JustVocabulary Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Dilapidate(v)
to fall into disrepair or ruin. To become partly ruined, or decayed, especially through neglect.
(The hotel we stayed in was really dilapidated)
Synonyms: ruinous, shabby
Tizzy(n)
a state of nervous excitement or agitation, a highly excited and distracted state of mind.
(She got herself in a real tizzy because she couldn't find her car keys and she thought they'd been stolen.)
Synonyms: fume, chaos.
Agitate(v)
to make someone feel anxious and not calm.(I didn't want to agitate her by telling her)
to shake a liquid. (Pour the powder into the solution and agitate it until the powder has dissolved.)
to argue energetically, especially in public.(The unions continue to agitate for higher pay)
Hokey(adj)
too emotional or artificial and therefore difficult to believe. (The ending of the movie was awful hokey)
Synonyms: corny, sentimental, hackneyed, mawkish, banal
Attrition(n)
the gradual weakening and destroying of something, especially the strength or confidence of an enemy by repeatedly attacking it.(Terrorist groups and the government have been engaged in a costly war of attrition since 1968.)
Synonyms: weakening, attenuation.
Atone(v)
reparation for a wrong or injury, expiation for sin. Make up for misdeed, to do something that shows that you are sorry for something bad you did.(He said that young hooligans should do community service as atonement for their crimes.)
Synonyms: expiate
Discern(v)
perceive or recognize, distinguish with difficulty by sight or with the other senses. See or notice something unclear.(It is difficult to discern any pattern in these figures)
Inextricable(adj)
so intricate or entangled as to make escape impossible, impossible to get free from, impossible to escape from. ALSO extremely complex, hopelessly involved or compled.(In the case of King Arthur, legend and truth are often inextricable)
Synonyms: perplexing, tangle
Aplomb(n)
self-confidence or assurance when in a demanding situation. Great coldness and composure under strain. Confidence, skill and poise, especially in difficult or challenging circumstances.(Rosalind conducted the meeting with her usual aplomb)
Synonyms: coolness, self-possesion
Poise(n)
calm confidence in a person's way of behaving, or a quality of grace and balance in the way a person holds or moves their body.(He looked embarrassed for a moment, then quickly regained his poise.)
Disparity(n)
a great difference, a lack of equality between people or things. Unlikeness, dissimilarity or incongruity.(The growing disparity between rich and poor)
Synonyms: dissimilarity, discrepancy, inequality
Adversity(n)
a difficult or unlucky situation or event. Misfortune, hardship. Adversity applies to a state of grave or persistent misfortune.(She was always cheerful in adversity)
Synonyms: calamity, misery, misfortune.
Loquacious(adj)
Given to fluent or excessive talk, tending to talk much or freely. It describes someone who talks a lot or is full of trivial conversation.
Synonyms: verbose, talkative,
Ignoramus(n)
An offensive term that deliberately insults somebody's level of intelligence or education. A person who knows nothing. A totally ignorant person.(I am a complete ignoramus where computers are concerned)
Synonyms: blockhead, fool, dunce, imbecile.
Deleterious(adj)
Causing harm or damage, having a harmful effect on somebody or something. Harmful in a subtle or unexpected way.(These drugs have a proven deleterious effect on the nervous system.)
Synonyms: detrimental
Vacillate(v)
alternate or waver between different opinions or actions; be indecisive.(I had for a time vacillated between teaching and journalism, Her mood vacillated between hope and despair)
Synonyms: oscillate, fluctuate
Irresolute(adj)
not able or willing to take decisions or actions.(an irresolute reply)
Synonyms: indecisive, fickle
Modicum(n)
a small quantity of a particular thing, something considered desirable or valuable. A small portion, a limited quantity, a small amount of something good such as truth or honesty.(Anyone with a modicum of common sense could have seen that the plan wouldn't work)
Synonyms: little
Gaffe(n)
an unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator, a blunder, a social mistake.(Was that a bit of a gaffe then, starting to eat before everyone else had been served?)
Synonyms: blunder
Susceptible(adj)
Easily affected or influenced. Liable to being affected by something. Emotional; easily affected emotionally. Capable or permitting of something.(Among particularly susceptible children, the disease can develop very fast)
Synonyms:affected, disposed
Prolix(adj)
tediously prolonged or tending to speak or write at great length. Marked by or using an excess of words.(The author's prolix style has done nothing to encourage sales of the book)
Synonyms: verbose, lengthy, tedious.
Gullible(adj)
easily deceived or tricked, and too willing to believe everything that other people say.(There are any number of miracle cures on the market for people gullible enough to buy them)
Synonyms: naive, credulous
Perpetual(adj)
lasting forever, lasting for all time, occuring repeatedly, occuring over and over.(They lived in perpetual fear of being discovered and arrested, She's perpetually asking me for money)
Synonyms: incessant
Disparage(v)
criticize, to refer disapprovingly or contemptuously to somebody or something, regard or represent as being of little worth.(The actor's work for charity has recently been disparaged in the press as an attempt to get publicity)
Synonyms: criticize, defame
Mesmerize(v)
hold the attention of someone to the exclusion of all else. To absorb somebody's attention, to fascinate somebody, capture the whole attention.(I was completely mesmerized by the performance)
Synonyms:enthrall, captivate, fascinate
Expeditious(adj)
speedy, or carried out promptly and efficiently, having or showing the ability to respond without delay or hesitation. To cause to be done more quickly.(The bank was expeditious in replying to my letter)
Synonyms: prompt, speedy
Rigidity(n)
unable to bend or be forced out of shape. Not flexible. The state of being demanding (asi in discipline).(I was rigid with fear, We were disappointed that they insisted on such a rigid interpretation of the rules)
Synonyms: implacability, inflexibility, intransigent.
Consecrate(v)
Make or declare sacred or holy, dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose. To devote or dedicate something to a particular purpose.(The new cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1962)
Punitive(adj)
inflicting or intended as punishment, relating to, done as, or imposed as a punishment.(Any misbehavior was immediately met with a punitive response. ALSO of a tax, cost, or other charge: extremely high.(The President has threatened to impose punitive import duties)
Synonyms: harsh, disciplinary
Dogmatic(adj)
inclined to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true. To dogmatise means to represents as an incontrovertible truth. Prone to expressing strongly held believes and opinions.
Synonyms: opinionated, stubborn
Inimical(adj)
tending to obstruct or harm, unfriendly, hostile, being adverse often by reason of hostility or malevolence. Unfavorable to something.(Excessive managerial control is inimical to creative expression)
Synonyms: harmful, adverse
Reticent(adj)
Not revealing one's thoughts or feelings readily, reluctant to draw attention to yourself, cool and formal in manner. Unwilling to do something.(He is very reticent about his past, Most of the students were reticent about answering questions.)
Synonyms: reserved
Shrill(adj)
having a loud and high sound that is unpleasant or painful to listen to.(She had a shrill high-pitched voice)
Synonyms: cacophonous
Commence(v)
to begin something
(We will commence building work in August of next year, Shall we let the meeting commence, gentlemen?)
Synonyms: start
Anathema(n)
something or someone that one vehemently dislikes, something which is greatly disliked, or disapproved. OR one that is cursed or damned.(Credit controls are anathema to the government. For older employees, the new system is an anathema)
Synonyms: abomination, abhorrent.
Plausible(adj)
Seeming reasonable or probable, superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious, appearing worthy of belief, likely to be true or able to be believed.(A plausible explanation/excuse. A plausible salesman)
Synonyms: believable, probable
Obscure(adj)
Not discovered or known, not clearly expressed or easily understood, hard to make out, indistinct, vague.(The law is too obscure to interpret correctly. An obscure island in the Pacific)
Synonyms: unclear, ambiguous, abstruse.
Impediment(n)
A hindrance or obstruction in doing something. TO impede means to slow down or cause problems for the advancement or completion of something. Also speech impediment; a defect in a person's speech such as a lisp or stammer.(Although he's shy, it certainly hasn't impeded his career in any way.)
Synonyms: inhibition, hindrance
Inertia(n)
a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged, Apathy, inability or unwillingness to move or act.(He had to overcome his inertial and get back to work)
Synonyms: apathy
Erudite(adj)
having or showing great knowledge or learning. Very knowledgeable through study.(He's the author of an erudite book on Scottish history)
Synonyms: knowledgeable
Bowdlerize(v)
to remove indecent or offensive material from a text. To remove words or parts of a book, play or film that are considered to be unsuitable or offensive.
Synonyms: edit
Succinct(adj)
Briefly and clearly expressed. Clear and short. To the point, having characteristics of both brevity and clarity.(Keep your letter succinct and to the point)
Synonyms: concise
Awry(adj)
Not in the proper position, but turned and twisted to one side. Out of the normal position. Away from the appropriate, planned, or expected course, amiss. Not in keeping with plans or expectations.
(Anything that goes awry in the office is blamed on Pete. She rushed in, her face red and sweaty and her hat awry)
Synonyms: askew, amiss
Exude(v)
to discharge or release something such as a liquid or an odor. Produced from the inside and spread out slowly. To display an emotion, quality strongly and openly, to show a particular quality clearly usually through general behavior and body language.(She just exudes confidence)
Synonyms: exhibit, display.
Spur(v)
To urge (a horse) forward by digging one's spurs into its sides. To give an incentive or encouragement to someone. To cause or promote the development of something.(Rising consumer sales have the effect of spurring the economy to faster growth. Spurred on by her early succcess, she went on to write four more novels in rapid succession.)
Synonyms: impulse, motivate
Iffy(adj)
Full of unceratinty, doubtful, something that is iffy is of doubtful quality or legality. Uncertain or unlikely to happen. Undecided or unsure about something.(The milk smells a bit iffy. Simon's kind of iffy about going to Columbia)
Synonyms: uncertain
Indelible(adj)
not able to be forgotten or removed. Impossible to remove or alter. Permanent, lasting, unfading.(I have an indelible memory of that meeting with Anastasia)
Synonyms:inerasable
Accomplice(n)
A person who helps another commit a crime. One associated with another especially in wrongdoing.
Synonyms: abbetor.
Backhanded(adj)
made with the back of the hand facing in the direction of movement. Indirect, ambiguous or insincere. With a doubtful or double meaning(backhanded compliment)
Convulsion(n)
a violent shaking of the body or limbs caused by uncontrollable muscle contractions, which can be a symptom of brain disorders and other conditions. An extreme disturbance or disruption. A violent or political upheaval. Uncontrollable laughter.(She went into convulsions and had to be rushed to hospital)
Synonyms: seizure, upheaval, contraction.
Euphoria(n)
A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness. A feeling of great joy or confidence. Elation(They were in a state of euphoria for days after they won the prize)
Synonyms: elation, joy, happiness
Inexorable(adj)
impossible to stop or prevent. Or, of a person, impossible to persuade or diverted from a course.(the inexorable progress of science. These events led inexorably to war)
Synonyms: adamant
Convey(v)
Communicate or express something(an idea, impression or feeling). Transfer or transmit something along a wire, pipe, tube or other carrier. Take somebody somewhere.(I tried to convey in my speech how grateful we all were for his help. The goods are usually conveyed by sea.)
Synonyms: transmit, express
Chasm(n)
deep hole in the earth, a deep crack or hole in the ground. A wide difference in feelings, ideas or interests. Gap or break in the progress or continuity of something.
(They leaned over the rails and peered down into the dizzying chasm below. There is still a vast economic chasm between developed and developing countries)
Synonyms: gap, abyss
Foil(v)
To prevent someone or something from being successful(The prisoners' attempt to escape was foiled at the last minute when police received a tip-off).Something or someone that makes another's good or bad qualities more noticable(The older, cynical character in the play is the perfect foil for the innocent William)
Synonyms: thwart, hinder
Antonyms: help, aid, expedite
Habor(n,v)
a safe, protected area, a port for ships, to provide shelter to a person or to a ship, to hold in or think privately about(I hope Paul harbors no anger against me for my long delay in responding to his e-mail. I could tell that all of the ladies harbored a little animosity toward the prettiest girl at the party.)
Synonyms: hold, shelter, anchorage
Antonyms: expose
Impair(v)
to worsen something or to make it less effective(Everyone knows that too much alcohol can impair a person's driving ability. Without glasses, his vision is seriously impaired)
Synonyms: weaken, deteriorate, diminish
Antonyms:improve
Oasis(n)
a fertile spot in a desert or barren place, a place of shelter or sanctuary(Her place was an oasis of peace and sanity amid the surrounding chaos)
Synonyms: refuge, sanctuary, haven
Antonyms: prison
Fidelity(n)
honest or lasting support, or loyalty, especially to a sexual partner.(How important do you think sexual fidelity is in a marriage?), when you copy the detail and quality of an original, such as picture, sound or story.(The best ink-jet printers can reproduce photographs with amazing fidelity)
Synonyms: allegance, faithfulness
Antonyms: infidelity, disloyalty, inaccuracy
Extrovert(adj)
a gregarious and uninhibited person who thrives and gets their energy from socializing.(Most sales people are extrovert)
Synonyms: sociable person
Antonyms: introvert
Galvanize(v)
to stimulate a person or group into action, to stimulate a part of the body with an electric shock, to coat iron or steel with zinc for protection.(The prospect of his mother coming to stay galvanized him into action and he immediately set about cleaning the house)
Synonyms: stimulate, provoke
Antonyms: quiet, still
Ineluctable(adj)
describes something impossible to avoid or escape.(What goes up must come down describes the ineluctable law of gravity. One often hears that the only things in life that are ineluctable are death and taxes)
Synonyms: inescapable, unavoidable, inevitable, destined, imminent
Antonyms: avoidable, escapable, uncertain.
Nondescript(adj)
lacking distinctive of interesting characteristic, dull, uninteresting, or without any distinguishing characteristics.(The meteorological bureau is in a nondescript building on the outskirts of town)
Synonyms: dull, drab, unremarkable, indistinguishable, ordinary
Antonyms: vivid, unique, interesting
Peripheral(n)
On the ohter edges of something, related to an issue, but not of major importance to it.(Whenever John is watching his favorite show Lost, everything else is of peripheral interest. He's planning on building a guest house on the periphery of his property)
Synonyms: outer, marginal, irrelevant, insignificant
Antonyms: central, significant, inner
Prostrate(adj)
lying down, often on one's face, either out of respect and submissiveness, lying down in a horizontal position due to illness or lack of energy, physically exhausted or emotionally overwhelmed.(After a long day of yard work, I was prostrate on the couch for several hours. My sick grandma was prostrate in her hospital bed. When the emperor walked in, all of his servants fell down to the ground prostrate.)
Synonyms: exhausted, prone, reclining.
Antonyms: upright, standing
Redolent(adj)
exuding a fragrance with qualities that remind you of something else, suggesting or reminiscent of another time or place, suggesting suggestive or reminiscent of something, having particular smell.(Angela's perfume is redolent of our time together in Paris. The desert air is much more redolent after the rain. The studio of the yoga teacher was redolent with the smell of incense.)
Synonyms: reminiscent, aromatic, evocative
Saccharine(adj)
excessively sweet or sentimental, too pleasant or charming, with too much feeling to be believed.(I don't trust her, with her saccharine smiles. saccharine love songs)
Synonyms: ingratiating, sweet, sugary, oversentimental, cloying
Antonyms: sour, bitter
Preen(v)
to spend time making yourself look attractive.(Roald always spends ages preening himself before he goes out). to feel very proud or satisfied with yourself because of an action or quality.(The government is publicly preening itself on the latest trade figures.)
Synonyms: groom, self-congratulating, primp, spruce
Hapless(adj)
without luck, unfortunate, having, prone to, or marked by bad luck. (The hapless wanderer could find no resting place and suffered another night in the bitter cold. Many children are hapless victims of this war)
Synonyms: unlucky, unfortunate
Antonyms: lucky, fortunate
Expedite(v)
to hasten the action or speed up the progress of something; to cause something to be done or progress more quickly.(I am really getting desperate-come on guys-is there anyway that we can expedite this process so we can meet our deadline?)
Synonyms: hasten, accelerate, facilitate, advance
Antonyms: stifle
Repulse(v)
to drive back or repel, to cause aversion or disgust, to reject an approach.(Since Joanne is a vegetarian, she feels repulsion when she sees other people eating meet. The latest movie contains repulsive scenes.)
Synonyms: repel, reject, rebuff, refuse.
Antonyms: welcome, captivate
Spurious(adj)
not valid or genuine, different than what is claimed and intended to deceive, based on false reasoning or information that is not true, and therefore not to be trusted.(Some of the arguments against the case of global warming are questionable and others downright spurious)
Synonyms: counterfeit, phony, fake, illegitimate, deceptive
Antonyms: authentic, genuine
Potable(adj)
suitable for drinking, (noun) a liquid, especially alcohol, that is suitable for drinking.(After the earthquake, the tap water was not potable. The wine was too old to be potable anymore)
Synonyms: drinkable, uncontaminated, useable
Antonyms: impotable, polluted, unclean.
Resourceful(adj)
able to deal effectively with different situations, having the necessary resources to adapt to different situations and effectively solve problems.(Children can be very resourceful at creating new games when left to their own imagination)
Synonyms: adroit, enterprising, inventive
Antonyms: dim-witted
Ineffable(adj)
not able to be described in words, causing so much emotion, especially pleasure, that it cannot be described.(After her team won the championship, she experienced ineffable happiness, David Attenborough's Planet Earth shows the ineffable beauty of our planet)
Synonyms: indescribable, inexpressible.
Antonyms: describable, expressible
Loll(v)
to lie, sit or hang down in a relaxed informal or uncontrolled way.(I spent most of the weekend lolling about on the beach. A dog with its tongue lolling out.)
Synonyms: lounge, sprawl, loaf, loiter, languish.
Antonyms: stand, move
Vivid(adj)
bright or intense in color; brightly colored or producing clear, powerful, and detailed images in the mind, very clear and fresh when perceived by the eye or the mind, capable of evoking strong and distinct images.(Lise recounted the events of her childhood with vivid detail. Marc's vivid imagination will serve him well in a creative field)
Synonyms: bright, colorful, dazzling.
Antonyms: dull, muddy
inane(adj)
not important or relevant, silly, insubstantial or empty.(Joanne loves to watch those inane reality shows every night. At the party, I somehow got trapped in an inane conversation about the weather)
Synonyms: stupid, ridiculous, insubstantial, illogical
Antonyms: logical, reasonable, important
Implacable(adj)
impossible to comfort, calm, or satisfy, unable to be changed, satisfied, or stopped, describes(someone who has) strong opinions or feelings which are impossible to change.(Unfortunately I could not reach a compromise with the implacable client)
Synonyms: relentless, inexorable
Antonyms: placable, flexible
Harmonious(adj)
musically pleasing, blending or combining well, sharing mutual opinions, beliefs, actions, or friendship.(He finds the harmonious sounds of the symphony very relaxing. The two friends maintained a harmonious relationship.)
Synonyms: harmonic, concordant
Antonyms: discordant, dissonant
Genteel(adj)
refined and polite in manner and of higher class; polite and correct in manner, or trying to be polite and correct in order to be of a high social class.(The mansion had an atmosphere of genteel elegance and decay. He took elocution lessons to try to make his accent sound more genteel.)
Synonyms: elegant, refined, pretentious
Antonyms: unrefined, impolite, natural
Rabble(n)
a mob of people; a large noisy uncontrolled group of people, lowest class of people. (Rabble-rouser)(Paul thought of himself as a peacemaker, but the police labeled him a rabble-rouser. The minister was threatened by an angry, disorderly rabble formed outside the government building)
Synonyms: mob, crowd
Antonyms: royalty, high-society
Flamboyant(adj)
obviously elaborate and brightly colored, with the intention to be noticed; very confident in behavior, or intended to be noticed, especially by being brightly coloured, showy in apprearance. (His clothes were rather flamboyant for such a serious occasion. Flamboyant gesture)
Synonyms: showy, resplendent
Antonyms: dull, humble
Emanate(v)
to come from or out of, to send out or give out something, to express a quality or through the way that you look and behave. (The smell of Lisa's perfume emanates from her bedroom even when she isn't home. Most of the voters voted for the young leader because charisma just emanated from him.)
Synonyms: emit, radiate, exude,
Antonyms: withhold
Quarantine(n,v)
isolation, especially in order to prevent an illness or disease from spreading, to isolate in order to prevent an illness or disease from spreading.(The horse had to spend several months in quarantine when it reached Britain)
Synonyms: detention, confinement, isolation, incarceration.
Antonyms: freedom, liberation
Maudlin(adj)
overly emotional, sentimental, and often tearful, feeling sad and having a lot of pity for yourself, especially after you have drunk a lot of alcohol.(Some people are angry drunks, while others become sappy and maudlin.)
Synonyms: tearful, sentimental, overemotional
Antonyms: serious
Repudiate(v)
to refuse to recognize the truth or validity of something, to reject something as untrue or unjust, to formally disapprove of something, to formally separate yourself from something or someone, to refuse to pay a debt.(He repudiated the allegation that he had tried to deceived them.)
Synonyms: reject, abjure, negate, abandon, renounce, abdicate, disdain, forsake
Antonyms: accept, embrace, adopt, recognize.
Precedent(n)
an action or decision from the past, that can be used as an example for future, similar circumstances, an established custom or practice, a law established by following previous legal decisions.(There are several precedents for promoting people who don't have formal qualifications. Some politicians fear that agreeing to the concession would set a dangerous precedent)
Synonyms: model, precursor, guideline, pattern, prototype
Antonyms: following, descendent
Fastidious(adj)
giving too much attention to small details and wanting everything to be correct and perfect.(He is very fastidious about how a suitcase should be packed), having a strong dislike of anything dirty or unpleasant. (They were too fastidious to eat in a fast-food restaurant)
Synonyms: meticulous, persnickety, finicky, squeamish
Antonyms: indifferent, uncritical, undemanding,
Ellipsis(n)
when words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood.(An example of ellipsis is "What percentage was left?" "Twenty" (= 20 percent))
Synonyms: omission
Antonyms: addition
Travesty(n)
something which fails to represent the values and qualities that it is intended to represent, in a way that is shocking or offensive.(Their production of MacBeth was quiet the worst I've ever seen - it was a travesty.)
Synonyms: distortion, parody, spoof, mockery, farce, sham
Antonyms: copy, accuracy
Hoard(v,n)
to collect large amounts of something and keep it in a safe, often secret, place. (During the siege people began hoarding food and supplies. We found a huge hoard of tinned food in the basement)
Synonyms: store, accumulate, stash, stockpile, amass
Antonyms: use, throw out
Renovate(v)
to repair and improve something, especially a building. (He renovates old houses and sells them at a profit)
Synonyms: restore, repair, recondition, remodel, rejuvenate, revive, overhaul
Antonyms: age, destroy
Static(adj)
staying in one place without moving, or not changing for a long time, noise on a radio or television caused by electricity in the air. (Oil prices have remained static for the last few months.)
Synonyms: changeless, motionless, immobile
Antonyms: moving, changing
Procure(v)
to obtain something, especially after an effort. (She's managed somehow to procure his telephone number)
Synonyms: acquire, bring about
Antonyms: lose, scatter, disperse
Ossify(v)
to be made into bone, to become rigid and inflexible.(Years of easy success had ossified the company's thinking and it never faced up to the challenge of the new technology.)
Synonyms: fossilize, solidify, petrify, stiffen
Antonyms: soften, liquefy
Virtuoso(adj, n)
a person who is extremely skilled at something, especially at playing an instrument or performing. (Famous mainly for his wonderful voice, Cole was also a virtuoso on the piano. The Times critics described her dancing as a virtuoso performance of quite dazzling accomplishment.)
Synonyms: genius, maestro, prodigy
Antonyms: amateur, average, common
Inept(adj)
characterized by a lack of perceptiveness, judgment, or fitness, generally incompetent, unsuitable or out of place.(He was always rather inept at sport. Dick was socially inept and uncomfortable in the presence of women)
Synonyms: incompetent, foolish, ineffective, clumsy, awkward, unfit, inappropriate
Antonyms: competent, adroit, effective, graceful, adept
Maladroit(adj)
inefficient or ineffective; clumsy, not adroit or adept, lacking tact and being insensitive in speech or behavior. Awkward in movement or unskilled in behavior or action.(Phil's maladroit at the office party was just one of many reasons why he was passed over for the promotion. Phil is not used to going to parties, so he is often maladroit in social situations)
Synonyms: inept, clumsy, awkward, inelegant, tactless
Antonyms: adroit, adept, skillful, graceful
Nuance(n)
a subtle difference, distinction or variation in something, a subtle quality
(If you don't understand the nuances of the author's language, you may not fully appreciate his book)
Synonyms: subtlety, hint, trace
Imperturbable(adj)
not easily perturbed or upset--calm and steady, always staying calm and controlled, even in difficult situations that would cause anxiety to others.(Staying calm and controlled despite problems or difficulties)
Synonyms: calm, cool, even, unflappable, impassive.
Antonyms: agitated, upset, perturbed.
Labyrinth(n)
a complex network of pathways through which it is difficult to navigate, something really intricate. (With all the construction detours, she felt like she was driving through a labyrinth. Navigating his crazy work and social schedule has become quite a labyrinth)
Synonyms: maze, complexity, puzzle, riddle, tangle
Antonyms: simplicity, ease, clarity
Elicit(v)
to draw out, to call forth, to obtain or produce something, especially information or a reaction. (They were able to elicit the support of the public. She tried to elicit sympathy by breaking down in tears during the meeting)
Synonyms: evoke, draw out, extract, obtain, educe
Antonyms: suppress, cover, hide
Forthright(adj)
honest, direct, and not evasive in expressing one's thoughts or feeling. (Marc's forthright manner can be mistaken for rudeness. Lisa admires his forthright way of dealing with people)
Synonyms: direct, frank, straightforward, candid, sincere
Antonyms: indirect, insincere, dishonest, deceitful
Paradigm(n)
a model or a representative example, a very clear or typical example used as a model.(The move from Newtonian physics to Einstein's relativism represented a major paradigm shift in physics.)
Synonyms: model, prototype, pattern, example, archetype
Antonyms: anomaly
Officious(adj)
meddlesome and interfering: characteristic of somebody who is eager to give unwanted help or advice, unofficial or informal, especially in political or diplomatic dealings, interfering and being in the way.(The ministers met in an officious setting, keeping things casual, since it was Sunday. Joanne said she wanted to help Marc prepare the meal, but she just made an officious nuisance of herself)
Synonyms: meddlesome, interfering, self-important, unofficial, informal
Antonyms: shy, helpful
Remiss(adj)
careless or negligent about an expected duty, not doing a duty well enough.(You have been remiss in your duties. It was remiss of me to forget to give you the message)
Synonyms: heedless, negligent, careless
Antonyms: responsible, dutiful, diligent, attentive
Posterity(n)
generations to come in the future, all of a person's descendants. (The President's most fundamental duty is to create and preserve freedom for us and our posterity)
Synonyms: offspring, future generations, descendants, progeny
Antonyms: ancestors
Mundane(adj)
ordinary or commonplace, relating to or of the world. ( Mundane matters such as paying bills and shopping for food do not interest her.)
Synonyms: ordinary, commonplace, banal, dull, earthly
Antonyms: unusual, rare, extraordinary, heavenly
Egocentric(adj)
selfish, self-centered, and concerned only with personal needs rather than the needs of others
Synonyms: selfish, self-centered, egotistic
Antonyms: selfless
Palatial(adj)
luxurious and grand, like a palace. This adjective describes a house that is very large and splendid. (The Karel V hotel is known for its palatial elegance. The palatial, 130-room mansion is the most expensive home in the city)
Synonyms: grand, deluxe, impressive, regal, rich, luxurious, plush, opulent.
Odious(adj)
provoking hatred, contempt, disgust
(The man committed an odious crime for which he should be severely punished. There are few things as odious to him as racism)
Synonyms: hateful, contemptible, detestable, loathsome, repulsive
Antonyms: lovable
Garish(adj)
gaudy, flashy, showy, or brightly and vividly colored.
(Frank arrived in a garish, electric blue, 24-person limousine.)
Synonyms: gaudy, tawdry, showy, flashy, flamboyant, ornate
Antonyms: elegant, tasteful, simple, plain, modest
Facetious(adj)
humorous in a sarcastic way, not serious about a serious subject, in an attempt to be amusing or to appear clever, not seriously meaning what you say, usually in an attempt to be humorous or to trick someone.
(Lisa's facetious remarks made it clear that she wasn't taking the meeting seriously.)
Synonyms: humorous, clever, sarcastic, witty, ironic, jocose.
Antonyms: serious, matter-of-fact, lugubrious
Kindle(v)
to start a fire, to excite or arouse
(Al Gore made a movie to kindle awareness about global warming. Two years after their divorce, Mark tried to rekindle his relationship with his ex-wife)
Synonyms: ignite, flame, blaze, awaken, excite, arouse
Antonyms: deaden, inhibit
Hierarchy(n)
an organization of a group of people or things, arranged according to rank or importance. (Mark hopes to rise through the hierarchy quickly and become a manager)
Synonyms: ranking, order, level, regime
Impervious(adj)
not affected by outside influence, remaining unaffected by other's opinions, arguments, suggestions, unable to be penetrated or not allowing passage into or through something, unable to be injured or damaged.(Marc seemed to be impervious to the criticism made against him and continued with his same modus operendi. My thermal blanket forms an impervious shield from the cold and enables me to sleep warmly through the night.)
Synonyms: impenetrable, resistant, unaffected, invulnerable, impermeable
Antonyms: responsive, vulnerable, penetrable
Legacy(n)
money or property left through a will, something handed down from one person or generation to another.(The company founders left a legacy of competitive spirit that lives on in this corporation. The Greeks have a rich legacy of philosophical works)
Synonyms: grant, heritage, inheritance, bequest, bestowal.
Pallor(n)
an unhealthy pale appearance, an unnatural color of pale, where the person looks sick or unhealthy. (We knew Joanne was sick as soon as we saw the pallor of her face. Next ot Marc's tanned face, Joanne's seemed pallid and unhealthy.)
Synonyms: paleness
Antonyms: tan, glow
Paradox(n)
a situation or statement which seems difficult to understand because it contains two opposite facts or characteristics, a statement or idea that contradicts itself. (It's a curious paradox that drinking a lot of water can often make you feel thirsty)
Synonyms: contradiction, inconsistency, incongruity, reversal, puzzle, dilemma, oxymoron
Antonyms: consistency, congruity, coherence, agreement
Myopic(adj)
being nearsighted, lacking foresight or understanding, unable to understand a situation or the way actions will affect it in the future. (While baseball managers sometimes see less successful teams as being capable of developing future talent, fans tend to be more myopic, wanting to win now.)
Synonyms: nearsighted, short-sighted, narrow-minded, closed-minded.
Antonyms: provident.
Oscillate(v)
to move from side to side, to be undecided and waver back and forth about a decision or opinion, to move repeatedly from side to side or up and down between two points, or to vary between two feelings or opinions.(The needle on the dial oscillated between full and empty. My emotions oscillate between desperation and hope)
Synonyms: swing, vacillate, alternate, pendulate
Antonyms: remain, stay, settle
Insubordinate(adj,n)
a person who does not submit to authority or follow orders, not submitting to authority, disobedient or rebellious; refusing to obey orders or submit to authority.(Because the marine never followed his captain's orders, he was considered an insubordinate. Joanne defended her insubordinate behavior by exposing corruption in high places.)
Synonyms: defiant, disobedient, disorderly, rebellious, antagonistic, insurgent.
Antonyms: subordinate, complaisant, harmonious.
Lustrous(adj)
shining or gleaming. (My girlfriend has a conditioner that gives her hair a lustrous glow. Phoebe gave Joey an endearing smile and tossed her long, lustrous hair.)
Synonyms: shining, glowing, gleaming, bright, luminous, burnished.
Antonyms: dull
Homage(n)
something done to show respect and deference-a show of reverence. (In 2009 a lot of scientists will pay homage to Charles Darwin for his achievements in his field of research. Micheal paid homage to his ancestors by maintaining as many of his family's traditions as he could.)
Synonyms: honor, deference, reverence, loyalty, admiration, honor
Antonyms: disrespect
Impertinent(adj)
brash, especially in showing disrespect to a superior or to someone older, not relevant, not pertinent to the discussion or issue at hand.(The impertinent little boy was bossing his babysitter around, telling her where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do. Marc was impertinent when he asked if she was married)
Synonyms: rude, impolite, brash, irrelevant, audacious, insolent, impudent, extraneous.
Antonyms: pertinent, relevant, respectful, polite, applicable
Exotic(adj)
strikingly different, strikingly unusual and often very colorful and exciting or suggesting distant countries and unfamiliar cultures, from elsewhere introduced from another place or region.(Liz and I wanted to go somewhere exotic for my next vacation, so we chose Hawaii. Frank had a taste for exotic foods and he enjoyed eating at ethnic restaurants.)
Synonyms: foreign, tropical, rare, uncommon, unusual, curious
Antonyms: common, native
Florid(adj)
having an unhealthily glowing pink or red complexion, elaborate and overly complicated in wording and general style.(Lisa bought a florid, gilded mirror that took up most of the wall. My fair skin became florid after a day of surfing in the ocean)
Synonyms: showy, flamboyant, embellished, ornate, flowery, overblown.
Antonyms: simple, uncomplicated
Impiety(n)
lack of religious respect, a lack of due reverence for God or religion, ungodly act, an act that shows a lack of religious respect or devotion, lack of respect, a lack of respect or dutifulness. (The church accused Galileo Galilei of impiety and had all his writings burned. Lisa's impiety caused her to be ostracized by members of the church.)
Synonyms: irreverence, blasphemy, godlessness, sacrilege
Antonyms: reverence, respect, devotion
Mendacious(adj)
likely to give false information or tell lies, untrue, false, or intentionally misleading. (The newspaper has the reputation of routinely publishing mendacious stories about celebrities. Some of Marc's statements are misleading and some downright mendacious.)
Synonyms: spurious, lying, dishonest, false, fallacious, deceitful, deceptive.
Antonyms: truthful, honest.
Germane(adj)
relevant to a subject under consideration, relevant and appropriate to a given matter. (As long as Martin's ideas were germane to the business at hand, he was allowed to expound on them. Her remarks could not have been more germane to the discussion)
Synonyms: relevant, pertinent, applicable.
Antonyms: irrelevant, unsuitable
Hybrid(n, adj)
something made of different parts or elements, a plant formed by cross breeding two different types of plants, an animal resulting from the breeding of two different species, a car that runs on a combination of two types of fuel.(The architecture is a hybrid of classical and modern styles. Many of the plants in her garden are hybrids, which makes them not only uniquely beautiful but also heartier than average.)
Synonyms: mixture, compound, crossbreed
Extol(v)
to praise highly and lift someone or something up with great admiration, to praise somebody or something with great enthusiasm and admiration. (His book extolling the benefits of vegetarianism sold thousands of copies)
Synonyms: glorify, praise, hail, exalt
Antonyms: condemn, criticize, disparage
Foolhardy(adj)
bold or courageous without regard or awareness of danger. (Frank made a foolhardy attempt to climb the tree to recover his kite. It was foolhardy of Marc to approach the dog without knowing whether it was friendly or not)
Synonyms: bold, reckless, foolish, overconfident, heedless, impetuous
Antonyms: careful, prudent, cautious, sensible
Personable(adj)
having a nice, polite, and pleasant appearance and personality.(Marc didn't mind working late with Judy because she was so personable and easygoing. Frank was blessed with the most personable in laws.)
Synonyms: attractive, friendly, charming, easygoing, likeable, sociable
Antonyms: unattractive, unfriendly, unpleasant
Overwrought(adj)
extremely upset, nervous, or agitated, excessively elaborate or overly decorated.(Joanna was overwrought when her dogs got out of the apartment and were lost for several hours. Everyone in the office was overwrought with the thought that the company might go out of business)
Synonyms: agitated, frantic, nervous, frenzied, hysterical, ornate, gaudy, flamboyant
Antonyms: calm, relaxed, tranquil, simple
Solace(n,v)
comfort or consolation in a time of distress, sadness, grief, or disappointment, the act of consoling or giving relief, to console or give strength to someone, help and comfort when you are feeling sad or worried. (The tax rebate checks provided solace to many cash-strapped families. I find it helps to seek solace in the company of family and friends during times of crisis.)
