Whilst growing up and learning English in Malta, my dad told me to write down words I come across I didn’t understand. Later in the day, we’d look them up in the dictionary. The first word I came across(aged 6) was ‘mischievous’.
I still do the same exercise now but with Google in tow.
If something is abhorrent to you, you hate it very much or consider it completely unacceptable.
Synonyms: hateful, hated, offensive, disgusting
If something affronts you, you feel insulted and hurt because of it.
Synonyms: insult, wrong, injury, abuse
To aggrandise someone means to increase the power, wealth, prestige, scope, make them seem richer and more important than they really are.
Synonyms: exaggerate, advance, promote, intensify
If amounts or things are aggregated, they are added together and considered as a single amount or thing.
Synonyms: combine, mix, collect, assemble, add
If you do something with alacrity, you do it quickly and eagerly.
Synonyms: eagerness, enthusiasm, willingness, readiness
The study of humans, their origins, physical characteristics, institutions, religious beliefs, social relationships etc.
To attest something or attest to something means to say, show, or prove that it is true.
Synonyms: testify, show, prove, confirm
If something goes awry, it does not happen in the way it was planned.
Synonyms: askew, twisted, crooked, to one side
Capable of being alienated or transferred to a new owner.
Synonyms: transfer, conveyance.
A conversation in which everyone is talking but nobody is listening.
You use benign to describe someone who is kind, gentle, and harmless or a substance or process that does not have any harmful effects.
Synonyms: benevolent, kind, kindly, warm or harmless, innocent, superficial, innocuous
If a person or thing is bereft of something, they no longer have it.
If someone or something is beset by problems or fears, they have many problems or fears which affect them severely.
Synonyms: plague, trouble, embarrass, torture
To bludgeon someone means to hit them several times with a heavy object. If someone bludgeons you into doing something, they make you do it by behaving aggressively.
Synonyms: club, batter, beat, strike, bully, force, intimidate
When you broach a subject, especially a sensitive one, you mention it in order to start a discussion on it.
Synonyms: bring up, approach, introduce, mention
Conduct noun + verb
A conclusion that is based on information that is not certain or complete.
Synonyms: guess, theory, fancy, notion
When you form an opinion or reach a conclusion on the basis of information that is not certain or complete.
Synonyms: guess, speculate, surmise, theorise
Someone who is conscientious is very careful to do their work properly.
Synonyms: thorough, particular, careful, exact
Consummate verb + adjective
A contentious issue causes a lot of disagreement or arguments.
Synonyms: argumentative, wrangling, perverse, bickering
The branch of science concerned with control systems in electronic and mechanical devices and the extent to which useful comparisons can be made between man-made and biological systems.
The art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions.
Synonyms: reasoning, argumentation, contention, logic
If a style of writing is discursive, it includes a lot of facts or opinions that are not necessarily relevant.
Synonyms: digressive, loose, rambling, roundabout
Disparate things are clearly different from each other in quality or type. A disparate thing is made up of very different elements.
Synonyms: different, contrasting, unlike, contrary
If you divest yourself of something that you own or are responsible for, you get rid of it or stop being responsible for it. If something or someone is divested of a particular quality, they lose that quality or it is taken away from them.
Synonyms: strip, remove, take off, undress
A person or animal that is docile is quiet, not aggressive, and easily controlled.
Synonyms: obedient, manageable, compliant, amenable, submissive, easy to manage, control.
A sadness that you’ll never be able to know how history will turn out.
Empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings and emotions as if they were your own.
Synonyms: understanding, feeling, appreciation, compassion
If you describe someone’s behaviour as endearing, you mean that it causes you to feel very fond of them.
Synonyms: attractive, winning, pleasing, appealing, esteem, charm
To excoriate a person or an organisation means to criticise them severely, usually in public.
Synonyms: abrade, attack, berate, skin, censure
If you elucidate something, you make it clear and easy to understand.
Synonyms: clarify, explain, illustrate, interpret
Ethnography is the branch of anthropology in which different cultures are studied and described.
Equanimity is a calm state of mind and attitude to life, so that you never lose your temper or become upset.
Synonyms: composure, peace, calm, poise
Fate is a power that some people believe controls and decides everything that happens, in a way that cannot be prevented or changed.
Synonyms: destiny, chance, fortune, luck
Understand a difficult problem or an enigmatic person after much thought.
Synonyms: understand, comprehend, work out, make sense of, grasp
If you describe someone as feckless, you mean that they lack determination or strength, and are unable to do anything properly.
Synonyms: irresponsible, useless, hopeless, incompetent
If you say that someone is gormless, you think that they are stupid because they do not understand things very well.
