69 terms

11/29/2015

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Terms in this set (...)

maxim
short saying
Johnson initially suggests that the secret to business can be summarized in a single maxim but then requires a 300-page book to explain exactly what he means
untenable
indefensible
With the combination of Kepler's brilliant theories and Galileo's telescopic observations, the old geocentric theory became untenable to most of the educated people in Europe.
chastise
scold
Though chastised for eating the snacks for the party, Lawrence shrugged off his mother's harsh words, and continued to plow through jars of cookies and boxes of donuts.
gaffe
social blunder
In a famous gaffe, Vice President Quayle attempted to correct the spelling of a grade school student, only to find that the child was correct.
prolific
productive
Schubert was the most prolific composer, producing hundreds of hours of music before he died at the age of 31
conniving
conspiring to do bad
The queen was so conniving that, with the help of the prince, she tried to overthrow the king.
imperious
domineering
Children are imperious with each other before they learn that earning someone's respect is better than demanding.
obstreperous
noisily defiant
When the teacher asked the obstreperous student simply to bus his tray, the student threw the entire tray on the floor, shouted an epithet, and walked out.
inundate
flood
The newsroom was inundated with false reports that only made it more difficult for the newscasters to provide an objective account of the bank robbery.
eclectic
having a variety
Joey was known for his eclectic tastes in music, one moment dancing to disco the next air conducting along to Beethoven's 9th symphony.
vacillate
waver
Some students vacillate between schools when deciding which to attend, while others focus only on one school.
imponderable
difficult to assess
According to many lawmakers, the huge variety of factors affecting society make devising an efficient healthcare system an imponderable task.
juxtapose
place side by side
The appeal of her paintings comes from a classical style which is juxtaposed with modern themes.
baleful
threatening
Movies often use storms or rain clouds as a baleful omen of evil events that will soon befall the main character.
punctilious
overly precise
The colonel was so punctilious about enforcing regulations that men feel compelled to polish even the soles of their shoes.
eminent
highly respected
Shakespeare is an eminent author in the English language, but I find his writing uninteresting and melodramatic.
patent
glaringly obvious
Since the book had been through no fewer than six proof runs, the staff was shocked to see such a patent spelling mistake remaining, right in the middle of the front cover!
exasperate
annoy
As a child, I exasperated my mother with strings of never-ending questions.
subterfuge
deceit
Finally deciding to abandon all subterfuge, Arthur revealed to Cindy everything about his secret affair over the past two years.
irascible
easily angered
If Arthur's dog is not fed adequately, he becomes highly irascible, even growling at his own shadow.
hauteur
extreme pride
As soon as she won the lottery, Alice began displaying a hauteur to her friends, calling them dirty-clothed peasants behind their backs.
exasperate
annoy
As a child, I exasperated my mother with strings of never-ending questions.
punctilious
overly precise
The colonel was so punctilious about enforcing regulations that men feel compelled to polish even the soles of their shoes.
moribund
about to die
Whether you like it or not, jazz as a genre is moribund at best, possibly already dead.
prosaic
dull
Unlike the talented artists in his workshop, Paul had no such bent for the visual medium, so when it was time for him to make a stained glass painting, he ended up with a prosaic mosaic
indict
accuse formally
The bankrobber was indicted on several major charges, including possession of a firearm
wanting
lacking
She did not think her vocabulary was wanting, yet there were so many words that inevitably she found a few she didn't know.
curmudgeon
curmudgeon
✓ grouch
Since Uncle Mike was the family curmudgeon, each Thanksgiving he was plied with copious amounts of wine, in the hope that he would become less grouchy.
inkling
vague sense
Lynne speaks four Romance languages, but she doesn't have an inkling about how East Asian languages are structured.
austere
unadorned
His lifestyle of revelry and luxurious excess could hardly be called austere.
sullen
brooding
Herbert took board games too seriously, often appearing sullen after losing.
disabuse
lead one from error
As a child, I was quickly disabused of the notion that Santa Claus was a rotund benefactor of infinite largess—one night I saw my mother diligently wrapping presents and storing them under our Christmas tree.
fecund
mentally productive
The artist had entered a fecund period, producing three masterpieces in the span of two months.
self-effacing
modest
The most admirable teachers and respected leaders are those who are self-effacing, directing attention and praise to their students and workers.
bereft
bereft
sad because of loss
After 64 years of marriage, William was bereft after the death of his wife.
martinet
