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young woman making debut in high society
The debutante spent hours dressing for her very first ball, hoping to catch the eye of an eligible bachelor.
Synonyms: lady; maiden
Because the village was situated on the declivity of a hill, it never flooded.
Synonyms: decline; descent; grade; slant; tilt
proper; tasteful; socially correct
The countess trained her daughters in the finer points of decorous behavior, hoping they would make a good impression when she presented them at Court.
Synonyms: appropriate; comme il faut; courteous; polite
appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety
The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the decorum appropriate for a visit to the place.
Synonyms: correctness; decency; etiquette; manners; mores; propriety; seemliness
to mar the appearance of; vandalize
After the wall was torn down, the students, began to deface the statues of Communist leaders of the former Eastern Bloc.
Synonyms: disfigure; impair; spoil
the respectful young law clerk treated the Supreme Court justice with the utmost deference.
Synonyms: courtesy; homage; honor; obeisance; respect; reverence; veneration
subtly or unexpectedly harmful
If only we had known the clocks were defective before putting them on the market, it wouldn't have been quite so deleterious to our reputation.
Synonyms: adverse; inimical; injurious; hurtful
a leader or rabble-rouser, usually appealing to emotion or prejudice
He began his career as a demagogue, giving fiery speeches at political rallies.
Synonyms: agitator; inciter; instigator
to express doubts or objections
- When scientific authorities claimed that all the planets revolved around the Earth, Galileo, with his superior understanding of the situation, was forced to demur.
- Synonyms: dissent; expostulate; kick; protest; remonstrate
to speak of or treat with contempt; to mock
The awkward child was often derided by his "cooler" peers .
Synonyms: gibe; jeer; mock; ridicule; scoff; sneer; taunt
to dry out thoroughly
After a few weeks lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely desiccated.
Synonyms: dehydrate; dry; parch
jumping from one thing to another
Athena had a desultory academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in 3 years.
Synonyms: aimless; disconnected; erratic; haphazard; indiscriminate; objectless; purposeless; random; stray; unconsidered; unplanned
allowing light to show through; delicate
These diaphanous curtains do nothing to block out the sunlight.
Synonyms: gauzy; sheer; tenuous; translucent; transparent
an abusive, condemnatory speech
The trucker bellowed a diatribe at the driver who had cut him off.
Synonyms: fulmination; harangue; invective; jeremiad; malediction; obloquy; tirade
"You have time to lean, you have time to clean," was the dictum our boss made us live by.
Synonyms: adage; apothegm; aphorism; decree; edict
Steve's diffidence during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field.
Synonyms: backward; bashful; coy; demure; modest; retiring; self-effacing; shy; timid
to make larger; expand
When you enter a darkened room, the pupils of you eyes dilate so as to let more light in.
Synonyms: amplify; develop; elaborate; enlarge; expand; expatiate
someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic
Jerry's friends were such dilettantes they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week.
Synonyms: amateur; dabbler; superficial; tyro
a funeral hymn or mournful speech
Melville wrote the poem "A Dirge for James McPherson" for the funeral of a Union general who was killed in 1864.
Synonyms: elegy; lament
intended to delay
The congressman used dilatory measures to delay the passage of the bill.
Synonyms: dragging; flagging; laggard; lagging; slow; slow-footed; slow-going; slow-paced; tardy
to set right; free from error
Galileo's observations disabused scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the earth
Synonyms: correct; undeceive
to perceive or recognize
It is easy to discern the difference between butter and butter-flavored topping.
Synonyms: catch; descry; detect; differentiate; discriminate; distinguish; espy; glimpse; know;separate; spot; spy; tell
fundamentally different; entirely unalike
Although the twins are physically identical, their personalities are disparate.
Synonyms: different; dissimilar; divergent;diverse; variant; various
to present a false appearance; to disguise one's real intentions or character
The villain could dissemble to the police no longer-he admitted the deed and tore up the floor to reveal the stash of stolen money.
Synonyms: act; affect; assume; camouflage; cloak; counterfeit; cover-up; disguise; dissimulate; fake; feign; mask; masquerade; pose pretend; put on; sham
a harsh and disagreeable combination, especially of sounds
Cognitive dissonance is the inner-conflict produced when long-standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence.
Synonyms: clash; contention; discord; dissension; dissent; dissidence; friction; strife; variance
the female branch of the family
The lazy husband refused to cook dinner for his wife, joking that the duty belongs to the distaff's side.
to swell, inflate, or bloat
Her stomach was distended after she gorged on the six-course meal.
Synonyms: broaden; bulge
to act confusedly or without clear purpose
Ellen dithered around her apartment, uncertain how to tackle th family crisis.
Synonyms: falter; hesitate; vacillate; waffle; waver
existing during the day
Diurnal creatures tend to become inactive during the night.
Synonyms: daylight; daytime
to foretell or know by inspiration
The fortune-teller divined from the pattern of the tea leaved that her customer would marry five times.
