Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vocabulary Enhancement Words: New Edition of “Words of the Month”

The latest edition of Words of the Month,” my free vocabulary enrichment feature, has been online for about a week. The six featured words, all of which lie within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate (as is the case with all of the words featured in my book, The Articulate Professional-3rd Edition”):

1. blandishment
2. despotic
3. denouement
4. temerity
5. prowess
6. conundrum

Here are extracts from some of my favorite examples, all carefully designed to help you implant the word into your conversational vocabulary and use it with confidence:


-- highly credentialed students at top business schools being subjected to all sorts of blandishments from major consulting firms

-- ever since the collapse of Vioxx, I’ve been very cynical of the blandishments contained in all the slick commercials that dominate prime-time TV

-- the young Wisconsinite was unmoved by the pleadings and blandishments of his parents to come home and run the family farm; two rivals for the club presidency showering blandishments on undecided members

-- succumbing to the blandishments in an attractive brochure; not buying into the blandishments of the latest “get rich quick” scheme being promoted on a local TV channel

-- Karen is a math genius and enjoys working in the derivatives department where math skills reign supreme. No amount of sweet talk or any of the usual blandishments such as offers of a higher salary or a juicy bonus will get her to leave derivatives and come work for you.


-- referring to such U.S. actions as the invasion of Iraq, secret military action deep inside Pakistan to eliminate bin Laden, and the relentless drone strikes in NW Pakistan, some critics saying that “the U.S. is acting despotically

-- our new department manager Sandra comes across as a bit despotic, the way she demands total obedience from everyone

-- during manager meetings, Joe held almost despotic sway, thanks to his close ties with the CEO

-- the fate of those animals that have the misfortune of wandering onto the new 85-miles per hour highway between Austin and San Antonio is one more example of man’s despotic attitude toward wildlife

-- the despotic Miranda Priestly in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”; Joseph Stalin, the Nazi Party, and Idi Amin being among the many rulers and organizations whose names are synonymous with despotism; following the attempted killing of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, Pakistanis protesting the Taliban’s “despotic agenda

-- talking about J. Edgar Hoover, author Ron Kessler telling CBS Sunday Morning “being as powerful as he was, he thought he was a god… as time went on, he became a despot

(Note that the last syllable is nasalized and thus rhymes with the last syllable in "rapprochement")

-- during the Cuban Missile Crisis, our heads were filled with thoughts of the unimaginably horrendous denouement that was likely if either leader (JFK or Khrushchev) were to take an escalatory step, such as….

-- I am anxious to see the upshot, the denouement of it all—will either of the two execs resign, or be fired?

-- all the execs, managers, and other employees eagerly awaiting the denouement—the go or no-go decision by the board of directors

-- in the 1941 Alfred Hitchcock movie “Suspicion,” the startling denouement, when the Cary Grant character is suddenly transformed into …., leaving this author disgusted, even cheated

-- in soccer, the dramatic denouement of many a World Cup match, thanks to the nail-biting series of penalty kicks…


-- the often-broadcast video clip from a 1988 vice presidential debate showing Democratic VP nominee Lloyd Bentsen chiding his Republican counterpart Dan Quayle for the latter’s temerity in comparing himself to the late John F. Kennedy

-- our colleague Robert is the only one around here who has the temerity to question execs on some of the assumptions in their presentations

-- everyone was surprised when brand manager Marian had the temerity to say during her presentation that she owes her winning strategies to Mr. Smith (who, last year, left the company in disgrace)

-- this author having the temerity to describe this blog as being second to none in giving professionals new ideas on how to be more impactful while participating in a meeting or while delivering a presentation

-- each year, several ambitious but inexperienced climbers who were thirsting to add Mt. Everest to their list of conquests in life paying for their temerity dearly

-- during the early years of my career, I was brash and often lost my temper, once even speaking angrily to my boss—that temerity cost me heavily

-- the stirring opening scene  in the 1982 movie “Gandhi,” during which the freshly minted attorney is physically thrown from a train in the middle of nowhere because he, a “colored” person, had the temerity to sit in a first-class compartment


-- whenever you burrow into the circumstances that earned someone the august Medal of Honor, you instantly realize that the serviceman’s actions were the very definition of martial prowess

-- they lack selling prowess; somebody’s growing prowess in producing catchy ads; the retailing prowess of Wal-Mart; the legendary Peter Lynch, who became famous for his stock picking prowess

-- Apple Computer’s unrivaled prowess when it comes to product innovation; GE execs’ reputed prowess in managing large organizations

-- the image of Toyota, which had become synonymous with automobile design and manufacturing prowess, taking a hit of late because of massive product recalls


-- a major conundrum facing Western democracies today: how to effectively surveil all those who are likely sympathizers of al Qaeda without grotesquely profiling or seriously infringing upon the constitutional rights of entire Muslim communities

-- let me tell you about just one of my many conundrums….

-- the challenging conundrum faced by many first-time job seekers: they cannot find employment in their chosen professions without relevant experience, and they cannot acquire such experience without first getting a job in that field;  the current Israeli-Palestinian conundrum

-- a government minister in an African nation saying: “One issue that is making me lie awake at night is actually a moral conundrum: whether or not to sanction a new road that will improve economic conditions in a very impoverished region but which will also lead to the destruction of wildlife habitat”

-- Paul Thompson of Purdue citing the following as an example of a “real philosophical conundrum” in the matter of gene implanting: “Supposing we could produce a strain of chickens that are blind and therefore don’t mind being crowded together. Would that be permissible on animal welfare grounds?”

© Copyright 2012  V. J. Singal

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