Words of the Alphabet

Words of the Alphabet

by Collin Wynter

I was briefly a member of Toastmasters, a club designed to improve one’s presentation and speaking skills. I believe that it has merit and one should explore their programs. Alas, time was not on my side. One aspect I enjoyed, from the few classes attended, was the word of the day. The member who was the Toastmaster for that session, would present a word, and the definition, to the group. It would be a challenge to see who could use the word the most in the session. 

Since then, I have begun collecting words; what I do not normally use in my day to day lexicon. I find it fun to have my own dictionary to spice up my verbiage. To be concise, rather than to bloviate, in my writing makes it more efficient and less haphazard, being able to get my point across more transparently. There is always the danger of using too many words that are not ubiquitous, as it may come across as pretentious. (You might have noticed, I have been using some of the words listed below in this paragraph. It was intentional, to be a little silly, rather than to be obnoxious).

I have only included one word from each letter of the english alphabet with a definition, used it in a sentence, and provided a synonym and antonym (if applicable). Many of these words have more than one definition (not included), in the sense that they are malleable and may be used in different formats. Some words even have archaic use that may mean the opposite of how they are used today! The words are all linked to Merriam-Webster online dictionary so you can go there and click on the sound button to hear how they are pronounced. Although some of the definitions below match quite closely to the online dictionary, some may not. I recommend using a hard copy dictionary prior to 2010 (or at the very least, prior 2020) to actually learn the definitions of words. (You can also learn the etymology of words). Online material has a tendency to be of lesser quality. An ersatz, one might say. This was just a fun little project with a desire to stimulate people into thinking about word use, and explore language. Language has depth, breadth and meaning. Learn and enjoy!

Anodynedeliberately inoffensive

The speech was anodyne in tone.

Synonym: Innocuous– not likely to bother, offend or be noticed

Antonym: Detrimental– causing damage or injury

Bloviate speaking with too many words

The expert sure did bloviate in the news interview.

Synonym: Bluster– to speak aggressively

Antonym: Concise– using few words or unnecessary information

Chicanery deception by artful subterfuge

The chicanery in politics is quite evident.

Synonym: Skullduggery– underhand, unscrupulous behaviour

Antonym: Transparency– open and evident

Defenestration a swift dismissal or removal from a position of authority

Defenestration is an aspect of cancel culture.

Synonym: Expulsion– ejected, removed 

Antonym: Platformed– being placed into a position of authority 

Ersatz an inferior substitution

Social media is an ersatz to social interactions.

Synonym: Artificial– humanly contrived

Antonym: Genuine– actual, real

Fiat an official order given by someone in authority 

A judicial fiat was made to summon the man to court.

Synonym: Decree– an order backed by force or law

*no relevant antonym

Germane being relevant and appropriate

Discussing flowers was germane to the topic.

Synonym: Apropos– suitable, appropriate

Antonym: Extraneous– not relevant 

Hyperbole providing an overtop the top exaggeration 

The politician was full of hyperbole.

Synonym: Overstatement– to state too strongly

Antonym: Understatement– to state weakly

Inimicalbeing hostile or malevolent, a disposition of an enemy

He was inimical to the proposed situation.

Synonym: Adversarial– antagonism between persons or systems 

Antonym: Hospitable– welcoming and willing to assist, friendly 

Jeremiad– a prolonged lamentation or complaint

The jeremiad by the philosopher was extremely nihilistic.

Synonym: Diatribe– a prolonged discourse of a strong personal perspective

*no relevant antonym

Kludge– a haphazard solution assembled to solve a problem

A kludge will not fix the computer software.

*no relevant synonyms or antonyms

Lacuna– an empty space that can be filled, physically, psychologically, metaphorically 

There was a lacuna in the thesis to be filled.

Synonym: Paucity– a lack of quantity or of quality 

Antonym: Fill– to supply

Magnanimous– a generous, benevolent and kind nature

He was magnanimous in face of defeat.

Synonym: Gallant– chivalrous, self sacrificing

Antonym: Ignoble– baseness, lowness, meanness

Nonpareil– having no equal

Her photography was nonpareil. 

Synonym: Incomparable– eminent beyond comparison

Antonym: Mediocre– average quality

Obsequious– eagerness to obey

The cult followers were obsequious in their behaviour.

Synonym: Servile– cravenly submissive 

Antonym: Obstinate– refusing to change behaviour

Pernicious– subtle encroachment and erosion doing harm

The ideology was pernicious in its effects on the institution.

Synonym: Deleterious– harmful in a subtle manner

Antonym: Benign– mild, hamrless

Quixotic– foolishly impractical in the pursuit of ideals

The hopes and the dreams of the man was quixotic in nature.

Synonym: Idealistic– a preferred state of being

Antonym: Practical– not theoretical, realistic

Rapacious– excessively grasping, covetous

Being rapacious is a sign of moral weakness.

Synonym: Esurient– greedy

Antonym: Restraint– to restrict

Shambolic– obviously disorganized or confused

The class was a shambolic mess.

Synonym: Haphazard– an unorganized accumulation of parts

Antonym: Efficient– able to complete a task with minimal waste

Tendentious– a favoured, or promotion, of a contentious topic

The tendentious hypothesis stirred emotions.

Synonym: Biased– unfair tendency to believe in certain things

Antonym: Nonpartisan– lack of favouritism towards one side

Ubiquitous– seemingly to be found everywhere

Advertising is ubiquitous in society.

Synonym: Quotidian– commonplace, regularly occurring

Antonym: Unique– very special, unusual 

Vociferous– vehement insistent outcry

The vociferous howl of the prisoners echoed in the jail.

Synonym: Caterwaul– complain noisily

*no relevant antonym

Whimsical– erratic behaviour, unpredictable change

A drunkard’s whimsical behaviour is quite unappealing.

Synonym: Caprice– impulsive action

Antonym: Steadfast– firmly fixed in place

Xenophobe– one who is fearful of other cultures and persons

Because he was a xenophobia, he did not travel to any other country.

Synonym: Prejudiced– bias, possibly against another person or culture

Antonym: Egalitarianism– a belief in human equality

Yoga– a Hindu philosophy

His yoga practice included meditation and prayer. 

*no relevant synonyms or antonyms

Zeitgeist– cultural beliefs in a certain time and place

The youth’s zeitgeist seemed foreign to the older adults.

*no relevant synonyms or antonyms

Published by Collin Wynter

Exploring rights of our freedom of expression and justice

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