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

1. nankeen — a muted yellow fabric that originated from Nanjing, China, and is possibly what became chino:

On men, nankeen or doeskin breeches, ­which, in 1794, were contentious enough to lead to imprisonment, were drawn tight against the body, delineating every nuance of the anatomy. When Fashion Becomes a Form of Protest (Aug. 17, 2016)

2. botnet — a network of hijacked computers used maliciously:

The Dutch responded by launching the H.T.C.U. 15 years ago. Since then, it has become one of the world’s leading law enforcement forces in fighting cybercrime. Beyond arrests, it has prioritized anything that reduces hackers’ return on investment, seizing criminals’ servers, disrupting ransomware-spreading botnets and notifying victims of impending attacks. — Opinion: Why the F.B.I. Is So Far Behind on Cybercrime (Nov. 6, 2022)

3. actuator — a device that controls a system or causes a machine to operate:

To show off its electronic safety measures, Mercedes-Benz USA set up an “Intelligent Drive” simulator here at its corporate headquarters. The setup consisted of a silver S-Class sedan with huge video monitors on three sides. A bank of computers in the trunk controlled the monitors and a series of actuators under the car, as well as three smaller monitors for the rearview mirror positions. Mercedes-Benz Simulator Shows Off Safety Technology (March 21, 2014)

4. lallygagging — idly spending time:

As I understand it, the original intent of summer was that it was meant for the three L’s: lallygagging, lazing and general lolling about. And the reading of the Summer Book can fall effortlessly within the world of the three L’s. — The Summer Book Helps Us Realize Summer’s Promise (Aug. 27, 1989)

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

In the middle of one conversation, the architect suddenly popped out of his chair, walked over to a Steinway and started to play a Bach toccata. Rafael Viñoly, From the Drawing Board to the Keyboard (March 7, 2023)

6. curacy — the term of a curate, a clergy member in charge of, or assisting in, a parish:

After his curacy, my father’s first full parish was a sprawling village, Pennington, on the outskirts of Lymington, in Hampshire. Luckily for him, the church was Victorian and not in a state of imminent physical collapse, and a fair sprinkling of parishioners still showed up at services. First Chapter: ‘My Holy War’ (Jan. 29, 2006)

7. ganglia — clusters of nerve cells:

Precision was critical. Before the surgery, the team did extensive work to identify specific regions in the brain that support activation of the frontal cortex, which is involved in thinking and planning, and the basal ganglia, which supports learning and memory. Doctors Use Electrical Implant to Aid Brain-Damaged Woman (April 13, 2019)

8. gangling — tall, thin and somewhat awkward in form or movement:

At first the roles that came to him were mostly comic, owing perhaps to his gangling figure and pilgrim looks — long face, sharp nose, superb eyebrows. He looks a lot like a handsome Abraham Lincoln. Waterston disputes the “handsome” part. Sam Waterston Is Still the Face of ‘Law & Order’ (Feb. 17, 2022)

9. glia — a class of supporting cells within the nervous system that don’t fire electrical impulses:

Chronic pain is both one of the world’s most costly medical problems, affecting one in every five people, and one of the most mysterious. In the past two decades, however, discoveries about the crucial role played by glia — a set of nervous system cells once thought to be mere supports for neurons — have rewritten chronic pain science. — The Quiet Scientific Revolution That May Solve Chronic Pain (Nov. 9, 2021)

10. zigzaggy — having sharp turns back and forth:

And so there’s a linearity to the progress of girls and young women, and more of a zigzaggy look — and a bit more of a sense of retreat, perhaps, among many boys and young men. — The Ezra Klein Show: The Men — and Boys — Are Not All Right (March 10, 2023)

And the list of the week’s easiest words:

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