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2209 Cards in this Set

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v. lower; degrade; humiliate. Anna expected to have to curtsy to the King of Siam; when told to cast herself down on the ground before him, however, she refused to abase herself. abasement, N.
v. embarrass. He was not at all abashed by her open admiration.
v. subside or moderate. Rather than leaving immediately, they waited for the storm to abate.
v. shorten. Because we were running out of time, the lecturer had to abbreviate her speech.
v. renounce; give up. When Edward VIII abdicated the British throne, he surprised the entire world.
adj. abnormal or deviant. Given the aberrant nature of the data, we came to doubt the validity of the entire experiment.
n. abnormality; departure from the norm; mental irregularity or disorder. It remains the consensus among investors on Wall Street that current high oil prices are a temporary aberration and that we shall soon see a return to cheap oil.
v. assist, usually in doing something wrong; encourage. She was unwilling to abet him in the swindle he had planned.
n. suspended action. The deal was held in abeyance until her arrival.
v. detest; hate. She abhorred all forms of bigotry. abhorrence, N.
adj. wretched; lacking pride. On the streets of New York the homeless live in abject poverty, huddling in doorways to find shelter from the wind.
v. renounce upon oath; disavow. Pressure from university authorities caused the young scholar to abjure his heretical opinions. abjuration, N.
n. washing. His daily ablutions were accompanied by loud noises that he humorously labeled "Opera in the Bath."
n. renunciation; self-sacrifice. Though Rudolph and Duchess Flavia loved one another, their love was doomed, for she had to wed the king; their act of abnegation was necessary to preserve the kingdom.
v. cancel; put an end to. The president of the college refused to abolish the physical education requirement. abolition, N.
adj. detestable; extremely unpleasant; very bad. Mary liked John until she learned he was also dating Susan; then she called him an abominable young man, with abominable taste in women.
v. loathe; hate. Moses scolded the idol worshippers in the tribe because he abominated the custom.
aboriginal ADJ.,
n. being the first of its kind in a region; primitive; native. Her studies of the primitive art forms of the aboriginal Indians were widely reported in the scientific journals. aborigine, N.
adj. unsuccessful; fruitless. Attacked by armed troops, the Chinese students had to abandon their abortive attempt to democratize Beijing peacefully. abort, v.
adj. rubbing away; tending to grind down. Just as abrasive cleaning powders can wear away a shiny finish, abrasive remarks can wear away a listener's patience. abrade, v.
v. condense or shorten. Because the publishers felt the public wanted a shorter version of War and Peace, they proceeded to abridge the novel.
v. abolish. The king intended to abrogate the decree issued by his predecessor.
n. removal by cutting off, as in surgery; separation. Gas gangrene spreads so swiftly and is so potentially deadly that doctors advise abscission of the gangrenous tissue. When a flower or leaf separates naturally from the parent plant, this process is called abscission or leaf fall.
v. depart secretly and hide. The teller who absconded with the bonds went uncaptured until someone recognized him from his photograph on America's Most Wanted.
adj. complete; totally unlimited; certain. Although the King of Siam was an absolute monarch, he did not want to behead his unfaithful wife without absolute evidence of her infidelity.
v. pardon (an offense). The father confessor absolved him of his sins. absolution, N.
v. refrain; withhold from participation. After considering the effect of alcohol on his athletic performance, he decided to abstain from drinking while he trained for the race.
adj. sparing in eating and drinking; temperate. Concerned whether her vegetarian son's abstemious diet provided him with sufficient protein, the worried mother pressed food on him.
n. restraint from eating or drinking. The doctor recommended total abstinence from salted foods. abstain, v.
adj. theoretical; not concrete; nonrepresentational. To him, hunger was an abstract concept; he had never missed a meal.
adj. obscure; profound; difficult to understand. Baffled by the abstruse philosophical texts assigned in class, Dave asked Lexy to explain Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
adj. coarsely insulting; physically harmful. An abusive parent damages a child both mentally and physically.
v. border upon; adjoin. Where our estates abut, we must build a fence.
adj. bottomless. His arrogance is exceeded only by his abysmal ignorance.
n. enormous chasm; vast, bottomless pit. Darth Vader seized the evil emperor and hurled him into the abyss.
adj. related to a school; not practical or directly useful. The dean's talk about reforming academic policies was only an academic discussion: we knew little, if anything, would change.
v. agree. If I accede to this demand for blackmail, I am afraid that I will be the victim of future demands.
v. move faster. In our science class, we learn how falling bodies accelerate.
adj. easy to approach; obtainable. We asked our guide whether the ruins were accessible on foot.
n. additional object; useful but not essential thing. She bought an attractive handbag as an accessory for her dress. also ADJ.
v. applaud; announce with great approval. The sportscasters acclaimed every American victory in the Olympics and decried every American defeat. acclamation, N.
v. adjust to climate or environment; adapt. One of the difficulties of our present air age is the need of travelers to acclimate themselves to their new and often strange environments.
n. sharp upslope of a hill. The car could not go up the acclivity in high gear.
n. award of merit. In Hollywood, an "Oscar" is the highest accolade.
v. oblige or help someone; adjust or bring into harmony; adapt. Mitch always did everything possible to accommodate his elderly relatives, from driving them to medical appointments to helping them with paperwork. (secondary meaning)
n. partner in crime. Because he had provided the criminal with the lethal weapon, he was arrested as an accomplice in the murder.
n. agreement. She was in complete accord with the verdict.
v. approach and speak first to a person. When the two young men accosted me, I was frightened because I thought they were going to attack me.
v. equip. The fisherman was accoutred with the best that the sporting goods store could supply. accoutrement, N.
n. growth; increase. Over the years Bob put or weight; because of this accretion of flesh, he went from size M to size XL. accrete, v.
v. come about by addition. You must pay the interest that has accrued on your debt as well as the principal sum. accrual, N.
adj. bitter or sour in nature; sharp and cutting. Noted for her acerbic wit and gossiping, Alice Roosevelt Longworth had a pillow in her home embroidered with the legend "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
n. bitterness of speech and temper. The meeting of the United Nations Assembly was marked with such acerbity that observers held little hope of reaching any useful settlement of the problem.
adj. vinegary. The salad had an exceedingly acetic flavor.
adj. slightly sour; sharp; caustic. James was unpopular because of his sarcastic and acidulous remarks.
v. recognize; admit. Although I acknowledge that the Beatles' tunes sound pretty dated nowadays, I still prefer them to the gangsta rap songs my brothers play.
n. peak; pinnacle; highest point. Welles's success in Citizen Kane marked the acme of his career as an actor; never again did he achieve such popular acclaim.
n. science of sound; quality that makes a room easy or hard to hear in. Carnegie Hall is liked by music lovers because of its fine acoustics.
v. assent; agree passively. Although she appeared to acquiesce to her employer's suggestions, I could tell she had reservations about the changes he wanted made. acquiescence, N.; acquiescent, ADJ.
n. deliverance from a charge. His acquittal by the jury surprised those who had thought him guilty. acquit, v.
adj. sharp; bitterly pungent. The acrid odor of burnt gunpowder filled the room after the pistol had been fired.
adj. bitter in words or manner. The candidate attacked his opponent in highly acrimonious terms. acrimony, N.
n. fear of heights. A born salesman, he could convince someone with a bad case of acrophobia to sign up for a life membership in a sky-diving club.
adj. calculating; pertaining to insurance statistics. According to recent actuarial tables, life expectancy is greater today than it was a century ago.
v. motivate. I fail to understand what actuated you to reply to this letter so nastily.
n. sharpness. In time his youthful acuity of vision failed him, and he needed glasses.
n. mental keenness. Her business acumen helped her to succeed where others had failed.
adj. quickly perceptive; keen; brief and severe. The acute young doctor realized immediately that the gradual deterioration of her patient's once-acute hearing was due to a chronic illness, not an acute one.
n. wise saying; proverb. There is much truth in the old adage about fools and their money.
adj. hard; inflexible. In this movie Bronson played the part of a revenge-driven man, adamant in his determination to punish the criminals who destroyed his family. adamancy, N.
v. alter; modify. Some species of animals have become extinct because they could not adapt to a changing environment.
n. addition; appendix to book. Jane's editor approved her new comparative literature text but thought it would be even better with an addendum on recent developments in literary criticism.
n. compulsive, habitual need. His addiction to drugs caused his friends much grief.
v. muddle; drive crazy; become rotten. This idiotic plan is confusing enough to addle anyone. addled, ADJ.
v. direct a speech to; deal with or discuss. Due to address the convention in July, Brown planned to address the issue of low-income housing in his speech.
adj. expert at. She was adept at the fine art of irritating people. also N.
v. stick fast. I will adhere to this opinion until proof that I am wrong is presented. adhesion, N.; adherence, N.
n. supporter; follower. In the wake of the scandal, the senator's one-time adherents quietly deserted him.
adj. adjoining; neighboring; close by. Philip's best friend Jason lived only four houses down the block, near but not immediately adjacent.
n. something (generally nonessential or inferior) added on or attached. Although I don't absolutely need a second computer, I plan to buy a laptop to serve as an adjunct to my desktop model. also ADJ.
n. solemn urging. Her adjuration to tell the truth did not change the witnesses' testimony. adjure, v.
n. staff officer assisting the commander; assistant. Though Wellington delegated many tasks to his chief adjutant, Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Somerset was in no doubt as to who made all major decisions.
