Wednesday Word Knowledge

This is a beginner-friendly list, so these will be words you may have heard but were unsure what they really meant or maybe forgot about. Our words for today are:
Implicit – an adjective meaning something is implied, though not plainly expressed. A very near synonym of implicit in this particular meaning is the word implied. But the adjective implicit also means “complete without any doubt,” so we can say that we have implicit trust or confidence in someone. The Latin root implicāre means “to involve or entangle.” Another English word with a more obvious connection to the Latin is the verb implicate.
You might think you and your boyfriend have an implicit understanding you can cook anything you want for dinner, which just happens to be brussel sprouts, fried squasch and tofu burgers, but it might be best to talk about it first.
Unorthodox – an adjective describing something that breaks tradition, is contrary to what is normal or accepted. It originally referred to religion, specifically to a person or practice that went against the traditions of a particular belief. The Greek roots of unorthodox are orthos, or “right,” and doxa, or “opinion.” So someone whose beliefs are orthodox has “the right opinion,” while an unorthodox person does not. The definition has evolved so that unorthodox‘s meaning is closer to “unusual” or “innovative” than just plain “wrong.”
So, instead of saying you’re a bad speller, you can simply say your spelling is “unorthodox”.
Cognizant – an adjective meaning having knowledge or being aware of something. This 19th century adjective derives from Latin cognōscere “to learn.” For the English adjective and noun, an older pronunciation with a silent g was in use in legal contexts up until the early 20th century. In law, these terms refer to jurisdiction, or the right of a court to hear a case.
Like for instance, if you’re cognizant of how your buddies are acting around you, that means you know you’re about to be at the bottom of a dog pile.
Presumptuous – This adjective describes someone who does things too boldly, who fails to observe the limits of what is permitted or appropriate. Presumptuous comes from the Latin verb praesumere which means to take for granted. It means taking for granted your access to someone or power to do something. It’s a very satisfying word and effective word because it belittles someone at the same time as criticizing him. In Shakespeare’sHenry VI,” Northumberland calls Warwick “presumptuous and proud” for trying to get rid of the king. It’s usually pronounced with all four syllables, pre-ZUMP-choo-us, although pre-ZUMP-chus is acceptable as well.
Accost – a verb used when someone approaches or addresses someone boldly or aggressively. Accost describes a confrontation — one that’s often aggressive in nature. You’re likely to be accosted by angry picketers if you wear your finest fur coat to a march against animal cruelty. The paparazzi make their living by accosting celebrities, pushing in close to snap candid photos as the stars leave their limos. The drunk man who accosts his attractive female co-worker at a company cocktail party is looking for more than conversation.
Ardent – an adjective describing being passionate or enthusiastic about something. Ardent is most often used to modify words like supporter, fan, advocate, admirer, and defender — but also opponent. Although you can either ardently support or oppose something, support is by far the more common use. The word literally means “burning” or “glowing” — it’s from Latin ardere, “to burn.” In poetic use, the word is sometimes used to mean “glowing,” as Alexander Pope did in his 1718 translation of Homer’s Iliad: “From rank to rank she darts her ardent eyes.”
Arduous – an adjective describing something involving or requiring strenuous effort; something difficult or tiring. Arduous was first used in English to mean “steep” or “difficult to climb.” If you’re an outdoors-man, hiking up a mountain is a lot of fun, but if you’re a couch potato, it’s an arduous trek. Today, the word can be used figuratively for something that is difficult or takes a lot of work. If you spend an arduous week studying for your final exams, you’ll do well because you’ve worked really hard!
Besotted – an adjective describing being strongly infatuated with something or someone. This can also describe being intoxicated or drunk. If you are stupefied or excited by a chemical substance (especially alcohol) you’re besotted.
Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you if you can’t remember this one after you go out drinking tonight and get besotted yourself.
Chagrin – now this is a noun and a verb, both meaning you’re feeling embarrassed or distressed about having failed at something or being humiliated. The word chagrin, a noun, comes from the French word of the same spelling and means “melancholy, anxiety, vexation.” An odd fact about the word in English is that it had been thought to be related to another, similar-sounding word, shagreen, “an untanned leather with a granular surface, prepared from the hide of a horse, shark, seal, etc.” When one mistakes one word as a relative of another is called “false etymology.”
Like that one time I dove under the water at the lake and smacked my face on the bottom way too soon.
Deplorable – an adjective describing something or someone deserving strong condemnation. Also describes something that’s shockingly bad in quality. Deplorable comes from the French word déplorer meaning “to give up as hopeless,” meaning something is so bad, there is no hope of improvement like the deplorable actions of the arsonist who burned down the museum filled with priceless antiques. Deplorable can also describe something that is of terrible quality or unhealthful, like the deplorable state of the area under your bed — is that a moldy sandwich under there?
Yes. Yes it is. (I’m kidding, I would never let my house get anywhere near that bad. Suffice it to say however, that I did find some questionable things in my husband’s place when I first moved in. Ewwwwwwww!
I hope you liked this first list! If you have any suggestions for other words I can post or have questions about any word, feel free to message me!
~ Mrs. Giles


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