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- to make embarrassed or ashamed
- A bashful person is easily abashed.
- The aboriginal people of Australia are known as Aborigines.
- to shorten something, especially a literary or artistic work
- A bridge can abridge the distance between two points.
- to hold back from, refuse to participate in, refrain from
- Abby did not want to stain her new shoes, so she abstained from running through the
- muddy field.
- bitter, vengeful
- A criminal made an acrimonious attack on the judge who had sentenced him to a lengthy
- prison sentence.
- bitter, pungent
- Acid often has an acrid odor.
- sharp, perceptive
- Because pigeons have a very accurate sense of direction, we can say their sense of
- direction is acute
- Chameleons are adept at adapting to their surroundings.
- to stick to
- Adhesive tape will help a poster adhere to the wall.
- to decorate
- She adorned the Christmas tree by adding ornaments to it.
- skillful, adept
- People in Detroit are adroit at building cars.
- praise, respect, admiration
- Many young children look on their parents with a certain amount of adulation.
- pertaining to a sense of beauty
- Figure skating is both athletic and aesthetic.
- friendly, personable, easy to get along with
- Affable people are able to laugh with you, not at you.
- having to do with agriculture
- Many vegetarians are very interested in agrarian policy.
- shy, reserved, removed, tending to remain apart
- When I feel aloof, I go up alone to the roof.
- unselfish, generous, concerned about the well-being of others
- Mrs. Gore thinks her husband Al is truly altruistic and deserves to be the president.
- to change, revise, fix
- If you want to mend the constitution, you must amend it with an amendment.
- friendly, personable
- Amy is able to be friends with almost anyone because she is so amiable.
- pull, attraction
- A fishing lure is designed to have a certain allure for fish.
- to gather, accumulate
- Arnold Schwarzenegger has amassed a mass of massive muscles.
- able to use both hands equally well
- Dexter is ambidextrous, and he can throw the ball either lefty or righty with great
- sufficient, enough, more than enough
- That large amplifier should provide ample sound for the concert tonight.
- breakdown or lack or rule or government, chaos
- If the monarchy ever falls in Britain, some wonder whether anarchy will result.
- a curse, something hated
- Asthma is regarded as anathema by aspiring athletes.
- to make null and void
- To annul a marriage is to make it null and void.
- to officially approve, consecrate
- In the days of old, kings and queens were often anointed with a special ointment on their
- a person with a determined opposition or hatred toward someone
- The antagonist of a novel is usually a source of agony for the hero, who is known as the
- old- fashioned, antique-like
- All antiques are, by definition, antiquated.
- to soothe, calm, put at ease
- An apple can appease an angry teacher.
- to notify, inform
- Publishers' Clearing House will apprise you if you win a prize in their sweepstakes.
- hard, difficult, exhausting
- A task that is arduous is hard for us.
- to uncover and verify, to make certain
- If a detective wants to be as certain as possible about a case, he must accurately ascertain
- what happened.
- self-denying, devoted to simple and austere living
- Many marathon runners are, by nature, both athletic and ascetic.
- offensive, rude
- I believe that fans who do nothing but boo are boorish.
- brash, extremely bold
- It would be very brazen of that raisin to try to pass for a prune.
- shortness, the quality of being brief
- When you abbreviate something, you give it brevity.
- of or pertaining to the countryside, pastoral
- Broccoli and cauliflower both grow well in bucolic settings.
- a large institution with many complex regulations
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, is one of the largest bureaucracies in our
- honesty, straight talk
- Because that manager always speaks with candor, he can leave the door to his office open
- at all times.
CARDINAL (adj.) main, most important
Bird lovers believe that it would be a cardinal sin to shoot a cardinal.
CELIBATE (adj.) remaining pure, refraining from sexual intercourse
Those who wish to live a celibate life will likely never celebrate their day of marriage.
- shame, embarrassment
- The Grinch's grin of satisfaction changed to one of chagrin when he realized that the
- people of Whoville still planned to celebrate Christmas despite his efforts to stop them.
- In the middle ages, European women often were forced to wear chastity belts to ensure
- that they remained chaste while their husbands were off at war.
- secretive, hidden
- Scottish clans often met clandestinely to plan their destiny against their English foes.
- to consist of, include
- The winners at the Olympics get prizes that are comprised of gold, silver, or bronze.
- to lower oneself; to patronize
- Connie, a true gourmet, would never condescend to eat at a fast-food restaurant.
- a person with who one can share a secret
- You can always confide in your confidant, who will surely keep matters confidential.
- pleasant, friendly
- Barbara Eden, in the Classic TV sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," was a most congenial
- to make sacred
- It was a sacred day when the bishop consecrated the new cathedral.