Synonyms: auger; foresee; intuit; predict; presage
rigidly devoted to theories without regard for practicality; dogmatic
The professor's manner of teaching was considered doctrinaire for such a liberal school.
Synonyms: dictatorial; inflexible
a firmly held opinion, especially a religious belief
Linus's central dogma was that children who believe in the great pumpkin will be rewarded.
Synonyms: creed; doctrines; teaching; tenet
dictatorial in one's opinions
The dictator was dogmatic, claiming he, and only he, was right.
Synonyms: authoritarian; bossy; dictatorial; doctrinaire; domineering; imperious; magestrial; masterful; overbearing; peremptory
amusing in a wry, subtle way
Although the play couldn't be described as hilarious, it was certainly droll.
Synonyms: comic; entertaining; funny; risible; witty
to deceive; a person who is easily deceived
Bugs Bunny was able to dupe Elmer Fudd by dressing up as a lady rabbit.
Synonyms: beguile; betray; bluff; cozen; deceive; delude; fool; hoodwink; humbug; mislead; take in trick
suffering from indigestion; gloomy and irritable
The dyspeptic young man cast a gloom over the party the minute he walked in.
Synonyms: acerbic; melancholy; morose; solemn; sour
exhilarated; full of enthusiasm and high spirits
The ebullient child exhausted the babysitter, who lacked the energy to keep up with her.
Synonyms: ardent; avid; bubbly; zestful
selecting from or made up from a variety of sources
Budapest's architecture is an eclectic mix of eastern and western styles
Synonyms: broad; catholic; selective
to instruct morally and spiritually
The guru was paid to edify the actress in the ways of Buddhism.
Synonyms: educate; enlighten; guide; teach
The efficacy of penicillin was unsurpassed when it was introduced, completely eliminating almost all bacterial infections.
Synonyms: dynamism; effectiveness; efficiency; force; power; productiveness; proficiency; strength; vigor
stuffed doll; likeness of a person
In England, effigies of the historic rebel Guy Fawkes are burned in commemoration of his life.
Synonyms: dummy; figure; image
impudent boldness; audacity
The receptionist had the effrontery to laugh out loud when the CEO tripped over a computer wire and fell flat on his face.
Synonyms: brashness; gall; nerve; presumption; temerity
a sorrowful poem or speech
Though Thomas Gray's Elegy is about his death and loss, it urges its readers to endure this life, and to trust in spirituality.
Synonyms: dirge; lament
persuasive and moving; especially in speech
The Gettysburg Address is moving not only because of its lofty sentiments buts because its eloquent words.
Synonyms: articulate; expressive; fluent; meaningful; significant; smooth-spoken
to add ornamental or fictitious details
Britt embellished her résumé, hoping to make the lowly positions she had held sound more important.
Synonyms: adorn; bedeck; elaborate; embroiderer; enhance; exaggerate
to copy; to try to equal or excel
The graduate student sought to emulate his professor in every way, copying not only how she taught but how she conducted herself outside of class.
Synonyms: ape; imitate; simulate
Georgias's "Encomium to Helen" was written as a tribute to Helen of Troy.
Synonyms: citation; eulogy; panegyric; salutation; tribute
belonging to a particular area; inherent
The health department determined that the outbreak was endemic to the small village, so they quarantined the inhabitants before the virus could spread.
Synonyms: indigenous; local; native
to reduce in strength
The guerrillas hoped that a series of surprise attacks would enervate the regular army.
Synonyms: debilitate; enfeeble; sap; weaken
to produce, cause, or bring about
His fear and hatred of clowns was engendered when he witnessed a bank robbery carried out by five men wearing clown costumes and make-up.
Synonyms: beget; generate; procreate; proliferate; reproduce; spawn
a puzzle; a mystery
Speaking in riddles and dressed in old robes, the artist gained a reputation of something of an enigma.
Synonyms: conundrum perplexity
to count, list, or itemize
Before making his decision, Jacob asked the waiter to enumerate the different varieties of ice cream that the restaurant carried.
Synonyms: catalog; index; tabulate
lasting a short time
The lives of mayflies seem ephemeral to us, since the flies average lifespan is a matter of hours.
Synonyms: evanescent; fleeting; momentary; transient
person with a refined taste in food and wine
Niren is an epicure who always throws the most splendid dinner parties.
Synonyms: bon vivant; connoisseur; gastronome; gastronomist; gourmand; gourmet
to use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead
When faced with criticism of his policies, the politician equivocated and left all parties thinking he agreed with them.
Synonyms: ambiguous; evasive; waffling
wandering and unpredictable
The plot seemed predictable until it suddenly took a series of erratic turns that surprised the audience.
Synonyms: capricious; inconstant; irresolute; whimsical
Edda, a fashion maven, knew instantly that her friend's new Kate Spade bag was really an ersatz version purchased on the street.
