Eclectic Words

Words collected over the years that meet one or more of the following criteria: (1) words that we have read or heard, but may not be able to clearly define if called upon, (2) words that are extremely descriptive of a specific, abstract concept, (3) words that some people occasionally define or pronounce incorrectly (often opposite of the true meaning), and (4) words that simply sound pleasant or have a crisp, descriptive tone.
definitions & notes only words
  1. acolyte
    an assistant to a priest or minister in a liturgical service
  2. alacrity
    liveliness and eagerness
  3. anachronism
    something located at a time when it could not have existed
  4. anathema
    a formal ecclesiastical curse accompanied by excommunication
  5. angst
    an acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety
  6. antithetical
    sharply contrasted in character or purpose
  7. argot
    a characteristic language of a particular group
  8. bohemian
    a nonconformist who lives an unconventional life
  9. bruit
    tell or spread rumors
  10. cachet
    an indication of approved or superior status
  11. caesura
    a break or pause in the middle of a verse line
  12. callow
    young and inexperienced
  13. canard
    a deliberately misleading fabrication
  14. capricious
    determined by chance or impulse rather than by necessity
  15. carapace
    hard outer covering or case of certain organisms
  16. catharsis
    purging the body to stimulate evacuation of the bowels
  17. cathexis
    (psychoanalysis) the libidinal energy invested in some idea or person or object
  18. catholic
    free from provincial prejudices or attachments
  19. cavil
    raise trivial objections
  20. chary
    characterized by great caution
  21. contagion
    an incident in which an infectious disease is transmitted
  22. cudgel
    a club that is used as a weapon
  23. denouement
    the outcome of a complex sequence of events
  24. didactic
    instructive, especially excessively
  25. droll
    comical in an odd or whimsical manner
  26. eclat
    brilliant or conspicuous success or effect
  27. ephemeral
    anything short-lived, as an insect that lives only for a day
  28. epiphany
    a divine manifestation
  29. exiguous
    extremely scanty
  30. facile
    arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth
  31. fatuous
    devoid of intelligence
  32. fecund
    capable of producing offspring or vegetation
  33. frippery
    something of little value or significance
  34. fugleman
    a leader and organizer and spokesman
  35. gamut
    a complete extent or range
  36. gossamer
    a gauze fabric with an extremely fine texture
  37. halcyon
    a mythical bird said to breed at the winter solstice
  38. hamartia
    the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall
  39. herald
    (formal) a person who announces important news
  40. heuristic
    a commonsense rule to help solve some problem
  41. hubris
    overbearing pride or presumption
  42. impervious
    not admitting of passage or capable of being affected
  43. implacable
    incapable of being placated
  44. impunity
    exemption from punishment or loss
  45. incommodious
    uncomfortably or inconveniently small
  46. inexorably
    in a manner impervious to change or persuasion
  47. inimical
    not friendly
  48. inscrutable
    of an obscure nature
  49. insipid
    lacking interest or significance or impact
  50. ipso facto
    by the fact itself
  51. irascible
    quickly aroused to anger
  52. juxtapose
    place side by side
  53. ken
    range of what one can know or understand
  54. kismet
    fate or fortune
  55. kvetch
    express complaints, discontent, displeasure, or unhappiness
  56. laconic
    brief and to the point
  57. languish
    become feeble
  58. luminary
    a celebrity who is an inspiration to others
  59. maw
    informal terms for the mouth
  60. mortmain
    real property held inalienably
  61. nadir
    the lowest point of anything
  62. nexus
    the means of connection between things linked in series
  63. obverse
    the more conspicuous of two alternatives or cases or sides
  64. oracle
    a shrine where a prophetic god is consulted
  65. palaver
    loud and confused and empty talk
  66. palliative
    moderating pain or sorrow by making it easier to bear
  67. panoply
    a complete and impressive array
  68. paradigm
    a standard or typical example
  69. patina
    a fine coating of oxide on the surface of a metal
  70. paucity
    an insufficient quantity or number
  71. pernicious
    exceedingly harmful
  72. petulant
    easily irritated or annoyed
  73. plaintive
    expressing sorrow
  74. plethora
    extreme excess
  75. profligate
    unrestrained by convention or morality
  76. quintessential
    representing the perfect example of a class or quality
  77. rogue
    a deceitful and unreliable scoundrel
  78. rubric
    category name
  79. sanguine
    confidently optimistic and cheerful
  80. sardonic
    disdainfully or ironically humorous
  81. sclerotic
    relating to or having sclerosis; hardened
  82. shibboleth
    a favorite saying of a sect or political group
  83. sibilant
    of speech sounds forcing air through a constricted passage
  84. sobriquet
    a familiar name for a person
  85. sophistry
    a deliberately invalid argument in the hope of deceiving
  86. sublime
    of high moral or intellectual value
  87. tabula rasa
    a young mind not yet affected by experience
  88. taciturn
    habitually reserved and uncommunicative
  89. tawdry
    tastelessly showy
  90. trenchant
    having keenness and forcefulness and penetration in thought
  91. truculent
    defiantly aggressive
  92. virulent
    extremely poisonous or injurious; producing venom
  93. obdurate
    stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing