Word of the Week Index

This is a growing index of every word featured in my blog’s Word of the Week segment. For more information on a specific word, simply click on it to open its corresponding blog post in a new window/tab. You can also click on the table columns to sort words alphabetically, by publish date, by part of speech, or by etymological origin. Have fun!

Last updated: June 19, 2017

Vocabulary Index
Word PoS Definition Origin Date
abysmal adj. extremely bad; appalling Latin, Greek 2015/04/13
acerbic adj. (especially of a comment or style of speaking) sharp and forthright Latin 2014/07/28
acquiesce v. accept something reluctantly but without protest Latin 2013/11/04
acrimonious adj. angry and bitter French, Latin 2014/05/05
acumen n. the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain Latin 2013/10/28
adumbrate v. 1. report or represent in outline
2. indicate faintly
3. foreshadow or symbolize
4. overshadow
Latin 2016/05/16
aesthetic adj. concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty Greek 2014/10/20
alacrity n. brisk and cheerful readiness Latin 2016/02/15
alienate v. make (someone) feel isolated or estranged Latin 2014/05/19
aliquot n. a portion of a larger whole, especially a sample taken for chemical analysis or other treatment French, Latin 2015/09/14
altruism n. the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others French, Italian, Latin 2013/08/26
amalgamate v. combine or unite to form one organization or structure Latin, Greek 2016/05/09
amorous adj. showing, feeling, or relating to sexual desire French, Latin 2015/02/09
anhedonic adj. unable to feel pleasure French, Greek 2014/12/01
antediluvian adj. of or belonging to the time before the biblical Flood Latin 2014/03/10
apocryphal adj. of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true Latin, Greek 2015/04/27
assignation n. 1. an appointment to meet someone in secret
2. the allocation or attribution of someone or something as belonging to something
Latin 2015/01/26
assuage v. 1. make (an unpleasant feeling) less intense
2. satisfy (an appetite or desire)
French, Latin 2013/08/19
axiomatic adj. self-evident or unquestionable Greek 2013/06/24
banal adj. so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring French, Germanic 2015/09/07
baroque adj. highly ornate and extravagant in style French, Portuguese/ Spanish/ Italian 2016/04/04
behemoth n. a huge or monstrous creature Hebrew 2015/02/23
beholden adj. owing thanks or having a duty to someone in return for help or a service Old English 2016/11/21
belligerent adj. 1. hostile and aggressive
2. engaged in a war or conflict, as recognized by international law
Latin 2015/11/23
benediction n. the utterance or bestowing of a blessing Latin 2014/01/06
benevolent adj. 1. well meaning and kindly
2. serving a charitable rather than a profit-making purpose
French, Latin 2013/09/30
bibliophile n. a person who collects or has a great love of books French, Greek 2016/01/11
Brexit n. a term for the potential or hypothetical departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union English 2016/06/27
bucolic adj. of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life Latin, Greek 2016/08/29
cantankerous adj. bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative English, Anglo-Irish, Latin 2015/10/26
caprice n. a sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behavior Italian 2014/03/03
celestial adj. 1. positioned in or relating to the sky, or outer space as observed in astronomy
2. belonging or relating to heaven
3. supremely good
French, Latin 2016/02/01
circuitous adj. longer than the most direct way Latin 2015/04/20
circumlocution n. the use of many words where fewer would do, especially in a deliberate attempt to be vague or evasive Latin 2016/09/26
clairvoyant adj. having or exhibiting an ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact French 2014/10/13
clandestine adj. kept secret or done secretively, especially because illicit French, Latin 2016/09/12
cloy v. disgust or sicken (someone) with an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment French, Latin 2013/12/09
cogent adj. clear, logical, and convincing Latin 2015/10/19
cogitable adj. able to be grasped by the mind; conceivable Latin 2016/12/12
commandeer v. 1. officially take possession or control of something, especially for military purposes
2. take possession of something without authority
Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Latin 2015/07/06
commensurate adj. corresponding in size or degree; in proportion Latin 2014/03/24
conflagration n. an extensive fire that destroys a great deal of land or property Latin 2013/09/16
corroborate v. confirm or give support to a statement, theory, or finding Latin 2015/08/10
countenance n. a person’s face or facial expression French, Latin 2014/08/18
cumbersome adj. large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry or use; unwieldy French 2015/11/09
curmudgeon n. a bad-tempered or surly person unknown 2015/11/30
debauchery n. excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures French, Proto-Germanic 2015/06/08
declension n. (poetic/literary) a condition of decline or moral deterioration French, Latin 2013/12/02
decorum n. behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety; etiquette Latin 2014/04/14
