|astute|| adj. having an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one's advantage; shrewd; discerning.|
The astute poker player could tell that his opponent was bluffing, and so continued to bet aggressively.
|benevolent|| adj. well meaning and kindly; compassionate; altruistic; magnanimous.|
My benevolent boss always gives his workers a generous bonus around the holidays.
|buoy|| (1) v. to keep (someone or something) afloat|
(2) v. to cause (someone) to become cheerful or confident; to encourage.
He was buoyed by news that his lost dog might have been found.
(1) n. the ability to float
(2) n. an optimistic and cheerful nature
|concur|| (1) v. to be of the same opinion; to agree.|
The judge concurred with the plaintiff and awarded her a $2 million settlement.
(2) v. to happen or occur at the same time; to coincide
|daunting|| adj. intimidating; seeming difficult to deal with; formidable; unnerving.|
Running a marathon is a daunting challenge.
adj. not intimidated or discouraged by difficulty, danger, or disappointment
|demeanor|| n. outward behavior or bearing; manner; attitude.|
Sarah's shy demeanor made it hard for her to meet new people.
|derive||(1) v. to get or obtain something from specified source.|
We derived great pleasure from watching him win the contest.
(2) v. to come from or originate in (a specified source).
The word "coffee" derives from the Turkish word "kahveh."
(1) n. something that is based on another source
(2) adj. (typically of an artist or work of art) imitative of the work of another person, and usually disapproved of for that reason; unoriginal; plagiarized
|discredit||(1) v. to harm the good reputation of (someone or something)|
(2) v. to show (an idea or piece of evidence) to be false or unreliable; to disprove.
The case was discredited when new evidence showed that the key witness had lied.
adj. able to be believed; convincing; plausible; feasible
n. believability; plausibility
The recent win gives some credence to your theory that our team will win the championship this year.
n. a qualification or aspect of a person's background, used to indicate that they are suitable for something
|disdain|| n. the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect; contempt; scorn; derision.|
People who pride themselves on reading only the finest literature view comic books with disdain.
|disillusioned|| adj. disappointed in something after discovering it to be less good than once believed.|
She became disillusioned with the new governor after realizing that his policies were the same as his predecessor's.
|engage|| (1) v. to cause someone to become involved in (a conversation or discussion)|
(2) to participate or become involved in.
The students engaged in a heated discussion on reality television.
adj. charming and attractive.
Sophie had a sunny personality that was very engaging.
|eradicate|| v. to destroy completely; to put an end to.|
Smallpox was once a widespread disease, but it has been eradicated by modern vaccines.
|facetious|| adj. treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant; frivolous.|
Don't worry—I was just being facetious when I said I'd sold your pet rabbit to the dog food factory.
|fanciful|| (1) adj. (of a person or their thoughts and ideas) overimaginative and unrealistic; far-fetched|
(2) adj. existing only in the imagination or fancy; whimsical; dreamy.
The father told his young daughter a fanciful story about a leprechaun and a pot of gold.
|grounded|| adj. well balanced and sensible.|
The kids have money and a celebrity dad, but they seem grounded.
|ideal||(1) adj. perfect; most suitable.|
The empty parking lot is ideal for driving practice.
(2) n. a standard of perfection; a principle to be aimed at.
I try to stay true to my ideal of treating everyone with kindness.
n. the practice of pursuing ideals, especially unrealistically
v. to regard as perfect or better than in reality
n. a supporter of an ideology or system of beliefs, especially someone who is uncompromising and dogmatic.
The government can barely accomplish anything because it's full of ideologues who refuse to cooperate with each other.
|illuminate|| (1) v. to light (something) up|
(2) v. to help to clarify or explain (a subject or matter); to shed light on; to elucidate.
The documentary was very illuminating; now I have a much better understanding of how fast food can destroy your health.
|inept|| adj. having or showing no skill; clumsy; incompetent.|
My cousin Brad is an inept athlete who can barely dribble a basketball.
|methodology|| n. a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity.|
After the discovery of bacteria, doctors developed a whole new methodology for the prevention of infection.
|naïve|| adj. (of a person or action) showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment; innocent; gullible.|
The freshmen continue to hold on to the naïve belief that they have high school figured out.
n. a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment; innocence or unsophistication
|opportune||adj. (of a time) well-chosen or particularly favorable or appropriate; auspicious; felicitous.|
Julia chose an opportune time to open her new vegetarian restaurant, just as people were becoming particularly interested in healthy eating.
n. a person who exploits circumstances to gain immediate advantage rather than being guided by consistent principles or plans
|prominent|| adj. important; famous; attention-catching; noticeable.|
The prominent author's appearance at the local bookstore drew a huge crowd.
|provincial||(1) adj. concerning a province or region outside the capital city of a country; regional.|
In researching her book on provincial cooking, she traveled all over the countryside.
(2) adj. unsophisticated or narrow-minded; parochial.
People from New York sometimes look down on people from West Virginia as provincial and backward.
n. the way of life typical of regions outside the capital city
(2) n. narrow-mindedness, insularity, or lack of sophistication
(3) n. concern for one's own region at the expense of national unity
|receptive|| adj. able or willing to receive something; willing to consider or accept new suggestions and ideas.|
The doctor was receptive to the idea of replacing his old equipment with the latest technology.
n. an object or space used to contain or receive something
|render|| (1) v. to cause to be or become; to make.|
The rains rendered his escape impossible.
(2) v. to represent or depict artistically.
