Vocabulary Quiz

Paul sent me an article this afternoon from The New Republic titled, “From Whittaker Chambers to George W. Bush.  The End of the Journey” by Sam Tanenhaus.  It was long and interesting and educational.  As I read it though, I was reminded why I like reading things online, about which I’ve written before here

Normally if you asked me, I’d claim to have a pretty good vocabulary, but there are certainly words whose definition I don’t know.  As I read this article today, I found it necessary to look up these nine words:

Now there may have been more words that I should have looked up or perhaps would have benefited from looking up, but these nine were stumpers for me.

If you’d like to comment, why don’t you see how many of them you know before you click on the link and find out what the definition of each of them is?  In your comment, you can proudly announce that you knew 9 of 9 before checking the definition or admit that you knew 0 of 9 or reveal your score anywhere in between.  It’ll be interesting for me to see how my vocabulary differs from yours, at least on this nine word sample.  You already know, of course, that I scored a 0 of 9 on this little test.    


7 thoughts on “Vocabulary Quiz

  1. Perry Post author

    I presume you knew “nimbus” from your weather man days. What was the other that you knew?

  2. Daryl

    I felt guilty for not knowing lugubrious, because I’ve read past that word many times in the past. I didn’t know barouche or traduced (another one I felt like I should have known that I found myself thinking was probably a synonym of traversed). Communitarian I hadn’t seen before, and I thought it was probably some silly word somebody had made up. I won’t give myself credit for knowing it, though it’s pretty obvious once you read the definition. The others I knew. People who use words like risibly and gravid unironically these days deserve a kidney punch. I don’t know why I don’t feel the same way about capacious.

  3. Jerry

    I knew one, and had previously looked up several others. A few were completely new to me. Most of the time I can figure out a word from the context, particularly if I have looked it up before.

    Lugubrious is a word I have looked up many times over the last 40 year but the meaning never sticks. There are several words whose meaning eludes me no matter how many times I look them up.

    Obviously Sam Tanenhaus does not follow the advice of Rudolf Flesch, but the short excerpt I read from his article demonstrates clarity with complex language.

  4. Juan

    Thanks for allowing me to test my vocabulary!! I knew the definition of three of the words. The one that jumped off the page was “gravid.” Being a long time tropical fish hobbyist, gravid is used to describe a female fish that is loaded with eggs or babies. We used the term in particular to describe female Guppies who were about to give birth. Instead of saying look how pregnant she is, we would say her Gravid Spot is really growing…. The gravid spot is the dark spot on the undebelly of mature female Guppies…. in case you were looking to find it.

  5. Tish

    Hi, Perry!

    Like you, I didn’t know the definitions of any of these words. I had heard the word “nimbus” in the Harry Potter books though. The Nimbus 2000, I believe it was called, was a top-of-the-line broom! haha.

    Hope you had a great 4th!

  6. Jane Hascall

    Sorry to come late to the party. I knew six–I’m a word junkie. I missed barouche, commitarian, and Manichean. I recognized Manichean but didn’t recall the meaning. Jane


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