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abate

to reduce in amount, degree, or severity

abscond

to leave secretly

abstain

to choose not to do something

abyss

an extremely deep hole

adulterate

to make impure

advocate

to speak in favor of

aesthetic

concerning the appreciation of beauty

aggrandize

to increase in power, influence, and reputation

alleviate

to make more bearable

amalgamate

to combine; to mix together

ambiguous

doubtful or uncertain; able to be interpreted several ways

ameliorate

to make better; to improve

anachronism

something out of place in time

analogous

similar or alike in some way; equivalent to

anomaly

derivation from what is normal

antagonize

to annoy or provoke to anger

antipathy

extreme dislike

apathy

lack of interest or emotion

arbitrate

to judge a dispute between two opposing parties

archaic

ancient, old-fashioned

ardor

intense and passionate feeling

articulate

able to speak clearly and expressively

assuage

to make something unpleasant less severe

attenuate

to reduce in force or degree; to weaken

audacious

fearless and daring

austere

severe or stern in appearance, undecorated

banal

predictable, clichéd, boring

bolster

to support; to prop up

bombastic

pompous in speech and manner

cacophony

harsh, jarring noise

candid

impartial and honest in speech

capricious

changing one's mind quickly and often

castigate

to punish or criticize harshly

catalyst

something that brings about a change in something else

caustic

biting in wit

chaos

great disorder or confusion

chauvinist

someone prejudiced in favor of a group to which he or she belongs

chicanery

deception by means of craft or guile

cogent

convincing and well reasoned

condone

to overlook, pardon, or disregard

convoluted

intricate and complicated

corroborate

to provide supporting evidence

credulous

too trusting; gullible

crescendo

steadily increasing volume or force

decorum

appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety

deference

respect, courtesy

deride

to speak of or treat with contempt; to mock

desiccate

to dry out thoroughly

desultory

jumping from one thing to another; disconnected

diatribe

an abusive, condemnatory speech

diffident

lacking self-confidence

dilate

to make larger; to expand

dilatory

intended to delay

dilettante

someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic

dirge

a funeral hymn or mournful speech

disabuse

to set right; to free from error

discern

to perceive; to recognize

disparate

fundamentally different; entirely unlike

dissemble

to present a false appearance; to disguise one's real intention or character

dissonance

a harsh and disagreeable combination, often of sounds

dogma

a firmly held opinion, often a religious belief

dogmatic

dictatorial in one's opinions

dupe

to deceive; a person who is easily deceived

eclectic

selecting from or made up from a variety of sources

efficacy

effectiveness

elegy

a sorrowful poem or speech

eloquent

persuasive and moving, especially in speech

emulate

to copy; to try to equal or excel

enervate

to reduce in strength

engender

to produce, cause, or bring about

engima

a puzzle; a mystery

enumerate

to count, list, or itemize

ephemeral

lasting a short time

equivocate

to use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead

erratic

wandering and unpredictable

erudite

learned, scholarly, bookish

esoteric

known or understood by only a few

estimable

admirable

eulogy

speech in praise of someone

euphemism

use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a more distasteful one

exacerbate

to make worse

exculpate

to clear from blame; prove innocent

exigent

urgent; requiring immediate action

exonerate

to clear of blame

explicit

clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression

fanatical

acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion

fawn

to grovel

fervid

intensely emotional; feverish

florid

excessively decorated or embellished

foment

to arouse or incite

frugality

a tendency to be thrifty or cheap

garrulous

tending to talk a lot

gregarious

outgoing, sociable

guile

deceit or trickery

gullible

easily deceived

homogenous

of a similar kind

iconoclast

one who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions

imperturbable

not capable of being disturbed

impervious

impossible to penetrate; incapable of being affected

impetuous

quick to act without thinking

implacable

unable to be calmed down or made peaceful

inchoate

not fully formed; disorganized

ingenuous

showing innocence or childlike simplicity

inimical

hostile, unfriendly

innocuous

harmless

insipid

lacking interest or flavor

intransigent

uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled

inundate

to overwhelm; to cover with water

irascible

easily made angry

laconic

using few words

lament

to express sorrow; to grieve

laud

to give praise; to glorify

lavish

to give unsparingly; or extremely generous or extravagant

lethargic

acting in an indifferent or slow, sluggish manner

loquacious

talkative

lucid

clear and easily understood

luminous

bright, brilliant, glowing

malinger

to evade responsibility by pretending to be ill

malleable

capable of being shaped

metaphor

a figure of speech comparing two different things; a symbol

meticulous

extremely careful about details

misanthrope

a person who dislikes others

mitigate

to soften; to lessen

mollify

to calm or make less severe

monotony

lack of variation

naïve

lacking sophistication or experience

obdurate

hardened in feeling; resistant to persuasion

obsequious

overly submissive and eager to please

obstinate

stubborn, unyielding

obviate

to prevent; to make unnecessary

occlude

to stop up; to prevent the passage of

onerous

troublesome and oppressive; burdensome

opaque

impossible to see through; preventing the passage of light

opprobrium

public disgrace

ostentation

excessive slowness

paradox

a contradiction or dilemma

paragon

a model of excellence or perfection

pedant

someone who shows off learning

perfidious

willing to betray one's trust

perfunctory

done in a routine way; indifferent

permeate

to penetrate

philanthropy

charity; a desire or effort to promote goodness

placate

to soothe or pacify

plastic

able to be molded, altered, or bent

plethora

excess

pragmatic

practical as opposed to idealistic

precipitate

to throw violently or bring about abruptly; lacking deliberation

prevaricate

to lie or deviate from the truth

pristine

fresh and clean; uncorrupted

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