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- involving punishment
- If caught smoking in the boys’ room, the punitive result is immediate expulsion from school
- the action of depriving someone of membership in an organization.
- expulsion from school
- rotten, foul
- Those rotten eggs smell putrid
- Meaning to suppress or overcome, quell is what you have to do with nerves before a big test and fears before going skydiving.
- The skilled leader deftly quelled the rebellion
- to scold, protest
- The professor railed against the injustice of the college’s tenure policy
- mutual understanding and harmony
- If you have good rapport with your neighbors, they won't mind if you kick your ball onto their property every now and then.
A rash is something that spreads like wild fire — red itchy skin or a series of unfortunate events. It can also describe an impulsive, wild decision.
- to scold, criticize
- When the cops showed up at Sarah’s party, they rebuked her for disturbing the peace
recalcitrant, intransigent, resistant, obstinate, uncooperative
- respond to (a gesture or action) by making a corresponding one.
- the favor was reciprocated
morally correct behavior or thinking; righteousness
- 1. to vomit
- 2. to throw back exactly
- Margaret rushed through the test, regurgitating all of the facts she’d memorized an hour earlier
- to enjoy
- Pete always relished his bedtime snack
- If you know that a remedy is a type of medicine, then you have a clue to the meaning of remedial
- tending or intended to rectify or improve
- negligent, failing to take care
- The burglar gained entrance because the security guard, remiss in his duties, forgot to lock the door
- to reject
- Fiona’s renunciation of red meat resulted in weight loss, but confused those people who thought she’d been a vegetarian for years
- penitent, sorry
- The repentant Dennis apologized profusely for breaking his mother’s vase
- to rest, lie down
- The cat, after eating an entire can of tuna fish, reposed in the sun and took a long nap
- cancel or postpone the punishment
- Because the governor woke up in a particularly good mood, he granted hundreds of reprieves to prisoners
- 1. to disgust; cause aversion in
- 2. to push back
- With a deft movement of her wrist and a punch to the stomach, Lacy repulsed Jack’s attempt to kiss her.)
having a good reputation
- restoration to the rightful owner
- Many people feel that descendants of slaves should receive restitution for the sufferings of their ancestors
all of the offspring of a given progenitor
- to take back
- After missing the curfew set by the court for eight nights in a row, Marcel’s freedom of movement was revoked.
Curfew is a rule or law that sets a time that certain people have to be off the streets. A town may set a curfew for teenagers, for example, although many parents impose a stricter curfew for their own kids
- something spoken about with extreme enthusiasm
- The critic rhapsodized about the movie, calling it an instant classic
semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation
- sharp, critical, hurtful
- Two hours after breaking up with Russell, Suzanne thought of the perfect scathing retort to his accusations.
- What's a retort? It's a reply that's short.
- "Why did the monkey fall out of the tree; please give me a report?" I said "The monkey's dead," with a dry retort.
- intended to make someone feel mortified or humiliated
- scornful, contemptuous, scathing, stinging
Something scintillating is flashing briefly and sharply with light. Scintillating conversations are smart and captivating
- a visual signal
- Anne and Diana communicated with a semaphore involving candles and window shades
- original, important, creating a field
- Picasso probably produced more than a few seminal works of art, for example.
- Sobriety is the state of being sober, which can mean either not intoxicated or being solemn
- sedate, calm
- Jason believed that maintaining his sobriety in times of crisis was the key to success in life
- believing that oneself is all that exists
- extreme egocentrism
- Colette’s solipsistic attitude completely ignored the plight of the homeless people on the street
- not based in fact
- Sadly, Tessa was convicted on merely speculative evidence
In common use, sublime is an adjective meaning "awe-inspiringly grand, excellent, or impressive," like the best chocolate fudge sundae you've ever had.
Swarthy means dark skinned. If you like tall, dark and handsome girls, you find a swarthy complexion attractive.
- Tangential refers to something that's not part of the whole. If you make a comment that is tangential to the story you're telling, it's a digression. The story could still be understood without it.
- of superficial relevance if any
When something is tantamount to another thing it is essentially its equivalent. For some animal activists, wearing fur is tantamount to murder
- able to be defended or maintained
- To be tenable is to be evidence-based and well-founded.
one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors
- fearful, shaky and quivering
- If you're nervous at your first big job interview, your hands might be a little tremulous.
You might know the idea of the adjective unctuous by other words like "oily," "smarmy," or overly "flattering." When a person is unctuous, you can't trust their kindness, because they usually want something in return.
- If something is vicarious, it delivers a feeling or experience from someone else. If your child becomes a big star, you might have a vicarious experience of celebrity.
- experiencing through another
- The vindictive madman seeks to exact vengeance for any insult that he perceives is directed at him, no matter how small
To wallow is to roll about in something, as a pig wallows in mud or a billionaire wallows in money.
- "You're looking quite wizened today," is a something you should never, ever say to your grandmother, no matter how shriveled with age she might be.
- dry, shrunken, wrinkled
- to join, link
- We yoked together the logs by tying a string around them
- a gentle breeze
- If not for the zephyrs that were blowing and cooling us, our room would’ve been unbearably hot.)
- not showing a serious or respectful attitude;
- when one of your guests spill a glass of red wine on your new carpet and say "Whatever," you could say the person is being flippant
Appease means to make or preserve peace with a nation, group, or person by giving in to their demands, or to relieve a problem, as in "the cold drink appeased his thirst."
