Put in a Good Word – October 2015

This time last year, I started compiling a list of interesting words I ran across. They haven’t all made it into my everyday usage, because as much as I think “palaver” and “gasconade” are delightful words, they’re twenty- or thirty-dollar words at least, and I try and keep my vocabulary cheap enough for the common man. That said, it has been a nice incentive to try and read enough good writing that I can find a new and interesting word every day. Here’s an October’s worth of words that caught my eye (with definitions from the Oxford Dictionaries, Merriam-Webster, and Wiktionary.)

  1. sessile adj. fixed in one place; immobile
  2. syllabary n. a set of written characters representing syllables and (in some languages or stages of writing) serving the purpose of an alphabet
  3. trenchant adj. vigorous or incisive in expression or style; (archaic, of a weapon or tool) having a sharp edge
  4. propinquity n. the state of being close to someone or something; proximity
  5. earnest n. a thing intended or regarded as a sign or promise of what is to come
  6. diffident adj. modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence
  7. skerrick n. the smallest bit
  8. gasconade n. extravagant boasting
  9. inveigler n. one who inveigles (i.e. persuades one to do something by means of deception or flattery)
  10. diligence n. (historical) a public stagecoach
  11. froideur n. coolness or reserve between people
  12. opprobrium n. harsh criticism or censure; the public disgrace arising from someone’s shameful conduct
  13. inchoate adj. just begun and so not fully formed or developed; rudimentary
  14. logy adj. dull and heavy in motion or thought; sluggish
  15. fatuous adj. silly and pointless
  16. carom v. make a carom; strike and rebound
  17. ambit n. the scope, extent, or bounds of something
  18. carillon n. a set of bells in a tower, played using a keyboard or by an automatic mechanism similar to a piano roll
  19. risible adj. such as to provoke laughter; (rare) having the faculty or power of laughing, inclined to laugh
  20. fulmination n. an expression of vehement protest; a violent explosion or a flash like lightning
  21. recrudescence n. a new outbreak after a period of abatement or inactivity
  22. iridal adj. of or pertaining to the rainbow
  23. tontine n. an annuity shared by subscribers to a loan or common fund, the shares increasing as subscribers die until the last survivor enjoys the whole income
  24. parvenu n. a person of obscure origin who has gained wealth, influence, or celebrity
  25. arbute n. (archaic) the wood of the strawberry tree
  26. sward n. an expanse of short grass
  27. clangor n. a continuous loud banging or ringing sound
  28. raffle n. rubbish; refuse
  29. maladroit adj. ineffective or bungling; clumsy.
  30. mordant adj. having or showing a sharp or critical quality; biting
  31. calque n. a loan translation (a literal translation of a loan-word)