Address (v.) (uh-DRES)
To address is to:#
A. Deal with
B. Put clothes on
D. Attach significance to
E. Delve into#
A*.) To address something is to deal with it, or to draw attention to it.
Upon being elected chairman, he immediately addressed the group's financial problems.
To address also is to give a speech or formal talk:
"Whenever Bob has to address the whole student body, he gets very nervous," the dean's wife confided.
To address also is to direct speech toward:
He addressed the king directly.$
Abysmal (adj.) (uh-BIZ-mul)
A. Beyond reach
D. Infinitely deep
E. Full of ups and downs#
D*.) Abysmal means infinitely or immeasurably deep, limitless.
Her abysmal sadness sapped her energy for many months.
Abysmal also means hopelessly bad, wretched.
"It's an abysmal day and I'm not going to cheer up," declared Aunt Ida defiantly.$
Complement (n.) (KAHM-pluh-munt)
A complement is:#
A. Something that flatters
B. Something that organizes
C. Something that completes
D. Something that doesn't cost anything
E. Something that enfolds#
C*.) A complement is something that completes, perfects, or goes really well with something else; Garlic bread is a complement to spaghetti, popcorn is a complement to a good movie; A good book may be the perfect complement to a rainy Sunday afternoon, a DVD player complements a stereo system.
"Does red wine or white wine best complement fish?" asked Sheila.$
Clique (n.) (kleek)
A clique is:#
A. A nautical design
B. A distinctive pin
C. An exclusive group
D. A harem
E. A hair style#
C*.) A clique is a tight group from which others are excluded.
"Who wants to belong to that clique of snooty girls anyway?" exclaimed Naomi.$
Ascendancy (n.) (uh-SEN-dun-see)
Ascendancy refers to:#
A. A period of dominance
B. A great height
C. A phase of popularity
D. An increase
E. A Hierarchy#
A*.) Ascendancy is a controlling influence, a time of dominance.
Thankfully, the fascism that had risen to ascendancy in Europe in the 1930s faded after World War II.$
Bourgeois (adj.) (boor-ZHWAH)
Bourgeois would describe:#
A. Wealthy people
C. Poor people
D. The Parisian working class
E. The middle class#
E*.) Bourgeois means middle class. Bourgeois is a term first used in France to describe a city dweller who was neither a farmer nor a noble. Today it is used to describe anyone with middle class values of materialism and respectability. The person who uses the term "bourgeois" usually feels that he is more "hip" than the person he is describing.
Philip's brother has a cell phone and season tickets to the opera. He is just so bourgeois.
Bourgeois is pronounced boor-ZHWAH$
Ambivalent (adj.) (am-BIV-uh-lunt)
If you are ambivalent you:#
A. Are hesitant
B. Have mixed feelings
C. Are passionately involved
D. Can do things with either hand
E. Are judgmental#
B*.) Ambivalent means having mixed feelings, holding attitudes that contradict one another leading to uncertainty. If you sometimes love the city where you live and sometimes hate it, you can be said to be ambivalent. If you think Jacob is extremely good looking, but also is selfish and conceited, you might be ambivalent about dating him.
When he brought up going to the shore on Robin's birthday, I felt ambivalent, but Robin assured me we could celebrate another time.$
Austere (adj.) (aw-STEER)
E. Poverty stricken#
D*.) Austere means stark, without frills, stripped down, extremely simple
The monk's room was austere, without so much as a picture or a book, other than the Bible.
Austere also has the meaning of stern, cold, solemn and unemotional.
His austere personality made people both respect and fear him.
As a noun, austerity refers to stark simplicity, self-denial. Times of austerity are lean times:
In the course of his life, the Buddha experienced both opulence and austerity.$
Capricious (adj.) (kuh-PRISH-us)
E*.) Capricious means unpredictable, impulsive, erratic, arbitrary, subject to whims, prone to change without warning.
The Bill of Rights is a guarantee that the government will never act capriciously against any American citizen just because of appearance, ideas or beliefs.$
Ameliorate (v.) (uh-MEEL-yuh-rayt)
To ameliorate is to:#
C. Wish for
E. Release from#
A*.) Ameliorate is to improve, to make better, to make tolerable.
Dr. Burns hoped that allowing young patients to watch M-TV would ameliorate their attitudes about visiting the dentist.$
Appreciate (v.) (uh-PREE-shee-ayt)
A. To smile
B. To embrace
C. To value
D. To uplift
E. To love#
C*.) To appreciate something means to be conscious that it is valuable, to feel gratitude for it, to not take it for granted.
"I so much appreciate the help she gives me with algebra," said Ian with a meaningful smile.
To appreciate also means to increase in value.
Her stock portfolio has appreciated substantially over the years.
To appreciate also means to have an understanding of, or to acknowledge:
"I certainly can appreciate your dilemma," said Emily, "but I am not willing to lie for you."$
Ardent (adj.) (AHR-dent)
B*.) Ardent means impassioned, fervent, strongly enthusiastic.
He is an ardent Grateful Dead fan and has traveled all over the country to attend their concerts.$
Concise (adj.) (kun-CYSE)
D. To the point
D*.) Concise means to the point. Something that is concise is both brief and precise.
Her concise explanation told us all we needed to know within ten minutes.$
Arcane (adj.) (ahr-KAYN)
C*.) Arcane means secret in the sense of known to or understood by only an enlightened few. The secret teachings of a cult would be said to be arcane knowledge. The ability to create fire by rubbing sticks together could be called an arcane skill.$
Catalyst (n.) (KAT-uh-list)
A catalyst is:#
A. A harsh chemical
B. An incentive
C. A cat doctor
D. An activator
E. A symbol#
D*.) A catalyst is an activator, something that causes something else to happen.
"Add the right catalyst to this mixture and it will blow sky high," said Nick as he held up the test tube.$
Benevolent (adj.) (buh-NEV-uh-lunt)
A*.) Benevolent means kindly, generous, prone to good deeds, having good intentions.
His benevolent nature made it really hard for him to turn away anyone in need.$
Augment (v.) (awg-MENT)
To augment means:#
A. To debate
B. To repair
C. To substitute for
D. To argue against
E. To add to#
E*.) Augment means to add to, to make bigger or more intense.
He augmented the information he found in the encyclopedia with interviews of people who had fought in the war.$
Castigate (v.) (KAS-tuh-gayt)
A. To remove
B. To harshly criticize
C. To put down
D. To order around
E. To question#
B*.) To castigate is to reprimand, to harshly criticize for a perceived wrong.
When Jake showed up fifteen minutes late and without a tie, Marla castigated him mercilessly. She really chewed him out.$
Burgeon (v.) (BUR-jun)
To burgeon means:#
A. To grow
B. To plant
C. To explode
D. To club
E. To carry#
A*.) To burgeon is to grow, to flourish, to blossom forth.
"There has been a burgeoning interest in physics since he came to the department," admitted Mr. Manning.$
Cajole (v.) ( kuh-JOHL)
To cajole means:#
A. To enliven
B. To coax
C. To spice up
D. To wear out
E. To massage#
B*.) To cajole means to coax, wheedle, attempt to persuade with a persistent emotional appeal.
"I didn't want to come," said Ashley, "but Joshua cajoled me until just to shut him up, I agreed."$
Appropriate (v.) (uh-PROH-pree-ayt)
To appropriate is to:#
A. Make acceptable
E. Dole out#
C*.) To appropriate means to confiscate, to seize, to claim or set aside for oneself.
"I'm going to appropriate four chairs from the library," said Mrs. Carmody.
To appropriate also can mean to earmark or set aside for a specific purpose:
I have appropriated 10 dollars a day for spending money.
As an adjective "appropriate" is pronounced as uh-PROH-pree-it and means apt, fitting, suitable.
It is always appropriate to bring a small token when you are invited to someone's house.$
Blasphemy (n.) (BLAS-fuh-mee)
D. Extreme criticism
B*.) Blasphemy is sacrilege, profanity, holding or stating opinions that a religion would find to be shockingly disrespectful of its beliefs.
"To say that about Jesus is blasphemy," said Alexis.
In a less formal way, more "tongue in cheek" way the term blasphemy, or its adjective form blasphemous, can be applied to anyone who defies convention:
"Oh, the board of directors finds her quite blasphemous," smiled Brandon, "but the workers love her."$
catholic (adj.) (KATH-lik)
catholic (small c) means:#
D*.) catholic (small c) means universal, broad, or all embracing.
Joey has very catholic tastes in music. His collection includes everything from opera to alternative.$
Agnostic (n.) (ag-NAHS-tic)
An agnostic is:#
A. One who believes in God
B. One who disbelieves in God
C. One who doesn't know whether God exists
D. One who knows with certainty that God exists
E. One who does not care one way or the other#
C*.) An agnostic is one who doesn't know if God exists. An agnostic is a doubter who neither believes or disbelieves.
Since claims about God cannot be proved by science, atheists reject them, and agnostics point out that we cannot know if they are true.$
Chastise (v.) (chas-TYZE)
To chastise is to:#
A. Strip naked
B*.) To chastise is to punish, to severely criticize or reprimand.
"If he pulls the cat's tail again," said Zach, "he must be immediately chastised."
Sometimes chastise is used in a less formal sense to mean a chiding from someone who thinks you blew it.
When he referred to women as "girls", we got about 10,000 chastising letters from our readers.$
Coerce (v.) (koh-URS)
To coerce means:#
A. To yell
B. To meet
C. To mend
D. To tear
E. To force#
E*.) To force, usually through pressuring with threats, irresistible temptations, promises, or intimidation, etc.
"She didn't want to go in the first place," said Michelle. "She was coerced."
You might hear it said that someone's testimony was coerced, in which case it implies they were pressured, and the testimony might not be true.$
Archaic (adj.) (ahr-KAY-ik)
B. Awkwardly large
E. Relating to spiders#
C*.) Archaic means ancient, and most of the time also carries the implication of outmoded and obsolete. An archaic word is one that was once commonly used, but no longer is. Mesopotamia is an archaic culture.
"Isn't it a bit archaic to refer to him as your beau?" asked Madison.$
Circumscribe (v.) (SUR-cum-skrybe)
To circumscribe means:#
A. To outline
B. To describe
C. To write about
D. To give attributes to
E. To shape#
A*.) To circumscribe means to outline in the sense of to literally draw a line around.
She carefully circumscribed on the map the area we would cover the following day.
To circumscribe also means to define by setting boundaries:
"Liberty is circumscribed by law," Professor Howard was fond of saying.
