208 terms



Terms in this set (...)

mixed up; jumbled; distorted; V. garble: mix up or distort (a message) to such an extent as to make misleading or unintelligible.

E.g. You should watch his explanation yourself; it was GARBLED enough that I'm not quite sure how to render it.
(adj.) wicked, depraved, devoid of moral standards.

E.g. To reject the scientific consensus necessarily means believing that climate scientists around the world are lying to the public for some NEFARIOUS purpose.
Causing no harm.

E.g. While the majority of these viruses are BENIGN or harmless, she said, 13 strains "present a very high risk of developing into cancers".
boring verbosity.

E.g We hope that the reader will not accuse us of PROLIXITY for having related rather fully the negotiations which proceeded the concordat of 1801.
Very steep

E.g. With the PRECIPITOUS decrease in art and history education in schools, much of the museum's encyclopedic collection now means little to younger viewers.
causing to excite or inflame.

E.g. The incendiary track "F— tha Police" was denounced by right-wing politicians and prompted a warning letter from the FBI to the group's record label.
v. to gather bit by bit

E.g. She travels across the Indonesian archipelago trying to track them down using photos and bits of information she gleans from teams in East Timor.
witty, skillful storyteller.

E.g. Charlie was a great RACONTEUR, dropping his latest jokes on me during frequent phone calls.
to abuse verbally.

E.g. He could offer no counter argument to them, but continued to VITUPERATE the sins of the white people.
Rumor, a false or baseless story.

E.g. Worse, they're perpetuating the CANARD that Obamacare was collapsing on its own, leaving them no choice but to repeal it.
adjective: immune to attack; without flaw

E.g. I think they're UNASSAILABLE in terms of current relevance, recent success, strength of athletic department and enthusiasm of fan base.
excessively sentimental.

E.g. While unbearably sad — but also beautiful — at times, the show is not MAWKISH or manipulative.
the point in an orbit most distant from the body being orbited; the highest point

E.g. At its APOGEE, the skylight is about 160 feet above the floor of the Oculus.

E.g. The Trump tax plan seems, to put it politely, NEBULOUS.
An excuse or trick for escaping or hiding something.

E.g. Trump's apparatus is also skillfully deploying SUBTERFUGE in order to diminish public confidence to the point where it becomes impossible to differentiate truths from lies.
acute, sharp, or incisive; forceful; effective.

E.g. One person known for her TRENCHANT wit was the author and critic Mary McCarthy, who once said of the writer Lillian Hellman, "Every word she writes is a lie, including the 'and' and the 'the'."
Emotionally moving.

E.g. There is something POIGNANT about the death of buildings: industrial ones signal the move from one era of technology to another.
to gain favor with another by deliberate effort; to seek to please somebody so as to gain an advantage.

E.g. Will those hoping to INGRATIATE themselves with the president really not see business dealings with his sons as a route toward influence?
Done or shown openly.

E.g. Due to its Nazi past, Germany bans public Holocaust denial and any OVERT promotion of racism.
depressed, sad, dejected

E.g. For most of the days, Mariam stayed in bed, feeling adrift and FORLON.
to shun; to avoid (as something wrong or distasteful)

E.g. I appreciate this article's effort to educate potential readers on ways for them to ESCHEW mistakes when repaying their loans.
Something out of place in time.

E.g. In the 1970s, feminism seemed unstoppable; after Ronald Reagan's election, it was treated as an embarrassing ANACHRONISM.
Bankrupt; unable to pay debts.

E.g. The state of Rio is nearly INSOLVENT, struggling to pay salaries and mollify enraged employees.
destroy completely

E.g. Although not without moments of terror and desperation, the screenplay's leisurely timing SUBVERTS their dramatic impact.
Anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen.

E.g. Mr Edwards said he is not claustrophobic but was still a little APPREHENSIVE about being buried alive.
A change or variation; unexpected changes in life.

E.g. Many chicks still make it to adulthood but suffer seriously reduced body weights which leave them less able to withstand the VICISSITUDES of sea life.
Selecting from or made up from a variety of sources.

E.g. The ECLECTIC mix of winners continues to include both well-known stars and little-known but still accomplished athletes.
overly luxurious and lacking moral discipline; excessive.

