Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction

1 Comment

Twelve Words for Your Vocabulary #11

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. ~ Colossians 4:6 (MSG)
A late night word search taught me the meaning of another bunch of words. What is the category or type for each of these words?  
  1. ACAJOU – a) any of several mahogannies;  b) slang for “I’ve got you,” common in hip-hop lyrics; c) “God bless you” in Punjabi; d) a hilltop memorial
  2. BLUCHER – a) a disruption; b) a bass fiddle brand; c) a type of footwear; d) a tool used to descale fish
  3. CRAMPON – a) a climbing iron used especially on ice and snow; b) an anti-inflammatory medication; c) a sedan with two poles used in the hill country of India; d) tight quarters
  4. DIKUME – a) a person known for their authenticity; b) a Japanese alloy used in decorative work on gold and silver; c) an endangered species of fish in the Cichlidae family; d) rich soil
  5. HALNY – a) another word for cliche; b) a game similar to Chinese checkers; c) a tailor’s term used to refer to a suit’s pinstripe; d) a wind that blows in southern Poland and in Slovakia 
  6. IVECO – a) a type of coco plum; b) an Italian truck manufacturer; c) a mobile yurt; d) a course or compass direction
  7. MASOOLA – a)  light portable antitank weapon; b) a type of boat; c) a hereditary estate in Pakistan; d) a body of notes on the textual traditions of the Hebrew Scripture
  8. PRUNELLA – a) a wicked person; b) a Welsh carriage; c) a gardening tool; d) a twilled woolen fabric
  9. SRANG – a) any plain or mixed drink containing alcohol; b) a Scottish medieval weapon; c) a bothersome person; d) a formerly used monetary unit of Tibet
  10. TATAOUINE – a) straw matting used as a floor covering in a Japanese home; b) a seasoned stew made of eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers, and squash; c) a city in southern Tunisia; d) outlandish, unintelligible speech
  11. VELODROME – a) an arena for track cycling; b) a word, verse, or sentence, or a number that reads the same backward or forward; c) a movie or play characterized by extravagant theatricality; d) a concave steel drum used in musical performances
  12. ZLOTY – a) a tenant under the protection of city law; b) the basic monetary unit of Poland; c) a risky business investment; d) suspicious or questionable behavior

Marsha-Thinking-Cap-200Have you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To  the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NASB)

Here are the correct answers.

  1. a) ACAJOU – any of several mahogannies
  2. c) BLUCHER – a type of footwear
  3. a) CRAMPON – a climbing iron used especially on ice and snow
  4. c) DIKUME – endangered species of fish in the Cichlidae family
  5. d) HALNY – a wind that blows in southern Poland and in Slovakia
  6. b) IVECO – an Italian truck manufacturer
  7. b) MASOOLA – a type of boat
  8. d) PRUNELLA – twilled woolen fabric
  9. d) SRANG – a formerly used monetary unit of Tibet
  10. c) TATAOUINE – a city in southern Tunisia
  11. a) VELODROME – an arena for track cycling
  12. b) ZLOTY – the basic monetary unit of Poland

Happy with your score?

10-12 My, my, you are a very well-rounded person, aren’t you?

07-09 When you speak, does the average person stare off into nothingness?

04-06 So what if you’ve never been to China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Tibet, Tunisia, or Wales. As quiz-master, I rule.

00-03  Stop giggling. I wasn’t referring to the weight of those who got 10-12 correct.


