884 terms

English404

STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

as if there was (or as though there were) no tomorrow with no regard for the future consequences : I ate as if there was no tomorrow.
as if! informal I very much doubt it : You know how lottery winners always say it won't change their lives? Yeah, as if!
as ( it) is in the existing circumstances : I've got enough on my plate as it is.
as it happens actually; as a matter of fact : we've got a room vacant, as it happens.
as it stands in its present condition : there are no merits in the proposal as it stands. • (also as things stand) in the present circumstances : the country would struggle, as it stands, to host the next Winter Olympic Games.
as it were in a way (used to be less precise) : areas that have been, as it were, pushed aside.
as opposed to distinguished from or in contrast with : an approach that is theoretical as opposed to practical.
as regards concerning; with respect to : as regards content, the program will cover important current issues.
as (or so) the saying goes used to introduce or append an expression, drawing attention to its status as a saying or as not part of one's normal language : I am, as the saying goes, burned out.
as to with respect to; concerning : decisions as to which patients receive treatment.
—— as we know it as is familiar or customary in the present : by the year 2000 management as we know it will not exist.
as yet [usu. with negative ] until now or a particular time in the past : the damage is as yet undetermined.
1 [ trans. ] go up or climb : she ascended the stairs | [ intrans. ] new magmas were created and ascended to the surface. • climb to the summit of (a mountain or hill) : the first traveler to ascend the mountain. • (of a fish or boat) move upstream along (a river). 2 [ intrans. ] rise through the air : we had ascended 3,000 ft. • (of a road or flight of steps) slope or lead up : the road ascends to the lake. • move up the social or professional scale : he took exams to ascend through the ranks. • ( ascend to) rise to (an important position or a higher level) : some executives ascend to top-level positions.
occupation of a position of dominant power or influence : the ascendancy of good over evil | they have a moral ascendancy over the rich.
1 rising in power or influence : ascendant moderate factions in the party.
find (something) out for certain; make sure of : an attempt to ascertain the cause of the accident | [with clause ] management should ascertain whether adequate funding can be provided.
attribute something to (a cause) : he ascribed Jane's short temper to her upset stomach. • (usu. be ascribed to) attribute (a text, quotation, or work of art) to a particular person or period : a quotation ascribed to Thomas Cooper. • (usu. be ascribed to) regard (a quality) as belonging to : tough-mindedness is a quality commonly ascribed to top bosses.
to one side; out of the way : he pushed his plate aside | they stood aside to let a car pass | she must put aside all her antagonistic feelings. • in reserve; for future use : she set aside some money for rent.
joking aside, I've certainly had my fill.
not in a straight or level position : [as adv. ] the door was hanging askew on one twisted hinge | [as predic. adj. ] her hat was slightly askew. • figurative wrong; awry : [as adv. ] the plan went sadly askew | [as adj. ] outrageous humor with a decidedly askew point of view.
(of a person) having ambitions to achieve something, typically to follow a particular career : an aspirant politician.
1 ( usu. aspirations ) a hope or ambition of achieving something : he had nothing tangible to back up his literary aspirations | the yawning gulf between aspiration and reality. • the object of such an ambition; a goal : fabrics and oriental rugs were my aspirations.
ass-kissing noun vulgar slang the use of compliments, flattery, or other obsequious behavior in order to gain favor.
make a concerted or violent attack on : the Scots army assailed Edward's army from the rear. See note at attack . • (usu. be assailed) (of an unpleasant feeling or physical sensation) come upon (someone) suddenly and strongly : she was assailed by doubts and regrets.
a collection or gathering of things or people : a wondrous assemblage of noble knights, cruel temptresses, and impossible loves. • a machine or object made of pieces fitted together : some vast assemblage of gears and cogs.
1 [ intrans. ] (of people) gather together in one place for a common purpose : a crowd had assembled outside the gates. See note at gather . • [ trans. ] bring (people or things) together for a common purpose : he assembled the surviving members of the group for a tour.
1 a group of people gathered together in one place for a common purpose : an assembly of scholars and poets. • a group of people elected to make laws or decisions for a particular country or region, esp. the lower legislative house in some U.S. states : the Connecticut General Assembly. 2 the action of gathering together as a group for a common purpose : a decree guaranteeing freedom of assembly. • a regular gathering of the teachers and students of a school : catcalling occurred during the assembly.
the expression of approval or agreement : a loud murmur of assent | he nodded assent. • official agreement or sanction : the governor has power to withhold his assent from a bill.
express approval or agreement, typically officially : Roosevelt assented to the agreement | [with direct speech ] "Guest house, then," Frank assented cheerfully.
state a fact or belief confidently and forcefully : [with clause ] the company asserts that the cuts will not affect development | [ trans. ] he asserted his innocence | [with direct speech ] "I don't know why she came," he asserted. • [ trans. ] cause others to recognize (one's authority or a right) by confident and forceful behavior : the good librarian is able to assert authority when required. • ( assert oneself) behave or speak in a confident and forceful manner : it was time to assert himself.
a confident and forceful statement of fact or belief [with clause ] : his assertion that his father had deserted the family.
having or showing a confident and forceful personality : patients should be more assertive with their doctors.
evaluate or estimate the nature, ability, or quality of : the committee must assess the relative importance of the issues | [with clause ] it is difficult to assess whether this is a new trend. • (usu. be assessed) calculate or estimate the price or value of : the damage was assessed at $5 billion. • (often be assessed) set the value of a tax, fine, etc., for (a person or property) at a specified level : all empty properties will be assessed at 50 percent.
1 allocate (a job or duty) : Congress assigned the task to the agency | [ trans., with two objs. ] his leader assigned him this mission. • (often be assigned) appoint (someone) to a particular job, task, or organization : she has been assigned to a new job | [ trans. ] he was assigned to prosecute the case. 2 designate or set (something) aside for a specific purpose : managers happily assign large sums of money to travel budgets. • ( assign something to) attribute something as belonging to : it is difficult to decide whether to assign the victory to Goodwin.
1 take in (information, ideas, or culture) and understand fully : Marie tried to assimilate the week's events. • (usu. be assimilated) absorb and integrate (people, ideas, or culture) into a wider society or culture : pop trends are assimilated into the mainstream with alarming speed | [ intrans. ] the converts were assimilated into the society of their conquerors.
help (someone), typically by doing a share of the work : a senior academic would assist him in his work | [ trans. ] he assisted her to find employment | [ intrans. ] their presence would assist in keeping the peace. • help by providing money or information : they were assisting police with their inquiries | [ intrans. ] funds to assist with capital investment.
an act of help, typically by providing money : the budget must have an assist from tax policies.
the provision of money, resources, or information to help someone : plans offering financial assistance to employers | she will be glad to give advice and assistance. • the action of helping someone with a job or task : the work was completed with the assistance of carpenters.
• (usu. be associated) connect (something) with something else because they occur together or one produces another : the environmental problems associated with nuclear waste. • ( associate oneself with) allow oneself to be connected with or seen to be supportive of : I cannot associate myself with some of the language used. • ( be associated with) be involved with : she has been associated with the project from the first.
2 a connection or cooperative link between people or organizations : he developed a close association with the university | the program was promoted in association with the Department of Music.
a miscellaneous collection of things or people : the room was filled with an assortment of clothes.1 a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise : [with clause ] he gave an assurance that work would not recommence until Wednesday. 2 confidence or certainty in one's own abilities : she drove with assurance. • certainty about something : assurance of faith depends on our trust in God.
a miscellaneous collection of things or people : the room was filled with an assortment of clothes.
1 [ reporting verb ] tell someone something positively or confidently to dispel any doubts they may have : [ trans. ] Tony assured me that there was a supermarket in the village | [ trans. ] "I quite understand," Mrs. Lewis assured her | [ trans. ] they assured him of their full confidence. • make (someone) sure of something : you would be assured of a fine welcome | she assured herself that he was asleep.
2 [ trans. ] (often be assured) make (something) certain to happen : victory was now assured | [with clause ] their influence assured that the report would be tough.
shock or greatly surprise : her bluntness astounded him.
surprisingly impressive or notable : the summit offers astounding views.
having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one's advantage : an astute businessman. See note at keen .
apart; divided : those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder. • into pieces : the desk burst asunder.
having parts that fail to correspond to one another in shape, size, or arrangement; lacking symmetry : the church has an asymmetrical plan with an aisle only on one side. • having parts or aspects that are not equal or equivalent; unequal in some respect : the asymmetrical relationship between a landlord and a tenant.
at a disadvantage in an unfavorable position relative to someone or someone else : stringent regulations have put farmers at a disadvantage.
at a discount below the nominal or usual price : a plan that allows tenants to buy their homes at a discount. Compare with at a premium (see premium ).
at a glance immediately upon looking : she saw at a glance what had happened.
at a gulp with one gulp : having emptied his glass at a gulp, Roger pulled out a cigar.
at a (or the) minimum at the very least : we zipped along at a minimum of 55 mph.
at a price requiring great expense or involving unwelcome consequences : his generosity comes at a price.
at a range of with a specified distance between one person or thing and another : a bat can detect a moth at a range of less than 8 feet.
at all costs (or at any cost) regardless of the price to be paid or the effort needed : he was anxious to avoid war at all costs.
at a (or one) stroke by a single action having immediate effect : attitudes cannot be changed at one stroke.
at any price no matter what expense, sacrifice, or difficulty is involved : they wanted peace at any price.
at arm's length away from the body, with the arm fully extended : I held the telephone at arm's length.
at bay forced to confront one's attackers or pursuers; cornered.
at best taking the most optimistic or favorable view : signs of recovery are patchy at best.
at ( one's) ease free from worry, awkwardness, or problems; relaxed : she was never quite at ease with Phil.
at every turn on every occasion; continually : her name seemed to come up at every turn.
at first glance when seen or considered for the first time, esp. briefly : good news, at first glance, for frequent travelers.
at first hand directly or from personal experience : scientists observed the process at first hand.
at first sight on first seeing or meeting someone : it was love at first sight. • after an initial impression (which is then found to be different from what is actually the case) : the debate is more complex than it seems at first sight.
at hand nearby : keep the manual close at hand. • readily accessible when needed. • close in time; about to happen : a breakthrough in combating the disease may be at hand.
at heart in one's real nature, in contrast to how one may appear : he's a good guy at heart.
at its (or someone's) worst in the most unpleasant, unimpressive, or unattractive state of which someone or something is capable : nothing's working at the moment, so I suppose you've seen us at our worst. • at the most severe or serious point or level : harsh lines appeared in his face when his rheumatism was at its worst.
at knifepoint under threat of injury from a knife : he was mugged at knifepoint.
PHRASES at large 1 (esp. of a criminal or dangerous animal) at liberty; escaped or not yet captured : the fugitive was still at large. 2 as a whole; in general : there has been a loss of community values in society at large
at length 1 in detail; fully : these aspects have been discussed at length. 2 after a long time : at length she laid down the pencil.
at odds in conflict or at variance : his behavior is at odds with the interests of the company.
at one's convenience at a time or place that suits one.
at one's earliest convenience as soon as one can without difficulty.
at one's fingertips (esp. of information) readily available; accessible : until we have more facts at our fingertips, there is no use in speculating.
at one's leisure at one's ease or convenience.
at present now : membership at present stands at about 5,000.
at random without method or conscious decision : he opened the book at random.
at risk |ˈøt ˈrɪsk| exposed to harm or danger : 23 million people in Africa are at risk from starvation.
at second hand by hearsay rather than direct observation or experience.
at short (or a moment's) notice with little warning or time for preparation : tours may be canceled at short notice.
at someone's command at someone's disposal; available : he had at his command a vast number of ready-made phrases.
at someone's expense paid for by someone : the document was printed at the taxpayer's expense. • with someone as the victim, esp. of a joke : my friends all had a good laugh at my expense.
at someone's pleasure as and when someone wishes : the landlord could terminate the agreement at his pleasure.
at table seated at a table eating a meal.
at (or in) the best of times even in the most favorable circumstances : his memory is poor at the best of times.
at the earliest not before the time or date specified : the table won't be delivered until next week at the earliest.
at the end of the day informal when everything is taken into consideration : at the end of the day, I'm responsible for what happens in the school.
at one's disposal available for one to use whenever or however one wishes : a helicopter was put at their disposal.
at the expense of so as to cause harm to or neglect of : the pursuit of profit at the expense of the environment | language courses that emphasize communication skills at the expense of literature.
at the least (or very least) 1 (used after amounts) not less than; at the minimum : stay ten days at the least. 2 taking the most pessimistic or unfavorable view : a program that is, at the very least, excellent PR for the hospital.
at the mercy of completely in the power or under the control of : consumers were at the mercy of every rogue in the marketplace.
at the risk of doing something although there is the possibility of something unpleasant resulting : at the risk of boring people to tears, I repeat the most important rule in painting.
at the top of one's lungs as loudly as possible.
at this (or that) rate used to introduce the prediction of a particular unwelcome eventuality should things continue as they are or if a certain assumption is true : at this rate, I won't have a job to go back to.
at times sometimes; on occasions.
at will at whatever time or in whatever way one pleases : it can be molded and shaped at will | he was shoved around at will.
at worst (or the worst) in the most serious case : at worst the injury could mean months in the hospital. • under the most unfavorable interpretation : the cabinet's reaction to the crisis was at best ineffective and at worst irresponsible.
make amends or reparation : he was being helpful, to atone for his past mistakes.
reparation for a wrong or injury : she wanted to make atonement for her husband's behavior. • Religion reparation or expiation for sin : the High Priest offered the sacrifice as atonement for all the sins of Israel.
horrifyingly wicked : atrocious cruelties.
an extremely wicked or cruel act, typically one involving physical violence or injury : war atrocities | scenes of hardship and atrocity. • humorous a highly unpleasant or distasteful object : the house was a split-level atrocity.
attention deficit disorder (also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) (abbr.: ADD or ADHD)
attention span
paying close attention to something : never before had she had such an attentive audience | Congress should be more attentive to the interests of taxpayers. • assiduously attending to the comfort or wishes of others; very polite or courteous : the hotel has a pleasant atmosphere and attentive service.
reduce the force, effect, or value of : her intolerance was attenuated by a rather unexpected liberalism.
provide or serve as clear evidence of : his status is attested by his recent promotion | [ intrans. ] his numerous drawings of ships attest to his fascination with them. • [ intrans. ] declare that something exists or is the case : I can attest to his tremendous energy | [with clause ] the deceased's attorney attested that he had been about to institute divorce proceedings. • be a witness to; certify formally : the witnesses must attest and sign the will in the testator's presence.
clothes, esp. fine or formal ones : holiday attire. verb ( be attired) be dressed in clothes of a specified kind : Donna was attired in an elaborate evening gown | [as adj., with submodifier ] ( attired) the outrageously attired rock star.
regard something as being caused by (someone or something) : he attributed the firm's success to the efforts of the managing director | the bombing was attributed to the IRA. • ascribe a work or remark to (a particular author, artist, or speaker) : the building was attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright. • regard a quality or feature as characteristic of or possessed by (someone or something) : ancient peoples attributed magic properties to certain stones.
a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something : flexibility and mobility are the key attributes of our army.
make receptive or aware : a society more attuned to consumerism than ideology | [as adj. ] ( attuned) the department is very attuned politically. • accustom or acclimatize : students are not attuned to making decisions. • [ intrans. ] become receptive to or aware of : a conscious attempt to attune to the wider audience.
au revoir |əʊ rəˈvwɑː| exclamation good-bye until we meet again.
1 showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks : a series of audacious takeovers. See note at bold . 2 showing an impudent lack of respect : an audacious remark.
1 the willingness to take bold risks : her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency. See note at temerity . 2 rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence : she had the audacity to pick up the receiver and ask me to hang up.
• a systematic review or assessment of something : a complete audit of flora and fauna at the site.
1 conduct an official financial examination of (an individual's or organization's accounts) : companies must have their accounts audited.
make (something) greater by adding to it; increase : he augmented his summer income by painting houses.
the action or process of making or becoming greater in size or amount : the augmentation of the curriculum with new subjects.
of or relating to the ear or the sense of hearing : aural anatomy | information held in written, aural, or database form.
under the auspices of with the help, support, or protection of : the delegation's visit was arranged under UN auspices.
conducive to success; favorable : it was not the most auspicious moment to hold an election. • giving or being a sign of future success : they said it was an auspicious moon—it was rising.
severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance : an austere man, with a rigidly puritanical outlook | an austere expression. See note at severe . • (of living conditions or a way of life) having no comforts or luxuries; harsh or ascetic : conditions in the prison could hardly be more austere. • having an extremely plain and simple style or appearance; unadorned : the cathedral is impressive in its austere simplicity.
sternness or severity of manner or attitude : he was noted for his austerity and his authoritarianism. • extreme plainness and simplicity of style or appearance : the room was decorated with a restraint bordering on austerity. • ( austerities) conditions characterized by severity, sternness, or asceticism : his austerities had undermined his health | the simple life of prayer and personal austerity.
give official permission for or approval to (an undertaking or agent) : the government authorized further aircraft production | [as adj. ] ( authorized) an authorized dealer | [ trans. ] the troops were authorized to use force.
autocracy |ɔːˈtɒkrəsi| noun ( pl. -cies) a system of government by one person with absolute power.
convert (a process or facility) to largely automatic operation : industry is investing in automating production | [as adj. ] ( automated) a fully automated process.
make automatic or habitual : the need to refresh automatized forms of literature.
(of a country or region) having self-government, at least to a significant degree : the federation included sixteen autonomous republics. • acting independently or having the freedom to do so : an autonomous committee of the school board | autonomous underwater vehicles.
(of a country or region) the right or condition of self-government, esp. in a particular sphere : Tatarstan demanded greater autonomy within the Russian Federation. • a self-governing country or region. • freedom from external control or influence; independence : economic autonomy is still a long way off for many women.
a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease : [as adj. ] an autopsy report.
providing supplementary or additional help and support : an auxiliary nurse | auxiliary airport staff. • (of equipment) held in reserve : the ship has an auxiliary power source.
a person or thing providing supplementary or additional help and support : a nursing auxiliary | there are two main fuel tanks and two auxiliaries.
1 ( avail oneself of) use or take advantage of (an opportunity or available resource) : my daughter did not avail herself of my advice.
• [ trans. ] (usu. be avalanched) engulf or carry off by such a mass of material : the climbers were avalanched down the south face of the mountain.
inflict harm in return for (an injury or wrong done to oneself or another) : his determination to avenge the murder of his brother | they are eager to avenge last year's Super Bowl defeat.
2 a way of approaching a problem or making progress toward something : three possible avenues of research suggested themselves.
[ trans. ] achieve or amount to as an average rate or amount over a period of time : annual inflation averaged 2.4 percent.
a strong dislike or disinclination : he had a deep-seated aversion to most forms of exercise.
having a strong dislike of or opposition to something : as a former CIA director, he is not averse to secrecy | [in combination ] the bank's approach has been risk-averse.
2 prevent or ward off (an undesirable occurrence) : talks failed to avert a rail strike.
• ( avid for) having an eager desire for something : she was avid for information about the murder inquiry.
assert or confess openly : [with clause ] he avowed that he had voted Republican in every election | [ trans. ] he avowed his change of faith | [as adj. ] ( avowed) an avowed Marxist.
• (of an event or circumstance) be in store for (someone) : many dangers await them.
covered or flooded with water, esp. seawater or rain : the boat rolled violently, its decks awash | figurative the city was awash with journalists.
away with said as an exhortation to overcome or be rid of something; let us be rid of : away with poverty!
a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder : they gazed in awe at the small mountain of diamonds | the sight filled me with awe | his staff members are in awe of him.
inspire with awe : they were both awed by the vastness of the forest | [as adj. ] ( awed) he spoke in a hushed, awed whisper.
filled with or revealing awe : people were awestruck by the pictures sent back to earth.
1 [as submodifier ] (used esp. in spoken English) very : I'm awfully sorry to bother you so late | an awfully nice man. 2 very badly or unpleasantly : we played awfully.
awkward age noun the period of adolescence marked by self-consciousness and moody behavior.
away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course; amiss : [as adv. ] many youthful romances go awry | [as predic. adj. ] I got the impression that something was awry. • out of the normal or correct position; askew : [as predic. adj. ] he was hatless, his silver hair awry.
1 end, cancel, or dismiss suddenly and ruthlessly : the company is axing 125 jobs | 2,500 staff were axed as part of the realignment. • reduce (costs or services) drastically : the candidates all promised to ax government spending.
a statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true : the axiom that supply equals demand.
self-evident or unquestionable : it is axiomatic that dividends have to be financed.
talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way : he would babble on in his gringo Spanish. • [ reporting verb ] utter something rapidly and incoherently : [with direct speech ] I gasped and stared and babbled, "Look at this!" | [ trans. ] he began to babble an apology. • reveal something secret or confidential by talking impulsively or carelessly : he babbled to another convict while he was in jail | [ trans. ] my father babbled out the truth.
the sound of people talking quickly and in a way that is difficult or impossible to understand : a babble of protest.
back and forth to and fro.
back alley noun a narrow passage behind or between buildings.
(esp. of manual labor) physically demanding : a day's back-breaking work.
a state of inaction or suspension; a position of relatively little importance : priorities that have been placed on the back burner year after year.
1 a secondary or covert route for the passage of information : the agency offered a reliable backchannel to Washington | [as adj. ] backchannel briefings.
(of an activity) clandestine; underhanded : backdoor private deals.
back off draw back from action or confrontation : they backed off from fundamental reform of the system. • another way of saying back down .
back out withdraw from a commitment : if he backs out of the deal they'll sue him.
back to front |ˈˌbak tə ˈfrənt| |ˈˈbøk tə ˈfrənt| Brit. reversed; backward : the exhausts had been fitted back to front | a back-to-front baseball cap.
back to the drawing board used to indicate that an idea, scheme, or proposal has been unsuccessful and that a new one must be devised : the government must go back to the drawing board and review the whole issue of youth training.
1 (of an engine) undergo a mistimed explosion in the cylinder or exhaust : a car backfired in the road. 2 (of a plan or action) rebound adversely on the originator; have the opposite effect to what was intended : overzealous publicity backfired on her.
backflip |ˈbakflɪp| noun a backward somersault done in the air with the arms and legs stretched out straight.
1 (in tennis and other racket sports) a stroke played with the back of the hand facing in the direction of the stroke, typically starting with the arm crossing the body : he drove a backhand into the net | [as adj. ] a backhand volley.
1 [in sing. ] a strong and adverse reaction by a large number of people, esp. to a social or political development : a public backlash against racism.
bad breath noun unpleasant-smelling breath; halitosis.
bad-mouth verb [ trans. ] informal criticize (someone or something); speak disloyally of : no one wants to hire an individual who bad-mouths a prior employer.
easily annoyed or made angry : in a heat wave, many people become increasingly bad-tempered. • characterized by anger or ungraciousness : Mary was feeling very bad-tempered | a bad-tempered exchange.
1 totally bewilder or perplex : an unexplained occurrence that baffled everyone | [as adj. ] ( baffling) the baffling murder of her sister. See note at thwart .
(of clothing) loose and hanging in folds : baggy pants. • (of eyes) with folds of puffy skin below them : his eyes were baggy with the fatigue of overwork.
the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money be lodged to guarantee their appearance in court : he has been released on bail.
release or secure the release of (a prisoner) on payment of bail : his son called home to get bailed out of jail. See also bail out at bail 3 .
bail someone/something out release someone or something from a difficulty; rescue : the state will not bail out loss-making enterprises.
balance of power 1 a situation in which nations of the world have roughly equal power. 2 the power held by a small group when larger groups are of equal strength.
an action or activity that requires a delicate balance between different situations or requirements : our balancing act between working more to buy luxuries and having enough leisure to enjoy them.
baldy |ˈbɔːldi| (also baldie) noun ( pl. baldies) informal derogatory a baldheaded person.
1 hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking : any gardener will at first balk at enclosing the garden.
ballistic missile noun a missile with a high, arching trajectory, that is initially powered and guided but falls under gravity onto its target. Compare with guided .
1 swell out in a spherical shape; billow : the trousers ballooned out below his waist | [ trans. ] the wind ballooned her sleeves. • (of an amount of money) increase rapidly : the company's debt has ballooned in the last five years | [as adj. ] ( ballooning) ballooning government spending. • swell dramatically in size or number : the public payroll ballooned from about 27,000 people to about 66,000 people • (of a person) increase rapidly and dramatically in weight : I had ballooned on the school's starchy diet.
a process of voting, in writing and typically in secret : next year's primary ballot | the commissioners were elected by ballot.
• informal a particular area or range : we can make a pretty good guess that this figure's in the ballpark.
so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring : songs with banal, repeated words.
a robber or outlaw belonging to a gang and typically operating in an isolated or lawless area : the bandit produced a weapon and demanded money.
1 a sudden loud noise : the door slammed with a bang | I heard a series of loud bangs. • a sharp blow causing such a loud noise : I went to answer a bang on the front door. • a sudden painful blow : a nasty bang on the head.
1 [ trans. ] strike or put down (something) forcefully and noisily, typically in anger or in order to attract attention : he began to bang the table with his fist | Sarah banged the phone down | [ intrans. ] someone was banging on the door. • [ trans. ] come into contact with (something) suddenly and sharply, typically by accident : I banged my head on the low beams | [ intrans. ] she banged into some shelves in the darkness. • [ intrans. ] make a sudden loud noise, typically repeatedly : the shutter was banging in the wind. • [ trans. ] (of a door) open or close violently and noisily : he banged the kitchen door shut behind him | [ intrans. ] the door banged open and a man staggered out. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) move around or do something noisily, esp. as an indication of anger or irritation : she was banging around the kitchen. • [ trans. ] (of a sports player) hit (a ball or a shot) forcefully and successfully : in his second start he banged out two hits.
bang something out informal 1 play music noisily, enthusiastically, and typically unskillfully : Dad was annihilating a Beethoven sonata, banging out notes. 2 produce hurriedly or in great quantities : they weren't banging out ads in my day the way they are now.
send (someone) away from a country or place as an official punishment : they were banished to Siberia for political crimes. • forbid, abolish, or get rid of (something unwanted) : it's perfectly feasible to banish the smoke without banning smoking | all thoughts of romance were banished from her head.
barb 1 |bɑːb| noun 1 a sharp projection near the end of an arrow, fishhook, or similar item, angled away from the main point so as to make extraction difficult. • a cluster of spikes on barbed wire. • figurative a deliberately hurtful remark : his barb hurt more than she cared to admit.
1 savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal : he had carried out barbaric acts in the name of war. 2 primitive; unsophisticated : the barbaric splendor he found in civilizations since destroyed.
• figurative something that has a comforting, soothing, or restorative effect : the murmur of the water can provide balm for troubled spirits.
having a barb or barbs : barbed arrows. • figurative (of a remark or joke) deliberately hurtful : a fair degree of barbed wit.
the trade unions were a political force to be reckoned with.
a minute or two had passed
he's a bit of a womanizer
the company's no-nonsense attitude is a breath of fresh air.
a double-edged sword
a done deal
people have been having a free ride, paying so little rent that there is no money for maintenance.
a friend in need is a friend indeed
: a good many of us.
you escaped death by a hair's breadth.
a hard nut to crack informal a person or thing that is difficult to understand or influence.
a head start an advantage granted or gained at the beginning of something : our fine traditions give us a head start on the competition.
a high old time informal a most enjoyable time : they had a high old time at the clambake.
a home away from home a place where one is as happy, relaxed, or comfortable as in one's own home.
a level playing field a situation in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.
a man/woman of his/her word a person who keeps their promises.
a matter of life and death see life .
a means to an end a thing that is not valued or important in itself but is useful in achieving an aim : a computer is merely a means to an end.
a miss is as good as a mile proverb the fact of failure or escape is not affected by the narrowness of the margin.
a mouth to feed a person, typically a child, who has to be looked after and fed : how can they afford another mouth to feed?
a nail in the coffin an action or event regarded as likely to have a detrimental or destructive effect on a situation, enterprise, or person : this was going to put the final nail in the coffin of his career.
a needle in a haystack something that is almost impossible to find because it is hidden among so many other things.
forceps
pliers
a pat on the back an expression of approval or congratulation : they deserve a pat on the back for a job well done.
a play on words a pun.
a posteriori
a price on someone's head a reward offered for someone's capture or death.
a race against time a situation in which something must be done before a particular point in time : it was a race against time to reach shore before the dinghy sank.
a rainy day used in reference to a possible time in the future when something, esp. money, will be needed : invest and save for a rainy day.
a road to nowhere a situation or course of action offering no prospects of progress or advancement.
a rolling stone gathers no moss proverb a person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth, status, responsibilities, or commitments.
a rotten (or bad) apple informal a bad or corrupt person in a group, typically one whose behavior is likely to have a detrimental influence on his or her associates. [ORIGIN: with reference to the effect that a rotten apple has on fruit with which it is in contact.]
a second thought [with negative ] more than the slightest consideration : not one of them gave a second thought to the risks involved.
a shoulder to cry on someone who listens sympathetically to one's problems.
a sight for sore eyes informal a person or thing that one is extremely pleased or relieved to see.
a sight to behold a person or thing that is particularly impressive or worth seeing.
a sinking ship used in various phrases to describe an organization or endeavor that is failing, usually in the context of criticizing someone for leaving it : they have fled like rats from a sinking ship.
a (or that) sinking feeling an unpleasant feeling caused by the realization that something unpleasant or undesirable has happened or is about to happen.
a straight face a blank or serious facial expression, esp. when trying not to laugh : my father kept a straight face when he joked.
a tall order an unreasonable or difficult demand.
a thing of the past a thing that no longer happens or exists.
a tough (or hard) nut to crack informal a difficult problem or an opponent hard to beat.
a trouble shared is a trouble halved proverb talking to someone else about one's problems helps to alleviate them.
1 give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking) : he had clearly abandoned all pretense of trying to succeed. See note at relinquish .
• leave (a place, typically a building) empty or uninhabited, without intending to return : derelict houses were abandoned.
cause to feel embarrassed, disconcerted, or ashamed : she was not abashed at being caught.
behave in a way so as to belittle or degrade (someone) : I watched my colleagues abasing themselves before the board of trustees. See note at humble .
• [ trans. ] cause to become smaller or less intense : nothing abated his crusading zeal.
(of a monarch) renounce one's throne : in 1918 Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated as German emperor | [ trans. ] Ferdinand abdicated the throne in favor of the emperor's brother.
