Jon's Dictionary: Plan B

I've undertaken to read the dictionary while I'm at work (specifically, the Oxford American Desk Dictionary & Thesaurus, Third Edition). Here are some of my favorite words that start with B. I've shortened, lengthened, or otherwise improved their definitions, to avoid infringement and inspire wonder!

babushka [n.]
(in Russia) grandma, or other old lady
also, a headscarf tied under the chin
e.g. for double-points,

bacchanalian [adj.]
(of a party,) rowdy & involving booze
also, (of a party,) awesome

badinage [n.]
witty conversation

bagatelle [n.]
a short, easy, or unimportant task
e.g., basically everything I do at my job as a barista; also: housework, paying bills, answering the phone, realphabetizing my bookshelves by country of origin--any writer's block outlet really.

baize [n.]
the extra-tough green felt on card- & pool-tables

baksheesh [n.]
(in India) money given as charity
(elsewhere & of dubious political correctness) a tip or bribe paid to speed up or ensure services; esp. cab rides in NYC

balaclava [n.]
a hood or hat covering the head & neck, leaving part of the face exposed
(used for: keeping warm; hiding one's identity whilst streaking, robbing banks, robbing convenience stores, robbing other stores)
Surely this person is not cold, lol.

baleful [adj.]
threatening, ominous
e.g., the Jaws theme, the sky in Spokane basically all winter

balk (at) [v.]
hesitate/refuse to accept something
e.g., the proper reaction to everything that happens in this episode of television

Balkanization [n.]
division of a body into smaller rival groups
e.g., college dorm rivalries, summer camp competitions, House- & Quidditch-Cups in H.P., the actual Balkans

ballcock [n.]
a buoy used to measure the volume of liquid in a tank
e.g., that round thing attached to the valve in a toilet tank; the reason your car's gas gauge is wrong half the time...

ballyhoo [n.]
a big fuss
n.b. This is one of those words that will instantly endear to me whoever uses it, especially if the user is an old person and ballyhoo is just an unironic part of his/her vocabulary.

bandy [adj.]
(of a person's legs) bent outward at the knees

bandy [v.]
use a word or catchphrase frequently in conversation
"Ever since reading Jon's Dictionary, I've been bandying my new arrantly aureate A & B vocabulary like it's my job."

banquette [n.]
a small bench along a wall
i.e., the kind of bench nobody ever sits on, except kids who are waiting for their parents at church.

barbel [n.]
a long, thin growth hanging from the snout of some fish

barker [n.]
the annoying guy at the fair who keeps yelling "Step right up!"

baron [n.] a man from the lowest rank of British nobility
baronet [n.] basically a pretend-rank just outside the British peerage system, awarded to commoners as incentive to pay extra taxes.

bastardize [v.]
degrade something by adding new elements
Some notably bastardized things: Star Wars I-III, season 3 (ad mortem) of most TV shows, black forest cake, Eugene Peterson's The Message

bathos [n.]
(in literature) an unintentional mood-shift from serious to trivial
e.g. Jim Edwards, on the Blitzkrieg in France: "The Germans came in too fast, too furious."

beatific [adj.]
really fucking happy

bedclothes [n.]
sheets & blankets & stuff
or, (at a toga party,) people-clothes

belie [v.]
offer an incomplete idea of something
also, undo an argument by counter-example

bellicose [adj.]
spoilin' for a fight

bender [n.]
a drinking binge

benighted [adj.]
ignorant, primitive
"If you ask me, the shitty state of the US movie industry is due less to hack filmmakers than the aesthetically benighted public they're pandering to."

