Monday, June 15, 2009

Look-Up Words in the NYT

Wordle: NY Times Hard Words

Here it is in real words.

A blogger comments on what people who don't look up the words think they mean.

Ian A.T. at Metafilter listed and defined them.
sui generis - constituting a class alone : unique, peculiar (pronounced "sue I generous" or "sooey generous")
solipsistic - extremely egocentric (Solipsism)
louche - disreputable or sordid in a rakish or appealing way
laconic - using few words; expressing much in few words; concise
saturnine - cold and steady in mood : slow to act or change : of a gloomy or surly disposition : having a sardonic aspect
antediluvian - made, evolved, or developed a long time ago : extremely primitive or outmoded (originally referred to the period before the flood described in the Bible)
epistemological - related to the theory of knowledge (Epistemology)
shibboleth - a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usually regarded by others as empty of real meaning
penury - a cramping and oppressive lack of resources, especially money : extreme frugality
sumptuary - relating to personal expenditures and especially to prevent extravagance and luxury : designed to regulate extravagant expenditures or habits especially on moral or religious grounds
schadenfreude - satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune
peripatetic - travelling from place to place : esp, working or based in various places for short periods
abtruse - difficult to comprehend
parlous - full of danger or risk
enervating - reducing the mental or moral vigor of : lessening the vitality or strength of
adenoidal - exhibiting the characteristics (as snoring, mouth breathing, and voice nasality) of one affected with abnormally enlarged adenoids : (not usually used technically)
feckless - ineffective; incompetent; futile : having no sense of responsibility; indifferent; lazy
Solipsism - extreme egocentrism (can also refer to a philosophical idea)
ersatz - being an artificial and inferior substitute or imitation
fealty - intense fidelity
sanguine - cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident : a reddish or ruddy complexion : bloody : blood-red
sartorial - of or relating to a tailor or tailored clothes : broadly, of or relating to clothes
hagiography - a biography of a saint or venerated person : often used as a pejorative for uncritical or overly reverential biographies and histories.
pandemic - an epidemic that is geographically widespread; occurring throughout a region or even throughout the world : existing everywhere
Dauphin - formerly, the eldest son of the King of France and direct heir to the throne
antebellum - existing before a war : often refers to the period before the American Civil War
paroxysm - a sudden violent emotion or action
risible - arousing or provoking laughter : often used in a negative sense, meaning "laughable"
interlocutor - one who takes part in dialogue or conversation
swine - a pig or pigs, collectively
apotheosis - the highest point in the development of something : a culmination or climax
comity - a friendly social atmosphere : social harmony : a loose widespread community based on common social institutions : the informal and voluntary recognition by courts of one jurisdiction of the laws and judicial decisions of another (known as "comity of nations") : avoidance of proselytizing members of another religious denomination
Atreus - Atreus, king of Mycene, was the son of Pelops and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. (more info)
banal - lacking originality, freshness, or novelty : trite
profligacy - recklessly extravagant or wasteful in the use of resources
sisyphean - pointless and interminable (Sisyphus)
inchoate - being only partly in existence or operation : especially, imperfectly formed or formulated : formless, incoherent
apoplectic - of a kind to cause or apparently cause stroke ("an apoplectic rage") : greatly excited or angered
neologism - a new word, meaning, usage, or phrase
bildungsroman - a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character : a "coming of age" novel
peroration - the concluding part of a discourse and especially an oration, typically used to inspire enthusiasm in the audience
fungible - able to replace or be replaced by another item : mutually interchangeable
recondite - hidden from sight, concealed : little known or obscure
Bonobo - a pygmy chimpanzee found in swamp forests in Zaire
phlogiston - a hypothetical substance once believed to be present in all combustible materials and to be released during burning
contretemps - an inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation : dispute, argument (pronounced sorta kinda like "con-trah-TAH" or "cone-truh-TAH")
appurtenance - an accessory or other item associated with a particular activity or style of living
glut - overeat or eat immodestly : flood : supply with an excess of
fecklessness - incompetence; futility : indifference; laziness
posted by Ian A.T.

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