Vocabulary Improvement

Miderm Exam and Vocabulary Quiz

“The Three Little Pigs” in Shakespearian English

A friend of mine since grammar school and high school sent me this video. Listen carefully to the language. My friend wrote, “Think about this…Shakespeare (and his peers?) had a working vocabulary of more than 54,000 words. The current working vocabulary of Americans is about 3,000 or much less in most cases for non-readers. About 15,000 words will give you better than 90% comprehension of most literature, according to Wikipedia. Watch and listen to the end – therein lies the hook.”  Jan Kollitz

We will try to get you over the 3000 mark this semester. We will have two quizzes on the midterm and final exam. The midterm is only worth 20% of the entire section of Exam scores. This gives you time to improve for the final.  If you would like to post a comment on this video, go to weekly web assignments under “Put a Smile on your Face” and earn another commentary point.

Learn this lexicon for Spring 2013:

acrophobia deleterious metaphor
adamant demagogue narcissistic
adherent democracy obsequious
affront denizen oligarchy
aghast didactic oxymoron
allusion diffusive parody
ambiguous dysphonia pedagogy
amorphous efficacious pejorative
argot efficacy perfunctory
autobiography enmity republic
bibliography hiatus sight
bicameral homogeneous simile
biography homonym site
blasphemy illusion smarmy
cacophony ingratiate solipsistic
canard innocuous straw man
cite insipid synonym
coherence jargon synthesize
conservative juxtapose Trojan horse
copious liberal ubiquitous
dastardly malevolent vis a vis

Not all 63 of these words are in the puzzle below.  Some of the words will be forward, and some will be backward.  They may be vertical or diagonal as well.  But many are in this puzzle.  Youc can copy this puzzle and ubmit before class on Wednesday November 6, 2013 to receive bonus points for your vocabulary quiz.

vocab_puzzleCreated by Puzzlemaker at DiscoveryEducation.com

Here are the definitions:

Most of these definitions came directly from Merriam-Webster’s (http://www.m-w.com).  However, when I didn’t like their definition, I simply made up my own definition or modified it.  The Free Dictionary (http://www.thefreedictionary.com) often has definitions that, while sometimes lacking linguistic precision, can be more useful in everyday life than what Merriam-Webster has to offer.  My definitions contain language lifted, directly or indirectly, from both of these sources.

adamant:  unshakable or insistent especially in maintaining a position or opinion : unyielding.

allusion: an implied or indirect reference especially in literature; also : the use of such references.


·         Having no definite form : shapeless.

·         being without definite character or nature : unclassifiable

·          lacking organization or unity <an amorphous style of writing>.

autobiography: the biography of a person narrated by himself or herself.


1.      the history, identification, or description of writings or publications

2.      a list often with descriptive or critical notes of writings relating to a particular subject, period, or author or a list of works written by an author or printed by a publishing house

3.      : the works or a list of the works referred to in a text or consulted by the author in its production

bicameral : having, consisting of, or based on two legislative chambers <a bicameral legislature>

biography: a usually written history of a person’s life

cite, site, and sight:

cite: to quote by way of example, authority, or proof <cites several noteworthy authors>.

Site:  the spatial location of an actual or planned structure or set of structures (as a building, town, or monuments).  Also one or more Internet addresses (i.e. an FTP site or web site).

sight: something that is seen  with the eyes.

coherent: Marked by an orderly, logical, and aesthetically consistent relation of parts: a coherent essay (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/).

coherence: the systematic or logical connection or consistency; the integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values.  In plain English: it hangs together.  It makes sense.

conservative vs. liberal: The meanings of conservative and liberal change over time and have greater meanings outside the context this class.  But in a nutshell, conservatives are people who hold conservative ideas and liberals are people who hold ideas.  Conservative ideas stress individual rights and individual responsibility. Liberal ideas stress the collective, and see the government as the necessary means for enforcing ideals of equality on society.  (see table).

deleterious : harmful often in subtle or unexpected ways (i.e. deleterious effects, deleterious to health.)

demagogue: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power; a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times

democracy : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority.  Everybody votes on every law.  (Compare republic.)

efficacious: having the power to produce a desired effect <an efficacious remedy>.

efficacy: the power to produce an effect

homogeneous Of the same or similar nature or kind: “a tight-knit, homogeneous society” (James Fallows).

homonym: One of two or more words that have the same sound and often the same spelling but differ in meaning, such as bank (embankment) and bank (place where money is kept). — compare synonym

illusion: An erroneous perception of reality; an erroneous concept or belief; the condition of being deceived by a false perception or belief.

juxtapose : To place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.


malevolent: Having or exhibiting ill will; wishing harm to others; malicious.  Or, Having an evil or harmful influence: malevolent stars.

metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison, as in “a sea of troubles” or “All the world’s a stage” (Shakespeare). — compare simile

narcisistic: a form of the word narcissism: egoism, egocentrism

Narcissus was a beautiful youth in Greek mythology who pines away for love of his own reflection and is then turned into the narcissus flower (Merriam-Webster)

obsequious: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness

“There’s likely a sycophant in many business meetings. This employee is obsequious, bending over backwards to ingratiate himself or herself to the boss” (http://humanresources.about.com/od/meetingmanagement/a/meeting_people.htm).

oligarchy: government by the few; a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes

oxymoron: a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (such as cruel kindness, jumbo shrimp, congressional deadlines, and military intelligence.)

pedagogy:  the art, science, or profession of teaching.  Education

pejorative: a word or phrase that has negative connotations or that is intended to disparage or belittle: a pejorative word or phrase

perfunctory:  characterized by routine or superficiality: mechanical <a perfunctory smile>; lacking in interest or enthusiasm

republic: a government in which supreme power resides in a body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by elected officers and representatives responsible to them and governing according to law. –compare with democracy.

simile: a figure of speech comparing two unlike things that is often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses) — compare metaphor .  When Forrest Gump had said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. . .,” he was using simile.

Solopsistic is not a word.  Sorry.

solipsistic:  a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also : extreme egocentrism

synonym:  one of two or more words or expressions of the same language that have the same or nearly the same meaning in some or all senses;  a word or phrase that by association is held to embody something (as a concept or quality) — compare homonym

synthesize:  to combine or produce by synthesis;   to make a synthesis of

synthesis:  the composition or combination of parts or elements so as to form a whole; the production of a substance by the union of chemical elements, groups, or simpler compounds or by the degradation of a complex compound; the combining of often diverse conceptions into a coherent whole; also : the complex so formed;  deductive reasoning;  the dialectic combination of thesis and antithesis into a higher stage of truth; the frequent and systematic use of inflected forms as a characteristic device of a language

ubiquitous : existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : widespread <a ubiquitous fashion> Omnipresent?

vis–à–vis:  face-to-face with; in relation to;  as compared with