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Terms in this set (1200)
bane - trite (n)
1. cause of trouble, misery, distress, or harm. 2. poison.
(The bane of the oak tree is the Asian beetle.)
benign (adj) , benignly (adv)
1. gentle, mild, kind; having a beneficial or favorable nature
or influence. 2. not harmful or malignant.
a. The benign personality of the professor made him a favorite on campus.
b. around campus he's known as a real character, but one whose eccentricities are entirely benign
1. uninterested or showing a lack of excitement or interest in something especially because it is very familiar
( Quincy has traveled so much that he speaks of exotic places such as Borneo in a totally blasé manner.)
great disrespect shown to God or to something holy .
(If you committed blasphemy during the Inquisition, you
would be tortured and killed.)
blatant (adj) , blatantly (adv)
rude, shameless, sassy , very obvious and offensive
(He showed a blatant disregard for the safety of other drivers.)
blight (n) , blighted (adj)
1. a disease that makes plants dry up and die , 2. something that causes harm or damage like a disease . 3.a damaged condition.
( They still do not know what caused the blight that destroyed half of the trees in the orchard.)
boisterous (adj) , boisterously (adv) , boisterousness (n)
1. loud, noisy, and lacking restraint, raucous. 2. stormy and rough.
(A large and boisterous crowd attended the concert.)
a crude, offensive, ill-mannered person, churl, clown, swab, plug-ugly
(I can't invite a boor like him to dinner! He'd offend the other guests.)
broach (v) , broacher (n)
1. to bring up, introduce, in order to begin a discussion of.
2. to tap or pierce, as in to draw off liquid.
(It was hard for Sarah to broach the subject of her mother's weight gain.)
buoyant (Adj) , buoyantly (adv)
1. able to float. 2. light-hearted, cheerful , blithe, blithesome, bright.
(The actors were buoyant as they prepared for the evening's performance.)
censor (v) ,censorial (adj)
a person who examines books, movies, letters, etc., and removes things that are considered to be offensive, immoral, harmful to society, etc
a. Some governments, national and local, censor books.
b. . Any mention of the former prime minister was outlawed* by the
a person who believes in the superiority of his or her own kind; an extreme nationalist.
(Though common in the early days of the women's movement, male chauvinists are pretty rare today.)
churlish (adj) , churlishly (adv) , churlishness (n)
clownish, classless , ill-mannered, boorish, rude , rough, crude
(It would be churlish not to congratulate him.)
circumspect (adj) , circumspectly (adv) , circumspection (n)
conscious, aware, sentient, mindful, wise .
(The prison guard was circumspect when he learned that some of the prisoners were planning an escape.)
clandestine (Adj) , clandestinely (adv) , clandestinity (n)
conducted in secrecy; kept or done in private, cautious, chary, careful , secret; undercover , surreptitious.
a. Romeo and Juliet had a clandestine meeting under her balcony because their parents did not approve of their romance.
b. James Bond has a series of clandestine affairs with beautiful women in most of the James Bond films.
shibboleth ,an expression that has become overly familiar or commonplace
a. Most television programs have become cliched, following worn-out formulas.
b.a speech filled with clichés about "finding your way" and "keeping the faith"
coalesce (v) , coalescence (n) , coalescent (adj)
to combine and form a whole; to join together, fuse.associate, unite
(a group of young reformers who gradually coalesced into a political movement)
coeval (adj) , coevally (adv)
coetaneous, contemporary, coexistent, of the same time period
(The poet Ben Jonson was coeval to Shakespeare.)
cogent (adj) , cogently (adv) , cogency (n)
convincing, persuasive, compelling belief . forceful and convincing
a.Ella's cogent arguments helped the debate team win the state championship.
b. The committee members were won over to the project by the cogent arguments of the chairman.
collusion (n) , collusive (adj) , collusively (adv)
complicity, connivance or conspiracy for an illegal or immoral
(there was collusion between the two companies to fix prices)
complacent (adj) , complacently (adv), competency (n)
self-satisfied, unconcerned.nonchalant .unconcerned , smug.
a. Renee was complacent even when she learned that her coworkers were trying to get her fired.
b. How can you be complacent about such a menace?*
concede (v) , concededly (adv)
1. to acknowledge or admit as true, proper, etc. (often with reluctance); to yield, surrender. 2. to grant as a right or privilege.
(The leader conceded the right to vote to all her country's inhabitants.)
conciliatory (adj), conciliate (verb), conciliation (noun).
making or willing to make concessions to reconcile, soothe, or comfort; mollifying, appeasing , seeking agreement, compromise, or reconciliation.
a. As a conciliatory gesture, the union leaders agreed to postpone a strike and to continue negotiations with management.
b. Abraham Lincoln made conciliatory gestures toward the South at the end of the Civil War .
a private or secret meeting.
(The double agent had a conclave with the spy he was supposed to be observing.)
general agreement among a group.
a. The decision was made by consensus.
b. Among Quakers, voting traditionally is not used; instead, discussion continues until the entire group forms a consensus.
a feeling of deep, incapacitating horror or dismay.shock, amazement
a. Much to her parents' consternation, she had decided to not go to college..
b. When a voice in the back of the church shouted out, "I know why they should not be married!" the entire gathering was thrown into consternation.
contentious (adj) , contentiously (adv) , contentiousness
quarrelsome, competitive, quick to fight. 2. controversial, causing contention.
(With two contentious candidates on hand, it was sure to be a lively debate.)
conundrum (n) , enigma (n)
a hard riddle, a puzzling question or problem.
a. Alex's logic professor gave the class a conundrum to work on over the weekend.
b. The question of why an all-powerful, all-loving God allows evil to exist is a conundrum many philosophers have pondered.
copious (adj) , copiously (adv) , copiousness (n)
large in number or quantity; abundant, plentiful. profuse, lavish
(She sat in the front row and took copious notes during the lecture.)
cornucopia (n) , cornucopian (adj)
abundance; a horn of plenty.
(The book includes a cornucopia of wonderful stories.)
the appearance of a person's face : a person's expression .
(n.As she walked down the aisle, Julia's countenance was absolutely
craven (adj) , cravenly (adv) ,cravenness (n)
chicken,having or showing a complete lack of courage: very cowardly
(a craven refusal to deliver the unwelcome news personally)
credulous (adj) , credulously (adv) ,* credulity(n)
naive, simple, unsophisticated, artless, silly , * willingness to believe, even with little evidence.
a. Con artists fool people by taking advantage of their credulity.
b. Few people are credulous enough to believe such nonsense.
basis, foundation, base , the central or critical point or feature
(The crux of the trial was her whereabouts at the time of the burglary.)
cryptic (adj) , cryptically (adv) , inscrutable (adj) , inscrutably (adv) , inscrutability (n)
impenetrable, having a hidden or secret meaning, mysterious; hidden, secret, occult. baffling, unfathomable, incapable of being
(Jimmy was confused by the cryptic note he found written on the refrigerator.)
queue (n) , cue (n)
1. a signal, such as a word or action, given to prompt or remind
someone of something; a hint or suggestion. 2. a line of waiting people or vehicles; .
(When the timer buzzed, Sonia realized that it was a cue to take
the hamburgers off the grill.)
culpable (adj) , culpably (adv) , culpability (n)
deserving blame or censure for being or doing something wrong or harmful; blameworthy, guilty.able to be blamed
a. Since the company treasurer was out of the country at the time the money was stolen, he was not culpable.
b. He's more culpable than the others because he's old enough to know better.
cursory (adj) , cursorily (adv) ,cursoriness (n)
hasty and superficial , shallow , done or made quickly
a. During the cursory inspection of the restaurant kitchen, the inspector did not find any violations of the rules for cleanliness.
b. Although I should have proofread the essay carefully, I only had time to give it a cursory review. .
daunt (v) , daunter (n) , dauntingly (adv)
to intimidate, to make afraid or discouraged , dispirit, frustrate, unman, unnerve .
(His austere manner daunted the small children.)
a great disaster or complete failure , a sudden disaster or collapse
(a sudden disaster or collapse)
n. a first appearance in or presentation to the public. v. to
make a first appearance in public.
(n. Irina's Carnegie Hall debut received rave reviews.)
decimate (v) , decimation (n)
to destroy a large number of (plants, animals, people, etc.)
(Budget cuts have decimated public services in small towns.)
appropriateness of behavior, propriety; decency in manners and conduct.
(When questions concerning decorum arise, I always refer to
to condescend,to do something that you think you should not have to do because you are too important
(Would you deign to spare a dime for a poor old beggar like me?)
delineate (v) , delineation (n) , delineative (adj)
to draw or outline, sketch; to portray, depict, describe.
a. The survey will clearly delineate where their property ends.
b. Naturalists had long suspected the fact of evolution, but Darwin was the first to delineate a process—natural selection—through
which evolution could occur.
delude (v) , deludingly (adv)
to deceive, make someone believe something that is wrong. fool
(Nicole deluded Maria when she claimed to forgive her.)
demagogue (n-v) , demagoguery (n)
a leader who plays to peoples' emotions and uses prejudices to gain power.
a. The dictator was widely regarded as an infamous demagogue.
b. Senator Joseph McCarthy was labeled a demagogue who used the paranoia of the anti-Communist 1950s as a way of seizing fame and power in Washington.
demur - remonstrate (v) ,demurrable - remonstrative(adj) , remonstratively (adv) , remonstrator (n)
v. protest, remonstrate , to raise objections.
adj. modest and shy, or pretending to be so.
(Polly hated to demur, but she didn't think adding ten cloves of garlic to the recipe would taste good.)
denigrate (v) , denigration (n) , denigratory (adj)
to blacken the reputation of, disparage, defame.bad-mouth, belittle
a. No one is trying to denigrate the importance of a good education. We all know that it is crucial for success.
b. The firm's new president tried to explain his plans for improving the company without seeming to denigrate the work of his predecessor.
the resolution or clearing up of the plot at the end of a narrative; the outcome or solution of an often complex series of events.
(The students sat at the edge of their seats as they listened to the denouement of
deprecate (v) , deprecation (n) , deprecatingly (adv)
To deprecate is defined as to show disapproval about something or someone or to belittle someone.
(Grandpa's tendency to deprecate the children's friends was a frequent source of family strife)
derisive (adj) , derisively (adv) , derisiveness (n)
scornful, expressing ridicule; mocking, jeering.
(In order to promote freedom of expression, derisive comments were forbidden in the classroom.)
derivative (adj-n),derivatively(adv), derive (v), derivation (n)
n. something that is derived or made by derivation. adj. derived from another source, unoriginal .
a. The word "atomic" is a derivative of the word "atom."
b. When a person first writes poetry, her poems are apt to be derivative of whatever poetry she most enjoys reading.
desecrate (v) , desecrater (n)
to violate the sacredness of, to profane.defile, pollute, soil
(Someone desecrated the local cemetery by spray-painting graffiti on tombstones.)
desultory (adj) , desultorily (v) , desultoriness (n)
aimless, haphazard; moving from one subject to another without logical connection .
(Ichabod's desultory ramblings worsened as his disease progressed.)
detract (v) , detractor (n)
to draw or reduce from; to remove part of something, diminish.someone who belittles or disparages.
a.The singer has many detractors who consider his music boring, inane, and sentimental.
b. Unfortunately, Helen's slovenly appearance detracted from the impact of her otherwise brilliant presentation.
dichotomy (n) , dichotomous (adj) , dichotomously (adv)
contradiction, incongruity, paradox , division into two usually contradictory parts or kinds.
(When the teacher broached the subject of politics, there was a predictable dichotomy among the students.
diffident (adj) , diffidently (adv), diffidence (n)
shy, timid, coy, embarrassed, sheepish , lacking self-confidence . hesitant, reserved.
a. Someone with a diffident personality should pursue a career that involves little public contact.
b.She was diffident about stating her opinion.
diffuse (v- adj) , diffusely (adv) , diffuseness (n)
v. 1. to spread throughout, disperse, extend. 2. to soften, make
less brilliant. adj. 1. spread out, scattered, not concentrated. 2. wordy, verbose.
a. The perfume she sprayed diffused throughout her bedroom.
b. The red dye quickly became diffused through the water, turning it a very pale pink.
digress (V) , digression (noun), digressive (adjective).
to turn aside, deviate; to stray from the main subject in writing or speaking. to wander from the main path or the main topic.
a. The members of the debating team were warned that they would lose the debate if they continued to digress from the proposed subject.
b. Her argument digressed from the main problem she had about her friend's spending habits.
dilatory (adj) , dilatorily (adv) , dilatoriness (n)
crawling, creeping, dallying, dawdling , slow or late in doing something; intended to delay, especially to gain time.procrastinating
a. Miguel's dilatory approach to getting himself up and dressed was his own small act of passive resistance to having to work on a holiday.
b. The lawyer used various dilatory tactics, hoping that his opponent would get tired of waiting for a trial and drop the case.
disillusion, disenchant, undeceive , correct a false impression or erroneous belief.
(Natalie needed to disabuse Chin of his belief that she was in love with him.)
disconcert (v) , disconcerting (adj) , disconcertingly (adv)
1- to throw into confusion 2-: to disturb the composure of
a. News of his criminal past has disconcerted even his admirers.
b. When the hallway bells began to ring halfway through her lecture, the speaker was disconcerted and didn't know what to do.
disconsolate (adj), disconsolately (adv), disconsolation (n)
miserable, wretched, unfortunate , sad, dejected, disappointed , inconsolable, hopelessly unhappy.
(The disconsolate look on Peter's face revealed that the letter contained bad news.)
disdain (v-n), disdainful (adj) - contempt (v) - contemptuous(n), contemptible(adj), contemptuously(adv)
n. a feeling or showing of haughty contempt or scorn; a state
of being despised. v. 1. to regard with haughty contempt or scorn, despise. 2. to consider or reject
a. I was humiliated by the way Angelica disdained every idea I proposed at that meeting.
b. The millionaire was disliked by many people because she treated "little people" with such disdain
disenfranchise (v) , disenfranchisement (n)
to deprive of the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote. deprive of a privilege, right, or power .
(They disenfranchised poor people by making property ownership a requirement for registering to vote.)
disingenuous (adj) , disingenuously (adv) , disingenuousness (n)
1. insincere, calculating; not straightforward or frank. 2. falsely pretending to be unaware.
(Carl's disingenuous comments were not taken seriously by anyone in the room.)
disparage (v) , disparagement (n), disparaging (adj) , disparagingly (adv)
to speak of in a slighting or derogatory way, belittle.diminish
a. Comedians often disparage politicians as part of their comedic routines.
b. Many political ads today both praise their own candidate and disparage his or her opponent.
dissipate (v) , dissipation (n) , dissipative (adj)
1. to separate and scatter completely; to disperse to the
point of disappearing, or nearly so. 2. to be extravagant and wasteful, especially in the pursuit of pleasure; squander.
a. The morning sun dissipated the fog.
b. The windows and doors were opened, allowing the smoke that had filled the room to dissipate.
dissemble (v) , dissemblance (n)
pretend, profess, simulate ,to disguise or conceal one's true feelings or motives behind a false appearance.
a. Tom needed to dissemble his goal of taking his boss's job by acting supportive of his boss's planned job change.
b. When the police questioned her about the crime, she dissembled innocence.
dissuade (v) , dissuader (n)
to discourage from or persuade against a course of action.inhibit.
(Our warnings did not dissuade them.)
v. 1. to hesitate, be indecisive and uncertain. 2. to shake or
n. a very nervous, confused, or excited state.
(v. During a crisis, it is important to have a leader who will not dither.)
a system of principles or beliefs, a prescribed doctrine, conviction.
(These new findings challenge the current dogma in the field.)
very harsh, extremely severe , brutal, cruel, savage .
(The editorial criticizes the draconian measures being taken to control the spread of the disease.)
droll (adj) , drolly (adv) ,drollness (n)
amusing in an odd or whimsical way.humorous
(This is a wonderful, droll story—the children will love it!)
dross-drossiness (n) , drossy (adj)
1. waste product, sludge. 2. something worthless, commonplace,
(His editor has a talent for turning literary dross into gold.)
dulcet (adj) , dulcetly (adv)
melodious, harmonious, sweet-sounding., rhythmic, congruous, in agreement .
(The chamber orchestra's dulcet tunes were a perfect ending to a great evening.)
dupe (n-v) , dupable (adj)
n. someone who is easily deceived, gullible. v. to deceive, trick.
(Charlene was duped into buying this lemon of a car by a slick-talking salesman.)
n. the return of the tide to the sea. v. 1. to flow back or recede, as the
tide. 2. to fall back, decline.crumble, decay
(I hope Mark's anger has ebbed; I am eager for a reconciliation.)
ebullient (adj) , ebulliently (adv) , ebullience (n)
bubbling over with enthusiasm, exuberant ,zealous, keen, passionate , eager
(The ebullient children were waiting to stick their hands into the grab bag and pull out a toy.)
eccentric (adj) , eccentrically (adv)
anomalous, bizarre, irregular , cranky, crazy, curious, odd, erratic
(She's become more eccentric over the years.)
bourgeois,glory, radiance, magnificence or conspicuous success; great acclaim or applause .
(Even the ruinous deceit of the envious Salieri could not impede the dazzling éclat of the young and gifted Mozart)
enlightening or uplifting with the aim of improving intellectual or moral development; instructing, improving
(His edifying speech challenged the audience to devote more time to charitable causes.)
efficacious (adj) , efficaciously(adv) , efficacy (n)
effectual, efficient, fruitful, operative, potent , acting effectively. able to produce a desired effect.
a. Margaret's efficacious approach to her job in the collections department made her a favorite with the CFO
b. Though thousands of people today are taking herbal supplements to treat depression, researchers have not yet proved them efficacious.
brazen boldness, impudence, insolence ,impertinence, sauce , shameless .
a. The sports world was shocked when a pro basketball player had the effrontery to choke his head coach during a practice session.
b. the little squirt had the effrontery to deny eating any cookies, even with the crumbs still on his lips.
effusive (adj) , effusively (adv) , effusion (n)
expressing emotions in an unrestrained or excessive way; profuse, overflowing, gushy. touchy-freely .
a. They offered effusive thanks for our help.
b. Sally Field gave an effusive acceptance speech in which she marveled, "You like me! You really like me!"
egalitarian (adj) , egalitarianism (n)
characterized by or affirming the principle of equal political, social, civil, and economic rights for all persons.
(egalitarian policies for the redistribution of wealth)
egregious (adj) , vegregiously (adv), egregiousness (n)
conspicuously and outrageously bad or offensive; flagrant.obvious, conspicuous.
a. After her egregious accounting error cost the company thousands of dollars, Enid was fired.
b. It's hard to imagine how the editor could allow such an egregious error to appear.
eke (v) , Archaic (adv)
to get or supplement with great effort or strain; to earn or accomplish
(Working two jobs enabled Quincy to eke out a living wage for his
1. vivacity, enthusiasm, vigor. 2. distinctive style or flair.
(The dancer performed with great élan.)
elite (n - adj) , elitist (adj)
1. the best or most skilled members of a social group or class. , A-list, aristocracy 2. a person or group regarded as superior.
(the winners of this science award represent the elite of our high schools)
eloquent (adj) , eloquently (adv)
showing the ability to use language clearly and effectively,clearly showing feeling or meaning ,articulate,silver-tongued,well-spoken
(an eloquent writer and speaker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the founders of the women's rights movement)
elusive (adj) , elusively (adv) , elusiveness (n)
evasive,tending to evade; hard to understand or define
a. Despite years of research by famous specialists, the cure for cancer has proved to be elusive.
b. the giant squid is one of the ocean's most elusive inhabitants.
eminent (adj) , eminently (adv), eminence (n)
towering above or more prominent than others, lofty; standing above others in quality, reputation, etc.; istinguished.noteworthy, famous.
a. Vaclav Havel was an eminent author before being elected president of the Czech Republic.
b. many eminent surgeons are on the hospital's staff
empirical (adj) , empirically (adv), empiricism (n)
existential, experiential, experimental, based on observation or experience rather than theory.
a. They collected plenty of empirical data from their experiments.
b. Although many people believe in ESP, scientists have found no empirical evidence of its existence.
emulate (v) ,emulation (n) , emulative (adj).
to try to equal or excel, especially by imitation.mimic,pattern, simulate , to copy or imitate
a. The basketball player admired his coach so much that he emulated his manner of speaking, walking, and dressing
b. She grew up emulating her sports heroes.
an enclosed territory surrounded by another country, or a group of people of a different culture or religion.
(The country of Lesotho is an enclave of South Africa.)
endemic (adj) , endemically (adv) , endemicity (n)
growing or existing in a certain place or region, common in a particular area or field
(the fish is not an endemic species of the lake, and it is rapidly devouring the native trout population)
enervate (v) , enervation (n) , enervatingly (adv)
to weaken, deprive of strength or vitality; to make feeble or impotent.
to reduce the energy or strength of someone or something.
a. The stress of the operation left her feeling enervated for about two weeks.
b. Stephanie's cutting remarks managed to enervate Hasaan.
to produce, give rise to, bring into existence.to cause.
a. Countless disagreements over the proper use of national forests have engendered feelings of hostility between ranchers and environmentalists
b. Professor Sorenson's support worked to engender Samantha's desire to pursue a PhD.
boredom and listlessness resulting from something tedious
(The tour guide's façade of enthusiasm could not hide his ennui.)
1. excessive wickedness. 2. a monstrous offense or evil act, atrocity.atrociousness, atrocity, badness, depravity
(We were shocked at the enormity of the crime.)
1. to fix or settle firmly and securely. 2. to place or hide securely, conceal.
(Once the spy was comfortably ensconced in his new identity, he
began his secret mission.)
ephemeral (adj) , ephemerally (adv) ,ephemerality (n)
fragile, flighty, transient, evanescent, lasting only a very short time , quickly disappearing; transient.
a. Summer always seems so ephemeral; before you know it, it's time to go back to school again.
b. Stardom in pop music is ephemeral; most of the top acts of ten years ago are forgotten today.
epicurean (adj-n )
a person devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and luxury, especially the enjoyment of good food and comfort .
(While on vacation at a posh resort hotel, Joan became a true epicurean.)
epiphany (n) , epiphanic (adj)
1. a sudden, intuitive realization of the essence or meaning of something, a perceptive revelation. 2. a manifestation of the divine. 3. Epiphany, a Christian feast on the twelfth day after Christmas celebrating the divine manifestation of Jesus to the Magi.
(As I listened to Professor Lane's lecture, I had a sudden epiphany that I was in the wrong major.)
1. something or someone that embodies a particular quality or characteristic, a representative example or a typical model. 2. a brief
summary or abstract.
(Einstein is the epitome of true genius )
calmness of temperament, eventemperedness; patience and composure, especially under stressful circumstances.
(The hostage negotiator's equanimity during the stand-off was remarkable)
equivocate (v) , equivocation (n)
to use unclear or ambiguous language in order to mislead or conceal the truth. fudge, hedge, pussyfoot, tergiversate, waffle .
(Raj tried to equivocate when explaining why he came home after his curfew.)
eradicate (v) , eradication - eradicator (n) ,eradicative - eradicable (adj)
excise, root, uproot, extirpate , abolish, to annihilate , to destroy completely.
a. American society has failed to eradicate racism, although some of its worst effects have been reduced.
b. The exterminator said he would eradicate the vermin from the house.
artificial, bogus, dummy, imitation, factitious, fake, false
(like everything else the restaurant served, the whipped cream on the dessert was ersatz)
erudite (adj) , eruditely(adv)
having or showing great learning; profoundly educated, scholarly.
(The scholarly work of nonfiction was obviously written by an erudite young man.)
the spirit, attitude, disposition or beliefs characteristic of a community, epoch, region, etc.
(The ethos of their group included a commitment to pacifism.
a formal speech or piece of writing in praise of someone or something. a speech or writing of high praise
a. The eulogy the student delivered at his teacher's funeral brought tears to the eyes of the mourners.
b. He delivered a moving eulogy at his father's funeral.
euphoria (n) , euphoric (adj) , euphorically (adv)
a feeling of extreme happiness and well-being; elation.
a. elation. One often feels euphoric during the earliest days of a new love affair.
b. When falling in love, it is not uncommon to experience feelings of euphoria.
evanescent (adj) , evanescently (adv)
vanishing or tending to vanish like vapor; transitory, fleeting.
(The subject of the poem is the evanescent nature of young love.)
evince (v) , evincible (adj) , evincive (adv)
to show or demonstrate clearly; to make evident.prove.
(the teenager caught shoplifting seemed to evince no remorse)
exacerbate (v) , exacerbation (n)
to make worse; to increase the severity, violence, or bitterness of. to make more violent, bitter, or severe
a. The pain in the pitcher's sore elbow was exacerbated when he pitched a full game after only one day's rest.
b. His angry comments have exacerbated tensions in the negotiation process.
exculpate (v) , exculpation (n), exculpable (adj) , exculpatory (adv)
to free from blame, to clear from a charge of guilt.
a. When Anthony admitted to the crime, it served to exculpate Marcus.
b. When someone else confessed to the crime, the previous suspect was exculpated.
exigent (adj) , exigently (adv) .
1. urgent, requiring immediate action or attention, critical.
2. requiring much effort or precision, demanding.
(The late-night call on Paul's cell phone concerned matters of an exigent nature.)
exorbitant (adj) , exorbitantly (adv)
greatly exceeding the bounds of what is normal or reasonable; inordinate and excessive.
(Three thousand dollars is an exorbitant amount to pay for a scarf.)
expedient (n-adj) , expediently (adv) .
n. a short-lived means to an end. adj. 1. appropriate for a purpose, suitable for a means to an end. 2. serving to promote one's own interests rather than principle.
(A quick divorce was an expedient end to the couple's two-month marriage.)
explicit (adj) , explicitly (adv) , explicitness (n)
stated clearly and fully; straightforward, exact.
(The terms of the rental agreement were explicit in the document.)
to wipe or rub out, delete; to eliminate completely, annihilate.
(The movie contains scenes of explicit violence.)
extenuate (v) , extenuation (n) , extenuating (adj)
to reduce the strength or lessen the seriousness of,mitigate, alleviate, soften ,to try to partially excuse.to make less serious.
a. Karen's guilt is extenuated by the fact that she was only twelve when she committed the theft.
b.The man's desperation extenuated his actions.
1. the face or front of a building. 2. an artificial or deceptive front, especially one intended to hide something unpleasant
(Antoine's stoicism is just a façade; he is really a deeply emotional person.)
facetious (adj) , facetiously (adv) .
humorous and witty, cleverly amusing; jocular,sportive.
(Jude's facetious reply angered his teacher but made his classmates laugh.)
fatuous (adj) , fatuously (adv) , fatuousness (n)
complacently stupid; feeble-minded ridiculous, silly, absurd, daft .
