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100 Cards in this Set

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paean
n. a song or expression of praise and thanksgiving.

The celebratory bonfire was a paean to victory.
palliate
v. to make something appear less serious, gloss over, mitigate.

His attempts to palliate the significance of his plagiaism only made it worse; he would have been better off just owning up to it rather than trying to diminish its importance.
panegyric
n. formal expression of praise.
pariah
n. an outcast, a rejected and despised person
parsimonious
adj. cheap, miserly

He was so parsimonious that he wouldn't even share the free coupons that came in the mail.
paritsan
adj. one-sided, committed to a party, biased or prejudiced.
paucity
adj. scarcity, a lacking of.

Carl was very self-conscious about the paucity of hair on his head, so he always wore a hat to cover his large bald spot.
peccadillo
n. a slight offense, literally, a minor sin.

Peter's pilfering was hardly a peccadillo; he was wanted for larceny in thirteen states.
pedantic
adj. ostentatious display of learning, excessive attention to minutiae and formal rules, unimaginative.
pedestrian
adj. commonplace, trite, unremarkable.

The movie's plot was pedestrian, despite the director's brave decision to cast a badger in the role of the hero.
penurious
adj. penny-pinching; excessively thrifty; ungenerous.

My penurious boss makes us bring toilet paper from home in order to save the company money.
peremptory
adj. admitting of no contradiction, putting an end to further debate, haughty, imperious.

Her peremptory tone made it clear that there would be no further discussion of the matter.
perfidy
n. intentional breach of faith, treachery.

I couldn't believe my campaing manager's perfidy in voting for my opponent.
perfunctory
adj. cursory, done without care or interest.
peripatetic
adj. itinerant, traveling, nomadic

As a peripatetic salesman, Frank spent most of his time in his car.
pernicious
adj. extremely harmful, potentially causing death
perspicacious
adj. acutely perceptive, having keen discernment

How very perspicacious of you to notice that I dyed my hair blue.
petrous
adj. like a rock, hard, stony.

I wasn't surprised that my petrous cake wasn't a big hit, but it did make an excellent doorstop, if I do say so myself.
petulant
adj. impatient, irritable
philistine
n. a crass individual guided by material rather than intellectual or artistic values
phlegmatic
adj. calm, sluggish, unemotional, stoic
picaresque
adj. involving clever rogues or adventurers.
pied
adj. multi-colored, usually in blotches.

The jester wore a pied coat of many bright colors.
pillory
v. to punish, hold up to public scorn.

The politician was pilloried in the press for his inability to spell potato.
pine
v. to yearn intensely, to languish, to lose vigor.

He was pining for for the fjords.
piquant
adj. agreeably pungent, spicy, stimulating

The piquante picante gumbo was a welcome change after days of bland hospital food.
pique
n. resentment, feeling of irritation due to hurt pride

In a fit of pique, Chelsea threw her boyfriend's bowling ball out the fourth-story window onto his car.
pith
n. the essential or central part

The pith of his argument seemed to be that he should get a bigger allowance, though it took him an hour to get to the point.
plaintive
adj. mournful, melancholy, sorrowful
plangent
adj. pounding, thundering, resounding.

The plangent bells could be heard all over town as they chimed the hour.
plastic
adj. moldable, pliable, not rigid
platitude
n. a superficial or trite remark, especially one offered as meaningful
plumb
v. to measure the depth, to examine critically
polemical
adj. controversial, argumentative
pragmatic
adj. practical rather than idealistic
prate
v. chatter, babble

The toddler prated on happily to himself though no one else had any idea what he was saying.
precept
n. rule establishing standards of conduct, a doctrine that is taught

One of the precepts of our criminal justice system is that one is assumed innocent until proven guilty.
precipitate
adj. acting with excessive haste or impulse

The captain was forced to take precipitate action when the storn arrived earlier than he had expected.
presumptuous
adj. overstepping bounds, as of propriety or courtesy; taking liberties
prevaricate
v. to deliberately avoid the truth, mislead.
prize
v. to pry, press or force with a lever

HIs parents had to prize the trophy from his sleeping fingers since he insisted on taking it to bed with him.
probity
adj. adherence to higheest principles, uprightness.

Because the chieftain was known for his probity and the soundness of his judgement, people came from miles around to ask him to hear their disputes.
prodigal
adj. recklessly wasteful, extravagant, profuse, lavish.
profligate
adj. excessively wasteful; recklessly extravagant.

The profligate ruler emptied the country's treasury to build his many mansions.
prolix
adj. long-winded, verbose

The prolix politician was a natural at filibustering; he could talk for hours without stopping.
propinquity
adj. nearness in time or place, affinity of nature, kinship

The geographic propinquity of the two towns led to a close connection between the two populations.
propitiate
v. to appease, conciliate

The tried to propitiate the storm gods by dancing in the rain and pouring wine on the ground as an offering
propitious
adj. auspicious, favorable
prosaic
adj. dull, unimaginative

His prosaic sensibilities were obvious when, in a letter to his wife, he described a rainbow as an optical phenomenon caused by the refraction of light through water.
proscribe
v. to outlaw or prohibit


Attempts to proscribe swimming in the old quarry were unsuccessful; people continued to do it despite the new rules.
provident
adj. frugal, looking to the future.

