Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan

Provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

On the blog titled “Tipping My Fedora” is a review of Think Twice, a 1939 play by Ayn Rand. Ayn is pronounced like the first syllable in Einstein. The review pointed out that Rand was the 20th century anti-Communist Russian-born founder of Objectivism, a philosophy that celebrates egotism and unfettered capitalism.

Think Twice was never produced in her lifetime. I have recently ordered a book that has three of Ayn Rand’s most compelling stage plays: Think Twice, Ideal, and Night of January 16th. I encourage you to purchase a copy of “Ayn Rand- Three Plays, Centennial Edition.” We can read them and decide which one is our favorite.

This week’s Vaughan’s Vocabulary features words from the review.

1. genre (ZHAN-ruh) A. a generation B. a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content C. a standard D. objective

2. meme (MEEM) A. a cultural item transmitted by repetition and replication in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes B. a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way C. to create and spread memes D. an idea, behavior, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture No. 1, genre, is B. All four are correct for meme. A, B, and C came from and D came from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

3. C under No. 2 is the definition of memed, memeing or meming as a A. verb used without an object (an intransitive verb). B. verb used with an object (a transitive verb). C. metaphor. D. simile. E. noun.

4. flotsam (FLOHT-sum) A. a floating population (as of emigrants or castaways) B. an accumulation of miscellaneous or unimportant stuff C. floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo D. All of the above

5. plutocrat (PLOO-toe-crat) A. a member of a plutocracy, the rule or power of the wealthy B. a gazer of Pluto C. an emigrant from a wealthy society D. an emigrant from a poor society

No. 3 is A.

Walter Breckinridge is one of the characters in Think Twice; as part of his general altruism, he collects the flotsam and jetsam of society to help them make something better of themselves. No. 4 is D.

No. 5, plutocrat, is A.

Editor’s Note: Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D., is a speech and theatre professor at East Mississippi Community College. He is also pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in northeastern Choctaw County. Contact him at