• [ trans. ] fail to fulfill or undertake (a responsibility or duty) : the government was accused of abdicating its responsibility | [ intrans. ] the secretary of state should not abdicate from leadership on educational issues.
abductee noun a person who has been abducted.
aberrant |əˈbɛr(ə)nt| adjective departing from an accepted standard. • chiefly Biology diverging from the normal type : aberrant chromosomes. DERIVATIVES aberrance |ˈøbərəns| |əˈbɛrəns| noun aberrancy |ˈøbərənsi| |əˈbɛrənsi| noun aberrantly adverb
a departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically one that is unwelcome : they described the outbreak of violence in the area as an aberration.
• a person whose beliefs or behavior are unusual or unacceptable : evil men are an aberration.
• a departure from someone's usual moral character or mental ability, typically for the worse : I see these activities as some kind of mental aberration.
regard with disgust and hatred : professional tax preparers abhor a flat tax because it would dry up their business. See note at despise .
inspiring disgust and loathing; repugnant : racial discrimination was abhorrent to us all. See note at offensive .
2 [ trans. ] ( can/could not abide) informal be unable to tolerate (someone or something) : if there is one thing I cannot abide it is a lack of discipline.
1 [ attrib. ] (of a situation or condition) extremely bad, unpleasant, and degrading : abject poverty. • (of an unhappy state of mind) experienced to the maximum degree : his letter plunged her into abject misery.
burning fiercely : his clothes were ablaze | [as complement ] farm buildings were set ablaze. • very brightly colored or lighted : New England is ablaze with color in autumn. • made bright by a strong emotion : his eyes were ablaze with anger.
fit, strong, and healthy; not physically disabled : he was the only able-bodied man on the farm.
skillfully; competently : Steven has summed up our concerns very ably.
on or into (a ship, aircraft, train, or other vehicle) : [as adv. ] welcome aboard, sir | the plane crashed, killing all 158 people aboard | [as prep. ] climbing aboard the yacht. • on or onto (a horse) : [as adv. ] with Migliore aboard, he won the cup at a gallop. • figurative into an organization or team as a new member : [as adv. ] coming aboard as IBM's new chairman.
formally put an end to (a system, practice, or institution) : the tax was abolished in 1977.
the action or an act of abolishing a system, practice, or institution : the abolition of child labor.
causing moral revulsion : the uprising was suppressed with abominable cruelty. See note at offensive . • informal very unpleasant : a cup of abominable tea.
detest; loathe : they abominated the very idea of monarchy.
2 bring to a premature end because of a problem or fault : the pilot aborted his landing. noun informal or technical an act of aborting a flight, space mission, or other enterprise : there was an abort because of bad weather.
abortion pill
exist in large numbers or amounts : rumors of a further scandal abound. • ( abound in/with) have in large numbers or amounts : this land abounds with wildlife.
above all ( else) more so than anything else : he was concerned above all to speak the truth.
scrape or wear away by friction or erosion : a landscape slowly abraded by a fine, stinging dust.
the process of scraping or wearing away : the metal is resistant to abrasion. • an area damaged by scraping or wearing away : there were cuts and abrasions to the lips and jaw.
abrasive |əˈbreɪsɪv|
• figurative up to date with the latest news, ideas, or information : keeping abreast of developments.
1 shorten (a book, movie, speech, or other text) without losing the sense : the cassettes have been abridged from the original stories | [as adj. ] ( abridged) an abridged text of his speech. 2 Law curtail (rights or privileges) : even the right to free speech can be abridged.
1 a shortened version of a larger work : an abridgment of Shakespeare's Henry VI.
1 sudden and unexpected : I was surprised by the abrupt change of subject | our round of golf came to an abrupt end on the 13th hole.
leave hurriedly and secretly, typically to avoid detection of or arrest for an unlawful action such as theft : she absconded with the remaining thousand dollars.
absence of mind failure to concentrate on or remember what one is doing.
(of a person or a person's behavior or manner) having or showing a habitually forgetful or inattentive disposition : an absentminded smile.
absenteeism |abs(ə)nˈtiːɪz(ə)m|
absolute advantage
absolute value
set or declare (someone) free from blame, guilt, or responsibility : the pardon absolved them of any crimes.
1 take in or soak up (energy, or a liquid or other substance) by chemical or physical action, typically gradually : buildings can be designed to absorb and retain heat | steroids are absorbed into the bloodstream.
1 restrain oneself from doing or enjoying something : abstaining from chocolate. • refrain from drinking alcohol : most pregnant women abstain or drink very little. 2 formally decline to vote either for or against a proposal or motion : forty-one voted with the opposition, and some sixty more abstained.
1 extremely offensive and insulting : abusive language | he became quite abusive and swore at her. 2 engaging in or characterized by habitual violence and cruelty : abusive parents | an abusive relationship. 3 involving injustice or illegality : the abusive and predatory practices of businesses.
1 assent or agree to a demand, request, or treaty : the authorities did not accede to the strikers' demands. 2 assume an office or position : he acceded to the post of director in September. • become a member of a community or organization : Albania acceded to the IMF in 1990.
accelerometer |əksɛləˈrɒmɪtə|
make more noticeable or prominent : his jacket unfortunately accentuated his paunch.
accident-prone
accidents will happen however careful you try to be, it is inevitable that some unfortunate or unforeseen events will occur : problems like these should not occur, but accidents will happen.
praise enthusiastically and publicly : the conference was acclaimed as a considerable success | [ trans. ] he was acclaimed a great painter. See note at praise . noun enthusiastic and public praise : she has won acclaim for her commitment to democracy.
1 an award or privilege granted as a special honor or as an acknowledgment of merit : the ultimate official accolade of a visit by the president.
accomplice |əˈkʌmplɪs| |əˈkɒm-| noun a person who helps another commit a crime.
1 [ trans. ] give or grant someone (power, status, or recognition) : the powers accorded to the head of state | [with two objs. ] the young man had accorded her little notice.
• agreement or harmony : the government and the rebels are in accord on one point | function and form in harmonious accord.
in a manner conforming with : the product is disposed of in accordance with federal regulations.
1 in a way that is appropriate to the particular circumstances : we have to discover what his plans are and act accordingly. 2 [ sentence adverb ] consequently; therefore : There was no breach of the rules. Accordingly, there will be no disciplinary inquiry.
1 (of a person, organization, or institution) required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible : government must be accountable to its citizens | parents could be held accountable for their children's actions. See note at responsible . 2 explicable; understandable : the delayed introduction of characters' names is accountable, if we consider that names have a low priority.
1 give credit (to someone) for : he was accredited with being one of the world's fastest sprinters. • attribute (an action, saying, or quality) to : the discovery of distillation is usually accredited to the Arabs. 2 (of an official body) give authority or sanction to (someone or something) when recognized standards have been met : institutions that do not meet the standards will not be accredited for teacher training.
(of sums of money or benefits) be received by someone in regular or increasing amounts over time : financial benefits will accrue from restructuring | [as adj. ] ( accrued) the accrued interest.
gathering or growing by gradual increases : the accumulative effects of pollution.
Achilles heel |əˈkɪliːz|
1 (of a person) suffer from a continuous dull pain : I'm aching all over.
• figurative feel intense sadness or compassion : she sat still and silent, her heart aching | she looked so tired that my heart ached for her. 2 feel an intense desire for : she ached for his touch | [with infinitive ] he was aching to get his hands on the ball.
make or become acid : [ trans. ] pollutants can acidify surface water | [ intrans. ] the paper was acidifying.
acidity |əˈsɪdɪti|
make someone aware of or familiar with : new staff should be acquainted with fire exit routes | you need to acquaint yourself with the house style. • ( be acquainted) be an acquaintance : I am not acquainted with any young lady of that name | I'll leave you two to get acquainted.
accept something reluctantly but without protest : Sara acquiesced in his decision.
1 [ trans. ] (usu. be acquitted) free (someone) from a criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty : she was acquitted on all counts | the jury acquitted him of murder. See note at absolve . 2 ( acquit oneself) conduct oneself or perform in a specified way : the Israeli windsurfers acquitted themselves well at the 1994 championship. • ( acquit oneself of) archaic discharge (a duty or responsibility) : they acquitted themselves of their charge with vigilance.
a judgment that a person is not guilty of the crime with which the person has been charged : the trial resulted in an acquittal | the women felt their chances of acquittal were poor.
• angry and bitter : an acrid farewell.
acrophobia |akrəˈfəʊbɪə| noun extreme or irrational fear of heights.
• expressing position or orientation : they lived across the street from one another | the bridge across the river | [as adv. ] he looked across at me | halfway across, Jenny jumped.
across the board applying to all : the cutbacks might be across the board.
• [with adj. ] a particular type of behavior or routine : he did his Sir Galahad act.
act (or be) one's age [usu. in imperative ] behave in a manner appropriate to someone of one's age and not to someone much younger : "Act your age" is not advice to behave like an adolescent.
make (something) active or operative : fumes from cooking are enough to activate the alarm.
make a reality of : he had actualized his dream and achieved the world record.
actual existence, typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed : the building looked as impressive in actuality as it did in magazines | a mission was sent to investigate the actuality of the situation. • ( actualities) existing conditions or facts : the grim actualities of prison life.
actuary |ˈaktjʊəri| |-tʃʊ-| noun ( pl. -aries) a person who compiles and analyzes statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and premiums.
formed, arranged, or done for a particular purpose only : [as adj. ] an ad hoc committee | the discussions were on an ad hoc basis | [as adv. ] the group was constituted ad hoc.
again and again in the same way; forever : registration is for seven years and may be renewed ad infinitum.
a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth : the old adage "out of sight out of mind." See note at saying .
Adam's apple
refusing to be persuaded or to change one's mind : he is adamant that he is not going to resign.
add fuel to the fire (or flames) figurative cause a situation or conflict to become more intense, esp. by provocative comments.
add insult to injury act in a way that makes a bad or displeasing situation worse.
a substance added to something in small quantities, typically to improve or preserve it : many foods contain chemical additives.
very skilled or proficient at something : he is adept at cutting through red tape | an adept negotiator. noun |ˈadept; əˈdept| |ˈadɛpt| a person who is skilled or proficient at something : they are adepts at kung fu and karate.
satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity : this office is perfectly adequate for my needs | the law is adequate to deal with the problem | adequate resources and funding.
stick fast to (a surface or substance) : paint won't adhere well to a greasy surface. • believe in and follow the practices of : the people adhere to the Muslim religion. • represent truthfully and in detail : the account adhered firmly to fact.
able to stick fast to a surface or object; sticky : an adhesive label.
• (also adhesive tape) a strip of paper or plastic coated with adhesive, used to stick things together.
• (also adhesive tape) a strip of paper or plastic coated with adhesive, used to stick things together.
1 next to or adjoining something else : adjacent rooms | the area adjacent to the fire station.
be next to and joined with (a building, room, or piece of land) : the dining room adjoins a small library | [as adj. ] ( adjoining) adjoining room.
break off (a meeting, legal case, or game) with the intention of resuming it later : the meeting was adjourned until December 4 [ intrans. ] : let's adjourn and reconvene at 2 o'clock. See note at postpone .
consider or declare to be true or the case : she was adjudged guilty | [ trans. ] he was adjudged to be offensive.
1 a thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part : computer technology is an adjunct to learning.
connected or added to something, typically in an auxiliary way : other alternative or adjunct therapies include immunotherapy.
2 dispense or apply (a remedy or drug) : paramedic crews are capable of administering drugs. • deal out or inflict (punishment) : retribution was administered to those found guilty.
without further (or more) ado without any fuss or delay; immediately.
• take up or start to use or follow (an idea, method, or course of action) : this approach has been adopted by many big banks. • take on or assume (an attitude or position): : he adopted a patronizing tone | adopt a slightly knees-bent position.
love and respect (someone) deeply : he adored his mother. See note at revere .
make more beautiful or attractive : pictures and prints adorned his walls.
(of a boat or its passengers) floating without being either moored or steered : [as adv. ] a cargo ship went adrift | [as adj. ] the seamen are adrift in lifeboats.
• figurative (of a person) without purpose or guidance; lost and confused : [as predic. adj. ] he was adrift in a strange country | [as adv. ] they were cast adrift in a sea of events.
obsequious flattery; excessive admiration or praise : he found it difficult to cope with the adulation of the fans.
voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse : she was committing adultery with a much younger man.
of or involving adultery : an adulterous affair.
the process of promoting a cause or plan : their lives were devoted to the advancement of science. • the promotion of a person in rank or status : opportunities for career advancement. • development or improvement : technological advancements.
the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event : the advent of television.
given to adventures or to running risks; adventurous : three adventuresome, energetic boys.
one's opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute : Davis beat his old adversary in the quarterfinals.
preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable : taxes are having an adverse effect on production | adverse weather conditions. See note at hostile .
difficulties; misfortune : resilience in the face of adversity | she overcame many adversities.
(of a course of action) to be recommended; sensible : it is advisable to carry one of the major credit cards | early booking is advisable.
having or consisting in the power to make recommendations but not to take action enforcing them : an independent advisory committee | the Commission acts in an advisory capacity to the government. • recommended but not compulsory : universities may treat the recommendations as advisory.
a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy : he was an untiring advocate of economic reform. • a person who pleads on someone else's behalf : care managers can become advocates for their clients. • a pleader in a court of law; a lawyer : Marshall was a skilled advocate but a mediocre judge. verb |-ˌkāt| |ˈødvəˈkeɪt| |ˈadvəkeɪt| [ trans. ] publicly recommend or support : they advocated strict adherence to Islam.
public support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy : their advocacy of traditional family values.
existing, happening, or operating in the air : an aerial battle | an intrepid aerial adventurer. • coming or carried out from the air, esp. using aircraft : aerial bombardment of civilian targets | aerial photography.
at or to a distance : our hero traveled afar | for months he had loved her from afar.
friendly, good-natured, or easy to talk to : an affable and agreeable companion.
readily feeling or showing fondness or tenderness : a happy and affectionate family.
1 a gentle feeling of fondness or liking : she felt affection for the wise old lady | he won a place in her affections.
the state or process of affiliating or being affiliated : he had no particular affiliation, no close associates | his political affiliations.
state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly : [ trans. ] he affirmed the country's commitment to peace | [with clause ] we affirm that God's grace is available to all. | [with direct speech ] "Pessimism," she affirmed, "is the most rational view." • [ trans. ] declare one's support for; uphold or defend : the referendum affirmed the republic's right to secede.
the action or process of affirming or being affirmed : an affirmation of basic human values | he nodded in affirmation.
agreeing with a statement or to a request : an affirmative answer. • (of a vote) expressing approval or agreement. • supportive, hopeful, or encouraging : the music's natural buoyancy and affirmative character. • active or obligatory : they have an affirmative duty to stop crime in their buildings | using affirmative measures to influence human rights policies.
stick, attach, or fasten (something) to something else : he licked the stamp and affixed it to the envelope.
(of a problem or illness) cause pain or suffering to; affect or trouble : serious ills afflict the industry | his younger child was afflicted with a skin disease | [as plural n. ] ( the afflicted) he comforted the afflicted.
a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity, subject, or pastime : aficionados of the finest wines.
in flames; burning : [as adv. ] pour brandy over the steaks and then set aflame.
floating in water; not sinking : [as adv. ] they trod water to keep afloat | [as predic. adj. ] the canoes were still afloat.
• in general circulation; current : [as predic. adj. ] the rumor has been afloat that I am far advanced in years.
1 in preparation or progress; happening or beginning to happen : [as predic. adj. ] plans are afoot for a festival.
denoting a thing or person previously mentioned : songs from the aforementioned album.
1 the consequences or aftereffects of an event, esp. when unpleasant : food prices soared in the aftermath of the drought.
1 (in some religions) life after death : most Christians believe in an afterlife.
an item or thing that is thought of or added later : as an afterthought she said "Thank you."
against (or with) the stream against (or with) the prevailing view or tendency : a world in which the demand for quality does not run against the stream.
(of the mouth) wide open, esp. with surprise or wonder : Downes listened, mouth agape with incredulity.
collect or form into a mass or group [ trans. ] : companies agglomerate multiple sites such as chains of stores [ intrans. ] : these small particles soon agglomerate together.
1 make (a problem, injury, or offense) worse or more serious : military action would only aggravate the situation. 2 informal annoy or exasperate (someone), esp. persistently : [as adj. ] ( aggravating) she found him thoroughly aggravating and unprofessional.
1 a whole formed by combining several (typically disparate) elements : the council was an aggregate of three regional assemblies. • the total number of points scored by a player or team in a series of sporting contests : the result put the sides even on aggregate.
filled with horror or shock : when the news came out they were aghast.
1 a person who urges others to protest or rebel : a communist agitator.
glowing : his bald head aglow under the lights.
undergo great mental anguish through worrying about something : I didn't agonize over the problem.
extreme physical or mental suffering : he crashed to the ground in agony. • [with adj. ] the final stages of a difficult or painful death : his last agony | the death agony.
1 enjoyable and pleasurable; pleasant : a cheerful and agreeable companion. See note at pleasant . 2 [ predic. ] willing to agree to something : they were agreeable to its publication. • (of a course of action) acceptable : a compromise that might be agreeable to both management and unions.
ahead of one's (or its) time innovative and radical by the standards of the time; more characteristic of a later age.
ahead of (or behind) schedule earlier (or later) than planned or expected.
ahead of (or behind)the curve (esp. of a business or politician) ahead of (or lagging behind) current thinking or trends. trouble or afflict (someone) in mind or body : exercise is good for whatever ails you. aim high be ambitious.
without purpose or direction : an aimless, ungratifying life.
air raid
air strike
aircraft |ˈɛːkrɑːft| noun ( pl. same) an airplane, helicopter, or other machine capable of flight.
airsick |ˈɛːsɪk|
(of a door or other opening) slightly open : [as adv. ] she had left the window ajar that morning | [as predic. adj. ] the door to the sitting room was ajar.
of similar character : something akin to gratitude overwhelmed her | genius and madness are akin.
an anxious awareness of danger : the boat tilted and the boatmen cried out in alarm | he views the right-wing upsurge in Europe with alarm. • [in sing. ] a warning of danger : I hammered on several doors to raise the alarm | Oliver smelled smoke and gave the alarm.
1 [ trans. ] cause (someone) to feel frightened, disturbed, or in danger : the government was alarmed by an outbreak of unrest | [as adj. ] ( alarming) children were dying at an alarming rate. 2 ( be alarmed) be fitted or protected with an alarm : this door is locked and alarmed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant : an alert police officer discovered a truck full of explosives | schools need to be constantly alert to this problem. See note at vigilant . • able to think clearly; intellectually active : she remained active and alert until well into her eighties. noun the state of being watchful for possible danger : security forces were placed on alert. • an announcement or signal warning of danger : a bomb alert | an alert sounded and all the fighters took off. • a period of vigilance in response to such a warning : traffic was halted during the alert. verb [ trans. ] warn (someone) of a danger, threat, or problem, typically with the intention of having it avoided or dealt with : he alerted people to the dangers of smoking | police were alerted after three men drove away without paying.
alexia |əˈlɛksɪə| |eɪ-| noun the inability to see words or to read, caused by a defect of the brain. Also called word blindness . Compare with dyslexia.
a false or assumed identity : a spy operating under the alias Barsad.
1 cause (someone) to feel isolated or estranged : an urban environment that would alienate its inhabitants | [as adj. ] ( alienated) an alienated angst-ridden 22-year-old.
1 [ trans. ] place or arrange (things) in a straight line : gently brush the surface to align the fibers. • put (things) into correct or appropriate relative positions : the fan blades are carefully aligned | figurative aligning domestic prices with prices in world markets. • [ intrans. ] lie in a straight line, or in correct relative positions : the pattern of the border at the seam should align perfectly. 2 ( align oneself with) give support to (a person, organization, or cause) : newspapers usually align themselves with certain political parties. • [ intrans. ] come together in agreement or alliance : all of them must now align against the foe | [as adj. ] ( aligned) forces aligned with Russia.
1 arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions : the tiles had slipped out of alignment.
alimony |ˈalɪməni| noun a husband's or wife's court-ordered provision for a spouse after separation or divorce.
alive and kicking informal prevalent and very active : bigotry is still alive and kicking.
all aboard! a call warning passengers to get on a ship, train, or bus that is about to depart.
all along all the time; from the beginning : she'd known all along.
all at once 1 without warning; suddenly : all at once the noise stopped. 2 all at the same time : scared and excited all at once.
2 all except : we have support from all but one of the networks.
all kinds (or sorts) of many different kinds of : how to install paneling on all kinds of walls.
an event or task that continues throughout the night, esp. a study session before an examination : he would do an all-nighter, the way he used to in school.
having no middle position or compromise available : an all-or-nothing decision.
having no middle position or compromise available : an all-or-nothing decision.
having many uses, esp. all that might be expected from something of its type : an all-purpose kitchen knife.
all roads lead to Rome proverb there are many different ways of reaching the same goal or conclusion.
all that glitters is not gold proverb the attractive external appearance of something is not a reliable indication of its true nature.
all's well that ends well proverb if the outcome of a situation is happy, this compensates for any previous difficulty or unpleasantness.
a claim or assertion that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically one made without proof : he made allegations of corruption against the administration | allegations that the army was operating a shoot-to-kill policy.
claim or assert that someone has done something illegal or wrong, typically without proof that this is the case : [with clause ] he alleged that he had been assaulted | [ trans. ] the offenses are alleged to have been committed outside the woman's home | he is alleged to have assaulted five men.
loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior or of an individual to a group or cause : those wishing to receive citizenship must swear allegiance to the republic | a complex pattern of cross-party allegiances.
a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one : Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the spiritual journey.
allergen |ˈalədʒ(ə)n| noun a substance that causes an allergic reaction.
alley 1 |ˈali| noun ( pl. -leys)
joined by or relating to members of an alliance : allied territories | the allied fleet. • (usu. Allied) of or relating to the U.S. and its allies in World War I and World War II and after : the liberation of Paris by Allied troops. • ( allied to/with) in combination or working together with : skilled craftsmanship allied to advanced technology.
give or apportion (something) to someone as a share or task : equal time was allotted to each | [with two objs. ] I was allotted a little room in the servants' block.
the amount of something allocated to a particular person : the gadget shuts off the television set when a kid has used up his allotment.
a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements, esp. to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion : an alloy of nickel, bronze, and zinc | flat pieces of alloy | [as adj. ] alloy wheels.
mix (metals) to make an alloy : alloying tin with copper to make bronze.
suggest or call attention to indirectly; hint at : she had a way of alluding to Jean but never saying her name. • mention without discussing at length : we will allude briefly to the main points.
powerfully attract or charm; tempt : [as adj. ] ( alluring) the town offers alluring shops and restaurants. See note at tempt .
combine or unite a resource or commodity with (another) for mutual benefit : he allied his racing experience with his father's business acumen. • ( ally oneself with) side with or support (someone or something) : he allied himself with the forces of change.
combine or unite to form one organization or structure : [ trans. ] he amalgamated his company with another. | [ intrans. ] numerous small railroad companies amalgamated | [as adj. ] ( amalgamated) his true genius lies in synthesis, in an amalgamated vision.
gather together or accumulate (a large amount or number of valuable material or things) over a period of time : starting from nothing he had amassed a huge fortune.
unskillful; inept : the editing is choppy and amateurish | amateurish actors.
the character and atmosphere of a place : the relaxed ambience of the cocktail lounge is popular with guests.
(of a person) able to use the right and left hands equally well : few of us are naturally ambidextrous.
of or relating to the immediate surroundings of something : the liquid is stored at below ambient temperature.
walk or move at a slow, relaxed pace : they ambled along the riverbank | he ambled into the foyer.
make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better : the reform did much to ameliorate living standards.
(of a person) open and responsive to suggestion; easily persuaded or controlled : parents who have had easy babies and amenable children. • [ predic. ] ( amenable to) (of a thing) capable of being acted upon in a particular way; susceptible to : the patients had cardiac failure not amenable to medical treatment.
make minor changes in (a text) in order to make it fairer, more accurate, or more up-to-date : the rule was amended to apply only to nonmembers. • modify formally, as a legal document or legislative bill : did she amend her original will later on? | pressuring Panama to amend its banking laws. • make better; improve : if you can amend or alter people's mind-set.
• a change or addition to a legal or statutory document : an amendment to existing bail laws. • ( Amendment) an article added to the U.S. Constitution : the First Amendment.
a desirable or useful feature or facility of a building or place : heating is regarded as a basic amenity.
having or displaying a friendly and pleasant manner : an amiable, unassuming fellow.
(of relations between people) having a spirit of friendliness; without serious disagreement or rancor : there will be an amicable settlement of the dispute.
surrounded by; in the middle of : our dream home, set amid magnificent rolling countryside. • in an atmosphere or against a background of : talks broke down amid accusations of a hostile takeover bid.
amnesia |amˈniːzjə| noun a partial or total loss of memory.
an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses : an amnesty for political prisoners | the new law granted amnesty to those who illegally left the country. • an undertaking by the authorities to take no action against specified offenses or offenders during a fixed period : a month-long weapons amnesty.
behave uncontrollably and disruptively : stone-throwing anarchists running amok | figurative her feelings seemed to be running amok.
lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something : an amoral attitude to sex.
without a clearly defined shape or form : amorphous blue forms and straight black lines. • vague; ill-organized; unclassifiable : make explicit the amorphous statements. • (of a group of people or an organization) lacking a clear structure or focus : an amorphous and leaderless legislature.
reduce or extinguish (a debt) by money regularly put aside : loan fees can be amortized over the life of the mortgage. • gradually write off the initial cost of (an asset) : they want to amortize the tooling costs quickly.
amphibian |amˈfɪbɪən|
enough or more than enough; plentiful : there is ample time for discussion | an ample supply of consumer goods. • large and accommodating : he leaned back in his ample chair. • used euphemistically to convey that someone is fat : she stood with her hands on her ample hips.
a metal made by combining two or more metallic elements, esp. to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion : an alloy of nickel, bronze, and zinc | flat pieces of alloy | [as adj. ] alloy wheels.
cut off (a limb), typically by surgical operation : surgeons had to amputate her left hand | the wounded had to have legs or arms amputated.
an ace up one's sleeve (or in the hole) a plan or piece of information kept secret until it becomes necessary to use it.
an awful lot a very large amount; a great deal : we've had an awful lot of letters | you've still got an awful lot to learn.
an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth used to refer to the belief that punishment in kind is the appropriate way to deal with an offense or crime. [ORIGIN: with biblical allusion to Exod. 21: 24.]
an open mind the readiness to consider something without prejudice.
with no controlling rules or principles to give order : an anarchic and bitter civil war. • (of comedy or a person's sense of humor) uncontrolled by convention : his anarchic wit.
of, belonging to, inherited from, or denoting an ancestor or ancestors : the family's ancestral home | the only records of the ancestral forms are their fossils.
one's family or ethnic descent : his dark eyes came from his Jewish ancestry. • the evolutionary or genetic line of descent of an animal or plant : the ancestry of the rose is extremely complicated. • figurative the origin or background of something : the book traces the ancestry of women's poetry.
providing necessary support to the primary activities or operation of an organization, institution, industry, or system : the development of ancillary services to support its products. • additional; subsidiary : paragraph 19 was merely ancillary to paragraph 16. noun ( pl. -laries) a person whose work provides necessary support to the primary activities of an organization, institution, or industry : the employment of specialist teachers and ancillaries. • something that functions in a supplementary or supporting role : undergraduate courses of three main subjects with related ancillaries.
and one knows it said to emphasize that someone is well aware of a fact although they might pretend otherwise : the senator's priorities do not add up and he knows it.
(of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research : while there was much anecdotal evidence there was little hard fact | these claims were purely anecdotal.
anemia |əˈniːmɪə| ( Brit. anaemia) noun a condition marked by a deficiency of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood, resulting in pallor and weariness.
anesthesia |anɪsˈθiːzjə| ( Brit. anaesthesia) noun insensitivity to pain, esp. as artificially induced by the administration of gases or the injection of drugs before surgical operations.
in a new or different, typically more positive, way : her career had begun anew, with a lucrative Japanese modeling contract.
fill (someone) with such a feeling; provoke anger in : she was angered by his terse answer | [ trans. ] I was angered to receive a further letter from them | [ trans. ] he was angered that he had not been told.
direct or incline at an angle : Anna angled her camera toward the tree | he angled his chair so that he could watch her. • [ intrans. ] move or be inclined at an angle : the cab angled across two lanes and skidded to a stop | the sun angled into the dining room.
a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general : adolescent angst.
severe mental or physical pain or suffering : she shut her eyes in anguish | Philip gave a cry of anguish. verb suffer or cause someone to suffer anguish : he anguished over how to reply.
1 (of an object, outline, or shape) having angles or sharp corners : angular chairs | Adam's angular black handwriting.
1 chiefly figurative bring to life : the desert is like a line drawing waiting to be animated with color.
alive or having life (often as a contrast with inanimate ): : all of creation, animate and inanimate.
append or add as an extra or subordinate part, esp. to a document : the first ten amendments were annexed to the Constitution in 1791 | [as adj. ] ( annexed) the annexed diagram. • add (territory) to one's own territory by appropriation : Moldova was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
destroy utterly; obliterate : a simple bomb of this type could annihilate them all | a crusade to annihilate evil. See note at destroy . • defeat utterly : the stronger force annihilated its opponent virtually without loss.
add notes to (a text or diagram) giving explanation or comment : documentation should be annotated with explanatory notes | [as adj. ] ( annotated) an annotated bibliography.
the feeling or state of being annoyed; irritation : a look of annoyance on his face | annoyance at government interference | he turned his charm on Tara, much to Herbert's annoyance.
(of a person) not identified by name; of unknown name : the anonymous author of Beowulf | the donor's wish to remain anonymous | an anonymous phone call. • having no outstanding, individual, or unusual features; unremarkable or impersonal : the anonymous black car waiting to take him to the airport | a faceless, anonymous group.
(of a person) not identified by name; of unknown name : the anonymous author of Beowulf | the donor's wish to remain anonymous | an anonymous phone call. • having no outstanding, individual, or unusual features; unremarkable or impersonal : the anonymous black car waiting to take him to the airport | a faceless, anonymous group.
1 [ predic. ] ( answerable to) required to explain or justify one's actions to; responsible or having to report to : I'm not answerable to you for my every movement. See note at responsible . • ( answerable for) responsible for : an employer is answerable for the negligence of his employees.
cause (someone) to become hostile : he antagonized many colleagues during the budget wars.
a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary : he turned to confront his antagonist.
showing or feeling active opposition or hostility toward someone or something : he was antagonistic to the government's reforms | an antagonistic group of bystanders.
a thing or event that existed before or logically precedes another : some antecedents to the African novel might exist in Africa's oral traditions.
preceding in time or order; previous or preexisting : the antecedent events that prompt you to break a diet.
