Today’s featured words are more than enough. If you have an excess of something, you have an extreme amount or a superabundance of that thing: He had an excess of energy, so he went for a 10-mile run. This is a noun use of the word, but excess is also used as an adjective to mean “extra”: to shed excess weight. The noun plethora refers to an overabundance of something: The student was bombarded with a plethora of information from the admissions office after inquiring about the college. The surfeit implied by plethora is not as extreme as excess (note the distinction between a superabundance and an overabundance), which is perhaps why plethora is increasingly used to refer to a very large amount of something in a neutral or even favorable way; however, this usage is frowned on by some stylists.
Both flair and panache can be used to refer to a quality of distinctive stylishness that makes something interesting or attractive. It’s common to say that someone does something (dresses or cooks, for example) with flair or with panache, or even with flair and panache. And we’re often told what ingredient or item will add flair or panache (or both) to a room, an outfit, or a dish. These nouns are interchangeable to a point, but their differences should not be ignored, as often happens. Panache is a manner of doing something with flamboyant confidence, vigor, and energy, as well as style or skill. Panache also has a wider range of application than flair—someone can play a sport, direct films, or lead an organization with panache.
Old-fashioned and antiquated both refer to something dating from the past. Old-fashioned usually applies to the appearance or manner of something, either disparaging it as being out of date (an old-fashioned hat) or approving it as being superior to the present day (good old-fashioned courtesy) or possessing charm (old-fashioned barber shop). Antiquated can be used to simply mean very old or from another age, as an antiquated building, but it most often connotes something too old to be useful, functional, or relevant, as antiquated systems and antiquated laws. Something antiquated is usually a problem because it doesn’t meet present-day needs. These days our devices are at risk of becoming antiquated technology in just a few years.