My primary purpose in this moment in time is to perplex and delight Word Weirdos with my love and delight in words.
Where Do These Words Come From?
We can't get enough of these word listicles, which we write from word lists compiled during reading.
For readers who want systematic, sustained vocabulary development, we suggest the following tools. A word list made from words you see but don't recognize will help you identify areas from improvement. A simple daily reminder of your commitment to learn, such as a word-a-day calendar helps you maintain a consistent word habit. And not list of vocabulary tools would be complete without the book, Word Power.
For readers who just want to read some new words, here are some absolute pissers.
Found Posted on an English Teacher's Door
People with superior vocabularies
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Are considered more intelligent
Read faster and comprehend more
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50 Words You Don't Know
- Alkali: noun ăl′kə-lī′ refers to any of various water-soluble compounds capable of turning litmus blue and reacting with an acid to form a salt and water.
- Anachronism: noun uh-NAK-ruh-niz-um is an error in chronology, especially a chronological misplacing of persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other.
- Antebellum: adjective ăn′tē-bĕl′əm means belonging to the period before a war, especially the American Civil War.
- Antithetical: adjective an-tuh-THET-ih-kul means being in direct and unequivocal opposition, directly opposite or opposed to something.
- Ataractic: adjective ăt′ə-răk′tĭk means of or relating to a drug or other agent having a tranquilizing effect.
- Belaud: verb bih-LAWD is to praise, usually to excess.
- Bludge: verb BLUJ means to avoid work or responsibility.
- Cachinnate: verb KAK-uh-nayt to cachinnate is to laugh loudly or immoderately.
- Cipher: noun sī′fər is a person of no influence.
- Cohort: noun KOH-hort means a companion or colleague, but lately we hear this second definition more: a group of individuals having a statistical factor in common in a demographic study (Baby boomers).
- Conciliate: verb kun-SILL-ee-ayt is to appease.
- Diaphanous: adjective dye-AF-uh-nus means characterized by such fineness of texture as to permit seeing through.
- Didactics: noun dī-dăk′tĭks refers to the activities of educating or instructing, or activities that impart knowledge or skill.
- Doyen: noun doi-ĕn′ refers to the senior member of a group, profession, or society.
- Extempore: adjective ĭk-stĕm′pə-rē means spoken, carried out, or composed with little or no preparation or forethought.
- Fructify: verb FRUK-tuh-fye means to bear fruit.
- Geminids: proper noun dj em uh nids refers to the meteors from the 3200 Palladin asteroid, making the Geminids one of the only meteors from a non-comet origin. (JFYI: These meteors peak in mid-December and are thought to be growing brighter.)
- Graphology: noun gră-fŏl′ə-jē is the study of handwriting, especially when employed as a means of analyzing character.
- Gravamen: noun gruh-VAY-mun is the material or significant part of a grievance or complaint.
- Harbinger: noun HAHR-bun-jer is one that initiates a major change or a person or thing that originates or helps open up a new activity, method, or technology.
- Hortative: adjective HOR-tuh-tiv means giving exhortation or serving to advise or warn.
- Imprimatur: noun ĭm′prə-mä′to͝or is formal and explicit approval.
- Lothario: noun loh-THAIR-ee-oh is a man whose chief interest is seducing women.
- Mantic: adjective măn′tĭk means of, relating to, or having the power of divination; prophetic.
- Monition: noun mō-nĭsh′ən is a warning or an intimation of something imminent, especially of impending danger.
- Mutatis mutandis: adverb myoo-TAH-tis-myoo-TAHN-dis means something with the necessary changes having been made.
- Nocebo: noun nō-sē′bō is a substance that causes undesirable side effects as a result of a patient's perception that it is harmful rather than as a result of a causative ingredient. So, placebo’s ugly twin is nocebo.
- Officinal: adjective uh-FISS-uh-nul means tending or used to cure disease or relieve pain, medicinal.
