88 terms


1. blunder
N. error. The criminal's fatal blunder led to his capture also V.
2. blurt
V. utter impulsively. Before she could stop him, he blurted out the news.
3. bluster
V. blow in heavy gusts; threaten emptily; bully. Let the stormy winds bluster," cried Jack, "we set sail tonight," Jill let Jack bluster; she wasn't going anywhere, no matter what he said. also N.
4. bode
V. foreshadow; portend. The gloomy skies and the sulfurous odors from the mineral springs seemed to bode evil to those who settled in the area.
5. bogus
ADJ. countrified; not authentic. The police quickly found the distributors of the bogus twenty-dollar bills.
6. bohemian
ADJ. unconventional (in an artistic way). Gertrude Stein ran off to Paris to live an eccentric, bohemian life with her writer friends. Oakland was not bohemian; it was too bourgeois, too middle-class.
7. boisterous
ADJ. violent; rough; noisy. The unruly crowd became even more boisterous when he tried to quiet them.
8. bolster
V. support; reinforce. The debaters amassed file boxes full of evidence to bolster their arguments.
9. bolt
N. door bar; fastening pin or screw; length of fabric. The carpenter shut the workshop door, sliding the heavy metal bolt into place. He sorted through his toolbox for the nuts and bolts and nails required for the job. Before he cut into the bolt of canvas, he measured how much fabric he would need.
10. bolt
V. dash or dart off; fasten (a door); gobble down. Jack was set to bolt out the front door, but Jill bolted the door, "Eat your breakfast," she said, "don't bolt your food."
11. bombardment
N. attack (as with missiles). The enemy bombardment demolished the town. Members of the opposition party bombarded the prime minister with questions about the enemy attack.
12. bombastic
ADJ. pompous; using inflated language. Puffed up with conceit, the orator spoke in such a bombastic manner that we longed to deflate him. bombast, N.
13. boon
N. blessing; benefit. The recent rains that filled our empty reservoirs were a boon to the whole community.
14. boorish
ADJ. rude; insensitive. Though Mr. Potts constantly interrupted his wife, she ignored his boorish behavior, for she had lost hope of teaching him courtesy.
15. bouillon
N. clear beef soup. The cup of bouillon served by the stewards was welcomed by those who had been chilled by the cold ocean breezes.
16. bountiful
ADJ. abundant; graciously generous. Thanks to the good harvest, we had a bountiful supply of food and we could be as bountiful as we liked in distributing food to the needy.
17. bourgeois
ADJ. middle class; selfishly materialistic; dully conventional. Technical, anyone who belongs to the middle class is bourgeois, but, given the word's connotations, most people resent it if you call them that.
18. bovine
ADJ. cowlike; placid and dull. Nothing excites Esther; even when she won the state lottery, she still preserved her air of bovine calm.
19. bowdlerize
V. expurgate. After the film editors had bowdlerized the language in the script, the motion picture's rating was changed from "R" to "PG."
20. boycott
V. refrain from buying or using. To put pressure on grape growers to stop using pesticides that harmed the farm workers' health. Cesar Chavez called for consumers to boycott grapes. also N.
21. brackish
ADJ. somewhat saline. He found the only wells in the area were brackish; drinking the water made him nauseous.
22. braggadocio
N. boasting. He was disliked because his manner was always full of braggadocio.
23. braggart
N. boaster. Modest by nature, she was no braggart, preferring to let her accomplishments speak for themselves.
25. brandish
V. wave around; flourish. Alarmed, Doctor Watson wildly brandished his gun until Holmes told him to put the thing away before he shot himself.
26. bravado
N. swagger; assumed air of defiance. The bravado of the young criminal disappeared when he was confronted by the victims of his brutal attack.
27. brawn
N. muscular strength; sturdiness. In takes brawn to become a champion weight-lifter. brawny, ADJ.
28. brazen
ADJ. insolent. Her brazen contempt for authority angered the officials.
29. breach
N. breaking of contract or duty; fissure or gap. Jill sued Jack for breach or promise, claiming he had broken their engagement. The attackers found a breach in the enemy's fortifications and penetrated their lines. also V.
30. breadth
N. width; extent. We were impressed by the breadth of her knowledge.
31. brevity
N. conciseness. Brevity is essential when you send a telegram or cablegram; you are charged for every word.
32. brindled
ADJ. tawny or grayish with streaks or spots. He was disappointed in the litter because the puppies were brindled; he had hoped for animals of a uniform color.