- apologetic, begging forgiveness
- Those who are contrite about their sins often perform acts of contrition.
- worldly, having wide interests
- Many women who read Cosmopolitan magazine hope that they will become more
- cosmopolitan in their outlook on life.
- a personal victory acquired in a single stroke, major accomplishment
- The rooster considered it quite a coup when he managed to fly the coop.
- The culprit who robbed the bank is culpable of the crime.
- Drinking enough coffee to make you delirious is probably deleterious to your health.
- downhearted, dejected
- The correspondent was despondent and in despair when the editor refused to run her
- music for a funeral procession
- I get the urge to cry whenever I hear a dirge
- to open, admit, reveal
- Because the chef did not want to disclose the recipe for his secret sauce, he kept his
- mouth closed on the subject.
- one who opposes
- Most dissidents tend to dissent from the official viewpoint.
- overcome by grief or despair
- The thief was distraught when he was caught.
- tending to hold very tightly to a belief or opinion
- My dog is dogmatic in his refusal to let go of his bone.
- to lessen, recede
- When Deb saw her latest report card sprinkled with D's, here spirit started to ebb.
- diverse and wide-ranging in taste or choice
- He likes to collect art of all different kinds, so his collection is quite eclectic.
- odd, unusual, strange (as applied to personal behavior)
- One who displays eccentric behave might be somewhat uncentered.
- poem or song expressing grief
- The organist played a mournful yet elegant elegy at the funeral mass.
- ban on commerce or trade
- Because of the Cuban embargo, the cargo of rum could not get through.
- to decorate, make more attractive
- Some people like to embellish their frankfurters with relish.
- well-known, having high standing
- Eminem has become an eminent rap star seemingly overnight.
- ability to identify with the feelings of another
- Sympathy is usually a characteristic of those who have empathy.
- a puzzle, mystery
- To Winston Churchill, the Soviet Union was an enigma whose behavior was very
- mutual hatred, intense dislike
- Some people have only enmity for their enemies.
- to require
- Winning at "pin the tail on the donkey" entails both concentration and luck.
- perfect example or embodiment
- To me, Michael Jordan was the epitome of skill and grace on the basketball court.
- unpredictable, varied
- Because Rick got either A's or F's on his tests, his teacher rated his performance as quite
- incorrect, mistaken
- An error is, by definition, erroneous.
- hard to understand, known only to a select few
- Eric did so terribly on the vocabulary section, mainly because it was filled with rather
- esoteric words.
- words of praise (most commonly given at a funeral)
- It is usually the job of the clergy to give the eulogy at a funeral.
- to make worse
- When a coach berates his players' performance after a tough loss, he often just
- exacerbates the situation.
- to remove, cancel
- The waitress expunged the spilled milk with a sponge.
- to remove from a difficult position, extract
- One of Houdini's favorite tricks was to extricate himself from chains.
- face, superficial appearance that is often false
- Even though the runner-up in the Miss America pageant tried to put a smile on her face, I
- know it was just a façade.
- false, misleading
- Something that is fallacious is always false.
- open to error
- Those who are fallible are likely, at times, to have a fall.
- paying close attention to details
- "Fast Eddie" is fastidious about keeping his car in tip-top shape.
- one who believes that life is largely predetermined and shaped by fate
- A fatalist believes more heavily in fate than in free will, and thus lives life in a fatalistic
- to fake, pretend
- Elaine feigned a pain in her stomach to get out of gym class.
- tending to misbehave, rowdy, unruly
- Frank fractured several ribs in the fractious meeting with the rival gang.
- marked by frenzy
- Frenzied energy is both frenetic and kinetic.
- interested in conserving money, thrifty, economical
- Fred, who was quite frugal, bought a second-hand bugle.
- excessively bright, gaudy
- Some guys cherish garish ties.
- cheerful, friendly, kind
- The genial genie granted me three wishes.
- overused, unoriginal, trite
- A hack writer tends to use hackneyed phrases.
- a forerunner
- Many think of the robin as a bringer, or harbinger, of spring.
- a person who person who pursues pleasure above all else
- Hedonists only pay heed to their own desires.
- faultless, perfect
- Body builders are usually known for their impeccable pecs.
- arrogant, haughty
- Many emperors of imperial Rome were known for their imperious behavior.
- Something that is implied is implicit, not explicit.
- rudeness, brashness, impertinence
- After he hit me with his banana, I thought that chimp had a lot of impudence.
- freedom from punishment
- Because he had been granted immunity by the prosecutor, the cooperating witness gave
- the details of his life of crime with impunity.
