Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Words that deserve wider use

Here’s a list of neglected but eminently useful words that visitors to this site -- and we, to be downright honest -- would like to bring back into fashion. You're right -- some never have been in fashion, but perhaps they deserve to be. Many submissions have been edited for content, grammar and especially for accuracy. Not all these words will make our list of top choices, but there's a great deal of quality here, most are wonderful additions to anyone's vocabulary, and all could use some exercise.

Abominable - Loathsome, odious or detestable.Jennifer's neglect of her pets was abominable and inexcusable.
Word submitted by: JIM SIMPKIN, GREENBUSH, MICHIGAN, ALCONA
Agog (ə-ˈgg) - Full of intense interest or excitement.Timmy was agog as he stepped into the theme park and saw all his favorite cartoon characters walking around, shaking hands.
Word submitted by: CW
Amble (ambəl) - Walk or move at a slow, relaxed pace.With nowhere to be, he spent the afternoon ambling down the quaint streets of his hometown.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, Mi
Antediluvian - Very old, old-fashioned, out of date, antiquated, primitive. Literally "before the flood," referring by implication to the Biblical tale of Noah."This company's vacation policy is positively antediluvian, so I'm giving you four weeks off during the coming year."
Word submitted by: Dan Levin, Royal Oak, MI, United States
Antepenultimate - Third from the end. The one before the next-to-the-last.December 29 is the antepenultimate day of the year.
Word submitted by: Ed Baldwin
Antithetical - Opposite.Despite a cultural obsession with acquisition, objective poverty and happiness are not antithetical.
Word submitted by: PC
Apoplectic - Feeling intense rage or fury to the point of virtual paralysis; relating to a stroke (apoplexy).Emma became apoplectic when she saw her tipsy husband flirting with a hussy in the bar.
Word submitted by: Kate Henry, Okemos, MI
Approbation - Approval, sanction or commendation.Most of us desire the approbation of others, though it may be hard to admit.
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Arcadian - Pastoral, rural, in a peaceful natural setting.When Leeman retired he left the city and built a tiny house in a quiet, arcadian corner of the Berkshires.
Word submitted by: David Good, Dearborn, MI
Armamentarium - Resources available for a certain purpose. Her dressing table was filled with colognes and makeup of all sorts -- the standard armamentarium of seduction.
Word submitted by: Barbara A. Wood, Miami, Florida, US
Assuage - To make something less painful or severe; to lessen the intensity of; to mitigate.I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost... (Abraham Lincoln, letter to Mrs. Bixby, Nov. 1864)
Word submitted by: Woof
Avuncular - Of or relating to an uncle, or resembling an uncle in attitude; kindly, genial, benevolent.Despite Paolo's avuncular demeanor, Alessandra began to suspect that his motives were rather less than honorable.
Word submitted by: Dan Carroll, Chicago, IL, USA
Bacchanalian - Relating to drunkenness and mad revelry. From Bacchus, the Greek god of wine.Upset with the tourists' bacchanalian behavior, the bartender called the police.
Word submitted by: Jackie Thomas, Olney, MD, USA
Bailiwick (bāləˌwik) - Area of interest or skill."Star Wars" was Jack's bailiwick, and he could go on for hours about characters who had appeared on screen for less than 30 seconds.
Word submitted by: Brandon Talbot, Syracuse
Balderdash - Nonsense.I know balderdash; after all, I've heard ... um, who was that governor of Alaska?
Word submitted by: Kristen Malecki
Ballyhoo (balēˌho͞o) - Extravagant publicity or fussDespite all of the ballyhoo in the papers and on television, audiences stayed away and the play closed three weeks later.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Detroit, MI, USA
Bamboozle - To cheat or steal.Stop trying to bamboozle me out of my money!
Word submitted by: Cliff, Atlanta, GA, USA
Beam - To smile broadly and radiantly. A versatile word, too infrequently used this way.Amy was beaming as she came down the aisle, but to her mom her expression seemed less like a smile of joy than a rictus of terror.
Word submitted by: BC
Beano - A noisy, festive party or celebration. Each year the Guild of Freemen met for a great beano in the Guildhall, a banquet of many courses; at the culmination of the evening the Archbishop of Canterbury made a speech.(Eric Newby, Something Wholesale, 1962)
Word submitted by: EN
Befuddle - Verb. 1. To confuse, perplex or bewilder. 2. To stupefy as if with alcoholic drinks."She couldn't say whether she had been more befuddled by his constant prattling -- or the three jumbo martinis."
Word submitted by: michael wright
Bellicose - Warlike, aggressive, hostile. President Obama did his part for rescuing this word from obscurity by using it in a recent press conference. For pete's sake, spare us the bellicose rhetoric. Just fire your Kalashnikovs into the air for awhile and be done with it.
Word submitted by: Woof
Bereft - Deprived; lacking something needed, wanted or expected.When her last chihuahua finally died, Aunt Sophie felt bereft of all warmth and selfless companionship.
Word submitted by: BC
Bibulous - Excessively fond of drinking alcohol; referring to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.On St. Patrick's Day evening, bibulous celebrants lay crumpled on the streets of Savannah like victims of urban warfare.
Word submitted by: Jeff Tolbert, Denver, CO
Bifurcate - Divide into two branches.The river bifurcates at the peninsula. (v.)
Word submitted by: Noah Abrahamson, Stanford, CA, USA
Bloviate - To speak at length in a pompous or boastful manner. I was totally put off by the winning coaches' tendency to bloviate ad nauseam.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Bosky - Woodsy; abundant in bushes, shrubs or trees. Edwin's transition to downtown Des Moines from his home in the bosky dells of rural New Hampshire was marked by what he felt was an increasingly pathological aversion to pavement.
Word submitted by: J. Herron
Braggadocio (bra-gə-dō-sē-ō) - The annoying or exaggerated talk of someone who is trying to sound very proud or brave. His braggadocio hid the fact that he really felt like a kid in a suit that was two sizes too big.
Word submitted by: Chris, Ann Arbor, MI
Brouhaha - Uproar; hubbub.The coach caused quite a brouhaha when he suspended one of his star players before the bowl game.
Word submitted by: Zvi Karon, Kfar Saba, Israel
Bugbear (buhg' bair) - An imaginary goblin or specter used to excite fear; an object or source of dread; a continuing source of irritation.The bugbear of "weapons of mass destruction" was a mainstay in the Bush administration's media control arsenal.
Word submitted by: Tracy Balazy, Dearborn, Michigan, United States
Bumbershoot - Umbrella; parasol.Remember to take your bumbershoot on rainy days.
Word submitted by: Elyse Chapman, Kalona, IA, USA
Buncombe - Rubbish; nonsense; empty or misleading talk.At last the election year's great festival of buncombe has dimmed to a trickle of murmurs and muttering.
Word submitted by: BC
Cadge - To obtain by wit or cajolery; to mooch.By dropping by his old roommate's home around dinner time, Stu hoped to cadge a meal.
Word submitted by: Tom Stave, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Cahoots - Partnership, collusion or collaboration, often with nefarious implications.Fiona's covert winks made Gavin wonder uneasily if they were supposed to be in cahoots about something he'd forgotten but didn't want anyone to find out.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Calumny - The making of false and defamatory statements in order to damage someone's reputation; a false and slanderous statement.Knowing that his words would damage his nemesis' reputation, Carl engaged in a long-winded embellishment of wrongs that bordered on calumny.
Word submitted by: Robert Brown
Camarilla - A group of unofficial advisers to someone in authority, often given to scheming or to secret plots; a cabal. Four days later I appealed to Hitler again ... about the camarilla in my Ministry that was undermining my program. (Albert Speer, "Inside the Third Reich")
Word submitted by: bc
Cantankerous - Cranky; disagreeable to deal with; stubborn; contentious; surly. Working on his antique tractor always made Jethro's pa as cantankerous as a water moccasin.
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Sr, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Caterwaul (katərˌwl) - A shrill howling or wailing noise.As the storm raged on, the caterwaul from the wind as it whipped through the trees kept me from getting any sleep.
Word submitted by: cw, Ann Arbor, Mi, United States
Cerulean - The blue of the sky.Her eyes were a clear, deep cerulean blue, like no eyes Trevor had ever seen, and looking into them made him feel lighter than air, as though he could fly, but even if he could have flown he would have stayed where he was, content just to look.
Word submitted by: BC
Charlatan (shahr-luh-tn) - Quack. Imposter.This guy claims his anti-aging cream really works, but I think he's just a charlatan.
Chelonian - Like a turtle (and who doesn't like turtles?).Weighed down by bickering and blather, the highway bill crept through Congress at a chelonian pace.
Word submitted by: Thad Coyne, Indianapolis, IN, U.S.A.
Chicanery - Deception; trickery.Promoting flooded lowlands unsuitable for building as "prime waterfront real estate" was the type of chicanery for which Mr. Wilson was famous.
Word submitted by: Mark Kordick, Fairfield, CT, USA
Churlish - Rude. Boorish. Ill-mannered.It was very churlish of you to throw your coffee mug at me.
Word submitted by: Alison Smiley, Canada
Circumspect - Cautious, prudent, wary; taking all circumstances into account.Given the presence of Union artillery, Gen. Jackson's Confederates were particularly circumspect as they approached Winchester that morning in 1862.
Word submitted by: Lannis smith
Cleave - To split or penetrate; to cling or be faithful.He cleaved the rock in two with the sledgehammer. ... OR ... Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
Word submitted by: David, Atlanta, Georgia, US
Cloying - Unpleasantly excessive; excessively sweet.That pecan praline was so cloying on so many levels that I swear I'll never have another as long as I live.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC
Cogent - Convincing, plausible, reasonable, persuasive.He presented a cogent argument that acid rain has killed off thousands of acres of U.S. forest.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC, USA
Cognoscente - A person who has superior knowledge or understanding in a particular field.His knowledge of the fine arts made him a cognoscente respected in trade journals.
Word submitted by: Steve Tillman
Comminuted (kməˌn(y)o͞otəd) - Reduced to minute particles; pulverized.I ran into the room to see my son standing by the tree, the ornament that had been passed down for decades comminuted on the hard floor.
Word submitted by: Lorri McLuckie, Dearborn, Michigan, USA
Comport - To behave in a particular way.The neighbor's children comported themselves with unexpected good manners.
