Imagine how varied your vocabulary would be if you were able to learn one new word each week.
Week commencing 7 March 2016
adjective: British Dialect. Short and stout.
origin: Fubsy is formed on the basis of the obsolete term fubs or fub, used as a term of endearment meaning ‘chubby person’. It entered English in the late 1700s.
Week commencing 29 February 2016
verb: to adopt a posture, characteristic of some men, of sitting with the legs wide apart, with the result that the person takes up more than his fair share of room on public transport, at a dinner table, etc.
Week commencing 22 February 2016
adjective: 1. moderate in the use of food and drink; sparing in diet; temperate. 2. characterised by abstinence.
origin: Latin abst?mius
Week commencing 15 February 2016
adjective: playful in an aimless way: the ludic behavior of kittens.
origin: Ludic stems from the Latin verb lud?re meaning ‘to play’. It entered English in the mid-1900s.
Week commencing 8 February 2016
noun: a person of great and varied learning.
origin: Greek polymath?s knowing many things, from poly- many + math? learning
Week commencing 1 February 2016
pronunciation: sin-ee-ast, sin-ey-
noun: any person, especially a director or producer, associated professionally with filmmaking.
origin: Cineaste comes from the French cinéaste. It entered English in the early 1900s.
Week commencing 25 January 2016
pronunciation: myoo-nif-uh-suh ns
noun: the quality of being munificent, or showing unusual generosity – e.g. The museum’s collection was greatly increased by the munificence of the family’s gift.
origin: Munificence finds its roots in the Latin word m?nus meaning ‘gift’.
Week commencing 18 January 2016
pronunciation: bon-uh-mee, bon-uh-mee; French baw-naw-mee
noun: frank and simple good-heartedness; a good-natured manner; friendliness; geniality.
origin: Bonhomie entered English from French and is related to the French term bonhomme meaning ‘good-natured man’.
Week commencing 11 January 2016
pronunciation: suh-loo-bree-uh s
adjective: favourable to or promoting health; healthful: salubrious air.
origin: Salubrious finds its roots in the Latin word for health: salus. It entered English in the mid-1500s.
Week commencing 4 January 2016
pronunciation: gam-buh l
verb: To dance and skip about in play; to frolic.
origin: Gambol is related to the Middle French term gambade meaning ‘a leap or spring’. It entered English around 1500.
Week commencing 14 December 2015
noun:a lazy person who stays in bed long after the usual time for arising.
origin: Slugabed is formed from the word slug meaning ‘to be slow’ and the rare adverb abed meaning ‘in bed’.
Week commencing 7 December 2015
adjective: producing or imparting flavour or taste.
origin: Saporific stems from the Latin word sapor meaning ‘savour’. The combining form -fic means ‘making’, ‘producing’, ‘causing’, and appears in adjectives borrowed from Latin.
Week commencing 30 November 2015
pronunciation: fran-juh-buh l
adjective: easily broken; breakable: Most frangible toys are not suitable for young children.
origin: Frangible entered English by way of Old French and ultimately derives from the Latin frangere meaning ‘to break’. The more common adjective fragile also finds its roots in this Latin verb.
Week commencing 23 November 2015
noun: Psychiatry. An abnormal fear of being buried alive.
origin: Taphephobia is a combination of the Greek word taphe, meaning ‘grave’, and the combining form -phobia meaning ‘fear’.
Week commencing 16 November 2015
noun:Informal. rumor or gossip.
Nautical. a. an open cask of drinking water. b. a drinking fountain for use by the crew of a vessel.
origin: Scuttlebutt entered English in the late 1700s from the word scuttle, referring to a hatch in the deck of a ship, and butt in the sense of a cask or barrel. The informal sense arose in the early 1900s.
Week commencing 9 November 2015
adjective: characterised by sickly sentimentality; weakly emotional; maudlin.
having a mildly sickening flavor; slightly nauseating.
origin: Mawkish entered English in the late 1600s from the now-obsolete word mawk meaning “maggot.”