1 technical chiefly Anatomy & Biology nearer the front, esp. situated in the front of the body, or nearer to the head or forepart : the veins anterior to the heart. The opposite of posterior .
antibiotic |ˈantɪbʌɪˈɒtɪk| noun a medicine (such as penicillin or its derivatives) that inhibits the growth of or destroys microorganisms.
1 regard as probable; expect or predict : she anticipated scorn on her return to the theater | [with clause ] it was anticipated that the rains would slow the military campaign. • guess or be aware of (what will happen) and take action in order to be prepared : they failed to anticipate a full scale invasion. • look forward to : Stephen was eagerly anticipating the break from the routine of business.
a disappointing end to an exciting or impressive series of events : the rest of the journey was an anticlimax by comparison | a sense of anticlimax and incipient boredom.
antidepressant |ˈantɪdɪˈprɛs(ə)nt| adjective (chiefly of a drug) used to alleviate depression.
• something that counteracts or neutralizes an unpleasant feeling or situation : laughter is a good antidote to stress.
1 the ancient past, esp. the period before the Middle Ages : the great civilizations of antiquity. • [with adj. ] a specified historical period during the ancient past : cameos dating from classical antiquity. • (usu. antiquities) an object, building, or work of art from the ancient past : a collection of Islamic antiquities.
antonym |ˈantənɪm| noun Linguistics a word opposite in meaning to another (e.g., bad and good).
any day informal at any time : you can take me dancing any day of the week. • (used to express one's strong preference for something) under any circumstances : I'd rather live in a shack in the woods than a penthouse in the city, any day. • very soon : she's expected to give birth any day.
any minute (or at any minute) very soon.
any number of any particular whole quantity of : the game can involve any number of players. • a large and unlimited quantity or amount of : the results can be read any number of ways.
any amount of a great deal or number of : a good marriage can withstand any amount of external pressure.
anything but not at all (used for emphasis) : he is anything but racist.
anything like — [with negative ] at all like— (used for emphasis) : it doesn't taste anything like wine.
showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern : apathetic slackers who don't vote.
lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern : widespread apathy among students.
the top or highest part of something, esp. one forming a point : the living-room extends right up into the apex of the roof | figurative the apex of his career was when he hoisted aloft the World Cup.
aphorism |ˈafərɪz(ə)m| noun a pithy observation that contains a general truth, such as, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." See note at saying .
(used after a noun or an amount) to, for, or by each one of a group : we sold 385 prints at $10 apiece.
regretfully acknowledging or excusing an offense or failure : she was very apologetic about the whole incident. • of the nature of a formal defense or justification of something such as a theory or religious doctrine : the apologetic proposition that production for profit is the same thing as production for need.
1 a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure : we owe you an apology | my apologies for the delay | I make no apologies for supporting that policy.
apostle |əˈpɒs(ə)l| noun (often Apostle) each of the twelve chief disciples of Jesus Christ.
awful; terrible : his conduct was appalling.
1 the equipment needed for a particular activity or purpose : laboratory apparatus. See note at tool .
1 attractive or interesting : the rural life is somehow more appealing | an appealing young woman. 2 (of an expression or tone of voice) showing that one wants help or sympathy : an appealing look.
1 pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands : amendments have been added to appease local pressure groups. See note at pacify . 2 relieve or satisfy (a demand or a feeling) : we give to charity because it appeases our guilt.
add (something) as an attachment or supplement : the results of the survey are appended to this chapter.
(often with negative or pejorative connations) a thing that is added or attached to something larger or more important : they treat Scotland as a mere appendage of England.
stimulating one's appetite : the appetizing aroma of sizzling bacon.
• an apparatus fitted by a surgeon or a dentist for corrective or therapeutic purpose : electrical and gas appliances.
relevant or appropriate : the same considerations are equally applicable to accident claims.
divide and allocate : voting power will be apportioned according to contribution. • assign : they did not apportion blame or liability to any one individual.
assess the value or quality of : she stealthiliy appraised him in a pocket mirror | [ intrans. ] the interviewer's job is to appraise and evaluate. • (of an official or expert) set a price on; value : they appraised the painting at $200,000.
an act of assessing something or someone : treatment begins with a thorough appraisal of the patient's condition | the report has been subject to appraisal. • an expert estimate of the value of something : the final figure is just a little more than triple the appraisal.
2 a full understanding of a situation : they have an appreciation of the needs of users | the bank's lack of appreciation of their problems. 3 increase in monetary value : the appreciation of the franc against the dollar.
1 the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something : I smiled in appreciation | she shows a fine appreciation of obscure thinkers. • gratitude for something : they would be the first to show their appreciation.
1 arrest (someone) for a crime : a warrant was issued but he has not been apprehended. 2 understand or perceive : great art invites us to apprehend beauty.
1 anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen : he felt apprehensive about going home | [with clause ] they were apprehensive that something might go wrong.
a person who is learning a trade from a skilled employer, having agreed to work for a fixed period at low wages : [as adj. ] an apprentice electrician.
1 take (something) for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission : his images have been appropriated by advertisers. 2 devote (money or assets) to a special purpose : there can be problems in appropriating funds for legal expenses.
1 the action of taking something for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission : the appropriation of parish funds.
1 officially agree to or accept as satisfactory : the budget was approved by Congress | [as adj. ] ( approved) an approved profit-sharing plan. • [ intrans. ] believe that someone or something is good or acceptable : I don't approve of the way she pampers my father and brothers.
come close or be similar to something in quality, nature, or quantity : a leasing agreement approximating to ownership | [ trans. ] reality can be approximated by computational techniques. • [ trans. ] estimate or calculate (a quantity) fairly accurately : I had to approximate the weight of my horse.
1 noun (abbr.: apt.) (often aptitude for) a natural ability to do something : he had a remarkable aptitude for learning words. • a natural tendency : his natural aptitude for failure.
arable |ˈarəb(ə)l| adjective (of land) used or suitable for growing crops. • (of crops) able to be grown on such land. • concerned with growing such crops : arable farming.
noun (also arachnoid membrane or arachnoid mater) Anatomy a fine, delicate membrane, the middle one of the three membranes or meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord, situated between the dura mater and the pia mater.
based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system : his mealtimes were entirely arbitrary. • (of power or a ruling body) unrestrained and autocratic in the use of authority : arbitrary rule by King and bishops has been made impossible.
understood by few; mysterious or secret : modern math and its arcane notation.
very old or old-fashioned : prisons are run on archaic methods. See note at old .
archangel |ˈɑːkeɪndʒ(ə)l| |ɑːkˈeɪn-| noun an angel of high rank.
archbishop |ɑːtʃˈbɪʃəp| |ˈɑːtʃ-| noun the chief bishop responsible for an archdiocese.
very typical of a certain kind of person or thing : the archetypal country doctor.
a very typical example of a certain person or thing : the book is a perfect archetype of the genre. See note at model .
enthusiastic or passionate : an ardent baseball fan | an ardent suitor. See note at eager .
enthusiasm or passion : they felt the stirrings of revolutionary ardor.
involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring : an arduous journey. See note at hard .
the action or process of reasoning systematically in support of an idea, action, or theory : lines of argumentation used to support his thesis.
1 given to expressing divergent or opposite views : an argumentative child. 2 using or characterized by systematic reasoning : the highest standards of argumentative rigor.
(of land or a climate) having little or no rain; too dry or barren to support vegetation : hot and arid conditions. See note at dry . • figurative lacking in interest, excitement, or meaning : his arid years in suburbia.
1 (of a problem, opportunity, or situation) emerge; become apparent : new difficulties had arisen. • come into being; originate : the practice arose in the nineteenth century. • ( arise from/out of) occur as a result of : most conflicts arise from ignorance or uncertainty.
the highest class in certain societies, esp. those holding hereditary titles or offices : the ancient Polish aristocracy had hereditary right to elect the king.
arithmetic mean noun the average of a set of numerical values, calculated by adding them together and dividing by the number of terms in the set.
arm in arm (of two or more people) with arms linked.
avoiding intimacy or close contact : an arm's-length relationship.
military weapons and equipment : chemical weapons and other unconventional armaments.
armed forces (also armed services) plural noun a country's military forces, esp. its army, navy, and air force.
knights in armor
(of a military vehicle or ship) covered with a tough metal layer as a defense against attack : armored vehicles.
1 having a pleasant and distinctive smell : a massage with aromatic oils.
around (or round) the clock all day and all night : working around the clock.
1 evoke or awaken (a feeling, emotion, or response) : something about the man aroused the guard's suspicions | the letter aroused in him a sense of urgency.
1 an impressive display or range of a particular type of thing : there is a vast array of literature on the topic | a bewildering array of choices.
money that is owed and should have been paid earlier : he was suing the lessee for the arrears of rent.
in arrears (also chiefly Law in arrear) behind in paying money that is owed : two out of three tenants are in arrears.the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property : police are treating the fire as arson | [as adj. ] an arson attack.
the criminal act of deliberately setting fire to property : police are treating the fire as arson | [as adj. ] an arson attack.
1 an object made by a human being, typically an item of cultural or historical interest : gold and silver artifacts.
2 something observed in a scientific investigation or experiment that is not naturally present but occurs as a result of the preparative or investigative procedure : widespread tissue infection may be a technical artifact.
1 (of a person or action) clever or skillful, typically in a crafty or cunning way : her artful wiles. 2 showing creative skill or taste : an artful photograph of a striking woman.
arthritis |ɑːˈθrʌɪtɪs| noun painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints.
1 (of a person or a person's words) having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently : an articulate account of their experiences.
• pronounce (something) clearly and distinctly : he articulated each word with precision | [ intrans. ] people who do not articulate well are more difficult to lip-read.
1 the action of putting into words an idea or feeling of a specified type : it would involve the articulation of a theory of the just war. • the formation of clear and distinct sounds in speech : the articulation of vowels and consonants.
artificial insemination (abbr.: AI) noun the injection of semen into the vagina or uterus other than by sexual intercourse.
artificial respiration noun the restoration or substitution of someone's breathing by manual, mechanical, or mouth-to-mouth methods.
large-caliber guns used in warfare on land : tanks and heavy artillery.
illustrations, photographs, or other nontextual material prepared for inclusion in a publication. • paintings, drawings, or other artistic works : a collection of artwork from tribal cultures | each artwork is reproduced in color on a full page.
as a first (or last or final) resort before anything else is attempted (or when all else has failed).
as a matter of fact in reality (used esp. to correct a falsehood or misunderstanding) : as a matter of fact, I was talking to him this afternoon.
as clear as mud informal not at all easy to understand.
as cold as ice (or stone or the grave, etc.) very cold.
as (or so) far as —— is concerned as regards the interests or case of —— : the measures are irrelevant as far as inflation is concerned.
as far as I can see to the best of my understanding or belief.
as far as one can tell judging from the available information.
as good as —— very nearly —— : she's as good as here. • used of a result which will inevitably follow : if we pass on the information, he's as good as dead.
artisan |ɑːtɪˈzan| |ˈɑːtɪzan| noun a worker in a skilled trade, esp. one that involves making things by hand.
as I see it in my opinion. bare-knuckle (also bare-knuckled or bare-knuckles) wearing nothing on the feet : [as adv. ] I won't walk barefoot.
1 only just; almost not : she nodded, barely able to speak | [as submodifier ] a barely perceptible pause. • only a short time before : they had barely sat down when forty policemen swarmed in.
1 [ intrans. ] move forcefully or roughly : we can't just barge into a private garden. • ( barge in) intrude or interrupt rudely or awkwardly : sorry to barge in on your cozy evening. • (chiefly in a sporting context) collide with : displays of dissent, such as deliberately barging into the umpire.
• something that reflects changes in circumstances or opinions : furniture is a barometer of changing tastes.
provide (soldiers) with accommodations in a building or set of buildings : the granary in which the platoons were barracked.
barrage |ˈbarɑːʒ| noun a concentrated artillery bombardment over a wide area. • figurative a concentrated outpouring, as of questions or blows : she was not prepared for his barrage of questions | a barrage of 60-second television spots. verb [ trans. ] (usu. be barraged) bombard (someone) with something : his doctor was barraged with unsolicited advice.
• showing no results or achievements; unproductive : much of philosophy has been barren. 2 (of a place or building) bleak and lifeless : the sports hall turned out to be a rather barren concrete building. • empty of meaning or value : those young heads were stuffed with barren facts. • ( barren of) devoid of : the room was barren of furniture.
1 without foundation in fact : baseless allegations.
strike hard and violently : bash a mosquito with a newspaper. • ( bash something in) damage or break something by striking it violently : the car's rear window had been bashed in. • [ intrans. ] ( bash into) collide with : the other vehicle bashed into the back of them. • figurative criticize severely : a remark bashing the Belgian brewing industry. noun informal 1 a heavy blow : a bash on the head.
bash something out produce something rapidly without preparation or attention to detail.
reluctant to draw attention to oneself; shy : don't be bashful about telling folks how you feel.
basin |ˈbeɪs(ə)n| noun 1 a bowl for washing, typically attached to a wall and having faucets connected to a water supply; a washbasin.
lie exposed to warmth and light, typically from the sun, for relaxation and pleasure : sprawled figures basking in the afternoon sun. • ( bask in) figurative revel in and make the most of (something pleasing) : he went on basking in the glory of his first book.
a quantity or consignment of goods produced at one time : a batch of cookies | the company undertakes thirty-six separate quality control checks on every batch. • informal a number of things or people regarded as a group or set : a batch of hostile letters came. • Computing a group of records processed as a single unit, usually without input from a user. verb [ trans. ] arrange (things) in sets or groups.
• [ trans. ] soak or wipe gently with liquid to clean or soothe : she bathed and bandaged my knee.
battalion |bəˈtalɪən| noun a large body of troops ready for battle, esp. an infantry unit forming part of a brigade typically commanded by a lieutenant colonel.
strike repeatedly with hard blows; pound heavily and insistently : a prisoner was battered to death with a table leg | figurative their idealism has been battered.
be (a) party to be involved in : I felt a wave of revulsion at the manipulations I'd been party to.
be a recipe for disaster be extremely likely to have unfortunate consequences : sky-high interest rates are a recipe for disaster.
be all ears informal be listening eagerly and attentively.
be all the same to be unimportant to (someone) what happens : it was all the same to me where it was being sold.
be any (or no or much) good have some (or none or much) merit : tell me whether that picture is any good. • be of some (or none or much) help in dealing with a situation : it was no good trying to ward things off.
be asking for it (or trouble) informal behave in a way that is likely to result in difficulty for oneself : they accused me of asking for it | you're asking for trouble.
be at loose ends have nothing specific to do : he dropped out of school and found himself alone and at loose ends.
be at one's wits' end be overwhelmed with difficulties and at a loss as to what to do next.
be at (or on) the receiving end be the person to whom a telephone call is made. • informal be subjected to something unpleasant : she found herself on the receiving end of a good deal of teasing.
be barking up the wrong tree informal be pursuing a mistaken or misguided line of thought or course of action.
be better off be in a better position, esp. in financial terms : the promotion would make her about $750 a year better off | [as plural n. ] ( the better off) a paper read mainly by the better off.
be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth be born into a wealthy family of high social standing.
be bouncing off the walls informal be full of nervous excitement or agitation.
be cast down feel depressed : she was greatly cast down by abusive criticism of her novels.
be cast away be stranded after a shipwreck.
be cut out for (or to be) [usu. with negative ] informal have exactly the right qualities for a particular role, task, or job : I'm just not cut out to be a policeman.
be down to 1 be attributable to (a particular factor or circumstance) : he claimed his problems were down to the media. • be the responsibility of (a particular person) : it's down to you to make sure the boiler receives regular servicing. 2 be left with only (the specified amount) : I'm down to my last few dollars.
be easier said than done be more easily talked about than put into practice.
be hard on 1 treat or criticize (someone) severely : you're being too hard on her. 2 be difficult for or unfair to : I think the war must have been hard on her. 3 be likely to hurt or damage : the monitor flickers, which is hard on the eyes.
be history be perceived as no longer relevant to the present : the mainframe will soon be history | I was making a laughingstock of myself, but that's history now. • informal used to indicate imminent departure, dismissal, or death : an inch either way and you'd be history.
be in (or out of) luck be fortunate (or unfortunate).
be in someone's debt owe gratitude to someone for a service or favor.
be in the know be aware of something known only to a few people : he had a tip from a friend in the know: the horse was a sure bet.
be in the majority belong to or constitute the larger group or number : publishing houses where women are in the majority.
be in the process of doing something be continuing with an action already started : a hurricane that was in the process of devastating South Carolina.
be in the same boat informal be in the same unfortunate circumstances as others.
be looking over one's shoulder be anxious or insecure about a possible danger : takeovers are the thing that keeps suppliers looking over their shoulders.
be lost for words be so surprised, confused, or upset that one cannot think what to say.
be (or get) mixed up with be (or become) associated with (someone unsuitable or unreliable).
be my guest informal please do : May I choose the restaurant? Be my guest!
be of the belief that hold the opinion that; think : I am firmly of the belief that we need to improve our product.
be of the opinion that believe or maintain that : economists are of the opinion that the economy could contract.
be on the lookout (or keep a lookout) for be alert to (danger or trouble) : he told them to be on the lookout for dangerous gas. • keep searching for (something that is wanted) : we kept a sharp lookout for animals.
be on the offensive act or be ready to act aggressively.
be open to debate be unproven; require further discussion.
be someone's man be the person perfectly suited to a particular requirement or task : for any coloring and perming services, David's your man.
be (or put oneself) in another person's shoes be (or put oneself) in another person's situation or predicament : if I'd been in your shoes I'd have walked out on him.
be that as it may despite that; nevertheless.
be there for someone be available to support or comfort someone while they are experiencing difficulties or adversities.
be to blame be responsible for a fault or wrong : he was to blame for their deaths.
be to do with be concerned or connected with : the problems are usually to do with family tension.
be unable (or hardly able) to believe one's eyes (or ears) be amazed by what one sees or hears : I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the box.
be under the illusion that believe mistakenly that : the world is under the illusion that the original painting still hangs in the Winter Palace.
be under no illusion (or illusions) be fully aware of the true state of affairs.
be/get carried away lose self-control : I got a bit carried away when describing the final game.
be/get caught up in become involved in (something that one had not intended to become involved in) : he had no desire to be caught up in political activities.
2 a ray or shaft of light : a beam of light flashed in front of her | the flashlight beam dimmed perceptibly.
1 [ trans. ] transmit (a radio signal or broadcast) in a specified direction : beaming a distress signal into space | [ intrans. ] the TV station begins beaming into homes in the new year.
3 [ intrans. ] smile radiantly : she beamed with pleasure | [as adj. ] ( beaming) a beaming smile.bean counter noun informal derogatory a person, typically an accountant or bureaucrat, perceived as placing excessive emphasis on controlling expenditure and budgets.
bean counter noun informal derogatory a person, typically an accountant or bureaucrat, perceived as placing excessive emphasis on controlling expenditure and budgets.
• take responsibility for : no one likes to bear the responsibility for such decisions | the expert's fee shall be borne by the tenant.
• be able to accept or stand up to : it is doubtful whether either of these distinctions would bear scrutiny.
• [with modal and negative ] manage to tolerate (a situation or experience) : she could hardly bear his sarcasm | [with infinitive ] I cannot bear to see you hurt
bear a resemblance (or similarity) to resemble.
the worst part or chief impact of a specified thing : education will bear the brunt of the cuts.
bear the burden of suffer the consequences of.
able to be endured : a ceiling fan made the heat bearable.
beat around (or beat about) the bush discuss a matter without coming to the point.
beat someone at their own game use someone's own methods to outdo them in their chosen activity.
beat (or smash) someone to a pulp beat someone severely.
beat the bushes informal search thoroughly : I was out beating the bushes for investors to split the risk.
beat the clock perform a task quickly or within a fixed time limit.
beat the hell out of informal 1 beat (someone) very severely. 2 surpass or defeat easily.
beat the system succeed in finding a means of getting around rules, regulations, or other means of control.
make a gesture with the hand, arm, or head to encourage someone to come nearer or follow : Miranda beckoned to Adam. • [ trans. ] attract the attention of and summon (someone) in this way : he beckoned Christopher over | [ trans. ] he beckoned Duncan to follow.
(of something bad) cause great and continual trouble to : inconsistencies that bedevil modern English spelling. • (of a person) torment or harass : he bedeviled them with petty practical jokes.
bedridden |ˈbɛdrɪd(ə)n| adjective confined to bed by sickness or old age.
(of something bad) happen to someone : a tragedy befell his daughter | [ intrans. ] she was to blame for anything that befell. See note at happen .
before (or under) one's ( very) eyes right in front of one (used for emphasis, esp. in the context of something surprising or unpleasant) : he saw his life's work destroyed before his very eyes.
1 (typically of a man, sometimes of a man and a woman) bring (a child) into existence by the process of reproduction : they hoped that the King might beget an heir by his new queen. 2 give rise to; bring about : success begets further success.
cut off the head of (someone), typically as a form of execution : [as n. ] ( beheading) Arabs have public beheadings.
a person's orders or command : they had assembled at his behest | the slaughter of the male children at the behest of Herod.
behind closed doors taking place secretly or without public knowledge.
behind someone's back without a person's knowledge and in an unfair or dishonorable way : Carla made fun of him behind his back.
behind the scenes out of sight of the public at a theater or organization. • figurative secretly : diplomatic maneuvers going on behind the scenes.
behind the times not aware of or using the latest ideas or techniques; out of date.
coming or happening later than should have been the case : a belated apology.
belch |bɛltʃ| verb 1 [ intrans. ] emit gas noisily from the stomach through the mouth. 2 [ trans. ] (often belch out/forth/into) (esp. of a chimney) send (smoke or flames) out or up : a factory chimney belches out smoke. • [ intrans. ] (often belch from) (of smoke or flames) pour out from a chimney or other opening : flames belch from the wreckage.
lay siege to : he is leading a relief force to the aid of the beleaguered city. • beset with difficulties : the board is supporting the beleaguered director amid calls for his resignation.
1 (of an appearance) fail to give a true notion or impression of (something); disguise or contradict : his lively alert manner belied his years.
believe it or not used to concede that a proposition or statement is surprising : believe it or not, the speaker was none other than Horace.
make (someone or something) seem unimportant : this is not to belittle his role | she felt belittled.
a graph of a normal (Gaussian) distribution, with a large rounded peak tapering away at each end.
(of a person or animal) emit a deep loud roar, typically in pain or anger : he bellowed in agony | [as n. ] ( bellowing) the bellowing of a bull. • [ reporting verb ] shout something with a deep loud roar : [ trans. ] the watchers were bellowing encouragement | he bellowed out the order | [with direct speech ] "God send the right!" he bellowed | [with infinitive ] his desperate parents were bellowing at her to stop.
express discontent or sorrow over (something) : single women bemoaning the absence of men. See note at mourn .
puzzle, confuse, or bewilder (someone) : her bemused expression | she was accepted with bemused resignation by her parents as a hippie.
1 [ trans. ] shape or force (something straight) into a curve or angle : the rising wind bent the long grass. • [ intrans. ] (of something straight) be shaped or forced into a curve or angle : the oar bent as Lance heaved angrily at it. • figurative force or be forced to submit : [ trans. ] they want to bend me to their will | [ intrans. ] a refusal to bend to mob rule. • [ intrans. ] (of a road, river, or path) deviate from a straight line in a specified direction; have a sharply curved course : the road bent left and then right | the river slowly bends around Davenport. 2 [ intrans. ] (of a person) incline the body downward from the vertical : he bent down and picked her up | I bent over my plate | [with infinitive ] he bent to tie his shoelaces. • [ trans. ] move (a jointed part of the body) to an angled position : extend your left leg and bend your right | Irene bent her head over her work. 3 [ trans. ] interpret or modify (a rule) to suit oneself or somebody else : we cannot bend the rules, even for Darren.
benefactor |ˈbɛnɪfaktə| noun a person who gives money or other help to a person or cause.
beneficiary |bɛnɪˈfɪʃ(ə)ri| noun ( pl. -aries) a person who derives advantage from something, esp. a trust, will, or life insurance policy.
well meaning and kindly : a benevolent smile. • (of an organization) serving a charitable rather than a profit-making purpose : a benevolent fund.
• (of a climate or environment) mild and favorable • not harmful to the environment : [in combination ] an ozone-benign refrigerant.
leave (a personal estate or one's body) to a person or other beneficiary by a will : an identical sum was bequeathed by Margaret | he bequeathed his art collection to the town. • pass (something) on or leave (something) to someone else : he is ditching the unpopular policies bequeathed to him.
a legacy : her $135,000 was the largest bequest the library ever has received.
scold or criticize (someone) angrily : my son berated me for not giving him a Jewish upbringing. See note at scold .
be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, esp. due to the loved one's death : the year after they had been bereaved | [as adj. ] ( bereaved) bereaved families | [as plural n. ] ( the bereaved) those who counsel the bereaved.
ask (someone) urgently and fervently to do something; implore; entreat : [ trans. ] they beseeched him to stay | [ trans. ] "You have got to believe me," Gloria beseeched him | [ trans. ] they earnestly beseeched his forgiveness | [as adj. ] ( beseeching) a beseeching gaze. See note at beg .
1 (of a problem or difficulty) trouble or threaten persistently : the social problems that beset the inner city | she was beset with self-doubt | [as adj. ] poverty is a besetting problem.
beside oneself overcome with worry or anger; distraught : she was beside herself with anguish.
beside the point irrelevant.
surround (a place) with armed forces in order to capture it or force its surrender; lay siege to : the guerrillas continued to besiege other major cities to the north | [as adj. ] ( besieged) the besieged city. See note at attack . • crowd around oppressively; surround and harass : she spent the whole day besieged by newsmen. • ( be besieged) be inundated by large numbers of requests or complaints : the television station was besieged with calls.
confer or present (an honor, right, or gift) : the office was bestowed on him by the chief of state | thank you for this honor that you have bestowed upon me | figurative she bestowed her nicest smile on Jim. See note at give .
better safe than sorry proverb it's wiser to be cautious than to be hasty or rash and so do something you may later regret.
be cautious and alert to the dangers of : consumers were warned to beware of faulty packaging | Beware! Dangerous submerged rocks ahead | [ trans. ] we should beware the incompetence of legislators.
cause (someone) to become perplexed and confused : she seemed frightened and bewildered | his reaction had bewildered her | [as adj. ] ( bewildering) there is a bewildering array of desserts to choose from.
beyond belief astonishingly good or bad; incredible : riches beyond belief | the driving we have witnessed was beyond belief.
beyond (or without) compare of a quality or nature surpassing all others of the same kind : a diamond beyond compare.
beyond description to a great and astonishing extent : his face was swollen beyond description.
beyond measure to a very great extent : it irritates him beyond measure.
beyond one's wildest dreams bigger or better than could be reasonably expected : stockbrokers command salaries beyond the wildest dreams of most workers.
beyond (or without) price so valuable that no price can be stated.
beyond (or past) redemption (of a person or thing) too bad to be improved or saved.
the two-hundredth anniversary of a significant event : last year's commemoration of the bicentennial of Mozart's birth.
biceps |ˈbʌɪsɛps|
1 argue about petty and trivial matters : whenever the phone rings, they bicker over who must answer it | [as n. ] ( bickering) the constant bickering between Edgar and his mother.
divide into two branches or forks : [ intrans. ] just below Cairo the river bifurcates | [ trans. ] the trail was bifurcated by a mountain stream.
bighead noun informal a conceited or arrogant person.
bighearted adjective (of a person or action) kind and generous.
bigmouth noun 1 informal an indiscreet or boastful person.
obstinately convinced of the superiority or correctness of one's own opinions and prejudiced against those who hold different opinions : a bigoted group of reactionaries. • expressing or characterized by prejudice and intolerance : a thoughtless and bigoted article.
bigwig |ˈbɪgwɪg| noun informal an important person, usually in a particular sphere. Also called big wheel.
having or relating to two sides; affecting both sides : bilateral hearing is essential for sound location. • involving two parties, usually countries : the recently concluded bilateral agreements with Japan.
1 an amount of money owed for goods supplied or services rendered, set out in a printed or written statement of charges : he was running up a bill of hundreds of dollars | the bill for their meal came to $17. 2 a draft of a proposed law presented to parliament for discussion : a debate over the civil rights bill. 3 a program of entertainment, esp. at a theater : she was top of the bill at America's leading vaudeville house. 4 a banknote; a piece of paper money : a ten-dollar bill.
bimbo |ˈbɪmbəʊ| (also bimbette ) noun ( pl. -bos) informal an attractive but empty-headed young woman, esp. one perceived as a willing sex object.
binary system
1 tie or fasten (something) tightly : floating bundles of logs bound together with ropes | the magician bound her wrists with a silk scarf. • restrain (someone) by the tying up of hands and feet : the raider then bound and gagged Mr. Glenn. • wrap (something) tightly : her hair was bound up in a towel. • bandage (a wound) : he cleaned the wound and bound it up with a clean dressing | she had bound his wounds with a poultice of herbs. • ( be bound with) (of an object) be encircled by something, typically metal bands, in order to strengthen it : an ancient oak chest, bound with brass braces.
2 cause (people) to feel that they belong together or form a cohesive group : the comradeship that had bound such a disparate bunch of young men together. • ( bind someone to) cause someone to feel strongly attached to (a person or place) : loosened the ties that had bound him to the university. • cohere or cause to cohere in a single mass : [ trans. ] with the protection of trees to bind soil and act as a windbreak | [ intrans. ] clay is made up chiefly of tiny soil particles that bind together tightly. • cause (ingredients) to cohere by adding another ingredient : mix the flour with the coconut and enough egg white to bind them. • cause (painting pigments) to form a smooth medium by mixing them with oil : use a white that is bound in linseed oil. • hold by chemical bonding : a protein in a form that can bind DNA. • [ intrans. ] ( bind to) combine with (a substance) through chemical bonding : these proteins have been reported to bind to calmodulin. 3 formal impose a legal or contractual obligation on : a party who signs a document will normally be bound by its terms. • indenture (someone) as an apprentice : he was bound apprentice at the age of sixteen. • ( bind oneself) formal make a contractual or enforceable undertaking : the government cannot bind itself as to the form of subsequent legislation. • secure (a contract), typically with a sum of money. • ( be bound by) be hampered or constrained by : Sarah did not want to be bound by a rigid timetable. 4 fix together and enclose (the pages of a book) in a cover : a small, fat volume, bound in red morocco. 5 trim (the edge of a piece of material) with a decorative strip : a ruffle with the edges bound in a contrasting color.
a short period devoted to indulging in an activity, esp. drinking alcohol, to excess : he went on a binge and was in no shape to drive | [as adj. ] binge eating | [with adj. ] a spending binge.
binocular |bɪˈnɒkjʊlə|
biopsy |ˈbʌɪɒpsi| noun ( pl. -sies) an examination of tissue removed from a living body to discover the presence, cause, or extent of a disease.
of or involving the agreement or cooperation of two political parties that usually oppose each other's policies : educational reform received considerable bipartisan approval.
a general view from above : we had a bird's-eye view from the attic window. • a general view as if from above : the map gives a bird's-eye view of the route. • a broad, general, or superficial consideration (of something) : this introductory bird's-eye view will survey the animal kingdom.
divide into two parts : a landscape of farmland bisected by long straight roads.
bit by bit gradually : the school was built bit by bit over the years.
bite one's lip dig one's front teeth into one's lip in embarrassment, grief, or annoyance, or to prevent oneself from saying something or to control oneself when experiencing physical pain. • figurative forcing oneself to remain silent even though annoyed, provoked, or in possession of information : he could have mocked Carol's obnoxious behavior, but he bit his lip.
bits and pieces an assortment of small items : weird bits and pieces of paraphernalia.
very strange or unusual, esp. so as to cause interest or amusement : her bizarre dresses and outrageous hairdos.
reveal secrets by indiscreet talk : she blabbed to the press | [ trans. ] there's no need to blab the whole story.
talk foolishly, mindlessly, or excessively : she blabbered on and on.
blabbermouth |ˈblabəmaʊθ| noun informal a person who talks excessively or indiscreetly.
