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. Here are my criteria: 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 desultory out loud and tell me that’s not fun.
Life’s too short to have a crappy vocabulary! Here are 10 words to add to yours!
Vituperative – harsh and abusive. (My supervisor’s vituperative ranting is the reason he is currently eating brownies I made with Ex-Lax.)
Exigent – requiring immediate action. (Your exigent problem will not become my daily emergency.)
Prevaricate – to intentionally mislead or create a false impression. (I actually heard a politician speak without prevarication… just kidding.)
Desultory – aimless, haphazard, digressing at random, no purpose or plan. (Their desultory approach could be the reason the House of Representatives has an approval rating of 10%.)
Spurious – lacking authenticity, fake, not genuine, false, of illegitimate birth. (The televangelist spouting his spurious drivel is, nevertheless, extremely rich.)
Perfidious – unfaithful, deceptive, disloyal. (My perfidious first wife got the house, the car, and your future inheritance… sorry son.)
Foment – to instigate or incite. (Princess Lea helped to foment the rebellion and take down the Empire.)
Capricious – given to whim. (My nine year old can be capricious; my financial planner cannot.)
Nostrum – a medicine sold with false claims and no demonstrable value, snake oil. (We don’t need another nostrum, we need real tax reform.)