3,689 terms

Barron's GRE with sentences - Complete Wordlist

A complete list of Barron's GRE Wordlist, with meanings and sentences. The series has the entire wordlist split by alphabets, and also a mega complete wordlist, of all 3689 words. This is the Complete Wordlist.
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abase
lower; degrade; humiliate
Anna expected to have to curtsy to the King of Siam; when told to cast herself down on the ground before
him, however she refused to abase herself.
abash
embarrass
He was not at all abashed by her open admiration.
abate
subside or moderate
Rather than leaving immediately, they waited for the storm to abate.
abbreviate
shorten
Because we were running out of time, the lecturer had to abbreviate her speech.
abdicate
renounce; give up
When Edward VII abdicated the British throne, he surprised the entire world.
aberrant
abnormal or deviant
Given the aberrant nature of the data, we came to doubt the validity of the entire experiment.
abet
assist, usually in doing something wrong
She was unwilling to abet him in the swindle he had planned.
abeyance
suspended action
The deal was held in abeyance until her arrival.
abject
wretched; lacking pride
On the streets of New York the homeless live in abject poverty, huddling in doorways to find shelter from
the wind.
abjure
renounce upon oath
He abjured his allegiance to the king.
ablution
washing
His daily ablutions were accompanied by loud noises that he humorously labeled "Opera in the Bath."
abnegation
renunciation; self-sacrifice
Though Rudolph and Duchess Flavia loved one another, their love was doomed, for she had to wed the
king; their act of abnegation was necessary to preserve the kingdom.
abominate
loathe; hate
Moses scolded the idol worshippers in the tribe because he abominated the custom.
abortive
unsuccessful; fruitless
We had to abandon our abortive attempts.
abrasive
rubbing away; tending to grind down
Just as abrasive cleaning powders can wear away a shiny finish, abrasive remarks can wear away a listener's
patience.
abrogate
abolish
He intended to abrogate the decree issued by his predecessor.
abscond
depart secretly and hide
The teller absconded with the bonds and was not found.
absolute
complete; totally unlimited; certain
Although the King of Siam was an absolute monarch, he did not want to behead his unfaithful wife
without absolute evidence of her infidelity.
absolve
pardon (an offense)
The father confessor absolved him of his sins.
abstain
refrain; withhold from participation
After considering the effect of alcohol on his athletic performance, he decided to abstain from drinking
while he trained for the race.
abstract
theoretical; not concrete; non-representational
To him, hunger was an abstract concept; he had never missed a meal.
abusive
coarsely insulting; physically harmful
An abusive parent damages a child both mentally and physically.
abut
border upon; adjoin
Where our estates abut, we must build a fence.
abysmal
bottomless
His arrogance is exceeded only by his abysmal ignorance.
accede
agree
If I accede to this demand for blackmail, I am afraid that I will be the victim of future demands.
accelerate
move faster
In our science class, we learn how falling bodies accelerate.
accessible
easy to approach; obtainable
We asked our guide whether the ruins were accessible on foot.
accessory
additional object; useful but not essential thing
She bought an attractive handbag as an accessory for her dress.
acclimate
adjust to climate or environment
One of the difficulties of our present air age is the need of travellers to acclimate themselves to their new
and often strange environments.
acclivity
sharp upslope of a hill
The car could not go up the acclivity in high gear.
accolade
award of merit
In Hollywood, an "Oscar" is the highest accolade.
accord
agreement
She was in complete accord with the verdict.
accost
approach and speak first to a person
When the two young men accosted me, I was frightened because I thought they were going to attack me.
accoutre
equip
The fisherman was accoutred with the best that the sporting goods store could supply
accretion
growth; increase
The accretion of wealth marked the family's rise in power.
accrue
come about by addition
You must pay the interest that has accrued on your debt as well as the principal sum.
acidulous
slightly sour; sharp; caustic
James was unpopular because of his sarcastic and acidulous remarks.
acme
peak; pinnacle; highest point
Welles's success in Citizen Kane marked the acme of his career as an actor; never again did he achieve such
popular acclaim.
acquiesce
assent; agree passively
Although she appeared to acquiesce to her employer's suggestions, I could tell she had reservations about
the changes he wanted made.
acquittal
deliverance from a charge
His acquittal by the jury surprised those who had thought him guilty.
acrid
sharp; bitterly pungent The acrid odor of burnt gunpowder filled the room after the pistol had been fired.
acrimonious
stinging, caustic
His tendency to utter acrimonious remarks alienated his audience.
actuarial
calculating; pertaining to insurance statistics
According to recent actuarial tables, life expectancy is greater today than it was a century ago.
actuate
motivate
I fail to understand what actuated you to reply to this letter so nastily.
acuity
sharpness
In time his youthful acuity of vision failed him, and he needed glasses.
acumen
mental keenness
His business acumen helped him to succeed where others had failed.
adage
wise saying; proverb
There is much truth in the old adage about fools and their money.
adamant
hard, inflexible
He was adamant in his determination to punish the wrongdoer.
addendum
addition; appendix to book
Jane's editor approved her new comparative literature text but thought it would be even better with an
addendum on recent developments in literary criticism.
addle
muddle; drive crazy
This idiotic plan is confusing enough to addle anyone.
adherent
supporter; follower
In the wake of the scandal, the senator's one-time adherent quietly deserted him.
adjunct
something attached to but holding an inferior position
I will entertain this concept as an adjunct to the main proposal.
adjuration
solemn urging
Her adjuration to tell the truth did not change the witnesses' testimony.
adjutant
staff officer assisting the commander; assistant
Though Wellington delegated many tasks to his chief adjutant, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Somerset was in no
doubt as to who made all major decisions.
admonish
warn; reprove
He admonished his listeners to change their wicked ways.
adorn
decorate
Wall paintings and carved statues adorned the temple.
adroit
skillful
His adroit handling of the delicate situation pleased his employers.
adulation
flattery; admiration
The rock star thrived on the adulation of his groupies and yes-men.
adulterate
make impure by mixing with baser substances It is a crime to adulterate foods without informing the buyer.
adventitious
accidental; casual
He found this adventitious meeting with his friend extremely fortunate.
advent
arrival
Most Americans were unaware of the advent of the Nuclear Age until the news of Hiroshima reached
them.
adversary
opponent; enemy
Batman struggled to save Gotham City from the machinations of his wicked adversary, the Joker.
adverse
unfavorable; hostile
adverse circumstances compelled him to close his business.
adversity
poverty, misfortune
We must learn to meet adversity gracefully.
advert
refer to
Since you advert to this matter so frequently, you must regard it as important.
advocate
urge; plead for
The abolitionists advocated freedom for the slaves.
aegis
shield; defense
Under the aegis of the Bill of Rights, we enjoy our most treasured freedoms.
affable
courteous
Although he held a position of responsibility, he was an affable individual and could be reached by anyone
with a complaint.
affected
artificial; pretended
His affected mannerisms irritated may of us who had known him before his promotion.
affidavit
written statement made under oath
The court refused to accept his statement unless he presented it in the form of an affidavit.
affiliation
joining; associating with
His affiliation with the political party was of short duration for he soon disagreed with his colleagues.
affinity
kinship
She felt an affinity with all who suffered; their pains were her pains.
affirmation
positive assertion; confirmation; solemn pledge by one who refuses to take an oath
Despite Tom's affirmation of innocence, Aunt Polly still suspected he had eaten the pie.
affix
attach or add on; fasten
First the registrar had to affix his signature to the license; then he had to affix his official seal.
affluence
abundance; wealth
Foreigners are amazed by the affluence and luxury of the American way of life.
affront
insult; offend
Accustomed to being treated with respect, Miss Challoner was affronted by Vidal's offensive behavior.
agape
openmouthed
She stared, agape, at the many strange animals in the zoo.
agenda
items of business at a meeting
We had so much difficulty agreeing upon an agenda that there was very little time for the meeting.
agglomeration
collection; heap
It took weeks to assort the agglomeration of miscellaneous items she had collected on her trip.
aggrandize
increase or intensify; raise in power, wealth, rank or honor
The history of the past quarter century illustrates how a President may aggrandize his power to act
aggressively in international affairs without considering the wishes of Congress.
aggregate
sum; total
The aggregate wealth of this country is staggering to the imagination.
aghast
horrified
He was aghast at the nerve of the speaker who had insulted his host.
agility
nimbleness
The agility of the acrobat amazed and thrilled the audience.
agitate
stir up; disturb
Her fiery remarks agitated the already angry mob.
agnostic
one who is skeptical of the existence of knowability of a god or any ultimate reality
The agnostic demanded proof before she would accept the statement of the minister.
agog
highly excited; intensely curious
We were all agog at the news that the celebrated movie star was giving up his career in order to enter a
monastery.
agrarian
pertaining to land or its cultivation
As a result of its recent industrialization, the country is gradually losing its agrarian traditions.
alacrity
cheerful promptness
He demonstrated his eagerness to serve by his alacrity in executing the orders of his master.
alchemy
medieval chemistry
The changing of baser metals into gold was the goal of the students of alchemy.
alcove
nook; recess
Though their apartment lacked a full-scale dining room, an alcove adjacent to the living room made an
adequate breakfast nook for the young couple.
alias
an assumed name
John Smith's alias was Bob Jones.
alienate
make hostile; separate
Her attempts to alienate the two friends failed because they had complete faith in each other.
alimentary
supplying nourishment
The alimentary canal in our bodies is so named because digestion of foods occurs there.
alimony
payments make to an ex-spouse after divorce
Because Tony had supported Tina through medical school, on their divorce he asked the court to award
him a month in alimony.
allay
calm; pacify
The crew tried to allay the fears of the passengers by announcing that the fire had been controlled.
allege
state without proof
It is alleged that she had worked for the enemy.
allegory
story in which characters are used as symbols; fable
Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the temptations and victories of the human soul.
alleviate
relieve
This should alleviate the pain; if it does not, we shall have to use stronger drugs.
alliteration
repetition of beginning sound in poetry
"The furrow followed free" is an example of alliteration.
alloy
mixture as of metals
alloy of gold are used more frequently than the pure metal.
allude
refer indirectly
Try not to allude to this matter in his presence because the topic annoys him.
allure
entice; attract
allured by the song of the sirens, the helmsman steered the ship toward the reef.
allusion
indirect reference
the allusions to mythological characters in Milton's poems bewilder the reader who has not studied Latin.
alluvial
pertaining to soil deposits left by running water
The farmers found the alluvial deposits at the mouth of the river very fertile.
aloft
upward
The sailor climbed aloft into the rigging.
aloof
apart; reserved
Shy by nature, she remained aloof while all the rest conversed.
altercation
noisy quarrel
Throughout the altercation, not one sensible word was uttered.
altruistic
unselfishly generous; concerned for others
In providing tutorial assistance and college scholarships to hundreds of economically disadvantaged
youths, Eugene Lang performed a truly altruistic deed.
amalgamate
combine; unite in one body
The unions will attempt to amalgamate their groups into one national body.
amass
collect
The miser's aim is to amass and hoard as much gold as possible.
amazon
female warrior
Ever since the days of Greek mythology we refer to strong and aggressive women as amazons.
ambidextrous
capable of using either hand with equal ease
A switch-hitter in baseball should be naturally ambidextrous.
ambience
environment; atmosphere
She went to the restaurant not for the food but for the ambience.
ambiguous
unclear or doubtful in meaning
His ambiguous instructions misled us; we did not know which road to take.
ambivalence
the state of having contradictory or conflicting emotional attitudes
Torn between loving her parents one minute and hating them the next, she was confused by the
ambivalence of her feelings.
amble
moving at an easy pace
When she first mounted the horse, she was afraid to urge the animal to go faster than a gentle amble.
ambrosia
food of the gods
ambrosia was supposed to give immortality to any human who ate it.
ambulatory
able to walk
He was described as an ambulatory patient because he was not confined to his bed.
ameliorate
improve
Many social workers have attempted to ameliorate the conditions of people living in the slums.
amenable
readily managed; willing to be led
He was amenable to any suggestions that came from those he looked up to; he resented advice from his
inferiors.
amend
correct; change, generally for the better
Hoping to amend his condition, he left Vietnam for the United States.
amenities
convenient features; courtesies In addition to the customary amenities for the business traveler -- fax machines, modems, a health club --
the hotel offers the services of a butler versed in social amenities.
amiable
agreeable; lovable
His amiable disposition pleased all who had dealings with him.
amicable
friendly
The dispute was settled in an amicable manner with no harsh words.
amiss
wrong; faulty
Seeing her frown, he wondered if anything were amiss.
amity
friendship
Student exchange programs such as the Experiment in International Living were established to promote
international amity.
amnesia
loss of memory
Because she was suffering from amnesia, the police could not get the young girl to identify herself.
amnesty
pardon
When his first child was born, the king granted amnesty to all in prison.
amok
in a state of rage The police had to be called in to restrain him after he ran amok in the department store.
amoral
non-moral
The amoral individual lacks a code of ethics; he should not be classified as immoral.
amorous
moved by sexual love; loving
Don Juan was known for his amorous adventures.
amorphous
shapeless; vague; indeterminate
John was subject to panic attacks that left him prey to vague, amorphous fears: he knew he was terrified,
but could neither define nor explain the cause of his terror.
amphibian
able to live both on land and in water
Frogs are classified as amphibian.
amphitheater
oval building with tiers of seats
The spectators in the amphitheater cheered the gladiators.
ample
abundant
He had ample opportunity to dispose of his loot before his police caught up with him.
amplify
enlarge
Her attempts to amplify her remarks were drowned out by the jeers of the audience.
amputate
cut off part of body; prune
When the doctors had to amputate Ted Kennedy's leg to prevent the spread of cancer, he did not let the
loss of his leg keep him from participating in sports.
amulet
charm; talisman
Around her neck she wore the amulet that the witch doctor had given her.
anachronism
something or someone misplaced in time
Shakespeare's reference to clocks in Julius Caesar is an anachronism; no clocks existed in Caesar's time.
analgesic
causing insensitivity to pain
The analgesic qualities of his lotion will provide temporary relief.
analogous
comparable
She called our attention to the things that had been done in an analogous situation and recommended that
we do the same.
analogy
similarity; parallelism
Your analogy is not a good one because the two situations are not similar.
anarchist
person who rebels against the established order
Only the total overthrow of all governmental regulations would satisfy the anarchist.
anarchy
absence of governing body; state of disorder
The assassination of the leaders led to a period of anarchy.
anathematize
curse
The high priest anathematized the heretic.
anathema
solemn curse; someone or something that is despised
He heaped anathema upon his foe.
anchor
secure or fasten firmly; be fixed in place
We set the post in concrete to anchor it in place.
ancillary
serving as an aid or accessory; auxiliary
In an ancillary capacity Doctor Watson was helpful; however, Holmes could not trust the good doctor to
solve a perplexing case on his own.
anecdote
short account of an amusing or interesting event
Rather than make concrete proposals for welfare reform, President Raegan told anecdotes about poor
people who became wealthy despite their impoverished backgrounds.
anemia
condition in which blood lacks red corpuscles
The doctor ascribes her tiredness to anemia.
anesthetic
substance that removes sensation with or without loss of consciousness
His monotonous voice acted like an anesthetic; his audience was soon asleep.
anguish
acute pain; extreme suffering
Visiting the site of explosion, Premier Gorbachev wept to see the anguish of the victims and their families.
angular
sharp-cornered; stiff in manner
His features, though angular, were curiously attractive.
animadversion
critical remark
He resented the animadversions of his critics, particularly because he realized they were true.
animated
lively
Her animated expression indicated a keenness of intellect.
animosity
active enmity
He incurred the animosity of the ruling class because he advocated limitations of their power.
animus
hostile feeling or intent
The animus of the speaker became obvious to all when he began to indulge in sarcastic and insulting
remarks.
annals
records; history
In the annals of this period, we find no mention of democratic movements.
anneal
reduce brittleness and improve toughness by heating and cooling
After the glass is annealed, it will be less subject to chipping and cracking.
annihilate
destroy
The enemy in its revenge tried to annihilate the entire population.
annotate
comment; make explanatory notes
In the appendix to the novel, the critic sought to annotate many of the more esoteric references.
annuity
yearly allowance
The annuity he set up with the insurance company supplements his social security benefits so that he can
live very comfortably without working.
annul
make void
The parents of the eloped couple tried to annul the marriage.
anodyne
drug that relieves pain; opiate
His pain was so great that no anodyne could relieve it.
anoint
consecrate
The prophet Samuel anointed David with oil, crowning him king of Israel.
anomalous
abnormal; irregular
He was placed in the anomalous position of seeming to approve procedures that he despised.
anomaly
irregularity
A bird that cannot fly is an anomaly.
anonymity
state of being nameless; anonymousness The donor of the gift asked the college not to mention him by name; the dean readily agreed to respect his
anonymity.
antagonistic
hostile; opposed
Despite his lawyers' best efforts to stop him, the angry prisoner continued to make antagonistic remarks to
the judge.
antecedents
preceding events or circumstances that influence what comes later; early life; ancestors
Before giving permission for Drummie to marry Estella, Miss Havisham had a few questions about the
young man's birth and antecedents.
antecede
precede
The invention of the radiotelegraph anteceded the development of television by a quarter of a century.
antediluvian
antiquated; ancient
The antediluvian customs had apparently not changed for thousands of years.
anthropoid
manlike
The gorilla is the strongest of the anthropoid animals.
anthropologist
student of the history and science of humankind
Anthropologists have discovered several relics of prehistoric humans in this area.
anthropomorphic
having human form or characteristics
Primitive religions often have deities with anthropomorphic characteristics.
anticlimax
letdown in thought or emotion
After the fine performance in the first act, the rest of the play was an anticlimax.
antipathy
aversion; dislike
His extreme antipathy to dispute caused him to avoid argumentative discussions with his friends.
