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To cow or dismay
The size of the workload alone is likely to daunt even the most dedicated students.
To diminish the intensity or check something; such as a sound or feeling.
Her hopes were dampened when there was no letter in the mailbox.
Smallness of quantity or number; scarcity; a lack.
Given the dearth of food in her pantry, Rebecca considered having her pet rabbit for dinner.
Rout; fiasco; complete failure.
Our date was a debacle; not only did I forget her name and spill wine on her, but we ran into my ex-girlfriend, who told me I had ruined her life.
Decorum ( noun)
Polit or appropriate conduct or behavior.
There are courses available in which one can learn the proper decorum for job interviews, such as shaking hands firmly and looking your interviewer in the eye.
The terminal disease was extremely deleterious.
To question or oppose.
Concerned about the budget deficit I had to demur at the candidate's position on lowering taxes.
To belittle; to defame.
Some tried to denigrate the hometown hero with stories of his questionable private life, but most citizens still idolized him.
An outcome or solution; the unraveling of a plot.
The story lacks both a conflict and a denouement; it's just a description of a day in the life of the main character.
To disparage or put down.
Annie has low self-esteem and always deprecates herself despite her many accomplishments.
To plunder, pillage, ravage, or destroy; to exploit in a predatory manner.
The vikings depredated the village.
Scorn; ridicule; contemptuous treatment.
The regional manager was held in derision by the entire board of botching his annual presentation.
S: mockery, contempt
Unoriginal; obtained from another source.
Until she developed her own style, her early paintings were derivative; their reliance on other artists' work was obvious.
To dry out; to make dull or dry.
When you desiccate fresh herbs, they keep longer, but lose some of their flavor.
The state of not being used.
VCRs fell into desuetude as more people started buying DVD players.
The patient's desultory speech pattern was a sign she was still under the anesthetic.
Slandering, verbal attack; aspersion.
The company's representatives responded quickly to the whistleblower's detraction and hoped to deflect any bad press about the faulty product.
Correct; formal; marked by decorum.
I don't trust such decorous behavior; people who rely so heavily on politeness probably have something to hide.
To observe or discern.
The astute editor could descry a misspelling or factual error before the rest of us could even finish the sentence.
The deposition states that the defendant was at home on the night in question but I know that's not the whole story.
Inhabitant; one who frequents a place.
The denizens of that artists' studio are a tight-knit group who don't welcome strangers.
To violate the sanctity of.
When folding a national flag you should not desecrate it by letting it drag on the ground.
The celebrity's diaphanous dress was the talk of the town the next day.
A harsh denunciation.
My failure to turn off the light led to my father's diatribe on saving electricity.
Intended to teach or instruct.
A didactic lecture is far more effective when it is interactive.
Reserved; shy; lacking in self-confidence.
He is too diffident to be a good teacher, which is a shame because he possesses a boundless knowledge of the subject.
I realized later that the students' dilatory interruptions were a plot to get to the end of class before I had time to assign the homework.
One with and amateurish or superficial interest in the arts or a branch of knowledge.
These advanced cheese-tasting courses are meant for connoisseurs; dilettantes should take the beginners' class.
Loud, sustained sounds.
The din in the train station rendered cell phone conversation futile, but fortunately texting saved the day.
A song or poem of grief.
At the funeral, Claudia sang a dirge she had composed in honor of her grandmother.
To undecieve, to set right.
Her mother disabused her of the belief in Santa Claus at an early age.
To embarrass or perplex.
The students discomfited me with sharp questions, a sign that I wasn't prepared enough for class.
Conflicting; dissonant or harsh in sound.
The sound of the opera singer's voice over the accordion was quite discordant.
S: cacophonous, inharmonious, jarring
Cautious reserve in speech; ability to make responsible decisions.
Daniel edited his article with discretion and double-checked all the facts and quotes.
Unbiased, neutral or free from personal motive.