33. bristling
ADJ. rising like bristles; showing irritation. The dog stood there, bristling with anger.
34. brittle
AJD. easily broken; difficult. My employer's brittle personality made it difficult for me to get along with her.
35. broach
V. introduce; open up. Jack did not even try to broach the subject of religion with his in-laws. If you broach a touchy subject, the result may be a breach.
36. brocade
N. rich, figured fabric. The sofa was covered with expensive brocade.
36. brochure
N. pamphlet. This brochure of farming was issued by the Department of Agriculture.
37. brooch
N. ornamental clasp. She treasured the brooch because it was an heirloom.
38. brook
V. tolerate; endure. The dean would brook no interference with his disciplinary actions. (secondary meaning)
39. . browbeat
V. bully; intimidate. Billy resisted Ted's attempts to browbeat him into handing over his lunch money.
40. browse
V. graze; skim or glance at casually. "How now, brown cow, browsing in the green, green grass," I remember lines or verse that I came across while browsing through the poetry section or the local bookstore.
41. brunt
N. main impact or shock. Tom Sawyer calmed credit for painting the fence, but the brunt of the work tell on others. However, Tom bore the brunt of Aunt Polly's complaints when the paint began to peel.
42. brusque
ADJ. pirate. At Disneyland the Pirates of the Caribbean sing a song about their lives as bloody buccaneers.
43. bucolic
ADJ. rustic; pastoral. Filled with browsing cows and bleating sheep, the meadow was a charmingly bucolic sight.
44. buttet
N. table with food set out for people to serve themselves; meal at which people help themselves to food that's been set out (Buffet rhymes with tray) Please convey the souffle on the tray to the buffer.
45. buffet
V. slap; batter; knock about. To butter something is to rough it up. (Buffet rhymes with Muffett.) Was Miss Muffett buffeted by the crowd on the way to the buffet tray?
46. buffoonery
N. clowning. In the Ace Ventura movies, Jim Carrey's buffoonery was hilarious; like Bozo the Clown, he's a natural buffoon.
47. bugaboo
N. bugbear; object of baseless terror. If we become frightened by such bugaboos, we are no wiser than the birds who fear scarecrows.
48. bullion
N. gold and silver in the for of bars. Much bullion is stored in the vaults at Fort Kriox.
49. bulwark
N. earthwork or other strong defense; person who defends. The navy is our principal bulwark against invasion.
50. bungle
V. mismanage; blunder. Don't botch this assignment, Bumstead; it you bungle the job, you're fired!
51. buoyant
ADJ. able to float; cheerful and optimistic. When the boat capsized, her buoyant life jacket kept Jody afloat. Scrambling back on board, she was still in a buoyant mood, certain that despite the delay she'd win the race. buoyancy, N.
52. bureaucracy
N. overregulated administrative system marked by red tape. The Internal Revenue Service is the ultimate bureaucracy; taxpayers wasted so much paper filling out IRS forms that the IRS bureaucrats printed up a new set of rules requiring taxpayers to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act. bureaucratic, ADJ.
53. burgeon
V. grow forth; send out buds. In the spring, the plants that burgeon are a promise of the beauty that is to come.
54. burlesque
V. give an imitation that5 ridicules. In Galaxy Quest, Alan Rickman burlesques Mr. Spock of Star Trek, outrageously parodying Spock's unemotional manner and stiff bearing. also N.
55. burnish
V. make shiny by rubbing; polish. The maid burnished the brass fixtures until they reflected the lamplight.
56. buttress
V. support; prop up. Just as architects buttress the walls of cathedrals with flying buttresses, debaters buttress their arguments with fact. also N.
57. buxom
ADJ. full-bosomed; plump; jolly. High-High-fashion models usually are slender rather than buxom.
58.3 cabal
N. small group of persons secretly united to promote their own interests. The cabal was defeated when its scheme was discovered.
59. cache
N. hiding place. The detectives followed the suspect until he led them to the cache where he had stored his loot also V.
60. cacophonous
ADJ. discordant; inharmonious. Do the students in the orchestra enjoy the cacophonous sounds they make when they're tuning up? I don't know how they can stand the racket. cacophony, N.
61. cadaver
N. corpse. In some states, it is illegal to dissect cadavers.
62. cadaverous
ADJ. like a corpse; pale. From his cadaverous appearance, we could see how the disease had ravaged him.
