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To reduce in amount, degree, or severity
"As the hurricane's force abated, the winds dropped and the sea became calm"
To leave secretly
"The patron absconded from the restaurant without paying his bill by sneaking out the back door"
To make impure
"The chef made his ketchup last longer by adulterating it with water"
Concerning the appreciation of beauty
"Followers of the aesthetic movement regarded the pursuit of beauty as the only true purpose of art"
To increase in power, influence, and reputation
"The supervisor sought to aggrandize herself by claiming that the achievments of her staff were actuallly her own"
To combine; to mix together
"Giant industries amalgamated with Mega Products to form Giant-Mega products inc."
To make better; to improve
"The doctor was able to ameliorate the patients suffering using painkillers"
Something out of place in time
"The aged hippie used anachronistic phrases like 'groovy' and 'far out' that had not been popular for years"
Similar or alike in some way; equivalent to
"In the Newtonian construct for explaining the existence of God, the universe is analogous to a mechanical timepiece, the creation of a divinely intelligent 'clockmaker'"
"The antipathy between the French and the English regularly erupted into open warfare"
To judge a dispute between two opposing parties
"Since the couple could not come to agreement, a judge was forced to arbitrate their divorce proceedings"
Intense and passionate feeline
"Bishop's ardor for the landscape was evident when he passionately described the beauty of the scenic Hudson Valley"
To make something unpleasant less severe
"Serena used aspirin to assuage her pounding headache"
To reduce in force or degree; to weaken
"The Bill of Rights attenuated the traditional power of governments to change laws at will"
Fearless and daring
"Her audacious nature allowed her to fulfill her dream of skydiving"
Severe or stern in appearance; undecorated
"The lack of decoration makes military barraks seem austere to the civillian eye"
Predictable, cliched, boring
"He used banal phrases like 'Have a nice day' or 'Another day another dollar'"
To support; to prop up
"The presence of giant footprints bolstered the argument that Sasquatch was in the area"
Pompous in speech and manner
"The ranting of the radio talk-show host was monstly bombastic; his boasting and outrageous claims had no basis in fact"
Harsh, jarring noise
"The junior high orchestra created an almost unbearable cacophony as they tried to tune their instruments"
Changing one's mind quickly and often
"Queen Elizabeth I was quite capricious; her courtiers could never be sure which of their number would catch her fancy"
To punish or criticize harshly
"Many Americans are amazed at how harshly the authorities in Singapore castigate perpetrators of what would be considered minor crimes in the United States"
Something that brings about a change in something else
"The imposition of harsh taxes was the catalyst that finally brought on the revolution"
Biting in wit
"Dorothy Parker gained her reputation for caustic wit from her cutting, yet clever, insults"
Someone prejudiced in favor of a group to which he or she belongs
Deception by means of craft or guile
"Dishonest used-car salespeople often use chicanery to sell their beat-up old cars"
Convincing and well reasoned
"Swayed by the cogent argument of the defense, the jury had no choice but to acquit the defendant"
Intricate and complicated
"Although many people bought 'A Brief History of Time', few could follow its convoluted ideas and theories"
To provide supporting evidence
"Fingerprints corroborated the witness's testimony that he saw the defendant in the victim's apartment"
Too trusting; gullible
"Although some four-year-olds believe in the Easter Bunny, only the most credulous nine-year-olds also believe in him"
Appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety
"The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the decorum appropriate for a visit to the palace"
"The respectful young law clerk treated the Supreme Court justice with the utmost deference"
To speak of or treat with contempt; to mock
"The awkward chld was often derided by his 'cooler' peers"
To dry out thoroughly
"After a few weeks of lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely desiccated"
Jumping from one thing to another; disconnected
"Diane had a desultory academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in the last 3 years"
An abusive, condemnatory speech
"The trucker bellowed a diatribe at the driver who had cut him off"
"Steve's diffident manner during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field"
Intended to delay
"The congressman used dilatory measures to delay the passage of the bill"
Someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic
"Jerry's friends were suck dilettantes that they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week"
A funeral hymn or mournful speech
"Melville wrote the poem 'A dirge for James McPherson' for the funeral of a union general who was killed in 1864"
To set free; to free from error
"Galileo's observations disabused scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the earth"
