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- (adv.) on or toward the rear of a ship
- The passengers moved abaft of the ship so as to escape the fire in the front of the ship.
- (v.; n) to leave behind; to give something up; freedom; enthusiasm; impetuosity
- After failing for several years, he abandoned his dream of starting a grocery business.
- Lucy embarked on her new adventure with abandon.
- (v.) to degrade; humiliate; disgrace
- The mother’s public reprimand abased the girl. The insecure father, after failing to achieve his own life-long goals,
- abased his children whenever they failed.
- (v.) to shorten; compress; diminish
- His vacation to Japan was abbreviated when he acquired an illness treatable only in the United States.
- (v.) to reject, renounce, or abandon
- Due to his poor payment record, it may be necessary to abdicate our relationship with the client. aberrant (adj.) abnormal;
- straying from the normal or usual path The aberrant flight pattern of the airplane alarmed the air traffic controllers.
- His aberrant behavior led his friends to worry the divorce had taken its toll.
- abeyance (n.) a state of temporary suspension or inactivity Since the power failure, the town has been in abeyance.
- (v.) to hate
- By the way her jaw tensed when he walked in, it is easy to see that she abhors him.
- The dog abhorred cats, chasing and growling at them whenever he had the opportunity.
- (adj.) of the worst or lowest degree
- The Haldemans lived in abject poverty, with barely a roof over their heads.
- (v.) to give up
- The losing team may abjure to the team that is winning.
- (n.) a denial
- The woman’s abnegation of her loss was apparent when she began to laugh.
- (v.) to loathe; to hate
- Randall abominated all the traffic he encountered on every morning commute.
- Please do not abominate the guilty person until you hear the complete explanation.
- (v.) to shorten; to limit
- The editor abridged the story to make the book easier to digest.
- (v.) to cancel by authority
- The judge would not abrogate the law.
- (adj.) happening or ending unexpectedly
- The abrupt end to their marriage was a shock to everyone.
- (v.) to go away hastily or secretly; to hide
- The newly wed couple will abscond from the reception to leave on the honeymoon.
- (v.) to forgive; to acquit
- The judge will absolve the person of all charges. After feuding for many years, the brothers absolved each other for the
- many arguments they had.
- (adj.) sparing in use of food or drinks
- If we become stranded in the snow storm, we will have to be abstemious with our food supply.
- In many abstemious cultures the people are so thin due to the belief that too much taken into the body leads to
- contamination of the soul. abstinence (n.) the act or process of voluntarily refraining from any action or practice; self-
- control; chastity In preparation for the Olympic games, the athletes practiced abstinence from red meat and junk food,
- adhering instead to a menu of pasta and produce.
- (adj.) hard to understand; deep; recondite
- The topic was so abstruse the student was forced to stop reading.
- The concept was too abstruse for the average student to grasp.
- (adj.) very deep
- The abysmal waters contained little plant life.
- (v.) to comply with; to consent to
- With defeat imminent, the rebel army acceded to hash out a peace treaty.
- (n.) loud approval; applause
- Edward Albee’s brilliantly written Broadway revival of A Delicate Balance received wide acclaim. accolade (n.) approving
- or praising mention; a sign of approval or respect Rich accolades were bestowed on the returning hero. Accolades flowed
- into her dressing room following the opening-night triumph. accomplice (n.) co-conspirator; partner; partner-in-crime The
- bank robber’s accomplice drove the get-away car. accretion (n.)growth by addition; a growing together by parts With the
- accretion of the new members, the club doubled its original size. The addition of the new departments accounts for the
- accretion of the company.
- (v.) a natural growth; a periodic increase
- Over the course of her college career, she managed to accrue a great deal of knowledge.
- The savings were able to accrue a sizable amount of interest each year. During his many years of collecting stamps, he
- was able to accrue a large collection of valuable items. acerbic (adj.) tasting sour; harsh in language or temper Too much
- Bay Leaf will make the eggplant acerbic. The baby’s mouth puckered when she was given the acerbic medicine. The
- columnist’s acerbic comments about the First Lady drew a strong denunciation from the President.
- (v.) to agree without protest
- The group acquiesced to the new regulations even though they were opposed to them.
- After a hard-fought battle, the retailers finally acquiesced to the draft regulations.
- (adj.) sharp; bitter; foul smelling
- Although the soup is a healthy food choice, it is so acrid not many people choose to eat it.
- The fire at the plastics factory caused an acrid odor to be emitted throughout the surrounding neighborhood. acrimony
- (n.) sharpness or bitterness in language or manner. The acrimony of her response was shocking. adage (n.) an old
- saying now accepted as being truthful The adage “do unto others as you wish them to do unto you” is still widely practiced.
- (adj.) not yielding, firm
- After taking an adamant stand to sell the house, the man called the real estate agency.
- The girl’s parents were adamant about not allowing her to go on a dangerous backpacking trip.
- (adj.) rotten
- The egg will become addled if it is left unrefrigerated.
- (adj.) skilled; practiced
- The skilled craftsman was quite adept at creating beautiful vases and candleholders.