defenestration n. the action of throwing someone or something out of a window Latin 2013/06/17
demagogue n. a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument Greek 2016/04/11
demure adj. reserved, modest, and shy French, Latin 2015/10/05
detente n. the easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries French, Latin 2016/11/07
diffuse v., adj. 1. (v.) spread or cause to spread over a wide area or among a large number of people
2. (adj.) spread out over a large area; not concentrated
Latin 2014/10/27
ecclesiastical adj. of or relating to the Christian Church or its clergy French, Latin, Greek 2016/06/20
effervescent adj. 1. giving off bubbles; fizzy
2. vivacious and enthusiastic
Latin 2014/12/22
effigy n. a sculpture or model of a person Latin 2015/07/20
effusive adj. expressing gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner Latin 2014/05/26
egregious adj. 1. outstandingly bad; shocking
2. (archaic) remarkably good
Latin 2013/05/13
eldritch adj. weird and sinister or ghostly Old English, Scottish 2016/08/08
eloquence n. fluent or persuasive speaking or writing Latin 2015/09/28
elucidate v. make (something) clear; explain Latin 2014/06/30
Elysian adj. of, relating to, or characteristic of heaven or paradise Latin, Greek 2015/12/28
emolument n. a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office Latin 2017/01/09
empyrean adj. belonging to or deriving from heaven Latin, Greek 2016/02/08
enamor v. be filled with a feeling of love for French 2017/02/13
ennui n. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement French, Latin 2016/07/04
ephemeral adj. lasting for a very short time Greek 2013/11/25
epicurean n. a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink French, Latin, Greek 2015/06/01
epiphany n. a moment of sudden revelation or insight Greek 2016/06/13
epitome n. 1. a person or thing that is a perfect example of a particular quality or type
2. a summary of a written work; an abstract
Greek 2016/06/06
eponymous adj. 1. (of a person) giving their name to something
2. (of a thing) named after a particular person
Greek 2015/01/19
erroneous adj. wrong, incorrect Latin 2013/05/20
ersatz adj. 1. made or used as a substitute for something else
2. not real or genuine
German 2013/07/29
erudite adj. having or showing great knowledge or learning Latin 2014/03/17
ethereal adj. extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world Latin, Greek 2015/12/07
eucatastrophe n. a sudden and favorable resolution of events in a story; a happy ending Greek 2017/05/08
euphemism n. a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing Greek 2014/04/28
evanescent adj. soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing Latin 2016/05/30
exacerbate v. make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse Latin 2013/07/15
excoriate v. censure or criticize severely Latin 2017/01/23
exonerate v. absolve (someone) from blame for a fault or wrongdoing, especially after due consideration of the case Latin 2016/04/25
extrapolate v. extend the application of (a method or conclusion) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable Latin 2014/07/14
facetious adj. treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant French, Latin 2014/02/03
facsimile n. an exact copy, especially of written or printed material Latin 2015/08/31
fastidious adj. 1. very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail
2. very concerned about matters of cleanliness
Latin 2013/11/11
fortuitous adj. 1. happening by accident or chance rather than design
2. happening by a lucky chance; fortunate
Latin 2015/03/02
garrulous adj. excessively talkative, especially on trivial matters Latin 2015/05/25
gerrymander v. manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class English 2013/10/21
gratuitous adj. 1. uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted
2. given or done free of charge
Latin 2014/09/15
gubernatorial adj. relating to a state governor or the office of state governor Latin, Greek 2017/06/19
harbinger n. a person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another French, Old Saxon 2015/10/12
heuristic adj. 1. enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves
2. proceeding to a solution by trial and error or by rules that are only loosely defined
Greek 2016/05/02
histrionic adj. overly theatrical or melodramatic in character or style Latin 2014/02/10
hubris n. excessive pride or self-confidence Greek 2016/03/21
hyperbole n. exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally Greek 2015/09/21
iconoclast n. a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions Greek 2017/01/30
idiosyncrasy n. 1. a mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual
2. a distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing
Greek 2014/07/07
idyllic adj. extremely happy, peaceful or picturesque Latin, Greek 2014/12/08
ignominious adj. deserving or causing public disgrace or shame French, Latin 2017/04/03
impeachment n. 1. the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something
2. a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office
3. a charge of treason or another crime against the state
French, Latin 2016/04/18
inauguration n. the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period Latin 2017/01/16
inauspicious adj. not conducive to success; unpromising; unlucky Latin 2014/05/12