■ admonish
v. warn reprove. When her courtiers questioned her religious beliefs, Mary Stuart admonished them, declaring that she would worship as she pleased.
v. decorate. Wall paintings and carved statues adorned the temple. adornment, N.
adj. skillful. Her adroit handling of the delicate situation pleased her employers.
n. flattery; admiration. The rock star thrived on the adulation of his groupies and yes-men. adulate, v.
v. make impure by adding inferior or tainted substances. It is a crime to adulterate foods without informing the buyer; when consumers learned that Beechnut had adulterated its apple juice by mixing the juice with water, they protested vigorously. adulteration, N.
n. arrival. Most Americans were unaware of the advent of the Nuclear Age until the news of Hiroshima reached them.
adj. accidental; casual. She found this adventitious meeting with her friend extremely fortunate.
n. opponent; enemy. Batman struggled to save Gotham City from the machinations of his wicked adversary, the Joker.
adj. unfavorable; hostile. The recession had a highly adverse effect on Father's investment portfolio: he lost so much money that he could no longer afford the butler and the upstairs maid.
n. poverty; misfortune. We must learn to meet adversity gracefully.
v. refer (to). Since you advert to this matter so frequently, you must regard it as important.
n. support; active pleading on behalf of someone or something. No threats could dissuade Bishop Desmond Tutu from his advocacy of the human rights of black South Africans.
v. urge; plead for. The abolitionists advocated freedom for the slaves. also N.
n. shield; defense. Under the aegis of the Bill of Rights, we enjoy our most treasured freedoms.
n. nest of a large bird of prey (eagle, hawk). The mother eagle swooped down on the rabbit and bore it off to her aerie high in the Rocky Mountains.
adj. artistic; dealing with or capable of appreciating the beautiful. The beauty of Tiffany's stained glass appealed to Alice's aesthetic sense. aesthete, N.
adj. easily approachable; warmly friendly. Accustomed to cold, aloof supervisors, Nicholas was amazed at how affable his new employer was. affability, N.
adj. artificial; pretended; assumed in order to impress. His affected mannerisms—his "Harvard" accent, his air of boredom, his use of obscure foreign words—bugged us. he acted as if he thought he was too good for his old high school friends. affectation, N.
n. written statement made under oath. The court refused to accept her statement unless she presented it in the form of an affidavit.
n. joining; associating with. His affiliation with the political party was of short duration for he soon disagreed with his colleagues.
n. kinship. She felt an affinity with all who suffered; their pains were her pains.
n. positive assertion; confirmation; solemn pledge by one who refuses to take an oath. Despite Tom's affirmations of innocence, Aunt Polly still suspected he had eaten the pie.
v. attach or add on; fasten. First the registrar had to affix his signature to the license; then he had to affix his official seal.
n. state of distress; cause of suffering. Even in the midst of her affliction, Elizabeth tried to keep up the spirits of those around her.
n. abundance; wealth. Foreigners are amazed by the affluence and luxury of the American way of life.
n. insult; offense; intentional act of disrespect. When Mrs. Proudie was not seated beside the Archdeacon at the head table, she took it as a personal affront and refused to speak to her hosts for a week. also v.
adj. openmouthed. She stared, agape, at the many strange animals in the zoo.
n. items of business at a meeting. We had so much difficulty agreeing upon an agenda that there was very little time for the meeting.
n. collection; heap. It took weeks to assort the agglomeration of miscellaneous items she had collected on her trip.
v. increase or intensify; raise in power, wealth, rank or honor. The history of the past quarter century illustrates how a President may aggrandize his power to act aggressively in international affairs without considering the wishes of Congress.
v. gather; accumulate. Before the Wall Street scandals, dealers in so-called junk bonds managed to aggregate great wealth in short periods of time. also
n. attacker. Before you punish both boys for fighting, see whether you can determine which one was the aggressor.
adj. horrified; dumbfounded. Miss Manners was aghast at the crude behavior of the fraternity brothers at the annual toga party.
n. nimbleness. The agility of the acrobat amazed and thrilled the audience.
v. stir up; disturb. Her fiery remarks agitated the already angry mob.
n. one who is skeptical of the existence of a god or any ultimate reality. Agnostics say we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God; we simply have no way to know. also ADJ.
adj. highly excited; intensely curious. We were all agog at the news that the celebrated movie star was giving up his career in order to enter a monastery.
adj. pertaining to land or its cultivation. As a result of its recent industrialization, the country is gradually losing its agrarian traditions.
n. cheerful promptness; eagerness. Phil and Dave were raring to get off to the mountains; they packed up their ski gear and climbed into the van with alacrity.
n. medieval form of speculative thought that aimed to transform base metals (lead or copper) into silver or gold and to discover a means of prolonging life. Although alchemy anticipated science in its belief that physical reality was determined by an unvarying set of natural laws, the alchemist's experimental method was hardly scientific.
n. nook; recess. Though their apartment lacked a full-scale dining room, an alcove adjacent to the living room made an adequate breakfast nook for the young couple.
n. an assumed name. John Smith's alias was Bob Jones. also ADV.
v. make hostile; separate. Her attempts to alienate the two friends failed because they had complete faith in each other.
adj. supplying nourishment. The alimentary canal in our bodies is so named because digestion of foods occurs there. When asked for the name of the digestive tract, Sherlock Holmes replied, "Alimentary, my dear Watson."
n. payments made to an ex-spouse after divorce. Because Tony had supported Tina through medical school, on their divorce he asked the court to award him $500 a month in alimony.
v. calm; pacify. The crew tried to allay the fears of the passengers by announcing that the fire had been controlled.
v. state without proof. Although it is alleged that she has worked for the enemy, she denies the allegation and, legally, we can take no action against her without proof. allegation, N.
n. loyalty. Not even a term in prison could shake Lech Walesa's allegiance to Solidarity, the Polish trade union he had helped to found.
n. story in which characters are used as symbols; fable. Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the temptations and victories of the human soul. allegorical, ADJ.
v. relieve. This should alleviate the pain; if it does not, we shall have to use stronger drugs.
n. repetition of beginning sound in poetry. "The furrow followed free" is an example of alliteration.
v. assign. Even though the Red Cross had allocated a large sum for the relief of the sufferers of the disaster, many people perished.
n. a mixture as of metals. Alloys of gold are used more frequently than the pure metal.
v. mix; make less pure; lessen or moderate.
v. refer indirectly. Try not to mention divorce in Jack's presence because he will think you are alluding to his marital problems with Jill.
v. entice; attract. Allured by the song of the sirens, the helmsman steered the ship toward the reef. also N.
n. indirect reference. When Amanda said to the ticket scalper, "One hundred bucks? What do you want, a pound of flesh?" she was making an allusion to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.
adj. pertaining to soil deposits left by running water. The farmers found the alluvial deposits at the mouth of the river very fertile.
adj. apart; reserved. Shy by nature, she remained aloof while all the rest conversed.
adv. upward. The sailor climbed aloft into the rigging.
n. noisy quarrel; heated dispute. In that hot-tempered household, no meal ever came to a peaceful conclusion; the inevitable altercation sometimes even ended in blows.
adj. unselfishly generous; concerned for others. In providing tutorial assistance and college scholarships for hundreds of economically disadvantaged youths, Eugene Lang performed a truly altruistic deed. altruism, N.
v. combine; unite in one body. The unions will attempt to amalgamate their groups into one national body.
v. collect. The miser's aim is to amass and hoard as much gold as possible.
n. female warrior. Ever since the days of Greek mythology we refer to strong and aggressive women as amazons.
adj. capable of using either hand with equal ease. A switch-hitter in baseball should be naturally ambidextrous.
n. environment; atmosphere. She went to the restaurant not for the food but for the ambience.
adj. unclear or doubtful in meaning. His ambiguous instructions misled us; we did not know which road to take. ambiguity, N.
n. the state of having contradictory or conflicting emotional attitudes. Torn between loving her parents one minute and hating them the next, she was confused by the ambivalence of her feelings. ambivalent, ADJ.
n. moving at an easy pace. When she first mounted the horse, she was afraid to urge the animal to go faster than a gentle amble. also v.
n. food of the gods. Ambrosia was supposed to give immortality to any human who ate it.
adj. able to walk; not bedridden. Calvin was a highly ambulatory patient; not only did he refuse to be confined to bed, but also he insisted on riding his skateboard up and down the halls.
v. improve. Many social workers have attempted to ameliorate the conditions of people living in the slums.
adj. readily managed or willing to be led; answerable or accountable legally. Although the ambassador was usually amenable to friendly suggestions, he balked when we hinted he should pay his parking tickets. As a foreign diplomat, he claimed he was not amenable to minor local laws.
v. correct; change, generally for the better. Hoping to amend his condition, he left Vietnam for the United States.
n. convenient features; courtesies. In addition to the customary amenities for the business traveler—fax machines, modems, a health club—the hotel offers the services of a butler versed in the social amenities.
adj. agreeable; lovable; warmly friendly. In Little Women, Beth is the amiable daughter whose loving disposition endears her to all who know her.
adj. politely friendly; not quarrelsome. Beth's sister Jo is the hot-tempered tomboy who has a hard time maintaining amicable relationships with those around her. Jo's quarrel with her friend Laurie finally reaches an amicable settlement, but not because Jo turns amiable overnight.
adj. wrong; faulty. Seeing her frown, he wondered if anything were amiss. also ADV.
n. friendship. Student exchange programs such as the Experiment in International Living were established to promote international amity.
n. loss of memory. Because she was suffering from amnesia, the police could not get the young girl to identify herself.
n. pardon. When his first child was born, the sing granted amnesty to all in prison.
adj. nonmoral. The amoral individual lacks a rode of ethics; he cannot tell right from wrong. The mmoral person can tell right from wrong; he chooses to do something he knows is wrong.
adj. moved by sexual love; loving. "Love them and leave them" was the motto of the amorous Don Juan.
adj. formless; lacking shape or definition. As soon as we have decided on our itinerary, we shall send jou a copy; right now, our plans are still amorphous.
adj. able to live both on land and in water. =rags are classified as amphibian. also N.
n. oval building with tiers of seats. The spectators in the amphitheater cheered the gladiators.
adj. abundant. Bond had ample opportunity to Dscape. Why, then, did he let us capture him?
v. broaden or clarify by expanding; intensify; -hake stronger. Charlie Brown tried to amplify his remarks, but he was drowned out by jeers from the audience. Lucy was smarter: she used a loudspeaker to amplify her voice.
