Ordinary, everyday reading often presents you with words you could add to your vocabulary. To demonstrate this, I like to periodically offer a theme of "Words Found in Recent Reading". At least that's my rationale for such themes. (They're also easy for me to prepare.)
Doing so, I was struck by how many of my quotes came from book reviews. Could it be that book reviewers like to display their erudition by using fancy words? For whatever reason, finding good words it book reviews is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.
The Internet is our own era's big disrupter. When it comes to the digital revolution, Mr. Downes says, our laws have not kept pace with the changes that it has brought about. Governments levy taxes, oversee intellectual property and regulate communications as if we all lived in a prelapsarian world—with a land-line phone, a typewriter and a library card.
– review of The Laws of Disruption by Larry Downes, in Wall Street Journal, Oct. 13, 2009 (ellipses omitted)
triumphalism – a smug or boastful attitude of your own side's victory or superiority
(such as in the supposed superiority of one's religion, nationality or ideology)
From the same source as our last quote:
. . .Mr. Downes's libertarian instincts are admirable. Still, Mr. Downes can be a bit of a free-market triumphalist. It's obviously true, for instance, that the market for communications is far more competitive than it was, but he exaggerates when he suggests that all "consumers around the world have multiple choices for how to transport their bits."
. . .Now, perhaps you … enjoy life, are hopeful about your family's prospects, and feel confident that America is exceptional and will stay that way. If so, you are just the delusional individual whom Barbara Ehrenreich (from the left) and John Derbyshire (from the right) seek to set straight. … Ms. Ehrenreich and Mr. Derbyshire are well-known polemicists, and it's a fair bet that if they dined together the conversation would turn wintry, possibly resulting in hurled glasses.
– review in Wall Street Journal, Oct. 12, 2009
dyspeptic – suffering from indigestion (dyspepsia – indigestion); but more commonly figurative: morosely irritable, as if suffering from indigestion
polemicist – one aggressively attacking the opinions or principles of another; a controversialist
fissiparous – tending to break up into parts; divisive [akin to fission]
Quoting further from yesterday's source. Talk about being dyspeptic!
Merriam-Webster says of "dyspeptic:"
Etymology: Latin, from Greek, from dys- + pepsis digestion, from peptein, pessein to cook, digest.
From that we get the common meaning of "pessimistic."
In the case of Mr. Derbyshire, we should consider whether he truly is dyspeptic, or has perhaps better digested the implications of current macroeconomic and demographic trends.
When I look pessismistic up, it says: "[French pessimisme (on the model of optimisme, optimism), from Latin pessimus, worst; see ped- in Indo-European roots.]
His seems like the kind of stomach that can tolerate only the bland and flavorless without filling with bile. I'll take my chances with the children and leftists; fools, alas, are everywhere.
Pessimistic and dyspeptic are not etymologically related.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.