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- noun: keen, accurate judgement or insight
- John’s business acumen, along with his computer skills, made him an asset to the software company.
- verb: to reduce purity by combining with inferior ingredients
- If you want to adulterate your alcoholic drink, you should add some water to it.
- verb: to combine several elements into a whole
- noun form: amalgamation
- Sometimes he would amalgamate the contents of a couple of baskets.
- adj: outdated; associated with an earlier, perhaps more primitive, time
- Because my archaic computer is no longer useful to me, I am giving it away for free.
- verb: to state as a fact; to declare or assert
- Many scientists aver to the contrary but science is not decided by consensus.
- verb: to provide support or reinforcement
- In science, one should always be extremely skeptical of claims which bolster the ideology of the person making the claim.
- adj: pompous; grandiloquent
- noun form: bombast
- You are correct that my analogy was a little too bombastic.
- noun: a harsh denunciation
- This diatribe is so unrelentingly negative that it loses all power to persuade.
- verb: to disguise or conceal; to mislead
- The need to keep it positive, even if it's not, puts stress on the spouse who must dissemble.
- adj: departing from norms or conventions
- It would be easy to dismiss him as a lovable, eccentric old hippie.
- adj: characteristic of or often found in a particular locality, region, or people
- there are no endemic native rodent species there.
- adj: tending to disappear like vapor; vanishing
- Elusive and evanescent, the rainbow has generated wonder and speculation.
- verb: to make worse or more severe
- Worse, the hurricane could well exacerbate the tensions that lurk in the city.
- adj: greatly emotional or zealous
- noun form: fervor
- These moments can cause irrational acts or imprint fervent memories on a wanton brain.
- adj: happening by accident or chance
- It was an extremely fortuitous find, because the odds of mummification are slim, researchers noted.
- adj: relevant to the subject at hand; appropriate in subject matter
- So an amendment to an amendment must be germane to the latter.
- noun: pompous speech or expression
- adj form: grandiloquent
- Voters are not really expected to pay attention to the grandiloquence.
- adj: rendered trite or commonplace by frequent usage
- There was a lot of truth in this reply, however hackneyed.
- adj: calm and peaceful
- Despite the years since their halcyon youth, they made brave efforts to dance.
- noun: devotion to pleasurable pursuits, esp. to the pleasures of the senses
- (a hedonist is someone who pursues pleasure)
- He's not the only college student willing to trade hedonism for altruism on spring break.
- noun: the consistent dominance of one state or ideology over others
- It wasn't easy being a jazz fan at the height of rock's hegemony in pop music.
- noun: one who attacks or undermines traditional conventions or institutions
- The successful entrepreneur is an iconoclast who is not afraid to introduce something new to the market.
- adj: given to intense or excessive devotion to something
- noun form: idolatry
- Pele in idolatrous times was the dreaded goddess of Kilauea.
- adj: revealing no emotion
- He searched Death's impassive features.
- adj: marked by extreme calm, impassivity, and steadiness
- Some people are incurable contrarians or imperturbable logicians.
- adj: not capable of being appeased or significantly changed
- The little boy was implacable when his parents left him alone with the babysitter.
- noun: immunity from punishment or penalty
- In exchange for her testimony, the accomplice received impunity from prosecution.
- adj: in an initial stage; not fully formed
- Because our company just recently opened its doors, we are inchoate and are not offering all of our services yet.
- adj: unfortunate; inappropriate
- The question for this debate is at best infelicitous and at worse misleading.
- adj: without taste or flavor; lacking in spirit; bland
- the soup was rather insipid
- adj: extremely talkative
- noun form: loquacity
- After drinking four beers, my normally quiet wife becomes quite loquacious.
- adj: characterized by brightness and the emission of light
- In the hands of the hero, the magic sword glowed in a luminous manner.
- adj: having or showing often vicious ill will, spite, or hatred
- noun form: malevolence
- How malevolent of you to wish that I was dead!
- adj: capable of being shaped or formed; tractable; pliable
- Unfortunately, most teenagers are malleable and give in to peer pressure rather easily.
- noun: the condition of being untruthful; dishonesty
- adj form: medacious
- You can always tell a con man by his mendacity and desire to trick you out of your money.
- adj: characterized by extreme care and precision; attentive to detail
- This accounting job requires a meticulous person.
- noun: one who hates all other humans
- adj form: misanthropic
- The old man was a misanthrope who surrounded his entire yard with barbed wire to keep his neighbors at bay.
- verb: to make or become less severe or intense; to moderate
- The doctor gave me a prescription to mitigate the pain.
