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.

  • Abate

    Become less intense or widespread.

    After an hour in the cellar, we breathed easier as the sound of the wind began to abate.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Mi , United States

  • Abecedarian

    A beginner, neophyte.

    I wanted to join the school chess team, but soon realized I was an abecedarian when compared to the current members.

    Word submitted by: Marty Thaeler

  • Abominable

    Loathsome, odious or detestable.

    Jennifer's neglect of her pets was abominable and inexcusable.


  • Abrade

    To rub or wear away, especially by friction.

    He paced his office relentlessly when making a decision, abrading the carpet with the soles of his shoes over the course of a decade.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Absquatulate

    To discreetly leave a gathering or party without informing the host.

    At the party, I made such a fool of myself that I felt it was best to absquatulate after a half hour.

    Word submitted by: Roger Johnson , Whangarei , Nortland , New Zealand

  • Abstruse

    Difficult to understand; obscure.

    He looked through the ancient book, trying to make sense of its abstruse wording and concepts.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • Acedia

    Spiritual or mental sloth; apathy.

    When she broke up with him, he fell into a state of acedia and didn't leave the apartment for two months.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Addle

    Make unable to think clearly; confuse.

    Being in love addled the young man, causing him to rethink every belief he'd ever held on the subject.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Adroit

    Clever or skillful in using the hands or mind.

    Our financial planner was adroit at steering us around tax laws and finding loopholes as we started our business.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Affray

    An instance of fighting in a public place that disturbs the peace.

    It began in the bar, but the affray soon took the brawlers into the crowded streets.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Agelast

    One who never laughs.

    He was a sour old man, an agelast who hadn't cracked a smile in decades.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Aglifft

    Frightened or alarmed.

    Despite his boasts, Fred spent the entire film aglifft, at one point tossing his popcorn into the air in alarm.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Agog

    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

  • Alacrity

    Brisk and cheerful readiness.

    The young intern burst through the door, brimming with alacrity.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Alight

    To leave a conveyance such as a bus or taxi.

    I will alight at the next stop.

    Word submitted by: Beatrice Castillo , Port Huron , MI , United States

  • Amble

    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

  • Anagapesis

    Loss of feelings for someone who was formerly loved.

    They sat in silence in their usual coffee shop, the anagapesis growing as their drinks cooled.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • Anathema

    Something or someone that one vehemently dislikes.

    Supporting such a vile, bigoted candidate was anathema to the young voter.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • Anecdoche

    A conversation in which everyone is talking, but no one is listening.

    What started as a civil debate turned into a deafening anecdoche, in which every person believed they possessed the ideal solution.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams

  • Anfractuous

    Indirect and containing bends, turns or winds; circuitous.

    The road used to reach the castle was anfractuous.

    Word submitted by: Viola Green

  • Anhedonia

    Inability to feel pleasure.

    Despite the fact that he was sitting on the beach in the middle of summer, a crippling anhedonia overtook John, making him yearn for a quiet bedroom to pass the day in alone.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Animadversion

    Criticism or censure.

    Every remark she made was an animadversion over the way he'd done his job.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Anodyne

    Not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.

    Tim rolled his eyes as his wife read the latest anodyne essay from "Chicken Soup for the Soul."

    Word submitted by: CW

  • 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

  • Anterior

    Coming before in time; earlier.

    The fossil was from an era anterior to the appearance of man.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Antithetical


    Despite a cultural obsession with acquisition, objective poverty and happiness are not antithetical.

    Word submitted by: PC

  • Aphorism

    A pithy observation that contains a general truth.

    Grandpa always had an aphorism at the ready to help me navigate life's dilemmas.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • 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

  • Apostate

    A person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle.

    The day his church outlawed drinking was the day Jim became an apostate.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Apothecary

    A person who prepared and sold medicines and drugs.

    His child's cough echoing into the night, the settler rode off on his steed to summon the local apothecary.

    Word submitted by: Cheryl Anne Graham , Langley , British Columbia , Canada

  • Apotheosis

    The highest point in the development of something; culmination or climax.

    His keynote speech was the apotheosis of his career.

    Word submitted by: Shala Nicely , Kennesaw , GA , USA

  • Appetency

    A fixed and strong desire.

    The film had such strong product placement that John found himself with an inexplicable appetency for fast food, which he normally avoided.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , 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 , Taylor , Michigan , United States of America

  • Apricate

    To sunbathe or bask in the sun.

    He took advantage of the summer day, apricating by the pool for most of the afternoon.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • 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

  • Arcane

    Understood by few; mysterious or secret.

    Semiotics is an arcane theory often touted as the science of imagery.

    Word submitted by: Terence Collins , Farnborough , Hampshire , England

  • 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. , Miami , Florida , US

  • Arriviste

    An ambitious or ruthlessly self-seeking person, especially one who has recently acquired wealth or social status.

    The young arriviste combed the newspaper looking for stories lauding his success and trumpeting his enemies' failures.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • Arrogate

    Take or claim (something) without justification.

    Within five minutes of meeting the members of his project team, he arrogated leadership and began barking orders.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • 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

  • Athanasia

    Deathlessness; immortality.

    The potion granted athanasia to whoever drank it.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • August

    Respected and impressive.

    He took his seat among the symphony members, proud to be part of such an august institution.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • 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

    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


    I know balderdash; after all, I've heard ... um, who was that governor of Alaska?

    Word submitted by: Kristen Malecki

  • Baleful

    Threatening harm; menacing.

    The dog sat on the porch, greeting all pedestrians with a baleful snarl.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Ballyhoo

    Extravagant publicity or fuss

    Despite 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

  • Bathetic

    Producing an unintentional effect of anticlimax.

    The opening bars of the recital were glorious, but introducing a kazoo solo was a bathetic effort.

    Word submitted by: Simon lowe , BOSTON , Lincolnshire , UK

  • 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

  • Bestride

    Stand astride over; span or straddle.

    He bestrode the gap between the river, lifting the child over so his shoes wouldn't get wet.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Betrothed

    The person to whom one is engaged.

    The father and mother came into the room and gave the betrothed couple their blessing.

    Word submitted by: Lawrence Ferrara , Cambridge , MA , United States

  • 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

  • Bildungsroman

    A novel dealing with one person's formative years or spiritual education.

    The bildungsroman covers the hero's high school journey as he discovers who he is and finds the courage to face life's challenges.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Bilious

    Spiteful; bad-tempered.

    He was in a bilious mood, given that it was Monday morning and he hadn't yet had his coffee.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Blatherskite

    A person who talks at great length without making much sense.

    The cable TV commentator was a blatherskite who produced 30 minutes of angry nonsense each night.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Blatteroon

    A senseless babbler or boaster.

    The bartender groaned at the string of nonsense coming from the blatteroon in the corner; he could cut off his drinks, but the man was stone-cold sober.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Blithe

    Showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous or improper.

    His blithe attitude toward the police officer did not help him escape a ticket.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • Blithering

    Senselessly talkative, babbling; used chiefly as an intensive to express annoyance or contempt.

    His Facebook posts were the confused ramblings of a blithering fool.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • 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

  • Boisterous

    Noisy, energetic, and cheerful; rowdy.

    The kindergarten class was particularly boisterous on this, the last Friday of the school year.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • Bombinate

    Buzz; hum.

    A fly bombinated in the corner of the sun porch, making it hard for Tom to relax.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Bonhomie

    Cheerful friendliness; geniality.

    He brimmed with bonhomie, enlivening a room as soon as he entered.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Boondoggle

    Work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.

    When you compare the money the government spent on the project to actual results obtained, it becomes clear that this was a massive boondoggle.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • 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

  • Bowdlerize

    To remove vulgarities from a work, such as a book or play.

