Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Capacious Palaverization

Vocabulary is a funny thing. It intrigues me. By simply learning more words, we are able to concisely say exactly what we mean instead of beating around the bush with a verbiage of words that just don't quite fit! This seems to be my usual habit of things. I don't even pretend to have the eloquent parlance as some of my friends.

Today I have my Honors Seminar class. I must admit, the book we read this month has been the hardest yet. Culture and Imperialism, by Edward W. Said, has some fascinating topics but combined with unfamiliar subjects, long run-on sentences, and operose vocabulary (lol) it was quite a difficult read.

I have always had the habit of reading too fast for my own good (In the past, I futilely tried to keep up with my brother! It was a dream never realized.) and simply insinuating meaning into words that I don't know. It's worked effectively... until now. It's hard to glean meaning from a book using that method when every other word is one you don't know! I started writing down the words that I didn't know. I have listed them here, along with their definitions so that you too can expand your language skills (or just give yourself a pat on the back for knowing a lot of big words!) I apologize if some of them seem blatantly obvious!

  1. insularity - dwelling or situated on an island. Detached; standing alone; isolated. Narrow-minded or illiberal. Provincial
  2. hermeneutical - referring to the science of interpretation, esp. of the Scriptures.
  3. pusillanimous - lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.
  4. adumbration - to produce a faint image or resemblance of; to outline or sketch
  5. tautological - needless repetition of an idea, esp. in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in “widow woman.”
  6. libertinage - disregard of authority or convention in sexual or religious matters.
  7. ontological - the branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence or being as such.
  8. solipsism - the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist. Extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.
  9. epigone - A second-rate imitator or follower, especially of an artist or a philosopher.
  10. polemic - a controversial argument, as one against some opinion, doctrine, etc.
  11. accretion - an increase by natural growth or by gradual external addition; growth in size or extent.
  12. hegemony - leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.
  13. acrimony - sharpness, harshness, or bitterness of nature, speech, disposition
  14. antinomian - a person who maintains that Christians are freed from the moral law by virtue of grace as set forth in the gospel.
  15. valence - the capacity of one person or thing to react with or affect another in some special way, as by attraction or the facilitation of a function or activity
  16. imbroglio - a misunderstanding, disagreement, etc., of a complicated or bitter nature, as between persons or nations.
  17. screed - a long discourse or essay, esp. a diatribe.
  18. pedantic - ostentatious in one's learning. Overly concerned with minute details or formalisms, esp. in teaching.
  19. anachronistic -referring to an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one
  20. Panglossian - characterized by or given to extreme optimism, esp. in the face of unrelieved hardship or adversity.
  21. epistemology - a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.
  22. trope - any literary or rhetorical device, as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, that consists in the use of words in other than their literal sense
  23. civilistrice -idea of a civilization mission, bring civilization to those supposedly without it
  24. posit - to lay down or assume as a fact or principle; postulate
  25. atavism/atavistically - reversion to an earlier type; throwback
  26. recrimination - to bring a countercharge against an accuser
  27. interpellation - a procedure in some legislative bodies of asking a government official to explain an act or policy, sometimes leading, in parliamentary government, to a vote of confidence or a change of government.
  28. jingoistic - the spirit, policy, or practice of a person who professes his or her patriotism loudly and excessively, favoring vigilant preparedness for war and an aggressive foreign policy
  29. comeuppance - A punishment or retribution that one deserves; one's just deserts
  30. metallurgical - the technique or science of working or heating metals so as to give them certain desired shapes or properties.


Johonn said...

Wow, i had come across only a fraction of those words, and didn't even know the specific definition for those! Thanks for the vocab lesson! :)

Jen said...

thanks for the boost in vocab definitions! Though I must say i was shocked that 'metallurgical' was on the list. i should get my stuff from FL so we can have a metal working party. hey i know, we can cast a statue of your left foot! i'm excited already. Christy, what would i do without you! I appreciate your inspiration. ...and, for that matter, maybe we should also make a metal cello?

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