Difficult Words : Ideology, Iconoclast, Idiosyncrasy, Idyllic, Ignominy and Illicit

Difficult Words : Ideology, Iconoclast, Idiosyncrasy, Idyllic, Ignominy and Illicit

Iconoclast (iye KON uh KLAST) n: one who attacks popular beliefs or institutions

Iconoclast comes from Greek words meaning
image breaker. The original iconoclasts were opponents of the use of icons, or sacred images, in certain Christian churches. Today the word is used to refer to someone who attacks popular figures and ideas, a person to whom nothing is sacred.

The popular columnist was an inveterate iconoclast, avidly attacking public figures no matter what their party affiliation.

To study and go to class is to be an iconoclast on that campus, which has reputation for being the biggest party school in the country if not the world.

Herbert's iconoclastic views were not popular with the older members of the board.

Ideology (IYE dee OL uh JEE) n: a system of social or political ideas

Conservatism and liberalism are competing ideologies.

The candidate never managed to communicate his ideology to the voters, so few people were able to grasp what he stood for.

The senator's tax proposal had more to do with ideology than with common sense. His plan, though consistent with his principles, was clearly impractical.

A dogmatic person attached to an ideology is an ideologue. An ideologue is doctrinaire.

Idiosyncrasy (ID ee oh SINK ruh see) n: a peculiarity, an eccentricity

Eating green beans drenched in ketchup for breakfast was one of Jordana's idiosyncrasies.

The doctor's interest was aroused by an idiosyncrasy in Bill's skull: there seemed to be a coin slot in the back of his head.

A person who has an idiosyncrasy is said to be idiosyncratic. Tara's driving was somewhat idiosyncratic. She sometimes seemed to prefer the sidewalk to the street.

Idyllic (iye DIL ik) adj: charming in a rustic way, naturally peaceful

They built their house in an idyllic spot. There was a babbling brook in back and an unbroken view of wooded hills in front.

Our vacation in the country was idyllic. We went for long walks down winding dirt roads and didn’t see a newspaper all week.

An idyllic vacation or other experience could also be called an idyll.

Ignominy (IG nuh MIN ee) n: deep disgrace

After the big scandal, the formerly high-flying investment banker fell into a life of shame and ignominy.

The ignominy of losing the spelling bee was too much for Arnold, who decided to give up spelling altogether.

Something that is deeply disgraceful is ignominious. The massacre of the farm family was an ignominious act.

Illicit (i LIS it) adj: illegal, not permitted

Criminals engage in illicit activities.

Don't confuse this word with elicit. The police interviewed hundreds of witnesses, trying to elicit clues that might help them stop an illicit business.

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