    The popular Kidzbop albums present versions of today's radio tunes featuring bowdlerized lyrics so that the young voices are not reciting age-inappropriate acts to their equally young fans.

    Word submitted by: Wells Crandall , Grosse Pointe Farms , MI

  • Brabble

    To squabble.

    An off-handed statement about the actress quickly turned into a vicious brabble about her politics and personal life.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Braggadocio

    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

  • Brio

    Vigor or vivacity of style or performance.

    He showed such brio on karaoke night that his friends wondered why he didn't have an album contract.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Brontide

    A low, muffled sound like distant thunder heard in certain seismic regions, especially along seacoasts and over lakes and thought to be caused by feeble earth tremors.

    He sat watching the water, his dread enhanced by drone of the brontide.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • 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

  • Bruit

    A report or rumor.

    The bruit spread like wildfire and destroyed the young politician's reputation and political aspirations.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Brusque

    Abrupt or offhand in speech or manner.

    His brusque manner gave him a reputation for coldness and insensitivity.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Bucolic

    Of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.

    Sitting on the subway, surrounded by angry city folk, Jack felt a twinge of longing for his bucolic childhood on the farm.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams

  • Bugbear

    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

  • Bunbury

    To create a fictitious scenario that provides an excuse for avoiding unwanted engagements.

    He declined the invitation to the party by saying he had to help his cousin move, a bunbury he kept in his back pocket even though he hadn't spoken to the relative in decades.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • 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

  • Buoyant

    Cheerful and lighthearted.

    The sunny skies and warm breeze put him in a buoyant mood that afternoon.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Mi , United States

  • Caboodle

    All the things of a group.

    After parsing through all of his baseball cards, he decided to sell the whole caboodle.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Cachinnate

    To laugh loudly.

    The kids were supposed to be in bed, but I could hear them cachinnating down the hall well past midnight.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Cacoethes

    An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable.

    My commitment to weight loss was derailed by my cacoethes to eat the entire pizza.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Callithump

    A noisy or boisterous band or parade.

    It was hard for the bar patrons to talk to each over over the screaming of the callithumps on stage that night.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Callow

    Immature or lacking adult sophistication.

    He is a brilliant neurologist but callow toward his friends and fellow doctors.

    Word submitted by: Iam Shasha , Los Angeles , California , USA

  • 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

  • Canard

    An unfounded rumor or story.

    He sat at the end of the bar, telling an old canard about the haunted hotel down the block.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • 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 , Taylor , Michigan , United States of America

  • Carking

    Causing distress or worry.

    His carking thoughts crept in and kept him awake all night.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Carriwitchet

    A conundrum, nonsensical question or pun.

    He left the kindergarten classroom in a daze, the students' barrage of carriwitchets still echoing in his head.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Caterwaul

    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

  • Cavil

    Make petty or unnecessary objections.

    Tara always cringed when going into a meeting with Margaret, who would likely cavil for hours over every suggestion she brought up.

    Word submitted by: Scott Williams

  • 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

  • Chagrin

    Distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated.

    Much to his chagrin, Jack learned during the spelling bee that he had spelled the word "eleven" wrong his entire life.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Charlatan

    Quack. Imposter.

    This guy claims his anti-aging cream really works, but I think he's just a charlatan.

  • Cheeseparing

    Miserly economizing.

    My father was so accustomed to cheeseparing that rather than turn up the furnace, he'd make us don two layers of clothing and wear coats inside during the winter.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Chortle

    Laugh in a breathy, gleeful way; chuckle.

    He was the king of dad jokes, and chortled at every pun he encountered.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Claptrap

    Absurd or nonsensical talk or ideas.

    His opinion pieces were a rambling, incoherent bit of claptrap.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Clement

    Mild, beautiful weather

    In the midst of winter, I look forward to May, when I can picnic and socialize with friends in clement weather.

    Word submitted by: Meredith Goodwin , Washington , DC , United States

  • 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

  • Coadunation

    The union (as of dissimilar substances) in one body or mass.

    While the ingredients weren't appetizing on their own, mixing them together created a pleasant coadunation that was the hit of the potluck.

    Word submitted by: Michelle Strunge , Detroit

  • Codswallop


    When I asked where he'd been, he fed me a bunch of codswallop about his car's history of problems.

    Word submitted by: Tony Baccala , Detroit , Michigan , US

  • 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

  • Collywobbles

    Intense anxiety or nervousness, especially with stomach queasiness.

    While he was confident in rehearsal, performing before a crowd sent him running to the restroom with a case of the collywobbles.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Comestible

    An item of food.

    I remember Thanksgiving in my youth, when the table sagged under the weight of all the comestibles.

    Word submitted by: Chris W , Livonia

  • Comity

    Courtesy and considerate behavior toward others.

    A woman on the train showed comity by offering her seat to a fellow rider using a cane.

    Word submitted by: Zach Waymer , Chicago , IL , USA

  • Comminuted

    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

  • Compunction

    A feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad.

    He unleashed the flurry of tweets with no compunction about the bile he spewed.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Concinnity

    The skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something.

    As the choir sang in the vast cathedral, I couldn't help but marvel at the concinnity of Handel's "Messiah."

    Word submitted by: Chris Bobbe , Burnsville , NC

  • Concord

    Agreement or harmony between people or groups.

    Despite the disagreements that tore the community apart a generation ago, the townsfolk currently live in concord.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , 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 , Grosse Pointe Woods , MI , United States

  • Confabulate

    Engage in conversation; talk.

    As he walked into the conference's main room, he could hear the hushed murmur of his peers confabulating with one another.

    Word submitted by: Leon FORRESTER , Chicago , IL , USA

  • Confusticate

    To make something unclear or confusing.

    He had a tendency to confusticate the simplest problems.

    Word submitted by: Josiah Foster , Vancouver , WA , 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

  • Consign

    To deliver,assign or send, usually in a decisive, irrevocable manner.

    The disobedient child was consigned to his room for the rest of the afternoon.

    Word submitted by: Dana Charles Farber , San Francisco , CA , USA

  • 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 , Wayland , Michigan , USA

  • Constitutional

    A walk, typically one taken regularly to maintain or restore good health.

    To improve his cardiovascular health, Dennis set out each weeknight for a post-dinner constitutional.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • 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

  • Convivial

    Friendly, sociable and lively.

    "One does not leave a convivial party before closing time." - Winston Churchill

    Word submitted by: Sue Horner , Oakville , ON , Canada

  • Copacetic

    Acceptable. Satisfactory.

    Everything was copacetic until I told the truth.

    Word submitted by: Gene Nunlee , Detroit , MI , USA

  • Copious

    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

    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

  • Coruscate

    (Of light) to flash or sparkle.

    The water was still that afternoon, the sunlight coruscating off what little waves existed.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Courser

    A swift horse.

    Jack came into a small fortune by betting his life savings on an unlikely courser.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Couth

    Cultured, refined and well-mannered.

    Her couth delivery was a relief following the blithering performance of her predecessor.

    Word submitted by: Sonia Olsen , West Bloomfiled , Michigan , USA

  • Crackerjack

    Exceptionally good.

    He avoided being late only because he found a crackerjack cabbie able to get him to the airport in record time.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit , MI

  • 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

    Of, relating to, or resembling twilight.

    Our last night at the farm, we watched the fireflies as the crepuscular rays filtered through the trees.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Mi

  • 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

  • Cumatical

    Blue, like the color of the sea.

    He laid back on the sand and stared out at the placid, cumatical horizon.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Cupidity

    Eager or excessive desire, especially to possess something; greed; avarice.

    Cupidity often leads people to take things that do not belong to them.

    Word submitted by: Jil Bona , Halifax , NS , Canada

  • Curglaff

    The shock felt when one first plunges into cold water.

