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To reduce in amount, degree, or severity
As the hurricane's force ABATED, the winds dropped and the sea became calm.
To leave securely
The patron ABSCONDED from the restaurant without paying his bill by sneaking out the back door.
To choose not to do something
She ABSTAINED from choosing a mouthwatering dessert from the tray.
An extremely deep hole
The submarine dove into the ABYSS to chart the previously unseen depths.
To make impure
The chef made his ketchup last longer by ADULTERATING it with water.
To speak in favor of
The vegetarian ADVOCATED a diet containing no meat.
Concerning the appreciation of beauty
Followers of the AESTHETIC Movement regarded the pursuit of beauty as the only true purpose of art.
To increase in power, influence, and reputation
The supervisor sought to AGGRANDIZE herself by claiming that the achievements of her staff were actually her own.
To make more bearable
Taking aspirin helps to ALLEVIATE a headache.
To combine; to mix together
Giant Industries AMALGAMATED with Mega Products to form Giant-Mega Products Incorporated.
Doubtful or uncertain; able to be interpreted several ways
The directions she gave were so AMBIGUOUS that we disagreed on which way to turn.
To make better, to improve.
The doctor was able to AMELIORATE the patient's suffering using painkillers.
Something out of place in time
The aged hippie used ANACHRONISTIC phrases like "groovy" and "far out" that has not been popular for years.
Similar normalize in some way; equivalent to
In the Newtonian construct for explaining the existence of God, the universe is ANALOGOUS to a mechanical timepiece, the creation of a divinely intelligent "clockmaker".
Deviation from what is normal
Albino animals may display too great an ANOMALY in their coloring to attract normally colored mates.
To annoy or provoke to anger
The child discovered that he could ANTAGONIZE the cat by pulling its tail.
The ANTIPATHY between the French and the English regularly erupted into open warfare.
Lack of interest or emotion
The APATHY of voters is so great that less than half the people who are eligible to vote actually bother to do so.
To judge a dispute between two opposing parties
Since the couple could not come to agreement, a judge was forced to ARBITRATE their divorce proceedings.
Her ARCHAIC Commodore computer could not run the latest software.
Intense and passionate feeling
Bishop's ARDOR for the landscape was evident when he passionately described the beauty of the scenic Hudson Valley.
Able to speak clearly and expressively
She is such an ARTICULATE defender of labor that unions are among her strongest supporters.
To make something unpleasant less severe
Serena used aspirin to ASSUAGE her pounding headache.
To reduce in force or degree; to weaken
The Bill of Rights ATTENUATED the traditional power of governments to change laws at will.
Fearless and daring
Her AUDACIOUS nature allowed her to fulfill her dream of skydiving.
Severe or stern in appearance, undecorated
The lack of decoration makes military barracks seem AUSTERE to the civilian eye.
Predictable, cliched, boring
He used BANAL phrases like "have a nice day" or "another day, another dollar".
To support; to prop up
The presence of giant footprints BOLSTERED the argument that Sasquatch was in the area.
Pompous in speech and manner
The ranting of the radio talk-show host was mostly BOMBASTIC; his boasting and outrageous claims had no basis in fact.
Harsh, jarring noise
The junior high orchestra created an almost unbearable CACOPHONY as they tried to tune their instruments.
Impartial and honest in speech
The observations of a child can be charming since they are CANDID and unpretentious.
Changing one's mind quickly and often
Queen Elizabeth I was quite CAPRICIOUS; her courtiers could never be sure which of their number would catch her fancy.
To punish or criticize harshly
Many Americans are amazed at how harshly the authorities in Singapore CASTIGATE perpetrators of what would be considered minor crimes in the United States.
Something that brings about a change in something else
The imposition of harsh taxes was the CATALYSt that finally brought on the revolution.
Biting in wit
Dorothy Parker gained her reputation for CAUSTIC wit from her cutting, yet clever, insults.
Great disorder or confusion
In many religious traditions, God created an ordered universe from CHAOS.
Someone prejudiced in favor of a group to which he or she belongs.
