B-Word Vocabulary Definitions

babassu. Brazilian palm ("Bob and Sue")
babesia. parasitic sporozoans
babirusa. boar w. curved tusks
babka. coffee-cake: almonds, raisins, rum, orange rind
babu. Sir (India), (effendi, memsahib, sahib, tuan). ("My sweet babu")
babul. gum arabic tree
baby tears. minute green flowers
bacciferous. berry-bearing
bacillary. virgate
back-bencher. Parliament
back matter. back of book
back-saw. reinforced saw
backseat. rope supporting the mizzenmast
backsword. one edge
bacteremia. in blood
Bactrian. two humps
baciluform. virgate, bacillary
badderlocks. edible seaweed
bagasse. dried sugar cane pulp
bagnio. brothel/slave prison
baguette. baguette cut
Bahasa Indonesia. beche-de-mer (lingua franca)
bail. pole separating animals
bailey. outer wall or courtyard of castle ("Down in the old bailey")
Bailey bridge. shippable bridge
bailie. Scottish alderman
bainmarie. big pan-warmer (full of hot water)
baize. coarse woolen cloth, napped like felt
baklava. paper-thin, chopped nuts and honey
baksheesh. tip
Balaam. rebuked by Balaam’s ass
balas. rose-red to orange spinel ("balas-colored')
balata. latex used for golf balls (algoroba)
balbriggen. unbleached underwear cloth
baldachin. silk and gold canopy; stone canopy
baldric. sword or bugle belt
bale. mental suffering, anguish ("baleful")
baleen. whalebone
Balinese. Indonesian language
balk. barrier between plow-rows; timber; billiards
balk line. pool line
balletomane. ballet aficionado
ballonet. auxiliary airbag
ballottement. medical manipulation
balmacaan. overcoat with raglan sleeves
Balmoral. shoes; hat
balneology. bath therapy
balsam of Tolu. cough medicines and perfume
banseau. narrow hairband
bandarilla. barbed dart in bull’s shoulder
bandeiriliero. guy who throws it
balderole. narrow forked flag or ribbon, inscribed scroll
bandicoot. rat-like Australian marsupial
bandog. Chris’ watchdog (chained)
bandore. ancient guitar ("Hey! He couldn't hit the broad side of a bandore!")
bangalore torpedo. pipe filled with explosives (minefields)
banger. sausage
Bang’ disease. brucellosis
bang-tail. racehorse
banlan. Hindu vegetarian merchant (Under the banlan tree)
banker. bank fisher/boat
banker. sculptor’s workbench
bannaret. knight between knight bachelor and baron. Also, a small banner
bannock. unleavened griddlecakes (Bannockburn: burned griddle cakes)
banquette. shelve on castle wall for archers; sidewalk; built-in bench; ledge
bantling. young child
baobab. 30’ in diameter, white flowers, fleshy fruit
barathea. soft silk-blend fabric
barb. Moorish horse; dark pigeon
barbasco. poison tree
barbate. bearded
barber’s itch. ringworm
barbet. toucan family
barbette. firing platform inside a fort; armored cylinder around a naval gun
barbican. town gate fortification
barbicel. hooks on feather barbules
barbule. pointed projection on barbs of feathers
bard. horse armor
barege. sheer fabric used for women (A barege peignoir)
bargeboard. gingerbread board projecting from roof gable
bargee. bargeman
bargello. zig-zag needlepoint stitch named for Bargello Museum
bariatrics. treatment of obesity
barilla. soda plant
barite. principal source of barium
bark. 3 to 5 masts; square-rigged except after-mast
barkentine. only the foremast is square-rigged
barleduc. gooseberry jam
Barmecidal. imaginary feast
barmy. foamy; dotty
barong. machete (billhook, parong)
baro-receptor. pressure
barouche. 4-wheeled carriage, opposing seats
barracoon. temporary slave or convict barracks
barramunda. lungfish
barranca. deep ditch or gorge
barratry. inciting quarrels; ship captain’s breach of duty causing injury to owners; simony
barrio. Spanglish quarters
barrow. castrated pig
bar sinister. bastard baldric
bartizan. overhanging corner turrets
barycenter. center of mass
bascule. bascule drawbridge
baseburner. auto-feeding grate
basenji. African dog
basidiomycetes. mushrooms, puffballs
basidium. club-shaped basidiomycete cell
basilar. base of skull
basilisk. lizard/serpent with lethal breath and glance
basipetal. growing from top toward base
basking shark. Australia. Feeds on plankton. very large
basophil. dye-able blood cell
basque. bodice
bastnaesite. reddish to yellowish brown rare earth ore
bate. flap wings wildly (falcon) ("The falcon bated its wings.")
