Last week, I featured words of degree—abysmal, egregious, etc. Today, I am featuring words that have to do with sheer number. So if you are hoping to augment what you deem a paucity of vocabulary, and are aiming to know a plethora of words, then you’ve come to the right post.
Words of “Little”
Paucity means little of something. Such as whenever you must need a public restroom there seems to be a paucity of them. Whenever you are about to run out of gasoline (petrol, for the folks abroad), there is a paucity of gas stations. And if there is a city which has little of what you need, then that would make it a pau-city (get it!).
This is by far the most difficult word on the list. I wouldn’t quite label it obscure, but if it does rear its ugly head test-day, it will likely be on the most difficult of the verbal sections. Despite all that prefacing, exiguity means nothing more than scantiness, few in number. In that respect, it is a synonym for paucity.
Oh cute little iota, how apt that you refer to a tiny amount. Typically this word is used in the negative, using the following construction: not (even) an iota.
The nefarious criminal displayed not even an iota of remorse for his acts.
I care not an iota for your silly antics, intoned the curmudgeon.
Words of Plenty
I remember the days when I could count the local Starbucks in my area. Now that the chain has become ubiquitous, I can hardly count the number of branches even within a two-mile radius. Yes, there are a myriad of Starbucks. ‘Myriad’ does not connote something negative (regardless of how you view Starbucks). It simply means too many to count. As when you look up at a clear night sky (meaning you are far away from all those Starbucks), myriad stars shine in the sky.
In ancient times, a cornucopia was a goat’s horn stuffed with various goodies: flowers, grains, and whatever archaic treats were nearby. As the goat’s horn has gone somewhat out of fashion, ‘cornucopia’, in order to have some utility, means any large and lavish display of something.
The wedding crashers could hardly believe their good luck: they had happened upon a cornucopia of food that would make a gastronome envious.
Words of too much
This word can refer to an overindulgence of an appetite, but is more commonly used to mean an excessive amount.
From a surfeit of rich, oily foods, Chad gained 20 pounds during his first year in college.
When I think of this word, I think of gut, that pendulous belly that gets ever more pendulous the more one eats. So if you’ve had too much food that glut will reflect in your gut. Of course ‘glut’ can be used in many other contexts. Such as this vocabulary post sure has a glut of words.
A deluge is literally a flood. Used figuratively, deluge means too much of something. For instance, there is a deluge of emails in my inbox. The web is a veritable deluge of useless information (though also a cornucopia of useful information, depending on where you look). Notice how I substituted ‘cornucopia.’ ‘Deluge’, like the two words above, expresses only a negative connotation.