Bermuda Shorts
the dorky shorts your dad wears on vacation

besom [n.]
a broom made of twigs tied around a stick
e.g., the Necromo-Benimblo Olifosigoso

besotted [adj.]
made insensible by love
also, drunk

bilk [v.]
cheat someone
(n.b. This is the word insensitive people are looking for when they use Gyp or Jew as a verb.)

binomial [n.]
(in grammar) a noun-phrase joined by a conjunction w/ set order
e.g. "biscuits and gravy", "Bill and Ted", "Beavis and Butthead", "Harold and Kumar" …I could go all day....

blandishments [n.]
ingratiating remarks

blarney [n.]
kind or friendly talk that's probably untrue

bleat [v.]
utter a weak or silly complaint

bloomers [n.]

bluestocking [n.]
an intellectually serious woman
n.b. Interestingly, the term isn't meant to connote disdain, though I did find this (apparently in reference to an arcane, gender-neutral definition) on its Wikipedia page:
Ah, unintentional snark.

blunderbuss [n.]
the wide-barreled kind of gun Gaston carries (Remember, no one shoots like Gaston!)

bombast [n.]
language that sounds impressive but doesn't really mean anything

boob [n.]
a stupid person
n.b. the OADD&T does not list boobs as a synonym for breasts; bravo. It does, however, include bust, knockers and (no shit) bazooms in the thesaurus section.

boodle [n.]
money, obtained illegally or spent foolishly

boondoggle [n.]
an unnecessary, wasteful, or fraudulent project
e.g., US public schools

enthusiastic promotion; hype
"Following a dozen Facebook invites to "like" his band, I decided Greg's boosterism was out of hand: block'd!"

booty [n.]
stolen goods
"Dang girl, you gotta lotta junk in your trunk!"
"Shee-it, ain't junk; that's booty."
n.b., once again, the OADD&T declines to dignify anatomical slang. Such a definition does appear in the tertiary meaning of bottom, however, and a list of synonyms under buttocks is as follows:
rear (end), rump, seat, derriere
[informal] behind, backside, butt, fanny
[humorous] posterior (n.b., who decided which synonyms are inherently humorous?!)

bordello [n.]
a brothel
n.b., the OADD&T lists "massage parlor" as a synonym of bordello: lol.

botulism [n.]
"I'm lovin' this big mac, but I hope I don't get no botulism!"

bowerbird [n.]
an australian bird that builds an elaborate nest to attract a mate
also, a single guy who's trying way too hard

brickbat [n.]
a critical remark

buckram [n.]
the coarse cloth, stiffened with paste, which lines hardcover books

bumptious [adj.]
irritatingly confident; self-important
e.g., not even necessary: you probably already have someone in mind.

Usage notes for B-words:

baccalaureate is a noun. It can be an attributive noun, but it's still not an adjective. The terms "baccalaureate degree", "baccalaureate exam", and "baccalaureate service" are all redundant, because the noun "baccalaureate" carries all three of these meanings.

"on balance" - taking all factors into account
"On balance, is Tolstoy or Dostoevsky the better novelist?"
n.b. This phrase frequently belies the particular criteria in question (presumably to avoid the difficulty of listing them). Be apprised that it is proper to ask, "On balance of what? /of what factors?"

biannual - taking place twice a year
biennial - taking place every other year

blithe - carelessly or thoughtlessly happy
blithering - very stupid

bourgeois [adj.]
bourgeoisie [n.]

Words & phrases with the prefix black- (betraying a western prejudice against that color):
black arts - umm, black magic
black magic - evil magic
black mark - a note of bad behavior
black market - illegal trade of (generally illegal) goods
blackball - ban someone from joining a club
blackguard - a mean or dishonest person
blacklist - list of out-of-favor or untrustworthy people
blackmail - using threats to obtain money or influence
bĂȘte noire - someone / -thing you really hate

Nautical terms that start with B:
backwash - waves flowing outward behind a ship
backwater - a stagnant stretch of river water
baleen - whalebone
ballast - a heavy substance (often in bags) slung over the sides of a ship to keep it stable
bark - a sailing ship with three masts
bayou - marshy outlet of a lake or river
berth - the equivalent of a parking space in a harbor
berth - moor a boat in a berth
bilge - the bottom of a ship's hull
binnacle - the casing that holds a ship's compass
bollard - short post on a ship or quayside for securing a rope
brigantine - sailing ship with two masts