Seamus and his landlord turned to a disinterested third party to resolve their dispute over the security deposit.
To slight or belittle
The bully disparaged the classmate for her mismatched socks and outdated clothes.
Fundamentally distinct or dissimilar.
After the controversial proposition passed, there were disparate reactions.
S: incongruent, contrasting unlike
- To disguise or conceal; to mislead
- The celebrity wore a wig and glasses to dissemble her appearance and avoid prying photographers.
Disintegration, looseness in morals.
The company would be threatened with dissolution if it were judged to be operating as a monopoly
Lack of harmony; conflict.
The dissonance in the grunge album suited Alex's foul mood perfectly.
The state or act of extending or being swollen out of shape.
After eating the large holiday meal, I could barely hide the distention of my belly.
Digressive; passing from one topic to another.
It took the discursive professor two class sessions to get through the same material that it took the succinct professor to get through in one.
Distracted, absent-minded, especially due to anxiety.
When he kept forgetting what he was talking about during dinner, it became clear that he was distrait, and was no doubt preoccupied with the meeting planned for the next day.
To disclose something secret.
She beleived she had been fired because she had threatened to divulge information about the company's mismanagement.
Trivial or poorly constructed verse.
Amid the doggerel on the bathroom walls, there is occasionally one piece of poetry that's quite clever.
Inactive; in abeyance.
The separatist group, which had been dormant after the arrest of a top leader, struck last night for the first time in five years.
Nancy is dogmatic about food and insists that lemon makes everything taste better.
Slag, waste, or foreign matter, impurity, surface scum.
We discarded the dross that had formed at the top of the cider during the fermentation process.
The dulcet tones of her voice lulled the baby to sleep.
One who is deceived.
What do I look like--a dupe? No one with any sense could possibly believe the story you're trying to sell.
Generator; forceful, energetic, person.
The visionary dynamo had no problems finding investors for her start-up.
S: live wire
The quality of lively or enthusiastic expression of thoughts and feelings.
Edna can hardly contain her ebullience when she talks about her new puppy
Departing from norms or conventions.
The new physics professor quickly became know for flinging marbles around the room, throwing things off the roof, and other eccentric teaching methods.
S: unconventional, aberrant, peculiar
Culled from many sources
One has to be well-versed in dozens of topics to appreciate the writer's eclectic references.
Spending the holidays with his family was edifying; I now know the source of many of his quirks and fears.
S: instructive, informative
Outflow in a stream of particles; a noxious odor or vapor.
The effluvia that emerged when we unclogged our shower drain was as disturbing as it was smelly.
Boldness; impudence; arrogance
The effrontery of the CEOs who insist on bonuses during the recession is not ingratiating them to the public.
The ability to produce an intended result.
Though anecdotal stories abound regarding the efficacy of the herb, its effectiveness has not been studied scientifically in any major way.
Gushing; excessively demonstrative.
It was hard not to feel welcomed by such an effusive greeting.
- A path to go out; the right to go out
- As a result of a tragic fire in a garment factory in 1911, factories and other places of business now must have at least two means of egress.
A mournful poem, especially one lamenting the dead.
After Lincoln's assassination, Walt Whitman wrote an elegy that is now considered one of his finest poems.
Well spoken; expressive.
The author of the book sounded eloquent when he read his work, but he mumbled and stuttered during the Q and A section.
S: articulate, persuasive, fluent
- Soothing, especially to the skin; making less harsh.
- The emollient properties of aloe make it a popular additive to moisturizers.
Based on observation or experiment.
The researchers spent four years gathering empirical data for their study on obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
Glowing and enthusiastic praise.
The young actress received encomiums from theatre critics for her stunning debut.
Characteristic of or often found in a particular locality, region, or people.
The destruction of plant and animal habitats is endemic to population growth.
S: native, indigenous
To weaken; to reduce in vitality.
Working a double shift at the restaurant enervated me
S: debilitate, sap
To cause; to give rise to.
