I started drawing vocabulary words…

because I knew that even if the end result was a flaming heap of trash, at least I'd learn something. 

And thus sketch-cabulary was born.


A Luddite is someone who resists and distrusts new technology, or simply chooses not to use it. Like senior citizens scrawling checks at the grocery store. Or my vacationing mom who wears her paper-map fanny pack like a championship belt. Luddites are the reason you still see phonebooks on your doorstep and DVD players at BestBuy

Luddites excel in mental gymnastics to defend their Luddite ways, like people who shell out a small fortune on vinyl records for the “experience.” Yeah... The experience of spending exponentially more money, listening to a single album at a time, in a single room at a time, and pretending you can hear the difference in sound quality. But you’re an “old soul” right? Wrong. You’re a Luddite. Own that shit.

In A Sentence

"I think people are confusing the right to write with the right to be published. Anyone who wants bookstores to survive is portrayed as a Luddite who goes around smashing up Kindles."

-John Connolly


To croon is to sing softly, soothingly. Crooning can be seductive, sweet, creepy, haunting or terrifying depending on the context. You may hear crooning when mothers rock their babies to sleep, or juxtaposed over violent images in a horror-movie trailer, or once you settle into a relationship, you may notice your partner crooning less from their mouth and more from their tookus. Croon is one of those nice, descriptive verbs with few direct synonyms (always the mark of a great vocabulary word).

In A Sentence

“His voice had fallen into the outrageous croon that seemed the exclusive property of people who live alone, except for a pet or two.”

-Stephen King, The Dark Tower


Cerebral describes anything that forces you to think on a higher, more intellectual level. It's basically a synonym for "heady" that won't make you sound like someone who describes things as "heady." For example, when you try to kick back and throw an episode of WestWorld and you're all of the sudden thrust into the a philosophical discussion on human rights for robots and the ethics of artificial intelligence at large. Cerebral af.

In a Sentence

“An intellectual relationship isn’t real at all. My witty banter and cerebral discourse is always completely contrived. Right now, I have three and a half dates worth of material, all of which I pretend to deliver spontaneously.”

-Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs


To gesticulate is to talk with your hands, to gesture. An animated person can’t help but gesticulate. Their body adds color to every word that floats out of their mouth. Hard core gesticulators don't just talk, they perform.  While “gesticulation” may sound like a horrifying medical procedure, it’s actually a useful communication skill that comes naturally to Italians, good storytellers and hangry toddlers.

In a Sentence

"In the great open-air theater that is Rome, the characters talk with their hands as much as their mouths. On their cellphones or smoking cigarettes or even while downshifting their tiny cars through rush-hour traffic, they gesticulate with enviably elegant coordination."

- Gianni Cipriani, The New York Times


To espy (ess-pie) means to see, to notice, to catch a glimpse of, to spy something. You might espy distractingly-hard nipples on Val Kilmer's bat-suit. Or espy judgmental glares when your earbuds disconnect on the subway and everyone hears what you were listening to. Espy is a literary word you’re more likely to espy in a book, but that shouldn’t stop you from knowing it.

In a Sentence

“Crow’s Eye, you call me. Well, who has a keener eye than the crow? After every battle the crows come in their hundreds and their thousands to feast upon the fallen. A crow can espy death from afar. And I say that all of Westeros is dying. Those who follow me will feast until the end of their days.”

-Euron Greyjoy, A Feast For Crows (George R.R. Martin)


Excited, enthusiastic, eager. If you’re keen on something, you more than just like it. It gets your juices flowing. In 2017, many people were keen on trap music, crop tops and dancing hot dogs. Keen can also describe a sharp sense of perception. You can have keen intuition, keen eyesight or be keenly aware that Curb Your Enthusiasm is the single greatest achievement of our generation.

In a Sentence

“I’m not keen on writing which exhaustively describes the physical characteristics of the people in the story and what they’re wearing ... If I want to read descriptions of clothes, I can always get a J. Crew catalogue.”

- Stephen King, On Writing


Voracious  describes an other-worldly hunger. Whether it's for food, reading, Reddit, memes, sex- it doesn’t matter. as long as you always want more. Often times you’ll see it paired with appetite, as in ‘Terrance has a voracious appetite for karate."

In a Sentence

“When the linen order arrives, the smart cooks fall onto it voraciously, stashing stacks of the valuable objects anywhere they can hide them.”

- Anthony Bourdain , Kitchen Confidential


An obsequious person is an ass kisser, plain and simple. Everybody has at least one obsequious coworker who rose through the ranks on someone's ballooning ego that they helped inflate. The obsequious suck up without shame or abandon, peppering others with compliments and fake laughs all for the pleasure of doing it again the next day.

Obsequiousness is most effective on the insecure, which explains why it’s practically an official requirement to work in the Trump Whitehouse. Ironically, nobody is more obsequious than Trump himself when it comes to Putin. Don’t be obsequious. It’s gross.

In a Sentence:

LARRY: Would Mrs. Cleaver talk that way to Eddy Haskell if he came upstairs to her bedroom?

SUSIE: Oh I think so. Mrs. Cleaver hated Eddy Haskell. Because Eddy Haskell was a kiss-ass, obsequious little shit.

-Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 9, Episode 7


LOUD NOISES!!! That’s what a cacophony is. Not just one aggressively loud sound, but several of them merging into a singular onslaught of noise. A pack of ankle-biting dogs, a chorus of crying babies, a 12-person CNN panel. These are cacophonies.

