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- verb: to lessen in intensity or degree
- In an hour or so the storm would abate and they could leave.
adj. deviating from normal or correct.
- An example of an aberrant behavior would be a usually calm person having a fit of rage.
- A year of abberant weather-record rainfall in the summer, record heat in autumn.
v. to leave secretly and hide, often to avoid the law.
Several prisoners absconded from the jail.
- noun: an expression of praise
- He does not praise his employees; silence is his highest accolade.
- noun: keen, accurate judgement or insight
- John’s business acumen, along with his computer skills, made him an asset to the software company.
- noun: excessive praise; intense adoration
- But here in America, great accomplishments and pop-culture adulation walk hand in hand.
- verb: to reduce purity by combining with inferior ingredients
- If you want to adulterate your alcoholic drink, you should add some water to it.
- v., n. to speak, plead, or argue for a cause, or in another’s behalf.
- a passionate advocate of civil rights
- (n) -- one who advocates.
- She works as a consumer advocate.
- adj: dealing with, appreciative of, or responsive to art or the beautiful
- The new browser is much more than an aesthetic overhaul.
- v. to make greater, to increase, thus, to exaggerate.
- To make your farm larger by purchasing the neighboring farm is an example of aggrandize.
- a movie that aggrandizes the bad guys and makes the cops look like dopes
- noun: eager and enthusiastic willingness
- She accepted the invitation with an alacrity that surprised me.
- v. to unite or mix.
- An example of the word amalgamate is the process of combining flour and butter to create a roux.
- (n) -- amalgamation.
- amalgamating different styles of music
- adj. vague; subject to more than one interpretation
- We were confused by the ambiguous wording of the message.
- adj. extremely pleasing to the senses, divine (as related to the gods) or delicious (n: ambrosia)
- An example of ambrosia is perfume.
- An example of ambrosia is nectar.
- An example of ambrosia is a dessert salad made with marshmallows, orange, pineapple and coconut.
- verb: to make better or more tolerable
- I'm very glad to see someone working to help ameliorate that situation.
- n. a person or artifact appearing after its own time or out of chronological order (adj: anachronistic)
- If a movie about ancient Egypt showed a Pharaoh wearing a wristwatch, the wristwatch would be an example of an anachronism.
- He's an old-fashioned politician who is seen by many of his colleagues as an anachronism.
- adj. peculiar; unique, contrary to the norm (n: anomaly)
- A person with 50 piercings and tattoos is an example of someone who is anomalous.
- Researchers could not explain the anomalous test results.
- noun: peculiar; unique, contrary to the norm
- adj form: anomalous
- We couldn't explain the anomalies in the test results.
- adj. ancient; outmoded; (literally,before the flood)
- An example of people who are antediluvian are Adam and Eve.
- An example of an antediluvian item is the rotary phone.
- He has antediluvian notions about the role of women in the workplace.
- n. hostility toward, objection, or aversion to
- An example of antipathy is how a staunch Republican might feel about a Democrat.
- There has always been strong antipathy between the two groups.
- noun: an expression of approval or praise
- The company has even received the approbation of its former critics.
- v. to settle a dispute by impulse (n: arbitration)
- An example of arbitrate is to hear issues and help a couple decide on a divorce settlement.
- The council will arbitrate among the interest groups.
- 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.
- adj: stenuous, taxing; requiring significant effort
- an arduous journey across miles of desert
- noun: one who practices rigid self-denial, esp. as an act of religious devotion
- He renounced his kingdom and embraced instead the path of the ascetic.
- v. to make less severe; to appease or satisfy
- An example of something that a nurse might assuage is someone's pain with the distribution of medicine.
- An example of something that you may assuage is your need for sleep.
- He couldn't assuage his guilt over the divorce.
- v. weaken (adj: attenuated)
- An example of attenuate is to destroy many members of an opposing force.
- Earplugs will attenuate the loud sounds of the machinery.
- adj. extremely bold; fearless, especially said of human behavior (n: audacity)
- A shy housewife traveling to a war torn country alone is an example of an audacious act.
- They have audacious plans for the new school.
- adj: without adornment; bare; severely simple; ascetic
- noun form: austerity
- They choose austere furnishings for the office.
- noun: greed, esp. for wealth
- adj form: avaricious
- Usually, politics is about the avarice of one person or group in conflict.
- v. to declare
- An example of aver is to firmly and assertively state that you are not guilty.
- He averred that he was innocent.
