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abstract (adj)

theoretical; not concrete

abstruse (adj)

hard to understand

accolade (noun)

an award, or praise

acclaim (verb)

praise; applaud

acquiescent (adj)

reluctantly agreeable; compliant

acrimony (noun)

words or behavior filled with harshness or anger

adamant (adj)

refusing to change; stubborn, unyielding

adriot (adj)

skillful in physical activity, or in handling difficult situations

advocate (verb)

support; plead for; speak in behalf of

affable (adj)

friendly; easygoing

affirmation (noun)

positive statement; assertion; agreement

alienate (verb)

to push someone away, or cause him to separate from people

aloof (adj)

detached; apart; indifferent

altruistic (adj)

unselfish; caring

ambidextrious (adj)

able to use both hands with equal skill

ambiguous (adj)

unclear; vague; having several possible interpretations

ambivalence (noun)

indecision; feeling of being pulled in two directions

ameliorate (verb)

to make an unpleasant situation better; to improve

amity (noun)


amorphous (adj)

without form or shape

arcane (adj)

secret; mysterious

archaic (adj)

old; antiquated

arrogant (adj)

acting superior, obnoxious, smug, or rude

articulate (adj)

able to speak clearly and effectively

ascendance (noun)

domination; controlling power

ascetic (noun)

a person who rejects physical comfort and luxury for self-discipline

asperity (adj)

roughness; harshness; irritability

assail (verb)

attack with words or force

assiduous (adj)

persistent; hard-working; dilligent; attentive to detail

assuage (verb)

relieve; ease; pacify

astute (adj)

wise; insightfully clever; shrewd

atrophy (verb)

waste away; wither

audacious (adj)

brazen; brash; nervy

augment (verb)

make larger; increase

auspicious (adj)

taking place under promising conditions; likely to succeed

austere (adj)

stern; plain; without luxuries

averse (adj)

feeling repelled; wanting to avoid

avarice (noun)


baleful (adj)

harmful; menacing

banal (adj)

boring; trite; insipid

belie (verb)

to give an impression that is the opposite of the way things really are; to misrepresent

beguile (verb)

to cheat or deceive, usually through charm; to amuse

belligerent (adj)

having a strong tendency to argue and fight

benediction (noun)

good wishes; a blessing

benevolent (adj)

kindhearted; good-natured; generous

benign (adj)

gentle; kind-hearted; mild

bequeath (verb)

to leave behind or hand down through a will; transmit

blight (noun)

decay; disease; widespread death

bolster (verb)

to support; to reinforce

bombast (noun)

speech or writing intended to impress the audience; pompous

brevity (noun)

briefness; conciseness

bumptious (adj)

pushy; obnoxiously self-assertive

cacophony (noun)

harshness of sound; opposite of harmony

cajole (verb)

to fool with flattery or false promises; coax; deceive

candor (noun)

honesty; frankness

capacious (adj)

large; roomy; spacious

capitulate (verb)

surrender; yield

capricious (adj)


castigate (verb)

scold; punish

caustic (adj)

burning, either with chemicals or sarcasm

celerity (noun)


censure (verb)

to criticize

chasten (verb)

punish; discipline; castigate

chastise (verb)

scold; punish; castigate

choler (noun)


circumscribe (verb)

draw a line around; define limits; confine; restrict

circumspect (adj)


clemency (noun)


coalesce (verb)

unite; grow together

coerce (verb)

to force someone by threatening or physically overpowering him

cloister (noun)

secluded or isolated from the outside world; also, a place of seclusion

complacent (adj)

self-satisfied; unconcerned

compliant (adj)

following someone else's demands; conforming; obeying

composure (noun)

calmness; equanimity

concede (verb)

admit reluctantly; yield

concise (adj)

short and to the point; terse

concur (verb)


condone (verb)

to overlook, excuse, or pardon

confound (verb)

to mix up (in your own mind); or, to confuse someone else

consonance (noun)

a blending of sounds or opinions; harmony; agreement

consummate (verb)

to complete or make whole

contend (verb)

to argue a point or position; or, to struggle for

contingent (adj)

dependent upon other circumstances; conditional

contract (verb)

squeeze together; shrink

contrite (adj)

sorry; penitent

conundrum (noun)

riddle; mystery

converge (verb)

move together to meet at a common point

conviction (noun)

an opinion that is strongly held

convivial (adj)

fond of parties; sociable

copious (adj)

in large quantity; abundant

cordial (adj)

friendly; welcoming; gracious

corporeal (adj)

having to do with the body or the physical world

corroborate (verb)

support with evidence; tell the same story; confirm

criteria (noun)

requirements or standards used to make a decision

cryptic (adj)

hidden; secret; mysterious

culpable (adj)

guilty; blameworthy

cupidity (noun)

greed, especially for money

cursory (adj)

quickly and incompletely done; superficial

daunted (adj)

dismayed; disheartened; discouraged (made less courageous)

decadence (noun)

moral decay or decline

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