    He dove into the pool without thinking and the curglaff caused him to shriek when he came up for air.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Cynosure

    A person or thing that is the center of attention or admiration.

    She was the cynosure of every person in the room.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Dally

    Act or move slowly.

    Every morning, my kid dallies until we're in a mad rush to meet the bus.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • Dandle

    Move (a baby or young child) up and down in a playful or affectionate way.

    My niece squeals in delight when I dandle her upon my knee.

    Word submitted by: Michelle Mitchell

  • 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 , Taylor , Michigan , United States of America

  • Dawdle

    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 , dôdl

  • 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

  • Decry

    Publicly denounce.

    In his press conference, the mayor decried the treasurer's actions.

    Word submitted by: Mahdi Hasan Piar , Dhaka , Bangladesh

  • Defenestrate

    To throw out of a window.

    Bob threatened to defenestrate his laptop if it didn't stop eating his data.

  • Degust

    Taste (something) carefully, so as to appreciate it fully.

    He savored the meal, pausing to degust every morsel.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Delectation

    Pleasure and delight.

    I showed up with a box of chocolates for her delectation.

    Word submitted by: Kane Archer , Te Miro , Waikato , New Zealand

  • Denigrate

    Criticize; defame; disparage. cause to seem less serious; play down

    My 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

  • Denouement

    The final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved.

    The film was gripping for 90 minutes and then fell apart at the rushed denouement.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Detroit

  • Derisory

    Ridiculously small or inadequate.

    For the outlandish price that we paid, the restaurant provided derisory servings of food.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Desiderata

    Things that are required or wanted.

    The committee met to discuss the various desiderata of a successful village fete.

    Word submitted by: Simon lowe , BOSTON , Lincolnshire , UK

  • 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

  • Diffident

    Modesty brought on by a lack of self-confidence.

    Gary Cooper's portrayal of a diffident Will Kane in "High Noon" was worthy of his Oscar win.

    Word submitted by: John Owen , Austin , Texas , United States

  • Dight

    Dress, adorn.

    The knight barely had time to dight his armor as he rushed out the door to join the others in the quest.

    Word submitted by: Eidyn Riggs

  • Dilettante

    A person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.

    He was more a dilettante than a critic, able to tell you that a band sounded "cool," but unable to recognize the foundation the music was built on.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • Din

    A loud, unpleasant, and prolonged noise.

    His ears rang from the din of the stadium crowd.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • Dirge

    A mournful song, piece of music or poem.

    He stood at the bar, drink in hand, singing a traditional Irish dirge.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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 , Brighton , MI , usa

  • Disambiguation

    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 , Duluth , GA , United States

  • Discombobulate

    Confuse or upset.

    He was discombobulated by his wife's moodiness.

    Word submitted by: Cynthia Letchman , Birmingham , Alabama

  • Disingenuous

    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

    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

  • Dollop

    A shapeless mass or blob of something, especially soft food.

    He sat down to enjoy a nice steak, grilled asparagus and a baked potato topped with a giant dollop of sour cream.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Doohickey

    A small object or gadget, especially one whose name the speaker does not know or cannot recall.

    The mechanic came out, fiddled about the engine with his doohickey, and then charged me $2,000.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Doughty

    Brave and persistent.

    Despite the obstacles, the doughty explorers kept on and eventually reached the summit.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Dudgeon

    A fit or state of indignation.

    The council member watched as his proposals were rejected one by one and then stormed off in high dudgeon.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Dysania

    The state of finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

    On Mondays, my dysania can cause me to reach for the snooze alarm upwards of five times.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • 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

  • Effulgent

    1. Shining brightly; radiant. 2. (Of a person or their expression) emanating joy or goodness.

    Her beauty was enhanced by her effulgent personality.

    Word submitted by: Tom Rankin , Kamloops , British Columbia , Canada

  • 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. , Davis , California , United States

  • Elan

    Energy, style and enthusiasm.

    The band's performance was filled with elan and kept the audience moving.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , 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


    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

  • Elflock

    Hair matted as if by elves.

    She woke up in the morning with her hair knotted in elflocks.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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: Tomás

  • 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

  • Ensorcelled

    Enchanted or bewitched.

    He was ensorcelled by her delicious twice-baked potatoes.

    Word submitted by: Christine Collins , Laguna Woods , California , United Stayes

  • 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

  • Epigone

    A less distinguished follower or imitator of someone, especially an artist or philosopher.

    Even their most loyal fans knew The Monkees were a silly, manufactured epigone of The Beatles.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Equanimity

    Mental calmness, composure and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

    It will take an extra measure of equanimity to stay the course and reach my goal amid the chaos of these times.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , 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

  • Eucatastrophe

    A sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story; a happy ending.

    No matter how convoluted the story gets, every romantic comedy ends in a eucatastrophe.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Evanescent

    Ephemeral; fleeting.

    The younger you are, the more evanescent your dreams of true love tend to be.

    Word submitted by: Woof

  • Eventide

    The end of the day; evening.

    I sat on the beach at eventide with my wife and kids and realized just how blessed I was.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Eviscerate

    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

  • Excogitate

    Think out, plan or devise.

    The committee sat in the room for hours excogitating a solution.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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) 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

  • Eximious

    Choice, excellent, select or distinguished.

    The bejeweled necklace was an eximious treasure in an already noteworthy collection.

    Word submitted by: Mac Tribolet , Sonoma , California , United States

  • Expergefactor

    Something that wakes you up in the morning.

    The expergefactor chirped incessantly in the morning darkness, causing him to curse daylight saving time.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • Expiation

    The act of making amends or reparation for guilt or wrongdoing; atonement.

    He showed up with a bundle of flowers as expiation, but it wouldn't be enough to get him off the couch at night.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Expunge

    Erase or remove completely (something unwanted or unpleasant).

    After seven years, the multiple traffic tickets he accrued as a teenager were expunged from his record.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Facetious

    Treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.

    Even though his doctor warned him about the risks to his health, he brushed it off with a facetious remark and took no heed.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Facile

    Appearing neat and comprehensive only by ignoring the true complexities of an issue; superficial.

    His facile economic theories were quickly undone by an army of experts pointing out the nuances of reality.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Facinorous

    Atrociously wicked; infamous.

    Hannibal Lecter is one of the most facinorous literary characters of the 20th century.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Factotum

    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

    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

  • Fecund

    Intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree.

    He had a fecund imagination, constantly churning out new books, reports and lectures.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • Felicitous

    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

  • Festinate


    He remembered their anniversary too late and threw together a sloppy and rather festinate celebration at the local Applebee's.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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


    I was captivated by her beauty; she really was quite fetching.

    Word submitted by: Jonathan Day-Reiner , Toronto , ON , Canada

  • Fetid

    Smelling extremely unpleasant.

    They crept into the basement, the fetid odor of mildew and rot growing stronger as they went.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Filch

    To steal secretly or casually.

    While her parents' eyes were on the TV, the toddler crept into the kitchen and filched a cookie.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia

  • Fillip

    Something that acts as a stimulus or a boost to a situation.

    Their win gave a much-needed fillip to the school's athletics team.

    Word submitted by: Helene Tammik , Barcelona , Spain

  • Finagle

    Obtain something by devious or dishonest means.

    Don't ask me how, but I was able to finagle three extra tickets to the concert on Saturday.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Fisticuffs

    A fight with fists.

    What started as a civil debate soon devolved into fisticuffs in the alley.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Flapdoodle


    His talk show was a collection of flapdoodle about politics and conspiracies.

    Word submitted by: CW , Ann Arbor , Mi , USA

  • Fleshment

    Excitement associated with a new beginning.

    Students came to campus today fueled by the fleshment that followed a productive first week.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Floccinaucinihilipilification

    The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.