• often humorous a technique or practice considered mysterious and sinister : the black art of political news management.
black box
a bruised and discolored area around the eye resulting from a blow : it's gonna be a doozy of a black eye.
black out (of a person) undergo a sudden and temporary loss of consciousness : they knocked me around and I blacked out.
black something out 1 (usu. be blacked out) extinguish all lights or completely cover windows, esp. for protection against an air attack or in order to provide darkness in which to show a movie : the bombers began to come nightly and the city was blacked out. • subject a place to an electricity failure : Chicago was blacked out yesterday after a freak flood. 2 obscure something completely so that it cannot be read or seen : the license plate had been blacked out with masking tape. • (of a television company) suppress the broadcast of a program : they blacked out the women's finals on local television.
demand money from (a person) in return for not revealing compromising or injurious information about that person : trying to blackmail him for $400,000. • force (someone) to do something by using threats or manipulating their feelings : he had blackmailed her into sailing with him.
1 a period when all lights must be turned out or covered to prevent them being seen by the enemy during an air raid : people found it difficult to travel in the blackout | [as adj. ] she peered out through the blackout curtains. • (usu. blackouts) dark curtains put up in windows to cover lights during an air raid. • [often with adj. ] a failure of electrical power supply : due to a power blackout, their hotel was in total darkness.
responsibility for a fault or wrong : his players had to take the blame | they are trying to put the blame on us.
lacking strong features or characteristics and therefore uninteresting : rebelling against the bland uniformity. • (of food or drink) mild or insipid : bland and unadventurous vegetarian dish | bland beers of mediocre quality. • (of a person or behavior) showing no strong emotion; dull and unremarkable : offering bland reassurance | his expression was bland and unreadable.
coax (someone) with kind words or flattery : I was blandishing her with imprudences to get her off the subject.
1 (of a surface or background) unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain : the blank skyline | a blank wall. • not written or printed on : a blank sheet of paper. • (of a document) with spaces left for a signature or details : blank tax-return forms.
sound loudly and harshly : the ambulance arrived outside, siren blaring. • [ trans. ] cause (something) to sound loudly and harshly : the radio was blaring out organ music. noun a loud harsh sound : a blare of trumpets.
unimpressed or indifferent to something because one has experienced or seen it so often before : she was becoming quite blasé about the dangers.
the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk : he was detained on charges of blasphemy | screaming incomprehensible blasphemies.
sacrilegious against God or sacred things; profane : blasphemous and heretical talk.
1 a destructive wave of highly compressed air spreading outward from an explosion : they were thrown backward by the blast. • an explosion or explosive firing, esp. of a bomb : a bomb blast | a shotgun blast. • figurative a forceful attack or assault : he defeated his weakest opponent in such a blast that the fans left unimpressed. 2 a strong gust of wind or air : the icy blast hit them.
1 blow up or break apart (something solid) with explosives : quantities of solid rock had to be blasted away | the explosion blasted out hundreds of windows. • produce (damage or a hole) by means of an explosion : the force of the collision blasted out a tremendous crater. • [ trans. ] force or throw (something) in a specified direction by impact or explosion : the car was blasted thirty feet into the sky. • shoot with a gun : Fowler was blasted with an air rifle. • [ intrans. ] move very quickly and loudly in a specified direction : driving rain blasted through the smashed window. • informal criticize fiercely : the school was blasted by government inspectors. 2 make or cause to make a loud continuous musical or other noise : [ intrans. ] music blasted out at full volume | [ trans. ] an impatient motorist blasted his horn. 3 kick, strike, or throw (a ball) hard : Ripken blasted the ball into the gap in right field. 4 poetic/literary (of a wind or other natural force) wither, shrivel, or blight (a plant) : crops blasted on the eve of harvest. • strike with divine anger : damn and blast this awful place! • destroy or ruin : a candidate whose only strategy is to blast the opposition.
(of bad behavior) done openly and unashamedly : blatant lies. • completely lacking in subtlety; very obvious : forcing herself to resist his blatant charm.
talk long-windedly without making very much sense : she began blathering on about spirituality and life after death | [as n. ] ( blathering) now stop your blathering and get back to work.
• a harsh bright light : a lightning flash changed the gentle illumination of the office into a sudden white blaze. • [in sing. ] a very bright display of light or color : the gardens in summer are a blaze of color. • [in sing. ] figurative a conspicuous display or outburst of something : their relationship broke up in a blaze of publicity.
whiten by exposure to sunlight or by a chemical process : paper products are bleached with chlorine | [as adj. ] ( bleached) permed and bleached hair.
(of an area of land) lacking vegetation and exposed to the elements : a bleak and barren moor. • (of a building or room) charmless and inhospitable; dreary : he looked around the bleak little room in despair. • (of the weather) cold and miserable : a bleak midwinter's day. • (of a situation or future prospect) not hopeful or encouraging; unlikely to have a favorable outcome : he paints a bleak picture of a company that has lost its way. • (of a person or a person's expression) cold and forbidding : his bleak, near vacant eyes grew remote.
(of the eyes) unfocused or filmy from sleep or tiredness : you hate to face the world with bleary, tear-soaked, itching eyes.
(of a sheep, goat, or calf) make a characteristic wavering cry : the lamb was bleating weakly figurative : handing the mike to some woman who starts bleating out rap rhymes | [as n. ] ( bleating) the silence was broken by the plaintive bleating of sheep. • [ reporting verb ] speak or complain in a weak, querulous, or foolish way : he bleated incoherently about the report.
a short high-pitched sound made by an electronic device as a signal or to attract attention : the autopilot sent back an acknowledgment bleep.
(of an electronic device) make a short high-pitched sound or repeated sequence of sounds : the screen flickered for a few moments and bleeped.
a small mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something : the merest blemish on a Rolls Royce might render it unsalable. • figurative a moral defect or fault : the offenses were an uncharacteristic blemish on an otherwise clean record | local government is not without blemish. verb [ trans. ] [often as adj. ] ( blemished) spoil the appearance of (something) that is otherwise aesthetically perfect : thousands of Web pages are blemished with embarrassing typos | figurative his reign as world champion has been blemished by controversy.
mix (a substance) with another substance so that they combine together as a mass : blend the cornstarch with a tablespoon of water | [ intrans. ] add the grated cheese and blend well.
• [ intrans. ] form a harmonious combination : costumes, music, and lighting all blend together beautifully. • ( blend in/into) be unobtrusive or harmonious by being similar in appearance or behavior : she would have to employ a permanent bodyguard in the house, someone who would blend in.
• used respectfully in reference to a dead person : a gracious lady of blessed memory.
• |blɛst| ( blessed with) endowed with (a particular quality or attribute) : a beautiful city, steeped in history and blessed with huge sandy beaches.
talk long-windedly without making very much sense : she began blathering on about spirituality and life after death | [as n. ] ( blathering) now stop your blathering and get back to work.
blindfold |ˈblʌɪn(d)fəʊld| verb [ trans. ] (often be blindfolded) deprive (someone) of sight by tying a piece of cloth around the head so as to cover the eyes.
• [ trans. ] clear (dust or tears) from the eyes by this action : she blinked away her tears.
4 a brief segment, esp. of a telecast : the media fire unrelated blips of information at us | the blips on the evening news.
perfect happiness; great joy : she gave a sigh of bliss. See note at rapture .
showing a casual and cheerful indifference considered to be callous or improper : a blithe disregard for the rules of the road. • happy or joyous : a blithe seaside comedy.
an intensive or sudden military attack. • informal a sudden, energetic, and concerted effort, typically on a specific task : a major press blitz. • Football a charge of the passer by the defensive linebackers just after the ball is snapped.attack or damage (a place or building) in a blitz : news came that Rotterdam had been blitzed | figurative organizations blitzed Capitol Hill with mailgrams and postcards.
attack or damage (a place or building) in a blitz : news came that Rotterdam had been blitzed | figurative organizations blitzed Capitol Hill with mailgrams and postcards.
cause to swell with fluid or gas : the fungus has bloated their abdomens. • [ intrans. ] become swollen with fluid or gas : [as n. ] ( bloating) she suffered from abdominal bloating.
a drop of a thick liquid or other viscous substance : blobs of paint. • a spot of color : a badly printed blob on shopping bags.put small drops of thick liquid or spots of color on : her nose was blobbed with paint. block something in 1 mark something out roughly. • add something in a unit : it's a good idea to block in regular periods of exercise. • paint something with solid areas of color. 2 park one's car in such a way as to prevent another car from moving away : he blocked in Vera's minivan. block something out 1 stop something, typically light or noise, from reaching somewhere : you're blocking out my sun. • figurative exclude something unpleasant from one's thoughts or memory. 2 mark or sketch something out roughly. an act of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving : the army has imposed an economic blockade. • anything that prevents access or progress : the police pulled down blockades on the highway.
• a movie, book, or other product that is a great commercial success : [as adj. ] a blockbuster pay-per-view special event.
blood feud noun a lengthy conflict between families involving a cycle of retaliatory killings or injury.
blood group
blood transfusion
blood vessel
an event or situation in which many people are killed in a violent manner : he allowed the protest to go ahead despite warnings that it would spark a bloodbath figurative : the bad publicity would be a media bloodbath.
2 (of the skin or a part of the body) drained of color : his bloodless lips. • (of a person) cold or unemotional : a shrewd and bloodless Hollywood mogul. • lacking in vitality; feeble : their occasionally bloodless chamber jazz.
bloodshed |ˈblʌdʃɛd| noun the killing or wounding of people, typically on a large scale during a conflict.
bloodshot |ˈblʌdʃɒt| adjective (of the eyes) inflamed or tinged with blood, typically as a result of tiredness.
bloodstain |ˈblʌdsteɪn|
• the state or period of flowering : the apple trees were in bloom.
produce flowers; be in flower : a rose tree bloomed on a ruined wall. • come into or be in full beauty or health; flourish : she bloomed as an actress under his tutelage. • (of fire, color, or light) become radiant and glowing : color bloomed in her cheeks.
1 [ intrans. ] informal make a mistake : the company admitted it had blooped.
1 an embarrassing error : he poked fun at his own tendency to utter bloopers.
• the state or period of flowering : fruit trees in blossom./
(of a tree or bush) produce flowers or masses of flowers : the mango trees have shed their fruit and blossomed again. • mature or develop in a promising or healthy way : their friendship blossomed into romance | [as n. ] ( blossoming) the blossoming of experimental theater. • seem to grow or open like a flower : the smile blossomed on his lips.
a dark mark or stain, typically one made by ink, paint, or dirt : an ink blot. • a shameful act or quality that tarnishes an otherwise good character or reputation : the only blot on an otherwise clean campaign.
1 dry (a wet surface or substance) using an absorbent material : Guy blotted his face with a dust rag. • Biochemistry transfer by means of a blot. 2 mark or stain (something) [as adj. ] ( blotted): the writing was messy and blotted. • tarnish the good character or reputation of : the turmoil blotted his memory of the school. 3 ( blot something out) cover writing or pictures with ink or paint so that they cannot be seen. • obscure a view : a dust shield blotting out the sun. • obliterate or disregard something painful in one's memory or existence : the concentration necessary to her job blotted out all the feelings.
an irregular patch or unsightly mark on a surface, typically the skin : red blotches on her face.
2 [ intrans. ] (of a person) expel air through pursed lips : Willie took a deep breath, and blew | he blew on his coffee to cool it./1 [ intrans. ] (of wind) move creating an air current : a cold wind began to blow./• [ trans. ] (of wind) cause to move; propel : a gust of wind blew a cloud of smoke into his face | the spire was blown down during a gale./2 [ intrans. ] (of a person) expel air through pursed lips : Willie took a deep breath, and blew | he blew on his coffee to cool it./3 [ trans. ] (of an explosion or explosive device) displace violently or send flying : the blast had blown the windows out of the van | the back of his head had been blown away./5 informal completely bungle (an opportunity) : the wider issues were to show that politicians had blown it.
blow a fuse use too much power in an electrical circuit, causing a fuse to melt. • informal lose one's temper : it was only a suggestion—there's no need to blow a fuse.
let (or blow) off steam informal (of a person) get rid of pent-up energy or strong emotion.
blow out 1 be extinguished by an air current : the candles blew out. 2 (of a tire) puncture while the vehicle is in motion. 3 (of an oil or gas well) emit gas suddenly and forcefully. 4 ( blow itself out) (of a storm) finally lose its force : figurative the recession may finally have blown itself out.
knock (or blow) someone's socks off informal amaze or impress someone.
blow something up 1 cause something to explode. 2 inflate something : a small pump for blowing up balloons. • enlarge a photograph or text.
blow (or take) the lid off informal reveal unwelcome secrets about : prosecutors have taken the lid off a multimillion-dollar payoff scandal.
blow the whistle on informal bring an illicit activity to an end by informing on the person responsible.
blow up 1 explode. • (of a person) lose one's temper : Meg blows up at Patrick for always throwing his tea bags in the sink. 2 (of a wind or storm) begin to develop. • (of a scandal or dispute) emerge or become public. 3 inflate : my stomach had started to blow up.
blown away extremely surprised; flabbergasted : Sharon was blown away by the place.
• figurative an outburst of anger; an argument : that exchange led to a big blowout five years ago./2 informal an easy victory in a sporting contest or an election : they had lost seven games—four by blowouts and three by slim margins.
a thick stick with a heavy end, used as a weapon figurative : a rhetorical bludgeon in the war against liberalism. verb [ trans. ] beat (someone) repeatedly with a bludgeon or other heavy object. • force or bully (someone) to do something : she was determined not to be bludgeoned into submission. • ( bludgeon one's way) make one's way by brute force.
of or relating to workers who wear work clothes or specialized protective clothing, as miners, mechanics, etc. : unskilled blue-collar operators | their speech and attitudes mark them as blue-collar guys. Compare with white-collar .
• figurative something that acts as a plan, model, or template : a vague blueprint for fundamental land redistribution.
• ( bluff one's way) contrive a difficult escape or other achievement by maintaining a pretense : he bluffed his way onto an Antarctic supply vessel./• [ trans. ] mislead (someone) in this way : the object is to bluff your opponent into submission.
make such a mistake; act or speak clumsily : the mayor and the City Council have blundered in an ill-advised campaign | I blundered on in my explanation | [as adj. ] ( blundering) blundering actors. • [ intrans. ] move clumsily or as if unable to see : we were blundering around in the darkness.
1 (of a knife, pencil, etc.) having a worn-down edge or point; not sharp : a blunt knife. • having a flat or rounded end : the blunt tip of the leaf. 2 (of a person or remark) uncompromisingly forthright : he is as blunt as a kick in the shins | a blunt statement of fact. See note at brusque .
make or become unclear or less distinct : [ trans. ] tears blurred her vision | his novels blur the boundaries between criticism and fiction | [ intrans. ] as daylight waned, the pages blurred. noun a thing that cannot be seen or heard clearly : the pale blur of her face | the words were a blur. • an indistinct memory or impression of events, typically because they happened very fast : the day before was a blur.
blurb |bləːb| noun a short description of a book, movie, or other product written for promotional purposes and appearing on the cover of a book or in an advertisement.
say (something) suddenly and without careful consideration : she wouldn't blurt out words she did not mean | [with direct speech ] "It wasn't my idea," Gordon blurted.
1 a reddening of the face as a sign of embarrassment or shame : he had brought a faint blush to her cheeks. • a pink or pale red tinge : the roses were white with a lovely pink blush.
1 [ trans. ] get on or into (a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle) : we boarded the plane for Oslo | [ intrans. ] they would not be able to board without a ticket.
1 [ reporting verb ] talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one's achievements, possessions, or abilities : [with direct speech ] Ted used to boast, "I manage ten people" | [with clause ] he boasted that he had taken part in the crime | [ intrans. ] she boasted about her many conquests. 2 [ trans. ] (of a person, place, or thing) possess (a feature that is a source of pride) : the hotel boasts high standards of comfort.
(of a thing) make a quick short movement up and down : I could see his red head bobbing around | the boat bobbed up and down./• [ intrans. ] make a sudden move in a particular direction so as to appear or disappear : a lady bobbed up from beneath the counter.
1 a mishandling of a ball : a once-a-season bobble by Jordan en route to a breakaway jam./1 [ trans. ] mishandle (a ball) : Andy bobbled the ball, so his throw home was too late.
be an omen of a particular outcome : their argument did not bode well for the future | [ trans. ] the 12 percent interest rate bodes dark days ahead for retailers.
body count noun a list or total of casualties.
body odor noun the smell of the human body, esp. when unpleasant.
1 wet muddy ground too soft to support a heavy body : the island is a wilderness of bog | a peat bog figurative a bog of legal complications.
verb ( bogged |bɑgd| |bɔgd|, bogging |bɑgɪŋ| |bɔgɪŋ|) [ trans. ] (usu. be bogged down) cause (a vehicle, person, or animal) to become stuck in mud or wet ground : the car became bogged down on the beach road. • ( be bogged down) figurative (of a person or process) be unable to make progress : you must not get bogged down in detail.
an imaginary evil spirit, referred to typically to frighten children : with the blankets pulled over our heads to keep out the bogeyman.
not genuine or true; fake : a bogus insurance claim.
• (of a person or strong emotion) be stirred up or inflamed : he was boiling with rage.
boil away (of a liquid in a container) boil until the container is empty : check that the water has not boiled away.
boil down to be in essence a matter of : everything boiled down to cash in the end.
• (also boiling hot) informal (used hyperbolically) extremely hot : Saturday is forecast to be boiling and sunny.
boiling point
(of a person, event, or behavior) noisy, energetic, and cheerful; rowdy : the boisterous conviviality associated with taverns of that period. See note at vociferous . • (of wind, weather, or water) wild or stormy : the boisterous wind was lulled.
1 (of a person, action, or idea) showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous : a bold attempt to solve the crisis | he was the only one bold enough to air his dislike.
bolster |ˈbəʊlstə| noun (also bolster pillow) a long, thick pillow that is placed under other pillows for support. • a part of a vehicle or tool providing structural support./support or strengthen; prop up : the fall in interest rates is starting to bolster confidence | he wished to bolster up his theories with hard data. • provide (a seat) with padded support [as adj. ] ( bolstered): I snuggled down into the heavily bolstered seat.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a horse or other animal) run away suddenly out of control : the horses shied and bolted. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) move or run away suddenly : they bolted down the stairs.
attack (a place or person) continuously with bombs, shells, or other missiles : the city was bombarded by federal forces | supporters bombarded police with bottles. See note at attack . • assail (someone) persistently, as with questions, criticisms, or information : they will be bombarded with complaints.
1 an overwhelming surprise or disappointment : the news came as a bombshell.
used to express good wishes to someone about to go on a journey : good luck and bon voyage! | they had come to wish her bon voyage.
genuine; real : only bona fide members of the company are allowed to use the logo. adverb chiefly Law sincerely; without intention to deceive : the court will assume that they have acted bona fide.
1 join or be joined securely to something else, typically by means of an adhesive substance, heat, or pressure : [ trans. ] press the material to bond the layers together | [ intrans. ] this material will bond well to stainless steel rods | [as adj. ] ( bonding) a bonding agent. • [ intrans. ] figurative establish a relationship with someone based on shared feelings, interests, or experiences : the failure to properly bond with their children | the team has bonded together well | [as n. ] ( bonding) the film has some great male bonding scenes.
bonfire |ˈbɒnfʌɪə| noun a large open-air fire used as part of a celebration, for burning trash, or as a signal.
say "boo" to show disapproval or contempt : [ intrans. ] they booed and hissed when he stepped on stage | [ trans. ] I was practically booed off the stage for talking about cyberpunk.
(of a person or way of life) devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests : by comparison I was very bookish, intellectual, and worldy in a wrong way. • (of language or writing) literary in style or allusion : long bookish scholarship | a bookish but eloquent erotic memoir.
bookkeeping |ˈbʊkkiːpə| noun the activity or occupation of keeping records of the financial affairs of a business.
bookworm |ˈbʊkwəːm|
bookworm |ˈbʊkwəːm|
enjoy a period of great prosperity or rapid economic growth : business is booming | the popularity of soy-based foods has boomed in the last two decades.
help or encourage (something) to increase or improve : a range of measures to boost tourism. • push from below; assist : people they were trying to boost over a wall./a source of help or encouragement leading to increase or improvement : the cut in interest rates will give a further boost to the economy.
3 start (a computer) and put it into a state of readiness for operation : the menu will be ready as soon as you boot up your computer | [ intrans. ] the system won't boot from the original drive. [ORIGIN: from sense 2 of bootstrap . ]
boot camp noun a military training camp for new recruits, with strict discipline. • a prison for youthful offenders, run on military lines.
(esp. of liquor, computer software, or recordings) made, distributed, or sold illegally : bootleg cassettes | bootleg whiskey. verb ( -legged, -legging) [ trans. ] make, distribute, or sell (illicit goods, esp. liquor, computer software, or recordings) illegally : [as n. ] ( bootlegging) domestic bootlegging was almost impossible to control | [as adj. ] ( bootlegged) bootlegged videos.
1 [ trans. with adverbial of direction ] get (oneself or something) into or out of a situation using existing resources : the company is bootstrapping itself out of a marred financial past. 2 [ trans. ] start up (an enterprise), especially one based on the Internet, with minimal resources : they are bootstrapping their stations themselves, not with lots of dot-com venture capital.
valuable stolen goods, esp. those seized in war : the militias supply themselves with booty from the raided civilian populations. • informal something gained or won : now the booty: four winners will receive prizes.
dance to pop music : bopping to the radio while they made breakfast. • move or travel energetically : we had been bopping around the county all morning.
form an edge along or beside (something) : a pool bordered by palm trees. • (of a country or area) be adjacent to (another country or area) : regions bordering Azerbaijan | [ intrans. ] the mountains bordering on Afghanistan.
• take (a word, idea, or method) from another source and use it in one's own language or work : the term is borrowed from Greek | [ intrans. ] designers consistently borrow from the styles of preceding generations.
bosom |ˈbʊz(ə)m| noun a woman's chest : her ample bosom | the dress offered a fair display of bosom.
give (someone) orders in a domineering manner : plump old battle-axes bossing everyone around.
fond of giving people orders; domineering : she was headlong, bossy, scared of nobody, and full of vinegar.
carry out (a task) badly or carelessly : the ability to take on any task without botching it | he was in a position to hire people, and he botched that up | [as adj. ] ( botched) a botched attempt to kill them. • patch or repair (an object or damage) clumsily. noun (also botch-up) informal a bungled or badly carried out task or action : I've probably made a botch of things.
(of a performance or situation) reach the lowest point before stabilizing or improving : interest rates have bottomed out.
the final total of an account, balance sheet, or other financial document : figurative the determination of Japanese companies to ignore the bottom line. • the ultimate criterion : the bottom line is, does it work? • the underlying or ultimate outcome : the bottom line is I'm still married to Denny.
• very deep : the cold dark sea in whose bottomless depths monsters swam.
(of an object, esp. a ball) move quickly away from a surface after hitting it; rebound : the ball bounced off the rim | [ trans. ] he was bouncing the ball against the wall. • [often with adv. or prep. phrase showing direction] rebound repeatedly : the ball bounced away, and he chased it | the puck bounced into the middle of the ice. • (of light, sound, or an electronic signal) come into contact with an object or surface and be reflected : short sound waves bounce off even small objects. • (of a thing) move up and down while remaining essentially in the same position : the gangplank bounced under his confident step. • (of a person) jump repeatedly up and down, typically on something springy : bouncing up and down on the mattress. • [ trans. ] cause (a child) to move lightly up and down on one's knee as a game : I remember how you used to bounce me on your knee. • [often with adv. or prep. phrase showing direction] move in an energetic or happy manner : Linda bounced in through the open front door. • [often with adv. or prep. phrase showing direction] (of a vehicle) move jerkily along a bumpy surface : the car bounced down the narrow track. • ( bounce back) figurative recover well after a setback : admired for his ability to bounce back from injury.
bouncing well : a bouncy ball. • resilient; springy : that bouncy artificial grass. • (of a person) confident and lively : she was still the girl he remembered, bouncy and full of life. • (of music) having a jaunty rhythm : the bouncy cheerfulness of polka. • (of the hair) in good condition; having bounce : hair with shiny, bouncy curls.
bound up with (or in) closely connected with or related to : democracy is bound up with a measure of economic and social equality.
a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line : the eastern boundary of the wilderness | the boundary between the U.S. and Canada | [as adj. ] a boundary wall. • (often boundaries) figurative a limit of a subject or sphere of activity : a community without class or political boundaries.
• a sum paid for killing or capturing a person or animal : there was an increased bounty on his head.
1 a short period of intense activity of a specified kind : occasional bouts of strenuous exercise | a drinking bout. • an attack of illness or strong emotion of a specified kind : a severe bout of flu. • a wrestling or boxing match.
bend the head or upper part of the body as a sign of respect, greeting, or shame : he turned and bowed to his father | they refused to bow down before the king | [as adj. ] ( bowed) councilors stood with heads bowed | [ trans. ] she knelt and bowed her head.
• the contents of such a container : huge bowls of steaming spaghetti.
box office noun a place at a theater or other arts establishment where tickets are bought or reserved.
[often as adj. ] ( boxed) put in or provide with a box : the books are sold as a boxed set | Muriel boxed up all of Christopher's clothes. • enclose (a piece of text) within printed lines : boxed sections in magazines. • ( box someone in) restrict the ability of (someone) to move freely : a van had double-parked alongside her car and totally boxed her in.
make (a structure) stronger or firmer with wood, iron, or other forms of support : the posts were braced by lengths of timber./
• press (one's body or part of one's body) firmly against something in order to stay balanced : she braced her feet against a projecting shelf | [as adj. ] ( braced) he stood with legs braced. • prepare (someone or oneself) for something difficult or unpleasant : both stations are bracing themselves for job losses | police are braced for a traffic nightmare.
1 each of a pair of marks [ ] used to enclose words or figures so as to separate them from the context : symbols are given in brackets. 2 [with adj. ] a category of people or things that are similar or fall between specified limits : those in a high income bracket.
brain damage
brain-teaser (also brain-twister)
an idea or invention considered to be a particular person's creation : the statue is the brainchild of a local landscape artist.
stupid; foolish : a brainless bimbo.
make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure : the organization could brainwash young people | they have been brainwashed into conformity and subservience.
having or showing intelligence : a brainy, high-powered lawyer.
a device for slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, typically by applying pressure to the wheels : he slammed on his brakes | [as adj. ] a brake pedal. • a thing that slows or hinders a process : China's decision to put the brakes on economic reform.
• ( branch off) diverge from the main route or part : the road branched off at the town | figurative Ellington was constantly branching off with new musical styles. • ( branch out) extend or expand one's activities or interests in a new direction : the company is branching out into Europe.
self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way : he could be brash, cocky, and arrogant.
brawl |brɔːl| noun a rough or noisy fight or quarrel.
1 bold and without shame : he went about his illegal business with a brazen assurance | a brazen hussy! See note at bold .
1 an act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct : a breach of confidence | I sued for breach of contract. • a break in relations : a sudden breach between father and son.
a person's livelihood or main source of income, typically as earned by routine work : their bread and butter is reporting local events | [as adj. ] bread-and-butter occupations.
breadwinner |ˈbrɛdwɪnə| noun a person who earns money to support a family.
break down 1 (of a machine or motor vehicle) suddenly cease to function : his van broke down. • (of a person) have the vehicle they are driving cease to function : she broke down on the highway. • (of a relationship, agreement, or process) cease to continue; collapse : pay negotiations with management broke down. • lose control of one's emotions when in a state of distress : if she had tried to utter a word, she would have broken down | the old woman broke down in tears. • (of a person's health or emotional control) fail or collapse : his health broke down under the strain of overwork. 2 undergo chemical decomposition : waste products that break down into low-level toxic materials.
break even reach a point in a business venture when the profits are equal to the costs.
break (or keep) faith be disloyal (or loyal) : an attempt to make us break faith with our customers.
break in 1 force entry to a building : it sounded like someone trying to break in. 2 [with direct speech ] interject : "I don't want to interfere," Mrs. Hendry broke in.
break into 1 enter or open a (place, vehicle, or container) forcibly, typically for the purposes of theft : four men broke into the house | a friend of mine had his car broken into. • succeed in winning a share of (a market or a position in a profession) : Japanese companies failed to break into the U.S. personal-computer market. • interrupt (a conversation). 2 (of a person) suddenly or unexpectedly burst forth into (laughter or song). • (of a person's face or mouth) relax into (a smile). 3 change one's pace to (a faster one) : Greg broke into a sprint.
break off become severed : the fuselage had broken off just behind the pilot's seat. • abruptly stop talking : she broke off, stifling a sob.
break out (of war, fighting, or similarly undesirable things) start suddenly : forest fires have broken out across Indonesia. • (of a physical discomfort) suddenly manifest itself : prickles of sweat had broken out along her backbone.
break out of escape from : figurative executives looking to break out of the corporate hierarchy.
break someone in familiarize someone with a new job or situation : there was no time to break in a new executive assistant. • ( break a horse) accustom a horse to a saddle and bridle, and to being ridden.
break something down 1 demolish a door or other barrier : they had to get the police to break the door down | figurative race barriers can be broken down by educational reform. 2 separate something into parts : each tutorial is broken down into more manageable units. • analyze information : bar graphs show how the information can be broken down. • convert a substance into simpler compounds by chemical action : almost every natural substance can be broken down by bacteria.
break something off remove something from a larger unit or whole : Tucker broke off a piece of bread. • discontinue talks or relations : the U.S. threatened to break off diplomatic relations.
break something up cause something to separate into pieces, parts, or sections : break up the chocolate, and place it in a bowl | he intends to break the company up into strategic business units. • bring a social event or meeting to an end by being the first person to leave : Richard was sorry to break up the party. • disperse or put an end to a gathering : police broke up a demonstration in the capital.
break (or informal kick) the habit stop engaging in a habitual practice.
break the ice do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation going at the start of a party or when people meet for the first time.
break through make or force a way through (a barrier) : demonstrators attempted to break through the police lines | the sun might break through in a few spots. • figurative (of a person) achieve success in a particular area : so many talented players are struggling to break through.
break up disintegrate; disperse : the bones had broken up into minute fragments | the gray clouds had begun to break up. • (of a gathering) disband; end. • Brit. end the school term : we broke up for the summer. • (of a couple in a relationship) part company. • start laughing uncontrollably : the whole cast broke up. • become emotionally upset.
