I used the words “miasma of evil’ the other day to describe the rather unsubtle aroma and ambience that was to be found in one of the rooms of my house. My husband was impressed and challenged me to use it in one of my books, where I promptly told him I already had.

I had great English teachers who made us memorize all sorts of fancy words that one rarely has a chance to use, and after all these years, they seem to be bestirring in my brain. My current heroine is a writer, and here is her situation:

She felt an enormous pit of emptiness, which she would only dig deeper when Edward came tonight. And he must come. If he didnโ€™t—

Well, sheโ€™d simply go on. Alone, alone, alone.
My, but she was being maudlin. Positively lachrymose. Lugubrious. Sepulchral. She spent much of her time with a dictionary handy trying to broaden her vocabulary for her novels. One had a duty to educate oneโ€™s readers after all.

Most of us don’t read with a dictionary handy, though. What do you do when you come across an unfamiliar (obscure, recondite) word or phrase? Do you skip it, look it up or try to figure it out on your own? What’s your favorite fancy/weird word?
I like the word “indolence.” It makes my laziness seem classy. ~Bern Williams