Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

Recently I did some research on Epicurus (circa 341 – 270 B.C.), the author of epicureanism. The Athenian philosopher’s views on pleasure, freedom, and friendship influenced the Greco-Roman world.

World Book Encyclopedia pointed out that he taught that the mind is disturbed by fear of deities and fear of death, and that both were based on misconceptions. Bible expositor John MacArthur said that virtually every deity known to man was worshiped in Athens. Epicurus purported that deities shouldn’t be feared because they exist apart from humans and are not concerned with human affairs. Moreover, death shouldn’t be feared because death ends sensation, in which good and evil lie. With the fetters of these two anxieties off, one could live a good life by seeking moderate pleasures and avoiding pain.

See how you do with this week’s word quiz pertaining to Epicurus and the philosophy that he propounded. No. 1 will have two correct answers.

1. epicurean (ep-uh-kyoo-REE-uhn)

A. chaste, maintaining chastity

B. devoted to the enjoyment of good food and fun

C. suited to the tastes of an epicure

D. of or relating to the kitchen or cookery

E. celestial, sublime

Epicurean can also be pronounced “ep-uh-KYOO-ree-uhn.” D is a definition for culinary and E is a definition for empyreal. B and C are correct choices.


2. propound (pro-POUND)

A. to refrain

B. to suggest (an idea, theory, etc.) to a person or group of people to consider

C. to instigate

D. to force, as if pounding content in the mind

3. pococurante (POE-ko-kyu-RAN-te)

A. very little

B. too much

C. indifferent, nonchalant

D. pleasurable

Last year I came upon the adjective pococurante, which has a nice sound to it. C is the answer.

4. prolific (pro-LIF-ic)

A. professional, sharp

B. marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity

C. wise, sagacious

D. insightful

Epicurus was a prolific writer, but only three of his letters are extant. B is the answer.

Last week’s mystery word was dreidel.

This week’s mystery word means recovery or relief from a disease and has one syllable; a syllable is added when referring to a parish priest.