disciplinarian
The job seemed perfect to Rebecca, until she found out that her boss was a total martinet; after each project the boss would come by to scrutinize—and inevitably criticize—every little detail of the work Rebecca had done.
disabuse
lead one from error
As a child, I was quickly disabused of the notion that Santa Claus was a rotund benefactor of infinite largess—one night I saw my mother diligently wrapping presents and storing them under our Christmas tree.
tumult
chaos, confusion
Riots broke out just in front of our apartment building, and the tumult continued late into the night.
mettlesome
courageous
For its raid on the Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Seal Team Six has become, for many Americans, the embodiment of mettle.
quixotic
wildly impractical
For every thousand startups with quixotic plans to be the next big name in e-commerce, only a handful ever become profitable.
tender
offer up formally
The government was loath to tender more money in the fear that it might set off inflation.
philistine
hater of culture
Jane considered Al completely philistine, because he talked almost exclusive about video games; she was entirely unaware of how well read he really was.
vehement
intensely emotional
While the other employees responded to the bad news in a measured way, Andrew responded in a vehement manner, tipping over his desk and shouting at the top of his lungs.
collusion
secret cooperation
Many have argued that Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK's assassin, was in collusion with other criminals; others maintain that Oswald was a lone gunman.
aplomb
coolness under strain
Nancy acted with aplomb during dangerous situations--she once calmly climbed up an oak tree to save a cat.
humdrum
lacking excitement
Having grown up in a humdrum suburb, Jacob relished life in New York City after moving.
enormity
great wickedness
The enormity of Pol Pot's regime is hard to capture in words--within months hundreds of thousands of Cambodians lost their lives.
alacrity
eager willingness
The first three weeks at his new job, Mark worked with such alacrity that upper management knew it would be giving him a promotion.
rescind
cancel officially
The man's driver's license was rescinded after his tenth car accident, which meant he would never be allowed to legally drive again.
effrontery
cheeky behavior
The skateboarders acted with effrontery, skating through the church grounds and spray-painting signs warning trespassers.
fecund
mentally productive
The artist had entered a fecund period, producing three masterpieces in the span of two months.
phlegmatic
not showing emotion
Arnold is truly noble, remaining reserved until an issue of significance arises, but Walter is simply phlegmatic: he doesn't have the energy or inclination to care about anything
insipid
dull, bland
The movie director was known for hiring beautiful actors in order to deflect attention away from the insipid scripts he would typically use.
browbeat
boss around, bully
During the interrogation, the suspect was browbeaten into signing a false confession
esoteric
understood by few
Map collecting is an esoteric hobby to most, but to geography geeks it is a highly enjoyable pasttime.
consummate
masterful
Tyler was the consummate musician: he was able to play the guitar, harmonica, and the drum at the same time.
inadvertent
unintentional
Although Prohibition was rooted in noble ideals, the inadvertent and costly consequences of making alcohol illegal in the U.S. led to its repeal.
stymie
hinder
The engineers found their plans stymied at every turn and were ultimately able to make almost no progress on the project.
penurious
poor
Truly penurious, Mary had nothing more than a jar full of pennies.
cow
intimidate
Do not be cowed by a 3,000-word vocabulary list: turn that list into a deck of flashcards!
boorish
ill-mannered
Bukowski was known for being a boorish drunk and alienating close friends and family.
peripatetic
traveling on foot
Jim always preferred a peripatetic approach to discovering a city: he felt that he could see so many more details while walking.
foolhardy
rash
The police regularly face dangerous situations, so for a police officer not to wear his bullet-proof vest is foolhardy.
ameliorate
improve
Three Cups of Tea tells the story of western man who hopes to ameliorate poverty and the lack of education in Afghanistan.
bromide
unoriginal remark
Instead of sharing his umbrella, the cheeky stranger offered Martha the following bromide: Looks like it's raining.
vituperate
scold harshly
Jason had dealt with disciplinarians before, but nothing prepared him for the first week of boot camp, as drill sergeants vituperated him for petty oversights such as forgetting to double knot the laces on his boots.
contrite
remorseful
Though he stole his little sister's licorice stick with malevolent glee, Chucky soon became contrite when his sister wouldn't stop crying.
taciturn
quiet
While the CEO enthusiastically shares his plans and agenda with all who will listen, the CFO is far more taciturn, rarely revealing his perspective
vie
compete for
While the other teams in the division actively vie for the championship, this team seems content simply to go through the motions of playing.