affable \AF-uh-buhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Easy to speak to; receiving others kindly and conversing with them in a free and friendly manner. 2 : Gracious; benign.
"An affable, gregarious sort, Jason was everyone's best friend, even while he plotted to betray them to their worst enemies."
Affable is from Latin affabilis, from affari, "to speak to,"...Read more
voluble \VOL-yuh-buhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Characterized by a ready flow of speech. 2 : Easily rolling or turning; rotating. 3 : (Botany) Having the power or habit of turning or twining.
"Everyone agreed that Judith was such a voluble speaker that she would be well-advised to go into politics."
Voluble derives from Latin volubilis, "revolving, ...Read more
legerdemain \lej-ur-duh-MAIN\ (noun) - 1 : Sleight of hand. 2 : A display of skill, trickery, or artful deception.
"Frank and Ernst's legerdemain at the blackjack table and roulette wheel were the stuff of legend, earning them accolades from the like-minded as well as a comfortable living."
Legerdemain is from Old French leger de main, ...Read more
aesthete \ES-theet\ (noun) - One having or affecting great sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature.
"Steve was an aesthete with a connoisseur's eye for anything designed with a modern twist or a contemporary bent."
Aesthete is from Greek aisthetes, "one who perceives," from aisthanesthai, "to perceive."
flout \FLOWT\ (transitive verb) - To treat with contempt and disregard; to show contempt for.
(intransitive verb) - To mock, to scoff.
(noun) - Mockery, scoffing.
"Franklin and Sheba were completely mystified by Frida's determination to flout as many social conventions as she could."
Flout comes from Middle English flouten, "to play the ...
bellwether \BEL-weth-uhr\ (noun) - A leader of a movement or activity; also, a leading indicator of future trends.
"Before the election in question, the state's proud citizens had fancied their state to be a sort of bellwether, feeling that as they went, so went the nation."
Bellwether is a compound of bell and wether, "a male sheep, usually ...Read more
torpid \TOR-pid\ (adjective) - 1 : Having lost motion or the power of exertion and feeling; numb; benumbed. 2 : Dormant; hibernating or estivating. 3 : Dull; sluggish; apathetic.
"After careful observation Ralph came to the conclusion that some animals became torpid in winter while others were torpid in summer."
Torpid comes from Latin ...Read more
sobriquet \SO-brih-kay; -ket; so-brih-KAY; -KET\ (noun) - A nickname; an assumed name; an epithet.
"Due to an intellect seemingly encompassing the World Book and going well beyond, Jake had been lauded with the sobriquet of 'Walking Encyclopedia.'"
Sobriquet is from the French, from Old French soubriquet, "a chuck under the chin, hence, an ...Read more
numismatics \noo-miz-MAT-iks; -mis-; nyoo-\ (noun) - The collection and study of money (and coins in particular).
"Before engaging on a spree of printing counterfeit bills on his new inkjet printer, Charles first consulted a variety of numismatics websites to ensure that he would have all of the details correct."
Numismatics ultimately derives...Read more
antediluvian \an-tih-duh-LOO-vee-uhn\ (adjective) - 1 : Of or relating to the period before the Biblical flood. 2 : Antiquated; from or belonging to a much earlier time.
(noun) - 1 : One who lived before the Biblical flood. 2 : A very old (or old-fashioned) person.
"The company's antediuluvian management team seemed unable to comprehend the ...Read more
chagrin \shuh-GRIN\ (noun) - Acute vexation, annoyance, or embarrassment, arising from disappointment or failure.
(transitive verb) - To unsettle or vex by disappointment or humiliation; to mortify.
"Chagrined to find that her current boyfriend has become best pals with her ex-boyfriend Bill, Jeanette went and talked to him about it."
metier \met-YAY; MET-yay\ (noun) - 1 : An occupation; a profession. 2 : An area in which one excels; an occupation for which one is especially well suited.
"No matter a person's metier, Ty seemed to want to push everyone into doing sales, feeling that greater profits were certain to follow."
Metier is from the French, ultimately from Latin ...Read more
facile \FAS-uhl\ (adjective) - 1 : Easily done or performed; not difficult. 2 : Arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth; as, "too facile a solution for so complex a problem." 3 : Ready; quick; expert; as, "he is facile in expedients"; "he wields a facile pen."
"As everyone was quick to notice, the quarterly report was a very facile...Read more
perforce \pur-FORS\ (adverb) - By necessity; by force of circumstance.
"Should it actually come to pass, even those who followed every twist and turn of the process will perforce rub their eyes, incredulous that such a man could be elected to such a high office."
Perforce comes from French par force, "by force."
munificent \myoo-NIF-i-suhnt\(adjective) - Very liberal in giving or bestowing; very generous; lavish.
"Just when it seemed the station was about to close forever, a munificent benefactor bestowed sufficient funds for its operation well into the next decade."
Munificent is from Latin munificus, "generous, bountiful," from munus, "gift." The ...Read more
tortuous \TOR-choo-us\ (adjective) - 1 : Marked by repeated turns and bends; as, "a tortuous road up the mountain." 2 : Not straightforward; devious; as, "his tortuous reasoning." 3 : Highly involved or intricate; as, "tortuous legal procedures."
"The movie's climactic scene featured two high performance cars chasing each other up an icy, ...Read more
paucity \PAW-suh-tee\ (noun) - 1 : Fewness; smallness of number; scarcity. 2 : Smallness of quantity; insufficiency.
"The relative paucity of documents substantiating Jacob's claim, as well as the other lack of evidence, made it easy for the prosecution to find him guilty."
Paucity is from Latin paucitas, from paucus, "little, few."
fatuous \FACH-oo-uhs\ (adjective) - 1 - Inanely foolish and unintelligent; stupid. 2 : Illusory; delusive.
"Management persisted in the fatuous belief that a little hocus-pocus in the annual report would so dazzle stockholders that they'd be too dazed to notice the company's actual earnings."
Fatuous comes from Latin fatuus, "foolish, idiotic,...Read more
complement \KOM-pluh-muhnt\ (noun) - 1 : Something that fills up or completes. 2 : The quantity or number required to make up a whole or to make something complete. 3 : One of two parts that complete a whole or mutually complete each other; a counterpart.
(transitive verb) - To supply what is lacking; to serve as a complement to; to supplement....Read more
Q: Is this a run-on sentence?: "The thing I liked about Andy Rooney is that he didn't just play a curmudgeon on television, he was one." -- Shelley Cetel, West Hartford, Conn.
A: Grammatical purists would call this a "comma splice" -- a comma erroneously used to join or "splice" two independent clauses. They would replace the comma with a ...Read more