1 a failure of a relationship or of communication : the breakdown of their marriage | some of these women will have experienced marital breakdown. • a collapse of a system of authority due to widespread transgression of the rules : a breakdown in military discipline.
the moment of greatest strain at which someone or something gives way : the refugee crisis has reached the breaking point | her nerves were stretched to the breaking point.
1 a forcible escape, typically from prison : a prison breakout. • [in sing. ] (in soccer, hockey, and other sports) a sudden attack by a team that had been defending. 2 [in sing. ] an outbreak : a breakout of hostilities.
(of a woman) feed (a baby) with milk from the breast : she breast-fed her first child | [ intrans. ] sometimes it is not possible to breast-feed.
breathe a sigh of relief exhale noisily as a sign of relief (often used hyperbolically) : they breathed a great sigh of relief after the election was won.
breathe ( new) life into fill with enthusiasm and energy; reinvigorate : spring breathes new life into a wintry woods.
gasping for breath, typically due to exertion : the climb left me breathless.
• [ intrans. ] (of animals) mate and then produce offspring : toads are said to return to the pond of their birth to breed | [as adj. ] ( breeding) the breeding season.
• cause (something) to happen or occur, typically over a period of time : success breeds confidence.
come or go in a casual or lighthearted manner : I breezed in as if nothing were wrong. • [ intrans. ] deal with something with apparently casual ease : the computer has the power to breeze through huge documents | he breezed to victory.
• shortness of time : the brevity of human life.
persuade (someone) to act in one's favor, typically illegally or dishonestly, by a gift of money or other inducement : an undercover agent bribed the judge into giving a lenient sentence | [ trans. ] you weren't willing to be good to your sister without being bribed with a lollipop. | [ intrans. ] he has no money to bribe with.
the bricks in a wall, house, or other structure, typically in terms of their type or layout : the patterned brickwork of the gables.
instruct or inform (someone) thoroughly, esp. in preparation for a task : she briefed him on last week's decisions.
a concise statement or summary : their comments were cribbed right from industry briefs.
a meeting for giving information or instructions : the daily press briefing. • the information or instructions given : this briefing explains the systems, products and standards. • the action of informing or instructing someone : today's briefing of NATO allies.
a subdivision of an army, typically consisting of a small number of infantry battalions and/or other units and often forming part of a division : he commanded a brigade of 3,000 men.
make or become more light : [ intrans. ] the day began to brighten in the east | [ trans. ] the fire began to blaze fiercely, brightening the room. • [ trans. ] make (something) more attractively and cheerfully colorful : this colorful hanging ornament will brighten any room | daffodils brighten up many gardens and parks. • make or become happier and more cheerful : [ intrans. ] Sarah brightened up considerably as she thought of Emily's words | [ trans. ] she seems to brighten his life.
fill or be full to the point of overflowing [ intrans. ] : a brimming cup [ trans. ] : seawater brimmed the riverbanks. • fill something so completely as almost to spill out of it : large tears brimmed in her eyes. • figurative be possessed by or full of feelings or thoughts : he is brimming with ideas.
his inner confidence has brought him through his ordeal./ heavy rain brought down part of the ceiling./ her letter brought forth a torrent of criticism./ I'll give you some aspirin to bring down his temperature | his approach brought him into conflict with government/ he has brought in a consultant.ot and conspiracy charges should be brought against them..
cause someone to lose power : the vote will not bring down the government. • make someone unhappy.
bring someone to justice arrest someone for a crime and ensure that they are tried in court.
bring someone to their (or come to one's) senses restore someone to (or regain) consciousness. • cause someone to (or start to) think and behave reasonably after a period of folly or irrationality.
bring someone/something into line cause someone or something to conform : the change in the law will bring Britain into line with Europe.
bring someone/something to mind cause one to remember or think of someone or something : all that marble brought to mind a mausoleum.
bring something about 1 cause something to happen : she brought about a revolution
bring something back cause something to return. • reintroduce something : bringing back capital punishment would solve nothing.
bring something in 1 introduce something, esp. a new law or product : Congress brought in reforms to prevent abuse of presidential power. 2 make or earn a particular amount of money : their fund-raising efforts have brought in more than $1 million. 3 (of a jury) give a decision in court : the jury brought in a unanimous verdict.
bring something into question raise an issue for further consideration or discussion : technology had brought into question the whole future of work.
bring (or come) to light make (or become) widely known or evident : an investigation to bring to light examples of extravagant expenditure.
bring (or come) to life regain or cause to regain consciousness or return as if from death : all this was of great interest to her, as if she were coming to life after a long sleep. • (with reference to a fictional character or inanimate object) cause or seem to be alive or real : he brings the character of MacDonald to life with power and precision | all the puppets came to life again. • make or become active, lively, or interesting : soon, with the return of the peasants and fishermen, the village comes to life again | you can bring any room to life with these coordinating cushions.
active, fast, and energetic : a good brisk walk | business appeared to be brisk.
hard but liable to break or shatter easily : her bones became fragile and brittle. • (of a sound, esp. a person's voice) unpleasantly hard and sharp and showing signs of instability or nervousness : a brittle laugh.
tolerant or liberal in one's views and reactions; not easily offended : a broad-minded approach to religion.
arrange or negotiate (a settlement, deal, or plan) : fighting continued despite attempts to broker a cease-fire.
• a fee or commission charged by a broker : a revenue of $1,400 less a sales brokerage of $12.50.
a family of young animals, esp. of a bird, produced at one hatching or birth : a brood of chicks.
1 [ intrans. ] think deeply about something that makes one unhappy : he brooded over his need to find a wife.
broth |brɒθ| noun 1 soup consisting of meat or vegetable chunks, and often rice, cooked in stock.
brothel |ˈbrɒθ(ə)l| noun a house where men can visit prostitutes.
brother-in-law
a noisy and overexcited critical response, display of interest, or trail of publicity : 24 members resigned over the brouhaha | all that election brouhaha.
1 a person's forehead : he wiped his brow. • (usu. brows) an eyebrow : his brows lifted in surprise.
[ trans. ] [often as adj. ] ( bruised) inflict such an injury on (someone or something) : a bruised knee. • hurt (someone's feelings) : she tried to bolster her bruised pride.
• an act of sweeping, applying, or arranging with such an implement or with one's hand : he gave the seat a brush.
1 [ trans. ] remove (dust or dirt) by sweeping or scrubbing : we'll be able to brush the mud off easily | he brushed himself down. • [ trans. ] use a brush or one's hand to remove dust or dirt from (something) : she brushed down her best coat.
2 [ intrans. ] touch lightly and gently : stems of grass brush against her legs. • ( brush past) touch fleetingly and in passing : she brushed past him to leave the room. • [ trans. ] push (something) away with a quick movement of the hand : she brushed a wisp of hair away from her face. • [ trans. ] ( brush something aside) dismiss (something) curtly and confidently : people brushed aside the possibility of imminent war. • [ trans. ] ( brush someone/something off) dismiss in an abrupt, contemptuous way : the president brushed off a reporter's question about terrorism.
savagely violent : a brutal murder. • punishingly hard or uncomfortable : the brutal winter wind.
(of a liquid) contain bubbles of air or gas rising to the surface : a pot of soup bubbled away on the stove.
• ( bubble with or over with) figurative (of a person) be exuberantly filled with an irrepressible positive feeling : Ellen was bubbling with such enthusiasm.
bucketful |-ˌfoŏl| |ˈbəkətˈfʊl| noun ( pl. -fuls).
(of a plant or animal) form a bud : new blood vessels bud out from the vascular bed | [ trans. ] tapeworms bud off egg-bearing sections from their tail end.
allow or provide for in a budget : the university is budgeting for a deficit | [as adj. ] ( budgeted) a budgeted figure of $31,000 | [as n. ] ( budgeting) corporate planning and budgeting. • [ trans. ] provide (a sum of money) for a particular purpose from a budget : the council proposes to budget $100,000 to provide grants.
1 a person or thing that prevents incompatible or antagonistic people or things from coming into contact with or harming each other : family and friends can provide a buffer against stress.
1 lessen or moderate the impact of (something) : the massage helped to buffer the strain.
buffer zone/buffer state
buffoon |bəˈfuːn| noun a ridiculous but amusing person; a clown.
1 (often be bugged) conceal a miniature microphone in (a room or telephone) in order to monitor or record someone's conversations : the telephones in the presidential palace were bugged.
bugger off [usu. in imperative ] go away.
• establish and develop (a business, relationship, or situation) over a period of time : he'd built up the store from nothing.
• increase the size, intensity, or extent of : we built up confidence in our abilities | [ intrans. ] the air of excited anticipation builds.
swell or protrude to an unnatural or incongruous extent : the veins in his neck bulged | [as adj. ] ( bulging) he stared with bulging eyes.
• [as adj. ] large in quantity or amount : bulk orders of more than 100 copies.
2 [ trans. ] treat (a product) so that its quantity appears greater than it in fact is : traders were bulking up their flour with chalk.
bulk buying noun the purchase of goods in large amounts, typically at a discount. • figurative informal use insensitive force when dealing with (someone or something) : she believes that to build status you need to bulldoze everyone else. 1 a light blow or a jolting collision : a nasty bump on the head.
2 a protuberance on a level surface : bumps in the road.
1 [ intrans. ] knock or run into someone or something, typically with a jolt : I almost bumped into him | [ trans. ] she bumped the girl with her hip. • ( bump into) meet by chance : we might just bump into each other. • [ trans. ] hurt or damage (something) by striking or knocking it against something else : she bumped her head on the sink. • [ trans. ] cause to collide with something : she went through the door, bumping the bag against it.
bump someone up informal move someone to a higher level or status; promote : he was a writer for nine years before he was bumped up to editor.
bumper sticker
(of a surface) uneven, with many patches raised above the rest : the bumpy road. • (of a journey or other movement) involving sudden jolts and jerks, esp. caused by an uneven surface : she took us all on a bumpy ride. • figurative fluctuating and unreliable; subject to unexpected difficulties : bumpy market conditions.
a collection of things, or a quantity of material, tied or wrapped up together : a thick bundle of envelopes. • figurative a large quantity or collection, typically a disorganized one : a bundle of facts.
1 keep (someone or something) afloat : I let the water buoy up my weight. • (often be buoyed) cause to become cheerful or confident : the party was buoyed by an election victory. • (often be buoyed) cause (a price) to rise to or remain at a high level : the price is buoyed up by investors.
• figurative (of an economy, business, or market) involving or engaged in much activity : car sales were not buoyant. • figurative cheerful and optimistic : the conference ended with the party in a buoyant mood.
• speak in an unintelligible or silly way, typically at unnecessary length : he burbled on about annuities | [ trans. ] he was burbling inanities.
begin to grow or increase rapidly; flourish : manufacturers are keen to cash in on the burgeoning demand.
• be or cause to be destroyed by fire : he watched his restaurant burn to the ground
• (of a person's face) feel hot and flushed from an intense emotion such as shame or indignation : her face burned with the humiliation. • ( be burning with) be possessed by (a desire or an emotion) : Martha was burning with curiosity.
burn out be completely consumed and thus no longer aflame : the candle in the saucer had burned out | figurative his political ambitions had burned themselves out. • cease to function as a result of excessive heat or friction : the clutch had burned out.
burn something to a crisp burn something completely, leaving only a charred remnant.
(of an animal) make a hole or tunnel, esp. to use as a dwelling : moles burrowing away underground | [as adj. ] ( burrowing) burrowing earthworms | [ trans. ] the fish can burrow a hiding place. • [with adverbial of direction ] advance into or through something solid by digging or making a hole : worms that burrow through dead wood. • [with adverbial of direction ] move underneath or press close to something in order to hide oneself or in search of comfort : the child burrowed deeper into the bed. • [ trans. ] move (something) in this way : she burrowed her face into the pillow. • figurative make a thorough inquiry; investigate : journalists are burrowing into the president's business affairs.
bursar |ˈbəːsə| noun 1 a person who manages the financial affairs of a college or university.
(of a container) break suddenly and violently apart, spilling the contents, typically as a result of an impact or internal pressure : we inflated dozens of balloons and only one burst.
• be so full as almost to break open : the drawers were bursting with clothes. • feel a very strong or irrepressible emotion or impulse : he was bursting with joy and excitement | [with infinitive ] she was bursting to say something.
• issue suddenly and uncontrollably, as though from a splitting container : the words burst from him in an angry rush | an aircraft crashed and burst into flames.
• a sudden outbreak, typically short and often violent or noisy : a sudden burst of activity | he heard a burst of gunfire.
move in an energetic or noisy manner : people clutching clipboards bustled about. • [ trans. ] make (someone) move hurriedly in a particular direction : she bustled us into the kitchen. • [ intrans. ] (of a place) be full of activity : the small harbor bustled with boats | [as adj. ] ( bustling) the bustling little town.
but for except for : I walked along Broadway, deserted but for the occasional cab. • if it were not for : the game could be over but for you.
but that's another story informal used after raising a matter to indicate that one does not want to expand on it for now.
fasten (clothing) with buttons : he buttoned up his jacket.
• procure the loyalty and support of (someone) by bribery : here was a man who could not be bought | I'll buy off the investigators.
1 obtain in exchange for payment : we had to find some money to buy a house | he had been able to buy up hundreds of acres | [with two objs. ] he bought me a new dress | [ intrans. ] had no interest in buying into an entertainment company.
a low, continuous humming or murmuring sound, made by or similar to that made by an insect : the buzz of the bees | a buzz of conversation.
• [often as n. ] ( buzzing) (of the ears) be filled with a humming sound : I remember a buzzing in my ears.
• an atmosphere of excitement and activity : there is a real buzz about the place.
( not) by a long shot informal (not) by far or at all : she had not told Tony everything, not by a long shot.
by a nose (of a victory) by a very narrow margin.
by (or from) all accounts according to what one has heard or read : by all accounts he is a pretty nice guy.by and large on the whole; everything considered : mammals have, by and large, bigger brains than reptiles. [ORIGIN: originally in nautical use, describing the handling of a ship both with the wind and against it.]
by and large on the whole; everything considered : mammals have, by and large, bigger brains than reptiles. [ORIGIN: originally in nautical use, describing the handling of a ship both with the wind and against it.]
by any chance possibly (used in tentative inquiries or suggestions) : were you looking for me by any chance?
by any means (or by any manner of means) (following a negative) in any way; at all : I'm not poor by any means.
by all means of course; certainly (granting a permission) : "May I make a suggestion?" "By all means."
by definition by its very nature; intrinsically : underachievement, by definition, is not due to lack of talent.
by design as a result of a plan; intentionally : I became a presenter by default rather than by design.
by heart from memory.
by inches 1 only just : the shot missed her by inches. 2 very slowly and gradually; bit by bit : you can't let him die by inches like this.
by means of with the help or agency of : supplying water to cities by means of aqueducts.
by mistake accidentally; in error : she'd left her purse at home by mistake.
by no means (or by no manner of means) not at all; certainly not : the outcome is by no means guaranteed.
by order of according to directions given by the proper authority : he was released from prison by order of the court.
by the book strictly according to the rules : a cop who doesn't exactly play it by the book.
by turns one after the other; alternately : he was by turns amused and mildly annoyed by her.
by (or in) virtue of because or as a result of.
by way of 1 so as to pass through or across; via : we approached the Berlin Wall by way of Checkpoint Charlie. 2 constituting; as a form of : "I can't help it," shouted Tom by way of apology. 3 by means of : noncompliance with the regulations is punishable by way of a fine.
by/in comparison when compared : computer-based communication is extremely fast in comparison with telephone or postal services.
belonging to an earlier time : relics of a bygone society.
let bygones be bygones forget past offenses or causes of conflict and be reconciled.
bystander |ˈbʌɪstandə|
a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place : an arms cache | a cache of gold coins.
(of a bird, typically a hen or goose) give a raucous, clucking cry : the hen was cackling as if demented | [as adj. ] ( cackling) cackling, whooping cries. • make a harsh sound resembling such a cry when laughing : she cackled with laughter | [with direct speech ] "Ah ha!" he cackled.
a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds : a cacophony of deafening alarm bells | figurative a cacophony of architectural styles | songs of unrelieved cacophony.
a small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession : a small cadre of scientists.
confine in or as in a cage : the parrot screamed, furious at being caged | [as adj. ] ( caged) a caged bird.
reluctant to give information owing to caution or suspicion : manufacturers are cagey about the recipes they use to create a wine.
persuade someone to do something by sustained coaxing or flattery : he hoped to cajole her into selling the house | [ intrans. ] she pleaded and cajoled as she tried to win his support.an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster. • disaster and distress : the journey had led to calamity and ruin.
an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster. • disaster and distress : the journey had led to calamity and ruin.
1 the quality of someone's character or the level of someone's ability : they could ill afford to lose a man of his caliber. • the standard reached by something : educational facilities of a very high caliber.
call it a day end a period of activity, esp. resting content that enough has been done : we were prepared to do another long march before calling it a day.
call (or bring) someone to account require someone to explain a mistake or poor performance.
call something off cancel an event or agreement.
showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others : his callous comments about the murder made me shiver.
work in an organized and active way toward a particular goal, typically a political or social one : people who campaigned against child labor | [with infinitive ] the services he had campaigned to protect.
2 (of a factor or circumstance) neutralize or negate the force or effect of (another) : the electric fields may cancel each other out.
1 truthful and straightforward; frank : his responses were remarkably candid | a candid discussion.
candescent adjective glowing with, or as with, heat.
the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness : a man of refreshing candor.
1 having or showing shrewdness and good judgment, esp. in money or business matters : canny shoppers came early for a bargain.
• figurative something hanging or perceived as hanging over a person or scene : the canopy of twinkling stars. • Architecture a rooflike projection or shelter : they mounted the station steps under the concrete canopy.
1 [ trans. ] solicit votes from (electors in a constituency) : in each ward, two workers canvassed some 2,000 voters | [ intrans. ] she canvassed for votes. • question (someone) in order to ascertain their opinion on something : they promised to canvass all member clubs for their views. • ascertain (someone's opinion) through questioning : opinions on the merger were canvassed. • try to obtain; request : they're canvassing support among shareholders. 2 [ trans. ] (often be canvassed) discuss thoroughly : the issues that were canvassed are still unresolved.
having a lot of space inside; roomy : she rummaged in her capacious handbag.
2 (also capillary tube) a tube that has an internal diameter of hairlike thinness.
capital punishment
1 [ intrans. ] ( capitalize on) take the chance to gain advantage from : an attempt by the opposition to capitalize on the government's embarrassment.
cease to resist an opponent or an unwelcome demand; surrender : the patriots had to capitulate to the enemy forces.
the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent or demand : the victor sees it as a sign of capitulation | a capitulation to wage demands.
1 put a lid or cover on : he capped his pen. • (often be capped) form a covering layer or top part of : several towers were capped by domes | [as adj., in combination ] ( -capped) snow-capped mountains.
2 (often be capped) place a limit or restriction on (prices, expenditure, or other activity) : council budgets will be capped.
1 a sudden and unaccountable change of mood or behavior : her caprices had made his life impossible | a land where men were ruled by law and not by caprice.
given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior : a capricious and often brutal administration | a capricious climate.
attract and hold the interest and attention of; charm : he was captivated by her beauty | [as adj. ] ( captivating) a captivating smile.
imprisoned or confined : the farm was used to hold prisoners of war captive | a captive animal. • [ attrib. ] having no freedom to choose alternatives or to avoid something : advertisements at the movie theater reach a captive audience.
captor |ˈkaptə| noun a person or animal that catches or confines another.
• figurative the remains of something being discarded, dismembered, or worthless : the floor is littered with the carcasses of newspapers.
1 of or relating to the heart : a cardiac arrest.
cardiovascular system noun another term for circulatory system .
touch or stroke gently or lovingly : she caressed the girl's forehead | figurative [as adj. ] ( caressing) the caressing warmth of the sun.
• the art or style of such exaggerated representation : there are elements of caricature in the portrayal of the hero.
carnivore |ˈkɑːnɪvɔː| noun an animal that feeds on flesh.
drink plentiful amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way : they danced and caroused until the drink ran out | [as n. ] ( carousing) a night of carousing.
• a four-wheeled passenger vehicle pulled by two or more horses : a horse-drawn carriage.
3 have as a feature or consequence : being a combat sport, karate carries with it the risk of injury | each bike carries a ten-year guarantee.
4 take or develop (an idea or activity) to a specified point : he carried the criticism much further.
carton |ˈkɑːt(ə)n| noun a light box or container, typically one made of waxed cardboard or plastic in which drinks or foodstuffs are packaged.
1 (often be carved) cut (a hard material) in order to produce an aesthetically pleasing object or design : the wood was carved with runes | [as adj. ] ( carved) bookcases of carved oak. • produce (an object) by cutting and shaping a hard material : the altar was carved from a block of solid jade.
carve something out 1 take something from a larger whole, esp. with difficulty : carving out a 5 percent share of the overall vote. 2 establish or create something through painstaking effort : he managed to carve out a successful photographic career for himself.
1 [ intrans. ] (of water) pour downward rapidly and in large quantities : water was cascading down the stairs.
1 [ trans. ] throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction : lemmings cast themselves off the cliff | figurative individuals who do not accept the norms are cast out from the group. • throw (something) so as to cause it to spread over an area : the fishermen cast a large net around a school of tuna | figurative he cast his net far and wide in search of evidence. • direct (one's eyes or a look) at something : she cast down her eyes | [with two objs. ] she cast him a desperate glance.
2 [ trans. ] cause (light or shadow) to appear on a surface : the moon cast a pale light over the cottages | figurative running costs were already casting a shadow over the program. • cause (uncertainty or disparagement) to be associated with something : journalists cast doubt on the government's version of events | I do not wish to cast aspersions on your honesty. • cause (a magic spell) to take effect : the witch cast a spell on her to turn her into a beast | figurative the city casts a spell on the visitor.
shed (or throw or cast) light on help to explain (something) by providing further information about it.
remove the testicles of (a male animal or man). • figurative deprive of power, vitality, or vigor : [as adj. ] ( castrated) the nation is a castrated giant, afraid to really punish subversives.
cat and mouse a series of cunning maneuvers designed to thwart an opponent : their elite fighters are playing cat and mouse with U.S. troops.
• figurative a person or thing that precipitates an event : the governor's speech acted as a catalyst for debate.
hurl or launch (something) in a specified direction with or as if with a catapult : the plane was refueled and catapulted back into the air again | the explosion catapulted the car 30 yards along the road | figurative their music catapulted them to the top of the charts.
a term or category that includes a variety of different possibilities : the stigmatizing catch-all term "schizophrenia."
catch on informal 1 (of a practice or fashion) become popular : his music never caught on in the South. 2 understand what is meant or how to do something : I caught on to what it was the guy was saying.
catch one's breath 1 cease breathing momentarily in surprise or fear. 2 rest after exercise to restore normal breathing : she stood for a few moments, catching her breath.
catch sight of suddenly notice; glimpse.
catch someone's eye 1 be noticed by someone : a vase on a side table caught his eye. 2 attract someone's attention by making eye contact : I caught Rhoda's eye and gave her a friendly wave.catch up succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one : O'Hara caught up with Stella at the bottom of the hill. • do work or other tasks that one should have done earlier : he normally used the afternoons to catch up on paperwork.
catch up succeed in reaching a person who is ahead of one : O'Hara caught up with Stella at the bottom of the hill. • do work or other tasks that one should have done earlier : he normally used the afternoons to catch up on paperwork.
catchline |ˈkatʃlʌɪn| noun Printing a short, eye-catching line of type, typically one at the top of a page such as a running head. • an advertising slogan.
(of a tune or phrase) instantly appealing and memorable : a catchy recruiting slogan.
catharsis |kəˈθɑːsɪs| noun 1 the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
caucus |ˈkɔːkəs| noun ( pl. -cuses ) 1 a meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members of a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy. • the members of such a body.
• Grammar & Logic expressing or indicating a cause : a causal conjunction.
acting as a cause : a causative factor. • Grammar expressing causation : a causative verb.
• [ intrans. ] ( caution against) warn or advise against (doing something) : advisers have cautioned against tax increases
cavalry |ˈkav(ə)lri| noun ( pl. -ries) [usu. treated as pl. ] historical soldiers who fought on horseback.
cave in (or cave something in) (with reference to a roof or similar structure) subside or collapse or cause something to do this : the tunnel walls caved in | mudstorms caved the roof in. • figurative yield or submit under pressure : the manager caved in to his demands.
come to an end : the hostilities had ceased and normal life was resumed | [with infinitive ] on his retirement the job will cease to exist. • [ trans. ] bring (a specified action) to an end : they were asked to cease all military activity.
cease-fire |ˈsiːsfʌɪə| noun a temporary suspension of fighting, typically one during which peace talks take place; a truce.
constant and unending : the fort was subjected to ceaseless bombardment.
give up (power or territory) : they have had to cede control of the schools to the government. See note at relinquish .
positioned in or relating to the sky, or outer space as observed in astronomy : a celestial body.
• figurative settle or establish firmly : the two firms are expected to cement an agreement soon.
express severe disapproval of (someone or something), typically in a formal statement : a judge was censured in 1983 for a variety of types of injudicious conduct. See note at rebuke . noun the expression of formal disapproval : angry delegates offered a resolution of censure against the offenders | they paid the price in social ostracism and family censure.
centrifugal force/central nervous system/
1 of the cerebrum of the brain : a cerebral hemorrhage | the cerebral cortex. • intellectual rather than emotional or physical : photography is a cerebral process.
• a document describing a medical condition : certificate of immunization. • a document attesting a level of achievement in a course of study or training : graduate certificate in information technology.
cesarean section
a ceasing; an end : the cessation of hostilities | a cessation of animal testing of cosmetics. • a pause or interruption : a cessation of respiration requiring resuscitation.
distress or embarrassment at having failed or been humiliated : Jeff, much to his chagrin, wasn't invited.
• figurative a series of events, each caused by the previous one : an article in one publication sets off a chain reaction in the media.
• [ trans. ] invite (someone) to do something that one thinks will be difficult or impossible; dare : I challenged them to make up their own minds.
support the cause of; defend : priests who championed human rights.
• ( chances) the probability of something happening : he played down his chances of becoming chairman.
• ( chance upon/on) find or see by accident : he chanced upon an interesting advertisement. 2 [ trans. ] informal do (something) despite its being dangerous or of uncertain outcome : she waited a few seconds and chanced another look.
change of pace a change from what one is used to : the magenta is a change of pace from traditional red.
change hands (of a business or building) pass to a different owner. • (of money or a marketable commodity) pass to another person during a business transaction : no money has changed hands.
say or shout repeatedly in a sing-song tone : protesters were chanting slogans | [with direct speech ] the crowd chanted "No violence!"
chaperone |ˈʃapərəʊn| (also chaperon |ˈʃapərɒn|) noun a person who accompanies and looks after another person or group of people, in particular
1 describe the distinctive nature or features of : the historian characterized the period as the decade of revolution. 2 (often be characterized) (of a feature or quality) be typical or characteristic of : the disease is characterized by weakening of the immune system.
1 demand (an amount) as a price from someone for a service rendered or goods supplied : the restaurant charged $15 for dinner | [with two objs. ] he charged me 20,000 lire for the postcard | [ intrans. ] museums should charge for admission. • ( charge something to) record the cost of something as an amount payable by (someone) or on (an account) : they charge the calls to their credit-card accounts. 2 accuse (someone) of something, esp. an offense under law : they were charged with assault. • [with clause ] make an accusation or assertion that : opponents charged that below-cost pricing would reduce safety.
• a financial liability or commitment : an asset of $550,000 should have been taken as a charge on earnings. 2 an accusation, typically one formally made against a prisoner brought to trial : he appeared in court on a charge of attempted murder | three people were arrested but released without charge. 3 the responsibility of taking care or control of someone or something : the people in her charge are pupils and not experimental subjects.
2 the reservation of an aircraft, boat, or bus for private use : a plane on charter to a multinational company. • an aircraft, boat, or bus that is reserved for private use. • a trip made by an aircraft, boat, or bus under charter : he liked to see the boat sparkling clean before each charter.
rebuke or reprimand severely : he chastised his colleagues for their laziness.
1 informal an extremely easy task : the program was a cinch to use. • a sure thing; a certainty : he was a cinch to take a prize.
(often preceding a date) approximately : built circa 1935.
1 move or cause to move continuously or freely through a closed system or area : [ intrans. ] antibodies circulate in the bloodstream | [ trans. ] the fan circulates hot air around the oven.
2 pass or cause to pass from place to place or person to person : [ intrans. ] rumors of his arrest circulated | [ trans. ] they were circulating the list to conservation groups.
1 restrict (something) within limits : their movements were strictly monitored and circumscribed.
wary and unwilling to take risks : the officials were very circumspect in their statements. See note at vigilant .
find a way around (an obstacle). • overcome (a problem or difficulty), typically in a clever and surreptitious way : terrorists found the airport checks easy to circumvent.
civil servant
make or cause to make a sharp sound or series of such sounds as a result of a hard object striking another : [ intrans. ] he heard the sound of her heels clacking across flagstones | [ trans. ] he clacked the castanets in fine syncopation.1 clothed : they were clad in T-shirts and shorts [in combination ] a leotard-clad instructor. 2 provided with cladding : [in combination ] copper-clad boards.
1 clothed : they were clad in T-shirts and shorts [in combination ] a leotard-clad instructor. 2 provided with cladding : [in combination ] copper-clad boards.
state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof : [with clause ] he claimed that he came from a wealthy, educated family | [with direct speech ] "I'm entitled to be conceited," he claimed | [ trans. ] these sunblocks claim protection factors as high as 34.