E.g. Meanwhile, his finances plummeted because of his DECADENT lifestyle, an indulgence in the drug- and sex-experimentation counterculture that he once called his "orgy stage."
"perks" that come along with something; the benefits.

E.g. more companies are coming up with unconventional PERQUISITES to stand out from their rivals and pamper their workers.
to grow and flourish

E.g. He attended Mass every day, scribbled in notebooks about his BURGEONING faith and even named his second son Jean Baptiste.
stormy, raging, furious

E.g. his TEMPESTUOUS persona, harsh rhetoric and thin preparation have repelled important segments of his own Republican Party as well as Democratic constituencies.
calm and peaceful

E.g. Even during the HALCYON '90s, when the team was formidable and successful, there was always the sense that things could go awry at any moment.
extreme mental and physical sluggishness.

E.g. She might growl a bit, then slump into a deep TORPOR at the back of her cave with any cubs, the researchers say.
(adj.) commonplace; overused, stale

E.g The only expression more TRITE than tongue in cheek is tongue firmly in cheek.
Stubbornly opinionated.

E.g. Food enthusiasts in the United States can sometimes get a little DOGMATIC about tradition and "authenticity."
nonchalance or a lack of concern.

E.g. President Obama's usual INSOUCIANCE in the face of threat from radical Islam stood out sharply against the universal outrage.
having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair.

E.g. Quickly, it became clear that UNSCRUPULOUS entrepreneurs were creating cheap products that weren't very useful, and marketing them to people eligible for the credit.
(adj) festive, sociable, having fun together, genial

E.g. The crowd of spectators was small and CONVIVAL, with local families bringing their children to enjoy the performance.
unwilling, reluctant

E.g. Security forces are LOATH to discuss much about who they protect or what it costs, for fear, they say, of compromising their mission.
(adj.) lacking politeness or good manners; lacking sensitivity; difficult to work with or deal with; rude

E.g. Author Stephen King called Trump's comments about Meryl Streep "childish, CHURLISH, petulant ... exactly why most Americans fear his presidency."
To resent another's success; to envy.

E.g. I would not BEGRUDGE anyone for doing something that brings them Enjoyment without hurting anyone or anything else.
of questionable authority or authenticity

E.g. There's a possibly APOCRYPHAL story that Turner once lashed himself to a ship's mast to fully experience a snowstorm at sea.
Known or understood by only a few.

E.g. Although this might seem like an ARCANE administrative debate, the discount rate is the critical ingredient for how we value the future.
being in a state of intellectual darkness; ignorant; unenlightened.

Tomic, in his BENIGHTED moments, has always seemed much closer to clueless than malicious.
noun: critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text

E.g. "A teeny thing felt deeply resonant," he wrote in an impassioned EXEGESIS of the artist's words and deed.
Helping; subordinate

E.g. The fun of this character is he was sort of an ANCILLIARY character who grew into himself, and we're now doing this show around him.
To surrender

E.g. He told Mexican leaders that he would cancel the trade agreement and levy punishing tariffs unless they CAPITULATED to his demands in overhauling it.
providing for future need, frugal.

E.g. Financially profligate 34-and-under types, on the other hand, exhibit no such PROVIDENT penny-pinching.
unnatural or artificial behavior, usually intended to impress.

E.g. Zardulu speaks slowly, either as an AFFECTATION of mystery, or because she carefully chooses her words.
excessively proud of oneself; vain

I'm not trying to sound CONCEITED ," Woodfox told me, "but I seem to be more animated than some of these guys.
Anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment.

E.g. Most politicians, when they are angry, will allow themselves a modicum of INDIGNATION.
aggressiveness; ferocity

E.g. Her composed manner bore little resemblance to her brother's theatrical TRUCULENCE.
Demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight.

E.g. The BELLICOSE pronouncements in Moscow suggest that Russia is becoming a superpower again, modernizing its nuclear arsenal and seeking supremacy over the United States.
adjective: expressing praise or approval.

E.g. Mrs. Colesworthy enfolded her in an APPROBATORY embrace, and hurried home to tell me about it.
Based on guesswork or incomplete evidence.