Synonyms: comfort, consolation, console, cheer, relieve, assuage, soothe
Antonyms: grief, sadness, irritation, trouble, sadden, irritate
Quantum(n)
the smallest, indivisible unit of energy, a measurable amount of something, quantity: a required quantity or amount, especially an amount of money paid in recompense. (Most people do not know what quantum physics is; it is simply the physics of the smallest units of matter, like atoms. It was a revolutionary generation of computers that was a quantum leap beyond anything on the market.)
Synonyms: smallest unit of measure
Antonyms: largest unit of measure
Mercenary(adj,n)
motivated chiefly by the desire for gain, a professional soldier hired to serve in a foreign army, someone interested primarily in their own gain, especially financially, greedy and interested in selfish gain.(Phil has a mercenary urge to own the latest and most expensive item in home electronics. John was a mercenary who had fought for several nations.)
Synonyms: greedy, materialistic, selfish, avaricious
Antonyms: selfless, generous, unpaid
Expansive(adj)
covering a wide range, scope or area, able to expand, with arms stretched out and open wide, happy to talk to people in a friendly way. (Frank owns a beautiful house with a wide, expansive backyard. As the river nears the end of its long journey to the sea it becomes quite expansive.)
Synonyms: wide, outstretched, extensive, expanding, spacious, talkative, jovial, outgoing
Antonyms: condensed, contracted, restricted, quiet, reserved.
Histrionic(adj)
related to acting or actors-dramatic or theatrical, melodramatic or affected, overly emotional and showy.(There's no need to be so histrionic; this isn't really that big a deal. Joanne has a penchant of histrionic temper fits with lots of throwing of dishes and door slamming.)
Synonyms: theatrical, dramatic, melodramatic, affected, sensational, insincere
Antonyms: sincere, genuine
Immaculate(adj)
perfectly clean and spotless, free from error, without blame or fault. (My aunt's kitchen was always immaculate. He gave an immaculate performance as the aging hero.)
Synonyms: clean, spotless, stainless, pristine, flawless, faultless, balmeless
Antonyms: dirty, stained, soiled, imperfect, flawed, impure
Kudos(n)
praise and honor received for an achievement. (Lise has received kudos and accolades for her work with several charity organizations.)
Synonyms: praise, recognition, glory, award, admiration
Antonyms: criticism
Molt(v)
shed old feathers, hair, or skin, to make way for a new growth. To periodically lose or shed an outer covering of skin, hair, or feathers.
(The young bird's baby feathers molted as its adult feathers grew in. The deer's winter fur molted in preparation for summer)
Synonyms: shed
Antonyms: grow
Facilitate(v)
make(an action or process) easy or easier, to make easier, to increase the likelihood of, to be of use. (Lisa wanted to meet the author, and Marc facilitated and introduction. Frank hopes to facilitate a dialogue between the two opposing factions. Phil was brought on to help facilitate communication between the different departments.)
Synonyms: ease, simplify, expedite, enable, assist, advance
Antonyms: complicate
Jibe(v,n)
to agree with or conform to something, in nautical terminology, to shift a sail from one side of a vessel to the other, an insulting remark intended to have a hurtful effect. If one statement or opinion jibes with another, it is similar to it
(Marc's sarcastic jibes during the trial got him removed from the courtroom. Lisa quit her job because her needs just didn't jibe with the company's policies.)
Synonyms: agree, conform, accord, concur, insult, mockery, ridicule
Antonyms: differ, disaree, clash, compliment
Extraneous(adj)
not essential or important; not relevant to the matter at hand, coming from outside. (Extraneous light in the camera spoiled the photo. Most of the information in Marc's lecture notes seems to be extraneous)
Synonyms: nonessential, irrelevant, immaterial, incidental
Antonyms: relevant, inherent, germane, pertinent
Efface(v)
to remove, blur, or completely eliminate, especially by rubbing off or out, to act in an inconspicuous or humble manner, especially because of shyness or modesty
(Don't be self-effacing if he compliments your hard work, simply thank him and acknowledge his compliment. It's better to accept a compliment gracefully, rather than make self-effacing remarks.)
Synonyms: erase, annul, delete, expunge
Antonyms: add, restore
Frugal(adj)
tending to spend very little money, small in expense or quantity.(Phil has always been frugal with his money, and he never has any money problems)
Synonyms: thrifty, provident, penny-pitching
Antonyms:prodigal, extravagant, lavish
Foment(v)
to cause trouble or stir up rebellion, to promote growth or development, to lessen pain by bathing in warm water. (I believe that the new technology will foment our industry and create positive change. John filed the law suit, not because he needed the money, but because he wanted to foment trouble for his former contractor. Marc was afraid that his letter might foment more tension.)
Synonyms: stir up, promote, evoke, abet, instigate
Antonyms: suppress, repress, quell
Meander(v)
If a river, stream or road meanders, it follows a route which is not straight or direct. To walk slowly without any clear direction. If a text, process or activity meanders, it has no clear direction. (We spent the afternoon meandering around the streets of the old town. The film meanders along with no particular story line.)
Synonyms: wander, twist, bend, wind, curve, snake, amble, stroll, roam.
Imminent(adj)
about to happen or likely to occur soon.(I'm sorry to tell you that with the latest threat, you and your family appear to be in imminent danger. The closing of the community center appears imminent despite the efforts of the citizens to save it.)
Synonyms: looming, forthcoming, menacing, impending
Antonyms: far-off, unlikely, distant
Palatable(adj)
describes food or drink that has a pleasant taste, acceptable. (a very palatable wine, I'm afraid the members won't find all these changes very palatable.)
Synonyms: acceptable, agreeable, appetizing, delicious, enjoyable, flavorful, yummy, tempting
Antonyms: unsavory, unappetizing, unpalatable.
Latitude(n)
freedom to behave, act or think in the way you want to, the position north or south of the equator measured from 0 to 90 degrees. (Courts can show a considerable degree of latitude when it comes to applying the law.)
Synonyms: freedom, liberty, leeway
Antonyms: restriction, restraint, constraint.
Nettle(v, n)
to annoy or irritate someone, to sting, a stinging plant with serrated leaves. (If you are going to go on the hike, watch out for stinging nettle. I've been putting off tackling the problem for too long and I think it's time to grasp the nettle.)
Synonyms: annoy, sting, irritate, tease, vex, bother, exasperate
Antonyms: soothe
Fallacy(n)
a misconception or false belief, an argument that does not work because of an error in logic or the error itself. (It is a common fallacy that women are worse drivers than men. Phil's argument is based on fallacious reasoning.)
Synonyms: misconception, error, flaw, mistake, inconsistency, falsity, sophistry
Nominal(adj)
in name or thought but not reality.
(She's the nominal head of our college - the real work is done by her deputy. For a nominal fee Just Vocabulary offers the podcast advertisement free.)
Synonyms: ostensible, insignificant, honorary, titular, trifling
Antonyms: important, real
Opportune(adj)
suitable for a purpose or occurring at the right time, happening at a time which is likely to give success or which is convenient. (The family dinner was an opportune time for us to announce our engagement. Our morning meeting will provide an opportune time to discuss our strategic plan)
Synonyms: appropriate, fitting, auspicious, timely, fortunate, fortuitous
Antonyms: inopportune
Immutable(adj)
not changing or unable to be changed
(Once my parents make a decision, it is immutable and they never change their minds. Some people regard the rules of English grammar and punctuation as an immutable, others view them as evolving.)
Synonyms: unchangeable, constant, unalterable, fixed, permanent, stable
Antonyms: changeable, mutable
Inaugurate(v)
to formally and officially put something new in place such as a government official, a building, or a new procedure, often with a special ceremony. (The Mayor is going to inaugurate the new City Hall building today at noon. Representatives from every major media outlet were present at the presidential inauguration.)
Synonyms: induct, install, dedicate, launch, debut, commence
Antonyms:stop, end, terminate
Gauche(adj)
lacking manners and proper social behavior, awkward and uncomfortable with other people, especially because young and lacking in experience. Behaving in a way that offends other people, because of not knowing what is correct or not caring about their feelings.
(Joanne had grown from a gauche teenager to a self-assured young woman. Phil's loud talking at the opera marked him as gauche and uncultured.)
Synonyms: unsophisticated, tactless, awkward, graceless, uncultured, uncouth, boorish
Antonyms: sophisticated, polite, civilized
Hasten(v)
be quick to do something; move quickly, cause to happen sooner than anticipated, to speed up the progress of an activity, to go somewhere or do something quickly and without delay.
(It was an unfortunate decision and Marc hastened to say it had nothing to do with him. Officials acted in haste, without understanding the situation)
Synonyms: speed, quicken, accelerate, hurry, expedite, rush, hustle
Antonyms: slow, delay
Extort(v)
to extract or obtain money, information, or the like, by intimidation, force, or abuse of authority, to obtain something such as money or information from somebody by using force, threats, or other unacceptable methods.
(The girl decided to extort the secret from Lisa by threatening to make up and spread a damaging secret of her own. Frank deeply regrets that he was a school bully who was used to extorting lunch money from other school kids.)
Synonyms: blackmail, bully, gouge, coerce
Finesse(n)
refinement and delicacy, subtle skill in handling or manipulating people or situations, an attempt to win a trick with a card that is not a certain winner, do in a subtle and delicate manner. (Micheal Jackson had legendary finesse on the dance floor. Lisa had such social finesse, she was able to quickly and easily solve any problem within the company. Frank did not want to stay so he tried to finesse his way out of the party.)
Synonyms: delicacy, artfulness, grace, savvy, mastery, elegance, diplomacy, discretion
Antonyms: indiscretion, clumsiness
Mentor(n)
a well-intentioned role model, advisor, and guide to someone less experienced, knowledgeable, or mature, a person who gives another person help and advice over a period of time and often also teaches them how to do their job, to serve as a conselor, teacher, or guide. (Frank mentors young talented pianists who need someone to look up to. Lisa asked her Dad's Uncle to be her mentor and guide her on her way to becoming a professional writer.)
Synonyms: advisor, guide, tutor, role model
Doggerel(n)
a verse of poetry or song that is uneven in measure and often poorly composed, usually for an intentional, comic effect.(Lisa has the doggerel from the latest soda commercial stuck in her head. The doggerel in the middle of the show made the audience laugh)
Synonyms: verse, jingle
Morass(n)
a swamp or area of low lying wetlands that make walking difficult, a difficult situation that hinders or overwhelms, an area of muddy or boggy ground, a complicated or confused situation.
(The distracted driver had driven his car off the road and into a morass. The morass of rules and regulations is delaying the start of the project.)
Synonyms: marsh, swamp, quagmire, bog, moor, mire
Mellifluous(adj)
having a pleasing or rich sound, pleasant and soothing to listen to, and sweet or rich in tone.
(I love to listen to the mellifluous sound of Yo Yo Ma cello. The opera singer's voice was rich and mellifluous.)
Synonyms: melodious, musical, sweet, honeyed, resonant
Antonyms: discordant
Neophyte(n)
beginner, a beginner or novice at something, a recent convert to a religion, a new resident of a religious community, someone who has recently become involved in an activity and is still learning about it.
(When Karen married Jim, she became a Catholic neophyte. Undergraduate students are generally neophytes in their chosen majors and need guidance from experienced professors.)
Synonyms: novice, beginner, student, rookie, amateur, convert,
Antonyms: veteran
Murmur(v,n)
a quietly spoken utterance, a subdued complaint, say something in a murmur
(A murmur of complaint was heard from the audience when the sound system failed. The students murmured something under when Marc the teacher handed out their new homework assignment.)
Synonyms: complaint, lament, mutter, mumble
Opprobrious(adj)
disgraceful; shameful, expressing harsh criticism or scorn, shameful and worthy of contempt. (The CEO had opprobrious words for his sales department after another weak month. Most people believe that cheating on your spouse is an opprobrious act.)
Synonyms: critical, scornful, derogatory, abusive, insulting, contemptible, offensive, scurrilous
Antonyms: appreciative, complimentary, proud, worthy, reputable, honorable
Phlegmatic(adj)
having a calm temperament, not readily showing emotion, unexcitable, generally unemotional and difficult to arouse. (As a footballer his great asset was his calm, phlegmatic manner. Lisa's bright hair color would shock even the most phlegmatic person.)
Synonyms: composed, calm, unemotional, apathetic, stony, stoic, nonchalant
Antonyms: animated, excited, emotional, passionate, spirited
Antonyms:
Rebuff(v,n)
to reject or refuse sharply and with criticism, a rude or curt rejection of an offer or advance, a sudden block or setback of progress, reject or snub something: to reject or snub an offer, advance, or approach made by somebody.
(Lisa asked Frank for help, but Frank rebuffed her, saying he only helped his real friends)
Synonyms: snub, reject, deny, refuse, spurn.
Antonyms: accept, approve
Querulous(adj)
tending to complain, inclined to complain or find fault, whining, whining or complaining in tone.
(The querulous woman drove her boyfriend crazy with her constant nagging. My sister is a great nurse, even the most querulous patients failed to upset her.)
Synonyms: petulant, grouchy, irritable, whiny, peevish, grumble
Antonyms: cheerful, happy, good-nature
Obtuse(adj)
annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand, slow to learn or understand, lacking insight, blunt or rounded, not sharp.
(Lisa tried to learn how the application functions, but Frank thinks she's too obtuse to ever learn how to use it. Joanne frustrated her mentor by pretending to be obtuse.)
Synonyms: dim-witted, dull, dumb, ignorant, stupid, blunt.
Antonyms: acute, sharp, keen, intelligent
Obeisance(n)
the act of obeying or behaving respectfully, a show or sign of respect such as bowing, a gesture of respect or deference.
(The servant bowed deeply in obeisance to the queen. Phil's obeisance at the meeting seemed rather formal and unnecessary)
Synonyms: respect, courtesy, bow, homage, deference, reverence
Antonyms: disrespect
Dissuade(v)
to convince or persuade someone not to do something.
(There was nothing anyone could do to dissuade Lisa from going on the dangerous trip. After a long talk, Marc was able to dissuade Joanne from marrying the man who had been unfaithful to her.)
Synonyms: deter, discourage, divert
Antonyms: persuade
Eschew(v)
to intentionally avoid something, especially on moral or practical grounds. abstain from: to avoid doing or using something on principle or as a matter of course.
(Ever since Frank stopped drinking alcohol, he has eschewed any party where he knew drinks were being served. Bill decided to eschew his friend's bachelor party, as he knew it would be wild, and his wife would not approve.)
Synonyms: avoid, evade, abstain, renounce, shun, forgo
Antonyms: choose, embrace, indulge in
Equivocal(adj)
open to question or interpretation, difficult to understand. An equivocation is a statement which is deliberately vague or ambiguous. And finally, to equivocate is to be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information.
(Marc will vote for the new candidate who never tries to equivocate. Lisa's father grew tired of Lisa equivocations and her ability to twist the truth.)
Synonyms: ambiguous, dubious, questionable, uncertain, cryptic, confusing, ambivalent, suspicious, confusing
Antonyms: clear, certain
Enervate(v)
to weaken somebody, either physically or mentally, to weaken somebody's physical, mental, or moral vitality.
(Nothing enervates me like a car alarm that beeps all night. Just the thought of speaking in public is enough to enervate me.)
Synonyms: tire, exhaust, fatigue, deplete, weaken, enfeeble.
Antonyms: strengthen, energize
Extant(adj)
describes something very old, yet still existing, not lost or destroyed.
(It was challenging for David Attenborough to track extant plant species in the rainforest, as some of them are destroyed daily. The Discovery channel did a series on extant Egyptian artifacts and their significance to the culture)
Synonyms: surviving, existent, undestroyed, remaining
Antonyms: dead, departed, destroyed, extinct, gone
Flaccid(adj)
limp, soft, lacking firmness, lacking vitality, lacking energy, lacking enthusiasm, lacking competence, lacking firmness or resilience.
(The flaccid asparagus was not well received by the food critics. In business, it is considered totally unacceptable to have a flaccid handshake.)
Synonyms: soft, weak, flimsy, lax, inelastic
Antonyms: firm, tough, strong
Exemplary(adj)
worthy of imitation, serving as a perfect model or example, designed to be severe and serve as a warning to others. (Through the exemplary jail sentence for the 15 year old, the judge hoped to curb violent behavior amongst other young gang members. Phil ran an exemplary project, which I want everyone to use as a model for future success)
Synonyms: laudable, praiseworthy, quintessential, worthy, emblematic, typical, representative
Antonyms: substandard, atypical, anomalous, reprehensible
Faction(n)
a self-seeking party or group (generally within a government) that is the dissenting minority within a larger group; this clique of partisans holds slightly different beliefs and interests than the rest of the group, party strife and intrigue.(There were two major Roman political factions: the populares and the optimates. There is a faction in the Democratic party that supports tax cuts and strong defense)
Synonyms: wing, group, dissension, strife, discord, coalition
Antonyms: entirety, total, whole, peace, unity, agreement
Grandiose(adj)
large, grand, and impressive, but sometimes also pretentious or unrealistic, larger and containing more detail than necessary, or intended to seem important or splendid. (The sight of the grandiose ballroom took our breath away. Marc fancied himself as a visionary, but his ideas were all grandiose and could never be implemented. Frank made a grandiose arrival to his high school reunion.)
Synonyms: pretentious, ostentatious, grand, unrealistic, extravagant, overblown, impressive, regal.
Antonyms: modest, simple, ordinary.
Discourse(n)
verbal communication, formal, extended expression of thought on a subject, to converse or discuss. (Marc's passionate political discourse caused a stir among students. The discourse around the dinner table mainly surrounded Frank's business plans.)
Synonyms: talk, dialogue, conversation, discussion, speech, lecture, thesis.
Antonyms: discuss, communicate, converse.
Heresy(n)
belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine, opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted. (Some famous thinkers such as Galileo were accused of heresy in their own times because their new ideas contradicted the church. Lisa thinks Marc is a heretic because Marc is not entirely convinced that Western medicine has all the answers. Lisa's belief that a split would be good for the party was regarded as heretical)
Synonyms: dissent, iconoclasm, nonconformity, dissidence
Antonyms: orthodox
Gainsay(v)
to say that something isn't true, especially by contradicting another person. (It was very difficult to gainsay Marc's claim. I hear what you are saying but I must gainsay the premise of your argument.)
Synonyms: oppose, deny, refute, disallow, dispute, question, impugn
Antonyms: agree, allow, affirm
Impromptu (adj, adv)
done without being planned, organized, or rehearsed, said or done without preparation, on the spot. (Upon receiving the award, Jim Tressel made an impromptu speech to his team. Part of the Obama and McCain debate is the impromptu question-and-answer session. Marc has an uncanny aility to deliver hilarious, impromptu speeches without any preparation or advanced notice.)
Synonyms: spontaneous, improvised, unrehearsed, extemporaneous.
Antonyms: planned, rehearsed.
Genial(adj)
good-natured and kind, mild, especially sunny and good for life or growth.(The genial sunshine and mild temperature was ideal for growing a variety of flowers and plants. Elisabeth was always a genial hostess, treating her guests with kindness and sincere attention.)
Synonyms: pleasant, mild, amicable, amiable, kind, friendly, congenial, warm, favorable
Antonyms: unfriendly, cold, hostile
Miscreant(n,adj)
someone who breaks the law or does wrong, behaving badly or lawfully.
(The museum was vandalized by a group of miscreants last night. Many people were upset that the alleged miscreant was not found guilty)
Synonyms: villain, criminal, wrongdoer, scoundrel, knave, ruffian
Antonyms: do-gooder
Inanimate(adj)
not alive, especially not in the manner of animals and humans, showing no sign of life, lifeless.
(Lisa prefers to paint still life art and inanimate objects rather than people and animals. The audience for tonight's show has proved to be a rather inanimate crowd.)
Synonyms: nonliving, inorganic, dull, lifeless, inactive, inert.
Antonyms: living, lively, animated.
Leverage(n)
power to influence people and get the results you want. (If the United Nations had more troops in the area, it would have greater leverage), the ratio between the amount of money that a company owes to banks and the value of the company, to use borrowed money to buy a company (The company is highly leveraged and struggling with interest payments.)
Synonyms: advantage, effectiveness, power, influence, support, fund, supplement, invest, clout
Antonyms: disadvantage, hindrance, weakness
Irate(adj)
indicating anger, showing or typical of great anger.
(Her boss became irate when she cost the company its biggest client. His irate neighbors yelled at him for throwing such a loud party.)
Synonyms: angry, mad, furious, fuming, enraged, annoyed.
Antonyms: calm, kind, pleased
Licentious(adj)
having little or no moral restriction, especially in sexual behavior.
(During his college years Mark engaged in a licentious lifestyle. Mark has now reformed from his licentious lifestyle to one of self-restraint and chastity. My Grandma found the licentious behavior of today's generation offensive.)
Synonyms: promiscuous, lustful, lascivious, lewd
Antonyms: chaste, virtuous
Impassive(adj)
expressionless, showing no outward sign of emotion, especially on the face, devoid of all emotion, feeling no emotions at all, either positive or negative. (When they told Lisa that she was adopted she was surprisingly impassive. An impassive expression is a real asset in a poker game.)
Synonyms: unemotional, apathetic, indifferent, inscrutable.
Antonyms: emotional, moved
Sinister(adj)
suggesting evil, threatening or suggesting malevolence, menace, or harm. Giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen.
(The evil villain had a sinister plan to take over the world. Frank's sinister smile and squinted eyes scared the children.)
Synonyms: threatening, menacing, evil, ominous, malign, minatory, wicked, foreboding
Profusion(n)
a great deal: a large quantity of something, profuse quality, the quality of being profuse.
(Mark loved the recent profusion of books and articles on his favorite subject. The company accepted blame and sent us profuse apologies. This Spring the flowers bloomed in greater profusion than in past years.)
Synonyms: abundance, extravagance, excess, plenty, wealth, lavishness
Antonyms: sparseness, lack, shortage
Proselytize(v)
to convert or try to convert someone to a different religion
(The missionary tried to proselytize people to his religion, The cult members tried to proselytize the students. The man proselytized to Islam after falling in love with a Muslim woman.)
Synonyms: convert, change, proselyte, persuade, influence, indoctrinate.
Sinuous(adj)
curved or moving in a curved way, full of bends and curves, lithe and graceful, especially making graceful winding or curving movements.
(Lisa hated driving the sinuous roads that led up to the mountains. The man loved his wife's sinuous, feminine body. At the lectures, he tormented the teachers with sinuous questions.)
Synonyms: winding, crooked, curved, twisting, curvy, serpentine
Antonyms: straight, unbent
Refute(v)
to deny the truth of and overthrow by argument, evidence, or proof, to prove to be false or incorrect.
(Marc definitely lost that debate, Frank refuted each of Marc's points with contradicting statements. The attorneys will attempt to refute the evidence against the defendant.)
Synonyms: disprove, dispute, oppose, challenge, contradict, gainsay, negate.
Antonyms: prove, confirm, defend, corroborate.
Recuperate(v)
to recover after a sickness, to recover after a monetary loss.
(Lisa went home to recuperate from her recent surgery. Frank lost at black jack but hoped to recuperate his losses at the poker table. The bank filed for bankruptcy, but they never expected to recuperate their good financial standing so quickly.)
Synonyms: improve, heal, mend, recover, survive, regain.
Antonyms: regress, degenerate
Rend(v)
tear, split, or divide with force, to take something or somebody away using force, to pierce with a loud scream or shriek, to cause distress to somebody.
(The storm Gustav is likely to rend apart everything in its path. With one stroke of his sword, he rent his enemy's helmet in two. )
Synonyms: separate, rip, sever, sunder, cleave, lacerate, split, pierce, pull, tear.
Antonyms: attach, join, meld, unite
Propitiate(v)
win somebody's favor, to appease or conciliate somebody or something. (The CEO hoped that the refund would help to propitiate their angry customers. Marc brought donuts to work as a propitiatory gift, in hopes that everyone would forgive him for losing his temper.)
Synonyms: conciliate, appease, correct, soften, gratify, placate, pacify.
Antonyms: aggravate, annoy, irritate
Stigma(n)
sign of social unacceptability: the shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable. A strong lack of respect for someone or a bad opinion of them because they have done something society does not approve of.
(There's a stigma associated with low-income food programs. The disease AIDS no longer seems to have the stigma attached to it that it had a decade ago.)
Synonyms: shame, disgrace, dishonor, reproach, scar, smudge, blemish
Antonyms: glory, honor
Tendentious(adj)
having a tendency toward something and wanting to influence others to agree with your viewpoint, especially in an argumentative way. Trying to influence opinion: written or spoken with personal bias in order to promote a cause or support a viewpoint.
(Phil's account of the events was tendentious, not to mention inaccurate. Luckily Phil's tendentious statements no longer anger his friends and family. The tendentious talk show host used his show to promote his political ideology.
Synonyms: biased, partial, inclined, argumentative
Antonyms: impartial, unbiased.
Sunder(v)
break something apart, to separate something into parts, especially by force, or be separated in this way.
(During the Cold War East and West Berlin were sundered by an impenetrable wall. The controversial issue threatened to sunder the government. The unity of the group could not be sundered.)
Synonyms: separate, divide, split, break, sever, crack.
Antonyms: assemble, join, unify
Subjugate(v)
to conquer or take control by force, to bring somebody, especially a people or nation, under the control of another. To treat yourself, your wishes or your beliefs as being less important than other people or their wishes or beliefs.
(The United States is set up in a way that ensures the government could never subjugate its people. The rebel leader's plan was to subjugate the people of the country in order to establish a new form of government. Journalists must subjugate personal political convictions to their professional commitment to fairness and balance.)
Truncate(v)
to shorten something by cutting off or removing a part, to shorten decimal number, to restrict the precision of a decimal number by limiting the digits to the right of the decimal point without rounding.
(Television coverage of the match was truncated by a technical fault. Because Lisa's report was longer than allowed, she had to truncate the ending. The movie was truncated so that it would fit the television time slot.
Uncouth(adj)
behaving in a rude, unpleasant way. Rude and without refinement.
(Frank's uncouth brother uses his shirt for a napkin. It was really uncouth of Phil to make that comment about how much more money he makes than his coworker. Joanne's new boyfriend seems like an uncouth, opinionated boor.)
Transcend(v)
be or go beyond the range or limits of, be superior to; surpass.
(Marc hopes he would gain things from soccer that transcend the game itself, like honor and good sportmanship. Lisa said that society must transcend its racial and ethnic divisions.)
Synonyms: surpass, be superior, exceed, rise above, go beyond, outshine.
Antonyms: be inferior, fail, lose
Deluge(v,n)
heavy downpour or flood, to overwhelm with a large amount of something.
(We've been deluged with replies to our advertisement. Karen was caught in a deluge on her way to the interview, and her clothing and papers were soaked. This little stream can become a deluge when it rains heavily)
Synonyms: torrent, downpour, flood, soak, cataclysm, inundate, spate, drench, soak, oversupply.
Antonyms: sprinkling, undersupply
Welter(v,n)
a large, confused, or disorderly group of things, to roll about-wallow, to be immersed in something, like a liquid.
(The report was issued amid a welter of conflicting evidence. I did not want David to welter in sorrow over his break-up, so I took him out to dinner. It's amazing that anyone survived the welter of chaos and violence during the riot. I couldn't even hear myself think in the welter of the noisy market place.)
Synonyms: confusion, turmoil, jumble, commotion
Antonyms: calm, order
Tantamount(adj)
equivalent to a particular thing in effect, outcome, or value-the same as.
(Many felt the questionable accounting practices of the company were tantamount to corporate fraud. Marc's refusal to testify was tantamount to an admission of guilt. I believe his testimony was tantamount to perjury.)
Synonyms: equal, equivalent, identical, parallel, synonymous.
Antonyms: opposite, unlike
Yoke(n,v)
a wooden bar that harnesses two animals together, a bar designed to fit across a person's shoulders so that loads can be balanced on the ends, a bond that ties, something that is restrictive or oppressive, to link or become joined together.
(The people of that country have been living under the yoke of oppression for far too long. The farmer yoked the oxen together in order to plow the field. Our creative department will have to yoke with the account service department to meet the needs of the customers.)
Synonyms: collar, harness, crosspiece, bondage, chain, enslavement, link, connection, oppression, join, bond, connect, attach.
Antonyms: disconnect, divide, separate, free ,release.
Vapid(adj)
dull, lacking interest or liveliness, insipid, lacking strength, taste, or flavor.
(A tuneful but vapid musical comedy. Joanne watched a vapid tv programme. The debate turned into a vapid conversation)
Incessant(adj)
uninterrupted and continuous, unceasing, continuing for a long time without stopping.
(Lisa's incessant questions were cute at first, but soon became very annoying. Frank's boss incessant demands are putting so much pressure on him that he's beginning to see physical signs of the strain. The city endured weeks of incessant bombing.
Synonyms: constant, unending, ceaseless, continuous, uninterrupted, perpetual
Antonyms: temporary, period
Paltry(adj)
not worthy of consideration, so small as to be contemptible.
(Joanne's paltry salary is barely enough to cover her rent. Marc was tired of Lisa's paltry excuses. The restaurant served a paltry meal, leaving everyone hungry and irritable.
Synonyms: tiny, insignificant, negligible, worthless, pathetic, scant, meager
Antonyms: large, grand, significant, substantial.
Minutiae(n)
the small, precise, or trivial details of something.
(The committee studied the minutiae of the report for hours. Comedy is so often based in the minutiae of everyday life. He had memorized the many minutiae of the legal code
Arduous(adj)
requiring great physical endurance or exertion, requiring great mental effort, steep or demanding.
(Reading War and Peace would be an arduous task, because it would require a persistent effort over a long period of time. Frank was given the arduous task of managing the global product launch in 20 countries. In those days, a trip to the Wast was an arduous journey.
Synonyms: difficult, hard, strenuous, laborious, formidable, tiring , exhausting.
Antonyms: effortless, easy
Sumptuous(adj)
of superior quality, magnificent, grand, and lavish, especially when created at great expense.
(Marc recently sold his sumptuous apartment. Frank decided to buy a sumptuous luxury car.)
Synonyms: luxurious, lavish, magnificent, deluxe, extravagant, grand, impressive, expensive
Antonyms: cheap, inferior, poor, low-key, humble, simple
Omniscient(adj)
having or seeming to have unlimited knowledge. Knowing and understanding all things.
(They give the impression that the magazine is omniscient. Marc seemed to know everything about Lisa, but surely, he couldn't be omniscient. If God is omniscient, the he knows everything that will ever happen to me in my life.
Synonyms: all-knowing, all-seeing
Antonyms: short-sighted.
Pittance(n)
a very small or inadequate amount of money.
(Marc did not accept Lisa's apology because it didn't show even a pittance of sincerity. After the attorney's fees, Phil only received a pittance of the original settlement. Fresh out of college, many young people work for a pittance just to gain some experience.
Synonyms: rationing, allowance, bit, trifle, smidgen
Antonyms: abundance, plenty
Rapacious(adj)
greedy and grasping, especially for money, and sometimes willing to use unscrupulous means to obtain what is desired, destructive and vicious, engaging in violent pillaging and likely to harm or destroy things.
Tractable(adj)
easily dealt with, controlled or persuaded.
(It can be easy for marketers to influence tractable young minds. The problem turned out to be rather less tractable than I had expected. The horse was intractable and wouldn't make a good riding horse.
Synonyms: manageable, compliant, complaisant, controllable, docile.
Antonyms: intractable, nonconforming, inflexible
Wince(v,n)
to show pain briefly and suddenly in the face, often moving the head back at the same time.
(Did I hurt you-I thought I saw you wince. It makes me wince even thinking about eye operations. Lisa gave a wince as the nurse put the needle in.)
Synonyms: flinch, recoil, shrink, cringe.
Fecund(adj)
fertile, capable of producing much vegetation or many offspring, highly imaginative, able to produce many different and original ideas.
(The avid gardener was proud of his lush and fecund garden. It was a fecund meeting that produced several new ideas for how to improve our product. Meditation creates a fecund atmosphere that enables me to think of completely original ideas.
Synonyms: fertile, productive, prolific, creative, fruitful.
Antonyms: unproductive, unimaginative, barren, impotent, infertile, sterile, feckless
Vitriolic(adj)
filled with or expressing extreme bitterness and hatred toward somebody or something.
(Marc is a writer who has often been criticized by the press but never before with such vitriol. The Mayor launched a vitriolic attack on the Police Dept Officer, accusing him of shielding mafia friends.
Synonyms: acrimonious, rancorous, bitter, caustic, mordant, acerbic
Ribald(adj)
coarsely or irreverently humorous, describes language that is humorously vulgar and sexual; a person who uses language that is humorously vulgar.
(The stand-up comedian entertained his audience with ribald jokes. The ribald made everyone at the restaurant feel uncomfortable with lewd comments about the food.
Synonyms: rude, crude, lewd, profane, vulgar, indecent
Antonyms: proper, wholesome
Divulge(v)
to make known, to reveal something, especially something private or secret.
(Marc divulged Lisa's little secret. Lisa thought she could divulge information with complete trust. Marc shouldn't divulge other people's secrets.
Synonyms: disclose, reveal, tell, expose
Antonyms: hide, mask
Presage(v,n)
to predict that something will happen, especially something unpleasant, a warning or sign of a future event, a bad or uneasy feeling of something to come.
(The October snow was a presage to a very hard winter. A sluggish stock market usually presages an economic recession. Other than some shortness of breath, he didn't have any of the signs that usually presage a heart attack.)
Synonyms: foreshadow, foretell, predict, portend, indication, prediction, forecast, omen
Trudge(n)
a long, strenuous walk, to walk in a heavy-footed, slow manner.
(Because of the heavy snow, Marc has to trudge through the snow to get to his car. Even though the task was hard, Frank decided to trudge forward rather than give up. The beautiful view from the Mount Everest was well worth the trudge to get there.
Synonyms: walk, lumber, march, tramp. plod
Antonyms: glide, float
Jocund(adj)
jolly, cheerful and full of good humor
(Jeremy performed a jocund dance at the festival. Frank's jocund personality always cheered people up. The jocund atmosphere and good moods all around the room made for a great wedding.)
Synonyms: cheerful, happy, merry, jolly, carefree, animated, jovial, spirited
Antonyms: miserable, sad, depressed
Veneer(n)
deceptive appearance, a superficial appearance or show put on to please or impress others, a thin layer of a material bonded to the surface of a less attractive or inferior material.
(The Godfather managed to hid his corrupt dealings under a veneer of respectability. The wardrobe is made of chipboard with a pine veneer. Frank had a veneer of sophistication but was really just a bully.
Synonyms: surface, lamination, layer, facade, front, false.
Gossamer(adj,n)
a fine film of cobwebs, often seen floating in the air or covered with dew on the ground, delicate fabric, a delicate, sheer fabric or gauze, something sheer and delicate: something delicate, sheer, and filmy.
(Lisa's dress swirled like gossamer. I didn't see the gossamer spider webs until the sun hit them just right.)
Synonyms: gauzy, fine, sheer, translucent.
Trenchant(adj)
expressed in a forceful, direct, and effective way, deliberately hurtful.
(With trenchant criticism, the minister said that his opponent lacked morality. There were boos and hisses during the Marc's speech, but the most trenchant comment came from his colleague. Lisa wrote a trenchant and powerful essay about World War II.
Synonyms: sarcastic, biting, clear, critical, forceful, powerful, incisive
Antonyms: indirect, flattering
Languid(adj)
lacking energy and spirit, slow moving
(During the hot and languid African summer I spent numerous hours sitting leisurely by the pool. It was clear by his languid demeanor that Frank was no longer interested in his girlfriend. Marc had been languid for several months, and his waistline showed it.)
Synonyms: sluggish, lethargic, lackadaisical, inactive, listless
Antonyms: active, spirited, energetic, lively
Halcyon(adj)
tranquil and free from disturbance or care, happy and carefree, a mythical bird thought to have brought calm to the seas.
(Lisa recalled the halcyon days of her youth. The sea went from stormy and turbulent to calm and halcyon. I love the lake when it is serene and halcyon.