To circumscribe also means to restrict or limit by setting boundaries:
Armed guards circumscribed the prisoner's movements.$
Avarice (n.) (AV-ur-is)
Avarice refers to:#
A. The love of birds
D*.) Avarice means greed, the excessive craving to accumulate more. Note: It's one of the seven deadly sins. (The others are Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, and Sloth.)
"No matter how much he gets, his avarice will keep him wanting more," said Rachel.$
Alleviate (v.) (uh-LEE-vee-ayt)
A. To cause
B. To repair
C. To relieve
D. To reap
E. To worsen#
C*.) Alleviate means to relieve, to make bearable, to improve by lessening, to soothe.
Watching the school bus drive away seemed to alleviate his symptoms.$
Civil (adj.) (SIV-ul)
E. By the book#
C*.) Civil means polite, courteous, observant of social standards, but with the implication of unexpectedly, just barely, or because of pressure. You might say someone was quite civil when there was an expectation they might not be. You might say that they were just barely civil or not civil at all. But you couldn't compliment a mother on how nice and civil her little. In that instance, you would have to say polite.
Dave and Samantha were fighting. She hardly said a civil word to him all evening.$
Cadence (n.) ( KAYD-uns)
B*.) A cadence is a rhythmic pattern.
"Your language has such a beautiful cadence" he whispered to Maria.$
Apocalypse (n.) (uh-PAHK-uh-lips)
Apocalypse refers to a:#
C. Punctuation mark
D. Healing herb
E. Gaping hole#
A*.) An apocalypse is a term applied to a cataclysmic disaster so huge as to threaten planetary existence.
"The Cuban Missile Crisis is as close to an apocalypse as I ever want to get," said Uncle Sid.
The word apocalypse also refers to specific Judeo-Christian writings regarding the ultimate battle between good and evil.
The last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, is sometimes called the Book of the Apocalypse.$
Alacrity (n.) (uh-LAK-ri-tee)
E*.) Alacrity is eagerness or cheerful willingness expressed in briskness of response. Alacrity describes responding with a sense of vigor.
He did not fail to notice the alacrity with which Fred raised his hand when a volunteer was needed.$
Bureaucracy (n.) (byoo-RAHK-ruh-see)
Bureaucracy refers to:#
A. Dresser drawers
B. Administration of government
C. Relations with foreign powers
D. The need to control
E. A sovereign state#
B*.) Bureaucracy refers to the often complicated, wasteful, and inefficient administration of the government or other large organizations; red tape.
"The bureaucracy is ridiculous," stormed Daniel. " I went to four rooms, talked to six people, filled out three pieces of paper, and I still have to go back on Wednesday."
One who administers a bureaucracy is a bureaucrat.$
Bane (n.) BAYN
Bane refers to:#
A. A bath tub
B. A herbal remedy
C. A smell
D. A poison
E. A wolf pack#
D*.) A bane is a poison -- often referring to someone who poisons enjoyment. Technically, a bane is a scourge, an affliction, that which torments and causes misery and death, but the word is often used tongue in cheek as in the phrase "He is the bane of my existence," meaning he is a real annoyance.
She was the bane of the entire English Department. We were all glad when she retired.$
Cerebral (adj.) suh-REE-brul
Cerebral refers to:#
D*.) Cerebral is that which is characterized by intellect. Someone who is cerebral is all head and no heart. He uses big words, thinks things through, and is rational.
"Let's stop being so cerebral and go rent a trashy movie," said Nancy after six hours of studying.$
Choleric (adj.) (KAHL-ur-ik)
B. Quick to anger
D. Sour faced
B*.) Choleric means quick to anger, hot tempered, volatile. As a noun it means someone who is quick to anger, hot tempered, volatile.
The violent criminal was subject to choleric outbursts of temper.$
Assuage (v.) (uh-SWAYJ)
To assuage means to:#
E*.) To assuage is to soothe, to relieve, to alleviate, to calm.
At first I didn't want to go, but he assuaged my concerns by assuring me that there was indoor plumbing. $
Avow (v.) (uh-VOW)
To avow is to:#
A*.) To avow is to openly and categorically declare, assert, admit, or state something forcefully and in no uncertain terms.
Ralph avowed he was no where near the scene of the crime.$
Absolute (adj.) (AB-suh-loot)
B. Without exception
D. Made with good vodka
B*.) Absolute means total, complete, entire, exact, beyond question, without exception. When you answer a question with the word "absolutely" you are saying yes in a way that is complete and unequivocal. The absolute last day for registration means that it will be impossible to register after that.
"He's an absolute idiot," said Bethany as Carlos sped past them at twice the speed limit.$
Conjecture (n.) (kun-JEK-chur)
A. Absolute knowledge
D. Something read
E. Long and boring#
C*.) Conjecture is supposition, speculation, assumption, guesswork, inference.
"That's pure conjecture," stormed Monica. "Don't you dare pass it along as if it were truth."
As a verb, conjecture means to speculate, assume, make an educated guess, etc.
"He conjectured about what the defendant knew and didn't know."$
Assimilate (v.) (usSIM-uh-layt)
Assimilate means to:#
A. Lap up
C. Shy away
E*.) Assimilate means to absorb, to take in; to swallow up; to make part of oneself.
When a big company takes over a little company, the smaller company loses its separate identity and is assimilated into the bigger one. When you take in what you read and make it part of yourself, you are said to have assimilated the material.
"He's read it all," admitted Stanley, "but how much of it has he really assimilated?"$
Amnesty (n.) (AM nuh-stee)
Amnesty refers to:#
C. A pardon
E. Lack of memory#
C*.) Amnesty refers to a pardon, usually given to a whole group of people, particularly for political offenses. It is technically a "forgetting". Amnesty International is a group that seeks to get pardons for political prisoners and others whose human rights are being violated with imprisonment. If your local library calls an amnesty it means that on that day you can return overdue books without penalty.$
Brevity (n.) (BREV-i-tee)
C*.) Brevity means briefness.
He spoke clearly and with brevity. We were out of there within an hour.$
Compendium (n.) (kum-PEN-dee-um)
A compendium is:#
A. A collection
B. An allowance
C. A recommendation
D. A revision
E. A dictionary#
A*.) A compendium is a collection, a compilation, a summary, an anthology, a digest, a summary.
Luis gave her a beautifully bound compendium of Shakespeare's sonnets.$
Celibacy (n.) (SEL-uh-buh-see)
A. Level of education
B. Degree of acceptance
C. State of mind
D. Refraining from sex
D*.) Celibacy is the practice of refraining from sex, also referred to as abstinence, chastity.
"Monks and nuns now often wear street clothes, but they still practice celibacy," explained Sister Mary Joseph.$
Acerbic (adj.) (uh-SUR-bik)
B*.) Acerbic means sharp and stinging, bitter or pungent, harsh. It is most often used figuratively to describe harsh speech rather than to describe an actual taste or smell.
His acerbic comments left her in tears.$
Consecrate (v.) (KAHN-suh-krayt)
To consecrate is to:#
A. Make earthy
B. Make sacred
D. Make clean
E. Visualize intensely#
B*.) To consecrate is to make or declare sacred, to bless, to sanctify, to ordain.
Abraham Lincoln said that the brave men who died at Gettysburg consecrated the ground of that battlefield.$
Beleaguer (v.) (bi-LEE-gur)
To be beleaguered means to be:#
E. Called together#
D*.) Beleaguered means besieged, surrounded, overwhelmed, swamped, harassed big time.
The beleaguered crew was out-manned, outgunned, and outranked, but they valiantly refused to surrender.$
Agenda (n.) (uh-JEN-da)
Your agenda refers to:#
A. Your time
B. Your money
C. Your family
D. Your education
E. Your youth#
A*.) Your agenda refers to your time and how you will manage it. An agenda is a to-do list, a docket, a schedule.
"Tell Ted he is on Mr. Allison's agenda, but I can't tell him what time," said Carol.$
Blatant (adj.) (BLAY-tunt)
A. Absolutely correct
B. Loudly offensive
C. Quietly fuming
B*.) Blatant means loudly offensive, brazenly obvious. You will often hear the phrase "blatant disregard" meaning glaring and shameless disregard.
He acted with blatant disregard for the facts.$
Concurrent (adj.) (kun-KUR-unt)
C. Over top of
D. Regarding the present time
E. Just before#
B*.) Concurrent means simultaneous, happening at the same time.
"I think the two concerts are happening concurrently on separate stages," said Margo, "so we can't go to both."
Concurrent also means being in accord or harmony. When two people concur they agree, think the same way at the same time.$
Aesthetic (adj.) (es-THET-ik)
Aesthetic refers to:#
E. Good breeding#
B*.) Aesthetic as an adjective or adverb means related to beauty in the form of art, literature, music, dance, etc.
"Your food should not only taste good," explained Ms. Morgan on the first day of cooking school, "it should also be aesthetically pleasing.$
Belittle (v.) (bi-LIT-ul)
To belittle means:#
A. To shrink
B. To ignore
C. To put down
D. To fold up
E. To call by a pet name#
C*.) Belittle means to put down or find fault with, to diminish, literally to make small.
"She belittles him so constantly," said Marianne, "I wonder why he stays married."$
Belligerent (adj.) (buh-LIJ-ur-unt)
A*.) Belligerent means hostile, quarrelsome, warlike.
"He continued to be belligerent, so I sent him to the office," said Ms. Green.
As a noun, belligerent refers to the parties in a war.
The belligerents lined up on either side of the battlefield.$
Commensurate (adj.) (kuh-MEN-sur-it)
C. Of higher rank
D. Of lower rank
E*.) Commensurate means equal or equivalent.
"The two girls were commensurate in their ability, so I hired both of them," said Elaine.
Commensurate also means fitting, appropriate to.
"In six months, I will give you a raise commensurate with your performance," said Mr. Ludlow.$
Conciliatory (Adj.) (kun-SIL-ee-uh-tor-ee)
B. Unwilling to quit
C. Willing to make concessions
C*.) Conciliatory describes an attitude that is apologetic and expresses willingness to make concessions or to meet another half way. It implies a desire to make up after a fight.
"He apologized with his words," said Hazel, "but there was nothing conciliatory about his attitude.
Conciliatory can also describe an attitude that expresses flexibility, willingness to compromise, and agreeableness.
