Loretta Barnard

TBS Vocab-Extender 2: Elucidate Harder

Does your conversation need a booster? Your barbs need a sharpen? Well, the Vocab-Extender returns to replace the lead in your pencil.


Well, we meet again with yet another session of supercilious and snooty words that can be used to show our erudition to the great unwashed. Yes, the Vocab-Extender is back with more terminological turns of phrase to tickle your fancy.

Here are today’s gems.


[en-sawrsuh l]

There are people, places, and things that we can find utterly enthralling. To be enchanted by a place or a person is special, it’s a nice sensation and makes you feel all gooey inside; but why use tired old words like “fascinated,” “bewitched,” “delighted,” when you can up the ante and dazzle your friends by using the wonderful word ensorcell?

“ ‘Tiffany, I love you,’ cried Brick. ‘You completely ensorcell me!’ ”

“Having ensorcelled little Algernon and Gwendoline, the wicked witch smacked her lips together, thinking of the delicious enfants au vin she’d enjoy that night.”

“Roxanne loved the café. A trendy inner-city warehouse conversion, she found the rustic influence perfectly ensorcelling.”




This word once meant to beat someone with a club or a cudgel, but its more common definition is to severely criticize someone or something. Okay, it’s a rare word and saying “its more common definition” is a bit rich, but that’s what the Vocab-Extender is all about—giving us more highfalutin ways to say things. Why not whip “fustigate” into a sentence the next time someone asks your opinion on the latest so-called hit movie:

“Ezra really wanted to see the latest Star Wars film but it was so severely fustigated that he decided to brush up on his quadratic equations instead.”

“Drusilla was in such a fustigatory mood that there was no point telling her that I’d just won the Nobel Prize in physics.”

“The fustigation aimed at Chauncey’s John Cage-inspired composition was completely unwarranted.”



[pavuh-nahyn, -nin]

The peacock is a beautiful bird, no question. It’s iridescent plumage, the intricate pattern of the feathers, the gorgeous rich colors; fashion designers have long been inspired by the vivid shades of green, blue, and turquoise so proudly displayed by a peacock courting a peahen. Designs based on the peacock are said to be “pavonine,” which simply means resembling a peacock; but the word can have wider applications.

“Penelope thought Pamela painfully pompous and proud, a pouting prima donna who was positively pavonine.”

“There was a pavonine element about the décor, but unfortunately, the effect was gaudy.”

“ ‘Geez, Raelene, cop an eyeful of Bruce’s get-up. Looks like he’s goin’ to the Bong Bong bloody races! That fancy clobber is too pavonine; he looks like a galah. Strewth, Raelene, now I’m mixin’ my metaphors.’ ”

More words coming soon …



Loretta Barnard

Loretta Barnard is an Australian freelance writer and editor who, in a long career, has done almost everything possible in the book publishing industry. These days she actively pursues her love of music, literature and theatre, and is something of wannabe roving ambassador for the creative and performing arts.

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