incandescent adj. 1. emitting light as a result of being heated
2. passionate or brilliant
3. extremely angry
Latin 2014/11/03
inception n. the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity Latin 2015/01/05
incorrigible adj. not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed Latin 2013/05/27
indolent adj. wanting to avoid activity or exertion; lazy Latin 2016/03/07
innocuous adj. not harmful or offensive Latin 2013/07/22
insidious adj. proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects Latin 2017/05/01
intrepid adj. fearless; adventurous French, Latin 2015/11/16
inundate v. 1. overwhelm someone with things or people to be dealt with
2. flood
Latin 2015/08/17
inveigh v. speak or write about something with great hostility Latin 2017/03/06
irascible adj. having or showing a tendency to be easily angered Latin 2014/09/08
irate adj. feeling or characterized by great anger Latin 2013/07/08
iridescent adj. showing luminous colors that seem to change when seen from different angles Latin 2014/12/29
kakistocracy n. government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state Greek 2017/02/20
lachrymose adj. tearful or given to weeping Latin 2017/02/27
lackadaisical adj. lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy Dutch, German 2014/07/21
laud v. praise a person or their achievements highly, especially in a public context French, Latin 2017/04/10
leitmotif n. a recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation German 2016/10/03
lethargic adj. sluggish and apathetic Greek 2014/09/22
leviathan n. a very large aquatic creature Hebrew 2015/02/16
licentious adj. 1. promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters
2. (archaic) disregarding accepted rules or conventions, especially in grammar or literary style
Latin 2015/07/13
litigious adj. concerned with lawsuits or litigation French, Latin 2014/02/17
logophile n. a lover of words Greek 2016/01/04
loquacious adj. talkative Latin 2013/09/09
lugubrious adj. looking or sounding sad and dismal Latin 2013/06/03
macabre adj. disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury French 2016/10/31
maelstrom n. 1. a powerful whirlpool in the sea or a river
2. a situation or state of confused movement or violent turmoil
Dutch 2015/03/30
magnanimous adj. very generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or someone less powerful than oneself Latin 2016/12/19
malfeasance n. wrongdoing, especially by a public official French, Latin 2017/03/13
materfamilias n. the female head of a family or household Latin 2017/05/15
maudlin adj. self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental French, Latin 2017/02/16
mellifluous adj. sweet or musical; pleasant to hear Latin 2013/09/23
melodramatic adj. exaggerated, sensationalized or overemotional French, Greek 2014/08/25
mendacious adj. not telling the truth; lying Latin 2014/11/24
meritorious adj. deserving reward or praise Latin 2017/03/20
minutiae n. the small, precise or trivial details of something Latin 2014/09/01
munificent adj. larger or more generous than is usual or necessary Latin 2015/12/21
negate v. nullify; make ineffective Latin 2015/04/06
neophyte n. a person who is new to a subject, skill or belief Greek 2014/11/10
nepotism n. the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs French, Italian, Latin 2016/05/23
nihilism n. the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless German, Latin 2016/07/18
nuance n. a subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound French, Latin 2016/08/01
numinous adj. having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity Latin 2013/10/14
obfuscate v. render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible Latin 2016/09/05
obsequious adj. obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree Latin 2015/05/04
obstinate adj. 1. stubbornly refusing to change one’s opinion or chosen course of action
2. (of an unwelcome situation) very difficult to change or overcome
Latin 2013/08/05
obstreperous adj. noisy and difficult to control Latin 2016/03/14
obtuse adj. annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand Latin 2016/01/25
oeuvre n. the works of a painter, composer, or author regarded collectively French, Latin 2016/10/10
omnipotent adj. having unlimited power; able to do anything French, Latin 2016/02/22
omniscient adj. knowing everything Latin 2013/12/23
opalescent adj. 1. showing varying colors as an opal does
2. showing many small points of shifting color against a pale or dark ground
French, Latin, Sanskrit 2013/10/07
opaque adj., n. 1. (adj.) not able to be seen through; not transparent
2. (adj.; figurative) hard or impossible to understand
3. (n.) an opaque thing or substance
Latin 2013/06/10
opulent adj. ostentatiously rich and luxurious or lavish Latin 2014/01/13
ostentatious adj. characterized by vulgar or pretentious display; designed to impress or attract notice Latin 2014/01/20
paean n. a song of praise or triumph Greek 2014/08/11
palimpsest n. a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain Greek 2017/06/05
paradigm n. a typical example or pattern of something; a model Greek 2015/08/03
paralipsis n. the device of giving emphasis by professing to say little or nothing about a subject Greek 2016/10/24
paramount adj. more important than anything else; supreme French 2015/12/14
