Barron's 800 Words
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v. to decrease; reduce
v. to give up a position, right, or power
- adj. deviating from what is normal
- When a person’s behavior becomes aberrant, his or her peers may become concerned that the individual is becoming a deviant.
- n. meaning something different from the usual or normal.
- For centuries, solar eclipses were regarded as serious aberrations in the natural order.
- n. temporary suppression or suspension
- A good judge must hold his or her judgment in abeyance until all the facts in a case have been presented.
- adj. miserable; pitiful
- John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath portrays the abject poverty of many people during the Great Depression.
- v. to reject; abandon formally
- Most members of the Religious Society of Friends (commonly known as the Quakers or Friends) abjure the use of violence to settle disputes between nations.
- For a foreigner to become a U.S. citizen, he or she must take an oath abjuring allegiance to any other country and pledging to take up arms to defend the United States.
- n. the act of cutting; the natural separation of a leaf or other part of a plant
- Two scientists, Alan G. Williams and Thomas G. Whitham, have hypothesized that premature leaf abscission is an adaptive plant response to herbivorous attack.
- The verb abscise means to cut off or away. The surgeon abscised a small growth on the patient’s hand.
- v. to depart secretly
- A warrant is out for the arrest of a person believed to have absconded with three million dollars.
- adj. moderate in appetite
- Some research suggests that people with an abstemious lifestyle tend to live longer than people who indulge their appetites.
- n. the giving up of certain pleasures
- The monk’s vow of abstinence includes all intoxicating substances.
- adj. very bad
- The abysmal failure of the free market system in Russia has led some people to argue that the planned economy of the Soviet Union, while not perfect, was better suited to Russia’s history and culture than Western-style capitalism.
- n. growth in size or increase in amount
- In the 1960s, the American geophysicist Harry Hess conceived the idea of sea-floor spreading, a process in which the new crust in the ocean is continually generated by igneous processes at the crests of the mid-oceanic ridges, causing a steady accretion of the crust.
- v. to accumulate; grow by additions
- Regulating the growth of large companies when they begin to become
- adj. uncompromising; unyielding
- Despite widespread opposition to his plan, the party’s leader is adamant that it must move to the center to appeal to moderate voters.
- n. something added, attached, or joined
- Speed walking, cross-country running, and marathons are normally regarded as adjuncts of track and field athletics since races in these sports are not normally held on a track.
- v. to caution or reprimand
- The judge admonished the jury to discount testimony that had been ruled inadmissible.
- v. to corrupt or make impure
- The unscrupulous company sells an adulterated version of the drug, and doesn’t inform consumers that they are getting a less efficacious drug than they think they are getting.
adj. relating to beauty or art
- adj. pretentious, phony
- It has been argued that the emphasis on so-called “proper English” leads to unnatural and affected speech.
- n. fondness; liking; similarity
- female students in the class felt an affinity for the ancient Greek playwright Euripides because he sympathized with women, slaves, and other despised members of his society.
v. to make larger or greater One of the concerns of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was that one branch of government would try to aggrandize itself at the expense of the others.
- adj. amounting to a whole; total
- The aggregate wealth of a country includes private as well as public resources and possessions.
- Aggregate is also a verb meaning to collect into a mass. Portals are Web sites designed to aggregate information and are used as a starting point on the Web.
- n. cheerful willingness; eagerness; speed
- The football coach was pleased to see the team get to work on the task of improving its tackling skills with alacrity.
- n. medieval chemical philosophy based on changing metal into gold; a seemingly magical power or process of transmutation.
- Alchemy was the forerunner of the modern science of chemistry. None of their friends could understand the mysterious alchemy that caused two people as different from one another as Rob and Barbara to fall in love.
- v. to lessen; ease; soothe
- Improvements in antivirus software have allayed many people’s fears of having their computers “infected” with malicious software.
- v. to relieve; improve partially
- According to some commentators, one of the weaknesses of capitalism is that, although it is very efficient at increasing absolute wealth, it is not as successful at alleviating relative poverty; thus, a person living in a slum in America may be reasonably well off by historical standards, but he might perceive himself to be poor compared to members of the bourgeoisie, whom he sees regularly buying luxury goods that he is not able to afford.
n. a combination; a mixture of two or more metals Scientists formulate alloys to create properties that are not possessed by natural metals or other substances..