- (v.) solemnly ordered
- The jurors were adjured by the judge to make a fair decision.
- (adj.) expert or skillful
- The repair was not difficult for the adroit craftsman.
- The driver’s adroit driving avoided a serious accident.
- (n.) praise in excess
- The adulation was in response to the heroic feat.
- The adulation given to the movie star was sickening.
- (v.) to corrupt, debase, or make impure
- The dumping of chemicals will adulterate the pureness of the lake.
- (n.) an enemy; foe
- The peace treaty united two countries that were historically great adversaries. adverse (adj.) negative; hostile;
- antagonistic; inimical Contrary to the ski resort’s expectations, the warm weather generated adverse conditions for a
- profitable weekend. advocate (v.; n.) to plead in favor of; supporter; defender Amnesty International advocates the cause
- for human rights. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great advocate of civil rights. aesthetic (adj.) of beauty; pertaining to taste
- in art and beauty She found that her aesthetic sense and that of the artist were at odds. His review made one wonder
- what kind of aesthetic taste the critic had.
- (adj.) friendly; amiable; good-natured
- Her affable puppy loved to play with children. affiliate (v.) to connect or associate with; to accept as a member The hiking
- club affiliated with the bird-watching club.
- (n.) a connection; similarity of structure
- There is a strong emotional affinity between the two siblings.
- It turns out that the elements bear a strong affinity to each other.
- (v.) to make more powerful
- The king wanted to aggrandize himself and his kingdom. aghast (adj.) astonished; amazed; horrified; terrified; appalled
- Stockholders were aghast at the company’s revelation. The landlord was aghast at his water bill.
- (adj.) of the land
- Many agrarian people are poor.
- (n.) eager readiness or speed
- The manager was so impressed by the worker’s alacrity; he suggested a promotion.
- On the first day of her new job, the recent college graduate was able to leave early after completing all of her tasks with
- (n.) a person who studies chemistry
- The alchemist’s laboratory was full of bottles and tubes of strange
- looking liquids.
- (n.) any mysterious change of substance or nature
- The magician used alchemy to change the powder into a liquid
- (n.) a symbolic description
- The book contained many allegories on Russian history.
- (v.) to lessen or make easier
- The airport’s monorail alleviates vehicular traffic.
- (v.) set aside; designate; assign
- There have been front row seats allocated to the performer’s family.
- The farmer allocated three acres of his fields to corn.
- (v.) to refer indirectly to something
- The story alludes to part of the author’s life.
- Without stating that the defendant was an ex-convict, the prosecutor alluded to the fact by mentioning his length of
- unemployment. allure (v.; n.) to attract; entice; attraction; temptation; glamour The romantic young man allured the
- beautiful woman by preparing a wonderful dinner.
- Singapore’s allure is its bustling economy. allusion (n.) an indirect reference (often literary); a hint The mention of the pet
- snake was an allusion to the man’s sneaky ways. In modern plays allusions are often made to ancient drama.
- (adj.) distant in interest; reserved; cool
- Even though the new coworker was aloof, we attempted to be friendly. The calm defendant remained aloof when he was
- wrongly accused of fabricating his story.
- (n.) controversy; dispute
- A serious altercation caused the marriage to end in a bitter divorce. altruism (n.) unselfish devotion to the welfare of
- others After the organization aided the catastrophe victims, it was given an award for altruism.
- She displayed such altruism by giving up all of her belongings and joining a peace corps in Africa.
- (adj.) unselfish
- The altruistic volunteer donated much time and energy in an effort to raise funds for the children’s hospital. amalgam (n.)
- a mixture or combination (often of metals) The art display was an amalgam of modern and traditional pieces. That ring is
- made from an amalgam of minerals; if it were pure gold it would never hold its shape.
- (v.) to mix, merge, combine
- If the economy does not grow, the business may need to amalgamate with a rival company.
- The three presidents decided to amalgamate their businesses to build one strong company.
- (v.) to collect together; accumulate
- Over the years the sailor has amassed many replicas of boats.
- The women amassed a huge collection of priceless diamonds and pearls.
- (adj.) not clear; uncertain; vague
- The ambiguous law did not make a clear distinction between the new and old land boundary.
- (adj.) undecided
- The ambivalent jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
- (v.) to improve or make better
- A consistent routine of exercise has shown to ameliorate health.
- We can ameliorate the flooding problem by changing the grading.
- (n.) a positive change
- The amendment in his ways showed there was still reason for hope.
- (adj.) friendly
- The newcomer picked the most amiable person to sit next to during the meeting.
- amiss (adj.; adv.) wrong; awry; wrongly; in a defective manner Seeing that his anorak was gone, he knew something was
- amiss . Its new muffler aside, the car was behaving amiss.
- (n.) friendly relations
- The amity between the two bordering nations put the populations at ease.
- amorphous (adj.) with no shape; unorganized; having no determinate form The amorphous gel seeped through the
- cracks. The amorphous group quickly got lost.
- The scientist could not determine the sex of the amorphous organism.