antiquated
obsolete; outdated
Accustomed to editing his papers on word processors, Philip thought typewriters were too antiquated for
him to use.
antiseptic
substance that prevents infection
It is advisable to apply an antiseptic to any wound, no matter how slight or insignificant.
antithesis
contrast; direct opposite of or to
This tyranny was the antithesis of all that he had hoped for, and he fought it with all his strength.
anvil
iron block used in hammering out metals
After heating the iron horseshoe in the forge, the blacksmith picked it up with his tongs and set it on the
anvil.
apathetic
indifferent
He felt apathetic about the conditions he had observed and did not care to fight against them.
apathy
lack of caring; indifference
A firm believer in democratic government, she could not understand the apathy of people who never
bothered to vote.
aperture
opening; hole
She discovered a small aperture in the wall, through which the insects had entered the room.
apex
tip; summit; climax
He was at the apex of his career.
ape
imitate or mimic
He was suspended for a week because he had aped the principal in front of the whole school.
aphasia
loss of speech due to injury or illness
After the automobile accident, the victim had periods of aphasia when he could not speak at all or could
only mumble incoherently.
aphorism
pithy maxim
An aphorism differs from an adage in that it is more philosophical or scientific.
apiary
a place where bees are kept
Although he spent many hours daily in the apiary, he was very seldom stung by a bee.
aplomb
poise; composure
Wellington's nonchalance and aplomb in the heat of battle always heartened his followers.
apocalyptic
prophetic; pertaining to revelations; especially of disaster
His apocalyptic remarks were dismissed by his audience as wild surmises.
apocryphal
untrue; made up
To impress his friends, Tom invented apocryphal tales of his adventures in the big city.
apogee
highest point
When the moon in its orbit is furthest away from the earth, it is at its apogee.
apoplexy
stroke; loss of consciousness followed by paralysis
He was crippled by an attack of apoplexy.
apostate
one who abandons his religious faith or political beliefs
Because he switched from one party to another, his former friends shunned him as an apostate.
apothecary
druggist
In Holland, apothecaries still sell spices as well as ointments and pills.
apothegm
pithy, compact saying
Proverbs are apothegms that have become familiar sayings.
apotheosis
deification; glorification
The Roman empress Livia envied the late emperor his apotheosis; she hoped that on her death she, too, would be exalted to the rank of a god.
appal
dismay; shock
We were appalled by the horrifying conditions in the city's jails.
apparition
ghost; phantom
Hamlet was uncertain about the identity of the apparition that had appeared and spoken to him.
appease
pacify; soothe
We have discovered that, when we try to appease our enemies, we encourage them to make additional
demands.
appellation
name; title
He was amazed when the witches hailed him with his correct appellation.
append
attach
I shall append this chart to my report.
application
diligent attention; (secondary meaning) apply
Pleased with how well Tom had whitewashed the fence, Aunt Polly praised him for his application.
apposite
appropriate; fitting
He was always able to find the apposite phrase, the correct expression for every occasion.
appraise
estimate the value of
It is difficult to appraise old paintings; it is easier to call them priceless.
appreciate
be thankful for; increase in worth; be thoroughly conscious of
Little Orphan Annie truly appreciated the stocks Daddy Warbucks ave her, whose value appreciated
considerably over the years.
apprehend
arrest ( a criminal); dread; perceive
The police will apprehend the culprit and convict him before long.
apprehensive
fearful; discerning
His apprehensive glances at the people who were walking in the street revealed his nervousness.
apprise
inform
When he was apprised of the dangerous weather conditions, he decided to postpone his trip.
approbation
approval
Wanting her parents' regard, she looked for some sign of their approbation.
appropriate
acquire; take possession of for one's own use
The ranch owners appropriated the lands that had originally been set aside for the Indians' use.
appurtenances
subordinate possessions
He bought the estate and all its appurtenances.
apropos
with reference to; regarding
I find your remarks apropos of the present situation timely and pertinent.
aptitude
fitness; talent
The counselor evaluated his aptitudes before advising him about the career he should follow.
aquiline
curved, hooked
He can be recognized by his aquiline nose, curved like the beak of the eagle.
arable
fit for plowing
The land was no longer arable; erosion had removed the valuable topsoil.
arbiter
person with power to decide a matter in a dispute; judge
As an arbiter in labor disputes, she has won the confidence of the workers and the employers.
arbitrary
unreasonable or capricious; tyrannical
The coach claimed the team lost because the umpire made some arbitrary calls.
arbitrate
act as judge
She was called upon to arbitrate the dispute between the union and the management.
arboretum
place where different varieties of trees and shrubs are studied and exhibited
Walking along the treelined paths of the arboretum, Rita noted poplars, firs, and some particularly fine
sycamores.
arcade
a covered passageway, usually lined with shops
The arcade was popular with shoppers because it gave them protection from the summer sun and the
winter rain.
arcane
secret; mysterious
What was arcane to us was clear to the psychologist.
archaeology
study of artifacts and relics of early mankind
The professor of archaeology headed an expedition to the Gobi Desert in search of ancient ruins.
archaic
antiquated
"Methinks," "thee," and "thou" are archaic words that are no longer part of our normal vocabulary.
archetype
prototype; primitive pattern
The Brooklyn Bridge was the archetype of the many spans that now connect Manhattan with Long Island
and New Jersey.
archipelago
group of closely located islands
When he looked at the map and saw the archipelagoes in the South Seas, he longed to visit them.
archives
public records; place where public records are kept
These documents should be part of the archives so that historians may be able to evaluate them in the
future.
ardor
heat; passion; zeal
Katya's ardor was contagious; soon all her fellow demonstrators were busily making posters and handing
out flyers, inspired by her ardent enthusiasm for the cause.
arduous
hard; strenuous
Her arduous efforts had sapped her energy.
argot
slang
In the argot of the underworld, she "was taken for a ride."
aria
operatic solo
At her Metropolitan Opera audition, Marian Anderson sang an aria from Norma.
arid
dry; barren
The cactus had adapted to survive in an arid environment.
aristocracy
hereditary nobility; privileged class
Americans have mixed feelings about hereditary aristocracy:
armada
fleet of warships
Queen Elizabeth's navy was able to defeat the mighty armada that threatened the English coast.
aromatic
fragrant
Medieval sailing vessels brought aromatic herbs from China to Europe.
arraign
charge in court; indict
After his indictment by the Grand Jury, the accused man was arraigned in the County Criminal Court.
array
clothe; adorn
She liked to watch her motherarray herself in her finest clothes before going out for the evening.
array
marshal; draw up in order
His actions were bound to array public sentiment against him.
arrears
being in debt
He was in arrears with his payments on the car.
arrogance
pride, haughtiness
The arrogance of the nobility was resented by the middle class.
arroyo
gully
Until the heavy rains of the past spring, this arroyo had been a dry bed.
articulate
effective; distinct
Her articulate presentation of the advertising campaign impressed her employers.
artifacts
products of primitive culture
Archaeologists debated the significance of the artifacts discovered in the ruins of Asia Minor and came to
no conclusion.
artifice
deception; trickery
The Trojan War proved to the Greeks that cunning and artifice were often more effective than military
might.
artisan
a manually skilled worker
Artists and artisans alike are necessary to the development of a culture.
artless
without guile; open and honest
Red Riding Hood's artless comment, "Grandma, what big eyes you have!" indicates the child's innocent
surprises at her "grandmother's" changed appearance.
ascendancy
controlling influence
President Marcos failed to maintain his ascendency over Philippines.
asceptic
preventing infection; having a cleansing effect
Hospitals succeeded in lowering the mortality rate as soon as they introduced asceptic conditions.
asceticism
doctrine of self-denial
We find asceticism practiced in many monastries.
ascetic
practicing self-denial; austere
The wealthy young man could not understand the ascetic life led by the monks.
ascribe
refer; attribute; assign
I can ascribe no motive for her acts.
ashen
ash-colored; deadly pale
Her face was ashen with fear.
asinine
stupid
Your asinine remarks prove that you have not given this problem any serious consideration.
askance
with a sideways or indirect look
Looking askance at her questioner, she displayed her scorn.
askew
crookedly; slanted; at an angle
When he placed his hat askew upon his head, his observers laughed.
asperity
sharpness (of temper)
These remarks, spoken with asperity, stung the boys to whom they had been directed.
aspersion
slanderous remark
Do not cast aspersions on her character.
aspirant
seeker after position or status
Although I am as aspirant for public office, I am not willing to accept the dictates of the party bosses.
aspiration
noble ambition Youth's aspirations should be as lofty as the stars.
assail
assault
He was assailed with questions after his lecture.
assay
analyze; evaluate
When they assayed the ore, they found that they had discovered a very rich vein.
assent
agree; accept
It gives me great pleasure to assent to your request.
assert
state strongly or positively; insist on or demand recognition of (rights, claims, etc).
When Jill asserted that nobody else in the junior class had such an early curfew, her parents Asserted
themselves, telling her that if she didn't get home by nine o'clock she would be grounded for the week.
assessment
estimation; appraisal
I would like to have your assessment of the situation in South Africa.
assiduous
diligent
It took Rembrandt weeks of assiduous labor before he was satisfied with his portrait of his son.
assimilate
absorb; cause to become homogenous
The manner in which the United States was able to assimilate the hordes of immigrants during the
nineteenth and early part of the twentieth centuries will always be a source of pride.
assuage
ease; lessen(pain)
Your messages of cheer should assuage her suffering.
assumption
something taken for granted; the taking over or taking possession of
The young princess made the foolish assumption that the regent would not object to her Assumption of
power.
assurance
promise or pledge; certainty; self-confidence
When Gutherie gave Guiness his assurance that rehearsals were going well, he spoke with such assurance
that Guiness was convinced.
asteroid
small planet
asteroids have become commonplace to the readers of interstellar travel stories in science fiction
magazines.
astigmatism
eye defect that prevents proper focus
As soon as his parents discovered that the boy suffered from astigmatism, they took him to the
optometrist for corrective glasses.
astral
relating to the stars
She was amazed at the number of astral bodies the new telescope revealed.
astringent
binding; causing contraction; harsh or severe
The astringent quality of unsweetened lemon juice made swallowing difficult.
astronomical
enormously large or extensive
The government seemed willing to spend astronomical sums on weapons development.
astute
wise; shrewd
That was a very astute observation.
asunder
into parts; apart
Their points of view are poles asunder.
asylum
place of refuge or shelter; protection
The refugees sought asylum from religious persecution in a new land.
asymmetric
not identical on both sides of a dividing central line
Because one eyebrow was set markedly higher than the other, William's face had a particularly asymmetric
appearance.
atavism
resemblance to remote ancestors rather than to parents; reversion to an earlier type;
throwback
Martin seemed an atavism to his Tuscan ancestors who lavished great care on their small plots of soil.
atheistic
denying the existence of God
His atheistic remarks shocked the religious worshippers.
atone
make amends for; pay for
He knew no way in which he could atone for his brutal crime.
atrocity
brutal deed
In time of war, many atrocities are committed by invading armies.
atrophy
wasting away
Polio victims need physiotherapy to prevent the atrophy of affected limbs.
attenuate
make thin; weaken
By withdrawing their forces, the generals hoped to attenuate the enemy lines.
attest
testify; bear witness
Having served as a member of a grand jury, I can attest that our system of indicting individuals is in need
of improvement.
attribute
ascribe; explain
I attribute her success in science to the encouragement she received from her parents.
attribute
essential quality
His outstanding attribute was his kindness.
attrition
gradual wearing down
They decided to wage a war of attrition rather than to rely on all-out attack.
audacious
daring; bold
Audiences cheered as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia made their audacious, death-defying leap to
freedom and escaped Darth Vader's troops.
audit
examination of accounts
When the bank examiners arrived to hold their annual audit, they discovered the embezzlements of the
chief cashier.
augment
increase
How can we hope to augment our forces when our allies are deserting us?
augury
omen; prophecy
He interpreted the departures of the birds as an augury of evil.
august
impressive; majestic
Visiting the palace at Versailes, she was impressed by the august surroundings in which she found herself.
aureole
sun's corona; halo
Many medieval paintings depict saintly characters with aureols around their heads.
auroral
pertaining to the aurora borealis
The auroral display was particularly spectacular that evening.
auspicious
favoring success
With favorable weather conditions, it was an auspicious moment to set sail.
austere
strict, stern
His austere demeanor prevented us from engaging in our usual frivolous activities.
austerity
sternness; severity; lack of luxuries
The austerity and dignity of the court were maintained by the new justices, who were a strict and solemn
group.
authenticate
prove genuine
An expert was needed to authenticate the original Van Gogh painting, distinguishing it from its imitation.
authoritarian
favoring or exercising total control; non-democratic
The people had no control over their destiny; they were forced to obey the dictates of the authoritarian
regime.
authoritative
having the weight of authority; dictatorial
We accepted her analysis of the situation as authoritative.
autocrat
monarch with supreme power
He ran his office like an autocrat, giving no one else any authority.
automaton
mechanism that imitates actions of humans
Long before science fiction readers became aware of robots, writers were creating stories of automation
who could outperform humans.
autonomous
self-governing
This island is a colony; however, in most matters, it is autonomous and receives no orders from the mother
country.
autopsy
examination of a dead body; postmortem
The medical examiner ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
auxiliary
offering or providing help; additional or sub-sidiary
To prepare for the emergency, they built an auxiliary power station.
avarice
greed for wealth
King Midas's avarice has been famous for centuries.
averse
reluctant
He was averse to revealing the sources of his information.
aversion
firm dislike
Their mutual aversion was so great that they refused to speak to one another.
avert
prevent; turn away
She averted her eyes from the dead cat on the highway.
aver
state confidently
I wish to aver that I am certain of success.
aviary
enclosure for birds
The aviary at the zoo held nearly 300 birds.
avid
greedy; eager for
He was avid for learning and read everything he could get.
avocation
secondary or minor occupation
His hobby proved to be so fascinating and profitable that gradually he abandoned his regular occupation
and concentrated on his avocation.
avow
declare openly
I must avow that I am innocent.
avuncular
like an uncle
Avuncular pride did not prevent him from noticing his nephew's shortcomings.
awe
solemn wonder
The tourists gazed with awe at the tremendous expanse of the Grand Canyon.
awl
pointed tool used for piercing
She used an awl to punch additional holes in the leather belt she had bought.
awry
distorted; crooked He held his head awry, giving the impression that he had caught cold in his neck during the night.
axiom
self-evident truth requiring no proof
Before a student can begin to think along the lines of Euclidean geometry, he must accept certain
principles or axioms.
azure
sky blue
azure skies are indicative of good weather.
babble
chatter idly
The little girl babbled about her doll.
bacchanalian
drunken
Emperor Nero attended the bacchanalian orgy.
badger
pester; annoy
She was forced to change her telephone number because she was badgered by obscene phone calls.
badinage
teasing conversation
Her friends at work greeted the news of her engagement with cheerful badinage.
baffle
frustrate; perplex
The new code baffled the enemy agents.
bait
harass; tease
The soldiers baited the prisoners, terrorizing them.
baleful
menacing; deadly
Casting a baleful eye at his successful rival, the rejected suitor stole off, vowing to have his revenge.
balk
foil
When the warden learned that several inmates were planning to escape, he took steps to balk their attempt.
balk
stoop short, as if faced with an obstacle, and refuse to continue
The chief of police balked at sending his officers into the riot-torn area.
ballast
heavy substance used to add stability or weight
The ship was listing badly to one side; it was necessary to shift the ballast in the hold to get her back on an
even keel.
balmy
mild; fragrant
A balmy breeze refreshed us after the sultry blast.
balm
something that relieves pain
Friendship is the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.
banal
hackneyed; commonplace; trite
His frequent use of cliches made his essay seem banal.
bandy
discuss lightly; exchange blows or words
The president refused to bandy words with reporters at the press conference.
bane
cause of ruin
Lack of public transportation is the bane of urban life.
bantering
good-naturedly ridiculing
They resented his bantering remarks because they misinterpreted his teasing as sarcasm.
barb
sharp projection form fishhook, etc.; pointed comment
The barb from the fishhook caught in his finger as he grabbed the fish.
bard
poet
The ancient bard Homer sang of the fall of Troy.
barefaced
shameless; bold; unconcealed
Shocked by Huck Finn's barefaced lies, Miss Watson prayed the good Lord would give him a sense of his
unregenerate wickedness.
baroque
highly ornate
Accustomed to the severe, angular lines of modern skyscrapers, they found the flamboyance of baroque
architecture amusing.
barrage
barrier laid down by artillery fire; overwhelming profusion
The company was forced to retreat through the barrage of heavy canyons.
barrister
counselor-at-law
Galsworthy started as a barrister, but when he found the practice of law boring, turned to writing.
barterer
trader
The barterer exchanged trinkets for the natives' furs.
bask
luxuriate; take pleasure in warmth
basking on the beach, she relaxed so completely that she fell asleep.
bastion
stronghold; something seen as a source of protection
The villagers fortified the town hall, hoping this improvised bastion could protect them from the guerrila
raids.
bate
let down; restrain
Until it was time to open the presents, the children had to bate their curiosity.
bauble
trinket; trifle
The child was delighted with the bauble she had won in the grab bag.
bawdy
indecent; obscene
She took offense at his bawdy remarks.
beatific
giving bliss; blissful
The beatific smile on the child's face made us very happy.
beatitude
blessedness; state of bliss
Growing closer to God each day, the mystic achieved a state of indescribable beatitude.
bedizen
dress with vulgar finery
The witch doctors were bedizened in their gaudiest costumes.
bedraggle
wet thoroughly
We were so bedraggled by the severe storm that we had to change into dry clothing.
befuddle
confuse thoroughly
His attempts to clarify the situation succeeded only on befuddling her further.
beget
father; produce; give rise to
One good turn may deserve another; it does not necessarily beget another.