- Opine: verb ō-pīn′ means to express one's opinion openly and without fear or hesitation.
- Palafitte: noun pæləˌfɪt is a prehistoric dwelling.
- Pathos: noun PAY-thahss is an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion.
- Portentous: adjective pôr-tĕn′təs primarily means of the nature of or constituting a portent, but interestingly, it also means marked by pompousness and pretentiously weighty.
- Postbellum: adjective pōst-bĕl′əm means belonging to the period after a war, especially the US Civil War, that is postbellum houses, postbellum governments.
- Postprandial: adjective pōst-prăn′dē-əl means following a meal, especially dinner.
- Prehensile: adjective prē-hĕn′səl means being immoderately desirous of acquiring wealth and other material stuff. It does also mean being able to grasp and hold.
- Recondite: adjective rĕk′ən-dīt′ means not easily understood, abstruse or obscure.
- Riposte: noun rĭ-pōst′ is a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one).
- Sacerdotal: adjective sass-er-DOH-tul means of or relating to priests or a priesthood, priestly.
- Sacrilege: noun săk′rə-lĭj means the desecration, profanation, misuse, or theft of something sacred.
- Scurrilous: adjective SKUR-uh-lus refers to someone who is using or given to coarse language
- Sepulchral: adjective sə-pŭl′krəl means gruesomely indicative of death or the dead.
- Spiel: noun SPEEL is a voluble line of often extravagant talk, a speech delivered specifically to sell or promote something.
- Stultify: verb STUL-tuh-fye means to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical.
- Suppositious: adjective sə-pŏz′ĭ-tĭsh′əs refers to a spurious argument that is based primarily on surmise rather than adequate evidence.
- Tangential: adjective tăn-jĕn′shəl refers to something only superficially relevant and divergent from the topic.
- Terpsichorean: adjective terp-sih-kuh-REE-un means of or relating to dancing.
- Vapid: adjective VAP-id means lacking flavor, zest, animation, or spirit.
- Vespertine: adjective VESS-per-tyne means of, relating to, or occurring in the evening.
- Viand: noun VYE-und is an item of food, especially a choice or tasty dish.
- Wend: verb WEND means to direct one's course.
According to the parameters of spaced learning, to learn these words for more than a few minutes during the quiz, readers need to come back to this list and self-test again in a few weeks.
Some readers will be able to recall all the words and some will not. If you don't perform as well as you would like on the second try, then wait a few weeks and come try it again.
Spaced learning, varied learning, and self-testing are all proven methods for committing new knowledge to your long term memory. Additionally, other mnemonics such as writing sentences with a plot, sentences with rhymes, and sentences with memorable topics help the brain make more furrows, which lead to trails, which lead to embedded learning.
A Few Defining Sentences
- I wended some farts your way.
- I took a postbellum walk in the postprandial twilight yesterday, and soon I had walked off my meal and become hungry again.
- A most scurrilous lady cussed me out when I took her parking space at Walmart. She had a large vocabulary of bad words, so I asked her if she had been reading these articles.
- I cachinnate so much that if I wasn’t a cipher people would notice.
- I thought graphology was the same as pornography until I had my handwriting analyzed.
- I didn’t wend any farts toward the Baby boomers because their cohort is too numerous to offend without retribution.
- My lawyer charges me an additional fee each time the judge tells him he can only approve our deed with mutatis mutandis, and then my lawyer makes more mistakes that we have to pay him to correct.
- My lawyer does not make me feel terpsichorean in the vespertine twilight, or any other time.
- My lawyer speaks in sepulchral ripostes, and the good parts of his conversation are vapid and stultifying.
- My lawyer’s understanding of the law is recondite at best. He claims to be more of an intuitive lawyer rather than an I've-read-the-law-books lawyer.
- I would like to wend more farts his way.
- I've been thinking about eating black beans before our next conciliation, just to fructify my flatulence until it rains down like the Geminids in December.