The attitude that men are inherently superior to women and terror must be obeyed is common among male CHAUVINISTS.
Deception by means of craft or guile
Dishonest used car sales people often use CHICANERY to sell their beat-up old cars.
Convincing and well reasoned
Swayed by the COGENT argument of the defense, the jury has no choice but to acquit the defendant.
To overlook, pardon, or disregard
Some theorists believe that failing to prosecute minor crimes is the same as CONDONING an aid of lawlessness.
Intricate and complicated
Although many people bought "A Brief History of Time", few could follow it's CONVOLUTED ideas and theories.
To provide supporting evidence
Fingerprints CORROBORATED the witness's testimony that he saw the defendant in the victim's apartment.
Too trusting, gullible
Although some four-year-olds believe in the Easter Bunny, only the most CREDULOUS nine-year-olds also believe in him.
Steadily increasing volume or force
The CRESCENDO of tension became unbearable as Evel Knievel prepared to jump his motorcycle over the school buses.
Appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety
The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the DECORUM appropriate for a visit to the palace.
The respectful young law clerk treated the Supreme Court justice with the utmost DEFERENCE.
To speak of or treat with contempt; to mock
The awkward child was often DERIDED by his "cooler" peers.
To dry out thoroughly
After a few weeks of lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely DESICCATED.
Jumping from one thing to another; disconnected
Diane has a DESULTORY academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in 3 years.
An abuse, condemnatory speech
The trucker bellowed a DIATRIBE at the driver who had cut him off.
Steve's DIFFIDENT manner during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field.
To make larger; to expand
When you enter a darkened room, the pupils of your eyes DILATE to let more light in.
Intended to delay
The congressman used DILATORY measures to delay the passage of the bill.
Someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic
Jerry's friends were such DILETTANTES that they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week.
A funeral hymn or mournful speech
Melville wrote the poem "A DIRGE for James McPherson" for the funeral of the Union general who was killed in 1864.
To set right; to free from error
Galileo's observations DISABUSED scholars of the nation that the sun revolved around the earth.
To perceive; to recognize
It is easy to DISCERN the difference between butter and butter-flavored topping.
Fundamentally different; entirely unlike
Although the twins appear to be identical physically, their personalities are DISPARATE.
To present a false appearance; to disguise one's real intentions or character
The villain could DISSEMBLE to the police no longer--he admitted the deed and tore up the floor to reveal the body of the old man.
A harsh and disagreeable combination, often of sounds
Cognitive DISSONANCE is the inner conflict produced when long-standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence.
A firmly held opinion, often a religious belief
Linus's central DOGMA was that children who believed in the Great Pumpkin would be rewarded.
Dictatorial in one's opinion
The dictator was DOGMATIC--he, and only he, was right.
To deceive; a person who is easily deceived
Bugs Bunny was able to DUPE Elmer Fudd by dressing up as a lady rabbit.
Selecting from or made up from a variety of sources
Budapest's architecture is an ECLECTIC mix of Eastern and Western styles.
The EFFICACY of penicillin was unsurpassed when it was first introduced; the drug completely eliminated almost all bacterial infections for which it was administered.
A sorrowful poem or speech
Although Thomas Gray's "ELEGY Written in a Country Churchyard" is about death and loss, it urges it's readers to endure this life and to trust in spirituality.
Persuasive and moving, especially in speech
The Gettysburg Address is moving not only because of its lofty sentiments but also because of its ELOQUENT words.
To copy; to try to equal or excel
The graduate student sought to EMULATE his professor in every way, copying not only how she taught but also how she conducted herself outside of class.
To reduce in strength
The guerrillas hoped that a series of surprise attacks would ENERVATE the regular army.
To produce, cause, or bring about
His fear and hatred of clowns was ENGENDERED when he witnessed the death of his father at the hands of a clown.
A puzzle; a mystery
Speaking in riddles and dressed in old robes, the artist gained a reputation as something of an ENIGMA.
To count, list, or itemize
Moses returned from the mountain with tablets on which the commandments were ENUMERATED.