- n. the power to entice by charm
- Political groups in the United States often lobby Congress to use the allure of America’s vast market as an incentive for countries to pursue policies in accordance with American policies.Allure is also a verb meaning to entice by charm. The adjective is alluring.
- The idea of a clockwork universe is very alluring to some people because it explains how the universe was created, yet allows human beings to live in it without believing in supernatural intervention.
- v. to combine into a unified whole
- In early 1999, six municipalities were amalgamated into an enlarged city of Toronto, Canada.
- adj. unclear or doubtful in meaning
- The gender of the Mahayana Buddhist deity Avalokitesuara, the god of infinite mercy, is ambiguous in both China and Japan, where the god is sometimes called a goddess.
- n. the state of having conflicting emotional attitudes.
- John felt some ambivalence about getting married before finishing college.
- n. something delicious; the food of the gods
- The combination of flavors in the Moroccan baked eggplant was pure ambrosia.
- The adjective is ambrosial.
- The food critic praised the chef for preparing what he called an “ambrosial meal.”
- v. to improve
- Knowing they could not stop the spread of a contagion in a few days, health authorities worked to inhibit its spread and to ameliorate its effects by issuing warnings to the public and initiating immunization programs.
- adj. agreeable; cooperative; suited
- The young writer is amenable to suggestions for improving her prose style to make it more interesting.
n. something that increases comfort Many amenities considered normal and necessary by people in developed countries, such as indoor plumbing, were luxuries only a few generations ago.
n. ornament worn as a charm against evil spirits The early Christian Church forbade the use of amulets, which had become common in the Roman Empire at the time the Christian Church began to develop. anachronism n. something out of the proper time Some experts regard the retirement age of 65 as an anachronism at a time when people in the developed world have much longer life expectancies than previously.
n. medication that reduces or eliminates pain Aspirin (the trademark of the drug acetylsalicylic acid) is a powerful analgesic that was introduced in 1899 and is still one of the most effective medicines available to alleviate pain, fever, and inflammation.
adj. comparable The psychology researcher’s experiment postulates that the brain is analogous to a digital computer. Analogy is a noun meaning a similarity in some ways between things that are otherwise dissimilar. The idea of evolution in nature is sometimes misconstrued and applied by analogy to other areas in which there is scant evidence for its existence; a notable example of this is Social Darwinism, in which it is argued that society is like nature, and thus people, like animals, are competing for survival, with those who are genetically superior at surviving and reproducing. Analog is a noun meaning something that is comparable to something else. Some commentators have posited the existence of an analog to the Protestant work ethic in Chinese culture, which they call the “Confucian work ethic,” to explain the economic success of some countries with large Chinese populations.
n. absence of government; state of disorder The American philosopher Robert Nozick does not advocate anarchy; rather, he argues for the merits of a minimal state that would not violate the natural rights of individuals. The adjective anarchic means lacking order or control. The student of mythology speculated that Dionysos was created as a projection of the pleasure-loving, anarchic aspect of human nature.
- n. something that calms or soothes pain
- Some people use alcohol as an anodyne to numb their emotional pain.
- Anodyne is an adjective that means relaxing, or capable of soothing pain.
- The public relations officer is remarkably anodyne; all he does is mouth comforting, politically correct platitudes, saying nothing of substance.
- adj. irregular; deviating from the norm
- The psychologist discounted the anomalous behavior of the soldier, saying it was merely a short-term effect of the stress of battle.
- The noun is anomaly.
- A moral dilemma that arises with humanity’s ability to clone is posed in the following hypothetical scenario: a pig that produces much more meat than a normal pig can be cloned, but the pig’s life span would be cut in half because of anomalies in the cloning process: Is it right to clone such an animal?
- n. something that comes before
- Historical factors, such as the increased emphasis on the individual, the invention of printing, and the rise of the bourgeoisie, contributed to make the Reformation, which had its antecedents in the reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church, into a much broader phenomenon that created powerful churches that grew to rival the original church.
- adj. prehistoric
- Most of our knowledge of antediluvian times has been built up as a result of one of humanity’s grandest collaborative endeavors—the gathering, identification, dating, and categorization of fossils as they are discovered.
- n. dislike; hostility
- Heathcliff, the protagonist of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, feels great antipathy for Edgar Linton, the man who marries the woman he loves.
n. indifference Apathy was high in the election because there was no major controversy or issue to arouse voter interest.
