WordSmithie 26th Podcast

The 26th podcasting session for WordSmithie is now available. It covers the words acerbic, jocose, acumen.



Let Me Call You Sweetheart

When we were riding the shuttle bus in Zion’s National Park earlier this week at our family reunion, I sat  next to a lady who was from Michigan.  We chatted briefly and I commented that Utah isn’t quite as verdant as Michigan.  She whole-heartedly agreed with me!

Verdant (vur-dnt)  is an adjective that means green in tint or color.  Utah is quite brown in color because it is a semi-desert.  Michigan is not.  It is green with lots of trees, plants, and undergrowth.

You could have a verdant sofa meaning it was green in color.  You could have a verdant shirt, verdant car, verdant piece of candy.  All of those things would be green in color.

Verdant can also mean inexperienced.  (If you refer to a person as being ‘green’ that means the person is not experienced in whatever area you are talking about.)   A person could be a verdant college freshmen, a verdant newspaper reporter, a verdant piano player.  All of these people would not be very experienced in that specific area.  They do not have very much knowledge or judgment in certain areas.

The next word is wheedle.  Wheedle (hweed-l) is a verb that means to influence or entice by soft words or flattery.  To persuade with gentle urging especially in the face of reluctance.  To coax.  Children often wheedle their parents to buy them candy at the store.  Children beg and coax their parents into buying candy when the parents don’t want to get them some.

Sometimes a person might wheedle a friend into doing an activity with them when the person isn’t very interested.  I do not particularly like country music.  So, my husband would have to wheedle me (try and coax and gently persuade me) to go with him to listen to a concert where country and western music was played.

The last word for today is sobriquet.  Sobriquet (soh-bruh-key) is a noun that is an affectionate or humorous nickname.  When we were first married, my husband used to call me Buckwheat.  My daughter calls her husband honey.  ‘Honey’ and ‘Buckwheat’ are sobriquets – an affectionate nickname.  Sometimes a husband might call his wife sweetheart, sweetie pie, pumpkin, Tootsie, or lovey dovey.  Those are terms of endearment and are sobriquets.

A sobriquet could also be a shortened version of a person’s given name.  Susy instead of Susan.  Joe instead of Joseph.  Or Mike instead of Michael.  Those are sobriquets, too.

Dear Reader (a sobriquet!) I hope that you enjoy using these words!

Obviate, Judicious, Placate

I have been to a family reunion for the last three days and therefore unable to post to this blog — and unable to post a podcast. We were at Zion’s National Park in southern Utah. Had a great time but no Internet access . . .

But this experience lends itself to good examples for one of today’s word. That word is obviate (ob-vee-eyt). Obviate is a verb that means to anticipate and prevent or eliminate (difficulties, disadvantages, etc.) by taking effective measures. To obviate (prevent) heat exhaustion on our hikes, we wore hats, carried water, and rested often in the shade. To obviate (anticipate and eliminate) misery and pain, we wore sun screen so we wouldn’t get sunburned. We also used insect repellent so we wouldn’t get mosquito bites. To obviate boredom, there were games, activities, hikes, canoeing, and lots of good food.

The next word is judicious. Judicious (joo-dish-uhs) is an adjective that means having or exercising good judgment. Wise. Practical. Good sense. A person could be judicious in the use of his time or his money — which would mean that he uses his time and money wisely.  Because of the high cost of gas, a person would be judicious (exercising good judgment) to combine errands into one trip so he could save on gas. A person could make a judicious (wise) decision about which job take. A husband and wife could be judicious in prioritizing what furniture or appliances they need to buy for their home — they use common sense to buy things that are necessary before purchasing things that would be considered a luxury.

The last word for today is placate. Placate (pley-keyt) is a verb that means to appease, calm, soothe, or satisfy. If you placate someone, you do something that will make them happier, less angry, less upset. To placate (calm) an angry customer, a waiter might give the customer a free meal. If a husband forgets his wife’s birthday, he might buy her a dozen roses to placate her (calm her or regain her good will). If a baby is cranky, a parent might sing the baby a song or gently bounce the baby with the hopes that the baby will be placated (calmed or soothed).

To placate my blog readers, I decided to post something today instead of waiting until tomorrow to write a post!

Abnegate, Abjure, Elucidate

Sometimes when I get home from work, I am tired.  I don’t feel like doing any work.  I don’t want to weed the yard, clean the house, do the  laundry.  I have to force myself to abnegate relaxing and lounging activities so that  I can get things done.