- amortize (v.) to put money into a fund at fixed intervals The couple was able to amortize their mortgage sooner than they
- thought. anachronism (n.) something out of place in time (e.g., an airplane in 1492) The editor recognized an
- anachronism in the manuscript where the character from the 1500s boarded an airplane. He realized that the film about
- cavemen contained an anachronism when he saw a jet cut across the horizon during a hunting scene.
- (n.) similarity; correlation; parallelism
- The teacher used an analogy to describe the similarities between the two books.
- Comparing the newly discovered virus with one found long ago, the scientist made an analogy between the two
- (n.) an allergic reaction
- The boy’s severe anaphylaxis to a series of medications made writing prescriptions a tricky proposition. anarchist (n.)
- one who believes that a formal government is unnecessary The yell from the crowd came from the anarchist protesting the
- The anarchist attempted to overthrow the established democratic government of the new nation and reinstate chaos and
- (n.) something that can be relied on
- Knowing the neighbors were right next door was an anchorage for the elderly
- (n.) a short account of happenings
- The speaker told an anecdote about how he lost his shoes when he was young.
- (n.) a feeling of hatred or ill will
- Animosity grew between the two feuding families.
- (v.) to crown; ordain;
- A member of the monarchy was anointed by the king. anomaly (n.) an oddity, inconsistency; a deviation from the norm An
- anomaly existed when the report listed one statistic, and the spokeswoman reported another.
- In a parking lot full of Buicks, Chevys, and Plymouths, the Jaguar was an anomaly.
- (adj.) nameless; unidentified
- Not wishing to be identified by the police, he remained anonymous by returning the money he had stolen by sending it
- through the mail.
- (n.) hostility; opposition
- The antagonism was created by a misunderstanding. The rebellious clan captured a hostage to display antagonism to
- the new peace treaty.
- (n.) a strong dislike or repugnance
- Her antipathy for large crowds convinced her to decline the invitation to the city.
- The vegetarian had an antipathy toward meat.
- (n.) lack of emotion or interest
- He showed apathy when his relative was injured. The disheartened peasants expressed apathy toward the new law
- which promised new hope and prosperity for all. apocalyptic (adj.) pertaining to a discovery or new revelation Science-
- fiction movies seem to relish apocalyptic visions. apocryphal (adj.) counterfeit; of doubtful authorship or authenticity The
- man who said he was a doctor was truly apocryphal.
- (v.) to satisfy; to calm
- A milk bottle usually appeases a crying baby.
- (adj.) suitable; apt; relevant
- Discussion of poverty was apposite to the curriculum, so the professor allowed it.
- Without reenacting the entire scenario, the situation can be understood if apposite information is given.
- (adj.) fearful; aware; conscious
- The nervous child was apprehensive about beginning a new school year.
- (adj.) approving or sanctioning
- The judge showed his acceptance in his approbatory remark.
- (adj.) suitable (as land) for plowing
- When the land was deemed arable the farmer decided to plow. arbiter (n.) one who is authorized to judge or decide The
- decision of who would represent the people was made by the arbiter. arbitrary (adj.) based on one’s preference or
- judgment Rick admitted his decision had been arbitrary, as he claimed no expertise on the matter.
- (adj.) obscure; secret; mysterious
- With an arcane expression, the young boy left the family wondering what sort of mischief he had committed.
- The wizard’s description of his magic was purposefully arcane so that others would be unable to copy it.
- (n.) original pattern or model; prototype
- This man was the archetype for scores of fictional characters. The scientist was careful with the archetype of her
- invention so that once manufacturing began, it would be easy to reproduce it.
- (adj.) with passionate or intense feelings
- The fans’ ardent love of the game kept them returning to watch the terrible team.
- (adj.) laborious, difficult; strenuous
- Completing the plans for the new building proved to be an arduous affair. Building a house is arduous work, but the
- result is well worth the labor. arid (adj.) extremely dry, parched; barren, unimaginative The terrain was so arid that not one
- species of plant could survive. Their thirst became worse due to the arid condition of the desert. aromatic (adj.) having a
- smell which is sweet or spicy The aromatic smell coming from the oven made the man’s mouth water.
- (adj.) acting superior to others; conceited
- After purchasing his new, expensive sports car, the arrogant doctor refused to allow anyone to ride with him to the country
- (v.) to claim or demand unduly
- The teenager arrogated that he should be able to use his parent’s car whenever he desired. articulate (v.; adj.) to utter
- clearly and distinctly; clear, distinct; expressed with clarity; skillful with words It’s even more important to articulate your
- words when you’re on the phone.
- You didn’t have to vote for him to agree that Adlai Stevenson was articulate.
- A salesperson must be articulate when speaking to a customer.
- (n.) skill in a craft
- The artifice of glass-making takes many years of practice. ascetic (n.; adj.) one who leads a simple life of self-denial;
- rigorously abstinent The monastery is filled with ascetics who have devoted their lives to religion.
- The nuns lead an ascetic life devoted to the Lord.
- (adj.) germ free
- It is necessary for an operating room to be aseptic.
- (adv.) a sideways glance of disapproval
- The look askance proved the guard suspected some wrongdoing.
