258 terms

Neutral Terms

STUDY
PLAY
abdicate
To give up a position, right, or power.
abeyance
Temporary suspension; inactivity. "Matters were held in abeyance pending further inquiries."
abjure
To solemnly renounce (a belief, cause, or claim). "He refused to abjure the Catholic faith."
abridge
To shorten. "The editor abridged the manuscript by cutting out two chapters."
abyss
A deep and vast space or cavity; anything profound or infinite.
aerie
A nook or nest built high in the air.
aesthetic
Concerning the appreciation of beauty.
acumen
Keen, quick, accurate insight or judgment. "He had business acumen."
adumbrate
Report or represent a rough outline of; foreshadow. "James Madison adumbrated the necessity that the Senate be somewhat insulated from public passions."
albeit
Although
aloof
Withdrawn, standing apart from others (usually as a matter of choice).
antedate
To be older than; to have come before.
apostate
Person who deserts a party, cause, religion, etc.
apostle
Pioneer of a reform movement (originally, an early follower of Jesus).
apprise
To inform, give notice to.
arbitrary
Based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.
arcane
Known or understood by only a few.
archaic
Ancient; old-fashioned.
artless
Without deception or sly intelligence (guile).
ascertain
To find out with certainty. "He made an attempt to ascertain the cause of the accident."
ascetic
Characterized by or suggesting the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. "He lived an ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and manual labor."
augury
A sign of what will happen in the future; an omen. "They took the sound as an augury of death."
austere
Severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance.
aver
To affirm; declare confidently. "He averred that he was innocent of the allegations."
axiomatic
Self-evident, expressing a universally accepted principle or rule; unquestionable. "It is axiomatic that dividends have to be financed."
balk
Refuse to proceed or to do something.
banal
Predictable; cliched; boring.
bane
A cause of great distress or annoyance. "The bane of the decoration is the long, narrow hall."
baying
Howling in a deep way, like a dog or wolf.
bent
Personal inclination or tendency. "He's a man of religious bent."
bucolic
Relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life. "The church is lovely for its bucolic setting."
bureaucracy
A system of government in which most of the important decisions are made by state officials rather than by elected representatives.
burnish
To polish.
bygone
Belonging to an earlier time. "They are artifacts of a bygone society."
canonical
Following or in agreement with accepted, traditional standards. "He talked about the canonical rites of the Roman Church."
catalyst
Something that causes change.
cartography
The science or practice of drawing maps.
chauvinism
Fanatical devotion to one's country, sex, religion, etc.
circumspect
Wary and unwilling to take risks. "The officials were very circumspect in their statements."
coagulate
Thicken; congeal.
coda
An ending; conclusion.
coffer
Strongbox; large chest for money.
cogent
Convincing and well reasoned.
compendium
A collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject, especially in a book or other publication; a collection.
concede
Admit; acknowledge; accept.
confer
Consult
connote
To imply idea (connotation).
construe
Interpret; "His words could hardly be construed as an apology."
contextualize
Place in context, such as by giving the background or circumstances.
conundrum
A difficult problem.
coterie
A clique; exclusive group.
covert
Not openly acknowledged or displayed; "He discovered the covert operations against the dictatorship."
delineate
Describe in detail.
demur
To raise doubts or objections or show reluctance; "Normally she would have accepted the challenge, but she demurred."
denote
Indicate; "This mark denotes purity and quality."
derivative
Not the original; a product from another.
diaphanous
Allowing light to show through; delicate; sheer, fine, translucent.
dictum
A formal pronouncement from an authoritative source. (noun)
didactic
Instructive
diffident
Modest or shy because of a lack of self-confidence.
dilettante
A person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge; "It was a dilettante approach to science."
discerning
Mentally quick and observant; having insight.
discrete
Individually separate and distinct.
discriminating
Able to make fine distinctions between.
disjointed
Not coherent.
disposition
A person's inherent qualities of mind and character.
diurnal
Daily; of each day; of or during the day; "The patient's moods are determined by diurnal events."
disseminate
Spread or disperse widely.
distaff
Female; women or women's work.
doctrinaire
A person who seeks to impose a doctrine without regard to practical considerations.
document
To provide with written evidence to support.
dogma
A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.
echelon
A level, rank or grade; the people at that level.
efficacy
The ability to produce a desired or intended result; effectiveness.
egress
Exit
elicit
Evoke
embellish
To decorate/enhance a story with details.
empirical
Based on observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
enigma
A puzzle; a mystery.
ephemeral
Lasting a short time; fleeting.