    "So let me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, be rude about them! Let my indulge in the floccinaucinihilipilification of judges in the European Union." - Jacob Rees-Mogg, British politician, addressing the House of Commons in 2012.

    Word submitted by: Samuel Liese , Auckland , Avondale , New Zealand

  • 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

    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

  • Folderol

    A useless ornament or accessory.

    As she wrote the check to the bridal salon, she wished she could just have a simple wedding without all the folderol.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Foment

    Instigate or stir up (an undesirable or violent sentiment or course of action).

    The politician had a knack for fomenting division and unrest.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams

  • Footle

    Engage in fruitless activity; mess about.

    He footled around the house aimlessly, ignoring the checklist of chores his wife had left on the fridge.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Foozle

    To fumble, bungle or make a mess of.

    I thought that I had the skills to complete that exercise, but instead I completely foozled the whole thing.

    Word submitted by: Tom Duszynski , Troy , Michigan , Oakland

  • Fortnight

    Two weeks.

    When I resign, I have to submit a fortnight's notice.

    Word submitted by: Derek L. , Emporia , VA

  • Fractious

    Cranky. Unruly. Peevish.

    He is an incorrigibly fractious individual, but he has a certain undeniable charm.

    Word submitted by: Diane K , California , MO , USA

  • Frangible

    Fragile; brittle.

    He picked up the frangible remains of the stained-glass display, which promptly fell apart in his hands.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Fubsy

    Fat and squat.

    The accountant, a fubsy man whose suit was far too tight, squeezed himself into the tiny booth.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Fudgel

    To pretend to work when in reality one is not doing anything.

    He fudgeled at his desk, a comic book hidden inside his history text.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Fugacious

    Tending to disappear; fleeting.

    It was only now, as he sat on the cusp of a new year, that he realized how fugacious all of those beautiful moments of the past 12 months were.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • 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. , New Orleans , LA , USA

  • Furtive

    Attempting to avoid notice or attention, typically because of guilt or a belief that discovery would lead to trouble; secretive.

    He made a furtive escape, hoping none of his colleagues noticed him as he dashed out to the job interview.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Fustian

    Pompous or pretentious speech or writing.

    His autobiography was a dull fustian that showcased his knowledge but revealed his lack of wisdom.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • Fusty

    Smelling stale, damp, or stuffy.

    A fusty odor seeped out from the door of the pantry.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams

  • 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

  • Gad

    To go around from one place to another in the pursuit of pleasure or entertainment.

    He spent his weekends gadding about town, visiting every pub, theater and party he could find.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Gadabout

    A habitual pleasure-seeker.

    The wealthy gadabout constantly made tabloid headlines, showing up at the best parties and first to partake in the latest cultural happening.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Galumph

    Move in a clumsy, ponderous or noisy manner.

    Tim found it hard to study as his father galumphed down the hallway outside the door, banging groceries against the wall and knocking over a pile of books on an end table.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Gambol

    Run or jump about playfully.

    After a winter cooped inside the house, the kids gambolled around the park for hours to celebrate spring's return.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Garrulous

    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

  • Gasconade

    Boast extravagantly.

    As soon as he received his test scores, he began to gasconade about the results across his social media channels.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Gauche

    Lacking ease or grace; unsophisticated and socially awkward

    His gauche demeanor made Tom stand out like a sore thumb in the crowd of New York socialites.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Detroit

  • 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

  • Gesticulate

    Use gestures, especially dramatic ones, instead of speaking or to emphasize one's words.

    He ran to the side of the road and gesticulated wildly to the oncoming drivers to warn them of the dangers ahead.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • Gewgaw

    A worthless, showy bauble.

    Don't waste your money on such gaudy gewgaws.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Becker , Ann Arbor , Michigan , US

  • 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

  • Gimcrack

    Flimsy or poorly made but deceptively attractive.

    They filled their new house with gimcrack splendor.

    Word submitted by: Tom Greenslade , Newark , Ohio , United States

  • Gleek

    To make a joke; jest.

    He rarely had anything of substance to say and instead spent most of his time gleeking at others' expense.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Glower

    An angry or sullen look.

    The glower on my wife's face as I surveyed the mess left by our toddler informed me that inquiring about her day would only get me in trouble.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Glumpish

    Grumpy, sullen, gloomy.

    The rain of the Monday morning matched his glumpish mood.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Gongoozler

    A person who enjoys watching boats and activities on canals.

    We walked together by the water, mingling among the gongoozlers as the sun set.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Grandiloquent

    Pompous or extravagant in language, style, or manner, especially in a way that is intended to impress.

    His grandiloquent affectations, meant to endear him to the elite, instead made him an object of ridicule.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Groak

    To stare at people who are eating in the hope that they will offer to share their food.

    As the family enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast, the dog groaked from across the room.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Grubble

    To feel or grope in the dark.

    She made her way through the pitch-black kitchen and grubbled at the walls for the light switch.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Grufeling

    To lie close wrapped up and in a comfortable-looking manner; used in ridicule.

    The rest of the family got up and began packing up the rest of the boxes while Jerry lay grufeling in bed, oblivious to their hard work.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Guttle

    To eat or drink greedily and noisily.

    As the man across from her guttled his meal, Sabrina knew the blind date had been a mistake.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Haberdasher

    A dealer in men's clothing.

    Five minutes after receiving the job offer, John visited his haberdasher to buy a new suit.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Harangue

    Lecture (someone) at length in an aggressive and critical manner.

    Karen was left somewhat flushed in the face after haranguing the office junior for repeatedly using her designated parking space.

    Word submitted by: Simon Lowe , Boston , Lincolnshire , United Kingdom

  • Harbinger

    A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another; something that foreshadows a future event.

    A breeze cut across the landscape, a harbinger of the approaching change in seasons.

    Word submitted by: Nael F. , Minneapolis , Minnesota , USA

  • 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

  • Haughty

    Arrogantly superior and disdainful.

    As he entered the club, Tyler shot those behind the velvet ropes a haughty look and tipped the brim on his fedora.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

    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.

  • Hirsute


    The cliche of manliness, he lumbered into the room clutching a bottle of beer, his hirsute chest peeking out from a flannel shirt that was only partially buttoned.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Honeyfuggle

    To ingratiate or seek to ingratiate oneself so as to cheat or deceive.

    He honeyfuggled the judges, lavishing compliments until he walked away with the competition.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Hootenanny

    An informal gathering with folk music and sometimes dancing.

    When we went back to the family farm and my uncle picked up the guitar, our holiday gatherings turned into lively hootenannies.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • 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

  • Houppelande

    A loose belted overgown of the 14th and 15th centuries usually with long wide sleeves, dagged edges, a fur lining, and full-length skirt often with slits in it.

    She toiled over her homemade houppelande for months, proudly debuting it at the Renaissance faire to the admiration of her friends.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Humdudgeon

    An imaginary illness or pain.

    After searching the internet for symptoms, he walked away with a dozen more humdudgeons.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Hurkle-durkle

    To lounge in bed long after it's time to get up.

    Even though he set four alarms, John still hurkle-durkled until his carpool driver knocked on his door.

    Word submitted by: Valerie Groszmann , Kalamazoo , MI , USA

  • 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

    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

  • Ignoble

    Not honorable in character or purpose.

    He felt the ignoble sting of jealousy when he saw the two together.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Ignominious

    Shameful or disgraceful.

    The Rams were stunned that they went down to such an ignominious defeat.

    Word submitted by: Catherine Nardi

  • Illecebrous

    Alluring; attractive; enticing.

    She sat at the end of the bar, illecebrous even in the smoky, neon haze.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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; serene

    Tom managed to remain imperturbable even though the conversation was about politics!

    Word submitted by: margie suchyta , royal oak , mi , usa

  • Incorporeal

    Not composed of matter; having no material existence

    He 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 , Niterói , RJ , Brasil

  • Inculcate

    Instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction.

