Ailurophile A cat-lover. Assemblage A gathering. Becoming Attractive. Beleaguer To exhaust with attacks. Brood To think alone. Bucolic In a lovely rural setting. Bungalow A small, cozy cottage. Chatoyant Like a cat’s eye. Comely Attractive. Conflate To blend together. Cynosure A focal point of admiration. Dalliance A brief love affair. Demesne Dominion, territory. Demure Shy and reserved. Denouement The resolution of a mystery. Desuetude Disuse. Desultory Slow, sluggish. Diaphanous Filmy. Dissemble Deceive. Dulcet Sweet, sugary. Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm. Effervescent Bubbly. Efflorescence Flowering, blooming. Elision Dropping a sound or syllable in a word. Elixir A good potion. Eloquence Beauty and persuasion in speech. Embrocation Rubbing on a lotion. Emollient A softener. Ephemeral Short-lived. Epiphany A sudden revelation. Erstwhile At one time, for a time. Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable. Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time. Evocative Suggestive. Fetching Pretty. Felicity Pleasantness. Forbearance Withholding response to provocation. Fugacious Fleeting. Furtive Shifty, sneaky. Gambol To skip or leap about joyfully. Glamour Beauty. Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk. Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free. Harbinger Messenger with news of the future. Imbrication Overlapping and forming a regular pattern. Imbroglio An altercation or complicated situation. Imbue To infuse, instill. Incipient Beginning, in an early stage. Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible. Ingénue A naïve young woman. Inglenook A cozy nook by the hearth. Insouciance Blithe nonchalance. Inure To become jaded. Labyrinthine Twisting and turning. Lagniappe A special kind of gift. Lagoon A small gulf or inlet. Languor Listlessness, inactivity. Lassitude Weariness, listlessness. Leisure Free time. Lilt To move musically or lively. Lissome Slender and graceful. Lithe Slender and flexible. Love Deep affection. Mellifluous Sweet sounding. Moiety One of two equal parts. Mondegreen A slip of the ear. Murmurous Murmuring. Nemesis An unconquerable archenemy. Offing The sea between the horizon and the offshore. Onomatopoeia A word that sounds like its meaning. Opulent Lush, luxuriant. Palimpsest A manuscript written over earlier ones. Panacea A solution for all problems Panoply A complete set. Pastiche An art work combining materials from various sources. Penumbra A half-shadow. Petrichor The smell of earth after rain. Plethora A large quantity. Propinquity An inclination. Pyrrhic Successful with heavy losses. Quintessential Most essential. Ratatouille A spicy French stew. Ravel To knit or unknit. Redolent Fragrant. Riparian By the bank of a stream. Ripple A very small wave. Scintilla A spark or very small thing. Sempiternal Eternal. Seraglio Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem. Serendipity Finding something nice while looking for something else. Summery Light, delicate or warm and sunny. Sumptuous Lush, luxurious. Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky. Susquehanna A river in Pennsylvania. Susurrous Whispering, hissing. Talisman A good luck charm. Tintinnabulation Tinkling. Umbrella Protection from sun or rain. Untoward Unseemly, inappropriate. Vestigial In trace amounts. Wafture Waving. Wherewithal The means. Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.
Just finished my last exam, and now I have the entire winter break to relax and catch up on sleep I so sorely missed. The average college- or university-goer has three places in which they spend the grand majority of their holidays: the bed, the couch, and the local pub. Me? I’ll be spending this break doing a kind of extracurricular activity called “English nerd stuff”. Let me break this down: it does not count for credit, it involves a hell of a lot of reading from books that would put 85% of the population to sleep, I will probably not benefit from this in the long term (when was the last time somebody used Goethe’s “Faust” to pay their taxes?), it’s not worth putting on a resume, and it’ll probably pull off the “celery effect” on me before the next term begins (A celery stalk has negative calories, meaning it takes more energy to digest it than it actually provides. Enough said. If you still don’t get it, inbox me. I’m a future high school teacher after all). So why do I do it? Because it’s fun!… At least to the English majors among us. Some people tend to forsake the value of the literary world, and I will be honest, this saddens me more than watching “Shrek” slowly but surely crumble to the ground, one rubbish sequel after another. Sigh. But passion is a funny thing. One minute you’re being read “Cat in the Hat” to by your mother at bedtime, the next you’re climbing Mount Olympus with Homer’s “The Odyssey”. Clearly it doesn’t come out of nowhere, like some God-given gift. It starts at the very bottom, in one’s childhood. There is scientific proof that reading to your child at a young age increases their likelihood to become avid readers later on in life. The problem is, less and less people are doing it these days, with the newest generation being sacrificed to the technological society that is Moloch (Allen Ginsberg reference. I know you don’t get it.). I see less kids at the library these days, and even less who show an impassioned love for books. Startling trend? This means the apocalypse for hopeful future English teachers like myself! Even in the face of total literary annihilation (I may be exaggerating here), there is still a flicker of light in the western horizon, where the age of books has seemingly set to make way for 21st century electronics and gaming. It all starts with the youngsters. It always has been. Read your kids/younger siblings/random kids a good book. They’ll appreciate it as much as I’ll appreciate it. It’s not too late to build a generation of book-lovers (And therefore reduce the populations of the invading gamers. They’re like bullfrogs, popping up everywhere). And don’t be afraid to pick up a book yourself. Start easy, don’t push yourself. A little Robert Munsch never hurt anyone.