Wednesday, June 06, 2007

100 Words

The American Heritage Dictionary just published a little books called "100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know." This sounds like a cool little book, one that can teach you all those words you know you should look up but never do.

Yes, some of these words are useful, like, say, numbers 2 and 3. Those are words I see in print a fair amount, and it certainly does help your reading comprehension if you know what they mean. However, some of the words on the list baffled me as to why they were included.

For instance, number 22: euro. Do they mean the monetary unit, or simply the prefix that places an object on the Continent? Either way, I'm not sure that knowing it makes you urbane, or even literate.

How about number 15: deciduous. That word comes in handy in exactly no contexts. Let's say you are reading a story about a disease that is affecting deciduous trees. Do you really need to be sure exactly what kind of tree it is?

Or number 100: ziggurat. I honestly can't tell you if I've ever seen that word in print before. Sure, it might be a cool word to know, but I don't see how it made the top 100.

Anyhow, here's a list for the self-improvement type.
  1. abjure
  2. abrogate
  3. abstemious
  4. acumen
  5. antebellum
  6. auspicious
  7. belie
  8. bellicose
  9. bowdlerize
  10. chicanery
  11. chromosome
  12. churlish
  13. circumlocution
  14. circumnavigate
  15. deciduous
  16. deleterious
  17. diffident
  18. enervate
  19. enfranchise
  20. epiphany
  21. equinox
  22. euro
  23. evanescent
  24. expurgate
  25. facetious
  26. fatuous
  27. feckless
  28. fiduciary
  29. filibuster
  30. gamete
  31. gauche
  32. gerrymander
  33. hegemony
  34. hemoglobin
  35. homogeneous
  36. hubris
  37. hypotenuse
  38. impeach
  39. incognito
  40. incontrovertible
  41. inculcate
  42. infrastructure
  43. interpolate
  44. irony
  45. jejune
  46. kinetic
  47. kowtow
  48. laissez faire
  49. lexicon
  50. loquacious
  51. lugubrious
  52. metamorphosis
  53. mitosis
  54. moiety
  55. nanotechnology
  56. nihilism
  57. nomenclature
  58. nonsectarian
  59. notarize
  60. obsequious
  61. oligarchy
  62. omnipotent
  63. orthography
  64. oxidize
  65. parabola
  66. paradigm
  67. parameter
  68. pecuniary
  69. photosynthesis
  70. plagiarize
  71. plasma
  72. polymer
  73. precipitous
  74. quasar
  75. quotidian
  76. recapitulate
  77. reciprocal
  78. reparation
  79. respiration
  80. sanguine
  81. soliloquy
  82. subjugate
  83. suffragist
  84. supercilious
  85. tautology
  86. taxonomy
  87. tectonic
  88. tempestuous
  89. thermodynamics
  90. totalitarian
  91. unctuous
  92. usurp
  93. vacuous
  94. vehement
  95. vortex
  96. winnow
  97. wrought
  98. xenophobe
  99. yeoman
  100. ziggurat

3 comments:

Collin said...

Notice you don't see "ostentatious" or "pedantic" on this list.

I mean, "Laissez Faire"? the most misused Latin phrase I can think of.

Granted I do drop "Thermodynamics" most times I'm waxing scientific about entropy or the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Eric said...

I know what you mean about thermodynamics. I can't tell you how many times "photosynthesis" has come in handy while gardening or taking third grade science.

Jim F said...

It is sad when I know very few words on this list. I do know the world "plasma" But obviously for different meanings.