• [ trans. ] assert that one has gained or achieved (something) : his supporters claimed victory in the presidential elections.
clairvoyant |klɛːˈvɔɪənt| noun a person who claims to have a supernatural ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact.
a loud and confused noise, esp. that of people shouting vehemently : the questions rose to a clamor. • a strongly expressed protest or demand, typically from a large number of people : the growing public clamor for more policemen on the beat. verb [ intrans. ] (of a group of people) shout loudly and insistently : the surging crowds clamored for attention. • make a vehement protest or demand : scientists are clamoring for a ban on all chlorine substances.
clamp down suppress or prevent something, typically in an oppressive or harsh manner : police clamped down on a pro-democracy demonstration.
kept secret or done secretively, esp. because illicit : she deserved better than these clandestine meetings. See note at secret .
a loud, resonant metallic sound or series of sounds : the steel door slammed shut with a clang. verb make or cause to make such a sound : [ intrans. ] she turned the faucet on and the plumbing clanged | [ trans. ] the belfry still clangs its bell at 9 p.m.
a loud, sharp sound or series of sounds, typically made by pieces of metal meeting or being struck together : the groan and clank of a winch. verb make or cause to make such a sound : [ intrans. ] I could hear the chain clanking | [ trans. ] Cassie bounced on the bed, clanking the springs.
1 make (a statement or situation) less confused and more clearly comprehensible : the report managed to clarify the government's position.
1 [ intrans. ] meet and come into violent conflict : protesters demanding self-rule clashed with police. • have a forceful disagreement : Clarke has frequently clashed with his colleagues. • be incompatible or at odds : his thriftiness clashed with Ross's largesse. 2 [ intrans. ] (of colors) appear discordant or ugly when placed close to each other : [as adj. ] ( clashing) suits in clashing colors. • inconveniently occur at the same time : the date of the wedding clashes with Sean's graduation.
1 grasp (something) tightly with one's hand : he clasped her arm. • place (one's arms) around something so as to hold it tightly : Kate's arms were clasped around her knees.
arranged in classes or categories : a classified catalog of books.
arrange (a group of people or things) in classes or categories according to shared qualities or characteristics : mountain peaks are classified according to their shape. • assign (someone or something) to a particular class or category : elements are usually classified as metals or nonmetals.
stylish and sophisticated : the hotel is classy but relaxed.
a continuous rattling sound as of hard objects falling or striking each other : the horse spun around with a clatter of hooves | she dropped her knife and fork with a clatter. • noisy rapid talk : I could hear the clatter from the next table./
make or cause to make a continuous rattling sound : [ intrans. ] her coffee cup clattered in the saucer | [ trans. ] she clattered cups and saucers onto a tray. • [ intrans. ] fall or move with such a sound : the knife clattered to the floor.
1 [ intrans. ] (of an animal or person) scratch or tear something with the claws or the fingernails : the kitten was clawing at Lowell's trouser leg | figurative bitter jealousy clawed at her | [ trans. ] her hands clawed his shoulders. • clutch at something with the hands : his fingers clawed at the air. • ( claw one's way) make one's way with difficulty by hauling oneself forward with one's hands : he clawed his way over a pile of bricks. • [ trans. ] ( claw something away) try desperately to move or remove something with the hands : rescuers clawed away rubble with their bare hands.
clean up one's act behave in a more acceptable manner.
make (something, esp. the skin) thoroughly clean : this preparation will cleanse and tighten the skin | [as adj. ] ( cleansing) a cleansing cream. • rid (a person, place, or thing) of something seen as unpleasant, unwanted, or defiling : the mission to cleanse the nation of subversives.
1 sharply defined; easy to perceive or understand : we now had a clear-cut objective.
clearheaded (also clear-headed) adjective alert and thinking logically and coherently.
clear one's throat cough slightly so as to speak more clearly, attract attention, or to express hesitancy before saying something awkward.
thinking clearly and sensibly; perspicacious and discerning : a clear-sighted sense of what is possible and appropriate.
clear the way remove an obstacle or hindrance to allow progress : the ruling could be enough to clear the way for impeachment proceedings. • [in imperative ] stand aside : Stand back, there! Clear the way!
2 official authorization for something to proceed or take place : there was a delay in obtaining diplomatic clearance to overfly Israel. • (also security clearance) official permission for someone to have access to classified information : these people don't have clearance. • permission for an aircraft to take off or land at an airport : he took off without air traffic clearance.
clearheaded (also clear-headed) adjective alert and thinking logically and coherently.
mercy; lenience : an appeal for clemency. See note at mercy .
(with reference to the fingers or hand) close into a tight ball, esp. when feeling extreme anger : [ trans. ] she clenched her fists, struggling for control | [ intrans. ] John's right hand clenched into a fist | [as adj. ] ( clenched) he struck the wall with his clenched fist. • (with reference to the teeth) press or be pressed tightly together, esp. with anger or determination or so as to suppress a strong emotion : [ intrans. ] her teeth clenched in anger. • [ trans. ] grasp (something) tightly, esp. with the hands or between the teeth : he clenched the steering wheel so hard that the car wobbled.
• [ intrans. ] move with such a sound : Louise turned on her three-inch heels and clicked away.
2 [ intrans. ] informal become suddenly clear or understandable : finally it clicked what all the fuss had been about. • become very comfortable with someone at the first meeting : we just clicked, and I found myself falling in love. • become successful or popular : I don't think this issue has clicked with the voters.
culminate in an exciting or impressive event; reach a climax : the day climaxed with a gala concert. • [ trans. ] bring (something) to a climax : the sentencing climaxed a seven-month trial.
1 confirm or settle (a contract or bargain) : to clinch a business deal. • conclusively settle (an argument or debate) : these findings clinched the matter. • confirm the winning or achievement of (a game, competition, or victory) : his team clinched the title.
(of a person or animal) hold on tightly to : she clung to Joe's arm | they clung together | figurative she clung onto life. • ( cling to) adhere or stick firmly or closely to; be hard to part or remove from : the smell of smoke clung to their clothes | the fabric clung to her smooth skin.
a sharp ringing sound, such as that made when metal or glass are struck : a clink of keys | the clink of ice in tall glasses.
make such a sound : his ring clinked against the crystal | [as n. ] ( clinking) the clinking of glasses | [as adj. ] ( clinking) clinking chains.
• figurative hide, cover, or disguise (something) : the horror of war was cloaked in the trappings of chivalry.
hit (someone) hard : if he does that I'll clobber him! • treat or deal with harshly : the recession clobbered other parts of the business. fill or block with an accumulation of thick, wet matter : the gutters were clogged up with leaves | [as adj. ] ( clogged) clogged drains. 1 a short distance away or apart in space or time : the hotel is close to the sea | her birthday and her wedding date were close together | why don't we go straight to the shops, as we're so close? | the months of living in close proximity to her were taking their toll.
• (of a competitive situation) won or likely to be won by only a small amount or distance : the race will be a close contest.
• [ attrib. ] (of a final position in a competition) very near to the competitor immediately in front : she finished a close second.
3 (of observation, examination, etc.) done in a careful and thorough way : we need to keep a close eye on this project | pay close attention to what your body is telling you about yourself.
• [ trans. ] bring (a business transaction) to a satisfactory conclusion : he closed a deal with a metal dealer.
• [ intrans. ] gradually get nearer to someone or something : they plotted a large group of aircraft about 130 miles away and closing fast.
close call noun a narrow escape from danger or disaster.
(of a group of people) united or bound together by strong relationships and common interests : a close-knit community.
reticent; discreet : the candidates have been close-mouthed about their fund-raising goals.
close (or shut) one's eyes to refuse to notice or acknowledge something unwelcome or unpleasant : he couldn't close his eyes to the truth—he had cancer.
close up very near : close up she was no less pretty.
restricted; obstructive; secret : the senior staff went into closed-door sessions.
an act or process of closing something, esp. an institution, thoroughfare, or frontier, or of being closed : road closures | hospitals that face closure.
form or cause to form into clots : [ intrans. ] drugs that help blood to clot | [ trans. ] a blood protein known as factor VIII clots blood.
• [ intrans. ] (of someone's face or eyes) show worry, sorrow, or anger : his expression clouded over. • [ trans. ] (of such an emotion) show in (someone's face) : suspicion clouded her face.
• [ trans. ] make (a matter or mental process) unclear or uncertain; confuse : don't allow your personal feelings to cloud your judgment.
2 informal influence or power, esp. in politics or business : I knew he carried a lot of clout.
be or come into a cluster or close group; congregate : the children clustered around her skirts.
grasp or seize (something) tightly or eagerly : he stood clutching a microphone | [ intrans. ] figurative Mrs. Longhill clutched at the idea.
1 a tight grasp or an act of grasping something : she made a clutch at his body.
crowd (something) untidily; fill with clutter : his apartment was cluttered with paintings and antiques | luggage cluttered up the hallway.
• divert to or use in a role different from the usual or original one : social scientists were co-opted to work with the development agencies. • adopt (an idea or policy) for one's own use : the green parties have had most of their ideas co-opted by bigger parties.
(of a fluid, esp. blood) change to a solid or semisolid state : blood had coagulated around the edges of the wound. • [ trans. ] cause (a fluid) to change to a solid or semisolid state : epinephrine coagulates the blood.
come together and form one mass or whole : the puddles had coalesced into shallow streams | the separate details coalesce to form a single body of scientific thought.
an alliance for combined action, especially a temporary alliance of political parties forming a government or of states : a coalition of conservatives and disaffected Democrats | he governed in coalition with the socialist Labor Party | [as adj. ] a coalition government.
1 rough or loose in texture or grain : a coarse woolen cloth. • made of large grains or particles : dry, coarse sand.
all the way across an island or continent : [as adv. ] retail stores from coast to coast | [as adj. ] ( coast-to-coast) a coast-to-coast journey.
provide with a layer or covering of something; apply a coat to : his boots were coated with mud | coat each part with a thin oil
[ trans. ] persuade (someone) gradually or by flattery to do something : the trainees were coaxed into doing hard, boring work | "Come on now," I coaxed. • ( coax something from/out of) use such persuasion to obtain something from : we coaxed money out of my father | figurative coaxing more speed from the car. • manipulate (something) carefully into a particular shape or position : her lovely hair had been coaxed into ringlets.
1 tilt (something) in a particular direction : she cocked her head slightly to one side. • bend a (limb or joint) at an angle : [as adj. ] ( cocked) she listened, her little finger cocked as she held her coffee cup.
cocky |ˈkɒki| adjective ( cockier , cockiest ) conceited or arrogant, esp. in a bold or impudent way.
envelop or surround in a protective or comforting way : we began to feel cold even though we were cocooned in our sleeping bags.
• arrange according to a plan or system : Verdi helped codify an international operatic culture.
persuade (an unwilling person) to do something by using force or threats : they were coerced into silence. See note at compel . • obtain (something) by such means : their confessions were allegedly coerced by torture.
cognition |kɒgˈnɪʃ(ə)n| noun the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses. • a result of this; a perception, sensation, notion, or intuition.
• coexist : animals that can cohabit with humans thrive.
1 (of an argument, theory, or policy) logical and consistent : they failed to develop a coherent economic strategy. • (of a person) able to speak clearly and logically : she was lucid and coherent and did not appear to be injured.
2 [treated as sing. or pl. ] a group of people banded together or treated as a group : a cohort of civil servants patiently drafting legislation.
arrange or wind (something long and flexible) in a joined sequence of concentric circles or rings : he began to coil up the heavy ropes | he coiled a lock of her hair around his finger. • [ intrans. ] move or twist into such an arrangement or shape : smoke coiled lazily toward the ceiling.
1 coins collectively : the volume of coinage in circulation. • the action or process of producing coins from metal. • a system or type of coins in use : decimal coinage. 2 the invention of a new word or phrase.
occur at or during the same time : publication is timed to coincide with a major exhibition | the two events coincided. • correspond in nature; tally : the interests of employers and employees do not always coincide.
2 without emotion or pity; deliberately cruel or callous : a cold-blooded murder.
cold feet loss of nerve or confidence : some investors got cold feet and backed out.
a state of sweating induced by fear, nervousness, or illness : he used to break into a cold sweat when he was called on in class.
1 (of a structure) fall down or in; give way : the roof collapsed on top of me. • [ trans. ] cause (something) to fall in or give way : it feels as if the slightest pressure would collapse it | figurative many people tend to collapse the distinction between the two concepts.
3 (of an institution or undertaking) fail suddenly and completely : in the face of such resolve his opposition finally collapsed.
1 descended from the same stock but by a different line : a collateral descendant of George Washington. 2 additional but subordinate; secondary : the collateral meanings of a word.
collateral damage noun used euphemistically to refer to inadvertent casualties among civilians and destruction in civilian areas in the course of military operations.
done by people acting as a group : a collective protest. • belonging or relating to all the members of a group : ministers who share collective responsibility. • (esp. of feelings or memories) common to the members of a group : a collective sigh of relief from parents. • taken as a whole; aggregate : the collective power of the workforce.
collective memory
1 belonging or relating to a college or its students : collegiate life.
hit with force when moving : she collided with someone | two suburban trains collided. • come into conflict or opposition : in his work, politics and metaphysics collide.
come to a secret understanding for a harmful purpose; conspire : university leaders colluded in price-rigging | the president accused his opponents of colluding with foreigners.
extremely large : a colossal amount of mail | a colossal mistake.
• ( comb something out) remove something from the hair by drawing a comb through it : she combed the burrs out of the dog's coat.
3 search carefully and systematically : police combed the area for the murder weapon | [ intrans. ] his mother combed through the cardboard boxes.
fighting between armed forces : killed in combat | pilots reenacted the aerial combats of yesteryear | [as adj. ] a combat zone.
take action to reduce, destroy, or prevent (something undesirable) : an effort to combat drug trafficking. • archaic engage in a fight with; oppose in battle : [ intrans. ] your men combated against the first of ours.
ready or eager to fight; pugnacious : he made some enemies with his combative style.
able to catch fire and burn easily : highly combustible paint thinner. • figurative excitable; easily annoyed : two combustible personalities.
• be heard, perceived, or experienced : a voice came from the kitchen | "No," came the reply | it came as a great shock.
• (of a thought or memory) enter one's mind : the basic idea came to me while reading an article | a passage from a novel came back to Adam.
come and go arrive and then depart again; move around freely. • exist or be present for a limited time; be transitory : health fads come and go.come (or fall) apart at the seams informal (of a person or system) be in a very poor condition and near to collapse : the attitude of the airport guard was symptomatic of a system falling apart at the seams.
come (or fall) apart at the seams informal (of a person or system) be in a very poor condition and near to collapse : the attitude of the airport guard was symptomatic of a system falling apart at the seams.
come around ( chiefly Brit. also round) 1 recover consciousness : I'd just come around from a drunken stupor. 2 be converted to another person's opinion : I came around to her point of view. 3 (of a date or regular occurrence) recur; be imminent again : Friday had come around so quickly.
come between interfere with or disturb the relationship of (two people) : I let my stupid pride come between us.
come by 1 call casually and briefly as a visitor : his friends came by | she came by the house. 2 manage to acquire or obtain (something).
come clean informal be completely honest; keep nothing hidden : the company has refused to come clean about its pollution record.
come close almost achieve or do : he came close to calling the President a liar.
come down to (of a situation or outcome) be dependent on (a specified factor) : it came down to her word against Guy's.
come in handy informal turn out to be useful : the sort of junk that might come in handy one day.
come into question become an issue for further consideration or discussion : our Sunday Trading laws have come into question.
come short fail to reach a goal or standard : we're so close to getting the job done, but we keep coming up short. • S. African get into trouble : if you try to trick him you'll come short.
come through 1 succeed in surviving or dealing with (an illness or ordeal) : she's come through the operation very well. 2 (of a message) be sent and received. • (of an official decree) be processed and notified.
come (or get) to grips with engage in combat with : they never came to grips with the enemy. • begin to deal with or understand : a real tough problem to come to grips with.
come (or spring) to mind (of a thought or idea) occur to someone.
come to terms with come to accept (a new and painful or difficult event or situation); reconcile oneself to : she had come to terms with the tragedies in her life.
come what may no matter what happens.
1 a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint : room for four people to travel in comfort. • ( comforts) things that contribute to physical ease and well-being : the low upholstered chair was one of the room's few comforts. • prosperity and the pleasant lifestyle secured by it : my father left us enough to live in comfort. 2 consolation for grief or anxiety : a few words of comfort. • reassurance : they should take comfort that help is available. • [in sing. ] a person or thing that gives consolation : his friendship was a great comfort. • a person or thing that gives satisfaction : I felt a great comfort in the relationship of the moon to my astrological sign.
amusing : a series of comical misunderstandings.
1 [ reporting verb ] give an authoritative order : [ trans. ] a gruff voice commanded us to enter | [with direct speech ] "Stop arguing!" he commanded | [with clause ] he commanded that work should cease | [ trans. ] my mother commands my presence. • [ intrans. ] give orders : she commands and we obey. • [ intrans. ] have authority : someone born to command. • [ trans. ] Military have authority over; be in charge of (a unit) : he commanded a battalion at Normandy.
• authority, esp. over armed forces : an officer took command | who's in command ? | we will have nearly thirty thousand people under our command.
officially take possession or control of (something), esp. for military purposes : telegraph and telephone lines were commandeered by the generals. • take possession of (something) without authority : he hoisted himself onto a table, commandeering it as a speaker's platform. • enlist (someone) to help in a task, typically against the person's will : he commandeered the men to find a table.
recall and show respect for (someone or something) in a ceremony : a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the war dead. • serve as a memorial to : a stone commemorating a boy who died at sea. • mark (a significant event) : the City of Boston commemorated the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.
begin; start : [ trans. ] his design team commenced work | [ intrans. ] a public inquiry is due to commence on the 16th.
1 (often be commended) praise formally or officially : he was commended by the judge for his courageous actions. See notes at approve, praise .
deserving praise : commendable restraint.
corresponding in size or degree; in proportion : salary will be commensurate with experience | such heavy responsibility must receive commensurate reward.
• order or authorize (a person or organization) to do or produce something : they commissioned an architect to manage the building project. • give (an artist) an order for a piece of work : he was commissioned to do a series of drawings.
1 [in sing. ] the state of sharing features or attributes : a commonality of interest ensures cooperation. • a shared feature or attribute : we discern the commonalities between these writers.
not unusual; ordinary : unemployment was commonplace in his profession. • not interesting or original; trite : the usual commonplace remarks.
1 a usual or ordinary thing : bombing has become almost a commonplace of public life there. • a trite saying or topic; a platitude : it is a commonplace to talk of the young being alienated.
a state of confused and noisy disturbance : she was distracted by a commotion across the street | figure out what all the commotion is about. • civil insurrection : damage caused by civil commotion.
1 shared by all members of a community; for common use : a communal bathroom and kitchen. • of, relating to, or done by a community : communal achievement. • involving the sharing of work and property : communal living.
ready to talk or impart information : the patient was alert and communicative.
1 the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, esp. when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level : in this churchyard communion with the dead was almost palpable. See note at conversation . • common participation in a mental or emotional experience : popular festivals where all take part in joyous communion.
(of a person or thing) able to be likened to another; similar : flaked stone and bone tools comparable to Neanderthal man's tools. • of equivalent quality; worthy of comparison : nobody is comparable with this athlete.
• a division of a railroad car marked by partitions : a first-class compartment. • a section of a container in which certain items can be kept separate from others : there's some ice cream in the freezer compartment. • a watertight section of a ship : the aft cargo compartment. • figurative an area in which something can be considered in isolation from other things : religion and politics should be kept in different compartments.
divide (something) into separate parts or sections : the buildings are to be compartmented by fire walls.
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others : the victims should be treated with compassion. See note at mercy .
force or oblige (someone) to do something : a sense of duty compelled Harry to answer her questions. • bring about (something) by the use of force or pressure : they may compel a witness's attendance at court by issue of a summons.
• a collection of things, esp. one systematically gathered : the program is a compendium of outtakes from our archives.
1 [ trans. ] recompense (someone) for loss, suffering, or injury, typically by the award of a sum of money : payments were made to farmers to compensate them for cuts in subsidies.
2 [ intrans. ] ( compensate for) make up for (something unwelcome or unpleasant) by exerting an opposite force or effect : officials have boosted levies to compensate for huge deficits. • act to neutralize or correct (a deficiency or abnormality in a physical property or effect) : the output voltage rises, compensating for the original fall. • Psychology attempt to conceal or offset (a disability or frustration) by development in another direction : they identified with radical movements to compensate for their inability to relate to individual human beings.
1 produce (something, esp. a list, report, or book) by assembling information collected from other sources : the local authority must compile a list of taxpayers. • collect (information) in order to produce something : the figures were compiled from a survey of 2,000 schoolchildren. • accumulate (a specified score) : the 49ers have compiled a league-leading 14-2 record.
showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements : you can't afford to be complacent about security.
1 a thing that completes or brings to perfection : the libretto proved a perfect complement to the music. 2 [in sing. ] a number or quantity of something required to make a group complete : at the moment we have a full complement of staff.
add to (something) in a way that enhances or improves it; make perfect : a classic blazer complements a look that's stylish or casual. • add to or make complete : the proposals complement the incentives already available.
1 completing; forming a complement : backyard satellite dishes and the complementary electronic components. • (of two or more different things) combining in such a way as to enhance or emphasize each other's qualities : three guitarists playing interlocking, complementary parts.
complete with having something as an additional part or feature : the detachable keyboard comes complete with numeric keypad.
the state or quality of being intricate or complicated : an issue of great complexity. • (usu. complexities) a factor involved in a complicated process or situation : the complexities of family life.
1 the action or fact of complying with a wish or command : they must secure each other's cooperation or compliance. • ( compliance with) the state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards : all imports of timber are in compliance with regulations. • unworthy or excessive acquiescence : the appalling compliance with government views shown by the commission.
involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing : all of these people are complicit in some criminal conspiracy.
the state of being involved with others in an illegal activity or wrongdoing : they were accused of complicity in the attempt to overthrow the government.
a polite expression of praise or admiration : she paid me an enormous compliment..
politely congratulate or praise (someone) for something : he complimented Erica on her appearance.
1 expressing a compliment; praising or approving : Jennie was very complimentary about Kathy's riding | complimentary remarks.
(of a person or group) act in accordance with a wish or command : we are unable to comply with your request. • (of an article) meet specified standards : all secondhand furniture must comply with the new standards.
1 write or create (a work of art, esp. music or poetry) : he composed the First Violin Sonata four years earlier. • write or phrase (a letter or piece of writing) with care and thought : the first sentence is so hard to compose.
2 (usu. be composed) (of elements) constitute or make up (a whole) : the system is composed of a group of machines. • be (a specified number or amount) of a whole : Christians compose 40 percent of the state's population.
• (esp. of a constructional material) made up of recognizable constituents : a new composite material—a blend of plastic and ceramic resins./1 a thing made up of several parts or elements : the English legal system is a composite of legislation and judicial precedent.
compost |ˈkɒmpɒst| noun decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer.
the state or feeling of being calm and in control of oneself : she was struggling to regain her composure.
a thing that is composed of two or more separate elements; a mixture : the air smelled like a compound of diesel and gasoline fumes.
1 (often be compounded) make up (a composite whole); constitute : a dialect compounded of Spanish and Dutch. • mix or combine (ingredients or constituents) : yellow pastas compounded with lemon zest or saffron. • calculate (interest) on previously accumulated interest : the yield at which the interest is compounded. • (of a sum of money invested) increase by compound interest : let your money compound for five years. 2 make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of : I compounded the problem by trying to make wrong things right.
1 grasp mentally; understand : he couldn't comprehend her reasons for marrying Lovat | I simply couldn't comprehend what had happened.
able to be understood; intelligible : clear and comprehensible English.
1 complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something : a comprehensive list of sources. • of large content or scope; wide-ranging : a comprehensive collection of photographs.
flatten by pressure; squeeze; press : the skirt can be folded and compressed into a small bag | [as adj. ] ( compressed) compressed gas./• squeeze or press (two things) together : Violet compressed her lips together grimly.
• express in a shorter form; abridge : in this chapter we compress into summary form the main findings.
consist of; be made up of : the country comprises twenty states. • make up; constitute : this single breed comprises 50 percent of the Swiss cattle population | ( be comprised of) documents are comprised of words.
1 [ intrans. ] settle a dispute by mutual concession : in the end we compromised and deferred the issue. • [ trans. ] archaic settle (a dispute) by mutual concession : I should compromise the matter with my father. 2 [ trans. ] weaken (a reputation or principle) by accepting standards that are lower than is desirable : commercial pressures could compromise safety. • [ intrans. ] accept standards that are lower than is desirable : we were not prepared to compromise on safety. • bring into disrepute or danger by indiscreet, foolish, or reckless behavior : situations in which his troops could be compromised.
1 the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something; constraint : the payment was made under compulsion. 2 an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, esp. against one's conscious wishes : he felt a compulsion to babble on about what had happened.
1 resulting from or relating to an irresistible urge, esp. one that is against one's conscious wishes : compulsive eating. • (of a person) acting as a result of such an urge : a compulsive liar. 2 irresistibly interesting or exciting; compelling : this play is compulsive viewing.
comrade |ˈkɒmreɪd| noun a companion who shares one's activities or is a fellow member of an organization.
con man noun informal a man who cheats or tricks someone by means of a confidence game.
link (things) together in a chain or series : some words may be concatenated, such that certain sounds are omitted.
keep from sight; hide : a line of sand dunes concealed the distant sea | [as adj. ] ( concealed) he pressed a concealed button. • keep (something) secret; prevent from being known or noticed : love that they had to conceal from others.
1 [ reporting verb ] admit that something is true or valid after first denying or resisting it : [with clause ] I had to concede that I'd overreacted | [ trans. ] that principle now seems to have been conceded. • [ trans. ] admit (defeat) in a contest : he conceded defeat.
1 excessive pride in oneself : he was puffed up with conceit. See notes at egotism, pride .
capable of being imagined or grasped mentally : a mass uprising was entirely conceivable | it was photographed from every conceivable angle.
1 become pregnant with (a child) : she was conceived when her father was 49. • [ intrans. ] (of a woman) become pregnant : five months ago Wendy conceived. 2 form or devise (a plan or idea) in the mind : the dam project was originally conceived in 1977 | [as adj. ] ( conceived) a brilliantly conceived and executed robbery. • form a mental representation of; imagine : without society an individual cannot be conceived as having rights | [ intrans. ] we could not conceive of such things happening to us.
form a concept or idea of (something) : we can more easily conceptualize speed in miles per hour.
• be relevant or important to; affect or involve : they should not pry into what does not concern them | many thanks to all concerned.
2 a matter of interest or importance to someone : oil reserves are the concern of the Energy Department | the survival of an endangered species is of concern to wildlife biologists.
1 a thing that is granted, esp. in response to demands; a thing conceded : the strikers returned to work having won some concessions.
concierge |ˈkɒnsɪɛːʒ| noun 1 (esp. in France) a caretaker of an apartment complex or a small hotel, typically one living on the premises.
intended or likely to placate or pacify : a conciliatory approach.
1 stop (someone) from being angry or discontented; placate; pacify : concessions were made to conciliate the peasantry. See note at pacify . • [ intrans. ] act as a mediator : he sought to conciliate in the dispute. • formal reconcile; make compatible : all complaints about charges will be conciliated if possible.
(of evidence or argument) serving to prove a case; decisive or convincing : conclusive evidence | the findings were by no means conclusive. • (of a victory) achieved easily or by a large margin.
make (a dish or meal) by combining various ingredients : they concoct relish from corn that is so naturally sweet no extra sugar is needed. • create or devise (said esp. of a story or plan) : they concocted a preposterous but entertaining story.
1 formal agreement or harmony between people or groups : a pact of peace and concord.
• specific; definite : I haven't got any concrete proof.
1 be of the same opinion; agree : the authors concurred with the majority | they concurred in the creation of the disciplinary procedures | "That's right," the chairman concurred. • ( concur with) agree with (a decision, opinion, or finding) : we strongly concur with this recommendation. 2 happen or occur at the same time; coincide : in tests, cytogenetic determination has been found to concur with enzymatic determination.
existing, happening, or done at the same time : there are three concurrent art fairs around the city.
1 express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure : fair-minded people declined to condemn her on mere suspicion.
• sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, esp. death : the rebels had been condemned to death | [as adj. ] ( condemned) the condemned men. • (usu. be condemned) officially declare (something, esp. a building) to be unfit for use : the pool has been condemned as a health hazard.
1 [ trans. ] make (something) denser or more concentrated : the limestones of the Jurassic age are condensed into a mere 11 feet | [as adj. ] ( condensed) check that your printer can cope with wide text or condensed characters. • [usu. as adj. ] ( condensed) thicken (a liquid) by reducing the water content, typically by heating : condensed soup. • express (a piece of writing or speech) in fewer words; make concise : he condensed the three plays into a three-hour drama.
an expression of sympathy, esp. on the occasion of a death : we offer our sincere condolences to his widow | letters of condolence.
accept and allow (behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive) to continue : the college cannot condone any behavior that involves illicit drugs. • approve or sanction (something), esp. with reluctance : the practice is not officially condoned by any airline.
help to bring about (a particular situation or outcome) : every possible care was taken that could conduce to their health and comfort.
making a certain situation or outcome likely or possible : the harsh lights and cameras were hardly conducive to a relaxed atmosphere.
1 the manner in which a person behaves, esp. on a particular occasion or in a particular context : the conduct of the police during the riot | members are bound by a code of conduct. 2 the action or manner of managing an activity or organization : his conduct of the campaign.
a channel for conveying water or other fluid : a conduit for conveying water to the power plant | figurative the office acts as a conduit for ideas to flow throughout the organization.
an organization that consists of a number of parties or groups united in an alliance or league : a confederation of trade unions.
1 a formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime : he signed a confession to the murders. • an admission or acknowledgment that one has done something that one is ashamed or embarrassed about : by his own confession, he had strayed perilously close to alcoholism.
confetti |kənˈfɛti| noun small pieces of colored paper thrown during a celebration such as a wedding.
tell someone about a secret or private matter while trusting them not to repeat it to others : he confided his fears to his mother | "I have been afraid," she confided | the judge confided that he had been swayed by the sister of the accused. • [ intrans. ] ( confide in) trust (someone) enough to tell them of such a secret or private matter : he confided in friends that he and his wife planned to separate.
keep or restrict someone or something within certain limits of (space, scope, quantity, or time) : he does not confine his message to politics | your boating will mostly be confined to a few hours at weekends | you've confined yourself to what you know. • ( confine someone to/in) restrain or forbid someone from leaving (a place) : the troops were confined to their barracks. • ( be confined to) (of a person) be unable to leave (one's bed, home, or a wheelchair) because of illness or disability : he had been confined to a wheelchair for some time.
• make (something, esp. a person's appointment to a position or an agreement) formally valid; ratify : the organization has confirmed the appointment of Mr. Collins as managing director.
