Mechanical

100 Words I Don't Know

Apparently, in a move that I'm sure couldn't possibly be self-serving, the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary have published a list of 100 words every high school student should know.

Way to make me feel stupid, guys.

(I think I know most of the words. I think. Maybe. Note that "most" could count as 51 of said words)

abjure
abrogate
abstemious
acumen
antebellum
auspicious
belie
bellicose
bowdlerize
chicanery
chromosome
churlish
circumlocution
circumnavigate
deciduous
deleterious
diffident
enervate
enfranchise
epiphany
equinox
euro
evanescent
expurgate
facetious
fatuous
feckless
fiduciary
filibuster
gamete
gauche
gerrymander
hegemony
hemoglobin
homogeneous
hubris
hypotenuse
impeach
incognito
incontrovertible
inculcate
infrastructure
interpolate
irony
jejune
kinetic
kowtow
laissez faire
lexicon
loquacious


lugubrious
metamorphosis
mitosis
moiety
nanotechnology
nihilism
nomenclature
nonsectarian
notarize
obsequious
oligarchy
omnipotent
orthography
oxidize
parabola
paradigm
parameter
pecuniary
photosynthesis
plagiarize
plasma
polymer
precipitous
quasar
quotidian
recapitulate
reciprocal
reparation
respiration
sanguine
soliloquy
subjugate
suffragist
supercilious
tautology
taxonomy
tectonic
tempestuous
thermodynamics
totalitarian
unctuous
usurp
vacuous
vehement
vortex
winnow
wrought
xenophobe
yeoman
ziggurat


Update: Hrumph! It seems all of my friends are smarter than I am.

  • Current Mood: amused amused
Hmmm.... *every* high school student?? some of thoese words are pretty specialist/obscure... There are about 7 that I wouldnt be able to define off the top of my head... and I'm an English Lit graduate!
I saw this on kottke.org last week and appreciated his label of "100 mostly useless words". :)
'moiety' and 'jejune' stumped me... but a lot of those words I came across long after high school. :-)
Abjure, tautology and moiety are the only ones I don't know. Yay not dumber than a high school student.

You know, most of those were probably on my SAT prep vocabulary list but I truly learned them after the fact from living with an English major for 6 years.
I may be waaaaay off, or have a very outdated dictionary, but...

Shouldn't 'homogeneous' be 'homogenous' ?

After marking up which ones I could immediately recognise grep and wc told me that I knew 71 of these.

I'm grateful for learning the word "bowderize" (or would that be "bowerderise" in English english?) though.
Bowdlerise. The word was invented after a chap called Bowdler (William? Can't remember) who cut anything potentially remotely offensive out of.. some books. I think. Fear my memory!
'"The words we suggest," says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, "are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language."'

That's great. What kind of benchmark? If you know all 100, then what? If you know only 20, then what? What does "all high school students SHOULD know" mean, given that you know that very few of them actually DO know them?

How is this for a benchmark: your verbal SAT score. Then at least you have percentiles and so on.

Personally, I don't consider these words obscure -- then again, I was an English major -- but I don't see them as the stuff one MUST learn in high school either. I mean, when we talk about "failing schools," we're not talking about whether the graduates know the meaning of "inculcate."
lots of words!!!
But Of course they are!!your little sister is smarter than you as well. Hi Babes its only taken me 3 hours to sort this blogg out although I don't think it will be as successful as yours. The ark (PC) is just about working so I will have to make this short and sweet as it may black out soon. Does everyone know its your ***** th BIRTHDAY soon Luv to you LXXXX
Re: lots of words!!!
Hey, I didn't know you were thinking about getting a blog here! And why the nick 'jeff80'? I'm confused.
Words I bet they never had
(Anonymous)
Hi dear Brother tis Greg here with my very own top five essential words just because I can....


1. SARMASSOPHOBIA
2. ELEUTHEROPHILLIST
3. GAMBRINOUS
4. BATRACHOPHOBIA
5. HARUSPICATION (this ones my personal favourite)

TTFN bro see you at the barbeque where no doubt you and I and Jim and Lewis will become GAMBRINOUS there's a clue....