Reporting John Ostapkovich
By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s no firm agreement on how many words are in the English language, but it’s easily hundreds of thousands, of which we regularly use a small percentage.
These are not radio words, those collected in 100 More Words Every High School Graduate Should Know. I’d sound sanctimonious if I used the word sanctimonious on air and, except in Scrabble, I’m not going anywhere near the X-word.
“Xeric, x-e-r-i-c, which is an adjective having to do with things that are in an extremely dry habitat,” and a distant relative of the brand name Xerox, says Steve Kleinedler, an editor with American Heritage Dictionaries.
“The words in this book are not necessarily meant, oh, you should adopt all the words in your active vocabulary. That would sound high-falutin’. Context is everything,” says Kleinedler.
Lacuna, penurious and phalanx are other words in the book.