(ignoring the avalanche warnings, the fatuous skiers continued on their course)
feckless (adj) , fecklessly (adv) ,fecklessness (n)
1. lacking purpose or vitality; feeble, weak. 2. incompetent
and ineffective, careless.
(a well-intentioned but feckless response to the rise in school violence)
fecund (adj) , fecundity (n)
cornucopian, fat, fertile, fructuous, fruitful, lush, luxuriant, productive, prolific, rich
(The fecund soil in the valley was able to sustain the growing community. )
felicitous (adj) , felicitously (adv) , felicity (n)
apt, suitably expressed, apropos., marked by good fortune. delightful
(a felicitous accompaniment to dinner is provided by a harpist on weekends at the restaurant)
zeal, ardor, intense emotion , mettle , enthusiasm .
(The fervor of the fans in the stands helped propel the team to victory. )
v. 1. to shackle, put in chains. 2. to impede or restrict. n. a chain for your feet or anything that is restraining .
(v. The presence of two security guards fettered their plans to get backstage. )
flaccid (adj) , flaccidly (Adv) , flaccidity (n)
hanging loose or wrinkled; weak, flabby, not firm.
(The skin of cadavers becomes flaccid in a matter of hours.)
flippant (adj) , flippantly (adv)
not showing proper seriousness; disrespectful, saucy.rude .
(He made a flippant response to a serious question.)
florid (adj) , floridly (adv) , floridity - floridness (n)
1. elaborate, ornate. 2. (of complexion) ruddy, rosy.rosy, garnished, flowery, fancy; reddish.
a. The grand ballroom was decorated in a florid style. Years of heavy drinking had given him a florid complexion.
(b. gave a florid speech in honor of the queen's visit.
flout (v) , flouter (n) , floutingly (adv)
to disobey openly and scornfully; to reject, mock, go against (as
in a tradition or convention).
(Despite repeated warnings, they have continued to flout the law.)
patience, willingness to wait, tolerance , forgiveness .
(He showed great forbearance in his dealings with them.)
forestall (v) , forestallment (n)
to prevent by taking action first, preempt.
(His comments were meant to forestall criticism of his proposal.)
1. to give up, renounce. 2. to deny under oath. abnegate, abjure
(He foreswore cigarettes as his New Year's resolution)
fortuitous (adj) , fortuitously (adv)
happening by chance , having or showing good luck
a. His presence there was entirely fortuitous.
b. Although the mayor claimed credit for the falling crime rate, it was really caused by several fortuitous trends.
frugal (adj) , frugally (adv) , frugality (n)
1. careful and economical, sparing, thrifty. 2. costing little.
a. My grandparents survived the Great Depression by being very frugal.
b. With our last few dollars, we bought a frugal dinner: a loaf of bread and a piece of cheese.
fulminate (v) , fulmination (n)
1. to issue a thunderous verbal attack, berate.
2. to explode or detonate.
(The Senator liked to fulminate when other legislators questioned her ideology.)
fulsome (adj) , fulsomely (adv) , fulsomeness (n)
expressing something (such as praise or thanks) in a very enthusiastic or emotional way
(Her new coworker's fulsome attention bothered Kathryn.)
furtive (adj) , furtively (adv) , furtiveness (n)
1. characterized by stealth or secrecy, surreptitious. 2. done in a quiet and secret way to avoid being noticed,underhanded; secret;
a. Although photographing paintings was prohibited in the museum, the tourist furtively snapped a picture.
b. Harriet's furtive glance told me I had better keep quiet about what I had just seen.
futile (adj) , futilely (adv) ,futileness (n)
useless, producing no result; hopeless, vain.abortive, barren .
(My mother would never let me attend the party; arguing with her was futile.)
gainsay (v) m, gainsayer (n)
to contradict, disaffirm, disallow, disavow, disclaim, disconfirm, disown, deny, negate, negative, refute, reject, repudiate , oppose
(Petra would gainsay all accusations made against her.)
gigantic, huge , astronomical, enormous, massive, tremendous, immense, formidable .huge, colossal.
a. The building of the Great Wall of China was one of the most gargantuan projects ever undertaken.
b. It was a gargantuan supermarket for such a small town.
garish (adj) , garishly (adv) , garishness (n)
excessively bright or over-decorated, gaudy; tastelessly showy.flamboyant, flaring, flashy .
(Though Susan thought Las Vegas was garish, Emily thought it was perfectly beautiful. )
garner (v - n)
v. to gather and store up; to amass, acquire , accumulate, amass, assemble,collect, congregate , gather, group .
(Whitney garnered enough money to buy a used car )
garrulous - loquacious (adj) garrulously - loquaciously (adv) , garrulity - loquaciousness(n)
talkative, gossipy, talking, babbling , chatty , wordy
a. The talk show host could not seem to stop the garrulous guest from telling one uninteresting story after another.
b. He became more garrulous after drinking a couple of beers.
gauche (adj) , gauchely (adv) , gaucheness (n)
1. lacking social graces or polish; without tact. 2. clumsy or awkward.
(My little brother is so gauche that it's embarrassing to be with him in public.)
genteel (adj) , genteelly (adv) , genteelness (n)
elegantly polite, well bred, refined. stylish
(The genteel host made sure that each entrée was cooked to each guest's specifications.)
n. the act of gerrymandering. v. to divide an area into voting districts so as to give one party an unfair advantage.
(The election was rigged by gerrymandering that gave unfair advantage to the incumbent.)
gestalt (n - v)
a configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that it cannot be described merely as a sum of its parts.
(Rock is a gestaltist who left the Gestalt circle and came up with his own theory.)
v. 1. to encircle or bind with a belt or band. 2. to encompass, surround. 3. to prepare for action, especially military confrontation. 4. to sneer at, mock, gibe.
(The negotiations had failed, and the soldiers girded for battle.)
gregarious (adj) , gregariously (dv) , gregariousness (n)
people or animals that are very social and enjoy being in , tending to form a group with others of the same kind.
(Alan used to be so diffident, but now he's as gregarious as can be and is usually the life of the party.)
grovel (v) , groveler (n)
to lie or creep with one's face to the ground in a servile, humble,
or fearful manner.
(Panji, if you want your boss to treat you with respect, you've got to stop groveling and stand up for yourself.)
a noisy, coarse burst of laughter.horselaugh, roar, hee-haw
(Michael let out quite a guffaw when Jamal told him the outlandish joke.)
treacherous cunning; shrewd, crafty deceit , artfulness, caginess
(The most infamous pirates displayed tremendous guile)
to make holy, consecrate , bless, sacralize, sanctify
(The religious leader hallowed the new worship hall.)
hapless (adj) , haplessly (adv) , haplessness (n)
unlucky, unfortunate , ill-fated, ill-starred, jinxed, luckless.
(The hapless circumstances of her journey resulted in lost luggage, missed connections, and a very late arrival)
n. a long, often scolding or bombastic speech; a tirade. v. to speak in a pompous maner; to declaim.
(Members of the audience began to get restless during the senator's political harangue.)
n. a person, thing, or event that foreshadows or indicates
what is to come; a forerunner or precursor.
(The arrival of the robins is a harbinger of spring.)
harrowing (adj) , harrowingly (adv) ,
distressing, creating great stress or torment.
(The turbulent flight proved to be a harrowing experience for Jane.)
hegemony (n) , hegemonic (adj)
n. predominant influence or leadership, especially of one government over others.
(The hegemony of his country borders on imperialism.)
1. having an airtight closure. 2. protected from outside
(wrote hermetic poetry whose sole intended readership was himself)
hiatus (n) , hiatal (adj)
a gap or opening; an interruption or break .
(steam was rising from an hiatus in the ground)
to sharpen; to perfect, make more effective.
(By practicing creating spreadsheets, I honed my computer skills.)
hubris (n) , hubristic (adj) , hubristically (adv)
overbearing pride or presumption , a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence .
(In the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, Oedipus's hubris leads to his downfall)
iconoclast - iconoclasm (n) , iconoclastic (adj)
n. 1. a person who attacks and seeks to overthrow
traditional ideas, beliefs, or institutions. 2. someone who opposes and destroys idols used in worship.
a. Using words as weapons, the well-spoken iconoclast challenged
political hypocrisy and fanaticism wherever she found it.
b. The comedian enjoys his reputation as an iconoclast, though people in power often resent his satirical jabs.
ignoble (adj) , ignobly (adv) , ignobleness (n)
1. lacking nobility in character or purpose, dishonorable. 2. not of the nobility, common.
(Mark was an ignoble successor to such a wellrespected leader, and many members of the organization resigned)
ignominious (adj),ignominiously (adv) ,ignominiousness (n)
discreditable, disgraceful, dishonorable, disreputable, infamous notorious, opprobrious, shameful
(The evidence of plagiarism brought an ignominious end to what had been a notable career for the talented young author)
a confused or difficult situation, usually involving a disagreement or misunderstanding.
(In Shakespeare's comedies, there is often an imbroglio caused by a case of mistaken identity.)
immolate (v) , immolation (n)
1. to kill, as a sacrifice. 2. to kill (oneself) by fire.3. to destroy (one thing for another).
(In order for the plants to grow, I had to immolate the weeds.)
impassive (adj) , impassively (adv) , impassivity (n)
not showing or feeling emotion or pain.apathetic, cold-blooded,
(It was hard to know what she was feeling by looking at the impassive expression on her face.)
impecunious (adj) , impecuniously (adv) ,impecuniosity (n)
having little or no money; poor, penniless.beggared,broke, destitute
(Many impecunious immigrants to the United States eventually are able to make comfortable lives for themselves.)
imperious (adj) , imperiously (adv) , imperiousness (n)
overbearing, bossy, domineering , haughty , arrogant .
(an imperious little boy who liked to tell the other scouts what to do)
impervious (adj) , imperviously (adv) , imperviousness (n)
1. incapable of being penetrated. 2. not able to be influenced or affected. immune ,impenetrable, impermeable, tight
(Hadley is such a diehard libertarian that he is impervious to any attempts to change his beliefs.)
impetuous (adj) , impetuously (adv) , impetuosity (n)
1. characterized by sudden, forceful energy or emotion; impulsive, unduly hasty and without thought. 2. marked by violent force.
a. It was an impetuous decision to run off to Las Vegas and get married after a one-week courtship.
b. Ben's resignation was an impetuous act; he did it without thinking, and he soon regretted it.
implacable (adj) , implacably (adv) , implacability (n)
incapable of being placated or appeased; inexorable.unyielding.
(an implacable judge who knew in his bones that the cover-up extended to the highest levels of government)
importune (adj -v) , importunely (adv) , importuner (n)
v. 1. to ask incessantly, make incessant requests. 2. to beg persistently and urgently.
imprecation (n) , imprecatory (adj)
anathema, ban, execration, curse, malediction . damn, execration
(In the book I'm reading, the gypsy queen levies an imprecation on the lead character.)
impudent (adj) , impudently (adv) , insolent (adj) ,
insolent (adv) , insolence (n)
1. boldly showing a lack of respect.2. shamelessly forward, immodest. exhibiting boldness; impudent; arrogant
a. Insolent behavior toward an officer in the armed forces will result in a court martial.
b. Thumbing his nose at the principal was an impudent act.
impugn (v) , impugnation (n), impugnable (adj)
to attack as false or questionable; to contradict or call into question.
(The editorial impugned the senator's reelection platform and set the
tone for the upcoming debate.)
impute (v) , imputation (n) , imputative (adj)
to attribute to a cause or source, ascribe, credit. accredit, put down
a. Doctors impute the reduction in cancer deaths to the nationwide decrease in cigarette smoking.
b. Although Sarah's comments embarrassed me, I don't impute any ill will to her; I think she didn't realize what she was saying.
incense (n-v) , incensement (n)
fragrant material that gives off scents when burned. (in·'sens)
v. to make (someone) angry.
(Marcel's criticism incensed his coworker.)
incendiary (adj) , incendiarism (adv)
1. causing or capable of causing fire; burning readily. 2. of or involving arson. 3. tending to incite or inflame, inflammatory.
(Fire marshals checked for incendiary devices in the theater after they received an anonymous warning.)
inchoate (adj) , inchoately (adv) , inchoateness (n)
1. just begun; in an initial or early stage of development,
incipient. 2. not yet fully formed, undeveloped, incomplete.
(inchoate feelings of affection for a man whom she had, up till now, thought of as only a friend)
incognito (adv - adj)
one's identity concealed; in disguise or under an assumed character or identity.
(The star was traveling incognito, hoping to find some measure of privacy on her vacation.)
incontrovertible - indisputable (adj) , incontrovertibly - indisputably (adv)
indisputable, undeniable.irrefutable, impossible to question.
a. The fact that Sheila's fingerprints were the only ones on the murder weapon made her guilt seem incontrovertible.
b. incontrovertible facts that left the jury with no choice but to convict
incredulous (adj) , incredulously (adv)
skeptical, unwilling to believe.mistrustful, .
(She listened to his explanation with an incredulous smile)
inculcate (v) , inculcation (n)
to teach and impress by frequent instruction or repetition;
to indoctrinate, instill. imbue, infuse, ingrain
(My parents worked hard to inculcate in me a deep sense of responsibility to others.)
incursion (n) , incursive (adj)
a raid or temporary invasion of someone else's territory;
the act of entering or running into a territory or domain.
(There was an incursion on the western border of their country.)
indefatigable (adj) , indefatigably (adv) , indefatigability (n)
not easily exhausted or fatigued; tireless.
(The volunteers were indefatigable;they worked until every piece of trash was removed from the beach)
indolent (adj) , indolently (adv) , indolence (n)
1. lazy, lethargic, inclined to avoid labor. 2. causing little or no pain; slow to grow or heal. disliking activity; habitually lazy
a. The fact is, said the character in the novel, I don't like to exert myself; I have a naturally indolent disposition.
b. The construction foreman was hesitant to hire Earl because of his reputation of being indolent.
indomitable (adj) , indomitably (adv) , indomitability (n)
not able to be vanquished or overcome,unconquerable; not easily discouraged or subdued. unable to be conquered or controlled
a.The indomitable spirit of the Olympic athletes was inspirational..
b. The world admired the indomitable spirit of Nelson Mandela; he remained courageous despite years of imprisonment.
ineluctable (adj) , ineluctably (adv) , ineluctability (n)
certain, inevitable; not to be avoided or overcome.
(The ineluctable outcome of the two-person race was that there would be one winner and one loser.)
inept (adj) , ineptly (adv) , ineptness (n)
1. not suitable, inappropriate. 2. absurd, foolish. 3. incompetent,
bungling and clumsy.lacking in fitness or aptitude; incompetent
a. The inept lawyer was fired when his client found out he had not graduated from law school.
b. Trying to carry all her suitcases at once was an inept way for Amanda to save time.
infidel ( n - adj )
1. a person with no religious beliefs. 2. a nonbeliever, one who does not accept a particular religion, doctrine, or system of beliefs.
(Because he did not subscribe to the beliefs of the party, the members considered him an infidel. )
inimitable (adj) , inimitably (adv) , inimitably (n)
defying imitation, unmatchable .
(His performance on the tennis court was inimitable, and he won three championships. )
insouciant (adj) , insouciantly (adv) , insouciance (n)
blithely unconcerned or carefree; nonchalant,indifferent.
(Julian's insouciant attitude about his finances will get him in trouble
interdict (n-v) , interdictory- interdictive (adj), interdiction (n)
to prohibit, forbid.prevent, block, stop, ban .
(Carlos argued that the agriculture department should interdict plans to produce genetically modified foods.)
intractable - unruly (adj) , intractably (adv) , intractability (n)
unmanageable, unruly, stubborn.
(The young colt was intractable, and training had to be cancelled temporarily.)
Intransigent (adj) , intransigently (adv) , intransigence (n)
unwilling to compromise, stubborn
a.he has remained intransigent, refusing all suggestions for improvement of the process.
b. Despite the mediator's attempts to suggest a fair solution, the two parties were intransigent, forcing a showdown.
intrepid (adj) , intrepidly (adv) intrepidly (n)
fearless, brave, undaunted.bold .
a.Trapeze artists in the circus perform intrepid maneuvers high above the circus floor.
b. Hunger had made the caveman intrepid, and he faced the mammoth without fear.
accustomed to, adapted .
(Trisha had become inured to her boss's criticism, and it no longer bothered her.)
inveigle (v) , inveiglement (n)
to influence or persuade through gentle coaxing or flattery; to entice.
(Vanessa inveigled her way into a promotion that should have gone to Maxon.)
inveterate (adj) , inveterately (adv) , inveteracy (n)
habitual; deep rooted, firmly established .
a. I am an inveterate pacifist and am unlikely to change my mind.
b. It's very difficult for an inveterate gambler to give up the pastime.
involute (adj - n ) , involutely (adv)
intricate, complex, sophisticated, convoluted
(The tax reform committee faces an extremely involute problem if it wants to distribute the tax burden equally)
a very small amount; the smallest possible quantity.
(there's not an iota of doubt regarding the defendant's guilt)
irascible (adj) , irascibly (adv) , irascibility (n)
irritable, easily aroused to anger, hot tempered , crusty, testy
(Her irascible temperament caused many problems with the staff at the office.)
ire (n) , irefully (adv) ,
anger, wrath.fret, resentment, ire, pique .
(I was filled with ire when Vladimir tried to take credit for my
irk (v) - pique (v - n )
to annoy, irritate, vex.
(Being a teenager means being continually irked by your parents—and vice versa.)
irresolute (adj) , irresolutely (adv) , irresolution (n) .
feeling or showing uncertainty; hesitant, indecisive.
(Sandra is still irresolute, so if you talk to her, you might help her make up her mind.)
jargon (n - v) , jargonistic (dj)
1. specialized or technical language of a specific trade or group. 2. nonsensical or meaningless talk.
(The technical manual was full of a lot of computer jargon.)
jejune (adj) , jejunely (dv) , jejuneness (n)
lacking substance, meager; hence: (a) lacking in interest or
significance; insipid or dull (b) lacking in maturity, childish (c) lacking nutritional value.
(She made jejune remarks about life and art.)
jocund (adj) , jocundly (av) , jocundity (n)
merry, cheerful; sprightly and lighthearted.
( Alexi's jocund nature makes it a pleasure to be near her.)
1. a massive, overwhelmingly powerful and unstoppable
force that seems to crush everything in its path. 2. Juggernaut, title for the Hindu god Krishna.
(A shroud of fear covered Eastern Europe as the juggernaut of communism spread from nation to nation.)
laconic - succinct (adj) , laconically - succinctly(adv) .
brief and to the point; terse, concise, often to the point of being curt or brusque.
(Zse's laconic reply made it clear that he did not want to discuss the matter any further.)
laissez-faire (adj - n)
hands-off; noninterference by the government in business and economic affairs.
(Raheeb's laissez-faire management style is not only
popular with our employees but also very successful—employee satisfaction is high and profits are up for the third quarter in a row.)
languish (v) , languishment (n) , languishingly (adv)
1. to lose vigor or strength; to become languid, feeble,
weak. 2. to exist or continue in a miserable or neglected state.
(Lucinda languished in despair when Sven told her he'd fallen in love with another woman.)
latent (adj) , latently (adv) , latency (n)
present or in existence but not active or evident.dormant. hidden. a. Although he had committed only a single act of violence, the psychiatrist who examined him said he had probably always had a latent tendency toward violence.
b. he has a latent talent for acting that he hasn't had a chance to express yet
lax (adj) , laxly (adv) , laxness (n)
1. lacking in rigor or strictness; lenient. 2. not taut or rigid; flaccid,
(The university has been lax about enforcing these rules.)
1. a channel or means of connection or communication between two groups; one who maintains such communication.
2. a close relationship or link, especially one that is secretive or adulterous.
(I have been elected to be the liaison between the union members and management.)
libertine (n - adj)
one who lives or acts in an immoral or irresponsible way; one who acts according to his or her own impulses and desires and is
unrestrained by conventions or morals
(They claim to be avant-garde, but in my opinion, they're just a bunch of libertines )
1. very small, tiny. 2. trivial or petty.
(My troubles are lilliputian compared to hers, and I am thankful that I do not have such major issues in my life.)
lucid (adj) , lucidly (adv) , lucidity (n)
1. very clear, easy to understand, intelligible. 2. sane or rational.
easily understood; clear; mentally sound
a. Professor White's explanations are always commendably lucid.
b. I have never heard a lucid explanation of Einstein's theory.
lucrative (adj) , lucratively (adv) , lucrativeness (n)
profitable, producing much money.gainful, remunerative, productive.
a. The business that had been so lucrative was now bankrupt.
b. Edna's investment in real estate was happily lucrative.
lugubrious (adj) , lugubriously (adv) , lugubriousness (n)
excessively dismal or mournful, often exaggeratedly or ridiculouslyso.
(Irina's lugubrious tears made me believe that her sadness was just a façade.)
1. the act of plotting or devising. 2. a crafty or cunning scheme devised to achieve a sinister end.
(Macbeth's machinations failed to bring him the glory he coveted and brought him only tragedy instead.)
maladroit (adj) , maladroitly (adv) , maladroitness (n)
clumsy, bungling, inept. awkward, wooden
(The maladroit waiter broke a dozen plates and spilled coffee on two customers.)
a feeling of illness or unease.not being healthy or happy .
(After several tests, Wella finally learned the cause of her malaise: She was allergic to her new Siamese cat.)
malapropism (n) , malapropian (dj)
comical misuse of words, especially thosethat are similar in sound.
(His malapropisms may make us laugh, but they won't win our vote.)
malfeasance (n) , malfeasant (adj)
misconduct or wrongdoing, especially by a public official; improper professional conduct.
(The city comptroller was found guilty of malfeasance and was removed from office.)
to pretend to be injured or ill in order to avoid work.
a. Stop malingering and give me a hand with this job.
b. During the labor dispute, hundreds of employees malingered, forcing the company to slow production and costing it millions in profits.
malleable (adj) , malleably (dv) , malleability (n)
1. easily molded or pressed into shape. 2. easily controlled or influenced. 3. easily adapting to changing circumstances.
a. A child's personality is malleable and deeply influenced by the things her parents say and do.
b. Gold is a very useful metal because it is so malleable.
1. to impair or damage, make defective or imperfect. 2. to spoil the
perfection or integrity of.tarnish,distort, deform
(A large scar marred his face.)
rebel, nonconformist, one who acts independently.
(Madonna has always been a maverick in the music industry.)
meander (v) , meandrous (adj) , meanderingly (adv)
1. to move on a winding or turning course. 2. to wander about, move aimlessly or without a fixed direction or course.
(I meandered through the park for hours, trying to figure out how I could have made such an egregious mistake.)
a mixture or assortment.blend.
(The eclectic mélange of people at the party made for a scintillating evening.)
mellifluous (adj) , mellifluously (adv) , mellifluousness (n)
sounding sweet and flowing; honeyed .
(Her mellifluous voice floated in through the windows and made everyone smile)
1. the tendency to be dishonest or untruthful. 2. a falsehood or lie.
(you need to overcome this deplorable mendacity, or no one will ever believe anything you say)
mercurial - volatile (adj) , mercurially (adv) , mercurialness - volatility (n)
1. liable to change moods suddenly. 2. lively, changeable, explosive;.
a. The stock market has been quite volatile this year.
b. Bert's family was fearful of his volatile moods.
meretricious (adj) , meretriciously (adv) , meretriciously (n)
gaudy, tawdry; showily attractive but false or insincere.
(With its casinos and attractions, some people consider Las Vegas the most meretricious city in the country.)
mete (v - n)
to distribute, allot, apportion.
(The punishments were meted out fairly to everyone involved in the plot.)
courageous, high-spirited , gritty, stout, dauntless
(Alice's mettlesome attitude was infectious and inspired us all to press on.)
General environment or setting. medium , or surroundings
(The milieu at the writer's retreat is designed to inspire creativity)
mince (v - n)
1. to cut into very small pieces. 2. to walk or speak affectedly, as
with studied refinement. 3. to say something more delicately or indirectly for the sake of politeness or decorum.
(Please don't mince your words—just tell me what you want to say.)
very small details; trivial or trifling matters.
(His attention to the minutiae of the process enabled him to make his great discovery)
great merriment, joyous laughter.
(The joyous wedding celebration filled the reception hall with mirth throughout the evening.)
one who hates or distrusts humankind.
(Pay no mind to his criticism; he's a real misanthrope, and no one can do anything right in his eyes )
miscreant (n - adj)
a villain, criminal; evil person.
(The miscreant had eluded the police for months, but today he was finally captured.)
moot (adj - v)
(Although this is a moot issue, it is one that is often debated among certain circles.)
morose (adj) , morosely (adv) , moroseness (n)
gloomy, sullen, melancholy.
a. My daughter has been morose ever since our dog ran away.
b. After Chuck's girlfriend dumped him, he lay around the house for a couple of days, feeling morose.
multifarious (adj) , multifariously (adv) , multifariousness (n)
very varied, greatly diversified; having many aspects.
(The job requires the ability to handle multifarious tasks.)
mundane (adj) , mundanely (adv) , mundanity (n)
1. ordinary, commonplace, dull. 2. worldly, secular, not spiritual.
a. The president has little time for mundane matters.
b. Mundane details bore me.
myriad (adj - n )
too numerous to be counted; innumerable. n. an indefinitely large number; an immense number, vast amount.
(To the refugees from Somalia, the myriad choices in the American supermarket were overwhelming )
the very bottom, the lowest point.
(The relationship between the two countries reached a nadir in the 1920s.)
admiration or worship of oneself; excessive interest in one's own personal features.self-involvement, selfishness.
(Some critics say that movie stars are guilty of narcissism.)
nascent (adj) , nascency (n)
coming into existence, emerging
(one of the leading figures in the nascent civil-rights movement)
1. source of harm or ruin, the cause of one's misery or downfall; bane. 2. agent of retribution or vengeance. an unbeatable rival; person or thing that punishes
a. Roger can't beat me in chess because I'm his nemesis.
b. Acting as Jean Valjean's nemesis, Javert pursued him relentlessly
1. a means of connection, a link or tie between a series of things. 2. a connected series or group. 3. the core or center.
(The nexus between the lobbyists and the recent policy changes is clear.)
noisome (adj) , noisomely (adv)
1. offensive, foul, especially in odor; putrid. 2. harmful,noxious.
(What a noisome odor is coming from that garbage can!)
non sequitur (n)
a conclusion that does not logically follow from the evidence.
(Marcus's argument started off strong, but it degenerated into a
series of non sequiturs.)
noxious (adj) , noxiously (adv) ,noxiousness (n)
unpleasant and harmful, unwholesome.
(The noxious smell drove everyone from the room. )
to make null (without legal force), invalidate. 2. to counteract
or neutralize the effect of.