v. cut off part of body; prune. When the doctors had to amputate Ted Kennedy's leg to prevent the spread of cancer, he did not let the loss of his leg keep him from participating in sports.
amok (also amuck)
adv. in a state of rage. The police had to be called in to restrain him after he ran amok in the department store.
n. charm; talisman. Around her neck she wore the amulet that the witch doctor had given her.
n. something or someone misplaced in time. Shakespeare's reference to clocks in Julius Caesar is an anachronism; no clocks existed in Caesar's time. anachronistic, ADJ.
adj. causing insensitivity to pain. The analgesic qualities of this lotion will provide temporary relief.
adj. comparable. She called our attention to the things that had been done in an analogous situation and recommended that we do the same.
n. similarity; parallelism. A well-known analogy compares the body's immune system with an army whose defending troops are the lymphocytes or white blood cells.
n. person who seeks to overturn the established government; advocate of abolishing authority. Denying she was an anarchist, Katya maintained she wished only to make changes in our government, not to destroy it entirely.
n. absence of governing body; state of disorder. The assassination of the leaders led to a period of anarchy.
n. solemn curse; someone or something regarded as a curse. The Ayatolla Khomeini heaped anathema upon "the Great Satan," that is, the United States. To the Ayatolla, America and the West were anathema; he loathed the democratic nations, cursing them in his dying words. anathematize, v.
n. family descent. David can trace his ancestry as far back as the seventeenth century, when one of his ancestors was a court trumpeter somewhere in Germany. ancestral, ADJ.
v. secure or fasten firmly; be fixed in place. We set the post in concrete to anchor it in place. anchorage, N.
adj. serving as an aid or accessory; auxiliary. In an ancillary capacity Doctor Watson was helpful; however, Holmes could not trust the good doctor to solve a perplexing case on his own. also N.
n. short account of an amusing or interesting event. Rather than make concrete proposals for welfare reform, President Reagan told anecdotes about poor people who became wealthy despite their impoverished backgrounds.
n. condition in which blood lacks red corpuscles. The doctor ascribes her tiredness to anemia. anemic, ADJ.
n. substance that removes sensation with or without loss of consciousness. His monotonous voice acted like an anesthetic; his audience was soon asleep. anesthesia, N.
n. acute pain; extreme suffering. Visiting the site of the explosion, the president wept to see the anguish of the victims and their families.
adj. sharp-cornered; stiff in manner. Mr. Spock's features, though angular, were curiously attractive, in a Vulcan way.
n. critical remark. He resented the animadversions of his critics, particularly because he realized they were true.
adj. lively; spirited. Jim Carrey's facial expressions are highly animated: when he played Ace Ventura, he was practically rubber-faced.
n. active enmity. He incurred the animosity of the ruling class because he advocated limitations of their power.
n. hostile feeling or intent. The animus of the speaker became obvious to all when he began to indulge in sarcastic and insulting remarks.
n. records; history. In the annals of this period, we find no mention of democratic movements.
v. reduce brittleness and improve toughness by heating and cooling. After the glass is annealed, it will be less subject to chipping and cracking.
v. attach; take possession of. Mexico objected to the United States' attempts to annex the territory that later became the state of Texas.
v. destroy. The enemy in its revenge tried to annihilate the entire population.
v. comment; make explanatory notes. In the appendix to the novel, the critic sought to annotate many of the more esoteric references.
n. yearly allowance. The annuity she set up with the insurance company supplements her social security benefits so that she can live very comfortably without working.
v. make void. The parents of the eloped couple tried to annul the marriage.
n. drug that relieves pain; opiate. His pain was so great that no anodyne could relieve it.
v. consecrate. The prophet Samuel anointed David with oil, crowning him king of Israel.
adj. abnormal; irregular. She was placed in the anomalous position of seeming to approve procedures that she despised.
n. irregularity. A bird that cannot fly is an anomaly.
n. state of being nameless; anonymousness. The donor of the gift asked the college not to mention her by name; the dean readily agreed to respect her anonymity. anonymous, ADJ.
n. hostility; active resistance. Barry showed his antagonism toward his new stepmother by ignoring her whenever she tried talking to him. antagonistic, ADJ.
v. precede. The invention of the radiotelegraph anteceded the development of television by a quarter of a century.
n. preceding events or circumstances that influence what comes later; ancestors or early background. Susi Bechhofer's ignorance of her Jewish background had its antecedents in the chaos of World War II. Smuggled out of Germany and adopted by a Christian family, she knew nothing of her birth and antecedents until she was reunited with her Jewish family in 1989.
adj. antiquated; extremely ancient. Looking at his great-aunt's antique furniture, which must have been cluttering up her attic since before Noah's flood, the young heir exclaimed, "Heavens! How positively antediluvian!"
n. song of praise or patriotism. Let us now all join in singing the national anthem.
n. book of literary selections by various authors. This anthology of science fiction was compiled by the late Isaac Asimov. anthologize, v.
adj. manlike. The gorilla is the strongest of the anthropoid animals. also N.
n. student of the history and science of humankind. Anthropologists have discovered several relics of prehistoric humans in this area.
adj. having human form or characteristics. Primitive religions often have deities with anthropomorphic characteristics.
adj. extravagantly odd. Putting on an antic disposition, Hamlet acts so odd that the Danish court thinks him mad. also N
n. letdown in thought or emotion. After the fine performance in the first act, the rest of the play was an anticlimax, anticlimactic, ADJ.
n. remedy to counteract a poison or disease. When Marge's child accidentally swallowed some cleaning fluid, the local poison control hotline instructed Marge how to administer the antidote.
n. aversion; dislike. Tom's extreme antipathy for disputes keeps him from getting into arguments with his temperamental wife. Noise in any form is antipathetic to him. Among his other antipathies are honking cars, boom boxes, and heavy metal rock.
adj. obsolete; outdated. Accustomed to editing his papers on word processors, Philip thought typewriters were too antiquated for him to use.
n. substance that prevents infection. It is advisable to apply an antiseptic to any wound, no matter how slight or insignificant. also ADJ.
n. contrast; direct opposite of or to. This tyranny was the antithesis of all that he had hoped for, and he fought it with all his strength. antithetical or antithetic, ADJ.
n. iron block used in hammering out metals. After heating the iron horseshoe in the forge, the blacksmith picked it up with his tongs and set it on the anvil.
n. lack of caring; indifference. A firm believer in democratic government, she could not understand the apathy of people who never bothered to vote. apathetic, ADJ.
v. imitate or mimic.
n. opening; hole. She discovered a small aperture in the wall, through which the insects had entered the room.
n. tip; summit; climax. At the apex of his career, the star received offers of leading roles daily; two years later, he was reduced to taking bit parts in B-movies.
n. loss of speech due to injury or illness. After the automobile accident, the victim had periods of aphasia when he could not speak at all or could only mumble incoherently.
n. pithy maxim or saying. An aphorism is usually philosophic or scientific, as compared to an adage, which is usually more homely and concrete. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" is an aphorism. "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" is an adage. aphoristic, ADJ.
n. a place where bees are kept. Although he spent many hours daily in the apiary, he was very seldom stung by a bee.
n. poise; assurance. Gwen's aplomb in handling potentially embarrassing moments was legendary around the office; when one of her clients broke a piece of her best crystal, she coolly picked up her own goblet and hurled it into the fireplace.
adj. prophetic; pertaining to revelations. The crowd jeered at the street preacher's apocalyptic predictions of doom. The Apocalypse or Book of Revelations of Saint John prophesies the end of the world as we know it and foretells marvels and prodigies that signal the coming doom. apocalypse, N.
adj. spurious; not authentic; invented rather than true. Although many versions exist of the famous story of Emerson's visit to Thoreau in jail, in his writings Thoreau never mentions any such visit by Emerson, and so the tale is most likely apocryphal.
n. highest point. When the moon in its orbit is furthest away from the earth, it is at its apogee. Discouraged by the apparent deterioration of America's space program, the science columnist wondered whether the golden age of space travel had reached its apogee with the Apollo 11 moon landing and would never again achieve such heights.
adj. having an aversion or lack of concern for political affairs. It was hard to remain apolitical during the Vietnam War; even people who generally ignored public issues felt they had to take political stands.
n. one who writes in defense of a cause or institution. Rather than act as an apologist for the current regime in Beijing and defend its brutal actions, the young diplomat decided to defect to the West.
n. one who abandons his religious faith or political beliefs. Because he switched from one party to another, his former friends shunned him as an apostate. An apostle passionately adheres to a belief or cause; an apostate passionately renounces or abandons one. apostasy, N.
n. druggist. In Holland; apothecaries still sell spices as well as ointments and pills.
n. pithy, compact saying. Proverbs are apothegms that have become familiar sayings.
n. elevation to godhood; an ideal example of something. The Roman empress Livia envied the late emperor Augustus his apotheosis; she hoped that on her death she, too, would be exalted to the ranks of the gods. The hero of the novel Generation X was the apotheosis of a slacker, the quintessential example of a member of his generation.
v. dismay; shock. We were appalled by the horrifying conditions in the city's jails.
n. ghost; phantom. On the castle battlements, an apparition materialized and spoke to Hamlet, warning him of his uncle's treachery. In Ghostbusters, hordes of apparitions materialized, only to be dematerialized by the specialized apparatus wielded by Bill Murray.
v. pacify or soothe; relieve. Tom and Jody tried to appease the crying baby by offering him one toy after another. However, he would not calm down until they appeased his hunger by giving him a bottle. appeasement, N.
n. name; title. Macbeth was startled when the witches greeted him with an incorrect appellation. Why did they call him Thane of Cawdor, he wondered, when the holder of that title still lived?
v. attach. When you append a bibliography to a text, you have created an appendix.
n. diligent attention. Pleased with how well Tom had whitewashed the fence, Aunt Polly praised him for his application. (Tom had applied himself to applying the paint.) (secondary meaning) apply, v.
adj. appropriate; fitting. She was always able to find the apposite phrase, the correct expression for every occasion.
v. estimate value of. It is difficult to appraise old paintings; it is easier to call them priceless. appraisal, N.
v. be thankful for; increase in worth; be thoroughly conscious of. Little Orphan Annie truly appreciated the stocks Daddy Warbucks gave her, whose value appreciated considerably over the years.
v. arrest (a criminal); dread; perceive. The police will apprehend the culprit and convict him before long.
adj. fearful; discerning. His apprehensive glances at the people who were walking in the street revealed his nervousness.