begrudge
resent
I begrudge every minute I have to spend attending meetings.
beguile
amuse; delude; cheat
I beguiled himself during the long hours by playing solitaire.
behemoth
huge creature; something of monstrous size or power
Sportcasters nicknamed the linebacker "The Behemoth."
beholden
obligated; indebted
Since I do not wish to be beholden to anyone, I cannot accept this favor.
behoove
be suited to; be incumbent upon
In this time of crisis, it behooves all of us to remain calm and await the instructions of our superiors.
belabor
explain or go over excessively or to a ridiculous degree; assail verbally
The debate coach warned her student not to bore the audience by belaboring his point.
belated
delayed
He apologized for his belated note of condolence to the widow of his friend and explained that he had just
learned of her husband's untimely death.
beleaguer
besiege
As soon as the city was beleaguered, the life became more subdued as the citizens began their long wait for
outside assitance.
belie
contradict; give a false impression
His coarse, hard-bitten exterior belied his innate sensitivity.
belittle
disparage; depreciate
Parents should not belittle their children's early attempts at drawing, but should encourage their efforts.
bellicose
warlike
His bellicose disposition alienated his friends.
belligerent
quarrelsome
Whenever he had too much to drink, he became belligerent and tried to pick fights with strangers.
bemused
confused; lost in thought; preoccupied
Jill studied the garbled instructions with a bemused look on her face.
benediction
blessing
The appearance of the sun after the many rainy days was like a benediction.
benefactor
gift giver; patron
Scrooge later became Tiny Tim's benefactor and gave him a benediction.
beneficent
kindly; doing good
The overgenerous philanthropist had to curb his beneficent impulses before he gave away all his money
and left himself with nothing.
beneficiary
person entitled to benefits or proceeds of an insurance policy
You may change your beneficiary as often as you wish.
benevolent
generous; charitable
His benevolent nature prevented him from refusing any beggar who accosted him.
benign
kindly; favorable; not malignant
The old man was well liked because of his benign attitude toward friend and stranger alike.
benison
blessing
Let us pray that the benison of peace once more shall prevail among the nations of the world.
bent
determined; natural talent or inclination
bent on advancing in the business world, the secretary heroine of Working Girl had a true bent for high
finance.
bequeath
leave to someone by means of a will; hand down
In his will, Father bequeathed his watch to Phillip; the bequest meant a great deal to the boy.
berate
scold strongly
He feared she would berate him for his forgetfulness.
bereavement
state of being deprived of something valuable or beloved
His friends gathered to console him upon his sudden bereavement.
bereft
deprived of; lacking
The foolish gambler soon found himself bereft of funds.
berserk
frenzied Angered, he went berserk and began to wreck the room.
beset
harass; trouble
Many problems beset the American public school system.
besmirch
soil, defile
The scandalous remarks in the newspaper besmirch the reputations of every member of the society.
bestial
beastlike; brutal; inhuman
The Red Cross sought to put an end to the bestial treatment of prisoners of war.
bestow
confer
He wished to bestow great honors upon the hero.
betroth
become engaged to marry
The announcement that they had become betrothed surprised their friends who had not suspected any
romance.
bevy
large group
The movie actor was surrounded by a bevy of startlets.
bicameral
two-chambered, as a legislative body
The United States Congress is a bicameral body.
bicker
quarrel
The children bickered morning, noon, and night, exasperating their parents.
biennial
every two years
The group held biennial meetings instead of annual ones.
bifurcated
divided into two branches; forked
With a bifurcated branch and a piece of elastic rubber, he made a crude but effective slingshot.
bigotry
stubborn intolerance
Brought up in a democratic atmosphere, student was shocked by the bigotry and narrowness expressed by
several of his classmates.
bilious
suffering from indigestion; irritable
His bilious temperament was apparent to all who heard him rant about his difficulties.
bilk
swindle; cheat
The con man specialized in bilking insurance companies.
bivouac
temporary encampment
While in bivouac, we spent the night in our sleeping bags under the stars.
bizarre
fantastic; violently contrasting
The plot of the novel was too bizarre to be believed.
blanch
bleach; whiten
Although age had blanched his hair, he was still vigorous and energetic.
blandishment
flattery
Despite the salesperson's blandishments, the customer did not buy the outfit.
bland
soothing; mild
She used a bland ointment for her sunburn.
blase
bored with pleasure or dissipation
Your blase attitude gives your students an erroneous impression of the joys of scholarship.
blasphemous
profane; impious
The people in the room were shocked by his his blasphemous language.
blatant
extremely obvious; loudly offensive
Caught in a blatant lie, the scoundrel had only one regret: he wished that he had lied more subtly.
bleak
cold; cheerless
The Aleutian Islands are bleak military outposts.
blighted
suffering from a disease; destroyed
The extent of the blighted areas could be seen only when viewed from the air.
blithe
gay; joyous; careless
Shelley called the skylark a "blithe spirit" because of its happy song.
bloated
swollen or puffed as with water or air
Her bloated stomach came from drinking so much water.
blowhard
talkative boaster
After all Sol's talk about his big show business connections led nowhere, Sally decided he was just another
blowhard.
bludgeon
club; heavy-headed weapon
His walking stick served him as a bludgeon on many occasions.
bluff
pretense (of strength); deception; high cliff
Claire thought Lord Byron's boast that he would swim the Hellespont was just a bluff, she was astounded
when he dove from the high bluff into the waters below.
blunder
error
The criminal's fatal blunder led to his capture.
blurt
utter impulsively
Before she could stop him, he blurted out the news.
bode
foreshadow; portend
The gloomy skies and the sulfurious odors from the mineral springs seemed to bode evil to those who settled in the area.
bogus
counterfeit; not authentic
The police quickly found the distributors of the bogus twenty-dollar bills.
boisterous
violent; rough; noisy
The unruly crowd became even more boisterous when he tried to quiet them.
bolster
support; reinforce
The debaters amassed file boxes full of evidence to bolster their arguments.
bombast
pompous, inflated language
Filled with bombast, the orator's speech left the audience more impressed with his pomposity than with his
logic.
boon
blessing; benefit
The recent rains that filled our empty reservoirs were a boon to the whole community.
boorish
rude; insensitive
Though Mr. Potts constantly interrupted his wife, she ignored his boorish behavior, for she had lost hope
of teaching him courtesy.
bouillon
clear beef soup
The cup of bouillon served by the stewards was welcomed by those who had been chilled by the cold
ocean breezes.
bountiful
generous; showing bounty
She distributed gifts in a bountiful and gracious manner.
bourgeois
middle class
The French Revolution was inspired by the bourgeois, who resented the aristocracy.
bovine
cowlike; placid and dull
Nothing excites Esther; even when she won the state lottery, she still preserved her air of bovine calm.
bowdlerize
expurgate
After the film editors had bowdlerized the language in the script, the motion picture's rating was changed
from "R" to "PG."
brackish
somewhat saline
He found the only wells in the area were brackish; drinking the water made him nauseous.
braggadocio
boasting
He was disliked because his manner was always full of braggadocio.
braggart
boaster
Modest by nature, she was no braggart, preferring to let her accomplishments speak for themselves.
bravado
swagger; assumed air of defiance The bravado of the young criminal disappeared when he was confronted by the victims of his brutal attack.
brawn
muscular strength; sturdiness
It takes brawn to become a champion weight-lifter.
brazen
insolent
Her brazen contempt for authority angered the officials.
breach
breaking of contract or duty; fissure; gap
They found a breach in the enemy's fortifications and penetrated their lines.
breadth
width; extent
We were impressed by the breadth of her knowledge.
brevity
conciseness
brevity is essential when you send a telegram or cablegram; you are charged for every word.
brindled
tawny or grayish with streaks or spots
He was disappointed in the litter because the puppies were brindled; he had hoped for animals of uniform
color.
bristling
rising like bristles; showing irritation
The dog stood there, bristling with anger.
brittle
easily broken; difficult
My employer's brittle personality made it difficult for me to get along with her.
broach
open up
He did not even try to broach the subject of poetry.
brocade
rich, figured fabric
The sofa was covered with expensive brocade.
brochure
pamphlet
This brochure on farming was issued by the Department of Agriculture.
brooch
ornamental clasp
She treasured the brooch because it was an heirloom.
brook
tolerate; endure
The dean would brook no interference with his disciplinary actions.
browbeat
bully; intimidate
Billy resisted Ted's attempts to browbeat him into handing over his lunch money.
brusque
blunt; abrupt
She was offended by his brusque reply.
bucolic
rustic; pastoral The meadow was the scene of bucolic gaiety.
buffoonery
clowning
John Candy's buffoonery in Uncle Buck was hilarious.
bugaboo
bugbear; object of baseless terror
If we become frightened by such bugaboos, we are no wiser than the birds who fear scarecrows.
bullion
gold and silver in the form of bars
Much bullion is stored in the vaults at Fort Knox.
bulwark
earthwork or other strong defense; person who defends
The navy is our principal bulwark against invasion.
bungle
spoil by clumsy behavior
I was afraid you would bungle his assignment but I had no one else to send.
bureaucracy
government by bureaus
Many people fear that the constant introduction of federal agencies will create a government by
bureaucracy.
burgeon
grow forth; send out buds
In the spring, the plants that burgeon are a promise of the beauty that is to come.
burlesque
give an imitation that ridicules
In his caricature, he burlesqued the mannerisms of his adversary.
burly
husky; muscular
The burly mover lifted the packing crate with ease.
burnish
make shiny by rubbing; polish
The maid burnished the brass fixtures until they reflected the lamplight.
buttress
support; prop up
Just as architects buttress the walls of cathedrals with flying buttresses, debates buttress their arguments
with facts.
buxom
full-bosomed; plump; jolly
High fashion models usually are slender rather than buxom.
cabal
small group of persons secretly united to promote their own interests
The cabal was defeated when its scheme was discovered.
cache
hiding place
The detectives followed the suspects until he led them to the cache where he had stored his loot.
cacophony
discord
Some people seem to enjoy the cacophony of an orchestra that is tuning up.
cadaverous
like a corpse; pale
From his cadaverous appearance, we could see how the disease had ravaged him.
cadaver
corpse
In some states, it is illegal to dissect cadavers.
cadence
rhythmic rise and fall (of words or sounds); beat
Marching down the road, the troops sang out, following the cadence set by the sergeant.
cajole
coax; wheedle
I will not be cajoled into granting your wish.
calamity
disaster; misery
As news of the calamity spread, offers of relief poured in to the stricken community.
caliber
ability; capacity
A man of such caliber should not be assigned such menial tasks.
calligraphy
beautiful writing; excellent penmanship
As we examine ancient manuscripts, we became impressed with the calligraphy of the scribes.
callous
hardened; unfeeling
He had worked in the hospital for so many years that he was callous to the suffering in the wards.
callow
youthful; immature
In that youthful movement, the leaders were only a little less callow than their immature followers.
calorific
heat-producing
Coal is much more calorific than green wood.
calumny
malicious misrepresentation
He could endure his financial failure, but he could not bear the calumny that his foes heaped upon him.
camaraderie
good-fellowship
What he loved best about his job was the sense of camaraderie he and his co-workers shared.
cameo
shell or jewel carved in relief
Tourists are advised not to purchase cameos from the street peddlers of Rome who sell poor specimens of
the carver's art.
canard
unfounded rumor
It is almost impossible to protect oneself from such a base canard.
candor
frankness
The candor and simplicity of his speech impressed all, it was all clear he held nothing back.
canine
related to dogs; doglike
Some days the canine population of Berkeley seems almost to outnumber the human population.
canker
any ulcerous sore; any evil
Poverty is a canker in the body politic; it must be cured.
canny
shrewd; thrifty
The canny Scotsman was more than a match for the swindlers.
cantankerous
ill-humored; irritable
Constantly complaining about his treatment and refusing to cooperate with the hospital staff, he was a
cantankerous patient.
cantata
story set to music, to be sung by a chorus
The choral society sang the new cantata composed by its leader.
canter
slow gallop
Because the racehorse had outdistanced its competition so easily, the reporter wrote that the race was won
in a canter.
canto
division of a long poem
Dante's poetic masterpiece The Divine Comedy is divided into cantos.
cant
pious phraseology; jargon of criminals
Angry that the president had slashed the education budget, we dismissed his speech on the importance of
education as mere cant.
canvass
determine or seek opinions, votes, etc.
After canvassing the sentiments of his constituents, the congressman was confident that he represented the
majority opinion of his district.
capacious
spacious
In the capacious areas of the railroad terminal, thousands of travelers lingered while waiting for their train.
capillary
having a very fine bore
The changes in surface tension of liquids in capillary vessels is of special interest to physicists.
capitulate
surrender
The enemy was warned to capitulate or face annihilation.
caprice
whim
She was an unpredictable creature, acting on caprice, never taking thought of the consequences.
capricious
fickle; incalculable
The storm was capricious and changed course constantly.
caption
title; chapter heading; text under illustration
I find the captions that accompany these cartoons very clever and humorous.
captious
faultfinding
His criticisms were always captious and frivolous, never offering constructive suggestions.
carafe
glass water bottle
With each dinner, the patron receives a carafe of red or white wine.
carapace
shell covering the back (of a turtle, crab, etc)
At the children's zoo, Richard perched on top of the giant turtle's hard carapace as it slowly made its way
around the enclosure.
carat
unit of weight for precious stones; measure of fineness of gold
He gave her a diamond that weighed three carats and was mounted in an eighteen-carat gold band.
carcinogenic
causing cancer
Many supposedly harmless substances have been revealed to be carcinogenic.
cardinal
chief
If you want to increase your word power, the cardinal rule of vocabulary-building is to read.
careen
lurch; sway from side to side
The taxicab careened wildly as it rounded the corner.
caricature
distortion; burlesque
The caricatures he drew always emphasized personal weaknesses of the people he burlesqued.
carillon
set of bells capable of being played
The carillon in the bell tower of the Coca-Cola pavilion at the New York World's Fair provided musical
entertainment every hour.
carnage
destruction of life
The carnage that can be caused by atomic warfare adds to the responsibilities of our statesmen.
carnal
fleshly
The public was more interested in carnal pleasures than in spiritual matters.
carnivorous
meat-eating
The lion is a carnivorous animal.
carousal
drunken revel
The party degenerated into an ugly carousal.
carping
petty criticism; fault-finding
Welcoming constructive criticism, Lexy appreciated her editor's comments, finding them free of carping.
carrion
rotting flesh of a dead body
Buzzards are nature's scavengers; they eat the carrion left behind by other predators.
cartographer
map-maker
Though not a professional cartographer, Tolkien was able to construct a map of the fictional world.
cascade
small waterfall We could not appreciate the beauty of the many cascades as we made detours around each of them to
avoid getting wet.
caste
one of the hereditary classes in Hindu society, social stratification; prestige
The differences created by caste in India must be wiped out if true democracy is to prevail in that country.
castigation
punishment; severe criticism
Sensitive even to mild criticism, Woolf could not bear castigation that she found in certain reviews.
casualty
serious or fatal accident
The number of automotive casualties on this holiday weekend was high.
cataclysm
deluge; upheaval
A cataclysm such as the French Revolution affects all countries.
catalyst
agent that brings about a chemical change while it remains unaffected and unchanged
Many chemical reactions cannot take place without the presence of a catalyst.
catapult
slingshot; hurling machine
Airplanes are sometimes launched from battleships by catapults.
cataract
great waterfall; eye abnormality
She gazed with awe at the mighty cataract known as Niagara Falls.
catastrophe
calamity
The Johnstown flood was a catastrophe.
catechism
book for religious instruction; instruction by question and answer
He taught by engaging his pupils in a catechism until they gave him the correct answer.
categorical
without exceptions; unqualified; absolute
Though the captain claimed he was never, never sick at sea, he finally qualified his categorical denial; he
was hardly ever sick at sea.
catharsis
purging or cleansing of any passage of the body
Aristotle maintained that tragedy created a catharsis by purging the soul of base concepts.
cathartic
purgative
Some drugs act as laxatives when taken in small doses but act as cathartics when taken in much larger
doses.
catholic
universal; wide-ranging liberal
He was extremely catholic in his taste and read everything he could find in the library.
caucus
private meeting of members of a party to select officers or determine policy
At the opening of Congress the members of the Democratic Party held a caucus to elect the majority
leader of the House and the party whip.
caulk
to make watertight (by plugging seams) When water from the shower leaked into the basement, we knew it was time to caulk the tiles at the edges
of the shower stall.
causal
implying a cause-and-effect relationship
The psychologist maintained there was a causal relationship between the nature of one's early childhood
experiences and one's adult personality.
caustic
burning; sarcastically biting
The critic's caustic remarks angered the hapless actors who were the subjects of his sarcasm.
cauterize
burn with hot iron or caustic
In order to prevent infection, the doctor cauterized the wound.
cavalcade
procession; parade
As described by Chaucer, the cavalcade of Canterbury pilgrims was motley group.
cavalier
casual and offhand; arrogant
Sensitive about having her ideas taken lightly, Marcia felt insulted by Mark's cavalier dismissal of her
suggestion.
cavil
make frivolous objections
I respect your sensible criticisms, but I dislike the way you cavil about unimportant details.
cede
transfer; yield title to
I intend to cede this property to the city.
celerity
speed; rapidity
Hamlet resented his mother's celerity in remarrying within a month after his father's death.
celestial
heavenly
She spoke of the celestial joys that awaited virtuous souls in the hereafter.
celibate
abstaining from sexual intercourse; unmarried
Though the late Havelock Ellis wrote extensively about sexual customs and was considered an expert in
such matters, recent studies maintain he was celibate throughout his life.
censorious
critical
censorious people delight in casting blame.
censor
overseer of morals; person who eliminates inappropriate matter
Soldiers dislike having their mail read by a censor but understand the need for this precaution.