(The opponents wanted to nullify the bill before it became a law.)
obdurate (adj) , obdurately (adv) , obduracy (n)
stubborn and inflexible; hardhearted, not easily moved to pity.
a. I doubt he'll change his mind; he's the most obdurate person I know.
b. Despite the many pleas he received, the governor was obdurate in his refusal to grant clemency to the convicted murderer.
obfuscate (v) , obfuscation (n) , obfuscatory (adj)
1. to make obscure or unclear, to muddle or make
difficult to understand. 2. to dim or darken.
(Instead of clarifying the matter, Walter only obfuscated it further.)
obsequious (adj), obsequiously (adv), * servile (adj) , servilely (adv) , servility (n)
excessively or ingratiatingly compliant or submissive; attentive in a servile or ingratiating manner, fawning. * like a slave or servant; submissive.
a.* The tycoon demanded that his underlings behave in a servile manner, agreeing quickly with everything he said.
b.The obsequious manner of the butler made it clear that he resented his position.
obstreperous (adj) , obstreperously (adv)
noisily and stubbornly defiant; aggressively boisterous, unruly.
(The obstreperous child refused to go to bed.)
obtrusive (adj), obtrusively (adv), obtrusion(n), obtrude (v)
1. prominent, undesirably noticeable. 2. projecting, thrusting out. 3. tending to push one's self or one's ideas upon others, forward,
a. Thankfully, Minsun survived the accident, but she was left with several obtrusive scars.
b. Philip should sing more softly; his bass is so obtrusive that the other singers can barely be heard.
obtuse (adj) , obtusely (adv) , obtusity (n)
stupid and slow to understand. 2. blunt, not sharp or pointed.
( Please don't be so obtuse; you know what I mean. )
to make unnecessary, get rid of. avoid, avert, evade
(Hiring Magdalena would obviate the need to hire a music tutor, for she is also a classical pianist. )
occult (adj -n - v)
adj. 1. secret, hidden, concealed. 2. involving the realm of the supernatural. 3. beyond ordinary understanding, incomprehensible. (The embezzler was good at keeping his financial records occult from the authorities. )
1. a work of art. 2. the total lifework of a writer, artist, composer,etc.
(Constanta's latest oeuvre is an avant-garde symphony featuring a cow bell solo.)
officious (adj) , officiously (adv) , officiousness (n)
meddlesome, bossy; eagerly offering unnecessary or unwanted advice.
( My officious Aunt Midge is coming to the party, so be prepared for
lots of questions and advice.)
oligarchy (n) , oligarchic (adj)
form of government in which the power is in the hands of a select few.
( The small governing body calls itself a democracy, but it is
clearly an oligarchy)
omnipotent (adj) , omnipotently (adv)
having unlimited or universal power or force. all-powerful
a. In his tiny country, the king was omnipotent.
b. The successful police chief was omnipotent in our town.
omniscient (adj) , omnisciently (adv)
having infinite knowledge; knowing all things
(In a story with an omniscient narrator, we can hear the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters. )
onus (n), * onerous (adj) - burden (n - v)
duty or responsibility of doing something; task, burden. obligation
1) It was Clark's idea, so the onus is on him to show us that it will work) .
*2) The hero Hercules was ordered to clean the Augean Stables, one of several onerous tasks known as "the labors of Hercules."
a. The burden of the country's safety is in the hands of the president.
b. Irma found the enormous* box too much of a burden.
opprobrious (adj) ,opprobriously (adv) ,opprobriousness (n)
1. expressing contempt or reproach; scornful, abusive. 2. bringing shame or disgrace. contemptuous, insulted
(It was inappropriate to make such opprobrious remarks in front of everybody.)
opulent (adj) , opulently (adv) , opulence (n)
1. possessing great wealth, affluent. 2. abundant, luxurious. rich, lavish
a. Lee is very wealthy, but he does not live an opulent lifestyle.
b. The mansion of newspaper tycoon Hearst is famous for
its opulent decor.
oscillate - vacillate (v)
1. to swing back and forth or side to side in a steady,
uninterrupted rhythm. 2. to waver, as between two conflicting options or opinions; vacillate. to waver back and forth
a. If you vacillate, the broker said, the opportunity will disappear.
b. He who vacillates is lost, the proverb says.
ostensible (adj) , ostensibly (adv)
something that seems to be true but it may not be true. pretended.apparent; on the surface; professed
a. The ostensible reason for the investment was to help the airline.
b. Ostensibly, Alec took the job to gain experience.
ostracize (v) , ostracism (n)
cast out from a group or from society. to exclude from a group.
a. Kendall was ostracized after he repeatedly stole from his friends .
b. In Biblical times, those who suffered from the disease of leprosy were ostracized and forced to live alone.
overweening (adj) , overweeningly (adv)
1. presumptuously arrogant, overbearing. 2. excessive, immoderate. (I quit because I couldn't stand to work for such an overweening
a figure of speech containing a seemingly contradictory
combination of expressions, such as friendly fire.
(The term nonworking mother is a contemptible oxymoron.)
paleness, lack of color.
(The fever subsided, but her pallor remained for several weeks.)
paltry (adj) , paltrily (adv) , paltriness (n)
1. lacking in importance or worth, insignificant; contemptibly
small in amount. 2. wretched or contemptible, pitiful.miserable .
(Walton couldn't believe the billionaire offered such a paltry reward for the return of his lost dog.)
par excellence (adj)
being the best or truest of its kind, quintessential; having the highest degree of excellence, beyond comparison.
(Bob Hope was an entertainer par excellence. )
an outcast, a rejected and despised person. outcast; person who is shunned by others
a. Labeled a pariah by his colleagues, Davis resigned from the company.
b. For falsifying his stories, the reporter became a pariah.
scarcity, smallness of supply or quantity. shortage; scarceness
a. There was no paucity of courage in the Marine group.
b. The critics referred to the paucity of dancing talent in the show.
parvenu (n - adj)
a person who has suddenly risen to a higher social or economic status but has not been socially accepted by others in that class; an
(the kind of trophy house that a parvenu buys to prove to people, and to himself, that he has indeed arrived)
a trivial offense, a small sin or fault.
(Don't make such a big deal out of a little peccadillo.)
pecuniary (adj) , pecuniarily (adv)
of, relating to, or involving money.financial, fiscal, monetary
(Rosen was relieved to learn that his penalty would be pecuniary only and that he would not have to spend any time in jail.)
pedantic (adj) , pedantically (adv)
a walker adj. marked by a narrow, tiresome focus on or display of learning, especially of rules or trivial matters.
( Her lessons were so pedantic that I found I was easily bored.)
pedestrian (adj) , pedestrianism (n)
a walker. adj. commonplace, trite; unremarkable, unimaginative, dull. a. After driving a bus all day, Norris liked to be a pedestrian and
take long, casual* walks in the evening.
b. The police say it is urgent* that pedestrians stay on the sidewalk .
pellucid (adj) , pellucidly (adv) , pellucidity (n)
1. translucent, able to be seen through with clarity. 2. (e.g., of writing) very clear, easy to understand.transparent
a. The water in the mountain stream was cold and pellucid.
b. Thanks to the professor's pellucid explanation, I finally understand relativity theory..
strong liking or inclination (for something).
( Consuela has a penchant for wearing the latest fashions.)
pensive (adj) , pensively (adv) , pensiveness (n)
deeply thoughtful, especially in a serious or melancholy manner. thoughtful; thinking seriously
a. In a pensive mood, Picasso started to paint his masterpiece.
b. "A penny for your thoughts," Clara said to her pensive husband.
penultimate (adj) , penultimately (adv)
next to last.
(There's a real surprise for the audience in the penultimate scene.)
penury (n), * penurious (adj)
extreme poverty, destitution. indigence; * extremely frugal; stingy.
a. After ten years of penury, it's good to be financially secure again.
b. Haunted by memories of poverty, he lived in penurious fashion, driving a twelve-year-old car and wearing only the cheapest clothes.
peremptory (adj) , peremptorily (adv) , peremptoriness (n)
1. offensively self-assured, dictatorial. 2. commanding, imperative, not allowing contradiction .3. putting an end to debate or action.
(The mother's peremptory tone ended the children's bickering.)
perjury (n) , perjurious (adj) , perjuriously (adv)
the deliberate willful giving of false, misleading, or incomplete testimony while under oath. lying under oath
a. Carole's attorney cautioned her about committing perjury.
b. Facing perjury charges, Monte confessed tearfully.
perfidious (adj) , perfidiously (adv), perfidy (n)
treacherous, dishonest; violating good faith, disloyal.disloyal, treacherous.
a. Although he was one of the most talented generals of the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold is remembered today as a perfidious betrayer of his country.
b. The perfidious knight betrayed his king.
perfunctory (adj) , perfunctorily (adv) , perfunctoriness (n)
done out of a sense of duty or routine but without much care or interest; superficial, unenthusiastic, routine, or mechanical.
a. We were not satisfied with his perfunctory work; we felt a more thorough job could have been done.
b. When the play opened, the actors sparkled, but by the thousandth night their performance had become perfunctory.
pernicious (adj) , perniciously (adv) , perniciousness (n)
deadly, harmful, very destructive. mortal
(Nancy's opponent started a pernicious rumor that destroyed her chances of winning).
pertinacious (adj) , pertinaciously (adv)
extremely stubborn or persistent; holding firmly to a belief, purpose, or course of action.
(The pertinacious journalist finally uncovered the truth about the factory's illegal disposal of toxins.)
pervade (v), pervasive (adj), permeate (v), permeation (n)
to spread everywhere ; to be diffused , present throughout. to pass through or penetrate .
a. Art and music pervade every aspect of their lives.
b. Little by little, the smell of gas from the broken pipe permeated the house.
1. to make hard or stiff like a stone. 2. to stun or paralyze with fear, astonishment, or dread.
(I was petrified when I heard the door open in the middle of the night)
petulant (adj) , petulantly (adv)
peevish; unreasonably or easily irritated or annoyed.
(The pouting and sulking child could only be described as petulant)
philistine (n -adj)
a smug, ignorant person; someone who is uncultured and commonplace.
(Richards thinks he is cosmopolitan, but he's really just a philistine.)
1. a person or thing of unmatched beauty or excellence. 2. a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity or apparent annihilation .
(The phoenix is often used to symbolize something that is indomitable or immortal. )
pillage (v - n)
to forcibly rob of goods, especially in time of war; to plunder.
(The barbarians pillaged the village before destroying it with fire.)
piquant (adj) , piquantly (adv) , piquancy (n)
1. agreeably pungent, sharp or tart in taste. 2. pleasantly stimulating or provocative.
(The spicy shrimp salad is wonderfully piquant.)
pivotal (adj) , pivotally (adv)
being of vital importance, crucial.
(We are at a pivotal point in the negotiations and must proceed very carefully; the wrong move now could ruin everything. )
expressing sorrow; mournful, melancholy. Janice's
(plaintive voice made me decide to stay and comfort her longer.)
platitude (n) , platitudinous (adj) , platitudinous (adv)
a trite or banal statement, especially one uttered as if it were new. (Matthew offered me several platitudes but no real advice.)
an overabundance, extreme excess.
(There was a plethora of food at the reception.)
poignant (adj) , poignantly (adv) , poignancy (n)
1. arousing emotion, deeply moving, touching. 2. keenly distressing; piercing or incisive.
(They captured the poignant reunion on film.)
polemical (adj) , polemically (adv)
(The analyst presented a highly polemical view of the economic situation )
someone who takes on airs to impress others; a phony.a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person
( My first impression of the arrogant newcomer told me that he was a poseur; I just had a hunch that he wasn't what he seemed to be.)
pragmatic (adj) , pragmatically (adv)
practical, matter-of-fact; favoring utility.
(Because we don't have money or time to waste, I think we should take the most pragmatic approach.)
a rule establishing standards of conduct.
(The headmaster reviewed the precepts of the school with the students)
precipitous (adj) , precipitously (adv), precipitousness (n)
1. extremely steep, dropping sharply. 2. hasty,rash, foolhardy. (Driving through the state park, we spotted a grizzly bear on a precipitous cliff and wondered if he would fall.)
pretentious (adj) , pretentiously (adv) , pretentiousness (n)
showy, pompous, putting on airs.
a. Hannah thinks that being pretentious will make people like her, but she is sorely mistaken.
b. For an ordinary shoe salesman to call himself a "Personal Foot Apparel Consultant" seems awfully pretentious.
to tell lies, to stray from or evade the truth.
( Quit prevaricating and tell me what really happened.)
primeval (adj) , primevally (adv)
ancient, original, belonging to the earliest ages.
(The primeval art found in the caves was discovered by accident)
pristine (adj) , pristinely (adv)
1. in its original and unspoiled condition, unadulterated. 2. clean, pure, free from contamination.
(We were awed by the beauty of the pristine forest in northern Canada.)
prodigal (adj) , prodigally (adv) , prodigality (n)
1. recklessly wasteful or extravagant, especially with money. 2. given in great abundance, lavish or profuse.
(His prodigal actions led to his financial ruin.)
profligate (adj) , profligately (adv) , profligacy (n)
1. recklessly wasteful or extravagant, prodigal. 2. lacking moral restraint, dissolute.
(The profligate man quickly depleted his fortune.)
the working class, those who do manual labor to earn a living.
(The proletariats demanded fewer hours and better wages.)
1. proximity, nearness. 2. affinity, similarity in nature.
(The propinquity of these two elements make them difficult to tell apart.)
propitious (adj) - auspicious (adjective) , propitiously (adv).
auspicious, presenting favorable circumstances. showing or suggesting that future success is likely , promising good fortune
a. These are propitious omens and foretell a good journey.
b. The news that a team of British climbers had reached the summit of Everest seemed an auspicious sign for the reign of newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II.
prosaic (adj) , prosaically (adv) , prosaicness (n)
unimaginative, ordinary, dull.
a.The prosaic novel was rejected by the publisher.
b. "Paul's Case" tells the story of a boy who longs to escape from the prosaic life of a clerk into a world of wealth, glamour, and beauty.
1. to prohibit, forbid; to banish or outlaw. 2 to denounce or condemn.
(The king proscribed the worship of idols in his kingdom.)
to convert or seek to convert someone to another religion, belief, doctrine or cause.
(After a few minutes, it became clear to Hannah that the purpose of the meeting was really to proselytize as many attendees as possible.)
taking many forms, changeable; variable, versatile.
( In Native American mythology, the coyote is often called the "shape shifter" because he is such a protean character.)
provident (adj) , providently (adv)
wisely providing for future needs; frugal, economical.
(Because my parents were so provident, I didn't have to struggle to pay for college.)
1. a person or agent authorized to represent or act for another. 2. a document authorizing this substitution.
(The president appointed a proxy to handle business matters during his absence.)
prudent - prudential (adj), prudently (adv), prudence (n)
someone who has good judgment and is careful and practical. wise, cautious, and practical.
a. A prudent investor will avoid putting all of her money into any single investment.
b. You made a prudent choice.
puerile (adj) , puerilely (adv)
1. childish, immature. 2. suitable only for children, belonging to or of childhood.
(Andrew is a remarkably successful businessman for someone so puerile. )
pugnacious (adj) , pugnaciously (adv) , pugnacity (n)
contentious, quarrelsome, eager to fight, belligerent. combative, bellicose, truculent; ready to fight.
a. Ty Cobb, the pugnacious outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, got into more than his fair share of brawls, both on and off the field.
b. Don't be so pugnacious—I don't want to fight.
punctilious (adj) , punctiliously (adv) , punctilio (n)
extremely attentive to detail, very meticulous and precise. very concerned about proper forms of behavior and manners.
a. A punctilious dresser like James would rather skip the party altogether than wear the wrong color tie.
b. One of the reasons he excels as an editor is because he is so punctilious.
a learned person or scholar; one who is an authority on a subject. someone who offers opinions in an authoritative style. a. The Sunday afternoon talk shows are filled with pundits, each with his or her own theory about this week's political news.
b. The journalist consulted several legal pundits before drafting the article.
pungent (adj) , pungently (adv) , pungency (n)
1. having a strong, sharp taste or smell. 2. penetrating, caustic, stinging.
( I love the pungent taste of a good, strong curry.)
purge (v - n)
to free from impurities, especially to rid of that which is undesirable
or harmful; to make or become clean, pure.
(After Leon writes a draft, he purges the text of unnecessary words to make it more succinct.)
to steal , pinch, thieve, rob, sneak.
(The thief purloined a sculpture worth thousands of dollars.)
purport (v - n)
1. to be intended to seem, to have the appearance of being.
2. propose or intend.
(The letter purports to express your opinion on the matter.)
to drink hurriedly or heartily; to swallow in large draughts.
(He quickly quaffed three glasses of water. )
quail (v - n)
to draw back in fear, flinch, cower.
(Mona quailed as soon as the vicious dog entered the room.)
querulous (adj) , querulously (adv) ,querulousness (n)
complaining, peevish, discontented. whining.
a. He's a cantankerous and querulous old man, but I love him .
b. The nursing home attendant needed a lot of patience to care for the three querulous, unpleasant residents on his floor.
quid pro quo (n)
a thing given in return for something; an equal exchange or substitution.reparation, indemnification, remuneration, restitution
(I won't agree to any deal that isn't quid pro quo—it must be a win-win arrangement.)
quiescent (adj) , quiescently (adv) , quiescence (n)
inactive, quiet, at rest; dormant, latent.
(The volcano is quiescent at the moment, but who knows when it will erupt again.)
quintessence (n) , quintessential (adj)
1. the essence of a substance. 2. the perfect example or embodiment of something. (Maura is the quintessence of kindness.)
quixotic (adj) , quixotically (adv)
extravagantly chivalrous and unselfish; romantically idealistic, impractical.
(His quixotic ways charmed all the women at the dance.)
quotidian (adj - n)
1. daily. 2. commonplace, pedestrian.
(Prudence took her quotidian dose of medicine.)
rakish (adj) , rakishly (adv) , rakishness (n)
1. debonair, smartly dressed or mannered, jaunty in appearance or manner. 2. unconventional and disreputable; dissolute or
(The rakish young woman charmed everyone at the table.)
rancor (n) , rancorous (adj) , rancorously (adv)
a bitter feeling of ill will, long-lasting resentment. expressing bitter hostility.
a. Many Americans are disgusted by recent political campaigns, which seem more rancorous than ever before.
b.Greg is full of rancor towards his brother, and this causes tension at family gatherings.
rapacious - voracious (adj) , rapaciouslwary -voraciously(adv) , rapacity - voracity(n)
excessively greedy and grasping (especially for money); voracious, plundering.
(The rapacious general ordered his soldiers to pillage the town.)
raucous (adj) , raucously (adv) , raucousness (n)
1. unpleasantly loud and harsh. 2. boisterous, disorderly,disturbing the peace. (The raucous music kept us awake all night.)
reactionary (n -adj)
a person who favors political conservativism; one who is opposed to progress or liberalism.
(It should be an interesting marriage: he's a reactionary and she's as liberal as they come)
recalcitrant (adj) , recalcitrantly (adv) , recalcitrance (n)
disobedient, unruly, refusing to obey authority.rebellious
(The recalcitrant child was sent to the principal's office for the third time in a week.)
recidivism (n) , recidivist (adj)
a relapse or backslide, especially into antisocial or criminal behavior after conviction and punishment.
( Allowing prisoners to earn their GED or a college degree has been shown to greatly reduce recidivism.)
recondite (adj) , reconditely (adv) , reconditeness (n)
1. not easily understood, obscure, abstruse. 2. dealing with abstruse or profound matters.vague, ambiguous
(He loves the challenge of grasping a recondite subject.)
to make a preliminary inspection or survey of,especially to gather military information or prepare for military operations.
(An expedition reconnoitered the coast to find out the exact location of enemy forces.)
refractory (adj) , refractorily (adv) , refractoriness (n)
stubborn, unmanageable, resisting control or discipline.
(Elena is a counselor for refractory children in an alternative school setting.)
to delight or entertain with a splendid feast or pleasant amusement. (The king regaled his guests until the early morning hours.)
rendezvous (n - v)
1. a prearranged meeting at a certain time and place. 2. a place where people meet, especially a popular gathering place. v. to
bring or come together at a certain place, to meet at a rendezvous.
a. We will rendezvous with the 82nd Airborne at dawn.
b. Our secret rendezvous turned out to be not so secret.)
1. a quick, witty reply. 2. the ability to make witty replies.
( He wasn't expecting such a sharp repartee from someone who was normally so quiet. )
1. well stocked or abundantly supplied. 2. full, gorged.
a. The house was replete with expensive antiques.
b. Graham's book is replete with wonderful stories about the famous people she has known.
repose (n - v)
1. resting or being at rest. 2. calmness, tranquility, peace of mind. (The wail of a police siren disturbed my repose.)
reprehensible (adj) reprehensibly (adv), reprehensibility - reprehension (n), reprehend (v)
deserving criticism / rebuke or censure.
a. The reprehensible behavior of the neighborhood bully angered everyone on the block.
b. Although the athlete's misdeeds were reprehensible, not all fans agree that he deserves to be excluded from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
reprieve (n - v)
1. postponement or cancellation of punishment, especially of the death sentence. 2. temporary relief from danger or discomfort.
(The court granted him a reprieve at the last moment because of DNA evidence that absolved him.)
1. an act of retaliation for an injury with the intent of inflicting at least as much harm in return. 2. the practice of using political or
military force without actually resorting to war.
(The president promised a swift reprisal for the attack.)
reprobate (n -v - adj)
an immoral or unprincipled person; one without scruples.
(Edgar deemed himself a reprobate, a criminal, and a traitor in his written confession.)
rescind (v) , rescindable (adj)
to repeal or cancel; to void or annul.
a. General Moore tried to rescind his order but it was too late.
b. Congress plans to rescind the unworkable new tax code.
resonant (adj) , resonantly (adv)
(The new announcer at the stadium has a wonderfully resonant voice.)
resplendent (adj), resplendently (adv), resplendence(n)
having great splendor or beauty; brilliant.glowing, shining.
a. In late December, midtown New York is resplendent with holiday lights and decorations.
b. Sanjay stood for a long time on the deck, watching a resplendent sunset over the mountains.
reticent (adj) , reticently (adv)
tending to keep one's thoughts and feelings to oneself; reserved, untalkative, silent.
(Annette is very reticent, so don't expect her to tell you much about herself.)
revere (v), reverence (noun), reverent (adjective).
to regard with reverence or awe; to venerate, hold in highest respect or estimation. to admire deeply, to honor.
a. Millions of people around the world revered Mother Teresa for her saintly generosity.
b. When you look at Judith's work, it's easy to see which painter she reveres most; every painting is an homage to Cezanne.
1. rambling, confusing, incoherent talk. 2. a complicated, petty procedure.
(We had to go through a great deal of rigmarole to get this approved.)
rogue (n - adj)
1. a dishonest, unprincipled person. 2. a pleasantly mischievous
person. 3. a vicious and solitary animal living apart from the herd. (Yesterday, that rogue hid all of my cooking utensils; today he's switched everything around in the cupboards!)
1. to make a liquid cloudy or muddy. 2. to stir up or agitate.
3. to anger or annoy.
(The crowd was roiled by the speaker's insensitive remarks.)
1. a class or category. 2. a heading, title, or note of explanation
(I would put this under the rubric of "quackery," not "alternative
sacrilegious (adj) , sacrilegiously (adv),sacrilegiousness (n)
disrespectful or irreverent towards something regarded as sacred. (Her book was criticized by the church for being sacrilegious.)
sagacious (adj) , sagaciously (adv) , sagacity (n)
having or showing sound judgment; perceptive,discerning, wise.
a. Only a leader as sagacious as Nelson Mandela could have united South Africa so successfully and peacefully.
b. My sagacious uncle always gives me good, sound advice.
salient (adj) , saliently (adv) , salience (n)
1. conspicuous, prominent, highly noticeable; drawing attention through a striking quality. 2. springing up or jutting out.
(Jill's most salient feature is her stunning auburn hair.)
salutary (adj) , salutarily (adv) , salutariness (n)
producing a beneficial or wholesome effect; remedial.
(To promote better health, I've decided to move to a more salutary climate)
sanctimonious (adj), sanctimoniously (adv), sanctimony (n)
hypocritically pious or devout; excessively self-righteous. showing false or excessive piety.
a. The sanctimonious prayers of the TV preacher were interspersed with requests that the viewers send him money.
b. The thief's sanctimonious remark that "a fool and his money are soon parted" only made the jury more eager to convict him.
sanction (n - v)
n. 1. official authorization or approval. 2. a penalty imposed to coerce another to comply or conform. v. 1. to approve or permit;
to give official authorization or approval for, ratify.
(The city council has sanctioned our request to turn the empty lot into a community garden.)
sangfroid (n) - composure (n), composed (adj)
composure, especially in dangerous or difficult circumstances.calm, self-assurance.
a. The company's president managed to keep his composure during his speech even when the TelePrompTer broke down, leaving him without a script.
b. I wish I had Jane's sangfroid when I find myself in a confrontational situation.
sanguine (adj) , sanguinely (adv) , sanguineness (n)
1. confidently cheerful, optimistic.hopeful;
a. I'm not sanguine about our team's chances this year.
b. Sanguine about Wall Street, Alfredo invested heavily.
sardonic (adj) , sardonically (adv) , sardonicism (n)
sarcastic, mocking scornfully.( I was hurt by his sardonic reply.)
saturnine (adj) , saturninely (adv)
gloomy, dark, sullen.
(The saturnine child sulked for hours.)
savoir faire (n)
knowledge of the right thing to do or say in a social situation; graceful tact.
(Adele's savoir faire makes her the quintessential hostess.)
a separation or division into factions because of a difference in belief or opinion.
(The schism between the two parties was forgotten as they united around a common cause.)
scintilla (n) , scintillant (adj)
a trace or particle; minute amount, iota.
(She has not one scintilla of doubt about his guilt)
scurvy (adj) , scurvily (adv) , scurviness (n)
(That scurvy knave has ruined my plans again.)
seditious (adj) , seditiously (adv) , seditiousness (n)
arousing to insurrection or rebellion; engaging in or promoting sedition -conduct or language which incites resistance or opposition
to lawful authority.
(Toby's seditious behavior nearly started a riot at the town meeting.)
sedulous (adj) , sedulously (adv) , sedulousness (n)
diligent, persevering, hard working. laborious, assiduous, persevering
(After years of sedulous research, the researchers discovered a cure.)
1. the study of meaning in language. 2. the meaning, connotation, or interpretation of words, symbols, or other forms. 3. the study of relationships between signs or symbols and their meanings.
(He claims it's an issue of semantics, but the matter is not open to interpretation.)
sententious (adj), sententiously(adv) ,sententiousness (n)
1. expressing oneself tersely, pithy. 2. full of maxims and proverbs offered in a self-righteous manner.
