Anomalous – An adjective that describes something deviating from what is standard, normal, or expected. Something anomalous can be good, such as an exciting new direction in music or art. But that anomalously low score on your math test? Not so good.
To find the origins of the word anomalous we can go back to the Greek anṓmalos, meaning “uneven or irregular.” Something that is anomalous is not just different; it is also unexpected, and may even be completely inconsistent with the norm. For example, the recent discovery of ice, and therefore water, on the moon was anomalous to all previous ideas that the moon was lifeless.
Desultory – If you lack a definite plan or purpose and flit from one thing to another, your actions are desultory. Some people call such desultory wanderings spontaneous. Others call it “being lost.”
Ethereal – Ethereal is something airy and insubstantial, such as a ghostly figure at the top of the stairs. It might also be something delicate and light, like a translucent fabric, or a singer’s delicate voice.
Importunate – You know those people, who are so focused on what they want, that even when it is reasonable, their asking for it over and over gets really annoying? They, and their questions, can be called importunate.
Dross – Things that are a total loss — really worthless or damaging — are dross. You could call that gunk between your teeth that comes out when you floss, dross. No one wants it, and it’s harmful if it stays.
Chasten – To chasten someone is to correct him or her, often with the use of some pretty steep punishment. Chasten can also mean “to restrain.” Either of these actions may be necessary when someone isn’t behaving like they’re supposed to.
Spurn – If you reject your mother’s offer to buy you a pair of lederhosen with a snort and eye roll, you are spurning her generosity. To spurn means to reject with disdain.
Emphatic – Emphatic means forceful and clear. Nicole’s mother was emphatic when she told her not to come home late again.
Venerable – To be venerable is to be admired and respected because of your status or age. You become venerable by achieving great things or just by living long enough.
Codicil – A codicil is a supplement to a will. If your will is already written and you want to alter it, you add a codicil.
When your seemingly ancient neighbor marries a woman less than half his age, you might notice that his adult children suddenly stop coming to visit. This may be because he added a codicil to his will granting his new wife access to all his riches. Getting your inheritance in writing is a good idea, but a codicil can change everything.
I gotta say I like this list today. There are a lot of good words up there, and I’m glad I put them on here for you and me. I am notorious for forgetting things like this, no matter how detrimental they are in my work as a writer, but thankfully, I have this gift of having the perfect word pop in my head at the right time. It’s funny, because sometimes the word that pops in my is unfamiliar to me, even though it sounds like it would fit perfectly with my sentence, and I have to look it up to make sure. Haha, it’s odd I know, but it hasn’t led me astray yet.