- (n.) harshness
- The man used asperity to frighten the girl out of going. The asperity of the winter had most everybody yearning for spring.
- aspersion (n.) slanderous statement; a damaging or derogatory criticism The aspersion damaged the credibility of the
- organization. He blamed the loss of his job on an aspersion stated by his co-worker to his superior.
- (n.) a person who goes after high goals
- The aspirant would not settle for assistant director—only the top job was good enough. assay (n.) to determine the quality
- of a substance. Have the soil assayed.
- (v.) to estimate the value of
- She assessed the possible rewards to see if the project was worth her time and effort.
- (adj.) carefully attentive; industrious
- It is necessary to be assiduous if a person wishes to make the most of his time at work.
- He enjoys having assiduous employees because he can explain a procedure once and have it performed correctly every
- (v.) to relieve; ease; make less severe
- Medication should assuage the pain.
- The medication helped assuage the pain of the wound. astringent (n.; adj.) a substance that contracts bodily tissues;
- causing contraction; tightening; stern, austere After the operation an astringent was used on his skin so that the stretched
- area would return to normal.
- The downturn in sales caused the CEO to impose astringent measures.
- Her astringent remarks at the podium would not soon be forgotten.
- (adj.) cunning; sly; crafty
- The astute lawyer’s questioning convinced the jury of the defendant’s guilt.
- atrophy (v.; n.) to waste away, as from lack of use; to wither; failure to grow A few months after he lost his ability to walk, his
- legs began to atrophy. The atrophy of the muscles was due to the injury.
- (v.) to thin out; to weaken
- Water is commonly used to attenuate strong chemicals.
- The chemist attenuated the solution by adding water.
- (adj.) something that is abnormal
- The atypical behavior of the wild animal alarmed the hunters.
- (adj.) fearless; bold
- The audacious soldier went into battle without a shield.
- (v.) to increase or add to; to make larger
- They needed more soup so they augmented the recipe.
- They were able to augment their savings over a period of time.
- (adj.) to be imposing or magnificent
- The palace was august in gold and crystal.
- (adj.) being of a good omen; successful
- It was auspicious that the sun shone on the first day of the trip. The campaign had an auspicious start, foreshadowing
- the future. austere (adj.) having a stern look; having strict self-discipline The old woman always has an austere look
- about her. The austere teacher assigned five pages of homework each day.
- (adj.) real; genuine; trustworthy
- An authentic diamond will cut glass.
- (n.; adj.) acting as a dictator; demanding obedience The authoritarian made all of the rules but did none of the work. Fidel
- Castro is reluctant to give up his authoritarian rule. autocracy (n.) an absolute monarchy; government where one
- person holds power The autocracy was headed by a demanding man. She was extremely power-hungry and therefore
- wanted her government to be an autocracy.
- (n.) an absolute ruler
- The autocrat in charge of the government was a man of power and prestige.
- The autocrat made every decision and divided the tasks among his subordinates.
- avarice (n.) inordinate desire for gaining and possessing wealth The man’s avarice for money kept him at work through
- the evenings and weekends.
- The avarice of the president led to his downfall.
- (v.) to affirm as true
- The witness was able to aver the identity of the defendant. awry (adj; adv.) crooked(ly); uneven(ly); wrong; askew Hearing
- the explosion in the laboratory, the scientist realized the experiment had gone awry.
- (adj.) the clear blue color of the sky
- The azure sky made the picnic day perfect.
- (adj.) harmful, malign, detrimental
- After she was fired, she realized it was a baleful move to point the blame at her superior.
- The strange liquid could be baleful if ingested.
- (adj.) trite; without freshness or originality
- Attending parties became trite after a few weeks. It was a banal suggestion to have the annual picnic in the park, since
- that was where it had been for the past five years.
- (adj.) deadly or causing distress, death
- Not wearing a seat belt could be baneful.
- (adj.) extravagant; ornate; embellished
- The baroque artwork was made up of intricate details which kept the museum-goers enthralled.
- The baroque furnishings did not fit in the plain, modest home.
- (n.) a fortified place or strong defense
- The strength of the bastion saved the soldiers inside of it.
- (v.) to gain
- The team could only batten by drafting the top player.
- (n.) a showy yet useless thing
- The woman had many baubles on her bookshelf.
- (v.) to bring into being
- The king wished to beget a new heir.
- (adj.) indebted to
- The children were beholden to their parents for the car loan.
- (v.) to be advantageous; to be necessary
- It will behoove the students to buy their textbooks early.
- (v.) to make small; to think lightly of
- The unsympathetic friend belittled her friend’s problems and spoke of her own as the most important.
- (adj.) quarrelsome; warlike
- The bellicose guest would not be invited back again.
- (v.) to preoccupy in thought
- The girl was bemused by her troubles.
- (n.) one who helps others; a donor
- An anonymous benefactor donated $10,000 to the children’s hospital. beneficent (adj.) conferring benefits; kindly; doing
- good He is a beneficent person, always taking in stray animals and talking to people who need someone to listen.
- A beneficent donation helped the organization meet its goal.
- (adj.) kind; generous
- The professor proved a tough questioner, but a benevolent grader.
