Brain Power: Words That Boost Your IQ


The knowledge of words is
the gate of scholarship.
~John Wilson
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We think, speak, and live through the words we use. They express all we know and all we ever will. A strong vocabulary is an essential element if we would like to grow as individuals. As Voltaire once said, "we must cultivate our garden."
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Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.
~Rudyard Kipling
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Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.
~Patrick Rothfuss
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Trust me, though, the words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like rain.
~Markus Zusak
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The Words

abrogate: to abolish
meretricious: flashy; tawdry
perdition: hell; loss of one's soul
incubus: a demon in the night
opine: think; suppose; usually humorous
imbibe: absorb into the mind
repudiate: to reject
prevaricate: to speak falsely
partisan: supporter of a cause
languish: become weak; yearn
conundrum: a puzzle
gourmand: a glutton
obviate: to make necessary
aphorism: a wise saying
elucidate: to make clear
tryst: secret rendezvous of lovers
cornucopia: a symbol of plenty
numinous: spiritual or supernatural
amiable: good natured; friendly
bohemian: one who lives unconventionally
regale: to entertain lavishly
adulation: praise
fallacious: false idea
emancipate: to free
quintessence: purest example
proverbial: well known
mitigate: to make less severe
troubadour: a French medieval poet
nirvana: state of perfect blessedness
coalesce: grow together to form a whole
abjure: to swear to avoid or discontinue
meander: to wander aimlessly
savant: a person of great learning
placate: to appease
amalgamate: to unite
salacious: obscene
satori: sudden enlightenment in Zen
denigrate: to defame
talisman: to have magic power
extricate: to set free
platitude: trite remark
verity: truthfulness; honesty
tempestuous: violent; stormy
pundit: an expert
meliorate: to make better
integrity: moral strength; complete
deism: belief in the existence of god
revel: to take great delight in
burlesque: comic satire
credulous: gullible
recalcitrant: refusing to obey
prosaic: lacking interest; boring
respite: a brief rest
inchoate: not fully formed
impugn: to challenge as false
garrulous: talkative
furtive: acting secretive
erudite: learned; scholarly
facetious: humorous
zealous: fervent; eager devotion
palpable: easily noticed; obvious
fastidious: diligent; difficult to please
philanthropist: charitable person
blithe: cheerful
propitious: advantageous
gentrify: to upgrade
doughty: brave
arcane: difficult to understand
amulet: a charm against evil
germane: pertinent
placate: to sooth
behest: an order
knave: a deceitful fellow; rogue
unilateral: relating to one side only
dissident: one who publicly disagrees
credence: acceptance as true; belief
mantra: a mystical chant
rife: abundant; prevalent
probity: integrity and honesty
indelicate: tactless or improper
bibliophile: lover of books
proxy: authority to act for another
fervent: intense; ardent
aficionado: an ardent fan
archangel: angel of high rank
ponderous: massive
gambit: a calculated move
inveigle: to entice
malfeasance: misconduct
implore: to beg
venerate: to revere
nihilism: belief that life is meaningless
vestibule: a small entrance or lobby
protagonist: main character in play
corpus: complete collection of writings
stoic: showing little or no emotion
pragmatic: practical
exacerbate: aggravate
edify: instruct or improve
incipient: beginning early stages
concave: curving inward
deify: to make a god of
logophile: lover of words
abeyance: temporary suspension
misnomer: unsuitable name
equivocal: ambiguous
askance: with suspicion
replete: abounding; plentiful
beguile: to charm or delight
fervor: ardor; zeal
carpe diem: seize the day
preeminent: having highest rank
indelible: permanent
obstinate: unyielding; stubborn
ardor: passion; zeal
acumen: depth of perception
solicitude: deep concern
insipid: not interesting
fecund: fruitful
evanescent: fleeting; fading away
adventitious: not earned; accidental
diffident: shy; timid
ebullient: highly enthusiastic
nascent: coming into existence
abstemious: restraining oneself
exegesis: interpretation of a text
espy: to see at a distance
aplomb: calmness; self-assurance
loquacious: apt to talk to much
colloquial: informal style
dogma: strict doctrine
contentious: quarrelsome
sophistry: clever but misleading
incredulous: showing doubt
auspicious: favorable; fortunate
pinnacle: highest point; summit
interdict: prohibit; hinder or isolate
inexorable: relentless
inviolable: indestructible
