Expanding Our Verbal Repertoire

I love words the way painters must adore colors and musicians cherish music notes. I honor the way they look, the dots and lines and whorls. I’m grateful for their heroic, and doomed, attempts to make concrete what is ultimately abstract and immeasurable. Their lonely collections of letters, of solidified ambiguity, of contentiousness between aural and visual, of confined epistemologies and solidified prejudices: I heart them all.

If you, like me, think of each word as a weapon in your arsenal, as a different color in your painter’s palette, then you’ll appreciate what I’ve decided to do for myself. Below is a list of words I’ve encountered from time to time and yet never manage to staple to my long-term memory. Heck, maybe the public acknowledgement of my poor verbal retention will help shame me into memorizing these elusive little buggers. Fingers crossed.

I grabbed these definitions from Dictionary.com (unmarked) and Merriam Webster online (marked with an asterisk).

Assiduous: marked by careful unremitting attention or persistent application*
Only through a campaign of assiduous inquiries, chats, and gifts did Elle’s partner eventually win her over.

Concupiscent: lustful or sensual
Elle’s concupiscent relationship with hair, particularly of the curly and brown varieties, remained a secret no longer.

Desultory: 1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: 
2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random
Until this very moment, Elle had no idea that her haphazard approach to blogging could be characterized as “desultory.”

Erstwhile: former
Hufflepuff, Elle’s erstwhile furchild, lives his own little happily-ever-after in Southern California.

Fulsome: offensive to good taste, especially as being excessive; overdone or gross
Really, don’t you find Elle’s obsession with Hello Kitty a little, well, fulsome? I mean, the woman has a Hello Kitty nose stud, for god’s sake!

Meretricious: alluring by a show of flashy or vulgar attractions; tawdry
Of course, Elle’s also a little meretricious in her v-necked Hello Kitty t-shirt, amiright?

Munificent: extremely liberal in giving; very generous
People everywhere agreed Elle’s latest post reflected her magnificently munificent nature.

Perspicacious: having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning
“You’re quite the perspicacious student,” Elle gushed.

Perspicuous: clearly expressed or presented; lucid
“Oh, Dr. Hill, that’s only because your sociology lectures are so perspicuous!” exclaimed the starry-eyed student.

The refulgent eye of Elle is upon you
Refulgent: shining brightly; radiant; gleaming
Elle’s refulgent eyes glared back at the computer screen.

Verisimilitude: the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability
Elle sincerely hoped none of her readers would research the verisimilitude of her use of L.A. geography in her various novels.

Have a refulgent day, my perspicacious three readers.


  1. LOL! I only knew like two of these! Great words, and great sentences. I am not like you; I don't see words as weapons, or at least I don't auger them out the way that you do. I do respect your way with words, and your exceptional skill in arranging them in ways that make other people think,and feel, and remember.

  2. I knew three well, and had heard of a couple others. My vocab has slipped as I am no longer a fan of using that kind of language. It's for academics and poets, and not for lawyers. ;-p

  3. I so disagree! You're an author and a lawyer. You have an entirely different literary repertoire and a huge vocab that I can't touch with a stick. The words we use in academia are just as specialized and, let's be honest, sometimes totally useless.

    These are good words, though, right? I love some of my new word friends; "fulsome" and "refulgent" are particularly memorable. I easily remember "refulgent" because of the pic above; the twinkle of my nose stud makes me think of shiny gleamy-ness. :-D

  4. For the love of all things sacred, I need to incorporate these into my life! :-D

  5. How perspicacious of you, Kris. :-D And I totally relate.


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