- adj: unyielding; hardhearted; intractable
- With his obdurate personality and intense dislike for people, Jonathan had all the makings of a professional killer.
- adj: exhibiting a fawning attentiveness
- The princess had obsequious servants who showered her with attention.
- verb: to obstruct or block
- The police officers have blocked off the road to occlude the bomb from the public.
- noun: disgrace; contempt; scorn
- The celebrity chef earned opprobrium when she made a racial slur in front of the media.
- noun: the profession or principles of teaching, or instructing
- The school boasts the most progressive pedagogy and a 100% graduation rate.
- adj: overly concerned with the trivial details of learning or education; show-offish about one's knowledge
- Sometimes, Jason is so pedantic in writing the perfect paper that he forgets to properly manage his time.
- noun: poverty; destitution
- Many people in third world countries live in penury and misery.
- adj: having the tendency to permeate or spread throughout
- So the concept of brand loyalty is very pervasive out there.
- verb: to yearn intensely; to languish; to lose vigor
- Some of us pine for that car that folds up into a suitcase.
- verb: to illegally use or reproduce
- None of those practices have eliminated underground pirate networks on many campuses.
- noun: the essential or central part
- Remove as much of the white membrane or pith as possible.
- adj: precise and brief
- Here's a particularly pithy commentary about printers.
- verb: to appease; to calm by making concessions
- There was no case, it was just a show to placate those who were mad.
- noun: a superficial remark, esp. one offered as meaningful
- These were platitudes dressed up as epiphanies to suit the populist mood.
- verb: to plunge or drop straight down
- Overfishing has caused fish populations and catches to plummet.
- adj: controversial; argumentative
- To have an impact, a polemical argument must be precise and persuasive.
- adj: recklessly wasteful; extravagant; profuse; lavish
- They left others to gather up the flowers which they scattered with a prodigal hand.
- adj: given or coming forth abundantly; extravagant
- Although it's not a profuse display, half the meteors leave glowing trails.
- verb: to grow or increase swiftly and abundantly
- As companies work their way down the income pyramid, the problems proliferate.
- noun: questions; inquiries; doubts in the mind; reservations
- Search engines also engage in predictive text to figure out what queries users might type in.
- adj: prone to complaining or grumbling; peevish
- Adrift in a clueless no-man's-land, I felt my moods range from querulous to despondent.
- adj: obstinately defiant of authority; difficult to manage
- It is an astonishingly rancorous and controversial debate, with far-reaching implications.
- verb: to refuse to have anything to do with; to disown
- Before me now is plaintiff's motion to repudiate the settlement agreement.
- verb: to invalidate; to repeal; to retract
- However, years later, your country decided to rescind this law so that dual citizenship became possible.
- adj: marked by, feeling, or expressing a feeling of profound awe and respect
- noun form: reverence
- The proposed inscriptions for the monument must be reverent, tasteful, and pay respectful tribute to the deceased.
- noun: the art or study of effective use of language for communication and persuasion
- He has all the proper sentiments, and his rhetoric and rimes are easy work for him.
- adj: promoting health or well-being
- The environment was more salubrious, with nutritious food available from their crops and cows.
- adj: able to meet financial obligations; able to dissolve another substance
- The idea that keeping a particular individual's firm solvent should be in the national interest may sound odd.
- adj: seeming true, but actually being fallacious; misleadingly attractive; plausible but false
- His arguments and specious comparisons are bogus and not worth seriously entertaining, in my humble opinion.
- adj: lacking authenticity or validity; false; counterfeit
- The quote may be spurious, but it contains a grain of truth.
- noun: a court order requiring appearance and/or testimony
- He used his subpoena power to put people on the stand for day after day.
- brief; concise
- The inscription that inspired me was succinct and to the point.
- adj: exceeding what is sufficient or necessary
- In a climate where clothes are superfluous, this is how you dress up for special occasions.
- verb: an overabundant supply; excess; to feed or supply to excess
- Instead, the technology-driven surfeit of modern information has made the need for clarity and concision more acute.
- noun: the quality of adherence or persistence to something valued; persistent determination
- adj form: tenacious
- Jake’s tenacity allowed him to excel in college while working two jobs.
- adj: having little substance or strength; flimsy; weak
- Because the evidence against her is tenuous, the accused murderer will be released from jail on bail.
- noun: a long and extremely critical speech; a harsh denunciation
- Because Carrie is normally a laidback person, she shocked everyone with her tirade.
- adj: fleeting; passing quickly; brief
- The snow is transient and will melt as soon as the sun appears.
- adj: fervent; ardent; impassioned, devoted to a cause
- (a zealot is a zealous person)
- The zealous detective searched for the killer for over twenty years.