Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday Thirteen 129: Vocabulary--1984

While recently reading 1984, I noted that this book has some great vocabulary words in it. Without further ado, here are thirteen plucked out of the book to add to your roster of words. Examples of usage are taken direct from the novel.

1. anodyne (adj): relieving or lessening pain; soothing
eg: "It was their delight, their folly, their anodyne, their intellectual stimulant."

2. etiolate (vt): 1. to cause to be pale and unhealthy 2. to deprive of strength, weaken
eg: "Already, on the walk from the station, the May sunshine had made him feel dirty and etiolated, a creature of indoors, with the sooty dust of London in the pores of his skin."

3. persiflage (noun): 1. a light, frivolous style of writing or speaking 2. such talk or writing
eg: "When he spoke of murder, suicide, venereal disease, amputated limbs, and altered faces, it was with a faint air of persiflage."

4. spurious (adj): not true or genuine; false, counterfeit
eg: "In his capacity as administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often be aware that the entire war is spurious and either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones..."

5. diminution (noun): a diminishing or being diminished; lessening; decrease
eg: "And even technological progress only happens when its products can in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty."

6. execrate (vt): 1. orig., to call down evil upon; curse 2. to speak abusively or contemptuously of; denounce scathingly 3. to loathe; detest; abhor
eg: "The citizen of Oceania is not allowed to know anything of the tenets of the other two philosophies, but he is taught to execrate them as barbarous outrages upon morality and common sense."

7. expropriate (vt): 1. to take (land, property, etc) from its owner, esp: to take for public use or in the public interest, as by right of eminent domain 2. to transfer (property) from another to oneself 3. to deprive of ownership; dispossess
eg: "It has always been assumed that if the capitalist class were expropriated, Socialism must follow."

8. inimical (adj): 1. like an enemy; hostile 2. in opposition; adverse; unfavorable
eg: "It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction."

9. pedant (noun): 1. a person who puts unnecessary stress on minor or trivial points of learning 2. a narrow-minded teacher who insists on exact adherence to a set of arbitrary rules (pedantic, adj)
eg: "A sort of intellectual warmth, the joy of the pedant who has found out some useless fact, shone through the dirt and scrubby hair."

10. inviolate (adj): not violated; kept sacred or unbroken
eg: "Now he had retreated a step further: in the mind he had surrendered, but he had hoped to keep the inner heart inviolate."

11. abstruse (adj): hard to understand; deep; recondite
eg: "But there were other days when they settled down to their work almost eagerly, making a tremendous show of entering up their minutes and drafting long memoranda which were never finished--when the argument as what they were supposedly arguing about grew extraordinarily involved and abstruse..."

12. sinecure (noun): any office or position providing an income or other advantage but requiring little or no work
eg: "He even had a job, a sinecure, more highly paid than his old job had been."

13. premonitory (adj): forewarning; foreboding
eg: "A sort of premonitory tremor, a fear of he was not certain what, had passed through Winston as soon as he caught his first glimpse of the cage."

(Please leave your link if this is your first visit!)

Journeywoman * Tracie * Elise Logan * Adelle Laudan
Ella Drake * Alice Audrey * Stephanie Adkins
Cambria Dillon * fickleinpink * Mary Quast * Colleen
Inez Kelley * Shelley Munro * Annallee *Angeleque Ford
Ms Menozzi * CM Torrens * Jennifer McKenzie
Hootin' Anni * Happily Retired Gal * Calico Crazy
Janice Seagraves * Jeanne St. James * Paige Tyler

You can find more Thursday Thirteen participants HERE.


Journeywoman said...

Great book. Great list.

Happy TT.

Tracie Nall said...

What a great idea for a list! My husband is a vocab fanatic, so I am going to save this for him to read!

I think that #3 was my favorite.

Happy TT!

Heather said...

Journeywoman - It was a good book. Very unsettling and thought-provoking. Thanks for visiting!

Tracie - Thank you, and I hope your husband likes it as well. BTW...#3 - was it the word or the reference you like? ;)

Stephanie Adkins said...

Very cool list. Happy Thursday! :)

Megan, Life Revamped said...

my favorite's "sinecure"! i never knew there is a word for such!

Great list! Happy TT


Mary Quast said...

Ooooo! I like this list!
Happy TT. Hugs!

Heather said...

Stephanie - Thank you!

Fickle - Aptly describes a few government positions, no? Thanks for visiting!

Mary - Thanks - if nothing else the classics can be great help with T13 topics! *g*

Alice Audrey said...

I have got to re-read that book. It's been too long.

Heather said...