■ apprise
v. inform. When NASA was apprised of the dangerous weather conditions, the head of the space agency decided to postpone the shuttle launch.
■ approbation
n. approval. Wanting her parents' regard, she looked for some sign of their approbation. Benjamin Franklin, that shrewd observer of mankind, once wrote, "We must not in the course of public life expect immediate approbation and immediate grateful acknowledgment of our services,"
■ appropriate
v. acquire; take possession of for one's own use. The ranch owners appropriated the lands that had originally been set aside for the Indians' use.
n. subordinate possessions. He bought the estate and all its appurtenances.
n. fitness; talent. The American aviator Bessie Coleman grew up in Waxahatchie, Texas, where her mathematical aptitude freed her from working in the cotton fields with her twelve brothers and sisters.
adj. curved, hooked. He can be recognized by his aquiline nose, curved like the beak of the eagle.
n. style of decoration involving intertwined plants and abstract curves; ballet position with one leg supporting the weight of the body, while the other leg is extended in back. Because the Koran prohibits the creation of human and animal images, Moorish arabesques depict plants but no people. The statue of winged Mercury stands poised on one foot, frozen in an eternal arabesque.
adj. fit for growing crops. The first settlers wrote home glowing reports of the New World, praising its vast acres of arable land ready for the plow.
n. person with power to decide a matter in dispute; judge. As an arbiter in labor disputes, she has won the confidence of the workers and the employers.
adj. unreasonable or capricious; tyrannical. The coach claimed the team lost because the umpire made some arbitrary calls.
v. act as judge. She was called upon to arbitrate the dispute between the union and the management.
n. place where different varieties of trees and shrubs are studied and exhibited. Walking along the treelined paths of the arboretum, Rita noted poplars, firs, and some particularly fine sycamores.
n. a covered passageway, usually lined with shops. The arcade was popular with shoppers because it gave them protection from the summer sun and the winter rain.
adj. secret; mysterious: known only to the initiated. Secret brotherhoods surround themselves with arcane rituals and trappings to mystify outsiders. So do doctors. Consider the arcane terminology they use and the impression they try to give that what is arcane to us is obvious to them.
n. study of artifacts and relics of early mankind. The professor of archaeology headed an expedition to the Gobi Desert in search of ancient ruins.
adj. antiquated. "Methinks," "thee," and "thou" are archaic words that are no longer part of our normal vocabulary.
n. prototype; primitive pattern. The Brooklyn Bridge was the archetype of the many spans that now connect Manhattan with Long Island and New Jersey.
n. group of closely located islands. When he looked at the map and saw the archipelagoes in the South Seas, he longed to visit them.
n. public records; place where public records are kept. These documents should be part of the archives so that historians may be able to evaluate them in the future.
n. heat; passion; zeal.. Katya's ardor was contagious; soon all her fellow demonstrators were busily making posters and handing out flyers, inspired by her ardent enthusiasm for the cause. ardent, ADJ.
■ arduous
adj. hard; strenuous. Her arduous efforts had sapped her energy.
n. slang. In the argot of the underworld, she "was taken for a ride."
n. operatic solo. At her Metropolitan Opera audition, Marian Anderson sang an aria from Norma.
adj. dry; barren. The cactus has adapted to survive in an arid environment.
n. hereditary nobility; privileged class. Americans have mixed feelings about hereditary aristocracy: we say all men are created equal, but we describe particularly outstanding people as natural aristocrats.
n. fleet of warships. Queen Elizabeth's navy was able to defeat the mighty armada that threatened the English coast.
adj. fragrant. Medieval sailing vessels brought aromatic herbs from China to Europe.
v. charge in court; indict. After his indictment by the Grand Jury, the accused man was arraigned in the County Criminal Court.
v. marshal; draw up in order. His actions were bound to array public sentiment against him. also N.
v. clothe; adorn. She liked to watch her mother array herself in her finest clothes before going out for the evening. also N.
n. being in debt. Because he was in arrears with his car payments, the repo men repossessed his Porsche.
v. stop or check; seize or capture (the attention). According to Connolly's "Theory of Permanent Adolescence," the triumphs and disappointments that boys experience at the great British public schools are so intense as to dominate their lives and to arrest their development.
adj. lacking rhythm or regularity. The doctors feared his arrhythmic heartbeat might be the first symptom of an imminent heart attack. arrhythmia, N.
n. pride; haughtiness. Convinced that Emma thought she was better than anyone else in the class, Ed rebuked her for her arrogance.
n. gully. Until the heavy rains of the past spring, this arroyo had been a dry bed.
n. storage place for military equipment. People are forbidden to smoke in the arsenal lest a stray spark set off the munitions stored there.
adj. cunning; crafty; sly. By using accurate details to suggest a misleading picture of the whole, the artful propagandist turns partial truths into more effective instruments of deception than lies.
adj. effective; distinct. Her articulate presentation of the advertising campaign impressed her employers. also v.
n. object made by human beings, either handmade or mass-produced. Archaeologists debated the significance of the artifacts discovered in the ruins of Asia Minor but came to no conclusion about the culture they represented.
n. deception; trickery. The Trojan War proved to the Greeks that cunning and artifice were often more effective than military might.
n. manually skilled worker; craftsman, as opposed to artist. Elderly artisans from Italy trained Harlem teenagers to carve the stone figures that would decorate the new wing of the cathedral.
adj. without guile; open and honest. Red Riding Hood's artless comment, "Grandma, what big eyes you have!" indicates the child's innocent surprise at her "grandmother's" changed appearance.
n. controlling influence. President Marcos failed to maintain his ascendancy over the Philippines.
v. find out for certain. Please ascertain her present address.
adj. practicing self-denial; austere. The wealthy, self-indulgent young man felt oddly drawn to the strict, ascetic life led by members of some monastic orders. also
v. refer; attribute; assign. I can ascribe no motive for her acts.
adj. preventing infection; having a cleansing effect. Hospitals succeeded in lowering the mortality rate as soon as they introduced aseptic conditions.
adj. ash-colored; deadly pale. Her face was ashen with fear.
adj. stupid. Your asinine remarks prove that you have not given this problem any serious consideration.
adv. with a sideways or indirect look. Looking askance at her questioner, she displayed her scorn.
adv. crookedly; slanted; at an angle. When the clown placed his hat askew upon his head, the children in the audience laughed.
n. sharpness (of temper). These remarks, spoken with asperity, stung the boys to whom they had been directed.
n. slanderous remark. Rather than attacking President Cleveland's arguments with logic, his opponent resorted to casting aspersions on the president's noral character.
n. seeker after position or status. Although I am an aspirant for public office, I am not willing to accept the lictates of the party bosses. also ADJ.
v. seek to attain; long for. Because he aspired to a career in professional sports, Philip enrolled in a grad-rate program in sports management. aspiration, N.
v. assault. He was assailed with questions after lis lecture.
v. analyze; evaluate. When they assayed the ore, hey found that they had discovered a very rich vein. also
v. agree; accept. It gives me great pleasure to ssent to your request. also. N.
v. state strongly or positively; insist on or demand ecognition of (rights, claims, etc.). When Jill asserted hat nobody else in the junior class had such an early :;urfew, her parents asserted themselves, telling her that f she didn't get home by nine o'clock she would be grounded for the week. assertion, N.
■ assiduous
adj. diligent. It took Rembrandt weeks of assiduous labor before he was satisfied with his portrait )f his son.
v. absorb; cause to become homogenous. The manner in which the United States was able to assimilate the hordes of immigrants during the nineeenth and early part of the twentieth centuries will always be a source of pride.
■ assuage
v. ease or lessen (pain); satisfy (hunger); soothe anger). Jilted by Jane, Dick tried to assuage his heartache Dy indulging in ice cream. One gallon later, he had assuaged his appetite but not his grief. assuagement, N.
n. something taken for granted; the taking )ver or taking possession of. The young princess made he foolish assumption that the regent would not object to ler assumption of power. assume, v.
n. promise or pledge; certainty; self-confidence. Nhen Guthrie gave Guinness his assurance that rehearsals were going well, he spoke with such assurance that "..;uinness was convinced. assure,
n. small planet. Asteroids have become commonplace to the readers of interstellar travel stories in science fiction magazines.
n. eye defect that prevents proper focus. As 30011 as his parents discovered that the boy suffered rom astigmatism, they took him to the optometrist for corrective glasses.
adj. relating to the stars. She was amazed at the number of astral bodies the new telescope revealed.
adj. binding; causing contraction; harsh or severe. The astringent quality of the unsweetened lemon juice made swallowing difficult. also N.
adj. enormously large or extensive. The government seemed willing to spend astronomical sums on weapons development.
adj. wise; shrewd; keen. The painter was an astute observer, noticing every tiny detail of her model's appearance and knowing exactly how important each one was.
adv. into parts; apart. A fierce quarrel split the partnership asunder; the two partners finally sundered their connections because their points of view were poles asunder.
n. place of refuge or shelter; protection. The refugees sought asylum from religious persecution in a new land.
adj. not identical on both sides of a dividing central line. Because one eyebrow was set markedly higher than the other, William's face had a particularly asymmetric appearance. asymmetry, N.
n. resemblance to remote ancestors rather than to parents; reversion to an earlier type; throwback. In his love for gardening, Martin seemed an atavism to his Tuscan ancestors who lavished great care on their small plots of soil. atavistic, ADJ.
n. one who denies the existence of God. "An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support."
v. make amends for; pay for. He knew no way in which he could atone for his brutal crime.