(I was looking for your honest opinion, not a sententious reply.)
shiftless (adj) , shiftlessly (adv) , shiftlessness (n)
lazy and inefficient; lacking ambition, initiative, or purpose.
(My shiftless roommate has failed all of his classes.)
simian (adj - n)
of or like an ape or monkey.
(Scientists have studied humans' simian ancestors.)
sinuous (adj) , sinuously (adv)
winding, undulating, serpentine.
(It is dangerous to drive fast on such a sinuous road.)
1. to satisfy, quench. 2. to reduce the intensity of, moderate, allay.
(The deer slaked its thirst at the river.)
sodden (adj) , soddenly (adv)
1. thoroughly saturated, soaked. 2. expressionless or dull,
(Caught in an unexpected rainstorm, I was sodden by the time I reached the bus stop.)
solecism (n) , solecistic (adj) , solecistically (adv)
1. a mistake in the use of language. 2. violation of good manners or etiquette, impropriety.
( Frank's solecism caused his debate team much embarrassment.)
solicit (v) , solicitation (n) , solicitant (adj)
1. to ask for earnestly, petition. 2. to seek to obtain by persuasion
or formal application. 3. to approach with an offer for paid services.
(The organization is soliciting new memberships.)
clever but faulty reasoning; a plausible but invalid argument intended to deceive by appearing sound.
(I was amused by his sophistry, but knew he had a little more research to do before he presented his argument to the distinguished scholars in his field.)
sordid - squalid (adj) , sordidly - squalidly (adv) , sordidness - squalidness (n)
1. dirty, wretched, squalid. 2. morally degraded.
(This sordid establishment should be shut down immediately)
specious (adj) , speciously (adv) , speciousness (n)
1. seemingly plausible but false. 2. deceptively pleasing in appearance.
(Vinnie did not fool me with his specious argument)
spurious (adj) , spuriously (adv) , spuriousness (n)
false, counterfeit, not genuine or authentic
(Ian's surreptitious manner makes me believe his support for you is spurious and that he has a hidden agenda.)
staunch (v - adj) , staunchly (adv) , staunchness (n)
(also stanch) stopping the flow of something. adj. firm and steadfast, unswerving; firm and constant in principle or loyalty.
(I have always been a staunch believer in the power of positive thinking.)
steadfast (adj) , steadfastly (adv) , steadfastness (n)
1. firmly fixed or unchanging, resolute. 2. firmly loyal and constant, unswerving.
(The captain held a steadfast course despite the rough seas.)
stoical (adj) , stoically (adv)
seemingly unaffected by pleasure or pain; indifferent, impassive. (Michael was stoical, but underneath, he is every bit as emotional as we are.)
strident (adj) , stridently (adv) , stridence (n)
unpleasantly loud and harsh; grating, shrill, discordant.
(When he heard the strident tone of his mother's voice, Oscar knew he was in big trouble.)
stultify (v) , stultification (n)
1. to impair or make ineffective, cripple. 2. to make (someone) look foolish or incompetent.
(Of course I'm angry! You stultified me at that meeting!)
stymie (v - n) , thwart (v -n - adj)
to hinder, obstruct, thwart; to prevent the accomplishment of something. block
a. If you thwart Andre, you do it at your risk.
b. The inmates' attempt to escape was thwarted by an alert guard.
sublime (adj) , sublimely (adv) ,sublimeness (n)
having noble or majestic qualities; inspiring awe, adoration,
or reverence; lofty, supreme.
(Beethoven's music is simply sublime)
subliminal (adj) , subliminally (adv)
below the threshold of consciousness.
(Subliminal advertising is devious but effective)
1. to overthrow. 2. to ruin, destroy completely. 3. to undermine.
(She quietly subverted his authority by sharing internal information with outside agents.)
succor (n - v)
assistance or relief in time of difficulty or distress. v. to provide
assistance or relief in time of difficulty or distress.
(The Red Cross and other relief organizations provide succor to the needy during natural disasters.)
sundry (adj - n)
various, miscellaneous. diverse, varied
(The sundry items in her backpack reveal a great deal about her personality.)
supercilious (adj), superciliously (adv), superciliousness (n)
haughty, scornful, disdainful. supercilious, overbearing, insolent
(Sunil's supercilious attitude and sarcastic remarks annoy me greatly)
supplicant (n -adj)
a person who asks humbly for something; one who beseeches or entreats. (The supplicants begged for forgiveness.)
surfeit (n - v)
1. an excessive amount or overabundance; glut. 2. the state of
being or eating until excessively full. v. to feed or fill to excess, satiety, or disgust; overindulge.
(In some countries, the leaders and a select few enjoy a surfeit of wealth while most of the population lives in squalor.)
surly (adj) , surlily (adv) , surliness (n)
bad-tempered, gruff, or unfriendly in a way that suggests menace.
(Emily received a surly greeting from the normally cheerful receptionist)
surmise (v - n)
to infer based upon insufficient evidence; to guess, conjecture.
( After finding dirty footprints in her apartment, Lakisha surmised that someone had stolen her misplaced jewelry.)
surreptitious (adj) , surreptitiously (adv)
1. done, made, or obtained through stealthy, clandestine, or fraudulent means. 2. done in secret.
a. Ian's surreptitious manner makes me believe his support for you is spurious and that he has a hidden agenda.
b. Many FBI agents believe the apartment houses a surreptitious drug-dealing business.
svelte (adj) , sveltely (adv)
slender and graceful, suave.
(The svelte actress offered a toast to her guests.)
sycophant (n) , sycophantic (adj) ,sycophantically (adv)
person who tries to win the favor of influential or powerful people through flattery; a fawning parasite.
(Omar realized that one of the drawbacks of his celebrity was that he would always be surrounded by sycophants)
taciturn (adj) , taciturnly (adv) , taciturnity (n)
habitually , silent; reserved; uncommunicative
a. Taciturn President Coolidge was a man of few words.
b. Cindy is a great talker, the least taciturn person I know.
tangential (adj) , tangentially (adv), tangent (n)
1. only superficially relevant; of no substantive connection. 2. of or relating to a tangent. touching lightly; only slightly connected or related.
a. Having enrolled in a class on African-American history, the students found the teacher's stories about his travels in South America only of tangential interest.
b. Rudy's thesis paper contained tangential statements, not relevant facts.
tawdry (adj) , tawdrily (adv) ,tawdriness (n)
gaudy or showy but without any real value; flashy and tasteless.
( I've never seen such a tawdry outfit as the three-tiered taffeta prom gown that the music singer wore to the awards ceremony!)
foolish disregard of danger; brashness, audacity. boldness, rashness, excessive daring.
a. Only someone who didn't understand the danger would have the temerity to try to climb Everest without a guide.
b. This is no time for temerity; we must move cautiously to avoid any further damage.
tendentious (adj), tendentiously (adv), tendentiousness (n)
biased, not impartial, partisan; supporting a particular cause or position.
(The tendentious proposal caused an uproar on the Senate floor.)
a belief, opinion, doctrine or principle held to be true by a person,
group, or organization.
(This pamphlet describes the tenets of Amnesty International)
tenuous (adj) , tenuously (adv) , tenuousness (n)
1. unsubstantial, flimsy. 2. having little substance or validity.
(He could demonstrate only a tenuous claim to ownership.)
terse (adj) , tersely (adv) , terseness (n)
concise, using no unnecessary words, succinct. brief; to the point
a. Al's terse report endeared him to the company president.
b. The terse statement by the bridegroom was "I do."
timorous (adj) , timorously (adv) , timorousness(n)
fearful, timid, afraid.
a. The stray dog was timorous, and it took a great deal of coaxing to get him to come near the car.
b. The cowardly lion approached the throne of the wizard with a timorous look on his face.
a long, angry, often highly critical speech; a violent denunciation
(Since Andre was known for his temper, his tirade did not surprise his roommate.)
n. exhausting labor or effort; difficult or laborious work. v. to work
laboriously, move with difficulty
a. The feeble* old man toiled up the hill.
b. Despite* all his toil, Fred never succeeded in reaching his goal.
of a form of government in which those in control neither recognize nor tolerate rival parties or loyalties, demanding total submission of the individual to the needs of the state.
(The totalitarian regime fell quickly when the people revolted.)
tout (v - n)
1. to promote or praise highly and energetically, especially with
the goal of getting a customer, vote, etc. 2. to solicit (customers, votes, etc.) in an especially brazen or persistent manner.
(Cy was touting the merits of the referendum as he solicited support for Tuesday's vote.)
amenable (adj) , amenably (adv) ,amenability (n)
easily managed or controlled; obedient, docile.
(In the novel Brave New World, the World Controllers use hypnosis and a "happiness drug" to make everyone tractable.)
transient (adj) , transiently (adv) , transience (n)
lasting only a very short time; fleeting, passing quickly.
a. Their relationship was transient but profound.
b. Long-term visitors to this hotel pay at a different rate than transient guests who stay for just a day or two.
trenchant (adj) , trenchantly (adv) , trenchancy (n)
1. penetrating, forceful, effective. 2. extremely perceptive,
incisive. 3. clear-cut, sharply defined.
(It was a trenchant argument, and it forced me to change my mind about the issue.)
court of law, court of justice, assize, judgement
(He will be sentenced for his war crimes by an international tribunal.)
truculent (adj) , truculently (adv) , truculence (n)
1. defiantly aggressive. 2. fierce, violent. 3. bitterly expressing opposition. hostile, belligerent.
a. Hitler's truculent behavior in demanding more territory for Germany made it clear that war was inevitable.
b. The outspoken congresswoman gave a truculent speech arguing against the proposal.
truncate (v - adj)
to shorten or terminate by (or as if by) cutting the top or end off.
a. The glitch in the software program truncated the lines of a very important document I was typing.
b. The manuscript of the play appeared truncated; the last page
ended in the middle of a scene, halfway through the first act.
tumultuous (adj) , tumultuously (adv) , tumultuousness (n)
1. creating an uproar, disorderly, noisy. 2. a state of confusion, turbulence, or agitation, tumult.
(It was another tumultuous day for the stock market, and fluctuating prices wrought havoc for investors.)
1. wickedness. 2. a corrupt or depraved act.
(Such turpitude deserves the most severe punishment)
offense, resentment. insult, affront
(I took great umbrage at your suggestion that I twisted the truth)
unctuous (adj) , unctuously (adv) , unctuosity (n)
1. unpleasantly and excessively or insincerely earnest or ingratiating. 2. containing or having the quality of oil or ointment; greasy, slippery, suave.
(I left without test driving the car because the salesperson was
so unctuous that I couldn't trust him)
1. to weaken or injure, especially by wearing away at the foundation. 2. to destroy in an underhanded way.
(She tried to undermine my authority by complaining about me to my boss.)
undulate (v - adj)
to move in waves or in a wavelike fashion, fluctuate.
(The curtains undulated in the breeze.)
untoward (adj) , untowardly (adv)
1. contrary to one's best interest or welfare; inconvenient, troublesome, adverse. 2. improper, unseemly, perverse.
(Jackson's untoward remarks made Amelia very uncomfortable.)
to reprove, reproach sharply, condemn; admonish.
(The child was upbraided for misbehaving during the ceremony.)
urbane - urban (adj) , urbanely (adv) , urbaneness (n)
elegant, highly refined in manners, extremely tactful and polite.of or having to do with cities or towns .
a. Many businesses open offices in urban areas.
b. Christopher thinks he's so urbane, but he's really quite pedestrian.
usurp (v) ,* usurper (n) , usurpingly (adv)
to seize, or take possession of, by force and without right; to
wrongfully take over. someone who takes a place or possession without the right to do so.
*a. Kennedy's most devoted followers tended to regard later presidents as usurpers, holding the office they felt he or his brothers should have held.
b. After the king's half-brother usurped the throne, he executed the king and queen and imprisoned the prince, who was the rightful heir to the throne.
vacuous - (adj) , vacuously (adv) - inane (adj - n)
empty, purposeless; senseless, stupid, inane.
a.He had a vacuous expression on his face.
b. I quickly tired of their inane comments.
vehement (adj) , vehemently (adv) , vehemence (n)
1. characterized by extreme intensity of emotion or forcefulness of expression or conviction. 2. marked by great force, vigor, or energy.
(The senator was vehement in her denial of any wrongdoing and maintained her innocence throughout the investigation)
venal (adj) , venally (adv)
easily bribed or corrupted; unprincipled.
(The venal judge was removed and disbarred.)
verbose (adj) , verbosely (adv) , verbosity (n)
using more words than necessary; wordy, long-winded.
a. The judge cautioned the witness about giving verbose replies.
b. By being verbose, Jon had huge phone bills.
the appearance of being true or real.
(The movie aims for complete verisimilitude and has painstakingly recreated the details of everyday life in the 1920s.)
veritable (adj) , veritably (adv)
real, true, genuine. actual, authentic
(Einstein was a veritable genius)
vex (v), vexation (n)
1. to annoy, irritate. 2. to cause worry to.
a. I was completely vexed by his puerile behavior.
b. Unproven for generations, Fermat's last theorem was one of the most famous, and most vexing, of all mathematical puzzles.
to compete with or contend; to strive for superiority or victory.
(The two scientists were vying to be the first to find concrete evidence of extraterrestrial life.)
brief description or depiction, especially a short literary sketch or scene or ornamental sketch in a book.
(The film is a series of interrelated vignettes rather than one continuous narrative.)
virulent (adj) , virulently (adv)
1. extremely poisonous, injurious or infectious. 2. bitterly hostile or hateful, acrimonious.
(They say that the pen is mightier than the sword; indeed, words can be every bit as virulent as the sting of a scorpion )
vis-à-vis (adj - adv)
1. referring or directing attention to. 2. face to face with or opposite to. adv. face to face.
(After a few minutes of pandemonium, the lights came back on, and Suki suddenly found herself vis-à-vis with the man of her dreams)
savagely hostile or bitter, caustic. Showing an extreme, hateful anger
(Her vitriolic attack on her opponent was so hostile that it may cost her the election.)
vituperate (v) , vituperator (n) , vituperative (adj) , vituperatively (adv)
to criticize or rebuke harshly or abusively; to censure severely, berate.
(After being vituperated by her boss for something that wasn't
even her fault, Jin handed in her letter of resignation)
voluble (adj) , volubly (adv) , volubility (n)
1. talking a great deal and with great ease; language marked by great fluency; rapid, nimble speech. 2. turning or rotating easily on
(Your new spokesperson is very voluble and clearly comfortable speaking in front of large audiences.)
winnow (v - n)
1. to separate the grain from the chaff by using the wind or other current of air to blow the chaff away. 2. to separate the good from the
bad; to examine or sift through to remove undesirable elements.
(We have winnowed the list of applicants down to five highly qualified candidates.)
a strong dislike, distrust, or fear of foreigners.
(Many atrocities have been committed because of xenophobia.)
the spirit of the times; the general intellectual and moral outlook or attitude characteristic of a particular generation or period of time.
(The revolutionary zeitgeist of the sixties and seventies is in sharp contrast to the conservative zeitgeist of the fifties)
abandon (v) , abandonment (n)
To leave; to give up
(To save their lives, the sailors had to abandon the sinking ship.)
aggregate (adj - v-n )
Gathered into or amounting to a whole .
(It is impossible to judge last year's performance without knowing
the aggregate sales numbers.)
fertilize (v) , fertilizer (n), fertilization (n)
To supply with nourishment for plants by adding helpful
substances to the soil
(This farm fertilizes tomatoes more than any other crop.)
photosynthesis (n) , photosynthesize (v)
The process by which green plants make their own food by combining water, salts, and carbon dioxide in the presence of light.
Oxygen is a by-product of the process of photosynthesis.
Water that falls to the Earth's surface
(In the Pacific Northwest, the high level of precipitation ensures rich,
green plant life.)
catastrophic (adj) , catastrophically (adv) , catastrophe (n)
Extremely harmful; causing financial or physical ruin
(The architect died in a catastrophic elevator accident)
collide (v) , collision (n)
To come together with great or violent force
(As usual, their holiday was ruined when their in-laws' views on politics collided with their own.)
eruption (n) , erupt (v)
A sudden, often violent, outburst
(The eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 caused 57 deaths and
immeasurable change to the face of the mountain.)
Severe hunger; a drastic food shortage
a. Famine in Africa caused the death of one tenth of the population.*
b. There has been a famine of good writing in the last decade.*.
flood (n - v)
An overflowing of water; an excessive amount
(The constant rain and poor drainage system caused a flood in town. The political party sent out a flood of letters criticizing their
persevere (adj) , persist (v), perseverance(n)
To keep going, despite obstacles or discouragement; to maintain a purpose
a. The hikers persevered despite the bad weather and the icy trail.
b. Although several of her teammates dropped out of the marathon, Laura persevered.
plunge (v - n)
To go down suddenly; to decrease by a great amount in a
(He jumped off the diving board and plunged into the pool.)
To release a thing or an emotion
(When they saw the strange man on their property, they unleashed
evolve (v), evolution (n), evolutionist (n)
To develop; to come forth
(Modern-day sharks evolved from their ancestor Eryops, which lived
more than 200 million years ago.)
migration (n) , migrant (n), migrate (v),migratory (adj)
Movement from one place to another by a group of people
(The migration of farm workers from one state to the next depends
primarily on the harvest.)
constraint (n) , constrain (v)
Something that restricts thought or action
(The constraints of military life kept Eileen from seeing Private Morris more than once a month.)
contamination (n) , contaminant (n) , contaminate (v)
Being made less clean by a germ or hazardous substance , to make impure.
a. Chemicals dumped in a nearby forest had seeped into the soil and contaminated the local water supply.
b. The contamination in the river came from the factory located just
dispose of (v) disposal (n), disposable (adj)
To throw away; to get rid of; to kill
(She disposed of her unwanted possessions before moving.
The tyrant cruelly disposed of all his enemies.)
emission (n) , emit (v)
Sending out from a small space into the general environment;
a substance discharged into the air
(The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the emission of
pollutants into the air.)
extinction (n) , extinct (adj)
Complete disappearance; the end of existence
(Human beings have caused the extinction of many other species.)
reservoir (n) , reserve (v)
A place where a liquid is collected and stored
(Cult members threatened to poison the town's water reservoir.)
shrink (v) , shrinkage (n), shrinkable (adj)
To become reduced in size, amount, or value
(If you dry your clothing on the "high heat" setting, they may shrink.)
exponentially (adv) , exponential (adj), exponent (n)
At a very fast rate
(In Turkey, the value of the lira has decreased exponentially in the
last several decades.)
infinitesimal (adj) , infinitesimally (adv)
(The number of contaminants in the water was infinitesimal, so the
water was safe to drink)
accuracy (n) ,accurate (adj), accurately (adv)
(The research department checks all our articles for accuracy of facts before we print them.)
adjacent (ad) , adjacency (n)
(Even though the villages are adjacent to each other, their residents
speak different languages.)
integrally - integrity - integral (n) ,integrate (v), integral (adj)
To lie over part of something; to have elements in common , honesty, uprightness; soundness, completeness. "Honest Abe"
a. Lincoln is considered a model of political integrity.
b. Writing and spelling are taught integrally as part of the reading
overlap (v - n)
To lie over part of something; to have elements in common
(One of the two assistants will likely get fired, since most of their duties)
in the office overlap.
retain (v) , retainer (n), retention (n)
To keep or hold
(The rain fell so heavily that the banks of the river could not retain
all the water.)
To pass slowly for a long time, as a liquid or gas might
(As the containers rusted, the toxic waste seeped into the ground.)
circulate (v) , circulation (n)
To move throughout an area or group; ,go around; go from place to place or person to person
a. The gossip circulated quickly through the small town.
b. My father circulated among the guests at the party and made them feel comfortable.
corrode (v) , corrosion (n) , * corrosive (adj)
To be slowly weakened by chemical reactions, * eating away, gnawing, or destroying.
a.* Years of poverty and hard work had a corrosive effect on her beauty.
b.Sitting in salt water, the old coins corroded and became very easy to break .
expeditiously (adv) , expeditious (adj) , expedite (v), expedition (n)
Quickly and efficiently, to execute promptly; speed up
a. The company's large number of orders were expedited when the shipping clerk decided to use an airborne delivery company.
b. Using carrier pigeons, the military commanders exchanged messages expeditiously.
implement (v) , implement (n), implementation (n)
To make use of; to carry out
(Not until after the new software was installed could we implement
the new filing system.)
simulation (n) , simulate (v)
An imitation or representation
(To test car safety, automobile makers study crash simulations.)
combustion (n) , combust (v), combustible (adj)
The process of burning
(When air quality is poor, combustion of materials in a fireplace is
discretely (adv) , discrete (adj)
(In order to understand how the engine worked, each component
needed to be studied discretely.)
nucleus (n) , nuclear (adj)
A central or essential part around which other parts are
gathered; a core
(The nucleus of many European cities is the town square.)
Of, or relating to, the sun
The ancient society kept time with a solar calendar)
trigger (v - n)
To set off or initiate
(I was certain any mention of politics would trigger a big argument.)
consciously - conscious (adj) , consciousness (n)
With awareness of one's actions
(He may have hurt her feelings, but he never would have done so
degrade (v) , degradation (n), degradable (adj)
To reduce in value or strength
(The roads in cold or wet areas of the United States degrade faster
than those in warm, sunny regions.)
intervene (v) , intervention (n)
To come between
(A good mediator intervenes only as much as necessary to settle a
dispute between other parties)
intuitively (adv) , intuitive (adj) , intuition (n)
By means of a natural sense about things that are hard to observe , known directly, without apparent thought or effort.
a. An experienced chess player sometimes has an intuitive sense of the best move to make, even if she can't explain it.
b. Many mothers know intuitively when something is wrong with their
agnostic (adj- n) , agnosticism (n)
Believing that humans cannot know whether there is a god
(His devoutly Christian parents had problems with his agnostic beliefs)
atheist (n) , atheistic (adj)
person who denies the existence of God
a. The atheist is quite different from the agnostic, who is not sure whether there is a God.
b. He argued that his scientific training made it impossible for him to
be anything but an atheist.
be inclined to (v) , incline (n), inclination (n)
To favor an opinion or a course of action
(He couldn't say which candidate he favored, but he had always
been inclined to vote Republican.)
contemplate (v) , contemplation (n), contemplative (adj)
To consider thoughtfully
(If you contemplate each step for so long, we will never complete this project on time)
deify (v) , deity (n)
To worship as a god
(When people deify the leader of their country, the leader is able to
abuse power more easily.)
ecclesiastical (adj) , ecclesiastically (adv), ecclesiastic (n)
Relating to a church
(He was looking specifically for a university where he could study
exalt (v) , exaltation (n)
To praise or honor
(He would often exalt the virtues of his new wife.)
pious (adj) , piously (adv) , piousness (n), piety (n)
Having or exhibiting religious reverence
(Sometimes she was so pious that the rest of us felt like heathens.)
Weakened or worn out because of age, illness, or excessive use
(The once-beautiful building was now dirty, decrepit, and roofless.)
fatal - fatally (adj) , fatality (n)
Causing death or disaster
(The soldier was fatally wounded in the battle.)
forensics (n) , forensic (adj)
The use of science and technology to investigate facts in criminal cases
(Advances in the study of forensics have made it much easier to
identify criminals from very small traces of evidence.)
An educated guess of how something will develop, especially
(The room fell silent when the doctor gave Senator Grebe a grim
prognosis of months of treatment.)
Any of the tubes that form a branching system, especially those
that carry blood to the heart
a. A vein of lunacy* seemed to run in the family.
b. Explorations disclosed* the rich vein of copper in the mountain.
anesthesia (n) , anesthetic (n - adj)
Techniques for reducing sensation and feeling, especiallyto control pain
(The Civil War was the first American war when anesthesia was
widely used in surgery on soldiers.)
certifiably (adv), certifiable (adj), certify (v), certification -certificate (n)
In a manner that is officially recognized
(He couldn't be institutionalized until he was declared certifiably
implant (v) , implantation (n)
To set in firmly; to insert in the body surgically
(The actress had cheek implants to make her face look fuller.)
inject (v) , injection (n)
To insert a liquid by means of a syringe
(The doctor used a needle to inject the medicine slowly into her arm.)
scar (n - v)
A mark on the skin left after a wound has healed; a lasting sign
of damage, either mental or physical
(The surgery was successful, but it left a large scar across her
astrological (adj), astrologically (adv), astrology - astrologer (n)
Related to the study of the position of stars, the sun, and the planets in the belief that they influence earthly events
(Every day, Mona read her astrological forecast in the newspaper,
and she was careful if the horoscope predicted trouble.)
divination (n) , divine (v)
Foretelling the future by finding patterns in physical objects , the art of predicting the future.
a. In ancient Greece, people wanting to know their fate would visit the priests at Delphi, who were supposedly skilled at divination.
b. In Turkey, women offer divination by reading the dregs from a coffee cup.
haunt (n - v)
To continually appear (in the form of a ghost) in the same place or to the same person.
(The pictures of children dying in war have haunted me for a long
Acting as an agent between people or things
(The plaintiff's lawyer suggested that they hire an intermediary to
help them discuss their case.)
invoke (v) , invocation (n)
To call on for support
(In many religions, believers invoke their god by holding out their
meditate (v) , meditation (n)
To reflect; to think quietly and deeply for a long time
(Every morning, the monks meditated for three hours in complete
A dimly visible form, usually thought to be the spirit of a dead person, a sunken ship, etc.
(Many visitors reported seeing a phantom who appeared around the
psychic (adj) , psychically (adv) , psychic (n)
Relating to the supposed ability of the human mind to sense things that cannot be observed
(The governor's assistant claimed to have unique psychic abilities
enabling him to read people's minds.)
self-perpetuating (adj) , self-perpetuation (n)
Having the power to renew oneself for an indefinite period of time
(It is difficult to escape from a lie,as they are often self-perpetuating)
cremation (n) , cremate (v)
The act of burning the dead
(Cremation is particularly common in Japan, where land for burial is
domesticate (v) , domestic (adj)
To make something suitable for being in a home
(The Barnes family hoped to domesticate the tiger, but their neighbors were skeptical.)
folklore (n) , folkloric (adj) , tradition (n) ,traditionless - Traditional (adj)
Traditional myths of a people transmitted orally
(Through folklore, archaeologists have learned about the migration
of Native Americans in North America.)
fossilize (v) , fossilization - fossil (n)
To become preserved in clay or stone or ash after death, so that a natural record is left of the original organism; to become rigid and stuck in old ways
(The dinosaur eggs had fossilized over thousands of years)
Something left from a long-ago culture, time period, or person
(Relics of the war can still be found in the sand dunes along this
A ceremony meant to achieve a certain purpose
(Many cultures have fertility rites that supposedly make it more
likely for women to bear children.)
ritually (adv) , ritual (adj) , ritual (n)
As part of a traditional ceremony or habit
(The children ritually kissed their parents on the cheek before bed.)