- The benevolent gentleman volunteered his services.
- (adj.) mild; harmless
- A lamb is a benign animal, especially when compared with a lion.
- (v.) scold; reprove; reproach; criticize
- The child was berated by her parents for breaking the china. bereft (v.; adj.) to be deprived of; to be in a sad manner; hurt
- by someone’s death The loss of his job will leave the man bereft of many luxuries. The widower was bereft for many years
- after his wife’s death.
- (v.) to ask earnestly
- The soldiers beseeched the civilians for help.
- (v.) to dirty or discolor
- The soot from the chimney will besmirch clean curtains.
- (adj.) having the qualities of a beast; brutal
- The bestial employer made his employees work in an unheated room.
- (v.) to promise or pledge in marriage
- The man betrothed his daughter to the prince.
- (adj.) prejudiced; influenced; not neutral
- The vegetarian had a biased opinion regarding what should be ordered for dinner. biennial (adj.; n.) happening every two
- years; a plant which blooms every two years The biennial journal’s influence seemed only magnified by its infrequent
- She has lived here for four years and has seen the biennials bloom twice. bilateral (adj.) pertaining to or affecting both
- sides or two sides; having two sides A bilateral decision was made so that both partners reaped equal benefits from the
- same amount of work.
- The brain is a bilateral organ, consisting of a left and right hemisphere.
- (adj.) irreligious; away from acceptable standards; speaking ill of using profane language The upper-class
- parents thought that it was blasphemous for their son to marry a waitress.
- His blasphemous outburst was heard throughout the room.
- (adj.) obvious; unmistakable; crude; vulgar
- The blatant foul was reason for ejection.
- The defendant was blatant in his testimony.
- (adj.) causing frustration or destruction
- The blighted tornado left only one building standing in its wake. blithe (adj.) happy; cheery; merry; a cheerful disposition
- The wedding was a blithe celebration.
- The blithe child was a pleasant surprise.
- (v.) to foretell something
- The storm bode that we would not reach our destination.
- (n.) pompous speech; pretentious words
- After he delivered his bombast at the podium, he arrogantly left the meeting.
- The presenter ended his bombast with a prediction of his future success.
- (adj.) pompous; wordy; turgid
- The bombastic woman talks a lot about herself.
- (n.) a rude person
- The boor was not invited to the party, but he came anyway.
- (n.) the distance from one side to another
- The table cloth was too small to cover the breadth of the table.
- (n.) briefness; shortness
- On Top 40 AM radio, brevity was the coin of the realm.
- (adj.) mixed with a darker color
- In order to get matching paint we made a brindled mixture.
- (v.) to introduce into conversation
- Broaching the touchy subject was difficult.
- (adj.) abrupt in manner or speech
- His brusque answer was neither acceptable nor polite. bucolic (adj.) having to do with shepherds or the country The
- bucolic setting inspired the artist.
- (adj.) arrogant
- He was bumptious in manner as he approached the podium to accept his
- anticipated award.
- (n.) a clumsy person
- The one who broke the crystal vase was a true bungler.
- (v.) to grow or develop quickly
- The tumor appeared to burgeon more quickly than normal. After the first punch was thrown, the dispute burgeoned into a
- brawl. burlesque (v.; n.) to imitate in a non-serious manner; a comical imitation His stump speeches were so hackneyed,
- he seemed to be burlesquing of his role as a congressman.
- George Burns was considered one of the great practitioners of burlesque.
- (adj.) strong; bulky; stocky
- The lumberjack was a burly man.
- (v.) to polish by rubbing
- The vase needed to be burnished to restore its beauty.
- (n.) a group of persons joined by a secret
- The very idea that there could be a cabal cast suspicion on the whole operation. cache (n.) stockpile; store; heap; hiding
- place for goods The town kept a cache of salt on hand to melt winter’s snow off the roads.
- Extra food is kept in the cache under the pantry.
- The cache for his jewelry was hidden under the bed.
- (adj.) sounding jarring
- The cacophonous sound from the bending metal sent shivers up our spines. cacophony (n.) a harsh, inharmonious
- collection of sounds; dissonance The beautiful harmony of the symphony was well enjoyed after the cacophony coming
- from the stage as the orchestra warmed up. The amateur band created more cacophony than beautiful sound.
- (v.) to coax with insincere talk
- To cajole the disgruntled employee, the manager coaxed him with lies and sweet talk.
- The salesman will cajole the couple into buying the stereo.
- (n.) disaster
- The fire in the apartment building was a great calamity.
- (n.) quality
- The caliber of talent at the show was excellent.
- (adj.) being young or immature
- With the callow remark the young man demonstrated his age. Although the girl could be considered an adult, the action
- was very callow.
- (n.) slander
- I felt it necessary to speak against the calumny of the man’s good reputation.
- (n.) a false statement or rumor
- The canard was reported in a scandalous tabloid.
- (adj.) honest; truthful; sincere
- People trust her because she’s so candid.
- (n.) insincere or hypocritical statements of high ideals; the jargon of a particular group or occupations The theater majors
- had difficulty understanding the cant of the computer scientists.