    Liturgy inculcates a spirit of worship and devotion in parishioners.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Indecorous

    (1) Lacking propriety in manners and conduct; (2) Not in accord with accepted standards of appropriate behavior polite society

    Noticing 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

    Tireless; endlessly persistent.

    The English privateer Francis Drake was indefatigable in his pursuit of Spanish gold.

    Word submitted by: Woof

  • Indelible

    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

    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

  • Ineffable

    Indescribable; inexpressible.

    His description of the event was an ineffable muddle.

    Word submitted by: Peter , Jacksonville , FL , USA

  • 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


    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

  • Insolent

    Insulting, caustic, acerbic and disrespectful.

    He found himself strangely attracted to her pert demeanor and insolent wit.

    Word submitted by: G. DiFonzo

  • Insouciance

    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 , Glastonbury , Connecticut , US

  • Insuperable

    Impossible to overcome.

    He never considered an obstacle insuperable; if a mountain were in his path, he'd simply learn to climb.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI , USA

  • Intelligentsia

    The intellectual elite.

    Contrary to ages past, the intelligentsia no longer rule the United States.

    Word submitted by: Joseph R. , 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

  • Interminable

    Endless (often used hyperbolically).

    The meeting was an interminable marathon of pointless PowerPoint slides and insipid anecdotes.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Internecine

    Destructive to both sides in a conflict.

    The internecine strife left heavy casualties throughout the civil war-torn region.

    Word submitted by: John Nemecek

  • 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

    Insulting, abusive or highly critical language

    While 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

  • Jackanapes

    An impudent or conceited fellow.

    Mr. Hughes had his neighbor's son pegged as a disrespectful jackanapes and was therefore reluctant to hire him to shovel the driveway.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Jalopy

    An automobile that is in a decrepit state.

    He drove up in the ugliest old green jalopy I have ever seen.

    Word submitted by: Mark Dyer , Sykesville , MD , USA

  • Jape

    A practical joke.

    He was uptight and couldn't handle his friends' good-natured japes.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Mi , United States

  • Jargogle

    To jumble or confuse.

    He threw the book down, jargogled by the nonsense words and endless sentences.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Jaunt

    A short excursion or journey for pleasure.

    The long weekend allowed just enough time for a jaunt through the Upper Peninsula.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Jentacular

    Of or pertaining to a breakfast taken early in the morning or immediately on getting up.

    I took a post-jentacular walk to aid my digestion.

    Word submitted by: Jennifer Newton - Paul , Coningsby , Lincolnshire , United Kingdom

  • 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

  • Jettison

    Abandon or discard (someone or something that is no longer wanted).

    My first positive action after my ex moved out was to jettison the clutter that she had collected.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Raines , San Jose , CA , United States

  • 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

  • Jirble

    To spill (a liquid) by shaking or unsteady moving of the vessel; to pour out unsteadily.

    He ran to the car in a rush, jirbling his coffee from his mug onto his new suit.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Jouska

    A hypothetical conversation that you compulsively play out in your head.

    His commute involved a nerve-jangling series of jouskas as he prepared for the stressors and obstacles that awaited.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Kaffeeklatsch

    An informal social gathering at which coffee is served.

    After the kids got on the bus, the parents headed to the porch for their morning kaffeeklatsch.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Keak

    To cackle or laugh.

    Dad was usually a quiet person, but reading the morning funnies would often cause him to toss back his head and keak loudly, waking us all.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    A roguish or mischievous act.

    His presidency was founded on malice, lies and knavery.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Kyoodle

    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 , 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

    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

  • Lallycodler

    Someone who is particularly good or successful at what they do.

    Throughout school and into his career, he was a lallycodler who shot straight up the ladder of success.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Lament

    A passionate expression of grief or sorrow.

    Tears fell on the keyboard as he penned a lament to the canceled television show.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Languid

    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

  • Languor

    Listless indolence or inertia.

    He knew he should mow the lawn, but the languor of the humid day got the best of him and kept him on the hammock.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Lickpenny

    Something that uses up money.

    The car was a lickpenny, in constant need of repair.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Lickspittle

    A fawning subordinate; toady.

    He feigned objectivity but was little more than a lickspittle for the CEO.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Lissome

    Thin, supple and graceful.

    She was enraptured with ballet from the moment she saw the lissome dancers glide across the stage.

    Word submitted by: George Slade

  • Littoral

    Relating to or situated on the shore of the sea or a lake.

    We drove along Michigan's west coast, passing a variety of littoral towns and villages.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Loggy

    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

  • Logorrhea

    Excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness.

    Internet blogs and podcasts foster logorrhea from effusive writers and speakers, who lay waste to years of schooling that encouraged brevity.

    Word submitted by: Wells Crandall , Grosse Pointe Farms , 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

    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 , 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

  • Lucre

    Money, especially when regarded as sordid or distasteful or gained in a dishonorable way.

    He didn't care about his clients, only the filthy lucre that helped pay for his beach house.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Luculent

    Clear in thought or expression.

    The interviewee was luculent and personable.

    Word submitted by: Alexander Morgan

  • Ludibrious

    Ridiculous; worthy of mockery.

    The outfit he wore to their first date was so ludibrious that she couldn't hold back her laughter.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • 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

  • Lummox

    A clumsy, stupid person.

    The big lummox barged into the museum, spilling his drink, bumping into the crowds and nearly knocking a priceless sculpture to the ground.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Machination

    Plot or scheme.

    His clever machinations helped him ascend to the highest levels of power.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Magiric

    Of or related to cooking.

    A decade earlier, he could only make ramen noodles; now, his magiric skills had everyone in the neighborhood hoping for an invite to his dinner parties.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Magnanimous

    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

  • Malagrugrous


    He stepped outside into the malagrugrous weather, pulling his collar up to shield himself from the rain and cold.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Malapert

    Boldly disrespectful to a person of higher standing.

    He had skill, but his malapert behavior put him at odds with executives and prohibited any chance of promotion.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Malediction

    A magical word or phrase uttered with the intention of bringing about evil or destruction; a curse.

    Perhaps spurred on by reading too many Harry Potter books, the young boy grumbled a malediction at his siblings as he trudged down the hallway.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Maleolent

    Foul-smelling, odorous.

    The restaurant was set at the end of the street, likely to shield the community from the maleolent fog that wafted from its kitchen.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • 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

    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. , Detroit , MI

  • Melange

    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

    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

    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

  • Meritorious

    Deserving of reward or praise.

    Despite his gruff exterior, Phil had been recognized several times for his meritorious work with the less fortunate.

    Word submitted by: Steve Fuentes , Queens , NY

  • Methinks

    It seems to me.

    My parents' generation, methinks, largely failed to see the value in life without money.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Miasma

    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

    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

  • Mogshade

    The shadow cast by trees.

    We enjoyed our ice cream while sitting in the cool of the mogshade.

    Word submitted by: Karla Strambini , Black Hill, Ballarat , Victoria , Australia

  • 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

    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

  • Monsterful

    Marvelous, extraordinary.

    The audience gave a rousing standing ovation to the cast after the monsterful performance.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Mordant

    (Especially of humor) having or showing a sharp or critical quality; biting.

    He fell in with a group of writers known for their high-brow interests and mordant wit.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Mottle

    Mark with spots or smears of color.

    She walked in to find her toddler on the floor, the formerly white wall mottled with orange and yellow paint.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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

  • Muddle

    Bring into a disordered or confusing state.

    The speaker got the facts right, but muddled the message with his delivery.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Mugwump

    A person who remains aloof or independent, especially from party politics.

    Ever the mugwump, John refused to take a side in the partisan bickering that divided his office.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • Mullock

    Rubbish, refuse, dirt.

