Words of the Day: Acclivity, Accolade

As a writer it’s important I have a large vocabulary, so I’ve decided to read through the dictionary. To keep me accountable, I will post my favorite words from each dictionary page. Definitions come from Webster’s New World Dictionary of American English, Third College Edition, 1988.

Acclivity [classical Latin< acclivitasacclivis, uphill < ad- up + clivus, hill <  Indo-European base klei-, to incline] An upward slope of ground.

This is not to be confused with proclivity, “a natural or habitual tendency or inclination, esp. toward something discreditable.” They do have the same base clivus, but in the latter case clivus refers more to a slippery slope one tends to go down.


The Accolade (1901) By Edmund Blair Leighton
The Accolade (1901)
By Edmund Blair Leighton


Accolade 1 an embrace formerly used in conferring knighthood 2 a touch on the shoulder with the flat side of a sword, now used in conferring knighthood 3 a) anything done or given as a sign of great respect, approval, appreciation, etc. b) [usually pl.] words of praise

I’m glad now days most accolades are given without the involvement of a sword.

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