"His conciliatory words were a soothing balm after their fierce disagreement."$
Acrid (adj.) (AK-rid)
C. Having a burnt reddish tone
E*.) Acrid means pungently bitter in taste or smell;
The acrid smell of smoke was overwhelming.
Acrid can also be used figuratively to refer to caustic, cutting expression.
She could not get his acrid comments out of her mind.$
Broach (v.) (brohch)
To broach is to:#
A. Join up
B. Pin down
C*.) To broach is to initiate, suggest or bring up for the first time. Subjects, topics of conversation, ideas, and issues are all open to being broached.
"I wanted to tell Donald about Jim," said Kim, "but I didn't know how to broach the subject.$
Tout (v.) (tout)
To tout is to:#
C. Put up with
E. Look down upon#
D*.) To tout is to promote, sing the praises of, to brag publicly about in an attempt to sell or influence.
"Is he still touting Amway?" asked Rick when I told him Michael was coming to the party.$
Exemplify (v.) (ig-ZEM-pluh-fye)
To exemplify is to:#
A. Admire no matter what
B. Imitate aspects of
C. Serve as a model of
D. Make easier
E. Crave attention#
C*.) Exemplify means to serve as a model or be a very good example of.
"Jonathan exemplifies what it means to be a pacifist," said Mr. McSorley. "He even captures wasps and releases them outside rather than killing them."$
Strife (n.) (stryfe)
B*.) Strife is bitter conflict, discord, enmity, antagonism.
My grandmother is very upset at the strife in Northern Ireland," said Kathleen. "Her brothers are still living there."$
Eclectic (adj.) (i-KLEK-tik)
D*.) Eclectic means varied, composed of elements from many different sources, implying an unusual or interesting mix.
"Nathaniel has wonderfully eclectic taste in music," said Katie. "In the past month we've gone to the opera, to a fiddle contest, and to a reggae concert."$
Proficient (adj.) (pruh-FISH-unt)
Someone described as proficient would be:#
B*.) Proficient means skilled, competent, adept, good at.
"She's taken music lessons for eight years and is still not as proficient as she wants to be," said Marty.$
Indigenous (adj.) (in-DIJ-uh-nus)
B. Opposed to
C. Native to
C*.) Indigenous means native to. Something that originates in a place is indigenous to that place.
Drive-in movies are indigenous to America.
The term indigenous person generally refers to tribal peoples. Native American Indians, Australian Aborigines, and African Pigmies, are examples of indigenous peoples.
She spent the summer exploring indigenous cultures.$
Verbose (adj.) (vur-BHOS)
D*.) Someone who is verbose uses lots of words to say something that could be said in many fewer words. Verbose means long winded and implies boring.
"She is so verbose that once when she called, my mom put the phone down and went to the bathroom without her ever realizing it."
The noun form is verbosity and means the quality of being verbose or using too many words.
"The kids make fun of his verbosity and call him a wind bag," laughed Connie.$
Spurious (adj.) (SPYOOR-ee-us)
A*.) Spurious means false, counterfeit, not what it is cracked up to be.
When his wife died, he became the victim of spurious rumors, and it took him years to clear his name.
Spurious can also mean misbegotten, born out of wedlock.
The nobles rebelled when the king's spurious offspring tried to ascend to the throne.$
Malinger (v.) muh-LING-ger
To malinger means:#
A. To hang on
B. To waste away
C. To fake illness
D. To spread rumors
E. To yearn for#
C*.) To malinger means to fake illness with the intent of avoiding work or responsibility.
"Mr. Jamison thinks I was malingering," said Joey. "I need you to write him a note and tell him I really was sick."$
Mendicant (n.) MEN-di-cant
A mendicant is:#
A. A minstrel
B. A beggar
C. A tailor
D. A jester
E. A monk#
B*.) A mendicant is a beggar.
"I spent the most incredible afternoon talking to a mendicant about literature," said Carla. "He lives in a doorway, eats out of garbage cans, and knows more about Shakespeare than anyone I've ever met."$
Adroit (adj.) (uh-DROYT)
B*.) Adroit means skillful, deft, dexterous, nimble; someone who is adroit is quick, graceful, and well coordinated. It comes from the French word "droit", which means right (the opposite of left) and gets its meaning from the fact that the right hand is usually the more skillful hand.
The chef adroitly fashioned the cakes into works of art.
Adroit also means skillful as in clever, quick-witted.
The politician was adroit in making his weaknesses seem like strengths.$
Utopia (n.) (yoo-TOH-pee-uh)
A. An ideal society
B. A perfect relationship
C. A wish come true
D. Past glory
E. A futuristic world#
A*.) Utopia is a perfect society, an ideal place, a perfect political system. The word came from a work of fiction that a man named Sir Thomas Moore wrote way back in 1516, which described a perfect society on an island called Utopia.
"His idea of utopia includes no taxes and lots of Chinese food," joked Jasmine.$
Defame (v.) (di-FAYM)
Defame means to:#
A. Slip into oblivion
B. Stay in the background
C. Give someone else the credit
D. Overcome a bad reputation
E. Ruin someone's reputation#
E*.) To defame means to ruin someone's good name, to slander or libel, to publicly cast doubt on their character. You will often hear the term "defamation of character" meaning an untrue attack on someone's morals, ethics or reputation.
"I will not defame his memory by exposing the letters," said Alyssa. "I am going to burn them."$
Encroach (v.) (en-KROHCH)
To encroach means:#
A. To trespass
B. To make smaller
C. To claim
D. To dominate
E. To throw up#
A*.) Encroach means to trespass, especially in the sense of making gradual inroads into.
"His garden is encroaching on my land," complained Uncle Henry. "I should start charging him rent."
Encroach also means to trespass on or interfere with the rights or domain of another.
"Now, Grandma, please don't encroach on our duty to discipline when the
little fella needs it."$
Impotent (adj.) (IM-puh-tunt)
D. Like a beggar
B*.) Impotent means powerless. In a technical sense, it describes a man who cannot perform sexually, but its meaning extends to cover any lack of power, strength, or ability. Impotence implies an inability to affect a situation, an inability to make an impact.
Carl had never felt so impotent as he did standing there watching the flames engulf his home.$
Adulterate (v.) (uh-DUHL-tuh-rayt)
A. To have sex with someone else's partner
B. To act like an adult
C. To read pornographic material
D. To contaminate
E. To act young#
D*.) To adulterate means to contaminate, to make impure.
In some countries people have become ill from using adulterated cooking oil.
Adulterate is most often expressed in its negative form unadulterated, meaning pure, but often applied to something that is not pure.
"That is unadulterated nonsense!" said Barbara angrily.$
Vindicate (v.) (VIN-di-kayt)
To vindicate means to:#
A. Prove innocent
B. Take revenge upon
C. Swear at
D. Stand up for
E. Hold a grudge#
A*.) To vindicate means to prove innocent, to clear one's name, to disprove an accusation.
We thought Josh took the money, but Harry's confession vindicated him.$
Dearth (n.) (durth)
A dearth is:#
A. An abundance
B. A hollow place
C. A secret stash
D. A scarcity
E. An appalling truth#
D*.) A dearth is a scarcity, a lack.
"There is a surprising dearth of information on my chosen topic," complained Roberta. "My report might not be long enough."$
Decorous (adj.) (DEK-ur-us)
E. Arranged in an interesting pattern#
D*.) Decorous means proper, polite, well-mannered, in good taste.
The usually decorous group erupted in violence at the announcement of O.J. Simpson's acquittal.$
Litigate (v.) (LIT-uh-gayt)
To litigate is to:#
A. Conduct a lawsuit
C. Find guilty
D. Find innocent
E. Press charges against#
A*.) To litigate is to bring suit, to try a case in court.
"I was so moved by Ralph's apology that I decided not to litigate," said Virginia.
People involved in a civil court case are called litigants.
The litigants finally agreed to settle the dispute out of court.$
Covenant (n.) (KUV-uh-nunt)
A covenant is:#
A. A carrying case
B. A small cave
C. A formal agreement
D. A feeling of envy
E. A hidden harbor#
C*.) A covenant is a formal agreement, a solemn promise.
The Book of Genesis relates that God made a covenant that promised the land of Palestine to the descendants of Abraham.$
Definitive (adj.) (di-FIN-uh-tiv)
To be definitive is to be:#
D. Highly educated
A*.) To be definitive is to be authoritative, conclusive, the most reliable or complete.
"Jimmy claims to have written the definitive guide to dining out in Philadelphia," laughed Rachel. He gained twenty pounds while writing it.$
Abhor (v.) (ab-HOR)
To abhor means:#
A. To run from
B. To crave
C. To feel sad
D. To loathe
E. To envy#
D*.) To abhor means to loathe, to detest, to hate very, very much.
"I abhor raw chicken livers," said Lauren, "You couldn't force me to eat them."$
Facetious (adj.) (fuh-SEE-shus)
A. Not original
B. Not serious
C. Not well-intentioned
D. Not trustworthy
E. Not whole#
B*.) Facetious means not serious, not really meant, tongue-in-cheek, when you put someone on, you are being facetious.
"When I told her Dylan was going into the priesthood, I was being facetious," said Brittany, "but she took me seriously and told everyone."$
Martyr (n.) (MAHR-tur)
A martyr is known for:#
A. Being holy
B. Being good
C. Being generous
D. Helping others
E. Giving his or her life for a belief#
E*.) A martyr is a person who sacrifices his or her life for a cause or a belief.
St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death around 36 a.d.
A martyr is also a person who is self-sacrificing in general, who is long-suffering, and who often creates feelings of guilt in others.
When Victoria said, "That's all right, if there's not enough room, I'll stay home," Ed got mad and told her to stop being such a martyr.$
Despondent (adj.) (di-SPHAN-dunt)
To be despondent is to be:#
B. Behind on letter writing
E*.) To be despondent is to be depressed, in a state of despair, feeling hopeless.
Alexander was despondent for months after Abigail broke off their engagement.$
Respite (n.) (RES-pit)
A respite is:#
A. A harsh retort
B. A second draft
C. A note
D. A bridge
E. A rest#
E*.) A respite is a period of rest, of relief, especially from something difficult or uncomfortable.
The rains kept coming, offering no respite to the weary flood workers.$
Zealous (adj.) (ZEL-us)
To be zealous is to be:#
D. Especially beautiful
C*.) To be zealous is to be fanatical, gung-ho, aggressively enthusiastic, passionately involved with.
