was always trying to get his goat with some unprovoked raillery, but Hardin understood that was the point and couldn’t even force himself to be riled." — Michael MacLeod, The Antioch Review, Fall 2009

"Indeed, the sense of camaraderie between cast members is striking. Charlotte Ritchie and Simon Bird in particular have a steady repartee that makes the interview feel more like a cosy chat, and it is clear that the wit and raillery that distinguish the play are equally prevalent off stage." — Katie Sayer and Emily Lawford, Cherwell (Oxford University), 5 June 2017

Did you know?

Raillery is the anglicized form of the French word raillerie, which stems from the Middle French verb railler, meaning "to mock." Railler, which probably comes from Old French reillier ("to growl" or "to mutter") and ultimately from Late Latin ragere ("to neigh"), also gave us our verb rail. But rail and raillery are quite different in tone. Rail means "to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language," whereas raillery usually suggests cutting wit that pokes fun good-naturedly.

OED Word of the Day: proboscide, n. In heraldry: a representation of an elephant’s trunk as a charge

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