1 Comment

Twelve Words for a Word Searcher’s Vocabulary #9

Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile; wise speech evokes nothing but respect.~ Proverbs 14:3 (MSG)
When I can’t sleep at night, I get up and read a couple of chapters of whatever book I’m enjoying. After that, I try to bore myself to sleep by doing a few word search puzzles. This usually does the trick–until I come across words I don’t know. Here’s a list of them. Do you know their meaning? 
  1. ARAGO – a) an inner ear condition; b) a colorless odorless inert gaseous element; c) a conflict, especially between literary characters; d) a lunar impact crater on the moon
  2. BOMBAX – a) a throat condition; b) a large genus of trees, having digitate leaves and showy white or scarlet flowers; c) a public disturbance; d) a solvent used to remove rust
  3. JITNEY – a) attestation of a fact; b) thick sauce of Indian origin used as a condiment; c) a small hut built in the jungle; d) an unlicensed taxicab
  4. MASQUE – a) a building used for worship by Muslims; b) a substance with a penetrating persistent odor obtained from a sac beneath the abdominal skin of the male musk deer; c) a short, allegorical drama; d) when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon in the evening
  5. MYSID – a) resembling a crustacean; b) showing a disdainful attitude; c) a large European thrush; d) unobservant
  6. NAPHTHA – a) a type of sleep apnea; b) a volatile, liquid hydrocarbon mixture; c) the lay of a fabric; d) the crest of a hill
  7. SHALLOON – a) a fool; b) a Welsh castle; c) a type of wool; d) a large brawl
  8. SILLY MID-ON – a) a position in the game of cricket; b) part of a Shakespearean costume; c) British slang for a mid-life crisis; d) a type of sailboat
  9. TIGERELLA – a) a female tiger cub; b) a bi-colored tomato; c) an African children’s game; d) a  style of weaving
  10. OBTRUSE – a) lacking sharpness or quickness in intellect; b) obsolete; c) blunt ended; d) type of engineer’s ruler
  11. TASSE – a) an implied answer; b) a dangling ornamentc) an overlapping plate in a knight’s suit of armor; d) to disturb or annoy
  12. VASSAL – a) a vase made from Venetian glass; b) a person under the protection of a feudal lord; c) go back and forth between two opinions; d) a concave article


Have you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. ~ Galatians 5:25-26 (MSG)


Here are the correct answers.

  1. d) Arago: d) a lunar impact crater on the moon
  2. b) Bombax: b) a large genus of trees, having digitate leaves and showy white or scarlet flowers
  3. d) Jitney: d) an unlicensed taxicab
  4. c) Masque: c) a short, allegorical drama
  5. a) Mysid: a) resembling a crustacean
  6. b) Naphtha: b) a volatile, liquid hydrocarbon mixture
  7. c) Shalloon: c) a type of wool
  8. a) Silly mid-on: a) a position in the game of cricket
  9. b) Tigerella: b) a bi-colored tomato
  10. b) Obtruse: b) obsolete
  11. c) Tasse: c) an overlapping plate in a suit of armor
  12. b) Vassal: b) a person under the protection of the feudal lord

Jumping for joy over your score?

10-12 May I call you in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep?

07-09 When you speak, do people roll their eyes?

04-06 So you, too, were a lazy student.

00-03  Did I wake you?


Twelve Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #7

Many of the words I chose are from The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. ~ Pslam 111:10 (NIV)

  1. apothegm – a) saying; b) growth on throat;  c) respiratory condition; d) architectural detail
  2. codswallop – a) British fish and chips; b) backhand; c) nonsense; d) swallow whole
  3. deflagration – a) slander; b) explosion; c) mass migration; d) corporal punishment
  4. harpocracy – a) berating; b) silence c) glad-handing; d) fear of harps
  5. keelhaul – a) rebuke; b) drill a doorknob hole; c) climb aboard; d) shuck shellfish
  6. mobocracy – a) agility; b) political control by a mob;) of robotic limbs; d) type of poem
  7. neoteric – a) lighthearted; b) self-centered; c) genius; d) recent
  8. ostreal – a) of or relating to oysters; b) night sky; c) of or relating to ostriches; d) unfathonable
  9. pleonasm – a) stinginess; b) type of political lobby; c) legal pleadings; d) redundancy
  10. rataplan – a) caste system; b) zuchini and tomatoe sidedish; c) repeating noise; d) type of roof shingle
  11. smellfungas – a) wine taster; b) faultfinder; c) mushroom tester; d) person with huge nose
  12. ulracrepidarian – a) presumptuous; b) liberal; c) delusional; d) unkempt

thinking capHave you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. ~ Proverbs 3:13-20 (NIV)

Here are the correct answers.

  1. a) saying
  2. c) nonsense
  3. b) explosion
  4. b) silence
  5. a) rebuke
  6. b) political control by a mob
  7. d) recent
  8. a) of or relating to oysters
  9. d) redundancy
  10. c) repeating noise
  11. b) faultfinder
  12. a) presumptuous

Jumping for joy over your score?

10-12  So, I see you enjoy being an introvert and book worm.

07-09  People only pretend to know what you’re talking about.

04-06  You might not want to try out for Jeopardy.

00-03  If I were you, I’d stick with Word Search puzzles.