Lasting a short time
The lives of mayflies seem EPHEMERAL to us, since the flies' average lifespan is a matter of hours.
To use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead
When faced with criticism of her policies, the politician EQUIVOCATED and left all parties thinking she agreed with them.
Wandering and unpredictable
The plot seemed predictable until it suddenly took a series of ERRATIC turns that surprised the audience.
Learned, scholarly, bookish
The annual meeting of philosophy professors was a gathering of the most ERUDITE, well-published individuals in the field.
Known or understood by only a few
Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the ESOTERIC world of particle physics.
Most people consider it ESTIMABLE that Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India.
Speech in praise of someone
His best friend gave the EULOGY, outlining his many achievements and talents.
Use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a more distasteful one
The funeral director preferred to use the EUPHEMISM "sleeping" instead of the word "dead".
To make worse
It is unwise to take aspirin to try to relive heartburn; instead of providing relief, the drug will only EXACERBATE the problem.
To clear from blame; prove innocent
The adversarial legal system is intended to convict those who are guilty and to EXCULPATE those who are innocent.
Urgent; requiring immediate action
The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was EXIGENT to stop the source of the bleeding.
To clear of blame
The fugitive was EXONERATED when another criminal confessed to committing the crime.
Clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression
The owners of the house left a list of EXPLICIT instructions detailing their house-sitter's duties, including a schedule for watering the house plants.
Acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion
The stormtroopers were FANATICAL in their devotion to the emperor, readily sacrificing their lives for him.
The understudy FAWNED over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis.
Intensely emotional; feverish
The fans of Maria Callas were unusually FERVID, doing anything to catch a glimpse of the great opera singer.
Excessively decorated or embellished
The palace had been decorated in a FLORID style; every surface has been carved and gilded
To arouse or incite
The protesters tried to FOMENT feeling against the war through their speeches and demonstrations.
A tendency to be thrifty or cheap
Scrooge McDuck's FRUGALITY was so great that he accumulated enough wealth to fill a giant storehouse with money.
Tending to talk a lot
The GARRULOUS parakeet distracted it's owner with its continuous talking.
She was so GREGARIOUS that when she found herself alone, she felt quite sad.
Deceit or trickery
Since he was not fast enough to catch the roadrunner on foot, the coyote resorted to GUILE in an effort to trap his enemy.
The con man pretended to be a bank officer so as to fool GULLIBLE bank customers into giving him their account information.
Of a similar kind
The class was fairly HOMOGENOUS, since almost all of the students were senior journalism majors,
One who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions
His lack of regard for traditional beliefs soon established him as an ICONOCLAST.
Not capable of being disturbed
The counselor had so much experience dealing with distraught children that she seemed IMPERTURBABLE, even when faced with the wildest tantrums.
Impossible to penetrate; incapable of being affected
A good raincoat will be IMPERVIOUS to moisture.
Quick to act without thinking
It is not good for an investment broker to be IMPETUOUS, since much thought should be given to all the possible options.
Unable to be calmed down or make peaceful
His rage at the betrayal was so fewer rear he remained IMPLACABLE for weeks.
Not fully formed; disorganized
The ideas expressed in Nietzsche's mature work also appear in an INCHOATE form in his earliest writing.
Showing innocence or childlike simplicity
She was so INGENUOUS that her friends feared that her innocence and trustfulness would be exploited when she visited the big city.
Even though the children had grown up together, they were INIMICAL to each other at school.
Some snakes are poisonous, but most species are INNOCUOUS and pose no danger to humans.
Lacking interest or flavor
The critic claimed that the painting was INSIPID, containing no interesting qualities at all.
Uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled
The professor was INTRANSIGENT on the deadline, insisting that everyone turn the assignment in at the same time.
To overwhelm; to cover with water
The tidal wave INUNDATED Atlantis, which was lost beneath the water.
Easily made angry
Attila the Hun's IRASCIBLE and violent nature made all who dealt with him fear for their lives.
Using few words
She was a LACONIC poet who built her respiration on using words as sparingly as possible.
To express sorrow; to grieve
The children continued to LAMENT the death of the goldfish weeks after it's demise.