"He is so zealous about saving the whales that he cannot talk of anything else," said Kyle.$
Flout (v.) (flowt)
To flout means:#
A. To scorn
B. To display
C. To ignore
D. To humor
E. To let down#
A*.) To flout is to scorn, to disregard in a way that is disrespectful, to be mocking or contemptuous of.
The girl laughed as she flouted the school's new rule about not smoking on the premises.$
Amorous (adj.) (AM-ur-us)
To be amorous is to feel:#
D*.) The word amorous is related to the word love. An amorous nature is one that is inclined to love; to feel amorous toward someone is to be in love with them, to be sexually or romantically attracted to them.
His amorous feelings led him to send Janis fresh flowers every day for a week.$
Manifesto (n.) (man-uh-FES-toh)
A manifesto is:#
A. A log
B. A statement of principles
C. A wish list
D. A pact with the devil
E. A table of contents#
B*.) A manifesto is a statement of principles, a declaration of political beliefs, a document that spells out a doctrine.
We studied the Communist Manifesto in history last term.$
Explicit (adj.) (ik-SPLIS-it)
To be explicit means to be:#
C. Scantily clad
D*.) To be explicit is to be definite, to be direct, clear, and detailed.
My father thought that the movie was too sexually explicit for a thirteen-year old.$
Confluence (n.) (KAHN-floo-uns)
A. A flowing together
B. An imitating of
C. A movement
D. A teacher-student relationship
E. An intruding idea#
A*.) Confluence is a flowing together of several rivers or streams or the point where they join. Used in a more general sense, confluence is the flowing together of schedules, thoughts, ideas, objectives, passions, beliefs, etc.
There was a confluence of cultures in my neighborhood. I'd be hearing Latin music, eating barbecued ribs, and smelling Chinese food all at the same time.$
Vicarious (adj.) (vye-KAR-ee-us)
B. Second handily
C. By the book
E. Pertaining to flight#
B*.) Vicarious means second handily. When instead of focusing on our own experience, we live our lives through other people, taking pride in their accomplishments, being thrilled at their risks, etc. we are said to be living vicariously. Some people, for example, live vicariously through the characters on their soap operas.
Jennifer relived her youth vicariously through her teenage daughter.$
Guile (n.) (gyle)
E*.) Guile is deceitfulness, cunningness, manipulativeness, insincerity. Someone with guile is not what they seem; they are pretending to be something they are not in order to get some result. To be without guile is to be genuine, sincere.
She was shameless in her use of guile. Before the marriage, she'd played the part of a rich girl.$
Impartial (adj.) (im-PAHR-shul)
D. Not sorry
E. Not emotional#
A*.) Impartial means unbiased, fair, without prejudice, not showing favoritism.
There was so much pre-trial publicity, it was hard to find enough impartial people to make up a jury.$
Affable (adj.) (AF-uh-bul)
To be affable means:#
A. To enjoy life
B. To be gullible
C. To have a pleasant nature
D. To be financially well-off
E. To be extroverted#
C*.) To be affable means to have a pleasant nature, to be easy going, friendly, amiable, easily pleased.
His affable manner drew people to him at any social event.$
Pervade (v.) (pur-VAYD)
To pervade means:#
A. To win out
B. To hold out
C. To dodge
D. To work at
E. To spread throughout#
E*.) To pervade means to spread throughout, to infuse, to permeate. A scent that fills the air is said to pervade the room.
The fear that pervaded the group made them give up their search.$
Predilection (n.) (pred-uh-LEK-shun)
A predilection is:#
A. A forecast
B. A tendency
C. An impulse
D. A phobia
E. A pre-determined outcome#
B*.) A predilection is a tendency, an inclination towards, a fondness for.
His predilection for the sea drew him to a voyage around the Cape of Good Hope.$
Histrionic (adj.) (his-tree-AHN-ik)
A. Overly dramatic
B. Overly long
C. Overly dull
A*.) Histrionic means overly dramatic, melodramatic, with excessive and somewhat contrived emotion.
Her histrionic reaction to the mere prospect of giving blood was embarrassing.$
Dubious (adj.) (DOO-bee-us)
C*.) Dubious means uncertain, skeptical, doubtful, questionable.
When he predicted that we would be out of debt in six months, we were dubious.
In that sentence, dubious means skeptical, but you could also say: He got into trouble for selling art works of dubious origin.
In that case dubious means questionable.$
Singular (adj.) (SING-gyuh-lur)
E*.) Singular means unique, special, remarkable, exceptional.
She had a singular beauty that had captivated him from the first moment they met.
Singular also means the opposite of plural. "I" is the first person singular; "we" is the first person plural.$
Sanctimonious (adj.) (sangk-tuh-MOH-nee-us)
B. Phony holy
C. Sincerely pious
B*.) Sanctimonious means phony holy, exaggerated religious feeling, hypocritical devotion or piousness, often "holier than thou."
His sanctimonious attitude was called into question when he was caught with someone else's wife. He'd been so unwilling to forgive others for the same offense.$
Preempt (v.) (pree-EMPT)
To preempt is:#
A. To do better than
B. To struggle against
C. To look down on
D. To supersede
E. To deny#
D*.) To preempt is to supersede, to replace by prior arrangement.
A speech by the President always preempts normal programming.
During the Cold War people used to talk about a "preemptive strike" meaning a first strike that would supersede any attack on the part of the enemy. The word "preemptive" carries the flavor of "preventive" that is not present in the word "preempt".
Preempt may also be spelled pre-empt.$
Frenetic (adj.) (fruh-NET-ik)
A*.) Frenetic means frantic or frenzied, it describes how one acts when both desperately rushed and disorganized. Intense nervous activity is described as frenetic.
Her frenetic efforts to get Stevie out of the closet did little more than keep her busy till the fire department arrived.$
Immutable (adj.) (i-MYOO-tuh-bul)
B*.) Immutable means unchangeable, permanent, steadfast.
"That Kevin will be home for dinner is an immutable law of nature," laughed Aunt Anna. "He hasn't missed a meal in years."$
Affinity (n.) (uh-FIN-uh-tee)
An affinity is:#
A. An attraction
B. A weakness
C. A traditional attitude
D. An understanding
E. A habit#
A*.) An affinity is a natural attraction or proclivity, a sense of kinship with something or someone, a strong sense of liking. In its most technical sense affinity means a mutual attraction, but that usage is no longer strictly followed.
"Men have such affinity for their vehicles," laughed Emma. "I think a fellow would be hard-pressed if asked to choose between his wife and his car."$
Transient (adj.) (TRAN-shunt)
If something is transient it:#
A. Applies across the board
B. Will be moving on soon
C. Is uncertain of its origin
D. Is not fussy
E. Has a broad spectrum of knowledge#
B*.) Transient means on the move, just passing through, not staying long.
Many of the transient workers returned to Mexico after the harvest.
As a noun, a transient is a person who is on the move, just passing through, and not expected to stay long.
"The transient they found almost frozen to death in the subway went to school with my father," said Noah.$
Vindictive (adj.) (vin-DIK-tiv)
To be vindictive means:#
A. To have a long memory
B. To be hungry
C. To be accusatory
D. To be spiteful
E. To have all the answers#
D*.) To be vindictive means to be spiteful, vengeful, malicious, wanting to take revenge.
Ever since Thomas left Olivia, she has been extremely vindictive, once even letting the air out of his tires.$
Exigent (adj.) (EK-si-jent)
B. Outside of
C. Dying out
E. Not enough#
A*.) Exigent means urgent, pressing, requiring immediate action.
When exigent circumstances exist, police may enter your home without a warrant.$
Facile (adj.) (FAS-il)
C. Easily done
C*.) Facile means easily done, glib, lacking depth.
Lazy John always preferred facile tasks.$
Precedent (n.) (PRES-uh-dunt)
A precedent is:#
A. A requirement
B. A component
C. A strongly held opinion
D. A prior case
E. A piece of evidence#
D*.) A precedent is a something that comes before something else and serves as an example of or justification for it. Something, upon which later things are patterned, modeled, or authorized is a precedent. When an attorney sites a precedent, he or she refers to a past ruling that is similar to the one they are seeking.
My older brother is a real scholar, and his high grades set a precedent for the rest of us.$
Concord (n.) (KAHN-kord)
E. Extreme speed#
B*.) Concord means harmony, agreement, a peaceful similarity of attitudes.
"We have achieved concord at last in these difficult peace negotiations," said the President.
Concord is also the name of towns in New Hampshire (the capital is concord), Massachusetts, California, and central South Carolina. Concord is also the name of an especially sweet and succulent grape.$
Willful (adj.) (WIL-ful)
To be willful means to be:#
E. Bad tempered#
B*.) Willful means headstrong, stubborn determined to have one's own way.
"Nathan is quite willful and turns a deaf ear to good advice," lamented Aunt Martha.
Willful also means intentional or deliberate.
"The slight was not willful," said Destiny. "I certainly didn't mean to hurt her feelings."$
Precipitate (v.) (pri-SIP-uh-tayt)
To precipitate is:#
A. To bring about
B. To cry
C. To increase
D. To keep hush-hush
E. To stop#
A*.) To precipitate is to bring about, to set off, to cause to happen.
Her accusations precipitated an investigation into the finances of all school organizations.
Precipitate also means to fall to earth as rain, snow, sleet, or hail. As a noun any form of moisture that falls from the sky is called precipitation.
There is a one in four chance of precipitation, according to the Weather Channel.$
Fauna (n.) (FAW-nuh)
Fauna refers to:#
A*.) Fauna refers to animals. You often hear it together with the word "flora", which means plants.
We saw abundant flora, but few fauna as we walked through the woods.$
Rigorous (adj.) (RIG-ur-us)
B*.) Rigorous means exacting, strict, harsh, demanding of precision.
Sean found the rigorous demands of law school exhilarating.$
Illicit (adj.) (I-LIS-it)
If something is illicit it is:#
D*.) Illicit means forbidden, illegal, improper, taboo.
Her illicit affair with a married man went on undetected for years.$
Reprove (v.) (ri-PROOVE)
A. To praise
B. To re-evaluate
C. To permit
D. To criticize
E. To appreciate#
D*.) To reprove means to criticize or correct.
His mother seldom needed to reprove him, but one word stopped Hunter in his tracks.
The noun form of reprove is reproof, and means a mild criticism or correction.
His reproof damaged her pride.$
Capitulate (v.) (kuh-PICH-uh-layt)
To capitulate means:#
A. To reconsider
B. To take advantage
C. To surrender
D. To make money
E. To initiate#
C*.) To capitulate is to surrender, cave in to pressure, to collapse.