n. brutal deed. In time of war, many atrocities are committed by invading armies.
n. wasting away. Polio victims need physiotherapy to prevent the atrophy of affected limbs. also v.
adj. alert and watchful; considerate; thoughtful. Spellbound, the attentive audience watched the final game of the tennis match, never taking their eyes from the ball. A cold wind sprang up; Stan's attentive daughter slipped a sweater over his shoulders without distracting his attention from the game.
v. make thinner; weaken or lessen (in density, force, degree). The long, dry spell attenuated the creek to the merest trickle. When a meteor strikes the ground, the initially intense shock attenuates or lessens as it diverges outward.
v. testify; bear witness. Having served as a member of a grand jury, I can attest that our system of indicting individuals is in need of improvement.
n. essential quality. His outstanding attribute was his kindness.
v. ascribe; explain. I attribute her success in science to the encouragement she received from her parents.
n. gradual decrease in numbers; reduction in the work force without firing employees; wearing away of opposition by means of harassment. In the 1960s urban churches suffered from attrition as members moved from the cities to the suburbs. Rather than fire staff members, church leaders followed a policy of attrition, allowing elderly workers to retire without replacing them.
adj. not normal. The child psychiatrist reassured Mrs. Keaton that playing doctor was not atypical behavior for a child of young Alex's age. "Perhaps not," she replied, "but charging for house calls is!"
adj. daring; bold. Audiences cheered as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia made their audacious, death-defying leap to freedom and escaped Darth Vader's troops. audacity, N.
n. examination of accounts. When the bank examiners arrived to hold their annual audit, they discovered the embezzlements of the chief cashier. also v.
v. increase; add to. Armies augment their forces by calling up reinforcements; teachers augment their salaries by taking odd jobs.
n. omen; prophecy. He interpreted the departure of the birds as an augury of evil. augur, v.
adj. impressive; majestic. Visiting the palace at Versailles, she was impressed by the august surroundings in which she found herself.
n. sun's corona; halo. Many medieval paintings depict saintly characters with aureoles around their heads.
adj. pertaining to the aurora borealis. The auroral display was particularly spectacular that evening.
adj. favoring success. With favorable weather conditions, it was an auspicious moment to set sail. Thomas, however, had doubts about sailing: a paranoid, he became suspicious whenever conditions seemed auspicious.
adj. forbiddingly stern; severely simple and unornamented. The headmaster's austere demeanor tended to scare off the more timid students, who never visited his study willingly. The room reflected the man, austere and bare, like a monk's cell, with no touches of luxury to moderate its austerity.
v. prove genuine. An expert was needed to authenticate the original Van Gogh painting, distinguishing it from its imitation.
adj. subordinating the individual to the state; completely dominating another's will. The leaders of the authoritarian regime ordered the suppression of the democratic protest movement. After years of submitting to the will of her authoritarian father, Elizabeth Barrett ran away from home with the poet Robert Browning.
adj. having the weight of authority; peremptory and dictatorial. Impressed by the young researcher's well-documented presentation, we accepted her analysis of the experiment as authoritative.
adj. having absolute, unchecked power; dictatorial. A person accustomed to exercising authority may become autocratic if his or her power is unchecked. Dictators by definition are autocrats. Bosses who dictate behavior as well as letters can be autocrats too. autocracy, N.
n. mechanism that imitates actions of humans. Long before science fiction readers became aware of robots, writers were creating stories of automatons who could outperform humans.
adj. self-governing. Although the University of California at Berkeley is just one part of the state university system, in many ways Cal Berkeley is autonomous, for it runs several programs that are not subject to outside control. autonomy, N.
n. examination of a dead body; postmortem. The medical examiner ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death. also v.
adj. offering or providing help; additional or subsidiary. To prepare for the emergency, they built an auxiliary power station. also N.
n. great mass of falling snow and ice. The park ranger warned the skiers to stay on the main trails, where they would be in no danger of being buried beneath a sudden avalanche.
n. greediness for wealth. Montaigne is correct in maintaining that it is not poverty, but rather abundance, that breeds avarice: the more shoes Imelda Marcos had, the more she craved.
v. take vengeance for something (or on behalf of someone). Hamlet vowed he would avenge his father's murder and punish Claudius for his horrible crime.
v. assert confidently or declare; as used in law, state formally as a fact. The self-proclaimed psychic averred that, because he had extrasensory perception on which to base his predictions, he needed no seismographs or other gadgets in order to foretell earthquakes.
adj. reluctant; disinclined. The reporter was averse to revealing the sources of his information.
n. firm dislike. Bert had an aversion to yuppies; Alex had an aversion to punks. Their mutal aversion was so great that they refused to speak to one another.
v. prevent; turn away. She averted her eyes from the dead cat on the highway.
n. enclosure for birds. The aviary at the zoo held nearly 300 birds.
adj. greedy; eager for. He was avid for learning and read everything he could get. avidity, N.
n. secondary or minor occupation. His hobby proved to be so fascinating and profitable that gradually he abandoned his regular occupation and concentrated on his avocation.
v. declare openly. Lana avowed that she never meant to steal Debbie's boyfriend, but no one believed her avowal of innocence.
adj. like an uncle. Avuncular pride did not prevent him from noticing his nephew's shortcomings.
n. solemn wonder. The tourists gazed with awe at the tremendous expanse of the Grand Canyon.
n. pointed tool used for piercing. She used an awl to punch additional holes in the leather belt she had bought.
adv. distorted; crooked. He held his head awry, giving the impression that he had caught cold in his neck during the night. also ADJ.
n. self-evident truth requiring no proof. The Declaration of Independence records certain self-evident truths or axioms, the first of which is "All men are created equal." To Sherlock Holmes, it was axiomatic that the little things were infinitely the most important; he based his theory of detection on this obvious truth.
adj. sky blue. Azure skies are indicative of good weather.
v. chatter idly. The little girl babbled about her doll. also N.
adj. drunken. Emperor Nero attended the bacchanalian orgy.
v. pester; annoy. She was forced to change her telephone number because she was badgered by obscene phone calls.
n. teasing conversation. Her friends at work greeted the news of her engagement with cheerful badinage.
v. frustrate; perplex. The new code baffled the enemy agents.
v. harass; tease. The school bully baited the smaller children, terrorizing them.
adj. threatening; menacing; sinister; foreshadowing evil. The bully's baleful glare across the classroom warned Tim to expect trouble after school. Blood-red in color. the planet Mars has long been associated with warfare and slaughter because of its ominous, baleful appearance.
v. stop short, as if faced with an obstacle, and refuse to continue. The chief of police balked at sending his officers into the riot-torn area.
v. foil. When the warden learned that several inmates were planning to escape, he took steps to balk their attempt.
n. heavy substance used to add stability or weight. The ship was listing badly to one side; it was necessary to shift the ballast in the hold to get her back on an even keel. also v.
n. something that relieves pain. Friendship is the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.
adj. mild; fragrant. A balmy breeze refreshed us after the sultry blast.
adj. hackneyed; commonplace; trite; lacking originality. The hack writer's worn-out clichés made his comic sketch seem banal. He even resorted to the banality of having someone slip on a banana peel!
v. discuss lightly or glibly; exchange (words) heatedly. While the president was happy to bandy patriotic generalizations with anyone who would listen to him, he refused to bandy words with unfriendly reporters at the press conference.
n. curse; cause of ruin. Lucy's little brother was the bane of her existence, scribbling on walls with her lipstick and pouring her shampoo down the drain. While some factions praised technology as the mainspring of social progress, others criticized it as the bane of modern man, responsible for the tyranny of the machine and the squalor of urban life.
adj. destructive; causing ruin or death. Anointment seems intended to apply the power of natural and supernatural forces to the sick and thus to ward off the baneful influences of diseases and of demons.
adj. good-naturedly ridiculing. They resented his bantering remarks because they misinterpreted his teasing as sarcasm.
n. sharp projection from fishhook or other object; openly cutting remark. If you were a politician, which would you prefer, being caught on the barb of a fishhook or being subjected to malicious verbal barbs? Who can blame the president if he's happier fishing than he is listening to his critics' barbed remarks?
n. poet. The ancient bard Homer sang of the fall of Troy.
adj. shameless; bold; unconcealed. Shocked by Huck Finn's barefaced lies, Miss Watson prayed the good Lord would give him a sense of his unregenerate wickedness.
adj. highly ornate. Accustomed to the severe, angular lines of modern skyscrapers, they found the flamboyance of baroque architecture amusing.
n. barrier laid down by artillery fire; overwhelming profusion. The company was forced to retreat through the barrage of heavy cannons.
n. counselor-at-law. Galsworthy started as a barrister, but, when he found the practice of law boring, turned to writing.
n. trader. The barterer exchanged trinkets for the natives' furs.
v. luxuriate; take pleasure in warmth. Basking on the beach, she relaxed so completely that she fell asleep.
n. stronghold; something seen as a source of protection. The villagers fortified the town hall, hoping this improvised bastion could protect them from the guerrilla raids.
v. let down; restrain. Until it was time to open the presents, the children had to bate their curiosity. bated, ADJ.
n. trinket; trifle. The child was delighted with the bauble she had won in the grab bag.
adj. indecent; obscene. Jack took offense at Jill's bawdy remarks. What kind of young man did she think he was?
adj. showing or producing joy; blissful. When Johnny first saw the new puppy, a beatific smile spread across his face. In his novel, Waugh praises Limbo, not Heaven: "Limbo is the place. In Limbo one has natural happiness without the beatific vision; no harps; no communal order; but wine and conversation and imperfect, various, humanity."
v. bless or sanctify; proclaim someone dead to be one of the blessed. In 1996 Pope John Paul II traveled to Belgium to beatify Joseph De Veuster, better known as Father Damien, who died in 1889 after caring for lepers in Hawaii. How can you tell the pope from a cosmetologist? A cosmetologist beautifies someone living; the Pope beatifies someone dead.
