Vocab Builder: Highly Selective Words

A while back, I featured some words from Eugene Ehrlich’s The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate. Today, we revisit Ehrlich’s selective dictionary for more words to elevate our writing. The definitions are Ehrlich’s, the sentences are from around the Net and me.

  • Inanity, noun. Silliness; shallowness, superficiality.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Beastly” is a pointless 2, a clueless inanity that’s destined for the DVD discard bin, while Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” remains on the top shelf. —Arizona Reporter

  • Lecher, noun. 1. A man given to unrestrained indulgence of sexual lust. 2. a lascivious man.

The alleged lecher — who in the past had been targeted by a slew of sexual-harassment suits — demanded that the beautiful brunette come to his Manhattan apartment, the suit says. —The Jewish Daily Forward

  • Picayune, adjective. 1. Trifling, petty. 2. Mean, contemptible.

Married couples often have picayune arguments, especially when one partner unloads the frustrations of the day on the other.

  • Sudorific, adjective. 1. Causing sweating. 2. (noun) A drug that induces sweating.

In Brazilian herbal medicine the leaf juice and an infusion of the leaves and stems are considered tonic, stimulant, astringent, antidysenteric and sudorific.Find Me a Cure

  • Vituperate, verb. Use abusive language; abuse; objurgate, revile.

So please, feel free to vituperate, argue and belittle. But understand that the religious dialogue is not advanced by shaken fists and snide asides. —The Huffington Post

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About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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