20 Difficult Vocabulary Words To Master

Do you remember in school when you would learn a set of new words each week? You were constantly attempting to expand your vocabulary; at least that was the teacher’s goal. Well vocab expansion shouldn’t end upon graduation; there are simply too many words in the English language to tackle. You could spend a lifetime and not become aquatinted with all of them.

I’m not suggesting it’s necessary to obtain the knowledge of a thesaurus, but having a grasp of complex words can come in handy. It allows you to not only express yourself with more depth and precision, but is helpful when reading literature and other wordy compositions.

To get back in the vocab game here is a list of 20 difficult vocabulary words to master. Perhaps you have heard of some, but don’t quite know what they mean. Others you may have never heard or maybe you know a good many, in that case bravo to you! If that’s the case I challenge you to research words you may not yet be aquatinted with, trust me there will be some.

If these new words don’t sound natural to you, you mustn’t use them in your everyday vocabulary, but it’s always helpful to recognize and know the meaning of more challenging words if and when you do come across them.

Note* If you do connect with a new word, use it sparingly. Overusing any “complex” word can make you appear pretentious.

1. Arrogate

[ar·ro·gate ] to claim or seize without justification

She arrogated the leadership role to herself.

2. Blandishment

[blan·dish·ment] something, as an action or speech, that tends to flatter, coax, entice, etc.

Our blandishments left him unmoved.

3. Bilk

[bilk] to defraud; cheat

He bilked the government of almost a million dollars.

4.  Congruity

[con·gru·i·ty] the quality of agreeing; being suitable and appropriate

There’s little congruity between your professed religious beliefs and your actual behavior.

5. Cupidity

[cu·pid·i·ty] strong desire, esp for possessions or money; greed

This is the first time the presents have excited my cupidity.

6. Ephemeral

[ephem·er·al] lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory

The ephemeral joys of childhood are something that I dearly miss.

7. Exhort

[ex·hort] to try to influence (someone) by words or advice : to strongly urge (someone) to do something

He exhorted his people to take back their land.

8. Flagrant

[fla·grant] conspicuously and outrageously bad or reprehensible

Her flagrant disregard for other people’s rights was astounding.

9. Grandiloquence

[gran·dil·o·quence ] a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language

Our central problem is that the combination of his grandiloquence and the September 2008 financial crisis led to his election.

10. Inane

[in·ane] lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly

And they would, it seems, nominate any movie—no matter how inane —to get those big-name butts in the seats.

11. Laconic

[la·con·ic] using few words; expressing much in few words; concise

The sportscaster’s commentary tends to be laconic but very much to the point.

12. Maverick

[mav·er·ick ] an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

There’s always one maverick who has to go his own way.

13. Munificent

[mu·nif·i·cent] very generous

Mary was a munificent hostess, always volunteering too preside over various charity dinners.

14. Proclivity

[Pro·cliv·i·ty] a strong natural liking for something that is usually bad

She has a proclivity to keep trying extreme diets although though she knows they are not healthy.

15. Subjugate

[sub·ju·gate] to bring under complete control or subjection; conquer; master

Fashion can summon the strange, can subjugate the body and render it alien just as readily as it can highlight every curve.

16. Surreptitious

[sur·rep·ti·tious] obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized

She had a surreptitious relationship with her employee.

17. Trite

[trite] not interesting or effective because of being used too often : not fresh or original

The commencement address was trite and endlessly long.

18. Ubiquitous

[ubiq·ui·tous] existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresent

By that time cell phones had become ubiquitous, and people had long ceased to be impressed by the sight of one.

19. Vociferous

[vo·cif·er·ous] expressing feelings or opinions in a very loud or forceful way

He is her most vociferous critic.

20. Zephyr

[zeph·yr] a gentle, mild breeze

A summer zephyr gently stirred her hair.

HOMEWORK: Try to really memorize and master all of these 20 words. Are there any that you think you will begin to use? Let me know in the comments! I quite like the words “blandishment” and “trite.”

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Photo Courtesy: Claude Monet; wikiart.org
Info Courtesy: mirriam-webster.com, dictionary.com