Saturday, May 27, 2006

Today's Vocabulary

Today's vocabulary words are taken from the book, The Runaway Princess by Christina Dodd. I use Merriam Webster's Dictionay for the definitions, but occasionally, if I need more clarification, I'll also use Roget's Thesaurus. Both can be found online, by clicking the title, here. I may also use Thesaurus.com and Dictionary.com.

cozen: to deceive, win over, or induce to do something by artful coaxing and wheedling or shrewd trickery; syn. CHEAT

prodigious: exciting amazement or wonder; extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree; enormous or monstrous

sybaritism: (comes from the word, sybarite), [from the notorious luxury of the Sybarites] : voluptuary (a person whose chief interests are luxury and the gratification of sensual appetites), sensualist (persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests); if it's capitalized, then it means: a native or resident of the ancient city of Sybaris; from Thesaurus.com= debauchery, self-indulgence; from Dictionary.com= A person devoted to pleasure and luxury; a voluptuary (Good word!)

termagant: an overbearing or nagging woman; a quarrelsome, scolding woman; a shrew

libertine: usually disparaging : a freethinker especially in religious matters; a person who is unrestrained by convention or morality; specifically : one leading a dissolute (or, unrestrained) life

dishabille: the state of being dressed in a casual or careless style

perfidious: (from perfidy) the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal; treachery; the act or instance of disloyalty; syn. faithless

bumptious: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive; obtrusive

castigation: (from castigate), to subject to severe punishment, reproof, or criticism; to chasten

majordomo: a head steward of a large household; a butler; a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another

capon: a castrated male chicken

All of the books on writing a novel and even the publisher's guidelines and their editors say that you shouldn't use big words or unusual vocabulary in your writing. That it's a turn-off for readers. Well, I disagree. I love to learn new words and see how "big" words are used in a sentence. I love it when a book has words that I don't know and I have no problem underlining the words and looking them up at the end of a chapter or the book. Of course, if it bugs me enough, I'll even look it up immediately so I know what the author is talking about.

I think it would be a very sad day indeed when writers stop using "big" words to describe something and will only write for the third and fourth grade reading levels like the newspapers do. I think that if I were to only read books with language I could easily understand, my mind would become very lazy. I want to have lots of wrinkles in my brain by the time I pass away and I hope that my vocabulary will increase every day, or at least every week. There's nothing more exciting to me than learning something new and that includes something as simple as learning a new word.

What do you think about that? Do you agree that books should be written in plain and simple language? Or do you prefer to read a book where you'll learn a new word and have a chance to increase your vocabulary? Does it bug you when you come across a word you've never heard or seen before? Are you good about looking it up or do you just skip it and guess at its meaning by the context it's used in?

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