E.g. Theories about the extinction of dinosaurs are still highly CONJECTURAL.
Great self-denial, economy, discipline; lack of adornment.

E.g. The PIP process is in disarray and these private companies are receiving huge payouts in a time of extreme AUSTERITY.
(n.) shame and disgrace.

The corrupt politician was to suffer the IGNOMINY Nof being sent to prison
(adj.) humorous, not meant seriously.

E.g. You might think me FACETIOUS to liken wrestling with anti-terrorism activities, but wait.
Slight-of-hand (magic as performed by a magician); trickery or deception.

E.g. No amount of diplomatic LEGERDEMAIN, it seems to me, can avoid answering this question with a simple yes or no.
scold with biting harshness; censure strongly; strip the skin off

Since the day the Oscar nominations were announced, without a single black nominee, there was a universal assurance that Rock would use his platform to EXCORIATE the Academy.
old fashioned; out-of-style.

E.g. The stereotype of aging workers unable to keep up with the demands of their jobs is PASSE, Dr. Carstensen said.
public disgrace

E.g. In the west, a company would never survive the public OPPROBRIUM following revelations that children as young as 10 were working 45-hour weeks.
(n.) a skillful or ingenious device; a clever trick; a clever skill; trickery

E.g. The narrative that the UFC presents is a carefully stage-managed form of heroism, one in which it's not hard to see the ARTIFICE.
great coolness and composure under strain

E.g. As a last-minute substitute for another actor, Verafield also played several other roles with considerable APLOMB.
hesitate; refuse

E.g. Mr. Christie several appearances on morning television to promote the effort, but DEMURRED on commenting on what would transpire in court.
the quality of behaving in a proper manner; obeying rules and customs.

E.g. That the Attorney General recrused himself was obviously a necessary and proper step, but necessity and PROPRIETY do not seem to matter to the president.
depravity, moral corruption.

E.g. David Lee was disbarred in 2015 for moral TURPITUDE after he refused to stop filing frivolous lawsuits, including suing judges who ruled against him.
a quick reply to a question or remark (especially a witty or critical one)

E.g. The Daily Mail issued a statement responding to the criticism of the headline on Tuesday with the RETORT: "For goodness sake, get a life!"
an outline, depiction, portrayal

E.g. The year is 2019, but "near future" might be a more accurate DELINEATION for this terrifyingly plausible work of dystopian fiction.

E.g. The same media that VILIFIED Obama hailed Trump as a strong leader who will treat Egypt with respect and appreciated el-Sissi's leadership.
(adj.) willing, compliant.

E.g. He argues that inequality is a product of fundamental laws of capitalism, and would be AMENABLE to change through a global tax on financial transactions.
not easily managed or manipulated

E.g. However much it is in the news, income inequality is an ancient and INTRACTABLE social, economic and political condition.
Find fault with, criticize or scold severely

E.g. Their administration clearly does not support their enforcement of the rules nor the UPBRAIDING of reprehensible behavior.
theory that all knowledge originates from experience. It emphasizes experimentation and observation in order to truly know things.

E.g He trained in economics at the University of Chicago, where professors stressed EMPIRICISM and measurement through statistics, so data carry weight with him.
Condense or shorten.

The essays ran to 20 volumes, with an ABRIDGED version of 1,000 pages becoming a paperback bestseller.
the use of more words than are necessary to express an idea.

If we say that it is the science of the spirit, we indulge in a useless PLEONASM.
Bad-tempered, Cranky, grumpy

For someone so often characterized as remote or even CURMUDGEONLY, he is strikingly friendly and inquisitive.
Extremely impractical but very romantic, chivalrous, or idealistic;

It is difficult to imagine a worse waste of taxpayers' money than the District's QUIXOTIC and now failed experiment in sidewalk electricity.
Tending to spread throughout

Ageism is PERVASIVE and entrenched in our society
(adj.)able to change shape; displaying great variety

Picasso was a PROTEAN artist, at one moment sketching a bull reminiscent of ancient cave paintings, the next rendering the animal in a jumble of cubes.
beneficial, helpful; healthful, wholesome