Word submitted by: Reinaldo Guerra, Canton, GA, USA
Concatenation - A series of interconnected or interdependent things; a chain of events or phenomena. For 2,000 years, would-be prophets have delighted in pointing out concatenations of events that supposedly predict the Apocalypse.
Word submitted by: BC, Dearborn, Michigan, United States
Concupiscence - Sexual desire or longing; lust. Too many political figures, drunk on power and the heady liquor of self-esteem, let concupiscence get the best of them.
Word submitted by: Ruth A Cod, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI, United States
Conniption - A fit of extreme anger or excitement.My father had a conniption when he found out I totaled his car.
Word submitted by: Marie Villanueva
Consternation - Stunning or confounding amazement and/or dismay. Much to my consternation I realized my vocabulary needed to be enlivened.
Word submitted by: Jeffrey L Salisbury, Wayland, Michigan, USA
Conundrum - A difficult problem to be solved, especially one whose answer involves a pun or play on words. A difficult decision.Students in his ethics class were routinely asked to puzzle over moral conundrums.
Word submitted by: Michele Dale-Cannaert, Hartland, Michigan, USA
Copacetic - Acceptable. Satisfactory.Everything was copacetic until I told the truth.
Word submitted by: Gene Nunlee, Detroit, MI, USA
Copious (kōpēəs) - Abundant in supply or quantity. After supplying the kids with a copious amount of soda, their grandparents were more than happy to release them back to mom and dad's care.
Word submitted by: CW , Ann Arbor
Corker - An excellent or astonishing person or thing.Every episode was good, but the finale was quite a corker.
Word submitted by: MW, Detroit, MI
Corpulent (krpyələnt) - Having a large bulky body. I moved my corpulent frame up the next flight of stairs, swearing under heavy breath that I would never have another Big Mac.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Crapulent - Sick from eating or drinking too much.After the excesses of Paczki Day, George woke up feeling both foolish and crapulent.
Word submitted by: Roy Bauer, Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States
Crepuscular - Pertaining to or active in twilight; dim; moving about at dawn or dusk.Many animals that are casually described as nocturnal are in fact crepuscular. (Wikipedia)
Word submitted by: Patricia
Crestfallen - Disappointed, blue, dejected, depressed.After his divorce, Jeremy was crestfallen for so long that he exhausted our sympathy for him.
Word submitted by: Woof
Crucible - Originally a container in which substances could be heated to very high temperatures. More commonly now, it means a severe test or trial.Great leaders are often formed in the crucible of personal struggles.
Word submitted by: michael wright
Crux - The pivotal point in an argument. From the Latin "crux," or cross.My contribution was simply the crux of the matter and left no room for further discussion.
Word submitted by: Steven C Morrison
Dastardly - Cowardly; meanly base; sneaking."I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire." (President Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Dawdle (ddl) - Waste time; be slow.Not wanting to be cooped up on such a beautiful day, Jack dawdled to work, stopping to admire every garden he passed.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI, ddl
Debacle - (dey bah' kul) Complete failure; rout; an event that ends in utter disaster.After the debacle at Fredericksburg, the Union army regrouped under a new commander. ... OR ... The 2001 Enron debacle was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history at that time.
Word submitted by: Woof
Declivity - Downward inclination; slope.The soft declivities of Camilla's neck seemed more like the terrains of paradise, a land in which Brian felt he could be happy forever.
Word submitted by: LRC
Defenestrate (dē-fěn'ĭ-strāt') - To throw out of a window.Bob threatened to defenestrate his laptop if it didn't stop eating his data.
Denigrate - Criticize; defame; disparage. cause to seem less serious; play downMy professor dislikes me so much that he pounces on chances to denigrate my writing. ... OR ... Katy's joking reaction seemed to denigrate the seriousness of the situation.
Word submitted by: Jack, Boone, NC, USA
Desuetude - (Des' wi tyood). Obsolescence; a state of disuse.Knowing the regrettable desuetude of manners today, I wasn't surprised that no one thanked me for their gifts.
Word submitted by: Allison
Didactic - Instructive; intending to teach (adj.)The manner in which he presented his speech was less persuasive than didactic.
Word submitted by: Joshua , Detroit, MI , US
Disabuse - To free someone from a misconception.I'm afraid I must disabuse you of the notion that chitterlings are tasty.
Word submitted by: Thomas K Mahoney, Brighton, MI, usa
Disambiguation (dis-am-big-yoo-eyt) - The removal of ambiguity; clarification.Before I could answer his question, his confusing use of the word "bass" required some disambiguation.
Word submitted by: Peter G Briggs, Duluth, GA, United States
Discombobulate - Confuse or upset.He was discombobulated by his wife's moodiness.
Word submitted by: Cynthia Letchman, Birmingham, Alabama
Disingenuous (dis in jen' yoo uhs) - Lacking in candor; insincere.Her reasons for not joining us were plainly disingenuous, so I ignored them.
Word submitted by: Nigel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Dither (diT͟Hər) - To be indecisive. I hated going out to eat with Jack, who would spend a half hour dithering over what to order.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, Mi
Doppelganger - In literature and film, a ghostly double or spirit, often presaging evil; in daily use, more commonly a physical double or look-alike. From the German Doppel ("double") and Ganger ("goer").After their prickly breakup, Edmund was disturbed to see doppelgangers of Elizabeth everywhere he went.
Word submitted by: Gayane Palian, Washington, DC, USA
Draconian - Hard, severe, cruel. From Draco, a politician of ancient Athens whose codified laws were notorious for their severity, such as death for minor offenses.I hear the government is considering draconian penalties for those who leak classified documents.
Word submitted by: Tim Nardi, Potomac, MD, USA
Dragoon - To compel by coercion; to force someone to do something they'd rather not.After working in the yard all day, Bubba was dragooned into going to the ballet instead of flopping down to watch the Red Wings on TV.
Word submitted by: LAS
Dulcet - Pleasing to the ear or sweet to the taste.Instead of yelling at us to be quiet, my father urged us to "use dulcet tones!"
Word submitted by: Martha T, Belleville, MI
Ebullient - Bursting with great enthusiasm or excitement.Jane was always so ebullient that just being around her for two minutes made me want to take a nap.
Word submitted by: Geoff Keller, Dayton, ME
Efficacious - Producing or capable of producing a desired effect.Whether sincere or not, praise is often the most efficacious way to acquire people's loyalty.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Effluvium - A slight or invisible exhalation or vapor, esp. one that is disagreeable or foul-smelling.The landfill's effluvium seemed to waft inexorably toward the town.
Word submitted by: Whitney Levin, Mt Pleasant, MI
Effrontery - Shameless audacity; rank impudence.When he advised his listeners to ignore segregationist ordinances, Martin Luther King was vilified by some for having the effrontery to suggest which laws should be obeyed.
Word submitted by: A
Egregious - Outstanding, usually in the negative sense. Outrageously bad.I made an egregious mistake in calling Madeline her mother when she is in fact her older sister.
Word submitted by: Stanislaus J. Dundon, Davis, California, United States
Eldritch - Eerie, spooky, uncomfortably weird.The feeble light of the waning moon, the crumbling stones, the dark shadows of skeletal trees and the mournful cries of owls gave the old cemetery such an eldritch aspect that we got out of there as fast as we could.
Word submitted by: Beaufort Cranford
Eleemosynary - Charitable.Ebenezer Scrooge was transformed from a "tight-fisted hand to the grindstone" into an eleemosynary gentleman that kept Christmas in his heart all year round.
Word submitted by: Robert Weaver, Atlanta, Ga, USA
Enervate - To weaken (reduce in strength) or debilitate.After gardening in the hot sun for three hours, I was so enervated I had to take a nap.
Word submitted by: Julia Carroll
Ennui - Boredom. Lack of interest.It was a difficult year for Sigmund, and his paralyzing ennui had returned with a vengeance.
Word submitted by: Toms
Enormity - Heinous, horrible or monstrous in quality or character; extremely wicked. Jefferson's apparent acceptance of the enormity of the French Revolution's excesses greatly widened the gulf between him and Hamilton.
Word submitted by: bc
Ephemeral - Lasting or existing briefly.She treasured those ephemeral moments of joy, knowing they would soon be lost to the routine of everyday life.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Equivocate - To speak ambiguously or evasively, in such a way as to avoid taking a position; hedge.Respondents in Senate hearings on the oil spill preferred to equivocate, their answers all scuttling sideways, like crabs.
Word submitted by: Woof
Erratum - Latin word meaning an error. The plural is "errata."You need to recheck this report as it contains one erratum after another.
Word submitted by: Jim Seufferlein, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Ersatz - A substitute, usually inferior; artificial in a pejorative sense.Walter thought his stories were pretty good, but to the rest of us they were obviously just ersatz Hemingway.
Word submitted by: L.A.
Eschew - Avoid; shun.An unfortunate allergy means that I have to eschew the pleasure of eating raw oysters.
Word submitted by: Del Olds, Sugar Hill, GA, USA
Esoteric - Understood, known by or intended for a very few; requiring knowledge possessed by a select group.Many readers ignore the esoteric imagery in Flannery O'Connor's fiction and enjoy the stories just as they are.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC
Evanescent - Ephemeral; fleeting.The younger you are, the more evanescent your dreams of true love tend to be.
Word submitted by: Woof
Eviscerate (ih VISS uh reyt) - ih VISS ur reyt. Verb. Literally, to disembowel. More commonly, to remove vital parts from something or make it virtually meaningless.Despite his good intentions, Brendan's bill to limit campaign spending was eviscerated before it reached the floor of the House.
Word submitted by: BC
Excoriate - To rebuke scathingly; to censure; to flay verbally. In town hall meetings the mayor was routinely excoriated for neglecting the city's schools.
Word submitted by: John Blitchok, rochester hills, Michigan, US of A
Execrable (eks' sek rab bl) - (eks' sek rab bl) Atrocious, wretched, deplorable, extremely inferior.We were appalled to discover that even though he had a master's degree, his spelling was execrable.
Word submitted by: Woof
Factotum (fak-ˈtō-təm) - A person having many diverse activities or responsibilities. My workload was pushed aside for a pile of tedious chores the week the office factotum went on vacation.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Fantods - A state of extreme anxiety, nervousness or distress; the willies to the max.Jeremy's love for islands was tempered by the fact that driving over high bridges always gave him the raging fantods.