    As he dug through the pile of mullock, Todd cursed himself for once again throwing his keys away.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Mumpish

    Sullen; sulky.

    The cheery kid turned into a mumpish adolescent about the time he hit middle school.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Mumpsimus

    A traditional custom or notion adhered to although shown to be unreasonable.

    He grumbled as he put on his suit and tie, a mumpsimus the company required even though he never met with any clients face to face.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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

  • Nebbish

    A timid, meek, or ineffectual person.

    He was a nebbish who never spoke up and never moved out of his parents' guest room.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Neophyte

    A person who is new to a subject, skill or belief.

    Ever the neophyte, he displayed passion that compensated for his mistakes.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Nettle

    Irritate or annoy (someone).

    The constant buzzing from the air conditioner nettled Isaac as he tried to write the letter.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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.

  • Noodge

    Pester or nag.

    His son continued to noodge him about signing up for football, but he still forgot the deadline.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Nugatory

    Of no value or importance.

    He rambled on for hours, his big words masking the nugatory contribution he made to the debate.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Obambulate

    To walk about.

    During our vacation, my wife and I would wake up early and obambulate around the empty beach.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • 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

    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. , 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.

  • Oeuvre

    The works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively.

    Charles Dickens' oeuvre contains some of literature's most beloved characters.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • 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

  • Opsimath

    A person who begins to learn or study only late in life.

    Uninterested in anything intellectual for most of his life, my father turned into an opsimath after retirement, attending lectures and always carrying a book.

    Word submitted by: Henry J , Houston , Texas , United States

  • Orgulous

    Haughty, proud.

    The king walked out among the crowd, looking orgulous and regal in his fine robes.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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

  • Otiose

    Serving no practical purpose or result.

    He asked for suggestions but was met by the otiose ramblings of his disinterested peers.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Overmighty

    Domineering, imperious, condescending, assertive. Prone to take advantage of power.

    The overmighty zoning officers dismissed the complaint with insulting condescension.

    Word submitted by: Norman Carlson , Jamestown , New York , USA

  • 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

  • Palilogy

    The use of repetition to create emphasis.

    When the aspiring writer was asked why he repeated words so often in his project, he simply responded, "Palilogy, palilogy!"

    Word submitted by: Bob Sadowski , Grand Rapids , MI , USA

  • 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

  • Palliate

    Disguise the seriousness or gravity of (an offense).

    He searched for an excuse, but there was no way to palliate what had happened.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams

  • Palooka

    A stupid, uncouth person; a lout.

    The big palooka stumbled into the reception hall, knocking over a glass on a nearby table and looking out of place among the city's elite.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Paralian

    Someone who lives by the sea.

    He escaped the noise of the city, bought a beach house on the Pacific coast and became a paralian.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • 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

  • Paraprosdokian

    Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.

    He was a funny guy, always equipped with a clever paraprosdokian, such as, "Some people are like Slinkies ... not really good for anything, but you can't help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs."

    Word submitted by: Rommel Rebucal , Detroit , MI , Wayne

  • Parget

    Cover (a part of a building, especially an external brick wall) with plaster or mortar that typically bears an ornamental pattern.

    As he began to parget the restaurant's walls, his vision for the establishment came to life before his eyes.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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

  • Parvenue

    A person of obscure origin who has gained wealth, influence or celebrity.

    The young parvenue walked into the glitzy Hollywood club like she'd been there all her life, but no one knew her name a year ago.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Pate

    A person's head.

    After an afternoon of gardening in the hot sun, his bald pate was nearly identical to the tomatoes.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Pawky

    Having a mocking or cynical sense of humor.

    He had a pawky wit that undercut his superiors' self-importance.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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

  • Pellucid

    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

  • Perambulate

    Walk or travel through or around a place or area, especially for pleasure and in a leisurely way.

    She perambulated around the garden, taking her time to study and smell each flower.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • Perdure

    Remain in existence throughout a substantial period of time; endure.

    The myth perdured for centuries, passed down by generations of storytellers.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Peregrination

    A long and winding journey, a wandering.

    He saw many an interesting sight and met all manner of people whilst on his peregrination.

    Word submitted by: Simon Lowe , Boston , Lincolnshire , UK

  • Peremptory

    Insisting on immediate attention or obedience, especially in a brusquely imperious way.

    If we got out of our room once after going to bed, Dad would tell us to get back in there with such peremptory force that we wouldn't even dream of getting up before the sun again.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Perendinate

    To procrastinate a long time, especially two days.

    He received the order a month ago but perendinated on the work until 48 hours before the deadline.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Mi , United States

  • 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

  • Perfunctory

    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

  • 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

  • Personage

    A person (often used to express their significance, importance, or elevated status).

    He was visited by no less a personage than the president.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Petrichor

    A pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

    He walked outside after the storm, the petrichor lifting his spirits as he hiked around the campground.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Pettifogger

    An inferior legal practitioner, especially one who deals with petty cases or employs dubious practices.

    He started with dreams of being a Supreme Court justice but in practice he was just another ambulance-chasing pettifogger.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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. , 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

  • Picaresque

    Relating to an episodic style of fiction dealing with the adventures of a rough and dishonest but appealing hero.

    Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is one of the most picaresque novels ever written.

    Word submitted by: Linda Doll , Strongsville , Ohio , USA

  • 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

    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

    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

    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 , Missouri City , Texas , USA

  • Podsnappery

    An attitude toward life marked by complacency and a refusal to recognize unpleasant facts.

    As the company collapsed around him, the CEO was marked by a frustrating podsnappery, collecting his bonus with a smile.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Mi

  • Poltroon

    An abject coward.

    That poltroon would run from a butterfly.

    Word submitted by: Paul Nadler , Castle Rock , Colorado , USA

  • Polyglot

    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

  • Presage

    A sign or warning that something, typically something bad, will happen; an omen or portent.

    He coughed, which in the movies was a presage of doom.

    Word submitted by: Simon Lowe , BOSTON , Lincolnshire , UK

  • Presentiment

    An intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding.

    The presentiment caused me to bolt from the plane and rent a car instead.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Prevaricate

    Speak or act in an evasive way.

    The politician prevaricated whenever asked about his voting record.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Priggish

    Self-righteously moralistic and superior.

    I walked into the church aware of the priggish deacons casting wary glances at me.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • 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

  • Prognosticate

    Foretell or prophesy a future event.

    Oscar pundits spent the week prognosticating the results of the upcoming telecast.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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 , St. Andrew , Jamaica

  • Puerile

    Childishly silly and trivial.

    When his old buddies came over, Jake transformed from a respected businessman into an overgrown child, giggling at puerile jokes.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , Mi

  • Pugnacious

    Eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight.

    Timid in real life, Dave was surprisingly pugnacious on social media.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Punctilious

    Attention to minute detail; meticulous.

    Bomb squad members must be punctilious in their work.

    Word submitted by: Joseph R. , Bloomfield Hills , MI , USA

  • Purloin

    To appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.

    He used his connections within the organization to purloin a copy of all the passwords to the board's financial accounts.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Putrid

    Of or characteristic of rotting matter.

    The putrid odor hit my nostrils as soon as I opened the garage, a reminder that I had overlooked garbage day again.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • 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 , Taylor , Michigan , United States of America

  • Quaggy

    Resembling a marsh or quagmire; boggy. Yielding, soft, or flabby.

    The rains turned the backyard into a sloppy, quaggy mess.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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

    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

  • Quiescent

    In a state or period of inactivity or dormancy.

    They hiked past the volcano, which had lay quiescent for nearly a century but had recently begun rumbling to life.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Quintessence

    The most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.

    Tom Cruise is the quintessence of the '80s movie star.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Quisling

    A traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country.

