ADJ. falling off as of leaves. The oak is a deciduous tree; in winter it looks quite bare.
V. kill, usually one out of ten. We do more to decimate our population in automobile accidents than we do in war.
V. interpret secret code. Lacking his code book, the spy was unable to decipher the scrambled message sent to him from the KGB.
N. downward slope. The children loved to ski down the declivity.
ADJ. having a low-necked dress. Current fashion decrees that evening gowns be decollete this season; bare shoulders are again the vogue.
N. decay. Despite the body's advanced state of decomposition, the police were able to identify the murdered man.
N. propriety; orderliness and good taste in manners. Even the best-mannered students have trouble behaving with decorum on the last day of school. decorous,ADJ.
N. lure or bait. The wild ducks were not fooled by the decoy. alsoV.
ADJ. worn out by age. The decrepit car blocked traffic on the highway.
N. state of collapse caused by illness or old age. I was unprepared for the state of decrepitude in which I had found my old friend; he seemed to have aged twenty years in six months.
V. express strong disapproval of; disparage. The founder of the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, strongly decries the lack of financial and moral support for children in America today.
ADJ. derived by reasoning. If we accept your premise, your conclusions are easily deducible.
V. mar; disfigure. If you deface a library book, you will have to pay a hefty fine.
V. harm someone's reputation; malign; slander. If you try to defame my good name, my lawyers will see you in court. If rival candidates persist in defaming one another, the voters may conclude that all politicians are crooks. defamation, N.
N. failure to act. When the visiting team failed to show up for the big game, they lost the game by default. When Jack failed to make the payments on his Jaguar, the dealership took back the car because he had defaulted on his debt.
ADJ. attitude of one who is ready to accept defeat as a natural outcome. If you maintain your defeatist attitude, you will never succeed. also N.
N. desertion. The children, who had made him an idol, were hurt most by his defection from our cause.
V. delay till later; exempt temporarily. In wartime, some young men immediately volunteer to serve; others
making plans until they hear from their draft boards. During the Vietnam War, many young men, hoping to be deferred, requested student deferments.
V. give in respectfully; submit. When it comes to making decisions about purchasing software, we must defer to Michael, our computer guru; he gets the final word. Michael, however, can defer these questions to no one; only he can decide.
N. courteous regard for another's wish. In deference to the minister's request, please do not take photographs during the wedding service.
N. refusal to yield; resistance. When John reached the "terrible two's," he responded to every parental request with howls of defiance. defy,V.
V. pollute; profane. The hoodlums defiled the church with their scurrilous writing.
ADJ. final; complete. Carl Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln may be regarded as the definitive work on the life of the Great Emancipator.
V. turn aside. His life was saved when his cigarette case deflected the bullet.
V. destroy leaves. In Vietnam the army made extensive use of chemical agents to defoliate the woodlands.
V. pay the costs of. Her employer offered to defray the costs of her postgraduate education.
ADJ. neat; skillful. The deft waiter uncorked the champagne without spilling a drop.
ADJ. dead; no longer in use or existence. The lawyers sought to examine the books of the defunct corporation.
V. remove the fuse of a bomb; reduce or eliminate a threat. Police negotiators are trained to defuse dangerous situations by avoiding confrontational language and behavior.
V. become worse; deteriorate. As the fight dragged on, the champion's style degenerated until he could barely keep on his feet.
N. humiliation; debasement; degeneration. Some secretaries object to fetching the boss a cup of coffee because they resent the degradation of being made to do such lowly tasks. degrade,V.
V. remove water from; dry out. Running under a hot sun quickly dehydrates the body; joggers soon learn to carry water bottles and to drink from them frequently.
V. turn into a god; idolize. Admire Elvis Presley all you want; just don't deify him.
V. condescend; stoop. The celebrated fashion designer would not deign to speak to a mere seamstress; his overburdened assistant had to convey the master's wishes to the lowly workers assembling his great designs.
ADJ. delightful; delicious. We thanked our host for a most delectable meal.
V. erase; strike out. Less is more: if you delete this paragraph, your whole essay will have greater appeal.
ADJ. harmful. If you believe that smoking is deleterious to your health (and the Surgeon General certainly does), then quit!
V. consider; ponder. Offered the new job, she asked for time to deliberate before she told them her decision,
V. portray; depict; sketch. Using only a few descriptive phrases, Austen delineates the character of Mr. Collins so well that we can predict his every move. delineation, N.