Synonyms: peaceful, placid, calm, tranquil, serene, balmy, golden
Antonyms: turbulent, hectic, unhappy
Falter(v)
to lose strength or purpose and stop, or almost stop, to move awkwardly as if you might fall.
(The dinner party conversation faltered for a moment. Her friends never faltered in their belief in her. Nigel's voice faltered and he stopped speaking. The nurse saw him falter and made him lean on her)
Jettison(v)
to discard or abandon something such as an idea or project, to throw something form a ship, aircraft, or vehicle.
(As ratings dropped, the station jettisoned its educational podcasts. Seawater filled the Titanic so rapidly that Leonardo began to frantically jettison unnecessary items. Microsoft was forced to jettison some of their ideas when it became clear that their plans were too elaborate.
Synonyms: abandon, cast off, discard, expel, unload, eliminate.
Antonyms: keep, retain
Insolent(adj)
disrespectful and rude, unrestrained by convention.
(The insolent child always talked back to his mother. The lawyer's insolent behavior got him thrown out of the courtroom. That kind of insolence will not be tolerated in my classroom.)
Synonyms: impolite, rude, disrespectful, insulting, arrogant
Antonyms: respectful, considerate, polite
Revive(v)
to bring back to life, to give new life or energy to something, to restore and renew.
(A hot shower and a cup of tea will revive you. Traditional skills are being revived by local craftsmen. The paramedics revived the unconscious man after several minutes.)
Synonyms: restore, rejuvenate, revitalize, resurrect, refresh, renew.
Antonyms: extinguish, kill
Pontificate(v)
speak pompously, to speak about something as if you are the authoritative expert on the subject.
(Experts get on the tube and pontificate about the economy. I have a feeling he's going to get up and pontificate about the subject as if he's the foremost authority.)
Synonyms: expound, expatiate
Antonyms: ask, deliberate
Virtuous(adj)
with moral integrity, having or showing moral goodness or righteousness, a good moral quality in a person, or the general quality of goodness in a person.
(I;ve been up working since six o'clock this morning so I'm feeling very virtuous. He described them as a virtuous and hard-working people. I'm convinced he only does that charity work so that he can feel virtuous.
Synonyms: moral, ethical, honest, conscientious, scrupulous
Antonyms: virtueless, immoral, unethical, dishonest
Strident(adj)
harshly loud, grating, and offensive, loudly, strongly or urgently expressed.
(People are put off by his strident voice. The strident committee member openly complained during the meeting. Whenever Lisa drinks too much, her voice becomes strident.
Synonyms: harsh, shrill, noisy, loud, vulgar
Antonyms: respectful, quiet, reserved
Drawl(n)
a way of speaking in which the speaker draws out the vowel sounds and pronounces words slowly
(Frank drawled when he spoke, so that all his words ran together as one. I find his Texas drawl to be rather charming
Synonyms: accent
Antonyms: enunciation
Vociferous(adj)
shouting noisily, shouting in a noisy and determined way.
(The vociferous coach yelled at the players throughout the entire game. Vociferous people express their opinions and complaints loudly and repeatedly in speech, and vociferous demand are mad repeatedly and loudly.
Synonyms: loud, boisterous, clamorous, noisy, shrill, vocal
Antonyms: quiet, silent
Inveterate(adj)
fixed in a habit or practice, especially a bad one, firmly established and of long standing.
(Frank was an inveterate smoker and there was little hope of him being able to quit. Even after retiring from the army, he was unable to discontinue his inveterate visual scanning of a room. Tracy is known as an inveterate liar, so beware of believing her.
Synonyms: habitual, confirmed, chronic, abiding, customary, protracted
Antonyms: intermittent, temporary, occasinal
Fatuous(adj)
showing lack of intelligence or thought combined with complacency.
(My hopes of manning a space shuttle are fatuous. I couldn't believe Mugabe's fatuous statement to the press. Phil is not very smart and is known for making fatuous comments before thinking them through.)
Synonyms: asinine, imbecile, ludicrous, moronic, vacuous, delusive, stupid, foolish, unreal
Antonyms: brilliant, intelligent, smart, wise, knowing
Harangue(v,n)
a forceful, public criticism made in a speech or sometimes in writing, to criticize or question somebody, or try to persuade somebody to do something in a forceful angry way.
(Frank's lawyer made comments, which were marked by a vicious harangue against the defendant. Joanne's parents will sometimes come up to her room and harangue her for playing her music too loud. Marc delivered a long harangue to his students.)
Synonyms: lecture, invective, diatribe, tirade, rant, attack.
Antonyms: encomium
Pluck(n)
courage and determination
(Lisa's got a lot of pluck to stand up for herself like that. My grandfather is 85 but he has a lot of pluck. Phil never shown a lot of pluck and routinely lets people walk all over him.
Synonyms: courage, spirit, heart, determination, fortitude, bravery
Antonyms: cowardice, indifference
Insular(adj)
not interested in new or foreign ideas, originating on an island, alone, like and island.
(Marc's insular attitude toward foreign cultures restricted his desire to travel. My sister was quite happy to grow up in her insular environment, but once she got older, she was ready to break free and explore the world. Many older people cling to insular beliefs without ever considering other people's opinions)
Synonyms: narrow-minded, provincial, conservative, confined.
Antonyms: broad-minded, open, welcoming.
Respite(n)
a pause from doing something, often for relaxation, a usually short interruption of relief in the intensity or amount of something, especially harm or discomfort, a temporary suspension of a punishment.
(We needed a few moments of respite in the shade during our strenuous marathon. Lisa worked in the garden all day, with only five minutes of respite for a drink of water. The end of the difficult project was in sight, and I looked forward to some respite.
Synonyms: pause, rest, reprieve, suspension, hiatus, reprieve
Antonyms: continuation
Transitory(adj)
not permanent or lasting, but existing only for a short time.
(The Dutch soccer team took early but transitory lead in the first half of Sunday's game. According to the government, the sudden shift in consumer spending will prove to be transitory.
Synonyms: temporary, short-term, short-lived, momentary, transient
Antonyms: lengthy, long-lived, permanent.
Stratify(v)
to make, arrange, or divide into layers, to divide into social status groups, to preserve seeds for germination by placing between layers of earth.
(Marc stratified the research document into several smaller reports. The professor stratified our research group by age and level of education. Alcoholism is an epidemic that has touched every stratum of our society)
Synonyms: tier, layer, divide, classify
Furtive(adj)
secretive, done in a way that is intended to escape notice. Shifty, presenting the appearance, or giving the impression, of somebody who has something to hide.
(Marc knew what Frank was about to say and shot his friend a furtive glance. James Bond's actions were furtive enough not to arouse suspicion. Lisa's furtive manner made Phil question what exactly he was up to.
Synonyms: stealthy, shifty, sneaky, secretive, surreptitious
Antonyms: open, obvious
Foible(n)
weakness or quirk, an idiosyncrasy or small weakness.
(Frank overcame his foible of chronic tardiness. The foible portion of the fencing sword blade is weaker, but has more agility and speed. Interrupting people while they are speaking is probably Marc.s greatest foible.
Synonyms: imperfection, shortcoming, defect, quirk
Antonyms: strength, perfection
Intercede(v)
to plead on behalf of someone, especially when the person is about to be punished, to act as a mediator.
(I would be thankful if you would intercede in this matter on my behalf. Marc asked his friend to intercede with the journalist)
Synonyms: mediate, advocate, intervene, assist, arbitrate, intrude
Antonyms: antagonize
Mandatory(adj)
compulsory, needing to be done, followed, or complied with, usually because of an official requirement, resembling or having the power to mandate.
(It's mandatory to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. To become a diver you must undergo a mandatory drug test before you apply for this position.)
Synonyms: compulsory, imperative, obligatory.
Antonyms: voluntary, optional, elective
Nascent(adj)
just beginning to develop, in the process of emerging, being born, or starting to develop, produced in reaction medium, in the process of being created in a reaction medium, often in a highly active form.
(The nascent space industry is already beginning to garner results. Although we are still in our nascent stages, we certainly have high hopes for the future. Lisa's mom was very lucky they caught the cancer early, because in its nascent stages, it is still highly treatable.)
Synonyms: new, primary, initial, developing, evolving, growing, incipient.
Antonyms: old, dying
Penury(n)
state of extreme poverty.
(Marc's dad is a gambler and he spent his entire fortune and died in penury. Lisa may have had a penurious childhood, but she is quiet rich now. The lottery winner went from penury to wealth overnight.
Synonyms: poverty, misery, destitution, misfortune, affliction, indigence.
Antonyms: wealth, abundance, affluence
Scathe(v)
criticize somebody, to subject somebody to severe criticism.
(Newspaper cartoonists scathed the dishonest politician with a series of cruel caricatures. The angry employee wrote a scathing letter to the CEO. Marc's scathing review of the movie changed my mind about wanting to see it.
Tonic(adj)
lifting the spirits and creating feeling of general well-being, designed or serving to boost energy and generally create a feeling of strength and health.
(The romantic comedy was a tonic for his saddened heart. A cold beer is a great tonic on a hot summer day. My dad's grandchildren are a perfect tonic for him.
Synonyms: medicine, remedy, refresher, refreshing drink
Wane(v,n)
show less lighted area (waning moon) or to get smaller or less, to decrease gradually in intensity or power. To finish, to draw to a close.
(We wanted to hike this weekend, but when we hear the weather forecast, our enthusiasm waned. As the restaurant gained popularity, the quality of the food seemed to wane. My cravings for hamburgers gradually waned as I began to eat less of them.)
Synonyms: decline, decrease, fade, diminish, subside, abate.
Antonyms: grow, increase, intensify
Vindictive(adj)
vengeful, looking for revenge or done through a desire for revenge, spiteful, feeling, showing, or done through a desire to hurt somebody.
(Don't offend Marc, he has a very vindictive personality. Marc can be spiteful and vindictive if he thinks he's been wronged in some way. Even though I was badly hurt by Marc's actions, I chose to forgive him rather than be vindictive.
Synonyms: vengeful, spiteful, malicious, vicious, resentful
Antonyms: forgiving
Fulminate(v)
to vehemently criticize or denounce, to explore loudly and violently.
(Frank is always fulminating about how bad our government is. The new CEO fulminated against recent lapses in customer service. The lightning was followed by a large roar of fulminating thunder)
Synonyms: criticize, denounce, castigate, declaim, censure, flare, foam, rage, bristle
Antonyms: appease, calm, assuage
Fervid(adj)
glowing or burning with intense heat, describes an impassioned, zealous spirit or enthusiasm toward one's beliefs.
(It is our fervent hope that a peaceful solution will soon be found. Jeremy is fervid in his support of Barack Obama. Carl Sagan was the most fervid advocate of space exploration.)
Synonyms: burning, fiery, hot, torrid, blazing, impassioned, vehement, zealous, eager
Malinger(v)
to feign illness in order to avoid obligations, especially work.
(Marc was just malingering when he called in sick. Marc got caught malingering in the office and he was let go. I would love to malinger today in order to surfing.)
Synonyms: duck, dodge, loaf, pretend.
Antonyms: oblige
Insulate(v)
to protect something or prevent the transfer to heat, cold, or sound by surrounding it in insulating materials, to isolate or set apart.
(It is difficult to insulate your children from all the violence shown on TV. The builders used insulation to prevent our house from becoming too cold in the winter. Lisa insulated herself from office politics by not socializing with her coworkers.
Synonyms: cover, protect, cushion, encase, shield, isolate, separate, sequester
Antonyms: expose
Scanty(adj)
smaller than what is desired, barely enough.
(Namibia expects another drought this year because of scanty rainfall. Lisa quit her job because of her scanty wage. That club downtown is well known for its scantily-clad dancers.)
Synonyms: deficient, insufficient, meager, skimpy, sparse, stingy.
Antonyms: excessive, sufficient, ample
Nefarious(adj)
very wicked or evil.
(The CEO offered his employees nefarious schemes. That single nefarious act made Frank's dad infamous as a crook. The Godfather was convicted for committing murder and many other nefarious acts.)
Synonyms: evil, wicked, bad, villainous, heinous, treacherous, base, depraved.
Antonyms: good, kind, moral.
Vicarious(adj)
experienced as a result of watching, listening to or reading about the activities of other people, rather than by doing the activities yourself.
(I felt vicarious pain when Lisa told me about how she had accidentally cut herself. I felt vicarious excitement to hear that Frank was going for a surf. Most football fans experience the vicarious thrill of victory every time their team wins.)
Synonyms: indirect, secondary, surrogate, sympathetic
Antonyms: first-hand, direct
Perfidy(n)
a betrayal of trust and faith, an act of treachery.
(Marc is remembered for his perfidy more than for anything else. Marc's perfidious actions shocked his students. Frank is a loyal and patriotic man who would never commit perfidy.)
Synonyms: deception, dishonesty, disloyalty, betrayal, treachery, trickery.
Antonyms: loyalty, faithfulness, honesty.
Tirade(n)
a long, angry speech, usually denouncing something.
(Marc's tirades can sometimes make me sick to my stomach. Marc's tirade seemed excessive, given that the situation was not all that serious. Marc launched into a tirade about the importance of studying with SAT Flashcards.)
Synonyms: harangue, fulmination, diatribe, rant
Whet(v)
to stimulate an interest in something or intensify a feeling, to sharpen something, like a knife.
(Lisa decided to whet my appetite by having starters before dinner. Marc will have to whet the knife before using it. The small bite of that brownie, whet my appetite for dessert.)
Synonyms: arouse, excite, stimulate, spur, awaken, sharpen, hone, grind.
Antonyms: bore, dull, blunt
Frivolous(adj)
not serious in content, attitude, or behavior; not having any serious purpose or value, lacking in intellectual substance and not worth serious consideration, silly and trivial.
(The judge dismissed the case as frivolous. My dad said to watch my spending and avoid frivolous purchases. The frivolity with which Marc approached the situation showed that he wasn't serious.)
Synonyms: silly, trivial, senseless, paltry, petty
Antonyms: important, pertinent, relevant.
Fiasco(n)
a thing that is a complete failure, in a ludicrous or humiliating way.
(The rain turned the celebration into a fiasco. A drunk debater turned the debate into a fiasco. I got sick and my wife got robbed; I would say the holiday was a fiasco.)
Synonyms: failure, disaster, embarrassment, blunder, breakdown, debacle, flop
Antonyms: success, accomplishment.
Saturnine(adj)
gloomy, bitter, and overly serious.
(The college students were in a saturnine mood after they got caught drinking alcohol. Marc was in a seriously bad mood which was made clear by his saturnine behavior. Marc used to be happy and easy going, but he has turned saturnine over the years.)
Synonyms: irritable, grouchy, harsh, gruff, crabby.
Antonyms: happy, pleasant, sweet
Ingenious(adj)
clever and imaginative, skillful and adept.
(Faced with a credit crisis, the President up with an ingenious proposal. The book was ingenious, with a clever, intricate plot and a surprise ending I never saw coming. Carl Sagan is an ingenious artist and scientist.)
Synonyms: brilliant, talented, bright, gifted, clever, imaginative, skilled.
Nebulous(adj)
not clear, distinct, or definite.
(Marc's goals for the future were nebulous. The CEO said that the current plan is nebulous and does not specifically address our weaknesses. The doctor delivered only a nebulous document that failed to provide any definitive recommendations.)
Synonyms: indistinct, vague, unclear, ambiguous, unfixed, confused.
Antonyms: distinct, defined, specific.
Patent(adj)
easily perceived, very obvious.
(The earth is not orbiting around the moon; that's a patent lie. Spitting in the police officer's face was a patent disregard for the law. It could not be more patently obvious that he is in love with her.)
Synonyms: obvious, clear, evident, apparent.
Antonyms: obscure, ambiguous, unclear, incomprehensible
Wry(adj)
combining amusement and irony for dry humor-sardonic. temporarily contorted or bent to one side.
(Marc's wry smile led me to believe Lisa was being sarcastic. Some people were offended by his wry humor. Mr Colbert wry commentary on the state of world affairs made him very popular.)
Synonyms: sarcastic, sardonic, cynical, crooked, ironic, mocking.
Antonyms: serious, solemn, sober, straight.
Verdant(adj)
covered with green vegetation, green in color.
(My favorite part of our trip to South Africa was observing the beautiful wildlife of its verdant Kruger Wildpark. Her verdant wine lands of Stellenbosch were nearly destroyed by last year's drought. The cows and sheep grazed in the verdant countryside.)
Synonyms: green, blooming, fresh, grassy, flourishing, lush, leafy
Antonyms: barren, brown
Malleable(adj)
easily influenced, trained, or controlled.
(Dad wanted me to be a malleable boy who would take his advice. Lead is a substance that is malleable that is easily bent and shaped. The Netherlands saw its colonies as a source of raw material and a malleable workforce.
Synonyms: susceptible, pliable
Threadbare(adj)
(of material) looking worn and thin from much use. A threadbare excuse, argument or idea lacks strength and no longer impresses people because it is old or has been used too much.
(Lisa's clothes were faded and threadbare. The movie was a tissues of threadbare cliche
Synonyms: worn, well-worn, old, thin, worn out, holey, moth-eaten.
Mischievous(adj)
tending to or exhibiting reckless playfulness. (of a person, animal, or their behavior) causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way, causing or intended to cause harm or trouble.
(My little sister had been so mischievous that Mom had to pay the babysitter extra. Later my sister got punished for her mischievous tricks on the neighbors. The opposition spreads mischievous gossip that ruined the president's good reputation.)
Synonyms: misbehaving, troublesome, playful, teasing, wicked, naughty
Antonyms: well-behaved.
Deplete(v)
to use up the supply of, exhaust the abundance of, to diminish in number of quantity.
(Our food supplies are depleting fast. In todays busy world, it's difficult to avoid getting depleted and depressed. The miners depleted the vein of gold after month of working.)
Synonyms: exhaust, use up, consume, expend, drain.
Antonyms: augment.
Lugubrious(adj)
very sad and depressed, mournful, looking or sounding sad and dismal.
(Marc was in a lugubrious state for weeks, after being dismissed from the university. I tried to lighten Marc's lugubrious mood with some cheery music. But his lugubrious heart felt like it would never feel joy again after his dismissal.)
Synonyms: sad, gloomy, mournful, melancholy, dismal, morose, dreary, funereal, somber
Antonyms: happy, lighthearted, joyous
Daunt(v)
to frighten or intimidate.
(Lisa was not at all daunted by the size of the project. Eddy Murphy was undaunted by the lack of laughter and continued his stand-up routine with a smile on his face. The raging inferno didn't daunt the firefighters for a moment.)
Synonyms: frighten, dismay, frustrate, discourage, subdue.
Antonyms: hearten, arouse, encourage.
Encumber(v)
to burden or weigh down, to impede, hamper, or hold back, restrict or burden (someone or something) in such a way that free action or movement is difficult.
(When you're climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the fewer encumbrances the better. To encumber Frank with this additional problem may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. The monk's movements were encumbered by her heavy skirts)
Synonyms: burden, impede, hamper, hinder.
Antonyms: help, speed, lighten.
Incipient(adj)
in an initial stage, beginning to happen or develop. In the beginning of development or formation.
(The system detects incipient problems early. Marc's ideas were still incipient and vague; he needed to work them out in more detail. Democracy is incipient in this African country, give it sometime to take hold.)
Synonyms: emerging, nascent, initial, beginning, developing, growing, inchoate
Antonyms: developed, finished, full-blown
Rampart(n)
a defensive fortification, specifically, a mound of earth topped by a wall.
(I got lost after wandering around the castle's old ramparts and towers)
Synonyms: fortification, barrier, embankment, wall
Antonyms: opening, passage
Tawdry(adj)
gaudy and cheap in quality, mean-spirited and lacking human decency.
(Lisa's tawdry outfit was in bad taste for the occasion. Lisa had tawdry rings she wore on her fingers.)
Synonyms: cheap, flashy, shameful, gaudy, glitzy
Antonyms: reserved, precious, valuable
Unflappable(adj)
composed and able to remain calm when facing difficult situations. Having or showing calmness in a crisis.
(I voted for him because I think he is an unflappable leader who will stay calm in this frenetic, high-pressure environment. The witness remained unflappable during the FBI interrogation and he calmly answered the officer's barrage of questions. Richard Dawkings is a great debater, because he is unflappable and he always takes his time to calmly answer the question.
Synonyms: composed, calm, cool.
Antonyms: flustered, nervous, anxious, disturbed.
Verbose(adj)
using or expressed in more words than are needed.
(Many first year students think that much academic language is obscured and verbose. Try not to be verbose when you're being interviewed. The CEO had to plow through a verbose letter of complaint.)
Synonyms: wordy, loquacious, garrulous.
Antonyms: succinct, laconic
Flout(v)
to show contempt or disregard for a law or convention by openly disobeying or defying it. Openly disregard (a rule, law or convention)
The new intern flouted the company dress code by wearing torn jeans.
The brave opposition leader plans to flout the dictator's censorship laws.)
Synonyms: spurn, deride, gibe, mock
Antonyms: obey, follow
Platonic(adj)
free from physical desire (as in love), referring to Plato and his philosophies.
(Although Frank and Lisa spent a lot of time together, their relationship was only platonic. Although it was strictly platonic, many other teachers couldn't accept Marc's close relationship with one of his female student.)
Synonyms: non-physical, intellectual, spiritual, non-lustful
Antonyms: amorous, sensual
Embezzle(v)
to use or take entrusted money for personal gain, steal or misappropriate (money placed in one's trust or belonging to the organization for which one works)
(His plan to embezzle money from the bank was unsuccessful. Underestimation of the CEO led to the quiet employee's successful large-scale embezzlement of funds)
Coalesce(v)
to unite, fuse, or grow together; come together and form one mass or whole, to form a group from different elements.
(At the end of each season, the best players from each NBA team coalesce to form the NBA All-Stars. We need to coalesce our resources in order to provide a truly global solution on global warming)
Synonyms: unite, consolidate, fuse
Antonyms: divide, split, separate
Ingenuous(adj)
to be innocent and trusting, sometimes to the point of being foolish, openly candid and sincere.
(It was very ingenuous of Marc to give out his personal information over the internet. My daughter's ingenuous comment about religion made the priest laugh.)
Immure(v)
to enclose or confine (someone) against their will. To close or shut in by or as if by barriers. To put in or as if in prison.
(The adventurer was immured by the frozen wastelands that surrounds them. Rapunzel was immured in her tower by her evil stepmother. Lisa's brother was immured in a lunatic asylum.)
Prudish(adj)
overly concerned with being modest or proper. Prude(n) a person who is or claims to be easily shocked by matters relating to sex or nudity.
(I don't think Lisa would enjoy Amsterdam's Red Light district; she's far too prudish. On the other hand Lisa was prudish in high school, perhaps she changed over the years.)
Malcontent(adj, n)
an unhappy and discontented individual, especially one who feels oppressed or is in open rebellion against his or her government, dissatisfied or unhappy with something.
(The streets in every town in Zimbabwe are filled with malcontents carrying protest signs. Cathy was malcontent at her current job and was looking to find something better.)
Recant(v)
to renounce a, usually controversial, belief; to take back a statement made earlier.
(When Martin Luther espoused views that opposed the traditional beliefs of the Catholic Church, religious leaders asked him to recant. Marc had to recant his statement when he found that many of the sources had been falsified. The newspaper was forced to recant Marc's published article.)
Quixotic(adj)
extremely chivalrous, motivated by idealism that is imaginative but not really practical, having and idealistic or romanticized view of life.
(Marc had a quixotic idea, but it was not completely far-fetched. Frank was a quixotic man who always opened the door for women. John's quixotic plan of the perfect way to propose to Elizabeth proved to be too difficult to execute.)
Caricature(v,n)
an extreme description or exaggeration of someone or something done for comic effect, creation of such comic representations. A caricature can be created in drawing, writing, or even speech.
(Marc's brother creates caricatures of popular political figures for the SAT and TOEFL magazine. I am not caricaturing your brother. There are many cartoonists who draw caricatures of tourist along the banks of the Seine in Paris)
Jaded(adj)
dulled through repetition or excess, no longer interested in something, often because of having been overexposed to, exhausted from overwork or overexposure, hardened, insensitive, or dispassionate due to unpleasant experience.
(Looking for something to refresh his zest for life, the jaded CEO decided to sail around the world. The CEO's pessimistic speech left the employees jaded and depressed. Marc has been through so much hardship in his life that his views of religion are quiet jaded.
Dogma(n)
a religious doctrine, a code of beliefs. A fixed, especially religious, belief or set of beliefs that people are expected to accept without any doubts.
(His political dogma paralleled that of the democratic party. This company has always operated under the dogma that employees must be respected and compensated fairly.)
Concord(n)
harmony and agreement occurring in attitudes and feelings between persons or things, a treaty establishing mutual agreement and friendly relations between countries, to be in agreement.
(I can definitely concord on your point, but you should hear my ideas as well. Sue and Sally work well in concord.)
Harbinger(n,v)
a sign or indication of future events, to foreshadow or announce something coming in the future.
(The turning of the leaves is a harbinger of winter. Their arguments were harbingers of more serious trouble in their marriage)
Instigate(v)
to provoke, incite, or start something, to cause an event or situation to happen by making a set of actions or a formal process begin.
(The government will instigate new measures to combat terrorism. The revolt in the north is believed to have been instigated by a high-ranking general.)
Panache(n)
a dashing sense of style and self-confidence.
(Bill Clinton presents with a panache that immediately captures his audience's attention. Paris Hilton always throws parties that demonstrate her panache for entertaining.)
Mollify(v)
to calm or soothe somebody who is angry or upset, to make something less intense or severe, to make something less hard, rigid, or stiff.
(Marc is really upset; we need to think of how we can mollify his concerns. Marc practiced yoga after work to mollify his stress)
Abstemious(adj)
marked by moderation and temperance in indulgence (especially with food and drink)
(My mother was an abstemious woman who disapproved of self-indulgence. In many abstemious cultures, people abstain from drinking any kind of alcohol)
Rancor(n)
strong, bitter feelings of resentment.
(Surprisingly there was no rancor between the prosecution and defense attorneys once the trial ended. Lisa's rancor for her opponent was deep-seated and was fed by feelings of hostility)
Tangent(n)
Go off a tangent means a subject or activity that is different than the on you are talking about or doing, to suddenly start talking or thinking about a completely new subject.
(It's hard to get a firm decision out of him, he's always going off at a tangent)
Rotund(adj)
fat or round in shape, full and rich sounding.
(The rotund man was asked to play Santa Claus at the holiday party each year. Pavarotti usually has a rotund singing voice, but his last concert was a little flat.)
Gloat(v)
to be smug or self-satisfied or to gain satisfaction from success, good fortune, or the failings of others.
(Please don't gloat over your victory, it's very unbecoming. Every time Marc wins an argument, he gloats for hours)
Rhetoric(n)
speech or writing used to influence or persuade, complex or elaborate language that sounds pretentious, empty and pointless talk
(The Ministers' big plans are just rhetoric, if not followed by implementation. The presentation of the party was typical political rhetoric; a lot of proposed programs, without any accountability. Do you really want an answer, or was that a rhetorical question?)
Revile(v)
to attack somebody verbally, to use abusive language.
(The judge was reviled in the newspapers for his opinions on rape. Works of art are often reviled when they are first produced. Jack's mistake wasn't so awful that you should revile him publicly.)
Cavalier(adj)
showing careless disregard and disrespect for something or somebody.
(A cavalier attitude toward public health concerns. Mark's cavalier attitude has made him very unpopular around the office. The executive team's cavalier approach to spending, quickly dried up the company's cash reserve.)
Sage(adj)
having wisdom which usually comes from age or experience, wise, especially as a result of great experience.
(Joanne was unusually sage for her youth. I was thankful for Lisa's sage advice and glad that I had followed it)
Sordid(adj)
dirty or rundown, immoral or unethical.
(There are lots of really sordid apartments in the city's poorer area. Sordid can also mean immoral and shocking. He told me he'd had an affair but he spared me the sordid details)
Exalt(v)
to raise someone to higher rank or more powerful position, to praise someone a lot, or to raise someone to a higher rank or more powerful position.
(Popular support and media hype have exalted Super Bowl Sunday to the level of a national holiday. He felt and exalted sense of power now that he was in line to run the company.)
Coax(v)
to influence, persuade, and manipulate by flatter and gentle, persistent effort.
(Trying to coax Dad into taking us on a ski trip, we mentioned what a great skier he is. He has some information I want, so I'm going to try to coax it out of him over a drink. A mother was coaxing her reluctant child into the water.)
Crass(adj)
vulgar and insensitive, without consideration for how other people might feel.
(The Olympics as shown on TV represents crass commercialism, he said. He made crass comments about her worn-out clothes.)
Quaff(v)
to gulp down a drink in a hearty, spirited manner.
(He opened his throat and quaffed the beer in just two swallows. The thirsty dog happily quaffed his water.)
Surrogate(n)
a person who acts in place of another, especially in an official capacity, something that takes the place of another, taking the place of something.
(When the President cannot make it to an engagement, the Vice President often serves as his surrogate. She seems to regard him as a surrogate for her father. For some people, reading travel books is a surrogate for actual travel.
Intrinsic(adj)
being part of the fundamental nature or substance of something, being contained entirely within a part of the body.
(The geologist recognized the intrinsic value of the gemstone the instant he saw it. Maths is an intrinsic part of the school curriculum. Each human being has intrinsic dignity and worth)
Botch(v)
to spoil something by doing it badly. To make or do something in a clumsy or unskillful way.
(We botched up our first attempt at wallpapering the bathroom. Our landlord redecorated the bedroom, but it was such a botched job that we decided to redo it. Thousands of women are infertile as a result of botched abortions.)
Purport(v,n)
to claim that something is true, but without proof, the idea that is conveyed or intended to be conveyed to the mind by language, symbol, or action, to pretend to be or to do something, especially in a way that is not easy to believe, the general meaning if someone's words or actions.)
(I didn't read it all but I think the purport of the letter was that he will not be returning for at least a year. They purport to represent the wishes of the majority of parents at the school. The study purports ti show an increase in the incidence of the disease.)
Insurgency(n)
An organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a government, organization, or leadership.
(Many businesses are afraid to invest in the country while the rebel insurgency is underway. An employee insurgency aimed at ousting executive management erupted when the management announced another pay freeze.
Misogynist(n)
someone, usually a man, who hates women or believes that men are much better than women.
(She left the Church because of its misogynist teachings on women and their position in society. That movie is criticized for its misogynistic.
Delineate(v)
to describe, portray, or list in detail, to indicate the physical boundaries of something.
(The President's memo delineates the necessary steps we'll need to take before the merger can take place. Barbed wire fences delineate the boundaries of each clan's territory. The boundary of the park is delineated by a row of trees.)
Stoop(v)
to descend to level that is beneath one's dignity, to do something even though you know it is wrong, because you think it will give you an advantage. to bend the top half of the body forward and down. If someone stoops, their head and shoulders are always bent forwards and down.
(The doorway was so low that we had to stoop to go through it. Something fell out of her coat pocket and she stooped down and picked it up. I'm a desperate woman but I wouldn't stoop to blackmail. No reputable company would stoop to selling the names of their clients to other companies.)
Pundit(n)
someone who is especially knowledgeable about a subject and is often asked to give opinions about it.
(The professor also served as a political pundit for the local news. On the news program, two pundits debated about the economy)
Autonomous(adj)
existing as an independent entity (especially government), free from external constraint, able to make free and independent decisions.
(Some people have expressed the opinion that California should secede from the United States and become an autonomous government. I'm sorry, but you just don't have the autonomy to make those kinds of decisions on your own, next time, check with me first. Our group retains the right to make autonomous decisions without input from the board of directors.)
Indomitable(adj)
hard to defeat or subdue, impossible to subdue or defeat, describes someone strong, brave, determined and difficult to defeat or frighten.
(The indomitable Mrs Furlong said she would continue to fight for justice. An indomitable spirit was needed to endure the rigors of pioneer life.)
Intelligible(adj)
clear enough to be understood, capable of being understood or comprehend.
(She was so upset when she spoke that she was hardly intelligible. It was a poor telephone connection, and only some of his words were intelligible.)
Relent(v)
to grow less in scope or intensity especially gradually, to act in a less severe way toward someone and allow something that you had refused to allow before.
(Her parents eventually relented and let her go to the party. The security guard relented and let them through. The fury of the storm relented, and the next day the sun finally broke through the clouds)
Apprehensive(adj)
worried that something bad may happen, aware of possible implications. The noun apprehension refers to nervousness or anxiety over something that is anticipated. It can also refer to the ability to understand the importance of something and is a more formal way to denote understanding.
(Lisa was apprehensive before the big exam, but once it began, she realized she knew the material. Jason's apprehension of the complexity of the situation led the group to choose him as the new director.)
Concede(v)
to admit, usually with reluctance, that something is true of that someone is right, to accept defeat, usually before the final outcome in an election, fight, or debate, to grant something, such as right or privilege.
(Al Gore originally conceded the election to George W. Bush, but the withdrew his concession and challenged the vote count.)
Synonyms: admit, acknowledge, surrender, accede, accord, acquiesce, grant.
Surmise(n,v)
a guess based on incomplete facts; to guess that something is true based on limited facts or intuitive feelings.
(Since Mike has a broken leg, it is safe to surmise that he will not be going on the ski trip this weekend.)
Synonyms: speculation, assumption, conclusion, inference, speculate, guess, assume
Dwindle(n)
to become small in size or amount, or fewer in number.
(The community has dwindled to a tenth of its former size in the last two years. Her hopes of success in the race dwindled last night as the weather became worse.)
Slink(v)
to walk or leave quietly because you do not want to be noticed or are ashamed of something, to walk away from somewhere quietly so that you are not noticed.
(I tried to slink out of the room so that nobody would see me go. He usually slinks off at about 3.30. I was so embarrassed that I tried to slink away.)
Dulcet (adj)
sweet to the taste, pleasing to the ear, generally pleasing or agreeable.
(Record the dulcet tones of your family and friends)
Breezy(adj)
having a relaxed, casual manner, to be happy and confident, quick, informal, and confident, marked by strong wind than usual.
She revolutionized fashion reporting with her breezy style. I get a bit depressed at times, whereas Gill's always bright and breezy.)
Negate(v)
to declare not be true, show to be false, to cause to be invalid, to cause something to have no effect.
(This evidence negates his claim that he was not at the scene of the accident. Her actions negated her statement and proved her to be a hypocrite.)
Secular(adj)
not having any connection with religion.
(We live in an increasingly secular society, in which religion has less and less influence on our daily lives. Secular education.)
Bedrock(n)
The main principles on which something is based.
(Some people believe that the family is the bedrock of society. My religious faith is the bedrock of my life.)
Contention(n)
heated disagreement, something that people argue about for a long time, the disagreement that results from opposing arguments. an opinion expressed in an argument.
(It is her contention that exercise is more important than diet if you want to lose weight. There's a lot of contention about that issue - for every person firmly in favor, there's someone fiercely against. The main bone of contention was deciding who would take care of the children after the divorce)
Livid(adj)
extremely angry. (especially of marks on the skin) of an unpleasant purple or dark blue colour.
(The rude letter from his mother in law made him livid. He had a long livid scar across his cheek.)
Improbable(adj)
not likely to happen or to be true, not probable, unlikely to occur or to be true.
(It's highly improbable that Norris will agree. It is improbable that he could have driven home in less than an hour.)
Dubious(adj)
not sure about an outcome or conclusion; likely to be dishonest; untrustworthy or morally worrisome in some way. Open to doubt or suspicion. Giving rise to uncertainty.
(I was a little dubious about whether or not to trust him. This artifact has rather dubious origin. The thesis is based on several dubious assumptions.)
Conundrum(n)
an intricate and difficult problem with a seemingly impossible solution, a trick riddle in which a fanciful question is answered with a pun on words.
Arranging childcare over the school holidays can be quiet a conundrum for working parents.
Semblance(n)
a situation or condition which is similar to what is wanted or expected, but is not exactly as desired.
(The city has now returned to some semblance of normality after last night's celebrations. He was executed without even the semblance of a fair trial.)
Intractable(adj)
extremely difficult to manage, teach, or deal with because of strong will and resistance to change, difficult to deal with or solve.
(He was an intractable child who deliberately did the opposite of whatever he was told. Cats are by nature fairly intractable animals.)
