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extremely sacred; beyond criticism
Many people considered Mother Teresa to be sacrosanct and would not tolerate any criticism of her.
Owls have a reputation for being sagacious, perhaps because of their big eyes, which resemble glasses.
prominent; of notable significance
His most salient characteristic is his tendency to dominate every conversation.
Rundown and sickly, Rita hoped that the fresh mountain air would have a salubrious effect on her health.
ruddy; cheerfully optimistic
A sanguine person thinks the glass is half full, whereas a depressed person thinks it's half empty.
cynical; scornfully mocking
Isabella was offended by the sardonic way in which her date made fun of her ideas and opinions.
to satisfy full or overindulge
His desire for power was so great that nothing less than complete control of the country could satiate it.
This poison is so powerful that no more than a scintilla is needed to kill a horse.
behavior that promotes rebellion or civil disorder against the state
Li was arrested for sedition after he gave a fiery speech in the main square.
aware; able to perceive
The anesthetic didn't work, and I was still sentient when the dentist started drilling.
Selena's seraphic appearance belied her nasty, bitter personality.
a well-paying job or office that requires little or no work
The corrupt mayor made sure to set up all his relatives with sinecures within the administration.
to calm down or moderate
In order to slake his curiosity, Bryan finally took a tour backstage at the theater.
One of Ronald Reagan's sobriquets was "The Gipper."
grammatical mistake; blunder in speech
"I ain't going with you," she said, obviously unaware of her solecism.
causing sleep or lethargy
The movie proved to be so soporific that soon loud snores could be heard form throughout the cinema.
highly self-disciplined; frugal; austere
When he was in training, the athlete preferred to stay in a spartan room, so he could shut out all distractions.
deceptively attractive; seemingly plausible but fallacious
The student's specious excuse for being late sounded legitimate, but was proved otherwise when his teacher called his home.
The lakeside vacation meant more sportive opportunities for the kids than the wine tour through France.
a state of static balance or equilibrium; stagnation
The rusty, ivy-covered WWII tank had obviously been in stasis for years.
Cullen couldn't hear her speaking over the stentorian din of the game on TV.
a mark or discredit
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne was required to wear the letter A on her clothes as a public stigma for her adultery.
unemotional; lacking sensitivity
The prisoner appeared stolid and unaffected by the judge's harsh sentence.
trick designed to deceive an enemy
The Trojan Horse must be one of the most successful military stratagems used throughout history.
lofty or grand
The music was so sublime that it transformed the rude surroundings into a special place.
to tarnish; taint
With the help of a public relations firm, he was able to restore his sullied reputation.
to replace (another) by force; to take the place of
The overthrow of the government meant a new leader to supplant the tyrannical former one.
Because of the surfeit of pigs, pork prices have never been lower.
rude and bad-tempered
When asked to clean the windshield, the surly gas station attendant tossed a dirty rag at the customer and walked away.
a person devoted to pleasure and luxury
A confirmed sybarite, the nobleman fainted at the thought of having to leave his place and live in a small cottage.
a self-serving flatterer; yes-man
Dreading criticism, the actor surrounded himself with admirers and sycophants.
cooperation; mutual helpfulness
The rhino and the tick-eating bird live in symbiosis; the rhino provides the bird with ticks to eat and the bird rids the rhino of parasites.
temporary irregularity in musical rhythm
A jazz enthusiast will appreciate the use of syncopation in this musical genre.
done without using words
Although not a word was said, everyone in the room knew that a tacit agreement had been made about what course of action to take.
silent; not talkative
The clerk's taciturn nature earned him the nickname Silent Bob.
claw of an animal, especially a bird of prey
A vulture holds its prey in its talons while it dismembers it with its beak.
