ADJ. false; misleading. Paradoxically, fallacious reasoning does not always yield erroneous results; even though your logic may be faulty, the answer you get may be correct.
N. mistaken idea based on flawed reasoning; invalid argument. The challenge that today's social scientists face is to use computers in ways that are most suited to them without falling into the fallacy that, by themselves, computers can guide and organize the study of human society.
ADJ. liable to err. Although I am fallible, I feel confident that I am right this time.
ADJ. plowed but not sowed; uncultivated. Farmers have learned that it is advisable to permit land to lie fallow every few years.
V. hesitate. When told to dive off the high board, she did not falter, but proceeded at once.
N. excessive zeal; extreme devotion to a belief or cause. When lslamic fundamentalists demanded the death of Salman Rushdie because his novel questioned their faith, world opinion condemned them for their fanaticism. fanatic, ADJ. N.
ADJ. imagined; unreal. One of the carpal (wrist) bones, the navicular bone was given is name because of its fancied resemblance to a boat.
N. breeder or dealer of animals. The dog fancier exhibited her prize collie at the annual Kennel Club show.
N. notion; whom; inclination. Martin took a fancy to paint his toenails purple. Assuming he would outgrow such a fanciful notion, his parents ignored his fancy feet. also ADJ.
N. call by bugles or trumpets; showy display. The exposition was opened with a fanfare of trumpets and the firing of cannon.
N. broad comeby; mockery. Nothing went right; the entire interview degenerated into a farce farcical, ADJ.
ADJ. difficult to please; squeamish. Bobby was such a fastidious eater that he would eat a sandwich only if his mother first cut off every scrap of crust.
N. belief that events are determined by forces beyond one's control. With fatalism, he accepted the hardships that beset him. fatalistic, ADJ.
V. comprehend; investigate. I find his motives impossible to fathom; in fact, I'm totally clueless about what goes on in his mind.
ADJ. brainless; inane; foolish; yet smug. Attacking the notion that women should defer to men's supposedly superior intelligence, Germaine Greer wrote that she was sick of pretending that some fatuous male's self-important pronouncements were the objects of her undivided attention. Fatheads are by definition fatuous.
N. animals of a period or region. The scientist could visualize the fauna of the period by examining the skeletal remains and the fossils.
ADJ. trying to please by behaving obsequiously, flattering, or cringing. In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Collins is the archetypal fawning clergyman, wholly dependent for his living on the goodwill of his patron, Lady Catherine, whom he flatters shamelessly. Courtiers fawn upon princes; groupies fawn upon rock stars.
V. disconcert; dismay. No crisis could faze the resourceful hotel manager.
ADJ. practical. Is it feasible to build a new stadium for the Yankees on New York's West Side? Without additional funding, the project is clearly unrealistic.
ADJ. feverish. In his febrile condition, he was subject of nightmares and hallucinations.
ADJ. feeble and ineffective; careless and irresponsible. Richard ll proved such a feckless ruler that Bolingbroke easily convinced Parliament to elect him king in Richard's place. The film the Perfect Circle tells the tale of a feckless poet who, unwillingly saddled with two war orphans; discovers a sense of responsibility and community that had eluded him in his own previous family life.
N. fertility; fruitfulness. The fecundity of her mind is illustrated by the many vivid images in her poems. rabbits are noted for their fecundity; in the absence of natural predators, they multiply, will, like rabbits, as the Australians learned to their dismay.
V. pretend. Lady Macbeth feigned illness in the courtyard although she was actually healthy.
ADJ. trick; shift; sham blow. The boxer was fooled by his opponent's feint and dropped his guard. also V.
ADJ. apt; suitably expressed; well chosen. He was famous for his felicitous remarks and was called upon to serve as master-of-ceremonies at many a banquet.
N. happiness; appropriateness (of a remark, choice, etc.). She wrote a note to the newlyweds wishing them great felicity in their wedded life.
ADJ. cruel; deadly. The newspapers told of the tragic spread of the fell disease.
V. cut or knock down; bring down (with a missile). Crying "Timber!" Paul Bunyan felled the mighty redwood tree. Robin Hood loosed his arrow and felled the king's deer.
N. person convicted of a grave crime. A convicted felon loses the right to vote.
ADJ. not domestic; wild. Abandoned by their owners, dogs may revert to their feral state, roaming the woods in packs.
N. agitation; commotion. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, much of Eastern Europe was in a state of ferment. also V.
V. drive or hunt out of hiding. She ferreted out their secret.
ADJ. ardent; hot. She felt that the fervent praise was excessive and somewhat undeserved.
