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theoretical; not concrete
think of: absent tracks
picture: A steam train riding on invisible tracks. The tracks are abstract, just an idea.
Other form: Abstraction
Sentence: Advanced algebra is too abstract for most people.


hard to understand
sounds like: Abb's truce
picture: A hillbilly holding a rifle in one hand and a note in the other. The note may be a truce from the family he's been feuding with (the Abbs), but he's not sure because it's hard to understand.
Other forms: Abstrusely (adv); abstruseness (noun)
Sentence: Her abstruse explanation of the accident was bewildering


praise; applaud
Sounds like: a claim
Picture: An insurance company. The newcomer on the staff has just handled her first claim. Her co-workers, a supportive bunch, are all clapping for her and offering their congratulations.
Other forms: Acclaim, acclamation (nouns)
Sentence: Mark Twain was a highly-acclaied author and lecturer.


an award, or praise
sounds like: echo lad
picture: a young boy is standing on the edge of a cliff, facing a vertical wall of rock. He yells wonderful things about himself so that his voice echoes off the wall and comes back to him.
sentence: the film received accolades from both the critics and the general public


reluctantly agreeable; compliant
sounds like: agree yes cent
picture: a penny seated on a bench. The children urge the penny to play with them. He knows they will never give up, so he gives in and quietly and reluctantly gets up to play.
other forms: acquiesce (verb); acquiescence (noun)
sentence: Some employers insist on acquiescence and will fire anyone who rebels.


unclear; vague; having several possible interpretations
sounds like: a big U.S.
picture: Mother and son are standing at the front door. Son is about to leave on a trip.
Mom: So where exactly are you going?
Son: Somewhere
Mom: Somewhere where?
Son: Somewhere in the U.S.
Mom: You're being very vague. It's a big U.S. out there.
other forms: Ambiguity (noun); ambiguously (verb)
sentence: When questioned by police, the suspect gave ambiguous answers.


indecision; feeling of being pulled in two directions
looks like: Val inside ambulance


to make an unpleasant situation better; to improve
sounds like: a meteor ate


sounds like: Emma tea


without form or shape
sounds like: "Yay, more for us!"


person who rejects physical comfort and luxury for self-discipline
sound like: acidic


roughness; harshness; irritability
sounds like: a spirit tea
picture: a group of spirits meeting for their afternoon tea. One of the spirits gets extremely agitated and angry after drinking his tea, and begins yelling at his companions.
other forms: aspersion (noun) --> a defaming remark


attack with words or force
sounds like: a sail
picture: The husband comes home with another new sail for the boat. The wife attacks: "What? You spent more money on that stupid boat? You haven't bought yourself a new shirt in six years, but the sailboat is always right in style! What excuse do you have this time?" Husband: "It was on sale."
other forms: Assailable; assailant


persistent; hard-working; diligent; attentive to detail


boring; trite; insipid
looks like: ban Al


to cheat or deceive, usually through charm; to amuse
sounds like: beg a while
connect with: Guile, which means deceitful shrewdness


to give an impression that is the opposite of the way things really are; to misrepresent
looks like: bee lie


having a strong tendency to argue and fight


to fool with flattery or false promises; coax; deceive
sounds like: cage hole
picture: A large cat sits outside a parakeet's cage. The cage has a small at the top. Inside, a parakeet is perched on a swing. "You have the most beautiful feathers," says the cat. "The colors are magnificent. Why don't you squeeze out through the hole so I can get a better look at you?"
other forms: cajolery; cajolement


honesty; frankness
looks like: can door
picture: A door on stage. The door is trying out for a dance job. The producer, a tin can, is delivering the bad news with as much honesty as possible.
other forms: candid, candidly


large; roomy; spacious
sounds like: car patients
picture: A doctor who uses a car as her office. She explains: "This car has an incredible amount of space inside. The front seat is a waiting area and the back seat has three separate examining rooms."
other forms: capaciousness


surrender; yield
looks like: capital late
picture: The government of a small nation has just been overthrown by a neighboring country. In the capital city of the overthrown nation, the president is speaking with his military commander, who has just arrived with troops. "I'm sorry," he says, "but you got here too late. I was forced to surrender"
other form: capitulation


looks like: cap riches
picture: a man standing in front of slot machine in a casino. He puts a quarter into the slot, pulls the handle, and holds his cap under the chute, waiting hopefully for his riches. He doesn't know if or when it will happen, but he's sure it could happen.
other forms: capriciously, caprice


calmness; equanimity
sounds like: Camp Pozer
picture: A summer camp, called Camp Pozer, where the counselors and campers lie down all day long. Everyone is always calm and relaxed. Awards are given out for the longest naps.
other forms: compose