bateau. Louisiana rowboat
bateau bridge. pontoon bridge
batholith. igneous rock that has melted and intruded into other rock at great depths
bathometer. depth gauge
bathos. insincere pathos. Triteness. Sudden switch from elevated to commonplace style
batik. wax dyeing
batiste. fine fabric
batman. officer’s orderly
batter. back-sloping wall
battledore. early badminton
Baume scale. hydrometer
bawbee. ha’penny
bayedere. awning cloth
bdellium. myrrh-like resin
beadle. church usher
beam. tractor beam to which colter is attached
bean caper. plant
bearberry. Arctic, red berries
bearnaise sauce. like Hollendaise, but tarrago, shallots, and cervil
Beaufort Scale. wind speeds
beau geste. gallant but insubstantive
Beaujolais. red wine
beau monde. fashionable society
beccafico songbird, delicacy
bechamel sauce. white sauce
beche-de-mer. Bahasa Indonesia
Bedford cord. mattress cloth
bedizen. vulgar, tasteless
beef bourguignon. beef cubes in wine, carrots, and onions
beefwood. Australia. red.
beggar’s lice. stickseed
beggar’s ticks. bur marigold, tick trefoil
beggarweed. S. W. forage
behoof. benefit, advantage
Beja. Cushitic. Nile River to Red sea
belemnite. fossil cephalopod
Belial. Satanic representation of wickedness
belladonna lily. amaryllis
bell-bird. bell-like call
belle epoque. France at turn of century
belles-lettres. literature for esthetics rather than didactic value
belletrist. belles-lettres author
Bellona. Mars’ wife ("The Mare Bellicose")
belonephobia. fear of sharp objects
Beltane. May Day
beluga. while whale; sturgeon
Beltsville. Small White turkey
belvedere. gazebo
bema. synagogue platform
ben. inner room ("We entered the ben by way of the ben tree.")
ben. tree, with oil used in perfume and cosmetics
bench mark. surveying
bench warrant. authorizes arrest
bend. thick planks in ship’s side: wales; knot tying two ropes together
bend. Band from upper dexter corner of escutcheon to lower sinister corner
Ben Davis. large red cooking apple
Ben Day. early photographic toning technique
benedict. newly-married man who was a confirmed bachelor
Benedictus. canticle
benefic. beneficent
benefice. church office with a trust fund; Landed estate
bengaline. crosswise ribbed-effect fabric. Silk, wool or synthetic
Bengal light. sustained blue fireworks light
benjamin. benzoin
benjamin bush. spice bush
benne. sesame plant
bennet. herb bennet
Bennington ware. brown, mottled-glaze earthenware
Benthamism. greatest happiness for greatest number
bentonite. swelling filler
berberine. alkaloid used in medicine
bergamot. tree. Oil used in perfumery
Bergmann’s Rule. body size varies with environmental temperature
Bergsonism. all life arises from a natural force, the elan vitale
Berkeleianism. material objects exist only as concepts of a human or divine mind
berlin. light wool
berlin. four-wheeled covered carriage
berlin. limousine with window between back and front
berm. ledge between parapet and moat
Bermuda rig. regular sailboat
berseem. desert clover
bertha. wide deep lace collar
beseem. befit ("unseemly")
beshrew. imprecate, curse ("He beshrewed him out.")
bespeak. foretell; reserve
besprent. sprinkled over
bestead. to be of aid
bestiary. animal fables
betise. stupid, foolish
betony. lousewort
betta. strikingly-colored Asiatic fish
Beulah. the Promised Land
bey. Turkish governor, tile of respect
bezant. solidus.. Byzantine gold coin
bizique. like pinochle, 64 cards
bezoar. hard mass in ruminants’ stomachs
bhang. hemp plant
bialy. onion roll
bibb. trestletree bracket
bibber. tippler
bibelot. decorative object or trinket
bibliolatry. fanatic
bibliomancy. random forecasting
bibliopole. rare book dealer
bibliotheque. book collection
bibliotics. determination of authenticity
bibulous. very absorbent; boozer
bidarka. Eskimo canoe ("The Eskimos travelled mostly bidarka.")