- The remarks by the doctor were cant and meant only for his associates. caprice (n.) a sudden, unpredictable or
- whimsical change The caprice with which the couple approached the change of plans was evidence to their young age.
- The king ruled by caprice as much as law.
- (adj.) changeable; fickle
- The capricious bride-to-be has a different church in mind for her wedding every few days.
- (adj.) disposed to find fault
- A captious attitude often causes difficulties in a relationship.
- (n.) unlimited authority
- The designer was given carte blanche to create a new line for the fall.
- (n; v.) waterfall; pour; rush; fall
- The hikers stopped along the path to take in the beauty of the rushing cascade.
- The water cascaded down the rocks into the pool.
- He took a photograph of the lovely cascade.
- The drapes formed a cascade down the window.
- (v.) to punish through public criticism
- The mayor castigated the police chief for the rash of robberies.
- (n.) an extreme natural force
- The earthquake has been the first cataclysm in five years. catalyst (n.) anything which creates a situation in which change
- can occur The low pressure system was the catalyst for the nor’easter. catharsis (n.) a purging or relieving of the body or
- soul He experienced a total catharsis after the priest absolved his sins. Admitting his guilt served as a catharsis for the
- (adj.) eating away at; sarcastic words
- The caustic chemicals are dangerous.
- The girl harmed her mother with her caustic remarks. His caustic sense of humor doesn’t go over so well when people
- don’t know what they’re in for.
- (v.) to bicker
- The children are constantly caviling.
- (v.) to examine and delete objectionable material
- The children were allowed to watch the adult movie only after it had been censored. censure (n.; v.) a disapproval; an
- expression of disapproval; to criticize or disapprove of His remarks drew the censure of his employers. A censure of the
- new show upset the directors.
- Her parents censured her idea of dropping out of school.
- (adj.) very formal or proper
- The black-tie dinner was highly ceremonious.
- (n.)ceasing; a stopping
- The cessation of a bad habit is often difficult to sustain. chafe (v.) to annoy, to irritate; to wear away or make sore by
- rubbing His constant teasing chafed her.
- He doesn’t wear pure wool sweaters because they usually chafe his skin.
- (n.) banter; teasing
- The king was used to his jesters good-natured chaffing. chagrin (n.) a feeling of embarrassment due to failure or
- disappointment To the chagrin of the inventor, the machine did not work. She turned red-faced with chagrin when she
- learned that her son had been caught shoplifting.
- (n.) appeal; magnetism; presence
- She has such charisma that everyone likes her the first time they meet her. charlatan (n.) a person who pretends to have
- knowledge; an impostor; fake The charlatan deceived the townspeople.
- It was finally discovered that the charlatan sitting on the throne was not the real king.
- (adj.) cautious; being sparing in giving
- Be chary when driving at night.
- The chary man had few friends.
- (adj.) virtuous; free of obscenity
- Because the woman believed in being chaste, she would not let her date into the
- (v.) to punish; discipline; admonish
- The dean chastised the first-year student for cheating on the exam.
- (v.) to feel love for
- The bride vowed to cherish the groom for life.
- (n.) trickery or deception
- The swindler was trained in chicanery.
- A news broadcast is no place for chicanery.
- (n.) an impossible fancy
- Perhaps he saw a flying saucer, but perhaps it was only a chimera. choleric (adj.) cranky; cantankerous; easily moved to
- feeling displeasure The choleric man was continually upset by his neighbors. Rolly becomes choleric when his views are
- (v.) to make a gleeful, chuckling sound
- The chortles emanating from the audience indicated it wouldn’t be as tough a crowd as the stand-up comic had
- expected. churlishness (n.) crude or surly behavior; behavior of a peasant The fraternity’s churlishness ran afoul of the
- dean’ s office. The churlishness of the teenager caused his employer to lose faith in him. circumlocution (n.) a
- roundabout or indirect way of speaking; not to the point The man’s speech contained so much circumlocution that I was
- unsure of the point he was trying to make.
- The child made a long speech using circumlocution to avoid stating that it was she who had knocked over the lamp.
- circumlocutory (adj.) being too long, as in a description or expression; a roundabout, indirect, or ungainly way of
- expressing something It was a circumlocutory documentary that could have been cut to half its running time to say twice
- as much.
- (adj.) considering all circumstances
- A circumspect decision must be made when so many people are involved.
- (n.) a fortress set up high to defend a city
- A citadel sat on the hill to protect the city below.
- (adj.) secret
- The clandestine plan must be kept between the two of us!
- (n.) mercy toward an offender; mildness
- The governor granted the prisoner clemency. The weather’s clemency made for a perfect picnic. cloture (n.) a
- parliamentary procedure to end debate and begin to vote Cloture was declared as the parliamentarians readied to
- register their votes. cloying (adj.) too sugary; too sentimental or flattering After years of marriage the husband still gave
- cloying gifts to his wife. Complimenting her on her weight loss, clothing and hairstyle was a cloying way to begin asking
- for a raise. coagulate (v.) to become a semisolid, soft mass; to clot The liquid will coagulate and close the tube if left
- (v.) to grow together
- The bride and groom coalesced their funds to increase their collateral.