Alice - Would you believe this was a first reading? In HS frosh English your class either read this of Animal Farm. Guess which one we read? Ah well...better late than never, right? And it fulfills part of my Classics challenge. Two down, two to end of December. *gulp*

Shelley Munro said...

I've never read 1984. I should. Some of those words are very cool.

Angela's Designs said...

This would be a good book to reread. I haven't read it since before 1984.

Ella Drake said...

Wow. when I read the book I didn't realize there were so many words I didn't know, because I don't know some on the list. Makes me wonder what process my brain went through when I read them. did I skim over them? Did I figure it out in context?

Ms Menozzi said...


Copy, annnnnnd... Paste!

Great list! But now I'll have to keep from thinking about it, or else I'll have a lot of explaining to do with my students today. LOL!

Happy TT!

Anonymous said...

Great list. I've never read the book, but I might have to now. Happy T13.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

Wow! I'm actually relieved I knew a few of those. But some of them I didn't know.

Unknown said...

Great list and kudo's for showing the words in context. Nothing drives me crazier than a word used in the wrong way. ie: finding a synonym with the Office Word feature, and using in the wrong context.

Happy T13!

Angeleque Ford said...

Great book. Loved it when I read it (won't say how long ago that was). Great Thurs 13 idea.

Cambria Dillon said...

I'm embarrassed to say that the majority of those words are ones I've never even heard of. Thank you for posting the definitions, too! Happy T13!

Hootin Anni said...

HA! I'm not laughing at your post, I think it's terrific......I'm laughing 'cause you do the very same thing I do. Do you stop and make a list to learn more about that particular word the next day? I do.

My Thursday 13 is Halloween Themed jokes...come on over for some laughs. [You'll find it below my Thursday Thunks...scroll down a bit.]

Click HERE

colleen said...

Wow, and their not Science Fiction. I only knew about ONE! Try this:

Happily Retired Gal said...

How fun to find someone else who reads with a dictionary close by. I love learning new words as I read and DO stop to look up unfamiliar ones ... often making notes in the margins of the book AND the dictionary ... just because. Kewl '13' ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

Calico Crazy said...

Great list! I knew most but there were a couple new ones.

Heather said...

Shelley - One of the reasons I chose it as part of this year's classics challenge was because I felt like it was one I should read. Definitely some cool words!

Annalee - Definitely sounds like time for a reread. It'd be interesting to see what you think of it more than two decades later.

Ella - If you read it in HS as most people do, you probably skimmed over words you didn't recognize or tried to figure some out in context. Some of these I had seen before but wasn't completely sure of their definitions before looking them up.

Ms Menozzi - Happy to distract you! *VBG*

Heather said...

Chris - Thanks. It is actually a good book--maybe easier to appreciate for us "older" readers.

Jennifer - LOL, I felt the same way. Some of these I recognized but wasn't sure about, others I honestly did not know.

Adelle - Thank you, and I agree--words used in the wrong context is annoying. Which is why I intentionally wrote down page numbers as well as words, so I could quote direct usage from the book.

Angeleque - Aw, come on, why not? *VBG* Glad you liked!

Heather said...

Cambria - You're welcome (for the defs), and thank you for visiting!

Anni - Apparently you don't remember my post from May on frontier words, do you? Hehe... Jotting down new or uncertain words is an ingrained habit since HS.

Colleen - Nope, they're not science fiction! And you would link me to another game. That's just mean!

Happily Retired Gal - That would be me, LOL. See above note to Anni about frontier words. I also mark words in the dictionary that I have looked up. :D

Calico - Thanks, same here. Thank you for visiting!

Paige Tyler said...

Great TT! I remember reading that book in high school! Neat words!


My TT is at

Heather said...

Thanks Paige!

Inez Kelley said...

I did one like this once. I know my SAT score was higher because of romance books.

Heather said...

Inez - Many people don't realize how great romance books can be fore improving one's vocabulary. Writing is writing, right?

Celticlibrarian said...

This is why I subscribe to two different word of the day emails. I love words. Interesting post.

Elise Logan said...

hooray for vocabulary! Nice list.

Janice Seagraves said...

I'm sad to admit this but I only reconised the last four. Oh dear, I need to read my dictionary.

Happy TT,

Heather said...

CelticLibrarian - Only two word-day emails?? You're missing one! *grin* Thanks for visiting!

Elise - Hooray indeed! Thank you!

Janice - Four is a lot better than the average American, so I'd say you're doing okay. NOT that I'm opposed to reading the dictionary. I never do that myself. (That would be self-deprecating sarcasm.) ;)