Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thursday Thirteen 167: Vocabulary

Reading an Aaron Elkins novel recently, it occurred to me that I have not done a vocabulary post since the National Spelling Bee back in May. Elkins' books are an excellent means of exercising one's vocab skills, and that's without taking all of the scientific terms into account . Here are a few words encountered in Murder in the Queen's Armes.

1. animadversion [an-uh-mad-vur-zhuhn, -shuhn] noun
a. a critical and usually censorious remark—often used with on.
b. adverse criticism
"The secret letter, of which the Times has managed to obtain a copy, protests Professor Marcus's 'animadversions upon the Society in particular and English archaeology in general.'" (pg 37)

2. bellicose [bel-i-kohs] adjective
favoring or inclined to start quarrels or wars
synonym: belligerent
"All I’m trying to suggest is that the way you’re going about things has gotten the Horizon Foundation and the Wessex Antiquarian Society on your back, and you might want to be just a little less bellicose." (pg 41)

3. pusillanimous [pyoo-suh-lan-uh-muhs] adjective
lacking courage and resolution: marked by contemptible timidity
"Was he so caught up in his strange theory that he didn’t know a yes-man when he saw one—even one as pusillanimous as Frawley?" (pg 41)

4. debacle [dey-bah-kuhl] noun
a: a great disaster
b: a complete collapse or failure: fiasco
"And for still another, Gideon thought, maybe I can show you you're heading for a hell of a debacle, and maybe you'll listen." (pg 42)

5. untenable [uhn-ten-uh-buhl] adjective
a. not able to be defended
"For whatever Nate had unearthed—and if he said it was sensational, it probably was—it could hardly confirm a theory that was untenable to begin with." (pg 42)

6. faience [fahy-ahns, Fr. fa-yahns] noun
earthenware decorated with opaque colored glazes
"Where did those incised geomettric pottery motifs come from? The faience beads?" (pg 40)

7. lugubriously [loo-goo-bree-uhs-lee, -gyoo-] adverb
mournful, dismal, or gloomy, esp. in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner
"The man sighed lugubriously and stood up." (pg 25)

8. propitious [pruh-pish-uhs] adjective
a. presenting favorable conditions; favorable
b. indicative of favor; auspicious
c. favorably inclined; disposed to bestow favors or forgive
"My informant told me that ten o'clock Thursday morning would be a propitious time to call." (pg 155)

9. dissipation [dis-uh-pey-shuhn] noun
a. the act of dissipating.
b. the state of being dissipated; dispersion; disintegration.
c. a wasting by misuse: the dissipation of a fortune.
d. mental distraction; amusement; diversion.
e. dissolute way of living, esp. excessive drinking of liquor; intemperance.

10. indolent [in-dl-uhnt] adjective
having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful: an indolent person.
"He was about thirty-five, only a few years younger than Nate and Gideon, with longish, curling brown hair, a casual, loose-jointed gait, and an air about him of indolent, somewhat studied dissipation." (pg 44)

11. orotund [awr-uh-tuhnd, ohr-] adjective
a. (of the voice or speech) characterized by strength, fullness, richness, and clearness.
b. (of a style of speaking) pompous or bombastic.
"Did you take the Poundbury calvarium from the Dorchester Museum," he said, sounding to himself very much like Inspector Bagshawe at his most orotund."

12. temporize [tem-puh-rahyz] verb
a. to be indecisive or evasive to gain time or delay acting.
b. to comply with the time or occasion; yield temporarily or ostensibly to prevailing opinion or circumstances.
c. to treat or parley so as to gain time (usually fol. by with).
d. to come to terms (usually fol. by with).
e. to effect a compromise (usually fol. by between).
"You're temporizing. You're trying to keep me out of there because you think I'm mad enough to do something dumb." (pg 219)

13. aggrandize [uh-gran-dahyz, ag-ruhn-dahyz] verb
(used with object) -dized, -diz·ing.
a. to widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend.
b. to make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor.
c. to make (something) appear greater.
"He perpetrated theft and fraud and God knows what else, all to aggrandize himself and support his vile theory." (pg 154)

LINKS TO OTHER THURSDAY THIRTEENS:(Please leave your link if this is your first visit!)
Maddy Barone * Adelle Laudan * Kristen * Colleen
Shelley Munro * Janice Seagraves * Elise Logan
Journeywoman * Rekaya Gibson * Hazel * Harriet
Darla M Sands * IrishCoda * Paige Tyler * Alice Audrey
Tatiana Caldwell * Jeanne St James * Skylar Kade
Jana * Jennifer Leeland * CountryDew * Jill Conyers
Lil Miss Snarky

More Thursday Thirteen participants


Adelle Laudan said...

ALL of those words in one book? Wow. I love 'new to me' words. Thanks
Happy T13!

Heather said...

Adelle: All those and then some, in only 245 pages! I could easily do another two posts like this, from this book alone. Elkins is a rather erudite author, and his books just pull you right in.

Rekaya Gibson said...

