Words 101

Big news y’all…I recently joined Pinterest. I had always believed that it was just a bunch of elderly ladies or bored housewives swapping recipes, but after talking with a co-worker I became intrigued enough to check it out, and I must say it’s rather cool in its own peculiar way. I have boards about God & The Bible, literature & writing, & just general, interesting knowledge or factoids that stimulate my curiosity. And yes, I have saved…I’m sorry…pinned…a few recipes. A man’s got to eat, right?? Anyway, I ran across a little ditty called 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know (or something like that), and since words are kind of my thing I was hooked. I have always said both in this forum and on social media that I am here to educate as well as entertain, and I genuinely mean that, especially when I am being educated in the process. It is the mark of a well-rounded, well-read, well-educated individual to have an extensive vocabulary, and the world would be a better place if more folks fit the bill. So consider this my small contribution to the cause. I have included all the words from the original list and provided definitions as well as my own pithy remarks here & there. Several of these words were familiar to me, some were not, many are words that I want to make an effort to use more, and a few have me wondering why they were included at all.  That’s the neat thing about riffing on someone else’s concept…I am left with the easy task of handing out kudos or mockery as I see fit, which is right in my wheelhouse. Enjoy.




abjure                  to renounce, reject, or disavow a formerly held belief


abrogate             to abolish by authoritative action; to fail to do what is required by


abstemious                   marked by temperance or restraint

Those first three would really take some effort to incorporate into daily conversation.


acumen               discernment, shrewdness, or keenness of perception


antebellum          existing before a war (usually used specifically in relation to The Civil War)

You’re singing a country song right now, aren’t you??


auspicious           suggesting likely future success; indicating good fortune

I more often hear the term inauspicious. No I’m not going to define it for you. Don’t be lazy…do it yourself.



belie                     to present a false impression; to contradict


bellicose              inclined to start fights or showing a disposition to fight

No wonder my grandmother was in a bad mood sometimes. She had bellicose veins.


bowdlerize          to edit by omitting or modifying parts considered vulgar or offensive

You really should familiarize yourself with this one. It’s happening frequently in an America where someone is constantly offended by something.


chicanery            the use of tricks to deceive

One of my favorites.


chromosome      a threadlike strand of DNA that carries genes


churlish               having a bad disposition; marked by a lack of civility or graciousness

A churl was a medieval peasant but today is a term used for a rude or morose individual. Boom!! Dropping knowledge!!


circumlocution    an indirect way of expressing something; evasive speech


circumnavigate   to travel around instead of through



deciduous           shedding foliage at the end of the growing season


deleterious          subtly or unexpectedly harmful

I use this word occasionally.


diffident               reserved or unassertive; hesitant to act or speak



enervate              lacking physical, mental, or moral vigor


enfranchise         to set free; to grant rights or privileges

Today we more often hear the term disenfranchised, which means feeling deprived of rights or privileges.


epiphany             a divine manifestation; the sudden perception of meaning; a revealing moment


equinox               either of the two times each year (in late March…vernal equinox…& September…autumnal equinox) when the sun crosses the equator and day & night are of approximately equal length

A related term is solstice, meaning the two times each year at which the sun reaches its highest or lowest point. These are the longest (late June) and shortest (late December) days of the year.


euro                     the basic monetary unit of most members of the European Union (introduced in 1999)


evanescent                   tending to vanish like vapor

Just like the band!! (I know I know…that was Evanescence)


expurgate           to edit morally harmful, offensive, or objectionable parts before something is presented publicly

Similar to bowdlerize.


facetious             meant to be humorous or funny, oftentimes in a mischievous way

I use this word all the time!! Love it!!


fatuous                foolish or silly


feckless               incompetent, ineffective, weak; worthless, irresponsible

So if someone calls you feckless it’s NOT a compliment.


fiduciary              relating to or of the nature of a legal trust


filibuster               a tactic for delaying or preventing action by making long speeches

Politicians still do it, but I really don’t see the point. Seems like a waste of energy & taxpayer money.



gamete                a mature sexual reproductive cell


gauche                crude, lacking social polish

Typically people who use this word are arrogant assclowns who think just a little too highly of themselves.


gerrymander       divide voting districts unfairly to provide a group special advantage



hegemony          social, cultural, ideological, or economic dominance or influence of one social group over others


hemoglobin         a hemoprotein that gives red blood cells their color


homogeneous    of uniform structure or composition throughout; of the same or a similar kind or nature

Kind of like every town in America has the same chain restaurants, every shopping center has the same stores, and every car on the road looks the same.


hubris                  exaggerated pride, presumption, & self-confidence

An underrated word in my opinion.


hypotenuse        the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle

I haven’t had to know this word since high school. Kind of like the algebra educators swear up & down is useful.


