|accolade|| n. an expression of praise|
The speeches at Sue's retirement dinner were filled with accolades for her achievements.
|acerbic|| adj. having a sour or bitter taste of character|
The child was so adorable that even the acerbic old man had to smile.
|acumen|| n. quick, keen, or accurate knowledge or insight|
Her business acumen led her to invest in new companies just before they launched successful products.
synonyms: shrewdness, perspicacity
|admonish|| v. to reprove; to express warning or disapproval|
Adam admonished his son for tracking mud into the house.
|adroit|| adj. adept; dexterous|
The adroit watchmaker carefully repaired my grandfather's shattered pocket watch.
|adulation|| n. excessive praise; intense adoration|
The young girl's adulation of the pop singer irritated her older brothers.
|adulterate|| v. to reduce purity by combining with inferior ingredients|
some people believe that cream and sugar adulterate coffee.
synonyms: taint; debase
|aberrant|| adj. deviating from the norm|
The child is usually well-mannered; sticking out her tongue was aberrant behavior.
synonyms: abnormal, deviant, anomalous (anomaly)
|abjure|| v. to renounce or reject solemnly|
I had no choice but to abjure my allegiance to the organization after the chairman appointed his under qualified friends to the board.
|aesthetic|| adj. dealing with, appreciative of, or responsive to art or beauty|
Elena enjoys the aesthetic qualities of great works of literature.
|abate|| v. to decrease; reduce|
NASA announced that it would delay the launch of the manned spacecraft until the radiation from the solar flares abated.
|abdicate|| v. to give up a position, right or power|
The appeals judge has abdicated his responsibility to review the findings of the higher court.
|abeyance|| n. temporary suppression or suspension|
A good judge must hold his/her judgment in abeyance until the facts have been presented.
|abject|| adj. miserable; pitiful|
John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath" portrays the abject poverty of many people during the Great Depression.
|abscission|| n. the act of cutting; natural separation of a leaf or or other part of a plant.|
Two scientists have hypothesized that premature leaf abscission is an adaptive plant response to herbivorous attack.
|abscond|| v. to depart secretly|
A warrant is out for the arrest of a person believed to have absconded with $3 million.
|abstemious|| adj. moderate in appetite|
Some research suggests that people with an abstemious lifestyle tend to live longer than people who indulge their appetites.
|abstinence|| n. the giving up of certain pleasures|
The monk's vow of abstinence includes all intoxicating substances.
|abysmal|| adj. very bad|
The abysmal failure of the free market system in Russia has lead to some people to argue that the planned economy of the Soviet Union, while not perfect, was better suited to Russia's history and culture than western-style capitalism.
|accretion||n. growth in size or increase in amount|
In the 1960's the American geophysicist Harry Hess conceived the idea of sea-floor spreading, a process in which the new crust in the ocean is continually generated by igneous processes at the crests of mid-oceanic ridges, causing a steady accretion of the crust.
|accrue||v. to accumulate; grow by additions|
Regulating the growth of large companies when they begin to become monopolistic is a difficult task for government in a capitalist country; if it limits monopolies too much, the nation's firms could become less competitive than the foreign companies that enjoy the advantages accruing from greater monopolies.
|adamant|| adj. uncompromising; unyielding|
Despite widespread opposition to his plan, the political party's leader is adamant that the party must move to the center to appeal to moderate voters.
|adjunct|| n. something added, attached, joined|
Speed walking, cross-country running and marathons are regarded as adjuncts of track and field athletics since races in these sports are not normally held on a track.
|affected|| adj. pretentious, phony|
It has been argued that the emphasis on so-called "proper English" leads to unnatural and affected speech.
|affinity|| n. fondness; liking; similarity|
The female students in the class felt an affinity for the ancient Greek playwright Euripides because he sympathized with women, slaves, and other despised members of his society.
|aggrandize|| v. to increase in intensity, power, or prestige|
The Romans aggrandized their influence through the use of military tactics.
Synonyms: strengthen, exalt
|alacrity|| n. eager and enthusiastic willingness|
The alacrity with which students headed for the door when the bell rang was a sure indication that the class was boring.
Synonyms: eagerness, enthusiasm, readiness
|alchemy|| n. a medieval science aimed at the transmutations of metals, especially base metals, into gold|
Although alchemy never produced its intended results, it led to advances in industries like metal refining and manufacturing.
|amalgamate|| v. to combine several elements into a whole|
The law allows two or more small companies to amalgamate into one large corporation.
|amenable|| adj. agreeable; responsive to suggestion|
Even investment banks, which traditionally resist restraints, are now amenable to some regulations.
|anachronistic|| adj. out of place in terms of historical or chronological context|
The movie, set in ancient Rome, was criticized for its use of exploding projectiles, wine glasses, and other anachronistic props.
|anathema|| n. a solemn or ecclesiastical (religious) curse; a cursed or thoroughly loathed person or thing|
When the soccer player's bribery scandal came to light, the signed jersey the fan once had treasured became anathema to him.
Synonyms: detested thing
|anomaly|| n. deviation from the normal order, form or rule; abnormality|
It was anomaly that I got a D on that quiz, because my grades are usually excellent.
Synonyms: abnormality, aberration, peculiarity
|antipathy|| n. dislike; aversion|
I know my antipathy toward lawyers isn't fair, but I can't help thinking the worst of everyone I meet.
|antithetical|| adj. diametrically opposed; as in antithesis|
She quit her position as press secretary when she realized that her views on civil rights were antithetical to the senator's.
|aggregate|| adj. amounting to a whole; total|
n. collective mass; sum
The aggregate wealth of a country includes private as well as public resources and possessions.
v. to collect into a mass
Portals are web sites designed to aggregate information
|allay|| v. to lessen, ease; sooth|
Improvements in the antivirus software have allayed many people's fears of having their computers infected with malicious software
|alleviate|| v. to relieve; improve partially|
|alloy|| n. a combination; a mixture of two or more metals|
Scientists formulate alloys to create properties that are not possessed by natural metals or other substances.
|allure||n. the power to entice by charm|
Political groups in the US often lobby Congress to use the allure of America's vast market as an incentive for countries to pursue politics in accordance with American policies.
v. meaning to entice by charm
The idea of a clockwork universe is very alluring to some people because it explains how the universe was created.
|ambiguous|| adj. unclear or doubtful in meaning|
The gender of the Mahayana Buddhist deity of Avalokitesuara, the god of infinite mercy, is ambiguous in both China and Japan, where the god is sometimes called a goddess.
|apocryphal|| adj. of dubious authenticity or origin; spurious|
The apocryphal story about the origins of the school mascot is clearly a legend.
|apogee|| n. farthest or highest point; culmination; zenith|
Winning the Pulitzer Prize was an affirmation that the journalist was at the apogee of her career.
|apostate|| n. one who abandons long-held religious or political convictions|
The senator was branded an apostate after he switched political parties midterm.
|apotheosis|| n. deification; supreme example|
With the face that launched a thousand ships, Helen of Troy was said to be the apotheosis of female beauty.
|apposite|| adj. appropriate; pertinent; relevant|
The lawyer argued that the witness' testimony was apposite to the case.
|apprise|| v. to give notice to; to inform|
Be sure to apprise the security officers that you will be visiting the site so they don't think you are a trespasser.
|approbation|| adj. an expression of approval or praise|
The civil rights leader's most recent speech to her supporters was received with great approbation.
