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Vaughan’s Vocabulary

November 4, 2012

By DON VAUGHAN

A friend of mine recently told me that her teenage daughter asked her to braid her hair. My friend asked her if she needed it to be upbraided while she braided her hair. She said, “Don, maybe you could weave the word upbraided into a future Vaughan’s Vocabulary column.”

I think the first time I saw the word “upbraided” was in the epistle of James. The King James Version of James 1:5 uses the verb “upbraideth.” “Upbraid” appears two times in the King James Version of the Bible (Judges 8:15 and Matthew 11:20). Mark 16:14 has “upbraided.” To my knowledge, the words braid and braided are not in the Bible. So, let’s begin this week’s word quiz with “upbraid.”

1. upbraid (up-BRAID)
A. to edify
B. to flatter
C. to castigate
D. to compliment

2. braid (BRAID)
A. a length of braided hair
B. high ranking naval officers
C. to draw apart
D. a rope fastened to the leech of a sail
No. 1 is C. Upbraid, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, means “to criticize severely; find fault with; to reproach severely; scold vehemently.” Both A and B are the answers to No. 2, braid. The answer next to D is a definition for “brail.” Next, did you know that there is the word brad?

3. brad (BRAD)
A. a thin nail
B. an ornament
C. a hideous sight
D. lucid
Merriam-Webster defines brad as “a thin nail of the same thickness throughout but tapering in width and having a slight projection at the top of one side instead of a head. A slender wire nail with a small barrel-shaped head.” Our next word is a new one for me, and I got it from Dictionary.com.

4. teratoid (TER-uh-toid)
A. lovely
B. resembling a monster
C. an item three hundred years old
D. mélange
Http://www.dictonary.com says that teratoid, an adjective, “was coined in the 1870s. The root terat is a combining form in the Greek language that means indicating a monster.”

Last week’s mystery word is oeuvre.

This week’s mystery word is the name of a clown in one of Shakespeare’s plays; this two-syllable noun means a fundamental or quintessential part or feature.

Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D. in Mass Communication, is a professor at East Miss. Community College. Contact him at dvaughan@eastms.edu.

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