His defense capitulated when the new evidence was presented.$
Robust (adj.) (ROH-bust)
C*.) Robust means strong, hardy, vigorous. A robust cup of coffee is one that is strong and full-bodied.
Theodore Roosevelt was a sickly child, but grew up to be a robust adult.$
Coalesce (v.) (koh-uh-LES)
To coalesce means:#
A. To redecorate
B. To cooperate
C. To recover
D. To put in order
E. To merge#
E*.) To coalesce means to merge, to fuse, to blend together, to combine.
His separate ideas finally coalesced into a cohesive whole.
When organizations coalesce for a specific purpose the new group is called a coalition.
They are forming a campus-wide coalition to fight the proposed curfew.$
Superficial (adj.) (soo-pur-FISH-ul)
To be superficial is to be:#
E*.) To be superficial is to be shallow, concerned with only the obvious, not deep or probing.
Jordana is the most superficial girl I know. All she can talk about is make-up, movies, and the latest gossip.
Superficial also refers to something that is literally at, near, or pertaining to the surface of something.
His wound was only superficial. It healed within days.$
Scrutinize (v.) (SKROOT-uh-nyze)
To scrutinize means:#
A. To create doubts
B. To take control
C. To find flaws
D. To carefully examine
E. To make appealing#
D*.) To scrutinize means to examine carefully, to study in detail.
"I scrutinized her report and could find no misplaced commas or misused words," said Alexandra.$
Aptitude (n.) (AP-tuh-tood)
B. Natural ability
C. Strong interest
D. A studious nature
B*.) An aptitude is a natural ability, a talent, an inclination towards something that has not yet been mastered.
Connor's aptitude for math landed him an after school job tutoring other kids.$
Obfuscate (v.) (AHB-fuh-skayt)
To obfuscate something is to:#
A. Blow it up
B. Make it unclear
C. Bring it out
D. Bend it
E. Take it away#
B*.) To obfuscate means to make unclear, to darken or confuse, to muddle.
All his talking about how good it was to be home again only served to obfuscate his real motive, which was to borrow money.$
Mundane (adj.) (mun-DAYN)
C*.) Mundane means ordinary, routine, commonplace, not special, of this world, not of heaven; earthly.
In the old man's cabinet beside mundane teacups and flowerpots, they found priceless antiques.$
Harbinger (n.) (HAR-bin-jur)
A harbinger is:#
A. A forerunner
B. A rare bird
C. A tattletale
D. A widow
E. A trace#
A*.) A harbinger is a forerunner, something that precedes something else and let's us know it is coming.
The robin is a harbinger of spring.$
Circumspect (adj.) (SUR-kum-spekt)
D*.) Circumspect means cautious, guarded, vigilant.
Ethan was quite circumspect in discussing his summer plans. His friends didn't realize he was waiting to see if he got a job in LA.$
Approbation (n.) (AP-RUH-bay-shun)
B*.) Approbation is praise, approval, admiration.
Approbation for his discoveries from the scientific community came years too late.$
Static (adj.) (STAT-ik)
C. Not moving
D. Not large
E. Not lazy#
C*.) Static means not moving, stationary, lacking movement or growth.
Book sales have been fairly static for the last three months, but perhaps they will pick up again during the Christmas season.
Static is also a low-level electrical charge caused by friction. When you rub against a rug and then touch something else, the resulting spark is called static electricity - static for short.
"There is so much static in the air today," said Natalie, "I've had three little shocks in a row."$
Anarchy (n.) (AN-ur-kee)
D*.) Anarchy means lawlessness, the absence of government or authority; a state of chaos.
It can be used in the formal sense:
The anarchy following revolution subsided only when a new government was firmly established.
It can also be used informally:
When the sweet young substitute teacher replaced Ms. Henderson, the class seemed to revert to anarchy.$
Colloquial (adj.) (kul-OH-kwee-ul)
A*.) Colloquial means informal, conversational, common.
Although his colloquial style is fun and easy to read, his content is quite profound.
Also means local or regional dialect expression.
Outsiders laugh at our region's colloquialisms.$
Hermetic (adj.) (hur-MET-ik)
E*.) Hermetic means airtight or tightly sealed, unaffected by anything outside itself.
The time capsule was hermetically sealed and buried in the Town Square.
Hermetic also means pertaining to the occult. This meaning comes from Hermes Trismegistus, the mythical author of an influential ancient collection of magical writings.
The Order of the Golden Dawn is a hermetic group that Aleister Crowley belonged to.$
Expedite (v.) (EK-spi-dyte)
D. Open up
E. Pay for#
B*.) Expedite means to facilitate, to help along, to speed the progress of, to make easier.
If everyone will pitch in, it will expedite matters.$
Impervious (adj.) (im-PUR-vee-us)
D. Holier than thou
E. Unable to be penetrated#
E*.) Impervious means unable to be penetrated, and thus protected from being influenced or touched by an outside force.
The rickety roof was impervious to the elements after we sealed it with tar.$
Apartheid (n.) (uh-PAHRT-hayt)
Apartheid refers to:#
C*.) Apartheid is a rigid policy of racial segregation.
Until recently South Africa had an official policy of apartheid.$
Edify (v.) (ED-uh-fye)
To edify means:#
A. To uplift
B. To harden
C. To shock
D. To prove
E. To winterize#
A*.) To edify means to uplift, to benefit or instruct, especially morally.
We were edified by reading George Washington's rules for conduct.$
Fetter (v.) (FET-ur)
A. To upset
B. To fuss over
C. To change
D. To restrain
E. To exclude#
D*.) To fetter literally means to restrain, to shackle.
No matter how he was fettered, Harry Houdini escaped.
Fetter is often used to refer to something that shackles in the sense of holding one back or hampering progression.
Jared was fettered by his inability to speak Spanish fluently. He missed a lot of what was being discussed.$
Connoisseur (n.) (kahn-uh-SUR)
A connoisseur is:#
A. A French chef
B. An expert
C. A know-it-all
D. A manipulator
E. A consultant#
B*.) A connoisseur is someone who has refined taste in a given area, someone whose experience with something has made him or her expert. A connoisseur is an expert in the sense of having acquired a great knowledge about, appreciation or understanding of some subject. A connoisseur of art, for example, knows and loves good art, can tell good art from not so good art, but does not necessarily know how to paint or draw.$
Compelling (adj.) (kum-PEL-ing)
D*.) Compelling means forceful, having a powerful pull.
The argument Jason put forth was so compelling that the board voted unanimously in his favor.$
Paradox (n.) (PAR-uh-dahks)
A paradox is:#
A. A self-contradiction
B. A minority opinion
C. An object with five sides
D. A story with a twist at the end
E. A lover#
A*.) A paradox is a self-contradiction. An example of a paradox is the statement "I always lie."
"More haste, less speed," is an example of a paradox.$
Despot (n.) (DES-puht)
A despot is:#
A. A spoiled child
B. A tyrant
C. An ancient ruin
D. A slop bucket
E. A poet#
B*.) A despot is a tyrant, a king or dictator with absolute power who uses it oppressively.
Idi Amin was a bloody despot who left Uganda in turmoil.$
Erudite (adj.) (ER-yoo-dyte)
B*.) Erudite means scholarly, extremely learned, intellectual.
I met him at a party and had no idea he was so erudite until I went to his lecture and had no idea what he was talking about.$
Deprecate (v.) (DEP-ruh-kayt )
To deprecate is:#
A. To go to the bathroom
B. To take apart
C. To deplore
D. To lose value
E. To feel small#
C*.) To deprecate is to deplore, to express strong disapproval of.
Peace lovers deprecate war.$
Vocation (n.) (voh-KAY-shun)
Vocation refers to one's:#
E*.) A vocation is a calling, a profession or business that one has a strong inclination toward. The difference between someone with a vocation and someone with merely a job is the person with the vocation loves what he or she does and can't imagine doing anything else. When someone feels pulled to go into the priesthood or to become a monk or nun, they are said to have a vocation.
His hobby of stamp collecting became a vocation when he opened a small hobby shop.$
Auspicious (adj.) (aw-SPISH-us)
D*.) Auspicious means promising, boding well, heartening, encouraging. An auspicious beginning is one that promises a good outcome. An auspicious omen is one that points to a positive result.
That a rainbow appeared in the sky just as we broke ground for the new center was seen as an auspicious omen by everyone.$
Languish (v.) (LANG-gwish)
To languish means:#
A. To luxuriate
B. To proceed extremely cautiously
C. To writhe in pain
D. To give abundantly
E. To experience prolonged inactivity#
E*.) To languish means to experience prolonged inactivity in a way that weakens or depresses.
She languished in a dead end job for years before finding the courage to strike out on her own.$
Credulous (adj.) (KREJ-uh-lus)
A*.) Credulous means gullible, eager to believe, naïve.
Telemarketing depends on finding credulous people to listen to sales pitches.
Credulous also means believable.
He gained admission to the club with a series of very credulous lies.$
Decorous (adj.) (DEK-ur-us)
B. In good taste
D. Above average
B*.) Decorous means proper, dignified, in good taste, well-behaved, not offensive.
"What a decorous group of teenagers," remarked Aunt Sadie. "I've never met such polite well-behaved kids."$
Consummate (adj.) (kun-SUM-it)
C. Extremely skillful
E. Well dressed#
C*.) Consummate means extremely skillful, complete, perfect.
Isaac Stern is a consummate violinist whose mastery is recognized all over the world.
As a verb "to consummate" (pronounced KAHN-suh-mate) means to bring to completion. An agreement is consummated with the signing of a contract. A marriage is consummated with the first sexual union.
We consummated the deal with a handshake.$
Categorical (adj.) (kat-uh-GOR-uh-kul)
B*.) Categorical means unconditional, absolute, without exception.
His denial of the charges was categorical. He claimed to have been out of town on the evening in question.$
Malaise (n.) (ma-LAYZ)
B*.) Malaise is a sense of lethargy and unease, a feeling of being run down, a feeling of being depressed.
Malaise usually is the first warning that I'm coming down with flu.$
Awry (adj.) (uh-RYE)
A*.) Awry means off course, not right. When plans go awry, they get all screwed up.
Things did not start to go awry until the fourth quarter when two of the best player fouled out of the game.
Awry also means skewed in the literal sense.
