problematic (adjective) 

Something that’s problematic (prah-bluh-MAT-ik) is doubtful, uncertain, questionable. As I used it today: “My relationship with my trainer, for example, can be problematic at times, and it certainly drains my energy. But it unquestionably adds value to my life.”

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empathy (noun) 

Empathy (EM-puh-thee) is the ability to understand, be aware of, and be sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another person. As I used it today: “There was a time in my life when I had such conversations, and they were not just fun. They were deeply felt and empathetic. I’d like to have them again.”

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adventitious (adjective) 

Something that is adventitious (ad-ven-TISH-us) happens or is carried on by chance rather than by design or its inherent nature. As used by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The adventitious beauty of poetry may be felt in the greater delight with a verse given in a happy quotation than in the poem.”

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desiccated (adjective) 

To desiccate (DES-ih-kate) is to remove the moisture from; to become completely and thoroughly dry. As I used it today: “[When the bodies of the pharaohs] were found years later – desiccated, linen-wrapped bones – their treasures were gone. Plundered.”

 

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opuscule (noun)

An opuscule (oh-PUSK-yool) is a work of art or music that is considered to be minor or insignificant. Some critics might, for example, describe Shakespeare’s King John or Pericles as an opuscule.

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misogyny (noun) 

Misogyny (mih-SAH-uh-nee) is a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. As I used it today: “Saudi Arabia, traditionally one of the world’s most misogynistic countries, has granted women the right to travel overseas without male permission.”

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parsimonious (adjective) 

Parsimonious (par-sih-MOH-nee-us) means stingy or frugal; restrained. As I used it today: “So that was something else to think about – the fact that we are each parsimonious with the one thing we want for ourselves.”

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venerate (verb) 

To venerate (VEN-uh-rate) is to revere; to regard with great respect. As I used it today: “With respect to your career, what’s more important: being admired for your character… or venerated for your success?

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proscribe (verb) 

To proscribe (proh-SKRIBE) is to formally forbid, denounce, or condemn. (Not to be confused with prescribe, which means recommend.) As I used it today: “Dictonary.com has published many insanely dumb essays proscribing language before, but this has to be one of the dumbest.”

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pragmatic (adjective) 

Pragmatic (Prag-MAT-ik) describes a way of dealing with things realistically, in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations. As I used it today: “There’s a pragmatic benefit to being admired.”

 

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