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100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know

June 4, 2007

The editors of the American Heritage dictionaries have come up with a list of one hundred words they recommend every high school graduate should know.

After reading over the list, I feel compelled to offer two comments.

First, I believe they are setting the bar a little too high.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a solid and rich vocabulary, but given the poor grasp of even basic words, I think it would be better for all involved to focus on the fundamentals rather than, say, quotidian.

Second, I must question if they perhaps intended this list for the early twentieth century rather than the early twenty-first century.  After all, a number of the words strike me as less than relevant in modern society.  Ziggurat, anyone?

I feel further compelled, for no discernible reason whatsoever, to post one of these words and its accompanying definition each day, every day, until I work through all one hundred.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

Abjure

  1. to renounce, repudiate, or retract, especially with formal solemnity
  2. to renounce or give up under oath; to forswear

From the Latin abjurare, which means "to deny an oath" or, literally, "to swear away from"

Check back tomorrow for abrogate!

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