An example of diffident is a young man who is afraid to sign up for the football team.
She was diffident about stating her opinion.
for someone who makes a living performing for other people, the actress is remarkably diffident in real life
adj.to free a person from falsehood or error:
"We had to disabuse her of the notion that she was invited."
let me disabuse you of your foolish notions about married life
adj: conflicting; dissonant or harsh in sound
She has the difficult task of bringing together a number of discordant elements.
noun: cautious reserve in speech; ability to make responsible decisions
adj form: discreet
she knew she could rely on his discretion
adj: free of bias or self-interested; impartial
a banker is under an obligation to give disinterested advice
adj.belittling (n: disparagement. v. disparage)
The candidate made disparaging remarks about his opponent, but they only made him seem small for insulting a worthy adversary.
adj: fundamentally distinct or dissimilar
disparate notions among adults and adolescents about when middle age begins
adj.calm; objective; unbiased
An example of someone dispassionate is a good judge.
Journalists aim to be dispassionate observers.
v.to conceal one's real motive, to feign
An example of dissemble is a person who is pretending to be your friend but who really just wants an invitation to your beach house.
he dissembled happiness at the news that his old girlfriend was getting married—to someone else
adj.stubborn or determined:
"Her dogged pursuit of the degree eventually paid off."
adj.relying upon doctrine or dogma, as opposed to evidence; expressing a rigid opinion based on unproved or improvable principles
An example of dogmatic is insisting that a feminist view is the one and only way to look at literature.
She's become so dogmatic lately that arguing with her is pointless.
He gives his opinion without trying to be dogmatic
noun: the quality of lively or enthusiastic expression of thoughts and feelings
adj form: ebullient
the ebullience of happy children
adj.selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources:
"Many modern decorators prefer an eclectic style." (n: eclecticism)
adj: departing from norms or conventions
It would be easy to dismiss him as a lovable, eccentric old hippie.
n.effectiveness; capability to produce a desired effect
An example of efficacy is when a crime bill is effective at stopping crime.
questioned the efficacy of the alarms in actually preventing auto theft
adj., nthe quality of flowing out. something that flows out, such as a stream from a river (n: effluence)
An example of effluent is sewage dumped into the Mississippi river.
The factory has been accused of discharging effluent into the river.
noun: extreme boldness; presumptuousness
the little squirt had the effrontery to deny eating any cookies, even with the crumbs still on his lips
noun: a mournful poem, esp. one lamenting the dead
adj form: elegiac
As a result, modern elegies more often than not break with the decorum of earlier modes of mourning and become melancholic, self-centered, or mocking.
adj: well-spoken, expressive, articulate
noun form: eloquence
His success serves as an eloquent reminder of the value of hard work.
adj., n.softening; something that softens
Aloe cream that you put on sunburned skin is an example of an emollient cream.
An approach to resolving conflict intended to create a peace treaty that will end a war between two fighting countries is an example of an emollient approach.
adj: based on observation or experiment
Our data is based on empirical evidence collected in numerous studies.
v.to strive to equal or excel (n: emulation)
An example of emulate is a little boy trying to be like his father.
She grew up emulating her sports heroes.
n.a formal eulogy or speech of praise
An example of an encomium is the speech given to the recipient of a service award presented each year by a town’s city hall.
the encomiums bestowed on a teacher at her retirement ceremonies
adj.prevalent in or native to a certain region, locality, or people:
"The disease was endemic to the region." Don't confuse this word with epidemic.
v.to weaken or destroy the strength or vitality of:
"The heat enervated everyone."
v.to give rise to, to propagate, to cause:
"His slip of the tongue engendered much laughter."
"Math is an enigma to me."
adj: mysterious; obscure; difficult to understand
noun form: enigma
After I did a little research, the subject of metaphysics was no longer so enigmatic to me.
noun: dissatisfaction and restlessness resulting from boredom or apathy
the kind of ennui that comes from having too much time on one's hands and too little will to find something productive to do
adj.lasting for only a brief time, fleeting (n: ephemera)
An example of ephemeral is a plant blossom that only lasts one day.
the autumnal blaze of colors is always to be treasured, all the more so because it is so ephemeral
adj.ambiguous; unclear; subject to more than one interpretation -- often intentionally so:
"Republicans complained that Bill Clinton's answers were equivocal."
verb: to use ambiguous language with a deceptive intent
adj form: equivocal
The applicant seemed to be equivocating when we asked him about his last job.
adj.scholarly; displaying deep intensive learning. (n: erudition)
An example of erudite is a professor of literature.
the most erudite people in medical research attended the conference
adj.intended for or understood by only a few:
"The esoteric discussion confused some people."
n.a spoken or written tribute to the deceased (v. eulogize)
An example of a eulogy is a tribute given about someone at a funeral Mass.
He delivered a moving eulogy at his father's funeral.
adj: tending to disappear like vapor; vanishing
Elusive and evanescent, the rainbow has generated wonder and speculation.
v.to increase the bitterness or violence of; to aggravate:
"The decision to fortify the border exacerbated tensions."
v.to demonstrate or prove to be blameless:
"The evidence tended to exculpate the defendant."
adj: urgent, pressing; requiring immediate action or attention
started his workday with a flood of exigent matters that required his quick decision
verb: to remove blame
The job of the defense attorney is to exonerate his clients and keep them out of jail.
adj.exceeding customary or normal limits, esp. in quantity or price:
"The cab fare was exorbitant."
adj.fully and clearly expressed
An example of explicit is someone giving very straightforward directions to a location.
