Vocabulary Words 2016

When I was in sixth grade reading Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, my teacher advised keeping a dictionary handy to look up every word I didn’t know, and then write them down. It’s a useful practice for expanding your vocabulary, and I needed to do it again in 2016. Between Robert E. Howard’s original Conan stories, discussions at writers’ workshops, and a stack of books on science, writing, and politics, I was reaching for the dictionary all summer long. Here’s a list compiled from last year’s journal, including a few words I was pretty sure I knew but researched anyway to be certain I could use correctly.

Vocabulary Words 2016

Obviate: remove (a need or difficulty); avoid or prevent.

Insalubrious: unhealthy (climate or location)

Elocution: expressive and well-articulated speech

Post-structuralism: the idea that studying and understanding an object requires also studying the knowledge systems that produce it

Third-person Subjective: a narrative point of view that includes thoughts and feelings of characters

Universal Omniscient: a narrative point of view that reveals information the characters do not have

Intrusive Narrator: omniscient narrative point of view which includes essays or comments on the action and characters

Arbalest: powerful medieval crossbow with a steel bow, designed to shoot stones, arrows, and metal balls

Pennon: distinctive flag, once borne on a knight’s lance

Lambent: softly radiant; brilliantly playful; running or moving over a surface

Littoral: related to a shore of a lake, sea, or ocean

Stolid: not easily stirred or moved mentally; unresponsive; unemotional. (as a noun: stolidity)

Slavering: slobbering; letting saliva run from the mouth

Satrap: governor of a province (ancient Persian monarchy)

Alacrity: cheerful readiness; lively, brisk, and willing

Sward: grassy surface of land; turf

Cuspidor: spittoon

Whorls: pattern of spirals or concentric circles

Castellated: built like a castle, especially with turrets and battlements

Tenebrous: gloomy

Cenotaph: empty tomb or a monument to someone whose remains are interred elsewhere

Demesne: all land kept and managed by a lord of a manor for his own use and support, as opposed to land leased to tenants (feudal system)

Indigent: poor; destitute; impoverished

Jejune: vapid; insipid

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