Word of the Day
A good vocabulary is one of a speaker’s most important tools. Without words, a speaker is much like a carpenter without a saw, or for that matter, wood.
This page contains selected vocabulary words which will make sure your “toolbox” is always full of powerful, effective words.
prosateur /pro-zuh-TUR/ (noun) A person who writes prose, especially as a livelihood.
bumptious /BUMP-shus/ (adj.) Presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive.
carapace /CARE-uh-pace/ (n.) A hard, bony outer covering, such as the shell of a turtle or crustacean.
vituperative /vi-TOO-per-uh-tiv/ (adj.) Using or marked by harshly abusive censure.
voluble /VOL-u-ble/ (adj.) Characterized by ready or rapid speech.
turgid /TUR-jid/ (adj.) Swollen and distended; (Of language) pompous, bombastic.
noisome /NOY-sum/ (adj.) Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; harmful or dangerous.
hirsute /her-soot or her-SOOT/ (adj.) Roughly hairy; having long, thick, or untrimmed hair.
scurf /skurf/ (noun) Scaly or shredded dry skin, such as dandruff; a loose, scaly crust coating a surface, especially of a plant.
flounce /flauns/ (verb, noun) To move or go with emphatic movements.
eleemosynary /e-lee-MO-sin-ary/ (adj.) Of or dependent on charity.
apostasy /euh-POSS-tuh-see/ (n.) Abandonment of one’s religious faith, a political party, one’s principles, or a cause.
omerta /o-MER-tah/ (noun) Secrecy sworn to by oath; code of silence.
melancholia /mel-en-KO-lee-uh/ A mental disorder characterized by severe depression, apathy and withdrawal.
fata morgana /fata mor-GAH-nuh/ (noun) An optical phenomenon that creates the illusion of water, often with inverted reflections of distant objects, and results from distortion of light by alternate layers of hot and cool air. Also called mirage.
imbroglio /im-BROL-yoh/ (noun) A difficult or intricate situation; an entanglement; a confused or complicated disagreement; a confused heap; a tangle.
provenance /PROV-eh-nens, also PROV-eh-NAHNTS/ (n.) Place of origin, derivation. Proof of authenticity of past ownership (esp., art works and antiques).
pedantic /pe-DAN-tik/ (adjective) Characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for book learning and formal rules.
nonpareil /non-peh-REL or [rarely] non-peh-REY/ (n.) An individual of unequaled excellence, a paragon. A small flat disk of chocolate covered with white sugar pellets, or sugar in small pellets of various colors.
contumacious /con-toom-AY-shius/ (adj.) Stubbornly resistant to authority.
pedagogue /PED-a-gog/ (noun) A schoolteacher; an educator; one who instructs in a pedantic or dogmatic manner.
peregrination /PARE-ih-gri-nate/ A journey from place to place, especially on foot; a journey through or over, a traversal.
flummery /FLUM-uh-ree/ (n.) Meaningless flattery or silly talk.
afflatus /eh-FLAY-tuhs/ (n.) A strong creative impulse; divine inspiration.
oenophile /OH-nee-uh-file or oh-nee-uh-FYLE/ (n.) A lover or connoisseur of wine.
bromidic /bro-MID-ik/ (adj.) Lacking originality, trite.
gasconade /gas-kuh-NAHD/ (n.) Boastful or blustering talk.
shambolic /sham-BOHL-ik/ (adj.) Disorderly, chaotic, or undisciplined in procedure, behavior or manner.
muzzy /MUH-zee/ (adj.) Muddled or confused in mind; blurred or hazy.
dearth /durth/ An inadequate amount, esp. of food; scarcity.
rubicund /ROO-bi-cund/ (adjective) Inclined to a healthy rosiness; ruddy.
palilogy /puh-LIL-uh-jee/ (noun) The technique of repeating a word or phrase for emphasis.
aspersion /aeh-SPER-zhun or aeh-SPER-shen/ (n.) An unfavorable or damaging remark; slander. A sprinking, especially with holy water.
battology /buh-TOL-uh-jee/ (noun) Wearisome repetition of words in speaking or writing.
hubris /HYOO-bris/ (n.) Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance.
assiduous /a-SID-yoo-us/ (adj.) Hard-working; persevering. Undertaken with perseverance and care.
vexatious /vek-SAY-shus/ (adj.) Causing or creating irritation, annoying. Full of annoyance or distress; harassed. Intended to irritate or annoy.
bloviation /BLOH-vee-ay’-shun/ (noun) Speech or writing characterized by verboseness and windiness; long-winded speech lacking substance.
execration /EHK-sih-KRAY-shun/ (noun) The act of cursing; a curse; something that is cursed or loathed.
raillery /RAY-ler-ee/ (n.) Good-natured ridicule, banter. An instance of teasing, jest.
bovarism /BO-vuh-riz-em/ (noun) An exaggerated, especially glamorized, estimate of oneself; conceit.
sedulous /SEJ-e-les/ (adj.) Involving or accomplished with careful perseverance. Diligent in application or pursuit.
improvident /im-PROV-I-dent/ (adjective) Not providing for the future; thriftless. Rash; incautious.