Her makeup was a mess and her hair was awry.$
Platitude (n.) (PLAT-uh-tood)
A platitude is:#
A. An insincere compliment
B. An interesting anecdote
C. A meaningless gesture
D. A half-hearted effort
E. A trite saying#
E*.) A platitude is a trite, overused saying, a cliché usually offered as advice or wisdom. "All's well that ends well" is a platitude.
"I went to him for help and all I got were meaningless platitudes," complained Brooke.$
Destitute (adj.) (DES-tuh-toot)
A. Morally corrupt
C. Very messy
D. Extremely poor
D*.) Destitute means extremely poor, impoverished, lacking in what is required for basic sustenance.
During the Great Depression there were many destitute people willing to do anything for the money to buy a meal.$
Extrovert (n.) (EKS-truh-vurt)
An extrovert is:#
A. A right-handed person
B. A left-handed person
C. An athletic person
D. An outgoing person
E. A shallow person#
D*.) An extrovert is an outgoing, gregarious person. A person whose reference point is more the outside world than his own inner world. The opposite is an introvert, who is quieter and more self-contained and who takes his cues more from what is happening inside of him than from the outside world.
"My brother, Nathaniel, is such an extrovert," said Gabrielle. "He has many more friends than I do, and he loves to party, whereas I prefer a quiet evening at home."$
Ephemeral (adj.) (i-FEM-ur-al)
B*.) Ephemeral means short lived, fleeting.
All life is ephemeral when seen from the perspective of eternity.$
Callow (adj.) (KAL-oh)
A*.) Callow means immature, unsophisticated due to youthfulness, inexperienced.
"As a callow youth of nineteen I did not realize how wise my father was," said Alex.$
Malleable (adj.) (MAL-ee-uh-bul)
A. Easy to know
B. Easy to put off
C. Easy to describe
D. Easy to forget
E. Easy to shape#
E*.) Malleable means easy to shape or mold. It can be applied to a substance like clay or to more abstract things like attitudes or personalities.
The old pickpocket aimed to train his young cohorts while they were malleable and followed his every instruction.$
Legacy (n.) (LEG-uh-see)
A legacy refers to:#
A. An article of clothing
B. A biographical story
C. An fantasy
D. An inheritance
E. A futuristic society#
D*.) Legacy refers to something inherited or passed down.
This stamp collection was my legacy from my great uncle, who began it as a boy and left it to me in his will.
Legacy is also a term used to designate an applicant to or member of a school, fraternity, or sorority that a parent or older sibling also attended or belonged to.
He's a legacy. His dad and brother were both Phi Sigma Kappa.$
Discriminate (v.) (di-SKRIM-uh-nate)
To discriminate means:#
A. To hate
B. To fear
C. To make a distinction
D. To condemn
E. To pardon#
C*.) To discriminate means to make a distinction.
My uncle with Alzheimer's disease cannot discriminate between the present and the past.
To discriminate also means to show partiality. If someone has discriminating tastes, it means they make careful choices and select only the best. To discriminate against means to make a distinction on the basis of race, religion, or some other broad characteristic. In this sense, discrimination has come to have the meaning of being prejudiced.$
Monolithic (adj.) (mah-nuh-LITH-ik)
To be monolithic means to be:#
A. Large and unbroken
B. Tall and pointed
C. Short and squat
D. Smart and single-minded
E. Blown all out of proportion#
A*.) To be monolithic means to be large and unbroken.
Monolithic expresses both the idea of massiveness and the idea of being all of one piece. A large pillar of stone would be monolithic. Opposition that was both great and single-minded could also be called monolithic. So could a huge corporation that had a singular purpose.
"Seeing the Soviet Union as monolithic generated a lot of fear," said Isaiah.$
Abject (adj.) (AB-jekt)
B. To the point
A*.) Abject means hopeless, wretched, miserable.
They lived in abject poverty with cockroaches and rats.$
Vitriolic (adj.) (vi-tree-AHL-ik)
If something is vitriolic it is:#
D. Off course
B*.) Vitriolic means caustic, full of bitterness, extremely nasty. It stems from the word vitriol, which is another name for sulfuric acid, which is caustic and burns.
His vitriolic tirade stunned his listeners. No one realized he was so full of hatred.$
Beset (v.) (bi-SET)
B. Set back
C*.) To be beset means to be besieged, surrounded on all sides, attacked by.
From the very beginning, the program was beset with problems. The office was broken into, the organizer was forced to resign in disgrace, and the funding did not come through when expected.
Beset also means encrusted or studded with:
The crown was beset with diamonds and rubies.$
Renounce (v.) (ri-NOWNCE)
To renounce means:#
A. To inform
B. To say differently
C. To redo
D. To ignore
E. To give up#
E*.) To renounce something means to give it up, to deny or forsake it.
When a king abdicates, he renounces all claims to the throne.$
Matriculate (v.) (muh-TRIK-yuh-layt)
To matriculate means:#
A. To enroll
B. To organize
C. To analyze
D. To explain
E. To take after one's mother#
A*.) To matriculate means to enroll, especially in a college or university.
"Where are you matriculated?" asked Michelle.$
Convivial (adj.) (kun-VIV-ee-ul)
D*.) Convivial means festive, friendly, good-natured, jovial.
We wanted to stay because we enjoyed the good music, the good food, the good wine, and the convivial company.$
Venerate (v.) (VEN-uh-rayt)
To venerate means:#
A. To shun
B. To honor
C. To emulate
D. To charge
E. To encourage#
B*.) To venerate means to honor, to deeply respect, to treat with reverence, as though sacred.
The old man was venerated by everyone in the village, and his opinion carried a lot of weight.$
Contiguous (adj.) (kun-TIG-yoo-us)
B. In agreement
D. Dependent upon
C*.) Contiguous means adjoining, touching.
Alaska and Hawaii are not part of the contiguous United States.$
Arbitrary (adj.) (AHR-buh-trer-ee)
B*.) Arbitrary means unfair, determined by impulse or individual will, having no particular rhyme or reason.
The judging of figure skating often seems arbitrary. People who skate very well often get lower scores than those who do not skate as well.$
Pristine (adj.) (PRIS-teen)
D*.) Pristine means pure, unspoiled, uncorrupted, immaculately clean.
From the air we looked down on mountains covered with a blanket of pristine snow, trampled by neither man nor beast.$
Succinct (adj.) (suk-SINGKT)
E*.) Succinct means concise, short, and to the point, brief.
He gave the reporter a succinct explanation of the situation and promised to answer further questions at a press conference later in the day.$
Farcical (adj.) (FARS-I-kul)
D*.) Farcical means absurd, ridiculous, having the characteristics of a farce.
Devin's farcical rendition of the President's speech had us rolling in the aisles.$
Nepotism (n.) (NEP-uh-tiz-um)
B*.) Nepotism is the practice of showing favoritism to relatives or close friends in business or politics. When someone gets a job or a promotion because a relative is an officer of the company, that's nepotism.
"It was not nepotism, but his own talent that got Julian where he is. I know for a fact his dad did not help him at all," said Erin.$
Cogent (adj.) (KOH-junt)
B*.) Cogent means persuasive, convincing, pertinent.
His cogent explanation put an end to the whole matter. Everyone's questions were answered.$
Rustic (adj.) (RUS-tik)
B. Red-gold in color
A*.) Rustic means rural, countrified, lacking the comforts or the sophistication of a city.
The rustic setting where Cheyenne spent her summers was totally different from the city where she wintered.$
C. Medically sound
E*.) To be doctrinaire is to be dogmatic, to espouse a theory, doctrine, or belief system whether or not it is practical, to be inflexible.
The more doctrinaire members of the congregation were offended by the neo-orthodox views of the new minister.$
Vitiate (v.) (VISH-ee-ayt)
To vitiate means:#
A. To salivate
B. To pardon
C. To regale
D. To pollute
E. To certify#
D*.) To vitiate means to pollute, to spoil, to impair, corrupt, or pervert.
"Media violence is vitiating the morals of our young people," ranted Mr. Coleman. "They think turning the other cheek is for wimps."$
Uniform (adj.) (YOO-nuh-form)
A. By the book
E. Stripped down#
B*.) Uniform means consistent, standard, without variation.
"Our goal this year is to standardize the requirements," said Mr. Hull. "They are not uniform from school to school.$
Coherent (adj.) (koh-HEER-unt)
If you are coherent you are:#
E. Not telling everything you know#
C*.) To be coherent is to be understandable, to make sense. Something that is coherent is logical and hangs together. When speech is rambling and makes no sense, it is said to be incoherent.
"My uncle is senile," said Melissa, "but today he was absolutely coherent. Everything he said made perfect sense."$
Transgress (v.) (trans-GRES)
To transgress is:#
A. To violate a law
B. To forgive
C. To move backwards
D. To cross
E. To cover#
A*.) To transgress means to violate a law, to offend, to sin.
"When you go to confession you own up to your sins and promise to transgress no more," explained Andrea.
Transgress also is used to mean going beyond in an inappropriate manner.
"His comedy routine transgressed the bounds of good taste," said Aunt Penny, "but I have to admit, he was very funny."$
Stagnation (n.) (stag-NAY-shun)
Stagnation refers to:#
A. Lack of joy
B. Lack of harmony
C. Lack of movement
D. Lack of confidence
E. Lack of money#
C*.) Stagnation refers to lack of movement that also implies staleness, a lack of progress or growth.
To avoid stagnation, Alicia took one class every semester until she was eighty-five years old.$
Onerous (adj.) (AHN-ur-us)
B. Most important
D. Bad tempered
A*.) Onerous means burdensome, oppressive, distasteful.
To Jeremy fell the onerous task of firing his teammates.$
Covert (adj.) (KUV-urt)
To be covert is to be:#
D*.) Covert means secret, hidden, concealed, disguised.
The CIA is known for its covert operations.$
Adulation (n.) (aj-uh-LAY-shun)
Adulation refers to:#
D. Sexual attraction
E. Excessive praise#
E*.) Adulation is excessive praise, adoration, hero worship.
Some rock stars live for the adulation of their fans. For others adulation is a burden.$
Discern (v.) (di-SURN)
To discern means:#
A. To criticize
B. To analyze
C. To recommend
D. To long for
E. To distinguish#
E*.) To discern means to distinguish, to differentiate from something else, to perceive.
"I can discern very little difference between Sue Ann and Jo Ann," said Vivian.$
Genteel (adj.) (jen-TEEL)
C*.) Genteel means refined, polite, aristocratic, well bred, cultivated.
