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My own evolving dictionary has a new update: each time I come across some interesting new words of which I don’t know the meaning, I will list them first in this dictionary.  So, as new words crop up, they will appear first and the old words will drop down into the alphabetical list.

I trust this will be as informative for you as it is for me.

Callow – inexperience and immature – a young person. E.g. “I was still of the callow – and fundamentally lazy – youthful opinion that ….”.

Bower – a pleasant and shady place under trees or climbing plants in a garden or wood.  E.g. ” … a tiny plot of land that was like a bower.”

Enigmatic – difficult to interpret or understand / mysterious.  E.g. ” … with an enigmatic grin as she slipped my ring into her pocket …”

Sanguine – an optimistic or positive view especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation.


Ameliorate – make something better (that which is bad or unsatisfactory).

Assiduity – constant and/or close attention to what one is doing. E.g. “This idea has been flogged in South Africa for many years, more assiduously that anywhere else.”

Banal – not at all exceptional.

Chimeras – something hoped or wished for but is illusory and impossible to attain, a fantasy. E.g. “ Some people chase chimeras and behave in ways that certainly will end in disaster”.

Clandestine – done secretively or kept covert (especially because illicit).

Effrontery – insolent or impertinent behaviour e.g. the student had the effrontery to challenge the lecturer’s decision.

Facile – appears neat and comprehensive but ignores the complexity – superficial.

Fatuous – silly and pointless. E.g. “A fatuous comment.”

Laudable – deserving of praise or commendation.

Meretricious – one who may appear attractive but in reality has no value or integrity – in other words attracts attention in a vulgar or trashy way – this can apply to an object as well.

Obtuse – someone who is being annoyingly insensitive or infuriatingly slow to understand.

Potable – drinkable. E.g. there is no supply of potable water available.

Quotidian – boring or mundane daily happenings. E.g. “It relieves one from having to deal with a hundred quotidian problems or to make many little, unimportant choices.”

Serendipitous – an occurrence that is discovered by chance – always in a happy or beneficial way for all parties.

Verbose – when one uses more words than are necessary to describe something.

In Microsoft Word, use your synonyms option while resting on a particular word to get a list of the dictionary (thesaurus) alternatives.

Try looking at my other blog posts that offer help on academic writing such as hectic hyphens and grammar gremlins.