They were given explicit instructions.
adj: improvised; done without preparation
caught by surprise, I had to make an extemporaneous speech at the awards banquet
adj.in existence, still existing:
"The only extant representative of that species."
adj: playful; humorous
Do you always have to be so facetious?
noun: an invalid or incorrect notion; a mistaken belief
adj form: fallacious
Having money makes you happy is a fallacy because happiness has nothing to do with wealth.
n., v.a measure of length (six feet) used in nautical settings. to penetrate to the depths of something in order to understand it:
"I couldn't fathom her reasoning on that issue."
v.to seek favor or attention; to act subserviently (n, adj: fawning)
An example of to fawn is how a young girl acts towards a boy she likes.
a student who could not wait to fawn over the new teacher
v.to give false appearance or impression:
"He feigned illness to avoid going to school." (adj: feigned)
adj.highly emotional; hot:
"The partisans displayed a fervent patriotism."
noun: intentional obstruction, esp. using prolonged speechmaking to delay legislative action
They engaged in a filibuster that lasted for over a week.
n., adj.a baby bird; an inexperienced person; inexperienced.
A company that has just opened its doors and gone into business is an example of a fledgling.
at hockey he's still a fledgling and needs to work on his basic skating skills
adj.flushed with a rosy color, as in complexion; very ornate and flowery:
An example of someone who would be described as florid is a red-faced, flushed runner whose face has turned red with exertion.
gave a florid speech in honor of the queen's visit
"We tried to save the floundering business."
adj: happening by accident or chance
It was an extremely fortuitous find, because the odds of mummification are slim, researchers noted.
verb: to loudly attack or denounce
She was fulminating about the dangers of smoking.
adj: marked by stealth; covert; surreptitious
Students who cheat on tests employ their furtive tactics to avoid getting caught.
adj.verbose; talkative; rambling:
"We tried to avoid our garrulous neighbor."
n., adj.fine cobweb on foliage; fine gauzy fabric; very fine:
"She wore a gossamer robe."
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: sociable; outgoing; enjoying the company of other people
If you want to be more approachable, show a gregarious smile.
"He was well known for his guile."
(v. bequile; adj: beguiling. Note, however, that these two words have an additional meaning: to charm (v.) or charming (adj:), while the word guile does not generally have any such positive connotations)
adj.honest; straightforward (n: guilelessness)
An example of someone who is guileless is an honest and innocent girl who just arrived in a big city and who believes that everyone is as honest and good as she.
she was an easygoing, guileless young woman who was comfortable just being herself
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.
An example of hapless is someone who seems to break everything they touch.
She plays the hapless heroine who is unlucky in love.
verb/noun: to deliver a pompous speech or tirade; a long, pompous speech
As usual, the priest made his usual harangue about the dangers of listening to rap music.
adj., adv.headfirst; impulsive; hasty. impulsively; hastily; without forethought:
"They rushed headlong into marriage."
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.
adj: violating accepted dogma or convention
noun form: heresy
men holding heretical opinions were condemned to the stake, women to be buried alive.
adj.similar in nature or kind; uniform:
"a homogeneous society."
noun: an exaggerated statement, often used as a figure of speech
adj form: hyperbolic
Because Janice was a drama queen, she used a hyperbole in practically every sentence.
n.one who attacks traditional ideas or institutions or one who destroys sacred images (adj: iconoclastic)
An example of an iconoclast is someone who destroys pictures of Jesus.
An example of an iconoclast is someone who protests against democracy in the U.S.
notorious as an iconoclast, that music critic isn't afraid to go after sacred cows
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.
An example of impecunious is someone living on the street.
they were so impecunious that they couldn't afford to give one another even token Christmas gifts
An example of imperious is a demand by a new house guest that you go to the store and buy him the type of drink he enjoys.
an imperious little boy who liked to tell the other scouts what to do
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.
n.insinuation or connotation (v. implicate)
An example of implication is the policeman connecting a person to a crime even though there is no evidence.
I'm offended by his implication that women can't be good at mathematics.
v.to suggest indirectly; to entail:
"She implied she didn't believe his story." (n: implication)
n.an absence of foresight; a failure to provide for future needs or events:
"Their improvidence resulted in the loss of their home."
noun: immunity from punishment or penalty
In exchange for her testimony, the accomplice received impunity from prosecution.
adj.in an initial or early stage; incomplete; disorganized:
"The act of writing forces one to clarify incohate thoughts."
adj: beginning to come into being or to become apparent
The best way to stop the disease from spreading is by identifying it while it is incipient.
adj.not capable of being corrected:
"The school board finally decided the James was incorrigible and expelled him from school."
adj.permanent; unerasable; strong:
"The Queen made an indelible impression on her subjects."
adj.undescribable; inexpressible in words; unspeakable
An example of ineffable is overwhelming sadness that one does not know how to show.
An example of ineffable is the name of a deity that cannot be said out of respect.
an ineffable beauty descends upon the canyon as the sun begins to set
adj: unmoving; lethargic; sluggish
Nitrogen is a very inert gas: it will neither burn nor support the combustion of ordinary combustibles.
adj: unfortunate; inappropriate
The question for this debate is at best infelicitous and at worse misleading.
"New genetic evidence led some zoologists to infer that the red wolf is actually a hybrid of the coyote and the gray wolf."
"She developed an ingenious method for testing her hypothesis."(n: ingenuity)