Synonyms: stubborn, obstinate, obdurate
Transgress(v)
to overstep what is considered acceptable, to violate a law.
(I didn't realize I was transgressing when I told your sister she looked like she had lost weight. Don't even think about transgressing the laws of that Asian country, for punishment are severe and there's nothing that our government can do to intervene.
Interject(v)
say abruptly, especially as an interruption. To say (something) that interrupts someone who is speaking.
(He interjected questions throughout the discussion. She occasionally interjected comments into the conversation.)
Surreptitious(adj)
marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed, conducted with or marked by hidden aims or methods. Done secretly, without anyone seeing or knowing.
(A surreptitious glance at his watch. Surreptitious mobilization of troops. She seemed to be listening to what I was saying, but I couldn't help noticing her surreptitious glances at the clock.)
Abolition(n)
the act of abolishing a system or practice or institution, especially abolishing slavery. Abolish = to end an activity or custom officially.
(I think bullfighting should be abolished. National Service was abolished in Britain in 1962. The abolition of capital punishment.)
Helm(n)
a position of control and leadership; to be in charge or in control of something, at the helm = officially controlling an organization or company. If someone is at the helm of a group or organization, they control it.
(She is the first woman to be at the helm of this corporation. With Steve Lewis at the helm, we are certain of success.)
Tenacity(n)
persistent determination in holding to something, especially opinions, valuables and routines. The quality of being tenacious.
(She practices her gymnastics routine with the tenacity of a bulldog. He was the most tenacious politician in South Korea.)
Abash(v)
cause to feel embarrassed, disconcerted, or ashamed.
(She was not abashed at being caught. My clumsiness left me abashed.)
Banter(v)
talk or exchange remarks in a good-humored teasing way. To exchange lighthearted teasing remarks. To speak to in a playful or teasing way.
(The men bantered with the waitresses. He was known for his quick wit and clever bantering.)
Preamble(n)
A section at the beginning of a speech, report or formal document that introduces what follows. A preliminary or preparatory statement; an introduction.
(What she said was by way of a preamble. I gave him the bad news without preamble.)
Transpose(v)
cause to exchange places, transfer to a different place or context, write or play in a different key from the original, to change something from on position to another, or to exchange the position of two things.
(In their latest production they have reworked "King Lear", transposing it to pre-colonial Africa. The confusion was caused when two numbers were accidentally transposed by a Social Security clerk.)
Fortuitous(adj)
happening by chance, especially as the result of a happy accident, indicating good fortune.
(Our profits were increased by a fortuitous and unexpected drop in the cost of raw material. The early completion of the new hotel proved fortuitous, as several colleges had scheduled their spring breaks for the week of its grand opening. The unexpected demise of our largest competitor was a fortuitous boon to our quarterly sales.)
Fledged(v)
to acquire the feathers necessary for flight or independent activity; also: to leave the nest after acquiring such feathers. Fully-Fledged: completely developed or trained.
(What started as a small business is now a fully-fledged company. After years of study, Tim is now a fully-fledged architect.)
Rendition(n)
an interpretation of a musical score or a performance of a musical work. A particular way in which music is performed or a drawing or painting is produced or appears. RENDER(v) to give something such as a service, a personal opinion or expression, or a performance of a song or poem.
(This CD contains new renditions of old Beatles tunes. The singers rendered the song with enthusiasm. We see that freight railroads make good profits while rendering excellent service)
Bereavement(n)
the death of a close relative or friend. The fact or state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one.
(She has recently suffered a bereavement. Having a close relative or friend who has recently died. The bereaved parents wept openly. The bereaved people whose relatives or friends have recently died)
Detriment(n)
harm or damage or causing harm and working against something. The noun detriment means "harm" or "damage". The adj detrimental is a more sophisticated way of saying "harmful".
(Are you sure that I can follow this diet without detriment to my health? She was very involved with sports at college, to the detriment of her studies. I hope that our decision to make this investment isn't detrimental to our financial future.)
Idiosyncrasy(n)
a peculiar way of behaving or thinking that is particular to an individual or group.
(A person's idiosyncrasy is a peculiar quirk or habit that makes someone unique. Marc had some odd idiosyncrasies, like asking people to take their shoes off before entering his office. Her obsession with velvet Sinatra paintings was just one of her many idiosyncrasies.)
Truculent(adj)
aggressive and defiant, displaying great anger and inclined to fight, belligerent.
(Bob was a truculent man who didn't like following rules and would fight people who tried to tell him what to do. Because of his truculent personality, he has been in several fights recently)
Latent(adj)
present or existing, but needing certain conditions in order to be apparent, expressed, or developed.
(Frank had a latent heart condition that went undetected until it was too late. Lisa discovered her latent artistic abilities after she took a class in ceramics. Although Frank appears quiet and meek, I have a feeling he has a latent talent for negotiating)
Cull(v)
to remove something undesirable or inferior from a group, to select or pick something from a group, especially to use as an example.
(The scientists wished to cull test subjects who refused to follow protocol. The network decided to cull the best photographs of the President in light of the upcoming political campaign. Now that I've done all of my research, I'll have to cull the data in a concise report.)
Enmesh(v)
to catch or entangle in or as if in meshes. To catch or involve someone in something unpleasant or dangerous from which it is difficult to escape.
(The whales are caught by being enmeshed in nets. She has become enmeshed in a tangle of drugs and petty crime. Soon after Eli Whitney had invented it, others copied his cotton gin, and he spent the rest of his life enmeshed in lawsuits trying to protect his invention.)
Resolute(v)
firm in belief or purpose, and characterized by determination. Resolute is related to the words resolve and resolution. When you resolve to do something, you make a firm decision to do it. Likewise, a resolution is a firm decision or determination to do something. So, someone who is resolute in his or her decision is firm and determined to stand by it.
(Many people felt the President failed to lead with conviction and was not resolute in making decisions. Kate's resolute refusal to apologize to her brother put a huge rift in their relationship.)
Befit(v)
to be suitable, fitting, or appropriate to.
(It was a very elegant and opulent dinner, with a table setting that was befitting a king. The Prime Minister was greeted by a twelve-cannon solute, befitting a leader of his stature. As befits their Italian heritage, the meal seemed never to end and consisted of countless courses.)
Lineage(n)
the members of a person's family who are directly related to that person and who lived a long time before him or her. A group of individuals tracing descent from a common ancestor; especially: such a group of persons whose common ancestor is regarded as its founder, the line of ancestors from whom a person is descended.
(She's very proud of her ancient royal lineage. His Italian lineage was very important to him)
Corollary(n)
an inference that follows directly from the proof of another proposition. A practical consequence that follows naturally, something that results from something else.
(Blind jealousy is a frequent corollary of passionate love. Unfortunately, violence is the inevitable corollary of such a revolutionary change in society. One corollary of the attack was that no one trusted them thereafter.)
Vanish(v)
become invisible or unnoticeable, cease to exist, decrease rapidly and disappear, To disappear or stop being present or existing, especially in a sudden, surprising way.
(The child vanished while on her way home from school. We rushed out of the shop in hot pursuit, but the thief had vanished into thin air.)
Clover(n)
A small plant with three round leaves on each stem, often fed to cows. A four leaf clover with a leaf which is divided into four parts rather than the usual three, which is thought to bring good luck to anyone who finds it. To live/be in clover means to enjoy life of wealth and comfort.
(With the income from the family estate, she's in clover.)
Alternate(v,adj)
to happen or exist one after the other repeatedly, with first one thing, then another thing, and then the first thing again. If something happens on alternate days, it happens every second day.)
(She alternated between cheerfulness and deep despair. Private cars are banned from the city on alternate days. He alternated working in the office with long tours overseas.)
Endure(v)
to come to knowledge of something by living through it (an elderly couple who have endured the ups and downs of a half century of married life), to put up with something painful or difficult (At some point we all have to endure the loss of a beloved pet. The fashion business is built on change, since nobody expects a particular clothing style to endure.)
Spellbound(v)
to hold the attention of as if by a spell (The tale about pirates and their buried treasure spellbound him for hours) An event or a person that attracts people's complete attention (The final game of the tennis match was a real spellbinder. At the circus, the children are spellbound, watching the acrobats perform.)
Visceral(adj, n)
obtained through intuition rather than from reasoning or observation, based on emotional reactions rather than on reason or thought, relating to the viscera; the large organs inside the body, including the heart, stomach, lungs and intestines.
(His approach to acting is visceral rather than intellectual)
Lambaste(v)
to criticize someone or something severely, to criticize severely or angrily especially for personal failings, to strike repeatedly
(Stern schoolmasters who lambasted the boys for the smallest violation of the rules. His first novel was well and truly lambasted by the critics.)
Flux(n)
continuous change.
Our plans are in a state of flux at the moment.
Resonant(adj)
clear and loud, or causing sounds to be clear and loud. making you think of a similar experience or memory.
(A deep, resonant voice. A resonant concert hall. We felt privileged to be the first group of Western visitors to enter the historic palace, resonant with past conflicts.)
Beleaguer(v)
to annoy or harass, to surround with an army. To beleaguer someone is to annoy severely. It originates from the Dutch word belegeren, which literally means "to camp around".
(He was beleaguered by worries of losing his job. Our camp was beleaguered by an army of ants in the middle of the night.)
Ingrain(v)
deeply rooted into habit or constitution. Ideas and principles can become ingrained, or deeply rooted, into the natural fiber of a person or culture. When something is ingrained it is deep-seated and nearly impossible to change or remove.
(The harsh memories became ingrained within her, causing her to have nightmares and irrational fears. Our holiday traditions are ingrained within our family, and we would never think of changing them.)
Arcane(adj)
requiring secret or mysterious knowledge to be understood, difficult to understand.
(The arcane rites of passage involved in the granting of academic tenure are a mystery to all but the initiated. His arcane observations about the world were a mystery to me.
Point-blank(adj, adv)
aimed or fired straight at the mark esp from close range; direct, straightforward, plain, or explicit: a point-blank denial.
(He was shot in the back, point-blank. He asked me point-blank if I was lying)
Ingratiate(v)
to make someone like you by praising or trying to please them.
(He's always trying to ingratiate himself with his boss. An ingratiating smile/manner)
Premise(n)
An idea or theory on which a statement or action is based.
(They had started with the premises that all men are created equal. The research project is based on the premise stated earlier.)
Implicate(v)
to suggest or imply, to make a connection between people and events, especially pertaining to a crime, to weave to twist together.
(The new evidence implicates more suspects in this complicated crime. The way he told the story implicated wrong doing on my part)
Impasse(n)
a point where no agreement can be made, and progress is halted, a road with only one way to get in and out.
(After days of talks, labor negotiations hit an impasse. I couldn't take my usual route to work because construction had created an impasse.)
Synonyms: standstill, deadlock, stalemate.
Importune(v)
to make repeated forceful requests for something, usually in a way that is annoying or inconvenient. to request sex with someone in retrun for payment)
(As a tourist, you are importuned for money the moment you step outside your hotel. He was arrested for importuning a young boy outside the station.)
Girth(n)
the distance around the outside of a thick or fat object, like a tree or a body.
(The oak was 2 metres in girth. He was a man of massive girth. His ample girth was evidence of his love of good food.)
Glower(n,v)
an angry stare, look at with a fixed gaze, look angry or sullen, wrinkle one's forehead, as if to signal disapproval, to look very angry, annoyed or threatening.
(Baseball fans glowering at the TV as they watched their favorite team lose. The old man just sat in his rocking chair and silently glowered at the uninvited guess.)
Gibe(n)
An insulting remark that is intended to make someone look stupid.
(Unlike many other politicians, he refuses to indulge in cheap gibes at other people's expense)
Evade(v)
to get or keep away from (as a responsibility) through cleverness or trickery. To avoid facing up to (evaded the real issues). To avoid the performance of. To fail to pay taxes. To avoid answering directly.
(Just give me an answer and stop evading the question. The police have assured the public that the escaped prisoners will not evade recapture for long. He can't evade doing military service forever.)
Goad(v)
to provoke or try to incite someone to do something.
(The group tried to goad Marc into singing karaoke by telling him he was a "chicken" if he didn't do it. The President delivered several speeches intended to goad Congress into enacting new legislation.)
Expunge(v)
to purposely delete information from a piece of writing, to wipe out or destroy, as in a memory or an offense.
(A proofreader will scrutinize text and expunge unnecessary words, phrases, or sentences. Lisa's underwent hypnosis in order to expunge the terrible memory. Joanne had tried to quit several times, but once she became pregnant, she expunged her smoking habit once and for all.)
Expiate(v)
to extinguish the guilt incurred by, to make amends for. to show regret for bad behavior by doing something to express that you are sorry and by accepting punishment.
To expiate a crime/sin.
Eclectic(adj)
made up of parts from various styles. Deriving ideas or style from a broad and varied range of sources. Made up of elements from various sources; choosing what is best or preferred from a variety of sources or styles.
(He has a very eclectic taste in literature. She had an eclectic taste in music and was always listening to something new.)
Expound(v)
to give a detailed description or answer.
(The professor decided to expound on the underlying message of the book for the entire 50-minute lecture. If you like, I could expound on the issue further)
Edify(v)
to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge. EDIFICATION: the improvement of the mind and understanding, especially by learning. To provide someone with moral or spiritual understanding.
(The BBC has a family-oriented show that tried to edify the television audience as well as entertain it.)
Eddy(n)
a current of water or air running contrary to the main current; especially a circular current (whirlpool)
(The water eddied around in a whirlpool. The water eddied ceaselessly in the wake of the boat.)
Decry(v)
to openly criticize something or someone.
(The animal rights activists decried the use of animals in the testing of cosmetics. She decried his involvement in the scandal and said she would never let him live it down.)
Synonyms: condemn, disparage, criticize
Dearth(n)
a falling short of an essential or desirable amount or number. An amount or supply which is not large enough; a lack.
(The region is suffering from a dearth of medical specialists. There was a dearth of usable firewood at the campsite.)
Denigrate(v)
to belittle someone or something, to defame someone, to deny the importance of something.
(You shouldn't denigrate Phil's abilities; he isn't a great pianist, but he is talented. Even though the critics denigrated the author for her unpopular attitudes on many social issues, her book sold briskly and was widely quoted.)
Synonyms: belittle, defame, disparage, malign
Demure(adj)
modestly shy, often in a playful or flirtatious way.
(Her demure manner in front of her boyfriend's parents effectively hid her wild side. He gave his teacher a demure smile.)
Confection(n)
a decorated cake or unusual sweet dish, a sweet preparation of fruit or the like.
(Following the main course there were assorted confections so delicious, looking as to temp even determined dieters.)
Collusion(n)
A secret conspiracy between people or companies for illegal, deceitful, or fraudulent purposes. To collude is similar to collaborate, except instead of collaborating with the enemy, there is general cooperation to deceive another.
(The casino employees pulled off a major robbery in collusion with professional thieves. Large corporations sometimes act in collusion to raise prices on a product, leaving disgruntled consumers few choices.)
Bilk(v)
to cheat someone out of something, especially money. To avoid paying debt or a person to whom money is owned.
(The company bilked its investors out of millions of dollars. He bilked his creditors by moving tho South America.)
Billet(n)
A place especially for soldiers to stay in for a short time.
(The army's billet is the largest in the region. Our billets were about a mile out of town.)
Concur(v)
to agree with someone or have the same opinion as someone else, to agree or have the same opinion as some else, to occur or exist at the same time.
(The board concurred that the editor should have full control over editorial matters. The lively 1960s, a decade in which the Cold War, the race to the moon, the VietNam War, and the civil rights movement all concurred.)
Conduit(n)
the means or channel by which something is transmitted or conveyed, such as information, a pipe or channel used to carry water or other liquids, a pipe or tube used for protecting electrical wires.
(The undercover police officer had a few trusted conduits of information upon whom he relied. The computers were connected through a system of conduits)
Rendition(n)
the way that something is performed, written, drawn.
(Her rendering of the song was delightful)
Betoken(v)
to be a sign of something. To typify beforehand, to give evidence of.
(The blue sky betokened a day of good weather.)
Burgeon(n)
to grow and flourish.
(The buds I planted last fall will burgeon into beautiful flowers come spring. The once burgeoning high-tech stocks have been flat for over six months.)
Synonyms: grow, blossom, bloom, flourish
Antonyms: diminish, shrink
Breach(n,v)
a breaking of the law or of a rule, break, violate, or trespass.
(I know that if I do not follow the appropriate protocol or do not uphold my end of the agreement, I can be accused of breach of contract. The counselor told the struggling couple that the breach in their relationship was not insurmountable)
Adage(n)
a wise saying, proverb.
(He remembered the old adage 'Look before you leap'.)
Ardent(adj)
enthusiastic or passionate. Ardent combines eagerness with intense feelings of passion or devotion.
(An ardent lover; an ardent theatergoer. He is an ardent baseball fan. An ardent suitor)
Synonyms: passionate, fervent, zealous, fervid, wholehearted, vehement, intense.
Abjure(v)
to give up, to renounce, to state publicly that you no longer agree with a belief or way of behaving. To swear to give up.
(He abjured his religion. She decided to abjure lying.)
Accolade(n)
an expression signifying praise, distinction, or approval. Public praise of somebody's achievements. Any award, honor or laudatory notice.
(The lead dancer received flowers as accolades for her performance. Her approval was the highest accolade he could have received.)
Abase(v)
to make yourself seem to be less important or not deserve respect, to lower in character or dignity. To reduce to a lower standing in one's own eyes or in others' eyes.
(Frank was unwilling to abase himself by pleading guilty to a crime that he did not commit. I certainly don't abase myself when I do good, honest manual labor.)
Abdicate(v)
to give up something (esp a position) formally. To stop controlling or managing something that you are in charge of.
(King Edward abdicated the British throne in 1936. She was accused of abdicating all responsibility for the project. I think it's an abdication of your responsibility if you don't vote.)
Bear Market
a market characterized by falling prices for securities. A market in which share prices are falling. The opposite of Bull Market.
Impugn(v)
to cause people to doubt someone's character, qualities or reputation by criticizing them.
(He could no longer work as a doctor because his reputation had been impugned. Are you impugning my competence as a professional designer?)
Belie(v)
to show something to be false, or to hide something such as an emotion, to represent something falsely or to hide something behind something very different.
(Her calm face belied the terror she was feeling. His gruff manner belied a gentle personality.)
Bull Market
A market, especially a stock market, characterized by rising prices; opposite of a bear market.
Mull(v)
to reflect deeply on a subject, to think carefully about something for a long time. To ponder or to reflect.
(I need a few days to mull things over, before I make a decision)
Decouple(v)
to separate or disengage one thing from another. To eliminate the interrelationship.
(The issue threatened to decouple Europe from the United States.)
Scornful(adj)
feeling or showing open dislike for someone or something regarded as undeserving or respect or concern.
(Frank gave the other science projects a scornful look. She has nothing but scorn for the new generation of politicians.)
Adroit(adj)
displaying physical or mental skill.
(The repair was not difficult for the adroit handyman. Barry's adroit driving helped to avoid a serious accident.)
Grapple(v)
To fight, especially in order to gain something. To hold onto someone and fight with them. To try to deal with or understand a difficult problem or subject.
(The children grappled for the ball. Two officers grappled with the gunman. Today, many Americans are still grappling with the issue of race.)
Protract(v)
lengthen in time; cause to be or last longer, to prolong in time or space, to extend forward or outward. Prolong, draw out.
(I have no desire to protract the process. Disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.)
Commensurate(adj)
in a correct and suitable amount compared to something else.
(A salary that is commensurate with skills and experience. We are changing our pay structure for the sales team so that pay will be commensurate with sales revenue.)
Brunt(n)
the brunt of: the main force of something unpleasant, to receive the worst part of something unpleasant.
(The infantry have taken the brunt of the missile attacks. Small companies are feeling the full brunt of the recession.)
Ambient(adj)
relating to the immediate surroundings of something (especially of environmental conditions)
(Ambient conditions/lightning/noise/temperature. Ambient music)
Probe(v)
to search into or examine something. A careful and detailed examination.
(Investigators are probing into drug dealing in the area. The probe explored allegations of corruption in the police department.)
Spillover(n)
an extension of something especially when an excess exists. An amount of liquid which has become too much for the object that contains it and flows or spreads out: the effects of an activity which have spread beyond what was originally intended.
(We are now witnessing a spillover of the war into neighboring regions. The spillover from the adjacent river flooded the lower fields. We are benefiting from a spillover of prosperity from neighboring states.)
Laggard(n)
something or someone who lags or takes a long time to do something, reluctant and tending to get left behind, tending to waste time.
(The laggard legislation could not get the budget together. My laggard co-worker has made us late to every meeting we've attended together.
Windfall(n)
a piece of fruit blown down from a tree, an amount of money that you win or receive from someone unexpectedly.
(I tend to leave the windfalls for the birds to pick at. Investors each received a windfall of $3000)
Retrogress(v)
To return to an older and worse state.
(retrogressive and disastrous policies. If you do not follow the doctor's orders, your condition will retrogress.)
Relegate(v)
refer or assign to another person for decision or judgment, assign to a class or particular kind, to demote somebody or something to an obscure status or condition.
(Janet needed to relegate her research to colleagues so she could rush to meet her boss for their appointment. Since the company couldn't force him to retire, he was relegated to a titular position without any power of purpose.)
Logjam(n)
something that blocks the ability to do other things, a jumble of logs jammed together in a watercourse.
(They're trying to break the logjam in negotiations. They broke the logjam by starting a series of discussions)
Synonyms: deadlock, impasse
Pipe Dream(n)
a fantastic but vain hope. An unattainable goal, hope or plan, not very likely to be realized.
(Her plans for a movie career are just a pipe dream. I have this pipe dream about being emperor of the universe.)
Churn(v)
agitate or turn milk or cream into butter, move about vigorously.
(The cream is ripened before it is churned. The seas churned. Her stomach was churning at the thought of the ordeal. In high winds most of the lake is churned up.)
Deprave(v)
lead away from what is natural or right; corrupt. To lower in character or dignity.
(The belief that pornography depraves society as a whole. A depraved character/mind. Someone who can kill a child like that must be totally depraved.)
Restive(adj)
impatient and tense, especially under restrain or in a forced delay, unwilling to be controlled or calmed.
(The clients are becoming restive, and are complaining about the slow turnaround time for their cases. There was a sense that the protestors were beginning to get restive, and riot police were brought in to control them)
Synonyms: impatient, uneasy, agitated, fidgety, jittery, restless, uptight, obstinate, stubborn, unyielding.
Antonyms: patient, calm, peaceful.
Encrust(v)
form a crust or a hard layer; cover or coat with crust; decorate or cover lavishly with gems.
(The refrigerator shelves were encrusted with the residue of many spills.)
Lagniappe(n)
something given in addition to what is ordinarily expected or owes. Something given to someone without expectation of a return.
(The hotel threw in some free shampoo as a lagniappe. The meal was served with a lagniappe of freshly made cornbread.)
Quaint(adj)
attractive because of being unusual and especially old-fashioned.
(A quaint old cottage. Her manner of speaking is quaint, and I quiet enjoy her unusual diction.)
Parochial(adj)
belonging to or related to a parish, narrow-minded.
(The parents removed their children from a public school and enrolled them in a parochial school. Mary's parochial views frustrated her liberal, free-thinking daughter.)
Impenetrable(adj)
impossible to see through or go through, impossible to understand.
(Outside, the fog was thick and impenetrable. An impenetrable barrier. Some of the lyrics on their latest album are completely impenetrable.)
Mind-numbing(adj)
inspiring no interest or thought, especially because of dullness or repetitiveness; so extreme or intense as to prevent normal thought, extremely boring: a mind-numbing task is extremely boring. I quit my mind-numbing job and leave for New York.
Douse(v)
to make something or someone wet by throwing a lot of liquid over them. To stop a fire or light from burning or shining, especially by putting water on it or by covering it with something.
(We watched as demonstrators doused a car in petrol and set it alight.)
Analogy(n)
if you make or draw an analogy between two things, you show that they are similar in some way. A comparison based on such similarity, often used to help explain something or make it easier to understand.
(He drew an analogy between the brain and a vast computer. It is sometimes easier to illustrate and abstract concept by analogy with something concrete.)
Hefty(adj)
large in amount, size, force.
(A hefty bill/fine. Her salary will go up by a hefty 10%. A hefty woman with dyed blond hair)
Unequivocal(adj)
clear and definite, allowing no doubt or confusion.
(My mother's message was clear and unequivocal. When delegating tasks and giving out orders, it is important to use unequivocal terms so that no one is confused.)
Mantra(n)
commonly repeated word or phrase.
(Her personal mantra was: never give up. Repeating a mantra during meditation may lead to enhanced relaxation. I have a lot of work to accomplish, so my mantra for today is: focus, focus, focus.)
Inadvertent(adj)
marked by unintentional lack of care, not duly attentive, done carelessly, not focusing the mind on a matter. An inadvertent action is one that you do without realizing what you are doing.
(The government has said it was an inadvertent error. The inadvertent error cost them several days of extra work.)
Meticulous(adj)
very careful and with great attention to detail, marked by extreme or excessive care in the consideration or treatment of details. Someone who is meticulous, is extremely careful and picky in attention to detail.
(Many hours of meticulous preparation have gone into writing the book. He painted a meticulous portrait of the actress.)
Incongruous(adj)
out of place, and not suitable for the occasion. Not consistent with something else. Not blending in.
(The new Mac computer looked incongruous on the antique desk. It seems incongruous to have an out of shape and overweight fitness trainer.
Offish(adj)
lacking cordiality, inclined to be distant and reserved, aloof in manner, reluctant to show friendship or enter into conversation with other people.
(Lisa was criticized by Mark because of her offish attitude. Frank's offish behaviour stirred a conflict in the office.)
Tardy(adj)
slow in action or response, done later than it should have been done.
(Dinner was somewhat delayed on account of David's rather tardy arrival.)
Smorgasbord(n)
A buffet offering a variety of hot and cold dishes. A number of different things, a wide collection, a great variety.
A great smorgasbord of cars was on display.
Eradicate(v)
to destroy or get rid of something completely, so that it can never return. To eliminate, to annihilate.
(I wish I could eradicate the ant problem once and for all. Their goal was to eradicate poverty)
Perfunctory(adj)
done quickly, hasty and without attention to detail. Lacking interest or enthusiasm.
(The operator answered the phone with a perfunctory greeting. She gave the list only a perfunctory glance.)
Glib(adj)
speaking or spoken in a confident and persuasive way but without honesty or careful consideration.
(He's a glib, self-centered man. No one was convinced by his glib answers.)
Pun(n)
an amusing use of a word or phrase that has several meanings or that sounds like another word, word play, an amusing use of a word or phrase which has several meanings or which sounds like another word.
Ubiquitous(adj)
seeming to be in all places.
(Leather is very much in fashion this season, as of course is the ubiquitous denim. The Swedes are not alone in finding their language under pressure from the ubiquitous spread of English.)
Blithe(adj)
lightheartedly happy, carefree and unconcerned.
(Somehow, no matter how many obstacles she faces, she maintains a blithe and bubbly attitude. Although Henry is a brilliant scholar, his blithe disregard of tradition and etiquette has caused him to get into trouble from time to time.)
Insouciance(n)
A lack of concern shown by someone about something which they might be expected to take more seriously. It's a cheerful feeling of not caring or worrying about anything.
(I admired his youthful insouciance. Frank strolled through the house with an air of insouciance.)
Inundate(v)
to be covered with water, especially floodwater, to flood. To be overwhelmed, to be given or sent so many things that cannot deal with.
(Her office was inundated with request for tickets. When her friends heard about Jenna big promotion, her office was inundated with congratulatory flowers.)
Laud(v)
to praise someone or something highly, to admire or to glorify or to honor something or someone.
(U2's last single is lauded by the music press. Frank's work for the charity is laudable.)
Mar(v)
to harm the appearance or quality of something. To spoil or detract from something. To reduce the soundness, effectiveness or perfection of something.
(It was a really nice weekend, marred only by a little argument in the car on the way home. The celebration were marred by violence.)
Repent(v)
to make a change for the better as a result or remorse for one's sins. If you repent, you show or say that you are sorry for something you have done.
(He repented just hours before he died. Those who refuse to repent, he said, will be punished.)
Vaunt(v)
A vain display of one's own worth or attainments. To boast. Speech of extravagant self-praise.
(The bank much-vaunted security system failed completely. Reagan's much-vaunted economic miracle.)
Shylock(n,v)
loan shark, to shylock is to lend money at exorbitant rates.
(My banker is a real shylock)
Achilles'heel
a weakness or vulnerable point. A weakness that seems small but makes somebody or something fatally vulnerable.
(His Achilles Heel is his quick temper)
Red Tape
excessive formality and routine required before official action can be taken. The collection or sequence of forms and procedures required to gain bureaucratic approval for something, especially when oppressively complex and time-consuming.
(All the red tape and paperwork that goes on there prevents any progress.)
Maroon(v)
to place in an isolated and often dangerous position, to abandon and leave without aid or resources.
(Having lost all his money, he was marooned in the strange city. The rising floodwaters marooned us on top of the house.)
Innate(adj)
Belonging to the essential nature if something. An innate quality or ability is one which a person is born with.
(Lisa has an innate ability to sense when someone was unhappy. Some people think leadership is an innate skill that you are born with, others believe leadership skills can be learned.)
Erroneous(adj)
mistaken, incorrect, or containing error.
(My erroneous planning is to blame for our missed deadline. Generally, newspapers will retract and apologize for erroneous headlines and statements.)
Paucity(n)
A paucity of means that there is less than is needed of something. A paucity means smallness of number or quantity.
(There is a paucity of information. Even the film's impressive finale can't hide the first hour's paucity of imagination.)
Spearhead(v)
to lead something such as an attack or a course of action.
(British troops spearheaded the invasion. Joe Walker will be spearheading our new marketing initiative.)
Leapfrog(v)
to improve your position by going past other people quickly or by missing out some stages, to improve your position by moving quickly past or over something that blocks your way.
(They've leapfrogged from third to first place. She leapfrogged several older colleagues to get the manager's post.)
Raucous(adj)
unpleasantly loud and noisy.
(The resting firefighters jumped when they heard the raucous fire alarm. The neighbors called the police about the raucous music coming from next door.)
Wily(adj)
clever at obtaining what you want by playing tricks on others. Clever at getting what you want, and willing to trick people.
(Frank was outwitted by his willy opponent. Lisa's boss is a willy old fox.)
Terse(adj)
Using few words and often not seeming polite or friendly. Devoid of superfluity. If you do something tersely, you do it in a brief and sometimes in a rude or unfriendly way.
(The police officer was shouting terse orders for vehicles to pull over. Jack made a reply tersely and ended up the conversation.)
Subpoena(v)
to be ordered to come to a court of law and give evidence as a witness.
Egregious(adj)
An egregious error, failure, problem, etc, is extremely bad and noticeable, conspicuous bad.
Ablaze(adj)
on fire, burning strongly, brightly lit, radiant with bright colors, showing strong emotion or excitement.
(The house was ablaze, and the flames and smoke could be seen for miles around. The ballroom was ablaze with lights. The field was ablaze with poppies and wild flowers. Her eyes were ablaze with excitement.)
Enviable(adj)
highly desirable; likely to evoke feelings of envy. UNENVIABLE describes a duty or necessary action that is unpleasant or difficult.
(She's in the enviable position of being able to choose who she works for.)
Temerity(n)
boldness, reckless confidence that might be offensive. Excessive confidence to do or say something that shocks or upsets other people.
(She had the temerity to call me a liar.)
Kilter(n)
good working order or condition. OUT OF KILTER = out of harmony or balance.
(Missing more than one night's sleep can throw your body out of kilter.)
Spat(n)
a short argument or disagreement about something unimportant, to quarrel briefly over a minor thing.
(She was having a spat with her brother about who did the washing up.)
Engulf(v)
to surround or to cover something completely. Or to affect you very strongly.
(The flames rapidly engulfed the house. Northern areas of the country were engulfed in a snowstorm last night. The war is threatening to engulf the entire region.)
Ham-fisted(adj)
not at all skillful with your hands, clumsy, lacking skills when using your hands or when dealing with people.
(The report criticizes the ham-fisted way in which complaints were dealt with.)
Ironclad(adj)
solid or certain, not able to be disputed or questioned. Not capable of being attacked or refuted. Also, covered with iron, especially as a protection or armor.
(Iron-clad rules.)
Folksy(adj)
If you describe something as folksy, you mean that it is simple and has a style characteristic of folk craft and tradition. If you describe someone as folksy, you mean that they are friendly and informal in their behavior.
(The book has a certain folksy charm.)
Prowess(n)
great skill at doing something, and extraordinary ability, distinguished bravery, especially military valor and skill.
(Athletic/sporting prowess. He's always boasting about his sexual prowess.)
Trite(adj)
Overused and consequently lacking in interest or originality. Dull on account or overuse. Not fresh and hackneyed.
(His lyrics about love and peace are to trite for me to take them seriously. I know it will sound trite, but I've loved being part of this club.)
Precipitous(adj)
very high and steep. Of a change in a condition: sudden and dramatic. Precipitous means steep in both literal and figurative senses.
(A precipitous mountain path. Over the past 18 months, there has been a precipitous fall in car sales.)
Throe(n)
mostly used as plural (throes). Intense or violent pain and struggle. Effects of severe physical pain. In the throes of...= in the middle of, in the process of, struggling with.
(The country is presently in the throes of the worst recession since the second world war. He's in the throes of a mid-life crisis which makes him rather difficult to live with.)
Ferocious(adj)
very fierce, very extreme, violently unfriendly or aggressive in disposition. Unrestrained violence and brutality.
(A ferocious dog, a ferocious battle. She's got a ferocious temper.)
Indict(v)
to formally accuse or charge with a serious crime. To charge, to take to court, to accuse.
(He was indicted on drug charges at Snaresbrook Crown Court. Five people were indicted of making and selling counterfeit currency.)
Salient(adj)
particularly noticeable, the salient facts are the most important things.
(She began to summarize the salient points of the proposal. The article presented the salient facts of the dispute clearly and concisely.)
Converge(v)
to meet, to reach at the same point coming from different connections. Become same; become gradually less different and eventually the same. Arrive at same destination.
(The paths all converge at the main gate of the park. Due to roadworks, three lanes of traffic have to converge into two.)
Diverge(v)
to separate and go in different directions, to differ to some extent, to deviate from or not fit in with something such as a typical pattern.
(The walked along the road together until they reached the village, but then their paths diverged. Although the two organizations have worked together for many years, their objectives have diverged recently.)
Plethora(n)
excessive amount, a larger amount than you need, want or can deal with. A superabundance.
(There's a plethora of books about the royal family. The plethora of rules and regulations is both contradictory and confusing.)
Henpeck(v)
(of a women) continually criticize and order about her husband. A henpecked man is controlled by, harassed by his wife.
Retrospect(n)
the remembering of past events, thinking about or reviewing the past, especially from a new perspective, or with new information.
(In retrospect, I think my marriage was doomed from the beginning. I'm sure my university days seem happier in retrospect than they really were.)
Fraught(adj)
Full of or accompanied by problems, dangers, or difficulties. Full of unpleasant things. Causing or affected by anxiety or stress.
(The negotiations have been fraught with difficulties right from the start. From beginning to end, the airlift was fraught with risks. This is one of the most fraught weekends of the year for the security forces.)
Devoid(adj)
to lack or be without something that is necessary or usual. Not possessing, untouched by, void, or destitute. To be devoid of something means to lack something.
(Their apartment is devoid of all comforts. He seems to be devoid of compassion.)
Chafe(v)
To make sore or worn by rubbing. To press with friction. To be irritated or annoyed.
(The bracelet was so tight that it started to chafe my wrist. We have been chafing under petty regulations for too long.)
Consensus(n)
An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole. A generally wide accepted opinion. Wide agreement.
(The general consensus in the office is that he's useless at his job. Could we reach a consensus on this matter? Let's take a vote.)
Champ(v)
to make biting movements. To bite upon. IDIOM: champing at the bit; show impatience; to be eager and not willing to wait to do something.
(He was chomping away on a bar of chocolate. There she sat, happily chomping her breakfast.)