n. blessedness; state of bliss. Growing closer to God each day, the mystic achieved a state of indescribable beatitude.
v. dress with vulgar finery. The witch doctors were bedizened in their gaudiest costumes.
v. wet thoroughly. We were so bedraggled by the severe storm that we had to change into dry clothing. bedraggled, ADJ.
n. direct, quick route. As soon as the movie was over, Jim made a beeline for the exit.
v. confuse thoroughly. His attempts to clarify the situation succeeded only in befuddling her further.
v. father; produce; give rise to. One good turn may deserve another; it does not necessarily beget another.
v. resent. I begrudge every minute I have to spend attending meetings.
v. mislead or delude; cheat; pass time. With flattery and big talk of easy money, the con men beguiled Kyle into betting his allowance on the shell game. The men quickly beguiled poor Kyle of his money. Broke, he beguiled himself during the long hours by playing solitaire.
n. huge creature; something of monstrous size or power. Sportscasters nicknamed the linebacker "The Behemoth."
adj. obligated; indebted. Since I do not wish to be beholden to anyone, I cannot accept this favor.
v. be necessary or proper for; be incumbent upon. Because the interest of the ruler and the ruled are incompatible, it behooves the ruler to trust no one; to be suspicious of sycophants; to permit no one to gain undue power or influence; and, above all, to use guile to unearth plots against the throne.
v. explain or go over excessively or to a ridiculous degree; assail verbally. The debate coach warned her student not to bore the audience by belaboring his point.
adj. delayed. He apologized for his belated note of condolence to the widow of his friend and explained that he had just learned of her husband's untimely death.
v. besiege or attack; harass. The babysitter was surrounded by a crowd of unmanageable brats who relentlessly beleaguered her.
v. contradict; give a false impression. His coarse, hard-bitten exterior belied his innate sensitivity.
v. disparage; deprecate. Parents should not belittle their children's early attempts at drawing, but should encourage their efforts.
adj. warlike; pugnacious; naturally inclined to fight. Someone who is spoiling for a fight is by definition bellicose.
adj. quarrelsome. Whenever he had too much to drink, he became belligerent and tried to pick fights with strangers. belligerence, N.
v. lament; express disapproval of. The widow bemoaned the death of her beloved husband. Although critics bemoaned the serious flaws in the author's novels, each year his latest book topped the best-seller list.
adj. confused; lost in thought; preoccupied. Jill studied the garbled instructions with a bemused look on her face.
n. blessing. The appearance of the sun after the many rainy days was like a benediction.
n. gift giver; patron. Scrooge later became Tiny Tim's benefactor and gave him gifts.
adj. kindly; doing good. The overgenerous philanthropist had to curb his beneficent impulses before he gave away all his money and left himself with nothing.
adj. helpful; useful. Tiny Tim's cheerful good nature had a beneficial influence on Scrooge's once-uncharitable disposition.
n. person entitled to benefits or proceeds of an insurance policy or will. In Scrooge's will, he made Tiny Tim his beneficiary: everything he left would go to young Tim.
adj. generous; charitable. Mr. Fezziwig was a benevolent employer who wished to make Christmas merrier for young Scrooge and his other employees. benevolence, N.
adj. kindly; favorable; not malignant. Though her benign smile and gentle bearing made Miss Marple seem a sweet little old lady, in reality she was a tough-minded. shrewd observer of human nature. benignity, N.
n. blessing. Let us pray that the benison of peace once more shall prevail among the nations of the world.
bent ADJ.;
n. determined; natural talent or inclination. Bent on advancing in the business world, the secretary-heroine of Working Girl had a true bent for high finance.
v. leave to someone by means of a will; hand down. In his will, Father bequeathed his watch to Philip; the bequest meant a great deal to the boy. bequest, N.
v. scold strongly. He feared she would berate him for his forgetfulness.
n. state of being deprived of something valuable or beloved. His friends gathered to console him upon his sudden bereavement.
adj. deprived of; lacking. The foolish gambler soon found himself bereft of funds.
adv. frenzied. Angered, he went berserk and began to wreck the room.
v. beg; plead with. The workaholic executive's wife beseeched him to spend more time with their son.
v. harass or trouble; hem in. Many vexing problems beset the American public school system. Sleeping Beauty's castle was beset on all sides by dense thickets that hid it from view.
v. surround with armed forces; harass (with requests). When the bandits besieged the village, the villagers holed up in the town hall and prepared to withstand a long siege. Members of the new administration were besieged with job applications from people who had worked on the campaign.
v. soil, defile. The scandalous remarks in the newspaper besmirch the reputations of every member of the society.
adj. beastlike; brutal; inhuman. According to legend, the werewolf was able to abandon its human shape and assume a bestial form. The Red Cross sought to put an end to the bestial treatment of prisoners of jar.
v. confer. He wished to bestow great honors upon the hero.
v. signify; indicate. The well-equipped docks, all piles of cargo containers, and numerous vessels ieing loaded all betoken Oakland's importance as a port.
v. be unfaithful; reveal (unconsciously or unwillingly). The spy betrayed his country by selling military secrets to the enemy. When he was taken in for questioning, the tightness of his lips betrayed his fear of incriminating himself. betrayal, N.
v. become engaged to marry. The announcement -iat they had become betrothed surprised their friends who had not suspected any romance. betrothal, N.
n. large group. The movie actor was surrounded )y a bevy of starlets.
adj. two-chambered, as a legislative body. the United States Congress is a bicameral body.
v. quarrel. The children bickered morning, noon and night, exasperating their parents.
adj. every two years. Seeing no need to meet more frequently, the group held biennial meetings instead of annual ones. Plants that bear flowers biennially ire known as biennials.
adj. divided into two branches; forked. With a )ifurcated branch and a piece of elastic rubber, he made a crude but effective slingshot.
n. stubborn intolerance. Brought up in a democratic atmosphere, the student was shocked by the bigotry and narrowness expressed by several of his classmates.
adj. suffering from a liver complaint; peevishly ill humored.
v. swindle; cheat. The con man specialized in bilk-rig insurance companies.
adj. swelling out in waves; surging. Standing over the air vent, Marilyn Monroe tried vainly to control her billowing skirts.
n. temporary encampment. While in bivouac, ye spent the night in our sleeping bags under the stars. also v.
adj. fantastic; violently contrasting. The plot of he novel was too bizarre to be believed.
v. bleach; whiten. Although age had blanched his hair, he was still vigorous and energetic.
adj. soothing or mild; agreeable. Jill tried a bland ointment for her sunburn. However, when Jack absentmindedly patted her on the sunburned shoulder, she couldn't maintain her bland persona. blandness, N.
v. cajole; coax with flattery. Despite all their tweet-talking, Suzi and Cher were unable to blandish the doorman into letting them into the hot new club.
n. flattery. Despite the salesperson's blandishments, the customer did not buy the outfit.
n. loud, harsh roar or screech; dazzling blaze of light. I don't know which is worse: the steady blare of a boom box deafening your ears or a sudden blare of flashbulbs dazzling your eyes. also v.
adj. bored with pleasure or dissipation. Although Beth was as thrilled with the idea of a trip to Paris as her classmates were, she tried to act supercool and blasé, as if she'd been abroad hundreds of times.
n. irreverence; sacrilege; cursing. In my father's house, the Dodgers were the holiest of holies; to cheer for another team was to utter words of blasphemy. blasphemous, ADJ.
adj. extremely obvious; loudly offensive. Caught in a blatant lie, the scoundrel had only one regret: he wished that he had lied more subtly. blatancy, N.
adj. cold or cheerless; unlikely to be favorable. The frigid, inhospitable Aleutian Islands are bleak military outposts. It's no wonder that soldiers assigned there have a bleak attitude toward their posting.
adj. suffering from a disease; destroyed. The extent of the blighted areas could be seen only when viewed from the air.
adj. carefree and unconcerned (perhaps foolishly so); cheerful and gay. Micawber's blithe optimism that something would turn up proved unfounded, and he wound up in debtors' prison. Marie Antoinette's famous remark, "Let them eat cake!" epitomizes her blithe ignorance of the harsh realities endured by the common people.
adj. swollen or puffed as with water or air. Her bloated stomach came from drinking so much water.
n. talkative boaster. After all Sol's talk about his big show business connections led nowhere, Sally decided he was just another blowhard.
n. club; heavy-headed weapon. Attacked by Dr. Moriarty, Holmes used his walking stick as a bludgeon to defend himself. "Watson," he said. "I fear I may have bludgeoned Moriarty to death."
adj. rough but good-natured. Jack had a bluff and hearty manner that belied his actual sensitivity; he never let people know how thin-skinned he really was.
n. pretense (of strength); deception; high cliff. Claire thought Lord Byron's boast that he would swim the Hellespont was just a bluff; she was astounded when he dove from the high bluff into the waters below.
n. error. The criminal's fatal blunder led to his capture. also v.
v. utter impulsively. Before she could stop him, he blurted out the news.
v. blow in heavy gusts; threaten emptily; bully. "Let the stormy winds bluster," cried Jack, "we'll set sail tonight." Jill let Jack bluster she wasn't going anywhere, no matter what he said. also N.
v. foreshadow; portend. The gloomy skies and the sulfurous odors from the mineral springs seemed to bode evil to those who settled in the area.
adj. counterfeit; not authentic. The police quickly found the distributors of the bogus twenty-dollar bills.
adj. unconventional (in an artistic way). Gertrude Stein ran off to Paris to live an eccentric, bohemian life with her writer friends. Oakland was not bohemian: it was too bourgeois, too middle-class.
adj. violent; rough; noisy. The unruly crowd became even more boisterous when he tried to quiet them.
v. support; reinforce. The debaters amassed file boxes full of evidence to bolster their arguments.
n. door bar; fastening pin or screw; length of fabric. The carpenter shut the workshop door, sliding the heavy metal bolt into place. He sorted through his toolbox for the nuts and bolts and nails required for the job. Before he cut into the bolt of canvas, he measured how much fabric he would need.