"My aunt Catherine was a genteel old lady with a huge heart," said Angel. "Every day at four o'clock she served tea and finger sandwiches."$
Demagogue (n.) (dem-UH-GAWG)
A demagogue is:#
A. A bigot
B. A rabble-rouser
C. A fanatical follower
D. A heretic
E. A promoter of evil#
B*.) A demagogue is a rabble-rouser, a leader who tries to stir up others by playing on their emotions, rather than appealing to their reason, someone who uses people's prejudices and fears to move them to action.
Mussolini was a demagogue who could rant on for hours and whip the crowd into a frenzy.$
Comprehensive (adj.) (kahm-pruh-HEN-siv)
When something is comprehensive it is:#
D*.) To be comprehensive is to be complete, to be inclusive, to cover a large scope, to leave nothing out.
"The 'comprehensive coverage' in your policy insures against falling aircraft," said Jeffrey.
Do not confuse with comprehendible, which means understandable, intelligible, articulate.$
Integral (adj.) (IN-tuh-grul)
E. Closely watched#
A*.) Integral means essential, in the sense of being inseparable from. When something is integral to something else, it is part of its nature, necessary to the whole.
Steel is an integral part of a skyscraper.
You can relate the word integral to the word integrate, which means to combine, or to incorporate. When you integrate something, it becomes an integral part of who you are.$
Obtuse (adj.) (ahb-TOOS)
If someone is obtuse they:#
A. Are overweight
B. Are snobbish
C. Are dense
D. Are rude
E. Are humorous#
C*.) To be obtuse is to be dense, slow to catch on, unobservant, not tuned in.
The finer points of his presentation were not appreciated by several obtuse board members.
To learn this word, spend the day making note of all the obtuse people who cross your path. By tonight you will be amazed at how "with it" you are.$
Decimate (v.) (DES-uh-mayt)
To decimate is:#
A. To destroy most of
B. To decide against
C. To punctuate
D. To reduce
E. To count by tens#
A*.) To decimate means to destroy most of, to annihilate.
"Measles decimated the Indian population because the native people had no natural immunity to it," explained Mr. Simon.$
Lethargy (n.) (LETH-ur-jee)
B*.) Lethargy means sluggishness, laziness, drowsiness, indifference.
"Lethargy was the overriding tone of those sultry summer days," reminisced Grandma. "We did nothing but sit on the porch, sip lemonade, and complain about the heat."
The sailors didn't realize their increasing lethargy was from the onset of a tropical disease.$
Provincial (adj.) (pruh-VIN-shul)
Someone who is provincial is:#
D*.) Provincial means simple and unsophisticated. Its meaning comes from the assumption that people from the provinces - rural people - are less sophisticated than city people.
"New Yorkers look on everyone who isn't a New Yorker as being provincial," laughed Marcus.$
Relinquish (v.) (ri-LING-kwish)
To relinquish means:#
A. To resent
B. To weep
C. To cavitate
D To open
E. To release#
E*.) To relinquish is to release, to let go of, to surrender, to stop doing.
"If they find out you took steroids, they will make you relinquish your title," said Kylie.$
Noxious (adj.) (NAHK-shus)
B*.) Although the word noxious is often used to describe odors and something that is noxious may make you sick to your stomach, the actual meaning of the word is poisonous or very harmful. While most really smelly things are noxious, there are a lot of truly noxious things that have no odor at all.
"We walked through patches of noxious little weeds, and all came home with rashes," complained Miranda.$
Desiccate (v.) (DES-uh-kayt)
To desiccate means:#
A. To cut apart
B. To demolish
C. To deny
D. To evince
E. To dry out#
E*.) To desiccate means to dry out, to remove the moisture from.
Desiccated by years of hot winds, the once lush land became desert.$
Peccadillo (n.) (pek-uh-DIL oh)
A peccadillo is:#
A. An Australian animal
B A shameful secret
C. A Southern dessert
D. A minor offense
E. A subtle hint#
D*.) A peccadillo is a minor offense, a meaningless fault, a petty violation.
"You may call this a boyhood peccadillo," screamed Mr. Davis, "but I call it stealing!"
Beware. What does and does not qualify as a peccadillo is a matter of opinion. One man's peccadillo is another man's prison sentence. Men and their wives especially seem at odds over this question a good deal of the time.$
Pertinent (adj.) (PUR-tuh-nunt)
D*.) Pertinent means relevant, to the point, appropriate or meaningful to the subject at hand.
The assignment was to write a paragraph that included all the pertinent information about our proposed projects, including the topic, a time-table, and a budget.
Remember: The pertinent information about you relates to your character, not your measurements!$
Orthodox (adj.) (OR-thuh-dahks)
To be orthodox is to:#
A. Have straight teeth
B. Be conventional
C. Be righteous
D. Be religious
E. Be forthright#
B*.) To be orthodox is to be conventional, to follow established ways, to be traditional.
"Garret's methods are all so orthodox," complained Sabrina. "He is afraid to try anything new."
Orthodox Christians and orthodox Jews adhere to early forms of their respective religions, as opposed to more modern expressions.
If you are unorthodox, you are unconventional.
The "Curative Atomic Water" salesman was run out of town for his unorthodox healing methods.$
Anguish (n.) (ANG-gwish)
A. Extreme pain
B. Dramatized emotion
D. Deep resentment
E. Strong feelings#
A*.) Anguish is extreme pain, either physical or emotional.
Paul's drinking caused Rhonda deep anguish.$
Subordinate (adj.) (suh-BOR-duh-nit)
A*.) Subordinate means less than, secondary to, not as important as.
"My needs are not subordinate to your needs," Alexandra told Art angrily.$
Exhort (v.) (ig-ZORT)
To exhort is:#
A. To weakly criticize
B. To loudly report
C. To strongly urge
D. To harshly mock
E. To force to pay money#
C*.) To exhort is to strongly urge, to seriously warn, to seriously advise.
In what many thought was a controversial move, the health teacher exhorted her students to practice safe sex. Her persuasiveness may have saved lives.$
Culpable (adj.) (KUL-puh-bul)
A. Easily influenced
B. Sorely tempted
E*.) To be culpable means to be guilty, to be to blame for something, to have it be your fault.
Tanner's boss was found to be culpable in several minor infractions and was given a formal warning by the union.$
Nihilism (adj.) (NYE-uh-liz-um)
Nihilism is a belief that:#
A. Heaven and hell exist
B. Fate determines all
C. Love conquers all
D. There is no such thing as right and wrong
E. There is life after death#
D*.) Nihilism includes the belief that morality is relative and there is no such thing as right and wrong. Nihilism also implies rejection of established laws and values. It is defined more by what it rejects rather than what it believes in. It is more common to hear people called nihilists by their opponents than to hear them refer to themselves that way. In mid-19th century Russia there was a group who were actually called Nihilists, but today the term is applied to anyone with a negative, destructive outlook.
"Mr. Jordan used to say that punk rock was the most nihilistic music ever performed.," said Adriana.$
Synthesis (n.) (SIN-thuh-sis)
A synthesis is:#
A. An imitation
B. A attraction
C. A fiction
D. A sugar-coating
E. A blending#
E*.) A synthesis is a blending, a combining of parts into a whole, an integration of two or more elements.
"People on the mailing list are discussing a political system that is a synthesis of capitalism and communism," said Laura.$
Abstinent (adj.) (AB-stuh-nunt)
To be abstinent is:#
A. To refrain from indulging
B. To be stubborn
C. To be chronically late
D. To be awkward
E. To be judgmental#
A*.) To be abstinent means to refrain from indulging, to abstain. Alcoholics are abstinent when they do not drink liquor. People who practice celibacy remain abstinent from sex.
The monks took vows to be abstinent from worldly wealth and pleasures.$
Squalor (n.) (SKWAHL-ur)
B*.) Squalor refers to filth, wretchedness, repulsive conditions.
The refugees had to overlook the squalor of their living conditions.$
Delude (v.) (di-LOOD)
To delude means:#
A. To detail
B. To undress
C. To deceive
D. To hide
E. To drive insane#
C*.) To delude means to deceive, to mislead, to cause to hold a false belief. Someone who is deluded is laboring under a false impression.
The deluded cult members signed a pact to protect their leader from government infiltrators.$
Maverick (n.) (MAV-ur-ik)
A maverick is:#
A. A nonconformist
B. A troublemaker
C. A hero
D. An optimist
E. An entrepreneur#
A*.) A maverick is a nonconformist, a rebel, a freethinker, a groundbreaker.
He came into the company as a young maverick and within two years his "off the wall" ideas were policy.
A maverick is also an unbranded calf. This was the word's initial meaning. Now the word refers to anyone who is not easily branded with a traditional label.$
Copious (adj.) (KOH-pee-us)
D. Able to cope
A*.) Copious means plentiful, abundant. When there are copious amounts of something there is a lot of it.
It took me all afternoon to copy his copious notes on the French Revolution.$
Inept (adj.) (in-EPT)
To be inept is to be:#
D*.) To be inept is to be clumsy, unskilled, and ineffective.
"Nothing assaults the senses quite the way an inept bagpipe players' piping can," said Spencer.$
Myopia (n.) (mye-OH-pee-uh)
A. A lack of ambition
C. An ability to see the future
D. A habitual way of being
E*.) Myopia refers to shortsightedness. Technically, myopia is a medical term for near-sightedness. In the broader sense, it refers to lacking foresight, to being blinded to the larger implications of something, to seeing only what is right in front of one's nose.
His myopia prevented him from seeing that his son lacked the skills to run the company.$
Infer (v.) (in-FUR)
To infer means:#
A. To cogitate
B. To detain
C. To deceive
D. To deduce
E. To discuss#
D*.) To infer is to deduce, to find out by reasoning.
Those attending the meeting inferred from the senator's remarks that he intended to run for the presidency.$
Ostentatious (adj.) (ahs-ten-TAY-shus)
A*.) Ostentatious means showy, overblown, pretentious.
"My mother told me it was rude to make an ostentatious show of wealth, so we've always lived quite simply," smiled the heiress.$
Cursory (adj.) (KUR-suh-ree)
E. Having a tendency to swear#
B*.) Cursory means superficial, hasty, brief and haphazard.
Jackson was not serious about acing the exam. He gave his notes a cursory glance, then went out to play basketball.$
Epigram (n.) (EP-uh-gram)
An epigram is:#
A. A statement on a tomb
B. An introduction
C. An enigma
D. A coded instruction
E. A witty statement#
E*.) An epigram is a witty statement, short, polished, pithy saying, usually in verse, and often having a satiric or paradoxical twist at the end.