    Benedict Arnold is the United States' most infamous quisling.

    Word submitted by: Rebecca S. Corrin , Birmingham , MI , US

  • Quixotic

    Excessively romantic; visionary but unrealistic. Like Cervantes' Don Quixote.

    Many cherished ideals of the 1960s now seem more quixotic than even remotely practical.

  • Quockerwodger

    A politician whose actions are controlled by someone else.

    For most of his time in office, the congressman was simply a quockerwodger acting at the behest of lobbyists.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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 , Taylor , Michigan , United States of America

  • Rancor

    Bitterness or resentfulness, especially when long-standing.

    Soon the nation's peace would be replaced by the rancor of election season.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • Rankle

    Cause annoyance or resentment that persists.

    The more I thought about our fight, the more her petty criticisms rankled me.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Rantipole

    A wild, reckless and sometimes quarrelsome person.

    Their rantipole behavior and constant fighting ruined the party.

    Word submitted by: Andrea James , Houston , TX , United States

  • Rapscallion

    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

  • Rawgabbit

    A person who speaks confidently but ignorantly.

    My social media feed is filled with rawgabbits trying to explain everything from epidemiology to engineering.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Recondite

    (Of a subject or knowledge) little known; abstruse.

    He couldn't pass a history quiz to save his life, but the voracious reader was a repository of facts and recondite information.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Redolent

    Reminiscent or suggestive of, like a scent.

    The distillery was filled with a sweet, almost cloying scent, redolent of the farm silos of my youth.

    Word submitted by: Will Ferguson , Calgary , Canada

  • 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

    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

  • Rizzle

    To relax and digest after consuming a large meal.

    After Thanksgiving dinner, I plopped on the couch and rizzled for several hours.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Ruderal

    A plant growing on waste ground or among refuse.

    The ruderal in the midst of the parking lot was a reminder that life could endure in the most desolate places.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Rumpus

    A noisy, confused or disruptive commotion.

    I entered the daycare, wondering how the teachers held onto their sanity during the daily rumpus.

    Word submitted by: Doug LeMoine , Dubuque , Iowa , United States

  • Saccharine

    Sweet or sentimental in a way that does not seem sincere or genuine.

    My mom was moved by the film, but I found it to be a saccharine mess.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • Sacrosanct

    Sacred; beyond criticism; inviolable.

    Every writer thinks his prose is sacrosanct -- until he meets a really good editor.

    Word submitted by: BC

  • Sagacity

    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

  • Salubrious

    Health-giving; healthy.

    He loved camping; the fresh air and sunshine created a salubrious atmosphere that rejuvenated him after a week in the office.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Salutary

    Producing good effects; beneficial.

    The new drug had a salutary effect on his back pain.

    Word submitted by: Robert Tomsak , Detroit , MI , USA

  • 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

    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

  • Scalawag

    A person who behaves badly but in an amusingly mischievous rather than harmful way; a rascal.

    Bart Simpson may be the most beloved scalawag in the United States.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • 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

  • Scintillating

    Sparkling or shining brightly.

    We sat on the beach, the setting sun giving the water a scintillating shimmer.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , Mi

  • Scrofulous

    Morally degenerate; corrupt.

    The governor is a typically scrofulous Illinois politician.

    Word submitted by: Evan McKenzie , Chicago , IL , USA

  • Scurrilous

    Humorously insulting.

    I loved reading Roger Ebert's scurrilous pans of the movies he hated.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • Scurryfunge

    To hastily tidy a house.

    Upon receiving the call that their parents were due home two hours earlier than planned, the kids scurryfunged in an attempt to hide evidence of their weekend party.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Sea lawyer

    An eloquently and obstinately argumentative person.

    He was one of those mouthy sea lawyers, full of pseudo-intellectual yammer.

    Word submitted by: Peter Mackie , Livonia , MI , USA

  • Sedens

    A person who remains a resident of the place or region of his birth

    She was a sedens of Port Chester who never viewed the spires of a metropolitan skyline.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Selcouth

    Unusual, strange.

    He exited the spaceship, his heart pounding in anticipation of the selcouth wonders awaiting him on the planet.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Mi , United States

  • Sententious

    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

  • Sepulchre

    A small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried.

    The archaeologist was the first person to step inside the sepulchre in two millennia.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Seriatim

    Taking one subject after another in regular order; point by point.

    I will address the issues you raised seriatim.

    Word submitted by: Joshua Broyde , new york city , NY , United States

  • Sesquipedalian

    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

  • Shenanigans

    Secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.

    He sat down on the couch and turned on the television, but noise from the kitchen told him the kids were up to some shenanigans around the cookie jar.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Mi , United States

  • 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

  • Sirenize

    To allure, especially by melodious singing.

    When she took the stage, she sirenized the entire room.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Skinflint

    A person who spends as little money as possible; a miser.

    The old skinflint wore the same ragged, torn coat for years just to avoid buying a new one.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams

  • Skullduggery

    Underhanded or unscrupulous behavior. Trickery.

    The most successful political strategists often are those adept at skullduggery.

  • Slake

    Quench or satisfy (one's thirst).

    The icy water slaked his thirst after the eight-mile hike under the summer sun.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • Slipshod

    (Typically of a person or method of work) characterized by a lack of care, thought, or organization.

    The deck was a slipshod construction that looked like it would crumble the second someone set foot on it.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Slonk

    To swallow greedily.

    He slonked down his spaghetti as if he hadn't had a meal in three years.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Slubberdegullion

    A dirty rascal.

    An army of slubberdegullions sat around the bar, slobbering and babbling.

    Word submitted by: CW , Ann Arbor , MI , usa

  • Slugabed

    A lazy person who stays in bed late.

    He wanted to get up early and exercise, but the slugabed slept past his alarm and woke up five minutes before his exam.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Slumgullion

    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. , 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 , 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

  • Smeuse

    A hole in a hedge or wall.

    The cat stopped at the edge of the yard and then sauntered through the smeuse to see what the neighbors had to offer.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Smur

    A drizzly fog or mist.

    Nothing added to the frustration of a Monday morning like driving through the smur to get to the office.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Snollygoster

    A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.

    The tone of national politics changed when humble public servants were replaced by power-hungry snollygosters.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • Sobriquet

    A person's nickname.

    The curmudgeonly parks director moonlighted as a smooth-talking saxophonist with the sobriquet Duke Silver.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Sockdolager

    Something that settles a matter; a decisive blow or answer.

    On the playground, "I know you are, but what am I" is the ultimate sockdolager to many an argument.

    Word submitted by: Gregory J. , Evansville , Indiana , USA

  • Somnombulant

    Resembling or characteristic of a sleepwalker; sluggish.

    The Monday after Daylight Saving Time began, the office parking lot was filled with somnombulant employees doing their best to lurch to work.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Sonsy

    Having an attractive and healthy appearance.

    He returned from vacation vibrant and sonsy; the time outdoors had done him well.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Sophronize

    To imbue with moral principles or self-control.

    Parents have an obligation to sophronize their children.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • 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

  • Sprauncy

    Smart or showy in appearance; dapper.

    He was known for his gallantry and sprauncy dress.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Spurious

    False. Specious.

    Her claim to be a genie was spurious and she knew it.

    Word submitted by: Joshua Sille , Detroit , MI , USA

  • Spurious

    Not being what it purports to be; false or fake.

    The blogger was known to make spurious claims just to drive up traffic on his site.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Squabble

    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

  • Squalid

    Extremely dirty and unpleasant, especially as a result of poverty or neglect.

    The basement was a squalid mess, with stacks of old magazines and used clothes collecting mold in a corner.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Squelch

    A soft sucking sound made when pressure is applied to liquid or mud.

    They trudged through the woods, the squelch of their boots in the mud the only sound for miles.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Stentorian

    (Of a person's voice) Loud and powerful.