maudlin /MOD-linn/ (adj.) Excessively and effusively sentimental; foolishly and tearfully sentimental. Also, tearfully sentimental from too much liquor.
tractate /TRAK-tayt/ (noun) A treatise; an essay.
abjure /ab-JOOR/ (verb) To renounce under oath; forswear. To recant solemnly; repudiate. To give up (an action or practice, for example); abstain from.
jejune /juh-JOON/ (adj.) not interesting; dull; lacking maturity; childish
rue /ROO/ (noun and verb) To feel regret, remorse, or sorrow for
impressment /im-PRES-ment/ (noun) The act of seizing for public use or of impressing into public service
officious /eh-FISH-es/ (adj.) Marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others; impertinent, meddlesome
interrex /IN-tuhr-reks/ (noun) A person holding supreme authority in a state during an interregnum (the interval of time between the end of a sovereign’s reign and the accession of a successor)
pandiculation /pan-DIK-yuh-lay-shuhn/ (noun) The act of stretching oneself.
trichotillomania /trik-uh-til-uh-MAY-nee-uh/ (noun) A compulsion to pull out one’s hair
contumely /CON-too-muh-lee/ (noun) Rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance; insolence
emolument /ih-MAL-ye-ment/ (noun) Compensation or perquisites arising from office or employment
cathexis /kuh-THEK-sis/ (noun, plural cathexes) /-THEK-seez/ Concentration of emotional energy on an object or idea
arctophile /ARK-tuh-fyl/ (noun) A person who is very fond of and is usually a collector of teddy bears
abulic /a-BYOO-lik/ (adj.) Having an abnormal lack of ability to act or to make decisions; experiencing a paralysis of the will
acedia /uh-SEE-dee-uh/ (noun) Spiritual torpor and apathy; ennui
symbiosis /sim-bee-O-sis, -bi-/ (noun, plural symbioses /-seez) A close, prolonged association between two or more different organisms of different species that may, but does not necessarily, benefit each member; A relationship of mutual benefit or dependence
thanatophobia /than-uh-tuh-FO-bee-uh/ (noun) An abnormal fear of death
amusia /ay-MYOO-zee-uh/ (noun) The inability to produce or comprehend music or musical sounds
dysesthesia /dis-es-THEE-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh/ (noun) Any impairment of the senses, especially of the sense of touch; A condition in which light physical contact of the skin causes pain
doggerel /DO-ger-el or DOG-er-el/ (noun) Crudely or irregularly fashioned verse, often in a humorous or burlesque nature; poetic verse marked by triviality or inferiority
sanctimonious /sang-ti-MOAN-ee-us/ (adj.) Affecting piety or making a display of holiness
acalculia /ay-kal-KYOO-lee-uh/ (noun) Inability or loss of the ability to perform arithmetic operations
anhedonia /an-hee-DO-nee-uh/ (noun) Lack of pleasure or of the capacity to experience it
anosmia /an-OZ-mee-uh, -OS-/ (noun) Absence or loss of the sense of smell
paramnesia /par-am-NEE-zhuh/ (noun) A distortion of memory in which fact and fantasy are confused; the inability to recall the correct meaning of a word
abstruse /ab-STROOS/ (adj.) Not easy to understand
farrago /feh-RAH-go/ (noun) A confused mixture; jumble; hodgepodge
palliate /PAL-ee-ate/ (verb) To lessen the severity of (pain, disease, etc.) without curing
brachiate /BRAY-kee-ate/ (verb) To swing by the arms from branch to branch, like an ape
animus /AN-i-muhs/ (noun) A feeling of animosity; ill will; An attitude that informs one’s actions; disposition
freshet /FRESH-it/ (noun) A great rise or overflowing of a stream caused by heavy rains or melted snow
allision /uh-LISH-shen/ (noun) The act of dashing against, or striking upon
cupidity /kyoo-PID-ih-tee/ (noun) Excessive desire, especially for wealth; covetousness or avarice
hawkshaw /HAWK-shaw/ (noun) A detective
tautological /to-TOL-oj-ical/ adj. needlessly repetitive
strategem /STRAT-a-jem/ n. deceptive scheme
decorous /DEK-o-rus/ adj. proper
puerile /PU-er-il/ adj. childish
archipelago /ark-i-PEL-a-go/ n. a group of closely located islands
apotheosis /a=po-the-O-sis/ n. to glorification
cower /COW-er/ v. shrink, as from fear
verbiage /VERB-e-age/ n. pompous array of words
retrench /re-TRENCH/ v. economize
compunction /kom-PUNGK-shon/ n. remorse
germinal /JURM-in-ul/ adj. in the earliest stage of development
jaunty /JONT-i/ adj. stylish or carefree
conflagration /kon-fla-GRASH-on/ n. great fire
unicameral /yu-ni-KA-me-rul/ adj. having only one lawmaking chamber
elocution /e-le-KYU-shun/ n. the art of effective public speaking
megalopolis /meg-e-LA-pe-lis/ n. a very large city
