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Old File Clean-out: My Vocab List

I am likely not the only one who growing up had too much time and not enough to do. One of my favorite past-times on the farm was to create vocabulary lists (an odd teen hobby for the younger boy who had to be forced to sit and study spelling). I found the following roster of, I must say, well-curated words that I also must say – I didn’t master. Time to rectify that and take up an old hobby again?


I believe all copy&paste (circa 2004) are ©Mirriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/.

The Vocab List

froward \FROH-erd\ adjective

: habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition

tartar \TAR-ter\ noun

1 capitalized : a native or inhabitant of a vast historical region in Asia and Eastern Europe roughly extending from the Sea of Japan to the Dnieper
*2 often capitalized : a person of irritable or violent temper
3 : one that proves to be unexpectedly formidable

xenophobia \zen-uh-FOH-bee-uh\ noun

: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

kaput \kuh-PUT\ adjective

1 : utterly finished, defeated, or destroyed
*2 : unable to function : useless
3 : hopelessly outmoded

subpoena \suh-PEE-nuh\ noun

: a writ commanding a person designated in it to appear in court under a penalty for failure

tantamount \TANT-uh-mount\ adjective

: equivalent in value, significance, or effect

abjure \ab-JOOR\ verb

1 a : to renounce upon oath b : to reject solemnly
*2 : to abstain from : avoid

tawdry \TAW-dree\ adjective

: cheap and gaudy in appearance or quality; also : ignoble

jimjams \JIM-jamz\ noun plural

: jitters

quiddity \KWID-uh-tee\ noun

*1 : whatever makes something the type that it is : essence
2 a : a trifling point : quibble b : crotchet, eccentricity

goober \GOO-ber (the “OO” may be pronounced either as in “food” or as in “good”)\ noun

: peanut


rectitudinous \rek-tuh-TOO-duh-nuss\ adjective

*1 : characterized by straightness or moral integrity
2 : piously self-righteous

disparage \di-SPAIR-ij\ verb

1 : to lower in rank or reputation : degrade
*2 : to speak slightingly about : belittle

imperturbable \im-per-TER-buh-bul\ adjective

: marked by extreme calm, impassivity, and steadiness : serene

hebetude \HEB-uh-tood (“oo” as in “food”)\ noun

: lethargy, dullness

cajole \kuh-JOAL\ verb

*1 : to persuade with flattery or gentle urging especially in the face of reluctance : coax
2 : to deceive with soothing words or false promises

poignant \POY-nyunt\ adjective

1 : pungently pervasive
2 a (1) painfully affecting the feelings : piercing *(2) deeply affecting : touching b : designed to make an impression : cutting
3 a : pleasurably stimulating b : being to the point : apt

mawkish \MAW-kish\ adjective

1 : having an insipid often unpleasant taste
*2 : sickly or puerilely sentimental

incumbent \in-KUM-bunt\ noun

1 : the holder of an office or ecclesiastical benefice
*2 : one that occupies a particular position or place

causerie \koh-zuh-REE\ noun

*1: an informal conversation : chat
2: a short informal essay

abominable \uh-BAH-muh-nuh-bul\ adjective

1 : worthy of or causing disgust or hatred : detestable
*2 : quite disagreeable or unpleasant


magniloquent \mag-NIL-uh-kwunt\ adjective

: speaking in or characterized by a high-flown often bombastic style or manner

espouse \iss-POWZ (OW as in “cow”)\ verb

1 : marry
*2 : to take up and support as a cause : become attached to

compunction \kum-PUNK-shun\ noun

1 : anxiety arising from awareness of guilt
*2 : distress of mind over an anticipated action or result
3 : a twinge of misgiving : scruple

quodlibet \KWAHD-luh-bet\ noun

1 : a philosophical or theological point proposed for disputation; also : a disputation on such a point
*2 : a whimsical combination of familiar melodies or texts

bromide \BROH-myde\ noun

1 : a binary compound of bromine with another element or a radical including some (as potassium bromide) used as sedatives
2 a : a commonplace or tiresome person : bore *b : a commonplace or hackneyed statement or notion

frisson \free-SOHNG (the last vowel is pronounced nasally, and the final “ng” is not pronounced)\ noun