Synonyms: admiration, esteem
|arabesque|| n. a complex, ornate design; also a dance position|
The highly valuable picture frame was covered with arabesques, including gold-leaf animals, plants, and fruits.
|arcane|| adj. mysterious; esoteric|
Arcane vocabulary words are a source of great frustration for many GRE test-takers. (argot)
|archaic|| adj. outdated; associated with an earlier, perhaps more primitive time|
In the current age of cell phones, many are treating landline telephones as archaic forms of technology
|artless|| adj. completely without guile; unsophisticated|
A few unscrupulous people took advantage of the artless owner of the antique shop.
|ascetic|| n. someone practicing self-denial|
The ascetic tried to convince others that there was virtue in the denial of worldly goods.
|aspersions|| v. an act of defamation or maligning|
The hot-headed candidate cast aspersions on his opponent's honesty.
|assay|| v. to put to a test|
Her ability to quickly assay a situation and find a solution is what makes her a great manager and troubleshooter.
|assiduous|| adj. diligent; hard-working|
The Internet has made research so easy that the gap between the assiduous student and the lackadaisical student is harder to discern.
|assuage|| v. to ease or lessen; to appease or pacify|
Shining a flashlight under the bed helped to assuage the child's fears of a monster lurking there.
Synonyms: alleviate, allay, soothe
|astringent|| adj. biting; severe|
After hearing the director's astringent criticism of his performance, the actor stormed out of the theater.
|atrophy|| v. to waste away or deteriorate|
Kate's leg has been in a cast for weeks, and her muscles are starting to atrophy from lack of use.
|attenuate|| v. to weaken or make thinner|
Economic hardships have attenuated the value of the dollar, making it much more expensive for Americans to travel in Europe.
|audacious|| adj. daring and fearless; recklessly bold|
The candidate made the audacious claim that his rival had mismanaged public funds.
Synonyms: impudent, foolhardy
|augury|| n. omen; portent|
The smooth test-run of the new software was a favorable augury of the product's success.
|auspices|| n. protection or support|
Since my project falls under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security, I no longer have to wait in airport lines.
|auspicious|| adj. favorable|
The cost of failure is too great; so we must wait for the most auspicious moment to strike.
|avarice|| n. greed, especially for wealth|
The investor's avarice led her to make risky moves to increase her already sizable fortune.
|aver|| v. to state as a fact; to confirm or support|
The court records show that the witness averred that she saw the defendant at the scene of the crime.
Synonyms: assert, affirm
|baleful|| adj. sinister; ominous|
The set director created a baleful scene of a dark, dirty alley on a rainy night.
|beleaguer|| v. to beset; to besiege (harass; trouble or threaten persistently)|
Within a week of starting the job, she was beleaguered by complaints from clients and employees about the company's bad service.
|belie|| v. to give a false impression of|
The lack of school funding belies the government's claim of making education reform a top priority.
|beatify|| v. to bless, make happy, or ascribe a virtue to|
Inductions into the Hall of Fame are ways to beatify the greatest players of the game.
|behemoth|| n. something enormous; a gigantic creature|
That huge shopping mall is a behemoth that ruins the charm of the historical waterfront.
|bellicose|| adj. belligerent; warlike|
The bellicose voices in the Senate grab the headlines, but fortunately the diplomatic voices are more likely to grab the votes
|bolster|| v. to provide support|
Bob convinced me he was right only after he bolstered his argument with facts and data.
|boisterous|| adj. loud; noisy; lacking restraint|
Children are boisterous by nature, but experienced teachers can calm an entire class down in a matter of seconds.
|bombast|| n. self-important or pompous writing or speech, using inflated language|
The CEO's toast at the launch party was quickly turning into a bombast.
|boor|| n. a rude or insensitive person|
Many people have called him a boor; his genius leaves him with little patience for social niceties.
|cachinnate|| n. to laugh loudly|
The mad scientist began to cachinnate after he thought of a brilliant plan to capture the hero.
|cabal|| n. a scheme or plot; a group of plotters|
The stock price of a healthy company is not likely to drop that dramatically unless a cabal of investors decides to sell the stock short.
|byzantine|| adj. labyrinthine; complex|
In our department, byzantine filing systems are a form of job security since we are the only ones who can find key documents.
|burnish|| v. to make smooth; to rub to a shine|
A few more big sales will burnish my reputation and position me well for my next salary review.
|burgeon|| v. to grow rapidly of flourish|
The researcher was pleased to discover that the wolf population burgeoned only two years after the area was turned into a reserve.
|asylum|| n. the place of refuge or shelter|
The stoic, accused of seeking asylum in the consolations of philosophy, rebutted this charge, saying that stoicism is is simply the most prudent and realistic philosophy to follow.
|atavism|| n. in biology, the reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence; individual or a part that exhibits atavism; return of a trait after a period of absence|
Some modern political theorists reject nationalism as a tribal atavism.
|austere|| adj. stern, unadorned|
Deism is an austere belief that reflects the predominant philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment: a universe symmetrical and governed by nationality.
|autonomous|| adj. self-governing; independent|
Some biologists have theorized that our belief in our ability as autonomous agents is in conformity with the theory of evolution because it gives us a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives that helps us to survive.
|avocation|| n. secondary occupation|
Dan became so proficient at his avocation - computer programming - that he is thinking of giving up his job as a teacher to do it full time.
|avuncular|| adj. like an uncle, benevolent, tolerant|
Walter Cronkite, who was the anchorman of CBS News during much of the 1970s and 1980s, had an avuncular manner that made him America's most trusted personalities.
|asperity||n. severity; harshness; irritability|
In his autobiography Gerald Trywhitt, the British writer, composer, artist, and aesthete, recounts a humorous incident: "Many years later, when I was sketching in Rome, a grim-looking Englishwoman came up to me and said with some asperity, "I see you are painting my view."
|artifacts|| n. item made by human cart|
Marxists contend that appreciation of art has declined because capitalism has trained people to perceive human artifacts as commodities, and has alienated people from nature, their true humanity, and their creations.
|argot|| n. a specialized vocab. used by a group|
Writers of crime fiction often use the argot and detectives to create a realistic atmosphere.
|arduous|| adj. extremely difficult; laborious|
The task of writing a research paper is arduous, but if it is broken down into logical steps, it becomes less daunting.
|ardor|| n. great emotion or passion|
The 20th century American poet Wallace Stevens said, "It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.
|archaeology|| n. the study of material evidence of past human life|
Carbon-14 dating is of great use in archaeology because it can determine the age of specimens as old as 35k years, but it is of less use in geology because most of the processes studied in the field occurred millions of years ago.
