Wordrobe – Enlarge Your Vocabulary

28 Jun




  1. Suspire = to breathe; to sigh.
  2. Indurate = to make hardy, inured, accustomed; to make callous or unfeeling; to become established.
  3. Yammer = to whine, complain, or to talk loudly and incessantly.
  4. Extirpate = to destroy completely; to pull up by the roots.
  5. Spall = to break into small pieces; to splinter; a chip or splinter, esp. of stone.





  1. Jackanapes = an impertinent conceited person.
  2. Gundygut = a voracious eater; a greedy person.
  3. Praetorian or Pretorian = corruptible; fraudulent.
  4. Quisquilian = worthless; trifling.
  5. Flibbertigibbet = someone who is regarded as flighty, scatterbrained, and talkative.





  1. Point-device = completely; perfectly; precise; meticulous.
  2. Garboil = confusion; turmoil.
  3. Scrannel = thin; unmelodious.
  4. Sweven = dream; vision.
  5. Ween = to think, suppose, believe.



Lilliputian = very small; a very small person (named after Lilliput, a fictional island nation in Jonathan Swift’s satirical novel, ‘Gulliver’s Travels.’ Everything was diminutive in Lilliput – its inhabitants were 6 inches in height).


Pantagruelian = enormous; displaying extravagant and coarse humour. (named after Pantagruel, a giant king with an enormous appetite, depicted in a series of novels by Francois Rabelais).


Gargantuan = gigantic (named after Gargantua, a voracious giant, the father of Pantagruel, in a series of novels by Francois Rabelais).


Simon Legree = a harsh taskmaster (named after Simon Legree, a brutal slave dealer in the novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ by Harriet Beecher Stowe).


Babbit = a self-satisfied narrow-minded person who conforms to conventional ideals of business and material success (named after the main character in Sinclair Lewis’s novel, ‘Babbit’).


Lucullan = lavish, luxurious (named after a Roman general Lucius Licinius Lucullus, who was known for his sumptuous banquets).


Jeremiah = a person who complains continually, has a gloomy attitude, or one who warns about a disastrous future (named after Jeremiah, a Hebrew Prophet during the 7th and 6th centuries BCE who prophesied the fall of the kingdom of Judah and whose writings are collected in the ‘Book of Jeremiah’ and the ‘Book of Lamentations’).


Tartuffe = a hypocrite who feigns virtue, esp. in religious matters (named after the main character in ‘Tartuffe,’ a play by Moliere, pen-name of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin).


Cicerone = a tour guide (named after Marcus Tullius Cicero, the Roman statesman, orator, and writer, who was known for his knowledge and eloquence. He’s one of the rare people who has given two eponyms to the English language. Another word coined after his name is ‘Ciceronian,’ meaning marked by ornate language, expansive flow, and forcefulness of expression).


 Svengali = a person who manipulates and exercises excessive control over another for sinister purposes (named after Svengali, a musician and hypnotist, in the novel ‘Trilby,’ written by George du Maurrier. In the story, Trilby is an artist’s model. She is tone-deaf, but Svengali transforms her into a singing sensation under his hypnotic spell. Another eponym to come out of the novel is the word for a man’s hat: ‘Trilby.’ A trilby was a soft felt hat with a narrow brim and an indented crown. The word arose because such a hat was won in the stage production of the novel).

Compiled by P. Mohan Chandran with help from www.wordsmith.org.



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