Perhaps you avoid babysitting your baby brother because you're worried that if he starts to cry, you won’t be able to console him or make him feel better. Or maybe you just hate changing diapers
fanatic; a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals
An itinerant is a person who moves from place to place, typically for work, like the itinerant preacher who moves to a new community every few years
Obdurate is a formal word meaning stubborn. If you want to major in English, but your parents are obdurate that you should go premed, they might go so far as to threaten not to pay your tuition
Using spells, believing in evil spirits, and other examples of witchcraft are all part of sorcery. Sorcery is popular with wizards and witches and anyone else with a bubbling caldron.
Spooky, sneaky, powerful and strange,necromancy is the art of raising the spirits of the dead, either for their predictions about the future, or their ghostly help in making something happen.
If you don't notice or aren't aware, it means that the adjective oblivious applies to you!
If you disapprove of the overly submissive way someone is acting — like the teacher's pet or a celebrity's assistant — call them by the formal adjective obsequious.
Obstreperous means boisterous, noisy, aggressive, defiant. You've probably seen an obstreperous child in the grocery store, pulling away from her mother, screaming at the top of her lungs.
Recycling bins, garbage dumps, and junkyards are filled with obsolescent stuff — computers, televisions, cars, and everything else that's discarded because it's not the latest thing anymore.
If everyone decided to litter, or drop trash on the ground, the world would be covered in garbage. Litter doesn't always have to be trashy though. When a cat has kittens, they are born as a litter.
The word ravage can be used as a noun or a verb meaning destruction or to destroy. In a war, bombs and the attacking army will ravage the country under siege( surrounded on all sides); devastate, ruin, destroy
A surplus is something extra or left over. If your tree produces more apples than you can eat, you can make apple-sauce with the surplus of apples.
When you do something hastily you rush through it in a hurried manner. If you write an essay hastily, don't expect an A.
Irrigation is the watering of land to make it ready for agriculture. If you want to start a strawberry farm in the desert, irrigation will be necessary.
A realm is an area that is ruled by something. If you are a controlling cook who doesn’t like anyone to do anything else in the kitchen, then the kitchen is your realm
If something lasts forever or even it if just feels like it’s going to last forever, you could call it eternal, which means that it goes on and on and will never change or end.
- A flurry of activity and commotion is often referred to as bustle. If you want to see true bustle in action, just walk through Times Square in New York during lunch hour.
- rush, dash, hurry
- a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid
- the foray was met with little resistance
- raid, attack, assault, incursion
Use the adjective medieval to describe something from the Middle Ages, or something so backwards that it might as well be from the Middle Ages. A teacher once rapped your knuckles with a ruler as punishment? That’s practically medieval!
If two things are akin, then they're similar or related. A cupcake is akin to a cake and relatives are akin to each other.
- a sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity
- a paroxysm of weeping
- convulsion, seizure, outburst, eruption
When the homeowner described her ant problem as a plague, the exterminator thought she was being a bit melodramatic. After all, a few bugs aren't exactly a huge calamity.
causing irritation or annoyance
provide (soldiers) with accommodations in a building or set of buildings.
When you swaddle a baby, you wrap her in a blanket. Parents often swaddle a crying newborn to soothe and comfort her.
treat in an indulgent or overprotective way
The brink of something is the very edge of it. If you want to give your mom a good scare, stand on the brink of a steep cliff and slowly lean forward.
We are sorry to inform you that the adjective contrite means to feel regret, remorse, or even guilt.
If you present something for acceptance or rejection, you proffer it. Say your mom is under so much stress she forgets her own birthday. You may want to proffer her some advice, like, "Quit that job."
- the psychological state of being irritated or annoyed
- he was huffing under a heavy load
- think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
- I pondered the question of what clothes to wear for the occasion
The verb inquire means "to ask for information." If you wonder about how the world began, you inquire about its origin.
If you are really upset or sorry about something, you might lament it. A lament is full of regret and grief.
Torturous describes anything that involves terrible suffering. Visiting a veal farm and witnessing the torturous conditions the calves are kept in might convince you to become a vegetarian.
- making a loud, confused noise; uproarious.
- tumultuous applause
Affirmative is a word for confirming or approving things. A formal way of saying "Yes" is "Affirmative!"
a slender woody shoot growing from a branch or stem of a tree or shrub
Wither means to shrivel up or shrink. If you forget to water your plants for six weeks, they'll wither — they'll dry up and you probably won't be able to bring them back to life.
To prune means to clip, crop, cut back, and weed out. Pruning usually happens to overgrown trees and bushes, but can also be helpful for wild eyebrows and guest lists that are too long.
An agenda is a list of things to do. If you're going to attend a meeting with a long agenda, you'll want to take your coffee mug along.
- An engine needs each of its part to work. It has gears which have wheels. Each wheel has cogs, or tiny teeth that fit together, making the wheel turn, the engine run. Every cog is essential to that engine.
- cogs to mesh
- A clumsy, incompetent person — or an ineffective action — is inept. When you're inept, you don't know what you're doing or just can't get it done.
- incompetent, unskillful, unskilled
If something vexes you, it brings you trouble or difficulty. In other words, it annoys, worries, distresses, irritates, bothers, or puzzles you.
To beguile is to trick someone, either with deception or with irresistible charm and beauty. You could be beguiled by a super model or by a super con artist.
lacking grace in movement or posture
Something alluring is attractive and enticing, often in a sexual way. Alluring things are tempting.
- A pithy phrase or statement is brief but full of substance and meaning. Proverbs and sayings are pithy; newspaper columnists give pithy advice
- terse, concise