Up until about a year ago, I'd always thought of myself as fairly well read, fairly erudite, and as having a fairly large vocabulary. I mean, I did read the dictionary and all (yes, just like Olive in ...Spelling Bee). My illusions were all shattered, however, when I started grad school. Every day I was coming across more and more words that I just didn't know, and couldn't work out from their context alone. Thus was born the Grad School Vocab Project.
The first word, which is my new favorite word, was quotidian. As in, "Some folklorists suggested using Quotidian Studies as the name for the discipline, because clearly, that's easier to explain than Folklore Studies." (Those silly folklorists!) When I got home, I ran to my computer and looked up quotidian. I had to look it up at least three more times, and devise sneaky ways of using it in casual conversation, before I could finally remember what it meant!
Quotidian: Daily or recurring daily. Usual or customary; everyday. Ordinary; commonplace.
Since then, I've been compiling a list of words from reading and discussion that seemed important to know in grad school. It's a work in progress, to be sure, but you can find it all here. I'll keep updating here, too.
Let me know if there are any words you like or feel should be included!