The rehabilitation of compromise in a system of government designed for compromise would be a SALUTARY development, though the unified Republican government makes it unlikely.
like an uncle, benevolent and tolerant

A bespectacled, AVUNCULAR figure, Peale was not prone to angry public outbursts.
generous giving (as of money) to others who may seem inferior

Americans pay for the 20 percent of drug industry revenue that is invested in researching new drugs. In exchange for this LARGESS, a disproportionate share of the high-paying research jobs are located in the United States.
cynical; scornfully mocking

The particular flavor of Saunders' fiction combines pathos with a submerged but fiercely SARDONIC humor
(adj.) of a gloomy or surly disposition; cold or sluggish in mood

The death of his adored father sinks the SATURNINE Turner into an even deeper gloom.
to stop someone from being angry

Rather than tolerate or CONCILATE with the dissidents, who represent a large fraction of Hong Kong's youths, the regime is heavy-handedly cracking down on them.
curse; express abhorrence for; detest

Americans EXECRATE "outsourcing," which supposedly involves sending "American jobs" overseas.
(n.) domination over others

Britain's HEGEMONY over its colonies was threatened once nationalist sentiment began to spread around the world.
Stubbornly disobedient, hard to manage

Large multigene families are a defining feature that distinguish the genomes of malaria species but are REFRACTORY to detailed analysis in non-curated draft genome data.
dabbler, amateur, trying everything art superficially

He was attacked as a DILETTANTE, one whose music wavered between bombast and bizarrerie, whose poetic productions mixed platitude and gibberish.
Ordinary, dull, commonplace

While Nan was always engaged in philosophical speculation, her brother was occupied with far more PEDESTRIAN concerns: how to earn a salary and run a household.
to include, incorporate

Across the grand sweep of European history, countries and empires disintegrating into smaller governing units or being violently SUBSUMED into larger empires is the norm.
awkward, lacking in social graces, tactless, clumsy

At first it was considered GAUCHE and naïve to use the Vietnam-era term "quagmire" to describe the United States' situation in the Middle East.
(v.) to seize and hold a position by force or without right

President Xi declared China a champion of free trade, URSURPING the traditional U.S. role as the leading booster of globalization.
(adj.) causing fear because of strangeness; weird, mysterious.

El Mar" is more art film than traditional documentary, with images of gathering storms, migrant detritus, swarms of ants and EERIE fields of razor-sharp cactuses
adjective: being of equal extent or scope or duration

Some argued that both Lincoln's assassination and JFK's assassination are COTERMINOUS in the extent to which they changed the political climate of the times, and ultimately the course of history
(adj) fluent and easy in a way that suggests superficiality or insincerity

The scrupulous avoidance of GLIB conclusions that distinguished her best-known film, "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired," is fully in evidence in her new film.
harmful; poisonous; lethal

China's climate advocacy is primarily rooted in domestic priorities, especially cleaning up its NOXIOUS air pollution.
verb: damage the good name and reputation of someone

After years of assiduously cultivating an image of integrity, the mayor was aware that one could scandal could forever BESMIRCH his reputation.
mournful, grieving in tone

Fans say the ELEGAIC videos, cut with bleak soundscapes and often presented without narration, are poignant meditations on urban evolution and decay.
Cheerfully optimistic

Professional municipal bond investors are generally SANGUINE that while policy changes may cause some near-term volatility, they are not an existential threat.
Not guided by conscience; morally wrong, unjust, unreasonable

Deliberately timing the release of news to favor or to damage the prospects of a candidate by a journalist is UNCONSCIONABLE.
minor violation of a rule or law

Baltimore's agreement calls for additional training for officers and discourages them from arresting people for minor offenses such as traffic INFRACTIONS or loitering.
adj. with effortless ease; without proper care; superficial

In Trump, Navarro found a politician who shared his penchant for FACILE solutions to complicated problems.
Offense or annoyance (usually as take umbrage, meaning become offended or annoyed)

Conservatives who once took UMBRAGE at being called racist or anti-Semitic are now happy to flirt with white nationalism.
(v.) to take up and support; to become attached to, adopt; to marry.

