Vaughan’s vocabulary

Don R Vaughan, Professor

Don R Vaughan, Professor

Don Vaughan Provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.
One of my favorite songs by the group Blood, Sweat, and Tears is “Sometimes in Winter”. David Clayton Thomas was B, S & T’s lead vocalist, but on “Sometimes in Winter”, Steve Katz is the vocalist. Katz composed the song.

I encourage you to google “Blood, Sweat and Tears, Sometimes in Winter, Steve Katz- My Extended Version” and watch and listen to this five and a half minute masterpiece.

I have an exercise I call “Sometimes in Winter.” It’s where a lover of words writes a 100 word essay beginning with “Sometimes in winter I ….”   It should be written in active tense and contain the right words to communicate your scenario. This week in the last few weeks of winter, I thought I would feature some words that connote this season of the year.

1. arctic (ARK-tic)

A. solstitial

B. a rubber overshoe

C. characteristic of the extremely cold, as an arctic winter

D. when a winter scene resembles an artist’s painting

Arctic can also be pronounced “ARE-tic” but I prefer to enunciate “ARK.” B and C are correct.

2. crystallinity (KRIS-tuh-lin-uh-tee)

A. coldness, frigidness

B. having the feature of strikingly clear or sparkling

C. having a shadowy look

D. something that is adumbrated

I love the sound of the noun crystallinity, as the crystallinity of the night air. B is the answer.

3. overcast (OH-vur-CAST)

A. crestfallen

B. overspread or covered with clouds

C. dark, gloomy

D. adumbrated

4. sedentary (SED-in-tehr-ee)

A. imaginary

B. involving or accomplished with careful perseverance

C. having alluring or tempting qualities

D. accustomed to sit or rest a great deal or to take little exercise

B and C are correct for overcast; sedentary is D.

5. alfresco (al-FRES-ko)

A. a range of frigid temperatures

B. an autumn-like or spring-like day in winter

C. taking place or located in the open air

D. the reflection of lights on a body of water

Sometimes in winter I love an alfresco meal, especially steaming hot stew, under a myriad stars. C is the answer.


Last week’s mystery word is insouciant.

This week’s mystery word is in the lyrics of Sometimes in Winter by Blood, Sweat and Tears. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet right after “To be, or not to be” the Melancholy Dane uses a word five times. Take that word and change its last letter to a “t” and you will have the mystery word.