Week commencing 2 November 2015
pronunciation: pahr-vuh-noo, -nyoo, pahr-vuh-noo, -nyoo
noun: a person who has recently or suddenly acquired wealth, importance, position, or the like, but has not yet developed the conventionally appropriate manners, dress, surroundings, etc.
origin: Parvenu entered English in the 1700s from the French word of the same spelling meaning ‘upstart’. It comes from the French verb parvenir, which means ‘to arrive, reach’.
Week commencing 26 October 2015
pronunciation: am-fi-gawr-ee, -gohr-ee
noun: a meaningless or nonsensical piece of writing, especially one intended as a parody.
origin: Amphigory entered English in the early 1800s from the French wordamphigouri, but its origin in French remains unknown.
Week commencing 19 October 2015
noun: (informal) a person or thing that shows marked ability or excellence.
adjective: of marked ability; exceptionally fine.
origin: Crackerjack is an Americanism that came to English in the late 1800s.
Week commencing 12 October 2015
noun: (colloquial) impudence; gall; audacity.
Week commencing 5 October 2015
noun: nonsense; utter foolishness.
origin: tommyrot entered English in the late 1800s and is related to the word tomfool, a term that describes a grossly foolish or stupid person.
Week commencing 28 September 2015
pronunciation: uh-proh-bree-uh s
adjective: outrageously disgraceful or shameful: opprobrious conduct.
origin: Opprobrious can be traced to the Latin opprobrare meaning ‘to reproach; taunt’. It entered English in the mid-1300s.
Week commencing 21 September 2015
noun: environmental design of residential and park land using various methods for minimising the need for water use.
origin: Xeriscaping emerged in the 1980s. The word xeric means ‘of, relating to, or adapted to a dry environment’, and is derived from the Greek term xerós meaning ‘dry’.
Week commencing 14 September 2015
noun:(in the Near East) a professional interpreter.
plural, dragomans, dragomen.
origin: Dragoman is related to the Arabic word tarjuman meaning “interpreter.” It entered English in the 1300s.
Week commencing 7 September 2015
adjective: feelings of excitement when you see the subject of your affection, smitten
origin: first used in the Disney movie, Bambi
Week commencing 31 August 2015
noun: a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that has been heard
origin: coined in 1954 by US writer, Sylvia Wright. The line ‘laid him on the green’, from a Scottish ballad was misinterpreted to be ‘Lady Mondegreen’.
Week commencing 24 August 2015
noun: a person (especially an old man) who is easily annoyed or angered and who often complains
Usage example: “Only a grumpy old curmudgeon could fail to be moved by the random act of kindness bestowed upon him.”
Week commencing 17 August 2015
noun:1. any very wealthy, influential, or powerful person. 2. Also, nawab. a person, especially a European, who has made a large fortune in India or another country of the East. 3. a viceroy or deputy governor under the former Mogul empire in India.
origin: Nabob entered English in the early 1600s from the Hindi word nawab meaning ‘viceroy’.
Usage example: “Working out of uniform, in the British society of the Indian city, the boy from Georgetown had managed to embroil himself in a contretemps with a young woman, the headstrong second daughter of a prominent nabob.”
Week commencing 10 August 2015
noun: 1. utter nonsense 2. worthless frills
origin: Flumadiddle is an Americanism that arose in the 1840s as a combination of flummery, meaning ‘complete nonsense’, and diddle, meaning ‘to fool with’.
Usage example: This flumadiddle’s got to stop; I’m not having it any more.
Week commencing 3 August 2015
adjective: before a meal, especially before dinner.
origin: preprandial came to English in the early 1800s from the Latin prandium meaning ‘luncheon, meal’.
Week commencing 27 July 2015
adjective: extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary; impracticable.
origin: Quixotic is an eponym based on the character Don Quixote from Miguel de Cervantes’s book of the same name in which a delusional would-be knight-errant roams the countryside in search of adventure.