- At the end of the conference the five groups coalesced in one room.
- (n.) in music, a concluding passage
- By the end of the coda, I was ready to burst with excitement over the thrilling performance.
- The audience knew that the concerto was about to end when they heard the orchestra begin playing the coda.
- (v.) to treat with tenderness
- A baby needs to be coddled.
- (v.) to organize laws or rules into a systematic collection The laws were codified by those whom they affected. The intern
- codified all the city’s laws into a computerized filing system. coffer (n.) a chest where money or valuables are kept
- The coffer that contained the jewels was stolen. cogent (adj.) to the point; clear; convincing in its clarity and presentation
- The lawyer makes compelling and cogent presentations, which evidently help him win 96 percent of his cases.
- He made a short, cogent speech which his audience easily understood.
- (v.) to think hard; ponder; meditate
- It is necessary to cogitate on decisions which affect life goals. The room was quiet while every student cogitated during
- the calculus exam. cognate (adj.; n.) having the same family; a person related through ancestry English and German are
- cognate languages. The woman was a cognate to the royal family. cognitive (adj.) possessing the power to think or
- meditate; meditative; capable of perception Cognitive thought makes humans adaptable to a quickly changing
- Once the toddler was able to solve puzzles, it was obvious that her cognitive abilities were developing.
- (adj.) aware of; perceptive
- She became alarmed when she was cognizant of the man following her. It was critical to establish whether the defendant
- was cognizant of his rights. coherent (adj.) sticking together; connected; logical; consistent The course was a success
- due to its coherent information. If he couldn’t make a coherent speech, how could he run for office?
- (n.) the act of holding together
- The cohesion of the group increased as friendships were formed.
- The cohesion of different molecules forms different substances.
- (n.) a group; band
- The cohort of teens gathered at the athletic field.
- (v.) to work together; cooperate
- The two builders collaborated to get the house finished. colloquial (adj.) having to do with conversation; informal speech
- The colloquial reference indicated the free spirit of the group. When you listen to the difference between spoken colloquial
- conversation and written work, you realize how good an ear a novelist must have to write authentic dialogue.
- (n.) secret agreement for an illegal purpose
- The authority discovered a collusion between the director and treasurer. comeliness (n.) beauty; attractiveness in
- appearance or behavior The comeliness of the woman attracted everyone’s attention.
- (v.) to show sympathy for
- The hurricane victims commiserated about the loss of their homes.
- (adj.) spacious and convenient; roomy
- The new home was so commodious that many new pieces of furniture needed to be purchased.
- (adj.) shared or common ownership
- The communal nature of the project made everyone pitch in to help.
- (adj.) in agreement with; harmonious
- When repairing an automobile, it is necessary to use parts compatible with that make and model.
- (adj.) content; self-satisfied; smug
- The CEO worries regularly that his firm’s winning ways will make it complacent.
- The candidate was so complacent with his poll numbers that he virtually stopped campaigning. complaisance (n.) the
- quality of being agreeable or eager to please The complaisance of the new assistant made it easy for the managers to
- give him a lot of work without worrying that he may complain.
- (adj.) complying; obeying; yielding
- Compliant actions should be reinforced.
- The slave was compliant with every order to avoid being whipped.
- (v.) fitting in
- It was easy to comport to the new group of employees.
- (adj.) all-inclusive; complete; thorough
- It’s the only health facility around to offer comprehensive care.
- (v.) to settle by mutual adjustment
- Labor leaders and the automakers compromised by agreeing to a starting wage of $16 an hour in exchange for
- concessions on health-care premiums. concede (v.) to acknowledge; admit; to surrender; to abandon one’s position
- After much wrangling, the conceded that the minister had a point. Satisfied with the recount, the mayor conceded
- (n.) an exaggerated personal opinion
- The man’s belief that he was the best player on the team was pure conceit.
- (n.) an attempt to make friendly or placate
- The attempt at conciliation
- (adj.) to reconcile
- The diplomat sought to take a conciliatory approach to keep the talks going.
- (adj.) in few words; brief; condensed
- The concise instructions were printed on two pages rather than the customary five. conclave (n.) any private meeting or
- closed assembly The conclave was to meet in the executive suite. condescend (v.) to come down from one’s position or
- dignity The arrogant, rich man was usually condescending towards his servants.
- (v.) to overlook; to forgive
- The loving and forgiving mother condoned her son’s life of crime I will condone your actions of negligence.
- (n.) a thing which is joined together
- Great cities often lie at the confluence of great rivers. confound (v.) to lump together, causing confusion; to damn The
- problem confounded our ability to solve it. Confound you, you scoundrel!
- (n.) a collection or mixture of various things
- The conglomeration is made up of four different interest groups.
- The soup was a conglomeration of meats and vegetables.
- (v.) to combine
- The classes will conjoin to do the play.
- (v.) to call upon or appeal to; to cause to be, appear, come The smell of the dinner conjured images of childhood. The
- magician conjured a rabbit out of a hat.