erstwhile
Former; "He met his erstwhile rivals."
esoteric
Intended for or understood by only a small group.
ethos
Beliefs or character of a group.
extrapolate
to infer or estimate by extending or projecting known information.
faction
Group or clique within a larger organization.
fallow
Dormant; unused.
fanatical
Excessively devoted
fanciful
Something overimaginative and unrealistic.
fettered
Chained
fidelity
Faithfulness
fledgling
A person or organization that is immature, inexperienced, or underdeveloped; baby bird.
ford
A shallow place in a river or stream allowing one to walk or drive across; "There is a ford across the river."
furtive
Secret, stealthy.
gambol
To run or jump about playfully.
gestation
Pregnancy; period from conception to birth.
goad
Spur on, stimulate, urge on.
hackneyed
Used so often as to lack freshness or originality.
hermetic
Airtight, sealed, isolated; reclusive; pertaining to alchemy, occult.
hew
Chop or cut with a tool; hack.
idolatry
Worship of idols; idolization.
imminent
About to happen.
implication
The conclusion that can be drawn from something, although it is not explicitly stated.
implicit
Implied; not stated directly.
immutable
Unchangeable
impious
Not devout in religion
inasmuch
Considering that
incarnadine
A bright crimson or pinkish-red color
inchoate
Not fully formed; disorganized.
incipient
Just beginning; beginning to come into being or to become apparent.
Inert
Lacking the ability or strength to move; inactive.
inculcate
Teach persistently; implant an idea.
inform
Give context to
ingrained
Deep-rooted
inquest
A judicial inquiry to ascertain the facts relating to an incident, such as a death.
insinuate
Hint; suggest slyly; introduce an idea in a subtle way.
insular
Narrow-minded; detached.
insurrection
Rebellion against a government.
inter
"Enterrar; place body in tomb" Between.
interregnum
A time between two reigns during which there is no ruler; any period of freedom from authority.
itinerant
Traveling from place to place; "they were itinerant traders."
itinerary
Traveling schedule
jingoist
An extreme patriot, usually calls for a belligerent (aggressive) foreign policy.
judicious
Using good judgment.
juncture
A particular point in events or time.
keen
Perceptive
kinetic
Pertaining to motion
laconic
Using few words; concise.
latent
Existing but not visible or active.
layperson
A person who is not a member of a particular profession; the every-day person.
leery
Suspicious or wary.
levy
Impose (tax, fee, fine)
liberal
Tolerant or broad-minded; generous or lavish.
libertine
Unrestrained person
limpid
Clear; transparent
luminous
Shining; radiant; brilliant; enlightening.
malleable
Easily influenced; pliable.
manacle
A metal band, chain, or shackle for fastening someone's hands or ankles.
manifest
Clear or obvious to the eye or mind; "He pointed out the system's manifest failings;" to display or show; "Ray manifested signs of severe depression."
martinet
A strict disciplinarian
maverick
An unorthodox or independent-minded person
maxim
A short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct; "He was repeating the maxim that actions speak louder than words"
mendicant
A beggar
metaphysical
Concerned with abstract thought; very subtle
missive
A letter, especially a long or official one
modish
Conforming to or following what is currently popular and fashionable
monastic
Relating to monks, nuns, or others living under religious vows, or the buildings in which they live
mores
The essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community; norms
mundane
Lacking interest or excitement; dull
myopic
Nearsighted
nascent
Just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential; "nacer'
neologism
A newly coined word or expression
neophyte
Novice; beginner
nuance
A subtle difference in or shade of meaning, expression, or sound
occult
Supernatural; secret
opine
To express an opinion; "opinar"
orthodox
Adhering to tradition; conventional
oscillate
To move or swing back and forth at a regular speed; change
paradigm
A model or example; pattern
paragon
Model of excellence; perfect example
parsimony
Extreme unwillingness to spend money or use resources; frugality/thrift
partisan
A strong supporter of a party, cause, or person
patent
Easily recognizable; obvious; apparent
peddle
Try to sell (something, especially small goods) by going from house to house or place to place (sometimes illegally)
pedestrian
Lacking inspiration or excitement; dull
pellucid
Transparent, translucent; clear, easy to understand
peregrinate
A travel or journey, especially by foot, notably by a pilgrim.
perennial
Lasting for a long time, persistent; enduring
peripatetic
Tending to walk about; constantly traveling
per se
Intrinsically; by itself; in itself
perspicacious
Having a ready insight into and understanding of things
pith
The essence of something; concisely meaningful
plastic
Easily shaped, molded, influenced.