|apropos|| adj. relevant|
Apropos of nothing, the speaker declared that the purpose of life is to love.
|appropriate|| v. to take possession for one's own use; confiscate|
The invading army appropriated supplies from the houses of the local people.
|appellation|| n. name|
The discovery of the bones of a person with the appellation Kenewick Man in the state of Washington in 1996 has raised important questions about who the earliest people to populate America were.
|appease|| v. to calm; pacify; placate|
Many historians have criticized British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for trying to appease Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.
|apothegms|| n. a terse, witty saying|
One of the best known political apothegms was written by the British historian Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
|apathy|| n. indifference|
Apathy was high in the election because there was no major controversy or issue to arouse voter interest.
|antediluvian|| adj. prehistoric|
Most of our knowledge of antediluvian times has been built up as a result of one of humanity's grandest collaborative endeavors - the gathering, identification, dating, and categorization of fossils as they are discovered.
|antecedents||n. something that comes before|
Historical factors, such as the increased emphasis on the individual, the invention of printing, and the rise of the bourgeoisie, contributed to make the Reformation, which had its antecedents in the reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church, into a much broader phenomenon that created powerful churches that grew into the rival of the original Church.
|anomalous|| adj. irregular; deviating from the norm|
The psychologist discovered the anomalous behavior of the soldier, saying it was merely a short term effect of the stress of battle.
|anodyne|| n. something that calms/soothes pain|
Some people use alcohol as an anodyne to numb their emotional pain
adj. relaxing, capable of soothing pain
The PR officer is remarkably anodyne; all he does is mouth comforting, politically correct platitudes, saying nothing of substance.
|anarchy|| n. absence of government; state of disorder|
The American philosopher Robert Nozick does not advocate anarchy; rather, he argues for the merits of a minimal state that would not violate the rights of individuals.
|analogous|| adj. comparable|
The psychology researcher's experiment postulates that the brain is analogous to a digital computer.
n. a similarity in some ways between things that are otherwise dissimilar.
|analgesic|| n. medication that reduces or eliminates pain|
Aspirin is a powerful analgesic that was introduced in 1899 and is still one of the most effective medicines available to alleviate pain, fever, and inflammation.
|amulets|| n. ornament worn as a charm against evil spirits|
The early Christian Church forbade the use of amulets, which had become common in the Roman Empire at the time the Christian Church began to develop.
|amenities|| n. something that increases comfort|
Many amenities considered normal and necessary by people in developed countries, such as indoor plumbing, were luxuries only a few generations ago.
|ameliorate|| v. to improve|
Knowing they could not stop the spread of a contagion in a few days, health authorities worked to inhibit its spread and to ameliorate its effects by issuing warnings to the public and initiating immunization programs.
|ambrosia|| n. something delicious; the food of the gods|
The combination of flavors in the Moroccan baked eggplant was pure ambrosia.
|ambivalence|| n. the state of having conflicting emotional attitudes|
John felt some ambivalence about getting married before college
|cacophony|| n. harsh, jarring, discordant sound; dissonance|
Gerald can't sleep because of the cacophony of car alarms going off each night.
|cajole|| v. to inveigle; to coax through flattery|
The director had to cajole the vain actor into wearing the chicken suit.
|calumniate|| v. to slander|
Tight political races can become very dirty in their final days, with each candidate trying to calumniate the other.
|calumny|| n. slander|
Othello believed the calumny that his wife was cheating on him, setting in motion Shakespeare's tragedy.
|canon|| n. an established set of principles or code of laws, often religious in nature|
The priest encouraged the parishioners to adhere to the canons of the church.
|capricious|| adj. inclined to change one's mind impulsively or unpredictably; fickle|
At first the child wanted tacos, but now she wants banana pudding; she cannot help her capricious appetite.
Synonyms: whimsical, erratic, fickle
|captious|| adj. calculated to confuse or entrap in argument; faultfinding|
Watch out for captious questions during the cross-examination; the opposing counsel is a master at entrapping witnesses on the stand.
|castigate|| v. to severely criticize or punish|
The teacher castigated the student for arriving late to class.
|catalyst|| n. a substance that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction without itself changing; a person who causes change|
We hope the new ambassador will be a catalyst for reviving peace discussions.
Synonyms: accelerator, impetus
|caustic|| adj. burning or stinging, causing corrosion|
We were reminded to wear gloves when handling the caustic chemicals.
|axiomatic|| adj. taken for granted|
In the 19th century geology, uniformitarianism was the antithesis of catastrophism, asserting that it was axiomatic that natural law and processes do not fundamentally change, and that what we observe now is essentially the same as what occurred in the past.
|bacchanalian|| adj. pertaining to riotous or drunken festivity; pertaining to revelry|
For some people, New Year's Eve is an occasion for bacchanalian revelry.
|banal|| adj. commonplace, trite|
The writer has a gift for making even the most banal observation seem important and original.
|banter|| n. playful conversation|
The governor engaged in some banter with reporters before getting to the serious business of the news conference.
|bard|| n. poet|
The great bards of English literature have all been masters of the techniques of verse.
|bawdry|| adj. obscene|
Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is the story of a group of Christian pilgrims who entertain one another with stories, ranging from the holy to the bawdry, on their journey to Canterbury Cathedral.
|bedizen|| v. to dress in a vulgar, showy manner|
Paul went to the costume party bedizened as a 17th century aristocrat.
|beneficent|| adj. kindly; doing good|
The theologian discussed the question of why a beneficent and omnipotent God allows bad things happen to good people.
|bifurcate||v. to divide into two parts|
Contemporary physicists generally bifurcate their discipline into two parts - classical physics and modern physics; the former are the fields of study that were already well developed before the momentous breakthroughs of the early 20th century by scientists such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Werner Heisenberg which inaugurated the age of modern physics.
Bifurcation is the noun.
Some people regard the Hindu-Buddhist philosophy on animals as more in accordance with the modern scientific view than the traditional Western view, since it does not posit a radical bifurcation of man and nature.
|blandishment|| n. flattery|
Despite the salesperson's blandishments, Donna did not buy the car.
Blandish is the verb, meaning to coax with flattery.
|blasé|| adj. bored because of frequent indulgence; unconcerned|
We were amazed by John's blasé attitude toward school; he seems to have made it a rule never to open a book.
|bovine|| adj. cow-like|
Following the slow-moving group of students up the long path to the school's entrance, the word "bovine" popped into the English teacher's mind.
|brazen|| adj. bold; shameless|
The brazen student irritated his teacher by saying he could learn more from a day spent "surfing" the WWW than a day spent in school.
|broach|| v. to mention for the first time|
Steve's boss knew that she couldn't put off warning him about his poor performance and decided to broach the subject the next time she saw him.
|chicanery|| n. trickery; fraud|
Enron's financial chicanery included creating fake businesses in order to boost profit.
