AMBIGUITY [am-bi-gyoo-i-tee]: inexactness; being open to more than one interpretation. Example: The ambiguity found in the interpretation of their lab results meant further studies needed to be completed.

ANGST (äNG(k)st): a feeling of dread, anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity.  Example: His angst about heading back to school was compounded with the knowledge that he was going to have to study harder this semester to pass Science.

ARTICULATE (/ärˈtikyələt/): (adjective) having the ability to express oneself clearly and effectively; (verb) express an idea or feeling fluently and coherently. Example: My little brother must not have articulated his Christmas wish list clearly as he got a sweater from Grandma instead of the Lego set he wanted.

CADRE (kä-,-drē): a group of trained personnel able to control, train or lead others of a larger organization. Example:  The cadre of technicians met to review the plans for their new robot invention.

ELUCIDATE (ih-loo-si-deyt): to make clear; explain; clarify.  Example:  The conclusion of his science project will elucidate his theory.

EPONYMOUS (e·pon·y·mous): Refers to the person, place, or thing that something else is named after. Example: Calvin Klein Inc. is an American fashion house founded by designer Calvin Klein.

ESOTERIC (esəˈterik/): intended for or understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.  Example:  Samantha made an esoteric joke that only she and her best friend understood.

EUPHEMISM (yoo-fuh-miz-uhm): a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one thought to be too harsh, offensive or blunt. Example:  saying passed away instead of died

HYPERBOLE (hy·per·bo·le): exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally. Example: I had a ton of homework!

INSIDIOUS (in·sid·i·ous): proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects.  Sneaky, treacherous, crafty.  Example: There was an insidious onset of the flu that caused half of my class to be absent.

MACABRE (ma·ca·bre): disturbing and horrifying in its representation with death and injury; gruesome, dreadful.  Example: The house decorated for Halloween was a macabre scene of blood and zombies.

MACHINATION (maSHəˈnāSHən): a plot or scheme; conspiracy usually intended to accomplish an evil end.  Example: Snow White was wary of the Evil Queen’s machinations.

MOMENTOUS (mōˈmen(t)əs): A decision or event of great importance or significance, especially in its bearing on the future. Example: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was a momentous occasion.    Take the time to watch this powerful speech: 

OBSEQUIOUS (uh b-see-kwee-uh s):  being overly submissive or dutiful; showing servile deference or obedience.  Example: The rock star was constantly followed by obsequious assistants and fans.

PIVOTAL (ˈpivədl’):  of vital or critical importance in relation to the development or success of something else.  Example:  Last night’s game was pivotal to the Eagles’ success and participation in the Super Bowl.

POLYSEMY (pol-ee-see-mee): A word with more than one distinct meaning.  Example: We had a good time at the play. (meaning enjoyable/fun)  The ticket is good for any showtime. (meaning valid/ acceptable).

PONTIFICATE (pänˈtifiˌkāt/): to speak or express opinions in a self-important way or arrogant tone, usually for a long time. Example: It was annoying that my teacher started to pontificate on my writing errors before she even read my paper.

PROFOUND (pro·found): (of a state, quality, or emotion) very great or intense. Example:  The Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win had a profound effect on the team’s fans, who celebrated a win they’ve long dreamed for.

ZEALOT (zeal·ot): marked by passionate support for a person, cause, or ideal; showing eager desire in going for a goal.  Example:  She was such a zealot of Harry Potter that she spent all of her allowance on the new book instead of buying a birthday present for her brother.