I haven’t done a vocabulary post for a while, but reading through a NY Times First Draft email this week provided some inspiration. These first two words come from that email, and I just like the last one.
(noun) a timid, meek, or unassertive person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated
Guess how this is pronounced. It’s literally “milk toast.” I can’t think of many things that invoke timidity more than a soggy piece of bread. The word originated in the 1930s cartoon, The Timid Soul, from a character named Caspar Milquetoast.
It was used in the NY Times email in the following sentence, which refers to Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential candidacy announcement:
However, the governor’s aides believe his now-famously brash persona will allow him to rise in a crowded field of candidates criticized as milquetoast or as mired in clashes over issues like same-sex marriage and overhauling immigration.
(adj.) (of a person): at the point of death
(of a thing): in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor
Here’s the sentence in which it was used, in reference to the President of Brazil:
Ms. Rousseff is hoping the visit improves her image at home, where her approval ratings are abysmal because of a moribund economy and a continuing corruption scandal.
(adj.) traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods
The first time I ever heard this word was during elementary school. I was rehearsing for my dance company’s performance of excerpts from A Chorus Line, and had to sing the following line from the song “One”:
She walks into a room and you know she’s
uncommonly rare, very unique
peripatetic, poetic and chic