Synonyms: ruse, sham, deception
|chimera|| n. an illusion; originally, an imaginary fire-breathing monster.|
Your vision of running NYC entirely on solar power is a chimera.
|churlish|| adj. vulgar; difficult and intractable; rude|
As I am far from a morning person, my loud nieces are likely to find me churlish before 8 am.
|celerity|| n. speed|
The celerity with which she accepted the terms indicated that we had perhaps offered too much.
|censure|| v. to criticize severely; to officially rebuke|
When the senator was caught buying a boat with taxpayer dollars, many members of his party publicly censured him.
Synonyms: chastise, denounce, reprimand
|chary|| adj. wary, cautious, sparing|
Chuck was chary about lending money to his brother, who has always mismanaged his bank accounts.
|chasten|| v. to restrain or correct|
We all hoped that joining the army would chasten his wild behavior.
|chauvinist|| n. a blindly devoted patriot|
Giovanni is a chauvinist about his grandmother's cooking and complains constantly whenever he eats at an Italian restaurant.
|bucolic|| adj. characteristic of the countryside; rustic; pastoral|
The south end of Toronto's High Park is a bucolic expanse of land that is perfect for anyone wanting a quiet walk.
|buttress||v. to reinforce; support|
Some critics of the American legal system argue that requirement of proving guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" is too difficult a criterion to use, and buttress their case by citing the fact that objective studies suggest that only a very small number of criminals are successfully prosecuted.
|cadge|| v. to beg; sponge|
An enduring image of the Great Depression in America is the out-of-work man cadging money with the line, "Hey, mister, can you spare a dime for a cup of coffee?"
|canard|| n. false, deliberately misleading story|
Most politicians do not want to be associated with the old canard that big government in Washington can solve all of America's problems.
|cant|| n. insincere talk' language of a particular group|
Many f the beat artists of the 1950 reacted against what they regarded as the cant of the bourgeois society.
|cantankerous|| adj. irritable; ill-humored|
Many of us have in our mind the stereotype of the cantankerous old man who is constantly complaining about something or other.
|cardinal|| adj. of foremost importance|
The cardinal rule of any weight-loss diet must be limiting the intake of calories.
|carnal|| adj. of the flesh or body; related to physical appetites|
The yogi's goal is the achieve nirvana through, among other things, the overcoming of carnal desires.
|carping|| v. to find fault; complain|
Cost-benefit analysis owes much of its origin to utilitarian thought; despite the carping of critics that such analysis is based on faulty premises, the technique has proved useful in many areas.
|cartography|| n. science of making maps|
Satellites in Earth orbit take pictures of topography that have greatly aided cartography.
|caste|| n. any of the hereditary social classes of Hindu society; social stratification|
The dalits, formerly known as untouchables, are at the bottom of the thousands of castes that make up Indian society.
|cataclysm|| n. a violent upheaval that causes great destruction and change|
The French Revolution of 1789 was a cataclysm whose effects are still felt today.
|categorical|| adj. absolute; without exception|
Although incest is categorically forbidden by every state, recently evidence that marriage between cousins is no more likely to produce abnormal offspring than "normal" marriages may allow the constitutionality of bans on marriage between cousins to be challenged.
|caucus|| n. a smaller group within an organization|
The workers formed an informal caucus to discuss their difficulties.
|casual||adj. involving a cause|
The philosopher Plato believed there is a casual relationship between income inequality, on the one hand and political discontent and crime, on the other hand: in his Laws he quantified his argument, contending that the income of the rich should be more more than five times that of the poor, and he proposed policies to limit extremes of wealth and poverty.
|celestial|| adj. concerning the sky or heavens; sublime|
Astronomers make use of the Doppler effect to measure the velocities and distance from Earth of stars and other celestial objects.
|centrifugal|| adj. moving away from a center|
As the empire expanded, there was an ever-increasing centrifugal stress as remote colonies sought autonomy.
|centripetal|| adj. moving or directed toward a center|
Astronomers calculate that the centripetal force exerted by the Earth's gravity on the Moon will keep the Moon in orbit around the Earth for billions of years.
|champion|| v. to defend or support|
Robin Hood is famous for championing the underdogs of England.
|coda|| n. concluding section of a musical or literary piece|
At the end of the movie, a coda described what happened to each of the characters later in life.
|cogent|| adj. appealing forcibly to the mind or reason; convincing|
Corrine's cogent argument made a lot of sense to me, so I switched my vote
|commensurate|| adj. matching; corresponding in degree, size, or amount|
Many job listing don't give a specific salary, but state that it will be commensurate with experience.
|complaisance|| n. the willingness to comply with the wishes of others|
The child showed her complaisance by wearing the dress her mother chose.
|connoisseur|| n. an informed and astute judge in matters of taste; expert|
Derek is such a chocolate connoisseur that he has chocolates shopped to him from Belgium and Switzerland.
Synonyms: aficionado, enthusiast, specialist
|contiguous|| adj. sharing a border; touching; adjacent|
We offer free shipping to any of the 48 contiguous states in the U.S.
|contrite|| adj. regretful, penitent; seeking forgiveness|
The judge looked favorably on the defendant's contrite plea for leniency.
|convention|| n. a generally agreed-upon practice or attitude|
Flouting convention, the bride wore a brilliant red suit while her bridesmaids were dressed in white.
|corrigible|| adj. capable of being set right; correctable|
The earlier the intervention, the more corrigible the condition; if left too long, it can't be fixed.
|cosset|| v. to coddle|
He was a selfish child and was cosseted by his parents, so he never learned to share or compromise.
|chivalry|| n. the qualities idealized by knighthood such as bravery and gallantry toward women|
Chivalry was rooted in Christian values, and the knight was bound to be loyal to Christian ideals; the crusades enhanced this idea, as knights vowed Christianity against heathens.
|circuitous|| adj. roundabout|
According to Hindu philosophy, some souls take a circuitous path through many births to reach God.
|clairvoyant|| n. one who can predict the future; psychic|
Edgar Cayce was a famous clairvoyant who some people believe was able to go into a trance during which he was in touch with a spiritual realm.
|clamor|| n. noisy outcry|
Over the past 12 years or so the voices of clamoring for better protection of the Earth's rainforest have increased dramatically.
|clique|| n. a small, exclusive group|
The principal of the high school is concerned that one clique of students is dominating the student council.
|cloister|| v. to confine; seclude|
The writer cloistered herself in a country house to finish her novel.
adj. shut away from the world
|coagulate|| v. thicken; congeal|
In normal individuals, blood begins to coagulate about 20 seconds after a wound is sustained, thus preventing further bleeding.
|coalesce|| v. to cause to become one|
President John F. Kennedy said that Americans must be vigilant that the interests of business and the military do not coalesce and thus undermine those of society as a whole.
|codify|| v. to systematize|
The state legislature voted to codify regulations governing banking fraud.
|cognizant|| adj. informed; conscious; aware|
O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi" is a simple evocation of a young couple's love for one another; a story in which a husband and wife and straitened circumstances each sacrifices to buy a Christmas present for the other, not cognizant of what the other is doing.
