In community college, I read a lot. I even read the dictionary. I think I only got to around page 60 or so but still. The point is that I really wanted to learn, and more particularly, I wanted to learn concepts. I realized even in my very early twenties that terminology and the concepts terms represent were important because they are paradigms of thought. That’s why knowledge is power. Concepts and paradigms increase perspective, which in turn increase critical thinking and reasoning capability, which then improves persuasiveness or rhetorical appeal.
And toward the end of my undergraduate degree, I started a site-wide dictionary on a now abandoned blog project inspired by that reasoning. I wanted to help others grow their vocabularies and, hopefully, develop excitement because they could sense or begin to understand those things I thought were important.
So, in the spirit of what I called the Intellectual’s Dictionary, I present a new blog series: Impressive Words for Impressive People.
In each post, I will introduce 10 words or terms for your consideration. I hope you find this is as fun and smart as I do.
- Contention: a heated disagreement or an assertion, especially one maintained in an argument
- Monocratic: having and exercising complete political power and control
- Dilettante: a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge
- Prima facie: at first view, on the first appearance, or apparent
- Transitive: characterized by having or containing a direct object
- Bounded rationality: the idea that in decision-making, rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision
- Sycophant: a person who acts obsequiously toward someone important in order to gain an advantage
- Hasty generalization (Law of small numbers): essentially making a rushed conclusion without considering all of the variables. Stereotypes about people (“frat boys are drunkards”, “grad students are nerdy”, “women don’t enjoy sports”, etc.) are a common example of the principle
- Kitsch: art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way. Considered to be in poor taste but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way
- Dog-in-the-manger: a person who has no need of, or ability to use, a possession that would be of use or value to others, but who prevents others from having it
If you have words you think are great, feel free to send them my way.