Even in the face of interview subjects ESPOUSING repugnant viewpoints, Bell approaches each conversation with air of openness.
Incapable of being expressed

The languid descending coos in "Dream of the Canyon Wren" — which Mr. Adams has also arranged for string quartet — were rendered with INEFFABLE melancholy.
(n.) - the art of judging human character from facial features.

The senator fancied that he could trace upon the PHYSIOGNOMY of young people certain signs which marked them out as the special favourites of fortune

When sketching, Picasso moved with a CELERITY that made his creations all the more astonishing - he could finish an entire work in a flash.
leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice

Ignoring the crowd's entreaties for CLEMENCY, the judge remained implacable meting out a punishment that was as harsh as it was arbitrary.
to make ineffective or useless, cripple; to have a dulling effect on

Because of poor infrastructure, STULTIFYING labor rules and difficulties acquiring real estate, making anything in India is hard.
frugality, stinginess

Olivier was careful of what he said to the point of parsimony; I spent my words like an oligarch with a terminal disease.

While young elephants are typically given some LATITUDE, mothers will often keep young calves in their line of vision.
(adj.) very careful and exact, attentive to fine points of etiquette or propriety

Facebook has historically been intolerant of those sorts of things, even if it hasn't been especially PUNCTILIOUS about enforcing the rules.
smiling in a silly, self conscious way

Next to the SIMPERING characters who surround him, his aggressive command style is captivating and admirable.
the art or profession of teaching.

Foreign language PEDAGOGY really has come a long way since the days of memorizing dialogues or translating passages into English
excessively unwilling to spend, poor.

After spending decades in PENURIOUS exile, many political figures returned to find themselves at the center of a grab for power and money.
novice; beginner

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no political NEOPHYTE—he represented Alabama in the Senate for twenty years—but the pattern still applies.
Eager to fight

Imperiled by excessive logging activity, the Canadian snow goose is unusually sensitive to any encroachments into its territory, displaying a PUGNACITY rare amongst waterfowl.
Very Cowardly, lacking courage

The Republican-controlled Congress, cynical and CRAVEN in equal measure, shows no inclination to exert any serious check on executive authority.

Some protesters were cut down by gunfire from MUTINOUS soldiers, but by morning it was clear that the coup had failed.
(n.) someone or something that is abandoned or neglected; (adj.) left abandoned; neglectful of duty

The politician was so busy using his office for personal gain that he was DERELICT in his duty to the people who voted for him; he hadn't been present at a vote in months.
elevation to divine status; the perfect example of something

You could make the assertion that Leonardo da Vinci was the APOTHEOSIS of genius and that the Mona Lisa is the APOTHEOSIS of all his paintings.
freely exchangeable or replaceable

Oil is a FUNGIBLE commodity, so China's impact on the overall global energy balance is the factor to watch.
(n.) the center of attraction, attention, or interest; something that serves to guide or direct

Like a bride who attracts the attention of everyone at a wedding as she comes down the aisle, the North Star is the CYNOSURE for travelers lost in the forest without a map.
friendly, open, or talkative; sociable.

EXPANSIVE by nature, Roland could always be found amidst a group of people, laughing and smiling.
showing innocence or childlike simplicity, not devious

Two-years in college in Manhattan had changed Jenna from an INGENUOUS girl from the suburbs to a jaded urbanite, unlikely to fall for any ruse, regardless of how elaborate.
arrogant; haughty; carefree; casual

Whether bottled water is healthier than non-bottled water is moot from an ecological standpoint — the hazard discarded plastic bottles pose to the environment clearly suggests we should be less CAVALIER about our unbridled consumption.
Insincere, not genuine

Anyone who claims global warming is not catastrophic is ill informed - or playing a DISINGENUOUS game of privilege.
changed into bone; made rigidly conventional and unreceptive to change

At one time versatile, responding to the community's needs in very little time, the environmental management bureau has long since become OSSIFIED and largely unresponsive to even its own internal needs.
(adj.) prudent, shrewdly conceived and developed; artful, expedient

Journalists writing under oppressive regimes face a challenging dilemma: uncovering incriminating facts is rarely POLITIC from the standpoint of self-preservation, but ignoring the dictates of conscience compromises the ideals of objective reporting.
the power to see things that cannot be perceived by the senses.