Your argument is interesting, but it's tangential to the matter at hand, so I suggest we get back to the point.
gaudy, cheap, or showy
The performer changed into her tawdry, spangled costume and stepped out onto the stage to do her show.
earthly; down-to-earth; commonplace
Many "extraterrestrial" object turn out to be terrestrial in origin, as when flying saucers turn out to be normal airplanes.
long, harsh speech or verbal attack
Observers were shocked at the manager's tirade over such a minor mistake.
one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors
The king was surrounded by toadies who rushed to agree with whatever outrageous thing he said.
book, usually large and academic
The teacher was forced to refer to various tomes to find the answer to the advanced student's question.
extreme mental and physical sluggishness
After surgery, the patient's torpor lasted several hours until the anesthesia wore off.
temporary; lasting a brief time
The reporter lived a transitory life, staying in one place only long enough to cover the current story.
acute, sharp, or incisive; forceful; effective
Tyrone's trenchant observations in class made him the professor's favorite student.
swollen as from a fluid; bloated
In the process of osmosis, water passes through the walls of turgid cells, ensuring that they never contain too much water
An obvious tyro at salsa, Millicent received no invitations to dance.
The businessman took umbrage at the security guard's accusation that he had shoplifted a packet of gum.
unscrupulous; shockingly unfair or unjust
After she promised me the project, the fact that she had gave it to someone else is unconscionable.
The jury's verdict was unequivocal: the organized crime boss would be locked up for life.
to scold sharply
The teacher upbraided the student for scrawling graffiti all over the walls of the school.
the practice of lending money at exorbitant rates
The moneylender was convicted to usury when it was discovered that he charged 50% interest on all his loans.
to physically sway or to be indecisive
The customer held up the line as he vacillated between ordering chocolate-chip or rocky-road ice cream.
varied; marked with different colors
The variegated foliage of the jungle allows it to support thousands of different animals.
respected because of age
All of the villager sought the venerable woman's advice whenever they had a problem.
to respect deeply
In a traditional Confucian society, the young venerate their elders, deferring to the elder's wisdom and experience.
with truth and accuracy
She had a reputation for veracity, so everyone trusted her description of events.
The professor's answer was so verbose that his student forgot what the original question had been.
green with vegetation; inexperienced
He wandered deep into the verdant woods in search of mushrooms and other edible flora.
related to spring; fresh
Bea basked in the balmy vernal breezes, happy that winter was coming to an end.
a trace; remnant
Vestiges of the former tenant still remained in the apartment, though he hadn't lived there for years.
to annoy; irritate; puzzle; confuse
The old man who loved his peace and quiet was vexed by his neighbor's loud music.
a change or variation; ups and downs
Investors must be prepared for vicissitudes of the stock market.
vitality and energy
The vim with which she worked so early in the day was explained why she was so productive.
thick and adhesive; like a slow-flowing fluid
Most viscous liquids, like oil or honey, become even thicker as they are cooled down.
to abuse verbally; berate
Vituperating someone is never a constructive way to effect change.
easily aroused or changeable; lively or explosive
His volatile personality made it difficult to predict his reaction to anything.
talkative; speaking easily; glib
The voluble man and his reserved wife proved the old saying that opposite's attract.
The sick child had a wan face, in contrast to her rosy-cheeked sister.
undisciplined; unrestrained; reckless
The townspeople were outraged by the wanton display of disrespect when they discovered the statue of the town founder covered in graffiti.
to fluctuate between choices
If you waver too long before making a decision about which testing site to register for, you may not get your first choice.
lightly acting in a fanciful or capricious manner; unpredictable
The ballet was whimsical, delighting the children with its imaginative characters and unpredictable sets.
Yet again, the wily coyote managed to elude the ranchers who wanted to capture it.
charming; happily engaging
Lenore gave the doorman a winsome smile, and he let her pass in front of the line.
shriveled; whithered; wrinkled
The wizened old man was told that the plastic surgery necessary to make him look young again would cost more money than he could imagine.
a ghost or specter; a ghost of a living person seen just before his or her death
Gideon thought he saw a wraith late one night as he sat vigil outside his great uncle's bedroom door.
a fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers
Countries in which xenophobia is prevalent often have more restrictive immigration policies than countries that are more open to foreign influences.
to join together
As soon as the farmer had yoked his oxen together, he began to plow the fields.
She brought her typical zeal to the project, sparking enthusiasm in the other team members.
someone passionately devoted to a cause
The religious zealot had no time for those who failed to share his strong beliefs.
the point of culmination; peak
the diva considered her appearance at the Metropolitan Opera the zenith of her career.
a gentle breeze; something airy or unsubstantial
The zephyr from the ocean made the intense heat on the beach bearable for the sunbathers.