admit reluctantly; yield


short and to the point; terse


to overlook; excuse, or pardon
looks like: condo one
picture: the owner of a condominium complex is showing her brother around. At condo one, he notices that the tenants have covered the outside of the building with multi-colored aluminum siding, placed a huge neon sign that flashes "We're number 1!" in the living room window, and trimmed the shrubs to look like characters from Gilligan's Island. When he asks why she would condone these changes, she replies "They pay their rent"




feeling hopeless or depressed
sounds like: the spoon dent
picture: A man with a very large collection of antique spoons. He sits holding a dented spoon in one hand, his face buried in the other as he cries to his wife.
other form: despondency


looks like: desk pot
picture: A pot standing on a desk, proclaiming to be in complete power.
other forms: despotism, despotic


poor; lacking possessions
sounds like: dusty tooth
picture: A man so poor that he has only one tooth left. And even that one tooth is dusty, because he doesn't own a toothbrush
other form: destitution


lacking a plan; aimless
other form: desultoriness


high level of skill, especially with the hands; adroitness
sounds like: Decks Terry
picture: A magician named Terry who is so skillful with cards that he's known as "Decks Terry"
other form: dexterous


sounds like: the face, and rhymes with erase
picture: A penny that has been worn from use, so that Lincoln's face has been erased.


the quality of being bubbly or full of life
sounds like: ever pheasants
picture: A large field surrounded by trees. The field is crowded with pheasants who are running around singing, dancing, and blowing enormous bubbles with those gigantic plastic rings and pans of soap suds. Two beavers look on, one saying to the other, "Ah, pheasants, ever pheasants. So bubbly. So full of life...Well, let's get back to work."
other form: Effervescent


extremely happy; overjoyed


powerfully effective speech
sounds like: elephants
picture: The Republican National Convention. Thousands have gathered in the convention hall to hear the guest speaker, an elephant. Everyone is dressed in elephant costumes. Elephant signs and posters are everywhere. "I'm all ears" says one audience member. "Many believe he's the best speaker in the country. And I'm told that once you hear him talk, you never forget it."
other forms: Eloquent; eloquently


heavenly; fine; delicately beautiful
sounds like: eat cereal
picture: A beautiful angel with platinum hair, delicately smooth skin, and a glowing face comes down from the sky to tell everyone how to achieve such a heavenly state "Eat cereal"
other forms: etherealness; ethereally


to praise highly; to extol
Speak fondly about someone at his funeral


a word or phrase that's used to make an unpleasant idea sound better
sounds like: you from prison
picture: A woman asking a man, "You from prison?" The man, in a prison uniform, says he prefers "the big house"
other forms: euphemistic, euphemistically


tending to avoid giving direct answers
looks like: Eva's hive
picture: A bumble bee has flown his date, Eva, home. She lives in a condominium of hives, but doesn't want him to know which one. "So," he says, "which hive do you live in, Eva?" "Oh, one of those over there," she answers evasively. "Well, I better get some rest. Give me a buzz some time."
other forms: evade, evasiveness


to make a bad situation worse


raise in rank; elevate; praise
The popular queen was exalted by all.


to remove offensive words, ideas, or symbols; censor
sounds like: eggs pure gate
picture: Someone has painted obscene graffiti on a gate. The eggs who live next-door are horrified, and immediately repaint the gate to return it to its pure condition.
other form: expurgatory


sounds like: x sponge
picture: A sponge that erases everything it touches


done without planning; improvised


openly and obviously evil; glaring; conspicuous
looks like: flag rent
picture: A man and woman parading on the sidewalk in front of their apartment building. Each carries a flag that says, "We have no complaints about this building or our apartment, but we aren't going to pay our rent and we don't care who knows it."
other forms: flagrantly; flagrancy


sounds like: fresh wings


treating a serious situation with arrogant humor or disrespect
sounds like: flip and see


to stir into action; rouse; incite
sounds like: foam mint
picture: A man who has covered his face with foam mint. He runs through the streets, trying to stir the other men to follow his lead and finally shave off their beards. "It's time to unite," he yells, "and remove the whiskers that keeps us from seeing who we really are!"


the ability to see ahead, anticipate, or predict


a person who consumes huge quantities of food or drink; someone with great endurance
looks like: a combination of "glue" and "button"




sociable; extroverted; enjoying companionship


easily deceived


unoriginal; trite
sounds like: hat kneed
picture: Two women with fancy hats on their knees commenting on a third woman with baseball caps on her knees

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