Recluse(n)
a person who lives a solitary life and tends to avoid other people. Somebody living apart from others, a solitary person who lives alone.
(He is a millionaire recluse who refuses to give interviews.)
Tenet(n)
A principle of belief, something accepted as important truth. An opinion or belief held to be true by someone or especially an organization.
(It is a tenet of contemporary psychology that an individual's mental health is supported by having good social networks.)
Captivate(v)
attract and hold the interest and attention of, enchant somebody, to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence; enchant.
(With her beauty and charm, she captivated film audiences everywhere.)
Resuscitate(v)
to revive somebody or be revived; to revive somebody from unconsciousness or apparent death. OR to return to popularity, to revive waning interest in something such as a style or project.)
(Her heart had stopped, but the doctors successfully resuscitated her.)
Laconic(adj)
using very few words, concise. Tending not to speak frequently.
(She had a laconic wit.)
Lavish(adj)
to be extravagant with something, to give or spend something generously or to excess. Lavished attention on the child.
(Lavish spending, lavish banquets. The evening was a lavish affair with glorious food and an endless supply of champagne. The lavish production makes this musical truly memorable.)
Pertain(v)
have relevance, to have reference or a connection to something. Be appropriate or suitable. To be part of belong to something.
(We are only interested in the parts of the proposals that pertain to local issues.)
Drub(v)
to defeat severely. To defeat decisively. To instill forcefully.
Incredulous(adj)
unwilling or unable to believe something. Skeptical, disbelieving, inclined to doubt or question claims.
("Did you see that?" she asked incredulously. A few incredulous spectators watched as Paterson, ranked 23rd in the world, beat the champion.)
Wallop(v)
to strike or hit someone/somebody very hard, to strike with a great force, or to create a forceful effect. To defeat somebody decisively.
(My mother gave me such a wallop when she eventually found me. "How did your tennis match go last night?" Oh, I was walloped again.)
Buoyant(adj)
cheerful or optimistic, able to float or pushing upward or rise to the surface of a fluid. Quick to recover emotionally, tending to recover quickly from a disappointment or failure.
(After reading the letter he was in a buoyant mood.)
Avid(adj)
having or showing a keen interest, having an eager desire for something. Insatiable desire.
(An avid football fan, an avid supporter of the arts. He took an avid interest in the project. She hadn't seen him for six months and was avid for news.)
Vernacular(n)
the form of a language that a regional or other group of speakers use naturally, especially in informal situations.
(The French I learned at school is very different from the local vernacular of the village where I'm now living. Many Roman Catholics regret the replacing of the Latin mass by the vernacular.)
Contrive(v)
to do something creatively, to accomplish something by being clever, to make something ingenious. To manage something, to accomplish something difficult or unexpected. To plot, to formulate clever or deceitful schemes.
(Couldn't you contrive a meeting between them? Somehow she contrived to get tickets for the concert.)
Specious(adj)
seeming to be right or true, but really wrong or false.
(a specious argument/claim. specious allegations/promises)
Munificent(adj)
very liberal in giving; generous, showing great generosity: a munificent gift.
(A former student has donated a munificent sum of money to the college.)
Noisome(adj)
bad for the well being of the body. Bad smelling, having an unpleasant smell, causing intense displeasure.
(a noisome stench)
Lackadaisical(adj)
lacking enthusiasm, lacking energy. Carelessly lazy and listless. Lethargic. Done without interest or vigor.
(The food was nice enough but the service was rather lackadaisical)
Veracity(n)
conformity to facts, accuracy, habitual truthfulness. The quality of being true, honest or accurate. Correctness.
(Doubts were cast on the veracity of her alibi after three people claimed to have seen her at the scene of the robbery.)
Recrimination(n)
argument between people who are blaming each other.
(The peace talks broke down and ended in bitter mutual recrimination.)
Fortify(v)
to strengthen a place with defensive works so as to protect it against attack. It to strengthen or invigorate mentally or physically.
(They hurriedly fortified the village with barricades of carts, tree trunks and whatever came to hand. He fortified himself with a drink and a sandwich before driving on.)
Inkling(n)
A slight knowledge or suspicion, a hint, a faint idea about a fact, event or person.
(I didn't have the slightest inkling that she was unhappy. He must have had some inkling of what was happening.)
Badger(v)
to persuade someone by telling them repeatedly to do something, or to question someone repeatedly.
(Stop badgering me - I'll do it when I'm ready. She's been badgering me into doing some exercise. Every time we go into a shop, the kids badger me to buy them sweets.)
Chary(adj)
Cautious about the amount one gives or reveals. Wary or reluctant to share, give or use something.
(I'm a bit chary of using a travel agency that doesn't have official registration.)
Incorrigible(adj)
impossible to change, very difficult to correct or reform. Unruly and unmanageable.
(An incorrigible liar/rogue)
Deft(adj)
quick and skillful, moving or acting in a quick, smooth and skillful way. Dexterous.
(Her movements were deft and quick. She answered the journalist's questions with a deft touch. He's very deft at handling awkward situations.)
Aboveboard(adj)
without deceit or trickery; straightforward. Without concealment or deception; honest.
(Their business was open and aboveboard.)
Barefaced(adj)
without disguise; unconcealed. Undisguisedly bold; brazen.
(That's a barefaced lie!)
Apoplectic(adj)
furious, overcome with anger, extremely and noticeably angry, or in a state of violent excitement.
(He was apoplectic with rage.)
Flippant(adj)
not taking something seriously enough, showing lack of seriousness that is thought inappropriate. Marked by disrespectful levity or casualness.
(The audience was shocked by his flippant remarks about patriotism.)
Foist(v)
impose something on somebody. To force somebody to accept something undesirable. OR to give somebody something inferior on the pretense that it's genuine, valuable or desirable.
(I try not to foist my values on the children but it's hard.)
Flack(n)
(n)strong adverse criticism. (v) to promote.
Libel(n)
defamation, a false and malicious published statement that damages somebody's reputation. Attacking of somebody's reputation.
(She threatened to sue the magazine for libel.)
Acerbic(adj)
describes something that is spoken or written in a way that is direct, clever and cruel.
(The letters show the acerbic wit for which Parker was both admired and feared.)
Bombast(n)
high-sounding language with little meaning, used to impress people. Pompous language, full of long or pretentious words, boastful.
(A bombastic preacher, a bombastic statement.)
Recuse(v)
disqualify somebody, to declare yourself to be disqualified to judge something or participate in something because of possible bias or personal interest.
(The judge recused himself)
Pesky(adj)
Irritating, annoying, or troublesome. Those pesky kids from the neighbors, those pesky weeds.
Sycophant(n)
A person who flatters someone in a servile way. One who uses compliment to gain favor, a person who acts obsequiously toward someone in order to gain advantage.
(The Prime Minister is surrounded by sycophants.)
Indubitable(adj)
obvious or definitely true, and not to be doubted, impossible to doubt, unquestionable.
(An indubitable fact)
Inchoate(adj)
just beginning or developing, imperfectly formed, only partly formed. Rudimentary, undeveloped, unformed.
(I had inchoate suspicions. She had a child's inchoate awareness of language.)
Stonewall(v)
refuse to cooperate, to create obstructions or refuse to cooperate, especially by avoiding questions or providing desired information. Deliberately create delay.
(The interview accused the minister of stonewalling on the issue of tax increases.)
Obfuscate(v)
make something obscure, make something unclear by making it unnecessarily complicated. To make something harder to understand, especially intentionally.
(She was criticized for using arguments that obfuscated the main issue.)
Cantankerous(adj)
Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative. Grouchy, easily angered and difficult to work with. Awkward to use.
(He's getting a bit cantankerous in his old age.)
Castigate(v)
Reprimand someone severely, to criticize harshly and usually publicly. To inflict a penalty on for a fault or crime.
(Health inspectors castigated the kitchen staff for poor standards of cleanliness.)
Digress(v)
leave the main subject temporarily in speech or in writing. Move of central topic. To move away from the central topic, to deviate or wander away from the main topic.
(But I digress. To get back to what I was saying, this poem reflects the poet's love of nature and his religious beliefs.)
Emulate(v)
Match or surpass, typically by imitation. To copy something achieved by someone else and try to do it as well as they have. To strive to equal or excel, especially through imitation.
(They hope to emulate the success of other software companies. Fitzgerald is keen to emulate Martin's record of three successive world titles.)
Piquant(adj)
spicy or salty, having a flavor, taste or smell that is spicy or salty, sharply stimulating or provocative, refreshingly interesting, stimulating, or provocative.
(More piquant details of their private life were revealed. A piquant mixture of spices.)
Retinue(n)
A group of advisors, assistants, or others accompanying an important person. A group of followers, who travel with an important person. Entourage or escort.
Coterie(n)
A small group of people with shared interests or tastes, esp. one that is exclusive or other people. An intimate and often exclusive group of people with a unifying common interest or purpose.
(A coterie of writers.)
Vet(v)
make a careful and critical examination of something. To investigate someone thoroughly, esp in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness. To check or investigate particularly with regard to providing formal approval.
(During the war, the government vetted all news reports before they were published. The bank carefully vets everyone who applies for an account.)
Recalcitrant(adj)
having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline. Unwilling to do what you are asked or ordered to do, even if it is reasonable.
Quintessential(adj)
representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class. The most typical example or representative.
(Roasted garlic with sheep's milk cheese is the quintessential Corsican meal.)
Abhor(v)
to regard with disgust and hatred. To disapprove or reject something very strongly. To regard with extreme repugnance, detest utterly.
(I abhor all forms of racism. An abhorrent crime. Racism of any kind is abhorrent to me.)
Effulgence(n)
The quality or state of having or giving off light. Brightness or a brilliant light radiating from something. Of a person or their expression. Emanating joy or goodness.
Prolific(adj)
Producing much fruit or many offspring. Of an artist, author, etc. : producing many works. Marked by abundant productivity.
(He was probably the most prolific songwriter of his generation. Rabbits and other rodents are prolific.)
Fathom(v)
Understand a difficult problem after much thought. To understand something usually something profound or mystifying OR to measure the depth of water.
(For years people have been trying to fathom out the mysteries of the whale's song. I can't fathom her at all.)
Hubris(n)
excessive pride leading to nemesis. Excessive pride and ambition that usually leads to downfall.
(He was punished for his hubris.)
Labile(adj)
liable to change, easily altered. Tending to alter quickly and spontaneously. Unstable.
Peruse(v)
Read thoroughly, examine carefully, scrutinize.
(He opened a newspaper and began to peruse the personal ads.)
Shun(v)
persistently avoid, ignore, or reject through caution. To avoid somebody or something intentionally. To evade to get or keep away from through.
(She has shunned publicity since she retired from the theater. After the trial he was shunned by friends and family alike.)
Enshrine(v)
Preserve (a right, tradition, or idea) in a form that ensures it will be protected and respected. Give special protection to so something.
(Almost two and a half million war dead are enshrined at Yasukuni. A lot of memories are enshrined in this photograph album. The right of freedom of speech is enshrined in law.)
Petulant(adj)
childishly sulky or bad-tempered, ill tempered or sulky in a peevish manner.
(Well, he didn't invite me to his party, so I'm certainly not inviting him to mine!" she said petulantly.)
Replete(adj)
Filled or well-supplied with something, very full of or sated by food. Amply or fully equipped, completely or fully supplied with something.
(After two helpings of dessert, Sergio was at last replete. This car has an engine replete with the latest technology.)
Scour(v)
clean or brighten the surface of something by rubbing hard. OR thoroughly searching in order to locate something.
(The police are scouring the countryside for the missing child. I scoured the shops for a blue and white shirt, but I couldn't fine one anywhere.)
Turmoil(n)
A state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty. Confused disturbance, a state of great confusion, commotion or disturbance.
(The whole region is in turmoil. The country is in a state of political turmoil. The Stock Exchange is in turmoil following a huge wave of selling.)
Wobble(v,n)
move unsteadily from side to side. Hesitate or waver between different courses of action; vacillate. Unable or unwilling to reach a decision.
(That bookcase wobbles whenever you put anything on it. I gave the poles a slight wobble and whole tent collapsed.)
Belabor(v)
Argue or elaborate in excessive detail, harp on something, to repeat or discuss something unnecessarily, criticize harshly and usually publicly. To attack or assault someone verbally.
(There's no need to belabor the point- you don't need to keep reminding me. She belabor him with her walking stick.)
Pathology(n)
the scientific study of diseases; a deviation from a healthy and normal condition.
(Ask Angela about the disease that's killing your roses; she specialized in plant pathology in college. Don't believe him, he's a pathological liar. I decided to specialized in pathology during my medical studies because I'm fascinated with finding cures for disease.)
Probity(n)
unquestionable honesty and integrity.
(The president's probity came into question during the scandal. Nuns live lives of honesty and moral probity. The company believed its management should be held to the highest standards of probity.)
Purvey(v)
to provide goods and services, especially as a business, to circulate gossip or information.
(The Italian government purveyed blankets and water to the earthquake victims. Lisa considered herself a purveyor of news and opinion. This company has purveyed clothing to the armed forces for generations.)
Synonyms: supply, provide, furnish, circulate, inform
Antonyms: hinder, impede, limit
Riveting(adj)
arousing and holding the attention of.
(I found the movie riveting and was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was riveted to the television as news of the events unfolded. Marc's lectures were less than riveting, and several students decided to drop the class.)
Synonyms: fascinating, enthralling, spellbinding, captivating
Antonyms: boring, dull, uninteresting, common
Belligerent(adj)
the quality of being hostile, ready to start a fight, or ready to go to war.
(Watch out! Lee's in a belligerent mood.)
Rampant(adj)
happening in an unrestrained manner, flourishing or spreading unchecked. Growing strongly and to a very large size.
(Rampant inflation means that our wage increases soon become worth nothing. Disease is rampant in the overcrowded city)
Wanton(adj)
causing sexual excitement; lustful, sensual, marked by unprovoked, gratuitous maliciousness; capricious and unjust: merciless, inhumane; showing complete lack of care, spend wastefully.
(wanton destruction of human life. A wanton disregard for safety. Wanton extravagance.)
Aficionado(n)
a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about an activity or subject; a person who likes, knows about, and appreciate a usually fervently pursued interest or activity.
(A club for model railway aficionados. An aficionado of French Films.)
Benign(adj)
kindly: having a kind and gentle disposition or appearance; not life-threatening: not a threat to life or long-term health, harmless: neutral or harmless in its effect of influence: favorable: mild or favorable in effect.
( A benign old lady. A benign tumour.)
Novice(n)
beginner: somebody who is beginning or learning an activity and has acquired little skill in it: OR religious student: somebody who has joined a religious order but has not yet taken final vows.
(I've never driven a car before - I'm a complete novice)
Frenetic(adj)
excessively agitated; transported with rage or other violent emotion. Charactereized by feverish activity, confusion, and hurry fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way; marked by great and often stressful excitement or activity.
(There was frenetic trading of the Stock Exchange yesterday.)
Retch(v)
to make the sound and action of vomiting esp when nothing is actually vomited. To try to vomit; an involuntary spasm of ineffectual vomiting.
(The sight of blood makes him retch.)
Camaraderie(n)
feeling of close friendship and trust among a group of people; mutual trust and friendship. A spirit of friendly-good friendship.
(When you've been climbing alone for hours, there's a tremendous sense of camaraderie when you meet another climber.)
Quell(v)
put stop to something; to bring something to an end, usually by means of force suppress bad feeling: To allay a disturbing feeling or thought in a reassuring way. To thoroughly overwhelm and reduce to submission or passivity.
(Police in riot gear were called in to quell the disturbances. This latest setback will have done nothing to quell the growing doubts about the future of the club.
Whim(n)
passing impulse: a sudden thought, idea, or desire, especially one based on impulse rather than reason or necessity. A sudden desire or change of mind. An odd or fanciful or capricious idea.
(We booked the holiday on a whim. You can add what you like to this mixture - brandy, whisky, or nothing at all - as the whim takes you.)
Infest(v)
to overrun a place or site in large numbers and become threatening, harmful, or unpleasant. Be present in large numbers, typically so as to cause damage or disease. To spread or swarm in or over in a troublesome manner.
(The barn was infested with rats.)
Aloof(adj)
physically remote: physically distant or apart describes an unfriendly person who refuses to take part in things: not interested or involved, usually because you do not approve of what is happening.
(She seemed rather aloof when in fact she was just shy. Whatever is happening in the office, she always remains aloof. She kept herself aloof from her husband's business.)
Brink(n)
The point where a new or different situation is about to begin.
(Extreme stress had driven him to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Scientists are on the brink of a major new discovery.)
Austere(adj)
humorless, or suggesting strict self-denial, suggesting physical hardship. Imposing or suggesting physical hardship. Plain and without luxury: plain and simple, without luxury or self-indulgence.
(An austere childhood during the war. The courtroom was a large dark chamber, an austere place.)
Incompetent(adj)
bad at doing something: lacking the skills, qualities, or ability to do something properly, lacking necessary status. Not having the necessary legal status, validity, or powers for the purpose in question.
(He has described the government as corrupt and incompetent.)
Exasperate(v)
to make somebody very angry or frustrated, often by repeatedly doing something annoying. To frustrate; to make angry or annoyed.
(He's becoming increasingly exasperated with the situation.)
Exacerbate(v)
to make an already bad or problematic situation worse, to make more violent, bitter, or severe.
(This attack will exacerbate the already tense relations between the two communities.)
Muddle(v,n)
mix things together in disorder: to mix things together in a confused or disordered way. Confuse or be confused. He became increasingly muddled as he grew older.
Prudence(n)
the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. Sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs. Skill and good judgment in the use of resources. Caution or circumspection as to danger or risk.
(The firm was commended for its financial prudence.)
Combative(adj)
eager to fight or ague. Striving to overcome in argument. Having or showing a ready disposition to fight.
(The prime minister was in a combative mood, twice accusing the opposition of gross incompetence.)
Idle(adj)
not working or in use: not working, operating, producing. or in use lazy: lazy and unwilling to work. Frivolous and a waste of time (idle pleasures). Unfounded: having no basis in fact idle gossip.
(Half these factories now stand idle. It's crazy to have $7000 sitting idle in the bank.)
Effervescent(adj)
bubbly: producing gas in the form of tiny bubbles. Vivacious; behaving in a lively, high-spirited, or highly excited way. To bubble, hiss, and foam as gas escapes.
(effervescent vitamin C tablets.)
Vivacious(adj)
joyously unrestrained. Attractively lively and animated. A vivacious person, especially a woman or girl, is attractively energetic and enthusiastic.
(He brought along his wife, a vivacious blonde, some twenty years his junior.)
Devour(v)
to eat something eagerly and in large amounts so that nothing is left. To destroy something completely. To read books or literature quickly and eagerly.
(The young cubs hungrily devoured the deer.)
Sagacious(adj)
wise or shrewd: having or based on a profound knowledge and understanding of the world combined with intelligence and good judgment. Having or showing good judgement. Caused by or indicating acute discernment.
(A sagacious person/comment/choice.)
Sophomoric(adj)
immature: showing the naive lack of judgement tthat accompanies immaturity. Silly and childish.
(A sophomoric sense of humour.)
Burlesque(n)
mockery by ludicrous imitation. The mocking of a serious matter or style by imitating it in an incongruous way. A comically exaggerated imitation, especially in a literary or dramatic work. A variety adult entertainment show, usually including titillation such as striptease.
Vanity(n)
something somebody is vain: an instance or source of excessive pride. Excessive pride in or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements. Futility: the state or fact of being futile, worthless, or empty of significance; something that is considered futile, worthless, or empty of significance.
(He wants the job purely for reasons of vanity and ambition.)
Lassitude(n)
A state of weariness accompanied by listlessness or apathy physical or mental weariness; lack of energy.
(Shareholders are blaming the company's problems on the lassitude of the managing director.)
Wayward(adj)
resistant to guidance or discipline: disobedient and uncontrollable. Erratic or unpredictable: behaving in an erratic, apparently perverse, or unpredictable manner.
Heedless(adj)
not paying attention to something: not paying attention to somebody or to something such as a warning, piece of advice, or danger. Showing a reckless lack of care or attention.
(Heedless destruction of the rainforests is contributing to global warming. Journalists had insisted on getting to the front line of the battle, heedless of the risks.)
Impetuous(adj)
acting impulsively: acting on the spur of the moment, without considering the consequences. Done without thought as a reaction to an emotion or impulse marked by impulsive passion. Marked by force and violence of movement or action (an impetuous wind.)
(He's so impetuous - why can't he think things over before he rushes into them? The Prime Minister may now be regretting her impetuous promise to reduce unemployment by half.)
Nuisance(n)
somebody or something irritating: an annoying or irritating person or thing. Illegal thing: something not allowed by law because it causes harm or offense, either to people in general public or to an individual person.
(I've forgotten my umbrella - what a nuisance! It's such a nuisance having to rewrite those letters.)
Effeminate(adj)
Of a man, having behavior and mannerisms associated with a typical woman rather than a typical man. Describes a man who behaves or looks similar to a woman.
(He's got a very effeminate manner/voice.)
Capricious(adj)
A sudden and usually foolish desire to have or do something, or a sudden and foolish change of mind or behavior; a whim.
(He was a cruel and capricious tyrant.)
Tether(n)
a rope or chain attached to an animal and attached to something at the other end, restricting the animal's movement. Having no strength or patience left: the limit of one's strength or resources (at the end of my tether.)
(By 6 o'clock after a busy day I'm at the end of my tether.)
Pillory(n,v)
A wooden frame with holes into which somebody's head and hands could be locked. To ridicule somebody: to scorn or ridicule somebody or something openly, punish somebody in pillory.
(Although regularly pilloried by the press as an obnoxious loudmouth, he is, nonetheless, an effective politician.)
Tempestuous(adj)
Marked by bursts of destructive force or intense activity, marked by sudden or violent disturbance, marked by turmoil or disturbance especially of natural elements.
(Order was restored to the court after the judge put a stop to the defendant's tempestuous outburst. We spent a tempestuous night stranded on the summit of the mountain.)
Mischievous(adj)
playfully naughty or troublesome: behaving or likely to behave in a naughty or troublesome way, but in fun and not meaning serious harm. Troublesome or irritating: intended to tease or cause trouble, through usually in fun or without much malice.
(She has a mischievous sense of humor. A book about the mischievous antics of his ten-year-old daughter.)
Devious(adj)
secretive and calculating: not straightforward, sincere, or honest about intentions or motives. Unfair or underhand: not adhering to the right or usual course, procedures, or standards.
(You have to be a bit devious if you're going to succeed in business. A devious scheme.)
Extricate(v)
Free with difficulty: to release somebody or something with difficulty from a physical constraint or an unpleasant or complicated situation.
(It took hours to extricate the car from the sand. I tried to extricate myself from the situation but it was impossible.)
Ardor(n)
intense emotion, great passion, enthusiasm, or eagerness. Fiery intensity of feeling. Strong entusiasm or devotion; zeal
(His ardour for her cooled after only a few weeks.)
Endeavor(n,v)
a purposeful or industrious undertaking; especially one that requires effort or boldness. Earnest and conscientious activity intended to do or accomplish something. Do one's utmost. A sincere attempt. A determined or assiduous effort towards a specific goal.
(In spite of our best endeavors, it has proven impossible to contact her. Crossing the North Pole on foot was an amazing feat of human endeavor.)
Cringe(v)
show submission or fear. Bend one's head and body in fear or in a servile manner. Have a sudden feeling of embarrassment of disgust. To shrink in fear or servility. To behave in an excessively humble or servile way.
(I cringed at the sight of my dad dancing.)
Juxtapose(v)
to place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast. Mix
(The exhibition juxtaposes Picasso's early drawings with some of his later works.)
Baleful(adj)
having a harmful effect, deadly or pernicious in influence, foreboding or threatening evil.
(He gave me a baleful look. His baleful influence.)
Abominable(adj)
worthy of causing disgust or hatred. Quiet disagreeable or unpleasant, causing intense displeasure, disgust or resentment.
(Your tablemanners are abominable. The prisoners are forced to live in abominable conditions.)
Consummate(adj)
making complete, complete a transaction, or close a deal.
(A life of consummate happiness. He's a consummate athlete/gentleman/liar.)
Accoutrement(n)
often used in plural. Items needed for the performance of a task or activity. Something that is not necessary in itself but adds to the convenience or performance of the main piece of equipment. An accessory item of clothing or equipment, military equipment other than uniforms and weapons.
Ensconce(v)
To make yourself very comfortable or sale in a place or position.
(After dinner, I ensconced myself in a deep armchair with a book. The Prime Minister is now firmly ensconced in Downing Street with a large majority.)
Bemuse(v)
engross somebody, to absorb the attention of somebody. Bewilder, to cause somebody to be confused of puzzled especially regarding emotional matters.
Gleam(n,v)
A brief and often reflected light, steady shining or glowing OR a brief show of some quality or annotation, a gleam of hope in a nasty situation.
(He polished the table until it gleamed. His eyes gleamed with triumph.)
Acumen(n)
skill in making correct decisions and judgments in a particular subject, such as business or politics.
(She has considerable business/financial acumen.)
Circumlocution(n)
The use of many words where fewer would do, especially deliberate attempt to be vague or evasive.
('Economical with the truth' is a circumlocution for lying. Politicians are experts in circumlocution.)
Heckle(v)
Interrupt with aggressive comments, to harass and annoy with questions, challenges, or gibes.
(A few angry locals started heckling the speaker.)
Bland(adj)
Insipid, lacking flavor, character or interest. Unemotional or free from anything annoying.
(I find chicken a little bland. Pop music these days is so bland.)
Newfangled(adj)
Puzzingly new, worryingly new or different, contemptibly modern, unfamiliar or different.
(I really don't understand these newfangled computer games that my children are always playing.)
Garrulous(adj)
talking too much, excessively or pointlessly talkative. Wordy, using many or too many words.
Jinx(n)
cause of misfortune, an unseen force, a person or something such as a curse that is thought to bring bad luck. The state or spell of bad luck brought on by a jinx.
(There's a jinx on this computer - it's gone wrong three times this morning.)
Flummox(v)
To confuse someone so much that they do not know what to do.
(I have to say that last question flummoxed me.)
Assiduous(adj)
Constant in application or attention; diligent: an assiduous worker who strove for perfection. Unceasing; persistent: assiduous research.
(The Government has been assiduous in the fight against inflation.)
Pester(v)
to be a constant source of annoyance to somebody, by harassing him or her with demands. Trouble somebody with persistent requests, interruption or petty questions.
(At the frontier, there were people pestering tourists for cigarettes, food or alcohol. John has been pestering her to go out with him all month.)
Amid(adj)
within or among AND while something is happening.
(On the floor, amid mounds of books, were two small envelopes. The new perfume was launched amidst a fanfare of publicity.)
Sardonic(adj)
disdainfully or cynically mocking, showing a lack of respect in a humorous but unkind way, often because you think that you are important to consider or discuss a matter.
(A sardonic smile/look/comment.)
Gauntlet(n)
An open challenge.
(Everyday they had to run the gauntlet of hostile journalists on their way to school. A price war looks likely now that a leading supermarket has thrown down the gauntlet to its competitors.)
Balloon(v)
to get bigger and rounder, to quickly increase in size, weight or importance.
(I ballooned when I became pregnant with my second baby. The rumours soon ballooned into a full grown scandal.)
Partisan(n, adj)
biased supporter, having the character of blind, passionate, or unreasonable adherence to a party.
(The audience was very partisan, and refused to listen to her speech.)
Ploy(n)
deceptive tactic, intended to embarrass or frustrate an opponent. A cunning manoeuvre to gain advantage.
(There are various ploys we can use if necessary. He only said he had a meeting as a ploy to get her to leave.)
Coy(adj)
showing marked and often playful or irritating evasiveness or reluctance to make a definite or committing statement. Pretending shyness or modesty.
(She gave me a coy look from under her schoolgirl's fringe. She's very coy about her age)
Pontifical(adj)
pompously dogmatic or self-important; pretentious. OR Having the dignity or authority of a pope/ bishop.
(I think it should be illegal for non-parents to pontificate about parenting.)
Short-change(v)
getting less than you expect, to give someone less change than is due in a transaction. To treat unfairly.
(I think I was short-changed in the pub last night, because I've only got $5 in my purse when I should have $10. Children who leave school unable to read and write properly are being tragically short-changed.)
Antagonist(n)
A person who is strongly opposed to something or someone.
(The antagonists in this dispute are quite unwilling to compromise.)
Protagonist(n)
An advocate or champion or a cause. An important supporter of an idea or political system. A leading person.
(Key protagonists of the revolution were hunted down and executed.)
Play Possum
To pretend to be dead or sleeping so that someone will not annoy or attack you.
Bolster(v)
to encourage something through support, to give a boost to.
(More money is needed to bolster the industry. She tried to bolster my confidence by telling me that I had a special talent. They need to do something to bolster their image.)
Consolidate(v)
to become, or cause something to become stronger and more certain.
(The success of their major product consolidated the firm's position in the market. She hoped that marriage would consolidate their relationship.)
Elucidate(v)
explain or clarify something. To make lucid especially by explanation or analysis.
(I don't understand. You'll have to elucidate. The reasons for the change in weather conditions have been elucidated by several scientists.)
Earsplitting(adj)
Distressingly loud or shrill, describes a sound that is too loud that it hurts your ears.
(An ear-splitting explosion, ear-piercing screams.)
Invigorate(v)
fill with energy of life. To make someone stronger, healthier and more energetic.
(We were invigorated by our walk.)
Hurtle(v)
move at great spread, often in a wildly uncontrolled manner. To more rapidly, violently or without control.
(The truck came hurtling toward us. The explosion sent pieces of metal and glass hurtling through the air.)
Exonerate(v)
free somebody from blame, guilt or an obligation.
(The report exonerated the crew from all responsibility for the collision.)
Hone(v)
improve something with refinements, to bring something to a state of increased intensity, excellence or completion. Or to sharpen blade on whetstone, to hone is to make it sharper.
(His physique was honed to perfection. Her debating skills were honed in the students' union.)
Corroborate(v)
to add proof or certainty to an account, statement, idea, with new information.
(Recent research seems to corroborate his theory.)
Inveigh(v)
To declaim or rail. To utter censorious and bitter language; to attack with harsh criticism.
(There were politicians who inveighed against immigrants to get votes.)
Wanting(adj)
unsatisfactory, not meeting expectations of requirements. Absent; not provided, lacking deprived of, in need of and deficient.
(I think she's perhaps a little wanting in charm. This government's policies, said the speaker, have been tried and found wanting.)
Last-Ditch(adj)
final, done or taken when all other option have been exhausted. A final attempt before quitting, often desperate.
(In a last-ditch attempt to save his party from electoral defeat, he resigned from the leadership.)
Ghastly(adj)
unpleasant and shocking, very bad, frightening.
(Today's newspaper gives all the ghastly details of the murder. It was all a ghastly mistake. You look ghastly - are you okay?)
Sectarian(n, adj)
strongly supporting a particular religious group, especially in such a way as not to be willing to accept other beliefs.
(A sectarian murder. He called on terrorists on both sides of the sectarian divide to end the cycle of violence.)
Resilient(adj)
recovering quickly from setbacks. Or elastic: able to spring back into shape after being bent, stretched, or squashed.
(This rubber ball is very resilient and immediately spring back into shape. She's a resilient girl - she won't be unhappy for long)
Commiserate(v)
to feel or express sympathy for someone's suffering, unhappiness or bad luck.
(I began by commiserating with her over the defeat.)
Entice(v)
provoke someone to do something through promises or persuasion.
(The adverts entice the customer into buying things they don't really want. People are being enticed away from the profession by higher salaries elsewhere. A smell of coffee in the doorway enticed people to enter the shop)
Sturdy(adj)
well made, strongly build, resolute.
(sturdy walking boots, a sturdy table, sturdy little legs.)
Bungle(v)
to act or work clumsy and awkwardly, to do something wrong in a careless of stupid way.
Leery(adj)
suspicious, cautious or wary, not trusting of someone or something and tending to avoid them if possible.
(I've always been a bit leery of authority figures.)
Dichotomy(n)
a division or contrast between two things that are represented as being opposed or entirely different.
(There is often a dichotomy between what politicians say and what they do.)
Scapegoat(n)
A person who is blamed for wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others.
(The captain was made a scapegoat for the team's failure.)
Portend(v)
to be a sign that something bad is likely to happen in the future.
(It was a deeply superstitious country, where earthquakes were commonly believed to portend the end of dynasties.)
Perennial(adj)
lasting a very long time, or happening repeatedly or all the time.
(The film 'White Christmas' is a perennial favorite. We face the perennial problem of not having enough money.)
Bellicose(adj)
ready or inclined to quarrel, fight, or go to war. Belligerent, battleful, combative.
(The general made some bellicose statements about his country's military strength.)
Judicious(adj)
marked by the exercise of good judgment or common sense in practical matters, characterized by good judgment or sound thinking.
(We should make judicious use of the resources available to us.)
Farce(n)
an absurd situation, in which everything goes wrong or becomes a sham.
(No one had prepared anything so the meeting was a bit of a farce.)
Mitigate(v)
to make something less harmful, unpleasant or bad.
(It is unclear how to mitigate the effects of tourism on the island.)
Pall(v)
become less appealing or interesting through familiarity.
(The pleasure of not having to work quickly palled.)
Red Herring (n)
a fact, idea or subject that takes people's attention away from the central point being considered.
(The police investigated many clues, but they were all red herrings.)
Maraud(v)
Roam in search of thing to steal or people to attack, to roam about and raid in search of plunder.
(Witnesses reported gangs of marauding soldiers breaking into people's houses and setting fire to them.)
White Elephant(n)
A possession that is useless or troublesome, esp. one that is expensive to maintain or difficult to dispose of.
Raunchy(adj)
sexually explicit or suggestive in an earthy or vulgar way OR messy; lacking cleanliness or neatness.
(A raunchy magazine/video)
Double Whammy(n)
A situation when two unpleasant things happen at almost the same time.
(Britain's farmers have faced the double whammy of a rising pound and falling agricultural prices.)
Blatant(adj)
completely obvious conspicuous, or obtrusive.
(The whole episode was a blatant attempt to gain publicity.)
Mangy(adj)
in poor condition, showing signs of wear and tear and neglect.
(We need to get rid of that mangy old carpet in the bedroom.)
Valiant(adj)
brave or determined; done courageously. Acting with bravery or boldness.
(The company has made a valiant effort in the last two years to make itself more efficient.)
Flagrant(adj)
conspicuously offensive (flagrant errors); especially so obviously inconsistent with what is right or proper as to appear to be a flouting of law or morality.
(A flagrant misuse of fund.)
Suffice(v)
be sufficient, be adequate, be enough or meet the needs of.
(I'm taking four hundred pounds' worth of travellers' cheques - I think that should suffice.)
Saturate(v)
to soak something with liquid, to fill something with so many people or things that no more can be added. Supply a market beyond the point at which the demand for a product is satisfied.
(The grass had been saturated by overnight rain. He had cut his leg badly, and his trousers were saturated with blood.)
Broach(v)
to bring up a difficult subject, OR to open a bottle or barrel.
(At some point we've got to discuss money but I don't know quiet how to broach the subject with him. Shall we broach another case of wine?)
Quagmire(n)
an area of soft wet ground which you sink into if you try and walk on it, a difficult and dangerous situation.
(At the end of the match, the pitch was a real quagmire. Since the coup, the country has sunk deeper into a quagmire of violence and lawlessness.)
Abeyance(n)
suspension of activity, temporary inactivity or non operation, temporarily suspended.
(The project is being held in abeyance until agreement is reached on funding it. Hostilities between the two groups have been in abeyance since last June.)
Vindicate(v)
show to be right by providing justification or proof. Clear of accusation, blame, suspicion, or doubt with supporting proof.
(The decision to include Morris in the team was completely vindicated when he scored three goals. They said they welcomed the trial as a chance to vindicate themselves.)
Largesse(n)
willingness to give money, or money given to poor people by rich people.
(The national theater will be the main beneficiary of the millionaire's largesse.
Pellucid(adj)
transparent, allowing all or most light to pass through. OR easy to understand, clear in meaning.
Braggadocio(n)
boastful or arrogant behavior. Overblown, empty boasting and swaggering self-aggrandizement.