His provident financial planning allowed him to buy a small tropical island when he retired.
puerile
adj. childish, immature
pugnacious
adj. contentious, quarrelsome, given to fighting, belligerent
punctilious
adj. precise, paying attention to trivialities, especially in regard to etiquette

Although his punctilious obsession with etiquette is usually very annoying, it is always handy when royalty comes to dine.
pusillanimous
adj. cowardly, craven
quail
v. to shrink back in fear, lose courage

The puppy quailed at the angry tone in Alicia's voice and put his tail between his legs.
qualify
v. to limit
querulous
adj. prone to complaining or grumbling, quarrelsome

Her querulous demand to know every five minutes whether we were there yet started to get on my nerves.
quiescence
n. stillness, motionlessness, quality of being at rest
quixotic
adj. foolishly impractical, marked by lofty romantic ideals
quotidian
adj. occurring or recurring daily, commonplace
rail
v. to complain about bitterly
ramify
v. to be divided or subdivided, branch out

Instead of being resolved, the dispute merely ramified as more and more people got involved.
rancorous
adj. characterized by bittter, long-lasting resentment.
rapacious
adj. voracious, greedy, plundering, subsisting on prey
rarefy
v. to make or become thin, less dense, refine
rebus
n. riddle, a representation of words by pictures or symbols that sound like the words.

Pearl beer used to have a rebus on the inside of the bottle cap.
recalcitrant
adj. obstinately defiant of authority or guidance, difficult to manage
recondite
adj. hidden, concealed, difficult to understand, obscure

Searching for information about the town's recondite origins was a lot like doing detective work.
reconnoiter
v. to engage in reconnaissance, make a preliminary inspection of

We sent Bob to reconnoiter the party when we first arrived, in order to see who was in the other rooms.
recumbent
adj. leaning, resting, prone

Wealthy Romans were fond of dining recumbent on couches set around a table.
redolent
adj. fragrant, suggestive or evocative

The dorm rooms were redolent with a fragrance of stale beer and cold pizza that brought me back to my college days.
redoubtable
adj. awe-inspiring; worthy of honor

He came from a redoubtable family, just one of many of its members to have served in the highests positions in the country.
refulgent
adj. radiant; shiny; brilliant

The refulgent gleam of the motorcycle's chrome was his pride and joy.
regale
v. to delight or entertain, feast
remonstrate
v. to protest, object

When I was a kid, I frequently remonstrated with my mom when she made me take my little brother with me to the park.
rent
v. torn, split apart, pierced as by a sound.
repine
v. to feel or express dejection or discontent, long for

The old man repined for his lost youth, when everything seemed so much more exciting than it was now.
repudiate
v. to refuse to have anything to do with, disown.
rubric
n. authoratative rule, heading, title or category
sagacious
adj. having sound judgment, percpetive, wise
salacious
adj. appealing to or causing sexual desire, bawdy
salubrious
adj. promoting health or well-being

Carrots are salburious for your eyes, since they contain a lot of vitamin A.
salutary
adj. remedial, wholesome, causing improvement

Paul was dismayed to hear the teacher say that she thought summer school would be salutary for his math skills.
sanctimony
n. self-righteousness, pretended piety
sanction
n. authoritative permission or approval; a penalty intended to enforce compliance.
sanguine
adj. cheerful, confident, optimistic
sap
v. to enervate or weaken the vitality of
saturnine
adj. gloomy, dark, sullen, morose
scurvy
adj. contemptible, despicable
sedulous
adj. diligent, persistent, hard-working

His sedulous efforts to organize the conference were rewarded when the entire event went off perfectly.
seine
n. a large net hung out and dragged in to catch fish
sere
adj. withered, arid

Some people have looked at pictures of the sere surface of Mars and imagined the possibility of terraforming that might change the arid landscape into something habitable by humans.
seminal
adj. like a seed, constituting a source, originative
simper
v. to smirk, to say something with a silly, coy smile

Her simpering praise for the famous actress made me want to throw up.
sinecure
n. position requring little or no work and usually providing an income.

The laid off staff were exceptionally angry that they were let go by Dan, who had secured a sinecure position with the department.
slake
v. to satisfy, quench, lessen the intensity of
sodden
adj. soaked or drenched, unimaginative, dull
solicitous
adj. concerned and attentive, eager

It was nice of her to be solicitious of my comfort as to offer me the couch, but I was fine sleeping on the floor
solvent
adj. able to meet financial obligations