Interesting, Esoteric and Notable Words of the Slate Podcast Literati

I confess: I am an avid listener of various Slate magazine podcasts, mainly the Slate Political Gabfest, Slate’s Culture Gabfest, and Slate’s Spoiler Specials. The hosts often use words that I find notable or interesting. I formerly called this feature “Pretentious Terms of the Slate Podcast Literati.” But after debate and reflection, I am changing it to the more ungainly and accurate, but less insulting and offensive, “Interesting and Notable Words and Phrases.” These are words and turns of phrase I find interesting, or delicious, or perhaps a bit too fancy or strained or, yes, in some cases, maybe pretentious, or even misused. But usually just interesting and notable. (Or as Metcalf called them on a recent episode, “SAT words.”)

[See also my list of Annoying & Pretentious Terms; and Frequently Mispronounced Fancy Words]

  • alternadad [SM, CG05-19-10]
  • anodyne [EB, PG7-17-09; DP, PG10-30-09; JT, CG11-17-09; DP, PG01-07-11]
  • annus horribilis [CG#40]
  • antipatica [JuneT, CG10-19-11]
  • arrogate [PG10-9-09]
  • arrivistes [SM, CG11-4-09]
  • at university” [JT, CG04-21-10]
  • au courant [JT, CG03-31-10]
  • august (adj.) [JT, CG04-28-10; DS, CG10-19-11]
  • auteur [JuneT, CG10-19-11]
  • avant la lettre [SM, CG0-12-10]
  • avidity [DS, CG04-14-10]
  • baleful [SM, CG04-21-10]
  • banal [PG8-27-09]
  • biopic [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • bookend [PG10-30-09]
  • bourgeois [JuneT, CG10-19-11]
  • bowdlerized [JT, CG06-16-10]
  • callipygian [CG04-28-10]
  • carapace (SM, CG11-17-09)
  • chanteuse [CG#40]
  • congeries [SM, CG10-19-11]
  • contrapuntal [JT, CG11-10-09]
  • cowl [SM, CG04-21-10; SM, CG05-19-10]
  • curated [DS, CG05-05-10]
  • déclassé [SM, CG11-4-09]
  • denatured [DS, CG01-20-10]
  • desuetude [SM, CG03-30-11] (mispronounced)
  • detritus [DS, CG05-19-10]
  • diacritic [DS, CG10-05-11]
  • dint [DS, CG05-19-10]
  • efficacity [DS, CG01-27-10]
  • elegiac [CG05-05-10]
  • ennui [SM, JT, CG10-05-11]
  • épater les lesbiennes (June Thomas, CG01-20-10) 19:00
  • épater les bourgeousie [Jodi Rosen, CG04-14-10]
  • epigrammatic [JT, SM, CG10-14-09]
  • eponymous [Alice Tynan, guest from Australia, CG04-21-10]
  • extant [SM, CG10-19-11]
  • falstaff [SM, CG10-05-11]
  • frenetic [SM, CG0-12-10]
  • funereal [SM, CG05-19-10]
  • garret [DS, CG04-21-10]
  • gestalt [JR, CG04-14-10]
  • grog [SM, CG10-05-11]
  • frisson
  • gamine [DS, CG01-20-10]
  • garret [JT, CG06-16-10]
  • giant nougat of incivility [CG9-16-09, SM]
  • gonzo [CG#40-all 3 hosts]
  • haute bourgeois [Jodi Rosen, CG01-13-10]
  • hidebound [DS, CG04-21-10]
  • impresario [SM, CG04-14-10]
  • imprimatur [PG8-27-09, and Emily mispronounces it as im-PREE-muh-tyure--at 24:00]
  • inchoate [SM, CG04-14-10]
  • Indestructible omnibot of a pop tartlett (JT, CG11-17-09, referring to Lady GaGa)
  • insouciance (EB, XX11-19-09]
  • Janissary [SM, CG10-05-11]
  • je ne sais quoi [SM, CG0-12-10]
  • Johns Hopkins [SM, CG04-21-10]
  • joie de vivre [JT, CG05-19-10]
  • lacque (lack? black? — IKEA color/style) [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • lability [DS, CG11-4-09]
  • l’esprit de l’escalier [CG9-16-09, SM, a new one on me, I'll admit]
  • logrolling [JT, CG01-12-11]
  • louche [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • lugubrious [SM, DS, CG05-19-10]
  • malaise [pronounced "muh-lezz"] [CG04-14-10]
  • martinet [DS, CG11-4-09]
  • materiel [JD, PG10-9-09]
  • mettle [DS, CG10-05-11]
  • milquetoast [PG7-17-09, guest host Chris Beam]
  • milieu [JT, CG9-9-09]
  • mimetic fallacy [SM, CG05-19-10]
  • nascent [JR, CG04-14-10]
  • nettlesome [SM, CG03-31-10]
  • objet d’art (DS, CG01-06-10)
  • oeuvre [DS, CG9-9-09; other occasions]
  • on Martha’s Vineyard [PG 8-12-09, Plotz--as if everyone knows it's an island]
  • optics [DP, PG10-30-09]
  • paean [DS, CG11-4-09]
  • pastiches (JT, CG11-17-09)
  • patois [DS, CG04-14-10]
  • patrimony [CG#40; SM, CG11-4-09]
  • perfervid [DP, PG10-16-09]
  • peripatetic
  • peripatetically [DP, PG8-12-09]
  • plaudits [DS, CG11-10-09]
  • portmanteau [DS, CG03-24-10]
  • précis [SM, CG05-19-10]
  • presages [DS, CG03-30-11] (possibly mispronounced)
  • priapic (SM, CG01-06-10)
  • programmatic [DS, CG11-10-09]
  • proselyte [SM, CG05-19-10]
  • provocateur [DS, CG04-14-10]
  • quotidian [DS, CG06-09-10]
  • raconteur [DS, CG10-14-09]
  • rather (pronounced “rahh-ther”) [SM, CG05-19-10]
  • reasonable expectation of privacy [SM, CG04-21-10]
  • recherche [DS, CG01-27-10]
  • risible [JD, PG9-11-09; SM, CG10-19-11]
  • rumpy-pumpy (June Thomas, CG12-23-09)
  • samizdat [SM, CG04-21-10]
  • sanguine [JT, DS, CG05-19-10]
  • sartorial (JT, CG01-06-10; SM, CG04-21-10)
  • satyriasis (SM, CG01-06-10)
  • simulacrum [SM, CG01-12-11]
  • slanket [JT, CG04-28-10]
  • slattern [SM, CG10-7-09]
  • SoHo [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • somatizes [DS, CG01-20-10]
  • sonorous [EB, PG01-07-11]
  • spanner (for wrench) [JD, PG7-17-09]
  • sprezzatura [SM, CG#?; DS, CG05-12-10; DS, CG05-19-10]
  • spriteliness [JT, CG05-19-10]
  • stigmeditation (?) [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • Sturm und Drang [JD, PG11-6-09]
  • sui generis [SM, CG10-7-09; EB, PG10-30-09]
  • sussed out [CG#40]
  • syncopated [DS, CG04-14-10]
  • synecdotal [SM, CG01-13-10]
  • synesthete (DS, CG01-13-10)
  • tchotchkes [SM, CG10-05-11]
  • tic [JuneT, CG10-19-11]
  • totem [SM, CG10-7-09]
  • transom [DS, CG10-7-09]
  • treacly [JT, CG11-4-09]
  • TriBeCa [SM, CG11-4-09; JT, CG10-05-11]
  • triptych [CG9-16-09, DS]
  • trope [Emily Bazelon--all the time; SM, DS, CG03-31-10]
  • twee (SM, CG11-17-09)
  • umlaut [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • ungainly [JT, CG10-05-11]
  • valence [SM, CG05-12-10; JT, CG06-16-10]
  • verklempt (JT, CG12-23-09)
  • wheelhouse [DS, CG04-28-10]
  • zaftig (June Thomas, CG12-23-09)
  • zeitgeist (SM, CG12-23-09)

