Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan
Provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary

The first syllable in this word has the sound of the word that appears twice in First John 5:17. This three syllable word means a small amount of something. The first four letters in the last name of an Austrian-born U.S. composer (credited with inventing the twelve tone music technique) are the same first four letters of a noun that means an explanatory note, especially on a passage in an ancient Greek or Latin text. Thirdly, what’s the word that means the spirit of the time?

And here is one more for you. Also starting with the same letter as the word that means the spirit of the time, this word means the highest point or state. After you solve these “coDondrums,” take this week’s word quiz.

1. uncanny

A. strange and mysterious in a way that might trouble you

B. staleness

C. hilarious, comical

D. risqué


2. scythe (SITH)

A. barbaric

B. a tool consisting of a long, curving blade fastened at an angle on a handle

C. someone who communicates wisdom

D. someone who predicts the future


3. crease (KREECE)

A. a line or ridge produced on paper or cloth by folding or pressing

B. an area around the goal in ice hockey or lacrosse

C. to crumple or wrinkle

D. (of a bullet) to graze someone or something without causing serious harm

The words for numbers 1 through 3 were last week’s “coDundrums.” No. 1 is A. Tell me the word that rhymes with the name of a 1970s all female singing group (strange and mysterious in a way that might trouble you and Charity Ball are clues). No. 2 is B. I pointed out that it’s a word for a cutting tool. The King of Navarre in Love’s Labor’s Lost used the word. As for No. 3, all four are correct. I tell my students, “To help bring about unbroken eye contact with your audience, fold, long before you come to the podium, your speaking outline and really get that crease in the middle of the pages so that the outline opens easily after placed on the podium.”

4. nimiety (ni-MY-i-tee)

A. excess, overabundance

B. paucity

C. scarcity

D. flexibility

Aside from A, nimiety means an instance of having excess or an overabundance.

Last week’s mystery word is puissance.

This week’s mystery word to solve can be used as an acknowledgement of personal error.