censure
blame; criticize
He was censured for his inappropriate behavior.
centaur
mythical figure, half man and half horse
I was particularly impressed by the statue of the centaur in the Roman Hall of the museum.
centigrade
denoting a widely used temperature scale (basically same as Celsius) On the centigrade thermometer, the freezing point of water is zero degrees.
centrifugal
radiating; departing from the center
Many automatic drying machines remove excess moisture from clothing by centrifugal force.
centrifuge
machine that separates substances by whirling them
At the dairy, we employ a centrifuge to separate cream from milk.
centripetal
tending toward the center
Does centripetal force or the force of gravity bring orbiting bodies to the earth's surface?
centurion
Roman army officer
Because he was in command of a company of one hundred soldiers, he was called a centurion.
cerebral
pertaining to the brain or intellect
The content of philosophical works is cerebral in nature and requires much thought.
cerebration
thought
Mathematics problems sometimes require much cerebration.
ceremonious
marked by formality
Ordinary dress would be in appropriate at so ceremonious an affair.
cessation
stopping
The workers threatened a cessation of all activities if their demands were not met.
cession
yielding to another; ceding
The cession of Alaska to the United States is discussed in this chapter.
chafe
warm by rubbing
The collar chafed his neck.
chaffing
bantering; joking
Sometimes his flippant and chaffing remarks annoy us.
chaff
worthless products of an endeavor
When you separate the wheat from the chaff, be sure you throw out the chaff.
chagrin
vexation; disappointment
Her refusal to go with us filled us with chagrin.
chalice
goblet; consecrated cup
In a small room adjoining the cathedral, many ornately decorated chalices made by the most famous
European goldsmiths were on display.
chameleon
lizard that changes color in different situations
Like the chameleon, he assumed the political coloration of every group he met.
champion
support militantly Martin Luther King, Jr., won the Nobel Peace Prize because he championed the oppressed in their struggle
for equality.
chaotic
in utter disorder
He tried to bring order into the chaotic state of affairs.
charisma
divine gift; great popular charm or appeal
Political commentators have deplored the importance of a candidate's charisma in these days of television
campaigning.
charlatan
quack; pretender to knowledge
When they realized that the Wizard didn't know how to get them back to Kansas, Dorothy and her friends
were sure they'd been duped by a charlatan.
chary
cautious; sparing or restrained about giving
A prudent, thrifty New Englander, DeWitt was as chary of investing money in junk bonds as he was chary
of paying people unnecessary compliments.
chase
ornament a metal surface by indenting
With his hammer, he carefully chased an intricate design onto the surface of the chalice.
chasm
abyss
They could not see the bottom of the chasm.
chassis
framework and working parts of an automobile
Examining the car after the accident, the owner discovered that the body had been ruined but that the
chassis was unharmed.
chasten
discipline; punish in order to correct
Whom God loves, God chastens.
chaste
pure
Her chaste and decorous garb was appropriately selected for the solemnity of the occasion.
chastise
punish
I must chastise you for this offense.
chauvinist
blindly devoted patriot
A chauvinist cannot recognize any faults in his country, no matter how flagrant they may be.
checkered
marked by changes in fortune
During his checkered career he had lived in palatial mansions and in dreary boardinghouses.
check
stop motion; curb or restrain
Thrusting out her arm, Grandma checked Bobby's lunge at his sister. "Young man," she said, "you'd better
check your temper."
cherubic
angelic; innocent-looking
With her cheerful smile and rosy cheeks, she was a particularly cherubic child.
chicanery
trickery
Your deceitful tactics in this case are indications of chicanery.
chide
scold
Grandma began to chide Steven for his lying.
chimerical
fantastic; highly imaginative
Poe's chimerical stories are sometimes too morbid for reading in bed.
chivalrous
courteous; faithful; brave
chivalrous behavior involves noble words and good deeds.
choleric
hot-tempered
His flushed, angry face indicated a choleric nature.
choreography
art of dancing
Martha Graham introduced a form of choreography that seemed awkward and alien to those who had
been brought up on classic ballet.
chronicle
report; record (in chronological order)
The gossip columnist was paid to chronicle the latest escapades of the socially prominent celebrities.
chronic
long established, as a disease
The doctors were finally able to attribute his chronic headaches and nausea to traces of formaldehyde gas
in his apartment.
churlish
boorish; rude
Dismayed by his churlish manners at the party, the girls vowed never to invite him again.
ciliated
having minute hairs
The paramecium is a ciliated, one-celled animal.
cipher
nonentity; worthless person or thing
She claimed her ex-husband was a total cipher and wondered why she had ever married him.
cipher
secret code
Lacking his code book, the spy was unable to decode the message sent to him in cipher.
circlet
small ring; band
This tiny circlet is very costly because it is set with precious stones.
circuitous
roundabout
Because of the traffic congestion on the main highways, she took a circuitous route.
circumlocution
indirect or roundabout expression
He was afraid to call spade a spade and resorted to circumlocutions to avoid direct reference to his subject.
circumscribe
limit; confine Although I do not wish to circumscribe your activities, I must insist that you complete this assignment
before you start anything else.
circumspect
prudent; cautious
Investigating before acting, she tried always to be circumspect.
circumvent
outwit; baffle
In order to circumvent the enemy, we will make two preliminary attacks in other sections before starting
our major campaign.
citadel
fortress
The citadel overlooked the city like a protecting angel.
cite
quote; commend
She could cite passages in the Bible from memory.
civil
having to do with citizens or the state; courteous and polite
Although internal Revenue Service agents are civil servants, they are not always civil to suspected tax
evaders.
clairvoyant
having foresight; fortuneteller
Cassandra's clairvoyant warning was not heeded by the Trojans.
clamber
climb by crawling
She clambered over the wall.
clamor
noise
The clamor of the children at play outside made it impossible for her to take a nap.
clandestine
secret
After avoiding their chaperon, the lovers had a clandestine meeting.
clangor
loud, resounding noise
The blacksmith was accustomed to the clangor of hammers on steel.
clapper
striker (tongue) of a bell
Wishing to be undisturbed by the bell, Dale wound his scarf around the clapper to muffle its striking.
clarion
shrill, trumpetlike sound
We woke to the clarion to muffle its striking.
claustrophobia
fear of being locked in
His fellow classmates laughed at his claustrophobia and often threatened to lock him in his room.
clavicle
collarbone
Even though he wore shoulder pads, the football player broke his clavicle during a practice scrimmage.
cleave
split asunder
The lightening cleaves the tree in two.
cleft
split
Erosion caused a cleft in the huge boulder.
clemency
disposition ot be lenient; mildness, as of the weather
The lawyer was pleased when the case was sent to Judge Smith's chambers because Smith was noted for
her clemency toward first offenders.
cliche
phrase culled in meaning by repetition
High school compositions are often marred by such cliches as "strong as an ox."
clientele
body of customers
The rock club attracted a young, stylish clientele.
climactic
relating to the highest point
When he reached the climactic portions of the book, he could not stop reading.
clime
region; climate
His doctors advised him to move to a milder clime.
clique
small, exclusive group
She charged that a clique had assumed control of school affairs.
cloister
monastery or convent
The nuns lived in the cloister.
clout
great influence (especially political or social)
Gatsby wondered whether he had enough clout to be admitted to the exclusive club.
cloying
distasteful (because excessive); excessively sweet or sentimental
Disliking the cloying sweetness of standard wedding cakes, Jody and Tom chose a homemade carrot cake
for their reception.
coagulate
thicken; congeal; clot
Even after you remove the pudding from the burner, it will continue to coagulate as it stands.
coalesce
combine; fuse
The brooks coalesce into one large river.
coda
concluding section of a musical or literary composition
The piece concluded with a distinctive coda that strikingly brought together various motifs.
coddle
treat gently; pamper
Don't coddle the children to much; they need a taste of discipline.
codicil
supplement to the body of a will
This codicil was drawn up five years after the writing of the original will.
codify
arrange (laws, rules) as a code; classify We need to take the varying rules and regulations of the different health agencies and codify them into a
national health code.
coercion
use of force
They forced him to obey, but only by great coercion.
coeval
living at the same time as; contemporary
coeval with the dinosaur, the pterodactyl flourished during the Mesozoic era.
cogent
convincing
She presented cogent arguments to the jury.
cogitate
think over
cogitate on this problem; the solution will come.
cognate
related linguistically; allied by blood; similar or akin in nature
The English word "mother" cognate to the Latin word "mater," whose influence is visible in the words
"maternal" and "maternity."
cognitive
having to do with knowing or perceiving related to the mental precesses
Though Jack was emotionally immature, his cognitive development was admirable; he was very advanced
intellectually.
cognizance
knowledge
During the election campaign, the two candidates were kept in full cognizance of the international
situation.
cog
tooth projecting from a wheel
A bicycle chain moves through a series of cogs in order to propel the bike.
cohere
stick together
Solids have a greater tendency to cohere than liquids.
cohesion
tendency to keep together
A firm believer in the maxim "Divide and conquer," the emperor, by lies and trickery, sought to disrupt the
cohesion ofthe free nations.
cohorts
armed band
Caesar and his Roman cohorts conquered almost all of the known world.
coiffure
hairstyle
You can make a statement with your choice of coiffure: in the 60's many African-Americans affirmed their
racial heritage by wearing their hair in Afros.
coincident
occurring at the same time
Some people find the coincident events in Hardy's novels annoyingly improbable.
colander
utensil with perforated bottom used for straining
Before serving the spaghetti, place it in a colander to drain it.
collaborate
work together
Two writers collaborated in preparing this book.
collage
work of art put together from fragments
Scraps of cloth, paper doilies, and old photographs all went into her collage.
collateral
security given for loan
The sum you wish to borrow is so large that it must be secured by collateral.
collate
examine in order to verify authenticity; arrange in order
They collated the newly found manuscripts to determine their age.
collation
a light meal
Tea sandwiches and cookies were offered at the collation.
colloquial
pertaining to conversational or common speech
Your use of colloquial expressions in a formal essay such as the one you have presented spoils the effect
you hope to achieve.
colloquy
informal discussion
I enjoy our colloquies but I sometimes wish that they could be made more formal and more searching.
collusion
conspiring in a fraudulent scheme
The swindlers were found guilty of collusion.
colossal
huge
Radio City Music Hall has a colossal stage.
colossus
gigantic statue
The legendary Colossus of Rhodes, bronze statue of the sun god that dominated the harbor of the Greek
seaport, was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
comatose
in a coma; extremely sleepy
The long-winded orator soon had his audience in a comatose state.
combustible
easily burned
After the recent outbreak of fires in private homes, the fire commissioner ordered that all combustible
materials be kept in safe containers.
comely
attractive; agreeable
I would rather have a poor and comely wife than a rich and homely one.
comestible
something fit to be eaten
The roast turkey and other comestibles, the wines, and the excellent service made this Thanksgiving dinner
particularly memorable.
comeuppance
rebuke; deserts
After his earlier rudeness, we were delighted to see him get his comeuppance.
comity
courtesy; civility
A spirit of comity should exist among nations.
commandeer
to draft for military purposes; to take for public use
The policeman commandeered the first car that approached and ordered the driver to go to the nearest
hospital.
commemorative
remembering; honoring
The new commemorative stamp honors the late Martin Luther King, Jr.
commensurate
equal in extent
Your reward will be commensurate with your effort.
commiserate
feel or express pity or sympathy for
Her friends commiserated with the widow.
commodious
spacious and comfortable
After sleeping in a small roadside cabins, they found their hotel suite commodious.
communal
held in common; of a group of people
When they were divorced, they had trouble dividing their communal property.
compact
agreement; contract
The signers of the Mayflower Compact were establishing a form of government.
compact
tightly packed; firm; brief
His short, compact body was better suited to wrestling than to basketball.
compatible
harmonious; in harmony with
They were compatible neighbors, never quarreling over unimportant matters.
compelling
overpowering; irresistible in effect
The prosecutor presented a well-reasoned case, but the defense attorney's compelling arguments for
leniency won over the jury.
compendium
brief, comprehensive summary
This text can serve as a compendium of the tremendous amount of new material being developed in this
field.
compensatory
making up for; repaying
Can a compensatory education program make up for the inadequate schooling he received in earlier years?
compilation
listing of statistical information in tabular or book form
The compilation of available scholarships serves a very valuable purpose.
complacent
self-satisfied
There was a complacent look on his face as he examined his paintings.
complaisant
trying to please; obliging
The courtier obeyed the king's orders in a complaisant manner.
complement
complete; consummate; make perfect
The waiter recommended a glass of port to complement the cheese.
compliance
conformity in fulfilling requirements; readiness to yield
The design for the new school had to be in compliance with the local building code.
compliant
yielding
He was compliant and ready to go along with his friends' desires.
complicity
participation; involvement
You cannot keep your complicity in this affair secret very long; you would be wise to admit your
involvement immediately.
component
element; ingredient
I wish all the components of my stereo system were working at the same time.
comport
bear one's self; behave
He comported himself with great dignity.
composure
mental calmness
Even the latest work crisis failed to shake her composure.
compound
combine; constitute; pay interest; increase
The makers of the popular cold remedy compounded a nasal decongestant with an antihistamine.
comprehensive
thorough; inclusive
This book provides a comprehensive review of verbal and math skills for the SAT.
compress
close; squeeze; contract
She compressed the package under her arm.
comprise
include; consist of
If the District of Columbia were to be granted a statehood, the United States of America would comprise
fifty-onestates, not just fifty.
compromise
adjust; endanger the interests or reputation of
Your presence at the scene of the dispute compromises our claim to neutrality in this matter.
compunction
remorse
The judge was especially severe in this sentencing because he felt that the criminal had shown no
compunction for his heinous crime.
compute
reckon; calculate
He failed to compute the interest, so his bank balance was not accurate.
concatenate
link as in a chain It is difficult to understand how these events could concatenate as they did without outside assistance.
concave
hollow
The back-packers found partial shelter from the storm by huddling against the concave wall of the cliff.
concede
admit; hield
Despite all the evidence Monica had assembled, Mark refused to concede that she was right.
conceit
whimsical idea; extravagant metaphor
He was an entertaining companion, always expressing himself in amusing conceits and witty turns of
phrase.
concentric
having a common center
The target was made of concentric circles.
conception
beginning; forming of a idea
At the first conception of the work, he was consulted.
concerted
mutually agreed on; done together
The girl scouts in the troop made a concerted effort to raise funds for their annual outing, and emitted a
concerted sigh when their leader announced that they had reached their goal.
concession
an act of yielding
Before they could reach an agreement, both sides had to make certain concessions.
conciliatory
reconciling; soothing
She was still angry despite his conciliatory words.
concise
brief and compact
When you define a new word, be concise; the shorter the definition, the easier it is to remember.
conclave
private meeting
He was present at all their conclaves as an unofficial observer.
conclusive
decisive; ending all debate
When the stolen books turned up in John's locker, we finally had conclusive evidence of the identity of the
mysterious thief.
concoct
prepare by combining; make up in concert
How did the inventive chef ever concoct such strange dish?
concomitant
that which accompanies
Culture is not always a concomitant of wealth.
concord
harmony
Watching Tweediedum and Tweedledee battle, Alice wondered why the two brothers could not manage to
life in concord.
concurrent
happening at the same time
In America, the colonists were resisting the demands of the mother contry; at the concurrent moment in
France, the middle class was sowing the seeds of rebellion.
concur
agree Did you concur with the decision of the court or did you find it unfair?
condescend
bestow courtesies with a superior air
The king condescended to grant an audience to the friends of the condemned man.
condign
adequate; deservedly severe
The public approved the condign punishment for the crime.
condiments
seasonings; spices
Spanish food is full of condiments.
condole
express sympathetic sorrow
His friends gathered to condole with him over his loss.
condone
overlook; forgive; give tacit approval; excuse
Unlike Widow Douglass, who condoned Huck's minor offenses, Miss Watson did nothing but scold.
conducive
helpful; contributive
Rest and proper diet are conducive to good health.
conduit
aqueduct; passageway for fluids
Water was brought to the army in the desert by an improvised conduit from the adjoining mountain.
confidant
trusted friend
He had no confidants with whom he could discuss his problems at home.
confiscate
seize; commandeer
The army confiscated all available supplies of uranium.
conflagration
great fire
In the conflagration that followed the 1906 earthquake, much of San Francisco was destroyed.
confluence
flowing together; crowd
They built the city at the confluence of two rivers.
conformity
harmony; agreement
In conformity with our rules and regulations, I am calling a meeting of our organization.
confound
confuse; puzzle
No mystery could confound Sherlock Holmes for long.
congeal
freeze; coagulate
His blood congealed in his veins as he saw the dread monster rush toward him.
congenial
pleasant; friendly My father loved to go out for a meal with congenial companions.
congenital
existing at birth
His congenital deformity disturbed his parents.
conglomeration
mass of material sticking together
In such a conglomeration of miscellaneous statistics, it was impossible to find a single area of analysis.
congruence
correspondence of parts; harmonious relationship
The student demonstrated the congruence of the two triangles by using the hypotenuse-arm theorem.
conifer
pine tree; cone-bearing tree
According to geologists, the conifers were the first plants to bear flowers.
conjecture
surmise; guess
I will end all your conjectures; I admit I am guilty as charged.
conjugal
pertaining to marriage
Their dreams of conjugal bliss were shattered as soon as their temperaments clashed.
conjure
summon a devil; proactive magic; imagine; invent
He conjured up an image of a reformed city and had the voters completely under his spell.
connivance
pretense of ignorance of something wrong; assistance; permission to offend
With the connivance of his friends, he plotted to embarrass the teacher.
connoisseur
person competent to act as judge of art, ect.; a lover of an art
She had developed into a connoisseur of fine china.
connotation
suggested or implied meaning of an expression
Foreigners frequently are unaware of the connotations of the words they use.
