Vertigo is a dizzy sensation that you're whirling around (even though you're not).
Something vertiginous changes quickly and often in a dizzy way. It can also just mean dizzy and likely to fall over, making you feel dizzy, or whirling around.
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Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “vertiginous arguments.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "The arguments were vertiginous.”)
How to use it:
You can be rather literal and talk about a vertiginous feeling, a vertiginous fluttering in your stomach or heart, a vertiginous hike up a mountain, some vertiginous cliffs, and so on. For the "whirling around" meaning, you usually just talk about vertiginous movement or vertiginous motion.
But you can also be figurative and talk about a vertiginous story, narrative, discussion, or argument (one that zooms around in a dizzy way;) a vertiginous subject or prospect or idea (one that makes you feel dizzy when you think about it;) the vertiginous cost of something (one that seems so steep that it makes your mind whirl,) etc.
Something could send you into a vertiginous panic, give you vertiginous convulsions, or make your mind go all vertiginous.
You could also say that something follows a vertiginous path, route, or road: "My thoughts took a vertiginous route from one mistake to a dozen possible horrendous effects."
For the first few chapters at least, Richard Dawkins's Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science is delightfully vertiginous, skittering from topic to topic. A few pages in, Dawkins even warns us: "if you don't like digressive anecdotes you might find you're reading the wrong book."
Roller coasters are not my thing. Even looking at a moving escalator or watching someone scroll too fast on a screen gives me a vertiginous shudder.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "vertiginous" means when you can explain it without saying "feels like you're spinning" or "zipping around randomly."
Think of something that costs much, much more than it used to, and fill in the blanks: "Since (a certain point in time,) the price of _____ has taken a vertiginous hike."
Example: "Since my parents were in college, the price of tuition has taken a vertiginous hike."
Happier example: "Compared to just a few years ago, the price of gasoline has taken a vertiginous dive."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, challenge your powers of memory and recall (or just get ready to reign supreme on Wheel of Fortune) as we play with two-word phrases that you’ll find in a dictionary. We’ll start off with easy tasks and advance to harder ones as the month goes on. See the right answer to each question the following day. You might even see a new phrase that inspires your curiosity and makes you look it up. Have fun! (Note: Every dictionary recognizes a different set of two-word phrases. I used the OED to make these game questions.)
I’ll give you the first word of each phrase, along with plenty of letters in the second word. See how many of them you can think of.
Try this one today:
You’ll see the first word of each phrase, along with plenty of letters in the second word. See how many of them you can think of:
A Point Well Made:
Michel de Montaigne: “It lies in your will, not in the number of years, for you to have lived enough."
1. The opposite of VERTIGINOUS is
2. _____ vertiginously in my memory.
A. The deep lake glimmers
B. The broad mural shines
C. The swinging bridge looms
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's "vertiginous" helps you describe things that move so quickly that it makes you dizzy. If you needed to take that down a peg and talk about things that move vibrantly, in an animated, energizing way, you might pick "k____ic." Can you recall this word?
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