Thursday, January 31, 2013

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 ten days. 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. enfant terrible
2. sinecure
3. enervate
4. alchemist
5. pensive
6. granular

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:

enfant terrible

-- with reference to the wholesale massacre of precious wildlife occurring in Africa and elsewhere thanks to China’s gluttonous demand for rare animal parts, this author expressing the hope that some Chinese Americans and other moralists will band together to become the enfants terribles of wildlife conservation

-- Martin, who is by far the youngest of our top management team, has really shaken up the establishment—one enfant terrible of a guy!

-- John McEnroe, once the enfant terrible of international tennis; Carlos Ghosn, the enfant terrible of the auto industry; Arnold Schonberg, regarded as the “arch rebel” and the enfant terrible of modern music; Iran’s Ahmadinejad seemingly relishing his role as an enfant terrible by frequently issuing shocking statements

-- movie director Peter Jackson of the “Lords of the Rings” trilogy fame being branded the enfant terrible of the movie industry, thanks to his extracting one-sided agreements from movie studios

-- Silicon Valley being densely populated with potential enfants terribles—entrepreneurs who have devised revolutionary approaches to deliver a particular product or service


-- an ABC report indicating what a sinecure a Congressman’s job has become

-- Jim’s present assignment is a sinecure—it requires very little work and allows him time to play golf even on weekdays

-- Our company founder and CEO has bestowed this company sinecure on young Michael because of the latter’s gifts as an artist and writer

-- I wish I had famed film critic A.O. Scott’s job, where you make handsome money watching and critiquing a few movies a week—it would be a nice little sinecure

-- eagerly seeking a particular job that you believe will be a sinecure and will enable you to live the good life you have long sought

-- the corporate boardroom sinecures enjoyed by some, thanks to their glowing resumes, as in the case of Robert Rubin, former Goldman Sachs co-chair and U.S. treasury secretary, who was paid $150 million for….

-- referring to the fact that Robert McNamara was against the Vietnam War all along but did not speak out against it until the 1990s, a critical Sen. John Kerry saying: “Instead of speaking out when he should have, McNamara retreated to the sinecure of the World Bank” (where he was president from 1968-1981)


-- in a recent appearance on “Face the Nation,” Peggy Noonan referring to the ongoing series of “fiscal cliffs” or cliffhangers as “these dreadful, enervating dramas

-- In my previous job, the backbiting and the dog-eat-dog Machiavellian culture drained me of my enthusiasm and drive—it enervated me, to say the least

-- here in Houston, June, July, and August being the worst months for sightseeing because of the enervating heat and humidity

-- after two failed attempts, I am not sure if I can summon the enthusiasm for yet another go—a sense of enervation has come over me

-- all this leisure and luxury, plus an absence of any sort of purpose in life, is enervating him…he is on a moral decline; then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair warning European nations to wake up from their shallow and enervating lives or risk being obliterated by the stiff new competition from the likes of China and India


-- Arthur Hiller, then-president of the Motion Picture Academy, saying: “What makes films the transcendent medium of expression is the alchemy of collaboration

-- remember, a really successful conference will not come about by some magic or alchemy—you better start planning for it right away

-- once a couch potato, he has now turned into a health and fitness nut, having alchemized his fear of falling ill into a firm determination

--  in an appearance on PBS “NewsHour,” Columbia Professor Klaus Lackner, a pioneer of the emerging “direct air capture of CO2” industry, speaking passionately about how his “commercially viable” technology can literally suck out all the surplus carbon dioxide that has been pumped into the earth’s atmosphere during the past 150 years, and thus alchemize the earth’s atmosphere into that which existed at the dawn of the industrial revolution

-- in the recent Time cover picture of President Obama, notice how the photographer, by deft use of lighting and position of the head, has made his subject appear deep in thought, looking pensive

-- someone who is normally pretty boisterous not asking any questions during a long meeting and, instead, sitting pensively

-- the pensive look in the large, brown eyes of my Labrador retriever; I couldn’t help staring at her because she looked so sad, and lonely—there was such an air of pensiveness about her

-- someone on his 80th birthday locked in a pensive mood, reflecting sadly about his many close friends who had died in their 30s and 40s

-- turning to a Rembrandt that depicts a seated, naked woman, the curator explaining the subject’s “beautiful, pensive expression” by pointing out that ….

-- in the movie “Chariots of Fire,” Vangelis’s music helping endow that opening scene of runners on a beach with an aura of pensiveness


-- the filmmakers of the 2012 movie “Lincoln” went to extraordinary lengths to imbue the film with authenticity, displaying an obsession for detail at the most granular level

-- even on relatively minor assignments, my new boss Iris asks questions in a very specific and granular way

-- the top management has finally leveled with us and addressed the issue with granularity, giving us precise reasons behind their stunning decision

-- after a meeting with the CEO, an exasperated manager telling her colleague: “He is much too involved in the granularity…in the microscopic aspects of everything that’s going on”

-- before we begin the brainstorming, could someone please make the definition of the problem more concrete, more granular?

-- during a Congressional hearing involving a case of corporate malfeasance, an executive professing innocence, saying that he was operating at too high a level to be granularly involved in the alleged actions; police investigators grilling a suspect, demanding more granular information

© Copyright 2013  V. J. Singal

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