    He took to the podium, puffed out his chest and delivered his speech in a commanding, stentorian baritone.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Stifle

    Restrain (a reaction) or stop oneself acting on (an emotion).

    He peeked at his phone during church and stifled a giggle when he saw his friend's text message.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Stravage

    To roam or wander aimlessly.

    He left the subway station and spent hours stravaging around the city, gawking at the tall buildings and crowds of people.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Stultify

    Cause to lose enthusiasm and initiative, especially as a result of a tedious or restrictive routine.

    The stultifying file work robbed the young intern of the joy she'd shown on the first day.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • 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

  • Stymie

    Prevent or hinder the progress of.

    The rain persisted all week and stymied my attempts to go for a run.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • Suborn

    To induce secretly to do an unlawful thing.

    He suborned the assistant to delete the incriminating files.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Subtopia

    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

  • Succor

    Assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.

    She never hesitated to provide succor to her fellow churchgoers after sickness or funerals.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • Superannuated

    Outmoded, old-fashioned.

    Although he was popular in high school, his sense of style and grasp of trends made him superannuated by the time he hit 30.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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 , 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

  • Sybaritic

    Fond of sensuous luxury or pleasure; self-indulgent.

    As soon as the kids were out of the house, Dan cashed out his savings and had a sybaritic retirement on the Florida coast.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • 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

    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

  • Sylvan

    Consisting of or associated with woods; wooded.

    He stepped out of the tent and breathed deep, taking in the fresh air of the sylvan setting.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Szygy

    The nearly straight-line configuration of three celestial bodies in a gravitational system.

    He stared at the lunar eclipse, a perfect szygy of the sun, Earth and the moon.

    Word submitted by: Terry Moritz , Pasadena , MD , USA

  • 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

  • Taradiddle

    A petty lie.

    Every Monday morning, he was equipped with a new taradiddle about his weekend adventures, even though we knew he spent it on the couch playing video games.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Tergiversate

    Make conflicting or evasive statements; equivocate.

    In the course of three days, the political candidate tergiversated on union workers' rights when addressing different audiences.

    Word submitted by: BJ Ward , Glen Gardner , NJ , United States

  • 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

  • Thunderplump

    A heavy fall of rain during a thunderstorm.

    He'd hoped he could get home before the storm got too bad, but found himself instead jogging through a soggy thunderplump.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Tintinnabulation

    A ringing or tinkling sound.

    As he entered the town, he was greeted by a tintinnabulation from the church bell tower, welcoming him home.

    Word submitted by: George Slade

  • 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

    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

  • Torpid

    Mentally or physically inactive; lethargic.

    The torpid teen sat on the couch shoveling chips into his mouth, his eyes never breaking from Cartoon Network.

    Word submitted by: CW

  • 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

  • Treacle

    Cloying sentimentality or flattery.

    The film was blatant treacle, an attempt to have viewers reaching for tissues every five minutes.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Trenchant

    Vigorous or incisive in expression or style.

    The critic made a trenchant argument for the movie's awfulness.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • Trice

    A brief space of time.

    The squirrel appeared on the lawn and the dog was after it in a trice.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • 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

  • Tumult

    A loud, confused noise, especially one caused by a large mass of people.

    A large tumult rang out, attracting the attention of police and media.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , Michigan , United States

  • Turgidity

    Excessively ornate or (more likely) pompous and overblown language.

    Readers of many Internet blogs are subjected to considerable turgidity.

    Word submitted by: Tim

  • Turpitude

    Depravity, wickedness.

    The trial exposed the public to the turpitude hiding behind his pleasant demeanor.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia

  • Twaddle

    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

  • Twankle

    To twang with the fingers on a musical instrument.

    He sat on he porch as dusk rolled in, twankling an old childhood favorite on the banjo.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , 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

  • Ugsome

    Frightful, loathsome.

    The congressman resigned after his ugsome photos were discovered on Instagram.

    Word submitted by: Ken Goes , South Dartmouth , MA , United States

  • Ultracrepidarian

    Expressing opinions on matters outside the scope of one's knowledge or expertise.

    Many who haven't had kids are too eager to give ultracrepidarian advice to parents.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Umbrage

    A feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult.

    She took umbrage at his snide remarks.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , 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 , 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

  • Usury

    The illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest.

    He made a fortune through usury, while many of his clients lost all they had.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Vainglory

    Excessive or ostentatious pride, especially in one's achievements.

    He was filled with vainglory, constantly reminding everyone of his perfect GPA and lengthy resume.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Vamoose

    Depart hurriedly.

    The neighbor kid always made a point to vamoose before he had to help clean up the mess.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Velleity

    A wish or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

    Greg imagined getting off the couch and running a marathon, but his desire for exercise remained a velleity.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • 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

  • Vesper


    He sat on the porch, took a deep breath and sat in the vesper light.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , 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

    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

  • Victuals

    Food or provisions.

    Before heading off on the hike, they stopped at the general store to stock up on victuals.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

    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 , Taylor , Michigan , United States of America

  • Voracious

    Having a very eager approach to an activity.

    The voracious reader never went anywhere without at least two books to keep him company.

    Word submitted by: CW , Livonia , MI

  • Vulpine

    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

  • Wanton

    (Of a cruel or violent action) deliberate and unprovoked.

    Every day, he had to endure the wanton taunts and threats of the school's bully.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , LIVONIA , MI , United States

  • Warble

    (Of a bird) sing softly and with a succession of constantly changing notes.

    Jake sat on a log and enjoyed the stillness, which was broken only by a melodic warbling from somewhere above.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • Welkin

    The vault of the sky; heaven.

    The craft pushed higher and higher, pushing through the welkin until it was surrounded by a mix of deep blue and countless stars.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Wend

    Go in a specified direction, typically slowly or by an indirect route.

    They wended their way downtown, pausing to look at the department store windows and buy coffee from local cafes.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , Michigan

  • Widdershins

    In a left-handed, wrong or contrary direction; counterclockwise.

    She spun three times widdershins on her left heel and then spoke the curse.

    Word submitted by: Jim Maurer , Covington , WA , USA

  • 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

  • Wily

    Skilled at gaining an advantage, especially deceitfully.

    Although he came off quite charming, the old politician was quite wily and didn't mind pushing a few friends under the bus to get ahead.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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

  • Woebegone

    Sad or miserable in appearance.

    He sat alone on the stoop, a woebegone expression on his face.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams

  • 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. , 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

  • Yammer

    Loud and sustained or repetitive noise.

    He tried to focus on his report, but the yammer filling the open work space made that impossible.

    Word submitted by: CW , Detroit

  • Yawp

    A harsh or hoarse cry or yelp.

    The dog caught his tail in the sliding door, letting out a yawp of surprise.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • 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

  • Zephyr

    A light, gentle breeze.

    The sun beat down upon my head; not even a zephyr was blowing to alleviate the discomfort.

    Word submitted by: Cindy Wee , Palo Alto , CA , USA

  • Zetetic

    Proceeding by inquiry.

    The researcher's zetetic approach required patience but led to groundbreaking discoveries.

    Word submitted by: Chris Williams , Livonia , MI

  • Zwodder

    A drowsy and stupid state of mind.

    I rushed out the door without my coffee and, as a result, sat through the meetings in a zwodder.

    Word submitted by: Christopher Williams , Livonia , MI , United States

  • euphonious

    Having a pleasant sound.

    The tintinnabulation of the bells was particularly euphonious.

    Word submitted by: Janet , Madison , Wisconsin , United States

  • tatterdemalion

    Ragged or disreputable in appearance.

    For hippies, the tatterdemalion dress was as much a statement as it was a style.

    Word submitted by: Ken Goes , South Dartmouth , MA , United States