- noun: a universally recognized principle
- adj form: axiomatic
- Another axiom of science is dispassionate observation.
- adj: taken as a given; possessing self-evident truth
- noun form: axiom
- it's axiomatic that the instinct for self-preservation is universal throughout the animal kingdom
- adj. commonplace or trite (n: banality)
- An example of something banal are boring knock-knock jokes that have been told many times before.
- He made some banal remarks about the weather.
- adj. unconcealed, shameless, or brazen
- a barefaced lie
- a barefaced challenge for a fight
- n. speech or action intended to coax someone into doing something
- An example of a blandishment is telling a friend how beautiful she is in order to entice her to buy your movie ticket.
- He resisted the blandishment.
- 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.
- n. pompous speech (adj: bombastic)
- The writings of Shakespeare are examples of bombast.
- you need less bombast and more substance in this speech on human rights
- adj: pompous; grandiloquent
- noun form: bombast
- You are correct that my analogy was a little too bombastic.
- n., v. a lapse, gap or break, as in a fortress wall. To break or break through.
- Unfortunately, the club members never forgot his breach of etiquette.
- adj: rustic and pastoral; characteristic of rural areas and their inhabitants
- It's true that I had a bucolic, truly peaceful childhood, growing up in a house next to our family's orchard.
- v., n. to grow or flourish; a bud or new growth (adj: burgeoning )
- An example of burgeon is a cherry tree flowering in springtime.
- The market for collectibles has burgeoned in recent years.
- v., n. to support. a support
- A stone wall built against a wall to support the building is an example of a buttress.
- the mother had always been the buttress of our family in trying times
- noun: harsh, jarring, discordant sound; dissonance
- adj form: cacophonous
- Some worry that such changes will invite a cacophony of contentious discussion.
- v.to get something by taking advantage of someone
- An example of to cadge is to get dinner by asking people entering a restaurant to buy you something.
- She cadged money from her sister.
- noun: an established set of principles or code of laws, often religious in nature
- adj form: canonical
- In the ancient canon of the Roman mass, he is ranked among the martyrs
- adj: following or in agreement with accepted, traditional standards
- noun form: canon
- What's been going on in the stock market hardly fits canonical notions of rationality.
- n. impulse (adj: capricious)
- A groom leaving a bride while standing at the altar is an example of a caprice action.
- Snow falling in Los Angeles in the middle of the summer is an example of a caprice.
- Employees have complained of being at the mercy of the manager's every whim and caprice.
- adj: inclined to change one's mind impulsively; erratic, unpredictable
- employees who are at the mercy of a capricious manager
- v.to chastise or criticize severely
- An example of castigate is when a person is punished harshly in public for his behavior.
- The author castigated the prime minister as an ineffective leader.
- n.an agent of change (adj: catalytic; v. catalyze); a substance that accelerates the rate of a chemical reaction without itself changing
- An example of catalyst is how President Bush's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction started the war in Iraq.
- The bombing attack was the catalyst for war.
- adj.capable of dissolving by chemical action; highly critical:
- "His caustic remarks spoiled the mood of the party."
- The chemical was so caustic that it ate through the pipes.
- verb: to criticize severely; to officially rebuke
- The country faces international censure for its alleged involvement in the assassination.
- adj: wary; cautious; sparing
- most people are chary of allowing themselves to be photographed
- n.deception by trickery
- An example of chicanery is dishonest actions by politicians to get elected.
- He wasn't above using chicanery to win votes.
- adj: appealing forcibly to the mind or reason; convincing
- The judge rejected that argument in a cogent and wholly convincing judgment.
- noun: the willingness to comply with the wishes of others
- adj form: complaisant
- A rebellion of public opinion against such complaisance is possible but not certain.
- adj.willingly compliant or accepting of the status quo (n: complaisance)
- A happy-go-lucky girl who is agreeable, doesn't fight and does what others want her to do is an example of someone who is complaisant.
- n.a great fire
- An example of a conflagration is a large fire that burns up two houses.
- the historic tavern burned to the ground in a horrible conflagration
- noun: an informed and astute judge in matters of taste; expert
- She is a connoisseur of African art.
- adj: argumentative; quarrelsome; causing controversy or disagreement
- a contentious issue
- adj: regretful; penitent; seeking forgiveness
- noun form: contrition
- a broken and a contrite heart
- adj: complex or complicated
- a convoluted explanation that left the listeners even more confused than they were before
- adj.of or having to do with material, as opposed to spiritual; tangible.
