Here are the meanings of the least-found words that were used in recent Times articles:

1. nacelle — a streamlined enclosure containing an engine or other machinery:

At its factory in Denmark that makes nacelles, the chambers at the top of turbines, safety measures are visible, especially in the canteen. — With Much of the World’s Economy Slowed Down, Green Energy Powers On (June 30, 2020)

2. pinniped — a blubbery, fin-footed carnivore, such as seals, sea lions and walruses:

The animals’ reluctant commander is a military-trained pinniped named Claggart (J.K. Simmons), who was traumatized when his mine recovery mission went awry. — ‘Seal Team’ Review: Leave No Pun Behind (Dec. 30, 2021)

3. candela — a unit of light intensity that’s part of the International System of Units:

And the beating heart, the second, is the most important in the constellation of standard measurements overseen by the B.I.P.M., alongside the meter (length), kilogram (mass), kelvin (temperature), candela (intensity of light), ampere (electric current) and mole (amount of substance). — Time Has Run Out for the Leap Second (Nov. 14, 2022)

4. clade — a group of animals with common ancestry:

The researchers also found that most of the spotted skunk species could be divided into two groups, or clades, three of which hailed from the east and three from the west. — Meet the Spotted Skunks. They’ve Been Keeping a Secret From Us. (Sept. 1, 2021)

5. paean — a song, or other work, full of praise or thanks:

My mom loves to clown me about how, at 6 years old, I would put on an old Don McLean LP of hers — the “American Pie” album — and set the needle down on “Vincent,” McLean’s mournful paean to Vincent van Gogh’s volatility. — Black Men Don’t Do Therapy. Or So I Thought. (May 18, 2023)

6. automata — self-operating devices or machines:

To Descartes, this sort of reflexive behavior suggested that animals were “automata,” essentially mindless machines that lacked the subjective experience of a conscious self. — I Can’t Stop Wondering What’s Going On Inside My Cat’s Head (Aug. 27, 2021)

7. antonymy the relationship between words with opposing meanings:

Who wins the language maven’s award for the most effective use of semi-antonymy in the primary campaign to date? Push the envelope, please. — On Language: Say What? (Feb. 20, 2000)

8. natant — swimming or floating:

I love the word natant. The fact that it means “swimming or floating” makes me want to connect it somehow to the word “natal” because a fetus floats, but “natal” is apparently derived from the Latin natalis, meaning “pertaining to birth or origin.” — A Season in the Sun (April 28, 2017)

9. dacha — a summer house, or another second home, in Russia:

Valery Volodin, a welder at a sprawling Volkswagen plant in western Russia, relaxed for most of the summer at his dacha, or weekend house, planting his garden and looking after his children. — War and Sanctions Threaten to Thrust Russia’s Economy Back in Time (Dec. 5, 2022)

10. chancel — the area around the altar in a church, used by the choir and clergy:

In nearby Santa María Huiramangaro, restorers began stripping whitewash from the church’s 16th-century altarpiece in 2014 after villagers approached I.N.A.H. with concerns about cracks in the chancel walls. — In Mexico, Ornately Painted Churches Enshrine Years of Indigenous Resilience (Feb. 11, 2022)

And the list of the week’s easiest words:

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