ADJ. ardent. Her fervid enthusiasm inspired all of us to undertake the dangerous mission.
N. glowing ardor; intensity of feeling. At the protest rally. the students cheered the strikes and booed the dean with equal fervor.
V. rankle; produce irritation or resentment. Joe's insult festered in Anne's mind for days, and made her too angry to speak to him.
ADJ. joyous; celebratory. Their wedding in the park was a festive4 occasion.
V. honor at a festival. The returning hero was feted at a community supper and dance. also N.
ADJ. malodorous; foul-smelling. When a polecat is alarmed, the scent gland under its tail emits a fetid secretion used for territorial marking. Stinky! Does feta cheese smell fetid to you?
V. shackle. The prisoner was fettered to the wall.
N. total failure. Our ambitious venture ended in a fiasco and we were forced to flee.
N. command; authorization. Although the bill abolishing the allowances and privileges of the former princes was rejected by the upper house, it was put into effect by presidential fiat.
ADJ. changeable; faithless. As soon as Romeo saw Juliet, he forgot all about his crush on Rosaline. Was Romeo fickle?
ADJ. imaginary. Although this book purports to be a biography of George Washington, many of the incidents are fictitious.
N. loyalty. Iago wickedly manipulates. Othello, arousing his jealousy and causing him to question his wife's fidelity.
N. invention; imaginary thing. Was he hearing real voices in the night, or were they just a figment of his imagination?
ADJ. not literal, but metaphorical; using a figure of speech. "To lose one's marbles" is a figurative expression; if you're told Jack has lost his marbles, no one expects you to rush out to buy him a replacement set.
N. small ornamental statuette. In The Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade was hired to trace the missing figurine of a black bird.
V. steal. The boys filched apples from the fruit stand.
ADJ. pertaining to a son or daughter. Many children forget their filial obligations and disregard the wishes of their parents.
V. block legislation by making long speeches. Even though we disapproved of Senator Foghorn's political goals, we were impressed by his ability to filibuster endlessly to keep an issue from coming to a vote.
N. delicate, lacelike metalwork. The pendant with gold filigree that she wore round her neck trembled with each breath she took.
N. particle removed by a file. As the prisoner filed away at the iron bar on the cell window, a small heap of filings accumulated on the window sill.
N. conclusion. It is not until we reach the finale of this play that we can understand the author's massage.
N. delicate skill. The finesse and adroitness with which the surgeon wielded her scalpel impressed the observers in the operating theater.
ADJ. too particular; fussy. The little girl was finicky about her food, leaving anything that wasn't to her taste.
ADJ. limited. It is difficult for humanity with its finite existence to grasp the infinite.
N. hothead; troublemaker. The police tried to keep track to all the local firebrands when the president came to town.
N. crevice. The mountain climbers secured footholds in tiny fissures in the rock.
ADJ. spasmodic; intermittent. After several fitful attempts, he decided to postpone the start of the project until he felt more energetic.
ADJ. flabby. His sedentary life had left him with flaccid muscles.
V. droop; grow feeble. When the opposing hockey team scored its third goal only minutes into the first period, the home team's spirits flagged. flagging, ADJ.
ADJ. conspicuously wicked; blatant; outrageous. The governor's appointment of his brother-in-law to the state Supreme Court was a flagrant violation of the state laws against nepotism (favoritism based on kinship).
V. thresh grain by hand; strike or slap; toss about, In medieval times, warriors flailed their foe with a metal ball attached to a handle.
N. talent. She has an uncanny flair for discovering new artists before the public has become aware of their existence.
ADJ. ornate. Modern architecture has discarded the flamboyant trimming on buildings and emphasizes simplicity of line.
V. display ostentatiously. Mae West saw nothing wrong with showing off her considerable physical charms, saying, "Honey, if you've got it, flaunt it!"
V. strip off skin; plunder; whip; attack with harsh criticism. The reviewer's stinging comments flayed the actress's sensitize spirit. How could she go on, after such a vicious attack?
V. spot. Pollack's coveralls, flecked with paint, bore witness to the sloppiness of the spatter school of art.
ADJ. inexperienced. The folk dance club set up an apprentice program to allow fledgling dance callers a chance to polish their skills. also N.
V. wool coat of a sheep. They shear sheep of their fleece, which they then comb into separate strands of wool.
V. rob; plunder. The tricksters fleeced him of his inheritance.
N. light stroke as with a whop. The horse needed no encouragement; only one flick of the whip was all the jockey had to apply to get the animal to run at top speed.
V. hesitate; shrink. She did not flinch in the face of danger but fought back bravely.