Difficult Words : Culinary, Cryptic, Culminate, Culpable, Cursory and Curtail

Difficult Words: Culinary, Cryptic, Culminate, Culpable, Cursory and Curtail

Cryptic (KRIP tik) adj: mysterious; mystifying

Elaine's remarks were cryptic. Everyone was baffled by what she said.

A cryptic statement is one in which something important remains hidden. The ghost made cryptic comments about the crypt from which he had just emerged. That is, no one could figure out what the ghost meant.


Culinary (KYOO luh NER ee) adj: relating to cooking or the kitchen

A cooking school is sometimes called a culinary institute. Stan pursued his culinary interests by attending the culinary institute. His first meal, which was burned beyond recognition, was a culinary disaster.


Culminate (KUL muh NATE) v: to climax; to reach full effect

Susan's years of practice culminated in a great victory at the international snow ball championship.

The masked ball was the culmination of our fund-raising efforts.


Culpable (KUL puh bul) adj: deserving blame; guilty

A person who is culpable (a culprit) is one who can be blamed for doing something.

The accountant’s failure to sport the errors made him culpable in the tax-fraud case.

We all felt culpable when the homeless old man died in the doorway of our apartment building.

To decide that a person is not culpable after all is to exculpate that person.

Lou's confession didn't exculpate Bob, because one of the things that Lou confessed was that Bob had helped him do it.


Cursory (KUR suh ree) adj: hasty; superficial

To give a book a cursory reading is to skim it quickly without comprehending much.

To make a cursory attempt at learning French is to memorize a couple of easy words and then say the heck with it.

The cursor on Dave's computer made a cursory sweep across the date as he scrolled down the page.


Curtail (kur TALE) v: to shorten; to cut short

The Student curtailed his effort to cut the cat's tail with the lawn mower.

That is, he stopped trying.

To curtail a tale is to cut it short.

We have tried our best to make this site as informative as possible. It will certainly help in broadening the horizons of knowledge of the visitors. We also apologize for the mistakes which are not deliberately committed. Both suggestions and criticisms to enhance the quality of this site are sincerely welcomed. Use our Contact Us form to submit both your suggestions and criticisms.

This is a new section which will attempt to throw some light on the more Difficult Words in the English language. If you have a suggestion for a word we should feature in this Difficult Words section then please send it using The Contact Us form. It doesn't matter whether learners or native speakers of English might find it difficult!

Go to The Difficult Words Index

Letter of Invitation| Letter of Condolence| Business Letters

Synonyms and Antonyms

Vocabulary| English Teacher| Etymology| Longest Word | Letter Writing

Proverbs| Misspelled Words| Contractions

From Culinary to HOME PAGE