platitude
An overused statement; cliche
plebeian
Of the common people (Rome)
plummet
Plunge; fall straight down
plutocracy
Government by the wealthy
polyglot
Knowing or using several languages
posit
Assume as a fact; put forward as a basis of argument; place
predilection
Preference; bias in favor of something
predisposed
Having an inclination or tendency beforehand; susceptible
precis
A concise summary
prescient
Having foreknowledge or foresight, seeing the future
preternatural
Supernatural, exceptional
proclivity
A natural or habitual inclination or tendency (especially of human character or behavior)
pronounced
Distinct; clearly indicated
propensity
A natural inclination or predilection toward
prophetic
Relating to prophesy, predicting, ominous (giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; threatening; inauspicious)
propriety
The state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals; proper
prudent
Acting with or showing care and thought for the future
puerile
Juvenile, immature; childish
pulchritude
Beauty
quotidian
Occurring daily; commonplace
raconteur
A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way; "contar"
reactant
Something that reacts; a substance that undergoes a change in a chemical reaction
recapitulate
Summarize; repeat in a concise way
recondite
(Of a subject or knowledge) Little known; abstruse; not easily understood; "The book is full of recondite information."
recrudescence
The return of an undesirable condition; revival
redound
To contribute greatly to; "his latest diplomatic effort will redound to his credit;" rebound on.
rejoinder
A reply to a reply, especially from the defendant in a legal suit
render
Provide or give; "Money serves as a reward for services rendered;" cause to be or become; make; "the rains rendered his escape impossible"
repast
Meal or mealtime
reportorial
Of or characteristic of newspaper reporters
resurgence
The rising again of somehting
reticent
Reserved; private
retrospect
Looking back on or dealing with past events or situations
revamp
To give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to
rhetoric
Persuasion through speaking/writing; elaborate but meaningless language
rife
Common
rift
A split, break, breach
rococo
Very highly ornamented
sagacious
Wise; shrewd
salient
Prominent; of notable significance
sedition
Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch
semantics
Relating to the different meanings of symbols or words
sentient
Able to perceive things
seraphic
Angelic, heavenly, celestial
sobriquet
Nickname
solecism
A grammatical mistake in speech or writing
solidarity
Fellowship in interests, feelings, etc., such as among a group of people or classes, nations, etc.
somatic
Of the body
spartan
Highly self-disciplined; frugal; austere
speculate
To form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence
stint
Period of time spent doing something, or a specific, limited amount of work; to be frugal
stipulate
To demand or specify (a requirement), typically as part of a bargain or agreement
stratum
A level or layer
subpoena
A writ ordering a person to attend a court
supposition
An uncertain belief
surmise
Guess
sybarite
A person who is self-indulgent in their fondness for sensuous luxury
synoptic
Of or forming a general summary or synopsis
syntax
The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language
tacit
Understood or implied without being stated; "your silence may be taken to mean tacit agreement"
taciturn
(Of a person) Reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little; untalkative
temperance
Moderation, self-control, esp. regarding alcohol or other desires or pleasures; total abstinence from alcohol
tendentious
Marked by a strong point of view, biased
terrestrial
Relating to the Earth or to land; worldly
terse
To be sparing in the use of words; abrupt
token
A sign, symbol, mark; sample, person, thing, or idea taken to represent an entire group; of little symbolic value.
tome
Book, usually large and academic
tout
To attempt to sell (something), typically by pestering people in an aggressive or bold manner
tractable
(Of a person or animal) Easy to control or influence; (of a situation or problem) easy to deal with
transitory
Temporary
trite
Overused
tyro
Beginner
ubiquitous
Present, appearing, or found everywhere.
unearth
Dig up, uncover, expose
unequivocal
Without a doubt; absolute
vacillate
To be indecisive
verdant
Green with vegetation; young/inexperienced
vernal
Related to spring; fresh
vestige
A trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists
vestigial
Forming a very small remnant of something that was once much larger or more noticeable; "he felt a vestigial flicker of anger from last night"
via
Traveling through (a place) en route to a destination (preposition)
virtual
Existing only in the mind or by means of a computer network; existing in results or in essence but not officially or in name
viscous/viscid
Thick, adhesive, or covered in something sticky
wary
Cautious
whereas
On the contrary
winnow
To get rid of something unwanted, delete; to sift through to obtain what is desirable; to remove the chaff from the wheat by blowing air on it; to blow on; fan

Flickr Creative Commons Images

Some images used in this set are licensed under the Creative Commons through Flickr.com.
Click to see the original works with their full license.