|collage|| n. artistic composition of materials pasted over a surface; an assemblage of diverse elements|
The cubist Juan Gris is noted for his use of collage to create trompe l'oeil effects--the illusion of photographic reality.
|commensurate|| adj. proportional|
In the United States, malpractice suits have raised the cost of medicine because doctors must pay more for insurance, and thus increase their fees commensurately.
|compendium|| n. brief, comprehensive summary|
The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart's Life and Music by H.C. Robbins Landon is a convenient reference for finding information about the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
|complacent|| adj. self-satisfied|
Although Tom received an "A" on his midterm exam, Professor Donovan warned him not to become complacent since the work in the second term would be harder.
|complaisant|| adj. overly polite; willing to please; obliging|
Although France and Germany have a close relationship, neither would consider the other a complaisant ally.
|complement|| n. something that completes or makes up a whole|
Some people envision chess developing into a game played at the highest levels between teams of humans and computers, each complementing the other and providing investigators with insight into the cognitive process of each.
|compliant|| adj. yielding|
The young negotiator is trying to learn the skill of being open to proposals by the other side without seeming too compliant.
|compunction|| n. uneasiness caused by guilt|
The American psychiatrist Frank Pittman said, "Men who have been raised violently have every reason to believe it is appropriate for them to control others through violence; they feel no compunction over being violent to women, children, and one another."
|concave|| adj. curving inward|
Concave lenses are used in glasses to compensate for myopia (nearsightedness).
|conciliatory|| adj. overcoming distrust or hostility|
The leader of the country made conciliatory statements assuring the world that his country did not intend to acquire nuclear weapons.
|concoct|| v. to invent|
The various human cultures have concocted a great many explanations to describe the beginning of the Earth, life, and humanity.
|concomitant|| n. existing concurrently|
A rebuttal of the argument that homo sapiens' higher cognitive functions could not be the result solely of evolution is that such abilities arose of concomitants of language, which gave early hominids a tremendous advantage over other species.
|condone|| v. to overlook voluntarily; forgive|
Mahatma Gandhi believed in the principle of ahimsa and refused to condone violence of any kind, even if used in a just cause.
|confound|| v. to baffle; perplex; mix up|
Everyone but astrophysicists seems to be confounded by the question, "What happened before the Big Bang?"
|congenial|| adj. similar in tastes and habits; friendly; suited to|
The physicist Freeman Dyson has expressed his awe at how congenial the universe is to intelligent life and consciousness.
|conjugal|| adj. pertaining to marriage agreement|
The goal of the Bennett sisters in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is to find a suitable man to marry with whom they can live in conjugal happiness.
|conscript||n. person compulsorily enrolled for military service|
The position of NOW is that having male-only conscripts violates the principle of gender equality.
v. to enroll a person for military service
The French writer andre Breton was conscripted into the artillery and had to put his medical studies in abeyance for the duration of WWI.
|consecrate||v. to declare sacred|
In his Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln said of the soldiers who died in the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863: "We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live...But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow--this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."
|contend||v. to assert|
One of the most famous philosophers to argue for ethical relativism was the German Friedrich Nietzsche, who contended that the rightness of a particular action is dependent on the circumstances of the time and culture in which it occurs.
Contention - n. assertion
The study's contention is that obesity is America's biggest health problem.
|contentious|| adj. quarrelsome; causing quarrels|
When genetic engineering began in the 1970s, there was a contentious, and sometimes acrimonious, debate among scientists themselves about its dangers.
|continence|| n. self-control;a abstention from sexual activity|
St. Augustine's famous line "Give me chastity and continence, but not just now" is sometimes used to highlight the idea that action is desirable at some point, but not at present.
|contumacious|| adj. disobedient; rebellious|
In the late 18th century, Great Britain tried unsuccessfully to put down the uprising against their rule by contumacious Americans, leading eventually to the establishment of a separate nation.
|conundrum|| n. riddle; puzzle with no solution|
The paradoxical statement "This statement is false" presents us with a conundrum.
|converge|| v. to approach; come together; tend to meet|
Although the People's Republic of China and India are rivals in many ways, in certain areas their interests converge.
|convex|| adj. curved outward|
The term for a lens with one convex and one concave side is "convex-concave."
|convivial|| adj. sociable|
One of the jobs of an ambassador is to provide a convivial atmosphere for diplomats to meet.
|convoluted|| adj. twisted; complicated|
Unraveling the convoluted genetic code is one of the great achievements of modern science.
|copious|| adj. abundant; plentiful|
The copious rainfall was welcomed by farmers in the parched land.
|coquette|| n. woman who flirts|
After she had played the part of a coquette in the college play, Pay's boyfriend felt that he needed remind her that real life was quite different from the theater.
|cornucopia|| n. horn overflowing with fruit and grain; state of abundance|
The US economy has produced a cornucopia of employment opportunities.
|cosmology|| n. study of the universe as a totality; theory of the origin and structure of the universe|
Albert Einstein downplayed the strength of the evidence for quantum theory because a universe governed by laws that are inconsistent in the application was not congruent with his personal cosmology.
|covert|| adj. hidden; secret|
The CIA gathers information about foreign intelligence through many means, including covert ones.
|countenance|| v. to approve or tolerate|
The judge was quite a disciplinarian and would not countenance any stunts in his courtroom.
|cozen|| v. to deceive, beguile, or hoodwink|
A common Internet scam attempts to cozen people into revealing their bank account details.
|craven|| adj. contemptibly fainthearted; lacking any courage|
Despite all his military training, he feared he was craven by nature and would turn and run in battle.
|credulous|| adj. tending to believe too readily|
The con artist easily deceived his credulous victims.
|crestfallen|| adj. dejected; disappointed|
She interviewed for the postion three times and was crestfallen when the job was finally offered to another candidate.
|curmudgeon|| adj. an irritable, ill-tempered person|
My neighbor is an old curmudgeon who complains loudly whenever anyone makes a sound.
|cursory|| adj. hasty; done with little attention|
The producer took a cursory look at the script, then tossed it in the trash.
|cynicism|| n. an attitude or quality of belief that all people are motivated by selfishness|
People driven by cynicism are often skeptical of others' generosity.
Synonyms: distrust, pessimism
|daunt|| v. to cow or dismay|
The size of the workload alone is likely to daunt even the most dedicated students.
|dearth|| n. smallness of quantity or number; scarcity; a lack|
Given the dearth of food in her pantry, Rebecca considered having her pet rabbit for dinner.
|covetous||adj. desiring something owned by another|
The astronomer is covetous of the time that his colleague gets for research using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Covet is the verb.
The latest model cell phone is designed to make people covet it so much that they go out and buy it even though their present phone is perfectly adequate.
|credence|| n. acceptance of something as true|
One of the lessons in Aesop's fable "The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf" is that if a person "cries wolf" too many time without real danger being present (that is, raises too many false alarms) people will less likely to give credence to future alarms raised by that person.
|credo|| n. statement of belief or principle; creed|
The credo of Google is "Don't be evil."
|debauchery|| n. corruption|
The prince lived a life of debauchery until he discovered a spiritual dimension to life.
|decorum|| n. proper behavior|
When addressing the nation, the president generally has an air of decorum.
