Thursday, January 16, 2014

vocabulary building

I took this vocabulary test (via Cup of Jo) and got this result:

And I felt embarrassed, even before I knew what the distribution curve was, even before I read the range of 20,000-35,000 words for native speakers. "28,800?" I thought to myself. "That is really lame for an English major."

Here's the list of words that I don't know (or at least, don't know well enough to think of an exact definition). Apparently, being a passive Weezer fan does not buy you vocabulary points.

  • inveigle: persuade (someone) to do something by means of deception or flattery.
  • mawkish: sentimental in a feeble or sickly way.
  • raiment: clothing.
  • legerdemain: skillful use of one's hands when performing conjuring tricks.
  • uxoricide: the killing of one's wife.
  • verdure: lush green vegetation.
  • cenacle: a small dining room, usually on an upper floor / the room in which the Last Supper took place.
  • pule: cry querulously or weakly.
  • tipple: drink alcohol, esp. habitually.
  • strop: a flexible strip of leather or canvas used for sharpening a razor.
  • redolent: strongly reminiscent or suggestive of (something) / fragrant or sweet-smelling.
  • chivvy: tell (someone) repeatedly to do something.
  • prig: a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if superior to others.
  • adumbrate: report or represent in outline.
  • bugbear: a legendary creature or type of hobgoblin comparable to the bogeyman
  • prurient: having or encouraging an excessive interest in sexual matters.
  • sobriquet: a person's nickname.
  • mammon: material wealth or possessions especially as having a debasing influence.
  • polymath: someone who knows a lot about many different things
  • nostrum: a medicine, esp. one that is not considered effective, prepared by an unqualified person.
  • mien: a person's appearance or facial expression
  • fuddle: confuse or stupefy (someone), esp. with alcohol
  • noisome: having an extremely offensive smell.
  • imbroglio: an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation.
  • sedulous: (of a person or action) showing dedication and diligence.
  • maladroit: ineffective or bungling; clumsy.
  • impolitic: failing to possess or display prudence; unwise.
  • epigone: a less distinguished follower or imitator of someone, esp. an artist or philosopher.
  • captious: (of a person) tending to find fault or raise petty objections.
  • potboiler: a book, movie, etc., that is made in usually a cheap way in order to make money rather than for artistic reasons.
  • tricorn: a hat having the brim turned up on three sides.
  • tenebrous: dark; shadowy or obscure.
  • embonpoint: the plump or fleshy part of a person's body, in particular a woman's bosom.
  • pabulum: bland or insipid intellectual fare, entertainment, etc.
  • pother: a commotion or fuss.
  • valetudinarian: a person who is unduly anxious about their health.
  • vibrissae: stiff hairs that are located especially about the nostrils or on other parts of the face in many mammals and that often serve as tactile organs.
  • cantle: the raised, curved part at the back of a horse's saddle.
  • estivation: prolonged torpor or dormancy of an animal during a hot or dry period. / the arrangement of petals and sepals in a flower bud before it opens.
  • regnant: reigning; ruling.
  • terpsichorean: of or relating to dancing.
  • clerisy: a distinct class of learned or literary people.
  • deracinate: tear (something) up by the roots.
  • fuliginous: sooty; dusky.
  • oneiromancy: a form of divination based upon dreams.
  • tatterdemalion: a person wearing ragged or tattered clothing; a ragamuffin.
  • williwaw: a sudden violent gust of cold land air common along mountainous coasts of high latitudes.
  • caitiff: a contemptible or cowardly person.
  • funambulist: a tightrope walker.
  • hypnopompic: the state of consciousness leading out of sleep.
  • opsimath: a person who begins to learn or study only late in life.
  • sparge: to spray or sprinkle / to introduce air or gas into (a liquid).

And can I say that Google dictionary feature is the most amazing thing ever. Etymologies for LYFE.

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