A long story about important events long ago
(Many American families tell sagas about their ancestors' arrival in
the United States.)
vestige (n), vestigial (adj)
A visible trace that something once existed ; a trace or remainder.
a. Today's tiny Sherwood Forest is the last vestige of
a woodland that once covered most of England.
b. The wilted flowers were the only vestige of their romantic weekend.
amend (v) , amendment (n)
To change for the better
(The residents voted to amend their neighborhood policy on fences.)
de facto (adj - adv) .
Truly doing a job, even if not officially
(Popular support established the Citizens Party as the de facto
oppress (v) , oppression (n)
To keep down by force; to weigh heavily on
(Factory management oppressed workers through intimidation.)
A pattern or model; a set of assumptions
(The usual paradigm for economic growth in developed countries
does not apply to some poor nations)
prejudiced (adj) , prejudice (v), prejudice (n)
Causing to judge prematurely and unfairly , an opinion formed without taking time and care to judge fairly; to harm or injure
a. Many consumers are prejudiced against commercial goods made in third-world countries
b.The witness's weird* behavior prejudiced Nancy's case.
The courses of study offered by an educational institution
(The teachers met to design a new curriculum for the Intensive
distinctly - distinct (adj) , distinction (n)
(I distinctly remember saying that we would meet at noon.)
fortify (v) , fortification (n)
To strengthen , become stronger
(The high-priced drink had extra vitamins and minerals to fortify
implicitly (adv) , implicit (adj)
Without being stated; unquestioningly ,understood without being openly expressed; implied
a. By joining the competition, she agreed implicitly to the rules.
b. Although most clubs had no rules excluding blacks and Jews, many had an implicit that no blacks or Jews would be allowed to join.
Restricted in outlook; relating to the local parish
(Marla moved from her rural community to get away from its
rigor (n) , rigorous (adj)
Strictness; difficult situations that come from following rules strictly
(The wrestler followed his diet with rigor.)
A list, especially of names
(Two of the names on the roster were misspelled)
Worldly rather than spiritual; not related to religion
(Few private schools in the United States are secular.)
(My allegiance to my country is based on respect for its principles.)
Large guns that shoot powerful shells; army units that handle such guns
(An artillery barrage broke down the city's thick walls within seconds.)
cease (v) , cessation (n), ceaseless (adj)
a. Cease trying to do more than you can.
b.The lightning continued even after the thunder had ceased.
in the trenches (adv)
In the middle of the hardest fighting or work
(With their unrealistic view of this war, our generals don't know
what things are like out in the trenches)
mobilize (v) , mobilization (n)
To put members of a group into motion
(After a terrible storm, the governor mobilized the National Guard
to rescue victims.)
annex (v - n) , annexation (n)
To make something (usually land) part of another unit
(Bardstown grew by annexing several farms at the north edge of
conquest (n) , conquer (v)
A takeover by force or continued effort
(The first recorded conquest of Mt. Everest was by Tensing Norgay
and Sir Edmund Hilary.)
devise (v), device (n)
To find a way to make an object or a plan, think out; plan; invent
a. The burglars devised a scheme for entering the bank at night.
b. I would like to devise a method for keeping my toes from becoming numb* while I am ice skating.
invasive (adj) , invade (v), invasion - invader (n)
Aggressively entering into someone else's territory
(Surgery with a laser is less invasive than surgery with a knife or
prevailing (adj) , prevail (v), prevalence (n)
Strongest or most common
(The prevailing attitude among our neighbors is to be friendly but
not too friendly.)
resist (v) , resistance (n), resistant (adj)
To refuse to give in to a strong force or desire
(Although many native nations resisted, the U.S. government eventually took over almost all Indian land.)
violation (n) , violate (v)
An action that breaks a law or agreement; mistreatment of something that deserves respect
(The army's testing of new weapons was a violation of the cease-fire agreement.)
coincide (v), coincidence (n), coincidental (adj), coincidentally (adv)
occupy the same place in space; occupy the same time; correspond exactly; agree
a. If these triangles were placed one on top of the other, they would
b. My verdict* on the film coincides with Adele's.
consequence (n) , consequent (adj), consequently (adv)
A result, often one much later in time than the cause
(One consequence of global warming may be the flooding of lowlying islands.)
Make something smaller or weaker; become smaller or weaker
a. The excessive* heat diminished as the sun went down.
b.The Protestant Reformation diminished the power of the Roman
longitude (n) , longitudinal (adj), longitudinally (adv)
A system of imaginary lines running from north to south along the Earth's surface, where each line is numbered from 0º to 180° west or east
(The prime meridian, a line running through Greenwich, England, is
marked as 0° longitude.)
Frightening and overcontrolled by a government that interferes in nearly every aspect of personal life .
(Biometric devices like eye-scanners allow an Orwellian level of government knowledge about everyone's location.)
reconciliation (n) reconcile (v), reconciliatory (adj)
Coming back together peacefully after having been enemies .
to make consistent or harmonious.
a. Roosevelt's greatness as a leader can be seen in his ability to reconcile the demands and values of the varied groups that
b. South Africa avoided a bloodbath after apartheid by setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
A thing that can be bought and sold, such as grain, oil,or wood
(Tulip bulbs were one of the most valuable commodities in
The value of one's share in an investment
(Barnard's equity in the business was one-third, or about $350,000.)
inflation (n) , inflate (v), inflationary (adj)
A situation in which prices for many items rise quite fast
(During the rapid inflation of the 1970s, prices for food and fuel
sometimes rose 20 percent in a single month.)
per capita (adv - adj)
For each person
(Research shows we're likely to sell 15 light bulbs per capita per
year in medium-sized cities.)
regulate (v) , regulation (n), regulatory (adj)
Control according to a set of rules
(Trading on the New York Stock Exchange is regulated by officials of the exchange and by federal law.)
subsidy (n) , subsidize (v)
Money given by a government or other organization to support
(Federal subsidies to grain farmers have helped them stay in business despite three years of bad weather.)
accumulate (v) , accumulation (n) , * cumulative (adj)
To build up a large amount of something , * made up of successive additions.
a. Smallpox was eliminated only through the cumulative efforts of several generations of doctors and scientists.
b. Over several generations, the Hardington family accumulated vast
wealth by buying and selling land.
affluence (n) , affluent (adj)
Wealth and the style of life that goes with it ,rich;
a. Some parents think that children are living in an affluent society with too many games and toys.
b. Mohadzir grew up amid affluence, which poorly prepared him for
his grad student days in crowded apartments with no servants.
impoverish (v) , impoverishment (n)
To make a person or group poor
(The collapse of the steel industry impoverished several counties in
luxury (n) , luxuriate (v), luxurious (adj)
Extreme comfort, beyond what anyone needs
(Automakers try to give their cars an image of luxury by including
extras like heated seats and satellite tracking systems.)
(A burglar-alarm system safeguards our house when we go away on vacation.)
sole (adj) , solely (adv)
(Many people have wanted to invest in Harry's publishing business,
but he remains the sole owner.)
compensate (v) , compensation (n), compensatory (adj)
To give an employee money or other things in exchange for the work he or she does
(My pay doesn't properly compensate me for my efforts, but my
other benefits, like health insurance, fill in the gap.)
enterprising (adj) , enterprise (adv)
Creative in thinking of ways to make money
(Immigrants are often among the most enterprising members of society,partly because anyone brave enough to make an overseas move is likely to be a risk-taker.)
exploit (v) , exploitation (n), exploitive (adj)
To take advantage of; to treat inconsiderately in order to profit
(The company tried to exploit the low interest rates to expand operations.)
A possible benefit that motivates a person to do a certain thing
(This city's willingness to support its public schools gave us an
incentive to move here with our two young children.)
industrious (adj) , industriously (adv) , industriousness (n)
Willing to work hard
(The Dutch settlements in Ottawa County were founded by industrious farmers who objected to frivolous behavior such as dancing.)
marginal (adj) , marginally (adv)
Not very significant or effective
(Our new advertising campaign had only marginal success, raising
sales by a mere 3 percent.)
merit (n - v) , meritorious (adj)
Value; success based on one's work, not on luck
(Pay raises at our company are based on merit, as determined by a
committee of managers.)
distill (v) , distillation - distillery (n)
to remove one liquid from a mixture of liquids by boiling; to get something valuable from a confusing mix of ideas
(The forest peoples of Southeast Asia distill an alcoholic drink called
arak from a paste of palm berries.)
entrepreneurial (adj) , entrepreneur (n)
Able to create business opportunities from a wide variety of circumstances
(Many engineers of the 1970s made great computers, but only a few
were entrepreneurial enough to see the business possibilities in the
To argue back and forth about a price
(The customer and the shopkeeper haggled over the silver plate for
more than an hour.)
Something one gets for having done well
(The greatest reward of being a parent is to see your child make a
shuttle (v - n)
To move back and forth often between two places
(The small jet shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore nearly
every two hours)
advocate (v - n)
To speak out in favor of something
(Some environmentalists advocate removing large dams from the
candidate - candidacy (n)
Someone who wants to be chosen, especially in an election,
for a position
a. In most U.S. elections, there are only two major-party candidates for president.
b. Derek Jeter is a candidate for baseball's Hall of Fame.
A group of several different groups or countries that are working together to achieve a certain goal.
(Several local churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples formed
a coalition to promote understanding among people of different
contest (v - n)
(Dave Roper, who narrowly lost the mayor's race, contested the results, demanding a recount of the votes.)
inaugurate (v) , inauguration (n), inaugural (adj)
To bring into public office; to start formally
(The U.S. president is elected in November but is not inaugurated
until the following January.)
poll (v - n)
To find out a small group's opinion so that you can guess what
a much larger group thinks
(The newspaper polled 500 registered voters and found that only 27
percent were in favor of expanding the city zoo.)
accuse (v) , accusation (n)
To say that someone did something wrong (e.g., committed a crime)
(Jordan was accused of using a stolen credit card to buy about $300
worth of electronic equipment.)
allegedly (adv) , allege (v), allegation (n)
According to what people say , to state without proof
(The chief financial officer of the company allegedly took company
money for his personal use.)
convict (v - n) , conviction (n)
To decide that someone is guilty of a crime
(Dean was convicted of assault after the jury saw a video of him
striking another man.)
A person who is one's social equal
(He was respected and admired by his peers.)
A judgment in a court case ,decision of a jury; judgment
a. The jury returned a verdict of guilty for the traitor.*
b. We were cautioned
not to base our verdict on prejudice.
apprehend (v) , apprehension (n)
(The police apprehended the robbery suspect as he tried to get on a
bus to Chicago.)
To make sure of
(The police failed to ascertain that the man they arrested was the
Gregory Brown they were really looking for.)
condemn (v) , condemnation (n)
To speak out against something in very strong terms
(Religious radicals condemned the government for allowing alcohol
to be sold in restaurants.)
implicate (v) , implication (n)
To suggest that someone was involved in a crime or other wrong behavior
(No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the type of
explosive used implicates the Heartland Freedom Militia)
seize (v) , seizure (n)
To take something against its owner's will
(Federal agents can seize private homes and other property possibly used in the production or sale of illegal drugs.)
A process of watching something or someone for a long time, usually because the person is suspected of something
(Police surveillance of one suspected car thief resulted in the arrest
of a whole gang of carjackers.)
assail (v) , assault - assailant (n)
To attack or criticize forcefully
(With DNA evidence from the crime scene, the defense lawyer
assailed the police for falsely arresting his client.)
hypothesize (v) , hypothesis (n), hypothetical (adj)
To make a guess, the correctness of which will eventually
be investigated systematically .
(Scientists hypothesize that planets capable of supporting life exist
beyond our solar system, but they have not yet seen any.)
impair (v) , impairment (n)
To make something less effective than usual
(The snow impaired John's ability to hear anyone's footsteps.)
inference (n) , infer (v)
A conclusion drawn from evidence
(Inspector Dowd's inference that Ms. Miller was South African was
based on her accent.)
tolerate (v) , toleration - tolerance (n), * tolerant (adj)
To avoid getting upset about something, * accepting, enduring.
a. My math teacher tolerates a lot of talking in her class, but my history teacher tells us to be quiet.
b. * San Franciscans have a tolerant attitude about lifestyles: "Live and let live" seems to be their motto.
bribery (n) , bribe (v -n)
Giving money or other gifts to a government official or other person in authority in order to get special privileges
(Bribery of police officers is common in countries where police
salaries are very low.)
cynically (adv) , cynical (adj) , cynic - cynicism (n)
Disrespectfully; emphasizing the weaknesses of otherwise respected things
(Employees of the Roadways Department cynically referred to their
boss as "the banker" because he took so many bribes.)
Extremely unattractive, in a way that catches a lot of attention.
(Spending $3.5 million to redecorate the governor's house is a
grotesque misuse of public money.)
scandal (n) , scandalize (v), scandalous (adj)
A case of wrongdoing that hurts someone's reputation
(In the Watergate scandal, some of the president's top advisors were revealed to be criminals)
abduction (n) , abduct (v)
(Pirates got many crew members by abduction, snatching unlucky
citizens from seaport towns.)
coerce (v) , coercion (n), coercive (adj)
To force; to restrain or dominate by force
a. Policemen were stationed along the parade route to coerce the crowd and keep order.
b. A criminal's confession is not usable in court if the police coerce
him or her into giving it.
detain (v) , detention - detainee (n)
To prevent someone, for a relatively short time, from going on their way
(The police detained at least 20 men for questioning, but charged
none of them with a crime)
deviant (adj) , deviant - deviation (n), deviate (v)
In a style that is not normal and is offensive to many , to depart from a standard or norm.
a. Having agreed upon a spending budget for the company, we mustn't deviate from it; if we do, we may run out of money soon.
b. The artist based his reputation on creating deviant works of art that disgusted most of the public.
intentionally (adv) , intentional (adj) , intent - intention (n) intend (v)
On purpose, not by accident
(Danny intentionally lost his last golf ball because he was tired of
piracy - pirate (n), pirate (v)
Stealing a ship or taking the ship's cargo; the unlawful copying
of books, CDs, etc.
(The software company constantly battled piracy.)
smuggle (v) , smuggler - smuggling (n)
To illegally bring things into a country
(The pirate Ben Dewar smuggled guns to British and Indian fighters
in North America.)
villainy - villain (n) , villainous (adj)
Exceptional badness, as demonstrated by many serious evil deeds, a very wicked person
a. A typical* moving picture villain gets killed at the end.
b. Fred was not a natural criminal, but he learned all kinds of villainy
while being jailed for a minor crime.
addictive (adj), addict (v), addict - addiction (n)
one who cannot break away from a habit or practice
a. Because he was a heroin addict, it was essential* for Carlos to
get the drug each day.
b. Marcia became flabby* because she was addicted to ice cream
A small group controlling a certain area of business
(The world's major oil producers formed a cartel to control the price
and supply of petroleum.)
juxtapose (v) , juxtaposition (n)
Place next to one another , to put side by side.
a. It was strange to see the actor Charlton Heston and musician Bob Dylan juxtaposed at the awards ceremony.
b. If you juxtapose these two similar flowers, you can see clear differences between them.
misconception (n), misconceive (v)
A mistaken belief , a mistaken idea.
a. Columbus sailed west under the misconception that he would reach the shores of Asia that way.
b. A common misconception about rabbits is that they are a kind of
residual (adj), residue (n)
Left behind after most of a thing has gone
(In the airplane, agents found residual traces of heroin)
subtly (adv) , subtle (adj), subtlety (n)
In a quiet, hard-to-notice way
(By subtly changing the soft drink's formula, we improved its taste
and made production cheaper.)
ancestral (adj) , ancestor - ancestry (n)
Relating to family members from earlier generations
(Sweden is my ancestral homeland, from which my greatgrandfather
emigrated in 1922.)
descendant - descent (n) , descend (v)
A direct relative in a later generation (such as one's son, daughter, or grandchild ,go or come down from a higher place to a lower level
a. Billy Sobieski claimed to be a descendant of Jan Sobieski, a former king of Poland
b. The pilot, thinking his plane was in peril,* descended quickly.
inheritance (n) , inherit (v)
Things passed down to you from your ancestors
(My inheritance from my grandmother included her favorite
kin - kinship (n)
(Even though my uncle didn't really like me, he was kind to me because we were kin.)
Relating to a father
(My mother's parents have both died, but my paternal grandparents
are still alive.)
sentiment - sentimentality (n) , sentimental (adj)
Feelings; opinion based on feelings
(I share your sentiments about air travel, but I disagree that cars are
Brother or sister
(My siblings and I got together to buy our parents a gift for their
affection (n) , affectionate (adj)
An emotional closeness or warmth
(I show affection for my girlfriend by spending time with her, not by
spending money on her.)
associate (v - n) , association (n)
To regularly spend time together
(Carol doesn't associate with people who smoke)
bond (n - v)
A close connection
(Some researchers say that there is an especially strong emotional
bond between twins.)
clique (n) , cliquish (adj)
A small group of friends who are unfriendly to people outside
(High-schoolers form cliques to gain security and acceptance.)
confide (v) , confidence - confidant (n), confidential (adj)
To tell very personal things , someone entrusted with another's secrets.
a. No one knew about Janee's engagement except Sarah, her confidant.
b. Teenagers are more willing to confide in a friend than in a parent.
fluctuate (v) , fluctuation (n)
To change often, from one condition to another
(Earth's climate fluctuates between warm periods and cold periods.)
Standing together despite pressure to move apart
(Many student groups declared solidarity with the Latino Student
Association in their effort to get a Spanish-speaking principal.)
Extremely sad and without hope for the future
(After his girlfriend left him, Johnson was despondent and wouldn't
talk to anyone.)
devotion - devotee (n) , devote (v)
A willingness to keep supporting someone you admire
(Grant showed great devotion to his wife, supporting her during her
proliferation (n) , proliferate (v)
An increase in the number of something and in the number of places it can be found
(The proliferation of fast-food restaurants has made it harder for
Americans to eat healthy lunches.)
reciprocity (n) , reciprocate (v), reciprocal (adj)
Doing as much for another as he or she has done for you .
to make a return for something. If you'll baby-sit for my kids tonight,
a. I'll reciprocate by taking care of yours tomorrow.
b. Dan was giving a lot of attention to Kelly, but he felt no reciprocity in their relationship.
To disappear suddenly
a. Even in California the sun will sometimes vanish behind a cloud.
b. Not even a powerful witch can make a jealous* lover vanish.
reprove, rebuke, scold, To say insulting and disrespectful things , to scold or criticize harshly.
a. The teacher lost his job because he cruelly berated students who
b. The judge angrily berated the two lawyers for their unprofessional behavior.
Hate very much , scorn
(Tom grew to despise his greedy and unfriendly boss.)
humiliation (n) , humiliate (v)
An event that causes someone to feel that she or he has
lost the respect of others
(Losing the chess tournament was a great humiliation for Marie, and
she never played chess again.)
obnoxious (adj) , obnoxiously (adv)
Bothersome; doing small things that others don't like
(My obnoxious neighbor keeps talking to me while I'm trying to
read in my backyard.)
shame (n) , shame (v), shameful - ashamed (adj), shamefully (adv)
Dishonor because one has done something wrong
(Feeling deep shame because of their son's crimes, the Ford family
moved to a different town.)
stigmatize (v) , stigma (n)
(To mark with a visible feature that makes other people think, perhaps incorrectly, that someone or something is wrong)
Cadbury's beard and tattoos stigmatized him as a bad match for
Wall Street, so he couldn't find work as a financial analyst
adolescent (adj) , adolescent - adolescence (n)
Characteristic of a teenager; not fully grown up
a. In policy meetings, George refuses to reason with anyone and just
scowls in an adolescent way.
b. Our annual rock festival attracts* thousands of adolescents.
delinquency - delinquent (n) , delinquent (adj)
Serious misbehavior; not doing what one should do , an offender; criminal; behind time
a. The youthful delinquent tried to avoid* going to jail.
b. Because of his laziness and delinquency, Lefty was an unreliable
fringe (n) , fringy (adj)
Edge; in social contexts, parts of society that look or act very different from most people
(Punk music got its start at the fringe of London's rock music culture.)
hedonistic (adj) , hedonist - hedonism (n)
Excessively interested in seeking pleasure
a. Suddenly wealthy, Allen fell into a hedonistic life of parties, expensive dinners, and heavy drinking.
b. Having inherited great wealth, he chose to live the life of a hedonist, traveling the world in luxury.
hypocritically (adv) , hypocritical (adj) , hypocrite - *hypocrisy (n)
In a way that accuses other people of weaknesses that the speaker also possesses , * a false pretense of virtue.
a. Henry spent $2,500 on a new suit and then hypocritically accused
me of spending too much on clothes..
*b. When the sexual misconduct of the television preacher was exposed, his followers were shocked at his hypocrisy.
manipulation (n) , manipulate (v) , manipulative (adj)
Quietly moving , handle or treat skillfully
a. Bob's manipulation of the boss's feelings led to his promotion.
b. Scientists must know how to manipulate their microscopes.*
rebel (v - n) , rebellion (n)
To go against an established system or authority
(The people of Ghurdia rebelled against the dictator and set up a
status quo (n)
The systems and conditions that exist now
(Let's just maintain the status quo until we can think of a better way.)
abstract (adj) , abstraction (n)
Not concrete and realistic; not obviously related to everyday
(Abstract painting became popular partly because early photography
was very realistic.)
context (n) , contextualize (v), contextual (adj)
A larger environment that something fits into
(In the context of Soviet Russia, public art had to be about the triumph
of communism and its leaders.)
depict (v) , depiction (n)
To show in pictures , represent by drawing or painting; describe
a. The artist and the author both tried to depict the sunset's beauty.
b. Mr. Salinger depicted the juvenile
character with great accuracy.
dimension (n) , dimensional (adj)
A direction or surface along which something can be measured; an aspect
(The three dimensions of physical objects are length, width, and
In a way that relates to beauty or appearance
(The outside of the office building is esthetically pleasing, but the inside is dark and unpleasant)
A way of seeing from a particular location; a way of thinking about something
(From my perspective, the entire town can be seen through a set of
realism - realist (n) , realistic (adj)
A technique that tries to picture something as it really looks
(Realism was popular among seventeenth-century Flemish painters
like Rembrandt van Rijn.)
A range of different things, usually colors
(Bart's colorful designs include every color of the spectrum, from
deep blue to vibrant red.)
connotation (n) , connote (v)
A meaning implied, not stated directly
(When my boss says,"Thank you," the connotation is that she's done
talking and I should leave.)
To figure out the meaning, even though it is written in a code or an unknown language
(The Rosetta Stone helped archaeologists decipher ancient Egyptian
denote (v) , denotation (n)
To mean something clearly and directly
(An "X"next to a name on this list denotes a person who has been
chosen for the soccer team.)
illiterate (adj - n) , illiteracy (n)
Unable to read
(In many villages nearly everyone was illiterate and unschooled, and
the few who could read held great power.)
ingenious (adj) , ingeniously (adv) , ingenuity (n)
having great mental ability; showing cleverness and originality.
a. Bernie devised* an ingenious plan to cheat on his income tax.
b. The master spy had an ingenious way of passing secrets to the agent.
inscription (n) , inscribe (v)
Something written into a piece of rock or metal
(The inscription on my ring says "August 1," because that was the
day of our wedding.)
phonetic (adj) , phonetically (adv) , phonetics (n)
Related to the sounds in a language
(Children learning to write often make up phonetic spellings, based
on the way a word sounds.)
symbolic (adj),symbolically (adv), symbolize (v), symbol (n)
Acting as a sign for some other thing or idea
(Since the 1970s, yellow ribbons have been symbolic of hope that
someone will return from a dangerous situation.)
amateurish (adj) , amateurishly (adv) , amateur (n)
Not good enough to be the work of professionals .
a. The amateur cross-country runner wanted to be in the Olympics.
b. Whoever painted this room did an amateurish job, with all sorts of
cast (n - v)
The group of actors in a play, movie, television show, etc.
(Some viewers mistakenly start thinking that a TV show's cast members are really the characters they play.)
charismatic (adj) , charismatically (adv) , charisma (n)
Extremely attractive and charming
(Because of the sparkle in his eye and his confident style, John F.
Kennedy was a charismatic leader.)
gala (adj - n)
Expensive, elaborately arranged, and full of celebration
(A college graduation party should be a gala affair, not a backyard
hilarious (adj) , hilarity (n)
(In my opinion, the most hilarious character on television was Basil
improvisation (n) , improvise (v), improvisational (adj)
Inventing a solution to an unexpected problem
(Boy Scouts take pride in their improvisation when faced with trouble
during a camping trip.)
incompetent (adj) , incompetently (adv) , incompetence (n)
Unskilled; lacking the ability to perform a task
(Because we hired an incompetent builder to replace our roof, we
now have leaks everywhere)
A short, informal play
(Marnie and Chris spent a long time practicing their skit for the
bulk (n) , bulky (adj)
Largeness and a heavy appearance , taking up much space
a. The bulk of Kevin's athletic body was too great for one small chair,
so he sat on a bench.
b. Charley and Morty removed the bulky package from the car.
capricious (adj) , capriciously (adv) , caprice (n)
Moving unpredictably from one thing to another , unpredictable, willful, whimsical.
a. The pop star has changed her image so many times that each new transformation now appears capricious rather than purposeful.)
b. Your college studies will go on too long if you make capricious
jumps from one major to another.
Difficult to wear or carry because of weight or shape , heavy, ponderous, hulking
(To make it to the top of the mountain before dark, the hikers
dumped their cumbersome tent.)
exotic (adj) , exotically (adv) , exoticism (n)
Interesting or unusual because of coming from a farawayplace
(I walked into the restaurant and smelled the exotic aromas of
inhibit (v) , inhibition (n)
To discourage or to slow down
(This lotion will inhibit the itching caused by mosquito bites.)
trend (n - v) , trendy (adj)
A movement in one direction or a widespread change in fashion
(The trend among some young men is to wear their caps with the
bill off to one side)
vanity (n) , vain (adj)
An excessive concern for one's appearance , arrogance,
a. Josephine is quite vain about her beauty.
b. To be perfectly frank, I do not see what she has to be vain about.
jealous (adj) , jealously (adv)
afraid that the one you love might prefer someone else; wanting what someone else has .
(Although my neighbor just bought a new car, I am not jealous of
( takt) cleverness, ingenuity, skill , ( takt) ability to say the right thing
(By the use of tact, Janet was able to calm her jealous* husband.)
a promise that something is true; a curse .