- stupid, pointless, absurd
- Because he seemingly lacks a brain, most of the things that man says are both insane and
- poor, lacking money
- That poor gent is very indigent.
- natural, inborn
- It is a fact of nature that birds are born with an innate ability to fly.
- John decided that, for Lent, he would give up being indolent.
- famous for bad deeds, notorious
- December 7, 1941, the day of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, is a day that will,
- according to Franklin D. Roosevelt, live in infamy.
- dull, boring, lifeless
- Juan Valdez will not sip insipid coffee.
INSURGENT (n. / adj.)
- rebel / rebellious
- The insurgents surged toward the capital in an attempt to overthrow it.
- rebellion, uprising
- After the fraudulent election, there was a general insurrection by the population.
- essential, necessary
- Integrity is an integral quality of a good leader.
- Most introverts are quite introspective.
- world-weary, suffering from an excess of luxury, not easily impressed
- Some of the ancient emperors of China, whose palaces were filled with precious jade,
- probably became quite jaded.
- wise, marked by good judgment
- The judicial branch of our government is run by judicious judges.
- Lucy wrote lucid prose while sitting at a translucent glass table.
- Lou's latest problem is both ridiculous and ludicrous.
- great in spirit, extremely generous
- Andrew Carnegie had a magnificent career and a magnanimous spirit.
- a person of power or influence
- Max started a magnet company and, through hard work, eventually became a magnet
- Because he was a very maladjusted and malicious man, the Joker became one of
- Batman's most malevolent enemies.
MELANCHOLY (adj. / n.)
- sad, depressed / sadness, depression
- When his melons and cauliflower were killed by an early frost the farmer became quite
- pertaining to acquiring money and financial gain
- Most merchants are quite mercenary.
- rapidly shifting, whimsical
- Just as the mercury in a thermometer rises quickly or falls due to changes in temperature,
- so, too, do some people have emotions that are quite mercurial.
- one who hates people and humanity in general
- An anthropologist who is also a misanthrope could, perhaps, be called a
- pertaining to death
- It is hard to resist morbid thoughts when walking through a mortuary.
- dull, boring, commonplace, extremely ordinary
- Most people find Monday to be a very mundane day.
MUSE (v. / n.)
- to ponder, to inspire / source of inspiration
- A museum is a good place to muse about art.
- one who is extremely self-centered
- According to the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus, Narcissus, who fell in love with his
- own reflection in a pond and was then turned into a flower, can be said to be the first true
- enemy, foe
- Eminem is considered a nemesis by most folk singers.
- being famous for a bad reason, being notorious
- The notorious L.A. riots of the early 1990's have gone down in notoriety.
- subtle or slight difference or variation
- Andy was very interested in ants, and he could distinguish between the old ants and the
- new ants in his ant farm based on various nuances in their shapes and actions.
- Because Bob sleeps on the job, it is obvious that he is oblivious to his responsibilities.
- out of date, no longer useful
- Because my costly new workboots have extremely durable soles, I believe that they will
- never become obsolete.
- Because the great white shark is more potent than any other shark, it can be considered
- The Wizard of Oz liked to consider himself both omniscient and omnipotent.
- eating all kinds of foods
- While a lion is carnivorous and an antelope is herbivorous, a bear, like a human being, is
- highly decorative
- Most ornaments are naturally ornate.
- traditional, conservative
- Because Don was a very orthodox orthodontist, he generally recommended braces for
- people who wanted to straighten their teeth.
- Some Arab sheiks used to live in large, colorful tents that were very ostentatious.
- to shun, cut out from the group
- Because Oswald the ostrich decided to date a stork, some of the other ostriches decided to
- ostracize him from their group.
- The CIA tends to specialize in covert activities, not overt ones.
- able to be touched, tangible
- I know that my heart is palpable, as I can detect its palpitations; my soul, however, is
- model of perfection
- Paris is a paragon of a city.
- of the countryside; pertaining to a pastor
- The pastor at the church in New York City was transferred to a more pastoral setting in
- pertaining to disease
- Sociopaths and psychopaths bother suffer from pathological disorders.
- having insight, astute
- Someone with a very keen perspective on matters can be considered perspicacious.
- apt, suitable, related to the point at hand
- Percy is known for his pertinent remarks on just about any subject.
- highest point
- For most bowlers, getting a strike and knocking down all ten pins is the pinnacle of
- holy, venerable
- Because he gave a pie to us when we were starving, we considered him to be a very pious
- short, concise, to the point
- Pete Smith is a rather pithy name.
- to calm, soothe
- After I broke her favorite plate, it was very difficult to placate Kate.