Contrary to her claims of fiscal CLAIRVOYANCE, she had nary an inkling that the market would take such an inauspicious tumble.
(n.) shrewdness, soundness of perspective, wisdom

With remarkable SAGACITY, the wise old man predicted and thwarted his children's plan to ship him off to a nursing home.
unprincipled and crafty.

She was far less concerned with the work at hand than with the opportunity to ascend the proverbial corporate ladder, even if doing so entailed resorting to subterfuge or other such MACHIAVELLIAN schemes.

Nixon was a SHREWD and intelligent man despite his psychological issues, He understood what the presidency is and what it does.
Impossible to stop or prevent

Every bit the INEXORABLE crusader as she was the shrewd organizer, Amelia resorted to militancy to achieve equal rights for women, rallying her "army" despite the constant onslaught of opposition.
BELIEVING in the idea of perfection or a perfect world; Quixotic

Poe, who at the outset believed one only needed time to write a great novel, was constantly assailed by misgivings, and before completing even one chapter, he abandoned what he had come to deem a IDEALISTIC enterprise.
Unnecessary or uncalled for

The audience members' remarks were GRATUITOUS, as they added nothing to the debate and seemed generally uncalled for.
great depth of intellect, feeling, or meaning

Howard, with his signature mixture of PROFUNDITY and common sense manages to link Turner's personal and class history with his experimental artistic form
support; strengthen

The recent discovery of the existence of a far greater number of planets than had previously been thought only indirectly UNDERGIRDS the argument for intelligent lifeforms
(v.) to urge strongly, advise earnestly

Anticipating a dry, hot fall, city officials are EXHORTING citizens to rake up any leaves that may cause fire should sufficient underbrush collect in untended parts of residents' premises.
(adj.) meddling; excessively forward in offering services or assuming authority.

The OFFICIOUS lunch lady made everyone's food choices her business, and made nasty comments when students chose cookies over carrots.
fertile, intellectually productive

Her imagination was FECUND, whether working with burlap or, in later years, stone, tree trunks or bronze.
of or relating to or suggestive of dreams

The gallery space is dedicated to the imagination and creativity, and as a result, it appears ONEIRIC and abstract
denial of comfort to oneself

In an ecstasy of starvation, a gossamer dream of ABNEGATION, she believed she'd rise, not fall.
a direct ancestor

Shelley's novel is recognized today as the PROGENITOR of the modern genres of science fiction and horror.
growth in size or increase in amount

Although it might be said that stalactites grow from the ceilings of caves, they actually form from an ACCRETION of limestone and other minerals.
(n.) weariness of body or mind, lack of energy

The athletes admitted to an uncharacteristic LASSITUDE, the cumulative result of both heavy training and constant travelling.
to impair the quality of, corrupt morally

Machvell's work was keenly alert to local needs and popular sentiments, without VITIATING its formality and monumentality.
bored because of frequent indulgence; unconcerned

Unlike a personal loan, which he tends to repay to prevent fights, he is much more blasé about online loans.
Censor; remove objectionable or offensive parts

The movie's climactic punch line was repeatedly EXPURGATED and reinstated during previews.
calm and unemotional in temperament

It may be their training more than their natural behavior, but those palace guards who wear the red coats and big hats and show absolutely no expression on their faces are PHLEGMATIC.
To be troubled or bothered

Service, while overeager at times, avoids both the harried anxiety of cheaper Indian restaurants and the ceremonious pretension of more expensive ones.
in excellent order

Kelly now sunnily indicates that everything between her and the President-elect is COPACETIC, even as her book tells a dark story of harassment and malfeasance.
(v.) to anticipate and prevent; to remove, dispose of

Technology and globalization have greatly obviated the need for labor rendering many Americans superfluous and relegating them from the middle to the lower class.
acutely perceptive; having keen discernment

Her uniquely fluid style reveals a mind so PERSPICACIOUS, so permissively poetic and utterly radical.
A morally unprincipled person

Jimmy could report these mild-mannered REPROBATES, but instead he takes the money and one massive step to the dark side.
disagreeing or dissenting, especially politically

The DISSIDENT exile poet Joseph Brodsky was especially critical, saying: "He throws stones only in directions that are officially sanctioned and approved."
(adj.) cheerful, lighthearted; casual, unconcerned

The biggest problem of all, though, is the BLITHE assumption that the dollar exchange rate would neatly move to offset the tax/subsidy scheme.
irritable or grouchy.