Word submitted by: lannis smith
Farrago (fuh-rah-goh) - An assortment or medley, a jumble or a hodgepodge.The art exhibit was a farrago of different styles and periods.
Fatuous - Foolish, silly, inane, insipid. Listening to the senator's fatuous remarks, we wondered if he was naive, ignorant -- or perhaps just not interested.
Word submitted by: joe hoffman, grosse pointe
Feckless - Ineffectual, ineffective, incompetent, weak.After a few feckless attempts to change the tire on his Aston-Martin, Jeremy sighed, called AAA and ate a nice, juicy peach while he waited for help.
Word submitted by: Beaufort Cranford
Felicitous (fi-ˈli-sə-təs) - Very well suited or expressed. In a felicitous turn of events, he found the hundred dollar bill in the laundry just before he ran out to begin Christmas shopping.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Ann Arbor, mi
Ferret - To bring something to light by searching (usually with "out"); to search for something lost or hidden. Despite the councilwoman's rumored liaison with the mayor, we ferreted through her emails for two hours without finding anything incriminating.
Word submitted by: Kendra, White Lake, Michigan, USA
Festoon - To adorn or decorate, principally in a loop between two points.After lunch we decided to festoon the tree with garlands of electric loons, moons, spoons, puccoons, cocoons, bassoons, baboons and vinegaroons.
Word submitted by: Robert Todd, Carlsbad, CA, United States
Fetching - Attractive.I was captivated by her beauty; she really was quite fetching.
Word submitted by: Jonathan Day-Reiner, Toronto, ON, Canada
Flapdoodle (ˈflap-ˌd-dəl) - Nonsense. His talk show was a collection of flapdoodle about politics and conspiracies.
Word submitted by: CW , Ann Arbor, Mi, USA
Flibbertigibbet - A scatterbrained or ditzy person.When the latest scandal came to light, the local flibbertigibbets couldn't begin chattering about it fast enough.
Word submitted by: Jon, Taylorsville, UT, USA
Flummox - Bewilder; baffle; confuse.To her dismay, Beth was completely flummoxed by the instructions for taking her new birth control pills.
Word submitted by: David Good, Dearborn, MI
Foist (fȯist) - To pass off as genuine or worthy.We made our way up the boardwalk, where merchants attempted to foist cheap jewelry and knock-off clothing on unsuspecting tourists.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, Mi
Folderol - 1. Nonsense. 2. A pretty but useless trinket.I listened to both arguments, but the whole discussion was just a lot of folderol to me.
Word submitted by: Jim Seufferlein, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Fortnight - Two weeks.When I resign, I have to submit a fortnight's notice.
Word submitted by: Derek L. , Emporia, VA
Fractious (frak-shuhs) - Cranky. Unruly. Peevish.He is an incorrigibly fractious individual, but he has a certain undeniable charm.
Word submitted by: Diane K, California, MO, USA
Frazzle - As a verb, to exhaust physically or emotionally; as a noun, the state of being exhausted or spent. I love New York, but after a week there I'm so frazzled that home looks better than ever.
Word submitted by: ad9688
Frisson - An involuntary shiver, often signaling great emotion. Albert knew he'd be glad to see Victoria, but he wasn't expecting a powerful frisson of pleasure when he took her hand.
Word submitted by: bc
Fug - A heavy, stale, suffocating atmosphere; warm, unpleasantly thick, humid air. Saying goodbye to the cats, Roger stepped out of his cool house into the fug of August in southern Louisiana.
Word submitted by: Jerry Herron
Fulminate - To condemn or denounce. Usually followed by "against."Beth regularly fulminated against sex education in public schools, yet saw nothing strange in her equal contempt for teen pregnancy.
Word submitted by: LAS
Fulsome - Excessively, even offensively, flattering or ingratiating. Insincere. Beware attempts to give this word a positive spin.As an art critic, his observations of emerging artists are more fulsome than encouraging.
Word submitted by: Mackie J.V. Blanton, Ph.D., New Orleans, LA, USA
Fussbudget - An excessively picky or fault-finding person.Alice, I'm never having lunch with a fussbudget like you again. Even the salt wasn't salty enough for you.
Word submitted by: Michael Wright
Futz - Fool around; pass time idly and aimlessly. Roger had a great day off, futzing with the stuff in his garage till he'd set an enviable standard for the perpetuation of chaos.
Word submitted by: BC
Gallimaufry - Hodgepodge, jumble. From a 16th-century French word meaning "stew."Every family had a few skeletons in their cupboards, but the Vanger family had an entire gallimaufry of them. (Stieg Larsson, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo")
Word submitted by: Sally Z., Arlington, VA
Gallivant - To frolic or roam about in a joyful manner, with no definite plan or objective.We spent a lovely afternoon gallivanting around the amusement park. ... OR ... I don't want you kids gallivanting all over the countryside this afternoon, so stay home!
Word submitted by: Abby Horowitz, Washington, DC
Galoshes - Waterproof shoes or boots. "Galoshes" may be said to be onomatopoeic, mimicking the sound they make when splashing through puddles.In rainy weather like this I always wear my galoshes; they may be garish, but they keep my feet dry.
Word submitted by: Ellen Wright, Redford, MI, USA
Garrulous (ger-ə-ləs) - Given to prosy, rambling or tedious loquacity. Pointlessly or annoyingly talkative. The flight home would have provided Max an ideal opportunity to recover from the conference, were he not stuck next to a garrulous salesman who spouted inane trivia about every city they flew over.
Word submitted by: Christopher Williams, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Gehenna - A place of suffering, misery or torment. Biblical reference.Jennifer often said her office was a Gehenna of dashed ambitions, futile dreams and unfulfilled potential, but after a couple hours at the Christmas party it seemed pretty cool to me.
Word submitted by: bc
Genteel - Polite, refined, stylish or graceful in manner.Roger felt that the genteel aristocracy of his Southern childhood had been displaced by generations of greedy entrepreneurs with little regard for heritage or tradition.
Word submitted by: BC
Gibbous - 1. Characterized by convexity or swelling, as when the moon is more than half illuminated, but not full. 2. Humped or hunchbacked. "The waning gibbous moon shone a ghostly light on the trail through the bare trees."
Word submitted by: BC
Gobbet - Piece, portion, fragment, especially but not only of meat. More recently, a literary excerpt proposed for analysis, review or discussion."Be suspicious of relics," Siegfried said wryly. "You could build a stadium out of all the gobbets of the True Cross in European churches."
Word submitted by: BC
Gobbledygook - Incomprehensible jargon bordering on gibberish.Rather than using long speeches filled with gobbledygook, some lawyers would be better understood if they spoke in layman's terms.
Word submitted by: Indera Robinson
Gorgonize - To paralyze or stupefy. Back when I was in school, it took just one dark look from a teacher to gorgonize an entire classroom of restless kids.
Word submitted by: MM
Gumption - Initiative, usually implying a lack of outside prompting. Enterprise. Spunk.Although he sometimes lacked common sense, you had to admire his gumption in attempting to climb Mount Everest.
Word submitted by: Marilyn Levinson, Bowling Green, OH, US
Harry - Harass; worry to the point of distraction; assail with bothersome thoughts or acts.After discovering Beth's secret interest in another man, Eric was harried by self-doubt until he realized her actions had nothing to do with him and everything to do with her inability to commit.
Word submitted by: bc
Hebetude - Mental dullness or lethargy.Free-roaming domestic cats compensate for their depredations on wildlife --and the intellectual hebetude of their owners-- by dying much sooner than indoor cats.
Word submitted by: BC
Higgledy-piggledy (hig-uhl-dee-pig-uhl-dee) - In a disordered manner; helter-skelter.When the school bell rang, a throng of shrieking children ran higgledy-piggledy down the hill to the Piggly-Wiggly for snacks and sodas.
Hornswoggle - To deceive. Bernie Madoff's brilliant Ponzi scheme secured his spot in the hornswogglers' hall of fame.
Word submitted by: Kim White-Jenkins, Westland, MI, USA
Hullabaloo - A loud noise or disturbance; uproar; commotion. The kids living behind me were raising such a hullabaloo that at 3 a.m. I finally called the cops.
Word submitted by: Michael Wright
Humbug - Rubbish; nonsense; a fraud or impostor.He heard the noise much louder on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight toward his door. "It's humbug still!" said Scrooge. "I won't believe it." (Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol")
Word submitted by: BC
Humdinger - A remarkable or extraordinary person, place, action or thing. I've been in big storms before, but that Sandy was a real humdinger.
Word submitted by: las
Hurly-burly - Noisy tumult and confusion.When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurly-burly's done. When the battle's lost and won... (Macbeth, Act I, Scene I)
Word submitted by: Tim Pulice, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA
Hyperbole - An obvious and deliberate exaggeration in speech or writing, not intended to be taken literally.In an election year, campaigners' claims that sound like hyperbole are often meant to be accepted as fact.
Word submitted by: Michelle Moser
Iconoclast (ahy-kon-uh-klast) - A person who criticizes or opposes beliefs and practices that are widely accepted. Ever the iconoclast, Everett refused to tip, never voted, and thought "The Wizard of Oz" was horrible tripe.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, Mi, USA
Ignominious - Shameful or disgraceful.The Rams were stunned that they went down to such an ignominious defeat.
Word submitted by: Catherine Nardi
Imbroglio - A complicated disagreement; a confused or chaotic situation. From the Italian "imbrogliare," meaning to tangle.Sudanese diplomats seem to think that if they look the other way long enough, their destructive domestic imbroglio will simply disappear.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, greenville, SC
Impalpable - Barely felt or discernible; intangible but nonetheless perceptible.The thick fog in the dark woods brought with it an impalpable dread.
Word submitted by: Bill Roberts, Lewiston, MI, USA
Impecunious - Poor; penniless.I would love to donate to charity, but I regret to say that at the moment I am impecunious.
Word submitted by: Thomas Soyars, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA
Imperious - Overbearing; arrogant; dictatorial.In public my boss was Mr. Congeniality; in the office he was an imperious jerk, making us all feel small and incompetent.
Word submitted by: woof
Imperturbable - Marked by extreme calm; sereneTom managed to remain imperturbable even though the conversation was about politics!
