The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~Mark Twain
There are many words I can’t define. This is disconcerting to an aspiring writer. When I come across an unfamiliar word, I pause and decide whether or not to ignore the confrontation. In fact, I used to think there was shame in not knowing but, as the saying goes, the shame is in not finding out.
I now share a recent list of words that I needed to look up, a list that I will update as often as I come across new words or remember old ones that once baffled me. Perhaps you will join me in my attempt at growing a grandiloquent vocabulary?
Click the links for pronunciation. All definitions from http://www.thefreedictionary.com
One who assists the celebrant in the performance of liturgical rites.
Bitter and sharp in language or tone; rancorous; marked by strong resentment or cynicism an acrimonious debate between the two candidates.
Reasoning that is misleading or oversubtle [Latin casus case] intended to rationalize or mislead.
Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.
Adjective: abandoned or unused and falling into ruins
Noun: a social outcast or vagrant [Latin derelinquere to abandon]
Lacking spirit, liveliness, or interest; languid: “There’ll be no time to correct lackadaisical driving techniques after trouble develops” (William J. Hampton).
Very talkative; garrulous. Full of trivial conversation.
1. a film formed on the surface of a metal
2.the sheen on the surface of an old object, caused by age and much handling [Italian: coating]
A fantastic sequence of haphazardly associative imagery, as seen in dreams or fever; a shifting medley of dreamlike figures
A splendid or striking array: a panoply of colorful flags. A magnificent array.
Smallness of number; fewness. Scarcity; dearth: a paucity of natural resources.
Formal knowledge of events before they happen [Latin praescire to know beforehand]
Inordinately interested in matters of sex; lascivious.
The skill, practice, and sport of fighting with the fists; boxing.
One of the sudden or unexpected changes or shifts often encountered in one’s life, activities, or surroundings. Often used in the plural.
Sorrow or sadness over the present or future evils or woes of the world in general; sentimental pessimism.