impeach              to bring an accusation against

If you watch CNN or MSNBC you hear it every day. You really should shut off the TV and go outside.


incognito              without revealing one’s identity


incontrovertible   impossible to deny or disprove; indisputable

Why not just use indisputable?? It’s easier to say & spell.


inculcate              to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions; imbue, infuse, ingrain; to set permanently in the consciousness or saturate with a certain qualities or principles

I’ve never used this word in my life.


infrastructure      the underlying foundation or basic framework of a system or organization; the system of public works of a country, state, or region and the resources required for it


interpolate           to alter or corrupt by inserting words into text, often falsifying it thereby


irony                    incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs; the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning



jejune                   lacking interest or significance or impact



kinetic                  relating to the motion of material bodies and their forces


kowtow                to show fawning deference to

A really useful word from 2008-2016.


laissez faire         a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights


lexicon                 the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker, or group of speakers or a subject  


loquacious           given to excessive talk or trivial conversation

This one needs a boost!! Come one America!!


lugubrious           mournful in an exaggerated or dramatic way



metamorphosis  striking change in appearance or character or circumstances


mitosis                 the process by which a cell divides into two smaller cells


moiety                  one of two approximately equal parts; half

I’ll just stick with half.



nanotechnology engineering that involves manipulating atoms and molecules


nihilism                a viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless; denial of objective and moral truths

Famous nihilists include Machiavelli, Andy Warhol, Ernest Hemingay, & Hunter S. Thompson.


nomenclature     a system of terms used within a particular science, discipline, or art


nonsectarian      not affiliated with or restricted to one group


notarize                to authenticate usually by someone empowered to witness signatures



obsequious                   marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness


oligarchy              a political system governed by a few people

What we Americans call “democracy”.


omnipotent                    having unlimited power, authority, & influence


orthography        the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage; the part of language study that deals with letters and spelling


oxidize                 to into a combine with oxygen



parabola              a plane curve generated by a point moving so that its distance from a fixed point is equal to its distance from a fixed line;  the intersection of a right circular cone with a plane parallel to an element of the cone

Yeah…I still have no clue what it means.


paradigm             an example, pattern, or archetype; a philosophical or theoretical framework


parameter            a limit or boundary


pecuniary            relating to or involving money


photosynthesis   synthesis of compounds in plants aided by radiant energy, especially light


plagiarize             to steal the ideas or words of someone else while passing them off as your own and not crediting the source


plasma                 the watery fluid in which blood cells are suspended


polymer               a naturally occurring or synthetic compound


precipitous           extremely steep



quasar                 a region at the center of a galaxy that produces an extremely large amount of radiation

I bet they used this word on Star Trek at some point.


quotidian             found in the ordinary course of events; commonplace, everyday



recapitulate         to summarize briefly


reciprocal            shared, felt, or shown by both sides


reparation            the act of making amends, offering expiation, or giving satisfaction for a wrong or injury; the payment of damages

Another word you hear a lot on the news. Again…turn off the TV…go outside!!


respiration           the act of breathing



sanguine             confidently optimistic and cheerful


soliloquy              the act of talking to oneself; a poem, discourse, or utterance of a character in a drama in the form of a monologue

If you’ve ever studied Shakespeare you’re already familiar.


subjugate            to bring under control; subdue or conquer


suffragist              an advocate of the extension of voting rights

Kind of an antiquated, historical reference. Heck, everybody votes now…even dead people.


supercilious        having or showing arrogant superiority



tautology             needless repetition of an idea, statement, or word

Not to be confused with tauntaunology, which is the study of the ice planet Hoth.


taxonomy            orderly classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships


tectonic                pertaining to the structure or movement of the earth’s crust


tempestuous      turbulent, stormy; characterized by violent emotions or behavior


thermodynamics physics concerned with heat and other forms of energy


totalitarian            relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy; dictatorial   


unctuous             marked by a smug, ingratiating, and false earnestness or spirituality

Another underrated word.


usurp                            to seize control without authority



vacuous              devoid of content; marked by lack of intelligence

Kind of like reality television.


vehement            intensely emotional; deeply felt; forcibly expressed; fervid


vortex                   a powerful circular current of water; resembling a whirlpool



winnow                to remove something undesirable or unwanted


wrought               beaten out or shaped by hammering



xenophobia        intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries

It should be noted that this dislike or concern isn’t irrational when those folks are ramming planes into buildings.



yeoman               a person attending to or assisting another

You remember the 80’s show The Love Boat?? They always said Gopher was the yeoman purser and I never knew what it meant. FYI…a purser is the person on a ship responsible for handling the money. It sounds so much cooler than treasurer.



ziggurat                a rectangular tiered temple or terraced mound

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