- The didactics of fart-wending require me to teach about black beans.
- Regardless of my personal beliefs, I am required to provide my imprimatur on the hidden power inside black beans.
- I am pretty sure my lawyer is using enough ataractics to sedate a rhinoceros.
- Based on Wayne Dyer’s contention that you generate more of what you focus on, we tried to undeservedly belaud our attorney, but this just caused him to bludge even more.
- The lawyer sent me an extempore bill with needlessly assessed fees diaphanously disguised as actions related to the gravamen.
- I knew my lawyer was portentous and prehensile from the beginning, but it is his lack of horative ability combined with his complete lack of mantic skill that keeps us all crashing into obvious oncoming obstacles.
- I thought my lawyer would be an officinal influence, but he works on me more like a nocebo—just thinking about him gets me sick.
- I should move into a palafitte so I could avoid my lawyers unending, useless tangential spiel about anachronism in film.
Words for Both
Devilishly Hard Quiz
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Portentous people think others are important.
- Nocebos are used to treat diseases of the nasal area.
- If I fructify your tree, I have caused it to bear fruit.
- Imprimaturs are found in Greek mythology.
- Sacerdotal refers to male-only areas.
- A montion is a warning of coming danger.
- Pathos is an inherent sense of direction.
- If I riposte, have I always included a picture?
- Is a doyen a Spanish chaperone?
- Alkali turns litmus paper lavender.
- My brother-in-law is a viand.
- Stealing from church is by definition a sacrilege.
- Mutatis mutandis means something with the necessary changes being made, but my lawyer likes to think otherwise.
Recommended for You
Interpreting Your Score
If you got between 0 and 3 correct answers: Do you currently have a heartbeat and functioning eyes? You didn't get too many answers right. In fact, random chance would have given you a higher score. Close your eyes next time and just guess. Keep reading, please.
If you got between 4 and 7 correct answers: OMG! Do you speak any English? Spanish? Any language experience at all? Please, please read more! We beg you to look at the wondrous worlds inside books and words, please! Don't miss out! You have never been as far as a book can take you!
If you got between 8 and 10 correct answers: Your score on this quiz gives us a sneaky suspicion you like to read and may have Word Weirdo tendencies you are unable to control. We greet you as one of our own kind and invite you to take more of our diabolical and unfair quizzes.
If you got 11 correct answers: Your score on this quiz strongly indicates you are a Word Weirdo, and now you have been found out. You would like to pretend that you know very little, but you keep doing well on these quizzes. . ..
If you got between 12 and 13 correct answers: Okay, well we never expected anyone to get this far, so we didn’t write up a proper message. If you have made it this far, then we assume you know that there is really no accurate way to calibrate 90% without first gauging the difficulty of the test, and since these tests were all designed to be impossibly difficult, they don’t compare with other such material that could be calibrated for comparison. Give it up! You are a reader or a writer, and your excellent score has outed you! Designation: Word Weirdo, level 1. You are also a little mad because you caught the ringers thrown into the quiz.
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Richard Green (author) from New Mexico on August 03, 2018:
Thank you so much, Kenneth. I rigged all the quizzes. I can't explain it, but just love writing those quizzes, and I get sneakier with every one I write. I laugh and giggle so hard while I am writing those quizzes that somebody ought to charge me for having so much fun. I just can't stop the mischief. I really will move on to other topics someday. Thanks for your time.
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on August 02, 2018:
Richard -- I truly enjoyed reading your text as well as your sub-text and cultural meanings. Great work. And to think. I took the word test and did my best, but only came out with 30%. Guess I should have studied more, eh? LOL.
Please keep up the good work and stay in touch.
Richard Green (author) from New Mexico on January 24, 2018:
Thank you, again. And I am amazed by how much I learn writing the articles.
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 22, 2018:
I love these lists you put together. I am accustomed to reading widely, including government regulations. It’s amazing the words you learn in so doing.