acumen (noun) 

Acumen (uh-KYOO-mun) is the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions. As I used it today: “Why is it that some art lovers – even those who have… no financial acumen at all – often make gobs of money collecting art?”

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cursory (adjective) 

Cursory (KER-suh-ree) describes something that is rapidly and often superficially performed or produced. As I used it today: “When you use search engines and social media to shape your thoughts on topical issues, you are doing the most cursory sort of research.”

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anagnorisis (noun)

Anagnorisis (a-nag-NOR-ih-sis) is the point in a play, novel, etc. in which a principal character recognizes or discovers another character’s true identity or the true nature of their own circumstances. As I used it today: “This  little anagnorisis was interrupted by the stentorian voice of the desk sergeant. ‘I don’t like your tone of voice,’ he admonished the middle-aged black man in front of him.”

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insouciant (adjective) 

Insouciant (in-SOO-see-uhnt) describes a casual lack of concern; indifference. As I used it today: “There was something about the insouciant way in which [George Floyd] was killed… that made this killing almost unbearable to watch and set the country afire.”

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bromide (noun) 

A bromide (BROH-mide) is a commonplace or hackneyed statement or notion. As I used it today: “That entrepreneurs (and the CEOs that run entrepreneurial companies) must be risk takers may be a bromide that is even more common than visionary. I think it is equally untrue.”

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ephemeral (adjective) 

Something that’s ephemeral (ih-FEH-mer-uhl) is fleeting or short-lived. As I used it today: “You may have heard the argument that people generally get more long-term pleasure out of spending money on experiences rather than things. The first time I heard it, I was repelled by it. It seemed illogical. Experiences are ephemeral, I had always believed. You have them and they are gone. Poof! But things – ah, things last!”

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reproach (noun) 

Reproach (ruh-PROHTCH) is an expression of disapproval or disappointment. As I used it today: “The copywriter believes – or desperately wants to believe (which is sometimes worse) – that his/her writing is above reproach.”

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serendipitous (adjective) 

Something that is serendipitous (ser-un-DIP-ih-tus) occurs or is discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way. As I used it today: “As they moved into their mid-teens, I wanted my children to be emotionally resilient and mentally strong. That wasn’t a decision I made formally. It happened serendipitously.”

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fractious (adjective) 

Fractious (FRAK-shus) means quarrelsome; irritable. As used in a recent article in The Economist about the debate, in China, over whether a 14-year-old girl was a victim of rape by her wealthy guardian or a willing partner: “Bored and fractious after weeks of quarantine, many have followed the case eagerly. With each twist in the tale, the public mood has swung.”

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insinuate (verb) 

To insinuate(in-SIN-yoo-ate) is to slide (oneself or a thing) slowly and smoothly into a position. As I used it today: “I like a loud argument as much as any Irish American, but I don’t like an intellectual joust that leaves emotional bruises. Those bruises last longer when ideology insinuates itself into argument.”

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