"One of my favorite epigrams is Oscar Wilde's "I can resist everything except temptation," said Katie.$
Ascetic (adj.) (uh-SET-ik)
Ascetics are involved with:#
A. Art and beauty
C. Sensual pleasures
D. Primitive music
B*.) The word ascetic refers to the relinquishment of normal comforts, to self-denial, and renunciation of worldly pleasures. An ascetic room would be one without frills, with perhaps only a mat on the floor and definitely no TV.
The monk lived an ascetic life. Two robes, three books, and a begging bowl were all he owned.
As a noun, an ascetic is a person who lives a life of self-denial.
The monk in the previous statement is an ascetic.$
Cynic (n.) (SIN-ik)
A cynic is someone who:#
A. Rates movies and books
B. Mistrusts people's motives
C. Offers unwanted advice
D. Is untrustworthy
E. Is grumpy#
B*.) A cynic mistrusts people's motives, thinks everything is motivated by selfishness, is suspicious of appearances, and tends to see the potential problems, rather than the potential joys in a situation. A cynic takes nothing on faith.
"I have always been a cynic," said Cassidy. "In spite of what is said, I cannot believe the government really cares about poor people."$
Genre (n.) (ZHAHN-ruh)
A*.) A genre is a category, a type. Reggae is one genre of music, rhythm and blues is another. Romantic novels are one genre of fiction, mysteries are another.
Bruce's compact disc collection included many genres of music, including ragtime, bluegrass, and classical.$
Chicanery (n.) (shi-KAY-nuh-ree)
E. Wishful thinking#
D*.) Chicanery means trickery, deceitfulness, underhanded sneakiness, deception by clever means.
When the extent of his chicanery came to light, we were all shocked. He'd had all of his credentials faked.$
Disseminate (v.) (di-SEM-uh-nayt)
To disseminate means:#
A. To make disappear
B. To expose
C. To integrate
D. To destroy
E. To scatter#
E*.) To disseminate is to scatter, to spread around, to distribute.
The organization disseminated information about AIDS to elementary school teachers across the nation.$
Venal (adj.) (VEEN-ul)
B. Pertaining to veins
D*.) Venal means corrupt, open to bribery.
"Washington is full of venal politicians," the lobbyist told me. "You will not have any trouble finding someone to take your money in exchange for a vote."$
Congenial (adj.) (kun-JEEN-yul)
To be congenial is to be:#
A. A blood relative of
C*.) To be congenial is to be friendly, pleasant, agreeable. In Beauty pageants "Miss Congeniality" is the woman voted the most friendly.
Her congenial nature made her the least likely person to be a murder suspect.$
Banal (adj.) (buh-NAL)
D*.) Banal means ordinary, unoriginal, lacking freshness, trite.
"The drinks were watered and the conversation was banal," said Leonie. "It was a perfectly horrid evening."$
Countenance (n.) (KOWN-tuh-nuns)
Your countenance refers to your:#
C. Inherited qualities
D. Acquired qualities
B*.) Your countenance refers to your face, especially as regards its expression.
Her countenance did not support the lie that she was happy.
As a verb, countenance has a totally different meaning. As a verb to countenance is to condone or tolerate or approve of.
"I will countenance your presence so long as you keep your mouth shut," declared the queen.$
Distend (v.) (di-STEND)
To distend is to:#
A*.) To distend means to swell, to bloat, to extend outward, to expand.
Before surgery for an obstruction, Jonah's abdomen was hard and distended.
Distended can also be used as an adjective. You can say "Look at Jonah's distended stomach!"$
Magnate (n.) (MAG-nayt)
A magnate is a person who is:#
C*.) A magnate is someone who is influential, who is rich, powerful and controls something. John D. Rockefeller was an oil magnate. Cecil B. DeMille was a film magnate. William Randolph Hearst was a newspaper magnate.
Many people were upset when Jackie Kennedy married Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis.$
Substantive (adj.) (SUB-stan-tiv)
If something is substantive it is:#
D. Universally true
C*.) Substantive means solid, real, having substance, substantial, meaty.
There is no substantive evidence to justify his arrest.$
Libel (v.) (LYE-bul)
To libel someone is:#
A. To define him
B. To defame him
C. To count him
D. To acknowledge him
E. To imitate him#
B*.) To libel is to defame, to write or publish things about another that are both damaging and of questionable truth. The term libel is applied to written, drawn, or published attacks on someone's character. When the attacks are spoken, it is called slander.
Slander is spoken libel and libel is written slander.
When the newspaper reported that Nancy was driving drunk, she insisted they were libeling her and sued.
Libel can also be a noun. Nancy is suing the paper for libel.$
Bovine (adj.) (BOH-vyne)
A*.) Bovine means ox-like or cow-like or related to cows in the same way that canine means dog-like or related to dogs and feline means cat-like or related to cats.
Babe the blue ox was Paul Bunyan's bovine friend.$
Disdain (n.) (dis-DAYN)
A*.) Disdain is contempt or scorn. When you look down your nose at something, you are expressing disdain.
Harriet looked with disdain on anyone who was not a vegetarian.$
Expedient (adj.) (ik-SPEE-dee-unt)
C*.) Expedient means practical or efficient, advantageous. Something that is expedient supports one's goal. The philosophy that says the ends justify the means is a philosophy of expediency.
If my goal is to get home in time to watch the news, it may be expedient for me to skip the grocery shopping.$
Axiom (n.) (AK-see-um)
An axiom is a statement that is:#
E. Widely accepted as true#
E*.) An axiom is a statement that is widely accepted as true.
"What goes up must come down," is an axiom.
In mathematics, a statement often one regarded as obvious, that is accepted without proof as a basis for proving other statements, is called an axiom.
"Do you remember the axioms you learned in geometry?" asked Don.
Remember: An axiom can be cute, and it can be wise, but a statement can be cute and wise and still not be an axiom.$
Nuance (n.) (NOO-ahns)
Nuance refers to:#
B*.) The word nuance refers to subtleties, slight shades of variation, fine points, shadings.
The Joy Luck Club explored the nuances of mother-daughter relationships.
Nuances absolutely contribute to atmosphere; they are, however, not atmosphere, but the subtle distinctions that go into creating atmosphere. Slight variations in rhythm are also nuances, but the rhythm itself is not.$
Pedestrian (adj.) puh-DES-tree-un
A. Not mechanized
D. Having cobblestones
E. Relating to horses#
B*.) Pedestrian means unimaginative, commonplace, dull.
The restaurant had a pedestrian menu and the service was slow.
As a noun, pedestrian has the totally different meaning of someone who is on foot, rather than riding in a vehicle of some sort.
"Look out for those pedestrians!" my mother yelled, as three older women stepped off the curb into the traffic.$
Largess (n.) (lahr-JES)
D*.) Largess is generosity or philanthropy. Largess can mean the generosity of giving or the gifts themselves.
Sam and I were able to come to the family reunion, thanks to my older brother's largess. He paid our plane fares.$
Squander (v.) SKWAHN-dur
To squander is:#
A. To spend
B. To gossip
C. To waste
D. To believe
E. To gain#
C*.) To squander is to waste. It doesn't matter how much money you spend; if it is for things you truly want and need, you are not squandering it. However, in many instances spending a lot of money WILL qualify as squandering. There is that one moment in the store when we foolishly believe we actually have to have this thing.
Pearl got a small inheritance from her father, but squandered it within two years on vacations and expensive clothes.$
Theology (n.) (thee-AHL-uh-jee)
A. The study of religion
B. The study of stars
C. The study of emotions
D. The study of civilization
E. The study of language#
A*.) Theology is the study of religion, the study of the relationship between God and what exists as creation. A person's theology is his or her belief structure about such matters. Theology is the intellectual pursuit of God, whereas the emotional and experiential pursuit is called mysticism.
He was a theology student at a southern Bible college before he became a rock star.$
Chronicle (n.) (KRAHN-uh-kul)
A chronicle is:#
A. A lingering illness
B. A history
C. A fear
D. A fictionalized account
E. A mission statement#
B*.) A chronicle is a history, a record of events in order of time.
Josh wrote the class chronicle for the yearbook.
Chronicle can also be used as a verb, meaning to write a history:
Josh chronicled the journey of our class from kindergarten through twelfth grade.$
Covet (v.) (KUV-it)
To covet is:#
A. To keep a secret
B. To mislead
C. To uncover
D. To desire
E. To dislike#
D*.) To covet something is to desire it intensely, to yearn for it. Often the word is used when what you desire belongs to another:
The tenth commandment has to do with not coveting what belongs to your neighbor.
However, covet can be used in the sense of simply wanting what is not easily obtainable -- and it is usually used in this sense when it is an adjective.
He won the coveted Heisman trophy.$
Epitome (n.) (i-PIT-uh-mee)
Epitome refers to:#
A. A rejected idea
B. A brilliant idea
C. An outdated idea
D. An unpopular idea
E. A perfect example#
E*.) An epitome is a perfect example that embodies the very essence of something.
She was the epitome of grace as she spun across the floor.$
Veracity (n.) (vuh-RAS-uh-tee)
C*.) Veracity refers to the quality of truthfulness.
Politicians are not generally known for their veracity.
Be careful not to confuse veracity with voracity, which means gluttony.$
Contentious (adj.) (kun-TEN-shush)
B*.) To be contentious is to be argumentative, quarrelsome.
You can't discuss anything with Robbie. He is so contentious every conversation turns into an argument.$
Staunch (adj.) (stawnch)
A*.) Staunch means firmly committed, dedicated, steadfast.
She was a staunch Catholic until she married a Buddhist; then she stopped going to church and began meditating.$
Admonish (v.) (ad-MON-ish)
To admonish means:#
A. To replenish
B. To polish
C. To scold
D. To increase
E. To embarrass#
C*.) To admonish is to scold, to warn, to caution, to remind of a duty.
You might admonish someone to be sure and lock the door; and then you might admonish them when they forget to do it.
Admonish means both to warn and to scold.
The police were admonished to only use force if absolutely necessary.
The Captain admonished several officers for an excessive use of force.$
Munificent (adj.) (myoo-NIF-uh-sunt)
A. Very mundane
B. Very stupid
C. Very proud
D. Very generous
E. Very violent#
D*.) Munificent means lavishly generous.
The inventor's munificent widow endowed our community arts program.$