Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Expanding 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 early last week. Among the featured words, all of which lie within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate:

1. plebeian – to describe something that is crude or rough in style, manner, nature, etc; something that is commonplace, coarse, or lacking in refinement.
comment: I can’t recall any word featured in “Words of the Month” in recent years that has given me as much pleasure (in developing the examples) as has plebeian, perhaps because of its wide applicability. Here are some of my favorite examples:
(i) a member of a company’s top management who demonstrates the rare ability to be an executive and a plebeian at the same time by the way he mingles and interfaces with the company’s blue-collar workforce
(ii) a gourmet cook who, with a little bit of tweaking, can transform a plebeian dish into something that tastes and looks extraordinary
(iii) following the company’s annual Christmas party, one male employee saying to another: “I don’t think Ted’s remarks were appreciated by the women at the party. They were so coarse, so plebeian.”
(iv) “Oh, so you drive an LS 460! That is one of the top of the line Lexuses, right? My Lexus is a plebeian model—the ES 350.”
(v) a woman telling her spouse: “For an event like this, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go in jeans, and old faded ones at that. We don’t want to look like plebeians!”

2. beneficence – to describe the quality of being kind, generous; also: a charitable donation or generous gift.
comment: A great synonym for words such as largesse, charity, kindness, and munificence.

Yet to complete.

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