bidonville. shantytown
Biedermeier. 19th century furniture
biforate. two openings
bigarreau. light sweet cherries
bigeminal. pairs
bigeminy. twin-beat cardiovascular condition
big eye. fish
bignonia. woody vine
bijou. small, exquisitely wrought trinket
bijouterie. collection
biliverdin. green, sometimes found in bile
billabong. dead-end channel; stagnant backwater; dry until it rains
billetdoux. love-letter
billhook. brush blade
bill of attainder. takes away all legal rights prior to execution
bill of exchange. cashier’s check
billon. gold/silver/copper coin alloy
billy. metal camp pot
billycock. felt hat
bilocular two cavities
bilsted sweet gum
bilong narrow strips of meat dried in the sun
bimestial bimonthly
bindlestiff migrant worker
biocenology study of communities and member interactions in nature
biolysis lysistic death
biome community
biont living organism
biotite black mica
biotope ecological niche
biovular fraternal twins
bioparous twins, two branches (heterozygotic)
biramous two branches
bird’s foot claw-shaped flowers, branches, etc.
bird’s foot trefoil sprawling plant
biretta black for priest, purple for bishop, red for cardinal
birth root trillium
birthwort unpleasant scent
bis again, encore. (Direction in music)
bise like mistral in France, Swiss Alps, Italy
biserate doubly serrate
bisnaga barrel cactus
bister yellowish-brown pigment made from beech soot
bistort  U.S. pinkish mountain flower
bistoury minor surgical knife
bitt vertical ship’s post to secure ropes
bitternut Eastern U. S. Hickory nut
bitter principle bitter vegetable substances
bivouac temporary open-air encampment
Black and Tan Royal Irish constabulary sent to suppress Sinn Fein
black bile melancholia humor
black bryony climbing, poisonous red berries
black-buck  antelope (India)
blackcap black raspberry; European bird
black cohosh tall plant
black diamond carbonado
blackfish any black fish; pilot whale
black haw shrub with purple-black fruit
black horehound strong-smelling
black knot plum-tree disease
blackleg card sharp; plant, sheep disease
black medic clover-like plant
blackpoll North American warbler
Black Rod chief usher of British institutions (house of Lords)
black thorn pear haw
bladdernose hooded seal
bladdernut hooded seed pods
bladder wrack a rockweed
blade-apple spiny vine-like cactus
blanc fixe barium sulfate base for water-color pigments
blanc mange pudding thickened with cornstarch ("Let's have some more of that blankety-blank mangy pudding.")
blanket flower gaillardia
blastema separated cells from which organ grows
blasto- bud, germ
blastocoele cavity of a blastula ("The blastoderm covered the blastocoel to form a blastule with a blastopore.")
blastoderm. covering of blastocoele
blastogenesis theory that inheritance passes by germ plasm
blastomere a cell formed during cleavage of fertilized ovum (zygote)
blastopore mouth-like opening into the primitive intestinal cavity of the gastrula
blastula hollow cellular sphere
blat blurt
blatherskite haver; blabbermouth
bleb pustule; bubble
blenny marine fish ("How about boiled blenny?")
blepharitis inflamed eyelid
blepharospasm compulsive eyeblink
blesbok curved horns, white face
blimp ultraconservative jingoism and misinformation
blind tiger speakeasy
blindworm slowworm
blini buckwheat pancakes with caviar and sour cream (bannock).
blintz pancake filled with cottage cheese and sour cream
blite strawberry blite
blood fluke schistosome
bloodstone deep green chalcedony flecked with red jasper
bloodworm used for bait
blouson fitted waistband, blousy above ("She had on her blousy blouson.")
blowfly deposit eggs in carrion, wounds
blue cohosh N. A. plant
blue devils despondancy
blue-eyed Mary two-lipped flowers
blue flag wild blue irises
blue head marine fish ("OK, if you don't want boiled blenny, how about broiled blue head?")
bluejack oak tree (A blue oak tree.)
bluepeter flag with blue center signaling that a ship is ready to sail
bluestocking pedantic or scholarly woman
bo pal (ace)
board rule for measuring board feet
boast to rough-shape a stone with a broad chisel
boat bill wading bird with boat-shaped bill
bobbinet machine-woven net with hexagonal meshes
bobbin lace intricate hand-woven lace
bobstay rope steadying the bowsprit ("Bob, stay and steady the bowsprit.")
bocaccio a rockfish
bocce like bowling (…so I joined a bocce league.")
bodega grocery store, wine warehouse ("I met my bo at the bodega.")