The adjective is decorous.
|defame|| v. to malign; harm someone's reputation|
The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates was defamed as a teacher who corrupted the morals of his students.
|default|| v. to fail to act|
Economists have pointed out the danger of using government money to help banks in danger of defaulting on a loan: such help might encourage banks to take excessive risks on the future, knowing they will be "bailed out" by the government.
|deference||n. respect; regard for another's wish|
There was a movement to condemn slavery among some of the writers of the Declaration of Independence in deference to the objections of a number of people.
defer - v. to submit to the wishes of another due to respect or recognition of the person's authority or knowledge.
The young lawyer deferred to the view of the senior partner in the law firm.
|defunct|| adj. no longer existing|
Skeptics have been prognosticating that Moore's Law, which says computer processing power doubles every 18 months, will soon become defunct, but the ingenuity of engineers, coupled with commercial incentives, has so far succeeded in preventing the law from being invalidated.
|delineate|| v. to represent or depict|
Quantum theory led to the formulation of the uncertainty principle, which was delineated in 1937 by Werner Heisenberg.
|demographic||adj. related to population balance|
Demographic trends in many European countries indicate the next generation there will be relatively fewer working people to support retired people.
Demographer - one who studies the human population
If, beginning in the mid-twentieth century, many governments in the world had not taken steps to promote birth and control among their citizens, causing a diminution in the birth rate, demographers say the world would now have a much grater population than it does.
|demotic|| adj. pertaining to people|
Walt Whitman is considered by many to be a quintessentially American poet, a poet who celebrated the glory of the ordinary person; one critic praised him as a poet who was able to "make the demotic sing."
|demur|| v. to express doubt|
The Supreme Court's decision was not unanimous; one justice demurred, saying that the majority decision used specious reasoning.
|denigrate|| v. to slur someone's reputation|
According to a recent biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous leader felt a need to denigrate women.
|denizen|| n. an inhabitant; regular visitor|
The US Census Bureau has the responsibility of collecting information about the denizens of the United States.
|denouement|| n. outcome; unraveling of the plot of a play or work of literature|
The book tells the story of what was for Europe a rather embarrassing denouement to the Crusades.
|deride||v. to mock|
Innovation often requires challenges to orthodox thinking; for example, in the late 1960s, scientists from the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency presented their idea of a vast network of computers to leading scientists from IBM and AT&T--companies with innumerable research breakthroughs to the credit--and were derided as impractical visionaries.
|derivative||n. something derived; unoriginal|
The drug morphine--considered by doctors to be one of the most effective analgesics--is the principal derivative of opium, which is the juice in the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy.
Derivative is also an adjective.
The critic dismissed the new novel as dull and derivative.
Derive - v. obtained from another source
One of the attempts to create a lingua franca resulted in Esperanto, a synthetic language whose vocabulary is created by adding various affixes to individual roots and is derived from Latin and Greek, as well as Germanic and Romance languages.
|desiccate|| v. to dry completely|
The dry desert ar caused the bodies of the dead animals to desiccate quickly.
|desuetude|| n. state of disuse|
NASA is considering a plan to refurbish booster rockets from the Apollo Program that have fallen desuetude.
|desultory|| adj. random; disconnected; rambling|
The jury had difficulty following the witnesses' desultory testimony.
|deterrent|| n. something that discourages or hinders|
During the Cold War, the United States maintained a large number of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to aggression by the Soviet Union and its allies.
|detraction|| n. the act of taking away; derogatory comment on a person's character|
The writer responded in a letter to the critic's long list of detractions about his book.
|diaphanous|| adj. transparent; fine-textured; insubstantial; vague|
In WWII, many soldiers went to war with diaphanous dreams of glory, but found instead horror and death.
|diatribe|| n. bitter verbal attack|
The speaker launched into a diatribe against what he called "the evils of technology."
|dichotomy|| n. division into two usually contradictory parts|
The philosopher is a dualist who argues that there is a dichotomy between the mind and physical phenomena.
|diffidence|| n. shyness; lack of confidence|
As a result of the strength of his opposition to the Vietnam War, Senator Eugene McCarthy overcame his diffidence and ran against President Lyndon Johnson for the Democratic nomination for president.
|diffuse|| v. to spread out|
The idea of equality and liberty diffused through society after the French Revolution.
Diffuse is also an adjective meaning wordy; rambling; spread out.
This essay is so diffuse it is difficult to follow its central argument.
|digression|| n. act of straying from the main point|
The novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig contains many fascinating digressions from the main story that discusses topics such as Platonic philosophy.
|dirge|| n. funeral hymn|
The music critic described the movement of the symphony portraying the hero's last days as "dirgelike."
|disabuse|| v. to free from a misconception|
The chairman of the Federal Reserve used his testimony before Congress to disabuse his audience of the idea that the business cycle had been eliminated by the unprecedented period of prosperity.
|discerning|| adj. perceptive; exhibiting keen insight and good judgement|
Discerning movie critics have praised the work of producer Stanley Kubrick, who produced such excellent films as 2001, Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, and Lolita.
|discomfit|| v. to make uneasy; disconcert|
The young man was discomfited being the only male in the play.
|discordant|| adj. not in tune|
In a pluralistic society there exists a cacophony of discordant voices, each shouting to be heard.
|discredit|| v. to dishonor; disgrace; cause to be doubted|
The candidate's attempt to discredit his opponent by spreading damaging rumors about him failed.
|discrepancy|| n. difference between|
The book studies the discrepancy in values and outlook between men who fought in the war, whether voluntarily or not, and those who remained civilians.
|discrete|| adj. constituting a separate thing; distinct|
Like the physicist, the abstract artist strives to identify the discrete elements of reality and to understand how they interact.
|discretion|| n. quality of showing self-restraint in speech or actions; circumspection; freedom to act on one's own|
In nineteenth-century Britain gentlemen were expected to behave with discretion.
|disingenuous|| adj. not candid; crafty|
When a person starts a sentence, "I don't mean to appear disingenuous," one might be tempted to suspect that the person is being just that.
|disinterested|| adj. unprejudiced; objective|
The newspaper reporter looked for disinterested witnesses to the events so that she could get an objective account of what had happened.
|disjointed|| adj. lacking order or coherence; dislocated|
The technique of telling a story through a disjointed narrative is a technique best left to masters of the modern novel such as james Joyce and William Faulkner.
|dismiss|| v. put away from consideration; reject|
Investigators dismissed the man's account of a visit to another planet abroad an alien spacecraft as the product of an overactive imagination.
|disparage|| v. to belittle|
Though sometimes disparaged as merely an intellectual game, philosophy provides us with a method for inquiring systematically into problems that arise in areas such as medicine, science, and technology.
Many technological projects are interdisciplinary, requiring a knowledge of fields as disparate as physics and biology.