The building has not been constructed yet, so this picture is just an artist's rendering of what it will look like.
|resilient|| adj. able to recover or spring back quickly after being bent or compressed, or after difficult conditions.|
Even after a third knee surgery, the resilient ball player returned for another season.
|revere||v. to feel deep respect or admiration for (something); to honor; to esteem.|
Mrs. Greene's students revered her; many thought she was the wisest, kindest teacher in the world.
adj. showing a lack of respect for people or things that are generally taken seriously; disdainful; impertinent; impudent
|straightforward|| adj. uncomplicated and easy to do or understand; honest; unambiguous.|
His straightforward answer to the question could not be interpreted in any other way.
|tranquil|| adj. calm; peaceful; serene; placid.|
Her family retreats to their lake house to relax and take in the tranquil beauty of the water.
|trivial|| adj. of little value or importance.|
Tim went on and on about the right shade of blue for the new uniforms, but the rest of us thought it was a pretty trivial issue.
v. to make (something) seem less important, significant, or complex than it really is; to minimize; to belittle
|vibrant|| adj. full of energy and enthusiasm; (of color) bright and striking.|
The painting's vibrant colors brought life and cheerfulness to the otherwise dull room.
|vulnerable|| adj. at risk of suffering physical or emotional attack or harm.|
Out in the open field, the rabbit was vulnerable to predators, so he tried to stay in the thick brush where he could hide.
adj. impossible to harm or damage; impervious; inviolable
|circumscribe|| v. to restrict (something) within limits; to surround; to confine.|
The lake was circumscribed on all sides by mountains.
|circumspect|| adj. wary and unwilling to take risks; cautious; guarded; vigilant.|
Not wanting to ruin the surprise party, Alex was very circumspect in answering Cheryl's questions about their plans for the weekend.
|circumvent|| v. to find a way around (an obstacle); to overcome (a problem or difficulty), typically in a clever or sneaky way; to get around; to bypass.|
The thieves circumvented the museum's alarm system by climbing in through a skylight.
|hearsay|| n. unverified information received from other people; rumor; gossip.|
It's not a good idea to make major decisions based only on rumors and hearsay.
|heresy|| n. an opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine or what is generally accepted; blasphemy.|
The fundamentalist religious leader denounced the doctrine of the atheists as heresy.
|incredulous||adj. (of a person) unwilling to believe something; skeptical; doubtful.|
She arched her eyebrow and gave him an incredulous look when he insisted that the tree had just appeared in front of the car.
n. a tendency to be too ready to believe that something is real or true.
I'm afraid that Trey's credulity may someday get him in trouble because he will trust anything you tell him.
|proceed||v. to begin or continue a course of action; to move forward|
|precede||v. to come before (something).|
The beginning of the game was preceded by the singing of the national anthem.
n. an earlier event that is regarded as an example or model to be followed in the future
adj. never done or known before; unheard of.
After the huge snowstorm, the school took the unprecedented step of closing for an entire week.
n. the condition of being considered more important than something else; priority.
I'd like you to clean the basement at some point, but getting the car fixed promptly takes precedence over that project.
|appropriate|| (1) adj. suitable or proper|
(2) v. to take (something) for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission; to seize; to commandeer.
The pushy new researcher appropriated all the good lab equipment for himself.
|check|| (1) v. to examine or inspect|
(2) v. to stop or slow down the progress of (something undesirable); to curb; to restrain.
In an effort to check the spread of disease, rules prevent people from bringing exotic plants and animals into the country.
|lay|| (1) v. to put (something) down|
(2) adj. not having professional qualifications or expert knowledge, especially in law or medicine; nonspecialist.
Dr. Overbeck, would you please explain the experiment in language that a layperson could understand?
|allusion|| n. an indirect reference; an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly.|
The author's mention of a "jabberwocky" was an allusion to Alice in Wonderland, but most readers missed the reference.
|foreshadow|| v. to be a warning or indication of (a future event).|
The dark clouds and heavy rain foreshadow the turmoil that occurs in the following chapter.
|hyperbole|| n. exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally; overstatement.|
It's hard to believe the hyperbole of the advertisement; there is simply no way an energy drink can give you wings.
|anachronism|| n. a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned; a thing belonging to a different time period than that in which it exists.|
The steamboat ferry is an anachronism that exists today primarily as a tourist attraction.
|clandestine|| adj. kept secret or done secretively, especially because illicit; covert; furtive; surreptitious.|
We acted in clandestine fashion because our actions could lead to legal trouble if we were caught.
|lugubrious|| adj. looking or sounding sad and dismal; mournful; gloomy; glum; melancholy.|
Eeyore is the most lugubrious cartoon character that I remember from my childhood—he's always down about something.
|machinate|| v. to engage in plots and intrigues; to scheme.|
Hoping to devise a plan to steal identities over the web, Harry and Kim sat in the back room and machinated.
n. a scheme
|palliate|| (1) v. to make (a disease or its symptoms) less severe or unpleasant without removing the cause|
(2) v. to allay or moderate (fears or suspicions); to alleviate; to relieve; to assuage.
The mayor's reassuring speech palliated the worries of the townspeople.
(1) adj. soothing, alleviating
(2) n. a remedy or medicine that palliates
|progenitor|| (1) n. an ancestor or forebear|
(2) n. a person who originates an artistic, political, or intellectual movement.
Jimi Hendrix was a major progenitor of the modern style of electric guitar playing.
|pugnacious|| adj. eager or quick to argue, quarrel, or fight; combative; belligerent; bellicose.|
Ben's pugnacious attitude gets him in fights all the time.
|tangential|| adj. only barely touching or related to (something); peripheral.|
I had a hard time understanding how Penelope's tangential response related to the conversation we were having.
|vacillate|| v. to alternate or waver between different opinions or actions; to be indecisive; to fluctuate; to waffle.|
Swing voters aren't people who vote in playgrounds; they're people who vacillate between supporting Democrats and supporting Republicans.