scurrilous: vulgarly abusive
continence: self-restraint; abstinence
solicitous: concerned and attentive
benediction: a blessing
litany: a repetitive recital or list
psyche: the human mind or spirit
demagogue: a corrupted leader
prolific: highly productive
junta: secret assembly
enamored: filled with love
edifice: large, imposing building
nexus: a connection
ethereal: light; delicate; heavenly
emulate: to imitate
obfuscate: to confuse
surly: testy; bitter
divagate: to wander
enrapture: to fill with delight
sojourn: a temporary stay
untrammeled: not limited by rules
anomaly: something abnormal or unusual
valiant: brave
inviolate: keep sacred
gadfly: one who instigates
insolent: showing disrespect
avant-garde: vanguard
hoi polloi: the masses
satire: literary sarcasm
ad interim: in the meantime
sine anno: without a date
omnipotent: all powerful
omnipresent: everywhere present
omniscient: all knowing
jocund: cheerful; merry
descry: to discover or detect
lexicon: a dictionary
brusque: discourteously blunt
paradigm: typical example
diffusion: higher to lower concentration
exasperate: to annoy; vex
paragon: mode of excellence
catharsis: to purify
efface: erase; wipeout
heuristic: helping to learn
insidious: ambush; sneak upon
coup de grace: blow of mercy
maelstrom: powerful tidal current
mecca: any place holy or desirable
subjugate: to conquer
inimitable: unique
woebegone: marked by sadness; forlorn
somatic: of the body; physical
bona-fide: authentic; genuine
dexterous: skillful
efficacy: ability to produce results
couth: polished; sophisticated
diffident: lacking trust in oneself
En rapport: in harmony with
holistic: dealing with whole system
maudlin: foolishly sentimental
magnum opus: a great work
ex cathedra: with complete authority
irascible: easily angered
moniker: name or nickname
evince: to make manifest
elocution: the art of public speaking
acme: the highest point of achievement
remiss: careless about duty; negligent
baroque: elaborately ornamental
intrinsic: the essential nature within
circumscribe: to severely limit
dissonance: lack of harmony
gallant: to be brave and noble
eon: thousands of years
equanimity: serenity of temper
ergo: therefore
bedlam: noise and confusion
primordial: of the earliest beginnings
foment: to stir up; provoke
ascetic: self-denying
precocious: advanced beyond one's age
firmament: the sky; the heavens
epistle: a letter
utopia: a place of ideal perfection
effulgent: extremely radiant
despot: tyrant
exult: rejoice greatly
deprecate: to belittle
modulate: adjust or vary
milieu: surroundings; environment
empirical: based on experience
prodigy: remarkable person or thing
meritorious: deserving reward; praise
enthrall: to fascinate
deity: a god or goddess
pithy: brief, forceful, and meaningful
rill: a small stream
ominous: a sign of trouble or harm
unsullied: untarnished
forlorn: sad and alone
glib: speaking or spoken with ease
pedagogue: schoolmaster; strict teacher
vamoose: a hasty departure
unflappable: calm
solecism: an error in grammar
tirade: long, angry speech
sine qua non: indispensable
portico: a porch
epicure: fine taste for food, wine
intransigent: refusing to compromise
interpose: to place between
vicissitude: life's ups and downs
secern: to distinguish
lissome: agile and graceful
peruse: to examine carefully
ex post facto: after the fact
lucid: clear-minded; easily understood
pedantic: overly concerned with rules
irradiate: to illuminate
elixir: the essential principal
charisma: a magnetic charm
acrimonious: bitter remarks
banal: trite; commonplace
animosity: intense dislike
agape: pure love
beatific: blissfully happy
ennui: state of boredom
adroit: skillful and quick
cozen: to cheat or deceive
rarefied: lofty or elevated
a priori: presupposed by experience
inculcate: to fix in the mind
traverse: to travel across
prowess: bravery; superior skill
apocryphal: of doubtful authenticity
surreptitious: secret; stealthy
Pollyanna: excessively optimistic person
neophyte: a beginner or novice
adage: a wise saying; proverb
galvanize: to cause to act quickly
incessant: unceasing
edacious: devouring
opulent: wealthy; abundant
transcend: to rise above
taciturn: unusually silent
kudos: praise or acclaim
consecrate: to make holy
envisage: to picture in the mind; imagine
epiphany: a sudden striking revelation
sardonic: bitterly sarcastic
ruminate: to contemplate; ponder
proletariat: lowest class of citizens
pontificate: dogmatic; pompous
nepotism: favoritism to relatives
precarious: dubious
soliloquy: talking to oneself
superfluous: unnecessary
exodus: mass departure
diatribe: denunciation
contravene: go against
hyperbole: exaggeration for effect
vivacious: full of life; lively
decadence: deterioration; self-indulgence
interlope: encroach; interfere
