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- DEFINITION: having simultaneous, opposing feelings; being unable to choose what to do
- SENTENCE: Karen feels ambivalent about what to do on her afternoon with Marc; she wants to go to the beach because she loves the sun, but she has also been longing to see the new summer action movie.
- SYNONYMS: uncertain, unsure, wavering
- ANTONYMS: resolute, definite, clear
- DEFINITION: a deviation from the common rule; something that is not normal
- SENTENCE: Scientists call the only known zebra with orange stripes an "anomaly."
- SYNONYMS: odditiy, deviation, inconsistency
- ANTONYMS: normality, conformity, sameness
- DEFINITION: marked by harsh or bitter irony, or the use of words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny
- SENTENCE: The teacher did not appreciate his student's sarcasm when he asked if she had a phone under her desk and she responded "No, it's a deadly laser beam."
- SYNONYMS: acerbic, biting, smart-alecky
- ANTONYMS: complimentary, respectful, pleasant
- DEFINITION: showing disrespect or scorn for someone or something
- SENTENCE: Though politicians often attempt to be polite during a public debate, when the conversation becomes heated, they often revert to harsh, sardonic comments.
- SYNONYMS: derisive, mocking, cynical
- DEFINITION: a scarcity or shortage of something
- SENTENCE: California is currently suffering from a drought, which is hard for its huge agriculture business because of the dearth of water available to irrigate crop fields.
- SYNONYMS: insufficiency, paucity, lack, deficiency
- ANTONYMS: abundance, excess, plenty
- 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.
- SYNONYMS: guess, hypothesize, theorize