fetor (n.) — a strong, foul smell

daft (adj.) — silly; foolish

obverse (n.) — the side of a coin or medal bearing the head or principal design

circumambulate (v.) — walk all the way around (something)

rejoinder (n.) — a reply, especially a sharp or witty one

skylark (v.) — pass time by playing tricks or practical jokes; indulge in horseplay

kneepan (n.) — old-fashioned term for kneecap

parvenu (n.) — a person of obscure origin who has gained wealth, influence, or celebrity

colporteur (n.) — a peddler of books, magazines, and similar literature

cordwainer (n.) — a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather

chapeau (n.) — a hat or cap

bugbear (n.) — a cause of obsessive fear, irritation, or loathing

costermonger (n.) — a person who sells goods, especially fruit and vegetables, from a handcart in the street

palaver (n.) — prolonged and idle discussion

sable (adj.) — black

apace (adv.) — swiftly; quickly

lam (n.) — in flight, especially from the police

spoor (n.) — the track or scent of an animal



dissemble (v.) — conceal one’s true motives, feelings, or beliefs

fulminate (v.) — express vehement protest

ingenuous (adj.) — (of a person or action) innocent and unsuspecting

jaunty (adj.) — having or expressing a lively, cheerful, and self-confident manner

benighted (adj.) — in a state of pitiful or contemptible intellectual or moral ignorance, typically owing to a lack of opportunity

wastrel (n.) — a wasteful or good-for-nothing person

sophism (n.) — a fallacious argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive

stygian (adj.) — very dark

oculus (n.) — a circular window

agog (adj.) — very eager or curious to hear or see something

hauteur (n.) — haughtiness of manner; disdainful pride

bacchanal (n.) — an occasion of wild and drunken revelry

abbatoir (n.) — a slaughterhouse

disabuse (v.) — persuade (someone) that an idea or belief is mistaken


togs (n.) — clothes

gustatory (adj.) — concerned with tasting or the sense of taste

hotspur (n.) — a rash, impetuous person

anchorite (n.) — a religious recluse

doggerel (n.) — verse of words that are badly written or expressed

incorrigible (adj.) — (of a person or their tendencies) not able to be corrected, improved, or reformed

feculent (adj.) — of or containing dirt, sediment, or waste matter

physchosomatic (adj.) — (of a physical illness or other condition) caused or aggravated by a mental factor such as internal conflict or stress

ruth (n.) — a feeling of pity, distress, or grief (archaic)

blandishment (n.) — a flattering or pleasing statement or action used to persuade someone gently to do something

bunkum (n.) — nonsense

mettle (n.) — a person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way

terreplain (n.) — a level space where a battery of guns is mounted

raffish (adj.) — unconventional and slightly disreputable, especially in an attractive manner

jeremiad (n.) — a long, mournful complaint or lamentation; a list of woes

enturbulate (v.) — to agitate or disturb; to upset, harass

superlative (n.) — grammer expressing the highest or a very high degree of a quality

epilation (n.) — the removal or hair by pulling it from the roots

larder (n.) — a room or large cupboard for storing food


cerise (n.) — a bright or deep red color

cuspidor (n.) — a spittoon

efficacious (adj.) — (typically of something inanimate or abstract) successful in producing a desired or intended result; effective

welsh (v.) — fail to honor (a debt or obligation incurred through a promise or agreement)

phiz (n.) — a person’s face or expression

spruce (adj.) — neat in dress and appearance

turgid (adj.) — (of language or style) tediously pompous or bombastic

infernal (adj.) — relating to or characteristic of hell or the underworld

hidebound (adj.) — unwilling or unable to change because of tradition or convention

natter (v.) — talk casually, especially about unimportant matters; chatter

hoary (adj.) — old and trite

lissome (adj.) — (of a person or their body) thin, supple, and graceful


dotard (n.) — an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile

Candlemas (n.) — a Christian festival held on February 2 to commemorate the purification of the Virgin Mary (after childbirth, according to Jewish Law) and the presentation of Christ in the Temple. Candles were traditionally blessed at this festival.

nebbish (n.) — a person, especially a man, who is regarded as pitifully ineffectual, timid, or submissive

passel (n.) — a large group of people or things of indeterminate number; a pack

grouse (v.) — complain pettily; grumble

sundowner (n.) — a person with dementia who becomes increasingly irritable or difficult as the day progresses

tetchy (adj.) — bad-tempered and irritable

corodiary (n.) — one who receives charity

extrados (n.) — the upper or outer curve of an arch

lazar (n.) — a poor and diseased person, especially one afflicted by a feared, contagious disease such as leprosy

scriptorium (n.) — a room set apart for writing, especially one in a monastery where manuscripts were copied

vendue (n.) — a public auction

canard (n.) — an unfounded rumor or story

doff (v.) — remove (an item of clothing)