carte blanche: unconditional authority
sacrosanct: very holy
esoteric: understood by few
magnate: an influential person
perfidious: treacherous
circumspect: cautious; discreet
promethean: boldly original; daring
impudent: rude
literati: intellectuals
assiduous: diligent
prefatory: introductory
innuendo: a hint or sly remark
euphemism: mild word for a harsh word
gnosis: mystical knowledge
approbation: approval; praise
archetype: an original model; example
epitome: the best example of class or type
gentility: politeness
vernacular: everyday speech of a place
infallible: never wrong
heresy: unorthodox beliefs
monomania: dire interest in one thing
panacea: a remedy for all ills; cure-all
ideology: a system of beliefs
harbinger: forerunner
emancipation: to free
impasse: a dead end
motif: main theme of an artist work
serendipity: lucky discoveries by chance
forbearance: patience and tolerance
secular: not related to religion; worldly
subterfuge: a deceitful action
idiosyncrasy: personal peculiarity
abash: embarrass
idolatry: worship of idols
moribund: dying
ineffable: indescribable
fastuous: haughty; arrogant
malaise: a general sense of unease
nebulous: vague, obscure
ephemeral: short lived
noetic: pertaining to intellect
pernicious: ruinous
omnibus: all embracing
placable: forgiving; gentle
yore: time long past
besotted: completely in love
demigod: a being part human, part god
lurid: explicit details meant to shock
ubiquitous: appearing everywhere
trenchant: effective, energetic
sanguine: cheerfully optimistic
propitious: favorable
petulant: peevish impatience
recalcitrant: difficult to manage
insidious: sly or treacherous
quiescent: motionless; at rest
perspicacious: having keen insight
salacious: lustful; obscene
ambient: surrounding
verbose: wordy
zephyr: a gentle breeze
cognizance: knowledge or awareness
vehement: fierce; forceful; very angry
byzantine: highly complicated; intricate
maladroit: clumsy
halcyon: calm; peaceful
hackneyed: overused
capricious: unpredictable
vacillate: to fluctuate
nefarious: very wicked; evil
amorphous: shapeless
pensive thoughtful; reflective
juxtapose: to place side by side
ambulate: to walk
remonstrate: say in protest
amenable: willing to heed advice
vociferous: noisy and demanding
gregarious: social; friendly
bailiwick: a persons field of knowledge
philistine: indifferent of art and culture
archaic: out-of-date; ancient
tempus fugit: time flies
karma: fate; destiny
languor: lack of vigor
laudable: praiseworthy
iridescent: interplay of rainbow colors
catholic: broad in scope; wide-ranging
brahmin: a cultivated intellect
resplendent: dazzling
celerity: swiftness, speed
kismet: fate
impasse: stalemate
veritable: real or genuine
hedonism: devotion to pleasure
chimera: a dream that will never happen
idyllic: tranquil, carefree or picturesque
preclude: to prevent
felicity: a pleasing manner
encapsulate: to express briefly
sectarian: narrow minded
magnanimous: forgiving; noble
copious: abundant
capacious: roomy
laconic: using few words
scintilla: a trace
diminutive: small
parochial: narrow in scope
incorrigible: stubborn
pagan: one with no religious beliefs
didactic: intended to teach
miscreant: someone who misbehaves
rhetoric: language intended to persuade
agog: excited; eager
munificent: generous
eclectic: drawn from many sources
provincial: limited
temerity: boldness
plenitude: plenty
fecund: fruitful; prolific
solicitude: deep concern
chagrin: disappointment, humiliation
intrepid: fearless
obfuscate: to confuse
raconteur: a storyteller
transpose: to reverse the order
entropy: state of disorder in a system
redress: to remedy a wrong
sycophant: to gain advantage by flattery
extol: to praise
edify: to instruct or improve
iterate: to repeat
nervy: bold; brazen
prima donna: a vain person
repartee: a quick reply
libertine: promiscuous person
plethora: a great number
diatribe: denunciation
esprit de corps: a sense of union
al fresco: outdoors
sub-rosa: secretly
multifarious: numerous and varied
philology: the study of language
panache: great style; flair
solace: alleviation of grief or anxiety
vivify: give life to
abnegate: to renounce or relinquish
aggrandize: increase in power
diadem: a sign of royalty
exigent: urgent
recondite: hard to understand
eschew: to avoid
indemnify: to repay for a loss; insure
bravura: boldness
fortuitous: accidental
certitude: assurance
ameliorate: to improve
monarch: a hereditary ruler
effable: able to be expressed
accolade: an expression of praise
unrequited: not given or rewarded in return
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It's so dark right now, I can't see any light around me.
That's because the light is coming from you. You can't see it but everyone else can.
~Lang Leav

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