Top Ten Vocabulary Words of 2020

Wooden scrabble blocks in a pile

For those of you that follow us on our social media channels, you will know that every Wednesday on our Instagram, we post a new vocabulary word.

Kicking off 2021, we decided to take a look back at ten of our favourite and most relevant Instagram vocabulary posts of 2020. Have you heard these words before? Read on to find out!

At the end, there’ll be a quiz to test your knowledge. You can post your answers in the comments section, send us a message using the chat box, or email us!


(adjective) slow, sluggish

“Due to the virus, it was a rather desultory summer for many.”

“Unfortunately, it’s been quite a boring and desultory day.”


(noun) a sudden revelation

“I had a lot of time to think, and I had an epiphany about what I really want to do with my life.”

“The heroine of the story has an epiphany at the end of the movie.”


(noun) a spark or very small thing

“The news brought a scintilla of hope for a brighter future.”

“There was not a scintilla of doubt in his mind.”


(adjective) desiring and seeking change in your life, behaviour, or a certain situation

“Entering this new year, I feel novaturient.”

“We’ve been through a lot. It’s no wonder we feel so novaturient.”


(noun) a character flaw that causes the downfall of a hero of a tragedy

“I am enjoying developing my character for the Novel Writing Course. I need to figure out his hamartia, though.”


(noun) a lover of words

“I am a total logophile. I’m such a word nerd.”

“The logophiles joined together at the library to listen to the reading.”


(adjective) dark, serious

“The mood in the room was very sombre after watching the news.”

“The Prime Minister made another sombre address to the nation.”


(noun) an exciting adventure

“I am reminiscing about those great escapades we had.”

“I hope that some day soon we’ll be able to have more intrepid escapades.”


(noun) a good potion

“He drank the elixir and felt revived.”

“She handed over a small vial of elixir.”


(verb) to undo or come apart

“The organisation was terrible. Things started to unravel quickly.”

“My jumper got caught on a nail, and it began to unravel.”

“Maths, Science, History, unravelling the mystery that all started with the Big Bang!”


Select the correct word to complete the sentences.

1. That book was life-changing! I had a/an _____ and realised I needed to make some big changes.

A) Novaturient

B) Scintilla

C) Epiphany

2. Amanda Gorman’s reading at the inauguration was a glimmer of hope for the future. It felt like drinking an _____ for the soul.

A) Escapade

B) Elixir

C) Epiphany

3. The mood in the room was very _____ after the announcement that there had been a break-in last night.

A) Sombre

B) Novaturient

C) Desultory

4. He has been a _____ ever since he was a child.

A) Logophile

B) Hamartia

C) Novaturient

5. We have many more _____ to look forward to in the future.

A) Elixirs

B) Escapades

C) Unravels

If you aren’t already, make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for more new vocabulary and lots more fun content, such as quizzes, cheat sheets, and sneak peeks at new episodes of the Intrepid English Podcast, plus upcoming videos on our YouTube channel.

Bonus! Are you an Intrepid English Learner? Be the first student to post five sentences using five of these vocabulary words in the Intrepid English community. If they are all correct, you can earn yourself a whopping fifty points to put towards more Intrepid English lessons!

Book a free trial lesson today to discuss this topic in more detail, and talk about your English learning goals with an experienced and friendly native English teacher.

This blog was written by Intrepid English Teacher Kate.

You can find out more about me on my Intrepid English profile page.

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can comment below, use the chat box, or email us at Intrepid English. Talk about your learning goals with an experienced native English teacher. Say goodbye to boring English lessons; book a FREE trial lesson today!

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Richard. That’s great! I hope that you will be able to use them in your conversations going forward! 😀