Disparity is a noun meaning the condition of being unequal or unlike.
The huge income disparity in the world is clearly illustrated by the fact that the assets of the world's 200 richest people exceed the combined income of 41% of the world's population.
|dissemble|| v. to pretend; disguise one's motives|
"Miss," the prosecutor said, "I believe you are dissembling. I want you to tell me the whole truth about what happened that night."
|disseminate||v. to spread; scatter; disperse|
While belief in reincarnation appeared as doctrine first in India ans was disseminated throughout Asia by Buddhism, it is interesting that it was accepted by the most influential philosophy of the West, Platonism, and by some important early Christian thinkers, such as the theologian Origen.
|dissolution|| n. disintegration; debauchery|
Some philosophers maintain that the dissolution of the body does nto mean the destruction of the mind.
|dissonance||n. discord; lack of harmony|
In psychology, the term "cognitive dissonance" refers to a conflict resulting from inconsistency between one's beliefs and one's actions. For example, a soldier who believes that all killing ins immoral but is forced to kill by his superiors might experience cognitive dissonance.
|distend|| v. to expand; swell out|
People in an advanced stage of starvation often have distended bellies.
|distill|| v. extract the essential elements|
In his book Men of Ideas: Some Creators of Contemporary Philosophy, Bryan Magee manages to distill the essence of leading thinkers such as W. V. Quine, John Searle, Iris Murdoch, and Noam Chomsky.
|distrait|| adj. inattentive; preoccupied|
The chairperson became distrait because his secretary was not sitting in her usual position on his right.
|diverge||v. to vary; go in different directions from the same point|
A famous line in American poetry is from Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken": Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by...
Divergence is the noun.
Psychological tests show that there is a wide divergence between citizens of different countries in how much importance they place on the virtue of justice, on the one hand, and the virtue of mercy, on the other hand.
|divest|| v. to strip; deprive; rid|
The candidate for secretary o defense pledged to divest himself of the shares he held in defense-related companies.
|divulge|| v. to make known something that is secret|
Under the Geneva Conventions, prisoners of war cannot be tortured and forced to divulge information.
|doctrinaire||adj. relating to a person who cannot compromise about points of a theory or doctrine; dogmatic; unyielding|
|document|| v. to provide with written evidence to support|
The insurance company asked Debbie to document her claim with letters from the doctors who treated her for her condition.
|doggerel|| n. poor verse|
In his book Poetic Meter and Poetic Form, the literary citric Paul Fussell quites this bit of doggerel from a US Army latrine during WWII: Soldiers who wish to be a hero are practically zero. But those who wish to be civilians, Jesus, they run into millions.
|dogmatic||adj. stating opinions without proof|
Since every case is unique, jurists must not be dogmatic in applying precedents to make their decision, but instead must base their decision on a combination of such precedents and the facts of the case at hand.
Dogma - n. a belief asserted on authority without evidence
Religions whose dogma specifies a time of the creation of the world have found difficulty in reconciling their view of creating with that of modern science.
|dormant|| adj. inactive|
There is a considerable body of evidence showing that many diseases, such as ulcers, asthma, and hypertension have a large psychological component; the working hypothesis is that they represent manifestations of dormant emotional disturbances.
|dross|| n. waste; worthless matter; trivial matter|
One of the ways the dross among blogs on the Internet are filtered out from the worthwhile ones is through links good blogs provide to other good blogs.
|dupe|| v. to deceive; trick|
"In friendship, as well as in love, the mind is often duped by the heart."
|ebullient|| adj. exhilarated; enthusiastic|
The ebullient candidate for president appeared before his supporters to announce that he had won in a landslide.
|eclectic||adj. selecting from various sources|
Neo-Platonism--an eclectic third-century synthesis of Platonic, Pythagorean, Aristotelian, Stoic, and Jewish philosophy--was an essentially mystical belief that a person can achieve spiritual emancipation through union of the soul with the ultimate source of existence.
|effervescence||n. state of high spirits or liveliness; the process of bubbling as gas escapes|
Effervescence occurs when hydrochloric acid is added to a block of limestone.
Effervescent - adj.
A person who believes himself to be physically unattractive might develop an effervescent personality as a compensation for his perceived deficiency.
|effete|| adj. depleted of vitality; overrefined; decadent|
In 1969, US Vice President Spiro T. Agnew denounced people protesting against the Vietnam War: "A spirit of national masochism prevails, encouraged by an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."
|efficacy||n. efficiency; effectiveness|
A cardinal rule of medicine is that the efficacy of a treatment should be measured against the seriousness of its side effects.
efficacious - adj.
In a situation where some subjects are benefitting while others are not, a researcher is likely to have ambivalent feelings, since he or she is in a "no-win" situation. In such a situation, the experimenter must choose between, on the one hand, getting more conclusive results by continuing the experiment and, on the other hand, stopping it and administering the drug that has proven efficacious to those who have not received it.
|effrontery|| n. shameless boldness; presumptuous|
In her essay the student had the effrontery to argue that school is largely a waste of time.
|egoism|| n. the tendency to see things in a relation to oneself; self-centeredness|
The beginning of philosophy has been described as a moving away from egoism to an understanding of the larger world.
|egotistical|| adj. excessively self-centered; conceited|
The critics accused the writer of being egotistical since she only wrote about herself.
|elegy|| n. poem or song expressing lamentation|
Adonais is a pastoral elegy written by Percy Bysshe shelley in the spring of 1821 after he learned of the death of his friend and fellow poet John Keats.
|elicit|| v. to provoke; draw out|
The socratic method is designed to elicit responses that guide the student toward understanding.
|elixir|| n. a substance believed to have the power to cure ills|
The doctor said that her prescription would help to alleviate my condition but that I could not expect it to be an elixir.
|Elysian|| adj. blissful; delightful|
In Book VI of Virgil's Aenid, the hero Aenas descends to the Underworld where he meets the soul of his dead father, Anchises, in the Elysian fields and learns from him the future of the Roman race.
|emaciated|| adj. thin and wasted|
The prisoner was emaciated after being fed only bread and water for three months.
|embellish|| v. to adorn; decorate; enhance; make more attractive by adding details|
The story he had been told was so powerful that the writer felt no need to embellish it.
|emollient|| adj. soothing; mollifying|
The politician's speech is filled with emollient phrases to make his message more palatable.
Emollient - n. an agent that soothes or makes more acceptable
|empirical||adj. derived from observation or experiment|
Some people erroneously cite the theory of relativity as support for ethical relativism, whereas in reality the former is a scientific theory, while the latter is a moral issue, and thus by nature is not subject to empirical verification.