v. dash or dart off; fasten (a door); gobble down. Jack was set to bolt out the front door, but Jill bolted the door. "Eat your breakfast," she said, "don't bolt your food."
n. attack (as with missiles). The enemy bombardment demolished the town. Members of the opposition party bombarded the prime minister with questions about the enemy attack.
adj. pompous; using inflated language. Puffed up with conceit, the orator spoke in such a bombastic manner that we longed to deflate him. bombast, N.
n. blessing; benefit. The recent rains that filled our empty reservoirs were a boon to the whole community.
adj. rude; insensitive. Though Mr. Potts constantly interrupted his wife, she ignored his boorish behavior, for she had lost hope of teaching him courtesy.
n. clear beef soup. The cup of bouillon served by the stewards was welcomed by those who had been chilled by the cold ocean breezes.
adj. abundant; graciously generous. Thanks to the good harvest, we had a bountiful supply of food and we could be as bountiful as we liked in distributing food to the needy.
adj. middle class; selfishly materialistic; dully conventional. Technically, anyone who belongs to the middle class is bourgeois, but, given the word's connotations, most people resent it if you call them that.
adj. cowlike; placid and dull. Nothing excites Esther; even when she won the state lottery, she still preserved her air of bovine calm.
v. expurgate. After the film editors had bowdlerized the language in the script, the motion picture's rating was changed from "R" to "PG."
v. refrain from buying or using. To put pressure on grape growers to stop using pesticides that harmed the farm workers' health, Cesar Chavez called for consumers to boycott grapes. also N.
adj. somewhat saline. He found the only wells in the area were brackish; drinking the water made him nauseous.
n. boasting. He was disliked because his manner was always full of braggadocio.
n. boaster. Modest by nature, she was no braggart, preferring to let her accomplishments speak for themselves.
v. wave around; flourish. Alarmed, Doctor Watson wildly brandished his gun until Holmes told him to put the thing away before he shot himself.
n. swagger; assumed air of defiance. The bravado of the young criminal disappeared when he was confronted by the victims of his brutal attack.
n. muscular strength; sturdiness. It takes brawn to become a champion weight-lifter. brawny, ADJ.
adj. insolent. Her brazen contempt for authority angered the officials.
n. breaking of contract or duty; fissure or gap. Jill sued Jack for breach of promise, claiming he had broken their engagement. The attackers found a breach in the enemy's fortifications and penetrated their lines. also v.
n. width; extent. We were impressed by the breadth of her knowledge.
n. conciseness. Brevity is essential when you send a telegram or cablegram; you are charged for every word.
adj. tawny or grayish with streaks or spots. He was disappointed in the litter because the puppies were brindled; he had hoped for animals of a uniform color.
adj. rising like bristles; showing irritation. The dog stood there, bristling with anger.
adj. easily broken; difficult. My employer's brittle personality made it difficult for me to get along with her.
v. introduce; open up. Jack did not even try to broach the subject of religion with his in-laws. If you broach a touchy subject, the result may be a breach.
n. rich, figured fabric. The sofa was covered with expensive brocade.
n. pamphlet. This brochure of farming was issued by the Department of Agriculture.
n. ornamental clasp. She treasured the brooch because it was an heirloom.
v. tolerate; endure. The dean would brook no interference with his disciplinary actions. (secondary meaning)
v. bully; intimidate. Billy resisted Ted's attempts to browbeat him into handing over his lunch money.
v. graze; skim or glance at casually. "How now, brown cow, browsing in the green, green grass." I remember lines of verse that I came across while browsing through the poetry section of the local bookstore.
n. main impact or shock. Tom Sawyer claimed credit for painting the fence, but the brunt of the work fell on others. However, Tom bore the brunt of Aunt Polly's complaints when the paint began to peel.
adj. blunt; abrupt. She was offended by his brusque reply.
n. pirate. At Disneyland the Pirates of the Caribbean sing a song about their lives as bloody buccaneers.
adj. rustic; pastoral. Filled with browsing cows and bleating sheep, the meadow was a charmingly bucolic sight.
n. table with food set out for people to serve themselves; meal at which people help themselves to food that's been set out. (Buffet rhymes with tray.) Please convey the soufflé on the tray to the buffet.
v. slap; batter; knock about. To buffet something is to rough it up. (Buffet rhymes with Muffett.) Was Miss Muffett buffeted by the crowd on the way to the buffet tray?
n. clowning. In the Ace Ventura movies, Jim Carrey's buffoonery was hilarious: like Bozo the Clown, he's a natural buffoon.
n. bugbear; object of baseless terror. If we become frightened by such bugaboos, we are no wiser than the birds who fear scarecrows.
n. gold and silver in the form of bars. Much bullion is stored in the vaults at Fort Knox.
n. earthwork or other strong defense; person who defends. The navy is our principal bulwark against invasion.
v. mismanage; blunder. Don't botch this assignment, Bumstead; if you bungle the job, you're fired!
adj. able to float; cheerful and optimistic. When the boat capsized, her buoyant life jacket kept Jody afloat. Scrambling back on board, she was still in a buoyant mood, certain that despite the delay she'd win the race. buoyancy, N.
n. overregulated administrative system marked by red tape. The Internal Revenue Service is the ultimate bureaucracy: taxpayers wasted so much paper filling out IRS forms that the IRS bureaucrats printed up a new set of rules requiring taxpayers to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act. bureaucratic, ADJ.
v. grow forth; send out buds. In the spring, the plants that burgeon are a promise of the beauty that is to come.
v. give an imitation that ridicules. In Galaxy Quest, Alan Rickman burlesques Mr. Spock of Star Trek, outrageously parodying Spock's unemotional manner and stiff bearing. also N.
v. make shiny by rubbing; polish. The maid burnished the brass fixtures until they reflected the lamplight.
v. support; prop up. Just as architects buttress the walls of cathedrals with flying buttresses, debaters buttress their arguments with facts. also N.
adj. full-bosomed; plump; jolly. High-fashion models usually are slender rather than buxom.
n. small group of persons secretly united to promote their own interests. The cabal was defeated when its scheme was discovered.
n. hiding place. The detectives followed the suspect until he led them to the cache where he had stored his loot. also v.
adj. discordant; inharmonious. Do the students in the orchestra enjoy the cacophonous sounds hey make when they're tuning up? I don't know how they ;an stand the racket. cacophony, N.
n. corpse. In some states, it is illegal to dissect cadavers.
adj. like a corpse; pale. From his cadaver-)us appearance, we could see how the disease had ravaged him.
n. rhythmic rise and fall (of words or sounds); )eat. Marching down the road, the troops sang out, following the cadence set by the sergeant.
v. beg; mooch; panhandle. While his car was in he shop, Bob had to cadge a ride to work each day. unwilling to be a complete moocher, however, he offered o pay for the gas.
v. coax; wheedle. Cher tried to cajole her father not letting her drive the family car. cajolery, N.
n. disaster; misery. As news of the calamity spread, offers of relief poured in to the stricken community.
adj. deliberately planned; likely. Lexy's choice of clothes to wear to the debate tournament was carefully calculated. Her conventional suit was calculated to appeal to the conservative judges.
n. large kettle. "Why, Mr. Crusoe," said the savage heating the giant caldron, "we'd love to have you 'or dinner!"
n. ability; quality. Einstein's cleaning the blackboards again? Albert, quit it! A man of your caliber shouldn't have to do such menial tasks.
n. beautiful writing; excellent penmanship. As we examine ancient manuscripts, we become impressed with the calligraphy of the scribes.
adj. hardened; unfeeling. He had worked in the hospital for so many years that he was callous to the suffering in the wards. callus, N.
adj. youthful; immature; inexperienced. As a freshman, Jack was sure he was a man of the world; as a sophomore, he made fun of freshmen as callow youths. In both cases, his judgment showed just how callow he was.
adj. heat-producing. Coal is much more calorific than green wood.
n. malicious misrepresentation; slander. He could endure his financial failure, but he could not bear the calumny that his foes heaped upon him. According to Herodotus, someone calumniated is doubly injured, first by the person who utters the calumny, and then by the person who believes the slander.
n. good-fellowship. What he loved best about his job was the sense of camaraderie he and his coworkers shared.
n. shell or jewel carved in relief; star's special appearance in a minor role in a film. Don't bother buying cameos from the street peddlers in Rome: the carvings they sell are clumsy jobs. Did you enjoy Bill Murray's cameo in Little Shop of Horrors? He was onscreen for only a minute, but he cracked me up.
v. disguise; conceal. In order to rescue Han Solo, Princess Leia camouflaged herself in the helmet and cloak of a space bandit. also N.
n. false or unfounded story; fabricated report. Rather than becoming upset by the National Enquirer story about Tony's supposed infidelity, Tina refused to take the canard seriously. To call a lying tale a base canard or a vile canard is to descend to a cliché.
n. frankness; open honesty. Jack can carry candor too far: when he told Jill his honest opinion of her, she nearly slapped his face. candid, ADJ.
adj. related to dogs; doglike. Some days the canine population of Berkeley seems almost to outnumber the human population.
n. any ulcerous sore; any evil. Poverty is a canker in the body politic; it must be cured.
adj. shrewd; thrifty. The canny Scotsman was more than a match for the swindlers.
n. collection or authoritative list of books (e.g., by an author, or accepted as scripture). Scholars hotly debated whether the newly discovered sonnet should be accepted as part of the Shakespearean canon.
n. rule or principle, frequently religious. "One catastrophe, one locality, one day"—these are Aristotle's rules for tragedy, and classic French plays strictly follow them; Shakespeare, however, disregards all these canons. A born rebel, Katya was constitutionally incapable of abiding by the canons of polite society.
n. insincere expressions of piety; jargon of thieves. Shocked by news of the minister's extramarital love affairs, the worshippers dismissed his talk about the sacredness of marriage as mere cant. Cant is a form of hypocrisy: those who can, pray; those who cant, pretend.