- (In older writings,coeporeal could be a synonym for corporal. This usage is no longer common)
- An example of corporeal is tangible property as opposed to intellectual property.
- the corporeal nature of matter
- adj.of the body: "corporal punishment."
- a non-commissioned officer ranked between a sergeant and a private.
- When you punish someone by harming his body and causing pain (such as by spanking the person) this is an example of corporal punishment.
- started to suffer the corporal ailments that come with advancing age
- v.to strengthen or support:
- "The witness corroborted his story."
- (n: corroboration)
- adj., n.cowardly; a coward
- A person who runs and hides when he hears any noise or sounds is an example of someone who might be described as craven.
- a craven refusal to deliver the unwelcome news personally
- adj.deserving of blame (n: culpability)
- An example of culpable is a person who has committed a wrongdoing.
- They held her culpable for the accident.
- Sometimes you’re just as culpable when you watch something as when you actually participate
- n.lack, scarcity:
- "The prosecutor complained about the dearth of concrete evidence against the suspect."
- n.submission or courteous yielding:
- "He held his tongue in deference to his father."
- (n: deferential. v. defer)
- verb: to question or oppose
- normally she would have accepted the challenge, but she demurred
- v.to show, create a picture of.
- When a writer describes a scene in vivid detail, this is an example of when he depicts the scene.
- The wall was painted with a large mural depicting famous scenes from American history.
- n.belittlement. (v. deprecate)
- movie critics tried to outdo one another in deprecatingthe comedy as the stupidest movie of the year
- n.the act of preying upon or plundering:
- "The depredations of the invaders demoralized the population."
- v.to make clear, to say
- An example of descry is to pick out a secret code in a message.
- we couldn't descry the reasons for his sudden departure
- v.to dry out thoroughly (adj: desiccated)
- An example of desiccate is slice a banana and put in a food dehydrator.
- that historian's dry-as-dust prose desiccates what is actually an exciting period in European history
- n.a bitter abusive denunciation.
- An example of a diatribe is a father lecturing his son about how the son is not doing anything with his life.
- The article is a diatribe against mainstream media.
- adj: intended to teach or instruct
- a didactic novel that set out to expose social injustice
- adj.lacking self-confidence, modest (n: diffidence)
- 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."
- (adj: enervating)
- v.to give rise to, to propagate, to cause:
- "His slip of the tongue engendered much laughter."
- n.puzzle; mystery:
- "Math is an enigma to me."
- (adj: enigmatic)
- 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."
- (v. equivocate)
- 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: esoterica)
- 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: exculpatory)
- 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."
- (n: fervor)
- 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:
- "florid prose."
- 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.
- n.skillful deceit:
- "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.
- adj.penniless; poor
- 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.
- v.to deduce:
- "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)
- adj.unsophisticated; artless; straightforward; candid:
- "Wilson's ingenuous response to the controversial calmed the suspicious listeners."
- v.to hold back, prohibit, forbid, or restrain (n: inhibition, adj: inhibited)
- An example of inhibit is locking a door to keep people from coming in.
- You shouldn't allow fear of failure to inhibit you.
- adj.harmless; having no adverse affect; not likely to provoke strong emotion
- An example of innocuous is playful teasing between friends.
- He told a few innocuous jokes.
- adj.numb; unconscious:
- "Wayne was rendered insensible by a blow to the head."
- unfeeling; insensitive:
- "They were insensibile to the suffering of others.:
- adj.lacking zest or excitement; dull
- A cup of bland soup from a cafeteria is an example of insipid.
- The soup was rather insipid.
- adj.of or pertaining to an island, thus, excessively exclusive:
- "Newcomers found it difficult to make friends in the insular community."
- adj.stubborn; immovable; unwilling to change:
- "She was so intransigent we finally gave up trying to convince her."
- (n: intransigence)
- adj: accustomed to accepting something undesirable
- Does violence on television inure children to violence in real life?
- verb: to obtain by deception or flattery
- Their testimony confirmed the defendant's successful efforts to inveigle them into investing in the hedge fund.
- adj.prone to outbursts of temper, easily angered
- An example of irascible is a man who becomes extremely mad at even the slightest of mistakes.
- an irascible old football coach
- adj.using few words; terse:
- "a laconic reply."
- adj.present or potential but not evident or active (n: latency)
- An example of latent are fingerprints which cannot be seen.