connubial
pertaining to maffige or the matrimonial state
In his telegram, he wished the newlyweds a lifetime of connubial bliss.
consanguinity
kinship
The lawsuit developed into a test of the consanguinity of the claimant to the estate.
conscientious
scrupulous; careful
A conscientious editor checked every definition for its accuracy.
conscript
draftee; person forced into military service
Did Rambo volunteer to fight in Vietnam, or was he a conscript, drafted against his will?
consecrate
dedicate; sanctify
We shall consecrate our lives to this noble purpose.
consensus
general agreement
The consensus indicates that we are opposed to entering into this pact.
consequential
pompous; self-important
Convinced of his own importance, the actor strutted about the dressing room with a consequential air.
conservatory
school of the fine arts (especiallymusic or drama)
A gifted violinist, Marya was selected to study at the conservatory.
consign
deliver officially; entrust; set apart
The court consigned the child to her paternal grandmother's care.
consistency
absence of contradictions; dependability; uniformity; degree of thickness
Holmes judged puddings and explanations on their consistency; he liked his puddings without lumps and
his explanations without improbabilities.
console
lessen sadness or disappointment; give comfort
When her father died, Marius did his best to console Cosette.
consonance
harmony; agreement
Her agitation seemed out of consonance with her usual calm.
consort
associate with
We frequently judge people by the company with whom they consort.
consort
husband or wife
The search for a consort for the young Queen Victoria ended happily.
conspiracy
treacherous plot
Brutus and Cassius joined in the conspiracy to kill Julius Caesar.
constituent
supporter
The congressman received hundreds of letters from angry constituents after the Equal Rights Amendment
failed to pass.
constraint
compulsion; repression of feelings
There was a feeling of constraint in the room because no one dared to criticize the speaker.
construe
explain; interpret
If I construe your remarks correctly, you disagree with the theory already advanced.
consummate
complete
I have never seem anyone who makes as many stupid errors as you do; you must be a consummate idiot.
contagion
infection
Fearing contagion, they took drastic steps to prevent the spread of the disease.
contaminate
pollute
The sewage system of the city so contaminated the water that swimming was forbidden.
contempt
scorn; disdain Even if you feel superior to others, it is unwise to show your contempt for them.
contend
struggle; compete; assert earnestly
In Revolt of the Black Athlete, sociologist Harry Edwards contends that young black athletes have been
exploited by some college recruiters.
contentious
quarrelsome
We heard loud and contentious noises in the next room.
contest
dispute
The defeated candidate attempted to contest the election results.
context
writings preceding and following the passage quoted
Because these lines are taken out of context, they do not convey the message the author intended.
contiguous
adjacent to; touching upon
The two countries are contiguous for a few miles; then they are separated by the gulf.
continence
self-restraint; sexual chastity
She vowed to lead a life of continence.
contingent
conditional
The continuation of this contract is contingent on the quality of your first output.
contortions
twistings; distortions
As the effects of the opiate wore away, the contortions of the patient became more violent and
demonstrated how much pain she was enduring.
contraband
illegal trade; smuggling; smuggled goods
The coast guard tries to prevent contraband in U.S. waters.
contravene
contradict; oppose: infringe on or transgress
Mr. Barrett did not expect his frail daughter Elizabeth to contravene his will by eloping with Robert
Browning.
contrite
penitent
Her contrite tears did not influence the judge when he imposed sentence.
contrived
forced; artificial; not spontaneous
Feeling ill at ease with his new in-laws; James made a few contrived attempts at conversation and then
retreated into silence.
controvert
oppose with arguments; contradict
To controvert your theory will require much time but it is essential that we disprove it.
contumacious
disobedient; resisting authority
The contumacious mob shouted defiantly at the police.
contusion
bruise She was treated for contusions and abrasions.
conundrum
riddle; difficult problem
During the long car ride, she invented conundrums to entertain the children.
convene
assemble
Because much is needed legislation had to be enacted, the governor ordered the legislature to convene in
special session by January 15.
conventional
ordinary; typical
His conventional upbringing left him wholly unprepared for his wife's eccentric family.
convention
social or moral custom; established practice
Flying in the face of convention, George Sand (Amandine Dudevant) shocked her contemporaries by
taking lovers and wearing men's clothes.
converge
come together
Marchers converged on Washington for the great Save Our Cities-Save Our Children March.
conversant
familiar with
The lawyer is conversant with all the evidence.
converse
opposite
The inevitable converse of peace is not war but annihilation.
convert
one who has adopted a different religion or opinion
On his trip to Japan, though the President spoke at length about the merits of American automobiles, he
made few converts to his beliefs.
convex
curving outward
He polished the convex lens of his telescope.
conveyance
vehicle; transfer
During the transit strike, commuters used various kinds of conveyances.
conviction
strongly held belief
Nothing could shake his conviction that she was innocent.
dais
raised platform for guests of honor
When he approached the dais, he was greeted by cheers from the people who had come to honor him.
dally
trifle with; procrastinate
Laertes told Ophelia that Hamlet could only dally with her affections.
dank
damp
The walls of the dungeon were dank and slimy.
dapper
neat and trim
In "The Odd Couple," Tony Randall played Felix Unger, an excessively dapper soul who could not stand
to have a hair out of place.
dappled
spotted
The sunlight filtering though the screens created a dappled effect on the wall.
daub
smear (as with paint)
From the way he daubed his paint on the canvas, I could tell he knew nothing of oils.
dauntless
bold
Despite the dangerous nature of the undertaking, the dauntless soldier volunteered for the assignment.
daunt
intimidate
Your threats cannot daunt me.
dawdle
loiter; waste time
Inasmuch as we must meet a deadline, do not dawdle over this work.
deadlock
standstill; stalemate
The negotiations had reached a deadlock.
deadpan
wooden; impassive
We wanted to see how long he could maintain his deadpan expression.
dearth
scarcity
The dearth of skilled labor compelled the employers to open trade schools.
debacle
breaking up; downfall This debacle in the government can only result in anarchy.
debase
reduce to lower state
Do not debase youself by becoming maudlin.
debauch
corrupt; make intemperate
A vicious newspaper can debauch public ideals.
debilitate
weaken; enfeeble
Overindulgence debilitates character as well as physical stamina.
debonair
friendly; aiming to please
The debonair youth was liked by all who met him, because of his cheerful and obliging manner.
debris
rubble
A full year after the earthquake in Mexico City, workers were still carting away the debris.
debunk
expose as false, exaggerated, worthless, etc.; ridicule
Pointing out that he conhsistently had voted afainst strenghtening antipollution legislation, reporters
debunked the candidate's claim that he was a fervent environmentalist.
debutante
yound woman making formal entrance into society
As a debutante, she was often mentioned in the society columns of the newspapers.
decadence
decay
The moral decadence of the people was reflected in the lewd literature of the period.
decant
pour off gently
Be sure to decant this wine before serving it.
decapitate
behead
They did not hang Lady Jane Grey; they decapitated her.
decelerate
slow down
Seeing the emergency blinkers in the road ahead, he decelerated quickly.
deciduous
falling off, as of leaves
The oak is a deciduous tree.
decimate
kill, usually one out of ten
We do more to decimate our population in automobile accidents than we do in war.
decipher
decode
I could not decipher the doctor's handwriting.
declivity
downward slope
The children loved to ski down the declivity.
decollete
having a low-cut neckline Fashion decrees that evening gowns be decollete this season; bare shoulders are again the vogue.
decomposition
decay
Despite the body's advanced state of decomposition, the police were able to identify the murdered man.
decorum
propriety; seemliness
Shocked by the unruly behavior, the teacher criticized the class for its lack of decorum.
decoy
lure or bait
The wild ducks were not fooled by the decoy.
decrepitude
state of collagse caused by illness or old age
I was unprepared for the state of decrepitude in which I had found my old friend; he seemed to have aged
twenty years in six months.
decry
express strong disapproval of ; disparage
The founder of the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, strongly decries the lack of
financial and moral support for children in America today.
deducible
derived byreasoning
If we accept your premise, your conclusions are easily deducible.
deface
mar; disfigure
If you deface a library book, you will have to pay a hefty fine.
defamation
harming a person's reputation
Such defamation of character may result in a slander suit.
default
failure to do
As a result of her husband's failure to appear in court, she was granted a divorce by default.
defeatist
resigned to defeat; accepting defeat as a natural outcome
If you maintain your defeatist attitude, you will never succeed.
defection
desertion
The children, who had made him an idol, were hurt most by his defection from our cause.
deference
courteous regard for another's wish
In deference to his desires, the employers granted him a holiday.
defile
pollute; profane
The hoodlums defiled the church with their scurrilous writing.
definitive
most reliable or complee
Carl Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln may be regarded as the definitive work on the life of the Great
Emancipator.
deflect
turn aside
His life was saved when his cigarette case deflected the bullet.
defoliate
destroy leaves
In Vietnam the army made extensive use of chemical agents to defoliate the woodlands.
defray
provide ofr the payment of
Her employer offered to defray the costs of her postgraduate education.
defrock
to strip a priest or minister of church authority
We knew the minister had violated church regulations, but we had not realized his offense was serious
enough to cause him to be defrocked.
deft
neat; skillful
The deft waiter uncorked the champagne without spilling a drop.
defunct
dead; no longer in use or existence
The lawyers sought to examine the books of the defunct corporation.
degenerate
become worse; deteriorate
As the fight dragged on, the champion's style degenerated until he could barely keep on his feet.
degraded
lowered in rank; debased
The degraded wretch spoke only of his past glories and honors.
dehydrate
remove water from; dry out
Vigorous dancing quickly dehydrates the body; between dances, be sure to drink more water than normal.
deify
turn into a god; idolize
Admire the rock star all you want; just don't deify him.
deign
condescend
He felt that he would debase himself if he deigned to answer his critics.
deleterious
harmful
Workers in nuclear research must avoid the deleterious effects of radioactive substances.
delete
erase; strike out
If you delete this paragraph, the composition will have more appeal.
deliberate
consider; ponder; unhurried
Offered the new job, she asked for time to deliberate before she made her decision.
delineate
portray
He is weakest when he attempts to delineate character.
delirium
mental disorder marked by confusion
The drunkard in his delirium saw strange animals.
delta
flat plain of mud or sand between branches of a river
His dissertation discussed the effect of intermittent flooding on the fertility of the Nile delta.
delude
deceive
Do not delude yourself into believing that he will relent.
deluge
flood; rush
When we advertised the position, we received a deluge of applications.
delusion
false belief; hallucination
This scheme is a snare and a delusion.
delusive
deceptive; raising vain hopes
Do not raise your hopes on the basis of his delusive promises.
delve
dig; investigate
delving into old books and manuscripts is part of a researcher's job.
demagogue
person who appeals to people's prejudice; false leader
He was accused of being a demogogue because he made promises that aroused futile hopes in his listeners.
demeanor
behavior; bearing
His sober demeanor quieted the noisy revelers.
demean
degrade; humiliate
He felt that he would demean himself if he replied to the scurrilous letter.
demented
insane
She became increasingly demented and had to be hospitalized.
demise
death
Upon the demise of the dictator, a bitter dispute about succession to power developed.
demographic
related to population balance
In conducting a survey, one should take into account demographic trends in the region.
demolition
destruction
One of the major aims of the air force was the complete demolition of all means of transportation by the
bombing of rail lines and the terminals.
demoniac
fiendish
The Spanish Inquisition devised many demoniac means of torture.
demotic
pertaining to the people
He lamented the passing of aristocratic society and maintained that a demotic society would lower the
nation's standards.
demure
grave; serius; coy She was demure and reserved.
demur
delay; object
To demur at this time will only worsen the already serious situation; now is the time for action.
denigrate
blacken
All attempts to denigrate the character of our late President have failed; the people still love him and
cherish his memory.
denizen
inhabitant of
Ghosts are denizens of the land of the dead who return to earth.
denotation
meaning; distinguishing by name
A dictionary will always give us the denotation of a word; frequently, it will always give us its connotation.
denouement
outcome; final development of the plot of a play or other literary work
The play was childishly written; the denouement was obvious to sophisticated theatergoers as early as the
middle of the first act.
denounce
condemn; critcize
The reform candidate denounced the corrupt city officers for having betrayed the public's trust.
depict
portray
In this book, the author depicts the slave owners as kind and benevolent masters.
deplete
reduce; exhaust
We must wait until we deplete our present inventory before we order replacements.
deplicity
double-dealing; hypocrisy
People were shocked and dismayed when they learned of his duplicity in this affair, as he had always
seemed honest and straightforward.
deplore
regret
Although I deplore the vulgarity of your language, I defend your right to express yourself freely.
deploy
move troops so that the battle line is extended at the expense of depth
The general ordered the battalion to deploy in order to meet the offensive of the enemy.
depose
dethrone; remove form office
The army attempted to depose the king and set up a military government.
deposition
testimony under oath
He made his deposition in the judge's chamber.
depravity
corruption; wickedness
The depravity of the tyrant's behavior shocked us all.
deprecate
express disapproval of; protest against; belittle
A firm believer in old-fashioned courtesy, Miss Post deprecated the modern tendency to address new
acquaintances by their first names.
depreciate
lessen in value
If you neglect this properly, it will depreciate.
depredation
plundering
After the depredations of the invaders, the people were penniless.
deranged
insane
He had to be institutionalized because he was deranged.
derelict
neglectful of duty; abandoned
The corporal who fell asleep while on watch was thrown into the guardhouse for being derelic in his duty.
deride
scoff at
The people derided his grandiose schemes.
derision
ridicule
They greeted his proposal with derision and refused to consider it seriously.
derivative
unoriginal; obtained from another source
Although her early poetry was clearly derivative in nature, the critics thought she had promise and
eventually would find her own voice.
dermatologist
one who studies the skin and its diseases
I advise you to consult a dermatologist about your acne.
derogatory
expressing a low opinion
I resent your derogatory remarks.
descry
catch sight of
In the distance, we could barely descry the enemy vessels.
desecrate
profane; violate the sanctity of
The soldiers desecrated the temple.
desiccate
dry up
A tour of this smokehouse will give you an idea of how the pioneers used to desiccate food in order to
preserve it.
desolate
rob of joy; lay waste to; forsake
The bandits desolated the countryside, burning farms and carrying off the harvest.
desperado
reckless outlaw
Butch Cassidy was a bold desperado with a price on his head.
despicable
contemptible
Your despicable remarks call for no reply.
despise
scorn
I despise your attempts at a reconciliation at this time and refuse to meet you.
despoil
plunder
If you do not yield, I am afraid the enemy will despoil the countryside.
despondent
depressed; gloomy To the dismay of his parents, he became more and more depondent every day.
despotism
tyranny
The people rebelled against the despotism of the king.
destitute
extremely poor
The costs of the father's illness left the family destitute.
desultory
aimless; haphazard; digressing at random
In prison Malcolm X set himself the task of reading straight through the dictionary; to him reading was
purposeful, not desultory.
detached
emotionally removed; calm and objective; indifferent
A psychoanalyst must maintain a detached point of view and stay uninvolved with her patients' perssonal
lives.
determinate
having a fixed order of procedure; invariable
At the royal wedding, the procession of the nobles followed a determinate order of precedence.
deterrent
something that discourages; hindrance
Does the threat of capital punishment serve as a deterrent to potential killers?
detonation
explosion
The detonation of the bomb could be heard miles away.
detraction
slandering; aspersion
He is offended by your frequent detractions of his ability as a leader.
detrimental
harmful; damaging
Your acceptance of her support will ultimately prove detrimental rather than helpful to your cause.
deviate
turn away from
Do not deviate from the truth; you must face the facts.
devious
going astray; erratic
Your devious behavior in this matter puzzles me since you are usually direct and straightforward.
devoid
lacking
He was devoid of any personal desire for gain in his endeavor to secure improvement in the community.
devolve
deputize; pass to others
It devolved upon us, the survivors, to arrange peace terms with the enemy.
devotee
enthusiastic follower
A devotee of the opera, he bought season tickets every year.
devout
pious
The devout man prayed daily.
dexterous
skillful
The magician was so dexterous that we could not follow his movements as he performed his tricks.
diabolical
devilish
This scheme is so diabolical that I must reject it.
diadem
crown
The king's diadem was on display at the museum.
dialectic
art of debate
I am not skilled in dialectic and therefore, cannot answer your arguments as forcefully as I wish.
diaphanous
sheer; transparent
They saw the burglar clearly through the diaphanous curtain.
diatribe
bitter scolding; invective
During the lengthy diatribe delivered by his opponent he remained calm and self-controlled.
dichotomy
branching into two parts
The dichotomy of our legislative system provides us with many safeguards.
dictum
arthoritative and weighty statement
She repeated the statement as though it were the dictum of the most expert worker in the group.
didactic
teaching; instructional; preaching or moralizing
The didactic qualities of his poetry overshadow its literary qualities; the lesson he teaches is more
memorable than the lines.
die
device for stamping or impressing; mold
In coining pennies, workers at the old mint squeezed sheets of softened copper between two dies.
diffidence
shyness
You must overcome your diffidence if you intend to become a salesperson.
diffusion
wordiness; spreading in all directions like a gas
Your composition suffers from a diffusion of ideas; try to be more compact.
digression
wandering away from the subject
Nobody minded when Professor Renoir's lectures wandered away from their offical theme; his digressions
were always more fascinating than the topic of the day.
dilapidated
ruined because of neglect
We felt that the dilapidated building needed several coats of paint.
dilate
expand
In the dark, the pupils of your eyes dilate.
dilatory
delaying
Your dilatory tactics may compel me to cancel the contract.
dilemma
problem; choice of two unsatisfactory alternatives
In this dilemma, he knew no one to whom he could turn for advice.
dilettante
aimless follower of the arts; amateur; dabbler
He was not serious in his painting; he was rather a dilettante.
