I recently came across a link to 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know, by the folks who brought you the American Heritage Dictionaries. The cool part is that they went ahead and printed the 100 words on the web site, leaving you to buy the book (a quite reasonable $5.95 at Amazon) if you want to learn more about them. But my motto is: have Google, will learn.
I approached the list with some trepidation. I'm a high school graduate, so by definition I "should" know these. I'm a writer, so I really should know these. But how many would stump me? It turns out, I only identified six words which made me uncomfortable: abjure, abstemious, bowdlerize, moiety, orthography, tautology. A few of those I might "get by on" (like abjure, which I could probably figure it out in usage), but bowdlerize? Well, thanks to Google and Wikipedia, I've got all 100. (For example: read about Thomas Bowdler's expurgation of classic works, which led to the term bowdlerize.)
Now it's your turn -- which of these words do you need to learn? (List of words after the jump.)