“X” words

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“X” words
2013-03-29 16:13:37

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  1. Excoriate
    • To yell at someone is one thing; to excoriate them is a whole other. A martinet of a boss whom you’ve once again upset; a drill sergeant berating a feckless, smirking recruit; now we are closer.
    • So to criticize really, really harshly is to excoriate. Interestingly, the second definition of the word is to tear one’s skin from his/her body. To verbally excoriate is to figuratively rip off a person’s skin (with such an arresting visual, I don’t think I need an example sentence!).
  2. Extenuating
    Extenuating means making less guilty or more forgivable. The phrase ‘extenuating circumstances’ is common courtroom lingo. Say somebody broke into a drugstore to steal some expensive medication. Later we learn that medication was for that person’s wife, who was dying of some disease that only the medication could cure. Most of us, presumably, would be more likely to forgive the man. Why? Because of the extenuating factor of his wife’s disease.
  3. Execrate
    • This word just sounds awful. The good news is the word has a very negative connotation. To execrate somebody is to curse and hiss at them. For instance a certain American basketball player left his team of many years so he could make more money with another team. Fans of the original team execrated the player for his perfidy and his mercenary motives.
    • Interestingly, the adjective form of ‘execrate’ is the relatively common GRE word ‘execrable.’ If something is execrable, we condemn it as awful (and worthy of hissing).
  4. Exegesis
    • This word refers to a critical interpretation of a scholarly work. If you think that definition is
    • intimidating, the adjective form is exegetical.
  5. Exhort
    To exhort means to strongly urge on, encourage.