The president's policies have engendered arguments within the party.
Mysterious; obscure; difficult to understand.
Historians have long debated the meaning of the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile.
Dissatisfaction or restlessness resulting from boredom of apathy.
At least a dozen students became victims of ennui during the tortuous economics lecture.
S: boredom, languor, tedium
Excessive wickedness; evil.
Genocide is such an enormity that one wonders if its perpetrators are as human as you or I.
The bump to his ego lasted far longer than his ephemeral brush with fame.
One devoted to sensual pleasure, particularly food and drink.
Always trust an epicure's restaurant recommendations.
Loosely connected; sporadic
The comic's episodic narrative was entertaining, though hard to follow.
Disparaging or descriptive word or phrase.
An old man yelled epithets at the kids who were vandalizing a wall
Embodiment or quintessence
He's the epitome of a used-car salesman: slicked-back hair, toothy smile, and unctuous manner.
My mother took the news of the stolen car with surprising equanimity.
Level; not able to be easily disturbed.
Gina's equable temper allows her to deal with everyone calmly and graciously; it's too bad she's not in customer service.
To use ambiguous language with a deceptive intent.
When asked by employees about cuts to benefits, the CEO equivocated and steered the discussion to a different topic.
S: prevaricate, vacillate, quibble
No amount of hair gel can tame the errant strands at the top of my head.
Though Lorne's boss always came up with wonderful ideas, Lorne sometimes found it difficult to follow her erratic train of thought.
Very learned; scholarly.
Social policy advocates, political strategists, and economists often call on the erudite professor for advice.
In order to reduce his cholesterol, my father must eschew foods high in saturated fat and sodium.
Intended for or understood by a small, specific group.
Janice's thesis on deconstructing syntax and meter of Old Norse poetry is esoteric.
To test or try; attempt, experiment.
It was incredible to watch Valarie essay her first steps after her long convalescence; we were so proud of how hard she had worked at her rehabilitation.
All great heroes, in order to be great heroes, must have equally estimable foes.
A speech honoring the dead.
Zoolander gives the best eulogies.
S: dirge, elegy
Tending to disappear like vapor; vanishing.
Despite the evanescent nature of fashion, the classic look of blue jeans and a T-shirt will never go out of style.
To show clearly
I told the bully I was not afraid, but my knocking knees evinced otherwise.
To make worse or more severe
Scratching an insect bite will only exacerbate the itch.
S: aggravate, intensify
To demand, call for, require, take.
To be a cashier exacts the ability to give exact change.
To censure scathingly
The radio host excoriated the caller for defending an unpopular politician.
Exonerate; to clear of blame.
It took centuries for the church to officially exculpate Gailileo for stating that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
S: absolve, pardon, acquit
Typical or standard specimen; model
"Candy Girl" is an exemplar of the Jackson 5's best work.
To incite, to make urgent appeals.
At the last second I realized that he was waving his arms frantically to exhort me to look down before I fell off the cliff
Urgent; pressing; requiring immediate action or attention.
I've already missed two payments, so writing a check to the gas company is my most exigent priority.
S: crucial, dire, imperative.
To remove blame
Velma insists that she did not commit the crime and that DNA evidence will exonerate her.
Discuss or write about at length; to range freely.
My aunt and uncle expatiated on the subject of their Florida vacation for three hours, accompanied by slides, until we were all crazy with boredom
- To atone or make amends for
- Elvira tried to expiate her lateness by bringing flowers.
To remove obscenity, especially from a book.
The expurgated edition of the story is more suitable for children.
Existing, not destroyed or lost.
There are forty-eight copies of the Gutenberg Bible extant today
To destroy; to exterminate; to cut out.
After their break-up, she extirpated his face from every photo in the album.
Improvised; done without preparation.
Their skit was pure comic genius; I could believe it was extemporaneous
sounds like spontaneous.
Critical examination; explication.
