Words to brighten up your September

by | Language Arts | 1 comment


• adumbrate = to give an incomplete or faint outline or indication of something; to give a vague indication or warning of something to come

• allegation = an assertion, especially relating to wrongdoing or misconduct on somebody’s part, that has yet to be proved or supported by evidence

• apophasis = the rhetorical device of alluding to something by denying that it will be mentioned, as in “I will not bring up the question of age now that you are forty”

• chortle = a noisy gleeful laugh

• cynical = distrustful of human nature, doubting or contemptuous of human nature or the motives, goodness, or sincerity of others

• dogma = a belief or set of beliefs that a group holds to be true

• dragoon = VERB: to involve somebody in an activity against his or her will, or force somebody to do something; to persecute or subjugate somebody using military troops; NOUN: in European armies of the 17th and 18th centuries, a mounted infantryman armed with a carbine; in armies of the late 18th and 19th centuries, a cavalryman, especially a heavily armed cavalryman

• ectomorph = tall thin person, somebody who belongs to a physiological type that is tall with long lean limbs

• empiricism = the application of observation and experiment, and not theory, in determining something; the philosophical belief that all knowledge is derived from the experience of the senses

• epitomize = to exemplify, to be a highly representative example of a type, class, or characteristic; to summarize, to write a brief summary of a piece of writing

• groke = to understand something completely by intuition

• hegemony = control or dominating influence by one person or group, especially by one political group over society or one nation over others

• intransigent = unyielding, stubbornly or unreasonably refusing even to consider changing a decision or attitude

• ironic = deliberately stating the opposite of the truth, usually with the intention or result of being amusing; involving a surprising or apparently contradictory fact

• isolationist = a government policy based on the belief that national interests are best served by avoiding economic and political alliances with other countries

• lacunae = a gap or place where something is missing, e.g. in a manuscript or a line of argument

• manifesto = a public written declaration of principles, policies, and objectives, especially one issued by a political movement or candidate

• materialism = the philosophical theory that physical matter is the only reality and that psychological states such as emotions, reason, thought, and desire will eventually be explained as physical functions

• mordant = sharply sarcastic or scathingly critical; having a corrosive effect

• naïve = having or showing an excessively simple and trusting view of the world and human nature, often as a result of youth and inexperience; not shrewd or sophisticated, showing a lack of sophistication and subtlety or of critical judgment and analysis; artless, admirably straightforward and uncomplicated or refreshingly innocent and unaffected

• naturalism = a system of thought that rejects all spiritual and supernatural explanations of the world and holds that science is the sole basis of what can be known

• paralipsis = a rhetorical technique in which you emphasize a topic by saying in some way that you will not talk about it, e.g. by using the phrase “not to mention”

• positivism = the theory that knowledge can be acquired only through direct observation and experimentation, and not through metaphysics or theology

• proliferate = to increase greatly in number

• reactionary = opposed to progressive social or political change

• sarcastic = mocking, characterized by words that mean the opposite of what they seem to say and are intended to mock or deride

• sardonic = disdainfully or cynically mocking

• satirical = using wit, especially irony, sarcasm, and ridicule, to criticize faults

• scathing = severely critical and scornful

• Schrödinger’s cat = a thought experiment, sometimes described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935, posing the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other

• skeptic = someone denying that knowledge is possible, a member of an ancient Greek school of philosophy holding the doctrine that real knowledge is impossible, or a later follower of this doctrine

• squalid = neglected, insanitary and unpleasant

• Thrasymachus = Callicles and Thrasymachus are the two great exemplars in Plato (and all of philosophy) of contemptuous challenge to conventional morality

• untenable = lacking the qualities such as sound reasoning or high ground that make defense possible

• zeitgeist = “the spirit of the times,” the ideas prevalent in a period and place, particularly as expressed in literature, philosophy, and religion

1 Comment

  1. Sharon

    Thank you for the vocabulary list! This is a good challenge for us to work through. We found that “groke” is actually spelled “grok”.


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