St. Charles Herald-Guide

Speak with Authority

By Staff Report - January 24, 2007

BOUTTE - Experts agree that when you learn a new word, your world becomes a bigger and more interesting place.

Just read the vocabulary words below and choose the correct definition from the three choices that we give you. Watch out - two are completely bogus. Only one is accurate and the definition is taken directly from Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.

Check your answers at the end of column. If you get five or more right, congratulations - that's a superior score. Anything less, well, sorry: You need to dust off the old dictionary and get to work.

Ready? Let's go!

1. Dearth (noun): a) Old English word for “death”; b) a funeral procession; c) scarcity.

2. Decorum (noun): a) Latin word for “decoration”; b) the art of interior decorating; c) conformity to accepted standards of conduct.

3. Decry (verb): a) to express strong disapproval; b) the act of turning tears to laughter; c) to divert attention away from someone or something.

4. Hurdy-Gurdy (noun): a) a lewd dance, i.e.: hoot chi coot chi; b) a 19th century medicine show; c) a musical instrument in which sounds are produced by turning a crank.

5. Infidel (noun): a) a revolutionary; b) a non-Christian; c) an illegal or unregistered immigrant.

6. Inflame (verb): a) the act of dousing a fire; b) technical term for rocket exhaust that reverses direction at high altitude; c) to excite to excessive, uncontrollable action or feeling.

7. Redundant (adjective): a) a boring speech or dissertation; b) exceeding what is needed or normal; c) excessive use of unnecessarily big or fancy words.

Challenge yourself weekly and before long, you'll be speaking more fluently, making more sense - and understanding more.

For this week’s answers, turn page upside down and read the legend below.