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