(In court, the witness took an oath that he would tell the whole truth.)
vacant (adj) , vacantly (adv) , vacantness (n)
empty; not filled . unoccupied
a. Someone is planning to build a house on that vacant lot.
b. I put my coat on that vacant seat.
something that is hard to bear; difficulty
a. The fighter had to face many hardships before he became
b. Abe Lincoln was able to overcome one hardship after another.
gallant (adj) , gallantly (adv)
brave; showing respect for women .
a. The pilot swore a gallant oath* to save his buddy.
b. Many gallant knights entered the contest to win the princess
unaccustomed (adj) , unaccustomedly (adv)
bachelor - bachelorhood - bachelorship (n)
a man who has not married
a. My brother took an oath* to remain a bachelor.
b. In the movie, the married man was mistaken for a bachelor.
qualify (v) , qualifiable (adj) , qualifyingly (adv)
become fit; show that you are able
( I am trying to qualify for the job that is now vacant.*)
a dead body, usually of a person
a. When given all the data* on the corpse, the professor was able
to solve the murder.
b. The corpse was laid to rest in the vacant* coffin
dismal (adj) , dismally (adv)
dark and depressing
a. When the weather is so dismal, I sometimes stay in bed all day.
b. I am unaccustomed* to this dismal climate
frigid (adj) , frigidly (n)
very cold , lukewarm, listless, tepid
a. It was a great hardship* for the men to live through the frigid
winter at Valley Forge.
b. Inside the butcher's freezer the temperature was frigid.
live in or occupy a place
a. Eskimos inhabit the frigid* part of Alaska.
b. Because Sidney qualified,
he was allowed to inhabit the vacant
numb (adj) , numbly (adv) , numbness (n)
without the power of feeling; deadened
a. My fingers quickly became numb in the frigid* room.
b. A numb feeling came over Mr. Massey as he read the telegram.
recline (v) , reclination (n)
lie down; stretch out; lean back
a. Richard likes to recline in front of the television set.
b. My dog's greatest pleasure is to recline by the warm fireplace.
sinister (adj) , sinisterly (adv)
evil; wicked; dishonest; frightening
a. The sinister plot to cheat the widow was uncovered by the police.
b. When the bank guard spied the sinister-looking customer, he drew his gun.
wager (n - v)
a. I lost a small wager on the Super Bowl.
b. After winning the wager, Tex treated everyone to free drinks.
typical (adj) , typically (adv) , typicality (n)
usual; of a kind .
a. The sinister* character in the movie wore a typical costume, a
dark shirt, loud tie, and tight jacket.
b. The horse ran its typical race, a slow start and a slower finish,
and my uncle lost his wager.
blend (v - n)
mix together thoroughly; a mixture
a. The colors of the rainbow blend into one another.
b. A careful blend of fine products will result in delicious food.
visible (adj) , visibly (adv)
able to be seen , apparent, visional
a. The ship was barely visible through the dense fog.
b. Before the stars are visible, the sky has to become quite dark.
wholesale (n - adj - adv)
in large quantity; less than retail in price
a. The wholesale price of milk is six cents a quart lower than retail.
b. Many people were angered by the wholesale slaughter of birds.
vapor (n - v) , vaporlike (adj)
moisture in the air that can be seen; fog; mist
a. Scientists have devised* methods for trapping vapor in bottles
so they can study its makeup.
b. He has gathered data* on the amount of vapor rising from the
utilize (v) , utilization (n) , utilizable (adj)
make use of
a. No one seems willing to utilize this vacant* house.
b. Does your mother utilize leftovers in her cooking?
humid (adj) , humidly (adv)
a. It was so humid in our classroom that we wished the school would
buy an air conditioner.
b. New Yorkers usually complain in the summer of the humid air.
the larger number; greater part; more than half
a. A majority of votes was needed for the bill to pass.
b. The majority of people prefer to pay wholesale* prices for meat.
gather together; bring together
a. The rioters assembled outside the White House.
b. I am going to assemble a model of a spacecraft.
go over carefully; look into closely; examine
a. Lawyer Spence explored the essential* reasons for the crime.
b. The weather bureau explored the effects of the rainy weather.
debate (n - v)
a discussion in which reasons for and against something are brought out
a. The debate between the two candidates was heated.
b. Debate in the U.S. Senate lasted for five days.
probe (v -n)
search into; examine thoroughly; investigate
a. The lawyer probed the man's mind to see if he was innocent.
b. After probing the scientist's theory,* we proved it was correct.
reform (n -v)
make better; improve by removing faults , repair,redress, remedy
a. After the prison riot, the council decided to reform the correctional system.
b. Brad reformed when he saw that breaking the law was hurting people other than himself.
approach (n -v)
come near or nearer to
a. The lawyers in the trial were often asked to approach the bench.
b. Her beau kissed Sylvia when he approached her.
defect (n -v)
fault; that which is wrong , disorder, flaw, deficiency, trouble
a. My Chevrolet was sent back to the factory because of a steering
b. His theory* of the formation of our world was tilled with defects.
deceive(v), deceiver (n), deceivable (adj), deceivingly (adv)
make someone believe as true something that is false;mislead
a. Atlas was deceived about the burden* he had to carry.
b. Virginia cried when she learned that her best friend had deceived
undoubtedly (adv) , undoubted (adj)
certainly; beyond doubt
a. Ray's team undoubtedly had the best debators* in our county.
b. The pilgrims undoubtedly assembled* to travel to Rome
comprehensive (adj) , comprehensively (adv)
thorough, overall, universal , including much; covering completely
a. After a comprehensive exam, my doctor said I was in good condition.
b. Mrs. Silver wanted us to do a comprehensive study of Edgar Allan Poe.
defraud (v) , defraudation (n)
take money, rights, etc., away by cheating ,deceive, fool, betray
a. My aunt saved thousands of dollars by defrauding the government.
b. By defrauding his friend, Dexter ruined a family tradition* of honesty.
consent (v -n)
agree; give permission or approval
a. My teacher consented to let our class leave early.
b. David would not consent to our plan.
massive (adj) , massively (adv)
big and heavy; large and solid; bulky
a. The boss asked some employees* to lift the massive box.
b. From lifting weights, Willie had developed massive arm muscles.
a small case or covering
a. The small capsule contained notes the spy had written after the
b. A new, untested medicine was detected* in the capsule by the
denounce (v) , denouncement (n)
condemn in public; express strong disapproval of , , deprecate, disapprove, reprove, censure
a. The father denounced his son for lying to the district attorney.
b. Some people denounce the government for probing* into their
unique (adj - n)
having no like or equal; being the only one of its kind
a. Going to Africa was a unique experience for us.
b. The inventor developed a unique method of making ice cream.
any violent, rushing stream; flood
a. A massive* rain was coming down in torrents.
b. In the debate,* a torrent of questions was asked.
feel injured and angered at (something)
a. Bertha resented the way her boyfriend treated her.
b. The earthquake victim resented the poor emergency care.
interfere with and trouble; disturb
a. My neighbor was molested when walking home from the subway.
b. The gang did a thorough* job of molesting the people in the park.
gloomy (adj) , gloomily (adv)
dark; dim; in lOW spiritS
a. My cousin was gloomy because his best friend had moved away.
b. jones Beach is not so beautiful on a gloomy day.
not known beforehand; unexpected , sudden, fortuitous
a. We had some unforeseen problems with the new engine.
b. The divers faced unforeseen trouble in their search for the wreck..
valid (adj) , validly (adv)
supported by facts or authority; sound; true
a. The witness neglected* to give valid answers to the judge's
b. Rita had valid reasons for denouncing* her father's way of life.
live longer than; remain alive after
a. It was uncertain whether we would survive the torrent* of rain.
b. Some people believe that only the strongest should survive.
weird (adj - v)
a. She looked weird with that horrible makeup on her face.
b. Becky had a weird feeling after swallowing the pills.
obvious (adj) , obviously (adv)
easily seen or understood; clear to the eye or mind; not to be doubted; plain
a. It was obvious that the lumberjack was tired after his day's work.
b. The fact that Darcy was a popular* boy was obvious to all.
region near a place; neighborhood
a. Living in the vicinity of New York, Jeremy was near man museums.
b. The torrent* of rain fell only in our vicinity.
rage (v -n)
violent anger; something that arouses intense but brief enthusiasm
a. Joan's bad manners sent her mother into a rage.
b. In a fit of rage, Francine broke the valuable glass.
miniature (adj - n)
represented on a small scale
a. The young boy wanted a miniature sports car for his birthday.
b. Instead of buying a massive* dog, Teddy got a miniature poodle.
be better than; do better than
a. Because he was so small, Larry could not excel in sports.
b. At least Hannah had the security* of knowing that she excelled in
feminine (adj) , femininely (adv)
of women or girls
a. When my sister wants to look feminine she changes from
dungarees into a dress.
b. Aunt Sarah can always be counted on to give the feminine
try hard to get something wanted by others; be a rival
a. The former champion was challenged* to compete for the tennis
b. The runner was reluctant* to compete in front of his parents for
the first time.
masculine (adj - n)
of man; male
a. The boy became more masculine as he got older.
b. It is undeniable* that his beard makes him look masculine.
menace (n) , menacingly (adv)
a. lrv's lack* of respect made him a menace to his parents.
b. The torrents* of rain were a menace to the farmer's crops.
leaning; movement in a certain direction
a. My algebra teacher has a tendency to forget the students' names.
b. The tendency in all human beings is to try to survive.*
victorious (adj) , victoriously (adv)
having won a victory; conquering
a. Playing in New Jersey, the Jets were victorious two years in a row.
b. Our girls' volleyball squad was victorious over a taller team.
numerous (adj) , numerously (adv)
very many; several ,many, much
a. Critics review numerous movies every week.
b. The debater
used numerous documents
to back up his statements.
flexible (adj) , flexibly (adv) , flexibility (n)
elastic, resilient, supple, malleable, pliable
a. The toy was flexible, and the baby could bend it easily.
b. Remaining flexible, Nick listened to arguments from both sides.
solitary ( adj - n)
alone; single; only , isolated, private
a. Sid's solitary manner kept him from making new friendships.
c. The convict went into a rage* when he was placed in a solitary
vision (n - v)
power of seeing; sense of sight
(The glasses that Irma bought corrected her nearsighted vision.)
frequent (adj - v)
happening often; occurring repeatedly
a. We made frequent visits to the hospital to see our grandfather.
b. On frequent occasions Sam fell asleep in class.
glimpse (n - v)
a short, quick view , look
(This morning we caught our first glimpse of the beautiful shoreline.)
recent (adj) , recently (adv)
done, made, or occurring not long ago
a. At a recent meeting, the Board of Education provided the
evidence* we had been asking for.
b. Bessie liked the old silent movies better than the more recent ones
hesitate (v), hesitatingly (adv)
fail to act quickly; be undecided
a. Nora hesitated to accept the challenge.*
b. When he got to the robbers' vicinity,* he hesitated before going on.
smaller number or part; less than half
a. Only a small minority of the neighborhood didn't want a new park.
b. Native Americans are a minority group in the United States.
fiction (n) , fictional (adj) , fictionally (adv)
that which is imagined or made up
a. The story that the president had died was fiction.
b. Marge enjoys reading works of fiction rather than true stories.
ignite (v) , ignitable (adj)
set on fire ,light, kindle
a. Spark plugs ignite in an automobile engine.
b. One match can ignite an entire forest.
abolish (v) , abolishment (n)
do away with completely; put an end to
a. The death penalty has recently* been abolished in our state.
c. My school has abolished final exams altogether.
frank (adj - v)
free in expressing one's real thoughts, opinions, or feelings; not hiding what is in one's mind
(Never underestimate* the value of being frank with one another.)
forbid by law or authority
a. Elvin's manager prohibited him from appearing on television.
b. Many homeowners prohibit others from walking on their property.
audible (adj) , audibly (adv) , audibility (n)
able to be heard
a. From across the room, the teacher's voice was barely audible.
b. Commands from Ann's drill sergeant were always easily audible.
revive (v) , revivability (n) , revivable (adj)
bring back or come back to life or consciousness , enliven, inspirit, renovate, restore, resurrect
a. There is a movement to revive old plays for modern audiences.
b. The nurses tried to revive the heart attack victim.
begin; start , DÉBUTER, INITIALISER, ENTAMER
a. Graduation will commence at ten o'clock.
b. Bella hesitated* before commencing her speech.
observant (adj) , observantly (adv)
quick to notice; watchful , alert, vigilant, springy, awake
a. We were observant of the conflict* between the husband and
b. Because Cato was observant, he was able to reveal* the thiefs
a ship; a hollow container; tube containing body fluid
a. The Girl Scouts were permitted a glimpse* of the vessel being
built when they toured the Navy Yard.
b. My father burst a blood vessel when he got the bill from the
hazy (adj) , hazily (adv) , haziness (n)
misty; smoky; unclear , foggy , vaporous, nebulous, sloppy
a. The vicinity* of London is known to be hazy.
b. Factories that pollute* the air create hazy weather conditions
gleam (n) , gleamy (adj)
flash or beam of light
a. A gleam of light shone through the prison window.
b. My grandmother gets a gleam in her eyes when she sees the twins.
rival (n - v - adj)
person who wants and tries to get the same thing as another; one who tries to equal or do better than another
a. The boxer devised
an attack that would help him to be victorious
over his young rival.
b. Sherry didn't like to compete* because she always thought her
rival would win.
brutal (adj) , brutally (adv)
coarse and savage; like a brute; cruel
a. Dozens of employees* quit the job because the boss was brutal
b. The brutal track coach persisted* in making the team work out all
morning under the hot sun.
brawl (n - v)
a noisy quarrel or fight , quarrel, tiff, scuffle, altercation
a. The journalist* covered all the details of the brawl in the park.
b. Larry dreaded* a brawl with his father over finding a job.
vicious (adj) , viciously (adv), viciousness (n)
evi I; wicked; savage , sinister
a. Liza was unpopular* because she was vicious to people she had
b. The vicious editor* published false stories about people he
turning or swinging round and round; spinning
a. The space vessel* was whirling around before it landed on earth.
b. As they tried to lift the bulky* piano, the movers went whirling across the living room.
person having the worst of any struggle; one who is expected to lose
groups complain about being the underdogs in this century.
b. I always feel sorry for the underdog in a street fight.
thrust (v - n)
push with force
a. Once the jet engine was ignited,* it thrust the rocket from the ground.
b. He had adequate* strength to thrust himself through the locked door.
confused completely; puzzled , confounded , perplexed
a. The lawyer was bewildered by his client's
of interest in the case.
b. His partner's weird* actions left Jack bewildered.
alter (v) , alterable (adj)
make different; change; vary
a. I altered my typical* lunch and had a steak instead.
b. Dorothy agreed to alter my dress if I would reveal* its cost to her.
mature (adj - adv) , maturity - maturation (adv)
ripe; the process of becoming fully grown or developed
a. I could tell that Mitch was mature from the way he persisted* in
b. Only through mature study habits can a person hope to gain
worthy of respect; holy
a. Her sacred medal had to be sold because the family was in
urgent* need of money.
b. It was revealed
by the journalist
that the sacred temple had
been torn down.
pledge (n - v)
promise , word, troth, plight
a. Before the grand jury, the sinister* gangster pledged to tell the
b. Monte was reluctant
to pledge his loyalty
to his new girlfriend.
casual (adj - n)
happening by chance; not planned or expected; notcalling attention to itself
a. As the villain* stole the money from the blind man, he walked
away in a casual manner.
b. The bartender made a casual remark about the brawl* in the
follow; proceed along
a. We pursued the bicycle thief until he vanished
from our vision.
b. Ernie rowed up the river, pursuing it to its source.*
unanimous (adj) , unanimously (adv), unanimously (n)
in complete agreement
a. The class was unanimous in wanting to eliminate* study halls.
b. The Senate, by a unanimous vote, decided to decrease* taxes.
pioneer (n - adj)
one who goes first or prepares a way for others
a. My grandfather was a pioneer in selling wholesale* products.
b. England was a pioneer in building large vessels* for tourists.
pierce (v) , piercingly (adv)
go into; go through; penetrate * , perforate, punch
a. My sister is debating* whether or not to get her ears pierced.
b. I tried to ignore* his bad violin playing, but the sound was
instrument with a lens for making objects larger so that one can see
things more clearly
a. The students used a microscope to see the miniature* insect.
b. When young Oprah's birthday came around, her uncle gave her a microscope.grateful
cautious (adj) , cautiously (adv) , cautiousness (n)
very careful; never taking chances
a. Be cautious when you choose your opponent.*
b. Good authors are cautious not to exaggerate* when they write.
misfortune (n) , calamity (n)
bad luck , catastrophe , disaster , serious trouble
a. Failure in one test should not be regarded as a calamity.
b. I had the misfortune of working for a greedy* man
wretched (adj) , wretchedly (adv)
very unsatisfactory; miserable , poor, helpless, paltry
a. I feel wretched after a night when I've scarcely* slept.
b. Toby had wretched luck at the gambling tables.
small barrel, usually holding less than ten gallons
a. The corner saloon uses numerous* kegs of beer on a Saturday
b. "Get a keg of nails," the carpenter shouted at me.
make or keep alive and well, with food; feed develop an attitude
a. A diet of nourishing food is served to every hospital patient.
b. It was easy to detect* that the skinny boy was not well nourished.
choose or favor; select
a. If you give me an ice cream choice, I'll opt for chocolate.
b. Our cheerleaders plan to opt for new sweaters.
a very sad or terrible happening; a sad play
a. It was a tragedy that some pioneers* were killed on their way
b. Harry's enormous
led to the tragedy in their family.
glance (v -n )
to look at quickly; a quick look
a. The observant* driver glanced at the accident at the side of the
b. I took one glance at the wretched* animal and turned away.
reckless (adj) , recklessly (adv)
careless; heedless; wild , neglected
a. We must not ignore* reckless drivers; we must take them off the
b. The reckless smoker ignited* the entire forest.
horrid (adj) , horridly (adv)
terrible; frightful ,, horrible, shocking, outrageous, atrocious
a. Janey avoided* staring at the horrid man's face.
b. It is simply horrid the way cars pollute* the air we breathe.
rave (adj - v - n)
a. Shortly after taking the drug, the addict* began to rave and foam at the mouth.
b. Speedy raved that his car had the capacity* to reach 120 miles per hour.
lubricate (v), lubrication (n) , lubricative (adj)
make (machinery) smooth and easy to work by putting on oil, grease,
or a similar substance
a. The bulky* wheels of a railroad train must be lubricated each week.
b. When an engine is lubricated, it works much better.
uneasy (adj) , uneasily (adv)
restless; disturbed; anxious , troubled, confused
a. Mrs. Spinner was uneasy about letting her son play in the
vicinity* of the railroad tracks.
b. The treasurer was uneasy about the company's budget.*
absorb (v), absorbability (n) , absorbable (adj)
take in or suck up (liquids); interest greatly.
a. The sponge absorbed the beer which had leaked from the keg.*
b. Our bodies must absorb those things which will nourish* them.
morsel (n - v)
a small bite; mouthful; tiny amount
a. Suzanne was reluctant* to try even a morsel of the lobster.
b. If you had a morsel of intelligence, you would be uneasy,* too.
share of a total due from or to a particular state, district, person, etc.
a. The company revealed* a quota of jobs reserved for college
b. There was a quota placed on the number of people who could
migrate* here from China.
sign or cause of possible evil or harm
a. There is always the horrid
threat that my job will be abolished.
b. It is absurd* to think that a tiny bug could be a threat to a person.
panic (v - n) , panicky (adj) , panically (adv)
unreasoning fear; fear spreading through a group of people so
that they lose control of themselves , scare, terror
a. The leader of the lost group appealed* to them not to panic.
b. The source* of panic in the crowd was a man with a gun.
come out; come up; come into view
a. When the fight was over, the underdog* emerged the winner.
b. What emerged from the bottle was a blend* of fruit juices.
jagged (adj) , jaggedly (adv)
with sharp points ~ticking out; unevenly cut or torn
a. Being reckless,* Rudy didn't watch out forth~ jagged steel.
b. It's an enormous* job to smooth the jagged edge of a fence.
linger (v) , lingering (adj) , lingeringly (adv)
stay on; go slowly as if unwilling to leave , slop, dawdle
a. The odor didn't vanish,* but lingered on for weeks.
b. Some traditions* linger on long after they have lost their meanings.
ambush (n - v)
a trap in which soldiers or other enemies hide to make a surprise attack , snare
a. The ambush became a tragedy* for those who attempted it
because they were all killed.
b. General Taylor raved
about the ingenious
ambush he planned.
crafty (adj) , craftily (adv)
skillful in deceiving others; sly; tricky , cunning, foxy, malicious
a. His crafty mind prepared a comprehensive
plan to defraud
b. The Indians did not fall for the crafty ambush.*
defiant (adj) , defiantly (adv)
openly resisting; challenging* , bold, daring, audacious, brave
a. "I refuse to be manipulated,"* the defiant young woman told
b. Defiant of everyone, the addict* refused to be helped.
be destroyed; die , endear, checkmate
a. Unless the plant gets water for its roots to absorb,* it will perish.
b. Custer and all his men perished at the Little Big Horn.
captive (n - adj)
a. The major was grateful* to be released after having been held captive for two years.
b. Until the sheriff got them out, the two boys were held captive in the barn.
eat hungrily; absorb
completely; take in greedily
a. It was a horrid* sight to see the lion devour the lamb.
b. My aunt devours four or five mystery books each week
request; appeal; that which is asked of another , argument, case
a. The employees* turned in a plea to their boss for higher pay.
b. The president's plea to release the captives* was denied by the
weary (adj - v) , wearily (adv)
a. I am weary of debating
the same topic
b.Let me rest my weary bones here before the march commences.*
prove to be true; confirm*
a. A "yes man" is an employee* who will verify everything the boss
b. The data* I turned in were verified by the clerks in our office.
dilemma (n) , dilemmatic (adj)
detour (n - v)
a roundabout way , convolution, gyration, coiling
a. Pop was uneasy* about taking the detour in this strange town.
b. In order to evade* city traffic, Anthony took a detour.
transmit (v) , transmittable (n) , transmittable (adj)
send over; pass on; pass along; let through
a. Garcia's message was transmitted to the appropriate* people.
b. Scientists can now transmit messages from space vessels* to earth.
keeper; guard; person in charge of a prison
a. The warden found himself facing two hundred defiant* prisoners.
b. A cautious
warden always has to anticipate
the possibility of
acknowledge (v) , acknowledgeable (adj)
admit to be true , confess
1. District Attorney Hogan got the man to acknowledge that he had
lied in court.
2. "I hate living alone," the bachelor* acknowledged.
just conduct; fair dealing
a. Daniel Webster abandoned* any hope for justice once he saw
b. Our pledge* to the flag refers to "liberty and justice for all."
prevent, block, stop, ban or take away from by force
a. The poor man was deprived of a variety* of things that money
b. Living in a rural* area, Betsy was deprived of concerts and plays.
husband or wife
a. When a husband prospers* in his business, his spouse benefits
b. "May I bring my spouse to the office party?" Dorinda asked.
occupation; business; profession; trade , career
a. Red Smith's vocation was as a journalist* for the Times.
b. Hiroko's vocation turned into his life's career.
unstable (adj) , unstably (adv)
not firmly fixed; easily moved or overthrown
a. Some unstable people may panic* when they find themselves in trouble.
b. Cathy's balance became unstable because she was very weary.*
killing of one human being by another; murder
a. It took a crafty* person to get away with that homicide.
b. News of the homicide quickly circulated
through our vicinity.
penalize (v) , penalization (n)
declare punishable by law or rule; set a penalty for
a. . We were penalized for not following tradition.*
b. Mrs. Robins penalized us for doing the math problem in ink.
person who receives benefit , carpetbagger
a. I was the beneficiary of $8,000 when my grandfather died.
b. When the paintings were sold, the millionaire's niece was the beneficiary
reptile (n - adj)
a cold blooded animal that creeps or crawls; snakes, lizards, turtles, alligators, and crocodiles
a. The lizard is a reptile with a very slender* body.
b. Reptiles are kept in the museum's large hall.
seldom; not often
a. You rarely hear adults raving* about a movie they just saw.
b. People are rarely frank* with each other.
precaution (n) , precautionary (adj)
measures taken beforehand; foresight
a. Detectives used precaution before entering the bomb's vicinity.*
b. We must take every precaution not to pollute* the air.
embrace (v - n) - embracement (n), embraceable (adj)
hug one another; a hug
a. After having been rivals* for years, the two men embraced.
b. The young girl was bewildered* when the stranger embraced her.
valiant (adj), valiantly (adv), valiance (n)
brave; courageous , gritty, stout, dauntless
a. Robin Hood was valiant and faced his opponents* without fear.
b. The valiant paratroopers led the invasion.
fierce (adj) , fiercely (adv)
savage; wild , violent
a. Barry was so fiercely angry that he thrust* his hand through the
b. He took one look at his fierce opponent* and ran.
sneer (v - n), sneeringly (adv)
show scorn or contempt by looks or words;a scornful look or remark
a. "Wipe that sneer off your face!" the dean told the delinquent.*
b. When offered a dime as a tip, the taxi driver sneered at his rider.
small animals that are troublesome or destructive; fleas, bedbugs, lice, rats, and mice are vermin
a. We should try to eliminate* all vermin from our house.
b. Some reptiles* eat vermin as their food.
wail (v - n)
cry loud and long because of grief or pain
a. When tragedy* struck, the old people began to wail.
b. In some countries the women are expected to wail loudly after
their husbands die.
neutral (adj - n)
on neither side of a quarrel or war
a. Switzerland was a neutral country in World War II.
b. Adolph did not reject* the idea but remained neutral about it.
trifle (adv - n - v)
a small amount; little bit; something of little value
a. I ate a trifle for dinner rather than a vast* meal.
b. Walter spends only a trifle of his time in studying French.
married life; ceremony of marriage
a. Though matrimony is a holy state, our local governments still
collect a fee for the marriage license.
b. Because of lack of money, the sweetness of their matrimony
spend foolishly; waste , inseminate
a. Do not squander your money by buying what you cannot use.
b. Because Freddy squandered his time watching television, he could not catch up on his homework.
fugitive (n - adj)
a runaway , absconder , someone trying to escape.
a. Paul was a fugitive from the slums, abandoned* by all his friends.
b. The fugitives from the unsuccessful revolution were captured.
pauper (adj - n)
a very poor person , indigent, needy, destitute
a. The fire that destroyed his factory made Mr. Bloomson a pauper.
b. The richest man is a pauper if he has no friends.
prosecute (v) , prosecutable (adj)
bring before a court; follow up; carry on
a. Drunken drivers should be prosecuted.
b. The general prosecuted the war with vigor.*
having two wives or two husbands at the same time
a. Some people look upon bigamy as double trouble.
b. Mr. Winkle, looking at his wife, thought bigam}' was one crime he would never be guilty of.
awkward (adj) , awkwardly (adv)
clumsy; not well-suited to use; not easily managed; embarrassing
a. The handle of this bulky* suitcase has an awkward shape.
