Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Abstruse Glut of Esoteric Vernacular

If you ever read the New York Times, you might notice that... well, you occasionally can't understand what they're saying. The Times apparently prides itself on using a lot of 25-cent words, to the point where they send countless readers rushing to the dictionary in order to figure out what the hell is going on.

As it turns out, the Times takes data on which words are most commonly looked up. #1 is sui generis, from the Latin essentially meaning "unique", in a legal sense. It's followed by solipsistic (pertaining to the philosophical idea that "My mind is the only thing that I know exists."), louche (of questionable taste or morality), laconic (ironically meaning concise), and saturnine (bitter or scornful).

I suggest you check out this interesting article to get the full gist of it - they've compiled a list of the 50 most commonly researched words from the Times as well as some nice commentary. Check it out, and expand your vocabulary. Don't worry, it's good for your mind. And tasty too.

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