Abnegate (ab-ni-gey)  is a verb that means renounce, deny, surrender, relinquish, give up.  (So I have to give up relaxing activities in place of doing necessary work!)  During some religious conflicts, people have abnegated (or denied) their belief in God or in specific religious beliefs with the hopes of not being persecuted. Catholic priests abnegate (relinquish or deny themselves) marriage when they become a priest.  Sometimes kings or rulers have abnegated (relinquished or given up) power to ministers or other leaders.

Sometimes a person will abnegate (or restrain themselves) from pleasurable things such as alcoholic beverages.  Some people abnegate luxuries of life to lead a simple life without a lot of materialism.  For example, instead of living in a huge expensive home with expensive furnishings, they might live in a simple home with humble furnishings.

A word that is similar to abnegate is the word abjure.  Abjure (ab-joor) is a verb that means to renounce.  Sometimes this is under oath.  Or, a person can solemnly abjure his allegiance to a political group or a country.  He renounces and gives up his association with them.  It can also mean formally reject a previously held belief.  This is usually under pressure to retract or take back their statements.

The last word is elucidate.  Elucidate (i-loo-si-deyt) is a verb that means to explain, to provide clarification or understanding or to make plain.  I gave one of my employees a task to do.  A day later, as I was talking to him, I discovered that he really didn’t understand what he had to do.  So I elucidated the task for him – I provided more explanation until he understood the task.

Some TV documentaries elucidate the mysteries of science so that someone without a scientific background can understand science.  Sometimes guest lecturers to a college campus elucidates political situations in different areas of the world.  They provide background and understanding to what is happening.

I  hope that I elucidate (make plain) the meaning and definitions of the words that  I share on my blog  and in my podcast!!

WordSmithie 25th Podcast

The 25th podcasting session for WordSmithie is now available. It covers the words spurious, tyro, and coeval.

Mendicant, Occlude, and Predilection

Last week, a person from Kazakhstan (who is studying for the GRE and TOEFL exam) e-mailed me and mentioned he is using my podcast to help with his studying. I enjoy finding out about my readers and listeners and where they live! In addition to reading my blog and listening to my podcast, the best advice is to read, read, read. That will help with reading comprehension and will also help to build your vocabulary.

Today’s first word is mendicant. Mendicant (men-di-kuhnt) is a noun that describes a person who lives by begging — who is a beggar. Sometimes you might see people holding a sign that claims they are homeless and without money. They are begging for money. They are mendicants – assuming that they never work and that all they ever do is beg for money. Parents want their children to get a good education so that they can have a job and not be a mendicant. The government wants people to work so that they are not mendicants or dependent on the government for welfare.

The second word is occlude (uh-klood) to close or stop up. To shut in, shut out, or shut off. To obstruct, clog, block, plug. I read an article yesterday where a woman was struggling with a plugged drain. It was occluded (blocked, plugged) and water wouldn’t go down the drain. She accidentally got foul smelling water sprayed all over her! Yuck! What a miserable experience to have an occluded drain.

During the summer, people have their windows open. If they have noisy neighbors, they might try to occlude (shut out) the noise by shutting the window. If you are studying your homework at the kitchen table and the TV is blaring in the family room, you might want to occlude (block out) the noise of the TV by concentrating harder on your homework.

The last work is predilection. Predilection (pred-l-ek-shuhn) is a noun that means a tendency to think favorably of something in particular. You are partial towards something. You have a preference. For instance, I do not really care for soda pop. But I have a predilection for Dr. Pepper. I prefer drinking Dr. Pepper over other types of pop.

You might have a predilection (strong liking) for country music. You would prefer listening to that type of music instead of rap or classical music. You could have a predilection for a certain color, a certain type of car, a certain style of clothing. You could have a predilection (or a preference) for many things!

I have a predilection for words! And for writing and podcasting about them! Dear Reader, I would hope that you develop a predilection for words, too!

Know Anybody Who Is Obsequious?

 Today’s word is obsequious.  Obsequious (uhb-see-kwee-uhs) is an adjective that means fawning.  If a person is obsequious, they are attempting to please someone, trying to get in their favor or on their good side.  Picture a dog who wags his tail or who whines and has big sad eyes to show  his devotion to his master.

Sometimes people are fawning to others — they fuss over them.  They try to make things pleasant for them.  They flatter the person and say nice things to them.  They try to make them happy and comfortable with an ingratiating manner — almost to the point of groveling or of being submissive.  This is being obsequious.

Sometimes  store clerks or car salesmen are obsequious — especially when they are trying to get you to buy something.  In the days when there were servants, many times they were obsequious to their masters.  When people seek a favor from someone, they are sometimes obsequious — they fawn over the person and try to get in their good favor.

If someone acts obsequious towards you, they just might have an ulterior motive.  They might want something from you or might want you to do something that benefits them.  Beware!