Fundamentally different; entirely unlike
"Although the twins appear to be identical physically, their personalities are disparate"
To present a false appearance; to disguise one's real intentions or character
"The villain could dissemble to the police no longer- he admitted the deed and tore up the floor to reveal the body of the old man"
A harsh and disagreeable combination, often of sounds
"Cognitive dissonance is the inner conflict produced when long standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence"
A firmly held opinion, often a religious belief
"Linus's central dogma was that children who believe in the Great Pumpkin would be rewarded"
Dictatorial in one's opinions
"The dictator was dogmatic- he, and only he, was right"
To decieve a person who is easily decieved
A sorrowful poem or speech
"Although Thomas Gray's 'Elegy written in a Country Churchyard' is about death and loss, it urges its readers to endure this life and to trust in spirituality"
Persuasive and moving, especially in speech
"The Gettysburg Address is moving not only because of its lofty sentiments but also because of its eloquent words"
To reduce in strengh
"The guerrillas hoped that a series of surprise attacks would enervate the regular army"
To produce, cause, or bring about
"His fear and hatred of clowns was engendered when he witnessed the death of his father at the hands of a clown"
A puzzle; a mystery
"Speaking in riddles and dressed in old robes, the artist gained a reputation as something of an enigma"
To count, list, itemize
To copy, to try to equal or excel
To overlook, pardon, or disregard
To make larger; to expand
Lasting a short time
"The lives of mayflies seem ephemeral to us, since the flies' average life span is a matter of hours"
To use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead
"When faced with criticism of her policies, the politician equivocated and left all parties thinking she agreed with them"
Wandering and unpredictable
"The plot took a series of erratic turns"
Learned, scholarly, bookish
"The annual meeting of philosophy professors was a gathering of the most erudite, well-published individuals in the field.
Known or understood by only few
"Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the esoteric world of particle physics"
"Most people consider it estimable that Mother Theresa spent her life helping the poor of India"
Speech in praise of someone
"His best friend gave the eulogy, outling his many achievments and talents"
Use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a more distasteful one
"The funeral director preffered to use the euphamism 'sleeping' instead of the word 'dead'"
To clear from blame; prove innocent
"The adversarial legal system is intended to convict those who are guilty and to exculpate those who are innocent"
Urgent; requiring immediate action
"The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was exigent to stop the source of bleeding"
To clear of blame
Clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression
Acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion
"The understudy fawned over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis"
Intensely emotional; feverish
"The fans of Maria Callas were unusualy fervid , doing anything to catch a glimpse of the great opera singer"
Excessively decorated or embellished
To arouse or incite
"The protesters tried to foment feeling against the war through their speeches and demonstrations"
A tendency to be thrifty or cheap
Tending to talk a lot
"The garrulous parakeet distracted its owner with its continuous talking"
"She was so gregarious that when she found herself alone, she felt quite sad"
Deceit or trickery
"Since he was not fast enough to catch Road Runner on foot, Coyote resorted to guile in an effort to trap his enemy"
One who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions
"His lack of regard for traditional beliefs soon established him as an iconoclast"
Not capable of being disturbed
Impossible to penetrate; incapable of being affected
"A good raincoat will always be impervious to moisture"
Quick to act without thinking
"It is not good for an investment broker to be impetuous, since much thought should be given to all the possible options"
Unable to be calmed down or made peaceful
"His rage at the betrayal was so great that he remained implacable for weeks"
Not fully formed; disorganized
"The ideas expressed in Nietzsche's mature work also appear in an inchoate form in his earliest writing"
Showing innocence or childlike simplicity
"She was so ingenuous that her friends feared that her innocence and trustfulness would be exploited when she visited the big city"
"Even though the children had grown up together, they were inimical to each other at school"
"Some snakes are poisonous but most species are innocuous"
Lacking interest or flavor
"The critic claimed that the painting was insipid, containing no interesting qualities at all"
Uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled
"The professor was intransigent on the deadline, insisting that everyone turn in the assignment at the same time"
To overwhelm; to cover with water
The tidal wave inundated Atlantis, which was lost beneath the water.