The exegesis of the ancient Rosetta Stone had contributed much to our understanding of hieroglyphic writing.
Playful; humorous; not serious
It took me a while to figure out that his offer to pay me a million dollars for doing the dishes was facetious; it wasn't all that funny since I didn't get the joke until after I had spent an hour cleaning up.
An invalid or incorrect notion; a mistaken belief.
Unfortunately, the fallacies of diet programs promising effortless weight loss continue to find plenty of people willing to be fooled.
Untilled, inactive, dormant.
The farmer hoped that leaving the field fallow for a season would mean that next year he could grow a bumper crop of brussels sprouts.
Zealous; single-mindedly obsessed with one thing.
Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch tells the story of a true fanatic: a man so obsessed with his favorite team that major life events have to be scheduled around its games.
- Silly; foolish
- Critics claim that fatuous reality shows have eroded standards of taste and quality in the public realm.
To flatter or praise excessively.
The star's fans were fawning over his great new look.
The feckless chief inspector always solved the crime despite his ignorance and uselessness.
Apt; suitably expressed; well chosen.
The felicitous arrival of the pizza put my grumbling stomach at ease.
S: appropriate, apropos, deligthful
Barren or stony hill; an animal's hide
The cabin stood isolated on the wind-swept fell
Greatly emotional or zealous
Fred sent a fervent letter to his senator expressing his strong opposition to the bill.
I needed gloves, bleach, and a mask to clean the fetid refrigerator
To shackle; to put in chains
My understanding of the argument was fettered by lack of fluency in the language.
Intentional obstruction, usually using prolonged speechmaking to delay legislative action.
The senator threatened to filibuster to order to stop the bill from reaching a vote.
S: delay, impediment, hindrance
An ornamental work, especially of delicate, lace-like patterns
I appreciate the work that goes into making filigree jewelry, but I prefer a simpler modern style.
To sag or droop, to become spiritless, to decline.
The fan's spirit flagged when the opposing team intercepted the ball in the last few minutes of the game and scored.
His flip remarks were intended to keep anyone from realizing how much he actually cared.
Flowery; ornate; ruddy
The lyrics to the song were positively florid; every other word was about hearts or love.
To demonstrate contempt for, as in a rule or convention.
Fabio flouts the class rules be speaking out of turn and interrupting students.
To incite; to rouse
The fermented juice fomented a riot.
Elvis's rock music was said to foment impure thoughts and rebelliousness in his young audience.
Patience; willingness to wait
His forbearance is not replying to the extremely sarcastic waiter was commendable
To act in a way to hinder, exclude or prevent an action; to circumvent or thwart.
In order to forestall his creditors, Jack put his utility bills on a new credit card, thereby exacerbating the problem.
S: prevent, hinder, avert
To renounce, disallow, repudiate.
I forswear Twinkines, Ding Dongs, and other junk food and promise to maintain a healthier diet.
Happening by fortunate accident or chance.
It was fortuitous that I missed the bus and ended up running into an old friend on the street.
To sink; to fail completely
I had a great business plan and product, but my company foundered because I couldn't attract investors
Noisy quarrel; brawl
The fracas outside of the nightclub caused the manager to call the police.
What appeared to outsiders as a fractious department was actually an open and democratic team in which all opinions were heard and debated.
Intractable, not willing to yield or comply stubbornly disobedient.
Two year-olds have a reputation for being froward; they've discovered the pleasure of saying no.
- A semi-sculptural, raised-surface strop of ornamental facade on a building.
- It is ironic that a frieze depicting the Roman conquest, enslavement, and plundering of Corinth adorns the courthouse.
S: decorative band
- To attack loudly or denounce
- Since he had been fulminating against corporate misconduct for years, his enemies were gleeful to uncover evidence of the million-dollar payoff he received from the state's largest company.
- Marked by stealth; covert; surreptitious
- Jack shot a furtive glance at the celebrity who sat at the next table