Here are the meanings of the least commonly found words that have been used in (mostly) recent Times articles.

1. riyal – the currency of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar:

They could come by car, they said — Doha is about six hours from Riyadh — but Qatar, nervous about car traffic, discouraged that idea for the World Cup. It created a temporary toll of 5,000 Saudi riyal (about $1,330) for those driving across the border during the tournament. Saudi shuttlers Descend on Doha for In-and-Out World Cup (Nov. 26, 2022)

2. cutting — a drink that consists of one part espresso and one part steamed milk:

He rated the cafe latte a 7, with “a strong taste that leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth.” And he noticed an orange flavor that dominated the Oleato ice cream cuttinggiving it a 6.5. Do You Want Such Coffee with Olive Oil? Starbucks Thinks Italians Will. (February 22, 2023)

3. allocator – the one who directs means to a goal:

Musk is a “phenomenal capital allocator, and I think he’s going to make a lot of money with Twitter,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist who was an early Facebook executive. “It doesn’t fit my risk profile. Can Elon Musk make the math work by owning Twitter? It’s Dicey. (October 30, 2022)

4. dotard — one whose abilities diminish, especially with age:

North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb and launched intercontinental ballistic missiles. President Donald J. Trump has threatened to rain “fire and fury” on the North. The two leaders exchanged personal insults such as “little Rocket Man” and “U.S dotard.” Departing South Korean Leader Exchanges Farewell Letters With Kim Jong-un (April 22, 2022)

5. swinging — to get something by wisdom or persuasion:

El-Waylly, in particular, holds brunch to a standard, pushing contestants away from relying on store-bought foods like pastries or pre-smoked and sliced ​​fish, swinging more precision in their technique and seasoning. Can the Most Hated Food Be Redeemed? ‘The Big Brunch’ Says Yes. (Nov. 7, 2022)

6. toccata — a piece of music that shows a musician’s technique:

They were so impressed with her interpretation of Bach Toccata and Fugue in D minor that they asked her to appear with them at a sold-out show in the same venue the next evening. On TikTok, Organist Finds Audience, and Himself (April 21, 2022)

7. swinging and 8. wigwag – move back and forth:

When the plane crossed paths with military helicopters, as happened two or three times, the investigators held their own like Mr. Giles. waved to signal that he saw them. Scientists Comb Ruined Coastline for Clues and Lessons (6 September 2005)

9. tomtit — any of several small birds, including a chickadee:

By formal action of the State Legislature the tomtit, or Carolina chickadee, recently became the official bird of North Carolina. This year, Indiana also adopted an official bird – the eastern cardinal. Only four states – Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey and Tennessee – remain without feathered representatives. — “Official” Birds Selected by Almost All States (August 6, 1933)

10. papyri – materials used as paper for ancient writing:

According to papyri fragments discovered by Pierre Tallet, an Egyptologist and the co-author (together with Dr. Lehner) of the book “The Red Sea Scrolls”, the work was considered a noble, respectable profession. A Refreshing Look at the Ancient Pyramids of Egypt (July 4, 2022)

And bonus: 11. weak — weaken:

Decades of mass incarceration have resulted in a prison population getting older and older weakenedand introduced the challenge of reintegrating people coming out after long sentences, often with few skills, into a society that technology has made foreign. This Is What Happens When the Era of Mass Incarceration Ends (March 31, 2023)

The list of the easiest words of the week:

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