Synonyms: brainless, dense, dim, dim-witted, dopey, dumb, stupid
If you habituate yourself or another person to something, you make yourself or them become used to it.
Synonyms: accustom, familiarise, train, coach, exercise
Holism is the belief that everything in nature is connected in some way.
If something is homogenised, it is changed so that all its parts are similar or the same, especially in a way that is undesirable.
Synonyms: unite, make uniform, combine, blend
A heuristic method of learning involves discovery and problem-solving, using reasoning and past experience.
An incessant process or activity is one that continues without stopping.
Synonyms: constant, endless, continuous, persistent, all the time
The eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned and quiet.
A lapse is a moment or instance of bad behaviour by someone who usually behaves well.
Synonyms: decline, fall, drop, descent
Latent is used to describe something which is hidden and not obvious at the moment, but which may develop further in the future.
Synonyms: hidden, secret, concealed, invisible
If people laud someone, they praise and admire them.
Synonyms: praise, celebrate, honour, acclaim
You can describe something as mawkish when you think it is falsely sentimental and silly.
Synonyms: sentimental, emotional, feeble, mushy
If someone mediates between two groups of people, or mediates an agreement between them, they try to settle an argument between them by talking to both groups and trying to find things that they can both agree to.
Synonyms: intervene, moderate, step in, intercede
The subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place.
If you describe an activity as nefarious, you mean that it is wicked and immoral.
Synonyms: wicked, base, criminal, evil
Normative means creating or stating particular rules of behaviour. Implying, creating or prescribing a norm or standard.
Synonyms: standardising, controlling, regulating, prescriptive
The act or an instance of making something obscure, dark, or difficult to understand.
Synonyms: evasiveness, shuffling, deception, fudging
The awareness of the smallness of your perspective in the scheme of the universe.
The ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye, which can feel invasive and vulnerable at the same time — as if you were peering through a hole in the door of a house, able to tell that there’s someone standing there, but unable to tell if you’re looking in or looking out.
If you make overtures to someone, you behave in a friendly or romantic way towards them.
Synonyms: approach, offer, advance, proposal, invitation, proposition, opening move
The particularity of something is its quality of being different from other things. The particularities of something are the features that make it different.
Synonyms: circumstance, fact, detail, point
Pedagogy is the study and theory of the methods and principles of teaching.
If you think someone is pedantic, you mean that they are too concerned with unimportant details or traditional rules.
Synonyms: academic, pompous, schoolmasterly, stilted
Someone who is penitent is very sorry for something wrong that they have done, and regrets their actions.
Synonyms: repentant, sorry, apologetic, abject
Pique is the feeling of annoyance you have when you think someone has not treated you properly.
Synonyms: resentment, offence, irritation, annoyance
A pithy comment or piece of writing is short, direct, and full of meaning.
Synonyms: succinct, pointed, short, brief
A pragmatic way of dealing with something is based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones. A pragmatic person deals with things in a practical way.
Synonyms: practical, efficient, sensible, realistic
The proletariat is a term used to refer to all wage-earners collectively, workers without high status.
Synonyms: working class, the masses, lower classes, commoners
Rapid increase or growth in the number or amount of something.
Synonyms: generation, procreation, propagation, reproduction
A propensity to do something or a propensity for something is a natural tendency that you have to behave in a particular way. A natural tendency or disposition.
Synonyms: tendency, leaning, weakness, inclination
Relativism is the belief that the truth is not always the same but varies according to circumstances.
If you describe someone as resolute, you approve of them because they are very determined not to change their mind or not to give up a course of action.
Synonyms: determined, set, firm, dogged
The movement of the eye when it makes a sudden change of fixation, as in reading.
Synonyms: jerk, move, jolt, motion, movement
A person who is solicitous shows anxious concern for someone or something.
Synonyms: concerned, caring, attentive, careful
The realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.
A skirmish is a minor battle, a short, sharp argument.
Synonyms: argument, fight, row, clash
If you are supine, you are lying flat on your back. If you describe someone as supine, you mean that they let events happen because they are too lazy or afraid to influence them.
Synonyms: flat, recumbent, lethargic, passive, lazy, idle
If you swill an alcoholic drink, you drink a lot of it. To swill out something means to clean it by pouring water over it.
Synonyms: drink, gulp, swig, guzzle, rinse, wash out, sluice, flush
A state of confusion, anxiety, or excitement.
If someone or something traverses an area of land or water, they go across it. To pass or go over or back and forth over something.
Synonyms: cross, go across, travel over, make your way across
A vexed problem or question is very difficult and causes people a lot of trouble.
Synonyms: controversial, disputed, contested, moot