The recurring guest star was a perfect foil for the sometimes PRICKLY Host, often delivering vague responses with a long-suffering attitude.
exaggeratedly or insincerely polite

His overconfident charm is the greasy, UNCTUOUS kind—to compare him to a snake is an insult to the snake.
(adj.) untidy, dirty, careless

When trussed in a tie, he sees himself as a pitiful Don Draper wannabe, while unsecured collars remind him of SLOVENLY undergrads.
(v.) to renounce, repudiate under oath; to avoid, shun

In a sober ceremony, the Mexica ABJURED their old religion and embraced Christianity.
expressing remorse for one's misdeeds

Like so many pilgrims and PENITENT before him, Seeley traced the route that Jesus walked on the day of his execution.
raging; fanatical

Boston fans pride themselves on RABIDLY supporting one of America's greatest sports cities.
(n.) an opinion different from accepted belief; the denial of an idea that is generally held sacred

They published five dubia - doubts - virtually accused the sitting pope of HERESY: something without precedent in recent Catholic history.
(adj.) appearing as such, seemingly

Jack's OSTENSIBLE reason for driving was that airfare was too expensive, but in reality, he was afraid of flying.
charming in a rustic way; naturally peaceful

We're introduced to these characters as children, in a seemingly IDYLLIC life in the countryside, frolicking in the woods and swimming in the river.
(n.) calmness, composure, refusal to panic

Neither a Luddite nor a techno-utopian, Shafer greeted the disruption wrought by online media with EQUANIMITY born of historical perspective.
Contradict or misrepresent

His supposed aversion to the spotlight would seem to be BELIED by his constant reappearance there.
(n.) a person who leads a life shut up or withdrawn from the world

I became a virtual RECLUSE, and would let only a handful of trusted people into my home.
(v.) to deny, contradict, controvert; to dispute, oppose

AGW doubters point to the occasional anomaly in a particular data set, as if one incongruity GAINSAYS all the other lines of evidence.
Temporary suspension, inactivity

Lord Carlile has said he will report his findings next summer but until then, the reputation of Bishop George Bell will remain in ABEYANCE.
troublesome and oppressive; burdensome

For years, low inflation across most of the advanced world was part of a vicious cycle featuring ONEROUS debt burdens and low growth.
Division into two parts or into two contradictory groups

There is a false DICHOTOMY between free expression and social justice and there is now something of a culture industry built around that conflict.
one who feigns illness to escape duty

MALINGERERS often exaggerate their symptoms and ignore common, subtle signs such as the blunting of a mentally ill patient's emotions.
noun: the quality of talking or writing easily and continuously

During his Ted Talk, Sean Achor told the crowd about how humans think of optimism backwards with great VOLUBILITY
(adj.) casually rude, insolent, impertinent

My request was ultimately granted, accompanied by a stem warning from Colonel Jacobs that serious consequences would result if I returned to my IMPUDENT ways.
the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties.

Jerry the shrink takes a SYNCRETIC approach to psychotherapy: he mixes the Gestalt school with some Jung and a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your view) dose of Freud.
(adj.) extremely nervous and easily frightened; shy or timid; extremely cautious; unstable, undependable

Immigrant groups acknowledged there is some fear among people in the country illegally who are SKITTISH about drawing attention to themselves in visible marches
lacking good taste; improper

Eating with elbows on the table is considered INDECOROUS in refined circles.
to have a limited outlook or understanding

In gambling, the addict is easily BLINKERED by past successes and/or past failures, forgetting that the outcome of any one game is independent of the games that preceded it.
abandonment or rejection of faith or loyalty

An APOSTATE of the Republican Party, Sheldon has yet to become affiliated with any party but dubs himself a "literal independent."
Characterized by filth, grime, or squalor; foul

The nightly news simply announced that the senator had had an affair, but the tabloid published all the SORDID details of the interaction.
complicated situation; an entanglement