- Although I didn't go to the concert myself, it is extremely plausible that Carlos Santana
- received a lot of applause at the end of his guitar solo.
- practical, sensible
- Most people think it is more practical and pragmatic to drive an automatic car.
- difficult, unsafe, potentially troublesome
- Carey used great care to get out of the precarious situation.
- acting in a superior or conceited manner
- Pretentious people like to pretend that they are better than everyone else.
- beautiful, unspoiled
- Christine loves to hike in pristine regions of the Rockies.
- There is always a proliferation of life in the spring.
- of or pertaining to a prophet; able to foresee the future
- In the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah issued many dark and prophetic warnings to
- his people.
- a supporter, someone in favor of something
- Al Gore, who proposed tougher gun laws, is a proponent of gun control, and therefore an
- opponent of the NRA.
- moral correctness
- People who are concerned with propriety always try to do the proper thing, the
- appropriate thing, lest they be accused of impropriety.
- dull, unimaginative
- Renaissance poets considered it rather prosaic to write a love letter in prose; for them,
- only verse was suitable in such matters.
- skill, strength
- A pro golfer like Tiger Woods can wow us with his prowess and power.
- learned person, scholar, sage; prognosticator
- George W. Bush wanted to punch the pundit who, in writing his newspaper column,
- punned that Bush was merely a "bush league" politician.
- a state of uncertainty or perplexity, dilemma
- John is in a quandary over his laundry, and he would really like to know why he is
- always missing a sock at the end of the cycle.
- having the pure essence of something
- Because Cindy Crawford has all the essentials for being a supermodel, she could be
- called a quintessential supermodel.
- pertaining to Don Quixote; idealistic in a doomed and impractical way
- Don Quixote, who gave his name to this word, was the original quixotic adventurer.
- to knock down, destroy, level
- It is possible to raze a wooden building with a blaze.
- a formal response in an argument or debate
- The defense attorney got ready to butt heads with the prosecutor by preparing a rebuttal.
- a person who shuns society, a hermit
- A recluse closes himself off from the world.
- extra, unnecessary
- If you have done something already, it would be redundant to redo it.
- to dispute, argue
- To refute a call by the referee is usually futile and useless.
- The makers of Chivas Regal, whose symbol is a crown, believe it is a drink fit for a
- member of the royal family.
- to repeat, say again
- Because I didn't hear it clearly the first time, the front desk clerk reiterated the rate for a
- night's lodging at the hotel.
- to think over and discuss the past
- Because many people miss "the good ol' days," they like to reminisce about them with
- their friends.
- Ronald McDonald is a clown of great renown.
- Something that is requested and required is, by definition, requisite.
- glorious, radiant, beautiful
- A peacock's tail is both splendid and resplendent.
- A person who is shy, retiring, and disinclined to put in his or her "two cents" on a topic
- could considered reticent.
- revenge, punishment
- When the Gallic tribes refused to pay tribute to their emperor, the Romans sacked and
- destroyed their villages in retribution.
- active to a point in the past
- The popular "retro" fashions of today are, by definition, retroactive.
- to respect, admire
- Americans tend to revere Paul Revere and his midnight ride with due reverence.
- to regret
- Ruth rued the day that her man went away.
- of or pertaining to the countryside
- The rusty old car in the front yard marred the otherwise picture-perfect rustic scene.
- sage-like, wise
- A sagacious chef might use a dash of sage to spice up a dish.
- unholy, profane
- Because the Spanish viewed the religious sites of the Aztecs as both pagan and
- sacrilegious, they decided to raze them and build churches in their place.
- sacred, holy
- The cathedral at Lourdes in France is regarded by many Catholics as a sacred and
- sacrosanct sanctuary.
- attentive to details, honest in dealings, conscientious
- The carpenter was scrupulous about screwing in each screw very tightly.
- like a servant
- Some servants are quite servile.
- tending to doubt
- A skeptic is a skeptical person who indulges in skepticism.
- occurring at irregular intervals
- Because Sam's effort in school is sporadic, his grades tend to be erratic.
- impassive, unmoved by extremes of emotion
- If you stow your emotions deep inside you and always remain outwardly cal, you are, by
- definition, stoic.
- to dominate, put under control
- The monarchs of medieval Europe, bolstered by the concept of the divine right of kings,
- tended to subjugate their subjects.
- supreme, perfect
- The key lime pie at the Key West Diner is close to sublime.
- concise, terse, pithy
- Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is both distinct and succinct
- on the surface, lacking depth
- After his battle with Lex Luthor, Superman was not seriously wounded, but merely had
- some superficial wounds on his face.