c. Slow down because this is an awkward corner to turn.
venture (n - v)
a daring undertaking; an attempt to make money by taking business risks; to dare; to expose to risk
a. Ulysses was a man who would not reject* any venture, no
matter how dangerous.
b. Medics venture their lives to save wounded soldiers.
awesome (adj) , awesomely (adv)
causing or showing great fear, wonder, or respect
a. The towering mountains, covered with snow, are an awesome
b. The atom bomb is an awesome achievement for mankind.
quench (v), quenchable (adj)
put an end to; drown or put out
a. Foam will quench an oil fire.
b. Only iced tea will quench my thirst on such a hot day.
utter (adj - v), utterly (adv)
speak; make known; express , say, tell
a. When Violet accidentally stepped on the nail, she uttered a sharp
cry of pain.
b. Seth was surprised when he was told that he had uttered Joan's
name in his sleep.
pacify (v), pacifiable (adj)
make calm; quiet down; bring peace to
a. This toy should pacify that screaming baby.
b. Soldiers were sent to pacify the countryside.
signal by a motion of the hand or head; attract , inveigle, tempt
a. Jack beckoned to me to follow him.
b. The delicious smell of fresh bread beckoned the hungry boy.
despite (prep - n)
in spite of
a. The player continued in the game despite his injuries.
b. Despite being shy, Ted signed up to audition on American Idol.
rash (adj - n)
adj . something done or said too fast , too hasty or careless
n. a breaking out with many small red spots on the skin;
a. Poison ivy causes a rash.
b. It is rash to threaten an action you cannot carry out.
rapid (adj) , rapidly (adv), rapidity (n)
very quick; swift
a. We took a rapid walk around the camp before breakfast.
b. If you work rapidly you can complete the test in twenty minutes .
feeble (adj) , feebly (adv)
a. We heard a feeble cry from the exhausted* child.
b. The feeble old man collapsed* on the sidewalk.
thrifty (adj), thriftily (adv)
saving; careful in spending; thriving ,frugal, economical
a. By being thrifty, Miss Benson managed to get along on her small income.
b. A thrifty person knows that squandering
money can lead to financial
stingy; like a miser, mean, niggardly, tight
a. Being miserly with our natural resources will help us to live longer on this earth.
b. A miserly person rarely* has any friends.
king or queen; ruler
a. There are few modern nations that are governed by monarchs.
b. . Men sometimes believe that they are monarchs in their own homes.
outlaw (v - n)
an exile; an outcast; a criminal; to declare unlawful
a. Congress has outlawed the sale of certain drugs.
b. The best-known outlaw of the American West was Jesse James.
not sufficiently fed
a. The undernourished child was so feeble* he could hardly walk.
b. An infant who drinks enough milk will not be undernourished.
disclose (v), disclosure (n)
uncover; make known ,detect, reveal, expose
a. The lifting of the curtain disclosed a beautiful winter scene.
b. This letter discloses the source* of his fortune.
criminal, offender, person guilty of a fault or crime
a. Who is the culprit who has eaten all the strawberries?
b. The police caught the culprit with the stolen articles in his car.
bait (n - v)
anything, especially food, used to attract fish or other animals so that they may be caught; anything used to tempt or attract a person to begin something he or she does not wish to do; to put bait on (a hook) or in (a trap); torment by unkind or annoying remarks
a. The secret of successful trout fishing is finding the right bait.
keep firmly to some demand, statement, or position
a. Mother insists that we do our homework before we start sending e-mails.
b. She insisted that Sal was not jealous* of his twin brother.
daze (n) , dazedly (adv)
a. The severity* of the blow dazed the fighter and led to his defeat.
b. Dazed by the flashlight, Maria blundered* down the steps.
grieve; feel or show sorrow for
a. Sandra did not cease* to mourn for john Lennon.
b. The entire city mourned for the people lost in the calamity.*
subside (v), subsidence (n)
sink to a lower level; grow less
a. After the excessive* rains stopped, the flood waters subsided.
b. The waves subsided when the winds ceased* to blow.
commend (v), commendable (adj) , commendably (adv)
praise; hand over for safekeeping
a. Everyone commended the mayor's thrifty* suggestion.
b. Florence commended the baby to her aunt's care
act of doing or saying again , recurrence, duplication
a. After a repetition of his costly mistake, Jerry was fired from his job.
b. Any repetition of such unruly* behavior will be punished.
mortal (adj - n)
sure to die sometime; pertaining to man; deadly; pertaining to or causing death
a. The two monarchs* were mortal enemies..
b. His rash
brought him to a mortal illness.
person in possession of a house, office, or position
a. A feeble* old woman was the only occupant of the shack.
b. The will disclosed* that the occupant of the estate was penniless.
decide on; set a time or place; choose for a position; equip or furnish
a. The library was appointed as the best place for the urgent*
b. Though Mr. Thompson was appointed to a high position, he
did not neglect* his old friends.
quarter (v - n)
region; section; (quarters) a place to live; to provide a place to live
a. The large family was unaccustomed* to such small quarters.
b. Ellen moved to the French Quarter of our city.
quote (v - n)
verse (n - v)
a short division of a chapter in the Quran or Bible ; a single line or a group of lines of poetry
( Several verses of a religious nature were contained in the document.*)
the right or wrong of an action; virtue; a set of rules or principles of conduct
a. The editor
spoke on the morality of "bugging" the quarters
of a political opponent.*
b. We rarely consider
the morality of our daily actions, though that should occupy
a high position in our thinking.
roam (v - n)
wander; go about with no special plan or aim , hang around
a. In the days of the Wild West, outlaws* roamed the country.
b. A variety* of animals once roamed our land.
one who travels regularly, especially over a considerable distance, between home and work
a. The average commuter would welcome a chance to live in the
vicinity* of his or her work.
b. Have your commuter's ticket verified* by the conductor.
idle (adj - v -n)
not doing anything; not busy; lazy; without any good reason
or cause; to waste (time)
a. Any attempt to study was abandoned* by the student, who idled
away the morning.
b. The idle hours of a holiday frequently* provide the best time to take
thing, usually an image, that is worshiped; a person or thing that is loved very much
a. This small metal idol illustrates* the art of ancient Rome.
b. Scientists are still trying to identify* this idol found in the ruins.
jest (n - v)
joke; fun; mockery; thing to be laughed at; to joke; poke fun
a. Though he spoke in jest, Mark was undoubtedly* giving us a
b. Do not jest about matters of morality.*
patriotic (adj), patriotically (adv)
loving one's country; showing love and loyal support for one's country
a. It is patriotic to accept your responsibilities to your country.
b. The patriotic attitude of the captive* led him to refuse to cooperate
with the enemy.
dispute ( n - v)
disagree; oppose; try to win; a debate or disagreement
a. Our patriotic* soldiers disputed every inch of ground during the
b. The losing team disputed the contest up until the final* minute of
a. The valor of the Vietnam veterans deserves the highest
b. No one will dispute* the valor ofWashington's men at Valley Forge.
lunatic (n - adj)
crazy person; insane; extremely foolish
a. Only a lunatic would willingly descend* into the monster's cave.
b. My roommate has some lunatic ideas about changing the world
uneventful (adj) , uneventfully (adv)
without important or striking happenings
a. After the variety
experiences at the start of our trip, we were happy that the rest of the journey was uneventful.
b. Our annual* class outing proved quite uneventful.
distress (n - v)
great pain or sorrow; misfortune; dangerous or difficult situation; to cause pain or make unhappy
a. The family was in great distress over the accident that maimed*
b. My teacher was distressed by tbe dismal performance of our class
on the final* examination.
run away; go quickly
a. The fleeing outlaws
by the police.
b. One could clearly see the clouds fleeing before the wind.
signify (v), signifiable (adj)
mean; be a sign of; make known by signs, words, or actions; have importance
a. "Oh!" signifies surprise.
b. A gift of such value signifies more than a casual* relationship.
legends or stories that usually attempt to explain something in nature
a. The story of Proserpina and Ceres explaining the seasons is typical* of Greek mythology.
b. From a study of mythology we can conclude* that the ancients
were concerned with the wonders of nature
torment (n - v), tormentingly (adv)
cause very great pain to; worry or annoy very much; cause of very
great pain; very great pain
a. Persistent* headaches tormented him.
b. The illustrations* in our history text show the torments suffered by the victims of the French Revolution.
volunteer (n - v) , voluntary (n)
person who enters any service of his or her own free will; to offer one's services
a. The draft has been abolished* and replaced by a volunteer army.
b. Terry did not hesitate* to volunteer for the most difficult jobs.
shrill (adj -v -n), shrilly (adv)
having a high pitch; high and sharp in sound; piercing
a. Despite* their small size, crickets make very shrill noises.
b. The shrill whistle of the policeman was warning enough for the
fugitive* to stop in his tracks.
jolly (n - adj - adv)
merry; full of fun
a. The jolly old man, an admitted bigamist,* had forgotten to
mention his first wife to his new spouse.*
b. When the jolly laughter subsided,* the pirates began the serious
business of dividing the gold.
hold back; make hard to do
a. Deep mud hindered travel in urban* centers.
b. The storm hindered the pursuit
of the fleeing
mumble (v - n), mumblingly (adv)
a. Ricky mumbled his awkward
b. This speech course will encourage* you to stop mumbling and to speak more distinctly.
wad (v- n)
small, soft mass; to roll or crush into a small mass
a. To decrease* the effects of the pressure, the diver put wads of cotton in his ears.
b. The officer challenged* George to explain the wad of fifty dollars which he had in his pocket.
coeducational (adj - n), coeducational (adv)
having to do with educating both sexes in the same school
a. There has been a massive* shift to coeducational schools.
b. In choosing a college, Ned leans toward schools that are
radical (adj - n)
going to the root; fundamental;extreme; person with extreme opinions
a. The tendency
to be vicious
and cruel is a radical fault.
b. We observe that the interest in radical views is beginning to
vaccinate (v - n)
inoculate with vaccine as a protection against smallpox and other diseases
a. There has been a radical* decline in polio since doctors began to vaccinate children with the Salk vaccine.
of people who have neglected* to have their infants vaccinated.
not neat; not in order , messy, disheveled, scrubby
a. The bachelor's
were most untidy.
b. . Finding the house in such an untidy condition baffled* us.
container or tool used for practical purposes
a. Several utensils were untidily* tossed about the kitchen.
b. Edward's baggage* contained all the utensils he would need on the camping trip.
temperate (adj) ,* temperance (n)
not very hot and not very cold; moderate ,* moderation or restraint in feelings and behavior.
*a. Most professional athletes practice temperance in their personal habits; too much eating or drinking, they know, can harm their performance.
b. The United States is mostly in the North Temperate Zone
c. All students received the appeal
to be temperate and not to jump to conclusions
in judging the new grading system.
raise; lift up
a. Private Carbo was elevated to higher rank for his valor.*
b. Reading a variety* of good books elevates the mind.
a scheme for distributing prizes by lot or chance
a. The merit* of a lottery is that everyone has an equal chance.
b. We thought that a lottery was an absurd* way of deciding who
should be the team captain.
soar (v - n)
fly upward or at a great height; aspire
a. We watched the soaring eagle skim* over the mountain peak.
b. An ordinary man cannot comprehend* such soaring ambition.
having a fixed station or place; standing still; not moving; not
changing in size, number or activity
a. A factory engine is stationary.
b. The population
of our town has been stationary for a decade.
hasty (adj) , hastily (adv)
quick; hurried; not well thought out , rash, precipitate, quick.
a. A hasty glance* convinced him that he was being followed.
b. Rather than make a hasty decision, Mr. Torres rejected* the offer.
scorch (v - n)
burn slightly; dry up; criticize sharply
a. The hot iron scorched the tablecloth.
b. Farmers reported that their wheat was being scorched by the
fierce* rays of the sun.
tempest (n - v)
violent* storm with much wind; a violent disturbance
a. The tempest drove the ship on the rocks.
b. Following the weather report of the approaching* tempest, we
were prompted* to seek immediate shelter.
quiet; calm; comfort , mitigate, alleviate
a. With an embrace,* the mother soothed the hurt child.
b. Heat soothes some aches; cold soothes others.
sympathetic (adj), sympathetically (adv)
having or showing kind feelings toward others; approving; enjoying the same things and getting along well together
a. Judge Cruz was sympathetic to the lawyer's plea* for mercy.
b. We were all sympathetic to Suzanne over her recent
situation of getting on well together or going well together; sweet or
musical sound , congruence
a. We hoped the incident would not disrupt* the harmony that existed between the brothers.
b. We responded* to the harmony of the song by humming along.
refrain (v - n)
a. Refrain from making hasty* promises.
b. Milo could not refrain from laughing at the jest.*
narcotic (adj - n)
drug that produces drowsiness, sleep, dullness, or an insensible condition, and lessens pain by dulling the nerves
a. Opium is a powerful narcotic.
b. We do not have adequate* knowledge of the narcotic properties of these substances.
person who has a right to someone's property after that one
dies; person who inherits anything
a. Though Mr. Sloane is the heir to a gold mine, he lives like a miser.*
b. The monarch* died before he could name an heir to the throne.
majestic (adj), majestically (adv)
grand; noble; dignified; kingly
a. The lion is the most majestic creature of the jungle.
b. In Greek mythology,* Mt. Olympus was the majestic home of
become smaller and smaller; shrink
a. Our supply of unpolluted* water has dwindled.
b. With no visible* signs of their ship, hopes for the men's safety
dwindled with each passing hour.
surplus (adj - n)
amount over and above what is needed; excess, extra
a. The bank keeps a large surplus of money in reserve.
b. Surplus wheat, cotton, and soybeans are shipped abroad.*
person who betrays his or her country, a friend, duty, etc.
a. No villain
is worse than a traitor who betrays
b. Do not call him a traitor unless you can verify* the charge.
deliberate (adj - v)
to consider carefully; intended; done on purpose; slow and careful, as though allowing time to decide what to do
a. Rico's excuse was a deliberate lie.
b. My grandfather walks with deliberate steps.
vandal (adj - n)
person who willfully or ignorantly destroys or damages beautiful things
a. Adolescent* vandals wrecked the cafeteria.
b. The vandals deliberately* ripped the paintings from the wall.
long period of dry weather; lack of rain; lack of water; dryness
a. Because of the drought, some farmers began to migrate* to more
b. In time of drought, the crops become scorched.*
accept and follow out; remain faithful to; dwell; endure
a. The team decided unanimously* to abide by the captain's ruling.
b. My mother cannot abide dirt and vermin.*
unite; make or form into one
a. The novel* traces the developments that unified the family.
b. After the Civil War our country became unified more strongly.
heed (n - v)
give careful attention to; take notice of; careful attention
a. I demand that you heed what I say.
b. Florence pays no heed to what the signs say.
the written story of a person's life; the part of literature that consists of biographies
a. Our teacher recommended
the biography of the architect
b. The biography of Malcolm X is a popular* book in our school.
drench (v - n)
wet thoroughly; soak
a. A heavy rain drenched the campus,* and the students had to dry
out their wet clothing.
b. The drenching rains resumed* after only one day of sunshine.
wobble (n - v)
move unsteadily from side to side
a. Little Perry thrust* his feet into the oversized shoes and wobbled
over to the table.
b. A baby wobbles when it begins to walk alone.
noise; uproar; violent* disturbance or disorder
a. The sailors' voices were too feeble* to be heard above the tumult
of the storm
b. The dreaded* cry of aFire!" caused a tumult in the theater.
dejected (adj), dejectedly (adv)
in low spirits; sad , depressed, gloomy
a. His biography
that Edison was not dejected by failure.
b. The defeated candidate
felt dejected and scowled
for an interview.
obedient (adj), obediently (adv)
doing what one is told.; willing to obey
a. The obedient dog came when his master beckoned.*
b. Obedient to his father's wishes, Guy did not explore* any further.
cruel or unjust ruler; cruel master; absolute ruler
a. Some tyrants of Greek cities were mild and fair rulers.
b. The tyrant demanded loyalty
from his subjects.
generous giving to the poor; institutions for helping the sick,
the poor, or the helpless; kindness in judging people's faults
a. A free hospital is a noble charity.
b. The entire community is the beneficiary* of Henry's charity.
dig up; discover; find out
a. The digging of the scientists unearthed a buried city.
b. A plot to defraud* the investors was unearthed by the F.B.I.
go away; leave; turn away (from); change; die
a. We arrived in the village in the morning and departed that night.
b. Stan was vague* about departing from his usual manner of
choosing a partner.
person who owes something to another
a. If I borrow a dollar from you, I am your debtor.
b. As a debtor who had received many favors from the banker,
Mr. Mertz was reluctant* to testify against him.
contagious (adj), contagiously (adv)
spreading by contact, easily spreading from one to another
a. Scarlet fever is contagious.
b. I find that yawning is often contagious.
persons prepared for religious work; clergymen as a group
a. We try never to hinder
the clergy as they perform their sacred
b. Friar Tuck was a member of the clergy who loved a jolly
usual , habitual, accustomed
a. It was customary for wealthy Romans to recline* while they were dining.
b. The traitor
the customary blindfold for the execution.
transparent (adj), transparently (adv)
pour boiling liquid over; burn with hot liquid or steam; heat almost to the boiling point
a. Do not neglect* to scald the dishes before drying them.
b. By being hasty,* Stella scalded her hand.
epidemic (n - adj)
an outbreak of a disease that spreads rapidly* so that many people have it at the same time; widespread
a. All of the schools in the city were closed during the epidemic.
b. The depiction
in the movies has reached epidemic
a. Obesity is considered* a serious disease.
b. The salesman tactfully
to Jack's obesity as "stoutness."
a person who treats ailments by massage and manipulation of the vertebrae and other forms of therapy on the theory* that disease results from interference with the normal functioning of the nervous system
a. . Mrs. Lehrer confirmed* that a chiropractor had been treating her.
b. The chiropractor recommended hot baths between treatments.
anything that gets in the way or hinders; impediment; obstruction
a. Ignorance* is an obstacle to progress.
is often an obstacle to harmony
ventilate (v), ventilative (adj)
change the air in; purify by fresh air; discuss openly
a. We ventilated the kitchen by opening the windows.
b. The lungs ventilate the blood.
jeopardize (v), jeopardy (n)
risk; to put in danger.
a. Soldiers jeopardize their lives in war.
b. Mr. Marcos revised* his opinion of police officers after two of
them had jeopardized their lives to save his drowning child.
pension (n - v)
regular payment that is not wages; to make such a payment
a. Pensions are often paid because of long service, special merit,* or injuries received.
b. The pension is calculated* on the basis of your last year's income.
municipal (adj), municipally (adv)
of a city or state; having something to do in the affairs of a city or town
a. The state police assisted the municipal police in putting down the riot.
b. There was only a mediocre* turnout for the municipal elections.
an insect with a slender* body and powerful sting
a. When the wasps descended* on the picnic, we ran in all directions.
b.The piercing* sting of a wasp can be very painful.
restore to good condition; make over in a new form; restore to former standing, rank, reputation, etc.
a. The old house was rehabilitated at enormous* expense.
b. The former crimina completely rehabilitated himself and was
respected by all.
parole (n - v)
word of honor; conditional freedom; to free (a prisoner) under certain conditions
a. The judge paroled the juvenile* offenders on condition that they
report to him every three months.
b. The fugitive* gave his parole not to try to escape again.
a great number; a crowd , plenty, great number
a. A multitude of letters kept pouring in to the movie idol.*
b. The fleeing
by a fierce
nominate (v), nominator (n)
name as a candidate for office; appoint to an office
a. Three times Bryant was nominated for office but he was never
b. The president nominated him for Secretary of State.
potential |(n - adj)
possibility* as opposed to actuality; capability of coming into being or action
a. Mark has the potential of being completely rehabilitated.*
b. The coach felt his team had the potential to reach the finals.*
place where bodies of unknown persons found dead are kept; the reference library of a newspaper office
a. There is a slender
chance that we can identifY
the body in the morgue.
b. Bodies in the morgue are preserved* by low temperatures.
took up all the attention
a. Getting to school in time for the test preoccupied Judy's mind.
b. Charity* cases preoccupied Mrs. Reynaldo's attention.
coverings and cushions for furniture
a. Our old sofa was given new velvet upholstery.
b. The Browns' upholstery was so new that we were wary* about visiting them with the children.
indifference (n), ind)fferent (adj/
nonchalance, carelessness, apathy, lack of interest, care, or attention
a. Allen's indifference to his schoolwork worried his parents.
b. It was a matter of indifference to Bernie whether the story circulating* about his engagement was true or not.
snub (v - adj)
treat coldly, scornfully, or with contempt; cold treatment
a. Darryl later apologized* to Sally for snubbing her at the dance.
b. I considered* it a rude snub when I was not invited to the party.
very great anger; rage
a. Anticipating* Father's wrath, we tried to give him the news slowly.
b. There is no rage* like the wrath of an angry bear.
story coming from the past, which many people have believed; what is written on a coin or below a picture
a. Stories about King Arthur and his knights are popular* legends.
b. legend has exaggerated* the size of Paul Bunyan.
consider carefully, contemplate, consider, meditate, think, speculate
a. Not wishing to act hastily,* the governor pondered the problem
b. The villagers, faced with a famine,* pondered their next move.
drastic (adj), drastically (adv)
acting with force or violence* , violent, fierce, severe, vehement
a. The police took drastic measures to end the crime wave.
b. In the interests of justice,* drastic action must be taken.
wharf (n - v)
platform built on the shore or out from the shore beside which ships can load or unload
a. We watched the exhausted* laborers unloading the cargo on the wharf.
b. The lawyer insisted
that his client
was never seen near the wharf where the crime had taken place.
ballot (n - v)
piece of paper used in voting; the whole number of votes cast; the method of secret voting; to vote or decide by using ballots
a. Clyde, confident* of victory, dropped his ballot into the box.
b. After we counted the ballots a second time, Leo's victory was confirmed.*
the highest point of something , summit .
(the acme of their basketball season was their hard-won victory over last year's state champs)
accustom, familiarize, initiate, introduce, orient, orientate
This class is designed to acquaint students with the region's most important writers.
bigot (n), bigoted (adj), bigotedly (adv)
colossal (adj) , colossally (adv)
huge, large, massive, enormous
(So colossal was the output that blackburn was the greatest weaving town in the world.)
to agree with someone or something ,compound, jibe .
(We concur that more money should be spent on education.)
cope (v - n)
n. overcome, beat, cope, conquer, vanquish, ride . v. to deal with and attempt to overcome problems and difficultie
(committed their nefarious deeds under the dark cope of night)
coup (v - n)
an impressive victory or achievement that usually is difficult or unexpected .
(It was a major coup when they got the Vice President to appear on their show for an interview)
a. there was a dearth of usable firewood at the campsite
b. the dearth of salesclerks at the shoe store annoyed us
the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed .
a.After the earthquake, rescuers began digging through the debris in search of survivors.
b.Everything was covered by dust and debris.
pious, religious, prayerful, holy
. It is his devout wish to help people in need.
b. devout Red Sox fans never lost faith during the long World Series drought
discharge, lay off
(numerous dismissals from the company during the economic slump)
dissent (n - v)
n. opposition, objection, disagreement, dissension, contraposition
v. oppose, disagree, object, negative.
(The Supreme Court, with two justices dissenting, ruled that the law was constitutional.)
glide, terminate, pass away
(There is nothing, though, to stop people in these categories from going along again when that time elapses .)
to feel or show great happiness ; to say (something) in a very excited and happy way
a. "That was the best meal I've ever had!" he exulted.
b. the winners of the Super Bowl spent the next week exulting in their victory
nag, fret, grill, pester.
a. She was constantly harassed by the other students.
b. He claims that he is being unfairly harassed by the police.
hoard (v - n)
a large amount of something valuable that is kept hidden ,reservoir, store .
(keeps a hoard of empty yogurt containers in his basement workshop for storing whatnots)
hoax (n - v)
trick, ploy, ruse, deception, fraud.
(a skilled forger who hoaxed the art world into believing that the paintings were long-lost Vermeers)
indispensable (adj), indispensably (adv)
extremely important and necessary.
(fully aware that he was an indispensable assistant, he decided that it was high time that he be paid what he was worth)
commendable , worthy of praise
(you showed laudable restraint in dealing with that ridiculously demanding customer)
an assistant to another, more powerful person : a person who represents and works for someone else
(She has her best lieutenants working on a proposal.)
a large group of soldiers.
(Legions of people came to see him perform.)
causing or able to cause death , deadly, fatal, lethal, deathly
(a potentially lethal dose of a drug)
very old : too old to be useful or acceptable
(They're using a computer system that seems positively medieval by today's standards.)
mortgage (n - v)
a loan taken to purchase property and guaranteed by the same property.
(He will have to take out a mortgage in order to buy the house.)
to take the place of (someone or something).
(Large national banks are ousting local banks in many communities.)
booklet, manual, handbook
(pamphlets about common safety precautions that we all can put into use)
plague (n - v)
n. is a widespread disease that is deadly; v. to cause constant worry or distress to (someone)
a. The country was hit by a plague of natural disasters that year.
b. Crime plagues the inner city.
a form or a document that contains a series of questions to be answered
(Users were involved in the design of a questionnaire developed for one study)
to end or stop (something) usually by using force ;to calm or reduce (something, such as fear or worry), to quiet, to suppress.
a. It took a huge number of police to quell the rioting.
b. the principal held up her hand to quell the students so they could hear the urgent announcement
: an area of activity, interest, or knowledge ; a country that is ruled by a king or queen.to completely destroy; demolish.
a. The old Coliseum building will soon be razed to make room for a new hotel.
b. new discoveries in the realm of medicine .
rue (n - v) - regret (n - v)
remorse, repentance, compunction, contrition
a. I rue the day I agreed to this stupid plan..
b. She has no regrets about leaving him (n).
senile (adj), senilely(adv), senility (n)
showing a loss of mental ability (such as memory) in old age
(Her mother is becoming senile.)
a situation in which soldiers or police officers surround a city, building, etc., in order to try to take control of it.
(The castle was built to withstand a siege.)
a student in the second year of high school or college
(She's a sophomore in high school.)
sulphur (n - v)
a yellow chemical element that has a strong, unpleasant odor when it is burned and that is used in making paper, gunpowder, medicine, etc.
a person who directs or manages a place, department, organization, etc; a high rank in a police department or a person who has this rank
; a person who is in charge of cleaning, maintaining, and repairing a building
(the office of the superintendent of parks issues camping permits)
poison that is produced by an animal ; a very strong feeling of anger or hatred , malice, grudge, spite, rancor.
(He spewed venom against his rival.)
a quiet gathering, usually during normal sleeping hours.
(kept vigil at their ailing son's bedside the entire time he was in the hospital)
the yellow part in the center of an egg.
