Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-in-a-word-subfusc-20130219,0,1370566.story#sthash.2Canyfd4.dpuf
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-in-a-word-subfusc-20130219,0,1370566.story#sthash.2Canyfd4.dpuf
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-in-a-word-subfusc-20130219,0,1370566.story#sthash.2Canyfd4.dpufEach week Ths Sun's John McIntyrte 
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-in-a-word-subfusc-20130219,0,1370566.story#sthash.2Canyfd4.dpuf
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-in-a-word-subfusc-20130219,0,1370566.story#sthash.2Canyfd4.dpuf
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:
presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: - See more at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/language-blog/bal-in-a-word-subfusc-20130219,0,1370566.story#sthash.2Canyfd4.dpufpresents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, anotyher brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:

SPREZZATURA

When the British decided to have a Renaissance, they naturally looked to the Italians, who had invented it.

One of the words they borrowed from the Italian was sprezzatura (pronounced sprett-sa-TUR-a or sprayt-sa-TUR-a), one of the courtly graces, a studied carelessness in writing or art. Castiglione's Book of the Courtier explained: "I have found quite a universal rule which in this matter seems to me valid above all other, and in all human affairs whether in word or deed: and that is to avoid affectation in every way possible as though it were some rough and dangerous reef; and (to pronounce a new word perhaps) to practice in all things a certain sprezzatura [nonchalance], so as to conceal all art and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it."

That nonchalance, that easy grace, rises from two sources. The first is talent, which can be fostered but cannot be taught. The second is cultivation. The professional writers will tell you how much sweat and labor are necessary to produce apparently effortless prose.


This week's word is for the late Mary Corey, who encouraged this weekly feature and who always admired, fostered, encouraged, and praised lively writing.