bodhisattva. giving up Nirvana out of compassion for others
bodkin. hole punch, thread-puller ("Odds bodkins, man!")
boehmite. mineral present in bauxite
boffo. exceedingly successful
bog asphodel. flower
bog rosemary. northern evergreen
bogtrotter. Irishman, someone who frequents bogs
bohea. black Chinese tea after Bohea Hills
bois de rose. grayish red
Bokmal. book language
boletus. poisonous mushroom
bollard. thick post for securing ropes and hawsers
bolometer. radiant-heat measurement
bollonia. daisy-like
bolus. a small round mass
bombardon. contrabass tube; a 16-foot reed stop on an organ
bombe. 2 layers of ice cream frozen in round mold
bombycid. silkworm moth
bonboneirre. candy box or dish; confectioner’s store
boneset. medicinal flower
bongo. spiral-horned antelope
boniface. inn-keeper
bonnyclabber. sour, clotted milk
bonspiel. curling tournament
bontebok. South African antelope
bonton. haut monde
bonze. Mahayana Buddhist monk
bonzer. very good
booboisie. the stupid and gullible
booklouse. eats books
book lung. arachnid lungs (book-like pages)
bootjack. holds boot while removing
bora. violent mistral in Yugoslavia (Dalmitic coast)
borage. star-shaped blue flowers
bordetella pertussis. . whooping cough coccobacillus
bordure. border around heraldic shield
bornite. brownish-bronze copper ore
borrelia. helicobacteria causing relapsing fever
borscht. Jewish Catskill resort hotels
bort. carbonados
borzoi. Russian dog
boscage. mass of trees and shrubs
bosh. meaningless talk
Boskop Man. Hottentot and Bushman ancestor`
botfly. parasitic fly
bo tree. the peepul (fig tree)
botyroidal. grape-shaped
bots. cattle disease caused by botfly larvae
bottlebrush. Australian flower
bottom round. steak from the outer section of a round of beef
bottomry. pledging ship to finance voyage
boucle. rough-textured yarn/cloth
bouffe. comic opera
bougle. flexible instrument inserted into a body cavity; suppository
bouleversement. reversal; violent uproar
bourg. French market town
bourree. old French dance like gavotte
boustrophedon writing/printing back and forth
bouvardia. shrubs
Bouvier des Flandres. cattle dog
bouzouki. Greek, like a mandolin
bowfin. freshwater fish
bowline. holds leach forward when sailing close-hauled; non-slip knot
Bowman’s capsule. Malpighian corpuscle
bowman’s root. flower
bowstring hemp. used for cordage
bowyer. archer or bow-maker (fletcher)
box elder. maple (abutilon - flowering maple)
boxfish. trunkfish
box-haul. to bring a square-rigged ship about on the heel by bracing the sails aback
boyar. Russian aristocratic order abolished by Peter I
brabble. wrangle noisily (affray, branigen)
brachium . arm or homologous structure (flipper)
brachylogy. etc.
brachyurous. short abdomen under cephalothorax (includes crabs)
bracket fungus. on trees
bract. showy leaflet under flower
bracteate. bract-bearing
bracteoles. a small or secondary bract
brachycardia. slow
bradylexia. slow reader
bradylogia. slow speaking
brae. hillside, slope
Brahma. the eternal spirit from which all are formed and to which all return
Brahmin. highest caste
branchiopod. segmented body, flattened appendages
branch water. stream water
brandling. common earthworm
branks. bit used to punish scolds
brannigan. noisy quarrel; binge
brash. pile of fragments, as of floating ice
brassage. charge for converting bullion to currency
brasserie. beer joint
bratice. partition.. in mine for ventilation
brattle. rattle
bravura. boffo!
braw. boffo! (brave)
bray. to crush into mortar; to spread ink
brayer. ink roller
brazilin. brazilwood dye
brazilwood. red tropical wood (like beefwood?)
breakbone fever. dengue
breaker. small water cask on lifeboat
breakfront. cabinet with center beyond ends
breeching. harness strap behind haunches; rope tied to cannon on ship
breeks. breeches
bregma. junction of coronal and sagittal sutures
breviary. missal: hymns, offices, and prayers for the canonical hours.
brewis. broth; bread soaked in broth
briard. rugged French dog
Briareus. giant who aided Zeus and Olympians against the Titans
bridgeboard. supports treads and risers
bridoon. like snaffle bit: can be reined independently of the curb bit (See "brank").