- n. the highest point
- In English literature, classicism reached its apex in the poetry of Alexander Pope and the other Augustans.
- n. the point in an orbit most distant from the body being orbited; the highest point
- The Ottoman Empire reached its apogee in the seventeenth century, when it controlled a territory running from Budapest to North Africa.
- n. a terse, witty saying (pronounced AP-uh-them and also spelled apophthegm)
- One of the best-known political apothegms was written by the British historian, Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
- v. to calm; pacify; placate
- Many historians have criticized British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for trying to appease Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.
- n. name
- The discovery of the bones of a person with the appellation Kennewick Man in the state of Washington in 1996 has raised important questions about who the earliest people to populate America were.
- adj. strikingly appropriate and relevant
- The writer searched two dictionaries and a thesaurus before finding the perfectly apposite word he was looking for.
- v. to inform
- Nadine Cohodas’s biography of the blues singer Dinah Washington keeps the reader apprised of the racism black Americans had to endure.
- n. praise; approval
- The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest approbation an American soldier can receive.
- v. to take possession for one’s own use; confiscate
- The pronunciation is uh-PROH-pree-ayt.
- The adjective appropriate is pronounced uh-PROH-pree-it.
- The invading army appropriated supplies from the houses of the local people.
- adj. relevant
- Apropos of nothing, the speaker declared that the purpose of life is to love.
- n. ornate design featuring intertwined curves; a ballet position in which one leg is extended in back while the other supports the weight of the body
- The ballerina stunned the audience with her perfectly executed arabesque.
- n. the study of material evidence of past human life
- Carbon-14 dating is of great use in archeology because it can determine the age of specimens as old as 35,000 years, but it is of less use in geology because most of the processes studied in this field occurred millions of years ago.
- n. great emotion or passion The twentieth-century
- American poet Wallace Stevens said, “It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.”
- adj. extremely difficult; laborious
- The task of writing a research paper is arduous, but if it is broken down into logical steps it becomes less daunting.
- n. a specialized vocabulary used by a group
- Writers of crime fiction often use the argot of criminals and detectives to create a realistic atmosphere.
- v. to stop; to seize
- Temporary arrest of the patient’s respiration made it easier for the doctor to perform surgery on him.
- n. item made by human craft
- Marxists contend that appreciation of art has declined because capitalism has trained people to perceive human artifacts as commodities, and has alienated people from nature, their true humanity, and their creations.
- adj. guileless; natural
- The source of the meaning of artless as guileless is the poet John Dryden, who wrote of William Shakespeare in 1672: “Such artless beauty lies in Shakespeare’s wit... .”
- n. one who practices self-denial
- Muslim ascetics consider the internal battle against human passions a greater jihad than the struggle against infidels.
- Ascetic is also an adjective meaning self-denying or austere.
- The writer’s ascetic lifestyle helped her to concentrate on finishing her novel.
- The noun is asceticism.
- One tradition of asceticism derives from the belief that the body is fundamentally bad and must be subjugated to the soul
- n. severity; harshness; irritability
- In his autobiography Gerald Trywhitt, the British writer, composer, artist, and aesthete, recounts a humorous incident: “Many years later, when I was sketching in Rome, a grim-looking Englishwoman came up to me and said with some asperity, ‘I see you are painting MY view.’
- n. slander; false rumor
- The Republic of Singapore is a young democracy, and its leaders often respond strongly to journalists and others who cast aspersions on their integrity.
- adj. diligent; hard-working
- The assiduous people of Hong Kong live in a territory with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
- v. to make less severe
- On November 21, 1864, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wrote the following in a letter to Mrs. Bixby of Boston, who had lost five sons in battle: “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
- adj. harsh; severe
- Bob tends to nick himself when he shaves, so he uses an astringent aftershave to stop the bleeding.
- n. place of refuge or shelter
- The Stoic, accused of seeking asylum in the consolations of philosophy, rebutted this charge, saying that Stoicism is simply the most prudent and realistic philosophy to follow.
n. in biology, the reappearance of a characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence; individual or a part that exhibits atavism; return of a trait after a period of absence
- v. to weaken
- Modern digital radio equipment allows even signals that have been greatly attenuated to be transmitted by one station and received by another station.
- adj. bold; daring
- The German army commander Erwin Rommel was known as the “Desert Fox” as a result of his audacious surprise attacks on Allied forces in World War II.
