Words I’ve learned

I’ve been pretty lax about posting new words that I’ve found in my readings. Here’s an update:

From Reading Lolita in Tehran:

  • erudite (adj.) – Characterized by extensive reading or knowledge; well instructed; learned.
  • banal (adj.) – Commonplace; trivial; hackneyed; trite.
  • solipsism (n.) – Philosophical theory that the self is all that you know to exist
  • imam (n.) – (Islam) Man who leads prayers in a mosque; for Shiites an imam is a recognized authority on Islamic theology and law and a spiritual guide
  • sycophant (n.) – A servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people
  • sinewy (adj.) – Lean and muscular; strong and vigorous
  • BONUS: sinew (n.) – A tendon
  • From Guns, Germs, and Steel:

  • proselytize (v. tr.) – To convert (a person) from one belief, doctrine, cause, or faith to another
  • atoll (n.) – A ringlike coral island and reef that nearly or entirely encloses a lagoon
  • adze (n.) – An edge tool used to cut and shape wood
  • effete (adj.) – marked by excessive self-indulgence and moral decay
  • From Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom:

  • depilate (v.) – To remove hair from the body
  • pith (n.) – The essential or central part; the heart or essence; strength; vigor; mettle
  • solicitous (adj.) – Full of anxiety and concern; Showing hovering attentiveness
  • fugue (n.) – Dissociative disorder in which a person forgets who who they are and leaves home to creates a new life; during the fugue there is no memory of the former life; after recovering there is no memory for events during the dissociative state
  • gestalt (n.) – A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts
  • cowl – (n.) a loose hood or hooded robe (as worn by a monk)
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