: a brief moment of emotional excitement : shudder, thrill

putsch \PUCH (“U” is as in “butcher”)\ noun

: a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government

mendacious \men-DAY-shus\ adjective

: given to or characterized by deception or falsehood or divergence from absolute truth

bildungsroman \BIL-doonks-roh-MAHN (“oo” as in “good”)\ noun

: a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character

knee-jerk \NEE-jerk\ adjective

: readily predictable : automatic; also : reacting in a readily predictable way

superfluous \soo-PER-floo-us\ adjective

*1 : exceeding what is sufficient or necessary : extra
2 : not needed : unnecessary

métier \MET-yay\ noun

1 : vocation, trade
*2 : an area of activity in which one excels : forte

peccant \PEK-unt\ adjective

*1 : guilty of a moral offense : sinning
2 : violating a principle or rule : faulty

commensal \kuh-MEN-sul\ adjective

1 : of or relating to those who habitually eat together
*2 : living in a relationship in which one organism obtains food or other benefits from another without damaging or benefiting it

haywire \HAY-wyre\ adverb or adjective

*1 : being out of order or having gone wrong
2 : emotionally or mentally upset or out of control

incommensurable \in-kuh-MEN-suh-ruh-bul\ adjective

: not commensurable; broadly : lacking a basis of comparison in respect to a quality normally subject to comparison

fructify \FRUK-tuh-fye\ verb
*1: to bear fruit
2: to make fruitful or productive

imbibition \im-buh-BIH-shun\ noun

*1 : the act or action of drinking
2 : the act or action of taking in or up : absorption

cavil \KAV-il\ verb

*1 intransitive sense : to raise trivial and frivolous objection
2 transitive sense : to raise trivial objections to

objurgation \ahb-jer-GAY-shun\ noun

: a harsh rebuke

raffish \RAF-ish\ adjective

1 : marked by or suggestive of flashy vulgarity or crudeness
*2 : marked by a careless unconventionality : rakish

maffick \MAFF-ik\ verb

: to celebrate with boisterous rejoicing and hilarious behavior

sangfroid \SAHN-FRWAH (the vowel in the first syllable is pronounced nasally without any following consonant)\ noun

: self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain

nebulous \NEH-byuh-lus\ adjective

1 : of, relating to, or resembling a nebula : nebular
*2 : indistinct, vague

megrim \MEE-grum\ noun

1 a : migraine b : vertigo, dizziness
2 a : fancy, whim *b plural : low spirits

disingenuous \dis-in-JEN-yuh-wuss\ adjective

: lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating

loquacious \loh-KWAY-shus\ adjective

1 : full of excessive talk : wordy
*2 : given to fluent or excessive talk : garrulous

manifesto \man-uh-FESS-toh\ noun

: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer

gadzookery \gad-ZOO-kuh-ree\ noun

British : the use of archaisms (as in a historical novel)

verjuice \VER-joos\ noun

*1 : the sour juice of crab apples or of unripe fruit (as grapes or apples); also : an acid liquor made from verjuice
2 : acidity of disposition or manner

abnegate \AB-nih-gayt\ verb

1 : deny, renounce
*2 : surrender, relinquish

vindicate \VIN-duh-kayt\ verb

1 : avenge
2 : to free from allegation or blame
3 *a : confirm, substantiate b : to provide justification or defense for : justify

sibyl \SIB-ul\ noun, often capitalized

1 : any of several prophetesses usually accepted as 10 in number and credited to widely separate parts of the ancient world (as Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, and Italy)
*2 a : prophetess b : fortune-teller

blowdown \BLOH-down\ noun

: an instance of trees being blown down by the wind; also : a tree blown down

baroque \buh-ROAK\ adjective

1 : relating to a style of artistic expression prevalent especially in the 17th century that is noted for its use of complex forms, bold ornamentation, and contrasting elements to evoke tension
*2 : characterized by grotesqueness, extravagance, complexity, or flamboyance

clerisy \KLEH-ruh-see\ noun

: intelligentsia

expunge \ik-SPUNJ\ verb

*1 : to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion
2 : to efface completely : destroy
3 : to eliminate (as a memory) from one’s consciousness

perquisite \PER-kwuh-zut\ noun

*1 : a privilege, gain, or profit incidental to regular salary or wages; especially : one expected or promised
2 : gratuity, tip
3 : something held or claimed as an exclusive right or possession

hagiography \hag-ee-AH-gruh-fee\ noun

1 : biography of saints or venerated persons
*2 : idealizing or idolizing biography