- he has a latent talent for acting that he hasn't had a chance to express yet
- verb: to praise highly
- adj form: laudatory
- an actor who in his lifetime received all the laud and honor that the theater world could bestow
- adj.praiseworthy; commendable (v. laud)
- An example of laudable is a person who donates to charity and wants to save the world.
- you showed laudable restraint in dealing with that ridiculously demanding customer
- n.giant whale, therefore, something very large
- An example of a leviathan is a large aircraft carrier.
- The factory is a towering leviathan in the middle of the town.
- An example of loquacious is someone who calls and talks for three minutes straight without pausing.
- the loquacious host of a radio talk show
- adj: clear; easily understood
- He is able to recognize his wife in his lucid moments.
- adj.weighty, mournful, or gloomy, especially to an excessive degree:
- "Jake's lugubrious monologues depressed his friends."
- adj: characterized by brightness and the emission of light
- In the hands of the hero, the magic sword glowed in a luminous manner.
- noun: the quality of being generously noble in mind and heart, esp. in forgiving
- adj form: magnanimous
- His enemies he treated with the greatest magnanimity; no bloody executions followed the victory of the Milvian Bridge.
- 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.
- adj: associated with war and the armed forces
- one of the basic tenets of martial law
- 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.
- n.one who hates people:
- "He was a true misanthrope and hated even himself."
- n.incorrect name or word for something
- An example of misnomer is someone telling a child that an elephant is a lion.
- “International Airport” is something of a misnomer, since almost all the arriving and departing flights are local.
- n.one who hates women
- A male chauvinist who thinks all women are stupid and manipulative is an example of a misogynist.
- v.to make less forceful; to become more moderate; to make less harsh or undesirable:
- "He was trying to mitigate the damage he had done."
- (n: mitigation)
- adj: sad; sullen; melancholy
- When her dog died, the little girl was morose for months.
- adj: of the world; typical of or concerned with the ordinary
- mundane chores, like washing dishes
- adj: coming into being; in early developmental stages
- The actress is now focusing on her nascent singing career.
- adj: vague; cloudy; lacking clearly defined form
- These philosophical concepts can be nebulous.
- adj.wicked, evil:
- "a nefarious plot."
- noun: a new word, expression, or usage; the creation or use of new words or senses
- He also joined words together to create neologisms
- adj.harmful, offensive, destructive:
- "The noisome odor of the dump carried for miles."
- adj: harmful, injurious
- mixing bleach and ammonia can cause noxious fumes that can seriously harm you
- adj.hardened against influence or feeling; intractable.
- An example of obdurate is a judge who sentences a man without feeling.
- He is known for his obdurate determination.
- adj: exhibiting a fawning attentiveness
- The princess had obsequious servants who showered her with attention.
- adj: lacking sharpness of intellect; not clear or precise in thought or expression
- He is too obtuse to take a hint.
- verb: to anticipate and make unnecessary
- The new medical treatment obviates the need for surgery.
- v.to close or shut off; to obstruct (n: occlusion)
- An example of occlude is hiding a gift for someone behind your back.
- An example of occlude is shutting a window to keep a bee outside.
- a blood clot had occluded a major artery in his body
- adj: evoking intense aversion or dislike
- Cleaning the toilet is such an odious task.
- adj: troubling; burdensome
- The government imposed onerous taxes on imports.
- adj.not transparent or translucent; dense; difficult to comprehend, as in opaque reasoning
- An example of opaque is the quality of a black sheet of paper.
- An example of opaque is the study of astrophysics.
- somehow listeners seem to connect with the songwriter, despite his deeply personal, often opaque lyrics
- noun: disgrace; contempt; scorn
- The celebrity chef earned opprobrium when she made a racial slur in front of the media.
- noun: the act or state of swinging back and forth with a steady, uninterrupted rhythm
- verb form: oscillate
- He observed a small clockwise motion of the pendulum's apparent plane of oscillation.
- adj.turned to bone; hardened like bone; Inflexible:
- "The ossified culture failed to adapt to new economic conditions and died out."
- noun: a song or hymn of praise and thanksgiving
- his retirement party featured many paeans for his long years of service to the company
- n.a writing or speech in praise of a person or thing
- A speech praising a new political theory is an example of a panegyric.
- wrote a panegyric on the centennial of the Nobel laureate's birth
- noun: a humorous imitation intended for ridicule or comic effect, esp. in literature and art
- He has a talent for writing parodies.
- n.a small sin or fault
- When you break a minor rule, this is an example of a peccadillo.
- 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.