paterfamilias n. the male head of a family or household Latin 2017/06/12
patronize v. treat with an apparent kindness that betrays a feeling of superiority Latin 2015/03/16
paucity n. the presence of something only in small or insufficient quantities or amounts; scarcity French, Latin 2015/08/24
pedantic adj. excessively concerned with minor details or rules or with displaying academic learning Latin, Greek 2013/07/01
pedestrian n., adj. 1. (n.) a person traveling on foot
2. (adj.) lacking inspiration or excitement; dull
Latin 2013/05/06
peruse v. read (something), typically in a thorough or careful way Latin 2014/06/02
pervade v. be present and apparent throughout Latin 2014/04/21
petulant adj. childishly sulky or bad-tempered French, Latin 2014/12/15
plagiarism n. the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own Latin, Greek 2016/07/25
poetaster n. a person who writes inferior poetry Latin 2015/06/15
pontificate v. express one’s opinions in a way considered annoyingly pompous and dogmatic Latin 2017/03/27
posit v. assume as a fact; put forward as a basis of argument Latin 2014/06/23
post-truth adj. relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief English 2016/12/26
prelude n. an action or event serving as an introduction to something more important French, Latin 2017/05/22
prescient adj. having or showing knowledge of events before they take place Latin 2016/11/14
prestidigitation n. magic tricks performed as entertainment French, Latin 2016/08/15
prestige n. widespread respect and admiration felt for someone or something on the basis of a perception of their achievements or quality French, Latin 2016/08/22
prevaricate v. speak or act in an evasive way Latin 2016/12/05
prognosticate v. foretell or prophesy an event in the future Latin, Greek 2017/04/17
prosaic adj. 1. having the style or diction of prose; lacking poetic beauty
2. commonplace; unromantic
Latin 2013/09/02
pulchritude n. (poetic/literary) beauty Latin 2013/11/18
pundit n. an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public Sanskrit 2016/10/17
putative adj. generally considered or reputed to be French, Latin 2016/09/19
quotidian adj. 1. of or occurring every day; daily
2. ordinary or everyday
Latin 2014/01/27
raconteur n. a person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way French 2016/01/18
reciprocate v. 1. respond to (a gesture or action) by making a corresponding one
2. experience the same (love, liking, or affection) for someone as that person does for oneself
Latin 2014/06/16
reverent adj. feeling or showing deep and solemn respect French, Latin 2014/03/31
sagacious adj. having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment; wise or shrewd Latin 2014/06/09
sardonic adj. grimly mocking or cynical French, Greek 2015/07/27
sartorial adj. of or relating to tailoring, clothes, or style of dress Latin 2015/01/12
serendipity n. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way Persian 2014/10/06
soliloquy n. an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers Latin 2015/03/09
soporific adj. tending to induce drowsiness or sleep French, Latin 2015/06/29
stochastic adj. randomly determined; having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analyzed statistically but may not be predicted precisely Greek 2015/05/18
supercilious adj. behaving or looking as though one thinks one is superior to others Latin 2016/02/29
superfluous adj. unnecessary, especially through being more than enough Latin 2015/11/02
surreal adj. having the qualities of surrealism; bizarre French, Latin 2017/01/02
surreptitious adj. kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of Latin 2015/03/23
sycophant n. a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain advantage French, Greek 2015/05/11
taciturn adj. reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little Latin 2013/08/12
tenacious adj. not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined Latin 2014/04/07
terpsichorean adj., n. 1. (adj.) of or relating to dancing
2. (n.) a dancer
Greek 2016/07/11
terraform v. transform a planet so as to resemble the earth, especially so that it can support human life English, Latin 2017/04/24
thespian adj., n. 1. (adj.) of or relating to drama and the theater
2. (n.) an actor or actress
Greek 2016/03/28
tortuous adj. 1. full of twists and turns
2. excessively lengthy and complex
Latin 2014/02/24
ubiquitous adj. present, appearing, or found everywhere Latin 2013/12/16
usurp v. take a position of power or importance illegally or by force French, Latin 2015/06/22
valediction n. 1. the action of saying farewell
2. a statement or address made at or as a farewell
Latin 2013/12/30
vapid adj. offering nothing that is stimulating or challenging Latin 2014/11/17
venerable adj. accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character Latin 2017/05/29
verbatim adj., adv. in exactly the same words as were used originally Latin 2014/08/04
vernacular n. the language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people of a country or region Latin 2014/09/29
vitriolic adj. filled with bitter criticism or malice Latin 2016/11/28
zealous adj. having or showing great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective Latin, Greek 2015/02/02

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