pecuniary \pih-KYOO-nee-air-ee\ adjective

*1 : consisting of or measured in money
2 : of or relating to money

milquetoast \MILK-toast\ noun

: a timid, meek, or unassertive person

impuissant • \im-PWIH-sunt\  • adjective
: weak, powerless


aegis • \EE-jiss\  • noun
1 : shield, protection
*2 : patronage, sponsorship


recalcitrant • \rih-KAL-suh-trunt\  • adjective
*1 : obstinately defiant of authority or restraint
2 a : difficult to manage or operate b : not responsive to treatment c : resistant


mare • \MAHR-ay\  • noun, plural maria
: any of several mostly flat dark areas of considerable extent on the surface of the moon or Mars


grimalkin • \grih-MAWL-kin\  • noun
: a domestic cat; especially : an old female cat


salient • \SAIL-yunt\  • adjective
1 : jutting forward beyond a line
*2 : standing out conspicuously : prominent; especially : of notable significance


volte-face • \vawlt-FAHSS\  • noun
: a reversal in policy : about-face


concatenate • \kahn-KAT-uh-nayt\  • verb
: to link together in a series or chain


swivet • \SWIV-ut\  • noun
: a state of extreme agitation


jabberwocky • \JAB-er-wah-kee\  • noun
: meaningless speech or writing


winsome • \WIN-sum\  • adjective
*1 : generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence
2 : cheerful, lighthearted


orgulous • \OR-gyuh-luss\  • adjective
: proud


adulation • \aj-uh-LAY-shun\  • noun
: excessive or slavish admiration or flattery


ideate • \EYE-dee-ayt\  • verb
transitive sense : to form an idea or conception of
*intransitive sense : to form an idea


desideratum • \dih-sih-duh-RAH-tum\  • noun
: something desired as essential


rapscallion • \rap-SKAL-yun\  • noun
: rascal, ne’er-do-well


fecund • \FEH-kund\  • adjective
1 : fruitful in offspring or vegetation : prolific
*2 : intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree


crux • \KRUKS\  • noun
1 : a puzzling or difficult problem : an unsolved question
*2 : an essential point requiring resolution or resolving an outcome
3 : a main or central feature (as of an argument)


sesquipedalian • \ses-kwuh-puh-DAIL-yun\  • adjective
1 : having many syllables : long
*2 : using long words


chirography • \kye-RAH-gruh-fee\  • noun
*1 : handwriting, penmanship
2 : calligraphy


besot • \bih-SAHT\  • verb
*1 : infatuate
2 : to make dull or stupid; especially : to muddle with drunkenness


indissoluble • \in-dih-SAHL-yuh-bul\  • adjective
: not dissoluble; especially : incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken : permanent


surfeit • \SUR-fut\  • noun
*1 : an overabundant supply : excess
2 : an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (as food or drink)
3 : disgust caused by excess


torrid • \TOR-id\  • adjective
1 : parched with heat especially of the sun : hot
*2 : ardent, passionate


vulpine • \VUL-pyne\  • adjective
1 : of, relating to, or resembling a fox
*2 : foxy, crafty


hypermnesia • \hye-perm-NEE-zhee-uh\  • noun
: abnormally vivid or complete memory or recall of the past


amenable • \uh-MEE-nuh-bul\  • adjective
1 : liable to be brought to account : answerable
2 a : capable of submission (as to judgment or test) : suited b : readily brought to yield, submit, or cooperate *c : inclined or favorably disposed in mind : willing


festinate • \FESS-tuh-nut\  • adjective
: hasty


abstruse • \ub-STROOS\  • adjective
: difficult to comprehend : recondite


retrodict • \reh-truh-DIKT\  • verb
: to utilize present information or ideas to infer or explain (a past event or state of affairs)


collywobbles • \KAH-lee-wah-bulz\  • noun
: bellyache


solecism • \SAH-luh-sih-zum\  • noun
1 : an ungrammatical combination of words in a sentence; also : a minor blunder in speech
2 : something deviating from the proper, normal, or accepted order
*3 : a breach of etiquette or decorum


simulacrum • \sim-yuh-LAK-rum\  • noun
1 : image, representation
*2 : an insubstantial form or semblance of something : trace


pertinacious • \per-tuh-NAY-shuss\  • adjective
*1 a : adhering resolutely to an opinion or purpose b : perversely persistent
2 : stubbornly unyielding or tenacious


disseise • \dih-SEEZ\  • verb
: to deprive especially wrongfully of seisin : dispossess


cock-a-hoop • \kah-kuh-HOOP\  • adjective
*1 : triumphantly boastful : exulting
2 : awry


lief • \LEEF\  • adverb
: soon, gladly


Grey Hairs & Projected Stress


“I used to work at a nuclear power plant in my twenties. There I was involved in engineering work that would make most people go crazy and – wouldn’t you know it – I did.”