Word submitted by: margie suchyta, royal oak, mi, usa
Incorporeal (inkrˈprēəl) - Not composed of matter; having no material existenceHe woke up in the middle of the night to see the incorporeal presence of his long-deceased grandfather standing in the hallway.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, Mi
Incorrigible - Unchangeable; beyond correction; impervious to reform.We tried for years to stop Roger from bothering women in bars, but he was an incorrigible jerk.
Word submitted by: Graham Tyre, Niteri, RJ, Brasil
Indecorous - (1) Lacking propriety in manners and conduct; (2) Not in accord with accepted standards of appropriate behavior polite societyNoticing the looks he was getting, Edmund feared that he'd done something seriously indecorous without realizing it.
Word submitted by: Stephen Korst, Joliet, Illinois, USA
Indefatigable (in-di-FAT-i-guh-bul) - Tireless; endlessly persistent.The English privateer Francis Drake was indefatigable in his pursuit of Spanish gold.
Word submitted by: Woof
Indelible (inˈdeləbəl) - Not able to be forgotten or removed.The summer I worked at a homeless shelter made an indelible impression on me and changed the course of my life.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI
Indubitable - Beyond doubt. Undeniable.It is an indubitable truth that Wayne State is one of the nation's finest universities.
Word submitted by: Jim McFarlin, Ferndale, MI, United States
Ineffable - Indescribable; inexpressible.His description of the event was an ineffable muddle.
Word submitted by: Peter, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Ineffable (i-ˈne-fə-bəl) - Too great, powerful or beautiful to be described or expressed.We sat atop the hill late into the night, gazing at the stars in their ineffable glory.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, Mi, United States
Ineluctable - Unavoidable; inevitable; inescapable.Hitler's plans for domination rested on his conviction of the ineluctable superiority of the German people.
Word submitted by: kenneth crotty, perth, australia
Inimical - Having harmful effects; hostile.Smoking is almost universally regarded as inimical to good health.
Word submitted by: k-kid, silver spring, maryland
Inimitable - Matchless. One of a kind.This is an inimitable meal, a princely assembly of delicious tastes and intriguing textures.
Word submitted by: Jim Seufferlein, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Innocuous - Harmless.The seemingly innocuous software code fix caused the entire East Coast electrical grid to fail.
Word submitted by: Matthew Kowalczyk, Eastpointe, Michigan, USA
Insidious - Producing serious harm in a stealthy, often gradual, manner. Treacherous. (Wiktionary)It was a disease so insidious that most people were in the final stages before they even knew they had it.
Word submitted by: JIM SIMPKIN, GREENBUSH, MICHIGAN
Insipid - Dull; lacking qualities that excite, interest or stimulate.We were expecting an acerbic and lively wit, so his insipid monologue was a great disappointment.
Word submitted by: Karen Tonso
Insouciance (ĭn-sōō'sē-əns) - The quality of being carefree; a lack of concern.We spent our two weeks at the beach in blissful insouciance, sleeping late and basking in the sun.
Word submitted by: Kenneth Ross, Glastonbury, Connecticut, US
Intelligentsia - The intellectual elite.Contrary to ages past, the intelligentsia no longer rule the United States.
Word submitted by: Joseph R. Asik, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA
Interdict - Forbid; prohibit; exclude."Our company's mission is to interdict insurgent activity and also interdict insurgent movement." (Lt. Christian Garrels, serving on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, in an NPR interview.)
Word submitted by: bc
Interlocutor - Someone who takes part in a conversation or dialogue. In music, the emcee of a minstrel show.Explanations that continually remind one's interlocutor of one's ignorance are a great damper upon the easy flow of talk. (Wiktionary)
Word submitted by: Jim Seufferlein, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Interregnum - Literally the interval between the end of a sovereign's reign and the accession of a successor. Also has come to mean any interruption in leadership or, more rarely, any break in continuity.England experienced an interregnum in 1649-1660, when no king ruled and Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector. ... OR ... The school had to close during the interregnum caused by the headmaster's unexpected dismissal.
Word submitted by: Jack, Boone, NC, USA
Intransigent - Unwilling to compromise; incapable of being swayed or diverted; not susceptible to persuasion.Despite his personal tragedy, Nick remained intransigent on proposals for handgun control.
Word submitted by: Emily Noyb
Invective (inˈvektiv) - Insulting, abusive or highly critical languageWhile he appeared shy, on the Internet he was a bully who could unleash invective like no one else.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia
Invidious - Tending to cause envy, discontent or animosity.In the 20th century, the art of selling goods to consumers through invidious comparisons was honed to a keen edge.
Word submitted by: Andrew, Portland, ME, USA
Irascible - Irritable; easily provoked; quick-tempered."I have never met a poet worth a damn that was not irascible." (Ezra Pound, American expatriate poet, 1885-1972)
Word submitted by: Michael, Michigan
Jejune - Childish; unsophisticated; naive; dull or uninteresting; lacking nutritive value.Having been away for years, I was surprised by my relatives' jejune behavior around the Thanksgiving table.
Word submitted by: Amanda Tackett, Lake Orion, MI, USA
Jeremiad - A long and mournful story, often prophesying doom or at least decrying the sad state of society. From the Biblical "Lamentations," attributed to the prophet Jeremiah.If you listened seriously to Bruce's jeremiads, you'd have thought the country was headed for the dumpster.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC
Jiggery-pokery - Hanky-panky. Skullduggery (see below).We wouldn't be in this mess if the banks hadn't engaged in so much jiggery-pokery with those credit default swaps.
Word submitted by: Jon, Toronto, ON, Canada
Kerfuffle - Commotion, uproar, tumult, brouhaha.The perennial kerfuffle over public radio seems largely a pastime of those who would profit most from listening to it.
Word submitted by: Tom Shea
Knavery (nā-və-rē) - A roguish or mischievous act. His presidency was founded on malice, lies and knavery.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia
Kyoodle (Kydəl) - To make loud, useless noises. I couldn't concentrate on my work with the kids kyoodling in the next room.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI
Lachrymose - Tearful; deeply gloomy; mournful.After the death of his poodle, Roger was lachrymose for weeks.
Word submitted by: peter a kerns, chatham, new jersey, United States
Lacuna - A gap or absent part, as in a manuscript or logical argument; a hiatus. From the Latin "lacuna," for ditch, hole or gap. The preferred plural is "lacunae."The lacuna in my adversary's meticulously sequential argument was so glaring that I was reluctant to point it out.
Word submitted by: Christy McDonald, Brielle, NJ, USA
Laggard - Moving slowly; sluggish; snail-paced; dilatory.Driven to dyspepsia by the restaurant's laggard service, Jeremy ostentatiously threw his napkin on the table and left.
Word submitted by: BC
Lagniappe (lan yap) - Something thrown in for free. A bonus.If the waiter in the restaurant stumbles and spills a gill of coffee down the back of your neck, he says 'For lagniappe, sah,' and gets you another cup without extra charge. (Mark Twain in "Life on the Mississippi")
Word submitted by: Tom Southworth, Winchester, Virginia, USA
Lambast/Lambaste - To beat or reprimand severely.The Rams lambasted the 49ers today in a 74 to 0 rout.
Word submitted by: JT Thomas, Fairfax, VA, USA
Languid (laNGgwid) - Displaying or having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort; slow and relaxed.By the end of August, John was a languid lump on the couch, watching 12 hours of "The Simpsons."
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, Mi
Legerdemain - Trickery, often in the guise of magic.In listening to politicians or prestidigitators, one should consider that their convoluted word choices are often just legerdemain to manipulate their audiences.
Word submitted by: Rachel Sewell, Birmingham, MI, Oakland
Lilliputian - Very small. From Lilliput, a country of teeny-weeny people in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels."He looked absolutely lilliputian when standing next to the basketball players.
Word submitted by: Elizabeth Connelly
Loggy (lō-gē) - Not able to think or move normally because of being tired, sick, etc.A weekend full of chores, housework and family gatherings left Kyle a bit loggy on Monday morning.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI
Lollygag - Dawdle; waste time. If our legislators hadn't spent so much time insulting one another and just lollygagging around, maybe they'd have accomplished something.
Word submitted by: bc
Loquacious (Lo - KWAY - shuss) - Adj. Talkative, especially when excessively so. The more loquacious Thenardier was, the more dumb was Jean Valjean. (Victor Hugo, in "Les Miserables")
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Sr, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Lubricious - 1. Arousing sexual desire; lecherous; lascivious. Brad swears that Katie gave him a radiantly lubricious wink, but I think she just had something in her eye.
Word submitted by: BC
Lugubrious - Extremely mournful or gloomy.His lugubrious moods were caused by the death of his grandfather. ... OR ... "Presently a dog set up a long, lugubrious howl just outside..." (Mark Twain, "Tom Sawyer," 1876)
Word submitted by: Catherine Nardi, maryland, USA
Magnanimous (magˈnanəməs) - Very generous or forgiving, esp. toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself.Jake had a right to be bitter following the election, but he was magnanimous to the end, buying a round of drinks for the reporters who'd sorted through his dirty laundry in the press.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, MI
Maladroit - Clumsy, inept, awkward, tactless. Nick was so maladroit in handling the liquor, conversation and priceless china figurines at his mother-in-law's house that it's no wonder he never got invited back.
Word submitted by: BC
Malapropism - The substitution of an incorrect word for one with a similar sound, frequently to comic effect. From the misspeaking character of Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan's play "The Rivals" (1775).(Example) Patience is a virgin.
Word submitted by: Gayle Mazurkiewicz, Sterling Heights, MI, United States
Malarkey - Nonsense; hogwash; rubbish; speech designed to mislead.Poor Lewis! He still believes that malarkey about President Obama's having been born in Kenya.
Word submitted by: bc
Malfeasance - Wrongdoing, misconduct or misbehavior, especially by a public official.The governor's story was a tawdry one of money-grubbing, cronyism and general malfeasance.
Word submitted by: Don Berg, Atlanta, GA, USA
Marplot (mr-ˌplt) - One who frustrates or ruins a plan or undertaking by meddling.Christmas dinner was all planned out until my mother-in-law, ever the marplot, decided to get involved.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, mi
Martinet - A strict disciplinarian; someone who insists on absolute adherence to rules. From the 17th-century French army officer Jean Martinet.As a manager Geoffrey was such a martinet that staff meetings were mostly just his ranting about our imaginary foibles.