1 establish the truth or correctness of (something previously believed, suspected, or feared to be the case) : if these fears are confirmed, the outlook for the economy will be dire | the report confirms that a diet rich in vitamin C can help to prevent cataracts.
1 the action of confirming something or the state of being confirmed : Sylvia received official confirmation of the instructorship.
take or seize (someone's property) with authority : the guards confiscated his camera | [as adj. ] ( confiscated) confiscated equipment. • take (a possession, esp. land) as a penalty and give it to the public treasury : the government confiscated his property.
combine (two or more texts, ideas, etc.) into one : the urban crisis conflates a number of different economic and social issues.
a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one : the eternal conflict between the sexes | doctors often come into conflict with politicians./• an incompatibility between two or more opinions, principles, or interests : there was a conflict between his business and domestic life.
the junction of two rivers, esp. rivers of approximately equal width : here at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers.
comply with rules, standards, or laws : the kitchen does not conform to hygiene regulations | the changes were introduced to conform with international classifications.
conformist |kənˈfɔːmɪst| noun a person who conforms to accepted behavior or established practices.
• face up to and deal with (a problem or difficult situation) : we knew we couldn't ignore the race issue and decided we'd confront it head on. • compel (someone) to face or consider something, esp. by way of accusation : Tricia confronted him with her suspicions. • (often be confronted) (of a problem, difficulty, etc.) present itself to (someone) so that dealing with it cannot be avoided : post-czarist Russia was confronted with a Ukrainian national movement.
a hostile or argumentative meeting or situation between opposing parties : a confrontation with the legislature | four months of violent confrontation between government and opposition forces.
solidify or coagulate, esp. by cooling : the blood had congealed into blobs | [as adj. ] ( congealed) congealed egg white.
(esp. of a disease or physical abnormality) present from birth : a congenital malformation of the heart.
• (of a road or place) so crowded with traffic or people as to hinder freedom of movement : one of the most congested airports in the world | the road was congested with refugees.
1 a number of different things or parts that are put or grouped together to form a whole but remain distinct entities : the Earth is a specialized conglomerate of organisms. • a large corporation formed by the merging of separate and diverse firms : a media conglomerate.
gather into a crowd or mass : some 4000 demonstrators had congregated at a border point. See note at gather .
• a group of people regularly attending a particular place of worship : that church took the place of the storefront the congregation had used before the war.
an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information : conjectures about the newcomer were many and varied | the purpose of the opening in the wall is open to conjecture. • an unproven mathematical or scientific theorem : the Goldbach conjecture.
form an opinion or supposition about (something) on the basis of incomplete information : he conjectured the existence of an otherwise unknown feature | many conjectured that she had a second husband in mind.
serving to join; connective : the conjunctive tissue. • involving the combination or co-occurrence of two or more conditions or properties : conjunctive hypotheses are simpler to process than negative or disjunctive ones.
1 [ trans. ] make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic : Anne conjured up a most delicious homemade stew. • call (an image) to mind : she had forgotten how to conjure up the image of her mother's face. • (of a word, sound, smell, etc.) cause someone to feel or think of (something) : one scent can conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake.
connoisseur |ˈkɒnəˈsəː| noun an expert judge in matters of taste : a connoisseur of music.
an idea or feeling that a word invokes person in addition to its literal or primary meaning : the word "discipline" has unhappy connotations of punishment and repression.
an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior : he had a guilty conscience about his desires | Ben was suffering a pang of conscience.
made uneasy by a guilty conscience : she was still conscience-stricken over her outburst.
• having knowledge of something; aware : we are conscious of the extent of the problem. • ( conscious of) painfully aware of; sensitive to : he was very conscious of his appearance. • concerned with or worried about a particular matter : they were growing increasingly security-conscious. • (of an action or feeling) deliberate and intentional : a conscious effort to walk properly.
relating to or involving consent, esp. mutual consent : he admitted to having consensual sex with two women. • relating to or involving consensus : decision-making was consensual.
permission for something to happen or agreement to do something : no change may be made without the consent of all the partners../give permission for something to happen : he consented to a search by a detective. • agree to do something : he had consented to serve on the panel. 1 a result or effect of an action or condition : many have been laid off from work as a consequence of the administration's policies. following as a result or effect : labor shortages would be created with a consequent increase in wages.
1 following as a result or effect : a loss of confidence and a consequential withdrawal of funds.
2 important; significant : perhaps the most consequential discovery of the eighteenth century.
conservation of energy/
• (of dress or taste) sober and conventional : a conservative suit. • (of an estimate) purposely low for the sake of caution : the film was not cheap—$30,000 is a conservative estimate.
protect (something, esp. an environmentally or culturally important place or thing) from harm or destruction : the funds raised will help conserve endangered meadowlands. • prevent the wasteful or harmful overuse of (a resource) : industry should conserve more water.
notably large in size, amount, or extent : a position of considerable influence.
careful not to cause inconvenience or hurt to others : the quietest and most considerate tenants possible.
deliver (something) to a person's custody, typically in order for it to be sold : he consigned three paintings to Sotheby's./• ( consign someone/something to) assign; commit decisively or permanently : she consigned the letter to the wastebasket.
1 ( consist of) be composed or made up of : the exhibition consists of 180 drawings.
1 conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness : the grading system is to be streamlined to ensure greater consistency.
(of a person, behavior, or process) unchanging in achievement or effect over a period of time : manufacturing processes require a consistent approach. • compatible or in agreement with something : the injuries are consistent with falling from a great height. • (of an argument or set of ideas) not containing any logical contradictions : a consistent explanation.
comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment : there was consolation in knowing that others were worse off.
comfort (someone) at a time of grief or disappointment : she tried to console him but he pushed her gently away | you can console yourself with the thought that you did your best.
1 [ trans. ] make (something) physically stronger or more solid : the first phase of the project is to consolidate the outside walls. • reinforce or strengthen (one's position or power) : the company consolidated its position in the international market.
standing out so as to be clearly visible : he was very thin, with a conspicuous Adam's apple. See note at noticeable .
make secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act : they conspired against him | they deny conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service.
constipation |kɒnstɪˈpeɪʃ(ə)n| noun a condition in which there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened feces.
a body of voters in a specified area who elect a representative to a legislative body : the politician who wishes to remain in the good graces of his constituency.
1 being a part of a whole : the constituent minerals of the rock. 2 being a voting member of a community or organization and having the power to appoint or elect : the constituent body has a right of veto. • able to make or change a political constitution : a constituent assembly.
severely restrict the scope, extent, or activity of : agricultural development is considerably constrained by climate | we can constrain data access.
• [usu. as adj. ] ( constrained) cause to appear unnaturally forced, typically because of embarrassment : he was acting in a constrained manner.
1 serving a useful purpose; tending to build up : constructive criticism.
interpret (a word or action) in a particular way : his words could hardly be construed as an apology. See note at clarify .
seek information or advice from (someone with expertise in a particular area) : you should consult a financial advisor./• have discussions or confer with (someone), typically before undertaking a course of action : patients are entitled to be consulted about their treatment | [ intrans. ] they've got to consult with their board of directors.
the communication of disease from one person to another by close contact : the rooms held no risk of contagion.
(of a disease) spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact : a contagious infection.
make (something) impure by exposure to or addition of a poisonous or polluting substance : the site was found to be contaminated by radioactivity | figurative the entertainment industry is able to contaminate the mind of the public | [as adj. ] ( contaminated) contaminated blood products. See note at pollute .
look thoughtfully for a long time at : he sat on the carpet contemplating his image in the mirrors. • think about : the results of a trade war are too horrifying to contemplate. • [ intrans. ] think profoundly and at length; meditate : he sat morosely contemplating. • have in mind as a probable though not certain intention : she was contemplating a gold mining venture.
the feeling that a person or a thing is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn : he showed his contempt for his job by doing it very badly. • disregard for something that should be taken into account : this action displays an arrogant contempt for the wishes of the majority.
showing contempt; scornful : she was intolerant and contemptuous of the majority of the human race.
1 [ intrans. ] ( contend with/against) struggle to surmount (a difficulty or danger) : she had to contend with his uncertain temper. • ( contend for) engage in a competition or campaign in order to win or achieve (something) : the local team should contend for a division championship | [as adj. ] ( contending) disputes continued between the contending parties.
in a state of peaceful happiness : he seemed more content, less bitter. • satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more : he had to be content with third place | the duke was content to act as Regent.
causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial : a contentious issue. • involving heated argument : the socioeconomic plan had been the subject of contentious debate. • (of a person) given to arguing or provoking argument : a contentious amateur politician who has offended minority groups.
2 oppose (an action, decision, or theory) as mistaken or wrong : the former chairman contests his dismissal. • engage in dispute about : the issues have been hotly contested./contestable |kənˈtestəbəl| |kənˈtɛstəbəl| |kənˈtɛstəb(ə)l| adjective
a future event or circumstance that is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty : a detailed contract that attempts to provide for all possible contingencies.
1 subject to chance : the contingent nature of the job. See note at accidental .
2 ( contingent on/upon) occurring or existing only if (certain other circumstances) are the case; dependent on : resolution of the conflict was contingent on the signing of a cease-fire agreement.
twist or bend out of its normal shape [ trans. ] : a spasm of pain contorted his face | [ intrans. ] her face contorted with anger | [as adj. ] ( contorted) contorted limbs | figurative a contorted version of the truth.
(of a method or device) serving to prevent pregnancy : the contraceptive pill.
a written or spoken agreement, esp. one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law : both parties must sign employment contracts | a network of doctors and hospitals under contract to provide services.
1 |kənˈtrakt| [ intrans. ] decrease in size, number, or range : glass contracts as it cools. • (of a muscle) become shorter or tighter in order to effect movement of part of the body : the heart is a muscle that contracts about seventy times a minute | [ trans. ] then contract your lower abdominal muscles. • [ trans. ] shorten (a word or phrase) by combination or elision : "quasistellar objects" was soon contracted to "quasar."
the process of becoming smaller : the general contraction of the industry did further damage to morale. • the process in which a muscle becomes or is made shorter and tighter : neurons control the contraction of muscles | repeat the exercise, holding each contraction for one second.
agreed in a contract : a contractual obligation.
deny the truth of (a statement), esp. by asserting the opposite : the survey appears to contradict the industry's claims | he did not contradict what he said last week. • assert the opposite of a statement made by (someone) : he did not contradict her but just said nothing | within five minutes he had contradicted himself twice. • be in conflict with : that evaporation seems to contradict one of the most fundamental principles of physics.
mutually opposed or inconsistent : the two attitudes are contradictory. See note at opposite .
1 ( the contrary) the opposite : the magazine has proved that the contrary is true.
the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association : the day began cold and blustery, in contrast to almost two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine | a contrast between rural and urban trends/• the action of calling attention to notable differences : use knowledge of other languages for contrast and comparison with English. • [in sing. ] a thing or person having qualities noticeably different from another : the castle is quite a contrast to other places where the singer has performed..
differ strikingly : his friend's success contrasted with his own failure | [as adj. ] ( contrasting) a contrasting view. • [ trans. ] compare in such a way as to emphasize differences : people contrasted her with her sister.
violate the prohibition or order of (a law, treaty, or code of conduct) : this would contravene the rule against hearsay. • conflict with (a right, principle, etc.), esp. to its detriment : this contravened Washington's commitment to its own proposal.
create or bring about (an object or a situation) by deliberate use of skill and artifice : his opponents contrived a crisis | you contrived to be alone with me despite the supervision.
control freak noun informal a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.
disagreement, typically when prolonged, public, and heated : security laws passed to tackle terrorism caused controversy | the announcement ended a protracted controversy.
a confusing and difficult problem or question : one of the most difficult conundrums for the experts.
call people together for (a meeting) : he had convened a secret meeting of military personnel.
assemble or cause to assemble for a common purpose : [ trans. ] he convened a group of well-known scientists and philosophers | [ intrans. ] the committee had convened for its final plenary session.
(of several people or things) come together from different directions so as eventually to meet : convoys from America and the UK traversed thousands of miles to converge in the Atlantic | figurative two separate people whose lives converge briefly from time to time. • ( converge on/upon) come from different directions and meet at (a place) : half a million sports fans will converge on the capital.
the process or state of converging : the convergence of lines in the distance.
engage in conversation : he fell in beside her and they began to converse amicably.
1 the act or an instance of converting or the process of being converted : the conversion of food into body tissues. • the fact of changing one's religion or beliefs or the action of persuading someone else to change theirs : my conversion to the Catholic faith.
1 [ trans. ] cause to change in form, character, or function : production processes that converted raw material into useful forms. • [ intrans. ] change or be able to change from one form to another : the seating converts to a double or two single beds. • [ intrans. ] change one's religious faith or other beliefs : at sixteen he converted to Catholicism. • persuade (someone) to do this : he was converted in his later years to the socialist cause.
able to be changed in form, function, or character : a living room that is miraculously convertible into a bedroom.
transport or carry to a place : pipes were laid to convey water to the house. • make (an idea, impression, or feeling) known or understandable to someone : the real virtues and diversity of America had never been conveyed in the movies | it's impossible to convey how lost I felt. • communicate (a message or information) : Mr. Harvey and his daughter have asked me to convey their very kind regards.
declare (someone) to be guilty of a criminal offense by the verdict of a jury or the decision of a judge in a court of law : her former boyfriend was convicted of assaulting her | [as adj. ] ( convicted) a convicted murderer.
cause (someone) to believe firmly in the truth of something : Robert's expression had obviously convinced her of his innocence | you couldn't convince him that a floppy disk was as good as a manuscript. • persuade (someone) to do something : she convinced my father to branch out on his own.
(esp. of an argument, story, or sentence) extremely complex and difficult to follow : its convoluted narrative encompasses all manner of digressions. • chiefly technical intricately folded, twisted, or coiled : walnuts come in hard and convoluted shells.
(of a pigeon or dove) make a soft murmuring sound : ringdoves cooed among the branches. • (of a baby) make a soft murmuring sound similar to this, expressing contentment : he gurgled and cooed in her arms. • (of a person) speak in a soft gentle voice, typically to express affection : I cruised the room, cooing at toddlers | "I knew I could count on you," she cooed.
cook something up concoct a story, excuse, or plan, esp. an ingenious or devious one.
• free from excitement or anxiety : he prided himself on keeping a cool head | she seems cool, calm, and collected.
• become or cause to become calm or less excited : [ intrans. ] after I'd cooled off, I realized I was being irrational | [ trans. ] George was trying to cool him down.
• [ intrans. ] negotiate with others in order to work together effectively : you will coordinate with consultants and other departments on a variety of projects. • [ intrans. ] match or harmonize attractively : the stud fastenings are colored to coordinate with the shirt | [as adj. ] ( coordinating) a variety of coordinating colors.
warm and friendly : the atmosphere was cordial and relaxed. • strongly felt : I earned his cordial loathing.
prevent access to or from (an area or building) by surrounding it with police or other guards : the city center was cordoned off after fires were discovered in two stores.
a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things : research showed a clear correlation between recession and levels of property crime.
cornea |ˈkɔːnɪə| noun the transparent layer forming the front of the eye.
• figurative a difficult or awkward situation : he found himself backed into a corner.
2 a part, region, or area, esp. one regarded as secluded or remote : they descended on the college from all corners of the world | his wisdom was disseminated to the four corners of the earth | figurative she couldn't bear journalists prying into every corner of her life.
1 (often be cornered) force (a person or animal) into a place or situation from which it is hard to escape : the man was eventually cornered by police dogs. • detain (someone) in conversation, typically against their will : I managed to corner Gary for fifteen minutes.
• an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based : a national minimum wage remained the cornerstone of policy.
• an abundant supply of good things of a specified kind : the festival offers a cornucopia of pleasures.
1 a collection of written texts, esp. the entire works of a particular author or a body of writing on a particular subject : the Darwinian corpus.
of or relating to a corporation, esp. a large company or group : airlines are very keen on their corporate identity./• of or shared by all the members of a group : the service emphasizes the corporate responsibility of the congregation.
corpse |kɔːps| noun a dead body, esp. of a human being rather than an animal. See note at body .
have a mutual relationship or connection, in which one thing affects or depends on another : the study found that success in the educational system correlates highly with class. • [ trans. ] establish such a relationship or connection between : we should correlate general trends in public opinion with trends in the content of television news.
having a mutual relationship; corresponding : rights, whether moral or legal, can involve correlative duties.
1 have a close similarity; match or agree almost exactly : the carved heads described in the poem correspond to those in the drawing | communication is successful when the ideas in the minds of the speaker and hearer correspond. • be analogous or equivalent in character, form, or function : the Inuit month corresponding to December was called Aagjulirvik. • represent : digits that correspond to certain letters of the alphabet. 2 communicate by exchanging letters : Margaret corresponded with him until his death | the doctor and I corresponded for more than two decades.
1 a close similarity, connection, or equivalence : there is a simple correspondence between the distance of a focused object from the eye and the size of its image on the retina. 2 communication by exchanging letters with someone : the organization engaged in detailed correspondence with local congressmen.
confirm or give support to (a statement, theory, or finding) : the witness had corroborated the boy's account of the attack.
destroy or damage (metal, stone, or other materials) slowly by chemical action : acid rain poisons fish and corrodes buildings. • [ intrans. ] (of metal or other materials) be destroyed or damaged in this way : over the years copper tubing corrodes. • figurative destroy or weaken (something) gradually : the self-centered climate corrodes ideals and concerns about social justice.
the process of corroding metal, stone, or other materials : each aircraft part is sprayed with oil to prevent corrosion. • damage caused by such a process : engineers found the corrosion when checking the bridge.
unscrupulous logging companies assisted by corrupt officials. • evil or morally depraved : the play can do no harm since its audience is already corrupt.
cortex |ˈkɔːtɛks| noun ( pl. -tices |-tɪˈsiːz|) Anatomy the outer layer of the cerebrum (the cerebral cortex), composed of folded gray matter and playing an important role in consciousness. • an outer layer of another organ or body part such as a kidney (the renal cortex), the cerebellum, or a hair.
• having an exciting and glamorous character associated with travel and a mixture of cultures : their designs became a byword for cosmopolitan chic.
1 (of an object or an action) require the payment of (a specified sum of money) before it can be acquired or done : each issue of the magazine costs $2.25. • cause the loss of : driving at more than double the speed limit cost the woman her driving license. • involve (someone) in (an effort or unpleasant action) : the accident cost me a visit to the doctor. • informal be expensive for (someone) : if you want to own an island, it'll cost you.
cost-benefit
costing a lot; expensive : major problems requiring costly repairs. • causing suffering, loss, or disadvantage : the government's biggest and most costly mistake.
giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation : a cozy cabin tucked away in the trees.• avoiding or not offering challenge or difficulty; complacent : a rather cozy assumption among automakers that they would never actually go bust. • (of a transaction or arrangement) working to the mutual advantage of those involved (used to convey a suspicion of corruption) : a cozy deal.
• avoiding or not offering challenge or difficulty; complacent : a rather cozy assumption among automakers that they would never actually go bust. • (of a transaction or arrangement) working to the mutual advantage of those involved (used to convey a suspicion of corruption) : a cozy deal.
• [ trans. ] ( cough something out) say something in a harsh, abrupt way : he coughed out his orders.
give advice to (someone) : he was counseled by his supporters to return to Germany. • give professional psychological help and advice to (someone) : he was being counseled for depression.
1 [ trans. ] determine the total number of (a collection of items) : I started to count the stars I could see | they counted up their change. • [ intrans. ] recite numbers in ascending order, usually starting at the number one : hold the position as you count to five. • [ intrans. ] ( count down) recite or display numbers backward to zero to indicate the time remaining before the launch of a rocket or the start of an operation : the floor manager pointed at the camera and counted down.
2 [ trans. ] take into account; include : the staff has shrunk to four, or five if you count the summer intern. • ( count someone in) include someone in an activity or the plans for it : if the project gets started, count me in. • consider (someone or something) to possess a specified quality or fulfill a specified role : she met some rebuffs from people she had counted as her friends | I count myself fortunate to have known him. • [ intrans. ] be regarded as possessing a specified quality or fulfilling a specified role : the rebate counts as taxable income. 3 [ intrans. ] be significant : it did not matter what the audience thought—it was the critics that counted. • (of a factor) play a part in influencing opinion for or against someone or something : he hopes his sportsmanlike attitude will count in his favor. • ( count for) be worth (a specified amount) : he has no power base and his views count for little. • ( count toward) be included in an assessment of (a final result or amount) : reduced rate contributions do not count toward your pension. • ( count on/upon) rely on : whatever you're doing, you can count on me.
count ( something) on the fingers of one hand used to emphasize the small number of a particular thing : I could count on the fingers of one hand the men I know who are desperate to experience fatherhood.
2 informal exclude someone from an activity or the plans for it : if this is a guessing game, you can count me out.
an act of counting numerals in reverse order to zero, esp. to time the last seconds before the launching of a rocket or missile : the launch crews would begin their final countdown. • (often countdown to) the final moments before a significant event and the procedures carried out during this time : it is hard to imagine the countdown to war continuing without an intensification of diplomacy.
act against (something) in order to reduce its force or neutralize it : should we deliberately intervene in the climate system to counteract global warming?
• a factor having the opposite effect to that of another and so preventing it from exercising a disproportionate influence : his restoration to power was intended as a counterbalance to his rival's influence.
counterfactual |ˈkaʊntəˈfaktʃʊəl| |-tjʊəl| Philosophy adjective relating to or expressing what has not happened or is not the case.
made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud : two men were remanded on bail on a charge of passing counterfeit $10 bills. See note at spurious . • pretended; sham : the filmmakers created a counterfeit world using smoke and mirrors.
imitate fraudulently : my signature is extremely hard to counterfeit.
counterintuitive adjective contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation (but often nevertheless true).
1 (also coup d'état) a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government : he was overthrown in an army coup. 2 a notable or successful stroke or move : it was a major coup to get such a prestigious contract.
• connect (a railroad vehicle or a piece of equipment) to another : a cable is coupled up to one of the wheels.
courteous |ˈkəːtjəs| adjective polite, respectful, or considerate in manner.
the showing of politeness in one's attitude and behavior toward others : he had been treated with a degree of courtesy not far short of deference. • (often courtesies) a polite speech or action, esp. one required by convention : the superficial courtesies of diplomatic exchanges.
( by) courtesy of given or allowed by : photograph courtesy of the Evening Star. • informal as a result of; thanks to.
cover one's ass (or back) informal foresee and avoid the possibility of attack or criticism.
cover-up (also coverup) noun 1 an attempt to prevent people's discovering the truth about a serious mistake or crime.
1 not openly acknowledged or displayed : covert operations against the dictatorship. See note at secret .
crack down on informal take severe measures against : we need to crack down hard on workplaces that break safety regulations.
• a narrow space between two surfaces, esp. ones that have broken or been moved apart : he climbed into a crack between two rocks | the door opened a tiny crack. • figurative a vulnerable point; a flaw : the company spotted a crack in their rival's defenses. 2 a sudden sharp or explosive noise : a loud crack of thunder. • a sharp blow, esp. one that makes a noise : she gave the thief a crack over the head with her rolling pin.
1 break or cause to break without a complete separation of the parts : [ intrans. ] the ice all over the lake had cracked | [ trans. ] a stone cracked the headlight glass on his car. • break or cause to break open or apart : [ intrans. ] you can see how the landmasses have cracked up and moved around | figurative [ intrans. ] his face cracked into a smile | [ trans. ] she cracked an egg into the frying pan.
• [ intrans. ] knock against something, making a noise on impact : she winced as her knees cracked against metal. • [ trans. ] hit (someone or something) hard, making a sharp noise : she cracked him across the forehead. • [ intrans. ] (of a person's voice, esp. that of an adolescent boy or a person under strain) suddenly change in pitch : "I want to get away," she said, her voice cracking.
3 [ trans. ] informal find a solution to; decipher or interpret : a hacker cracked the codes used in Internet software.
severe measures to restrict or discourage undesirable or illegal people or behavior : a crackdown on crime and corruption.
cracked up to be [with negative ] informal asserted to be (used to indicate that someone or something has been described too favorably) : life on tour is not as glamorous as it's cracked up to be.
1 hold gently and protectively : she cradled his head in her arms.
1 an activity involving skill in making things by hand : the craft of bookbinding | pewter craft.
exercise skill in making (something) : he crafted the chair lovingly | [as adj. ] ( crafted) a beautifully crafted object.
craftwork |ˈkrɑːftwəːk| noun chiefly Brit. the making of things, esp. decorative objects, by hand as a profession or leisure activity.
1 clever at achieving one's aims by indirect or deceitful methods : a crafty crook faked an injury to escape from prison. • of, involving, or relating to indirect or deceitful methods : a shameless and crafty trick to mislead public opinion.
1 a painful, involuntary contraction of a muscle or muscles, typically caused by fatigue or strain : he suffered severe cramps in his foot.
1 [ trans. ] restrict or inhibit the development of : tighter rules will cramp economic growth.
1 [ intrans. ] stretch out one's neck in order to see something : she craned forward to look more clearly.
• ( crank something up) informal increase the intensity of something : he cranked up the foghorn to full volume. • ( crank something out) informal produce something regularly and routinely : an army of researchers cranked out worthy studies.
ill-tempered; irritable : he was bored and cranky after eight hours of working. • eccentric or strange, typically because highly unorthodox : a cranky scheme to pipe ground-level ozone into the stratosphere. • (of a machine) working badly; shaky : the cranky elevator breaks down periodically.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a moving object) collide violently with an obstacle or another moving object : the coffin slipped out the back door, slid down the hill, and crashed. • [ trans. ] cause (a moving object) to collide in this way. • (of an aircraft) fall from the sky and violently hit the land or sea : a jet crashed 200 yards from the school. • [ trans. ] cause (an aircraft) to fall from the sky in this way. • informal (of a business, a market, or a price) fall suddenly and disastrously in value : silver prices crashed in early 1980. • Computing [ intrans. ] (of a machine, system, or software) fail suddenly : the project was postponed because the computer crashed. • informal [ intrans. ] go to sleep, esp. suddenly or in an improvised setting : I'll crash in the back of the van for a couple of hours. 2 [ intrans. ] move with force, speed, and sudden loud noise : huge waves crashed down on us. • [ trans. ] move (something) in this way : she crashed down the telephone receiver. • make a sudden loud, deep noise : the thunder crashed.
lacking sensitivity, refinement, or intelligence : the crass assumptions that men make about women.
feel a powerful desire for (something) : a program to give the infants the human touch they crave.
1 (of a person) move forward on the hands and knees or by dragging the body close to the ground : they crawled out from under the table. • (of an insect or small animal) move slowly along a surface : the tiny spider was crawling up Nicky's arm.
an enthusiasm for a particular activity or object that typically appears suddenly and achieves widespread but short-lived popularity : the latest craze for bungee jumping.
(of an object, typically a wooden one) make a harsh, high-pitched sound when being moved or when pressure or weight is applied : the stairs creaked as she went up them | the garden gate creaked open. • figurative show weakness or frailty under strain : stock prices creaked to a mixed finish today.
(of an object, typically a wooden one) making or liable to make a harsh, high-pitched sound when being moved or when pressure or weight is applied : I climbed the creaky stairs.
1 a line or ridge produced on paper or cloth by folding, pressing, or crushing it : khaki trousers with knife-edge creases.
1 make a crease in (cloth or paper) : he sank into the chair, careful not to crease his dinner jacket | [as adj. ] ( creased) a creased piece of paper. • cause a crease to appear temporarily in (the face or its features), typically as a result of the expression of an emotion or feeling : a small frown creased her forehead. 2 (of a bullet) graze (someone or something), causing little damage : a bullet creased his thigh.
a qualification, achievement, personal quality, or aspect of a person's background, typically when used to indicate that they are suitable for something : recruitment is based mainly on academic credentials.
the quality of being trusted and believed in : the government's loss of credibility. • the quality of being convincing or believable : the book's anecdotes have scant regard for credibility.
able to be believed; convincing : few people found his story credible | a credible witness. See note at believable .
1 publicly acknowledge someone as a participant in the production of (something published or broadcast) : the screenplay is credited to one American and two Japanese writers. • ( credit someone with) ascribe (an achievement or good quality) to someone : he is credited with painting one hundred and twenty-five canvases.
credulous |ˈkrɛdjʊləs| adjective having or showing too great a readiness to believe things. See note at gullible .
a system of Christian or other religious belief; a faith : people of many creeds and cultures.
creek |kriːk| noun a stream, brook, or minor tributary of a river.
1 move slowly and carefully, esp. in order to avoid being heard or noticed : he crept downstairs, hardly making any noise | they were taught how to creep up on an enemy. • (of a thing) move very slowly at an inexorably steady pace : the fog was creeping up from the marsh.
cremate |krɪˈmeɪt| verb [ trans. ] (usu. be cremated) dispose of (a dead person's body) by burning it to ashes, typically after a funeral ceremony/cremation |kriˈmā sh ən| |kriˈmeɪʃən| |krəˈmeɪʃən| |-ˈmeɪʃ(ə)n| noun.
civil law/criminal law
turn (an activity) into a criminal offense by making it illegal : the law that criminalizes assisted suicide.
bend one's head and body in fear or in a servile manner : he cringed away from the blow | [as adj. ] ( cringing) we are surrounded by cringing yes-men and sycophants. • experience an inward shiver of embarrassment or disgust : I cringed at the fellow's stupidity
cause (someone) to become unable to move or walk properly : a writer who was crippled by polio at the age of eleven | [as adj. ] ( crippling) a crippling disease. • cause severe and disabling damage to (a machine) : [as adj. ] ( crippled) the pilot displayed skill and nerve in landing the crippled plane. • cause a severe and almost insuperable problem for : developing countries are crippled by their debts.
1 (of a substance) firm, dry, and brittle, esp. in a way considered pleasing or attractive : crisp bacon | the snow is lovely and crisp. • (of a fruit or vegetable) firm, indicating freshness : crisp lettuce. • (of the weather) cool, fresh, and invigorating : a crisp autumn day. • (of paper or cloth) smoothly and attractively stiff and uncreased : a crisp $5 bill.
a principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided : the launch came too close to violating safety criteria.
1 expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments : he was critical of many U.S. welfare programs. 2 expressing or involving an analysis of the merits and faults of a work of literature, music, or art : she never won the critical acclaim she sought. • (of a published literary or musical text) incorporating a detailed and scholarly analysis and commentary : a critical edition of a Bach sonata. 3 (of a situation or problem) having the potential to become disastrous; at a point of crisis : the flood waters had not receded, and the situation was still critical. • (of a person) extremely ill and at risk of death : he had been in critical condition since undergoing surgery./ having a decisive or crucial importance in the success or failure of something : temperature is a critical factor in successful fruit storage.