Words I’m Waiting to Hear on the Slate Literati Gabfests

  • alarum
  • antinomy
  • apparatchik
  • atavistic
  • august (as in old)
  • ballyhooed; much-ballyhooed; long-ballyhooed
  • beyond cavil
  • bids fair
  • brisance
  • bucolic
  • chowder
  • clapboard
  • Cockaigne
  • cohort
  • cordite
  • doppelganger
  • ennui
  • ersatz
  • erstwhile
  • familiar (noun: as in, companion, or member of household of a high official)
  • fillip
  • frenetic
  • frisson
  • halcyon
  • hangdog
  • high dudgeon
  • hirsute
  • insouciant
  • jejune
  • laconic
  • let slip the dogs of war
  • man of letters
  • manque
  • nod
  • pleonasm
  • repast
  • resplendant
  • sabre-rattling
  • sanguine
  • scintilla
  • shuffle off this mortal coil
  • slake
  • “speaks to”
  • splenetic
  • stigmergic
  • stolid
  • sue for peace
  • sylvan
  • terra firma
  • turgid
  • unawares
  • vainglory
  • vaunted or much-vaunted
  • vouchsafe
  • wag
  • wainscoting
  • well-nigh
  • worry a bone
  • writ large

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gabe Roth July 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Here’s a suggestion: I’d suggest that using a diverse and colorful vocabulary has nothing to do with pretentiousness. (Or with liberalism — c.f. W. F. Buckley, Hilton Kramer.) I’d further suggest that sneering at others for using words “that are not often used (or even known) by normal people” is a kind of faux-populism that ill befits a man whose “own rights theories [are] based on the concept of ‘estoppel.’”

Reply

Thom Simmons May 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

some of my absolute favourites

Reply

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