- adj. stern; unadorned
- Deism is an austere belief that reflects the predominant philosophy of the Age of Enlightenment: a universe symmetrical and governed by rationality.
- adj. self-governing; independent
- Some biologists have theorized that our belief in our ability to act as autonomous agents is in conformity with the theory of evolution because it gives us a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives that helps us to survive.
- n. greed
- Successful investment bankers are sometimes accused of avarice; their defenders, however, say that they are simply very good at what they do and should be rewarded accordingly.
- v. to affirm; declare to be true
- Yogis aver that everyone has a guru, whether it be a person, God, or the experiences of the world, that helps him or her practice the yoga that is in accordance with his or her nature, and assists on the path toward enlightenment.
- n. secondary occupation
- Dan became so proficient at his avocation—computer programming—that he is thinking of giving up his job as a teacher to do it full time.
- adj. like an uncle, benevolent and tolerant
- Walter Cronkite, who was the anchorman of CBS News during much of the 1970s and 1980s, had an avuncular manner that made him one of America’s most trusted personalities.
- adj. taken for granted
- In nineteenth-century geology, uniformitariasm was the antithesis of catastrophism, asserting that it was axiomatic that natural law and processes do not fundamentally change, and that what we observe now is essentially the same as what occurred in the past.
- adj. pertaining to riotous or drunken festivity; pertaining to revelry.
- For some people New Year’s Eve is an occasion for bacchanalian revelry.
- adj. commonplace; trite
- The writer has a gift for making even the most banal observation seem important and original.
- n. playful conversation
- The governor engaged in some banter with reporters before getting to the serious business of the news conference.
- n. poet
- The great bards of English literature have all been masters of the techniques of verse.
- adj. obscene
- Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is the story of a group of Christian pilgrims who entertain one another with stories, ranging from the holy to the bawdy, on their journey to Canterbury Cathedral.
- v. to dress in a vulgar, showy manner
- Paul went to the costume party bedizened as a seventeenth-century French aristocrat.
- v. to sanctify; to bless; to ascribe a virtue to
- In the year 2000 Pope John Paul II traveled to Fatima in Portugal to beatify two of the three children who said they saw the appearance of the Virgin Mary there in 1917.
- Beatification is the noun.
- Beatification is the second and next to last step on the path to sainthood.
- n. huge creature; anything very large and powerful
- In the 1980s and 1990s, the trend in American business was toward increased privatization of government industries (such as power generation), partly because it was believed that private industry is more efficient and partly because foreign private companies were becoming commercial behemoths, outstripping government-owned companies in competitiveness.
- v. to contradict; misrepresent; give a false impression
- The boxer’s childlike face belies the ferocity with which he can attack opponents in the ring.
- adj. kindly; doing good
- The theologian discussed the question of why a beneficent and omnipotent God allows bad things to happen to good people.
- v. to divide into two parts
- Contemporary physicists generally bifurcate their discipline into two parts—classical physics and modern physics; the former are the fields of study that were already well developed before the momentous breakthroughs of the early twentieth century by scientists such as Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, and Werner Heisenberg, which inaugurated the age of modern physics.
- Bifurcation is the noun.
- Some people regard the Hindu-Buddhist philosophy on animals as more in accordance with the modern scientific view than the traditional Western view, since it does not posit a radical bifurcation of man and nature.
- n. flattery
- Despite the salesperson’s blandishments, Donna did not buy the car. Blandish is the verb, meaning to coax with flattery.
- adj. bored because of frequent indulgence; unconcerned
- We were amazed by John’s blasé attitude toward school; he seems to have made it a rule never to open a book.
- v. to give a boost to; prop up; support
- The president has visited the state several times to bolster his sagging popularity there.
- adj. pompous; using inflated language
- Nearly lost in the senator’s long, bombastic speech were several sensible ideas.
- adj. rude; insensitive
- Bob apologized for his boorish behavior at the party, saying he hadn’t realized that it was such a formal occasion.
- adj. cowlike
- Following the slow-moving group of students up the long path to the school’s entrance, the word “bovine” popped into the English teacher’s mind.
- adj. bold; shameless
- The brazen student irritated his teacher by saying that he could learn more from a day spent “surfing” the World Wide Web than a day spent in school.
- v. to mention for the first time
- Steve’s boss knew that she couldn’t put off warning him about his poor performance and decided to broach the subject the next time she saw him.
