Difficult Words : Epitome, Epigram, Equanimity, Equitable, Equivocal and Erudite

Difficult Words: Epitome, Epigram, Equanimity, Equitable, Equivocal and Erudite

Epigram (EP uh GRAM) n: a brief and usually witty or satirical saying

People often find it difficult to remember the difference between an epigram and an epigraph.

Epigraph: an apt quotation placed at the beginning of a book or essay

Epitaph: a commemorative inscription on a grave

Epithet: a term used to characterize the nature of something, or a disparaging term used to describe a person.

An epigram is epigrammatic.


Epitome (i PIT uh mee) n: a brief summary that captures the meaning of the whole; the perfect example of something; a paradigm

The first paragraph of the new novel is an epitome of the entire book. You could read it and understand what the author was trying to get across. It epitomized the entire work.

Luke's freshman year was an epitome of the college experience. He made friends, missed classes, fell in love, and flunked out.

Eating corn dogs and drinking root beer is the epitome of the good life, as far as Wilson is concerned.


Equanimity (EE kwuh NIM I tee) n: composure; calm

The entire apartment building was crumbling, but Rachel faced the disaster with equanimity. She ducked out of the way of a falling beam and made herself a chocolate sundae.

The mother of twelve boys viewed the mud ball fight with equanimity; at least they weren't shooting bullets at one another.


Equitable (EK wi tuh bul) adj: fair

King Solomon's decision was certainly equitable; each mother would receive half the child.

The pirates distributed the loot equitably among themselves, so that each pirate received the same share as every other pirate.

The divorce settlement was quite equitable. Sheila got the right half of the house and Tom got the left half.

Equity is fairness; inequity is unfairness. Iniquity and inequity both mean unfair, but iniquity implies wickedness as well. By the way, equity has a meaning in business.


Equivocal (I KWIV uh Kul) adj: ambiguous; intentionally confusing capable of being interpreted in more than one way.

Ambiguous means unclear. To be equivocal is to be intentionally ambiguous. Joe’s response was equivocal. We couldn't tell whether he meant yes or no, which is precisely what Joe wanted.

The doctor's equivocal diagnosis made us think that he had no ideas what Mrs. Johnson had.

To be equivocal is to equivocate. To equivocate is to mislead by saying confusing or ambiguous things. When we asked Harry whether that was his car that was parked in the middle of the hardware store, he equivocated and asked, In which aisle?


Erudite (ER yoo DITE) adj scholarly; deeply learned

The professor said things so erudite that none of us had the slightest idea of what he was saying.

The erudite biologist was viewed by many of his colleagues as a likely winner of the Nobel Prize.

To be erudite is to possess erudition or extensive knowledge. Mr. Jones's vast library was an indication of his erudition.

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