adj. not active; acted upon. Mahatma Gandhi urged his followers to pursue a program of passive resistance rather than resorting to violence and acts of terrorism
n. scarcity; lack. They closed the restaurant because the paucity of customers meant that it was a losing proposition to operate
adj. showing off learning; bookish. Leavening his decisions with humorous, down-to-earth anecdotes, Judge Wapner was a pleasant contrast to the typical pedantic legal scholar. pedant, pedantry, n.
n. strong inclination; liking. Dave has a penchant for taking risks: one semester he went steady with three girls, two of whom were stars on the school karate team.
adj. dreamily thoughtful; thoughtful with a hint of sadness; contemplative. Michelangelo's statue of Lorenzo de Medici presents the duke in a pensive attitude, as if deep in thought.
adj. insightful; aware; wise. Although Maud was a generally perceptive critic, she had her blind spots: she could never see flaws in the work of her friends
adj. superficial; not thorough; lacking interest, care, or enthusiasm. Giving the tabletop only a perfunctory swipe with her dust cloth, Betty promised herself she'd do a more thorough job tomorrow
adj. marginal; outer. We lived, not in central London, but in one of those peripheral suburbs that spring up on the outskirts of a great city. periphery, n.
n. false testimony while under oath. Rather than lie under oath and perhaps be indicted for perjury, the witness chose to take the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer any questions on the grounds that he might incriminate himself
adj. very destructive. Crack cocaine has had a pernicious effect on urban society: It has destroyed families, turned children into drug dealers, and increased the spread of violent crime.