While attending college an old professor of mine shared with the class this same story that outlined a simple truth about the interactions of people under trying circumstances. Unlike some instructor tales, this one struck a claim in my memory. Since then, I have gone on to see the learned truth he shared play out in my own work life. Would you like to hear the tale?1

You’d be surprised how quickly saying, “I went crazy.”, gets the attention of some folks and perhaps this professor knew it. He continued, “Some people leave marks on our lives. These marks can be both good and bad experiences at the office and at home, which can lift us up and tear us down. This is largely due to those around you and the atmosphere, the miasma of wellness or blight, which they project. Therefore, in many endeavors within either arena your enjoyment and fulfillment is shaped by those around you who seek, often, to maximize their own experience through any means possible. This can lead to a conflict of interest between the two parties – that is you and other individuals’ desire for contentment.” 2

About here I’m sure the professor was losing many, as this was a capstone course and all some of the seniors could think about was getting past the last moral homily (that was starting to get deeper) and on to the final grade of many academic lives. “But what do I mean when I say conflict? Well in the case of my insanity, conflict drove it. Specifically, conflict between my needs for happiness and that same need of my supervisor drove me to break down and eventually resign from a place that was what I’d wanted to do since I was sitting where you are now.”

“You see, I had to quit, because my supervisor was projecting her anxiety and fears – her stress – onto me. How can one project their stress? Easily, stress can be and is projected through expectation setting, demeanor and tone, body language, and other communication channels as typically benign and hard to interpret as type. In so projecting her own stress, be it work or personal, she created a toxic environment that made me react in the only way I could as a young professional – I hunkered down and took it as right and true, and as a call to action to work harder. I was idealistically blind to the abuse that I was receiving. Like so many others, who in their youth and zest to contribute and succeed will stand tall and push forward, I weathered the storm for two years. Or so I thought.”

A few quizzical looks drove him to elaborate. “It was standing on a over-bright walkway alone at night at the plant that I realized I was a madman and that I had done it to myself. By seeking to succeed and to capitalize on my dream I allowed another person to place upon me external demands, fears and insecurities with myself, my competence. Worst of all I was swallowed by the overshadowing – and markedly false – importance of my work and the milestones we had in place to meet.”

In the first year out of college I reached back to this same professor and thanked him for the story as I had seen the very same thing at my job and was able to identify clearly the projected stress of my supervisor. The hardest part of recognizing these waves of stress is to not ignore all forms of exuded fears and emotions as many are valid reflections of priority in the workplace that need to be known. In a team, projected emotions and interests are wonderful signals for understanding one another and the things that supervisors and those under them want and need out of their work (be it internally or to please external forces like the “boss’s boss”).

For my purposes I began conceiving then of three types of projection at work: fear; emotion; and stress. Fear – the often external driver that pushes action or re-action in a specific direction [best utilized as “positive” fear which drives parties toward a constructive removal or resolution of that fear, often through achievement of some goal or task]; emotion – the positive and negative stance of an individual on a given topic, entity, or circumstance; stress – the result of over-burdensome fears and negative emotions.

Through this story that teacher solidified himself as a true mentor – even if a gruff one. I hope that by sharing you are able to reflect upon his experience.34

tl:dr 5

  1. Stress can be projected and not recognized by the receiver until it accumulates to dangerous levels.
  2. You need not bear the brunt of received stress. However, you must recognize projection to avoid accepting it.
  3. Not all projection in life is stress and may have value. Other types can be valuable in obtaining your attention – for things that put you at risk or endanger something important to your life or work.



  1. His, I promise. It’s a better story than mine.
  2. Paraphrasing quotes. After all, the mind will make a memory, and the retelling of a story, what it wants.
  3. I may have told this story before in a shorter post when I first started this blog – but I expect no one will ever read that version of the tale.
  4. Image courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
  5. I plan to begin putting these in even though I strongly disagree with the simplification and abbreviation of learning and understanding of online news and posted articles. By providing this section certain readers may well draw some value from the content they didn’t read.