2 (often be cropped) harvest (plants or their produce) from a particular area : hay would have been cropped several times through the summer.
cross one's fingers (or keep one's fingers crossed) put one finger across another as a sign of hoping for good luck. • hope that someone or something will be successful.
cross one's mind (of a thought) occur to one, esp. transiently : it never crossed my mind to leave the tent and live in a house.
cross someone's path meet or encounter someone.
• ( cross someone/something off) delete a name or item on a list as being no longer required or involved : Liz crossed off the days on the calendar. • ( cross something out) delete an incorrect or inapplicable word or phrase by drawing a line through it.
2 [ intrans. ] pass in an opposite or different direction; intersect : the two lines cross at 90°. • [ trans. ] cause (two things) to intersect : cross the cables in opposing directions.
crotch |krɒtʃ| noun the part of the human body between the legs where they join the torso.
• [ intrans. ] ( crowd around) (of a group of people) form a tightly packed mass around (someone or something) : photographers crowded around him.
put (someone) to death by nailing or binding them to a cross : two thieves were crucified with Jesus.
1 in a natural or raw state; not yet processed or refined : crude oil. • Statistics (of figures) not adjusted or corrected : the crude mortality rate.
2 constructed in a rudimentary or makeshift way : a relatively crude nuclear weapon.
sail about in an area without a precise destination, esp. for pleasure : they were cruising off the California coast | [ trans. ] she cruised the canals of France in a barge.
• (of a vehicle or person) travel or move slowly around without a specific destination in mind : a police van cruised past us | [ trans. ] teenagers were aimlessly cruising the mall.
• a very small amount of something : the budget provided few crumbs of comfort.
break or fall apart into small fragments, esp. over a period of time as part of a process of deterioration : the plaster started to crumble | [as adj. ] ( crumbling) their crumbling ancestral home. • [ trans. ] cause (something) to break apart into small fragments : the easiest way to crumble blue cheese. • (of an organization, relationship, or structure) disintegrate gradually over a period of time : the party's fragile unity began to crumble.
crush (something, typically paper or cloth) so that it becomes creased and wrinkled : he crumpled up the paper bag | [as adj. ] ( crumpled) a crumpled sheet.
1 [ trans. ] crush (a hard or brittle foodstuff) with the teeth, making a loud but muffled grinding sound : she paused to crunch a ginger snap.2 process large amounts of information or perform operations of great complexity, esp. by computer : computers crunch data from real-world observations.
2 process large amounts of information or perform operations of great complexity, esp. by computer : computers crunch data from real-world observations.
lead or take part in an energetic and organized campaign concerning a social, political, or religious issue : he crusaded against gambling in the 1950s.
press or squeeze (someone or something) with force or violence, typically causing serious damage or injury : he was crushed to death by a subway train | [as adj. ] ( crushed) the crushed remains of a Ford Bronco. • reduce (something) to a powder or pulp by exerting strong pressure on it : you can crush a pill between two spoons. • crease or crumple (cloth or paper) : [as adj. ] ( crushed) crushed trousers and a crumpled jacket. • (of a government or state) violently subdue (opposition or a rebellion) : the government had taken elaborate precautions to crush any resistance.
2 informal a brief but intense infatuation for someone, esp. someone unattainable or inappropriate : she did have a crush on Dr. Russell.
cry foul protest strongly about a real or imagined wrong or injustice.
cry one's eyes (or heart) out weep bitterly and at length.
cryptography |krɪpˈtɒgrəfi| noun the art of writing or solving codes.
crystal clear |ˈkrɪstl ˈklɪ(ə)r| completely transparent and unclouded. • unambiguous; easily understood : the house rules are crystal clear.
• figurative [intrans.] make or become definite and clear: : vague feelings of unrest crystallized into something more concrete | [ trans. ] writing can help to crystallize your thoughts.
hold close in one's arms as a way of showing love or affection : he cuddles the baby close | they were cuddling each other in the back seat. | [ intrans. ] the pair have been spotted kissing and cuddling. • [ intrans. ] lie or sit close and snug : I love cuddling up in front of a fire | they cuddled together to keep out the cold.
of or for cooking : culinary skills | savor the culinary delights of the region.
select from a large quantity; obtain from a variety of sources : anecdotes culled from Greek and Roman history. • reduce the population of (a wild animal) by selective slaughter : he sees culling deer as a necessity | [as n. ] ( culling) kangaroo culling.
reach a climax or point of highest development : the tensions and disorders which culminated in World War II.
• the cause of a problem or defect : viruses could turn out to be the culprit.
2 try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill) : he cultivated an air of indifference._• [usu. as adj. ] ( cultivated) apply oneself to improving or developing (one's mind or manners) : he was a remarkably cultivated and educated man.
increasing or increased in quantity, degree, or force by successive additions : the cumulative effect of two years of drought.
1 having or showing skill in achieving one's ends by deceit or evasion : a cunning look came into his eyes. • ingenious : plants have evolved cunning defenses.
1 form (one's hand or hands) into the curved shape of a cup : "Hey!" Dad shouted, with his hands cupped around his mouth. • place the curved hand or hands around : he cupped her face in his hands.
(of a disease or condition) able to be cured : most skin cancers are completely curable. select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition) : both exhibitions are curated by the museum's director. curb |kəːb| noun 1 a stone or concrete edging to a street or path.
a regulation requiring people to remain indoors between specified hours, typically at night : a dusk-to-dawn curfew | the whole area was immediately placed under curfew.
1 form or cause to form into a curved or spiral shape : [ intrans. ] her fingers curled around the microphone | a slice of ham had begun to curl up at the edges | [ trans. ] she used to curl her hair with rags. • [ intrans. ] ( curl up) sit or lie with the knees drawn up : she curled up and went to sleep. • move or cause to move in a spiral or curved course : [ intrans. ] a wisp of smoke curling across the sky.
curmudgeon |kəːˈmʌdʒ(ə)n| noun a bad-tempered or surly person.
hasty and therefore not thorough or detailed : a cursory glance at the figures. See note at superficial .
rudely brief : his reply was curt. See note at brusque .
reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on : civil liberties were further curtailed.
the fact of being curved or the degree to which something is curved : spinal curvature | the curvature of the earth | it has a distinct curvature near the middle.
form or cause to form a curve : [ intrans. ] her mouth curved in a smile | [as adj. ] ( curved) birds with long curved bills | [ trans. ] starting with arms outstretched, curve the body sideways.
• figurative mitigate the adverse effects of : he called for federal assistance to cushion the blow for farmers.
• figurative a point between two different situations or states, when a person or thing is poised between the two or just about to move from one to the other : those on the cusp of adulthood.
a person who has responsibility for or looks after something, such as a museum, financial assets, or a culture or tradition : the custodians of pension and insurance funds.
the protective care or guardianship of someone or something : the property was placed in the custody of a trustee. • imprisonment : my father was being taken into custody. • Law parental responsibility, esp. as allocated to one of two divorcing parents : he was trying to get custody of their child.
according to the customs or usual practices associated with a particular society, place, or set of circumstances : it is customary to mark an occasion like this with a toast.
• ( cut something out) remove, exclude, or stop eating or doing something undesirable : start today by cutting out fatty foods.
3 divide into pieces with a knife or other sharp implement : cut the beef into thin slices | he cut his food up into teeny pieces.
6 reduce the amount or quantity of : buyers will bargain hard to cut the cost of the house they want | I should cut down my sugar intake | [ intrans. ] they've cut back on costs | the state passed a law to cut down on drunk-driving | the paper glut cuts into profits.
• end or interrupt the provision of (something, esp. power or food supplies) : we resolved to cut oil supplies to territories controlled by the rebels | if the pump develops a fault, the electrical supply is immediately cut off.
7 (of a line) cross or intersect (another line) : the point where the line cuts the vertical axis. • [ intrans. ] ( cut across) pass or traverse, esp. so as to shorten one's route : the following aircraft cut across to join him. • [ intrans. ] ( cut across) have an effect regardless of (divisions or boundaries between groups) : subcultures that cut across national and political boundaries.
• a reduction in amount or size : she took a 20% pay cut | a cut in interest rates.
cut corners undertake something in what appears to be the easiest, quickest, or cheapest way, esp. by omitting to do something important or ignoring rules.
cut in 1 interrupt someone while they are speaking : "It's urgent," Raoul cut in. • dated interrupt a dancing couple to take over from one partner. 2 pull in too closely in front of another vehicle after having overtaken it : she cut in on a station wagon, forcing the driver to brake. 3 (of a motor or other mechanical device) begin operating, esp. when triggered automatically by an electrical signal : emergency generators cut in. 4
cut in line push into a line of people in order to be served or dealt with before one's turn.
cut someone/something loose free someone or something from something that holds or restricts them; untie : he'd cut loose the horses.
cut (or pare) something to the bone reduce something to the bare minimum : costs will have to be cut to the bone.
cut the corner take the shortest course by going across and not around a corner.
cut the crap [often in imperative ] vulgar slang get to the point; state the real situation.
cut to the chase informal come to the point : cut to the chase—what is it you want us to do? [ORIGIN: cut in the sense [move to another part of the movie,] expressing the notion of ignoring any preliminaries.]
an act or instance of reducing something, typically expenditures : cutbacks in defense spending.
(of a competitive situation or activity) fierce and intense; involving the use of ruthless measures : cutthroat competition led to a lot of bankruptcies | the cutthroat world of fashion. • (of a person) using ruthless methods in a competitive situation : the greedy cutthroat manufacturers he worked for.
1 occurring in cycles; regularly repeated : nature is replete with cyclic processes | the cyclic pattern of the last two decades.
cylindric |səˈlindrik| |səˈlɪndrɪk| |-ˈlɪndrɪk| adjective
1 a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons : some cynics thought that the controversy was all a publicity stunt. • a person who questions whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile : the cynics were silenced when the factory opened.
• doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile : most residents are cynical about efforts to clean mobsters out of their city. • contemptuous; mocking : he gave a cynical laugh.
1 a secret or disguised way of writing; a code : he was writing cryptic notes in a cipher | the information may be given in cipher.
1 press against (something) lightly with a piece of absorbent material in order to clean or dry it : he dabbed his mouth with his napkin | [ intrans. ] she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief. • apply (a substance) with light quick strokes : she dabbed disinfectant on the cut.
a small amount of something : she licked a dab of chocolate from her finger. • a brief application of cosmetic, paint, or the like to a surface : apply concealer with light dabs.
immerse (one's hands or feet) partially in water and move them around gently : they dabbled their feet in the rock pools. • [ intrans. ] (of a duck or other waterbird) move the bill around in shallow water while feeding : teal dabble in the shallows.
silly; foolish : don't ask such daft questions.
containing or made from milk : dairy products.
inflict physical harm on (something) so as to impair its value, usefulness, or normal function : the car was badly damaged in the accident | [as adj. ] ( damaged) damaged ligaments | [as adj. ] ( damaging) extreme heat can be very damaging to color film. • have a detrimental effect on : the scandal could seriously damage his career.
action taken to limit the damaging effects of an accident or error : the cost of doing damage control after problems reach the crisis stage.
slightly wet : her hair was still damp from the shower.
1 make slightly wet : the fine rain dampened her face. 2 make less strong or intense : nothing could dampen her enthusiasm. • reduce the amplitude of (a sound source) : slider switches on the mixers can dampen the drums.
dandruff |ˈdandrʌf| noun small pieces of dead skin in a person's hair.
1 informal excellent : upgrading seemed a dandy idea | things are all fine and dandy.
hang or swing loosely : saucepans dangled from a rail | [ trans. ] they were dangling their legs over the water. • [ trans. ] figurative offer (an enticing incentive) to someone : two rich commissions that had been dangling so sweetly in front of me.
1 [usu. with infinitive with or without to ] [often with negative ] have the courage to do something : a story he dare not write down | she leaned forward as far as she dared. 2 [ trans. ] defy or challenge (someone) to do something : she was daring him to disagree | [ trans. ] swap with me, I dare you.
1 make or become dark or darker : [ intrans. ] the sky was darkening rapidly | [ trans. ] darken the eyebrows with black powder | [as adj. ] ( darkened) a darkened room. • [ trans. ] figurative (of an unpleasant event or state of affairs) cast a shadow over something; spoil : the abuse darkened the rest of their lives. 2 make or become gloomy, angry, or unhappy : [ intrans. ] his mood darkened. • [ intrans. ] (of someone's eyes or expression) show anger or another strong negative emotion : his face darkened and he lunged away.
• a person who is particularly popular with a certain group : she is the darling of the media.
move or run somewhere suddenly or rapidly : she darted across the street. • [ trans. ] cast (a look or one's eyes) suddenly and rapidly in a particular direction : she darted a glance across the table.
1 [ intrans. ] run or travel somewhere in a great hurry : I dashed into the garden | I must dash, I'm late. • (often dash about/around) move about in a great hurry, esp. in the attempt to do several things in a short period of time : I dash about for four days in a manic fit to straighten things up. 2 [ trans. ] strike or fling (something) somewhere with great force, esp. so as to have a destructive effect; hurl : the ship was dashed upon the rocks. • [ intrans. ] strike forcefully against something : a gust of rain dashed against the bricks.
1 [in sing. ] an act of running somewhere suddenly and hastily : she made a dash for the door. • a journey or period of time characterized by urgency or eager haste : a 20-mile dash to the airport.
make (someone) feel intimidated or apprehensive : some people are daunted by technology.
seeming difficult to deal with in anticipation; intimidating : a daunting task.
the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise : the rose-pink light of dawn. • figurative the beginning of a phenomenon or period of time, esp. one considered favorable : the dawn of civilization.
1 (of a day) begin : [with complement ] Thursday dawned bright and sunny. • figurative come into existence : a new era of land-use policy was dawning. 2 become evident to the mind; be perceived or understood : the awful truth was beginning to dawn on him | [as adj. ] ( dawning) he smiled with dawning recognition.
day after day on each successive day, esp. over a long period : the rain poured down day after day.
day and night all the time : they kept working, day and night.
day by day gradually and steadily : day by day I grew worse.
day in, day out continuously or repeatedly over a long period of time.
from day one from the very beginning : children need a firm hand from day one.
in this day and age at the present time; in the modern era : it simplifies housekeeping, which is essential in this day and age.
not someone's day used to convey that someone has had a bad day.
—— of the day a thing currently considered to be particularly interesting or important : the big news story of the day.
to this day up to the present time; still : the tradition continues to this day.
happening regularly every day : the day-to-day management of the classroom. • ordinary; everyday : our day-to-day domestic life. • short-term; without consideration for the future : the struggle for day-to-day survival.
indulge in such a series of thoughts : stop daydreaming and pay attention.
make (someone) unable to think or react properly; stupefy; bewilder : she was dazed by his revelations | [as adj. ] ( dazed) he staggered home dazed and confused.
a state of stunned confusion or bewilderment : he was walking around in a daze.
(of a bright light) blind (a person) temporarily : she was dazzled by the headlights. • figurative amaze or overwhelm (someone) with a particular impressive quality : I was dazzled by the beauty and breadth of the exhibition.
in fact, whether by right or not : the island has been de facto divided into two countries. Often contrasted with de jure .
denoting someone or something that is such in fact : a de facto one-party system.
denoting something or someone that is rightfully such : he had been de jure king since his father's death.
1 [ trans. ] make (something, typically technical equipment or a virus) inactive by disconnecting or destroying it : the switch deactivates the alarm.
an end of a road or passage from which no exit is possible; a cul-de-sac : the path came to a dead end.
noun a situation in or result of a race in which two or more competitors are exactly even.
1 [in sing. ] a situation, typically one involving opposing parties, in which no progress can be made : an attempt to break the deadlock.
causing or able to cause death : a deadly weapon. • filled with hate : his voice was cold and deadly. • (typically in the context of shooting or sports) extremely accurate, effective, or skillful : his aim is deadly.
a scarcity or lack of something : there is a dearth of evidence. See note at lack .
• figurative an event, circumstance, or action that ends something abruptly : it was Galileo Galilei who dealt the death blow to the geocentric theory.
a sudden and ignominious failure; a fiasco : the economic debacle that became known as the Great Depression.
reduce (something) in quality or value; degrade : the love episodes debase the dignity of the drama | [as adj. ] ( debased) the debased traditions of sportsmanship.
make (someone) weak and infirm : a debilitating disease | [as adj. ] ( debilitated) a woman who had felt chronically debilitated and unwell for years. • hinder, delay, or weaken : the debilitating effects of underinvestment.
scattered fragments, typically of something wrecked or destroyed : the bomb hits it, showering debris from all sides. • loose natural material consisting esp. of broken pieces of rock : a stable arrangement of planets, comets, and debris orbiting the sun. • dirt or refuse : clean away any collected dust or debris.
expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief) : the magazine that debunks claims of the paranormal. • reduce the inflated reputation of (someone), esp. by ridicule : comedy takes delight in debunking heroes.
• luxuriously self-indulgent : a decadent soak in a scented bath.
cut off the head of (a person or animal) : how to decapitate a snapping turtle | [as adj. ] ( decapitated) a decapitated body.
(of organic matter) rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi : [as adj. ] ( decayed) a decayed cabbage leaf | [as adj. ] ( decaying) the odor of decaying fish.
death : a doctor's sudden decease.
• intended to deceive or mislead : such an act would have been deceitful and irresponsible.
(of a person) cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage : I didn't intend to deceive people into thinking it was French champagne. • (often be deceived) (of a thing) give a mistaken impression : the area may seem to offer nothing of interest, but don't be deceived | [ intrans. ] everything about him was intended to deceive.
(of a vehicle, machine, or process) reduce speed; slow down : international growth rates decelerated in the early 1970s. • [ trans. ] cause to move more slowly : gravity decelerates the cosmic expansion.
behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability : she had the decency to come and confess. • modesty and propriety : a loose dress, rather too low-cut for decency.
the action of deceiving someone : obtaining property by deception.
giving an appearance or impression different from the true one; misleading : he put the question with deceptive casualness.
decimal place noun the position of a digit to the right of a decimal point.
convert (a text written in code, or a coded signal) into normal language : enable the government to decipher coded computer transmissions. • succeed in understanding, interpreting, or identifying (something) : an expression she could not decipher came and went upon his face.
settling an issue; producing a definite result : the Supreme Court voided the statute by a decisive 7-2 vote | decisive evidence.
a formal or explicit statement or announcement : they issued a declaration at the close of the talks | declarations of love. • the formal announcement of the beginning of a state or condition : the declaration of war | a declaration of independence.
1 [ reporting verb ] say something in a solemn and emphatic manner : [with clause ] Mao declared that his forces were henceforth to be known as the People's Liberation Army | [with direct speech ] "I was under too much pressure," he declared. See note at announce . • [ trans. ] formally announce the beginning of (a state or condition) : Spain declared war on Britain in 1796. • [ trans. ] pronounce or assert (a person or thing) to be something specified : the mansion was declared a fire hazard.
• diminish in strength or quality; deteriorate : her health began to decline | [as adj. ] ( declining) the victims of declining educational standards.
a gradual and continuous loss of strength, numbers, or quality : a serious decline in bird numbers | a civilization in decline.
• analyze and interpret (a verbal or nonverbal communication or image) : a handbook to help parents decode street language.
(of a dead body or other organic matter) decay; become rotten : leaves stuffed in plastic bags do not decompose | [as adj. ] ( decomposed) the body was badly decomposed. • [ trans. ] cause (something) to decay or rot : dead plant matter can be completely decomposed by microorganisms.
• (in general use) dismantle : do we need to deconstruct all the institutions that we've created in order to improve them?
separate, disengage, or dissociate (something) from something else : the mountings effectively decouple movements of the engine from those of the wheels.
1 a bird or mammal, or an imitation of one, used by hunters to attract other birds or mammals : [as adj. ] a decoy duck.
lure or entice (a person or animal) away from an intended course, typically into a trap : they would try to decoy the enemy toward the hidden group.
• the issuing of such an order : the king ruled by decree.
order (something) by decree : the government decreed a ban on any contact with the guerrillas | [with clause ] the president decreed that the military was to be streamlined.
publicly denounce : they decried human rights abuses.
make (a coded or unclear message) intelligible : the computer can be used to encrypt and decrypt sensitive transmissions.
• (usu. be dedicated) cite (a book or other artistic work) as being issued or performed in someone's honor : the novel is dedicated to the memory of my mother.
arrive at (a fact or a conclusion) by reasoning; draw as a logical conclusion : little can be safely deduced from these figures | [with clause ] they deduced that the fish died because of water pollution.
subtract or take away (an amount or part) from a total : tax has been deducted from the payments.
characterized by the inference of particular instances from a general law : deductive reasoning. • based on reason and logical analysis of available facts : I used my deductive powers.
1 an action that is performed intentionally or consciously : doing good deeds. • a brave or noble act : their deeds will live on in song. • action or performance : she had erred in both deed and manner.
regard or consider in a specified way : the event was deemed a great success | [ trans. ] the strike was deemed to be illegal.
damage the good reputation of (someone); slander or libel : he claimed that the article defamed his family. See note at malign .
render harmless or ineffectual : the military, demoralized and defanged, gave up their campaign.
1 fail to fulfill an obligation, esp. to repay a loan or to appear in a court of law : some had defaulted on student loans. • [ trans. ] declare (a party) in default and give judgment against that party : the possibility that cases would be defaulted and defendants released. 2 ( default to) (of a computer program or other mechanism) revert automatically to (a preselected option) : when you start a fresh letter, the system will default to its own style.
a shortcoming, imperfection, or lack : genetic defects | the property is free from defect.
imperfect or faulty : complaints over defective goods.
showing deference; respectful : people were always deferential to him.
humble submission and respect : he addressed her with the deference due to age. See note at honor .
put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone : they deferred the decision until February. See note at postpone . • historical postpone the conscription of (someone) : he was no longer deferred from the draft.
open resistance; bold disobedience : the demonstration was held in defiance of official warnings.
showing defiance : she was in a defiant mood.
a lack or shortage : vitamin A deficiency in children. • a failing or shortcoming : they did not like having the deficiencies of their city pointed out to them.
• an excess of expenditure or liabilities over income or assets in a given period : an annual operating deficit | the budget will remain in deficit. • (in sports) the amount or score by which a team or individual is losing : came back from a 3-0 deficit.
openly resist or refuse to obey : a woman who defies convention. • (of a thing) make (an action or quality) almost impossible : his actions defy belief.
sully, mar, or spoil : the land was defiled by a previous owner. See note at pollute . • desecrate or profane (something sacred) : the tomb had been defiled and looted.
clearly stated or decided; not vague or doubtful : we had no definite plans. • clearly true or real; unambiguous : no definite proof has emerged.
1 (of a conclusion or agreement) done or reached decisively and with authority : a definitive diagnosis. • (of a book or other text) the most authoritative of its kind : the definitive biography of Harry Truman.
1 [ trans. ] let air or gas out of (a tire, balloon, or similar object) : he deflated one of the tires. • [ intrans. ] be emptied of air or gas : the balloon deflated. 2 cause (someone) to suddenly lose confidence or feel less important : [as adj. ] ( deflated) the news left him feeling utterly deflated. • reduce the level of (an emotion or feeling) : her anger was deflated.
cause (something) to change direction by interposing something; turn aside from a straight course : the bullet was deflected harmlessly into the ceiling | figurative he attempted to deflect attention away from his private life. • [ intrans. ] (of an object) change direction after hitting something : the ball deflected off his body. • cause (someone) to deviate from an intended purpose : she refused to be deflected from anything she had set her mind on.
deforest |diːˈfɒrɪst| verb [ trans. ] (often be deforested) clear (an area) of forests or trees.
distort the shape or form of; make misshapen : [as adj. ] ( deformed) deformed hands. • [ intrans. ] become distorted or misshapen; undergo deformation : the suspension deforms slightly on corners.
• thaw (frozen food) before cooking it : defrost the turkey slowly. • [ intrans. ] (of frozen food) thaw before being cooked : make sure that it has thoroughly defrosted.
neatly skillful and quick in one's movements : a deft piece of footwork.
1 having lost the physical, mental, or moral qualities considered normal and desirable; showing evidence of decline : a degenerate form of a higher civilization. See note at depraved .
decline or deteriorate physically, mentally, or morally : the quality of life had degenerated | the debate degenerated into a brawl.
• of or tending to decline and deterioration : the young generation had fallen into a degenerative backslide.
1 [ trans. ] treat or regard (someone) with contempt or disrespect : she thought that many supposedly erotic pictures degraded women. See note at humble . • lower the character or quality of : repeaters clean up and amplify the degraded signal. • archaic reduce (someone) to a lower rank, esp. as a punishment : he was degraded from his high estate. 2 break down or deteriorate chemically : [ intrans. ] when exposed to light, the materials will degrade | [ trans. ] the bacteria will degrade hydrocarbons.
cause (a person or a person's body) to lose a large amount of water : his body temperature was high, and he had become dehydrated.
a god or goddess (in a polytheistic religion) : a deity of ancient Greece. • divine status, quality, or nature : a ruler driven by delusions of deity.
a period of time by which something is late or postponed : a two-hour delay | long delays in obtaining passports. • the action of delaying or being delayed : I set off without delay.
entrust (a task or responsibility) to another person, typically one who is less senior than oneself : he delegates routine tasks | the power delegated to him must never be misused.
a body of delegates or representatives; a deputation : a delegation of teachers. • the act or process of delegating or being delegated : prioritizing tasks for delegation.
• fineness or intricacy of texture or structure : miniature pearls of exquisite delicacy.
• the quality of requiring discretion or sensitivity : the delicacy of the situation. • tact and consideration : I have to treat this matter with the utmost delicacy.
2 a choice or expensive food : a Chinese delicacy.
describe or portray (something) precisely : the law should delineate and prohibit behavior that is socially abhorrent.
minor crime, esp. that committed by young people : social causes of crime and delinquency.
(typically of a young person or that person's behavior) showing or characterized by a tendency to commit crime, particularly minor crime : delinquent children.
• in a state of wild excitement or ecstasy : there was a great roar from the delirious crowd.
impose a misleading belief upon (someone); deceive; fool : too many theorists have deluded the public | [as adj. ] ( deluded) the poor deluded creature.
• a heavy fall of rain : a deluge of rain hit the plains. • figurative a great quantity of something arriving at the same time : a deluge of complaints.
inundate with a great quantity of something : he has been deluged with offers of work.
an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder : the delusion of being watched.
• research or make painstaking inquiries into something : a machine designed to delve further into the atom's secrets.
demand-led (also demand-driven) adjective Economics caused or determined by demand from consumers or clients.
set the boundaries or limits of : plots of land demarcated by barbed wire. • separate or distinguish from : art was being demarcated from the more objective science.
the action of fixing the boundary or limits of something : the demarcation of the maritime border. • a dividing line : a horizontal band that produces a distinct demarcation two inches from the top.
outward behavior or bearing : a quiet, somber demeanor.
dementia |dɪˈmɛnʃə| noun Medicine a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.
1 a person's death : Mr. Grisenthwaite's tragic demise. • the end or failure of an enterprise or institution : the demise of industry.
take (troops) out of active service, typically at the end of a war : he was demobilized in February 1946. • [ intrans. ] cease military operations : Germany demanded that they demobilize within twelve hours.
• comprehensively refute (an argument or its proponent) : I looked forward keenly to demolishing my opponent. • informal overwhelmingly defeat (a player or team) : they demolished the Denver Broncos, 55-10.
the action or process of demolishing or being demolished : the monument was saved from demolition.
of, like, or characteristic of a demon or demons : a goddess with both divine and demoniac qualities | demoniac rage.
of, resembling, or characteristic of demons or evil spirits : demonic possession | her laughter was demonic.
1 [ trans. ] clearly show the existence or truth of (something) by giving proof or evidence : their shameful silence demonstrates their ineptitude. • give a practical exhibition and explanation of (how a machine, skill, or craft works or is performed) : computerized design methods will be demonstrated | [with clause ] he demonstrated how to make his favorite hotdog.
2 serving as conclusive evidence of something; giving proof : demonstrative evidence.
give (someone) a lower rank or less senior position, usually as a punishment : the head of the army was demoted to deputy defense secretary.
1 [usu. as adj. ] ( demoralized) cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope; dispirit : the army was demoralized and scattered.
reduction in rank or status : too many demotions would weaken morale.
make (a difficult or esoteric subject) clearer and easier to understand : this book attempts to demystify technology.
reinterpret (a subject or text) so that it is free of mythical or heroic elements : he undertakes to demythologize the man who has been for many the modern counterpart of St. Augustine.
able to be denied : the government did agree to play a limited and deniable role in the rebellion.
the action of declaring something to be untrue : she shook her head in denial. • the refusal of something requested or desired : the denial of insurance to people with certain medical conditions. • a statement that something is not true : official denials | his denial that he was having an affair.
criticize unfairly; disparage : there is a tendency to denigrate the poor.
an inhabitant or occupant of a particular place : denizens of field and forest.
1 ( be denominated) (of sums of money) be expressed in a specified monetary unit : the borrowings were denominated in U.S. dollars.
be a sign of; indicate : this mark denotes purity and quality. • (often be denoted) stand as a name or symbol for : the level of output per firm, denoted by X.
publicly declare to be wrong or evil : the Assembly denounced the use of violence | he was widely denounced as a traitor. • inform against : some of his own priests denounced him to the King for heresy.
• having the constituent parts crowded closely together : an estuary dense with marine life.
• a diminishing effect; a reduction : a dent in profits. verb [ trans. ] mark with a dent : the moose dropped a hind foot and dented the hood of the car. • have an adverse effect on; diminish : this neither deterred him nor dented his enthusiasm.
• refuse to accept or agree to : judges would retain the discretion to grant or deny the requests. • refuse to acknowledge or recognize; disown : Peter repeatedly denied Jesus.
deodorant |dɪˈəʊd(ə)r(ə)nt| noun a substance that removes or conceals unpleasant smells, esp. bodily odors.
leave, typically in order to start a journey : they departed for Germany | a contingent was departing from Cairo. • ( depart from) deviate from (an accepted, prescribed, or traditional course of action) : he departed from the precedent set by many.
concerned with or belonging to a department of an organization : a departmental meeting.
the action of leaving, typically to start a journey : the day of departure | she made a hasty departure. • a deviation from an accepted, prescribed, or traditional course of action or thought : a departure from their usual style.
depending on being conditioned by; contingent on : makes 8-10 burgers (depending on size) | [with clause ] the article sneered or just condescended, depending on how you read it.
use up the supply of; exhaust the abundance of : fish stocks are severely depleted. • [ intrans. ] diminish in number or quantity : supplies are depleting fast. • exhaust : avoid getting depleted and depressed.
feel or express strong disapproval of (something) : we deplore this act of violence.