Congruent(adj)
in agreement, corresponding to or consistent with each other or with something else.
(congruent triangles)
Abstruse(adj)
difficult to penetrate, difficult to understand or comprehend.
(An abstruse philosophical essay.)
Abject(adj)
showing no pride or respect for yourself; sunk to a low condition, down in spirit or hope; degraded, servile, despicable, groveling.
(They live in abject poverty. He is almost abject in his respect for his boss.)
Scurrilous(adj)
expressing unfair or false criticism, which is likely to damage someone's reputation, vulgar verbal abuse, rude and cruel.
(a scurrilous remark/attack/article)
Opaque(adj)
preventing light from traveling through, and therefore not transparent or translucent, describes writing or speech that is difficult to understand.
(opaque glass. I find her poetry rather opaque.)
Dispel(v)
to remove fears, doubts, false ideas, force to go away, both concrete and metaphorically.
(I'd like to start the speech by dispelling a few rumors that have been spreading recently.)
Sedentary(adj)
involving little exercise, characterized by or requiring a sitting posture, not physically active.
(A sedentary job/occupation. My doctor says I should start playing sport because my lifestyle is too sedentary.)
Misnomer(n)
a name that does not suit what it refers to, or the use of such a name.
(It was such the scruffiest place I've ever stayed in, so 'Hotel Royal' was a bit of a misnomer. It's something of a misnomer to refer to these inexperienced boys as soldiers.)
Palpable(adj)
so obvious that is can easily be seen or known, or so strong that it seems as if it can be touched or physically felt.
(A palpable effect. Her joy was palpable.)
Hyperbole(n)
a way of speaking/writing that makes someone or something sound much bigger, better, smaller, worse, more unusual, than they are.
(The blurb on the back of the book was full of the usual hyperbole - 'enthralling', 'fascinating' and so on.)
Upbraid(v)
to forcefully or angrily tell someone they should not have done a particular thing and criticize them for having done it.
(In newspaper articles she consistently upbraided those in authority who overstepped their limits.)
Morose(adj)
unhappy or annoyed and unwilling to speak, smile, or be pleasant to people.
(a morose expression. Why are you so morose these days?)
Peccadillo(n)
A minor sin, a slight offense, a small fault.
(A youthful peccadillo. He dismissed what had happened as a mere peccadillo.)
Euphemism(n)
the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also: the expression so substituted.
('Senior citizen' is a euphemism for 'old person'. The article made so much use of euphemism that often its meaning was unclear.)
Fervor(n)
describes beliefs that are strongly and sincerely felt. An intense heated emotion, passion, ardor, extremely passionate.
(A fervent supporter of the communist party. It is his fervent hope that a peaceful solution will soon be found.)
Elongate(v)
to become or make something become longer and often thinner. Make longer, extend, lengthen, draw out.
(In the photo her face was slightly elongated.)
Jocular(adj)
amusing or intended to cause amusement. Describes someone who is happy and likes to make jokes.
(A jocular comment. Micheal was in a very jocular mood at the party.)
Perk(v)
to become or cause someone to become happier, more energetic or active. To gain in vigor or cheerfulness after a period of weakness or depression. OR and advantage, or benefit.
(She perked up as soon as I mentioned that Charles was coming to dinner. Would you like a cup of coffee? It might perk you up a bit.)
Intricate(adj)
having many complexly arranged elements; solvable or comprehensible only with painstaking effort. Complex.
(The watch mechanism is extremely intricate and very difficult to repair. Police officers uncovered an intricate web of deceit.)
Mishap(n)
an accident or unlucky event, problem, unfortunate circumstance, bad luck.
(A series of mishaps led to the nuclear power plant blowing up.)
Succumb(v)
to die or suffer badly from an illness; to lose the determination to oppose something, or to give up and accept something that you first opposed; give in, to die from illness or injury.
(The town finally succumbed last week after being pounded with heavy artillery for more than two months.)
Profligate(adj)
wasteful: extremely extravagant or wasteful OR with low morals: having or showing extremely low moral standards.
(She is well-known for her profligate spending habits.)
Improvident(adj)
spending money in a way that is not sensible, and/ or not planning carefully for the future; lacking care for the future, unconcerned about future needs: failing to put money aside or give any thought to the future without foresight: not sensible, cautious, or wise.
Incumbent(adj)
obligatory: necessary as a result of a duty, responsibility, or obligation forcing one's compliance or participation by or as if by law.
(The incumbent president faces problems which began many years before he took office.)
Trivialize(v)
to make something seem less important than it really is. To reduce the importance or value of something, to treat something as, or make it appear less important or valuable than it really is.
(I don't want to trivialize the problem, but I do think there are more important matters to discuss.)
Duress(n)
Forcible restraint or compulsion by threat. Violence use to coerce a person into doing something. The use of force or threats to make somebody do something.
(He claimed that he signed the confession under duress.)
Thwart(v)
to oppose and defeat the efforts, plans or ambitions. To prevent the occurence or realization of something. Frustrate something.
(My holiday plans have been thwarted by the strike.)
Pursuit(v,n)
Act of striving for something, the effort made to try to achieve or obtain something over a period of time.
(Three people have been killed in high-speed pursuits by the police recently. The robbers fled the scene of the crime, with the police in pursuit.)
Privy(adj)
be privy to sth; to be told information that is not told to many people. Sharing in the knowledge of something secret or private. Sharing secret knowledge, sharing knowledge or something secret or private.
(I was never privy to conversations between top management.)
Reprieve(v)
Stop or postpone somebody's punishment; to halt or delay the punishment of somebody. OR to provide somebody with temporary relief from something harmful, especially danger or pain.
(He was sentenced to death but was granted a last-minute reprieve. The injection provided a temporary reprieve from the pain.)
Astute(adj)
clever and quick to see how to take advantage of a situation. Clever and perceptive, shrewd and discerning. Good at making accurate judgements.
(An astute investor. His astute handling of the situation.)
Decay(v)
to cause something to become gradually damaged, worse or less.
(Sugar makes your teeth decay. The role of the extended family has been decaying for some time. The smell of decaying meat.)
Apprehend(v)
understand something, to grasp the importance, significance, or meaning of something. OR to arrest, to capture, to seize.
(The police have finally apprehended the killer. )
Gregarious(adj)
seeking and enjoying the company of others, fond of company.
(Emma's a gregarious, outgoing sort of person.)
Pit(v)
To put someone or something in competition with someone or something else.
(It was a bitter civil war, that pitted neighbor against neighbor. Would you like to pit your wits against our quiz champion?)
Derail(v)
to accidentally leave the tracks, to cause to leave its tracks OR to obstruct, frustrate by diverting it from its intended course.
(Renewed fighting threatens to derail the peace talks. There's been a derailment just outside Crewe, and many people are feared dead.)
Luscious(adj)
Having a pleasant sweet taste, or containing a lot of juice. Luscious can also mean pleasing to see, hear or feel. A luscious blonde is very sexually attractive. Luscious landscapes are very green.
Prone(adj)
Prone to means likely to, or liable to suffer from, do or experience something.
(I've always been prone to headaches. He was prone to depressions even as a teenager. She's prone to exaggerate, that's for sure.)
Malady(n)
illness, a physical or psychological disorder or disease. OR a problem within a system or organization.
(Apathy is one of the maladies of modern society. All the rose bushes seem to be suffering from the same mysterious malady.)
Vice(n)
A moral fault or weakness in someone's character, illegal and immoral activities, especially involving illegal sex, drugs.
(Greed, pride, envy, dishonesty and lust are considered to be vices. The chief police said that he was committed to wiping out vice in the city.)
Covet(v)
to desire something strongly, especially something which belongs to someone else.
(She always coveted power but never quite achieved it. The Booker Prize is the most coveted British literary award.)
Low Ball(n)
make a deliberately low estimate. To give a markedly or unfairly low offer.
Rift(n)
a crack, split, or break in something. A deep rift in the ice or a rift between two friends.
(The stream had cut a deep rift in the rock. The marriage caused a rift between the brothers and they didn't speak to each other for ten years.)
Rapt(adj)
Filled with an intense and pleasurable emotion; completely fascinated by what one is seeing or hearing. Fully absorbed. Receiving someone's full interest.
(She sat with a rapt expression reading her book. The children watched with rapt attention.)
Smother(v)
to suffocate, or extinguish, to cover the whole surface with a large amount of something. To smear, cover, daub, overwhelm with affection.
(The latest violence has smothered any remaining hopes for an early peace agreement. I think she broke off their engagement because she felt smothered by him. The threatened to smother the animals with plastic bags.)
Jolt(v)
to force, bump shake. To shake suddenly and violently. To startle somebody into reality. Bump up and down.
(The train stopped unexpectedly and we were jolted forwards. The charity used photos of starving children in an attempt to jolt the public conscience. The news about Sam's illness jolted her into action.)
Bolt(v)
devour food hurriedly. Something completely unexpected that surprises you very much. Shot one's bolt means to use all your energy trying something, so that you do not have enough energy left to finish it. Make a bolt, means a run for, a sprint. Bolt upright means straight, rigidly, stiffly.
Shrug(v)
shrug off means disregard, dismiss, take no notice of, ignore. Act like it is unimportant or not a problem, or that you don't know.
(You're a father and you can't simply shrug off your responsibility for your children. The city is trying to shrug off its industrial image and promote itself as a tourist center.)
Volition(n)
The power to make your own decisions; the faculty or power of using one's will. Ability to choose; leave of her own volition.
(The Minister wished it to be known that he had left the cabinet out of his own volition.)
Saunter(v)
To walk in a slow and relaxed way, often in no particular direction. To walk at an easy unhurried pace.
(He sauntered by, looking very pleased with himself.)
Ominous(adj)
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 London.)
Ruse(n)
A trick intended to deceive someone. A clever plot to deceive others. A deceptive maneuver.
Flunky(n)
A person who performs relatively menial tasks for someone else, esp. obsequiously. A person who does unimportant work or who has few or no important responsibilities and shows too much respect toward their employer.
Condescend(v)
Do something in a patronizing way, as it is below one's dignity or level of importance.
(I wonder if Micheal will condescend to visit us?)
Rudimentary(adj)
only basic, existing at an elementary level. Not deep or detailed.
(Some unusual fish have rudimentary legs.)
Ulterior(adj)
A secret purpose or reason for doing something. Going beyond what is openly said or shown and especially what is proper.
(He claims he just wants to help Lisa but I suspect he has an ulterior motive.)
Fluke(n)
something good that has happened that is the result of chance instead of skill of planning.
(The first goal was just a fluke.)
Fringe(n,v)
be fringed with sth means that sth forms a border along the edge. The fringe; the unconventional, extreme or marginal wing of a group of sphere of activity (rap music is no longer something on the fringe). Not part of the mainstream, unconventional or extreme; fringe theater.
(The river is fringed with wild flowers. The southern fringe of the city.)
Stymie(v)
to prevent or hinder the progress of something. To prevent something from happening or someone from achieving a purpose.
(In our search for evidence, we were stymied by the absence of any recent documents.)
Fluster(v,n)
to become nervous or agitated. Behave in an agitated, confused manner.
(The important thing when you're cooking for a lot of people is not to get in a fluster. If I look flustered it's because I'm trying to do about twenty things at once.)
Siphon(v)
to dishonestly take money from an organization or other supply, and use it for a purpose for which it was not intended. To remove liquid from a container using a tube.
(He lost his job when it was discovered that he had been siphoning off money from the company for his own use.)
Rebut(v)
to argue that a statement is not true. A rebuttal is a claim that something is false or incorrect.
(She has rebutted charges that she has been involved in any financial malpractice.)
Rogue(adj, n)
somebody dishonest, a person, organization, or country that does not behave in the usual or acceptable way. A naughty child also.
(The women all think he's a loveable old rogue. )
Squander(v)
to spend or use money or supplies in a wasteful way, or to waste opportunities by not using them to your advantage.
(They'll quite happily squander a whole year's savings on two weeks in the sun. Ireland squandered several chances, including a penalty that cost them the game.)
Contentious(adj)
causing or likely to cause an argument. The disagreement that results from opposing arguments. Marked by heated arguments or controversy. Causing or likely to cause disagreement.
(She has some rather contentious views on education.)
Demarcate(v)
set the boundaries or limits of something. To state in a clear way where something begins and ends.
(Parking spaces are demarcated by white lines. Responsibilities within the department are clearly demarcated.)
Conductive(adj)
make a certain situation or outcome likely or possible. Helping something to happen. Tending to bring about an intended result. Favorable, beneficial to.
Snag(v,n)
An unexpected or hidden obstacle or drawback. A problem difficulty or disadvantage. AS A VERB = to cause problems or difficulties for someone or something, to catch or tear something on a projection. To pick up something.
(We don't anticipate any snags in the negotiations. Financial problems have snagged the project for the past six months.)
Overt(adj)
done or shown openly, unconcealed, in an obvious way, open and apparent.
(overt criticism. He shows not overt signs of his unhappiness.)
Construe(v)
to understand the meaning of something in a particular way. To interpret something in a particular way.
(Any change in plan would be construed as indecision.)
Covert(adj)
not openly acknowledge or displayed. Undertaken or done so as to escape being observed or known by others, not openly shown.
(The government was accused of covert military operations against the regime.)
Infringe(v)
Actively break the term of (a law or agreement). To disobey or disregard something. To fail to obey. Or take away some of someone's freedom or rights.
(They infringed building regulations. Even minor infringements of the law will be severely punished. These restrictions infringe upon basic human rights.)
Loath(v)
be loath to do something means to be unwilling to do something. Having doubts about the wisdom of doing something. Unwilling or reluctant to do something.
(I'm loath to spend it all at once.)
Culminate(v)
To reach a climax or point of highest development. To have as a result or be the final result of a process.
(Their many years of research have finally culminated in a cure for the disease. Winning first prize was the culmination of years of practice and hard work.)
Tinker(v,n)
Attempt to repair or improve something in a casual way, often to no useful effect. To spend time doing small jobs or making small changes to things, usually trying to fix or repair them.
(He spends every weekend tinkering with his car. I wish the government would stop tinkering with the health service.)
Linger(v)
To take a long time to leave or disappear. Linger over means to be slow to disappear or die. To stay in a place longer than necessary, typically because of a reluctant to leave.
(After the play had finished, we lingered for a while in the bar hoping to catch sight of the actors. It's impossible to forget such horrific events - they linger in the memory forever.)
Circumscribe(v)
to draw a line around something to mark its limits. Circumscribe suggests that something is hemmed in on all sides. Also, it means, to limit the power of something or somebody to act independently.
(Their movements have been severely circumscribed since the laws came into effect. There followed a series of tightly circumscribed visits to military installations.)
Backlash(n)
A strong and adverse reaction by a large number of people esp. to a social or political development.
(The Sixties backlash against bourgeois materialism.)
Haughty(adj)
arrogantly superior and disdainful, behaving in a superior, condescending or arrogant way. Blatantly proud.
(She has a rather haughty manner.)
Interdict(v)
to prohibit or forbid something, intercept the movement of a prohibited commodity or person.
Reign(v)
hold royal office, to rule as king or queen. OR to hold a particular title.
(Queen Victoria reigned over Britain from 1837 to 1901. The bomb attacks produced a panic which reigned over the city.)
Rebuke(v,n)
express sharp disapproval or criticism, to speak angrily to someone because you disapprove of what they have said or done.
(I was rebuked by my manager for being late. He received a stern rebuke from the manager.)
Hem(v)
surround or restrict the space or movement of something or someone. PHRASE: HEM AND HAW means to hesitate, to be indecisive.
(When they reached Oxford Circus, the demonstrators were hemmed in by the police. We hummed and hawed for months before actually deciding to buy the house.)
Conjecture(n,v)
form an opinion or supposition about something on the basis of incomplete information. To guess, based on the appearance of a situation and not on proof.
(There's been a lot of conjecture in the papers recently about the royal marriage. He conjectured that the company would soon be in financial difficulties.)
Dismal(adj)
depressing, dreary, hopeless, gloomy, pitifully and disgracefully bad.
(A dismal expression. The acting was dismal, wasn't it?)
Relinquish(v)
implies anything from simply releasing one's grasp to giving up control or possession reluctantly. To unwillingly stop holding or keeping something.
(He has relinquished his claim to the throne. She relinquished her hold on the steering wheel.)
Abstinence(n)
implies voluntary self-denial and is usually associated with the non-indulgence of an appetite. Refrain oneself from doing or enjoying something.
(The best way to avoid pregnancy is total abstinence from sex.)
Condone(v)
accept and allow behavior that is considered morally wrong or offensive to continue. Be willing to overlook, to regard something bad or blameworthy as acceptable, forgivable or harmless.
(If the government is seen to condone violence, the bloodshed will never stop.)
Detest(v)
used to describe extreme dislike or hatred. Detest is the purest expression of hatred. To hate something very much.
(I detest having to get up when it's dark outside.)
Extenuate(v)
to cause a wrong act to be judged less seriously by giving reasons for it. To make a mistake or wrongdoing seem less serious than it first appeared.
(He was unable to say anything that might have extenuated his behavior. She was found guilty of theft, but because of extenuating circumstances was not sent to prison.)
Scowl(v,n)
An angry or bad-tempered expression, frown in an angry way. To make a facial expression that shows anger, displeasure or menace.
(The boy scowled at her and reluctantly followed her back into school.)
Quandary(n)
A stated of perplexity or uncertainty over what to do in a difficult situation. Practical dilemma.
(I've had two job offers, and I'm in a real quandary about which one to accept.)
Measly(adj)
contemptibly few or contemptibly small in amount. Very little and pointless. Ridiculously or disappointingly small or inadequate.
(A measly amount of money.)
Offbeat(adj)
unconventional, unusual, and strange not conforming to an ordinary type, differing from the usual or expected.
(An offbeat sense of humor.)
Outwit(v)
to deceive or defeat by greater ingenuity. To obtain an advantage over someone by acting more cleverly and often by using trick. Outsmart somebody.
(In the story, the cunning fox outwits the hunters.)
Vacuous(adj)
having or showing lack of thought or intelligence, mindless, not showing purpose, meaning or intelligence. Not expressing or showing intelligent thought.
(A vacuous remark/question/expression/smile)
Venerate(v)
to regard with great respect. To honor or greatly respect. To regard highly, revere.
(Robert Burns is Scotland's most venerated poet. Gandhi became an object of widespread veneration because of his unceasing struggle for freedom and equality.)
Substantiate(v)
represent in bodily form, to make real or concrete, give reality or substance to, provide evidence to support or prove the truth of.
(We have evidence to substantiate the allegations against him. Reports that children had been hurt have not been substantiated. The company produced receipts in substantiation of its claim.)
Ration(v,n)
allow someone to have only a fixed amount of a particular commodity. To limit the amount of a particular thing that someone is allowed to have.
(During the war, no one was allowed more than their ration of food, clothing and fuel. My children would watch television all day long, but I ration it.)
Forte(n)
A thing at which someone excels, something that a person can do well, a strong ability. Strength, specialty.
(I'm afraid sewing isn't one of my fortes.)
Brassy(adj)
impudently bold, having complete confidence in yourself, sometimes in a way that shows lack of respect, of a woman tastelessly showy or loud in appearance or manner: her brassy, audacious exterior.
(She was your typical brassy blonde.)
Encroach(v)
advance gradually and in a way that causes damage, intrude on a person's territory or a thing considered to be a right.
(What the government is proposing encroaches on the rights of individuals. I resent it that my job is starting to encroach on my family life.)
Jaunty(adj)
having or expressing a lively, cheerful and self-confident manner. Carefree, happy and confident, having much high spirited energy and movement.
(When he came back his hat was at a jaunty angle and he was smiling.)
Jumble(n)
an untidy collection or pile of things. Mix up in a confused or untidy way. A state in which everything is out of order.
(He rummaged through the jumble of papers on his desk. A jumble of thoughts/ideas.)
Mawkish(adj)
sentimental in a feeble way or sickly way, mawkish carries sentimentality a step further, implying emotion so excessive that it provokes loathing or disgust.
(The film lapses into mawkish sentimentality near the end.)
Pedantic(adj)
giving too much attention to formal rules or small details. Caring too much about unimportant rules. Making a show of your knowledge.
(They were being unnecessarily pedantic by insisting that Berry himself, and not his wife, should have made the announcement.)
Boon(n)
something that is very helpful and improves the quality of life.
(Guide dogs are a great boon to the partially sighted.)
Epitomize(v)
to be a perfect example of a quality or type of thing.
(With little equipment and unsuitable footwear, she epitomizes the inexperienced and unprepared mountain walker.)
Factitious(adj)
false or artificial, produced by humans rather than by natural forces. Contrived and insincere rather than genuine.
(He has invented a wholly factitious story about his past.)
Reconcile(v)
restore friendly relations, to reunite, to coexist in harmony, make or show to be compatible. Make someone accept a disagreeable or unwelcome thing.
(It is sometimes difficult to reconcile science and religion. It's difficult to reconcile such different points of view. They were finally reconciled with each other, after not speaking for nearly five years.)
Effusive(adj)
expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approval in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner. Unrestrained in expressing feelings; giving or involving an extravagant and sometimes excessive expression of feelings in speech or writing.
(They gave us such an effusive welcome it was quite embarrassing.)
Habitue(n)
one who may be regularly found in or at a place of entertainment. Frequent visitor of a place.
(Habitues of this gentlemen's club are generally middle-aged, grey-haired and overweight.)
Moratorium(n)
suspension of activity for an agreed amount of time.
(The Financial Director issued a spending moratorium until the company received a second round of funding. It's been four years now since John self-imposed a moratorium on flying.)
Synonyms: suspension, freeze, halt, pause, stop, standstill.
Antonyms: beginning, commencement.
Temperate(adj)
moderate or mild, not extreme, especially said of climate and behavior.
(I moved from the Netherlands to Cape Town because of its temperate climate. Lisa describes herself as having a temperate personality, but most of her friends think she is a little moody.)
Synonyms: calm, agreeable, constant, mild, moderate, reasonable, steady, dispassionate.
Antonyms: extreme, immoderate, severe, unrestrained, excessive.
Haven(n)
safe place, refuge or shelter, an ideal spot for something.
(The new, beach-front hotel was a perfect haven for tourists. We hoped desperately to find a cave, as a haven from the blizzard. South Africa was not a safe havens for refugees from Zimbabwe.)
Synonyms: refuge, shelter, sanctuary, anchorage, port, marina.
Provisional(adj)
under terms that have not been finalized, for the time being only.
(After days of negotiations, the union finally reached a provisional agreement with management. Even though it was a provisional contract, Lisa was still happy to be hired by the school district.)
Synonyms: temporary, transitional.
Antonyms: permanent, conclusive, concrete.
Sluggard(n)
a slothful, lazy person, somebody who avoids work or physical exertion.
(I was a sluggard all day Sunday and did nothing but lay around watching TV. Frank's a sluggard who can't hold down a steady job because he's always missing work.)
Synonyms: laggard, slouch, loafer.
Antonyms: go-getter, dynamo
Mollycoddle(v,n)
to treat with extra care or indulgence; someone spoiled and overprotected, especially a boy, to give someone too much care or protection, a person without strength of character.
(If you mollycoddle your children they won't grow up to be responsible, self-sufficient adults. Lisa was so mollycoddled as a child, she grew up to be a selfish adult.)
Wax(v)
to grow larger or more intense, to take on a state or quality.
(I sat on the shore and watched the waves wax and wane. My friend started to wax philosophical after a couple glasses of wine. As the moon waxes toward its full state, it becomes rounder each day.)
Synonyms: grow, increase, expand, broaden, intensify, become
Antonyms: wane
Trepidation(n)
a feeling of fear or dread about the future.
(Francis's trepidation about having to deliver a speech to the company board was evident on her face as a small bead of sweat ran down her forehead.)
Synonyms: alarm, fear, agitation, perturbation, uneasiness, dread, consternation.
Antonyms: ease, calm.
Obviate(v)
to prevent or overcome a problem by anticipating the problem in advance, to make something unnecessary, to remove a difficulty, especially so that action to deal with it becomes unnecessary.
(Your company should consider me for the position because I'm known for obviating potential losses of revenue for firms like yours. Is there any way to obviate this potential crisis?)
Plumb(v, adj, adv, n)
to measure the depth of something, to fully understand something, to experience something to the fullest, to make something vertical, completely vertical.
(They plumbed the uncharted ocean floor near the islands to make sure it was deep enough for the freighter to pass. When hanging a door, you need to make sure that it is both level and plumb or it will not shut completely.)
Abate(v)
to lessen in intensity or degree.
(The fighting in the area shows no sign of abating.)
Synonyms: diminish
Antonyms: enhance
Related Word: abatement(n)
Aberrant(adj)
straying from moral standard, diverging from normal type.
(His aberrant behavior at the party can only be ascribed to his over-indulgence in alcohol.)
Synonyms: devious, divergent, straying.
Antonyms: steadfast
Related Word: aberrance(n), aberrancy(n), aberration(n)
Abscond(v)
to depart clandestinely; to steal away and hide.
(She absconded from boarding school with her boyfriend.)
Adulation(n)
very great admiration or praise for someone, especially when it is more than is deserved.
(Minelli is a born performer - she loves the excitement and she loves the adulation.)
Adulterate(v)
to reduce purity by combining with inferior ingredients.
(There were complaints that the beer had been adulterated with water.)
Synonyms: amalgamate
Antonyms: purify
Related Word: adulteration(n), adulterant(n), adulterer(n)
Aesthetic(adj)
artistic, dealing with or capable of appreciating the beautiful, set of principles of good taste and appreciation of beauty.
(Though the building has been aesthetically designed, and is very pleasing to look at, it is not very practical.)
Synonyms: elegant
Antonyms: philistine
Related words: aesthetically(adv), aestheticism(n)
Aggrandize(v)
to increase in intensity, power, or prestige.
(He is willing to dupe his own brother for his personal aggrandizement.)
Synonyms: inflate, applaud
Related Word: Aggrandizement(n)
Alchemy(n)
A medieval science aimed at the transmutation of metals, especially base metals into gold.
(Bentrix, the fifteenth century king of Belize, spent a lot of money on Alchemists who he believed could convert all his possessions into gold)
Related Words: alchemist(n), alchemic(adj)
Amalgamate(v)
Combine; unite in one body.
(The new media company was formed by the amalgamation of an advertising agency and a public relations company.)
Synonyms: adulterate
Related Words: amalgamation(n)
Amenable(adj)
submissive, easily manageable, docile, tractable.
(I have indicated in my job application that I am quiet amenable to being placed at any location.)
Synonyms: docile, pliable
Antonyms: Intractable
Related Word: amenability(n), amenableness(n), amenably(adv_
Anachronism(n)
something or someone out of place in terms of its historical or chronological context.
(In this age of synthesized sounds and techno-music, the sound of this old guitar appears so anachronistic.)
Synonyms: Incongruity
Related Word: anachronistic(adj), anachronic(adj)
Approbation(n)
praise or approval, esp. at a formal level.
(The approbatory comments of the general about the actions taken by the commanding officer boosted the morale of the entire regiment.)
Synonyms: sanction, authorization
Related Word: approbative(adj), approbatory(adj), approbate(v)
Archaic(adj)
oudated; associated with an earlier, perhaps more primitive time.
(An archaic system of government.)
Synonyms: antiquated, antique, antediluvian.
Antonyms: new, modern
Related Word: archaically(adv), archaism(n), Arcahist(n), archaistic(adj)
Ascetic(adj,n)
one who practices rigid self-denial, especially as an act of religious devotion.
(He spent the final few years of his life as an ascetic.)
Synonyms: austere
Related Word: ascetically(adv), asceticism(n).
Assuage(v)
to ease or lessen, to appease or pacify.
(He said in the interview that the only job that could assuage his thirst for knowledge was that of a librarian, so that he could be amongst books every day.)
Synonyms: pacify, mitigate, palliate
Antonyms: rankle
Related word: assuagement(n)
Astringent(adj,n)
severe and biting, harsh, able to tighten up the skin or stop bleeding.
(astringent criticism. You can use an astringent to make your skin less oily.)
Synonyms: constrictive
Related Word: astringently(adv), astringency(n)
Aver(v)
to state the truth of something strongly.
(Despite clear evidence to the contrary, the man still averred that he had never met the person accused of stealing the painting collection.)
Synonyms: asseverate
Antonyms: deny
Related Word: averment(n)
Axiom(n)
a universally recognized principle; taken as a given; possessing self evident truth.
(It is a widely held axiom that governments should not negotiate with terrorists.)
Synonyms: conception, postulate
Related Word: Axiomatic(adj), Axiomatically(adv)
Bucolic(adj,n)
rustic and pastoral; characteristic of rural areas and their inhabitants.
(The painting shows a typically bucolic scene with peasants harvesting crops in a field.)
Synonyms: pastoral, rustic
Antonyms: urban
Related Word: bucolically(adv)
Canon(n)
An established set of principles or code of laws, often religious in nature.
(His shameless flirtation at the party with Mr.Dominique's wife flouted all canons of respectable behavior.)
Canonical(adj)
following or in agreement with orthodox requirements.
Catalyst(n)
Agent which brings about a chemical change while it remains unaffected and unchanged. Hence, any person, thing, or event that causes changes to happen, but without taking part in those changes.
(While I was already considering quitting the job, my meeting with an astrologer proved to be the catalyst and I put in my papers the subsequent day.)
Related Word: catalytic(adj)
Caustic(adj,n)
any chemical that burns or corrodes organic tissue. Also, words that are meant to intentionally hurt the feelings of a person.
(I have always appreciated his mild and gentle manners, so was totally taken aback by his caustic remarks against the managing director.)
Synonyms: biting.
Censure(v,n)
adverse judgement, expression of disapproval, criticize unfavorably.
(His tasteless remarks came under severe censure by everyone present at the assembly.)
Synonyms: Reprimand, Reprove, Blame.
Antonyms: Praise.
Cogent(adj)
appealing forcibly to the mind or reason; convincing.
(None of the arguments that the defense counsel put forth in support of the accused were cogent enough for the judge to give a judgement in his favor.)
Synonyms: compelling.
Antonyms: unconvincing, faluous
Related Word: cogency, cogently
Connoisseur(n)
An expert on a subject, such as art or music. A person having deep knowledge on a particular subject.
(I'm no connoisseur of wines, but I know a good one when I taste one.)
Contrite(adj)
deeply and humbly sorry for one's wrong doing. Extremely repentant.
(I had thought he would feel some guilt at having spoken so rudely with her, but rather than being contrite, he was behaving as if he had been aggrieved.)
Synonyms: penitent
Related Word: contrition, contritely
Convention(n)
a usual or accepted way of behaving, especially in social situations, often following an old way of thinking or a custom in on particular society.
(Convention dictates that it is the man who asks the woman to marry him and not the reverse.)
Related Word: conventional.
Convoluted(adj)
very twisted. Describes sentences, explanations and arguments that are unreasonably long and difficult to understand.
(His grammar explanations are terribly convoluted. A very convoluted route.)
Synonyms: complicated
Related Word: convolution.
Credulous(adj)
tending to believe too readily; gullible.
(He was so credulous that he believed each and every word of what the impostor said, and had almost told him his bank account details when I reached the scene.)
Related Words: credulousness, credulity, credulously.
Culpable(adj)
deserving blame for a wrongdoing.
(Holding the CEO of the company culpable for all that had happened, the judge ruled that the ultimate responsibility for all the operations of the company rested with him)
Related Word: Culpability, culpably
Cynic(n)
A person who distrusts human motives and intentions at all times.
(A series of bitter experiences with those whom he thought were his friends had turned him into a hard-boiled cynic; he was not ready to trust any individual.)
Antonyms: trust
Related Word: cynical, cynicism, cynically.
Demur(v)
to express disagreement or refusal to do something.
(The lawyer requested a break in the court case, but the judge demurred.)
Derision(n)
scorn, ridicule, when someone or something is laughed at and considered ridiculous or of no value.
(They treated his suggestion with derision. Her speech was met with howls of derision.)
Desiccate(v)
to dry out or dehydrate; to make dry or dull.
(The old sailor's skin had become wrinkled and desiccated from years of being out in the sun and the wind.)
Antonyms: inundate.
Related Word: Desiccant, desiccation, desiccative.
Diatribe(n)
violent verbal attack, denunciation
(He launched into a long diatribe against the government's policies.)
Synonyms: inveigh
Antonyms: praise
Didactic(adj)
meant to instruct, having the manner of a teacher.
(In many schools, traditional didactic teaching has been replaced by an approach which allows children to discover things for themselves.)
Related Word: didactically, didacticism.
Dilettante(n)
Person who dabbles in a subject for pleasure. An amateur.
(He's a bit of a dilettante as far as wine is concerned.)
Disabuse(v)
Undeceive, disillusion, correct a false impression.
(I always thought that those two were sworn enemies, but seeing them behave in such a friendly manner has disabused me of my notion.)
Antonyms: deceive
Discordant(adj)
conflicting; dissonant or harsh in sound.
Discretion(n)
the ability to behave without causing embarrassment or attracting too much attention, especially by keeping information secret, the right or ability to decide something.
(Students can be expelled at the discretion of the headteacher. I leave the decision to your discretion.)
Disinterested(adj)
Unbiased and impartial, free from self-interest.
(As far as I know, the judge is absolutely disinterested and will give a fair hearing to both parties.)
Disparate(adj,n)
fundamentally distinct or dissimilar.
(Though they came from the most disparate backgrounds - one from a wealthy business family and the other the son of a humble farmer - they remained the best friends throughout their lives.)
Related Word: disparately, disparateness, disparity
Dissemble(v)
to disguise, conceal; to mislead.
(The army officer tried his best to dissemble that, there had not been any breach of authority, but the investigations revealed otherwise.)
Related Word: dissembler(n)
Ebullient(adj)
full of high spirits, bubbling over with enthusiasm or excitement.
(John was in a happy and ebullient mood after receiving the most prestigious award in his school)
Synonyms: vivacious
Related Word: ebullience, ebulliently
Eccentric(adj)
something that is out of the usual or socially accepted, unconventional.
(The old man is known for his eccentric habit of sporting the most unusual and peculiar clothes.)
Related Word: eccentricity.
Effrontery(n)
rudeness without any sense of shame.
(Everyone is aware of Ruth's effrontery and hence do not ever expect an apology from her for her uncivil behaviors.
Synonyms: audacity, arrogant, temerity, impudence, gall.
Antonyms: shyness
Elegy(n)
A poem of lamentation for the dead or for something lost.
(Elton John wrote a touching elegy for Princess Diana after her death in a car accident.)
Synonyms: Dirge, Threnody.
Related Word: Elegiac(adj)
Eloquence(n)
expressiveness, persuasive speech.
(She is an eloquent speaker and thus, will make a good lawyer.)
Related Word: eloquent, eloquently
Emollient(adj)
soothing, especially to the skin; making less harsh.
(It's paradoxical that while the sting of the honey bee can be so painful, the honey it produces acts as an effective emollient for dry and parched skin.)
Antonyms: irritating.
Empirical(adj)
based on experience and observation, not on bookish facts.
(Having extensively traveled himself, Albert is the right person to offer wise and empirical advice on camping and trekking.)
Related Word: empirically
Endemic(n)
peculiar to a country or class of people, commonly found in a specified area or people.
(Freckles are small patches of pigmented skin endemic to blonde and redheaded people.)
Antonyms: Pandemic.
Enigma(n)
puzzle, mystery, anything that is difficult to understand.
(Despite the security, the thief's ability to break into the museum without being caught remains an enigma to the police.)
Related Word: enigmatic, enigmatically.
Ephemeral(adj)
short-lived, lasting only a day or few days.
(Thoughtless spending on expensive clothes is only an ephemeral pleasure which does not bring long lasting joy.)
Synonyms: transitory
Antonyms: eternal, permanent
Related Word: Ephemera.
Equivocate(v)
to speak in a way that is intentionally unclear and confusing to other people, especially to hide the truth.
(She accused the minister of equivocating, claiming that he had deliberately avoided telling the public how bad the problem really was.)
Esoteric(adj)
unusual, mysterious, known only to a select few.
(Kemp has somewhat an esoteric taste in dress; except for her close friends, no one in the class likes the kind of dresses she puts on.)
