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Terms in this set (144)
dark and dirty or difficult to see through
The river was brown and murky after the storm.
used to describe a situation that is complicated and unpleasant, and about which many facts are not clear
He became involved in the murky world of international drug-dealing.
I don't want to get into the murky waters of family arguments.
to express disagreement or refuse to do something
The lawyer requested a break in the court case, but the judge demurred.
to develop new physical characteristics because of a permanent change in the genes. These changes can happen naturally or can be produced by the use of chemicals or radiation.
These bacteria have mutated into forms that are resistant to certain drugs.
to change from one thing or type of thing into another
Jon has mutated from an awkward teenager into a sophisticated young man.
not changing, or unable to be changed
an immutable law
Some people regard grammar as an immutable set of rules.
able or likely to change
the mutable nature of love
Language is not static, it is mutable.
silent or not speaking
The president has remained mute about plans to curtail the number of immigrants.
I gazed at her in mute admiration.
a device for changing the sound of a musical instrument, usually making it quieter
He was playing his trumpet with a mute.
mute button a button on an electronic device that makes it silent
I pressed the mute on my phone so she couldn't hear the people talking in the background.
He was watching TV with the mute button on.
If you mute a noise, you do something to make it less loud.
Heavy curtains muted the noise of the traffic.
If you mute a musical instrument, you attach a device to it that changes its sound, usually making it quieter.
The song features muted trumpets.
to change something completely, especially into something different and better
A few centuries ago alchemists thought they could transmute lead into gold.
Plutonium transmutes into/to uranium when it is processed in a nuclear reactor.
something strange or not known that has not yet been explained or understood
How the massive stones were brought here from hundreds of miles away is/remains a mystery.
The mystery was solved when the police discovered the murder weapon.
The book tries to explain some of the mysteries of life.
The details of the scandal remain cloaked/shrouded/wrapped in mystery.
It's a complete mystery (to me) that/why (= I do not understand why) she married him at all!
a book, film, or play, especially about a crime or a murder, with a surprise ending that explains all the strange events that have happened
I really enjoy murder mysteries.
a mystery writer
to make something easier to understand
What I need is a book that will demystify the workings of a car engine for me.
An innate quality or ability is one that you were born with, not one you have learned.
Cyril's most impressive quality was his innate goodness.
only recently formed or started, but likely to grow larger quickly
a nascent political party
a nascent problem
relating to where a person or animal was born:
her natal village/city/home
These fish hardly move from their natal waters.
Improvements in natal care have cut infant mortality.
a baby who is less than four weeks old
We provide intensive care for seriously ill neonates.
too slight or small in amount to be of importance
The difference between the two products is negligible.
My knowledge of German is negligible.
to not allow yourself to have something, especially something you like or want
to not accept something, or to say that you do not have something
to abnegate responsibility/guilt
to cause something to have no effect
The increase in our profits has been negated by the rising costs of running the business.
not being careful or giving enough attention to people or things that are your responsibility
The judge said that the teacher had been negligent in allowing the children to swim in dangerous water.
to make someone feel energetic or eager
I felt very energized after my holiday.
to make someone feel weak and without energy
not saying or doing anything that would encourage or help any of the groups involved in an argument or war
If there's an argument between my daughter and her mother, it's important that I remain neutral.
The peace conference would have to be held in a neutral country.
I'd rather meet on neutral ground/territory (= somewhere not controlled by or connected to either of us) rather than in his apartment.
A neutral ground or field is a sports stadium that does not belong to either of the two teams taking part in a competition or game.
uk The final will, of course, be played at a neutral ground.
us The Superbowl always takes place on a neutral field.
having features or characteristics that are not easily noticed
Kelly wants dark red walls, but I'd like a more neutral colour like cream.
A neutral chemical substance is neither an acid nor an alkali.
Pure water is neutral and has a pH of 7.
A neutral object in physics has no electrical charge.
Atoms consist of positively-charged protons, negatively-charged electrons and neutral particles called neutrons.
the position of the gears in a vehicle when they are not connected to the engine
to leave the car in neutral
a state of no activity or development
After two years in neutral, the economy is finally moving forward again.
a neutral person or thing
Sweden and Switzerland were neutrals during the war.
to take possession of an area of land or a country, usually by force or without permission
The UK annexed this small island west of Scotland in 1955.
an extra building added to a larger building
Delicate and valuable books are kept in an air-conditioned annexe to the main library.
to say that someone or something is not good or important
You shouldn't denigrate people just because they have different beliefs from you.
something that is mysterious and seems impossible to understand completely
She is something of an enigma.
The newspapers were full of stories about the enigma of the plane's disappearance.
Something, especially a gas or other substance, that is noxious is poisonous or very harmful.
They died from inhaling noxious fumes.
harmful and unpleasant
a noxious smell/influence
the fact that someone is not guilty of a crime
She pleaded her innocence, but no one believed her.