63. cadence
N. rhythmic rise and fall ( of words or sounds); beat. Marching down the road, the troops sang out, following the cadence set by the sergeant.
64. cadge
V. beg; mooch; panhandle. While his car was in the shop, Bob had to cadge a ride to work each day. Unwilling to be a complete moocher, however, he offered to spay of the gas.
65. cajole
V. coax; wheedle. Cher tried to cajole her father into letting her drive the family car. cajolery, N.
66. calamity
N. disaster; misery. As news of the calamity spread, offers of relief poured in to the stricken community.
67. calculated
ADJ. deliberately planned; likely. Lexy's choice of clothes to wear to the debate tournament was carefully calculated. Her conventional suit was calculated to appeal to the conservative judges.
68. caldron
N. large kettle. "Why, Mr Crusoe," said the savage heating the giant cauldron, "we'd love to have you for dinner!"
69. caliber
N. ability; quality. Einstein's cleaning the blackboards again? Albert, quit it! A man of your caliber shouldn't have to do such menial tasks.
70. calligraphy
N. beautiful writing; excellent penmanship. As we examine ancient manuscripts, we become impressed with the calligraphy of the scribes.
71. callous
ADJ. hardened; unfeeling .he had worked in the hospital for so many years that he was callous to the suffering in the wards. callus, N.
72. callow
ADJ. youthful; immature; inexperienced. As a freshman, jack was sure he was a man of the world; as a sophomore, he made fun of freshmen as callow youths. In both cases, his judgment showed just how callow he was.
73. calorific
ADJ. heat-producing. Coal is much more calorific than green wood.
74. calumny
N. malicious misrepresentation; slander. He could endure his financial failure, but he could not bear the calumny that his foes heaped upon him. According to Herodotus, someone calumniated is doubly injured, first by the person who utters the calumny, and then by the person who believes the slander.
75. camaraderie
N. good-fellowship. What she loved best about his job was the sense of camaraderie he and his coworkers shared.
76. cameo
N. shell or jewel carved in relief; star's special appearance ln a minor role in a film. Don't bother buying cameos from the street peddlers in Rome the carvings they sell are clumsy jobs. Did you enjoy Bill Murray's cameo in Little Shop of Horrors? He was onscreen for only a minute, but he cracked me up.
77. camouflage
V. disguise; conceal. In order to rescue Han Solo. Princess Leia camouflaged herself in the helmet and cloak of a space bandit. also N.
78. canard
N. false or unfounded story; fabricated report. Rather than becoming upset by the National Enquirer story about Tony's supposed infidelity, Tina refused to take the canard seriously. To call a lying tale a base canard or a vile canard is to descend to a cliche.
79. candor
N. frankness; open honesty. Jack can carry candor too far; when he told Jill his honest opinion of her, she nearly slapped his face. candid, ADJ.
80. canine
ADJ. related to dogs; doglike. some days the canine population of Berkeley seems almost to outnumber the human population.
81. canker
N. any ulcerous sore; any evil. Poverty is a canker in the body politic; it must be cured.
82. canny
ADJ. shrewd; thrifty. The canny Scotsman was more than a match for the swindles.
83. canon
N. collection or authoritative list of books (e.g., by an author, or accepted as scripture). Scholars hotly debated whether the newly discovered sonnet should be accepted as part of the Shakespearean canon.
84. canon
N. rule or principle, frequently religious. "One catastrophe, one locality, one bay"-these are Aristotle's rules for tragedy, and classic French plays strictly follow them; Shakespeare, however, disregards all these canons. A born rebel, Katya was constitutionally incapable of abiding by the canons of polite society.
85. cant
N. insincere expressions of piety; jargon of thieves. Shocked by news of the minister's extramarital love affairs, the worshipers dismissed his talk about the sacredness of marriage as mere cant; cant is a form of hypocrisy; those who can, pray; those who cant, pretend.
86. cantankerous
ADJ. ill-humored; irritable. Constantly complaining about his treatment and refusing to cooperate with the hospital staff, he was a cantankerous patient.
87. cantata
N. story set to music, to be sung by a chorus. The choral society sang the new cantata composed by its leader.
88. canter
N. slow gallop. Because the racehorse had out distanced its competition so easily, the reporter wrote that the race was won in a canter, also V.