- adj. characteristic of the countryside; rustic; pastoral
- The south end of Toronto’s beautiful High Park is a bucolic expanse of land that is perfect for anyone wanting a quiet walk.
- v. to flourish
- After World War II, the increased speed of industrialization and the burgeoning world population resulted in such an increase in pollution that it began to be recognized by some people as a threat to the human habitat, Earth.
- v. to polish
- The poet T. S. Eliot burnished his reputation as one of the master poets of the twentieth century with Four Quartets, four long poems published between 1936 and 1942.
- v. to reinforce; support
- Some critics of the American legal system argue that the requirement of proving guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” is too difficult a criterion to use, and buttress their case by citing the fact that objective studies suggest that only a very small number of criminals are successfully prosecuted.
- adj. unpleasant or harsh-sounding
- The dissonant harmonies of the great jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk might seem cacophonous to some listeners, but to many jazz aficionados they are sublime.
- A cacophony is a jarring, unpleasant noise.
- v. to beg; sponge
- An enduring image of the Great Depression in America is the out-of-work man cadging money with the line, “Hey, mister, can you spare a dime for a cup of coffee?”
- adj. thick-skinned; insensitive
- Jim’s terrible experiences in the war have made him callous about the suffering of others. calumny n. false and malicious accusation; slander “Be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.” —William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act III, Scene 1 (Hamlet addressing Ophelia)
- n. false, deliberately misleading story
- Most politicians do not want to be associated with the old canard that big government in Washington can solve all of America’s problems.
- n. an established principle; a basis or standard for judgment; a group of literary works
- Canons of aesthetic taste vary over the years; the Rococo period, for example, valued ornate art. The 60-volume Great Books of the Western World is an attempt to gather the central canon of Western civilization into one collection. Canon is also an adjective. The system of civil law originated in the Roman Empire and was kept alive in the Middle Ages in the canon law of the Church.
- Canonical is an adjective meaning belonging to a group of literary works.
- The English professor is trying to persuade the chairperson of her department to let her teach some writers that are not canonical.
- n. insincere talk; language of a particular group
- Many of the beat artists of the 1950s reacted against what they regarded as the cant of bourgeois society.
- adj. irritable; ill-humored
- Many of us have in our mind the stereotype of the cantankerous old man who is constantly complaining about something or other.
- adj. fickle
- The rule of law is regarded by many historians as one of humanity’s great achievements because since its inception citizens are no longer subject to capricious decisions and penalties of rulers.
- Caprice is a noun meaning an inclination to change one’s mind compulsively.
- Styles in high fashion seem governed by caprice as much as anything else.
- adj. faultfinding; intended to entrap, as in an argument
- The pedantic and captious critic seems incapable of appreciating the merits of even the most highly regarded books.
- adj. of foremost importance
- The cardinal rule of any weight-loss diet must be limiting the intake of calories.
- adj. of the flesh or body; related to physical appetites
- The yogi’s goal is to achieve nirvana through, among other things, the overcoming of carnal desires.
- v. to find fault; complain
- Cost-benefit analysis owes much of its origin to utilitarian thought; despite the carping of critics that such analysis is based on faulty premises, the technique has proved useful in many areas.
- n. science of making maps
- Satellites in Earth orbit take pictures of topography that have greatly aided cartography.
- n. any of the hereditary social classes of Hindu society; social stratification
- The dalits, formerly known as untouchables, are at the bottom of the thousands of castes that make up Indian society.
- Caste is also an adjective.
- Most modern corporations employ a sort of caste system, with senior executives at the top and ordinary workers at the bottom.
- n. punishment; chastisement; criticism
- Many British writers recall with loathing the castigation they received at school.
- n. a violent upheaval that causes great destruction and change
- The French Revolution of 1789 was a cataclysm whose effects are still felt today.
- n. something causing change
- Among the catalysts of the Romantic movement were the libertarian ideals of the French Revolution.
- adj. absolute; without exception
- Although incest is categorically forbidden by every state, recent evidence that marriage between cousins is no more likely to produce abnormal offspring than “normal” marriages may allow the constitutionality of bans on marriage between cousins to be challenged.
- n. smaller group within an organization
- The workers formed an informal caucus to discuss their difficulties.
- adj. involving a cause
- The philosopher Plato believed there is a causal relationship between income inequality, on the one hand, and political discontent and crime, on the other hand: in his Laws he quantified his argument, contending that the income of the rich should be no more than five times that of the poor, and he proposed policies to limit extremes of wealth and poverty. .
