These days, it’s pretty much ineluctable wherever you are in the country—rain. And bucket loads of it. Just last week, we had over three inches of rain in a 24-hour period. Freeways were flooded; ponds became lakes.
In honor of rain, and I say this begrudgingly for if it were up to me I’d have sunshine everyday, is this week’s vocab list.
Extremely wet…like drenched. There is also a less common definition of sodden—to be completely drunk—which probably wouldn’t come up on the GRE and has yet to seep into the teenage argot the way that wasted, trashed, and blitzed have. For all it’s worth, sodden would probably be a wrong answer choice on the GRE (it does kind of sound like ‘sudden’).
The other day I had a massive dishwasher catastrophe. I put the liquid into the wrong compartment (yes, I know—pretty moronic, as my wife has pointed out on numerous occasions). As a result, foam started oozing out of the sides and on to the ground, where it formed a puddle of suds. Arriving to the “scene of the crime”, about 20 minutes after the fact, I had to drop my bath towel on the ground to soak up the moisture. There was so much puddle, however, that after awhile the towel simply could not absorb any more liquid (I had to grab another towel).
This point, in which the towel could not contain any more water, is the point of saturation. Currently, the ground in California is so dry, a result of a three-year drought, that even after a few torrential downpours, the ground is anything but saturated.
Saturated can also describe anything that has reached its capacity and can hold no more. If a college major has become saturated, then too many people have signed up to study that field (I think economics and finance currently hold that distinction). Likewise, the job market can have certain sectors that are saturated (anyone need a realtor?). By the way, this entry is becoming pretty saturated with words.
So…as far as rain goes, this word means, more or less, that moisture is forming in the atmosphere. But the GRE isn’t going to bother with that definition. So remember the following: precipitate means to make something happen all of a sudden. Back in the late 2000’s, banks’ inability to collect money from homeowners (who themselves were broke and flat out walked out of homes they could no longer make monthly mortgage payments on) precipitated an economic crisis that we are only now coming out of.
A massive flood is a deluge. But this word typically pops up in a more figurative sense: a whole lot of something, to the point that is no longer desirable, is a deluge. Of late, there has been a deluge of get-rich-quick books, pop music idols, and congressional conflict. Wait a second, there’s always a deluge of those things.
Since the precipitation lexicon has run dry, I’m thinking antithetical, and lateral. First off, the opposite of sodden, and all those other wet words, is arid. Sometimes, this word can take on a figurative meaning: dry, lacking interest. But to make sure things don’t become arid, my lateral thinking is at work in the next word…
Having a dry wit or dry mocking humor is to be wry. If I run out in the rain with my minimalist footwear, which are about as waterproof as my bath towel, a person would likely make fun of me.