Say it better – letters N-R

This page contains words that begin with “N” to words that begin with “R”. The list is part of a project entitled, Say it better.

nadir – n. the lowest or most unsuccessful point in a situation

nascent – adj. (especially of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential

nefarious – adj. (typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal

neologism – n. a newly coined word or expression

nomenklatura – n. (in the former Soviet Union) the system whereby influential posts in government and industry were filled by Party appointees

nonplused/nonplussed – adj. surprised and confused so much that a person is unsure how to react

non sequitur – n. a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement

obfuscate – v. make obscure, unclear, or unintelligible; bewilder (someone)

obloquy – n. strong public criticism or verbal abuse

obsequious – adj. obedient or attentive to an excessive or servile degree

obtrusive – adj. noticeable or prominent in an unwelcome or intrusive way

obtuse – adj. annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand

palpable – adj. able to be touched or felt; (of a feeling or atmosphere) so intense as to seem almost tangible; plain to see or comprehend

pantomime – n. a dramatic entertainment in which performers express meaning through gestures accompanied by music

paragon – n. a person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality; a person or thing viewed as a model of excellence

parochial – adj. having a limited or narrow outlook or scope

pastiche – n. an artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period

pathos – n. a quality that evokes pity or sadness

pensive – adj. engaged in, involving, or reflecting deep or serious thought

permeate – v. spread throughout (something); pervade

pernicious – adj. having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way

perturb – v. make (someone) anxious or unsettled

philistine – n. a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts | adj. hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts

placid – adj. not easily upset or excited; calm and peaceful, with little movement or activity (ex. a lake)

polemic – n. a strong verbal or written attack on someone or something

portend – v. be a sign or warning that (something, especially something momentous or calamitous) is likely to happen

postulate – v. suggest or assume the existence, fact, or truth of (something) as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief

precarious – adj. not securely held or in position; dangerously likely to fall or collapse; dependent on chance; uncertain

precocious – adj. (of a child) having developed certain abilities at an earlier age than usual

promulgate – v. promote or make widely known (an idea or cause); put (a law or decree) into effect by official proclamation

propensity – n. an inclination or natural tendency to behave in a particular way

pugnacious – adj. eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight

rancour – n. bitterness or resentfulness, especially when long standing

recalcitrant – adj. having an obstinately uncooperative attitude towards authority or discipline

red herring – phr. a clue or piece of information which is or is intended to be misleading or distracting

redundant – adj. not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous

regime – n. a government, especially an authoritarian one; a system or ordered way of doing things

repugnant – adj. extremely distasteful; unacceptable

reticent – adj. quiet or restrained, keeping to oneself; not easily revealing one’s thoughts or feelings

rueful – adj. expressing sorrow or regret, especially when in a slightly humorous way

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