1 Comment

12 Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #5

thinking capMuch of this vocabulary quiz is based on The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  ~ Colossians 4:6 (NIV)

  1. appanage – a) detriment; b) adjunct; c) an extra toe; d) long-term contract
  2. busker – a) street performer; b) corn husker; c) overly talkative; d) abrasive
  3. desiderate – a) beat down; b) yearn; c) deliberate; d) separate
  4. formic — a) according to a formula; b) clay-like; c) of or relating to ants; d) quinine water
  5. gamboge – a) swollen; b) yellow; c) an expert gamer; d) bogus
  6. lightsome – a) light-hearted; b) well lit; c) easy to fool; d) nimble
  7. lusus – a) abnormality; b) clarity; c) richness; d) a constant
  8. meiosis – a) farsightedness; b) hyperbole; c) a type of irony; d) scalp condition
  9. neoteric – a) recent; b) earth-like; c) wise; d) historian
  10. pother a) a potter’s wheel; b) pick-up game of polo; c) pest; d) commotion
  11. rimple – a) pimple; b) simple; c) wrinkle; d) dimple
  12. schmaltzy – a) cheap; b) flavor of a malted drink; c) scheming; d) sentimental

    Have you chosen the correct definition? Can you use the words in a sentence? Scroll down to see how you did.

    May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

    Here are the answers.

    1. b) adjunct
    2. a) street performer
    3. b) yearn
    4. c) of or relating to ants
    5. b) yellow
    6. d) nimble
    7. a) abnormality
    8. c) a type of irony
    9. a) recent
    10. d) commotion
    11. c) wrinkle
    12. d) sentimental

      For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV)

      Jumping for joy over your score?

      10-12  Youse a reel genius.

      07-09  People must have a difficult time communicating with you.

      04-06  I bet you do well at Scrabble.

      00-03  Call me sometime. We can practice our one syllable words.


      12 Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #4

      Marsha-Thinking-Cap-200If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. ~ James 1:5 (NIV)

      Much of this vocabulary quiz is based on The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

      1. ag-a-tho-kak-o-log-i-cal:  A) mysterious; B) composed of both good and evil; C) study of marble; D) fear of thinking
      2. ben-i-son:  A) blessing; B) wild game; C) acting in unison; D) bully
      3. doo-lal-ly: A) lazy; B) temporarily deranged; C) hard worker; D) politician
      4. foo-zle: A) spilling over; B) pool toy; C) botched golf shot; D) island hut
      5. hal-lux:  A) toxin; B) loud shout or scream; C) big toe; D) hallway in Scottish castle
      6. jack-boot-ed: A) raised up; B) shoddy house wiring C) stolen; D) ruthlessly oppressive
      7. mull-i-grubs:  A) think over; B) sulkiness; C) weed patch; D) worm farm
      8. nyc-ta-lo-pia: A) addiction; B) care of newborn babies; C) night blindness; D) covered with scales
      9. ob-nu-bi-late: A) abdicate; B) becloud; C) advocate;  D) predict
      10. pil-gar-lic: A) strong tasting plant related to onion; B) with columns; C) far-reaching; D) bald head
      11. sciolism: A) social ineptness; B) limping; C) temperamental; D) pretentious superficially
      12. thrall-dom: A) held in bondage; B) fascinated; C) beautiful; D) flattery

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

      The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. Proverbs 18:15 (NIV)


      1. B) composed of both good and evil
      2. A) blessing
      3. B) temporarily deranged
      4. C) botched golf shot
      5. C) big toe
      6. D) ruthlessly oppressive
      7. B) sulkiness
      8. C) night blindness
      9. B) becloud
      10. D) bald head
      11. D) pretentious superficially
      12. A) held in bondage

      For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:25 (NIV)

      Happy with your score?

      • 10-12  Well, la de dah!
      • 07-09  Okay, so you’re pretty smart, huh?
      • 04-06  I bet you got to the third round in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
      • 00-03  Call me sometime. We can practice our one syllable words.



      12 Words for a Thinker’s Vocabulary #3


      The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. ~ Psalm 1:7 (NIV)

      This vocabulary quiz is based on The Thinker’s Thesaurus by Peter E. Meltzer.