- adj. sarcastically biting; burning
- The columnist’s caustic comments on government policy did not win her any friends among government officials.
- adj. concerning the sky or heavens; sublime
- Astronomers make use of the Doppler effect to measure the velocities and distance from Earth of stars and other celestial objectsBarron's Educational Series. Kindle Edition.
- adj. moving away from a center
- As the empire expanded, there was an ever-increasing centrifugal stress as remote colonies sought autonomy.
- adj. moving or directed toward a center
- Astronomers calculate that the centripetal force exerted by the Earth’s gravity on the Moon will keep the Moon in orbit around the Earth for billions of years.
- v. to defend or support
- Robin Hood is famous for championing the underdogs of England.
- v. to correct by punishment or reproof; to restrain or subdue
- The child’s behavior improved after she had been chastened by punishment.
- n. trickery; fraud
- The governor ordered an audit to investigate alleged financial chicanery.
- n. the qualities idealized by knighthood such as bravery and gallantry toward women
- Chivalry was rooted in Christian values, and the knight was bound to be loyal to Christian ideals; the Crusades enhanced this idea, as knights vowed to uphold Christianity against heathens.
- adj. rude; boorish
- According to the chivalric code, a knight was never supposed to be churlish, especially toward noble ladies, to whom he was supposed to be unfailingly gentle and courteous.
- adj. roundabout
- According to Hindu philosophy, some souls take a circuitous path through many births to reach God.
- n. one who can predict the future; psychic
- Edgar Cayce was a famous clairvoyant who some people believe was able to go into a trance during which he was in touch with a spiritual realm.
- n. noisy outcry
- Over the past 12 years or so the voices clamoring for better protection of the Earth’s rain forests have increased dramatically.
- Clamor is also a verb meaning to cry out noisily.
- The crowd clamored their disapproval of the plan.
- n. a small, exclusive group
- The principal of the high school is concerned that one clique of students is dominating the student council.
- v. to confine; seclude
- The writer cloistered herself in a country house to finish her novel.
- The adjective cloistered means shut away from the world.
- The journalist described the large American philanthropic foundations as arrogant, elitist, and cloistered.The noun cloister means a monastery or convent.
- v. thicken; congeal
- In normal individuals, blood begins to coagulate about 20 seconds after a wound is sustained, thus preventing further bleeding.
- v. to cause to become one
- President John F. Kennedy said that Americans must be vigilant so that the interests of business and the military do not coalesce and thus undermine those of society as a whole.
- n. concluding part of a literary or musical composition; something that summarizes or concludes
- The coda of the Danish composer Per Norgard’s Sixth Symphony seems to return to the serene sounds of the opening.
- v. to systematize
- The state legislature voted to codify regulations governing banking fraud.Codification is the noun.
- The most influential codification of civil law was the Napoleonic Code in France, which became the paradigm for law in the non-English-speaking countries of Europe and had a generally civilizing influence on most of the countries in which it was enacted. Codified is the adjective.
- Common law is the system of laws that originated in England; it is based on court decisions and on customs rather than on codified written laws.
- adj. informed; conscious; aware
- O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi” is a simple evocation of a young couple’s love for one another, a story in which a husband and wife in straitened circumstances each sacrifices to buy a Christmas present for the other, not cognizant of what the other is doing.
- n. artistic composition of materials pasted over a surface; an assemblage of diverse elements
- The cubist Juan Gris is noted for his use of collage to create trompe l’oeil effects—the illusion of photographic reality.
- adj. proportional
- In the United States, malpractice suits have raised the cost of medicine because doctors must pay more for insurance, and thus increase their fees commensurately.
- n. brief, comprehensive summary
- The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart’s Life and Music by H. C. Robbins Landon is a convenient reference for finding information about the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. complacent adj. self-satisfied Although Tom received an “A” on his midterm exam, Professor Donovan warned him not to become complacent since the work in the second term would be harder.
- adj. overly polite; willing to please; obliging
- Although France and Germany have a close relationship, neither would consider the other a complaisant ally.
- n. something that completes or makes up a whole
- Some people envision chess developing into a game played at the highest levels between teams of humans and computers, each complementing the other and providing investigators with insight into the cognitive processes of each.
- adj. yielding
- The young negotiator is trying to learn the skill of being open to proposals by the other side without seeming too compliant.
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