diligence
steadiness of effort; persisten hard work
Her employers were greatly impressed by her diligence and offered her a partnership in the firm.
dilute
make less concentrated; reduce in strength
She preferred her coffee diluted with milk.
diminution
lessening; reduction in size
The blockaders hoped to achieve victory as soon as the diminution of the enemy's supplies became serious.
dinghy
small boat (often ship's boat)
In the film Lifeboat, an ill-assorted group of passengers from a sunken ocean liner are marooned at sea in a
dinghy.
dingy
dull; not fresh; cheerless
Refusing to be depressed by her dingy studio apartment, Bea spent the weekend polishing the floors and
windows and hanging bright posters on the walls.
dint
means; effort
By dint of much hard work, the volunteers were able to control the raging forest fire.
din
continued loud noise
The din of the jackhammers outside the classroom window drowned out the lecturer's voice.
diorama
like-size, three-dimensional scene from nature or history
Because they dramatically pose actual stuffed animals against realistic painted landscapes, the dioramas at
the Museum of Natural History particularly impress high school biology students.
dire
disastrous
People ignored her dire predictions of an approaching depression.
dirge
lament with music
The funeral dirge stirred us to tears.
disabuse
correct a false impression; undeceive
I will attempt to diabuse you of your impression of my client's guilt; I know he is innocent.
disaffected
disloyal
Once the most loyal of Gorbachev's supporters, Shverdnaze found himself becoming increasingly
disaffected.
disapprobation
disapproval; condemnation
The conservative father viewed his daughter's radical boyfriend with disapprobation.
disarray
a disorderly or untidy state
After the New Year's party, the once orderly house was in total disarray.
disavowal
denial; disclaiming
His disavowal of his part in the conspiracy was not believed by the jury.
disband
dissolve; disperse
The chess club disbanded after its disastrous initial season.
disburse
pay out
When you disburse money on the company's behalf, be sure to get a receipt.
discernible
distinguishable; perceivable
The ships in the harbor were not discernible in the fog.
discerning
mentally quick and observant; having insight
Because he was considered the most discerning member of the firm, he was assigned the most difficult
cases.
disclaim
disown; renounce claim to
If I grant you this previlege, will you disclaim all other rights?
disclose
reveal
Although competitors offered him bribes, he refused to disclose any information about his company's
forthcoming product.
discombobulated
confused; discomposed
The novice square dancer became so discombobulated that he wandered into wrong set.
discomfit
put to rout; defeat; disconcert
This ruse will discomfit the enemy.
disconcert
confuse; upset; embarrass
The lawyer was disconcerted by the evidence produced by her adversary.
disconcolate
sad
The death of his wife left him disconsolate.
discordant
inharmonious; conflicting
She tried to unite the discordant factions.
discount
disregard
Be prepared to discount what he has to say about his ex-wife.
discourse
formal disscussion; conversation
The young Plato was drawn to the Agora to hear the philosophical discourse of Socrates and his followers.
discredit
defame; destroy confidence in; disbelieve The campaign was highly negative in tone; each candidate tried to discredit the other.
discrepancy
lack of consistency; difference
The police noticed some discrepancies in his description of the crime and did not believe him.
discrete
separate; unconnected
The universe is composed of discrete bodies.
discretion
prudence; ability to adjust actions to circumstances
Use your discretion in this matter and do not discuss it with anyone.
discrimination
ability to see differences; prejudice
They feared he lacked sufficient discrimination to judge complex works of modern art.
discursive
digressing; rambling
They were annoyed and bored by her discursive remarks.
disdain
treat with scorn or contempt
You make enemies of all you disdain.
disembark
go ashore; unload cargo from a ship
Before the passengers could disembark, they had to pick up their passports from the ship's purser.
disenfranchise
deprive of a civil right
The imposition if the poll tax effectively disenfranchised poor Southern blacks, who lost their right to vote.
disengage
uncouple; separate; disconnect
A standard movie routine involves the hero's desperate attempt to disengage a railroad car from a moving
train.
disfigure
mar the appearance of; spoil
An ugly frown disfigured his normally pleasant face.
disgorge
surrender something; efect; vomit
Unwilling to disgorge the cash he had stolen from the pension fund, the embezzler tried to run away.
disgruntle
make discontented
The passengers were disgruntled by the numerous delays.
dishearten
discourage
His failure to pass the bar exam disheartened him.
disheveled
untidy
Your disheveled appearance will hurt your chances in this interview.
disinclination
unwilingness
Some mornings I feel a great disinclination to get out of bed.
disingenuous
not naive; sophisticated Although he was young, his remarks indicated that he was disingenous.
disinterested
unprejudiced
The only disinterested person in the room was the judge.
disinter
dig up; unearth
They disinterred the body and held an autopsy.
disjointed
disconnected
His remarks were so disjointed that we could not follow his reasoning.
dislodge
remove (forcible)
Thrusting her fist up under the choking man's lower ribs, Margaret used the Heimlich maneuver to
dislodge the food caught in this throat.
dismantle
take apart
When the show closed, they dismantled the scenery before restoring it.
dismember
cut into small parts
When the Austrian Empire was dismembered, several new countries were established.
dismiss
eliminate from consideration; reject
Believing in John's love for her, she dismissed the notion that he might be unfaithful.
disparage
belittle
Do not disparage anyone's contribution; these little gifts add up to large sums.
disparate
basically different; unrelated
It is difficult, if not impossible, to organize these disparate elements into a coherent whole.
disparity
difference; condition of inequality
The disparity in their ages made no difference at all.
dispassionate
calm; impartial
In a dispassionate analysis of the problem, he carefully examined the causes of the conflict and proceeded
to suggest suitable remedies.
dispatch
speediness; prompt execution; message sent with all due speed
Young Napoleon defeated the enemy with all possible dispatch; he then sent a dispatch to headquarters,
informing his commander of the great victory.
dispel
scatter; drive away; cause to vanish
The bright sunlight eventually dispelled the morning mist.
disperse
scatter
The police fired tear gas into crowd to disperse the protesters.
dispirited
lacking in spirit
The coach used all the tricks at his command to buoy up the enthusiasm of his team, which I had become dispirited at the loss of the star player.
disport
amuse
The popularity of Florida as a winter resort is constantly increasing; each year, thousands more disport
themselves at Miami and Palm Beach.
disputatious
argumentative; fond of argument
People avoided discussing contemporary problems with him because of his disputatious manner.
disquisition
a formal systematic inquiry; an explanation of the results of a formal inquiry
In his disquisition, he outlined the steps he had taken in reaching his conclusions.
dissection
analysis; cutting apart in order to examine
The dissection of frogs on the laboratory is particularly unpleasant to some students.
dissemble
disguise; pretend
Even though John tried to dissemble his motive for taking modern dance, we all knew there not to dance
but to meet girls.
disseminate
scatter (like seeds)
The invention of the radio helped propagandists to disseminate their favorite doctrines very easily.
dissent
disagree
In a landmark Supreme Court decision, Justice Marshall dissented from the majority opinion.
dissertation
formal essay
In order to earn a graduate degree from many of our universities, a candidate is frequently required to
prepare a dissertation on some scholarly subject.
dissident
dissenting; rebellious
In the purge that followed the student demonstrations at Tianamen Square, the government hunted down
the dissident students and their supporters.
dissimulate
pretend; conceal by feigning
She tried to dissimulate her grief by her exuberant attitude.
dissipate
squander
The young man quickly dissipated his inheritance and was soon broke.
dissolution
disintegration; looseness in morals
The profligacy and dissolution of life in Caligula's Rome appall some historians.
dissonance
discord
Some contemporary musicians deliberately use dissonance to achieve certain effects.
dissuade
advise against
He could not dissuade his friend from joining the conspirators.
distant
reserved or aloof; cold in manner His distant greeting made me feel unwelcome from the start.
distend
expand;swell out
I can tell when he is under stress by the way the veins distend on his forehead.
distill
purify; refine; concentrate
A moonshiner distills mash into whiskey; an epigrammatist distills thoughts into quips.
distortion
twisting out of shape
It is difficult to believe the newspaper accounts of this event because of the distortions and exaggerations
of the reporters.
distrait
absentminded
Because of his concentration on the problem, the professor often appeared distrait and unconcerned about
routine.
distraught
upset; distracted by anxiety
The distraught parents frantically searched the ravine for their lost child.
diurnal
daily
A farmer cannot neglect his diurnal tasks at any time; cows, for example, must be milked regularly.
diva
operatic singer; prima donna
Although world famous as a diva, she did not indulge in fits of temerament.
divergent
differing; deviating
The two witnesses presented the jury with remarkably divergent accounts of the same epipode.
diverge
vary; go in different directionsfrom the same point
The spokes of the wheel diverge from the hub.
diverse
differing in some characteristics; various
There are diverse ways of approaching this problem.
diversion
act of turning aside; pastime
After studying for several hours, he needed a diversion from work.
diversity
variety; dissimilitude
The diversity of colleges in this country indicates that many levels of ability are being served.
divest
strip; deprive
He was divested of his power to act and could no longer govern.
divine
perceive intuitively; foresee the future
Nothing infuriated Tom more than Aunt Polly's ability to divine when he was not telling the truth.
divulge
reveal
I will not tell you this news because I am sure you will divulge it prematurely.
docile
obedient; easily managed
As docile as he seems today, that old lion was once a ferocious, snarling beast.
docket
program asfor trial; book where such entries are made
The case of Smith v. Jones was entered in the docket for July 15.
doctrinaire
unable to compromise about points of doctrine; dogmatic; unyielding
Weng had hoped that the student-led democracy movement might bring about change in China, but the
repressive response of the doctrinaire hard-liners crushed his dreams of democracy.
document
provide written evidence
She kept all the receipts from her business trip in order to document her expenses for the firm.
doddering
shaky; infirm from old age
Although he is not as yet a doddering and senile old man, his ideas and opinions no longer can merit the
respect we gave them years ago.
doff
take off
A gentleman used to doff his hat to a lady.
dogged
determined;stubborn
Les Miserables tells of Inspector Javert's long, dogged pursuit of the criminal Jean Valjean.
doggerel
poorverse
Although we find occasional snatches of genuine poetry in her work, most of her writing is mere doggerel.
dogmatic
positive; arbitrary
Do not be so dogmatic about that statement; it can be easily refuted.
doldrums
blues; listlessness; slack period
Once the excitement of meeting her deadline was over, she found herself in the doldrums.
dolorous
sorrowfrl
He found the dolorous lamentations of the bereaved family emotionally disturbing and he left as quickly as
he could.
dolt
stupid person
I thought I was talking to a mature audience; instead, I find myself addressing a pack of dolts.
domicile
home
Althoughhis legal domicile was in New York City, his work kept him away from his residence for many
years.
domineer
rule over tyrannically
Students prefer teachers who guide, not ones who domineer.
don
put on
When Clark Kent had to don his Superman outfit, he changed clothes in a convenient phone booth.
dormant
sleeping; lethargic; torpid
Sometimes dormant talents in our friends surprise those of us who never realize how gifted our
acquaintances really are.
dormer
window projecting from roof
In remodeling the attic into a bedroom, we decided that we needed to put in dormers to provide sufficient
ventilation for the new room.
dorsal
relating to the back of an animal
A shark may be identified by its dorsal fin, which projects above the surface of the ocean.
dossier
file of documents on a subject
Ordered by J. Edgar Hoover to investigate the senator, the FBI compiled a complete dossier.
dotage
senility
In his dotage, the old man bored us with long tales of events in his childhood.
dote
be excessively fond of; show signs of mental decline
Not only grandmothers bore you with stories about their brilliant grandchildren; grandfathers dote on the
littel rascals, too.
dour
sullen; stubborn
The man was dour abd taciturn.
douse
plunge into water; drench; extinguish
They doused each other with hoses and balloons.
dowdy
slovenly; untidy
She tried to change her dowdy image by buying a fashionable new wardrobe.
downcast
disheartened; sad
Cheerful and optimistic by nature, Beth was never downcast despite the difficulties she faced.
drab
dull; lacking color; cheerless
The Dutch woman's drab winter coat contrasted with the distinctive, colorful native costume she wore
beneath it.
dregs
sediment; worthless residue
David poured the wine carefully to avoid stirring up the dregs.
droll
queer and amusing
He was a popular guest because his droll anecdotes were always entertaining.
drone
idle person; male bee
Content to let his wife support him, the would-be writer was in reality nothing but a drone.
drone
talk dully; buzz or murmur like a bee
On a gorgeous day, who wants to be stuck in a classroom listening to the teacher drone?
dross
waste matter; worhtless impurities
Many methods have been devised to separate the valuable metal from the dross.
drudgery
menial work
Cinderella's fairy godmother rescued her from a life of drudgery.
dubious
doubtful
He has the dubious distinction of being the lowest man in his class.
ductility
malleability; flexibility; ability to be drawn out
Copper wire has many industrial uses because of its extreme ductility.
dulcet
sweet sounding
The dulcet sounds of the birds at dawn were soon drowned out by the roar of traffic passing our motel.
dupe
someone easily fooled
While the gullible Watson often was made a dupe by unscrupulous parties, Sherlock Holmes was far more
difficult to fool.
duress
forcible restraint, especially unlawfully
The hostages were held under duress until the prisoners' demands were met.
dutiful
respectful; obedient
The dutiful child grew up to be a conscientious adult aware of his civic obligations.
dwindle
shrink; reduce
They spent so much money that their funds dwindled to nothing.
dynamic
active; efficient
A dynamic government is necessary to meet the demands of a changing society.
dyspeptic
suffering from indigestion
All the talk about rich food made him feel dyspeptic.
earthy
unrefined; coarse
His earthy remarks often embarrassed the women in the audience.
ebb
recede; lessen
His fortunes began to ebb during the recession.
ebullient
showing excitement; overflowing with enthusiasm His ebullient nature could not be repressed.
eccentricity
oddity; idiosyncrasy
Some of his friends tried to account for his rudeness to strangers as the eccentricity of genius.
eccentric
odd; whimsical; irregular
The comet passed close by the earth in its eccentric orbit.
ecclesiastic
pertaining to the church
The minister donned his ecclesiastic garb and walked to the pulpit.
eclectic
selective; composed of elements drawn from disparate sources
His style of interior decoration was eclectic: bits and pieces of furnishings from widely divergent periods,
strikingly juxtaposed to create a unique color.
eclipse
darken; extinguish; surpass
The new stock market high eclipsed the previous record set in 1985.
ecologist
person concerned with the interrelationship between living organisms and their environment
The ecologist was concerned that the new dam would upset the natural balance of the creatures living in
Glen Canyon.
economy
efficiency or conciseness in using something
Reading the epigrams of Pope, I admire the economy of his verse: in few words he conveys worlds of
meaning.
ecstasy
rapture, joy; any overpowering emotion
The announcement that the war had ended brought on an ecstasy that resulted in many uncontrolled
celebrations.
eddy
swirling current of water, air, etc.
The water in the tide pool was still, except for an occasional eddy.
edify
instruct; correct morally
Although his purpose was to edify and not to entertain his audience, many of his listeners were amused
and not enlightened.
eerie
weird
In that eerie setting, it was easy to believe in ghosts and other supernatural beings.
efface
rub out
The coin had been handled so many times that its data had been effaced.
effectual
efficient
If we are to succeed, we must seek effectual means of securing our goals.
effeminate
having womanly traits
His voice was high-pitched and effeminate.
effervescence
inner excitement; exuberance
Nothing depressed her for long; her natural effervescence soon reasserted itself.
effete
worn out; exhausted; barren
The literature of the age reflected the effete condition of the writers; no new ideas were forthcoming.
efficacy
power to produce desired effect
The efficacy of this drug depends on the regularity of the dosage.
effigy
dummy
The mob showed its irritation by hanging the judge in effigy.
effluvium
noxious smell
Air pollution has become a serious problem in our major cities; the effluvium and the poisons in the air are
hazards to life.
effrontery
shameless boldness
She had the effrontery to insult the guest.
effusion
pouring forth
The critics objected to her literary effusion because it was too flowery.
effusive
pouring forth; gushing
Her effusive manner of greeting her friends finally began to irritate them.
egoism
excessive interest in one's self; belief that one should be interested in one's self rather than in
others
His egoism prevented him from seeing the needs of his colleagues.
egotism
conceit; vanity
She thought so much of herself that we found her egotism unwarranted and irritating.
egregious
notorious; conspicuously bad; shocking
She was an egregious liar; we all knew better than to believe a word she said.
egress
exit
Barnum's sign "To the Egress" fooled many people who thought they were going to see an animal and
instead found themselves in the street.
ejaculation
exclamation
He could not repress an ejaculation of surprise when he heard the news.
elaboration
addition of details; intricacy
Tell what happened simply, without any elaboration.
elated
overjoyed; in high spirits
Grinning from ear to ear, Bonnie Blair was clearly elated by her Olympic victory.
elegy
poem or song expressing lamentation On the death of Edward King, Milton composed the elegy "Lycidas."
elicit
draw out by discussion
The detectives tried to elicit where he had hidden his loot.
elixir
cure-all; something invigorating
The news of her chance to go abroad acted on her like an elixir.
ellipsis
omission of words from a text
Sometimes an ellipsis can lead to a dangling modifier, as in the sentence "Once dressed, you should
refrigerate the potato salad.
elliptical
oval; ambiguous, either purposely or because key words have been left out
An elliptical billiad ball wobbles because it is not perfectly round; an elliptical remark baffles because it is
not perfectly clear.
eloquence
expressiveness; persuasive speech
The crowds were stirred by Martin Luther King's eloquence.
elucidate
explain; enlighten
He was called upon to elucidate the disputed points in his article.
elusive
evasive; baffling; hard to grasp
His elusive dreams of wealth were costly to those of his friends who supported him financially.