(Yolks of eggs being formed at the bottom of the window.)
acclimate (v), acclimation (n)
to adapt, to adjust
a. It is difficult for the human body to acclimate to abrupt changes in temperature.
b. Dogs and cats usually acclimate easily to living in a home with small children.
a proverb , saying, adage, aphorism
a. We often find out that the adage "haste makes waste" is true.
b. Parents often teach their children by reciting adages, such as, "a stitch in time saves nine."
defense; sponsorship, a shield , armor
a. In Greek mythology Apollo, the god of the sun, carried an aegis that provoked fear in his opponents.
b. Freedom of speech is sheltered by the aegis of the Constitution's first amendment.
alleviate (v), alleviation (n)
relieve; lessen; make more bearable , relieve, mitigate
a. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are always seeking new drugs to alleviate pain.
b. After a death in a family, counselors may be able to alleviate the sorrow of the deceased's relatives.
avid (adj), avidly (adv), avidity (n)
extremely eager, enthusiastic
a. The candidate was accused of having an avid desire for personal power.
b. High school English teachers encourage their students to be avid readers.
benevolent (adj), benevolently (adv)
disposed to doing good; generous; charitable
a. The benevolent heat of the sun is used to supply large parts of the worldwide solar power.
b. Mother Theresa's benevolent work in Third World nations made her famous.
cajole (v), cajolement (n)
to persuade with flattery; to coax
a. In order to convince his girlfriend to marry him, the man cajoled her by using sweet words and soft tones.
b. The candidate for mayor, a skillful speaker, cajoled the voters to vote for him.
condone (v), condonable (adj)
to excuse; pardon; overlook
a. Public school authorities do not condone the use of force by the teacher.
b. Because the basketball star led the team to a championship, many of his social shortcomings were condoned.
to conspire; to cooperate secretly to perform a wrong act
a. It was revealed that foreign spies connived with criminals to gather information about atomic weapons.
b. In planning the bank robbery, the thieves connived with the drivers of the armored truck to drive away after they made their delivery.
covert (adj - n) , covertly (adv)
not openly shown; secret; clandestine
a. The lioness placed her kittens in a covert cave to keep them safe.
b. Before introducing herself to the charming-looking man at the party, the young woman glanced at him covertly
a standard on which a judgment may be based; a measure
a. Tasty food is the criterion for a popular fast-food restaurant
b. Professional organizations usually determine the major criterion for membership.
decadent (adj - n), decadently (adv)
marked by decay or decline
a. A large amount of money was donated by the philanthropist, who hoped to have the decadent opera house restored.
b. The rooms in the house we rented were old, worn out, dark, and dusty; there was a decadent air about them.
devious (adj), deviously (adv)
cunning; deceptive; roundabout, tricky.
a. Since reindeer cannot be steered when pulling a sled, they will always take a devious route to the driver's destination.
b. It was difficult to determine the truth of the witness' contradictory statements because of his devious manner.
forcible restraint: coercion ,compulsion or restraint.
a. During World War II, American prisoners of war in Bataan were marched 55 miles under duress.
b. After arguing violently with the referee, the basketball coach was escorted out of the area under duress.
egotist (n), egotistic (adj), egotistically (adv)
person who talks too much about himself; a conceited person
a. Because egotists are always talking about their own lives, their friends become bored in their company.
b. The egoist's e-mail address was "the greatest.com."
to incite by argument or advice, urge strongly
a. The candidate exhorted members of his party to be certain to vote for him on election day.
b. In his speech, the president exhorted citizens to ask what they could do for their country.
noisy quarrel; brawl , fight, brawl
a. Because there is so much pushing and shoving in professional ice hockey games, they rarely end without a fracas.
b. A fracas took place between the two students after they bumped against each other on the stairs.
to make gestures especially when speaking
a. Englishmen think that French people speak louder and gesticulate more than English people.
b. The candidate for the United States Senate gesticulated violently with his hands and arms in order to add passion to his remarks.
heterogeneous (adj), heterogeneously (adv), heterogeneity (n)
consisting of dissimilar ingredients; mixed
a. Teaching a heterogeneous group of skiers, beginners, and intermediates in one class, for example, is extremely difficult.
b. The entomologist's heterogeneous collection of insects, featuring both flying and crawling insects, was on display at the museum.
to receive into the mind and retain; drink
a. The more cigarettes the inmates smoked, the more they wanted to imbibe brandy and soda.
b. The heat of the sun's rays was imbibed by the sunbathers.
incarcerate (v - n)
to put in prison
a. After the jury pronounced the defendant guilty, the judge determined that the defendant should be incarcerated for ten years.
b. The bank robbers incarcerated the bank manager and the hostages in the large vault while they made their escape.
impeccable (adj) , impeccably (adv)
free from fault or blame; flawless
a. Although we had studied French for only one year, our pronunciation was impeccable.
b. After driving a bus for 40 years without an accident, the driver received an award for impeccable service.
incriminate (v), incrimination (n), incriminating (adj)
to show evidence of involvement in a crime
a. When faced with the fear of being sent to jail, criminals will sometimes offer evidence that will incriminate their associates.
b. Because the detectives believed a murder had been committed, they searched the house for incriminating information.
incumbent (n - adj) , incumbency (n)
occupant , someone who occupies an office or position.
a. The City Council voted to provide an adequate salary for the mayor, so that the incumbent could live comfortably.
b. It is generally believed that in a congressional election incumbents have a significant advantage over their opponent.
indigent (adj - n), indigently (adv)
poor; impoverished, destitute
a. The indigent population in the United States has benefited from the liberal welfare laws.
b. During the nineteenth century each town or parish was responsible for its own disabled and indigent citizens.
innocuous (adj), innocuously (adv)
harmless , unhurt , inoffensive.
a. You can add a cool green color to foods safely by using the innocuous coloring in spinach.
b. People who keep snakes as pets wonder why so many of their friends tend to fear one of the most innocuous animals.
itinerary (n - adj)
judicious (adj), judiciously (adv)
showing good judgment , wise man
a. A judicious investment brought Carlos considerable profit.
b. King Solomon is said to have made a judicious decision.
lament (v - n)
to mourn; express grief
a. The national lament for the dead leader was genuine.
b. A loud lament was heard when the grades were posted.
forgetfulness; drowsy indifference
a. We could not arouse Irwin from his state of lethargy.
b. After a big meal, I sometimes give in to lethargy.
ludicrous (adj), ludicrously (adv)
silly; absurd , farcical, ridiculous, outlandish; see absurd, funny
a. Teachers hear many flimsy excuses but Andre's was truly ludicrous.
b. "I find your proposal to be ludicrous," Rosita's boss declared
magnanimous (adj) , magnanimously (adv)
a. Bertha's magnanimous act won praise from the community.
b. In a magnanimous ruling, judge Dicker released the sick convict.
malevolent (adj), malevolently (adv) , * malevolence (n)
evil , spiteful, malicious , * hatred, ill will.
a. Warren's malevolent behavior was attributed to his illness.
b. Dickens' portrayal of the malevolent Uriah Heep is a masterpiece.
c*.Critics say that Iago, the villain in Shakespeare's Othello, seems to exhibit malevolence with no real cause.
mediate (v - adj), mediation (n)
to bring about a settlement; resolve differences
a. When my sister and I quarrel, Mom steps in to mediate.
b. The mediator's ruling was seen as favorable to management.
metaphor (n), metaphoric (adj), metaphorically (adv)
figure of speech in which different things are compared without using the words as or like
a. He'?'battleship husband" sailed into the room is a metaphor.
b. Good authors often use metaphors in their prose.
militant (adj - n), militantly (adv), militancy (n)
ready to fight; warlike
a. We are militant in defense of our freedom.
b. Phil's militant posture in the schoolyard kept the bullies away.
morbid (adj), morbidly (adv)
unhealthy; pertaining to disease; gruesome
a. Doctor Grill spared us the morbid details.
b. Poe's poem, "The Raven," strikes me as totally morbid.
wicked; sinful; evil , treacherous
a. The nefarious deeds of the serial killer shocked the nation.
b. Mr. Hyde committed a string of nefarious murders.
wanderer , migrant, vagabond; see traveler.
a. Having lived in six different states, you might call us nomads.
b. The nomadic tribe constantly searched for fresh water.
nostalgia (n), nostalgic (adj), nostalgically (adv)
yearning for the past , remorse, wistfulness, sentimentality; see homesickness, loneliness.
a. A wave of nostalgia swept over us at Thanksgiving time.
b. Giving in to nostalgia, Susan wept for the days of her youth.
oblivion (n), oblivious (adj), obliviousness (noun).
state of being forgotten; unaware of what is going on , forgetfulness, obliviousness, Lethe, amnesia; unconscious.
a. His once-famous novel has now sunk into oblivion.
b. Ella rescued that song from oblivion.
c. Karen practiced her oboe with complete concentration, oblivious to the noise and activity around her.
obsolete (adj) , obsolescence (n)
no longer in use; worn out , neglected, abandoned
a. The government is auctioning obsolete computers.
b. It seems that typewriters are now considered obsolete.
cure-all; remedy for everything
a. Researchers are close to finding a panacea for asthma.
b. We cannot give up the search for a panacea for Middle East peace.
statement that seems to contradict itself , mystery, enigma, ambiguity
a. Calling the coward the bravest man in the room is a paradox.
b. It was paradoxical for the weakest team to be leading the league.
parsimonious (adj), parsimoniously (adv)
a. The millionaire resented being called parsimonious.
b. Parsimonious all his life, Miller left all his wealth to the Red Cross.
penitent (adj - n) , penitently (adv)
sorry for wrongdoing and willing to make amends ,feeling sorry for past crimes or sins.
a. In the principal's office, the penitent sophomore confessed.
b. The parole board sensed that Evans was penitent and gave him a break.
peruse (v), perusal (n)
to read carefully, to examine or study.
a. "I'd like you to peruse these documents tonight," my boss said.
b. After I peruse the chapter, I'll deal with the questions.
phlegmatic (adj), phlegmatically (adv)
slow to respond; not easily excited
a. Ben's phlegmatic behavior irritated his wife no end.
b. Because Darryl was generally phlegmatic, we were surprised by his lively response.
plausible (adj), plausibly (adv), plausibility (n)
seemingly true; apparently believable , probable, credible
a. I'll admit that Cabot's alibi was plausible.
b. The scientist's plausible theory collapsed under serious scrutiny.
posthumous (adj), posthumously (adv)
arising or occurring after one's death
a. The posthumous award was presented to Hartley's widow.
b. Melville's last novel was published posthumously.
precocious (adj), precociously (adv), precocity (n)
showing advanced development at an early age
a. The literal meaning of precocious is half-baked.
b. Since Lulu was so precocious, she was skipped twice at school.
a. The composer performed a potpourri of his hits.
b. A potpourri of Faulkner's stories was a welcome gift.
procrastinate (v) , procrastination (n)
delay , temporize , postpone
a. We were warned not to procrastinate about doing the term paper.
b. Jerry is quite forceful but his kid brother loves to procrastinate.
prognosticate (v), prognostication (n)
predict , foretell
a. The thunder and lightning prognosticated a huge storm.
b. Judging from his stock market losses, my uncle can't prognosticate too well.
prolific (adj), prolifically (adv)
producing much; fertile , profitable
a. The prolific author produced three best-sellers last year.
b. We adopted the prolific eat's entire litter.
dilemma; condition of doubt , deadlock, predicament, stalemate
a. When he had to choose a new car, my father was in a quandary.
b. Eloise admitted to being in a quandary over a new hairstyle.
rabid (adj), rabidly (adv)
fanatical; furious; infected with rabies
a. The rabid fans caused a riot when their soccer team lost.
b. Clyde and Cleo are rabid antique enthusiasts.
figure of speech using as or like in which two different things are compared
a. The poet's strength was in his creation of memorable similes.
b. To say that a joke is as old as the hills is to use a tired simile.
skeptic (n - adj)
one who doubts consistently; one who is hard to convince
a. I couldn't convince Uncle Henry, a born skeptic.
b. Ruth is skeptical about Sid's promise.
slander (n - v)
false oral statement designed to damage a person's reputation
a. Those who have tried to slander the actor have paid for it in court.
b. Calling jackson a communist was a cruel slander.
utopia (n) , utopian (adj)
paradise; a place where everything is perfect ; an imaginary, perfect society
a. The reformers hoped to set up a utopia in Arizona.
b. Those who founded the Oneida community dreamed that it could be a kind of utopia—a prosperous state with complete freedom and harmony.
clear; acquit; exonerate , absolve;to confirm, justify, or defend.
a. The lawyer asked the jury to vindicate his client.
b. "Now I feel vindicated," the freed man declared.
abrasive (adj) , abrasion (n)
irritating, grinding, rough.
(The manager's rude, abrasive way of criticizing the workers was bad for morale.)
abridge (v), abridgment (n)
to shorten, to reduce.
(The Bill of Rights is designed to prevent Congress from abridging the rights of Americans.)
absolve (v), absolution (n)
to free from guilt, to exonerate.
(The criminal jury absolved the man of the murder of his ex-wife.)
adaptable (adj), adapt (verb), adaptation (noun).
able to be changed to be suitable for a new purpose.
(Some scientists say that the mammals outlived the dinosaurs because they were more adaptable to a changing climate.)
adulation (noun), adulate (verb), adulatory (adjective).
(Few young actors have received greater adulation than did Marlon Brando after his performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.)
an enemy or opponent.
(When the former Soviet Union became an American ally, the United States had lost a major adversary.)
aesthetic (adj), aestheticism (n)
relating to art or beauty.
(Mapplethorpe's photos may be attacked on moral grounds, but no one questions their aesthetic value—they are beautiful.)
affected (adj) , affect (verb), affectation (noun).
false, artificial. *.influenced
(At one time, Japanese women were taught to speak in an affected high-pitched voice, which was thought girlishly attractive.)
aggressive (adj), aggression (n)
forceful, energetic, and attacking.
(A football player needs a more aggressive style of play than a soccer player.)
(Although they agreed to divorce, their settlement was amicable and they remained friends afterward.)
amplify (n) , anomalous (adj)
something different or irregular.
(The tiny planet Pluto, orbiting next to the giants Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, has long appeared to be an anomaly.)
fighting infection; extremely clean.
(A wound should be washed with an antiseptic solution. The all-white offices were bare and almost antiseptic in their starkness.)
arable (adj - n)
able to be cultivated for growing crops.
(Rocky New England has relatively little arable farmland.)
someone able to settle dispute; a judge or referee.
(The public is the ultimate arbiter of commercial value: It decides what sells and what doesn't.)
not typical; unusual. thumping, odd, irregular, eccentric, anomalous
(In The Razor's Edge, Bill Murray, best known as a comic actor, gave an atypical dramatic performance.)
delayed past the proper time.
(She called her mother on January 5 to offer her a belated "Happy New Year.")
lacking or deprived of something.
(Bereft of parental love, orphans sometimes grow up insecure.)
a spirit of friendship. camaraderie, intimacy, nearness
(Spending long days and nights together onthe road, the members of a traveling theater group develop a strong sense of camaraderie).
carnivorous (adj), carnivore (n)
( The long, dagger-like teeth of the Tyrannosaurus make it obvious that this was a carnivorous dinosaur.)
carping (adj), carp (n - v)
unfairly or excessively critical; querulous. faultfinding, nagging
(The newspaper is famous for its demanding critics, but none is harder to please than the carping McNamera, said to have single-handedly destroyed many acting careers.)
catalytic (adj), catalyze (v)
bringing about, causing, or producing some result.
(The conditions for revolution existed in America by 1765; the disputes about taxation that arose later were the catalytic events that sparked the rebellion.)
winding or indirect.
(We drove to the cottage by a circuitous route so we could see as much of the surrounding countryside as possible.)
speaking in a roundabout way; wordiness. redundancy, verbosity, prolixity, periphrasis
(Legal documents often contain circumlocutions which make them difficult to understand)
circumscribe (v) , circumscription (n)
to define by a limit or boundary.
(Originally, the role of the executive branch of government was clearly circumscribed, but that role has greatly expanded over time.)
to get around.
(When Jerry was caught speeding, he tried to circumvent the law by offering the police officer some money.)
overly sweet or sentimental.
(The deathbed scenes in the novels of Dickens are famously cloying: as Oscar Wilde said, "One would need a heart of stone to
read the death of Little Nell without laughing.")
cognizant (adj), cognizance (n)
(Cognizant of the fact that it was getting late, the master of ceremonies cut short the last speech.)
collaborate (v), collaboration (n), collaborative (adj).
to work together. participate, cope, unite
(To create a truly successful movie, the director, writers, actors, and many others must collaborate closely.)
informal in language; conversational.
(Some expressions from Shakespeare, such as the use of thou and thee, sound formal today but were colloquial English in Shakespeare's time.)
condescending (adj), condescension (n)
having an attitude of superiority toward another; patronizing.
("What a cute little car!" she remarked in a condescending style. "I suppose it's the nicest one someone like you could afford!")
condolence (n), condole (v)
pity for someone else's sorrow or loss; sympathy.
(After the sudden death of the doctor, thousands of messages of condolence were sent to her family.)
conformity (n), conform (verb), conformist (adjective).
agreement with or adherence to custom or rule. obedience
(In my high school,conformity was the rule: everyone dressed the same, talked the same, and listened to the same music.)
consolation (n), console (v)
relief or comfort in sorrow or suffering.
(Although we miss our dog very much, it is a consolation to know that she died quickly, without suffering.)
consummate (v - adj), consummation (n).
to complete, finish, or perfect.
(The deal was consummated with a handshake and the payment of the agreed-upon fee.)
contrite (adj), contrition (n)
sorry for past misdeeds. regretful
(The public is often willing to forgive celebrities who are involved in some scandal, as long as they appear contrite.)
convergence (n), converge (v)
the act of coming together in unity or similarity. grouping.
(A remarkable example of evolutionary convergence can be seen in the shark and the dolphin, two seacreatures that developed from different origins to become very similar in form.)
convoluted (adj), convolute (verb), convolution (noun).
twisting, complicated, intricate.coiled
(Tax law has become so convoluted that it's easy for people to accidentally violate it.)
corroborating (adj), corroborate (verb), corroboration (n).
supporting with evidence; confirming. emphasize, assert, assure, affirm,
(A passerby who hadwitnessed the crime gave corroborating testimony about the presence of the accused person.)
critique (n - v)
a critical evaluation.
(The editor gave a detailed critique of the manuscript, explaining its strengths and its weaknesses.)
to shorten. abbreviate
(Because of the military emergence, all soldiers on leave were
ordered to curtail their absences and return to duty.)
debased (adj), debase (v)
lowered in quality, character, or esteem.
(The quality of TV journalism has been debased by the many new tabloid-style talk shows.)
to expose as false or worthless. expose, deflate, demystify
(The magician loves to debunk psychics, mediums, clairvoyants, and others who claim supernatural powers.)
to criticize or condemn.
(Cigarette ads aimed at youngsters have led many to decry the marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.)
deduction (n), deduce (v)
a logical conclusion, especially a specific conclusion based on general principles.
(Based on what is known about the effects of greenhouse gases on atmospheric temperature, scientists have made several deductions about the likelihood of global warming.)
delegate (v), delegate (n)
to give authority or responsibility.
(The president delegated the vice president to represent the administration at the peace talks.)
mischievous, harmful, hurtful, baleful
(About thirty years ago, scientists proved that working with asbestos could be deleterious to one's health, producing cancer and other diseases)
modest or shy.
(The demure heroines of Victorian fiction have given way to today's stronger, more opinionated, and more independent female characters.)
to remove from office, especially from a throne.isolate
(Iran was formerly ruled by a monarch called the Shah, who was deposed in 1976.)
derelict (adj), dereliction (n)
neglecting one's duty. abandoned, deserted
(The train crash was blamed on a switch man who was derelict, having fallen asleep while on duty.)
desolate (adj), desolation (n)
empty, lifeless, and deserted; hopeless, gloomy.
(Robinson Crusoe was shipwrecked and had to learn to survive alone on a desolate island. The murder of her husband left Mary Lincoln desolate.)
deter (v) , deterrence (adj - n)
to discourage from acting. prevent, block, stop, ban
(The best way to deter crime is to insure that criminals will receive swift and certain punishment.)
intended to teach, instructive.
(The children's TV show Sesame Street is designed to be both entertaining and didactic.)
diminutive (adj), diminution (n)
unusually small, tiny.
(Children are fond of Shetland ponies because their diminutive size makes them easy to ride.)
discomfit (v), discomfiture (n)
to frustrate, thwart, or embarrass.
(Discomfited by the interviewer's unexpected question, Peter could only stammer in reply.)
discredit (v - n)
to cause disbelief in the accuracy of some statement or the reliability
of a person. vilification, denigration, discredit, calumny, smearing, malediction
(Although many people still believe in UFOs, among scientists the reports of alien encounters" have been thoroughly discredited.)
discrepancy (n), discrepant (adjective).
a difference or variance between two or more things.
(The discrepancies between the two witnesses' stories show that one of them must be lying.)
disparity (n), disparate (adj)
difference in quality or kind. inequality, difference, variance
(There is often a disparity between the kind of high-quality television people say they want and the low-brow programs they actually watch.)
disregard (v - n)
to ignore, to neglect.
( If you don't write a will, when you die, your survivors may disregard your wishes about how your property should be handled.)
dissonance (n) , dissonant (adj)
lack of music harmony; lack of agreement between ideas.
a. Most modern music is characterized by dissonance, which many listeners find hard to enjoy.
b. There is a noticeable dissonance between two common beliefs of most conservatives: their faith in unfettered free markets and their preference for traditional social values.
diverge (v), divergence (noun), divergent (adjective).
to move in different directions.
(Frost's poem "The Road Less Traveled" tells of the choice he made when "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.")
diversion (n), divert (v)
a distraction or pastime.
(During the two hours he spent in the doctor's waiting room, his hand-held computer game was a welcome diversion.)
causing disagreement or disunity.
(Throughout history, race has been the most divisive issue in American society.)
to reveal. uncover, expose, disclose
(The people who count the votes for the Oscar® awards are under
strict orders not to divulge the names of the winners.)
dogmatic (adj), dogmatism (n)
holding firmly to a particular set of beliefs with little or no basis.
(Believers in Marxist doctrine tend to be dogmatic, ignoring evidence that contradicts their beliefs.)
dubious (adj), dubiety (n)
(Despite the chairman's attempts to convince the committee members that his plan would succeed, most of them remained dubious)
eclectic (adj), eclecticism (n)
drawn from many sources; varied, heterogeneous.
(The Mellon family art collection is an eclectic one, including works ranging from ancient Greek sculptures to modern paintings.)
egoism (n), egoistic (adj)
excessive concern with oneself; conceit. ego, arrogance, vanity, pride
(Robert's egoism was so great that all he could talk about was the importance—and the brilliance—of his own opinions)
elated (adj), elate (verb), elation (noun).
excited and happy; exultant.
(When the Green Bay Packers' last, desperate pass was dropped, the elated fans of the Denver Broncos began to celebrate.)
very terse or concise in writing or speech; difficult to understand.
(Rather than speak plainly, she hinted at her meaning through a series of nods, gestures, and elliptical half-sentences.)
embezzle (v) , embezzlement (n)
to steal money or property that has been entrusted to your care. purloin, snitch, snatch.
(The church treasurer was found to have embezzled thousands of dollars by writing phony checks on the church bank account.)
emend (v), emendation (n)
to correct. rectify, mend
(Before the letter is mailed, please emend the two spelling errors.)
emigrate (v), emigrant - emigration (noun).
to leave one place or country to settle elsewhere.
(Millions of Irish emigrated to the New World in the wake of the great Irish famines of the 1840s.)
someone who represents another.
(In an effort to close the construction deal, the former CEO was sent as an emissary to China to negotiate a contract.)
emollient (n - adj)
something that softens or soothes.
(She used a hand cream as an emollient on her dry, work-roughened hands.)
empathy (n), empathetic (adj)
imaginative sharing of the feelings, thoughts, or experiences of
(It's easy for a parent to have empathy for the sorrow of another parent whose child has died.)
hatred, hostility, ill will. antagonism, quarrel
(Long-standing enmity, like that between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, is difficult to overcome.)
to enchant or charm. fascinate, seduce
(When the Swedish singer Jenny Lind toured America in the nineteenth century, audiences were enthralled by her beauty and talent.)
to take up as a cause; to adopt.
(No politician in American today will openly espouse racism, although some behave and speak in racially prejudiced ways.)
to irritate or annoy.
(Because she was trying to study, Sharon was exasperated by the yelling of her neighbors' children.)
exemplary (adj), exemplar (noun), exemplify (verb).
worthy to serve as a model. typical, idealistic
(The Baldrige Award is given to a company with exemplary standards of excellence in products and service.)
exonerate (v), exoneration (noun)
to free from blame.
(Although he was suspected at first of being involved in the bombing, later evidence exonerated him.)
broad and large; speaking openly and freely.
(The actor's ranch is located on an expansive tract of land in Texas. Over dinner, she became expansive in describing her dreams for the future.)
expiate (v), expiation (n)
to atone for. purge.
(The president's apology to the survivors of the notorious
Tuskegee experiments was his attempt to expiate the nation's guilt over their mistreatment.)
expropriate (v), expropriation (n)
to seize ownership of.
(When the Communists came to power inChina, they expropriated most businesses and turned them over to government appointed managers.)
currently in existence.
( Of the seven ancient "Wonders of the World," only the pyramids of Egypt are still extant.)
to greatly praise.
(At the party convention, speaker after speaker rose to extol their candidate for the presidency.)
extricate (v), extricable (adj)
to free from a difficult or complicated situation.
(Much of the humor in the TV show I Love Lucy comes in watching Lucy try to extricate herself from the problems she creates by fibbing or trickery.)
not an innate part or aspect of something; external. outer, exterior
(The high price of old baseball cards is due to extrinsic factors, such as the nostalgia felt by baseball fans for the stars of their youth, rather than the inherent beauty or value of the cards
exuberant (adj) , exuberance (n)
wildly joyous and enthusiastic.
(As the final seconds of the game ticked away, the fans of the winning team began an exuberant celebration.)
facile (adj), facilitate (v), facility (n)
easy; shallow or superficial. perfunctory
(The one-minute political commercial favors a candidate with facile opinions rather than serious, thoughtful solutions.)
wild. brutal, cruel, savage, atrocious
(The garbage dump was inhabited by a pack of feral dogs, which
had escaped from their owners and become completely wild.)
fervent - fervid (adjective), fervor (noun).
full of intense feeling; ardent, zealous.
(In the days just after his religious conversion, his piety was at its most fervent.)
flagrant (adj), flagrancy (n)
obviously wrong; offensive.
(Nixon was forced to resign the presidency after a series of flagrant crimes against the U.S. Constitution.)