Jon's Dictionary: The A-List

I've undertaken to read the dictionary while I'm at work (specifically, the Oxford American Desk Dictionary & Thesaurus, Third Edition*). Here are some of my favorite words that start with A. I've shortened, lengthened, or otherwise improved their definitions, to avoid infringement and inspire wonder!

abreactive [adj.]
(in psychology) pertaining to the release of repressed emotion through revisiting past experience.
(in memoirs) boring, quite likely solipsistic.

abstemious [adj.]
allowing oneself little or no food, booze & satisfaction in general
(of a Christian) not fun to be with, probably Pelagian.

Academese [n.]
the language of academic writers, characterized by arcane usage conventions & affected diction
e.g., Just pick a scholastic article from any field.

acrid [adj.]
unpleasantly bitter or acidic
(of espresso) less than 97% perfect

acuity [n.]
sharpness of thought & perception

addled [adj.]
(of an egg) rotten

adduce [v.]
refer to something as evidence
"The article adduced irrelevant statistics in support of its claims."

adenoid [n.]
1. the part of the tonsils where nose meets throat
2. 1st name of Charlie Chaplin's Hitler burlesque in "The Great Dictator"

3. a minor character (also representing Hitler) in Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow

Adonis [n.]
a young, very handsome motherfucker

adumbrative [adj.]
intentionally vague / presented in outline
"The writer's early efforts at exposition were dull and adumbrative."

affectation [n.]
an artificial action or style designed to impress
e.g. everything middle school kids ever do, listening to Animal Collective, hating on Animal Collective fans, fashion in general, undertaking to read the dictionary

agglutinate [v.]
to stick firmly
(like, with glue I guess.)

agog [adj.]
eager to see / hear something
me at the Sasquatch festival in central WA
airy [adj.]
not serious about something others are taking seriously
(also) the only helpful attitude for dealing with these psychos.

aitch [n.]
transliteration of the letter H
Who knew?

albumen [n.]
egg-white. that is all.

aleatory [adj.]
1. depending on chance
2. (in music) composed, produced or performed with random elements
e.g. the guitar solo (starting @ 1:26) personifying the mayfly on "Springfield, or Bobby Got a Shadfly Caught in His Hair" by Sufjan Stevens

ambulatory [adj.]
able to walk
"Wanna go for a run?" "Sorry bro, I'm non-ambulatory at the moment."

animadversive [adj.]
apt to criticize or pass judgment
e.g. Holden Caulfield, debating politicians, Mark Driscoll, me most of the time

anodyne [adj.]
unlikely to cause offense
"The King's Speech was rated R." "What? That movie's totes anodyne!"

apologia pro vita sua [n.]
"a defense of one's life"
to be avoided when: giving a commencement address, preaching a sermon, accepting an award; also on most other occasions

apopleptic [adj.]
super angry
e.g., most John Goodman characters

apotheosis [n.]
highest level of something's development
"You might be a hipster if: you think 'The Lonesome Crowded West' is the apotheosis of Modest Mouse's career."

apparatchik [n.]
snarky term for a bureaucrat

aquiline [adj.]
(of a person's nose) curved like an eagle's beak
e.g., "Shark, shark." 

architrave [n.]
door- or window-frame
"Dope dreamcatcher yo! Imma hang that motha from the architrave."

areola [n.]
circular area of darker skin around a human nipple
e.g., everyone's nipples, except the Italian girl in Godfather I. Srsly; look it up.

arriviste [n.]
member of the nouveau riche
(a useful insult for someone whose ability to not be poor makes you jealous)

artless [adj.]
1. straightforward & sincere
2. of someone who just had all their art stolen (not really)

ascorbic acid [n.]
vitamin C
"Hit me up with summa that ascorbic acid, homes: don't want no scurvy."

askance [adv.]
with a suspicious/disapproving look
Hardcastle McCormick looks askance at everything.

aspirate [v.]
pronounce a word with an H-sound at the start

assignation [n.]
secret meeting, esp. between lovers

atavistic [adj.]
inherited from cave men
e.g., (definitely:) propensity for procreation & protecting your offspring, desire to eat meat; (probably:) fear of snakes, impulse to pee off bridges, appreciation of music, aversion to country music.

aureate [adj.]
(generally) of / resembling gold
(of language) pointlessly elaborate

auricle [n.]
the external part of the ear
"Check out her auricles' aureate appurtenances." (see what I did there?)

avuncular [adj.]
kind/friendly toward someone younger
"You're letting Patrice babysit?" "Hell yeah; homeboy's avuncular as shit!"

A-word usage notes:

accusative - (linguistics) the case applying to the object of a verb
accusatory - engaging in or prone to accusation

adz - an axe with an curved blade
ADZ - "Anno Domini Z": Sufjan's acronym for the end times.

aesthetic - concerning beauty/art
ascetic - forgoing pleasure in one's life (by choice)
asthetic - [not a word]

AM - amplitude modulation
am - 1st person singular conjugation of "be"
a.m. - in the morning

Apocalypse - the total destruction of the world, as described in the book of Revelation
Armageddon - (in the New testament) the final battle between good and evil, before the Day of Judgment

apocalypse - a catastrophically destructive event
armageddon - a conflict (i.e. war) of sufficient scale to destroy the world or the human race

arrant - total, absolute ("The gnostic gospels are arrant nonsense.")
errant - being in error ("The gnostic gospels are historically & theologically errant.")

Pronounced ARCH-

Pronounced ARK-

Did I forget your favorite A-word? Submit an entry for Jon's Dictionary in the comments!

*Not all of these words appear in the OAD&T 3rd ed.; nor do they necessarily carry equivalent definitions here. This isn't probably a very useful GRE study tool.

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