      1. a-nile:  A) yellowing; B) senile; C) type of cat; D) fussy
      2. bos-ky:  A) musty; B) pushy; C) woody; D) bulky
      3. con-a-tion: A) type of flower; B) motivation; C) tarnation; D) trickery
      4. frab-jous: A) joyous; B) chubby jowls; C) difficult; D) pliable
      5. gon-iff: A) gun moll; B) sexually transmitted disease; C) English bakery; D) pianist
      6. ir-re-frag-a-ble:  A) untouchable; B) irresistible; C) unquestionable; D) broken beyond repair
      7. jo-cos-i-ty: A) joke; B) curiosity; C) warmth;  D) predictable
      8. par-o-no-ma-sia: A) sleep deprivation; B) umbrella manufacturing; C) magic trick; D) pun
      9. re-lict: A) change of mind; B) condense; C) artifact; D) widow
      10. sa-pi-ent: A) saturated; B) wise; C) type of snake; D) overweight
      11. wag-gish: A) stout; B) limping; C) temperamental; D) witty
      12. zeph-yr:  A) gemstone; B) a slight wind; C) hot air balloon; D) clown-mobile

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

      His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  ~ 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)


      1. B) senile
      2. C) woody
      3. B) motivation
      4. A) joyous
      5. A) gun moll
      6. C) unquestionable
      7. A) joke
      8. D) pun
      9. D) widow
      10. B) wise
      11. D) witty
      12. B) a slight wind

      For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. ~ Proverbs 2:10 (NIV)

      Happy with your score?

      • 10-12  Yikes! I’m glad I’m not conversing with you.
      • 07-09  I imagine you would do well on Jeopardy.
      • 04-06  It must be agony for you to watch TLC.
      • 00-03  Call me sometime. We can practice our one syllable words.



      Bible Quiz: How’s Your Vocabulary?

      Bible GatewayFounded in 1993, is the original multilingual online Bible resource. Now owned by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, it offers the Bible in 70+ languages and 180+ versions. Did I mention it was free to use? You can see why it’s my favorite resource.

      In my studies of different versions [maybe 8 out of the 180!], I’ve come across quite a few words that stump me. Mostly in the King James Version, which is an English translation for the Church of England, begun in 1604 and completed in 1611, under King James VI. In other words, it’s really, really old English. The 12 words below are but a few.

      Can you match up these 12 words found in the King James Bible with the correct definition?

      _____ carmi         _____ tabering       _____ rereward          _____ potsherd

      _____ bier             _____ finer             _____ phylacteries    _____ harrow

      _____ cistern       _____ inkhorn        _____ belial                 _____ obeisance


      1. playing on a small drum or tabret, or beating on the breast, as players beat on the tabret. ~ Nahum 2:7
      2. a tribulum or sharp threshing sledge ~ 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Chronicles 20:3
      3. the troops in the rear of an army on the march, the rear-guard. ~ Numbers 10:25; Joshua 6:9
      4. worthlessness, frequently used in the OT as a proper name. ~ Deuteronomy 13:13; 2 Corinthians 6:15
      5. a “shred”, i.e., anything severed, as a fragment of earthenware ~ Job 2:8; Proverbs 26:23; Isaiah 45:9
      6. Scripture-inscribed strips of parchment inside a square leather case fastened to the rabbis’ forehead ~ Mathew 23:5
      7. the frame on which dead bodies were conveyed to the grave ~ 2 Samuel 3:31; Luke 7:14
      8. a worker in silver and gold ~ Proverbs 25:4
      9. a round vessel or cup for containing ink, which was generally worn by writers in the girdle ~ Ezekiel 9:2,3,11
      10. homage or reverence to any one ~ Genesis 37:7; Genesis 43:28
      11. a receptacle for water conveyed to it ~ Jeremiah 2:13
      12. vine-dresser; the last named of the four sons of Reuben ~ Genesis 46:9

      How did you do?

      • 0 to 3     Did you get the three easy ones correct? Cistern, finer, and inkhorn?
      • 4 to 6     Ah-ha, I see your familiar with the King James Version.
      • 7 to 9     And you’ve read this version more than once.
      • 10 – 12  Good for you! You read your Bible and look things up!
      1. tabering
      2. harrow
      3. rereward
      4. belial
      5. potsherd
      6. phylacteries
      7. bier
      8. finer
      9. inkhorn
      10. obeisance
      11. cistern
      12. carmi

      1 Comment

      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.