- adj: penny-pinching; excessively thrifty; ungenerous
- Penurious behavior isn't confined to hosts these days.
- noun: poverty; destitution
- Many people in third world countries live in penury and misery.
- adj: recurrent through the year or many years; happening repeatedly
- Flooding is a perennial problem for people living by the river.
- adj.deliberately treacherous; dishonest (n: perfidy)
- A person who lies all the time is an example of someone who would be described as perfidious.
- We were betrayed by a perfidious ally.
- noun: intentional breach of faith; treachery
- adj form: perfidious
- They are guilty of perfidy.
- adj: cursory; done without care or interest
- the violinist delivered a perfunctory performance that displayed none of the passion and warmth he was once known for
- adj: extremely harmful; potentially causing death
- If you are going to behave in such a pernicious manner, I would prefer to not be around you.
- adj: acutely perceptive; having keen discernment
- noun form: perspicacity
- The perspicacious salesman earned a great living because he knew how to read his customers.
- verb: to examine with great care
- noun form: perusal
- Peruse the manual to set up your television.
- adj: having the tendency to permeate or spread throughout
- So the concept of brand loyalty is very pervasive out there.
- adj.easily or frequently annoyed, especially over trivial matters; childishly irritable
- An example of petulant is a toddler throwing a temper tantrum when they don't get their way.
- Her tone was petulant and angry.
- n.tendency or action for the benefit of others, as in donating money or property to a charitible organization
- An example of philanthropy is giving money to charity and volunteering.
- The family's philanthropy made it possible to build the public library.
- adj.not easily excited; cool; sluggish
- An example of a phlegmatic person is someone who remains cool and collected during emergencies.
- a strangely phlegmatic response to what should have been happy news
- verb: to yearn intensely; to languish; to lose vigor
- Some of us pine for that car that folds up into a suitcase.
- adj: extremely reverent or devout; showing strong religious devotion
- noun form: piety
- The students running around naked at Berkley Catholic University do not seem very pious.
- 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.
- v.to calm or reduce anger by making concessions:
- "The professor tried to placate his students by postponing the exam."
- adj.related to being shaped or molded; capable of being molded. (n: plasticity n: plastic)
- An example of something plastic is Play-Doh modeling compound.
- there's usually a plastic cordiality at these corporate events
- noun: a superficial remark, esp. one offered as meaningful
- These were platitudes dressed up as epiphanies to suit the populist mood.
- n.excessively large quantity; overabundance:
- "We received a plethora of applications for the position."
- 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.heavy; massive; awkward; dull:
- "A ponderous book is better than a sleeping pill."
- adj.concerned with facts; practical, as opposed to highly principled or traditional:
- "His pragmatic approach often offended idealists."
- (n: pragmatism)
- verb: to babble meaninglessly; to talk in an empty and idle manner
- They prattled on into the night, discussing school, music, and friends.
- n.cliff with a vertical or nearly vertical face; a dangerous place from which one is likely to fall; metaphorically, a very risky circumstance
- An example of a precipice is the edge of a cliff.
- He stood on the edge of the precipice.
- adj: acting with excessive haste or impulse
- verb: to cause to happen before anticipated or required
- The budget problem was precipitated by many unexpected costs.
- v., n.to fall; to fall downward suddenly and dramatically; to bring about or hasten the occurrence of something:
- "Old World diseases precipitated a massive decline in the American Indian population."
- noun: one that precedes and indicates or announces another
- All too often, high blood pressure is a precursor of heart disease.
- noun: a disposition in favor of something; preference
- a young lad with a predilection for telling tall tales
- verb: to dress up; to primp; to groom oneself with elaborate care
- The kiwi's distinctive scent comes from the wax it secretes to preen its feathers.
- noun: foreknowledge of events; knowing of events prior to their occurring
- adj form: prescient
- He predicted their response with amazing prescience.
- verb: to deliberately avoid the truth; to mislead
- Government officials prevaricated about the real costs of the project.
- adj: recklessly wasteful; extravagant; profuse; lavish
- They left others to gather up the flowers which they scattered with a prodigal hand.
- adj: abundant in size, force, or extent; extraordinary
- After overindulging in a prodigious meal, I really needed a nap.
- 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.
- adj: producing large volumes or amounts; productive
- The prolific chemical reaction produced a lot of carbon monoxide.
- v.to conciliate; to appease:
- "They made sacrifices to propitiate angry gods."
