I am an unabashed logophile (n. – lover of words). The English language is a tough one to master even for those of us who have been using it our whole life. For some this is merely frustrating. For others her idiosyncrasies make English fascinating and multifarious (adj. – ‘to having many parts; diverse and varied’). And yet the typical person in our culture uses only a scintilla (n. – a small fraction; a minute particle or trace) of this resplendent (adj. – gleaming, splendid, shining), language. We might try and church it up every now and then, trying to find a synonym at thesaurus.com, but wouldn’t it be fun to replace our palaver (n. – empty talk, babble, chatter), with a more erudite (adj. – characterized by great knowledge, learned or scholarly), vocabulary?
So here are ten great words you should know and use. Chances are you have some of them in your regular rotation, but there might be something here you can use.
Heuristic – using experience to learn and improve. (I watch The Daily Show for heuristic reasons, as well as entertainment.)
Metonymy – using one name in order to refer to something else that is related. (“The White House” is a convenient metonymy which keeps reporters from having to say “President Obama, his aids, and advisers.”)
Bunkum – foolish or untrue words or ideas. (The Tea Party bunkum has not caught on with all Republicans.)
Largesse – a generous gift. (Thanks boss. Because of this largesse, I can quit this job and go back to college.)Blatherskite – nonsense or blather. (The Tea Party blatherskite has not caught on with all Republicans.)
Factotum – a person having many diverse responsibilities; servant. (Our neighborhood factotum moved away, so I had to call a plumber.)
Sangfroid – imperturbability, self-possession under strain. (Showing great sangfroid and the touch of a master tactician, my son just sank my battleship.)
Meretricious – of or relating to prostitution; tawdry; falsely attractive. (The meretricious campaign promises were not enough to sway the vote.)
Etiolate – to make pale or feeble; deprive of vigor. (My poor etiolated lawn needs some water.)
Orgulous – proud or haughty. (The orgulous Jabba the Hutt was done in by Princess Leia’s choke-hold.)