Vocabulary Learning as a Radio Game Show? Bring it On

In an appearance on WNYC's Leonard Lopate show, Ben Zimmer quizzed Leonard and show listeners on some challenging words.

Learn or practice this list and see how you would have done on the game.
10 words 18 learners

Learn words with Flashcards and other activities

Full list of words from this list:

  1. bagatelle
    something of little value or significance
    The two hundred extra miles he had to cover beyond Gibraltar was a mere bagatelle--a question of an hour and twenty minutes' flight.Westerman, Percy F. (Percy Francis)
  2. bloviate
    speak verbosely and windily
    What he finds isn’t pretty: bloviating coaches and bullies wielding sharpened pencils as daggers.Slate (Oct 6, 2012)
  3. flummox
    be a mystery or bewildering to
    This is the sort of argument that flummoxes great philosophers.New York Times (Aug 17, 2014)
  4. hirsute
    having or covered with hair
    Then come the bears, those gruff, hirsute fellows who are traditionally masculine in every way except the one.Slate (Aug 8, 2014)
  5. callithump
    a noisy mock serenade to a newly married couple
    I have the greatest respect for honorable toil, but even more for callithump.Fogarty, Thomas
  6. absquatulate
    run away, taking something or somebody along
    “He has absquatulated, and taken the specie with him:” absconded is a more classical word.Anonymous
  7. farrago
    a motley assortment of things
    Land ownership on the Olympic Peninsula is a farrago of state, federal, Indian, and private property lines, with sketchy boundaries and often little signage.Salon (Sep 8, 2013)
  8. defenestration
    the act of throwing someone or something out of a window
    Did Jaime's story change your mind about him or does his defenestration of Bran place him beyond the pale for ever?The Guardian (Apr 29, 2013)
  9. parlous
    fraught with danger
    The point is that the world is more unstable and parlous than at any time in my lifetime.US News (Aug 18, 2014)
  10. comestible
    any substance that can be used as food
    Mooncakes are the fruitcake of China, a dutifully received yet largely unloved holiday comestible.Time (Sep 19, 2013)
Created on August 20, 2014 (updated August 20, 2014)

Sign up now (it’s free!)

Whether you’re a teacher or a learner, can put you or your class on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.