Here are the meanings of the least-found words that were used in (mostly) recent Times articles.

1. tritium — a radioactive form of hydrogen used in nuclear weapons:

With this kind of nuclear waste, I’m not referring to water containing the radioisotope tritium that nuclear plants regularly release. Nuclear Waste Is Misunderstood (April 28, 2023)

2. ennead — a group of nine:

The remaining nine partners wanted to more accurately signify their collaborative process. Ennead (pronounced EN-ee-ad) denotes a group of nine deities in Egyptian mythology. — Architecture Now Building New Names (Sept. 29, 2010)

3. wahine — a Polynesian woman or a female surfer:

And I wasn’t the only smitten wahine. Over the past four years, the number of girls and women surfing regularly has increased 280 percent, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association. Women and Surfing Are an Endless Combination (Aug. 30, 2003)

4. tomtit — any of several small songbirds (and a regular Spelling Bee stumper):

The Audubon Society would file a complaint in defense of tomtit virility. But, such is the state of Massenet’s reputation, I doubt that many sophisticated operagoers would rush to defend him. They have been made to feel shame for too long. — Music View: Massenet — Minor but Significant (Aug. 3, 1986)

5. mammon — wealth that has a corrupting influence:

One easy take — which I predict will be heard in houses of worship this coming weekend — is that Americans need to return to traditional values and forsake the glorification of mammon. Money Is Up. Patriotism and Religion Are Down. (March 29, 2023)

6. monomania — excessive focus on a single thing:

The manifesto reads like a bullet-pointed pep talk. Some of her points are tongue-in-cheek — “When in doubt spray-paint it gold” — while others are universal: “Fight monomania,” and “Wake up early, fear death.” In Los Angeles, Rebecca Morris and Peter Bradley’s Art ‘About Nothing’ (Nov. 3, 2022)

7. adenine — one of the four bases of DNA:

Huntington’s is a hereditary neurodegenerative disease caused by excess repetitions of three building blocks of DNA — cytosine, adenine and guanine — on a gene called huntingtin. Sought Out by Science, and Then Forgotten (May 23, 2023)

8. tippet — a long piece of cloth often worn over the shoulders; or, in fishing, a line that connects the leader to the fly:

“I quickly raised my rod, hoping I would not snap the 5X tippet against his moving weight.” But then, he wrote, the fish fought back, “his broad red side glistened in the glow of the setting sun. Dave Whitlock, a Star of the Fly-Fishing World, Dies at 88 (Dec. 29, 2022)

9. pipit — a type of small, often brown, ground-nesting songbird found throughout the world:

Rats and mice also accompanied the sealers and whalers. Rats in particular found plenty of bird eggs and chicks to feed on, including those of two endemic species: the South Georgia pintail, a small duck; and the South Georgia pipit, the island’s only songbird. These birds were literally swallowed up — and their songs vanished, too. — Abundance, Exploitation, Recovery: A Portrait of South Georgia (April 18, 2022)

10. 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)

And the list of the week’s easiest words:

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