Clarice James

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12 Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #2

thinking capThis vocabulary quiz was a hit so I thought I’d make it an irregular event. Besides, if I keep looking up new words, one of them might actually stick in my mind long enough for me to use it.

  1. au fait: A) familiar; B) fateful; C) finished; D) French coffee
  2. bal-us-trade: A) hissy fit; B) railing; C) cargo;      D) treaty
  3. cadge: A) fight; B) rodent; C) imprison; D) mooch
  4. ex-tir-pate:  A) abolish; B) behead; C) vomit; D) loosen
  5. frip-per-y: A) detailed accessories; B) foolishness; C) wisecrack; D) curtains
  6. gnome: A) aphorism; B) cupola; C) travel agent; D) leprechaun
  7. luft-mensch: A) neighbor; B) castle guard; C) dreamer; D) mechanic’s tool
  8. ob-lo-quy: A) agreement; B) speech; C) crooked; D) public abuse
  9. per-vi-ca-cious: A) witty; B) full-figured; C) adamant; D) rambunctious
  10. rheu-my: A) romantic; B) arthritic; C) watery; D) expansive
  11. su-per-ja-cent: A) large; B) overlying; C) overactive; D) next door
  12. twee:  A) affected; B) swing; C) evergreen; D) sigh

Have you circled the correct answers? But can you use them in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.


  1. A) familiar
  2. B) railing
  3. D) mooch
  4. A) abolish
  5. A) detailed accessories
  6. A) aphorism
  7. C) dreamer
  8. D) public abuse
  9. C) adamant
  10. C) watery
  11. B) overlying
  12. A) affected

Not happy with your score? Here’s a bonus question. What is a synonym for the word poecilonym [pronounced pee-SILL-o-nim]?

  • 10-12  I bet you’re full of yourself. Am I right? Thought so.
  • 07-09  Do you drool when you hear someone say “OED”?
  • 04-06  It must be agony for you to watch Jersey Shore.
  • 00-03  Call me sometime. We can chat.

Bonus Answer:  Poecilonym is a synonym for the word synonym.


12 Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary

Marsha-Thinking-Cap-200When my husband gave me The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer for Christmas, my first thought was something like: “Really? I already have three thesauruses on my bookshelf, which, of course, I hardly ever use because real  writers aren’t suppose to.”

But I was charmed when I read Meltzer’s dedication to his wife Deidre: “Self-deprecation notwithstanding, I’m sure that you are way more captivating than Mrs. Webster or Mrs. Roget ever were.” Then, it was the author’s claim in the introduction that hooked me, mainly because he made me chuckle:

While in theory a thesaurus is a marvelous reference aid, the reality tends to be quite different. That “eureka” moment (“That’s just the word I need!”) we all hope for when consulting a thesaurus occurs far too rarely. Conventional thesauruses present “le mot juste” far less frequently that they should (and never present the term “le mot juste” itself).

So I decided to have fun with the new words I found and to share them with my fellow readers and writers. Here are your first 12. Do you know their meaning?

  1. ag-no-men:  A) nickname; B) battle; C) sea urchin; D) infamy
  2. a-nent: A) against; B) none; C) regarding; D) indifferent
  3. a-thwart: A) skirmish; B) dissect; C) prevent; D) across
  4. bob-tail: A) quick; B) wild cat; C) abridge; D) runner
  5. bri-o: A) cheese; B) energy; C) neighborhood; D) camaraderie
  6. cods-wal-lop:  A) bait; B) rowboat; C) choke; D) nonsense
  7. cu-prum: A) Jamaican drink; B) cave; C) dome-shaped roof; D) copper
  8. don-nish:  A) bookish; B) well-dressed; C) conspiratorial; D) composer
  9. def-la-gra-tion: A) beating; B) explosion; C) poison; D) decrease
  10. foo-zle: A) trick; B) dance move; C) straw; D) botch
  11. in-cul-pate: A) remove; B) injure; C) blame; D) imprison
  12. swain: A) tailor; B) suitor; C) sailboat; D) faint

Have you circled all your answers? Are you sure? If so, you can scroll down to see how you did.

TheThinkers ThesaurusANSWERS:

  1. A) nickname
  2. C) about, regarding
  3. D) across
  4. C) abridge
  5. B) energy, zeal
  6. D) nonsense
  7. D) copper
  8. A) bookish or pedantic
  9. B) explosion, insult
  10. D) botch, mess up
  11. C) blame, accuse
  12. B) suitor, admirer

Be honest. How many did you get right? You don’t have to tell me, but it wouldn’t take much to impress me.

  • 10-12 Congratulations! You finally made good on those Latin classes.
  • 07-09 You really have to get out and socialize more.
  • 04-06 Had a crush on your English Comp professor, did you?
  • 00-03 You’re welcome at my home any time.