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abstruse (ab struse')

adj. extremely difficult to understand

s. esoteric, arcane, recondite, occult
a. simple, straightforward

affront (a ffront')

n. an open or intentional insult; a slight
v. to insult to one's face; to face in defiance, confront

s. offense, offend
a. compliment, praise

canard (ca nard')

n. a false rumor, fabricated story

s. hoax

captious (cap' tious)

adj. excessively ready to find fault; given to petty criticism; intended to trap, confuse, or show up

s. faultfinding, nit-picking, carping
a. uncritical

cognizant (cog' ni zant)

adj. aware, knowledgeable, informed; having jurisdiction

s. conscious, acquainted
a. unaware, unconscious, oblivious

contrite (con trite')

adj. regretful for some misdeed or sin; plagued by a sense of guilt; thoroughly penitent

s. remorseful, rueful
a. unrepentant, unapologetic, impenitent

cynosure (cy' no sure)

n. the center of attraction, attention, or interest; something that serves to guide or direct

s. focus

decorous (dec' or ous)

adj. well behaved, dignified, socially proper

s. seemly, becoming, tasteful
a. unseemly, unbecoming, improper, tasteless


v. to think it appropriate or suitable to one's dignity to do something; to condescend

s. deem, stoop

desiccated (des' i ccated)

adj. part. thoroughly dried out; divested of spirit or vitality; arid and uninteresting

s. dehydrated, shriveled, parched
a. sodden, soggy, waterlogged, drenched

efficacy (eff' i ca cy)

n. the power to produce a desired result

s. effectiveness, potency, reliability
a. ineffectiveness, impotence

engender (en gen' der)

v. to bring into existence, give rise to, produce; to come into existence, assume form

s. beget, generate, cause, form
a. stop, deter

ethereal (e ther' e al)

adj. light, airy, delicate; highly refined; suggesting what is heavenly (rather than earthbound)

s. heavenly, celestial, gossamer
a. infernal, hellish, thick, heavy

facade (fa cade')

n. the front or face of a building; a surface appearance (as opposed to what may lie behind)

s. exterior, surface, mask, pretense
a. interior

ghoulish (ghoul' ish)

adj. revolting in an unnatural or morbid way; suggestive of someone who robs graves or otherwise preys on the dead

s. fiendish, barbarous, monstrous

incongruous (in con' gru ous)

adj. not in keeping, unsuitable, incompatible

s. discordant, jarring
a. compatible, harmonious, consistent

machination (mach i na' tion)

n. a crafty, scheming, or underhanded action designed to accomplish some (usually evil) end

s. plot, scheme, maneuver

mesmerize (mes' mer ize)

v. to hypnotize, entrance; to fascinate, enthrall, bewitch

opprobrium (o ppro' bri um)

n. disgrace arising from shameful conduct; contempt, reproach

s. infamy, dishonor, odium, shame
a. acclaim, honor, glory, renown

putative (pu ta' tive)

adj. generally regarded as such; reputed; hypothesized, inferred

s. supposed, presumed
a. known, corroborated, confirmed

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