13 Hard Words We Learned From This Uber Investor's Letter

"This unholy alliance of perfidious greed devolving rapidly into the audacity of vituperative unparalleled predatory rapacity."

Shervin Pishevar is a technology investor who was an early backer of Uber. He also writes letters. Lately, he has been spilling ink on one topic in particular: an ongoing legal battle between the Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick and the venture capital firm Benchmark for control of the ride-hail behemoth.

Pishevar's latest missive, released on Wednesday, surpasses all his others in style and diction. There's a rich tradition of investors firing off pointed dispatches, though most practitioners of the form work for Wall Street hedge funds. Pishevar, with Benchmark as his subject, manages to infuse the genre not only with venom but also with some particularly obstreperous difficult hard words and phrases.

Here's Pishevar:

@EricNewcomer / Twitter / Via Twitter: @EricNewcomer

Let's take a look at what we've learned. All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online.

1. "We find ourselves swimming in the crucible of one of the grandest business and moral battles of our generation..."


2: a severe test

3: a place or situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development

2. "...and find strength in each stroke of our proverbial digital pens, that we wrote with the indelible, eternal and permanent ink of righteousness."


1 a: that cannot be removed, washed away, or erased; b: making marks that cannot easily be removed

2 a: lasting; b: unforgettable, memorable

3. "We write with the souls of thousands of lives saved, the lives of millions of jobs created liberating multitudes of drivers from the shackles of servitude to iniquitous taxi cartels..."

Iniquitous, or characterized by iniquity:

1: gross injustice

2: a wicked act or thing

4. "...of corrupt cabals that choked cities with their pollution of air and morals."


1: the contrived schemes of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government); also: a group engaged in such schemes

5. "Their allegiance was met by this unholy alliance of perfidious..."

Perfidious, or characterized by perfidy:

1: the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal

6. "...greed devolving rapidly into the audacity of vituperative..."


uttering or given to censure : containing or characterized by verbal abuse

7. "...unparalleled predatory rapacity."

Rapacity, or the quality of being rapacious:

1: excessively grasping or covetous

2: living on prey

8. "Let us strike tomorrow with the full and fulsome courage of our convictions."


1 a: characterized by abundance; b: generous in amount, extent, or spirit; c: being full and well developed

2: aesthetically, morally, or generally offensive

3: exceeding the bounds of good taste

4: excessively complimentary or flattering

9. "Let our just cause give pause to those who would ever dream of ever emulating the shameful shenanigans of these sanctimonious hypocrites..."


1: hypocritically pious or devout

10. "...who fling filings and letters de haut en bas."

De haut en bas (French):

: of superiority : of or with condescension

11. "It is we who have the higher moral ground and our letters and filing will hail down upon their platforms, exposing them as bitterly barren barons..."


1: not reproducing: such as a: incapable of producing offspring — used especially of females or matings; b: not yet or not recently pregnant; c: of plants: habitually failing to fruit barren apple trees

2: not productive: such as a: producing little or no vegetation; b: producing inferior crops; c: unproductive of results or gain

12. "...of moral turpitude."


inherent baseness : depravity

13. "And as the summer sets, we let us be steward of truth who in unison proclaim: fiat justitia ruat caelum."

Fiat justitia ruat caelum (Latin):

let justice be done, though the heavens fall

Skip to footer