To give praise; to glorify
Parades and fireworks were stages to LAUD the success of the rebels.
To give unsparingly (verb); extremely generous or extravagant (adjective)
She LAVISHED the puppy with so many treats that it soon became overweight and spoiled.
Acting in an indifferent or slow, sluggish manner
The clerk was so LETHARGIC that, even when the store was slow, he always had a long line in front of him.
She was naturally LOQUACIOUS, which was a problem in situations in which listening was more important thank talking.
Clear and easily understood
The explanations were written in a simple and LUCID manner so that students were immediately able to apply what they learned.
Bright, brilliant, glowing
The park was bathed in LUMINOUS sunshine, which warmed the bodies and the souls of the visitors.
To evade responsibility by pretending to be ill
A common way to avoid the draft was by MALINGERING--pretending to be mentally or physically ill so as to avoid being taken by the Army.
Capable of being shapes
Gold is the most MALLEABLE of precious metals; it can easily be formed into almost any shape.
A figure of speech comparing two different things; a symbol
The METAPHOR "a sea of troubles" suggests a lot of troubles by comparing their number to the vastness of the sea.
Extremely careful about details
To find all the clues at the crime scene, the investigators METICULOUSLY examined evert inch of the area.
A person who dislikes others
The character Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" is such a MISANTHROPE that even the sight of children singing makes him angry.
To soften; to lessen
A judge mat MITIGATE a sentence if she decides that a person committed a crime out of need.
To calm one make less severe
Their argument was so intense that it was difficult to believe any compromise would MOLLIFY them.
Lack of variation
The MONOTONY of the sound of the dripping faucet almost drove the research assistant crazy.
Lacking sophistication or experience
Having never traveled before, the elementary school students were more NAIVE than their high school counterparts on the field trip.
Hardened in feeling; resistant to persuasion
The president was completely OBDURATE on the issue, and no amount of persuasion would change his mind.
Overly submissive and eager to please
The OBSEQUIOUS new associate made sure to compliment her supervisor's tie and agree with him on every issue.
The OBSTINATE child could not be made to eat any food that he disliked.
To prevent; to make unnecessary
The river was shallow enough to wade across at many points, which OBVIATED the need for a bridge.
To stop up; to prevent the passage of
A shadow is thrown across the earth's surface during a solar eclipse, when the light from the sun is OCCLUDED by the moon.
Troublesome and oppressive; burdensome
The assignment was so extensive and difficult to manage that it proved ONEROUS to the team in charge of it.
Impossible to see through; preventing the passage of light
The heavy buildup of dirt and grime on the windows almost made them OPAQUE.
After the scheme to embezzle the elderly was made public, the treasurer resigned in utter OPPROBRIUM.
The OSTENTATION of the Sun King's court is evident in the lavish decoration and luxuriousness of his palace at Versailles.
A contradiction or dilemma
It is a PARADOX that those most in need of medical attention are often those least able to obtain it.
Model of excellence or perfection
She is the PARAGON of what a judge should be: honest, intelligent, hardworking, and just.
Someone who shows off learning
The graduate instructor's tedious and excessive commentary on the subject son gained her a reputation as a PEDANT.
Willing to betray one's trust
The actress's PERFIDIOUS companion revealed all her intimate secrets to the gossip columnist.
Done in a routine way; indifferent
The machinelike bank teller processed the transaction and face the waiting customer a PERFUNCTORY smile.
The miraculous new cleaning fluid is able to PERMEATE stains and dissolve them in minutes!
Charity; a desire or effort to promote goodness
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art owes much of its collection to the PHILANTHROPY of private collectors who willed their estates to the museum.
To soothe or pacify
The burglar tried to PLACATE the snarling dog by saying "Nice doggy," and offering it a treat.
Able or be molded, altered, or bent
The new material was very PLASTIC and could be formed into products of vastly different shapes,
Assuming that more was better, the defendant offered the judge a PLETHORA of excuses.
Practical as opposed to idealistic
While daydreaming gamblers think they can get rich by frequenting casinos, PRAGMATIC gamblers realize that the odds are heavily stacked against them.