Word submitted by: A
Mawkish - Excessively sentimental, sappy, hopelessly trite.To her surprise, Alice found Brian's vows of love embarrassingly mawkish and cloying. Words he probably thought of as lyrical just made her feel sticky, as though she were being painted with molasses.
Word submitted by: x
Mayhap - Perhaps; possibly. Usually dismissed as archaic, but what the heck.Mayhap the crocuses will show their purple heads before Valentine's Day this year.
Word submitted by: Charles Paul, Farmington, MI, usa
Measured - Careful and calculated.After considering the import of the question, the witness gave a measured response.
Word submitted by: Dur Hutchinson, Monroe, Michigan, USA
Melancholia - A profound presentation of depression and complete loss of pleasure in all or almost everything. I have suffered Melancholia since the unfortunate and untimely demise of my first wife.
Word submitted by: Peter M. Williams, Detroit, MI
Melange (māˈlnj) - A mixture of different things. Her painting was a melange of colors and shapes that dazzled the eyes.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, MI
Mellifluous - Smooth and flowing with sweetness.The flute trio in "L'Enfance du Christ" is so mellifluous that it almost makes me weep every time I hear it.
Word submitted by: Dana Willard, Jacksonville, FL
Mendacious (men-dey-shuhs) - Untruthful; dishonest.His mendacious claim that he had a beautiful sister led to one of my most memorable surprises.
Mephitic - Pestilential, poisonous, foul-smelling, putrid, offensive. After grading his class' term papers, Edmund felt that he had confronted and overcome something so vile and mephitic that only bourbon could reward the achievement and erase the memory.
Word submitted by: Jerry Herron
Mercurial (mer-kyoor-ee-uhl) - Fickle; erratic.She said she needed a break from trying to anticipate my mercurial moods. I haven't seen her in five years.
Meretricious - Falsely attractive; tastelessly garish; tawdry.(Gatsby) was a son of God ... and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar and meretricious beauty. (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940)
Word submitted by: Joe Hoffman, Grosse Pointe , Michigan
Miasma (mīˈazmə) - A highly unpleasant or unhealthy smell or vapor.A miasma of nicotine hung over the casino as the patrons' health disappeared as quickly as their wealth.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor
Mirth - Merriment; amusement accompanied by laughter.Let us have wine and women, mirth and laughter / Sermons and soda water the day after. (Lord Byron, English poet and satirist, 1788-1824)
Word submitted by: Michael Wright
Misanthrope (mi-sən-thrōp) - A person who does not like other people. His father was a bitter old misanthrope who once got into a fight with Goofy during a trip to Disney World.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI
Misogyny - Hatred, mistrust or rank objectification of women.Alex managed to hide his derisive misogyny behind a veneer of jovial good manners just long enough to interview the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.
Word submitted by: BC
Mollify - Pacify, appease, soothe in temper.Sheldon tried everything he knew --flowers, poetry, humor, software, pleading and self-degradation-- but Eva, radiant and giddy with fury, could not be mollified.
Word submitted by: bc
Mollycoddle (mlēˌkdl) - Treat someone very indulgently or protectively.Henry might be more willing to step into the world if his parents didn't mollycoddle him so much, still making his lunch and washing his clothes at the age of 18.
Word submitted by: MW
Moot - Open to debate (adj.). Having no legal significance (n.).The judge has found you guilty, so your claim of self-defense is moot now.
Word submitted by: virginia, new boston, mi, usa
Mountebank - A charlatan, quack or con artist; one who sells phony medicines from a podium or perch. Jack presented himself as an expert on journalism, but many suspected he actually was a mountebank of the first water.
Word submitted by: Philip Hobby, Westbrook, Maine, USA
Moxie (mksē) - Force of character, determination or nerve.Her resume wasn't the most accomplished, but she showed enough moxie during the interview process to land the job.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor
Munificent - Very generous; extremely liberal in giving.A wall in our new arts center honors the munificent family for whom the building is named.
Word submitted by: Ben, Albany, NY, USA
Myriad - (adj.)A large, indefinite number; made up of many diverse elements. ... "A myriad of" is gaining acceptance only because those who don't know any better brazenly continue to use it. It was a clear October night, with no moon and a myriad stars blazing overhead.
Word submitted by: David
Myrmidon - A subordinate who follows orders without question. From the Myrmidons, who followed Achilles to Troy.No matter how many times I tried to convince him that his boss was a criminal, he was such a myrmidon that my arguments fell on deaf ears.
Word submitted by: Troy Ernst, Atlanta, GA
Nadir - Lowest point.Bill Clinton's nadir was his impeachment by the House of Representatives.
Word submitted by: Michael Warren, Beverly Hills, MI, USA
Nascent (na-sənt) - Coming or having recently come into existence. His nascent film career is off to a promising start; he received an Oscar nomination for his debut project.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, Mi
Natter - To talk aimlessly, often at length.You can tell our staff meetings are winding down when everyone starts nattering about their kids.
Word submitted by: bc
Ne'er-do-well - A good-for-nothing, ineffectual person. Your ne'er-do-well brother just got fired from his job cleaning toilets at the community center.
Word submitted by: Gillian, Las Vegas, NV, USA
Noisome - Offensive, unwholesome; disgusting; disagreeable, foul-smelling.The governor was a character so noisome that even his allies avoided him when they could.
Word submitted by: Tom Stave, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Nonplus - To bewilder or confound (v.) ... A state of confusion (n.)If you can't awe them with acumen, then nonplus them with nonsense.
Word submitted by: David M. Jones
Numinous - Awe-inspiring; profoundly moving; evocative of transcendence. (Despite what Webster's Dictionary says, it never presumes the supernatural.)As the full moon rose in numinous splendor over Mount Kilimanjaro, Ernie was stricken speechless with wonder and joy.
Word submitted by: BC
Obfuscate - To make something obscure or otherwise hard to understand.Despite his use of abstruse language, he was not consciously trying to obfuscate his subject matter.
Word submitted by: Mark Spevacek, Atlanta, GA, USA
Oblique - Indirect, slanting. Devious.Janet choose an oblique route so as to get home from school unnoticed.
Word submitted by: scrown, Washington, DC, USA
Obloquy - Abusive language, defamation or denunciation. Also the ill repute, deserved or not, that results from such abuse.Any artist daring to transgress the ordinary must be willing to weather the obloquy of critics.
Word submitted by: andrew squyres, mooresville, nc, us
Obsequious (uhb-see-kwee-uhs) - Overly deferential or attentive; fawningly submissive.If my co-workers were a little less obsequious around our boss, I might get more promotions.
Obstreperous - Unruly, noisy, clamorous.The obstreperous children at the adjacent table gave me a headache.
Word submitted by: Greg, Cedar Rapids, IA, USA
Obtuse - Dull. Slow on the uptake. If you weren't so obtuse, you would understand the problem.
Word submitted by: Mark D. Farr, Yatesville, GA, USA
Odium - A state of disgrace resulting from hateful conduct. Also contempt. Long after the Civil War, the South suffered the odium of having fought to keep a system that condoned slavery.
Word submitted by: Dave Peebles, Fortuna, Ca, U.S.A.
Oleaginous - 1. Having the properties of oil; greasy. 2. Smarmy and unctuous; falsely sincere. After I'd seen so many horrifying images from the Gulf, the oleaginous waffling of BP officials was almost more than I could stand.
Word submitted by: Woof
Opprobrium - Harsh criticism; public disgrace resulting from shameful conduct.In a more innocent era, baseless insinuations were a way to attract opprobrium; now, in politics, they're often a way to attract support.
Word submitted by: George Slomp, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
Orotund - (1) Pompous or bombastic. (2) Characterized by fullness, clarity and strength of sound.The emperor Hadrian had a lifelong fondness for the most orotund and pretentious of historians.
Word submitted by: Allison
Ossify - To harden like bone; to become set in one's ways. (From the Latin "os," for bone.)Bert felt as though if he had to wait for Alice any longer he was just going to ossify right there on her doorstep.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Ostentatious (stənˈtāSHəs) - Characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice.He had an ostentatious collection of books he'd never read sitting on his shelf, giving him an unearned reputation for brilliance.
Word submitted by: Angela
Overweening - Arrogant; excessive.The team's overweening confidence prevented them from acknowledging their weaknesses.
Word submitted by: Shaun Pezeshki, West Bloomfield, MI, USA
Palaver - Discussion; also idle talk; also unnecessarily time-consuming chatter. From the Portuguese "palavra," or "talk," or the Spanish "palabra," or "word."We could have a palaver and decide which one is better.
Word submitted by: William, Seattle
Palimpsest - An old vellum or parchment document from which the original words have been scraped away to permit new writing. "Many historical texts have been recovered using ultraviolet light and other technologies to read the erased writing." (Wiktionary)Through careful examination of palimpsests, scholars have discovered ancient texts once believed lost. ... OR ... Clasp, Angel of the backward look / And folded wings of ashen gray / And voice of echoes far away, / The brazen covers of thy book; /The weird palimpsest old and vast, Wherein thou hid'st the spectral past... (John Greenleaf Whittier, "Snowbound," 1865)
Word submitted by: Tom Stave, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Panache - Distinctive, often flamboyant, style or action. Verve.His writing style could never have the panache of mine; I mean, who does that Charles Dickens think he is?
Word submitted by: Kyla Vasseau, Maquette, Michigan, USA
Panegyric - Formal, elaborate public praise; an encomium.The senator's response was no panegyric, but it was nevertheless a serviceable endorsement of the candidate.
Word submitted by: Tom Stave, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Panjandrum - An important person -- or one who just thinks he is.The mayor lived up to his image as a panjandrum by dismissing the resolution with no argument.
Word submitted by: Dan Harrett, Grand Blanc, Michigan, USA
Panoply - An impressive array. ... Oddly enough, panoply also can mean a full suit of armor, originating in the Greek "panoplia" or "all weapons."I know spring is coming because I awoke this morning to a welcoming panoply of bird songs.
Word submitted by: Ellen Wright, Redford, MI, USA
Paramount - Extreme importance. It is paramount that President Obama address this country's economic calamity.
Word submitted by: Anthony Pape
Paraphernalia - Personal belongings; articles or equipment used in a particular activity or by a specific profession; according to common law, a married woman's personal property excluding her dowry.Harold realized he had finally passed the point at which all his worldly paraphernalia would fit in his car.
