Do You Know These 100 Words?

Image credit: 

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.)

abjure
abrogate
abstemious
acumen
antebellum
auspicious
belie
bellicose
bowdlerize
chicanery
chromosome
churlish
circumlocution
circumnavigate
deciduous
deleterious
diffident
enervate
enfranchise
epiphany
equinox
euro
evanescent
expurgate
facetious
fatuous
feckless
fiduciary
filibuster
gamete
gauche
gerrymander
hegemony
hemoglobin
homogeneous
hubris
hypotenuse
impeach
incognito
incontrovertible
inculcate
infrastructure
interpolate
irony
jejune
kinetic
kowtow
laissez faire
lexicon
loquacious
lugubrious
metamorphosis
mitosis
moiety
nanotechnology
nihilism
nomenclature
nonsectarian
notarize
obsequious
oligarchy
omnipotent
orthography
oxidize
parabola
paradigm
parameter
pecuniary
photosynthesis
plagiarize
plasma
polymer
precipitous
quasar
quotidian
recapitulate
reciprocal
reparation
respiration
sanguine
soliloquy
subjugate
suffragist
supercilious
tautology
taxonomy
tectonic
tempestuous
thermodynamics
totalitarian
unctuous
usurp
vacuous
vehement
vortex
winnow
wrought
xenophobe
yeoman
ziggurat

More from mental_floss...

June 8, 2007 - 5:55am
webby
submit to reddit