I so need to study for my GRE or read this book. Thanks for sharing.

The Food Temptress

Shelley Munro said...

I like the word debacle. It has a nice sound to it.

Hazel said...

Nos. 1, 3 and 6 are totally new to me although I might have seen faience in some museum. Marianne Dashwood seemed to have uttered propitious in Sense and Sensibility (the film).

Kristen said...

I didn't know 1, 6 and 10. So many words, so little time.

colleen said...

Of course I had to test myself. I knew about 7 of them. Not a very good score if I was in school being marked. But I had no time to study!

I am Harriet said...

I love the word debacle. I don't know why.

Have a great Thursday!

Darla M Sands said...

This reminds me of the only trivia game at which I ever excelled. It's called lexitopia. :) I love languages.

Irishcoda said...

I learned three new words, love lists like these. Readers' Digest runs vocabulary lists in their issues.

Paige Tyler said...

I've heard of some of those, but the others are new to me. I think it's very cool to learn new words like that, but I can never remember to use them in a book! LOL!

Sounds fun!


My TT is at

Heather said...

Rekaya: LOL...this series of books will definitely boost one's vocabulary - great preparation for the GRE or SAT! *g*

Shelley: It does sound a bit more sophisticated than "disaster" or "mistake," doesn't it?

Hazel: Propitious is such a great word, and one that has been used in any number of books, movies and even Looney Toons cartoons.

Kristen: Some people argue that the problem with the English language is that we have too many words. I say we have so many great words that too many do not get used enough. *vbg*

Journeywoman said...

I have always loved the word pusillanimous. Great list.

Heather said...

Colleen: LOL...sorry to spring a pop quiz on you! I'll try to give a hint next time. *g*

Harriet: Some words are just fun to say! *g*

Darla: I have never heard of lexitopia, but it sounds like a game I might do well at. I did, afterall, win the last Balderdash game friends and I played. *weg*

Irishcoda: The monthly vocabulary quiz is about the only thing I've liked about Reader's Digest. I usually do quite well on them!

Paige: I love learning new words, but often forget to use them as well. It's great, though, when you are writing and suddenly realize how perfect a recently learned word fits. *g*

maddybarone said...

Whoo-hoo! I actually knew 11 of the 13. Not that I ever use most of them...

Fun and interesting, Heather!

Alice Audrey said...

You're right. It's been a long time since you've done one of these.

Heather said...

Journeywoman: it is indeed a great word!

Maddy: Yay you! Glad you enjoyed today's "quiz"! *g*

Heather said...

Alice: Didn't I warn you there was one of these coming up when we were talking blogs last Saturday? You didn't believe me, did you? Or maybe you weren't listening. Hmm... *g*

Jana said...

I actually know a couple of those words! And have used at least one of them! I feel very scholorly right now. LOL

Jennifer Leeland said...

That first one would have stumped me and I'd have looked it up.
Great list and now I have some new words to play with!

Janice said...

I think I know maybe half of those words. That's better than last time, lol.

Happy TT.

CountryDew said...

Wow, lots of good words. I will have to check out that writer.

Elise Logan said...

I love lists like these. I'm fond of esoteric words.

Thanks for sharing yours!

Heather said...

Jana: And you sound scholarly, too! LOL

Jennifer: I admit, animadversion was one word I did have to look up, though I had some idea of its meaning based on context. Have fun playing with your new words!

Janice: Been studying up, have you? *G*

Anita: He's an excellent writer, though a lot of the anthropology stuff goes way over my head. Still, I do like his Gideon Oliver series, so if you like mysteries, give him a try!

Elise: Happy to impart a bit of exoteric wisdom. *VBG*

Tatiana Caldwell said...

6 of those words I'd never seen or heard before. Like Paige, I can almost never seem to remember those words though when I'm writing. Love learning about them, though.

Lil Ms Snarky said...

i only knew 3! eek!


Heather said...

Tatiana: I've often found myself wracking my brain for a word I know and can't remember, only to come up with it long after and not know why I was trying to think of it. lol

Snarky: Looks like you need to crack that dictionary and exercise that brain! *G*

Jana said...

LOL Trix. Okay, I said I recognized them and possibly used them. Didn't say it made me a better speller. :-D

Heather said...

Jana: ROFL...would you believe I didn't even notice the misspelling yesterday? Blame it on the allergy meds. Hayfever and ragweed are (unfortunately) in full swing. Ugh! Can't wait for the first good freeze.

Alice Audrey said...

I was listening! And I believed you, too. I just wasn't visualizing clearly. Hey, road burn out will do that to a body.

Heather said...

Uh-huh...likely story. Hehe...

jillconyers said...

All except for 3 are new to me.

Kimberly Menozzi said...

Thanks for the redirect to this one, m'dear! It's *awesome*!!!

And it has arrived at a most propitious time for me, as I'm preparing a blog on the power of language, soon.

Thanks again! It's good to be back. :)

Heather said...

Kimberly: I thought you might approve. *VBG*