Word submitted by: michael edelman, huntington woods, mi, usa
Pariah - Outcast; someone to be avoided.Donald suspected that his irrational fear of turkeys had made him a pariah at even his family's Thanksgiving celebration.
Word submitted by: Trent Emery, Olney, MD, United States
Parlous - Dangerous; risky. Prospects for Yazoo City grew increasingly parlous as the Mississippi's record flood rolled southward.
Word submitted by: Beaufort Cranford
Paroxysm (PAR uhk siz uhm) - A sudden, uncontrollable outburst.Leonard was surprised, to say the least, when his pledge of love sent Emily into paroxysms of laughter.
Word submitted by: bc
Parsimonious - Excessively frugal; stingy; miserly.His writing was so parsimonious with words that reading it took as much effort, and stimulated as much creative thought, as a game of tic-tac-toe.
Word submitted by: BC
Peachy - Really good.Some days I'm peachy; other days I'm in the pits.
Word submitted by: Mark Lang, Columbia, SC
Peccadillo - A trivial or petty misdeed.The peccadillos she committed at family gatherings were used to justify her exclusion from the invitation list.
Word submitted by: Sherri McConnell, Okemos, Mich, USA
Peckish - A bit hungry. Not famished, not starving, just in the early stages of hunger.It's been a long time since breakfast and I'm beginning to get peckish.
Word submitted by: ron johnson, forest, Va, USA
Pedant (pe-dənt) - A person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.His debut science fiction novel pulled the pedants out of the woodwork to nitpick every error and inconsistency.
Word submitted by: CW
Pefunctory (pərˈfəNGktərē) - Carried out with a minimum of effort or reflection.When quitting time came, I dashed down the hall, gave a perfunctory nod to my boss and headed on vacation.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia
Pellucid (pəˈlo͞osid) - Translucently clear.Scott gazed over the side of the boat at the school of fish swimming in the pellucid ocean water.
Word submitted by: Cheryl Desautels, Niantic, CT, US
Penultimate - Next to last.Everyone's heard of The Last Supper, but The Penultimate Supper has been largely forgotten.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith, Albion, MI
Penurious - Extremely stingy; miserly; cheap to a fault. ... Also may mean indigent."Gloria had tons of money, but she was so penurious that her mom had to live her last years in a crummy cold-water flat."
Word submitted by: Gayane Palian, Washington, DC, USA
Perfidy - Treachery; a deliberate breach of trust or faith. Being dumped by Alice was bad enough, but what really galled Roger was the perfidy of his so-called friends, who knew of her dalliances and never said a word to him.
Word submitted by: M. Wright
Peripatetic - Nomadic, traveling from place to place (adj.). 2. Pedestrian, itinerant, one who walks about (n.).The more he drank the more peripatetic he became, but his sense of direction routinely disengaged.
Word submitted by: Lawrence Haggerty, Warren, MI, USA
Pernicious - Highly injurious or destructive.Experts regularly debate whether pornography has a pernicious effect on society.
Word submitted by: Christopher Wade, Canton, Georgia, United States
Persiflage - Banter; frivolous talk.Emma hoped to get Lady Astor into a serious conversation, but as long as the King was around she could elicit only persiflage and harmless gossip.
Word submitted by: David Good
Persnickety - Very particular about details; fastidious.Martha is persnickety with her gardens.
Word submitted by: Amy C., Las Vegas
Perspicacity - Discernment. Sharp and insightful intelligence.Her perspicacity enabled her to discern the true intentions of her suitors.
Word submitted by: Christopher Meinhardt, Hubert, North Carolina, USA
Perturbate - To upset, agitate or unsettle.I hate to perturbate your plan, but you Pickwickians can't haul a codfish of that size all the way to Dingley Dell unless you use three horses.
Word submitted by: Rich Grimshaw, Cumming, GA, USA
Pestiferous - Troublesome, bothersome, irritating, annoying.I've made my living primarily as a science journalist, learning what evolutionary biology and ecology I know by self-education and pestiferous questioning of experts. (David Quammen)
Word submitted by: bc
Petulant - Irritable; easily annoyed; grouchy.Nick was so petulant and bitter after his disastrous blind date that we stayed well out of his way.
Word submitted by: B
Phantasmagoria - A dreamlike state featuring both real and imagined elements.To John in his drunken stupor, the party was a wild phantasmagoria of sights and sounds.
Word submitted by: Mark T. Conard, New York City
Pharisaic - Self-righteous; holier-than-thou; hypocritical.We appreciated Brian's donations to charity, but he lost a lot of our good will by being so loudly pharisaic about them.
Word submitted by: BC
Philistine - A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.Ever the philistine,my dad never understood the joy I found in foreign films and classical music.
Word submitted by: CW
Phlegmatic - Not easily excited or upset; calm and composed. In a pejorative sense, apathetic or indifferent.Jeremy sat as though lost in thought, an island of phlegmatic cool amid the furor raging around him.
Word submitted by: BC
Picayune - Something trivial.Joan's irritation with her employees was picayune compared to the company's more pressing concerns.
Word submitted by: Bob Toohey, Troy, MI, United States
Piffle (pi-fəl) - Trivial nonsense. The newspaper was once filled with depth and substance -- now its pages were splashed with piffle about what starlets wore when they went grocery shopping.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Detroit, MI
Pipsqueak - Someone who is small and insignificant.Despite his good grades, or perhaps because of them, Andrew was regarded as no more than a pipsqueak by his pals.
Word submitted by: Mark Jones, Charleston, SC, USA
Pithy - Brief but meaningful. The Gettysburg Address was described as "pithy."Her pithy comment lacked the subtlety and misdirection expected in diplomacy.
Word submitted by: Louis Pape, St. Charles, MO, USA
Plangent (planjənt) - Having an expressive, melancholy and especially plaintive quality. The plangent ballad left no eye in the auditorium dry.
Word submitted by: Esmeralda Rocha, CANBERRA, ACT, Australia
Plethora (ple TH ərə) - A large or excessive amount. My parents felt it was best to give me a plethora of advice, often to no avail.
Word submitted by: Vicki Preer, Missouri City, Texas, USA
Poltroon - An abject coward.That poltroon would run from a butterfly.
Word submitted by: Paul Nadler, Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
Polyglot (p-lē-ˌglt) - Made up of people or things from different cultures, countries, etc.Growing up in a polyglot community, Rick learned at a young age to love French films, Spanish cuisine and the intricacies of the Chinese language.
Word submitted by: CW , Ann Arbor, MI
Pontificate - To speak in a pompous, arrogant or dogmatic manner.Susan avoided the blogosphere, considering it primarily a venue in which knaves and naifs could pontificate interminably on their prejudices.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Popinjay - A person given to vain, pretentious displays and empty chatter; coxcomb; fop.Sadly, it behooves us to pay princely commissions to any perfumed popinjay who can open the door to this mystical kingdom.
Word submitted by: Steve Bradley, Ft Mitchell, KY
Poppycock - Nonsense. Reportedly from an old Dutch word, 'pappekak,' meaning soft manure.That's a load of poppycock, sir! I'd never paint polka dots on your poodle!
Word submitted by: Charles Gaba, Berkley, MI, USA
Portent - Noun. An indication that something momentous is about to happen; a signal of dire events; an evil omen.Here and there, company officers were meeting hastily behind closed doors, and Edmund found these portents ominous and disquieting.
Word submitted by: BC
Portentous - Ominous. Foreboding. Of great significance.Given current trends, 2010 seems an unusually portentous year.
Word submitted by: Kyla Houbolt, Weed, CA, USA
Preposterous - Consummately absurd or foolish.Considering his condition, his excuse for returning so late may have seemed reasonable, but to us it was clearly preposterous.
Word submitted by: CF, USA, USA, USA
Probity - Integrity. Honesty.The political arena could profit from an adherence to probity by everyone in it.
Word submitted by: Cate Coyle
Proclivity - A natural inclination to something; predisposition; propensity.Bob had an obvious proclivity for studying turtles, so we were surprised when he became an accountant.
Word submitted by: Stevan Gerber, West Jordan, Utah, U.S.A.
Procrustean - Designed to produce conformity to arbitrary standards by ruthless or capriciously violent means. From Procrustes, a mythical giant who stretched or shortened his captives to make them fit their beds.My employer's procrustean benefits plan allows paid maternity leaves of only six weeks regardless of the mother's or child's health.
Word submitted by: Michael Wright
Profligate - Recklessly wasteful; wildly extravagant (adj.). The Congress' profligate habits have contributed to our current financial predicament.
Word submitted by: Mark Burch, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida
Prolix - Tending to write or speak tediously and at great length.Those who consider Charles Dickens the most prolix of authors in English have never slogged through the sticky thickets of Henry James.
Word submitted by: BC
Promulgate - To make known or public; to put into effect by publishing, as a regulation.The Office of Government Ethics will promulgate new rules to govern the interaction of lobbyists with political appointees.
Word submitted by: Tom Stave, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Propinquity - Nearness; proximity.Your propinquity to the the girl on the park bench suggests more than a passing acquaintance.
Word submitted by: G. Junior Virgo, St. Andrew, Jamaica
Punctilious - Attention to minute detail; meticulous.Bomb squad members must be punctilious in their work.
Word submitted by: Joseph R. Asik, Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA
Pusillanimous - Timid; cowardly.He was a pusillanimous man, quick to flee at the slightest hint of danger.
Word submitted by: Gayla, Kansas City, KS, USA
Putative - Commonly believed to be true, but without proof; supposed, reputed.For generations Priscilla's family accepted Miles Standish as their putative ancestor.
Word submitted by: Karen Tonso
Quaff - To drink deeply or with vigor. Ne'er was mingled such a draught / In palace, hall or arbor / As freemen brewed and tyrants quaffed / That night in Boston Harbor. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, American physician, poet and author, 1809-1894)
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Sr, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Quash - To defeat, suppress or put down. Most commonly, but not always, used in a legal context.I still haven't managed to quash the rumors about how I got this black eye.
Word submitted by: Matthew Flaschen, Atlanta, Geogia, United States of America
Querulous - Petulant; complaining; peevish; whiny.Most parents at the meeting had a hunted look, as though they had just escaped homes filled with querulous brats.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC
Quibble (Kwibəl) - A slight objection or criticism. The only quibble I had about the play was that the third act went on about five minutes too long.