- (n.) secret cooperation in wrongdoing
- With the guard’s connivance, the convict was able to make his escape. connoisseur (n.) expert; authority (usually refers to
- a wine or food expert) They allowed her to choose the wine for dinner since she was the connoisseur.
- connotative (adj.) containing associated meanings in addition to the primary one Along with the primary meaning of the
- word, there were two connotative meanings.
- The connotative meaning of their music was spelled out in the video.
- (v.) to declare sacred; to dedicate
- We will consecrate the pact during the ceremony.
- The park was consecrated to the memory of the missing soldier.
- (adj.) following as an effect; important
- His long illness and consequential absence set him behind in his homework.
- The decision to move the company will be consequential to its success.
- (n.; v.) a companion, spouse; to associate
- An elderly woman was seeking a consort.
- They waited until dark to consort under the moonlight.
- (adj.) easy to see; noticeable
- The diligent and hardworking editor thought the obvious mistake was conspicuous. consternation (n.) amazement or
- terror that causes confusion The look of consternation on the child’s face caused her father to panic.
- (v.) to force, compel; to restrain
- It may be necessary to constrain the wild animal if it approaches the town.
- The student was constrained to remain in her seat until the teacher gave her permission to leave.
- (n.) the completion; finish
- Following the consummation of final exams, most of the students graduated. contemporary (adj.) living or happening at
- the same time; modern Contemporary furniture will clash with your traditional sectional.
- (n.) scorn; disrespect
- The greedy, selfish banker was often discussed with great contempt.
- (adj.) quarrelsome
- The contentious student was asked to leave the classroom. They hate his contentious behavior because every
- suggestion they give ends in a fight.
- (v.) to attempt to disprove or invalidate
- I will attempt to contest the criminal charges against me. contiguous (adj.) touching; or adjoining and close, but not
- touching There are many contiguous buildings in the city because there is no excess land to allow space between them.
- contravene (v.) to act contrary to; to oppose or contradict The story of the accused contravened the story of the witness.
- The United Nations held that the Eastern European nation had contravened the treaty. contrite (adj.) regretful;
- sorrowful; having repentance Regretting his decision not to attend college, the contrite man did not lead a very happy life.
- A contrite heart has fixed its wrongs.
- (adj.) resisting authority
- The man was put in jail for contumacious actions. contusion (n.) a bruise; an injury where the skin is not broken The man
- was fortunate to receive only contusions from the crash.
- (n.) a puzzle or riddle
- I spent two hours trying to figure out the conundrum. The legend says that to enter the secret passageway, one must
- answer the ancient conundrum.
- (adj.) traditional; common; routine
- The bride wanted a conventional wedding ceremony, complete with white dresses, many flowers, and a grand reception
- party. Conventional telephones are giving way to videophones. converge (v.) to move toward one point (opposite: diverge)
- It was obvious that an accident was going to occur as the onlookers watched the two cars converge.
- The two roads converge at the corner.
- (n.) a fondness for festiveness or joviality
- His conviviality makes him a welcome guest at any social gathering.
- (v.) a call to assemble
- The teacher convoked her students in the auditorium to help prepare them for the play.
- (adj.) abundant; in great quantities
- Her copious notes touched on every subject presented in the lecture.
- (n.) obesity
- The corpulence of the man kept him from fitting into the seat.
- (v.) to bring into mutual relation
- The service man was asked to correlate the two computer demonstration pamphlets.
- (v.) to confirm the validity
- The witness must corroborate the prisoner’s story if she is to be set free. coterie (n.) a clique; a group who meet
- frequently, usually socially A special aspect of campus life is joining a coterie. Every day after school she joins her coterie
- on the playground and they go out for a soda.
- (n.) a binding and solemn agreement
- With the exchange of vows, the covenant was complete.
- (adj.) greedy; very desirous
- Lonnie, covetous of education, went to almost every lecture at the university.
- Covetous of her neighbor’s pool, she did everything she could to make things unpleasant..
- (v.) to huddle and tremble
- The lost dog cowered near the tree.
- The tellers cowered in the corner as the bandit ransacked the bank. coy (adj.) modest; bashful; pretending shyness to
- attract Her coy manners attracted the man.
- He’s not really that shy, he’s just being coy. crass (adj.) stupid or dull; insensitive; materialistic To make light of someone’
- s weakness is crass. They made their money the old-fashioned way, but still they were accused of being crass.
- My respect for the man was lowered when he made the crass remark.
- (n.; adj.) coward; abject person; cowardly
- While many fought for their rights, the craven sat shaking, off in a corner somewhere.
- Craven men will not stand up for what they believe in.
- (adj.) deserving blame; guilty
- The convicted criminal still denies that he is culpable for the robbery.
- (n.) a restraint or framework
- A curb was put up along the street to help drainage.
- (n.) an ill-tempered person
- The curmudgeon asked the children not to play near the house.
- (adj.) hasty; slight
- The detective’s cursory examination of the crime scene caused him to overlook the lesser clues.
- (n.) one who believes that others are motivated entirely by selfishness.
- The cynic felt that the hero saved the man to become famous.