Easily made angry
"Attila the Hun's irascible and violent nature made all who dealt with him fear for their lives"
To give praise; to glorify
To give unsparingly (v); extremely generous or extravagant (adj)
To evade responsibility by pretending to be ill
"A common way to avoid the draft was by malingering- pretending to be mentally or physically ill so as to avoid being taken by the Army"
A person who dislikes people
To soften; to lessen
"A judge may mitigate a sentence if she decides that a person committed a crime out of need"
To calm or make less severe
"Their argument was so intense that is was difficult to believe any compromise would mollify him"
Lack of variation
Hardened in feelining; resistant to persuasion
"The president was completely obdurate on the issue, and no amount of persuasion would change his mind"
Overly submissive and eager to please
"The obsequious new associate made sure to compliment her supervisor's tie and agree with him on every issue"
"The obstinate child could not be made to eat any food he disliked"
To prevent; to make unnecessary
"The river was shallow enough to wade across at many points, which obviated the need for a bridge"
To stop up; to prevent the passage of
"A shadow is thrown across the earth's surface during a solar eclipse, when the light from the sun is occluded by the moon"
Troublesome and oppressive; burdensome
"The assignment was so extensive and difficult to manage that it proved onerous to the team im charge of it"
"After the scheme to embezzle the eldely was made public, the treasurer resigned in utter opprobrium"
"The ostentation of the Sun King's court is evident in the lavish decorations of his palace at Versailles"
A contradiction or dilema
"It is a paradox that those mose in need of medical attention are often those least able to obtain it"
Model of excellence or perfection
"She is the paragon of what a judge should be: honest, intelligent, hardworking, and just"
Someone who shows off learning
"The graduate instructor's tedious and excessive commentary on the subject soon gained her a reputation as a pedant"
Willing to betray one's trust
"The actress's perfidious companion revealed all of her intimate secrets to the gossip columnist"
Done is a routine way; indifferent
"The machinelike bank teller processed the transaction and gave the waiting customer a perfuctory smile"
Charity; a desire or effort to promote goodness
"New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art owes much of its collection to the philanthropy of private collectors who willed their estates to the museum"
To soothe or pacify
Able to be molded, altered, or bent
Practical as opposed to idealistic
"While daydreaming gamblers think they can get rich by frequenting casinos, pragmatic gamblers realize that the odds are heavily stacked against them"
To throw violently or bring about abruptly; lacking deliberation
"Upon learning that the couple married after knowing each other only 2 months, friends and family members expected such a precipitate marriage to end in divorce"
To lie or deviate from the truth
"Rather than admit that he had overslept again, the employee prevaricated and clained that heavy traffic had prevented him from arriving at work on time"
"The prodigal son quickly wasted all of his inheritance on a lavish lifestyle devoted to pleasure"
Fresh and clean; incorrupted
"Since concerted measure had been taken to prevent looting, the archeological site was still pristine when researchers arrived"
To increase in number quickly
"Although she only kept 2 guini pigs initially, they proliferated to such an extent that she soon had dozens"
To conciliate; to appease
"The management propitiated the irate union by agreeing to raise the wages for its members"
Correct behavior; obedience to rules and customs
"The aristocracy maintained a high level of propriety, adhering to even the most minor social rules"
Wisdom, caution, or restraint
"The college student exhibited prudence by obtaining practical experience along with her studies, which greatly strengthened her resume"
Sharp and irritating to the senses
"The smoke from the burning tires was extremely pungent to the senses"
"Many animals are quiescent over the winter months, minimizing activity in order to conserve energy"
To make thinner or sparser
"Since the atmosphere rarefies as altitudes increase, the air at the top of very tall mountains is too thin to breathe"
To reject the validity of
"The old woman's claim that she was Russian royalty was repudiated when DNA tests showed she was of no relation to them"
"Physically small and reticent in her speech, Joan Didion often went unnoticed by those upon whom she was reporting"
Effective writing or speaking
Causing sleep of lethargy
"The movie proved to be so soporific that soon loud snores were heard throughout the theater"
Deceptively attractive, seemingly plausible but fallacious
"The student's specious excuse for being late sounded legitimate but was proved otherwise when her teacher called her home"
A mark of shame or discredit
Unemotional; lacking sensitivity
Lofty or grand
"The music was so sublime that it transformed the rude surroundings into a special place"
Done without using words
"Although not a word had been said, everyone in the room knew that a tacit agreement had been made about which course of action to take"
Silent, not talkative
"The clerk's taciturn nature earned him the nickname 'Silent Bob'"
Long, harsh speech or verbal attack
Extreme mental and physical sluggishness
"After surgery, the patient experienced torpor until the anesthesia wore off"
Temporary, lasting a brief time
"The reporter lived a transitory life, staying in one place only long enough to cover the current story"
To sway physically, to be indecisive
"The customer held up the line as he vacillated between ordering chocolate chip or rocky road ice cream"
To respect deeply
"In traditional Confucian society, the young venerate their elders, deferring to the elders' wisdom and experience"
Filled with truth and accuracy
"She had a reputation for veracity, so everyone trusted her description of events"
"The professor's answer was so verbose that his student forgot what the original question had been"
"The old man who loved peace and quiet was vexed by his neighbor's loud music"
Easily aroused or changeable; lively or explosive
"His volatile personality made it difficult to predict his reaction to anything"
To fluctuate between choices
Acting in a fanciful or capricious manner; unpredictable
"The ballet was whimsical, delighting the chidren with its imaginative characters and unpredictable sets"