I love used bookstores. You never know what treasures you’ll find, what long lost love you’ll rediscover. On a recent trip, I found The Highly Selective Dictionary For The Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich. Ehrlich was a giant in language circles. He edited two editions of the Oxford American Dictionary (1980 and 1982) and wrote several language books, including Amo, Amas, Amat, and More: How to Use Latin to Your Own Advantage and to the Astonishment of Others (14 editions), What’s in a Name?: How Proper Names Became Everyday Words (5 editions), and Schaum’s Outline of English Grammar (5 editions). (He also apparently loved long, meandering titles, but no one’s perfect.) This week, some highly selective words from Mr. Ehrlich.
- Abjure: to recant under oath
- Exegesis: a critical analysis of a text
- Impracticable: impossible
- Misanthrope: someone who hates humanity
- Peccadillo: a small error or sin
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- Jejune: dull, uninteresting
- Nascent: emerging, just beginning
- Quotidian: common, everyday
- Tautology: needless repetition of a thought using different words
- Unctuous: slippery; insincere earnestness