DEFINITION: a lack; smallness or insufficiency of number
SENTENCE: The paucity of good doctors is one reason for the health crises in many rural and poor parts of the world.
SYNONYMS: scarcity, dearth, deficit, drought
DEFINITION: 1. long-winded, unimportant speech. 2. to speak in a foolish manner; to babble incessantly
SENTENCE: 1. It is difficult to listen to my neighbor's useless prattle about aliens and conspiracy theories. 2. Sometimes Achmed listens to TV marketers prattle on about the appliances they are selling when he sculpts or paints.
SYNONYMS: chatter, mutter, jabber
ANTONYMS: articulate, eloquent
DEFINITION: dry, humorous with a clever twist and a touch of irony
SENTENCE: British film and television is characterized by complicated wry humor as well as slapstick comedy.
SYNONYMS: witty, droll, amusing
ANTONYMS: formal, grave, serious
DEFINITION: not bound by or conforming to rule or precedent; out of the ordinary
SENTENCE: Annabel was an unconventional commuter because she could hang glide to work every day from her house on a hill. She had to carpool home.
SYNONYMS: different, eccentric, nonconformist
ANTONYMS: traditional, conformist, conventional
DEFINITION: different from what is usually done or accepted; not conforming to rules or modes of conduct, as of doctrine, religion, or philosophy
SENTENCE: To solve frustrations with standards of education, some schools are offering unorthodox programs like outdoor classrooms.
DEFINITION: taking trouble or pains by being diligent and extremely careful
SENTENCE: Paleontology is painstaking work that often demands being hunched over for hours a day, brushing dirt away from ancient bones and artifacts one tiny layer at a time.
SYNONYMS: thorough, exacting, conscientious
ANTONYMS: careless, cursory, sloppy
DEFINITION: careful about doing something in an extremely accurate and exact way; overbearing attention to detail
SENTENCE: Lauri is the best nail stylist in the salon because of her meticulous work, which always results in the most impressive, detailed, and creative patterns.
DEFINITION: showing an unusual willingness to take risks; fearlessly, often recklessly daring; very bold
SENTENCE: New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has shown herself to be an audacious politician, as the first senator ever to publish her personal tax returns for every year she has been in office on her website.
SYNONYMS: brave, courageous, valiant
ANTONYMS: meek, timid, docile
DEFINITION: marked by a lack of interest or concern
SENTENCE: Aaron didn't want to spend the evening with his parents at all, so he was indifferent as to where they ate dinner.
SYNONYMS: unconcerned, neutral, blase
ANTONYMS: opinionated, concerned, biased
DEFINITION: uncaring, to the point of being unresponsible or without emotion
SENTENCE: Nate was so saddened by the death of his dog, Sneaker, that he was apathetic to everything else for days.
DEFINITION: lacking self-confidence; self-effacing; not assertive
SENTENCE: Many kids struggle not to be diffident in middle school and high school, when they are less sure of themselves.
SYNONYMS: shy, bashful, reserved
ANTONYMS: outspoken, outgoing, confident
DEFINITION: practical; sensible; not idealistic or romantic
SENTENCE: Protestant King Henry IV made a pragmatic decision to resolve a crisis by choosing to become Catholic for his Catholic-dominated country.
SYNONYMS: realistic, utilitarian, efficient
ANTONYMS: idealistic, impractical, insensible
DEFINITION: to bring to mind; to elicit, draw forth, or cause to appear
SENTENCE: Some people think that sooth sayers can evoke spirits of the dead from other realms.
DEFINITION: overbearing; impertinently bold; characterized by brashly overstepping one's place
SENTENCE: Anna's father thought she was being a little presumptuous by trying out names for her car before she had one, so he bought her a bicycle to get to and from school.
SYNONYMS: arrogant, pompus, smug
ANTONYMS: humble, modest, submissive
DEFINITION: stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance; obstinate; obdurate
SENTENCE: In Amy Winehouse's song "Rehab", her friends and family all beg her to go to rehab, but she is recalcitrant and declares, "No, no, no."
SYNONYMS: rebellious, obstinate, resistant
ANTONYMS: passive, obedient, agreeable
DEFINITION: a timely benefit; something pleasant or helpful; a blessing
SENTENCE: Jeremy's happy, bubbly presence proved to be a boon to the entire rowing team, making them all work harder and enjoy the time they spent in their boats.
SYNONYMS: advantage, perk, benefit
ANTONYMS: handicap, harm, hinderance
DEFINITION: a person or thing that ruins or spoils; a source of harm or destruction
SENTENCE: Andy's disruptive and inappropriate comments were the bane of our class field trip; they didn't allow anyone to have any fun.
SYNONYMS: nuisance, torment, curse
ANTONYMS: boon, fortune, blessing
DEFINITION: done in a private place or way; done secretly; covert
SENTENCE: Secret societies meet in clandestine locations so as not to be discovered by others.
SYNONYMS: concealed, hidden, stealthy
ANTONYMS: overt, forthwright, direct
DEFINITION: done, made, or acquired by stealth; secret
SENTENCE: Eddy thought he was being surreptitious when he passed a note to Jill behind Mr. Ingalls's back, but Mr. Ingalls caught him and gave him detention anyway.
DEFINITION: agreeable; pleasant and easy to get along with; warm and friendly
SENTENCE: Ronald McDonald, the affable spokesman for the 74-year-old fast food company McDonalds, always appears fun and good-natured in the company's advertisements.
SYNONYMS: amenable, sociable, charming
ANTONYMS: disagreeable, hostile, irritable
DEFINITION: marked by sympathy and friendliness; cheerful or cordial
SENTENCE: My uncle, who likes to tell everyone stories and jokes, is my most genial relative.
DEFINITION: enjoying the company of other people; sociable; outgoing
SENTENCE: Amir is so gregarious, he makes new friends everywhere he goes.
DEFINITION: pleasant and good-natured
SENTENCE: Jillian is too amiable to be bothered by her own shortness, and instead often makes jokes referencing her lack of height.
DEFINITION: puzzled; confused; bewildered; very perplexed; mystified
SENTENCE: Franky loves to confound new friends by asking them why people park in driveways and drive in parkways.
SYNONYMS: befuddled, baffled, dazed
ANTONYMS: certain, cognizant, sure
DEFINITION: huge; massive; enormous
SENTENCE: Michael Jackson displayed a prodigious talent for music and dance from a very early age.
SYNONYMS: gigantic, collossal, monumental
ANTONYMS: tiny, small, little
DEFINITION: unclear; uncertain; open to more than one definition; not definitive
SENTENCE: People often describe lawyers' defence of criminals as "morally ambiguous," because everyone should have a fair trial, but if they are guilty, they should not be able to escape punishment.
SYNONYMS: vague, cloudy, questionable
ANTONYMS: clear, definite, explicit
DEFINITION: to express disapproval; scold; rebuke; censure
SENTENCE: My mother was quick to reproach me when I arrived thirty minutes late for family dinner.
SYNONYMS: admonish, scorn, denounce
ANTONYMS: praise, compliment, laud
DEFINITION: a sentimental longing for the past
SENTENCE: I always feel nostalgia for my old elementary school when I visit the neighborhood where I grew up.
DEFINITION: an inference based upon guesswork; a supposition without evidence or proof
SENTENCE: Scientists have offered a number of conjectures to explain why the Age of Dinosaurs came to an abrupt end.