Back in June I posted the first 10 of 100 words that Houghton Mifflin says every high school graduate should know. I still find many of them odd choices.
Today we're looking at the second set, numbers 11-20.
How many do you know well enough to use in a sentence? Use in a blog post this week? In a comment? How many do you think are bizarre to be listed on the top 100?
Now that the human genome has been mapped and everything from the new Spider-Man series of movies to sci-fi novels talk about DNA, this one makes some sense. I suppose most grads would know this one simply because of the culture we live in or at least have some concept that it deals with genetics.
Hmm. Why would modern high-school grads need to know this one? It's not like they're going to be visiting Pemberley any time soon.
I'm most familiar with the second definition: avoiding a topic, evading it through speech. The other definition: essentially using a bunch of words when just a few will do. I think I learned this one as a high-school junior in my honors English class, along with its friend, meander. Not sure how many grads who aren't word nerds would know it or care that they don't.
Yeah. This one is critical for grads to know, being as we're still looking for explorers to prove that the world isn't flat and all . . .
Assuming they passed basic biology, most grads would know this one, I guess. But really? Why does a type of tree rank in the top 100 of important words to know? It's not something used in typical conversations by literate people around the water cooler. It doesn't show up in the news and hardly ever in literature. Another head scratcher.
"Lacking in self-confidence or self-trust, hesitant in acting or speaking." Frankly, I think this one's a bit flowery of a word for an 18-year-old to be using. I'm trying to picture my recently graduated nephew using it. Mmm, not working. (Then again, he was on the state championship football team. He wouldn't be diffident, let alone use the word. By the way, he just got his mission call. Yay, Scott!)
"To weaken or impair the strength of." That's assuming they mean the verb form, not the adjective. (Also, assuming they don't mean the definition hailing from 1638, something a bit more gruesome: "to cut the tendons of." Ick.) I'm betting a good number of college grads don't know this one.
This one's practically Dilbert-ese because it's used so much in corporate settings. Often the negative is used: disenfranchise. But I'm still guessing that most grads don't really know that it can refer to gaining freedoms or advantages as a human being even from slavery.
I love this word. I hope most grads know this one. It's not only pretty as a word (yes, yes, I know I'm a nerd), but the concept is awesome, especially for writers.
We live for epiphanies.