Synonyms: artificial; dummy; false; imitation; mock; sham; simulated; spurious; substitute
learned, scholarly; bookish
The annual meeting of philosophy professors was a gathering of erudite, well-published individuals in the field.
Synonyms: learned; scholastic; wise
to shun; to avoid (as something wrong or distasteful)
The filmmaker eschewed artificial light for her actors, resulting in a stark movie style.
Synonyms: avoid; bilk; elude; escape; evade; shun; shy
known or understood only by a few
Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the esoteric world of particle physics.
Synonyms: abstruse; arcane; obscure
Most people consider it estimable that Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India.
Synonyms: admirable; commendable; creditable; honorable; laudable; meritorious; praiseworthy; respectable; venerable; worthy
beliefs or character of a group
It is the Boy Scouts' ethos that one should always be prepared.
Synonyms: culture; ethic; philosophy
speech in praise of someone
His best friend gave the eulogy, outlining his many achievements and talents.
Synonyms: commend; extol; laud
use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a more distasteful one
The funeral director preferred to use the euphemism "sleeping" instead of the word 'dead'.
pleasant, harmonious sound
To their loving parents, the children's orchestra sounded like euphony, although an outside observer probably would have called it a cacophony of hideous sounds.
Synonyms: harmony; melody; music; sweetness
to make worse
It is unwise to try to take aspirin to try to relieve heartburn since instead of providing relief it will only exacerbate the problem.
Synonyms: aggravate; annoy; intensify; irritate; provoke
to clear from blame; prove innocent
The legal system is intended to convict those who are guilty and exculpate those who are innocent.
Synonyms: absolve; acquit; clear; exonerate; vindicate
urgent; requiring immediate action
The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was exigent to stop the source of the bleeding.
Synonyms: critical; imperative; needed; urgent
to clear of blame
The fugitive was exonerated when another criminal confessed to committing the crime.
Synonyms: absolve; acquit; clear; exculpate; vindicate
clearly stated or shown; forthright in expression
In Reading Comprehension, questions that ask directly about a detail in the passage are sometimes called Explicit Text questions.
Synonyms: candid; clear-cut; definite; definitive; express; frank; specific; straightforward; unambiguous; unequivocal
one who champions or advocates
The vice president was an enthusiastic exponent of computer technology.
Synonyms: representative; supporter
Government propagandists expurgated all the negative references to the dictator from the film.
Synonyms: bowdlerize; cut; sanitize
This field should lie fallow for a year so the soil does not become completely depleted.
Synonyms: idle; inactive; unseeded
acting excessively enthusiastic; filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion
The storm troopers were fanatical in their devotion to the emperor, readily sacrificing their lives for him.
Synonyms: extremist; fiery; frenzied; zealous
stupid; foolishly self-satisfied
Ted's fatuous comments always embarrassed his keen-witted wife at parties.
Synonyms: absurd; ludicrous; preposterous; ridiculous; silly
The understudy fawned over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis.
Synonyms: bootlick; grovel; pander; toady
fertile; fruitful; productive
The fecund couple yielded a total of 20 children.
Synonyms: flourishing; prolific
intensely emotional; feverish
The fans of Maria Callas were particularly fervid, doing anything to catch a glimpse of the great opera singer.
Synonyms: burning; impassioned; passionate; vehement; zealous
The fetid stench from the outhouse caused Francesca to wrinkle her nose in disgust.
Synonyms: funk; malodorous; noisome; rank; stinky
to decline in vigor, strength , or interest
The marathon runner slowed down as his strength flagged.
Synonyms: dwindle; ebb; slacken; subside; wane
excessively decorated or embellished
The palace had been decorated in an excessively florid style; every surface had been carved and gilded.
Synonyms: baroque; elaborate; flamboyant; ornate; ostentatious; rococo
to arouse or incite
- The rebels tried to foment revolutions through their attacks on the government.
- Synonyms: agitate; impassion; inflame; instigate; kindle
to cross a body of water by wading
Because of the recent torrential rains, the cowboys were unable to ford the swollen river.
Synonyms: traverse; wade
to prevent or delay; anticipate
The landlord forestalled T.J.'s attempt to avoid paying the rent by waiting for him outside his door.
Synonyms: avert; deter; hinder; obviate; preclude
happening by chance; fortunate
It was fortuitous that he won the lotto just before he had to pay back his loans.
Synonyms: chance; fortunate; haphazard; lucky; propitious; prosperous
The general had a hard time maintaining discipline among his fractious troops.
Synonyms: contentious; cranky; peevish; quarrelsome
The employee's frenetic schedule lefty her little time to socialize.
Synonyms: corybantic; delirious; feverish; mad; rabid; wild
tending to be thrifty or cheap
Scrooge McDuck's frugality was so great that he accumulated enough wealth to fill a giant storehouse with money.
Synonyms: economical; parsimony; prudence; sparing
Glenn was furtive when he peered out of the corner of his eye at the stunningly beautiful model.
Synonyms: clandestine; covert; shifty; surreptitious; underhand