Most of the times when I read fiction as well as non-fiction books, I understand the meaning of new/difficult words from context but don’t think more about these. But I often find myself not able explain the meaning of the word to someone else. I recently changed my habit as an experiment and started noting the words where I have even a slight difficult in understanding and explaining meaning.

Here are four words that I came across recently:

Limpid. Clear. Limpid: Clear. Example: He writes in a limpid style.

Photo by Bibi Pace on Unsplash

Limpid. Clear.

Prosaic: Not challenging. (Like prose rather than poetry). नीरस. Example: The title of your book is so prosaic that most people are going to walk right past it in the store.¹

If I looked up prosaic in the dictionary, it would probably say, “Immune to poetry. See also Mendes comma Sofia.”8

Photo Source:

Banality: Being banal (a thing that has no original creativity or spark²), Unoriginality. Triviality.

Riff: (verb) to speak for a long time on a particular subject, especially in a humorous way.3 Example: We called the show Thinking Things Over, and much of the time we riffed.4

Pretentious: To pretend to be something you are not.5 Someone or something that try to seem important or significant but they are not.6


I, on the other hand, was hired to work in the bar upstairs, a faux upscale taproom with an English private club motif: leather fauteuils, pretentiously bound hardcovers in fake bookshelves, and port in the well. In a stroke of genius, the owners had baptized the place the Nineteenth Avenue Diner.7

It might feel that this process is sort of look like a waste of time. But while writing this article and finding correct images and examples for each word has certainly made those words store firmly on my memory.

  4. The Best American Essays 2020 (
  7. The Best American Essays 2020 (
  8. The Sparrow (p. 242) by Mary Doria Russell. Transworld. Kindle Edition.

- Update: 2 December 2020: Added an example from The Sparrow
- Update: 2 December 2020: Added category vocabulary