adj. ill-humored; irritable. Constantly complaining about his treatment and refusing to cooperate with the hospital staff, he was a cantankerous patient.
n. story set to music, to be sung by a chorus. The choral society sang the new cantata composed by its leader.
n. slow gallop. Because the racehorse had outdistanced its competition so easily, the reporter wrote that the race was won in a canter. also v.
n. division of a long poem. Dante's poetic masterpiece The Divine Comedy is divided into cantos.
v. determine or seek opinions, votes, etc. After canvassing the sentiments of his constituents, the congressman was confident that he represented the majority opinion of his district. also N.
adj. spacious. In the capacious areas of the railroad terminal, thousands of travelers lingered while waiting for their trains.
n. mental or physical ability; role; ability to accommodate. Mike had the capacity to handle several jobs at once. In his capacity as president of SelecTronics he marketed an electronic dictionary with a capacity of 200,000 words.
adj. having a very fine bore. The changes in surface tension of liquids in capillary vessels is of special interest to physicists. also N.
v. surrender. The enemy was warned to capitulate or face annihilation.
n. whim. She was an unpredictable creature, acting on caprice, never taking thought of the consequences.
adj. unpredictable; fickle. The storm was capricious: it changed course constantly. Jill was capricious, too: she changed boyfriends almost as often as she changed clothes.
n. title; chapter heading; text under illustration. The captions that accompany The Far Side cartoons are almost as funny as the pictures. also v.
adj. faultfinding. His criticisms were always captious and frivolous, never offering constructive suggestions.
n. glass water bottle; decanter. With each dinner, the patron receives a carafe of red or white wine.
n. shell covering the back (of a turtle, crab, etc.). At the children's zoo, Richard perched on top of the giant turtle's hard carapace as the creature slowly made its way around the enclosure.
n. unit of weight for precious stones; measure of fineness of gold. He gave her a diamond that weighed three carats and was mounted in an eighteen-carat gold band.
adj. causing cancer. Many supposedly harmless substances have been revealed to be carcinogenic.
adj. chief. If you want to increase your word power, the cardinal rule of vocabulary-building is to read.
n. doctor specializing in ailments of the heart. When the pediatrician noticed Philip had a slight heart murmur, she referred him to a cardiologist for further tests.
v. lurch; sway from side to side. The taxicab careened wildly as it rounded the corner.
n. distortion; burlesque. The caricatures he drew always emphasized personal weaknesses of the people he burlesqued. also v.
n. a set of bells capable of being played. The carillon in the bell tower of the Coca-Cola pavilion at the New York World's Fair provided musical entertainment every hour.
n. destruction of life. The film The Killing Fields vividly depicts the carnage wreaked by Pol Pot's followers in Cambodia.
adj. fleshly. Is the public more interested in carnal pleasures than in spiritual matters? Compare the number of people who read Playboy daily to the number of those who read the Bible every day.
adj. meat-eating. The lion's a carnivorous beast; a hunk of meat makes up his feast. A cow is not a carnivore; she likes the taste of grain, not gore.
n. drunken revel. Once the beer-chugging contests started, the drinking got out of control, and the party degenerated into an ugly carousal.
n. petty criticism; fault-finding. Welcoming constructive criticism, Lexy appreciated her editor's comments, finding them free of carping. also ADJ.
n. rotting flesh of a dead body. Buzzards are nature's scavengers; they eat the carrion left behind by other predators.
n. map-maker. Though not a professional cartographer, Tolkien was able to construct a map of his fictional world.
n. small waterfall. We were too tired to appreciate the beauty of the many cascades because we had o detour around them to avoid being drenched by the torrents cascading down.
n. one of the hereditary classes in Hindu society, social stratification; prestige. The differences created by caste in India must be wiped out if true democracy is to prevail in that country.
n. punishment; severe criticism. Sensitive to mild criticism, Woolf could not bear the castigation that she found in certain reviews. Ben Jonson was a highly moral playwright: in his plays, his purpose was to castigate vice and hypocrisy by exposing them publicly.
n. serious or fatal accident. The number of automotive casualties on this holiday weekend was high.
n. deluge; upheaval. A cataclysm such as the French Revolution affects all countries. cataclysmic, ADJ.
n. agent that influences the pace of a chemical reaction while it remains unaffected and unchanged; Jerson or thing that causes action. After a banana is harvested, certain enzymes within its cells continue to act as a catalyst for the biochemical processes of ripening, thereby causing the banana eventually to rot. In 1969 the IRA split into two factions: the "officials," who advocated a united socialist Ireland but disavowed terrorist activities, and the "provisionals," who argued that terrorism was a necessary catalyst for unification.
n. slingshot; hurling machine. Airplanes are sometimes launched from battleships by catapults. also v.
n. great waterfall; eye abnormality. She gazed with awe at the mighty cataract known as Niagara Falls.
n. calamity; disaster. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was a catastrophe that destroyed most of the city. A similar earthquake striking today could have even more catastrophic results.
n. shout of disapproval; boo. Every major league pitcher has off days during which he must learn to ignore catcalls and angry hisses from the crowd.
n. book for religious instruction; instruction by question and answer. He taught by engaging his pupils in a catechism until they gave him the correct answer.
adj. without exceptions; unqualified; absolute. Though the captain claimed he was never, never sick at sea, he finally qualified his categorical denial: he was "hardly ever" sick at sea.
n. purging or cleansing of any passage of the body. Aristotle maintained that tragedy created a catharsis by purging the soul of base concepts.
n. purgative. Some drugs act as laxatives when taken in small doses but act as cathartics when taken in much larger doses. also ADJ.
adj. universal; wide-ranging liberal. He was extremely catholic in his taste and read everything he could find in the library.
n. private meeting of members of a party to select officers or determine policy. At the opening of Congress the members of the Democratic Party held a caucus to elect the majority leader of the House and the party whip.
v. to make watertight (by plugging seams). When water from the shower leaked into the basement, we knew it was time to caulk the tiles at the edges of the shower stall.
adj. implying a cause-and-effect relationship. The psychologist maintained there was a causal relationship between the nature of one's early childhood experiences and one's adult personality. causality, N.
adj. burning; sarcastically biting. The critic's caustic remarks angered the hapless actors who were the subjects of his sarcasm.
v. burn with hot iron or caustic. In order to prevent infection, the doctor cauterized the wound.
n. procession; parade. As described by Chaucer, the cavalcade of Canterbury pilgrims was a motley group.
adj. casual and offhand; arrogant. Sensitive about having her ideas taken lightly, Marcia felt insulted by Mark's cavalier dismissal of her suggestion.
v. make frivolous objections. I respect your sensible criticisms, but I dislike the way you cavil about unimportant details. also N.
v. yield (title, territory) to; surrender formally. Eventually the descendants of England's Henry II were forced to cede their French territories to the King of France. cession, N.
n. speed; rapidity. Hamlet resented his mother's celerity in remarrying within a month after his father's death.
adj. heavenly. She spoke of the celestial joys that awaited virtuous souls in the hereafter.
adj. abstaining from sexual intercourse; unmarried. Though the late Havelock Ellis wrote extensively about sexual customs and was considered an expert in such matters, recent studies maintain he was celibate throughout his life. celibacy, N.
n. overseer of morals; person who eliminates inappropriate matter. Soldiers dislike having their mail read by a censor but understand the need for this precaution. also v.
adj. critical, Censorious people delight in casting blame.
v. blame; criticize. The senator was censured for behavior inappropriate to a member of Congress. also N.
n. mythical figure, half man and half horse. I was particularly impressed by the statue of the centaur in the Roman Hall of the museum.
adj. denoting a widely used temperature scale (basically same as Celsius). On the centigrade thermometer, the freezing point of water is zero degrees.
adj. radiating; departing from the center. Many automatic drying machines remove excess moisture from clothing by centrifugal force.
n. machine that separates substances by whirling them. At the dairy, we employ a centrifuge to separate cream from milk. also v.
adj. tending toward the center. Does centripetal force or the force of gravity bring orbiting bodies to the earth's surface?
n. Roman army officer. Because he was in command of a company of one hundred soldiers, he was called a centurion.
adj. pertaining to the brain or intellect. The content of philosophical works is cerebral in nature and requires much thought.
n. thought. Mathematics problems sometimes require much cerebration.
adj. marked by formality. Ordinary dress would be inappropriate at so ceremonious an affair.
n. certainty. Though there was no certitude of his getting the job, Lou thought he had a good chance of being hired.
n. stoppage. The airline's employees threatened a cessation of all work if management failed to meet their demands. cease, v.
n. yielding (something) to another; ceding. The Battle of Lake Erie, a major U.S. naval victory in the War of 1812, ensured U.S. control over Lake Erie and ruled out any territorial cession in the Northwest to Great Britain in the peace settlement.
v. warm by rubbing; make sore (by rubbing). Chilled, he chafed his hands before the fire. The collar of his school uniform chafed Tom's neck, but not as much the school's strict rules chafed his spirit. also N.
n. worthless products of an endeavor. When you separate the wheat from the chaff, be sure you throw out the chaff.
adj. bantering; joking. Sometimes Chad's flippant, chaffing remarks annoy us. Still, Chad's chaffing keeps us laughing.
n. vexation (caused by humiliation or injured pride); disappointment. Embarrassed by his parents' shabby, working-class appearance, Doug felt their visit to his school would bring him nothing but chagrin. A person filled with chagrin doesn't grin: he's too mortified.
n. goblet; consecrated cup. In a small room adjoining the cathedral, many ornately decorated chalices made by the most famous European goldsmiths were on display.
n. lizard that changes color in different situations. Like the chameleon. he assumed the political coloration of every group he met.
v. support militantly. Martin Luther King, Jr., won the Nobel Peace Prize because he championed the oppressed in their struggle for equality, also N.
adj. in utter disorder. He tried to bring order into the chaotic state of affairs. chaos, N.
n. divine gift; great popular charm or appeal. Political commentators have deplored the importance of a candidate's charisma in these days of television campaigning.