18 October 2008

Expanding your word power

h/t to ReEader's Digest. When I was a kid, my grandfather got Reader's Digest. I read every word in every issue for years and years. I devoured all the I Am Joe's Spleen medical articles, Laughter is the Best Medicine, every quote at the top of the pages and every pun at the bottom. My favorite section, though, was the word trivia section. I think it was called Expanding Your Word Power. To this day, I find a sense of pleasure in learning new words. The thing I find most interesting is that every once in a while, someone will use a word in such a way that I realize I'm not sure I know its exact meaning. So I do what any person procrastinating over writing research grants does. I stop and look it up. Here are a few that I recently had reason to crack open dictionary.com over.

supercilious (expressing disdain--this isn't anything close to what I thought it meant)
scintillate (I thought it meant to tease. It means to sparkle.)
egalitarian (which I wonder why it isn't equalitarian)
vet, as in vetting a candidate
fungible (if it didn't have to do with basidiomycetes, I was clueless)

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