Here are 100 (Or So) Words You Should Know
The editors of the American Heritage dictionary recently compiled a list of 100 words they think every high school graduate and their parent should know. A senior editor of the dictionary says flatly that "if you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language." I think he's mostly right. But I also think the average educated person can get along just fine without ever using such oddball words as "gamete" and "moiety," for instance. I'm also reminded of how the lovely but obscure sound of the word "jejune" once caused Woody Allen to use it as a comic element in the script for his movie Love and Death, a takeoff on Tolstoy's War and Peace. Woody, playing himself, was accused of being jejune. His response: "You have the temerity to say that I'm blocking you out of jejunosity? I'm one of the most june people in all of the Russias!"