Empiricism - n. meaning the view that experience is the only source of knowledge; employment of empirical methods, as in science
|emulate|| v. to imitate; copy|
Bionics uses technology to emulate nature, but sometimes a similar process occurs in reverse, in which scientists use technology as a heuristic tool to better understand natural processes.
|encomium||n. a formal expression of praise|
|endemic|| adj. inherent; belonging to an area|
Malaria, once endemic to the area, has now been largely eradicated.
|enervate|| v. to weaken|
During WWII Russian commanders counted on the bitter cold to enervate German soldiers invading their country.
|engender|| v. to cause; produce|
Freudians believe that the traumatic events of infancy often engender repression that creates neuroses.
|enhance||v. to increase; improve|
Although it is widely believed that the primary objective of the researchers developing the Internet was to secure the American nuclear missile system, in fact their main goal was to foster science by enhancing the ability of technology ti disseminate information among scientists.
|entomology|| n. the scientific study of insects|
Considering that there are approximately 925,000 species of insects (more than all other species combined), entomology is a vast field of study.
|enunciate|| v. to pronounce clearly|
In everyday speech the sounds of many words are not enunciated clearly.
|ephemeral|| adj. short-lived; fleeting|
Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet share with the Romantics an affinity for nature, but the Impressionists took a more scientific interest in it, attempting to accurately depict ephemeral phenomena such as the play of the light on water.
|epistemology|| n. branch of philosophy that examines the nature of knowledge|
A major question in epistemology is whether the mind can ever gain objective knowledge, limited as it is by its narrow range of sense experience.
|equable|| adj. steady; unvarying; serene|
Throughout the crisis the president remained equable.
|equitable||adj. fair, just, impartial|
Much of the modern economic history can be seen as a dialectic between advocates of laissez-faire policies, who want to leave the market free to create wealth untrammeled by restrictions (believing it will "trickle down" to all members of the society), and exponents of redistribution of wealth, who want to ensure that the fruits of capitalism are shared equitably.
|equanimity|| n. composure; calmness|
Emergency room doctors and nurses are trained to maintain the equanimity when treating patients.
|equivocate||v. to intentionally use vague language|
The businessperson has earned a reputation as someone who never equivocates and can be trusted to do exactly what he promises.
Equivocation - noun
The saying "It's a matter of semantics: is often used to indicate that the real meaning of something is being lost in verbiage, often with the implication that there is obfuscation or equivocation.
|errant|| adj. mistaken; straying from the proper course|
The pitcher's errant fastball struck the batter on the shoulder.
|erudite|| adj. learned; scholarly|
Frederick Copleston, author of the nine-volume History of Philosophy, was undoubtedly one of the most erudite people who ever lived.
Erudition - noun
Great erudition does not necessarily mean that a person is sagacious.
|esoteric|| adj. hard to understand; known only to a few|
Epidemiologists, using esoteric statistical analyses, field investigations, and complex laboratory techniques, investigate the cause of a disease, its distribution (geographic, ecological, and ethnic), method of spread, and measures for preventing or controlling it.
|essay|| v. to make an attempt; subject to a test|
The composer began work on a sonata, a form she had not previously essayed.
|estimable|| adj. admirable; possible to estimate|
Alistair Cooke's book Six Men contains character studies of estimable modern figures including H. L. Mencken, Humphrey Bogart and Adlai Stevenson.
|ethnocentric||adj. based on the attitude that one's group is superior|
The words "primitive" and "savage" reflect on an ethnocentric bias in Western culture that regards societies that do not have Western science and technology as inferior because they have not achieved as much material success as Western societies.
|etiology|| n. causes or origins|
The etiology of mental illness is complex because of the diversity of factors--social, biological, genetic, and psychological--that contribute to many disorders.
|etymology|| n. origin and history of a word|
The origin of the word "barbarian" reflects the ethnocentrism of the ancient Greeks; its etymology is that it comes (through Latin and French words) from the Greek word barbaros, meaning non-greek, foreign.
|eugenics||n. study of factors that influence the hereditary qualities of the human race and ways to improve these qualities|
The science fiction novel describes a military eugenics program designed to create a race of "super-soldiers" possessing intelligence, strength, and other qualities far in advance of the ordinary person.
|eulogy|| n. high praise, especially of a person who has recently died|
After the death of Abraham Lincoln, many eulogies of him appeared in newspapers throughout America.
|euphemism|| n. use of agreeable or inoffensive language in place of unpleasant or offensive language|
An illustration of the tendency toward euphemism is the change (reflecting the political concerns of the day) in the accepted appellation of poor countries from the unambiguous poor, to undeveloped, to underdeveloped, to less developed, to developing.
|euphoria|| n. a feeling of extreme happiness|
There was euphoria in the professor's house after it was learned that she had received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
|euthanasia|| n. mercy killing|
Modern medicine's ability to prolong life has raised ethical questions, such as "Is euthanasia ever morally justifiable?"
|evince|| v. to show plainly; be an indication of|
The student's response to the teacher's question evinced his ignorance of the subject.
|evocative||adj. tending to call to mind or produce a reaction|
Somerset Maugham's short stories are often evocative of exotic places such as Pago-Pago and Gibraltar.
Evocation - noun
Some literary critics believe that Charles Dickens's use of caricature makes his characters one-dimensional, but others see these characters as evocations of universal human types that resonate powerfully with readers' experiences of real people.
Evoke - verb
The terms "loaded language" and "charged language" are used to specify language that has so many connotations for most readers that it is difficult for a writer to use it without evoking myriad associations, which will distract attention from the topic under discussion.
|exacerbate|| v. to make worse; aggravate|
The release of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels has increased the amount of this gas in the atmosphere, exacerbating the naturally occurring "greenhouse effect" that has predominated in Earth's recent past.
|exact||v. to force the payment of; demand and obtain by authority|
The conquering rulers exacted a tax of 10% from every adult male in the country.
exacting - adj. extremely demanding
Early in his career the English writer Aldous Huxley made this comment: "What occupation is pleasanter, what less exacting, than the absorption of curious literary information?"
|exculpate|| v. to clear of blame; vindicate|
The report exculpated the FBI of any wrongdoing in its handling of the investigation.
|execrable|| adj. detestable; abhorrent|
When folk artists such as Bob Dylan began to use rock instruments, many folk music traditionalists considered it an execrable travesty.
|exhort|| v. to urge by strong appeals|
In 1943 US General George S. Patton exhorted American troops about to invade Hitler's Europe, saying that victory was assured because American soldiers were more virile and courageous than their German counterparts.
|exigency|| n. crisis; urgent requirements|
Astronauts must be prepared for exigencies such as damage to their spacecraft's life support system.
|existential|| adj. having to do with existence; based on experience; having to do with the philosophy of existentialism|
Existential writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre have argued that human beings are free, but that this freedom entails a burden of responsibility that makes them anxious.
|exorcise|| v. to expel evil spirits; free from bad influences|
A modern parallel to the shaman is the psychiatrist, who helps the patient exorcise personal demons and guides him toward mental wholeness.
|expatiate|| v. to spek or write at length|
Every year the book club invites a famous author to come to expatiate on the art of writing.
|expatriate|| v. to send into exile|
People seeking asylum in another country are sometimes expatriated.
Expatriate - n. a person living outside his or her own land
The adjective is also expatriate.