elysian
relating to paradise; blissful
An afternoon sail on the bay was for her an elysian journey.
emaciated
thin and wasted
His long period of starvation had left him emaciated.
emanate
issue forth
A strong odor of sulfur emanated from the spring.
emancipate
set free
At first, the attempts of the Abolitioninst to emancipate the slaves were unpopular in New England as well
as in the South.
embargo
ban on commerce or other activity
As a result of the embargo, trade with colonies was at a standstill.
embark
commence; go on board a boat; begin a journey
In devoting herself to the study of gorillas, Dian Fossey embarked on a course of action that was to cost
her her life.
embed
enclose; place in something
Tales of actual historical figures like King Alfred have become embedded in legends.
embellish
adorn My mother-in-law's stories about her journey from Russia made us laugh because she embellished the bare
facts of her travels with humourous acecdotes.
embezzlement
stealing
The bank teller confessed his embezzlement of the funds.
embroil
throw into confusion
He became embroiled in the heated discussion when he tried to arbitrate the dispute.
embryonic
undeveloped; rudimentary
The evil of class and race hatred must be eliminated while it is still in an embryonic state; otherwise, it may
grow to dangerous proportions.
emendation
correction of errors; improvement
Please initial all the emendations you have made in this contract.
emend
correct, usually a text
The critic emended the book by retranslating several passages.
emetic
substance causing vomiting
The use of an emetic like mustard is useful in cases of poisoning.
eminent
high; lofty
After his appointment to this emiment position, he seldom had time for his former friends.
emissary
agent; messenger
The secretary of State was sent as the President's special emissary to the conference on disarmament.
emollient
soothing or softening remedy
He applied an emollient to the inflamed area.
emolument
salary; compensation
In addition to the emolument this position offers, you must consider the social prestige it carries with it.
empathy
ability to identify with another's feelings, ideas, etc
What made Ann such a fine counselor was her empathy, her ability to put herself in her client's place and
feel his emotions as if they were her own.
empirical
based on experience
He distrusted hunches and intuitive flashes; he placed his reliance entirely on empirical data.
emulate
rival; imitate
As long as our political leaders emulate the virtues of the great leaders of this country, we shall flourish.
enamored
in love
Narcissus became enamored of his own beauty.
enclave
territory enclosed within an alien land
The Vatican is an independent enclave in Italy.
encomiastic
praising; eulogistic
Some critics believe that his encomiastic statements about Napoleon were inspired by his desire for
material advancement rather than by an honest belief in the Emperor's genius.
encomium
high praise; eulogy
Uneasy with the encomiums expressed by his supporters, Tolkien felt unworthy of such high praise.
encompass
surround
Although we were encompassed by enemy forces, we were cheerful for we were well stocked and could
withstand a siege until our allies joined us.
encroachment
gradual intrusion
The encroachment of the factories upon the neighborhood lowered the value of the real estate.
encumber
burden
Some people encumber themselves with too much luggage, when they take short trips.
endearment
fond word or act
Your gifts and endearments cannot make me forget your earlier insolence.
endemic
prevailinig among a specific group of people or in a specific are or country
This disease is endemic in this part of the world; more than 80 percent of the population are at one time or
another affected by it.
endorse
approve; support
Everyone waited to see which one of the rival candidates for the city council the mayor would endorse.
endue
provide with some quality; endow
He was endued with a lion's courage.
enduring
lasting; surviving
Keats believed in the enduring power of great art, which outlast its creator's brief lives.
energize
invigorate; make forceful and active
Rather than exhausting Maggie, dancing energized her.
enervate
weaken
She was slow to recover from her illness; even a short walk to the window evervated her.
enfranchise
admit to the rights of citizenship (especially the right to vote)
Although blacks were enfranchised shortly after the Civil War, women did not receive the right to vote
until 1920.
engage
attract; hire; pledge oneself; confront
"Your case has engaged my interest, my lord," said Holmes, "You many engage my services."
engender
cause; produce
To receive praise for real accomplishments engenders self-confidence in a child.
engross
occupy fully
John was so engrossed in his studies that he did not hear his mother call.
enhance
advance; improve
Your chances for promotion in this department will be enhanced if you take some more courses in evening
school.
enigmatic
obscure; puzzling
Many have sought to fathom the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa.
enigma
puzzle
Depite all attempts to decipher the code, it remained an enigma.
enjoin
command; order; forbid
The owners of the company asked the court to enjoin the union from picketing the plant.
enmity
ill will; hatred
At Camp David President Carter labored to bring an end to the enmity that prevented Egypt and Israel
from living in peace.
ennui
boredom
The monotonous routine of hopital life induced a feeling of ennui which made him moody and irritable.
enormity
hugeness (in a bad sense)
He did not realize the enormity of his crime until he saw what suffering he had caused.
enrapture
please intensely
The audience was enraptured by the freshness of the voices and the excellent orchestration.
ensconce
settle comfortably
The parents thought that their children were ensconced safely in the private school and decided to leave
for Europe.
ensue
follow
The evils that ensued were the direct result of the miscalculations of the leaders.
enthrall
capture; enslave
From the moment he saw her picture, he was enthralled by her beauty.
entice
lure; attract; tempt
She always tried to entice her baby brother into mischief.
entity
real being
As soon as the charter was adopted, the United Nations became an entity and had to be considered as a
factor in world diplomacy.
entomology
study of insects
I found entomology the least interesting part of my course in biology; studying insects bored me.
entrance
put under a spell; carry away with emotion
Shafts of sunlight on a wall could entrance her and leave her spellbound.
entreat
plead; ask earnestly
She entreated her father to let her stay out till midnight.
entree
entrance; a way in
Because of his wealth and social position, he had entree into the most exclusive circles.
entrepreneur
businessperson; contractor
Opponents of our present tax program argue that it discourages entrepreneurs from trying new fields of
business activity.
enumerate
list; mention one by one
Huck hung his head in shame as Miss Watson enumerated his many flaws.
enunciate
speak distinctly
How will people understand you if you do not enunciate?
environ
enclose; surround
Paris was environed by a wall
eon
long period of time; an age
It has taken eons for our civilization to develop.
epaulet
ornament worn on the shoulder (of a uniform, etc.)
The shoulder loops on Sam Spade's trench coat are the nonmilitary counterparts of the fringed epaulets on
George Washington's uniform.
ephemeral
short-lived; fleeting
The mayfly is an ephemeral creature.
epicure
connoisseur of food and drink
epicures frequent this restaurant because it features exotic wines and dishes.
epic
long heroic poem, novel, or similar work of art
Kurosawa's film Seven Samurai is an epic portraying the struggle of seven warriors to destroy a band of
robbers.
epigram
witty thought or saying, usually short
Poor Richard's epigrams made Benjamin Franklin famous.
epilogue
short speech at conclusion of dramatic work
The audience was so disappointed in the play that many did not remain to hear the epilogue.
episodic
loosely connected
Though he tried to follow the plot of Gravity's Rainbow, John found the novel too episodic.
epistemologist
philosopher who studies the nature of knowledge
"What is more important, a knowledge of nature of the nature of knowledge?" the epistemologist asked the
naturalist.
epitaph
inscription in memory of a dead person
In his will, he dictated the epitaph he wanted placed on his tombstone.
epithet
word or phrase characteristically used to describe a person or thing
So many kings of France were named Charles that modern students need epithets to tell them apart:
Charles the Wise, for example, was someone far different from Charles the Fat.
epitome
perfect example or embodiment
Singing "I am the very model of a modern Major-General" in The Pirates of Penzance, Major-General
Stanley proclaimed himself the epitome of an officer and a gentleman.
epoch
period of time
The glacial epoch lasted for thousands of years.
equable
tranquil; steady; uniform
After the hot summers and cold winters of New England, he found the climate of the West Indies equable
and pleasant.
equanimity
calmness of temperament
In his later years, he could look upon the foolishness of the world with equanimity and humor.
equestrian
rider on horseback
These paths in the park are reserved for equestrians and their steeds.
equilibrium
balance
After the divorce, he needed some time to regain his equilibrium.
equine
resembling a horse
His long, bony face had an equine look to it.
equinox
period of equal days and nights; the beginning of spring and autumn
The vernal equinox is usually marked by heavy rainstorms.
equipoise
balance; balancing force; equilibrium
The high-wire acrobat used his pole as an equipose to overcome the swaying caused by the wind.
equitable
fair; impartial
I am seeking an equitable solution to this dispute, one which will be fair and acceptable to both sides.
equity
fairness; justice
Our courts guarantee equity to all.
equivocal
doubtful; ambiguous
Macbeth was misled by the equivocal statements of the witches.
equivocate
lie; mislead; attempt to conceal the truth
The audience saw through his attempts to equivocate on the subject under discussion and ridiculed his
remarks.
erode
eat away
The limestone was eroded by the dripping water
erotic
pertaining to passionate love
The erotic passages in this novel should be removed as they are merely pornographic.
errant
wandering
Many a charming tale has been written about the knights-errant who helped the weak and punished the
guilty during the Age of Chivalry.
erratic
odd; unpredictable
Investors become anxious when the stock market appears erratic.
erroneous
mistaken; wrong
I thought my answer was correct, but it was erroneous.
erudite
learned; scholarly
His erudite writing was difficult to read because of the many allusions which were unfamiliar to most
readers.
escapade
prank; flighty conduct
The headmaster could not regard this latest escapade as a boyish joke and expelled the young man.
eschew
avoid
He tried to eschew all display of temper.
esoteric
hard to understand; known only to the chosen few
New Yorker short stories often include esoteric allusions to obscure people and events: the implication is if
you are in the in-crowd, you'll get the reference; if you come from Cleveland, you won't.
espionage
spying
In order to maintain its power, the government developed a system of espionage that penetrated every
hosehold.
espouse
adopt; support
She was always ready to espouse a worthy cause.
esteem
repect; value; judge
I esteem Ezra Pound both for his exciting poetry and for his acute comments on literature.
estranged
separated; alienated
The estranged wife sought a divorce.
ethereal
light; heavenly; fine
Visitors were impressed by her ethereal beauty, her delicate charm.
ethnic
relating to races
Intolerance between ethnic groups is deplorable and usually is based on lack of information.
ethnology
study of mankind
Sociology is one aspect of the science of ethnology.
ethos
underlying character of a culture, group, etc.
Seeing how tenderly Spaniards treated her small daughter made author Barbara Kingsolver aware of how
greatly children were valued in the Spanish ethos.
etymology
study of word parts
A knowledge of etymology can help you on many English tests.
eugenic
pertaining to the improvement of race
It is easier to apply eugenic principles to the raising of racehorses or prize cattle than t the development of
human beings.
eulogistic
praising
To everyone's surprise, the speech was eulogistic rather than critical in tone.
eulogy
praise
All the eulogies of his friends could not remove the sting of the calumny heaped upon him by his enemies.
euphemism
mild expression in place of an unpleasant one
The expression "he passed away" is a euphemism for "he died."
euphony
sweet sound
Noted for its euphony even when it is spoken, the Italian language is particularly pleasing to the ear when
sung.
euphoria
feeling of exaggerated (or unfounded) well-being
"Jill's been on cloud nine ever since Jacj asked her out," said Betty, dismissing her friend's euphoria.
euthanasia
mercy killing
Many people support euthanasia for terminally ill patients who wish to die.
evanescent
fleeting; vanishing
For a brief moment, the entire skyline was bathed in an orange-red hue in the evanescent rays of the
sunset.
evasive
not frank; eluding
Your evasive answers convinced the judge that you were witholding important evidence.
evenhanded
impartial; fair
Do men and women receive evenhanded treatment from their teachers, or, as recent studies suggest, do teachers pay more attention to male students than to females?
evince
show clearly
When he tried to answer the questions, he evinced his ignorance of the subject matter.
evoke
call forth
He evoked much criticism by his hostile manner.
ewe
female sheep
The flock of sheep was made up of dozens of ewes, together with only a handful of rams.
exacerbate
worsen; embitter
This latest arrest will exacerbate the already existing discontent of the people and enrage them.
exacting
extremely demanding
The colonies rebelled against the exacting financial claims of the mother country.
exalt
raise in rank or dignity; praise
The actor Alec Guinness was exalted to the rank of knighthood by the Queen; he now is known as Sir Alec
Guinness.
exasperate
vex
Johnny often exasperates his mother with his pranks.
excerpt
selected passage (written or musical)
The cinematic equivalent of an excerpt from a novel is a clip from a film.
exchequer
treasury
He had been Chancellor of the exchequer before his promotion to the office he now holds.
excise
cut away; cut out
When you excise the dead and dying limbs of a tree, you not only improve its appearance but also enhance
its chances of bearing fruit.
excoriate
flay; abrade
These shoes are so ill-fitting that they will excoriate the feet and create blisters.
exculpate
clear from blame
He was exculpated of the crime when the real criminal confessed.
execrable
very bad
The anecdote was in execrable taste and shocked the audience.
execrate
curse; express abhorrence for
The world execrates the memory of Hitler and hopes that genocide will never again be the policy of any
nation.
execute
put into effect; carry out
The choreographer wanted to see how well she could execute a pirouette.
exegesis
explanation, especially of biblical passages
I can follow your exegesis of this passage to a limited degree; some of your reasoning eludes me.
exemplary
serving as a model; outstanding
Her exemplary behavior was praised at commencement.
exemplify
show by example; furnish an example
Three-time winner of the Super Bowl, Joe Montana exemplifies the ideal quarterback.
exertion
effort; expenditure of much physical work
The exertion involved in unscrewing the rusty bolt left her exhausted.
exhort
urge
The evangelist will exhort all sinners in his audience to reform.
exhume
dig out of the ground; remove from a grave
Because of the rumor that he had been poisoned, his body was exhumed in order that an autopsy might be
performed.
exigency
urgent situation
In this exigency, we must look for aid from our allies.
exiguous
small; minute
Grass grew there, an exiguous outcropping among the rocks.
existential
pertaining to existence; pertaining to the philosophy of existentialism
To the existential philosopher, human reason is inadequate to explain an irrational, meaningless universe.
exodus
departure
The exodus from the hot and stuffy city was particularly noticeable on Friday evenings.
exonerate
acquit; exculpate
I am sure this letter naming the actual culprit will exonerate you.
exorbitant
excessive
The people grumbled at his exorbitant prices but paid them because he had a monopoly.
exorcise
drive our evil spirits
By incantation and prayer, the medicine man sought to exorcise the evil spirits that had taken possession of
the young warrior.
exotic
not native; strange
Because of his exotic headdress, he was followed in the streets by small children who laughed at his strange
appearance.
expatiate
talk at length
At this time, please give us a brief resume of your work; we shall permit you to expatiate later.
expatriate
exile; someone who has withdrawn from his native land
Henry James was an American expatriate who settled in England.
expedient
suitable; practical; politic
A pragmatic politician, he was guided by what was expedient rather than by what was ethical.
expedite
hasten
We hope you will be able to expedite delivery because of our tight schedule.
expertise
specialized knowledge; expert skill
Although she was knowledgeable in a number of fields, she was hired for her particular expertise in
computer programming.
expiate
make amends for (a sin)
He tried to expiate his crimes by a full confession to the authorities.
expletive
interjection; profane oath
The sergeant's remarks were filled with expletives that offended the new recruits.
explicate
explain; interpret; clarify
Harry Levin explicated James Joyce's novels with such clarity that even Finnegan's Wake seemed
comprehensible to his students.
explicit
totally clear; definite; outspoken
Don't just hint around that you're dissatisfied: be explicit about what's bugging you.
exploit
deed or action, particularly a brave deed
Raoul Wallenberg was noted for his exploits in rescuing Jews from Hitler's forces.
exploit
make use of, sometimes unjustly
Caesar Chavez fought attempts to exploit migrant farmworkers in California.
expository
explanatory; serving to explain
The mannual that came with my VCR was no masterpiece of expository prose: its explanations were so
garbled that I couldn't even figure out how to rewind a tape.
expostulation
protest; remonstrance
Despite the teacher's scoldings and expostulations, the class remained unruly.
exposure
risk, particularly of being exposed to disease or to the elements; unmasking; act of laying
something open
Exposure to sun and wind had dried out her hair and weathered her face.
expunge
cancel; remove
If you behave, I will expunge this notation from your record.
expurgate
clean; remove offensive parts of a book
The editors felt that certain passages in the book had to be expurgated before it could be used in the
classroom.
extant
still in existence
Although the authorities suppressed the book, many copies are extant and may be purchased at exorbitant prices.
extemporaneous
not planned; impromtu
Because his extemporaneous remarks were misinterpreted, he decided to write all his speeches in advance.
extenuate
weaken; mitigate
It is easier for us to extenuate our own shortcomings than those of others.
extirpate
root up
The Salem witch trials were a misguided attempt to extirpate superstition and heresy.
extol
praise; glorify
The astronauts were extolled as the pioneers of the Space Age.
extort
wring from; get money by threats, etc.
The blackmailer extorted money from his victim.
extradition
surrender of prisoner by one state to another
The lawyers opposed the extradition of their client on the grounds that for more than five years he had
been a model citizen.
extraneous
not essential; external
Do not pad your paper with extraneous matters; stick to essential items only.
extrapolation
projection; conjecture
Based on their extrapolation from the results of the primaries on Super Tuesday, the networks predicted
that George Bush would be the Republican candidate for the presidency.
extricate
free; disentangle
He found that he could not extricate himself from the trap.
extrinsic
external; not inherent; foreign
Do not be fooled by extrinsic causes. We must look for the intrinsic reason.
extrovert
person interested mostly in external objects and actions
A good salesperson in usually an extrovert, who likes to mingle with people.
extrude
force or push out
Much pressure is required to extrude these plastics.
exuberant
abundant; effusive; lavish
His speeches were famous for his exuberant language and vivid imagery.
exude
discharge; give forth
The maple syrup is obtained from the sap that the trees exude in early spring.
exult
rejoice
We exulted when our team won the victory.
fabricate
build; lie
Because of the child's tendency to fabricate, we had trouble believing her.
facade
front of the building
The facade of the church had often been photographed by tourists because it was more interesting than
the rear.
facetious
humorous; jocular
Your facetious remarks are not appropriate at this serious moment.
facet
small plane surface (of a gem); a side
The stonecutter decided to improve the rough diamond by providing it with several facets.
facile
easy; expert
Because he was a facile speaker, he never refused a request to address an organization.
facilitate
make less difficult
He tried to facilitate repayment of the loan by getting a part-time job.
facsimilie
copy
Many museums sell facsimilies of the works of art on display.
faction
party; clique; dissension
The quarrels and bickering of the two small factions within the club disturbed the majority of the
members.
factious
inclined to form factions; causing dissension.
