Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Words I Don't Know: Super Braininess

Denis, the main character in Larry Doyle's I Love You, Beth Cooper is a mega nerd with a strong vocabulary.  Being a minor nerd myself, there are some really odd words I don't know.  Like these:

infitudinous:  is apparently not a word.  Can anyone find the definition for me?
disgorge (v.):  to give up (as illegally gained profits) on request, under pressure.
scurrilous (adj.):  characterized by or using low buffoonery; coarsely jocular or derisive.
Liebfraumilch (n.):  a white wine produced chiefly in the region of Hesse in Germany.
rhetoric (n.):  speech or discourse that pretends to significance but lacks true meaning.
reconnaissance (n.):  the process of obtaining information about the position, activities, resources, etc, of an enemy or potential enemy.
ostensible (adj.):   outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended.
bonhomie (n.):  frank and simple good-heartedness; a good-natured manner; friendliness; geniality.
malefactor (n.):  a person who does harm or evil, esp. toward another.
hypertext (n.):  method of storing data through a computer program that allows a user to create and link fields of information at will and to retrieve the data nonsequentially.
esoteric (adj.):  understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest.
supercilious (adj.):  haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.
autonomic (adj.):  under the control of the autonomic nervous system.
hippocampus (n.):  a mythological sea creature with the forelegs of a horse and the tail of a fish;  an enfolding of cerebral cortex into the lateral fissure of a cerebral hemisphere, having the shape in cross section of a sea horse.
preternatural (adj.):  out of the ordinary course of nature; exceptional or abnormal.
ergonomic (n.):  designed to minimize physical effort and discomfort, and hence maximize efficiency.
modicum (n.):  a moderate or small amount.
anthropology (n.):  the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind.
penumbra (n.):  a shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area.
formalin (n.):  a clear, colorless, aqueous solution of 40 percent formaldehyde.
mutagenic (adj.):  capable of inducing mutation or increasing its rate.


definitions from

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