He was led away, protesting his innocence (= saying he was not guilty).
the quality of not having much experience of life and not knowing about the bad things that happen in life
She has a child-like innocence which I find very appealing.
completely harmless (= causing no harm)
Some mushrooms look innocuous but are in fact poisonous.
very unpleasant and offensive
a noisome stench
having a very harmful effect or influence
The cuts in government funding have had a pernicious effect on local health services.
a person or thing that is different from what is usual, or not in agreement with something else and therefore not satisfactory
Statistical anomalies can make it difficult to compare economic data from one year to the next.
The anomaly of the social security system is that you sometimes have more money without a job.
something that is unusual enough to be noticeable or seem strange:
The government does computer checks of tax returns to find anomalies that might indicate fraud.
In a multicultural society is it not anomalous to have a blasphemy law that only protects one religious faith?
relating to rules, or making people obey rules, especially rules of behavior
in name or thought but not in fact or not as things really are
She's the nominal head of our college - the real work is done by her deputy.
A nominal amount of money is very small compared to an expected price or value.
a nominal sum/charge
For a nominal fee, they will deliver orders to customers' homes.
specialized language relating to a noun
(especially of events or behaviour) embarrassing because of being a complete failure
an ignominious defeat/failure/retreat
a name that does not suit what it refers to, or the use of such a name
It was the scruffiest place I've ever stayed in, so "Grand Hotel" was a complete misnomer.
It's something of a misnomer to refer to these inexperienced boys as soldiers.
an idea for solving a problem, especially one that is not very good:
He refused to embrace any of the fashionable nostrums then current in development economics.
printed statements of opinion in the newspapers about plays, films, books, etc.
The musical has received wonderful notices.
give sb notice
to ask someone who works for you to leave their job, usually after a particular period of time
My boss gave me a month's notice.
They gave me my notice yesterday.
hand in your notice
to tell your employer that you intend to leave your job after a particular period of time
I handed in my notice yesterday.
to give attention to something
I asked him to drive more slowly, but he didn't take any notice.
Don't take any notice of/Take no notice of what your mother says - she's just in a bad mood.
at a moment's/two hours'/three weeks', etc. notice
used to emphasize how little time someone has to do something or how little warning is given
We can't be expected to just drop everything and leave at a moment's notice.
on short notice
only a short time before something happens
I can't cancel my plans at such short notice.
to add a short explanation or opinion to a text or drawing
Annotated editions of Shakespeare's plays help readers to understand old words.
a feeling or idea that is suggested by a particular word although it need not be a part of the word's meaning, or something suggested by an object or situation
The word "lady" has connotations of refinement and excessive femininity that some women find offensive.
a V-shaped cut in a hard surface
The stick has two notches, one at each end.
specialized medical a hole or mark on the edge of a body part
a cardiac notch
an imaginary point or position in a system of comparing values, where a higher position is better and a lower position is worse
Among current players, she is rated a notch above (= is better than) the rest.
to cut a notch in something
a notch on the/sb's bedpost
(informal) someone that a person has sex with, not because they want a serious relationship, but because they want to have sex with as many people as possible
She's not prepared to be just another notch on the bedpost.
notch sth up
(informal) to achieve something
She has recently notched up her third win at a major ski event.
the state of being famous for something bad
He achieved/gained notoriety for being difficult to work with as an actor.
very noticeable or certain
I'm told I have a very pronounced English accent when I speak French.
She's a woman of very pronounced views which she is not afraid to air.
to criticize something or someone strongly and publicly
The government's economic policy has been denounced on all sides.
We must denounce injustice and oppression.
to accuse someone publicly of being something that is bad or wrong
His former colleagues have denounced him as a spy.
the quality of being new and unusual
The novelty of these toys soon wore off and the children became bored with them.
In Britain in the 1950s, television still had novelty value.
something that has not been experienced before and so is interesting
Tourists are still a novelty on this remote island.
a cheap unusual object such as a small toy, often given as a present
The shop sells gifts and other novelties.
A Christmas cracker usually contains a paper hat, a joke, and a novelty.
a novelty item
a person who is not experienced in a job or situation
I've never driven a car before - I'm a complete novice.
This plant can be difficult for novice gardeners to grow.
a person who is training to be a monk or a nun
null and void
having no legal force
The change in the law makes the previous agreement null and void.
The election was declared null and void.
to make metal or glass soft by heating and then cooling it slowly
to destroy something completely so that nothing is left
a city annihilated by an atomic bomb
(informal) to defeat completely
He was annihilated in the finals of the competition.
(formal) to make a legal agreement or decision have no legal force
The state death penalty law was nullified in 1977.
to cause something to have no value or effect
All my hard work was nullified when I lost my notes.
a smell, often one that is unpleasant
Inside the room there was the unmistakable odor of sweaty feet.
(figurative) The odor of hypocrisy hung about everything she said.
having an unpleasant smell
The town is built on a malodorous swamp.
suggesting that something unpleasant is likely to happen
There was an ominous silence when I asked whether my contract was going to be renewed.
The engine had been making an ominous sound all the way from my parents' house.
ominous dark clouds
difficult to do or needing a lot of effort
the onerous task of finding a peaceful solution
She found the duties of motherhood onerous.
to show or state that someone or something is not guilty of something
The report exonerated the crew from all responsibility for the collision.
the situation in which someone's name is not given or known
The police have reassured witnesses that they will be guaranteed anonymity.
a name someone uses instead of their real name, especially on a written work
She writes under a pseudonym.
