12 • Lesson 19 Word List

appellation

(n) A name other than a legal name that is descriptive of a person or thing.
In the early nineteenth century, President Andrew Jackson’s toughness earned him the appellation “Old Hickory.”

conjugal

(adj) Of or related to the married state or married persons.
The engaged couple looked forward to a life of conjugal partnership after the wedding.

didactic

(adj) 1. Concerned with teaching or instruction.
Aesop’s fables are didactic but never boring.

2. Too inclined to teach or moralize.
The critic wrote that the playwright should have eschewed her didactic tendencies and concentrated on entertaining the audience.

efflorescence

(n) The process of reaching a peak of development or of coming into flower.
The efflorescence of baroque music is to be found in the operas of Monteverdi.

efflorescent (adj) Having the quality of efflorescence.

compete
effulgence

(n) Radiance; splendor; brilliance.
To capture on canvas the effulgence of the eastern sky at sunrise is a challenge to any painter.

effulgent (adj)

compete
exegesis

(n) A critical explanation or interpretation.
Without the accompanying exegesis, it is easy to misconstrue the meaning of this text.

genre*

(n) A kind, sort, or category, often used to classify an artistic composition.
What genre will your short story be—horror or science fiction?

limn

(v) 1. To draw or paint.
The artist used charcoal to limn the outline of the distant mountain peak.

2. To describe or depict.
The scene in the apothecary’s shop is limned so well that the reader can almost smell the aromatic herbs.

compete
miscreant

(n) A villain or criminal.
The miscreant was identified in a police lineup by an eyewitness.

compete
mordant

(adj) Sharp and penetrating in manner or style; trenchant.
Writer Dorothy Parker’s mordant wit stemmed in large measure from her own desperate unhappiness.

mores

(n, pl) 1. The accepted customs, attitudes, or manners of a group.
My friend from Iran helped me understand the mores of Muslim society.

2. Morally binding ways of a particular group.
The professor of sociology emphasized that a culture without mores would lack cohesion.

nemesis

(n) 1. A formidable, usually victorious, rival.
Her arrogance may be cracked when she meets her nemesis on the tennis court.

2. One who inflicts punishment or retribution.
Captain Ahab’s nemesis was Moby Dick, the great white whale.

peccadillo

(n) A minor fault; a petty offense.
Each of the author’s youthful peccadilloes is sedulously recorded in this interminable memoir.

prolix

(adj) Given to using excessive words; long and drawn out.
An hour into his speech, the prolix candidate was just warming up.

prolixity (n) Wordiness.

taciturn

(adj) Reluctant to talk; habitually silent.
When greeted with a warm hello and a touch on the arm, the taciturn young woman simply smiled and walked on.

taciturnity (n) The quality of speaking very infrequently.

compete

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