Difficult Words: Egocentric, Egalitarian, Egregious, Elicit, Elliptical and Elusive

Difficult Words: Egocentric, Egalitarian, Egregious, Elicit, Elliptical and Elusive

Egalitarian (I GAL I TAIR ee un) adj: believing in the social and economic equality of all people.

People often lose interest in egalitarian measures when such measures interfere with their own interests.

Egalitarian can also be used as a noun to characterize a person. An egalitarian advocates egalitarianism.


Egocentric (EE goh SEN trik) adj: selfish; believing that one is the centre of everything

Lou was so egocentric that he could never give anyone else credit for doing anything.

Egocentric Bill never read the newspaper unless there was something in it about him.

It never occurred to the egocentric musician that his audiences might like to hear someone else's songs every once in a while.

An egoist is an egocentric Person. He believes the entire universe exists for his benefit.

An egotist is another type of egocentric. An egotist is one who tells everyone how wonderful he is.


Egregious (I GREE Jus) adj extremely bad; flagrant

Save his word for things that are worse than bad.

The mother's egregious neglect was responsible for her child's accidental cross-country ride on the freight train.

Stephen's manners were egregious; he ate his mashed potatoes with his fingers and slurped the peas right off his plate.


Elicit (i LIS it) v: to bring out; to call forth

The interviewer skillfully elicited our true feelings by asking questions that got to the heart of the matter.

The defendant tried to elicit the sympathy of the jury by appearing at the trial in a wheelchair, but the jury convicted him anyway.

Don't confuse this word with illicit.


Elliptical (I LIP ti kul) adj: oval; missing a word or words; obscure

This word has several meanings. Consult a dictionary if you are uncertain.

The orbit of the earth is not perfectly round, it is elliptical.

An egg may have an elliptical shape.

An elliptical statement is one that is hard or impossible to understand, either because something is missing from it or because the speaker or writer is trying to be hard to understand.

The announcement from the State Department was purposely elliptical. The government didn't really want reporters to know what was going on.


Elusive (I LOO siv) adj: hard to pin down; evasive

To be elusive is to elude, which means to avoid, evade or escape.

The answer to the problem was elusive. Every time the mathematician thought he was close, he discovered another error. (Or, one could say that the answer to the problem eluded the mathematician)

The elusive criminal was next to impossible for the police to catch. (The criminal eluded the Police)

The team played hard, but victory was elusive and they suffered another defeat. (Victory eluded the hard-playing team.)

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