• titivate •
Pronunciation: ti-dê-vayt • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: To spruce up, touch up, tidy up, make decorative additions.
Notes: This word is commonly confused with titillate "to subtlely excite (erotically)". Here is your opportunity for a lexical "twofer": just associate the meanings of titillate and titivate appropriately. The adjective for this noun is titivatory or just titivating, and the nouns are titivator and titivation.
In Play: You may titivate yourself: "June McBride had no time to titivate herself before stepping out with Phil Anders." You may titivate anything else: "Mersey kept her home in such order that it only required a bit of titivation before entertaining."
Word History: Titivate originated as tidivate, possibly a blend of tidy + (ele)vate (notice the US Pronunciation even today). Tidy consists of tide + -y; tide in the sense of "season, time", as in eventide and Christmastide. In Old English tide was tid and only meant "period, season". Tidlic, whence tidy, meant "temporal" and "timely". This adjective is akin to German zeitig, Dutch tijdig, Danish tidig, all of which mean "timely". (I can't think of a way of titivating this word of thanks to George Kovac for recommending today's often misused Good Word.)