Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

Students in one of my public speaking classes will be watching and reading Hamlet; in the other section they will be watching and reading As You Like it. I am developing a list of topics from which the students will choose. Each student will give a presentation on some aspect from the play. I want to involve you in this by asking for topic suggestions. For example, contrast Polonius’s talk to Laertes with his talk to Ophelia. Graham Young, a theatre student at EMCC, writes, “Discuss the overall message of the inevitability of death that Hamlet has the realization of when he makes the speech to the skull of Yorick.”And one more: explain why Rosalind disguised herself.

Numbers 1 through 3 are found in Hamlet; nos. 4, 5 and 6 are from As You Like It. Oh, and thanks in advance for e-mailing topics to me.

1. apparition (ap-uh-RIH-shun)

A. an appearance, especially of a ghost or ghostlike figure

B. a section of a castle

C. an illusion

D. royal apparel

2. suspiration (sus-puh-RAY-shun)

A. difficulty in breathing

B. lack of breathing

C. breath or breathing

D. None of the above

The word apparition is used early in the play. A is the answer. In Act I, scene 2, Hamlet mentions “windy suspiration of forced breath.” You’re right if you chose C.

3. windlasses (wind-LASS-is)

A. devices for protecting travelers from severe winds

B. burns on the face caused by the wind

C. a device to raise weights by winding a rope or chain upon a barrel or drum driven by a crank

D. gulls that greatly depend on the wind to fly

In Act II, scene 1 the word windlasses is used. You’re right if you chose C.

4. abhor (ab-HORE)

A. to cry

B. to announce

C. to intimidate

D. to regard with extreme repugnance

In Act 2 scene 3, Adam says to Orlando, “This is no place. This house is but a butchery. Abhor it, fear it, do not enter it.”

(D) 5. sententious (sen-TEN-chus)

A. characterized by or full of aphorisms, terse pithy sayings, or axioms

B. characterized by using lengthy sentences

C. opprobrious

D. polemic

6. purlieus (per-LOOS)

A. viewpoints

B. scenes of the forest

C. neighboring areas, outskirts

D. None of the above

In Act V, scene 4, Duke senior says, “By my faith, he is very swift and sententious.” (A) Purlieus (plural form of purlieu) is in Act IV, scene 2. No. 6 is C.

Last week’s mystery word is frenetic.

This week’s mystery word describes the character who says, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Its first five letters are the first five letters of the name of the artist who sang Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).