In a Sentence

"He can see the rolling gong. He opens up on it. The vicious cacophony of machine gun fire is joined by bullets hitting the gong and ricocheting away. Very, very noisy.”

- George Lucas, Raiders of the Lost Ark screenplay

lionize final.jpg

Just as lions rule the ground they walk upon, so do people we lionize. Oprah, Tom Brady, Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson --all lionized. They can seemingly do no wrong, but deep down they’re flawed human beings like anyone else. Except for The Rock. Dude is literally a lion.

In a Sentence

Andy Greenwald: Soundcloud rap has really passed me by...I wouldn’t say these rappers have bars, but that’s not a priority anymore.

Chris Ryan: Well you and I were just lionizing 50-cent as the future. And Lloyd Banks.

- “The Watch” podcast, episode 185


A Svengali is a master manipulator. A con-man's con-man. They weaponize their charm to turn intelligent people into flesh-and-blood puppets. If someone has a sense that they’re being controlled, it's not the work of a true Svengali. Some Svengalis you may know are Rasputin, Machiavelli and Littlefinger.

In a Sentence

Charlie Rose: This Saturday Night Live image…It basically shows you as some Svengali.

Steve Bannon: Actually the grim reaper.

Charlie Rose: The grim reaper, correct.

- 60 Minutes


Illusory describes anything based on illusion. If something appears one way but is actually another, then it’s illusory. It ain’t real pohdna. Illusory usually carries a negative connotation. Like when you need help moving to a new apartment, only to discover that all of your friendships are illusory. You thought they existed, but they don’t.

In a Sentence

“There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.”

-Patrick Bateman,  American Psycho 

Mea Culpa Fina;.jpg

A mea culpa is a public apology. Unlike one of those “sorry if I offended you” apologies, when someone clearly takes responsibility for being an all-around shit person, they’ve delivered a mea culpa. Alternatively, mea culpa can also be used as a half-hearted expression. If you feel the need to apologize but can’t muster the words, try blurting out “mea culpa.” Results may vary.

In a Sentence

“While a mostly thorough mea culpa, the statement does stand in stark contrast to Louis C.K.'s statements and behavior before the Times' exposé reached the public.”

- Gabriel Bell,  Salon Magazine


Firebrands are abrasive people who see the world a certain way and aren’t afraid to power-bomb your feelings to make their vision a reality. They don't just stir the pot, they crank the stove until it boils over into a raging grease fire. They're not inherently good or bad, but they are successful in getting our collective attention. Some notable firebrands were Steve Jobs, Christopher Hitchens and Muhammed Ali. 

In a Sentence

“Stop calling Roy Moore a ‘firebrand.’ That sounds cool. He's a racist maniac who said 9/11 was God punishing us for being too secular.”

@KenTremendous , Twitter


If a situation is interminable, there's no end in sight. It’s as if time has slowed to a crawl and you’d rather claw your eyes out than keep staring at the clock. You might use ‘interminable’ to describe a conference call from hell, an Amazon package forever stuck in transit, or basically any jam band. If a situation refuses to ‘terminate,’ then it is interminable.  

In a Sentence

“In a 2011 episode of Black Mirror, life in an energy-scarce future has been reduced to an interminable spin class.”

-Jill Lepore, The New Yorker


Glib describes someone who speaks in a slick, smooth way but is being rather dickish given the context. A glib remark is both witty and tone-deaf, making light of a serious or sensitive situation with a patronizing one liner. If you’re on a date and describe your ex as "the one that would never get away," reign it in son. You're being glib.

In a Sentence

Tom: We disagree on how awful it was. Why don't you come with me and we can disagree and get a tan at the same time?

Jane: Jesus, if you're glib about this I'm going to lose it.

- James Brooks, Broadcast News (movie)

Based off of this image, you might be able to glean what the definition of glean is. To glean means to piece together a conclusion using different context clues. It's a more concise way to say "figure out" and a less cliche way to say "connect the dots."   In a Sentence   “As you might have gleaned, Jumanji 2.0 does not keep the damn kids: Once they’re sucked into the game, they turn into their adult counterparts.”  - Claire McNear, The Ringer

Based off of this image, you might be able to glean what the definition of glean is. To glean means to piece together a conclusion using different context clues. It's a more concise way to say "figure out" and a less cliche way to say "connect the dots."

In a Sentence

“As you might have gleaned, Jumanji 2.0 does not keep the damn kids: Once they’re sucked into the game, they turn into their adult counterparts.”

- Claire McNear, The Ringer


To pontificate is to speak with such arrogance and hubris it’s as if you're the pope and your soap box stretches to the heavens. You simply cannot be wrong because your argument is infallible and everyone else is ignorant, naive and/or stupid.

In a Sentence

"This isn't a place to arrogantly pontificate. It's for seeking moral and ethical counsel. Be respectful of each other's opinions."

- "Am I Wrong" subreddit rules


Someone who’s precocious is highly skilled at a young age. Think of them as prodigy-light. Whether they’re speaking fluent Italian through a mouthful of braces or shredding guitar before their first pube, they're clearly advanced well beyond their years.

In a Sentence

“There are no heroes, super or otherwise. No precocious children. His comics are about not-so-lovable losers who aren’t so easy on the eyes.”

- Mike Sacks, Poking a Dead Frog