manumission /man-yu-MI-shen/ v. the act of freeing from slavery
mercurial /mer-KYUR-e-ul/ adj. having rapid and unpredictable mood swings
primogeniture /pri-mo-GEN-e-chur/ n. an exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the eldest son of a set of parents
ephemeral /I-FE-me-rul/ adj. lasting a very short time
sinecure /si-ne-KYUR/ n. a salaried job requiring little work
servile /ser-VIL/ adj. humbly submissive
evince /i-VINS/ n. to show or reveal
antipathy /an-TI-pe-thy/ n. a strong dislike
abstemious /ab-STE-me-us/ adj. restrained, particularly with food or alcohol
occlusion /uh-KLU-shun/ n. an obstruction or blockage
prophylaxis /uh-KLU-shun/ n. treatment aimed at preventing the spread of disease
auspicious /o-SPI-shes/ adv. favorable or fortunate
panegyric /pa-ne-GYR-ick/ n. a formal speech praising someone or something
aegis /E-jis/ n. sponsorship by an individual or organization
anachronism /a-NA-kre-ni-zm/ n. the error of placing a person or thing in the wrong time period
magnum opus /MAG-nem O-pes/ n. the greatest achievement of an artist, composer, or writer
complaisant /com-PLAY-sent/ adj. seeking to please
peripatetic /per-i-pa-TE-tik/ adj. moving or traveling from place to place
tendentious /ten-DEN-shus/ adj. biased
polychromatic /pa-le-kro-MA-tik/ adj. multicolored
nestor /NES-tor/ n. a leader in one’s field
laconic /le-KA-nik/ adj. using very few words
sybaritic /si-bu-RI-tik/ adj. marked by a luxurious was of life
impetus /IM-pe-tes/ n. a driving force or incentive
punctilious /punk-TI-le-us/ adj. marked by exact agreement to codes or conventions
abstruse /AB-stroos/ adj. deep or complex
peremptory /pe-REMPT-te-re/ adj. urgent or commanding in tone
adumbrate /A-dem-brate/ v. to hint at or foretell
moribund /MOR-e-bend/ adj. becoming outmoded
lucubration /lu-kyu-BRA-shun/ n. hard and difficult study
quartile /KWAR-tile/ n. One of four equal groups each containing a quarter of a statistical population
convivial /ken-VI-ve-ul/ adj. fond of eating, drinking, and company
mellifluous /me-LI-flu-es/ adj. sweetened, as if with honey
acquisitive /eh-KWI-ze-tive/ adj. greedy
discursive /dis-KER-sive/ adj. passing from one topic to another
matriculate /me-TRI-kyu-layte/ v. to enroll as a member of a group, especially a school or college
abrogate /A-bre-gate/ v. to ignore or treat as if nonexistent
effusive /i-FYU-sive/ adj. freely expressed
hubris /HYU-bris/ n. unreasonable pride or self-confidence
tactile /TAK-tile/ adj. relating to the sense of touch
superannuated /SU-per AN-yu-ate-ed/ adj. old-fashioned or out of date
egregious /i-GRE-jus/ adj. standing out, especially in a bad way
transient /TRAN-che-ant/ adj. short-lived
porcine /POR-sin/ adj. piglike
spartan /SPAR-ten/ adj. marked by simplicity or self-denial
inimical /i-NI-mi-kel/ adj. hostile or harmful
explicate /EKS-pli-cate/ v. to explain in detail
attenuate /a-TEN-u-wate/ v. to weaken or reduce in value
duplicity /du-PLI-se-te/ n. deception by pretending to feel and act one way while acting in another
temporize /TEM-pe-rize/ adj. to draw out the discussion to gain time
sentient /SEN-shent/ adj. aware of and responsive to sense impressions
stentorian /sten-TOR-e-un/ adj. extremely loud, with deep richness of sound
credence /KRE-dens/ adj. belief
perfidy /PER-fide/ n. disloyalty or treachery
elucidate /i-LU-se-date/ v. explain or shed light on
perspicacious /per-spi-KA-shes/ adj. having shrewd mental vision
appendage /a-PEN-dij/ n. something joined on to a larger or more important thing
abnegation /ad-ni-GAY-shun/ v. self-denial
primeval /pri-ME-val/ adj. primitive or ancient
factotum /fak-TO-tum/ n. a person with several different jobs or responsibilities
tenable /TE-ne-bel/ adj. reasonable or capable of being defended
investiture /in-VES-te-chure/ n. the formal ceremony placing someone in office
umbrage /UM-brij/ n. a feeling of resentment at an insult, often one that is imagined rather than real
jovial /JO-ve-ul/ adj. extremely good-natured
panoply /PA-ne-ply/ n. a magnificent or impressive display
internecine /in-ter-NE-sen/ adj. mutually destructive
biennial /bi-E-ne-ul/ adj. occurring every two years
codex /KO-deks/ n. a book in manuscript or handwritten form
antecedent /an-te-SE-dent/ n. a preceding event, state, or cause
fiduciary /fi-DU-she-er-e/ adj. having to do with confidence or trust
penurious /pen-YUR-e-us/ adj. stingy
dilatory /DIL-a-tor-ee/ adj. delaying
malingerer /me-LIN-gu-rer/ adj. someone who fakes an illness to escape duty