To make briefer, to shorten. Becuase time was running out, the speaker was forced to abbreviate his remarks. abbreviation (noun)
A deviation from what is normal or natural, an abnormality. Jack's extravagant lunch at Lutece was an aberration from his usual meal, a peanut butter sandwich and a diet soda. aberrant (adjective)
A temporary lapse in activity; suspension. In the aftermath of the bombing, all normal activities were held in abeyance.
To renounce or reject; to officially disclaim. While being tried by the inquisition in 1933, Galileo objured all his writings holding that the earth and other planets revolved around the sun.
To irritate by rubbing; to swear down in spirit. Olga;s "conditioning facial" abraded Sabrina's skin so severely that she vowed never to let anyone's hands touch her face again. abrasion (noun)
To shorten, to reduce. The Bill of Rights is designed to prevent Congress from abridging the rights of Americans. abridgement. (noun)
To nullify, to abolish. During World War II, the United States abrogated the rights of the Japanese Americans by detaining them in interment camps. abrogation. (noun)
To make a secret departure, to elope. Theresa will never forgive her daughter, Elena, for absconding to Miami with Phillip when they were only 17.
A gradual build-up or enlargement. My mother's house is a mess because of her steady accretion of bric-a-brac and her inabibility to throw anything away.
Someting added to another thing, but not a part of it; an associate or assistant. While Felix and Fritz were adjuncts to Professor Himmelman during his experiments in electrodynamics, they did not receive credit when the results were published.
Skillful, adept. The writer Laurie Colwin was particularly adroit at concocting love stories involving admirable and quirky female heroines and men who deserve them.
To corrupt, to make impure. Unlike the chickens from the large pultry companies, Murray's free-roaming chickens have not been adulterated with hormones and other additives.
An enemy or opponent. When the former Soviet Union became an American ally, the United States lost its last major international adversary. adverse (adjective)
Someone devoted to beaty and to beautiful things. A renowned aesthete, Oscar Wilde was the center of a group that glorified beauty and adopted the slogan "art for art's sake." aesthetic (adjective)
The quality of being easy to talk to and gracious. Affability is a much-desired trait in any profession that involves dealing with many people on a daily basis. affable (adjective)
False, artificial. At one time, Japanese women were taught to speak in an affected high-pitched voice, which was thought girlishly attractive. affect (verb), affectation (noun)
A feeling of shared attraction, kinship; a similarity. When they first fell in love, Andrew and Tanya marveled over their affinity for bluegrass music, obscure French poetry and beer taken with a squirt of lemon juice. People often say there is a striking affinity between dogs and their owners (but please don't tell Clara that she and her bassett hound are starting to resemble each other).
To make bigger or greater; to inflate. When he was mayor of New York City, Ed Koch was renowned for aggrandizing his accomplishments and strolling through city events shouting, "How'm I doing?" aggrandizement (noun)
A disturbance; a disturbing feeling of upheaval and excitement. After the CEO announced the coming layoffs, the employees' agitation was evident as they remained in the auditorium talking excitedly among themselves. agitated (adjective), agitate (verb)
An assumed name. Determined not to reveal his upper-class roots, Harold Steerforth Heringthon III went under the alias of "Hound Dog" when playing trumpet in blues band.
Loyalty or devotion shown to one's government or to a person, group, or cause. At the moving naturalization ceromony, 43 new Americans from twenty-five lands swore allegiance to the United States.
To apportion for a specific purpose; to distribute. The president talked about the importance of education and health care in his State of the Union address, but, in the end, the administration did not allocate enough resources for these pressing concerns. allocation (noun)
To blend thoroughly. The tendency of grains to sort when they should mix makes it difficut for manufacturers to create powders that are amalgamated. amalgamation (noun)
To make something better or more tolerable. The living conditions of the tenants were ameliorated when the landlord finally installed washing machines and dryers in the basement. amelioration (noun)
To pay off or reduce a debt gradually through periodic payments. If you don't need to take a lump-sum tax deduction, it's best to amorize large business expenditures by spreading the cost out over several years.
To expand, enlarge, or increase. Uncertain as to wheter they understood, the students asked the teacher to amplify his explaanation. amplification (noun)
Out of the proper time. The reference, in Shakespeare's Julius Ceaser, to "the clock striking twelve" is anachronistic, since there were no striking timepieces in ancient Rome. anochronism (noun)
Absence of law or order. For several months after the Nazi government was destroyed, there was no effective government in parts of Germany, and anarchy ruled. anarchic (adjective)
Hostility, conflict, oppisition. As more and more reporters investigated the Watergate scandal, antagonism, between the Nixon adminstration and the press increased. antagonistic (adjective), antogonize (verb)
Something differnet or irregular. Tiny Pluto, orbiting next to the giants Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, has long apperead an anomaly. anomalous (adjective)
Hostility, resenment. During the last debate, the candidates could no longer disguise their animosity and began to trade accusations and insults.
A long-held feeling of dislike or aversion. When asked why he didn't call for help immediately after his wife fell into a coma, the defendant emphazied his wife's utter antipathy to doctors.
A feeling of fear or foreboding; an arrest. The peculiar feeling of apprehension that Harold Pinter creates in his plays derives as much from the long sillences between speeches as from the speeches themselves. The police officer's dramatic apprehension of the gunman took place in full view of the midtown lunch crowd. apprehend (verb)
Intricate decorative patterns involving interwining lines and sometimes incorporating flowers, animals and fruits. Borders of gold and fanciful arabesque surround the Arabic script on every page of this ancient edition of the Koran.
Based on random or merely personal preference. Both computers cost the same and had the same features, so in the end I made an arbitrary decision about which one to buy. arbitration (noun)
Old-Fashioned, obsolete. Those who believe in "open marriage" often declare that they will not be bound by archaic laws and religious rituals, but state instead that love alone should bring two people together. archaism (noun)
A strong feeling of passion, energy, or zeal. The young revolutionary proclaimed his convictions with an ardor that excited the crowd. ardent (adjective)
very dry; boring and meaningless.
The arid climate of Arizona makes farming very difficult.
Some find the law a fascinating topic, but for me it is an arid discipline.
To express oneself clearly and effectively. Compared to the elder George Bush, with his stammering and his frequently incomplete sentences, Bill Clinton was considered a highly articulate president.
Harhness, severity. Total silence at the dinner table, baths in icy water, prayers five times a day-these preactices all contributed to the asperity of life in the monastery.