So, how many of these can you define...

The New York Times has given the world a list of the fifty most looked-up words on their web site.

Here are the top ten:

  1. panegyric
  2. immiscible
  3. Manichean
  4. inveighs
  5. crepuscular
  6. legerdemain
  7. churlish
  8. risible
  9. anathema
  10. recognizance
Go beyond the jump to find the full list...
  1. panegyric
  2. immiscible
  3. Manichean
  4. inveighs
  5. crepuscular
  6. legerdemain
  7. churlish
  8. risible
  9. anathema
  10. recognizance
  11. omertà
  12. superannuated
  13. perfidy
  14. hauteur
  15. samizdat
  16. avuncular
  17. inchoate
  18. duplicitous
  19. perfunctory
  20. dyspeptic
  21. opprobrium
  22. cronyism
  23. anomie
  24. alacrity
  25. buttress
  26. dilettante
  27. insouciance
  28. exegesis
  29. hubris
  30. schadenfreude
  31. excoriated
  32. surfeit
  33. ascetic
  34. realpolitik
  35. unambiguous
  36. misdemeanor
  37. protean
  38. pariah
  39. quixotic
  40. Blasphemy
  41. brinkmanship
  42. incarcerated
  43. sanguine
  44. feckless
  45. quorum
  46. nascent
  47. austerity
  48. ebullient
  49. juggernaut
  50. ubiquitous

What about you? How many could you define and how many did you need to look up? And what word do you use that would be added to the list if you were a NYT writer? Personally, I'd show off by using the word "sesquipedalian". If I wrote for the NYT that would be my addition to the list.




That's enough sesquipedalian loquaciousness; you should be striving to eschew obfuscation!

So far, so good, Jonathan.

Anyone want to try to compose a paragraph that makes a reasonable (i.e. not forced) use of ... what? ... The first ten words? Any ten words?

"When promulgating your esoteric cogitations or articulating
your superficial sentimentalities and amicable philosophical
and psychological observations, beware of platitudinous ponderosity.Sedulously avoid all polysyllabic profundity, pompous propensity and sophomoric vacuity."

What's frustrating to me is the number of these that I know I have looked up and STILL don't remember what they mean!

"" ... the number of these that I know I have looked up ..."

I ran through the list this morning with my coffee, checking definitions against what I thought the words meant. And, happily, I stumbled on a word I hadn't seen for a while. Sort of like running unexpectedly into an old friend: "crapulous."

Lovely word! So rarely used. Pity, that.

That's lugubriousness for ya.

I just heard a report that said Matt Treanor (a catcher involved in a collision with an base runner at home plate) went down but was able to "walk off on his own recognizance"! Apparently, the umpire was expecting to see him after the game for the trial - or maybe the reporter wanted to sound more educated than simply saying "walk off under his own power." The meanings of those two words (recognizance and power) are clearly immiscible, or would be if they were liquids.

My favorite was the TV newsreader announcing a prison riot who explained it by saying the inmates were angry because their guards made a habit of "hurling racial epitaphs." And he repeated this explanation in the evening news.

Anyone dare to propose the sort of ethnophaulisms a tombstone might hurl at passersby? Make one up about a gringo, whitey, wigga, Miss Ann, haole, cracker, redneck, honky, güero, or yank and no one will mind.

The words on the NYT list are for amateurs. If you REALLY want to see a list with arcane words, hie thee to the inimitable Lawrence Urdang (I believe taken from one of his book reviews). Herewith, one of his quotes: “This is not a succedaneum for satisfying the nympholepsy of nullifidians. Rather it is hoped that the haecceity of this enchiridion of arcane and recondite sesquipedalian items will appeal to the oniomania of an eximious Gemeinschaft whose legerity and sophrosyne, whose Sprachgefühl and orexis will find more than fugacious fulfillment among its felicific pages.”

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