- adj.beautiful (n: pulchritude)
- A person who is very beautiful would be described as pulchritudinous.
- adj.cowardly, timid, or irreselute; petty:
- "The pusillanimous leader soon lost the respect of his people."
- verb: to rot; to decay and give off a foul odor
- adj form: putrid
- Dead bodies quickly putrefy and so become a health hazard to the living.
- verb: to drink deeply
- a man in a dinner suit quaffing champagne
- noun: misgivings; reservations; causes for hesitancy
- she has no qualms about downloading pirated music files from the Internet
- 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.
- noun: stillness; motionlessness; quality of being at rest
- adj form: quiescent
- South could draw several inferences from the opponents' quiescence.
- adj: obstinately defiant of authority; difficult to manage
- It is an astonishingly rancorous and controversial debate, with far-reaching implications.
- verb: to retract, esp. a previously held belief
- Witnesses threatened to recant their testimony when the court released their names to the paper.
- adj: awe-inspiring; worthy of honor
- The revolt speedily collapsed before this redoubtable commander, and Alem and the other leaders surrendered.
- verb: to disprove; to successfully argue against
- The lawyer refuted the testimony of the witness.
- verb: to forcibly assign, esp. to a lower place or position
- courtiers and generals who incurred the emperor's disfavor were soon relegated to the farther reaches of the empire
- 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: quiet; reserved; reluctant to express thoughts and feelings
- her husband is by nature a reticent person, and she resigned herself to that fact long ago
- 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.
- noun/verb: authoritative permission or approval; a penalty intended to enforce compliance; to give permission or authority
- Imposition of sanctions against Iraq.
- noun: a literary work that ridicules or criticizes a human vice through humor or derision
- adj form: satirical
- Its impossible to watch any kind of western satire with her.
- adj: concerned and attentive; eager
- I appreciated his solicitous inquiry about my health.
- 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: characterized by filth, grime, or squalor; foul
- he managed to rise above the sordid streets upon which he grew up
- 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: occurring only occasionally, or in scattered instances
- sporadic loud noises kept startling everyone
- adj: lacking authenticity or validity; false; counterfeit
- The quote may be spurious, but it contains a grain of truth.
- adj: sordid; wretched and dirty as from neglect
- noun form: squalor
- The urban poor often lived and worked in squalid and dangerous conditions.
- verb: to waste by spending or using irresponsibly
- squandered all her money gambling in casinos
- adj: not moving, active, or in motion; at rest
- the static installation of the statue in that niche means that no one will ever see its back, which is also of interest
- adj: indifferent to or unaffected by pleasure or pain; steadfast
- noun form: stoicism
- That night it's obvious to Jake that Skeet, usually stoic, is deeply upset.
- verb: to stun, baffle, or amaze
- stupefied by the ruling that he could not compete because his missed the qualifying age by two days
- verb: to block; to thwart
- Progress on the project has been stymied by lack of money.
- 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: to take the place of; to supersede
- Nintendo tried to supplant personal computers?
- 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 combination of parts to make a whole
- verb form: synthesize
- a philosophy that is a kind of synthesis of several schools of Western and Eastern thought
- 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: lethargic; sluggish; dormant
- noun form: torpor
- They usually sit in little tents, and make holes in the ice from which they capture torpid fish.
- noun: a force that causes rotation
- torque wrench
- adj: winding, twisting; excessively complicated
- a tortuous path up the mountain
- adj: fleeting; passing quickly; brief
- The snow is transient and will melt as soon as the sun appears.
- adj: fierce and cruel; eager to fight
- die-hard fans who became truculent and violent after their team's loss
- adj: existing everywhere at the same time; constantly encountered; widespread
- Personal computers have become ubiquitous in rich countries.
- adj: sophisticated; refined; elegant
- noun form: urbanity
- He was a good insurance broker: urbane and vigorous, and he could sell.
- noun: truthfulness, honesty
- We questioned the veracity of his statements.
- verb: to defame; to characterize harshly
- People tend to vilify gambling as the root of all evil.
- adj: extremely harmful or poisonous; bitterly hostile or antagonistic
- the virulent look on her face warned me that she was about to say something unkind
- adj: thick; sticky
- noun form: viscosity
- The resulting paste forms a wet, viscous brown dough.
- adj: having an insatiable appetite for an activity or pursuit; ravenous
- it seemed like the voracious kitten was eating her weight in food every day
- verb: to move to and fro; to sway; to be unsettled in opinion
- The kite wavered in the wind.
- 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.