Alessandra Stanley Vocabulary Decoder, Vol. 1


You weren’t alone if you stumbled on a few fancy words in Alessandra Stanley’s piece about 30 Rock and Studio 60 today in the NY Times. And if you didn’t stumble, you probably are alone.

For our collective edification, here are the Webster’s Collegiate definitions of some of Alessandra’s more challenging words from the article:

LACUNA, as in “It’s the lacuna in Aaron Sorkin’s drama; for one thing, the fact that NBC has kept both shows on the schedule despite lackluster ratings…”

Webster’s: A blank space or a missing part; a small cavity.

TUMBREL, as in, “…were among the most vaunted shows of the fall season and did not meet expectations, yet both survived the midseason tumbrel.”

Webster’s: A farm tipcart; a vehicle carrying condemned persons.

DIKTATS, as in, “Viewers cannot be expected to take the diktats of a network’s departments and standards as seriously…”

Webster’s: A harsh settlement unilaterally imposed; decree.

Now go and try to work those into conversation whenever possible.

By Michael Malone