N. mental disorder marked by confusion. In his delirium, the drunkard saw pink panthers and talking pigs. Perhaps he wasn't delirious: he might just have wandered into a movie.
V. deceive. His mistress may have deluded herself into believing that he would leave his wife and marry her.
N. flood; rush. When we advertised the position, we received a deluge of applications.
N. false belief; hallucination. Don suffers from delusions of grandeur: he thinks he's a world-famous author when he's published just one paperback book.
V. dig; investigate. Delving into old books and manuscripts is part of a researcher's job.
N. person who appeals to people's prejudice; false leader of people. He was accused of being a demagogue because he made promises that aroused futile hopes in his listeners.
V. degrade; humiliate. Standing on his dignity, he refused to demean himself by replying to the offensive letter. If you truly believed in the dignity of labor, you would not think it would demean you to work as a janitor.
N. behavior; bearing. His sober demeanor quieted the noisy revelers.
ADJ. insane. Doctor Demento was a lunatic radio personality who liked to act as if he were truly demented. If you're demented, your mental state is out of whack; in other words, you're wacky.
N. death. Upon the demise of the dictator, a bitter dispute about succession to power developed.
N. destruction. One of the major aims of the air force was the complete demolition of all means of transportation by bombing of rail lines and terminals. demolish,V.
ADJ. fiendish. The Spanish Inquisition devised many demoniac means of torture. demon, N.
V. object (because of doubts, scruples); hesitate. When offered a post on the board of directors, David demurred: he had scruples about taking on the job because he was unsure he could handle it in addition to his other responsibilities.
ADJ. grave; serious; coy. She was demure and reserved, a nice modest girl whom any young man would be proud to take home to his mother.
V. clarify; free from mystery or obscurity. Helpful doctors demystify medical procedures by describing them in everyday language, explaining that a myringotomy, for example, is an operation involving making a small hole in one's eardrum.
V. blacken. All attempts to denigrate the character of our late president have failed; the people still love him and cherish his memory.
N. inhabitant or resident; regular visitor. In The Untouchables, Eliot Ness fights AI Capone and the other denizens of Chicago's underworld. Ness's fight against corruption was the talk of all the denizens of the local bars.
N. meaning; distinguishing by name. A dictionary will always give us the denotation of a word; frequently, it will also give us the connotations. denote,V.
N. outcome; final development of the plot of a play. The play was childishly written; the denouement was obvious to sophisticated theatergoers as early as the middle of the first act.
V. condemn; criticize. The reform candidate denounced the corrupt city officers for having betrayed the public's trust. denunciation, N.
V. portray. In this sensational exposé, the author depicts Beatle John Lennon as a drug-crazed neurotic. Do you question the accuracy of this depiction of Lennon?
V. reduce; exhaust. We must wait until we deplete our present inventory before we order replacements.
V. regret; disapprove of. Although I deplore the vulgarity of your language, I defend your right to express yourself freely.
V. spread out [troops] in an extended though shallow battle line. The general ordered the battalion to deploy in order to meet the enemy offensive.
V. dethrone; remove from office. The army attempted to depose the king and set up a military government.
N. testimony under oath. He made his deposition in the judge's chamber.
N. extreme corruption; wickedness. The depravity of Caligula's behavior came to sicken even those who had willingly participated in his earlier, comparatively innocent orgies.
V. express disapproval of; protest against; belittle. A firm believer in old-fashioned courtesy, Miss Post deprecated the modern tendency to address new acquaintances by their first names. deprecatory,ADJ.
V. lessen in value. If you neglect this property, it will depreciate.
N. plundering. After the depredations of the invaders, the people were penniless.
ADJ. insane. He had to be institutionalized because he was mentally deranged.
ADJ. abandoned; negligent. The derelict craft was a menace to navigation. Whoever abandoned it in the middle of the harbor was derelict in living up to his responsibilities as a boat owner. also N.
V. ridicule; make fun of. The critics derided his pretentious dialogue and refused to consider his play seriously. derision, N.
ADJ. unoriginal; derived from another source. Although her early poetry was clearly derivative in nature,the critics thought she had promise and eventually would find her own voice.
N. one who studies the skin and its diseases. I advise you to consult a dermatologist about your acne.