- able to be touched, solid
- A tangerine is tangible, whereas a dream is intangible.
- short, to the point, succinct
- A Japanese "haiku" is actually a very terse verse.
- fleeting, transitory
- Transient people are often in transit from one place to another.
- Intrepid people lack trepidation.
- Some parents often enact tough rules in order to better control their unruly children.
- experienced in an indirect or second-hand way
- Novels and movies carry us to vicarious adventures.
- a skilled expert
- By virtue of his skill on the basketball court, Michael Jordan is considered a virtuoso of
- the game.
- tricky, clever, cunning
- Wile E. Coyote is the apt name of the wily coyote on the roadrunner cartoon series.
- enthusiasm, zest
- I saw a seal perform with zeal at SeaWorld.
ZENITH (n.) highest point, peak
- The profitability of television manufacturer Zenith Corporation reached its zenith in the
- 1960s, after which point it began to suffer from foreign competition.
to strongly detest or dislike
sparing in food and drink
- to agree with,
- to go along with
- between two conflicting
- lacking a
- definite shape or form
- a short story
- intended to instruct or amuse
- obsolete, ancient
- skillful in
- the use of language, well-spoken
- the state of
- rising or ascending; domination
ASSENT (n. / v.)
- agreement / to
- agree or consent
- to increase in
- size, to swell
- fortunate, boding well for the
- total power, dictatorial
- having the
- qualities of an uncle
- something that
- is huge, gigantic
- one who
- provides financial support
ornery, agitated, mean-spirited
CLICHE (n.) an overused saying
- to everyday language or speech
- to allow
- something to happen, to give
- approval to a questionable act
- hidden, hard to understand
- held up as the ultimate example
- of something
- to mark with a
- line (or lines)
- to violate, to
- make impure, to defile
- poor, poverty stricken
- that prevents something from
- tricky, crafty,
- a lengthy and
- accusatory speech
- to turn away from
- the main point, to get off track
- contempt or
- scorn; bitter dislike
- to take off an item of
- to put on an item of
- harsh, severe, oppressive
to instruct, to educate
- well spoken,
- marked by expressive and
- persuasive speech
- deep learning,
- a pleasant
- way of saying something
- quickly, fleeting
- holding a high
- position, greatly respected
- who leaves their native land to
- settle elsewhere
- to extract,
- free, disentangle, remove
to make easier
- possible, able to be accomplished
- lacking in
- importance or seriousness
- related to the point at hand
- easily fooled
- personality trait, quirk
- unable to
- change or be changed
- not able
- to be corrected, beyond
- making no
- difference, not caring one way or
- the other
- pertaining to
- a genius; very clever
- innate; pertaining to the essential
- nature of something
unable to be overcome
- extremely stubborn, not able to
- be solved
- brave, fearless,
- lacking trepidation
- good natured,
- merry, given to joking
MENDICANT (adj. / n.)
- extremely poor and given to
- begging / a beggar
- very close attention to detail
- a person who is
- extremely stingy or cheap
- to lessen or
- moderate the severity of
- near sighted,
- lacking foresight
- a gloomy or
- negative outlook
- a person who donates large sums
- of money to charitable causes
PIECEMEAL (adj. / adv.)
- bit by
- bit / in a gradual way
- to miss, to long for, to
- yearn for
- saying, trite remark
- monarch, very powerful person
- characterized by early
- development, advanced at an
- early age
- a condition or
- result of deprivation or loss
- reckless with money
- a person who is
- groomed for a position
- to a province; narrow-minded
- wise, marked
- by good judgment
- tending to fight
- dormant, temporarily inactive
- a person who
- tells witty and amusing stories
- a branching out; a consequence of
- a problematic situation
anger, ill will
to snub, beat back
to fix, correct
at fault, negligent
- resulting in monetary gain,
- money to
- be paid for injury or damage
REPRIMAND (v. / n.)
- to take back,
- recall, nullify, repeal
to hate or detest
- skillful use of
- language, or just language in
- humorous, lewd, crude
- to examine
- closely (visually)
- slow moving,
- hard to arouse
- of or
- pertaining to a sophomore; wise
- and foolish at the same time
- not overt,
- nuanced, subject to fine
- arrogant, overly proud
- servile flatterer
- of or
- pertaining to a tempest or storm
- possible but
- subject to change, not definite
- a lengthy and
- abusive verbal attack
- lack of energy,
a perfect place
- to hold in high
- regard, to greatly respect, to
- to make into or
- portray as a villain
- tending to evaporate quickly
to decrease, diminish
- filled with
- regret and longing
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