The chef cook-off featured one gourmand who had the unfortunate distinction of mixing the wrong broths, creating an IMBROGLIO that viewers will not soon forget.
adjective: describing a victory that comes at such a great cost that the victory is not worthwhile

George W. Bush's win in the 2000 election was in many ways a PYRRHIC victory: the circumstances of his win alienated close to half of America.
(adj) quickly unpredictably changing moods; fickle, flighty

Martha Argerich's MERCURIAL nature is perfectly matched with playing Chopin: she'll toss off, with aplomb, effervescent passages, before moments later plumbing the depths of her soul to give voice to bars of music steeped in the utmost melancholy.
(n.) an object of intense dislike; a curse or strong denunciation (often used adjectivally without the article)

Hundreds of years ago, Galileo was ANATHEMA to the church; today the church is anathema to some on the left side of the political spectrum.
poor; having no money

In extremely trying times, even the moderately wealthy, after a few turns of ill-fortune, can become IMPECUNIOUS.
improvised; done without preparation

The orator's performance was impressive, but only after we learn that his speech was EXTEMPORANEOUS did we realize the true depth of his talent.
(n.) a woefully meager allowance, wage, or portion

Vinny's uncle beamed smugly about how he'd offered his nephew fifty dollars for his Harvard tuition; even twice the amount would have been a mere PITTANCE.
noun: something that has been changed numerous times but on which traces of former iterations can still be seen

The downtown was a PALIMPSEST of the city's checkered past: a new Starbucks had opened up next to an abandoned, shuttered building, and a freshly asphalted road was inches away from a pothole large enough to swallow a house pet.
long, harsh speech or verbal attack

In terms of political change, a TIRADE oftentimes does little more than make the person speaking red in the face.
an abusive, condemnatory speech

Steve's mom launched into a DIATRIBE during the PTA meeting, contending that the school was little more than a daycare in which students stare at the wall and teachers stare at the chalkboard.
(v.) to overwhelm; to flood with abundance

Because I am the star of a new sitcom, my fans are sure to INUNDATE me with fan mail and praise.

Yet another creation in line with the TEDIOUS melodramas the director is so well known for, the latest effort is likely to have a similar effect: a tiny subset of the population will extol the deliberate pacing, while the majority will dismiss the film as soporific drivel.
(v.) to mislead by a trick, deceive

Someone tried to HOODWINK Marty with an email telling him that his uncle had just passed away, and to collect the inheritance he should send his credit card information.
to expose to public derision, ridicule, or abuse

In Argentina, Elliott was PILLORIED in the local press as a "vulture" investor for waging a decade-long battle with the government over its defaulted debt.
(adj.) not capable of being held or defended; impossible to maintain

It is ethically UNTENABLE for intelligent people to look the other way while elected officials deny reality, and our opportunity to avoid catastrophe slips away.
Formal approval

Women finally were granted the right to vote with the RATIFICATION of the 19th amendment in 1920.
highly self-disciplined; frugal; austere

Monk's House is lovely, but smaller, more restrained, almost SPARTAN in comparison to the exuberance of Charleston.
jumping from one thing to another; disconnected

When complaints were filed, investigations were often so DESULTORY that the department "frequently" declined to even interview civilian or officer witnesses.
(n.) a leader who exploits popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power

In both the United States and Europe, politicians DEMAGOGUE about Islam as a mortal threat to Western civilization, with high degrees of success.
flimsy; not solid; weak; insubstantial

The director's rare appearance before the House spending panel underscored the agency's TENUOUS budget situation.
Very brave, fearless, unshakable

She became an INTREPID war correspondent and was among the first photojournalists to document the Allies' entry into Nazi concentration camps.
(n.) a strict disciplinarian; a stickler for the rules

The Patriots' head coach, Bill Belichick, a detail-obsessed MARTINET of Prussian severity would expel players who did not jog the field before training.
indifference to sensation; the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint

The presidential candidate, despite her reputation for STOICISM, couldn't contain her joy.
(adj.) troublesome or irritable; unpredictable

Although the child insisted he wasn't tired, his FRACTIOUS behavior—especially his decision to crush his cheese and crackers all over the floor—convinced everyone present that it was time to put him to bed.