Preposterous Prepositions

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Preposterous Prepositions
2013-03-29 15:35:42

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  1. Untoward
    You may think that untoward has something to do with a direction. But untoward does not mean disinclined to walk eastwards. Untoward is an adjective meaning not favorable, inconvenient. A popular GRE synonym for untoward is inauspicious.
  2. Upbraid
    Upon seeing this word, you may imagine a hair stylist busily braiding patrons’ hair. Upbraid, however, relates neither to up nor braiding. It means to scold or berate, and is part of the criticism synonym tree.
  3. Underwrite
    If you are writing below the margins of a paper you are not underwriting—you are simply writing below the margins of a piece of paper. Underwrite means to support financially.
  4. Overweening
    • What exactly does it mean to ‘ween’? To go out on Halloween, perhaps? Making an overweening person one who takes a little bit too zealously to candy collecting and wakes up the next morning with a sugar hangover?
    • The answer of course is none of the above. To be overweening is to be presumptuously arrogant. What exactly does that mean? Say the aforementioned trick-o-treater grabs three times as much candy as everyone else, because he assumes he is entitled to as much candy as he wants. He would be overweening. Which would make him overweening while Halloweening (okay, I’ll stop before my humor becomes overweening!*).
    • *Overweening can also refer to ideas/opinions/appetites that are excessive or immoderate.