suffuse (v.) — gradually spread through or over

demarche (n.) — a political step or initiative

threnody (n.) — a lament

impolitic (adj.) — failing to possess or display prudence; unwise

neologism (n.) — a newly coined word or expression

lotusland (n.) — a place regarded as conducive to a carefree or idyllic lifestyle

obeisance (n.) — deferential respect

gossamer (n.) — a fine, filmy substance consisting of cobwebs spun by small spiders seen especially in autumn

mensch (n.) — a person of integrity and honor

militiate (v.) — (of a fact or circumstance) be a powerful or conclusive factor in preventing

kibitz (v.) — look on and offer unwelcome advice, especially at a card game

matutinal (adj.) — of or occurring in the morning

tergiversation (n.) — conflicting or evasive statement

milliard (n.) — one thousand million

adamantine (adj.) — unbreakable


expository (adj.) — intended to explain or describe something

sesquipedalian (adj.) — (or a word) polysyllabic; long

eyrie (n.) — a large nest of a bird of prey, especially an eagle, typically built high in a tree or on a cliff

plutocrat (n.) — a person whose power derives from his wealth

folderol (n.) — trivial or nonsensical fuss

recension (n.) — a revised edition of a text; an act of making a revised edition of a text

gutter (v.) — (of a candle or flame) flicker and burn unsteadily

lassitude (n.) — a state of physical or mental weariness; lack of energy

amour propre (n.) — a sense of one’s own worth; self-respect

chimera (n.) — a thing that is hoped or wished for but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve

ameliorate (v.) — make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better

denotation (n.) — the literal or primary meaning of a word, in contrast to the feelings or ideas that the word suggests

connotation (n.) — an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning

capacious (adj.) — having a lot of space inside; roomy


cachet (n.) — the state of being respected or admired; prestige

imbroglio (n.) — an extremely confused, complicated, or embarrassing situation

orthography (n.) — the conventional spelling system of a language

tendentious (adj.) — expressing or intending to promote a particular cause or point of view, especially a controversial one

persiflage (n.) — light and slightly contemptuous mockery or banter

clabber (v.) — curdle or cause to curdle

roustabout (n.) — an unskilled or casual laborer

presentiment (n.) — an intuitive feeling about the future, especially one of foreboding

bailiwick (n.) — one’s sphere of operations or particular area of interest

syncope (n.) — temporary loss of consciousness caused by a fall in blood pressure

munificence (n.) — the quality or action of being lavishly generous

bosh (n.) — something regarded as absurd; nonsense

careworn (adj.) — tired and unhappy because of prolonged worry

bight (n.) — a curve or recess in a coastline, river, or other geographical feature

swashbuckle (v.) — engage in daring and romantic adventures with ostentatious bravado or flamboyance

calaboose (n.) — a prison

Lucullan (adj.) — (especially of food) extremely luxurious

siddity (adj.) — uppity, pretentious, stuck-up, conceited

aphorism (n.) — a pithy observation that contains a general truth

Do you know the difference between a clique and a claque?

The two nouns are separated by only one vowel, and the meanings are not entirely dissimilar, but there is one paramount distinction. A clique is simply a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them. A claque is also a group of people, but they don’t exist for the sake of the group. A claque is a group of sycophantic followers. Whereas a clique is its own object, the object of a claque exists outside the group. You’ll often find cliques at schools, churches, and the workplace where people congregate and mingle. An example of a claque would be, say, the White House press corps during the Obama presidency. You’ll also find claques attached to famous or influential people, serving primarily as yes-men.

And now you know the difference between a clique and a claque.


viand (n.) — an item of food

bosky (adj.) — wooded; covered by trees or bushes

coney (n.) — a rabbit (British)

paternoster (n.) — the Lord’s Prayer, especially in Latin

bovine (adj.) — (of a person) slow-moving and dull-witted

lagniappe (n.) — something given as a bonus or extra gift

nexus (n.) — a connected group or series

tong (n.) — a Chinese association or secret society in the U.S., frequently associated with underworld criminal activity

warren (n.) — a network of interconnecting rabbit burrows

patronymic (adj.) — denoting or relating to a name derived from the name of a father or male ancestor

gourmand (n.) — a person who enjoys eating and often eats too much

fugacious (adj.) — tending to disappear; fleeting

portmanteau (n.) — a large trunk or suitcase, typically made of stiff leather and opening into two equal parts

perspicacity (n.) — the quality of having a ready insight into things; shrewdness

maelstrom (n.) — a powerful whirlpool in the sea or a river

pabulum (n.) — bland or insipid intellectual fare, entertainment, etc.; pap

halitosis (n.) — bad breath

bagatelle (n.) — a thing of little importance

losel (n.) — a worthless person

yclept (adj.) — by the name of