7 Vocabulary Words

April 30th, 2009 by Amy

A friend of mine turned me on to Dictionary.com. A true wordsmith, she has been using their word-of-the-day in her Facebook posts with admirable frequency – growing her own vocabulary and, by extension, mine.


Here are a few of my favorites:


1.  Chimerical \ky-MER-ih-kuhl; -MIR-; kih-\, adjective:
1. Merely imaginary; produced by or as if by a wildly fanciful imagination; fantastic; improbable or unrealistic.
2. Given to or indulging in unrealistic fantasies or fantastic schemes.


In the chimerical atmosphere of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, it is far from clear where fact ends and fiction begins–or vice versa. - Margaret Wertheim, “The Museum of Jurassic Technology”, Omni, November 1, 1994


2. Frisson \free-SOHN\, noun:
A moment of intense excitement; a shudder; an emotional thrill.


As every parent knows, children have a love-hate relationship with stories about monsters. They love the frisson of hearing about such terrifying creatures as the Cyclops — but hate to think about what they might do if they bumped into one.- “Strange but true: One in the eye for all those Homer-phobes”, Daily Telegraph, June 21, 1998


3.  Jape \JAYP\, noun, verb:
1. A joke or jest.
2. A trick or prank.


He tried to defuse each petty crisis with a merry jape and spend each day with a life-affirming and reasonably up tempo country song in his heart.- Chris Priestley, “Payne’s grey”, New Statesman, November 29, 2004


4.  Ken \KEN\, noun:
1. Perception; understanding; knowledge.
2. The range of vision.
3. View; sight.


Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken

- From “You Are Sixteen Going On Seventeen” from The Sound Of Music.


5.  Outré \oo-TRAY\, adjective:
Unconventional; eccentric; bizarre.


This seven-year-old house of outré culture is the kind of place you can shop for a sculpture made out of working flamethrowers, videocassettes of underground movies, computer-generated art or a cute robot - David Sturm, “Berlin’s Green Man, Running for Life”, Washington Post, June 14, 1998


6.  Peccadillo \peck-uh-DIL-oh\, noun:
A slight offense; a petty fault.


And besides “what do they say? ‘Don’t judge lest you be judged.’ Everybody has their peccadilloes.” - “Tyson has a friend in his corner”, Irish Times, October 21, 1999


7.  Stormy Petrel \STOR-mee-PET-ruhl\, noun:
1. Any of various small sea birds of the family Hydrobatidae, having dark plumage with paler underparts; also called storm petrel.
2. One who brings discord or strife, or appears at the onset of trouble.


. . .restless and indomitable, scouring like a stormy petrel the angry ocean of debate. - Lytton Strachey, Eminent Victorians

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