Related Word: Esoterically
Eulogy(n)
a speech honoring the dead.
(Our school has a eulogy dedicated to its great founder, which the students sing everyday after prayers.)
Antonyms: malignancy, denunciation
Evanescence(n)
vanishing, fading from sight or senses.
(Once a great actress, this old woman now stays seriously ill and her past memories is almost evanescent.)
Synonyms: fugacious, fleeting
Antonyms: longevity.
Related Word: evanescent
Exculpate(v)
exonerate; to clear of blame.
(After the investigations were over Darrel was proved innocent and exculpated by the judge.)
Synonyms: exonerate
Antonyms: excuse
Related Word: exculpation
Exigent(adj)
extremely urgent, requiring immediate aid or action, exacting or demanding.
(The patient was in an exigent condition and passed away because of receiving no medical attention.)
Related Word: Exigency.
Extemporaneous(adj)
improvised; done without preparation.
(An extemporaneous speech.)
Fawn(v)
to flatter or praise excessively.
(I hate waiters who fawn over you. They fawn over their rich uncle to please him so that he would give them some of his wealth.)
Synonyms: obsequious, cringing
Antonyms: arrogant
Fervent(adj)
greatly emotional, zealous, ardent, hot
(Pamella is a fervent believer in equal remuneration for women in all the fields of labor.)
Related Word: Fervency, fervently
Filibuster(n,v)
intentional obstruction, especially using prolonged speechmaking to delay legislative action.
(Even thought the report was ready, the party announced that they would filibuster the report, and that it would be disclosed only the next month.)
Grandiloquent(n)
pompous, bombastic, using high-sounding language.
(His grandiloquent speech, in which he merely talked about his own achievements and how he had taken the company to such heights, was panned by the press.)
Related Word: Grandiloquence, Grandiloquently.
Hackneyed(adj)
rendered trite or commonplace by frequent usage.
(For several years now, Indian film makers have not been able to think beyond the hackneyed love stories and revenge dramas.)
Synonyms: Trite
Antonyms: Original.
Hedonism(n)
devotion to pleasureable pursuits, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
(He is a confirmed hedonist and believes in enjoying life to the fullest while it lasts.)
Antonyms: Puritan
Related Word: hedonist, hedonistic
Hegemony(n)
the position of being the strongest and most powerful and therefore able to control others.
(The three nations competed for regional hegemony.)
Synonyms: Authority
Related Word: Hegemonic(adj)
Heretical(adj)
violating accepted dogma or convention.
(Her belief that a split would be good for the party was regarded as heretical)
Iconoclast(n)
one who attacks or undermines traditional conventions or institutions.
(Rogers, an iconoclast in architecture, is sometimes described as putting the insides of buildings on the outside.)
Related Word: iconoclastic(adj)
Idolatrous(adj)
given to intense or excessive devotion to something.
(An idolatrous of material wealth.)
Impecunious(adj)
lacking funds; without money.
(I first knew him as an impecunious student living in a tiny bedsit.)
Synonyms: penurious, impoverished, indigent.
Antonyms: prosperous
Related Word: impecuniousness, impecuniously.
Impunity(n)
freedom from punishment or from the unpleasant results of something that has been done.
(The terrorists struck with impunity, totally without fear of the security forces, and decimated human lives and property at will.)
Antonyms: Liability
Indifferent(adj)
having no interest or concern; showing no bias or prejudice.
(While the whole class was listening to the lecture with interest and attention, Steven was sitting quite indifferently.)
Antonyms: Concerned
Related Word: indifference
Inert(adj)
lacking the strength or power to move, inactive.
(The dog has been lying inert in that position for more than an hour now, I think something's seriously wrong with it.)
Synonyms: sluggish, slow
Antonyms: active
Related Word: Inertia(n)
Infelicitous(adj)
unfortunate; inappropriate.
(His article was full of mistakes and verbal infelicities.)
Innocuous(adj)
harmless, causing no damage.
(What began as an innocuous interest in listening to rock music soon took the shape of a dangerous obsession, so much so that he has now been complaining of problems in hearing.)
Antonyms: malignant.
Related Word: Innocuousness, innocuously.
Insipid(adj)
without taste or flavor; lacking in spirit, bland.
(The performance of the actors in the play was so insipid and lifeless that we decided to walk out of the theater during the interval.)
Synonyms: tasteless
Antonyms: flavorful, savoury.
Related Word: Insipidness, insipidity, insipidly.
Intransigent(adj)
uncompromising, not ready to be persuaded.
(Unions claim that the management continues to maintain an intransigent position.)
Synonyms: unyielding, irreconcilable.
Antonyms: yielding
Related Word: intransigence.
Intrepid(adj)
steadfast and courageous, fearless and brave.
(The young, intrepid air force officer bravely took his aircraft over the enemy camp, and before the enemy could react, came back after dropping two bombs on the camp.)
Antonyms: Cowardly, Craven
Related Word: Intrepidity.
Inure(v)
Accustom to something unpleasant, get used to.
(After spending some time on the island they became inured to the hardships.)
Antonyms: Inexperienced.
Inveigle(v)
to obtain by deception or flattery.
(He desperately tried to inveigle his father into buying him a motor cycle, but the father would have none of it.)
Synonyms: Cajole, Beguile.
Sy
Irascible(adj)
easily angered; prone to
temperamental outbursts.
(She's becoming more and more irascible as she grows older.)
Synonyms: choleric, splenetic, bilious.
Antonyms: placid
Related Word: Irascibility
Lucid(adj)
clear; easily understood.
(While his brother writes in an unclear and clumsy way. Sam himself is known for his lucid style of writing.)
Related Word: lucidity, lucidly
Luminous(adj)
characterized by brightness and the emission of light.
(It is advisable to wear luminous clothes while riding at nights so that they are visible even in a dim light.)
Synonyms: bright
Related Word: luminously, luminousness.
Magnanimous(adj)
generous, great-hearted esp. toward an enemy.
(Even though he won the match comprehensively, Pete Sampras was magnanimous in his victory, praising his opponent's efforts to stay in the game.)
Synonyms: High-souled
Related Word: Magnanimity, Magnanimously.
Neologism(n)
a newly coined word.
(As communication is getting speedier with the popularity of the email, a number of colloquial neologisms have been coined and assimilated into the dictionary of the present computer-savvy generation.)
Related Word: Neologist, neology, neologize
Misanthrope(n)
One who hates mankind.
(He must be quite a misanthrope to make such negative statements about the future of mankind - he says that in the next thousand years, human will become cannibals.)
Related Word: misanthropic, misanthropical, misanthropist, misanthropy, misanthropize
Mercurial(adj)
Capricious, changing, fickle, lively, of the planet mercury.
(Nobody trusts him because of his mercurial nature; he is so fickle-minded that at one moment he decides something and the very next moment he changes his mind.)
Related Word: mercuriality, mercurially, merculiarism, merculiarize
Martial(adj)
associated with war and the armed forces.
(As soon as the Martial law was imposed, the army came into action and spread everywhere with automatic weapons and shotguns.)
Related Word: martialize, martially
Malevolent(adj)
having or showing often vicious ill will, spite, or hatred.
(I could never imagine that she was capable of such malevolence towards a person - the way in which she cursed him and spoke ill of him was unbelievable.)
Related Word: malevolently, malevolence.
Noxious(adj)
harmful, injurious.
(They died from inhaling noxious fume.)
Synonyms: baneful, deleterious, virulent.
Related Word: noxiously, noxiousness
Obdurate(adj)
extremely determined to act in a particular way and not to change despite argument or persuasion.
(The President remains obdurate on the question of tax cuts.)
Synonyms: Intractable, obstinate, recalcitrant.
Antonyms: yielding, docile
Related Word: obduracy, obdurately
Obsequious(adj)
too eager to serve or obey, without caring for loss of self-respect.
(She is almost embarrassingly obsequious to anyone in authority.)
Synonyms: toady, servile
Antonyms: Imperious
Related Word:obsequiousness, obsequiously.
Obstinate(adj)
Refusing to change one's stand, stubborn, inflexible.
(In spite of his father's repeated advice to him to become a doctor, he remained obstinate about joining the Army.)
Synonyms: Adamant, Obdurate, recalcitrant, Refractory.
Antonyms: Malleable, yielding.
Related Word: Obstinacy, Obstinately
Occlude(v)
to obstruct or block.
Onerous(adj)
difficult to do or needing a lot of effort.
(In those days, the onerous job of clearing forests was given to the criminals with a bad record.)
Related Word: onerousness, onerously
Paean(n)
song of praise and joy.
(The song, specially composed by the master musician on the occasion of the new millennium, was a paean to world peace and prosperity in the new century.)
Antonyms: Dirge
Parody(n)
a humorous imitation intended for ridicule or comic effect, especially in literature and art.
(It seems as if the film makers lost interest during the making of the film, and so the film appears to be a parody of what it was meant to be.)
Synonyms: travesty
Related Word: Parodist
Pedagogue(n)
A teacher who is too formal and uninteresting.
(The new teacher is too much of a pedagogue - paying too much importance on the outdated approach of learning by rote. )
Related Word: pedagogy, pedagogical, pedagogically
Penurious(adj)
penny-pinching; excessively thrifty; ungenerous, very poor.
(His inveterate habit of gambling has reduced him to the penurious state he finds himself in)
Synonyms: pauper, mendicant
Antonyms: Opulent.
Related Word: Penury
Pernicious(adj)
destructive, very injurious, extremely harmful.
(Though horror movies are gaining much importance nowadays and the young generations is liking it too, the same can have a pernicious effect on children.)
Antonyms: Benign.
Related Word: Perniciousness, Perniciously.
Perspicacious(adj)
acutely perceptive; having keen discernment.
(His perspicacious grandfather had bought the land as an investment, guessing that there might be gold underground.)
Synonyms: Discernment.
Related Word: Perspicacity, Perspicaciously.
Pervade(v)
to permeate throughout.
(The film is a reflection of the violence that pervades American culture. The influence of Freud is pervasive in her books.)
Pervasive(adj)
having the tendency to permeate or spread throughout.
(The latest financial scandal in the country has shown that corruption is among the most pervasive phenomena of our times - no one can be expected to be untouched by it.)
Related Word: Pervade, pervasiveness, pervasively.
Pine(v)
to yearn intensely; to languish; to lose vigor.
Pious(adj)
extremely reverent or devout; showing strong religious devotion. Pretending to have sincere feelings.
(She is a pious follower of the faith, never missing her prayers. Quit the pious apologies - I know you don't really care.)
Pirate(v)
to illegally use or reproduce. a person who sails in a ship and attacks other ships in order to steal from them.
(A pirated video/software.)
Pithy(adj)
the essential or central part; precise and brief.
(In his short and pithy speech, lasting just under ten minutes, he managed to effectively drive home to the audience the importance of the research going on in the laboratory.)
Synonyms: Terse
Antonyms: Prolix
Related Word: Pithiness, pithily.
Placate(v)
to appease; to calm by making concessions, pacify
(The landlord was very angry with me for not paying him the rent in time, I somehow managed to placate him saying that I would pay him the rent with interest the next month.)
Synonyms: appease, conciliate
Antonyms: exasperate
Related Word: Placatory
Platitude(n)
a remark or statement that may be true but is boring and meaningless because it has been said so many times before.
(His speech had nothing new; it was full of the usual platitudes about the glorious achievements of Indian democracy.)
Synonyms: bromide, cliche
Related Word: Platitudinous
Plummet(v)
to plunge or drop straight down, fall sharply or suddenly.
(The house rentals have plummeted in recent months because there is an excess of houses and very few people to live in them.)
Synonyms: Plunge
Polemic(n)
Verbal attack on a belief or opinion; Also, Dispute, art of carrying on arguments.
(As soon as he started his speech, he launched into a harsh polemic on his political opponents, calling them cheats and frauds.)
Synonyms: Diatribe
Antonyms: Conciliatory
Related Word: Polemical, Polemically
Pragmatic(adj)
practical rather than idealistic.
(Unlike his predecessor who was extremely ideological, the new CEO is pragmatic and focussed on results.)
Synonyms: Practical
Antonyms: Impractical, theoretical
Related Word: Pragmatist.
Prattle(v)
babble, talk in childish or artless fashion.
(She'd have prattled on about her new job for the whole afternoon if I'd let her.)
Precipitate(adj,v)
Rash, premature, hasty, to make something happen suddenly or sooner than expected.
(Don't be precipitate - think it through before you make a decision.)
Synonyms: Inconsiderate.
Precursor(n)
Something which happened or existed before another thing, especially if it either developed into it or had an influence on it.
(Biological research has often been a precursor to medical breakthroughs which benefits patients.)
Synonyms: Harbinger, progenitor
Predilection(n)
A disposition in favor of something; preference.
(Even though he had been hurt badly twice in bull-fight, he enjoys it even now; he seems to have predilection for such dangerous sport.)
Synonyms: Inclination
Prescient(adj)
Able to imagine or guess what will probably happen.
(A friend of my father had the prescience to predict the emergence of a network of computers all over the world, long before the Internet became a household term.)
Synonyms: Clairvoyant.
Related Word: Prescience.
Presumptuous(adj)
Unduly confident. Showing disrespect towards others because of an overly high opinion of oneself.
(It would be presumptuous of me to comment on the matter.)
Related Word: Presumptuously
Prevaricate(v)
To deliberately avoid the truth; to mislead.
(The party spokesperson was not able to answer even a single question properly, all his answers seemed to be prevaricating statement revealing little.)
Synonyms: Quibble
Antonyms: Veracity
Related Word: Prevarication, Prevaricator.
Pristine(adj)
Pure and unharmed, Fresh and clean.
(Washing machine for sale - only 2 months old and in pristine condition.)
Antonyms: filthy
Proclivity(n)
a natural predisposition or inclination.
(His proclivity for good food and wine is well known, but not many are aware that he also has a passion for racehorses.)
Synonyms: inclination, propensity
Antonyms: avoidance, aversion
Prodigal(adj)
recklessly wasteful; extravagant; profuse, lavish.
(He regrets the day he let her daughter have a credit card; she is so prodigal that he goes for shopping almost every alternate day.)
Synonyms: Extravagant, Profligate.
Antonyms: thrifty, niggardly
Related Word: Prodigally, Prodigality
Prodigious(adj)
abundant in size, force, or extent; extraordinary.
(He had a prodigious appetite for both women and drink.)
Synonyms: Enormous
Antonyms: Infinitesimal, Minute
Related Word: Prodigiously
Profligate(adj)
Recklessly wasteful, esp of money, wicked and immoral.
(She is well-known for her profligate spending habit.)
Synonyms: Prodigal, spendthrift, licentious, dissolute.
Related Word: Profligacy.
Profuse(adj)
given or coming forth abundantly; extravagant.
(The company accepted blame and sent us profuse apologies.)
Antonyms: scarce
Related Word: Profusion, profusely
Proliferate(v)
to grow or increase swiftly and abundantly.
(Small businesses have proliferated in the last ten years.)
Synonyms: Burgeon, propagate
Related Word: proliferation.
Propensity(n)
a natural inclination or tendency; penchant.
(He seems to have a natural propensity to get into trouble.)
Synonyms: proclivity
Prosaic(adj)
dull and unimaginative, unromantic.
(I just don't believe that the person who used to give such an eloquent and fluent speech is delivering such a prosaic speech today. I'm sure he is not well.)
Synonyms: Factual
Antonyms: romantic, imaginative
Related Word: Prosaically
Pungent(adj)
biting or sharp in taste or smell. Very strongly felt and expressed.
(I sat down to a cup of wonderfully pungent Turkish coffee.)
Synonyms: caustic
Related Word: Pungency
Putrefy(v)
to rot; to decay and give off a foul odor.
(The murder had taken place nearly a month back, and the body had putrefied almost beyond recognition.)
Synonyms: decompose
Related Word: Putrefication.
Qualm(n)
an uncomfortable feeling of doubt about whether you are doing the right thing.
(He seemed to have absolutely no qualms about stealing money from his father's wallet, something I could never have imagine.)
Synonyms: Remorse, compunction, demur, scruple, twinge.
Related Word: qualmish
Query(v,n)
question; inquiry; doubt in the mind; reservation.
(If you have any queries about your treatment, the doctor will answer them.)
Quiescent(n)
still, motionless, dormant, quality of being at rest.
(After the furore over the elections and the induction of the new government, the political situation in the country is now relatively quiescent.)
Synonyms: motionless, inert
Antonyms: active
Related Word: quiescence, quiescency, quiescently
Quotidian(adj)
occurring or recurring daily; commonplace.
(Listening to the news on the radio at 8 p.m has been a part of his quotidian routine for the past several years now.)
Rancor(n)
bitterness, hatred.
(It was very gracious of him to say that he bore no rancor against them despite being cheated by them.)
Synonyms: malevolence, spitefulness.
Antonyms: benevolence, regard
Related Word: rancorous
Rarefy(v)
to make or become less thin, less dense; to refine.
(As we went up the mountain, the air become more and more rarefied and it was increasingly difficult to breathe.)
Related Word: Rarefy, rarefaction, rarefication
Recondite(adj)
hidden; concealed; difficult to understand; obscure.
(In his presentation, the young scientist beautifully brought out the basic concepts and the implications of the genome project, a rather recondite subject for the common man.)
Synonyms: abstruse
Redoubtable(adj)
Formidable, causing fear, awe-inspiring, worthy of honor.
(Though he has an easy run up to the quarter finals of the Wimbledon championship, he now has to contend with the redoubtable second seed.)
Synonyms: Stalwart
Related Word: Redouted.
Refulgent(adj)
radiant; shiny; brilliant.
Renege(v)
fail to keep a promise or argument.
(The seller made it clear that once the dealer had signed the agreement, there was no way he could renege on the deal.)
Rescind(v)
to invalidate, to repeal, to retract.
(Under severe pressure from various environmental lobbies, the government was forced to rescind its earlier decision of constructing a second dam over the river.)
Synonyms: Repudiate, Countermand.
Sanction(n)
formal or official approval. An official action(like stopping of trade) taken by one country against another
(The state government has finally sanctioned the construction of a separate building to house the Literacy Mission; till now, the Mission has to share its premises with the Human Rights Mission.)
Synonyms: Endorse, Embargo, penalty
Antonyms: proscribe
Satire(n)
Any piece of work (writing) meant to bring out the misdeeds or foolishness of others in an amusing manner.
(Her play was a biting satire on life in the 80s)
Synonyms: Facetiousness, repartee, witticism
Related Word: Satirical, Satirically, Satirize
Sedulous(adj)
showing careful attention and perseverance, diligent; persistent; hardworking.
(I have never seen him study for his exams as sedulously as this; it appears Dennis has finally realized the importance of studies.)
Synonyms: Assiduous
Antonyms: Lazy
Related Word: Sedulously
Shard(n)
Broken piece of glass, pottery.
(He accidentally stepped on a small shard of glass when he was playing barefoot in the garden; the shard could only be removed by surgery.)
Solicitous(adj)
concerned and attentive; eager; anxious about a person's welfare or comfort.
(The manager is so solicitous for the welfare of the staff, that he often goes out of way to help the employees.)
Synonyms: Anxious
Antonyms: apathetic, indifferent.
Related Word: solicitousness, solicitously
Solvent(adj)
able to meet financial obligations; able to dissolve another substance.
(He is under so much debt that even if he sells off his house, he will not be able to become solvent.)
Antonyms: bankrupt
Related Word: solvency
Soporific(adj)
causing drowsiness; tending to induce sleep.
(To make sure that he doesn't disturb anybody during the night, as he is used to, the doctor decided to give the patient a soporific medicine.)
Synonyms: Sedative, Narcotic, Hypnotic, Tranquil
Antonyms: Energizer, Stimulant
Related Word: Soporifically.
Sparse(adj)
tin; not dense; arranged at widely spaced intervals.
(This is an extremely dry region; the sparse vegetation here consists only of thorny bushes and shrubs.)
Synonyms: Meager, scanty
Related Word: Sparseness, sparsely
Spendthrift(n)
someone who wastes money recklessly.
(Had he not been a spendthrift, he could have saved his father's hard-earned money and utilized it in something better, but now he will have to beg for money.)
Synonyms: Prodigal, Profligate
Antonyms: Thrifty
Sporadic(adj)
occurring only occasionally, or in scattered instances.
(The 12 hour curfew was marked by sporadic incidents of violence, but other than that it was largely peaceful.)
Synonyms: Intermittent, spasmodic
Antonyms: frequent, continual, continuous
Squalid(adj)
sordid; wretched and dirty as from neglect.
(Despite several complaints by the patients regarding the squalid condition of the hospital, no action has yet been taken to improve the prevalent condition)
Synonyms: Sordid, Abject
Antonyms: Splendid, pleasant, tidy
Related Word: squalidness, squalidly, squalor
Stoic(adj)
indifferent to or unaffected by pleasure or pain; steadfast.
(The Wimbledon champion is known for being amazingly restrained in display of emotions - he is equally stoical in victory as he is in defeat.)
Synonyms: Impassive, Solid
Antonyms: Passionate
Related Word: Stoical, Stoically, Stoicism.
Stupefy(v)
to stun, baffle, or amaze.
(The people on the beach watched stupefied as the huge shark suddenly emerged out of the water and grabbed the unfortunate swimmer in its huge jaws.)
Synonyms: Daunt, astonish, overwhelm, intimidate, dazzle
Subtle(adj)
not obvious, elusive, difficult to discern.
(She would be absolutely devastated by the news of her son's death, we'll have to break the news to her really subtly.)
Synonyms: Perspicacious
Antonyms: conspicuous
Related Word: Subtlety, Subtly
Superfluous(adj)
exceeding what is sufficient or necessary.
(The editor asked him to rewrite the article, making it crisper and more precise, and said that the second paragraph could almost entirely be deleted as it was superfluous.)
Synonyms: Redundant
Antonyms: Dearth, Paucity
Related Word: Superfluousness, superfluity, superfluously
Supplant(v)
to put something in place of something else, often unfairly or improperly.
(In the recent general elections, the issue of terrorism emerged as the most important issue, supplanting even the very significant issue of unemployment.)
Synonyms: Usurp
Surfeit(v,n)
stuff oneself, indulge in excess drinking or eating. Hence, too much or more than is needed.
(We had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year, and in the absence of significant demand, we've had a surfeit of tomatoes this year - we've been forced to sell them at half their normal price.)
Synonyms: Satiate.
Synthesis(n)
The combination of parts to make a whole.
(His latest album of fusion instrumental music is a brilliant synthesis of Indian ragas, Egyptian rhythms and Carrebean calypso)
Synonyms: Integration
Related Word: Synthesize
Tacit(adj)
implied; not explicitly stated.
(The Prime Minister could not won the vote of confidence without the help of Mr. Kilmer and his party men, so it's quite certain that he had the tacit support of Mr. Kilmer throughout the proceedings.)
Synonyms: Implied.
Related Word: Tacitly
Tenuous(adj)
having little substance or strength, flimsy, weak.
(The connection between the novel and the movie is quite tenuous and it cannot be said that the movie is based on the novel.)
Synonyms: Flimsy
Antonyms: Substantial
Related Word: Tenuously, Tenuousness.
Torpid(adj)
lethargic, sluggish, dormant.
(The teacher was having a difficult time explaining the concept to the students as the whole class was feeling sleepy and torpid, after staying up the previous night till late because of a class party.)
Synonyms: lifeless, languid
Antonyms: vivacious
Related Word: Torpor, torpidity, torpidly
Torque(n)
A force that causes rotation.
Tortuous(adj)
winding, twisting, excessively complicated.
(Instead of the direct route, he told us to take a tortuous route that took us an hour more to reach than the direct route would have taken.)
Related Word: Tortuousity, tortuousness, tourtuosly
Tout(n,v)
Pester possible customers with requests (for orders), person employed for such job.
(Tourists to India are repeatedly warned by their well-wishers to beware the touts in the areas of tourist interest, who can give false information without the slightest bit or remorse in order to extract money from them.)
Unfeigned(adj)
genuine; not false or hypocritical.
(greet somebody with unfeigned pleasure.)
Untenable(adj)
indefensible; not viable; uninhabitable.
(The government has already stretched to the limits the reclaimation of land from the sea, any more reclaimation would be untenable.)
Synonyms: Untended, Unthatched, Untempered, Indefensible.
Antonyms: Supportable
Urbane(adj)
sophisticated; refined; elegant in manner.
(The urbanity in his behavior is due to the fact that he has been brought up and taught in a royal atmosphere.)
Synonyms: unctuous, voluble
Antonyms: Inept
Related Word: Urbanely, Urbanity
Variegated(adj)
multicolored; characterized by a variety of patches of different color.
(While the flowers in Stubbs' garden are single colored, the flowers in Mebbin's garden are variegated with brown and green spots.)
Synonyms: Heterogeneous
Antonyms: Homogeneous
Related Word: Variegation
Vexation(n)
annoyance; irritation.
(After several unsuccessful attempts to start his car, he swore in vexation.)
Vigilant(adj)
alertly watchful.
(Following the bomb scare at the airport, the staff have been warned to be extra vigilant.)
Synonyms: Circumspection.
Related Word: Vigilance, Vigilante, Vigil.
Vilify(v)
to defame or degrade (something or someone) by saying or writing unpleasant things.
(When it was discovered that he had been operating as a spy, he was vilified in the press as being a traitor.)
Synonyms: Malign, traduce, denigrate, calumniate.
Virulent(adj)
extremely harmful or poisonous; bitterly hostile or antagonistic.
(The latest attack by the powerful computer virus is perhaps the most virulent ever, it has the capacity to permanently damage the hard disks of the computer.)
Related Word: Virulently, Virulence, Virulency
Viscous(adj)
sticky, glutinous
(As soon as the scientist poured the chemical into the beaker, the watery liquid in it became thick and viscous.)
Related Word: Viscosity, Viscid
Vituperate(v)
to use harsh, condemnatory language; to abuse or censure severely or abusively; berate.
(It was totally unlike him to criticize the chairman in such vituperative words - I've always thought of him to be mild and gentle.)
Synonyms: Revile
Related Word: Vituperation, Vituperative
Volatile(adj)
readily changing to a vapor; changeable; fickle; explosive
(Immediately after the demolition of the temple, the situation in the town turned volatile, and the police had to be called in to control the angry crowd.)
Related Word: Volatility.
Voracious(adj)
having an insatiable appetite for an activity or pursuit; ravenous.
(He has a voracious appetite - he can eat alone for one meal what the four of us together eat.)
Antonyms: Generous
Related Word: Voraciously, Voracity, Voraciousness.
Waver(v)
to move to and fro; to sway; to be unsettled in opinion.
(I'm afraid my concentration began to waver as lunch approached. He has never wavered in his support for the leader.)
Zealous(adj)
fervent; ardent; impassioned
(A zealous supporter of the government's policies.)
Mendacious(adj)
not truthful.
(Some of these statements are misleading and some downright mendacious.)
Synonyms: Dishonest
Antonyms: Veracious, truthful
Related Word: Mendaciously, mendacity
Moisten(v)
to make something slightly wet or to become slightly wet.
(Moisten the cloth before using it to clean glass.)
Embryonic(adj)
undeveloped, in a very early stage of growth.
(Poultry farms place the eggs into incubators to hasten the growth of the embryo into chicken.)
Synonyms: Rudimentary
Related Word: Embryo
Preclude(v)
To render impossible, prevent
(His contract precludes him from discussing his work with anyone outside the company.)
Synonyms: preempt
Antonyms: Conclude
Related Word: Preclusion
Lethargic(adj)
Feeling unwilling and unable to do anything.
(It is not unusual for most people to feel a little lethargic after a heavy meal, specially on a warm afternoon.)
Synonyms: Lazy
Antonyms: Awake, Vigorous
Related Word: Lethargy
Melancholy(n,adj)
sadness and depression, sad, gloomy.
(The melancholy news of the brutal massacre of thousands of innocent civilians soon spread all over the world.)
Synonyms: Sadness, Depression
Related Word: Melancholic, Melancholia
Cursory(adj)
Casual, quick, not detailed, hastily done.
(A cursory examination of this report will not help you much, you need to read through it in detail.)
Antonyms: Detailed, Thorough.
Related Word: Cursorily
Sinecure(n)
Well-paid position with little responsibility.
(His new job is a real sinecure - for a salary of $60000, all he has to do each day is to verify some computer records with some information recorded from different offices of the company.)
Simper(v,n)
to smile in a foolish or silly way.
(She gave her teacher a simpering smile.)
Synonyms: Grimace
Epicure(n)
A person having great interest in matters of taste and enjoyment particularly food and drink.
(Bruce is a complete Epicurean who believes more in simply enjoying life rather than working hard.)
Synonyms: Gourmet, Gastronome
Related Word: Epicurean
Jejune(adj)
dull and dry, very simple and childish
(His lectures were so jejune that most of the members were seen napping while he was delivering it.)
Synonyms: Insipid, Tedious, Vapid
Related Word: Jejunely, Jejuneness
Nostrum(n)
An idea that someone thinks will solve a problem easily but will probably not help at all.
(An economic nostrum)
Remedy(n, v)
A successful way of curing an illness or dealing with a problem or difficulty.
(An effective herbal remedy for headaches. The best remedy for grief is hard work. The mistake must be remedied immediately.)
Engender(v)
to produce, cause, bring about.
(Religious sects are meant to engender peace amongst the people instead of which they create only disharmony.)
Beget(v)
To give rise to; to produce.
(Violence can never be a solution to this turmoil; it will only beget more violence. Poverty begets hunger, and hunger begets crime.)
Synonyms: Spawn
Related Word: Begetter.
Procreate(v)
to produce young.
(While priests were denied the right to marry and procreate, he said, their situation would remain impossible.)
Spawn(v,n)
to lay eggs (usu used for fish and other water animals), to bring into existence.
(The new economic freedom has spawned hundreds of new small businesses. She started screaming that I was a spawn of Satan because I was smoking a cigarette.)
Synonyms: Progeny.
Enfeeble(v)
to make someone or something very weak.
Debilitate(v)
Enfeeble, weaken
(Chemotherapy exhausted and debilitated him.)
Antonyms: Strengthen.
Sap(v)
to weaken someone or take away strength or an important quality from someone, especially over a long period of time.
(Constant criticism saps you of your confidence. Looking after her dying mother had sapped all her energy.)
Ape(v)
to copy something or someone badly and unsuccessfully.
(He called the new building unoriginal and said that it merely aped the classical traditions.)
Imitate(v)
to behave in a similar way to someone or something else, or to copy the speech or behaviour of someone or something.
(Some of the younger pop bands try to imitate their musical heroes from the past.)
Dirge(n)
A song or a poem of grief or of lamentation for the dead.
(As soon as the hospital authorities formally announced the passing away of the head of state, the television and radio stations in the country started playing a mournful dirge.)
Synonyms: Elegy, Threnody
Antonyms: Paean.
Efficacious(adj)
producing the desired result, effective
(The medicine prescribed by the junior doctor proved to be efficacious and relieved him off his pain immediately.)
Related Word: Efficacy, Efficaciously
Dupe(v,n)
someone easily fooled, to cheat someone.
(The company had a vicious plan of duping thousands of innocent villagers of their hard-earned, meager savings by showing them illusions of enormous returns on their investments.)
Related Word: Dupery, Duper, Dupable
Beguile(v)
cheat, do something deceitful, to spend time in a pleasant way.
(I was beguiled by him into believing that he was a representative of the company. We beguiled the long hours as we waited for the train by playing Scrabbles and recounting anecdotes.)
Synonyms: Hoax, Swindle
Related Word: Beguilement.
Cozen(v)
to deceive, to cheat
(to cozen somebody into doing something.)
Hoodwink(v)
to deceive, to cheat.
(By making some false announcements to the press, he managed to hoodwink a large number of people into investing in his company.)
Synonyms: Delude
Bluff(v)
to deceive someone by making them think either that you are going to do something when you really have no intention of doing it, or that you have knowledge that you do not really have, or that you are someone else.
(Is he going to jump or is he only bluffing? She bluffed the doorman into thinking that she was a reporter.)
Delude(v)
Mislead, fool, dupe, gull.
(The thieves deluded the old woman into thinking that they had been sent by the telephone department to set right the faulty line.)
Synonyms: Cozen, Deceive
Related Word: Delusion
Humbug(n)
dishonest talk, writing or behavior that is intended to deceive people.
(The usual political humbug.)
Doctrinaire(adj)
based on fixed beliefs.
(These principles are doctrinaire.)
Magisterial(adj)
having or seeming to have complete authority.
(His magisterial presence.)
Doctrine(n)
A belief or set of beliefs, especially political or religious, taught and accepted by a particular group.
(The president said he would not go against sound military doctrine.)
Related Word: Doctrinism, Doctrinist
Creed(n)
A formal statement of beliefs.
(The chairman insisted that each and every employee in the company should treat customer satisfaction as the most important creed of the company.)
Synonyms: Credo
Dissonant(adj)
not in harmony, harsh.
(The orchestra played in perfect unison, with not a single dissonant note being struck.)
Antonyms: Harmonious
Related Word: Dissonance, Dissonantly.
Dissension(n)
arguments and disagreement, especially in an organization, group, political party.
(There are signs of dissension within the ruling political party.)
Strife(n)
conflict, struggle.
(What are the prospects for overcoming the strife between the Christian minority and Muslim majority? Twenty years of civil strife have left the country's economy in ruins.)
Synonyms: Altercation, Discord
Dissent(v,n)
to think differently or disagree; difference of opinion.
(Though he did not express dissent, I could see that he was not fully in agreement with the plan that the CEO had proposed.)
Antonyms: Concur
Related Word: Dissentient
Dissident(n)
rebelious, person who disagree with and criticizes the group to which he/she belongs.
(Because of the unpopularity of the new leader in the political party, a number of its members had turned dissidents, which was a cause for worry for the leadership.)
Related Word: Dissidence.
Variance(n)
when two or more things are different, or the amount or number by which they are different.
(There has been some unusual variance in temperature this month.)
Masquerade(v,n)
behavior that is intended to prevent the truth about something unpleasant or not desirable from becoming known; to pretend or appear to be someone or something.
(They kept up the masquerade of being happily married for over thirty years. Hooligans masquerading as football fans have once again caused disturbances.)
Sham(n,v)
something that is not what it appears, pretend.
(He isn't really upset - he's just shamming. It turned out that he wasn't a real doctor at all - he was just a sham.)
Dissimulate(v)
Pretend, Conceal
(Though he tried hard to keep a straight face, he could not dissimulate that he had felt greatly hurt because of the harsh words spoken against him by his friend.)
Related Word: Dissimulation, Dissimulator.
Feign(v)
to pretend to feel something, usually an emotion.
(You know how everyone feigns surprise when you tell them how old you are.)
Synonyms: Pretend.
Descry(v)
to realize, to notice, to discern.
(To descry a small hut a long way off among big trees.)
Espy(v)
to suddenly or unexpectedly see something, especially something a long distance away.
(She suddenly espied someone waving at her from the window.)
Tyro(n)
A beginner, novice.
(They considered him too much of a tyro to be entrusted with such a crucial task, but he surprised them by thinking of a plan which none of them had thought of despite their vast experience.)
Synonyms: Neophyte; Fledgling.
Antonyms: Expert.
Dabble(v)
splash, work in a non-serious manner.
(The little girls playfully dabbled their feet in the fast flowing river. He dabbled in fashion designing for a while, then deciding that he did not have the flair for it, took to pursuing interior decoration.)
Related Word: Dabbler.
Superficial(adj)
on the surface, shallow, not thorough or complete.
(I could see that his interest in my paintings was only superficial, he was clearly preoccupied with something else in his mind.)
Synonyms: Hypocritical, Tame
Antonyms: Profound, Basic
Related Word: Superficiality, Superficially
Dilatory(adj)
Delaying, tending to slow down action.
(The heavy lunch had a dilatory effect on my pace of work, and I could not complete the task by the evening as I had planned.)
Synonyms: Cunctative, Fabian
Antonyms: Expediting.
Related Word: Dilatory, Dilatoriness
Flagging(adj)
becoming weaker.
(Flagging energy/enthusiasm.)
Dilate(v)
Expand, Widen, Enlarge, make or become wider.