Word submitted by: Cheri Warnock, Warren, MI
Quiddity - Whatever makes something the type that it is; essence.She was a skilled storyteller, and possessed the ability capture a character's quiddity with just one or two sentences.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, MI
Quidnunc (kwid-ˌnəŋk) - A person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.The amount of celebrity gossip available 24/7 across all media has turned this culture into a quidnunc's paradise.
Word submitted by: Stuart Dudley, Chelmsford, Essex, England
Quietus - Something that stifles or ends; a period of inactivity.Jack Morris' fastball quickly put a quietus to the Yankees' hopes for a late-inning rally.
Word submitted by: joe hoffman, grosse pointe , MI
Quisling - Traitor; betrayer. After Vidkun Quisling, a Norwegian who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II and was later executed.Kathy thought she was Tim's sweetie, but he was secretly playing the quisling with Alice.
Word submitted by: BC
Quixotic (kwik-sot-ik) - Excessively romantic; visionary but unrealistic. Like Cervantes' Don Quixote.Many cherished ideals of the 1960s now seem more quixotic than even remotely practical.
Quotidian - Commonplace; occurring daily. Practically nobody uses this word nowadays except Gore Vidal.After the excitement of the inauguration, it was a relief to return to the quotidian affairs of ordinary life.
Word submitted by: Tom Stave, Eugene, Oregon, USA
Raconteur - One who tells stories and anecdotes with skill and wit.Garrison Keillor is an accomplished raconteur, so everyone attending his show had high expectations.
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Rapscallion (rapˈskalyən) - A mischievous person. April Fools' Day was better than Christmas for the young rapscallion.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia
Ratiocination, ratiocinative - Rational and exact thought, or the process of precise reasoning.Logic puzzles require all my powers of ratiocination.
Word submitted by: Addey Ray
Recalcitrant - Resisting authority; disobedient; hard to handle.Having to ride a recalcitrant, bad-tempered donkey almost ruined my otherwise lovely stay on the island of Santorini.
Word submitted by: Julia Carroll
Recidivist - One who relapses; a repeat offender.The parade of salesmen through my neighborhood was perpetual, like a habitual recidivist in rehab.
Word submitted by: Rommel Rebucal, Sterling Heights, MI, USA
Recreant - Cowardly; disloyal.Unfortunately, her brother James is a recreant liar and backstabber.
Word submitted by: wyman, snellville, ga, usa
Recrudescence - A new outbreak, especially of something undesired. Rebirth. A great recrudescence of obscurity embraced the boat. The sea in the gulf was as black as the clouds above. (Joseph Conrad, "Nostromo")
Word submitted by: Cliff Bob, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Redact - 1. To edit in such a way as to make suitable for publication. 2. To censor sensitive information from a document to protect an individual or institution.The agent's name was redacted in published documents to protect his identity.
Word submitted by: Doneald Rusnock, Flat Rock, MI, US
Refulgent - Adj. Radiant; shining brightly. Seeming to shine with light or warmth.To Edmund's everlasting delight, the smile the Potato Princess gave him was refulgent with welcome and joy.
Word submitted by: Allison Lumb
Replete - Well-supplied or abounding (with).Because of their difficult relationship, the eulogy she gave her mother was replete with backhanded compliments.
Word submitted by: nmkenn, foxboro, ma, USA
Reprehensible - Deplorable; guilty; worthy of censure. The DEA's efforts in other countries often are hindered by a reprehensible collaboration of law enforcement officers with drug cartels.
Word submitted by: Woof
Resplendent (ri-splen-duhnt) - Splendid, brilliant or glorious.Every hillside was resplendent with the dazzling autumn colors of maples and oaks.
Reticent - 1. Disposed to be silent or not speak freely; reserved. 2. Reluctant or restrained.He proved reticent when asked about his past, not because he had anything to hide, but because he was not given to introspection.
Word submitted by: Kendal, Gainesville, Florida
Ribald - Coarsely or disrespectfully humorous; vulgar. Stand-up comedy has become increasingly ribald since the '60s.
Word submitted by: Pat Batcheller, Michigan
Rigmarole - An intricate and often petty set of procedures.Before I could renew my driver's license I had to endure the usual rigmarole of paperwork.
Word submitted by: Kevin Clasen, Tempe, Arizona, USA
Rococo - Excessively ornate, elaborate or intricate; florid."He worked up a prose so rococo that one could have built grottoes out of it." (The New Yorker's Brendan Gill, describing 1930s newspaper columnist Lucius Beebe.)
Word submitted by: BC
Sacrosanct - Sacred; beyond criticism; inviolable.Every writer thinks his prose is sacrosanct -- until he meets a really good editor.
Word submitted by: BC
Sagacity (suh-gas-i-tee) - Keen discernment or insight; sound judgment.He proposed that people were easier to educate if they had a natural sagacity to start with.
Salient - Prominent; most important (adj.) Projection (n.), as a military position protruding into enemy lines.Among the jumble of comments about the value of diversity, one proved solidly salient.
Word submitted by: Rosemary Bienz
Sangfroid - (sahn frwah') In French, literally "cold blood." Imperturbability; great calm.Roger took his firing with the utmost sangfroid, silently cleaning out his desk and leaving unobtrusively by the back door.
Word submitted by: bc
Sanguine (sang' gwen) - 1. Optimistic, cheerful, confident. 2. Of the color of blood. ... In medieval physiology, a reddish complexion was thought to imply a hopeful temperament.Andy was sanguine about the Rams' chances against the hapless 49ers.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC, USA
Sardonic - Scornfully mocking or cynical; disdainfully humorous.Sardonic laughter was his only reaction to the suggestion that he liked to knit frilly sweaters.
Word submitted by: Dan Carroll, Chicago, IL, USA
Sartorial - Of or relating to tailoring, clothes or style of dress.He was dressed to the nines and beaming with sartorial elegance.
Word submitted by: Elizabeth Welch, Royal Oak, MI
Saturnine - Gloomy, cold and unfeeling, morose, sardonic.When Alec took off his clown suit he seemed instantly to become his old sullen and saturnine self.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith, Albion, Michigan
Saucy - Impertinent; impudent.She was a saucy wench, and I readily imagined the piquant delights of living with her quick wits for the rest of my years.
Word submitted by: A. Miller
Schadenfreude - (SHA den froy duh. A noun borrowed shamelessly from German.) Pleasure or satisfaction derived from someone else's misfortune.Those of us who weathered the barbs of Spiro Agnew were treated to an exquisite taste of schadenfreude at his downfall.
Word submitted by: BC
Scintilla - A very, very small amount.There was not a scintilla of evidence to support the allegation of perjury.
Word submitted by: Bob Toohey, Troy, MI, United States
Scrofulous - Morally degenerate; corrupt.The governor is a typically scrofulous Illinois politician.
Word submitted by: Evan McKenzie, Chicago, IL, USA
Scuttle (verb) - A versatile verb meaning to sink a ship or boat deliberately; to sink figuratively, as to scuttle a project; or to scurry.In 1939, the Germans scuttled the pocket battleship "Graf Spee" to keep the British from capturing her. ... OR ... When we turned on the light, mice scuttled under the furniture.
Word submitted by: Allison
Sententious (senˈtenCHəs) - Given to moralizing in a pompous or affected manner.Each time I ended up in trouble, I endured a sententious lecture from the principal, who saw himself as some sort of guru appointed to keep me on track.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Detroit, MI, USA
Sesquipedalian (ses-kwə-pə-dāl-yən) - Having many syllables. The article's collection of sesquipedalian words couldn't hide the columnist's empty thoughts.
Word submitted by: CW , Ann Arbor, MI
Sibilance - Producing a hissing sound, like that of "s" or "sh."..."the tinkle of the bells, the immediate sibilance of rubber heels and starched skirts, the querulous murmur of voices..." (William Faulkner, "The Wild Palms")
Word submitted by: BC
Sinecure - A position or commission that requires little or no work or real responsibility but still receives payment. Edmund deserved to be fired, but his uncle was CEO and gave him a sinecure in the mailroom instead.
Word submitted by: Archie Velarde, Ojo Sarco, NM, USA
Skedaddle - To run away; flee.The children had to skedaddle from the old man's lawn when he yelled at them.
Word submitted by: Trent Emery, Olney, MD, United States
Skullduggery (skuhl-duhg-uh-ree) - Underhanded or unscrupulous behavior. Trickery.The most successful political strategists often are those adept at skullduggery.
Slubberdegullion (slʌbədɪˈɡʌlɪən) - A dirty rascal. An army of slubberdegullions sat around the bar, slobbering and babbling.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, MI, usa
Slumgullion (sləmˈgəlyən) - A cheap or insubstantial stew.He was hungry enough to devour a steak the size of a steering wheel. But payday was still over a week off, so he settled for a bowl of slumgullion at a dive bar down the road.
Word submitted by: Gary L. McBryde, Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Smarmy - Overly, even unbearably, ingratiating. Unctuous.I couldn't talk any longer to the smarmy jerk trying to sell me a car.
Word submitted by: Bill Van Dien, Oshtemo, MI
Smashing - 1. Impressive, marvelous or very effective. 2. Devastating or crushing.Through a smashing bit of swordplay, Errol dealt his opponent in epee a smashing defeat.
Word submitted by: bfc
Sophistry - A plausible but fallacious or misleading argument. "Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction and division of society." (John Adams, second U.S. president)
Word submitted by: Kathleen Cunningham, Berkley, MI, United States
Spatchcock - To dress, split and butterfly a fowl for roasting or grilling.This year Mom spatchcocked her Thanksgiving turkey and cooked it in half the usual time. By the end of the Lions game, Brian had drunk so much that he was laid out like he'd been spatchcocked, too.
Word submitted by: BC
Specious - Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious or at best not serious.His argument was convincing, but most of us knew -- as he did -- that it was specious.
Word submitted by: Dave Neff, Poulsbo, WA
Spurious - False. Specious.Her claim to be a genie was spurious and she knew it.
Word submitted by: Joshua Sille, Detroit, MI , USA
Squabble (skw-bəl) - A noisy altercation or quarrel usually over petty matters. When she heard him get into a squabble with his friends over "Star Trek" trivia, Kim knew it was time to find a new boyfriend.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI
Stygian - Exceedingly dark and gloomy; hellish. From the Styx, the mythological river boundary between Earth and Hades.The blackness that enveloped Bert and Ernie when the lantern went out was so stygian and oppressive that it threw them into a panic.
