Thursday, July 29, 2010

Enhancing Your 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 the end of last month. Among the featured words, all of which lie within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate:

1. recondite – to describe something that is extremely difficult to fathom or understand, and therefore beyond the comprehension of someone with an ordinary mind.
comment: This word is a perfect synonym for abstruse. A good example of something that is recondite and frequently in the news: derivatives, the financial instruments many blame for accentuating the global financial crisis.

2. moribund – a term for something that is nearing death--something that is showing no activity or progress, or is devoid of vitality.
comment: The housing market in some regions of the nation continues to be moribund, as is the Middle East peace process.

3. aphorism – a term for a concise and often profound statement of a principle--a terse and cogent formulation of a general truth or shrewd observation.
comment: A good synonym for adage. One of the reasons why Benjamin Franklin continues to be remembered fondly is the many simple aphorisms he handed down to us, such as “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

4. Svengali – a strong word to describe someone who manipulates or completely dominates another, especially for an evil or wicked purpose.
comment: It’s now more than three years since Dmitry Medvedev became president of Russia, but some Russia watchers continue to insist that the real political power in that nation is in the hands of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and that Putin is Medvedev’s Svengali.

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