briefless. unemployed lawyer
brig. two-master, square-rigged, 2+ headsails, quadrilateral gaff sail, spanker aft
brigantine. similar. sq. rigged f’sail, fore-and-aft mains’l, square maintopsails.
brilliantine. oily, perfumed hairdressing; glossy fabric of cotton and mohair
Brill’s disease. recurrent epidemic typhus
brin. one of the ribs of a fan
brioche. soft roll; eggs, butter, flour and yeast
briolette. pear-shaped gem
brisling. the sprat (young herring)
bristletail. silverfish
Bristol board. fine pasteboard
britannia metal. white tin alloy
Briton. Celts before the Roman invasion
brittle star. like starfish but whip-like arms
broach. veer crosswise to the waves
broad bean. bean
Broadchurch. liberal Anglican
broad seal. official national seal
broadside. side of ship above the waterline
broadtail. Karakul lamb
brocatel. very heavy brocade with exaggerated relief
brochette. skewer
brock. badger
brogue . heavy (oxford) shoe
bronchyectasis . chronic bronchial dilation
bronchiole. tiny bronchial tube
bronchium. middle-sized bronchial tube
bronchus. either of the two main bronchial tubes
bronzer. tanning cosmetic
brookite. titanium dioxide
brooklime. small blue flowers
brookweed. small white flowers
broomrape. parasitic plant
brown coal. lignite
brown lung disease. byssinosis
Brown Swiss. cattle
brucine. alkaloid
brumal. wintry
brummagem. tinsel
Brunhild. queen of Iceland
brut. very dry
Brynhild. Valkyrie roused from enchanted sleep by Sigurd
bryophytes. peat moss, true moss, and liverwort
bryology. botany of bryophytes
bryony. black bryony
bryozoan. moss-like branching colonies
Brython. Cornwall, Wales or Cumbria
bubby. breast
bubo. painful swelling of lymphatic gland
buck. sawhorse; vaulting frame
buck counter.  designating next dealer (Passing the buck)
bucket shop. fraudulent brokerage operation
buckhound. deer-hound
buckra. honky
buckram. used to stiffen books
buddleia. butterfly bush
budgerigar. Australian parakeet
budgie. budgerigar
buff. to deaden the shock
bufflehead. duck
buffo. comic opera singer
bugbane. insect-repelling plant
bugger. a sodomite; a chap
buggery. sodomy
bugleweed. flower
bugloss. blue flowers
buhrstone. tough limestone used for millstones
bulbar. bulbous (medulla oblongata)
bulbil. pulvination of flower stem just above ground
bulbul. songbird
bulla. round seal attached to papal bull
bullace. the damson
bullate. puckered or blistered
bullbat. night hawk
bullnose. swine snout disease
bullroarer. child’s toy
bull tongue. heavy plow, one shovel, used in cotton fields
bum. make humming sound
bum. buttocks
bumboat. small boat peddling to ships anchored offshore
bunch berry. dwarf cornet
bunch flower. bog plant, greenish flowers
bund. embankment or dike; waterfront street
Bundesrat. Upper House of German legislature
Bundestag. lower house
Bunraku. Japanese puppet theater with large puppets
bunt. midsection of a square sail; the sagging center of a fishnet
bunt. disease of wheat and rye
bunting. flag cloth
bunting. bird
bunting. close-fitting sleeping bag
buntline. rope that keeps a square sail from bellying when it is hauled up
bunya. Australian evergreen tree
buprestid. wood-boring beetle
burbot. freshwater, related to cod
burette. graduated column
burgage. annual land rental to the king
burgee. yacht flag
burgess. freeman; Parliamentary representative
burgonet 16th century helmet
burgoo. stew, oatmeal
burin. stone-carving tool
burke. strangle; suppress quietly
burnet. cucumber-flavored leaves
burr. rivet washer
burse. flat cloth case for carrying corporal for Eucharist
bursiform. pouch-shaped
burton. light single or double tackle to hoist or tighten rigging
bush-baby. galago
bush-buck. twisted horns
bush ranger. outlaw
busk. whalebone; entertain by singing and dancing; to prepare
bustard. bird
buteo-. hawks
butyraceous. relating to butter
button snakeroot. blazing star
buttonwood. sycamore
byblow. illegitimate child
by-election. to fill vacated post
by-play. 1. Secondary stage speech while main action continues.. 2. Byre. 3. Cowshed.
byssinosis. cotton dust pneumoconoisis
byssus. linen mummy-wrap; filaments used by mussels to attach themselves