Monday, March 29, 2010

Building a Large Vocabulary: New Edition of “Words of the Month”

The latest edition of “Words of the Month,” my free vocabulary enhancement feature, has been online since March 1. Words featured this time: parsimonious, Potemkin, effervescent, impolitic, animus, invidious. As in previous editions, all of the featured words are within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate.

Here are some of my favorite examples from the new edition:
1. At our workshop tomorrow, we will be serving sandwiches instead of a sumptuous lunch as in the past. These latest budget cuts have forced us into being a bit parsimonious.

2. in January 2009, while visiting a critically ill relative in Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital and driving on downtown streets that were rife with potholes and seeing rusty bridges and other images of disrepair, this author remarking to his fellow passenger with disgust: “Looks like the supposedly great metropolis of Chicago is, in reality, a Potemkin village.”

3. My understanding is that every major decision taken by our CEO, Robert, is really at the behest of the company’s largest shareholder. Robert seems to be a CEO only in name, a Potemkin CEO if you will.

4. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was forced to apologize for using the word “retarded” during a meeting with some fellow Democrats when someone offered a suggestion he felt was absurd. The question that has since been occupying this author’s mind: When referring to somebody’s quality of thinking, will the conversational use of words such as idiotic, stupid, and moronic also come to be regarded as impolitic, even if these words were to be uttered facetiously or jocularly?

5. I realize you want to limit the number of guests, but if you are inviting everyone who contributed to the project’s success, you should certainly include the design folks. Leaving them out would seem invidious to me.

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