Your statement is factious and will upset the harmony that now exists.
factitous
artificial; sham
Hollywood actresses often create factitious tears by using glycerine.
factotum
handyman; person who does all kinds of work
Although we had hired him as a messenger, we soon began to use him as a general factotum around the
office.
faculty
mental or bodily powers; teaching staff
As he grew old, he feared he might lose his faculties and become useless to his employer.
fallacious
misleading
Your reasoning must be fallacious because it leads to a ridiculous answer.
fallible
liable to err
I know I am fallible, but I feel confident that I am right this time.
fallow
plowed but sowed; uncultivated Farmers have learned that it is advisable to permit land to le fallow every few years.
falter
hesitate
When told to dive off the high board, she did not falter, but proceeded at once.
fanaticism
excessive zeal
The leader of the group was held responsible even though he could not control the fanaticism of his
followers.
fancied
imagined; unreal
You are resenting fancied insults. No one has ever said such things about you.
fancier
breeder or dealer of animals
The dog fancier exhibited her prize collie at the annual Kennel Club show.
fanciful
whimsical; visionary
This is a fanciful scheme because it does not consider the facts.
fanfare
call by bugles or trumpets; showy display
The exposition was opened with fanfare of trumpets and the firing of cannon.
fantastic
unreal; grotesque; whimsical
Your fears are fantastic because no such animal as you have described exists.
farce
broad comedy; mockery
Nothing went right; the entire interview degenerated into a farce.
fastidious
difficult to please; squeamish
The waitresses disliked serving him dinner because of his very fastidious taste.
fatalism
belief that events are determined by forces beyond one's control
With fatalism, he accepted the hardships that beset him.
fathom
comprehend; investigate
I find his motives impossible to fathom.
fatuous
foolish; inane
He is far too intelligent to utter such fatuous remarks.
fauna
animals of a period or region
The scientist could visualize the fauna of the period by examining the skeletal remains and the fossils.
fawning
courting favor by cringing and flattering
She was constantly surrounded by a group of fawning admirers who had hoped to win some favor.
faze
disconcert; dismay
No crisis could faze the resourceful hotel manager.
feasible
practical This is an entirely feasible proposal. I suggest we adopt it.
febrile
feverish
In his febrile condition, he was subject to nightmares and hallucinations.
feckless
feeble, ineffective; unthinking, irresponsible
Einstein was noted for his extraordinary inspirations; on the other hand, he was noted for being feckless in
his daily chores.
fecundity
fertility; fruitfulness
The fecundity of his mind is illustrated by the many vivid images in his poems.
feign
pretend
Lady Macbeth feigned illness in the courtyard although she was actually healthy.
feint
trick; shift; sham blow
The boxer was fooled by his opponent's feint and dropped his guard.
felicitous
apt; suitably expressed; well chosen
He was famous for his felicitous remarks and was called upon to serve as master-of-ceremonies at many
banquet.
felicity
happines; appropriateness (of a remark, choice, etc.)
She wrote a note to the newlyweds wishing them great felicity in their wedded life.
fell
cruel; deadly
The newspapers told of the tragic spread of the fell disease
felon
person convicted of a grave crime
A convicted felon loses the right to vote
ferment
agitation; commotion
With the breakup of the Soviet Union, much of Eastern Europe was in a state of ferment.
ferret
drive or hunt out of hiding
She was ferreted out their secret.
fervent
ardent; hot
She felt that the fervent praise was excessive and somewhat undeserved.
fervid
ardent
Her fervid enthusiasm inspired all of us to undertake the dangerous mission.
fervor
glowing ardor
Their kiss was full of the fervor of first love.
fester
generate pus
When her finger began to fester, the doctor lanced it and removed the splinter that had caused the pus to
form.
fester
rankle, produce irritation or resentment
Joe's insult festered in Anne's mind for days, and made her too angry to speak to him.
festive
joyous; celebratory
Their wedding in the park was a festive occasion.
fete
honor at a festival
The returning hero was feted at a community supper and dance.
fetid
malodorous
The neglected wound became fetid.
fetter
shackle
The prisoner was fettered to the wall.
fiasco
total failure
Our ambitious venture ended in a fiasco and we were forced to flee.
fiat
command
I cannot accept government by fiat; I feel that I must be consulted.
fickle
changeable; faithless
He discovered his supposedly faithful girlfriend was fickle
fictitious
imaginary
Although this book purports to be a biography of George Washington, many of the incidents are fictitious.
fidelity
loyalty
A dog's fidelity to its owner is one of the reasons why that animal is a favorite household pet.
figment
invention; imaginary thing
That incident never took place; it is a figment of your imagination.
figurative
not literal, but metaphorical; using a figure of speech
"To lose one's marbles" is a figurative expression; if you're told Jack has lost his marbles, no one expects
you to rush out to buy him a replacement set.
figurine
small ornamental statuette
In the Maltese Falcon, Sam Spade was hired to trace the missing figurine of a black bird.
filch
steal
The boys filched apples from the fruit stand.
filial
pertaining to a son or daughter
Many children forget their filial obligations and disregard the wishes of their parents.
filibuster
block legislation by making long speeches
Even though we disapproved of Senator Foghorn's political goals, we were impressed by his ability to
filibuster endlessly to keep an issue from coming to a vote.
filigree
delicate, lacelike metalwork
The pendant with gold filigree that she wore round her neck trembled with each breath she took.
finale
conclusion
It is not until we reach the finale of this play that we can understand the author's message.
finesse
delicate skill
The finesse and adroitness of the surgeon impressed the observers in the operating room.
finicky
too particular; fussy
The old lady was finicky about her food and ate very little.
finite
limited
It is difficult for humanity with its finite existence to grasp the infinite.
firebrand
hothead; troublemaker
The police triedto keep track of all the local firebrands when the President came to town.
fissure
crevice
The mountain climbers secured footholds in tiny fissures in the rock.
fitful
spasmodic; intermittent
After several fitful attempts, he decided to postpone the start of the project until he felt more energetic.
flaccid
flabby
His sedentary life had left him with flaccid muscles.
flagrant
conspicuously wicked
We cannot condone such flagrant violations of the rules.
flag
droop; grow feeble
When the opposing hockey team scored its third goal only minutes into the first period, the home team's
spirits flagged.
flail
thresh grain by hand; strike or slap; toss about
In medieval times, warriors flailed their foe with a metal ball attached to a handle.
flair
talent
She has an uncanny flair for discovering new artists before the public has become aware of their existence.
flamboyant
ornate
Modern architecture has discarded the flamboyant trimming on buildings and emphasizes simplicity of line.
flaunt
display ostentatiously
She is not the one of those actresses who flaunt their physical charms; she can act.
flay
strip off skin; plunder
The criminal was condemned to be flayed alive.
fleck
spot
Her cheeks flecked with tears, were testimony to the hours of weeping.
fledgling
inexperienced
While it is necessary to provide these fledgling poets with an opportunity to present their work, it is not
essential that we admire everything they write.
fleece
rob; plunder
The tricksters fleeced him of his inheritance.
fleece
wool coat of a sheep
They shear sheep of their fleece, which they then comb into separate strands of wool.
flick
light stroke as with a whip
The horse needed no encouragement; only one flick of the whip was all the jockey had to apply to get the
animal to run at top speed.
flinch
hesitate; shrink
He did not flinch in the face of danger but fought back bravely.
flippancy
trifling gaiety
Your flippancy at this serious moment is offensive.
flit
fly; dart lightly; pass swiftly by
Like a bee flitting from flower to flower, Rose flitted from one boyfriend to the next.
floe
mass of floating ice
The ship made slow progress as it battered its way through the ice floes.
flora
plants of a region or era
Because she was a botanist, she spent most of her time studying the flora of the desert.
florid
flowery; ruddy
His complexion was even more florid than usual because of his anger.
flotsam
drifting wreckage
Beachcombers eke out a living by salvaging the flotsam and jetsam of the sea.
flourish
grow well; prosper; make sweeping gestures
The orange trees flourished in the sun.
flout
reject; mock
The headstrong youth flouted all authority; he refused to be curbed.
fluctuation
wavering
Meteorologists watch the fluctuations of the barometer in order to predict the weather.
fluency
smoothness of speech
He spoke French with fluency and ease.
fluke
unlikely occurrence; stroke of fortune When Douglass defeated Tyson for the heavyweight championship, some sportscasters dismissed his
victory as a fluke.
fluster
confuse
The teacher's sudden question flustered him and he stammered his reply.
fluted
having vertical parallel grooves (as in a pillar)
All that remained of the ancient building were the fluted columns.
flux
flowing; series of changes
While conditions are in such a state of flux, I do not wish to commit myself too deeply in this affair.
fodder
coarse food for cattle, horses etc.
One of Nancy's chores ar the ranch was to put fresh supplies of fodder in the horses' stalls.
foible
weakness; slight fault
We can overlook the foibles of our friends; no one is perfect.
foil
contrast
In "Star Wars," dark, evil Darth Vader is a perfect foil for fair-haired, naive Luke Skywalker.
foil
defeat; frustrate
In the end, Skywalker is able to foil Vader's diabolical schemes.
foist
insert improperly; palm off
I will not permit you to foist such ridiculous ideas upon the membership of this group.
foliage
masses of leaves
Every autumn before the leaves fell he promised himself he would drive though the New England to
admire the colorful fall foliage.
foment
stir up; instigate
This report will foment disssension in the club.
foolhardy
rash
Don't be foolhardy. Get the advice of experienced people before undertaking this venture.
foppish
vain about dress and appearance
He tried to imitate the foppish manner of the young men of the court.
foray
raid
The company staged a midnight foray against the enemy outpost.
forberance
patience
We must use forbearance in dealing with him because he is still weak from his illness.
ford
place where a river can be crossed on foot
Rather than risk using the shaky rope bridge, David walked a half-mile downstream until he came to the
neartest ford.
forebears
ancestors
Reverence for one's forebears (sometimes referred to as ancestor worship) plays an important part in many
Oriental cultures.
foreboding
premonition of evil
Caeser ridiculed his wife's foreboding about the Ides of March.
forensic
suitable to debate or courts of law
In her best forensic manner, the lawyer addressed the jury.
foreshadow
give an indication beforehand; portend; prefigure
In retrospect, political analysts realized that Yeltsin's defiance of the attempted coup foreshadowed his
emergence as the dominant figure of the new Russian republic.
foresight
ability to foresee future happenings; prudence
A wise investor, she had the foresight to buy land just before the current real estate boom.
forestall
prevent by taking action in advance
By setting up a prenuptial agreement, the prospective bride and groom hoped to forestall any potential
arguments about money in the event of a divorce.
forgo
give up; do without
Determined to lose weight for the summer, Ida decided to forgo dessert until she could fit into a size eight
again.
formality
adherence to established rules or procedures
Signing this petition is a mere formality; it does not obligate you in any way.
formidable
menacing; threatening
We must not treat the battle lightly for we are facing a formidable foe.
forsake
desert; abandon; renounce
No one expected Foster to forsake his wife and children and run off with another woman.
forswear
renounce; abandon
The captured knight could escape death only if he agreed to forswear Christianity and embrace Islam as the
one true faith.
forte
strong point or special talent
I am not eager to play this rather seious role, for my forte is comedy.
forthright
straightforward; direct; frank
I prefer Jill's forthright approach to Jack's tendency to beat around the bush.
fortitude
bravery; courage
He was awarded the medal for his fortitude in the battle.
fortuitous
accidental; by chance There is no connection between these two events; their timing is entirely fortuitous.
foster
rear; encourage
According to the legend, Romulus and Remus were fostered by a she-wolf that raised the abandoned
infants as her own.
founder
fail completely; sink
After hitting the submerged iceberg, the Titanic started taking in water rapidly and soon foundered.
founder
person who establishes (an organization, business)
Among those drowned when the Titanic sank was the founder of the Abraham & Straus chain.
fracas
brawl; melee
The military police stopped the fracas in the bar and arrested the belligerents.
fractious
unruly
The fractious horse unseated its rider.
frailty
weakness
The doctor prescribed vitamin and mineral supplements for the sick old woman because of her frailty.
franchise
right granted by authority
The city issued a franchise to the company to operate surface transit lines on the streets for ninety-nine
years.
frantic
wild
At the time of the collision, many people became frantic with fear.
fraudulent
cheating; deceitful
The government seeks to prevent fraudulent and misleading advertising.
fraught
filled
Since this enterprise is fraught with danger, I will ask for volunteers who are willing to assume the risks.
fray
brawl
The three musketeers were in the thick of fray.
frenetic
frenzied; frantic
His frenetic activities convinced us that he had no organized plan of operation.
frenzied
madly excited
As soon as they smelled smoke, the frenzied animals milled about in their cages.
fresco
painting in plaste (usually fresh)
The cathedral is visited by many tourists who wish to admire the frescoes by Glotto.
fret
to be annonyed or vexed
To fret over your poor grades is foolish; instead, decide to work harder in the future.
friction
clash in opinion; rubbing against
At this time when harmony is essential, we cannot afford to have any friction in our group.
frieze
ornamental band on a wall
The frieze of the church was adorned with sculpture.
frigid
intensely cold
Alaska is in the frigid zone.
fritter
waste
He could not apply himself to any task and frittered away his time in idle conversation.
frivolous
lacking in seriousness; self-indulgently carefree; relatively unimportant
Though Nancy enjoyed Bill's frivolous, lighthearted companionship, she sometimes wondered whether he
could ever be serious.
frolicsome
prankish; gay
The frolicsome puppy tried to lick the face of its master.
frond
fern leaf; palm or banana leaf
After the storm the beach was littered with the fronds of palm trees.
fructify
bear fruit
This peach tree should fructify in three years.
frugality
thrift; economy
In these economically difficult days businesses must practice frugality or risk bankruptcy.
fruition
bearing of fruit; fulfillment; realization
This building marks the fruition of all our aspirations and years of hard work.
fugitive
fleeting or transitory; roving
The film brought a few fugitive images to her mind, but on the whole it made no lasting impression upon
her.
fulcrum
support on which a lever rests
If we use this stone as a fulcrum and the crowbar as a lever, we may be able to move this boulder.
fulminate
thunder; explode
The people against whom she fulminated were innocent of any wrongdoing.
fulsome
disgustingly excessive
His fulsome praise of the dictator annoyed his listeners.
functionary
official
As his case was transferred from one functionary to another, he began to despair of ever reaching a
settlement.
fundamental
basic; primary; essential The committee discussed all sorts of side issues without ever getting down to addressing the fundamental
problem.
funereal
sad; solemn
I fail to understand why there is such a funereal atmosphere; we have lost a battle, not a war.
furor
frenzy; great excitement
The story of her embezzlement of the funds created a furor on the stock exchange.
furtive
stealthy; sneaky
The boy gave a furtive look at his classmate's test paper.
fusilade
simultaneous firing or outburs (of missiles, questions, etc.)
Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture concludes with a thunderous fusilade of cannon fire.
fusion
union; coalition
The opponents of the political party in power organized a fusion of disgruntled groups and became an
important element in the election.
futile
ineffective; fruitless
Why waste your time on futile pursuits?
gadfly
animal-biting fly; an irritating person
Like a gadfly, he irritated all the guests at the hotel; within forty eight hours, everyone regarded him as an
annoying busybody.
gaffe
social blunder
According to Miss Manners, to call your husband by your lover's name is worse than a mere gaffe; it is a
tactical mistake.
gainsay
deny
She was too honest to gainsay the truth of the report.
gait
manner of walking or running; speed
The lame man walked with an uneven gait.
galaxy
the Milky Way; any collection of brilliant personalities
The deaths of such famous actors as Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Spencer Tracy, and Marlene Dietrich
demonstrate that the galaxy of Hollywood superstars is rapidly disppearing.
galleon
large sailing ship
The Spaniards pinned their hopes on the galleon, the large warship; the British, on the smaller and faster
pinnace.
gall
annoy; chafe
Their taunts galled him.
gall
bitterness; nerve
The knowledge of his failure filled him with gall.
galvanize
stimulate by shock; stir up
The entire nation was galvanized into strong military activity by the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
gambit
opening in chess in which a piece is sacrificed
The player was afraid to accept his opponent's gambit because he feared a trap which as yet he could not
see.
gambol
skip; leap playfully
Watching children gamboling in the park is a pleasant experience
gamely
in a spirited manner; with courage
Because he had fought gamely against a much superior boxer, the crowd gave him a standing ovation when
he left the arena.
gamut
entire range
In this performance, the leading lady was able to demonstrate the complete gamut of her acting ability.
gape
open widely
The huge pit gaped before him; if he stumbled, he would fall in.
garbled
mixed up; jumbled; distorted
A favorite party game involves passing a whispered message from one person to another; by the time it
reaches the last player, the message has become totally garbled.
gargantuan
huge; enormous
The gargantuan wrestler was terrified of mice.
gargolye
waterspout carved in groteque figures on a building
The gargoyles adorning the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris are amusing in their grotesqueness.
garish