Words That Actually Make You Smart - Vocabulary List 01

These terms and words with their underlying meanings can enhance your vocabulary and understanding. What makes one smart is one's capability of understanding and explaining reality in better terms and these lessons on vocabulary will help you to do so.

Important Note! You can check out the examples in the "Join the Conversation" section below! You can share your thoughts on these concepts and sentences using these words to help out others.

 1. Ad Hominem 

It is a logical fallacy where instead of providing a counter-argument one begins to attack the opponent. 

This usually happens out of desperation when one has run out of arguments and logical ground for one's opinion then attacking the opponent is seen as an escape strategy. 

2. Ethnocentrism/Ethnocentric

Judging other cultures and customs according to preconceptions and parameters of one's own cultures and values. This also includes judging other religions or codes of ethics by perspectives and parameters of one's own belief systems. 

Why is it wrong? 

Because cultures, religions, and ethics are diverse and relative, that is, they keep changing through time and space, one school of thought considers one thing a virtue, and simultaneously another school of thought considers the same thing evil. Suppose in person A's culture or religion, the relation of the cousin is taken as sister thus cousin-marriage constituting incest while person B's religion, culture, or ethics allow cousin-marriage then person A should judge person B, not by parameters of his own belief system which would condemn the act.  Ethnocentrism creates intolerance and hatred toward others.

3. Excorporation

It is the process through which products of mass culture are modified or rebuilt to fit one's own culture. Sociologist John Fiske popularised the excorporation idea to explain the continual conflict in popular culture between the dominant and subordinate groups.

4. Habitus

Habitus is a term used in sociology to refer to socially entrenched behaviours. It relates to how people interpret and respond to the social environment around them. People with comparable origins (such as socioeconomic class, religion, nationality, ethnicity, education, and career) and opportunities typically have these tendencies. The habit therefore symbolises how group culture and individual history mould the body and mind, which in turn moulds a person's present-day social interactions. 

According to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, the habitus is made up of both the hexis (the propensity to hold and use one's body in a particular way, such as posture and accent) and more abstract mental habits, such as schemes of perception, classification, appreciation, feeling, as well as action.

5. Imperial boomerang

The imperial boomerang, often known as Foucault's boomerang, is the idea that governments which create oppressive methods to keep colonial regions under control would ultimately use those same methods domestically against their own people. In order to explain the roots of European fascism in the first half of the 20th century, the idea was advocated by Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism and Aimé Césaire in Discourse on Colonialism.

6. Institutional Racism

It is a type of racism that is institutionalised in the rules and laws of a group or culture. Discrimination appears as a result of it in a variety of contexts, including the criminal justice system, the workplace, housing, medical treatment, and political representation. Stokely Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton initially used the phrase "institutional racism" in their 1967 book Black Power: The Politics of Liberation.

7. Marginal Man 

The term "marginal man," also known as the "marginal man hypothesis," was initially used by sociologists Robert Ezra Park (1864–1944) and Everett Stonequist (1901–1979) to describe how a person caught between two cultural realities could find it difficult to establish their identities.

8.  Mudsill Theory

It is the idea that the higher classes and the rest of society must and always have relied on a lower class or underclass. The lowest threshold that holds up a building's foundation is called a mudsill, from where the phrase derives. The theory was first articulated by James Hammond.

9. Normalisation

The term "normalisation" describes social processes that lead to ideas and behaviours becoming accepted as "normal" and seeming "natural" in daily life. Humans consider a variety of behavioural attitudes as natural, including mourning a loved one and avoiding danger.

10. Principle of Least Interest

The sociologist Willard Waller coined the phrase in his 1938 book The Family: A Dynamic Interpretation. According to the sociological principle of least interest, the party or group that has the least interest in maintaining a relationship has the greatest influence over it. It indicates which party the balance of power tilts toward in the context of relationship dynamics. The rule is applicable to all relationships involving many parties, including those in the personal, professional, and other spheres.


  1. He knew he had lost the debate and therefore he indulged in ad hominem attacks.

    His novel is criticised for ethnocentric bias.
  2. Enlightening sharing as usual, Sir!
    1. Thank you sir. 😊
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