George Orwell was a pseudonym - his real name was Eric Blair.
preventing light from travelling through, and therefore not transparent or translucent
(formal) Opaque writing or speech is difficult to understand.
I find her poetry a little too opaque.
a condition in which someone cannot clearly see things that are far away
giving a short description of something
a synoptic outline of the book's contents
expensive and luxurious
an opulent lifestyle
an opulent hotel
to love someone very much, especially in a way that shows a lot of admiration or respect, or to like something very much
She has one son and she adores him.
I absolutely adore chocolate.
[ + -ing verb ] Don't you just adore lying in a hot bath?
(formal) to worship
Let us adore God for all his works.
continuing without any possibility of being stopped
the inexorable progress of science
(especially in ancient Greece) a female priest who gave people wise but often mysterious advice from a god, or the advice given
someone who knows a lot about a subject and can give good advice
Professor Ross is regarded as the oracle on eating disorders.
mysterious and difficult to understand, but probably wise
an oracular statement
a formal public speech about a serious subject
(formal) (especially of a power thought to be greater than ordinary people) to decide or fix what will happen in a way that cannot be changed or controlled
[ + to infinitive ] Illness and suffering seemed (to be) preordained to be her lot.
His life seems to have followed a preordained path/direction.
a law or rule made by a government or authority
City Ordinance 126 forbids the parking of cars in this area.
much more than usual or expected
Margot has always spent an inordinate amount of time on her appearance.
(formal) (of a person) not willing to obey orders from people in authority, or (of actions and speech, etc.) showing that you are not willing to obey orders
an insubordinate child
having a lower or less important position
a subordinate role
The individual's needs are subordinate to those of the group.
a person who has a less important position than you in an organization
He left the routine checks to one of his subordinates.
to put someone or something into a less important position
Her personal life has been subordinated to her career.
to add something decorative to a person or thing
The bride's hair was adorned with white flowers.
something decorative, or the act of decorating something or someone
beautiful rather than useful
a bowl of ornamental china fruit
The handles on each side of the box are purely ornamental (= they are for decoration only).
an object that is beautiful rather than useful
a glass ornament
garden ornaments such as statues and fountains
(formal) decoration that is added to increase the beauty of something
The building relies on clever design rather than on ornament for its impressive effect.
to add decoration to something
She ornamented her letters with little drawings in the margin.
having a lot of complicated decoration
a room with an ornate ceiling and gold mirrors
(mainly disapproving) Language that is ornate contains too many complicated words or phrases
Some students are put off studying his work because of the ornate language of the poetry.
the shape of a bone, a shell, or a plant or animal that has been preserved in rock for a very long period
(informal, humorous) an old person, especially one who will not accept new ideas
(formal, disapproving) If habits or ideas ossify, or if something ossifies them, they become fixed and unable to change.
Years of easy success had ossified the company's thinking and it never faced up to the challenge of the new technology.
(medical, specialized) If body tissue ossifies, it becomes hard and changes into bone.
used to describe a person's face or skin if it has less colour than usual, for example when the person is or ill or frightened, or if it has less colour than people generally have
You're looking pale - are you feeling well?
She has a naturally pale complexion and dark hair.
A pale light or color is not bright or strong.
She wore a pale blue hat.
pale winter sunlight
If a person's face pales, it loses its usual color.
His face paled and he looked as if he might faint.
pale in comparison
pale beside sth/sb
to seem much less serious or important when compared with someone or something else
I thought I was badly treated but my experiences pale in comparison with yours.
pale into insignificance
to seem not important when compared with something else
Everything else that happened in my life pales into insignificance beside that one event.
to make someone have strong feelings of shock or of disapproval
I was appalled at/by the lack of staff in the hospital.
The state of the kitchen appalled her.
(of an amount of money) very small and of little or no value
Student grants these days are paltry.
The company offered Frazer a paltry sum, which he refused.
of little quality or value
She made some paltry excuse and left.
so obvious that it can easily be seen or known, or (of a feeling) so strong that it seems as if it can be touched or physically felt
a palpable effect
Her joy was palpable.
(mainly us) clothes of a particular type when they are being sold in a shop
the spirit of a dead person appearing in a form that can be seen
to criticize someone or something in a way that shows you do not respect or value him, her, or it
The actor's work for charity has recently been disparaged in the press as an attempt to get publicity.
different in every way
The two cultures were so utterly disparate that she found it hard to adapt from one to the other.
equality, especially of pay or position
Firefighters are demanding pay parity with police.
writing, music, art, speech, etc. that intentionally copies the style of someone famous or copies a particular situation, making the features or qualities of the original more noticeable in a way that is humorous
He was an 18th-century author who wrote parodies of other people's works.
There is a hint of self-parody in his later paintings.
something that so obviously fails to achieve the effect that was intended that it is stupid
"It was a parody of a trial," said one observer.
to copy the style of someone or something in a humorous way
One of the papers is running a competition in which you have to parody a well-known author.
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