To throw violently or bring about abruptly; lacking deliberation
Upon learning that the couple married after knowing each other only two months, friends and family members expected such a PRECIPITATE marriage to end in divorce.
To lie or deviate from the truth
Rather than admit that he has overslept again, the employee PREVARICATED and claimed that heavy traffic had prevented him from arriving at work on time.
Fresh and clean; uncorrupted
Since concerted measures had been taken to prevent looting, the archeological site was still PRISTINE when the researchers arrived.
The PRODIGAL son quickly wasted all of his inheritance on a lavish lifestyle devoted to pleasure.
To increase in number quickly
Although she only kept two guinea pigs initially, they PROLIFERATED to such an extent that she soon had dozens.
To conciliate; to appease
The management PROPITIATED the irate union by agreeing to raise wages for its members.
Correct behavior; obedience to rules and customs
The aristocracy maintained a high level of PROPRIETY, adhering to even the most minor social rules.
Wisdom, caution, or restraint
The college student exhibited PRUDENCE by obtaining practical experience along with her studies, which greatest strengthened her résumé.
Sharp and irritating to the senses
The smoke from the burning tires was extremely PUNGENT.
Many animals are QUIESCENT over the winter months, minimizing activity in order to conserve energy.
To make thinner or sparser
Since the atmosphere RAREFIES as altitudes increase, the air at the top of very tall mountains is too thin to breathe.
To reject the validity of
The old woman's claim that she was Russian royalty was REPUDIATED when DNA tests showed she was of no relation to them.
Physically small and RETICENT in her speech, Joan Didion often went unnoticed by those upon whom she was reporting.
Effective writing or speaking
Lincoln's talent for RHETORIC was evident in his beautifully expressed Gettysburg Address.
To satisfy fully or overindulge
His desire doe power was so great that nothing less than complete control of the country could SATIATE it.
Causing sleep or lethargy
The movie proved to be so SOPORIFIC that soon loud snores were heard throughout the theater.
Deceptively attractive; seemingly plausible but fallacious
The student's SPECIOUS excuse for being late sounded legitimate but was proved otherwise when her teacher called her home.
A mark of shame or discredit
In "The Scarlet Letter", Hester Prynne was required to wear the letter A on her clothes as a public STIGMA for her adultery.
Unemotional; lacking sensitivity
The prisoner appeared STOLID and unaffected by the judge's harsh sentence.
Lofty or grand
The music was so SUBLIME that it transformed the rude surroundings into a special place.
Done without using words
Although not a word had been said, everyone in the room knew that a TACIT agreement has been made about which course of action to take.
Silent, not talkative
The clerk's TACITURN nature earned him the nickname "Silent Bob".
Long, harsh speech or verbal attack
Observers were shocked at the manager's TIRADE over such a minor mistake.
Extreme mental and physical sluggishness
After surgery, the patient experienced TORPOR until the anesthesia wore off.
Temporary, lasting a brief time
The reporter lived a TRANSITORY life, staying in one place only long enough to cover the current story.
To swag physically; to be indecisive
The customer held up the line as he VACILLATED between ordering chocolate chip or rocky road ice cream.
To respect deeply
In a traditional Confucian society's the young VENERATE their elders, deferring to the elders' wisdom and experience.
Filled with truth and accuracy
She had a reputation for VERACITY, so everyone trusted her description of events.
The professor's answer was so VERBOSE that his student forgot what the original question had been.
To annoy, irritate, puzzle or confuse
The old man who loved his peace and quiet was VEXED by his neighbor’s loud music.
Easily aroused or changeable; lively or explosive
His VOLATILE personality made it difficult to predict his reaction to anything.
To fluctuate between choices
If you WAVER too long before making a decision about which testing site to register for, you may not get your first choice.
Acting in a fanciful or capricious manner; unpredictable
The ballet was WHIMSICAL, delighting the children with its imaginative characters and unpredictable sets.
She brought her typical ZEAL to the project, sparking enthusiasm in the other team members.