(The pupils of the eye become small as soon as light falls on them, whereas darkness makes them dilate.)
Antonyms: Narrow.
Related Word: Dilation.
Elaborate(v)
to add more information to or explain something that you have said.
(The minister said he was resigning, but refused to elaborate on his reasons for doing so.)
Expatiate(v)
to speak or write about something in great detail or for a long time.
(She expatiated upon her work for the duration of the meal.)
Amplify(v)
Enlarge, to increase in size, effect by explaining in greater detail.
(He amplified his statements about the extent of poverty in the country by showing a lot of photographs he had himself taken over the past one year.)
Synonyms: Augment, Embellish.
Antonyms: Decrease
Related Word: Amplifier, Amplification
Diffidence(n)
Shyness, excessively modest.
(At first, she was extremely diffident about teaching a class of college students, but gained confidence almost as soon as she started her class.)
Synonyms: Bashful
Antonyms: Boldness
Related Word: Diffident, Diffidently
Bashful(adj)
Shy, too hesitant to open up and share.
(The six-year old girl was bashful and coy to begin with, but soon she opened up and gave me all the information I wanted.)
Synonyms: Blushing, diffident, timid
Related Word: Bashfully, Bashfulness.
Modest(adj)
not large in size or amount, or not expensive; tending not to talk about or make obvious your own abilities and achievements.
(They live in a fairly modest house, considering their wealth. He's very modest about his achievements.)
Timid(adj)
shy and nervous; lacking confidence; easily frightened.
(Lucy is a rather timid child. My horse is a bit timid and is easily frightened by traffic.)
Jeremiad(n)
Tale of woe.
(Everyone in the community had their own set of miseries and problems, so no one was really interested in listening to his jeremiad.)
Synonyms: Ramentation
Malediction(n)
Curse.
(The malediction of the witch-doctor seemed to be taking effect - he was developing ugly looking rashes all over his face and back.)
Related Word: Maledictive, maledictory
Invective(n)
Abuse, violent attack in words.
(The meeting was soon reduced to a platform for venting personal enmities, and invectives, charges, and counter charges flew in all directions.)
Obloquy(n)
very strong and offensive criticism; loss of respect and honor.
Desultory(adj)
jumping from one thing to another; disconnected.
(Diane had a desultory academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in 3 years.)
Synonyms: Unmethodical
Antonyms: Systematic
Haphazard(adj)
not having an obvious order or plan.
(He tackled the problem in a typically haphazard manner.)
Antonyms: Deliberate.
Parch(v)
To become dried and wrinkled because of heat.
(Due to the lack of rains, the farms were parched and became useless for farming.)
Antonyms: Wet
Related Word: Parched.
Dehydrate(v)
Remove water from, dry out, lose water.
(After walking in the sun for nearly an hour, I was feeling quite dehydrated and was desperately looking for water to drink.)
Related Word: Dehydration.
Derisive(adj)
showing that you think someone or something is stupid or silly.
(Derisive laughter.)
Taunt(v)
to intentionally annoy and upset someone by making unkind remarks to them, laughing at them.
(The other children used to taunt him in the playground because he was fat and wore glasses.)
Jeer(n,v)
to laugh or shout insults at someone to show you have no respect for them.
(The people at the back of the hall jeered at the speaker. The news that the performance was being cancelled was greeted by boos and jeers from the audience.)
Scoff(v)
Make fun of, ridicule.
(Nearly fifty years ago, my grandfather had predicted that typewriters would be replaced by electronic word processors, and his peers had scoffed at this idea.)
Synonyms: Taunt, Gibe, Mock.
Sneer(v)
to talk about or look at someone or something in an unkind way that shows you do not respect or approve of them.
(You may sneer, but a lot of people like this kind of music. She'll probably sneer at my new shoes because they're not expensive.)
Deride(v)
to make fun of, to treat scornfully, scoff at.
(Everyone present at the gathering derided him for his stupid comments; some even went to the extent of saying that he had lost his mental balance.)
Related Word: Derision, Derisive.
Deference(n)
Compliance with advice, courteous regard for another's wish.
(In deference to Indian custom, they had to take off their shoes before entering the temple.)
Antonyms: Contempt.
Reverent(n)
Respectful, showing great admiration and respect.
(The charisma and good will of the great Dalai Lama is evident from the reverence shown by his disciples.)
Synonyms: Devout, Solemn
Antonyms: Flippant, frivolous
Related Word: Reverence, Reverently, Reverential.
Courtesy(n)
polite behavior, or a polite action or remark.
(You might get on better with your parents if you showed them some courtesy.)
Etiquette(n)
The set of rules or customs which control accepted behavior in particular social groups or social situations.
(Social etiquette dictates that men cannot sit while women are standing.)
Seemly(adj)
socially suitable and polite.
Mores(n)
Conventions, moral standards, customs.
(Even though he is known for not following social mores and customs, he should have at least been dressed properly for his sister's wedding.)
Propriety(n)
Correctness of conduct, rightness.
(Even in the most forward societies, a live-in relationship between a younger man and an older woman is seen as flouting the norms of social propriety.)
Crescendo(n)
Increase in the volume or intensity in a musical passage, climax.
(The Crescendo of tension became unbearable as Evel Knievel prepared to jump his motorcycle over the school buses.)
Antonyms: Diminuendo
Authenticate(v)
to prove genuine.
(Though there is no way that I can authenticate this painting as a Salvador Dali, it looks very much to be a Dali original.)
Synonyms: Substantiate
Antonyms: Spurious, bogus, ersatz
Buttress(v,n)
To support.
(The events in Russia and other socialist countries in the 1990s buttressed the stand of the free-market economists.)
Synonyms: Bolster, Prop
Byzantine(adj)
difficult to understand and complicated.
(Rules of byzantine complexity.)
Perplex(v)
to confuse or trouble someone by being difficult to understand.
(The AIDS virus has continued to perplex top scientists who have been unable to understand the virus properly of find a cure.)
Related Word: Perplexity.
Knotty(adj)
Puzzling, complicated and difficult to solve.
(The shrewd journalist tried his best to discomfort the young actress with one knotty question after the other, but she proved to be sharper than he had thought and managed to effectively counter each confusing question.)
Synonyms: Gnarled, Convoluted, Blemished.
Related Word: Knottiness, Knottily.
Tangle(n)
An untidy mass of things that are not in a state of order, or a state of confusion of difficulty.
(A tangle of wires.)
Remit(v)
To reduce a period of time that someone must spend in prison.
(She has had part of her sentence remitted. His prison sentence was remitted to two years.)
Artifice(n)
A clever trick, deceitful device.
(The walls of this room have large mirrors on them; which is an artifice to make the room look larger.)
Synonyms: Stratagem, Ruse
Antonyms: Sincerity, Candor
Connive(v)
To work together for some illegal or fraudulent purpose.
(The policeman asserted with authority that the robbery could only have been committed with the connivance of an employee of the art gallery who was familiar with the layout of the gallery.)
Related Word: Connivance.
Pettifogging(adj)
worrying about small and unimportant details.
(I am stuck with an amazingly pettifogging boss; she constantly worries about unnecessary details and asks me hundreds of irrelevant questions.)
Sophistry(n)
clever and subtle, but misleading reasoning.
(In an obvious case of sophistry, the minister is trying to explain the irrational decision to grant more subsidies as being done for the general good of the people.)
Synonyms: Sophism
Subterfuge(n)
A secret trick or dishonest way of doing something.
(When he did not succeed in getting the property by straightforward methods, he resort to the use of subterfuge to obtain it.)
Synonyms: Deception, Chicanery, Duplicity
Sneak(v)
to go somewhere secretly, or to take someone or something somewhere secretly.
(I managed to sneak in through the back door while she wasn't looking.)
Underhanded(adj)
done secretly, and sometimes dishonestly, in order to achieve an advantage.
(What really angered her was the dirty underhand way they had tricked her.)
Chauvinist(n)
someone prejudiced in favor of a group to which he or she belongs.
(The attitude that men are inherently superior to women and therefore must be obeyed is common among male chauvinists.)
Topsy-Turvy(adj)
in a state of being confused, not well organized or giving importance to unexpected thins; upside down.
(The government's topsy-turvy priorities mean that spending on education remains low.)
Snarl(v)
to make a deep rough sound while showing the teeth, usually in anger or to speak or say something angrily and fiercely.
(The dogs started to snarl at each other so I had to separate them.)
Mordant(adj)
cruel and cutting.
(If he has used such words of criticism, that was a rather mordant remark - he's known for being careful and gentle with words.)
Synonyms: Sarcastic, caustic, acerbic
Related Word: Mordancy
Chastise(v)
Punish or blame severely.
(The Security and Exchange Commission has chastised the management of several Fortune 1000 companies for deliberately inflating the value of their stock by giving unsubstantiated statements to the press.)
Reprimand(v)
to express to someone your strong official disapproval of them, reprove severely.
(The young executive, because of whom the deal could not be signed, was reprimanded in front of the staff by the manager.)
Synonyms: Rebuke, Castigate
Reproach(v,n)
Express disapproval or disappointment, thing that brings disgrace or discredit.
(There is no need for you to reproach yourself for the accident, it was clearly not your mistake.)
Synonyms: Censure, Reprimand.
Related Word: Reproachful
Chide(v)
Scold, Complain Angrily.
(Even as the teacher chided him for not submitting his task on time, he did not show any signs of regret or repentance.)
Synonyms: Upbraid, Reproach, Rebuke.
Antonyms: Praise
Reprove(v)
to tell someone that you disapprove of their wrong or foolish behavior.
(The teacher gently reproved the boys for not paying attention.)
Scold(v)
to tell off someone of whose behavior you disapprove.
(His mother scolded him for breaking her favorite vase.)
Arbitrary(adj)
Derived from mere opinion or random choice, unreasonable.
(Though his decision seemed rather arbitrary at the time, it proved to be among the best decisions of his life.)
Synonyms: Capricious, Discretionary.
Related Word: Arbitrarily, Arbitrariness, Arbitrate
Willful(adj)
Done intentionally or determined to do exactly as you want, even if you know it's wrong.
(The present crisis is the result of years of willful neglect by the council.)
Whimsical(adj)
unusual and strange in an amusing or annoying way.
(He tried his best to make himself heard in the meeting but everyone discarded his ideas as being impractical and whimsical.)
Synonyms: Fantastic, Capricious.
Related Word: Whimsicality, Whimsically
Clamor(v,n)
loud, confused noise. To make such noise.
(There was no way I could have heard her voice above the loud clamor of the children playing in the field.)
Related Word: Clamorous.
Din(n,v)
a loud unpleasant confused noise which lasts for a long time, to say something forcefully and repeatedly to someone so that they remember it.
(The children were making a terrible din. It was dinned into me that I mustn't be late.)
Bloated(adj)
swollen and rounded because of containing too much air, liquid or food; unnecessarily large or wealthy.
(He had been brought up in a luxurious and pampered environment, which was the main reason behind his bloated ego and wasteful ways.)
Synonyms: Pompous, Magisterial
Related Word: Bloat
Declaim(v)
to express something with strong feeling, especially in a loud voice or with forceful language.
(She declaimed against the evils of capitalism.)
Prop(v)
to support something physically, often by learning it against something else or putting something under it.
(She was sitting at the desk with her chin propped on her hands. I propped my bike against the wall.)
Underpin(v)
to give support, strength or a basic structure to something.
(He presented the figures to underpin his argument. Gradually the laws that underpinned apartheid were abolished.)
Bleak(adj)
Cheerless, dull, hopeless.
(His blood pressure has fallen to such a low level that the doctors feel that chances of survival are bleak.)
Synonyms: melancholy, desolate
Dour(adj)
Stern, Severe
(In contrast to the reticent and dour principal of the school, who was a strict disciplinarian, the new music teacher was full of mirth and laughter, often seen joking with the students on the school lawns.)
Synonyms: Inflexible
Related Word: Dourly, Dourness.
Grim(adj)
worried or worrying, without hope.
(The future looks grim. Her face was grim as she told them the bad news.)
Audacious(adj)
Bold, daring, fearless.
("And you, your majesty, may kiss my burn!" replied the audacious peasant.)
Synonyms: Intrepid, Courageous, Dauntless.
Related Word: Audaciously, Audacity, Audaciousness.
Plucky(adj)
brave.
(It was plucky of you to chase after the burglar.)
Dauntless(adj)
showing determination and a lack of fear.
(In spite of the scale of the famine, the relief workers struggled on with dauntless optimism and commitment.)
Stout(adj)
strong and determined, quiet fat and solid-looking.
(Mrs Blower was the rather stout lady with the glasses and the sensible shoes. He needed a cool head, a stout heart and nerves of steel.)
Doughty(adj)
determined, brave and unwilling ever to admit defeat.
(She has been for many years a doughty campaigner for women's rights.)
Gallant(adj)
showing no fear of dangerous or difficult things.
(Despite fierce competition she made a gallant effort to win the first medal of the championships.)
Mettle(n)
ability and determination when competing or doing something difficult.
(The German athletes showed their mettle in the final round. The real test of her political mettle came in May elections. Both players were on their mettle in the final round.)
Stouthearted(adj)
brave and determined.
(Even the most stouthearted of hikers would have had to turn back in this weather.)
Valor(n)
great bravery.
(He was promoted to the rank of major in recognition of his valour during the battle.)
Venturesome(adj)
describes a person who is willing to take risks, or an action or behavior that is risky.
(He has become more venturesome this season with dress designs that incorporate a variety of ethnic influences.)
Undaunted(adj)
still determined and enthusiastic, despite problems or lack of success.
(Undaunted by the cold and the rain, people danced until 2 am. The team remain undaunted, despite three defeats in a row.)
Attenuate(v)
to reduce in force or degree; to weaken.
(The Bill of Rights attenuated the traditional power of government to change laws at will.)
Dilute(v,adj)
make less concentrated, reduce in strength by adding water or other solvent, weakened.
(The company took a series of measures, including an announcement on television, to dilute the public fears about the safety of its new drug.)
Related Word: Dilution
Unnerve(v)
to make someone feel less confident and slightly frightened.
(I think it unnerved me to be interviewed by so many people.)
Undermine(v)
to make someone less confident, less powerful or less likely to succeed, or to make something weaker, often gradually.
(The President has accused two cabinet ministers of working secretly to undermine his position. Criticism just undermines their confidence.)
Allay(v)
to calm, pacify or diminish.
(The President's statement was meant to allay public fears over the war situation; however, it ended up increasing the panic among the people.)
Synonyms: appeal, assuage.
Palliative(n,adj)
A drug that reduces pain or discomfort, but does not cure. Hence, anything that makes a problem seem less serious but does not solve it altogether.
(We want long-term solutions, not short-term palliatives. )
Mitigate(v)
reduce severity of; soften or lessen.
(He tried all sorts of liniments and balms, but nothing could mitigate the pain in his shoulder.)
Synonyms: Alleviate
Antonyms: Intensify
Related Word: Mitigatory, Mitigable, Mitigation.
Conciliate(v)
To win the trust of someone, remove disfavor or anger.
(He tried hard to win back her favor, but all his attempts at conciliation were snubbed by her.)
Antonyms: Quarrel.
Related Word: Conciliation, Conciliatory.
Appease(v)
Try to conciliate or bribe by making concessions.
(I tried my best to appease the child by offering him toffees, but he continued to howl at the top of his voice.)
Synonyms: Pacify
Antonyms: Agitate.
Articulate(adj,v)
to express thoughts and feelings clearly.
(Though he finds it very difficult to articulate his feelings to anyone, he opens up with me and shares all his distress.)
Synonyms: Eloquent.
Related Word: Articulation, Articulateness, Articulately, Articulation.
Arbitrate(v)
to judge a dispute between two apposing parties.
(Since the couple could not come to agreement, a judge was forced to arbitrate their divorce proceedings.)
Related Word: Arbitration, Arbitrator.
Adjudge(v)
to announce a decision or consider something, especially officially.
(In October 1990, Mirchandani was adjudged bankrupt.)
Adjudicate(v)
to act as judge in a competition or argument, or to make a formal decision about something.
(He was asked to adjudicate on the dispute. The game was adjudicated a win for Black.)
Bygone(adj)
belonging to or happening in a past time.
(A bygone era.)
Fusty(adj)
not fresh and smelling unpleasant, old-fashioned in ideas and beliefs.
(This room smells a bit fusty. Rupert's father belongs to some fusty old gentleman's club in London where they don't allow women in.)
Antediluvian(adj)
extremely old-fashioned.
(My mother has some hopelessly antediluvian ideas about the role of women.)
Prehistoric(adj)
describing the period before there were written records, very old-fashioned.
(He has prehistoric views about women who have careers. Painting originated in prehistoric times.)
Supersede(v)
to replace something, especially something older or more old-fashioned.
(Most of the old road - which stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles - has been superseded by the great Interstate highways.)
Obsolete(adj)
not in use any more, having been replaced by something newer and better or more fashionable.
(Gas lamp became obsolete when electric lighting was invented.)
Stale(adj)
no longer new or fresh, usually as a result of being kept for too long, boring because of too familiar.
(The bread had gone stale. The morning after the party, their apartment smelled of stale cigarette smoke. They had been working together for over five years and they had both become a little stale.)
Vintage(adj)
of high quality and lasting value, or showing the best and most typical characteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past.
(A vintage aircraft, a vintage comic book.)
Superannuated(adj)
old, and almost no longer suitable for work or use.
Dowdy(adj)
not attractive or fashionable.
(She looked dowdy and plain in that outfit.)
Passe(adj)
no longer fashionable.
(Wines from that region were quite popular for a while, but now they're rather passe.)
Ebb(v)
If a physical or emotional feeling ebbs, it becomes less strong or disappears.
(He could feel his strength ebbing away)
Abstain(v)
To not do something, especially something enjoyable that you think might be bad.
(He took a vow to abstain from alcohol/smoking/sex.)
Flee(v)
To escape by running away, especially because of danger or fear
(In order to escape capture, he fled to the mountains.)
Decamp(v)
To leave suddenly and unexpectedly, usually without telling anyone
(He decamped from the hotel with someone else’s luggage.)
Subside(v)
If a condition subsides, it becomes less strong or extreme. If a building, land or water subsides, it goes down to a lower level.
(The police are hoping that the violence will soon subside. There is danger that many homes will subside because of the drought.)
Lapse(v,n)
A temporary failure, a period of time passing between two things happening. To end legally or officially by not being continued or made effective for a longer period.
(A lapse of concentration. The management’s decision to ignore the safety warnings demonstrated a remarkable lapse of judgment. He turned up again after a lapse of two years. The association needs to win back former members who have allowed their subscriptions to lapse.)
Slacken(v)
To loosen.
(Slacken the reins or you’ll hurt the horse’s mouth)
Forbear(v)
To prevent yourself from saying or doing something, especially in a way that shows control, good judgment or kindness to others.
(The doctor said she was optimistic about the outcome of the operation but forbore to make any promises at this early stage.)
Refrain(v)
To avoid doing or stop yourself from doing something.
(We refrained from talking until we knew that it was safe. The sign on the wall said “Please refrain from smoking.)
Withhold(v)
To refuse to give something or to keep back something.
(During the trial, the prosecution was accused of withholding crucial evidence from the defence.)
Abyss(n)
A very deep hole which seems to have no bottom. A difficult situation that brings trouble or destruction.
(The country is sinking into an abyss of violence and lawlessness. She found herself on the edge of an abyss.)
Void(n)
A large hole or empty space, a feeling of unhappiness because someone or something is missing.
(She stood at the edge of the chasm and stared into the void. They tried to describe their attempts to fill the void left by their son’s death.)
Dignify(v)
To cause something to be valued and respected, to cause something to be valued and respected when that is not deserved.
(The defeated candidate gave a dignified speech in which he congratulated his rival. I’m not even going to dignify that stupid question with an answer.)
Ennoble(v)
To make someone a member of the nobility (=highest social rank), to make something or someone more admirable.
(He has this theory that suffering can ennoble a person’s character.)
Apotheosis((n)
The best or most extreme example of something.
(Most people agree that her acting career achieved its apotheosis in this film. Bad taste in clothes reached its apotheosis in the 1970s.)
Elevate(v)
To raise something or lift something up. To make someone or something more important or to improve something.
(The platform was elevated by means of hydraulic legs. These factors helped to elevate the town into the list of the ten most attractive in the country.)
Swell(v)
To become larger and rounder than usual; to increase in size or amount.
(His heart swelled with pride as he stood watching his son graduate. It was obvious she had broken her toe, because it immediately started to swell.)
Augment(v)
To increase the size or value of something by adding something to it.
(He would have to find work to augment his imcome.)
Glorify(v)
To make something seem splendid or excellent, often when it is really not. To praise and honor God or a person.
(I didn’t like the way the film glorified war/violence. A statue was erected to glorify the country’s national heroes.)
Uplift(v,n)
Improvement of a person’s moral or spiritual condition. To raise something to a higher position.
(We are counting on your speech, bishop, to give some moral uplift to the delegates)
Admixture(n)
Something that is added to something else.
(Platinum combines with phosphorus and arsenic and is seldom found without an admixture of related metals.
Intermingle(v)
To become mixed together.
(The flavors intermingle to produce a very unusual taste. Fact is intermingled with fiction throughout the book.)
Indeterminate(adj)
Not measured, counted or clearly described.
(An indeterminate number of workers have already been exposed to the danger. A man of indeterminate age.)
Amend(v)
To change the words of a text, typically a law or a legal document.
(Until the constitution is amended, the power to appoint ministers will remain with the president.)
Pacify(v)
To cause someone who is angry or upset to be calm and satisfied.
(He pacified his crying child with a bottle. It was difficult for the police to pacify the angry crowd.)
Commingle(v)
To mix together, or to make different things do this.
(Many towns allow recyclable items to be commingled for collection in a single container.)
Mingle(v)
If two feelings, sounds, smells mingle, they mix together with each other.
(Add the mint and allow the flavors to mingle. Her perfume mingled with the smell of wood smoke from the fire.)
Intermix(v)
To mix together, or mix things together.
Homogeneous(adj)
Consisting of parts or people which are similar to each other or are of the same type.
(The population of the village has remained remarkably homogeneous.)
Deviant(adj)
Describes a person or behavior that is not usual and is generally considered to be unacceptable.
Preternatural(adj)
More than is usual or natural.
(Anger gave me preternatural strength, and I managed to force the door open.)
Clash(v)
To fight or argue.
(The government and the opposition parties have clashed over the cuts in defense spending.
Vex(v)
To cause difficult to someone, or to cause someone feel angry, annoyed or upset.
(This issue looks likely to continue to vex the government.)
Incite(v)
To encourage someone to do or feel something unpleasant or violent.
(She incited racial hatred by distributing anti-Semitic leaflets. She was expelled for inciting her classmates to rebel against their teachers.)
Antagonize(v)
To make someone feel opposition or dislike towards you.
(It’s a very delicate situation and I’ve no wish to antagonize him.)
Antipathy(n)
Strong dislike, opposition or anger.
(Despite the deep antipathies between them, the two sides have managed to negotiate an agreement. Declarations of racial antipathy against ethnic minorities will not be tolerated.)
Animosity(n)
Strong dislike, opposition or anger.
(Of course we’re competitive but there’s no personal animosity between us. In spite of his injuries, he bears no animosity towards his attackers.)
Aversion(n)
A feeling of strong dislike or a lack of willingness to do something.
(I felt an instant aversion to his parents. She has a deep aversion to getting up in the morning.)
Repellent(adj)
Very unpleasant.
(She found him physically repellent. The sight of blood is repellent to some people.)
Animus(n)
A feeling of strong dislike or hatred.
(I have no animus toward Robert.)
Enmity(n)
A feeling of hate.
(She denied any personal enmity towards him. Bitter historical enmities underlie the present violence.)
Apathy(n)
When someone lacks interest or energy and is unwilling to take action especially over a matter of importance.
(Widespread apathy among students)
Phlegm(n)
The ability to stay calm and not get emotional or excited about things even in a difficult or dangerous situation.
Unresponsive(adj)
Not reacting to something or not affected by it.
(The disease is totally unresponsive to conventional treatment.)
Stolid(adj)
Calm and not showing emotion or excitement of not interesting or attractive.
(He’s a very stolid, serious man. The college is a stolid-looking building with no lawn.)
Insensible(adj)
Unconscious, to not care about something or be unwilling to react to it.
(We found her lying on the floor, drunk and insensible. I think he’s largely insensible to other people’s distress.)
Listless(adj)
Lacking energy and enthusiasm and unwilling to do anything needing effort.
(He’s been listless and a bit depressed ever since he got his exam results.)
Conundrum(n)
A problem that is difficult to deal with. A trick question, often involving an amusing use of words that have two meanings.
(Arranging childcare over the school holidays can be quite a conundrum for working parents.)
Enumerate(v)
To name things separately, one by one.
(He enumerated the benefits of the insurance scheme.)
Tabulate(v)
To arrange figures or information together in a set or a list so that they can be easily compared.
Transient(adj)
Lasting for only a short time; temporary.
(A glass of whisky has only a transient warming effect.)
Fleeting(adj)
Brief or quick.
(This is just a fleeting visit.)
Evasive(adj)
Done in order to avoid something or someone.
(The Minister was her usual evasive self, skillfully dodging reporters’ questions about her possible resignation.)
Waffle(v)
To talk or write a lot without giving any useful information or any clear answer.
(If you don’t know the answer, it’s no good just waffling for pages and pages.)
Estimable(adj)
Of a person or their behavior, producing a good opinion; very good.
(He writes estimable poetry under a pseudonym. Her performance under such stressful conditions was estimable.)
Commendable(adj)
Deserving praise.
(Commendable efforts/behavior/bravery)
Meritorious(adj)
Deserving great praise.
(An award for meritorious service.)
Venerable(adj)
Deserving respect because of age, high position or religious or historical importance.
(A venerable tradition/company/family. )
Commend(v)
To formally praise someone or something.
(The judge commended her for her bravery.)
Whitewash(v,n)
To make something bad seem acceptable by hiding the truth.
(The government is trying to whitewash the incompetence of the Treasury officials. The official report on the killings has been denounced as a whitewash.)
Intensify(v)
To become greater, more serious or more extreme, or to make something do this.
(Fighting around the capital has intensified in the last few hours.)
Aggravate(v)
To make a bad situation worse, to annoy someone.(Attempts to restrict parking in the city centre have further aggravated the problem of traffic congestion. Stop aggravating me, will you!)
Absolve(v)
To free someone from guilt, blame or responsibility for something.
(The report absolved her from all blame for the accident.)
Acquit(v)
To decide officially in a court of law that someone is not guilty of a particular crime.
(She was acquitted of all the charges against her.)
Imperative(adj)
Extremely important or urgent; needing to be done or given attention immediately.
(The president said it was imperative that the release of all hostages be secured.)
Fanatical(adj)
Acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion.
(The stormtroopers were fanatical in their devotion to the Emperor, readily sacrificing their lives for him.)
Fiery(adj)
Showing very strong feeling, bright red like fire.
(A fiery orator, a fiery sky/sunset, a fiery chilli sauce.)
Frenzy(n)
Uncontrolled and excited behavior or emotion, which is sometimes violent.
(In a frenzy of rage she hit him.)
Grovel(v)
To behave with too much respect towards someone to show them that you are very eager to please them.
(He sent groveling not of apology.)
Pander(v)
To do or provide exactly what a person, or group wants, especially when it is not acceptable, reasonable or approved of, usually in order to get some personal advantage.
(It’s not good the way she panders to his every whim.)
Toady(n)
A person who praises and is artificially pleasant to people in authority, usually to get some advantage from them.
(She was always toadying to the boss, but she didn’t get a promotion out of it!)
Vehement(adj)
Expressing strong feelings, or characterized by strong feelings or great energy or force.
(Despite vehement opposition from his family, he quit school and became an actor.)
Baroque(adj)
Relating to the heavily decorated style in building, art and music that was popular in Europe in the 17th century and the early part of the 18th century.
(baroque architecture/painters)
Rococo(adj)
relating to the highly decorated and detailed style in buildings, art and furniture that was popular in Europe in the 18th century.
Inflame(v)
To cause or increase very strong feelings such as anger or excitement.
(Reducing the number of staff is certain to inflame the already angry medical profession.)
Parsimonious(adj)
Not willing to spend money or give something.
(She’s too parsimonious to het the house properly.)
Effusive(adj)
Expressing welcome, approval or pleasure in a way that shows very strong feeling.
(They gave us such an effusive welcome it was quite embarrassing.)
Affable(adj)
Friendly and easy to talk to.
(She was quite affable at the meeting.)
Guile(n)
Clever but sometimes dishonest behavior that you use to deceive someone.
(The President will need to use all her political guile to stay in power.)
Exploit(v)
To use something for advantage.
(We need to make sure that we exploit our resources as fully as possible.)
Serene(adj)
Peaceful and calm; troubled by nothing.
(She has a lovely serene face.)
Stoical(adj)
Determined not to complain or show your feelings, especially when something bad happens to you.
(We knew she must be in pain, despite her stoic attitude.)
Impregnable(adj)
A building or other place that is impregnable is so strongly built and defended that it annot be entered by force.
(Despite burglar alarms and window locks, homes a never impregnable against determined thieves.)
Impulsive(adj)
Showing behavior in which you do things suddenly without any planning and without considering the effects they may have.
(Don’t be so impulsive – think before you act.)
Rash(adj)
Careless or unwise, without thought for what might happen or result.
(That was a rash decision – you didn’t think about the costs involved.)
Remorseless(adj)
Severe and showing no regret or guilt, never stopping or impossible to stop.
(Remorseless cruelty/ violence)
Irreconcilable(adj)
Impossible to find agreement between; impossible to deal with.
(They have become irreconcilable, with both sides refusing to compromise any further.)
Amorphous(adj)
Having no fixed form or shape.
(An amorphous mass of jelly.)
Guileless(adj)
Honest, not able to deceive.
(She regarded him with wide, guileless blue eyes.)
Banal(adj)
Boring, ordinary and not original.
(He just sat there making banal remarks all evening.)
Submerge(v)
To go below the surface of the sea or a river or lake.
(The submarine submerged when enemy planes were sighted.)
Testy(adj)
Easily annoyed and lacking patience.
(A testy old man. Testy comments.)
Ornery(adj)
Tending to get angry and argue with people.
(He had been in an ornery mood all day, rowing with his wife and his boss.)
Limpid(adj)
Clear and transparent, clearly expressed and easily understood.
(A limpid pool, limpid prose.)
Incandescent(adj)
Producing a bright light from a heated or other part, extremely bright.
(An incandescent lamp. The mountain’s snow-white peak was incandescent against the blue sky.)
Resplendent(adj)
Having a very bright or splendid appearance.
(I saw Anna at the other end of the room, resplendent in a red sequined cocktail dress.)
Shirk(v)
To avoid work, duties or responsibilities, especially if they are difficult or unpleasant.
(If you shirk you responsibilities now, the situation will just be that much harder to deal with next month.)
Slack(v)
To work slower and with less effort than usual, or to go slower.
(Everyone slacks off a bit at the end of the week.
Curt(adj)
If someone’s manner or speech is curt, it is rude as a result of being very brief.
(The boss was rather curt with him.)
Bewail(v)
To express great sadness or disappointment about something.
(He bewailed his misfortune and the loss of his most treasured possessions.
Deplore(v)
To say or think that something is very bad.
(We deeply deplore the loss of life.)
Bestow(v)
To give something as an honor or present.
(The Chancellorship of the University was bestowed upon her in 1992.)
Confer(v)
To exchange ideas on a particular subject, often in order to reach a decision on what action to take, to give an official title, honor.
(I should like sometime to confer with my lawyer. An honorary doctorate was conferred on him by Edinburgh University.)
Opulent(adj)
Expensive and luxurious.
(An opulent lifestyle.)
Exuberant(adj)
Very energetic, strong and growing quickly.
(Young and exuberant, he symbolizes Italy’s new vitality.)
Pliable(adj)
A pliable substance bends easily without breaking or cracking. A pliable person is easily influenced and controlled by other people.
(Some kinds of plastic become pliable if they’re heated. He wanted a sweet, pliable, obedient wife.)
Ductile(adj)
Describes metals that can be bent easily.
Pliant(adj)
Pliant people are easily influenced or controlled by other people. Able to bend easily without breaking. Being able and willing to accept change or new ideas.
(I don’t think it’s a good think for children to be too pliant. The management has adopted a more pliant position, and has agreed to listen to the staff’s requests.)
Conscientious(adj)
Putting a lot of effort into your work.
(A conscientious student.)
Scrupulous(adj)
Extremely honest, or doing everything correctly as it should be done.
(A scrupulous politician would not lie about her business interests. The nurse told him to be scrupulous about keeping the wound clean.)
Monotonous(adj)
Staying the same and not changing and therefore boring.
(A monotonous job. The music became monotonous after a while.)
Drone(n)
A low continuous noise which does not change its note.
(The drone of an engine. The drone of his voice made me feel sleepy.)
Tedium(n)
Boredom
(Soldiers often say that the worst thing about fighting is not the moment of terror, but all the hours of tedium in between.)
Artless(adj)
Simple and honest; not wanting to deceive.
(“Why did you take the money?” she asked the child. “Because I want it.” Came the artless reply.)
Subservient(adj)
Willing to do what other people want, or considering your wishes as less important than those of other people.
(The government was accused of being subservient to the interests of the pro-Europe campaigners.)
Pertinacious(adj)
Very determined and refusing to be defeated by problems.
(Like most successful politicians, she is pertinacious and single-minded in the pursuit of her goals.)
Mulish(adj)
Describes someone who is very determined and refuses to change their plans for anyone else.
Forestall(v)
To prevent something from happening by acting first.
(The government forestalled criticism by holding a public enquiry into the matter.)
Barricade(n,v)
A line of pile of objects put together, especially quickly, to stop people from going where they want to go.
(Inmates erected a barricade between themselves and prison officers.)
Backbreaking(adj)
Needing a lot of hard physical effort and very tiring.
(Digging the garden was backbreaking work.)
Discredit(v,n)
To cause people to stop respecting someone or believing in an idea or person.
(Evidence of links with drug dealers has discredited the President. The stupid behavior or one pupil has brought discredit on the whole school.)
Disgrace(n,v)
Embarrassment and the loss of other people’s respect, or behavior which causes this.
(He brought disgrace on the whole team by falsifying the results. It’s a disgrace that the government spends os much on guns and so little on education.)
Ignominy(n)
Public embarrassment.
(The Worker’s Coalition experienced the ignominy of total defeat in the last election.)
Infamy(n)
When someone or something is famous for something considered bad, a bad and shocking act or event.
(Franklin D. Roosevelt described the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1947 as a day that will live in infamy.)
Perfidious(adj)
Unable to be trusted, or showing a lack of loyalty.
(She described the new criminal bill as a perfidious attack on democracy.)
Permeate(v)
To spread through something and be present in every part of it.
(Dissatisfaction with the government seems to have permeated every section of society.)
Imbue(v)
To fill something or someone with a particular feeling, quality or idea.
(His poetry is imbued with deep, religious feeling.)
Infuse(v)
To fill someone or something with an emotion or quality.
(The pulling down of the Berlin Wall infused the world with optimism. The arrival of a group of friends on Saturday infused new life into the weekend.)
Suffuse(v)
To spread through or over something completely.
(His voice was low and suffused with passion.)
Altruism(n)
Willing to do things which benefit other people, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself.
(She’s not known for her altruism.)
Placate(v)
To stop someone from feeling angry.
(Outraged minority groups will not be placated by promises of future improvements.)
Glut(n)
A supply of something that is much greater than can be sold or is needed or wanted.
(The fall in demand for coffee could cause a glut on the market.)
Perjure(v)
To tell a lie in a law court, after promising formally to tell the truth.
(The judge warned the witness not to perjure herself.)
Acrid(adj)
Describes a smell or taste that is strong and bitter and causes a burning feeling in the throat.
(Clouds of acrid smoke issued from the building.)
Poignant(adj)
Causing or having a particularly sharp feeling of sadness.
(It is especially poignant that he died on the day before the wedding.)
Disown(v)
To make it known that you no longer have any connection with someone that you were closely connected with.
(It’s a story set in the last century about a girl whose parents disowned her when she married a foreigner.)