Ten Great Words You Should Know and Use – Part 02

I am an unabashed logophile (n. – lover of words), and am always on the lookout for ways to improve my vocabulary. As I’ve begun writing more and more, I’ve noticed that I track in the same semantic (adj. – pertaining to meaning of words), pathways – a kind of syntactical (adj. – pertaining to the study of rules for the formation of sentences), regression toward the mean. A good word can transform your palaver (n. – profuse and idle talk), into poetry.

So here are ten more great words you should know and use, (Part 01 is found here). Chances are you have some of them in your regular rotation, but there might be something here you can use. My criteria are: 1) The word must be just a bit out of the mainstream – something you don’t typically hear in normal day to day usage. These are nerdy words, 2200 SAT words. 2) The word must have some utility in everyday conversation or writing. They would provide color and precision in our normal topics of conversation. 3) The wildcard. The word must be fun to say. Some words really roll off the tongue. Say magniloquent out loud and tell me that’s not fun.

Cabal – a small group of persons secretly united to promote their own interests. (The infamous cabal known as the Pentaverate consists of: The Queen, The Vatican, The Getty’s, The Rothchild’s, and Colonel Sanders before he went tets up.)

Laconic – concise, using only a few words. (Clint Eastwood’s laconic style is legendary.)

Alacrity – cheerful promptness without reluctance, readiness. (Kristen Chenowith’s alacrity is appealing to some, annoying to others.)

Magniloquent – boastful, pompous. Bombastic language. (Rush Limbaugh’s magniloquent style no longer interests me.)

Lugubrious – mournful, dismal, gloomy (Andy Roony’s lugubrious commentary was oddly entertaining.)

Ken – range of knowledge (The vice presidential candidate was working with concepts beyond her ken.)

Inured – accustomed to a hardship or pain, hardened. (The coal miners trudged on inured to the dark and cold environment.)

Pedantic – ostentatious in one’s learning, too narrowly focused, trivial. (The pastor’s pedantic sermons bored his parishioners to death.)

Banal – devoid of freshness, originality, trite. (They tried the same banal arguments and lost once again.)

Ribald – vulgar, indecent, obscene. (Seth MacFarlane is beloved for his ribald character Peter Griffin.)

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  • Chris Pittenger

    Recently, I was reading a news story with the word ‘obfuscation’ in the text. I had never seen the word before and skimmed over it since I didn’t know its meaning. Not an hour later, I was trying to finally finish the 7th season of The West Wing and heard the same word used in dialogue. I took it as a sign that I should add the word to my vocabulary. So– obfuscation– the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, willfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret.

    • Tim Suttle

      I don’t know what makes me happier – hearing about people learning new words, or hearing about people watching The West Wing 🙂

  • Sharon D

    The list started off strong and ended with what should be considered common words and calling Seth MacFarlene beloved PFFFFFTTT. Google David Foster Wallace’s words he circled in the dictionary if you’re real into some impressive vocabulary.