Balladmonger (noun) – A balladmonger (BAL-uhd-mong-er) is an inferior poet. Shakespeare, the first known author to use the word, did it like this in King Henry IV, Part 1: “I had rather be a kitten, and cry mew, than one of these same metre ballad-mongers.”

Velitation (noun) –A velitation (vel-ih-TAY-shun) is a minor dispute or contest. As used by Sir Walter Scott inSt. Ronan’s Well: “While the ladies in the tea-room of the Fox Hotel were engaged in the light snappish velitation, or skirmish, which we have described, the gentlemen who remained in the parlour were more than once like to have quarrelled more seriously.”

Obdurate (adjective) – Obdurate (OB-doo-rit or OB-dyoo-rit) means stubborn, persistent; unmoved by persuasion, pity, or tender feelings. As used by Charles Dickens in Barnaby Rudge: “Mrs. Varden was obdurate, and being so was not to be overcome by mortal agency.”

Repartee (noun) – Repartee (re-per-TEE or re-per-TAY) is a quick, witty reply or a conversation made up of such replies. As used by Louis Theroux: “It’s difficult to describe the weirdness of speaking to a man who appears to be perfectly in control of his faculties, who can deliver off-the-cuff repartee, and yet who is actually utterly disconnected from who he is.”

Lenitive (adjective or noun) – Something that is lenitive (LEN-ih-tiv) softens, soothes, or mitigates; alleviates pain or harshness. As used by Laurence Sterne: “There is one sweet lenitive at least for evils, which nature holds out; so I took it kindly at her hands, and fell asleep.”

Degustation (noun) – Degustation (dee-gus-TAY-shun) is the act of tasting or savoring, especially with care or relish. As used by Liane Moriarty in Nine Perfect Strangers: “There would be no alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten, or dairy – but as she’d just had the degustation menu at the Four Seasons, she was stuffed full of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, gluten, and dairy, and the thought of giving them up didn’t seem that big a deal.”

Peripeteia (noun) – Peripeteia (per-uh-pih-TAYE-uh) is a literary term that refers to a turning point in the plot; an unexpected reversal of fortune. Example: the sudden change in Oedipus Rex’s situation when he realizes that he killed his father and married his mother.

Ratiocinate (verb) – To ratiocinate (rash-ee-AH-sih-nate) is to reason, to figure things out. As used by Robert Louis Stevenson: “But I give you warning – Stasie may weep and Henri ratiocinates – it will not serve you twice.”