Difficult Words : Euphemism, Ethereal, Evanescent, Exacerbate, Exacting and Exalt

Difficult Words: Euphemism, Ethereal, Evanescent, Exacerbate, Exacting and Exalt

Ethereal (I THIR ee ul) adj: heavenly, as light and insubstantial as a gas or ether

The ethereal music we heard turned out to be not angels, plucking on their harps but the wind blowing past our satellite-television antenna.

The ethereal mist on the hillside was delicate and beautiful.

Euphemism (YOO fuh miz um) n: a pleasant or inoffensive expression used in place of an unpleasant or offensive one

Aunt Gladys, who couldn't bring herself to say the word death, said that Uncle George had taken the big bus uptown. Taking the big bus uptown was her euphemism for dying.

The sex-education instructor wasn't very effective. She was so embarrassed by the subject that she could only bring herself to speak euphemistically about it.

Evanescent (EV uh NES unt) adj: fleeting, vanishing, happening for only the briefest period.

Meteors are evanescent. They last so briefly that it is hard to tell whether one has actually appeared.

Exacerbate (ek ZAS ur bate) v: to make worse

Dipping Austin in lye exacerbated his skin condition.

The window's grief was exacerbated by the minister's momentary inability to remember her dead husband's name.

The fender-bender was exacerbated when a line of twenty- five cars plowed into the back of Margaret's car.

Exacting (ig ZAK ting) adj: extremely demanding, difficult, requiring great skill or care

The exacting math teacher subtracted points for even the most unimportant errors.

Weaving cloth out of guinea-pig hair is an exacting occupation, because guinea pigs are small and their hair is short.

The surgeon's exacting task was to reconnect the patient's severed eye-lashes.

Exalt (ig ZAWLT) v: to raise high, to glorify

The manager decided to exalt the lowly batboy by asking him to pitch in the opening game of the World Series.

The adjective exalted is used frequently.

Being Queen of England is an exalted occupation.

Larry felt exalted when he woke up to discover that his great-uncle had left him a hundred million dollars.

Cleaning out a septic tank is not an exalted task.

Be careful not to confuse this word with exult.

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