Word of The Day for Friday, February 11, 2011


con•spec•tus (kuhn-SPEK-tuhs)  n

1. a usually brief survey or summary (as of an extensive subject) often providing an overall view
2. outline, synopsis

1825; from L. conspectus "a looking at, sight, view; range or power of vision," from pp. of conspicere "to look at" from com-, intensive prefix, + specere "to look at"

Synonyms: summary, abstract, digest, outline, overview, précis, resume, review, rundown, summation, synopsis
Related Words: conspicuous, specimen, spectrum, speculum, aspect, spectacle, respect, introspection, expect, conspicuous, suspect, despicable, circumspect,  speculation, perspective, inspection, scope, despise, retrospect, prospect, prospectus

Sentence Examples:
• Here the narrow ridge crowded into a single street all the essential organs of a capital, and still presents with the rarest completeness of concentration a conspectus of modern civic life and development; and this alike as regards both spiritual and temporal powers, using these terms in their broadest senses as the respective expressions of the material order and its immaterial counterparts. -Civics as Applied Sociology, Patrick Geddes

• I found, ten years ago, that there were a number of writers doing work which appeared to me extremely good, but which was narrowly known; and I thought that anyone, however unprofessional and meagrely gifted, who presented a conspectus of it in a challenging and manageable form might be doing a good turn both to the poets and to the reading public. -Georgian Poetry 1920-22

• What if philosophy, at a certain extreme range, and of a certain kind, tends of necessity to pass into poetry, and can hardly help being passionate and metrical? If so, might not the omission of poets, purely as being such, from a conspectus of the speculative writers of any time, lead to erroneous conclusions, by giving an undue prominence in the estimate of all such philosophizing as could most easily, by its nature, refrain from passionate or poetic expression?  -Percy Bysshe Shelley as a Philosopher and Reformer, Charles Sotheran

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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