Word(s) of the day

Today, I’m reading Good with Words by Patrick Barry. I’ve learned the following words from chapter 1 of the book:


  • in a deliberate and unprovoked way.
    “during the raids, the police wantonly destroyed property”
  • in a lustful or sexually unrestrained way.
    “she pressed herself against him wantonly

Given that Mr. Louis maintained a good-faith belief that he could more rapidly serve patients by utilizing a pharmacist’s password, he was not willfully and wantonly disregarding his employer’s interest and thus should not be disqualified from unemployment benefits.
Source: Good with Words


a female ballet dancer.

In one row of my class, there might be a student who studied psychology, a student who studied accounting, and a student who studied biochemistry; in another, there might be a former journalist, an aspiring entrepreneur, and a professional ballerina
Source: Good with Words


(n.) a painful stiff feeling in the neck or back.

(v.) twist or strain (one’s neck or back), causing painful stiffness.
“I turned my head so quickly that I cricked my neck”

As Anne Lamott notes in her best-selling book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, there is this myth that professional writers “sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter.”
Source: Good with Words


a person who is no longer living a deceased person
“the estate of the decedent

I like the term “decedent.” It’s as though the man weren’t dead, but merely involved in some sort of protracted legal dispute.
—Mary Roach, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (2003)
Source: Good with Words


(n.) a joint formed by one or more tapered projections (tenons) on one piece which interlock with corresponding notches or recesses (mortises) in another.

  • (v.) join together by means of a dovetail.
  • (v.) fit or cause to fit together easily and conveniently.
    “plan to enable parents to dovetail their career and family commitments”

(4) Child Psychology: “This dovetails with new research led by the psychologist Christopher J. Bryan, who finds that for moral behaviours, nouns work better than verbs. To get 3 to 6 year-olds to help with a task, rather than inviting them ‘to help,’ it was 22 to 29 per cent more effective to encourage them to ‘be a helper.’ Cheating was cut in half when instead of, ‘Please don’t cheat,’ participants were told, ‘Please don’t be a cheater.’ When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices.”
—Adam Grant, “Raising a Moral Child” (2014)
Source: Good with words

Use these words in your own sentences and write in comments.

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