Word submitted by: BC
Subtopia (səbˈtōpēə) - Monotonous urban sprawl of standardized buildings.As the city grew outward, our charming small town became a subtopia overrun with franchise pharmacies and strip malls.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
Supercilious - Contemptuous, arrogant or condescending.I knew I was about to go into the tank socially when I noticed the supercilious way she looked at my red shoes.
Word submitted by: Woof
Superfluous - More than enough. Unecessary. Extraneous. Redundant.I edited her narrative down to 240 words just by removing the superfluous twaddle.
Word submitted by: Raymond A Johnson, Nanchang, Jiangxi, Peoples Republic of China
Surfeit - Excess; overabundance.Edmund lived on an attractive street, but a surfeit of yappy dogs in surrounding yards almost drove him crazy.
Word submitted by: BC
Susurrus - A murmuring or whispering sound. A classic example of onomatopoeia, from the Latin for "whisper."As Alice sat by the window with her gin and tonic, she could hear the comforting susurrus of the sea far away.
Word submitted by: Fred
Swivet - A state of nervous excitement or extreme agitation.We'd worked ourselves into such a swivet over the proposed staff cuts that it was almost a letdown when they failed to materialize.
Word submitted by: Lindsey
Sycophant - Someone who seeks personal advantage by excessively trying to please someone else. Toady; brown-noser; suck-up."Princes were always at the mercy of others and ready to lend their ears to sycophants." (Mohandas K. Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian political and spiritual leader)
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Sylph (silf) - A mythical being like a sprite or fairy. She caught his eye from across the ballroom, moving like a sylph as she greeted the guests.
Word submitted by: Daniel Harrington
Taciturn - Habitually silent or reserved; reticent, uncommunicative. The prime minister was quite taciturn in today's meeting, obscuring the emotional turmoil we knew he was feeling.
Word submitted by: Karl Vatzlavik, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Temerity - Reckless boldness; audacity.Hermione talked back to Professor Snape with what the Slytherins called cheekiness, but the Gryffindors took pride in her temerity.
Word submitted by: Kelsey, Galesburg, IL, USA
Termagant - A quarrelsome, overbearing woman; a shrew.She was the perfect termagant, slamming her fried chicken on the table and squabbling with her husband all through dinner.
Word submitted by: Allison, Detroit, MI
Thrall - Slavery; servitude.Better to live free than be in thrall to an overbearing master -- or any sort of master, for that matter!
Word submitted by: Sonny Lacey, Dallas, Texas, USA
Tomfoolery - A silly act, matter, or thing; foolish or silly behavior. "Stop this tomfoolery!" Mrs. Baldwin yelled, but her students continued to fill the air with paper airplanes.
Word submitted by: Katharine Wright, Bellaire, TX, USA
Toothsome (tth-səm) - Agreeable, attractive. Looking at their old wedding pictures, Jack discovered his parents weren't always the chubby, badly dressed embarrassments he felt they were. They actually made a rather toothsome couple.
Word submitted by: Chris Williams, Ann Arbor, MI
Tout de suite - Right away; immediately.Morris, if you don't stop tormenting your sister and come inside tout de suite, there's going to be big trouble.
Word submitted by: David Good
Tractable - Easily controlled, managed or led."As long as the King of France treats me gently he will find me as gentle and tractable as he can desire; but if he be rough, I shall take the trouble to be just as troublesome and offensive to him as I can." Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1533-1603)
Word submitted by: BC
Transmogrify - To change completely, often grotesquely, in appearance and form.So Gregor drifted off to sleep, never dreaming he was in a Kafka story and would transmogrify into a hideous insect overnight.
Word submitted by: Michele Moser
Tripe - Forget that old first definition; the second is more useful: Rubbish; junk; something tawdry or worthless. Phil was appalled at the souvenir stands, fast-food joints and other tripe that blocked his view of the ocean.
Word submitted by: BC
Troglodyte - Literally, a cave-dweller. More frequently, a backward, mentally sluggish person. Emily felt she could have saved the company if only the troglodytes in management had taken her advice.
Word submitted by: michelle moser
Truckle - To submit obsequiously; be subservient; kowtow.When I'm in the presence of a powerful person, my own concept of equality gets blurry and I have a regrettable tendency to truckle, if only to be polite. (Ian Frazier, "Travels in Siberia," 2010)
Word submitted by: BC
Truculent - Savage; pugnacious; ferocious; brutally harsh; defiant.Alex's astonishingly truculent response to my mild reproof made me think he might be nursing some secret grudge.
Word submitted by: Fred Mims, Greenville, SC
Turgidity - Excessively ornate or (more likely) pompous and overblown language.Readers of many Internet blogs are subjected to considerable turgidity.
Word submitted by: Tim
Twaddle (twdl) - Trivial or foolish speech or writing; nonsense.Max sighed as he turned to the paper's editorial page, where his father had submitted another rambling piece of twaddle espousing his political views.
Word submitted by: Christopher Williams, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Twee - Excessively cute; nice to the point of being saccharine.The Teletubbies are somewhat more twee than I can bear.
Word submitted by: Lannis Smith
Tyro - A beginner in learning; a novice.To Beth's everlasting amusement, John had been a perfect tyro at seduction.
Word submitted by: Michael Davis, Portland, Or, United States
Unctuous - Oily or greasy; unpleasantly polite and insincerely earnest.The mediator was so unctuous that both sides found him impossible to work with.
Word submitted by: Liza Lagman Sperl, Harper Woods, MI, USA
Unexpurgated - Unedited; without deletions.I prefer the unexpurgated edition of the movie; it's longer but more exciting.
Word submitted by: Ray Vincent, Rodenbach, Germany
Usuriously - To an exorbitant degree. Adverb form of usurious, or "excessively immoderate."Some people think gasoline prices in the Atlanta area have stayed usuriously high.
Word submitted by: Scott Johnson, Atlanta, GA, USA
Uxorious - Excessively devoted or submissive to one's wife.Bill was so uxorious that he never got to play poker with us on the weekends.
Word submitted by: Dara Koozekanani
Vacuous - Lacking in intelligence or ideas. Devoid of meaning."Television was not invented to make human beings vacuous, but is an emanation of their vacuity." (Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist, 1903-1990)
Word submitted by: Gregory Gruse, Brookeville, MD, USA
Vapid - Not lively or interesting. Dull or boring.After a long day at the office, Tom didn't want to read anything overly taxing or deep; he was happy to settle for vapid reality TV.
Word submitted by: Christopher Williams, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Venal - Capable of being bought; open to bribery, especially as a violation of trust. In my hometown it was generally accepted that the city council was made up of venal men whose votes and influence were available to the highest bidder.
Word submitted by: dgood
Verisimilitude - The appearance or quality of being true or real.Though winsome and fascinating, the legend of King Arthur lacks historical verisimilitude.
Word submitted by: Ian Hamill, Des Moines, Iowa, United States
Vestigial - A visible sign or trace remaining after something more important has disappeared. 2. In biology, surviving in a degenerate, atrophied or imperfect form.She occasionally glimpsed vestigial remnants of the grand Detroit that used to be. ... OR ... Some primitive snakes still bear signs of vestigial limbs.
Word submitted by: Karen Tonso
Vex - To make someone feel annoyed, frustrated or worried, especially with trivial matters.I'm fairly sure the process at the DMV was designed to vex even the most saintly of people.
Word submitted by: CW, Livonia, MI
Vicissitudes (Vi siss' i toodz) - Changes, especially in life circumstances or fortunes; changes as a natural process. Usually seen as plural.It takes a strong love indeed to weather the inherent vicissitudes of life.
Word submitted by: Michael
Visceral - Instinctive, as opposed to rational, like a "gut feeling." From the Latin "viscera," for internal organs.She felt an almost visceral obligation to help the homeless.
Word submitted by: Michael Occhipinti, Commerce Twp., MI, USA
Vituperative (vəˈt(y)o͞opəˌrātiv) - Bitter and abusive.What began as a cordial political discussion soon gave way to vituperative attacks on my character.
Word submitted by: CW, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Vociferous - Clamorous; loud; making or given to noisy outcries.Unfortunately, the victory celebration turned into a field day for vociferous, boisterous slobs.
Word submitted by: Michael K Lawson, Taylor, Michigan, United States of America
Vulpine (ˈvəlˌpīn) - Crafty, cunning. The salesman turned around, a vulpine gleam in his eye, and I could almost hear my bank account deflate.
Word submitted by: Ailin, San Jose, CA, USA
Weltschmerz - The melancholy feeling when you realize that life and the world will never be what you'd like it to be. Once described as the inherent sadness of mortality. Brian's long bouts of weltschmerz made him think he was a romantic poet, but most people just thought he was depressed.
Word submitted by: b
Willowy - Tall, slender and graceful.Willowy, well-dressed and smiling radiantly, Gisele caught everyone's attention as she entered the room.
Word submitted by: Dur Hutchinson, Monroe, Michigan, USA
Winkle - As a verb, to pry out or extract something. As in pulling the snail from a periwinkle.Ross showed no inclination to leave his seat next to Beth, but Jeremy was determined to winkle him out of that chair one way or another.
Word submitted by: Rex
Winsome - Innocently charming, engaging, appealing. "To the fancy there is nothing so winsome as a white sail seaward blown, unless it be a white sail homeward bound..." (From the novel "Ben Hur," by Lew Wallace)
Word submitted by: Joel Lorenz
Wont - Someone's usual way of doing things; accustomed.He's wont to use a three-syllable word when a one-syllable word would suffice. ... OR ... As was her wont, she barged right in on the meeting.
Word submitted by: Patrick M. Downey, Novi, Mi, USA
Woolgathering - Idle daydreaming.I told my boss I was being creative while staring out the window -- but I was only woolgathering, my mind a perfect vacuum.
Word submitted by: Brittney Dalton, Lynchburg, VA
Yclept - Named or so-called.Archie MacDonald's mysterious client, yclept Miss Braun, paid his retainer with gold Double Eagle coins.
Word submitted by: John Thomas, Sevierville, TN, USA
Zaftig - Pleasingly plump; alluringly well-proportioned. ... Another happy contribution of Yiddish to English.Super-models aren't my type; I prefer someone a bit more zaftig, like Renee Zellweger in "Bridget Jones."
Word submitted by: bc