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68 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
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tirade
long, harsh speech or verbal attack
Observers were shocked at the manager's tirade over such a minor mistake.
waver
to fluctuate between choices
If you waver too long before making a decision about which site to register for, you may not get your first choice.
zeal
passion, excitement
She brought her typical zeal to the project sparking enthusiasm in the other team members.
rhetoric
effective writing or speaking
Lincoln's talent for rhetoric was evident in his beautifully expressed Gettysburg address.
propriety
acting in a proper manner, obeying rules and customs
The aristocracy maintained a high level of propriety adhering to even the most minor social rules.
aesthetic
concerning the appreciation of beauty
The aesthetic movement regarded the pursuit of beauty to be the only true purpose of art.
anomaly
deviation from what is normal
Albino animals may display too great an anomaly in their coloring to attract normally colored mates
antipathy
extreme dislike
The antipathy between the French and the English regularly erupted open warfare.
antagonize
to annoy or provoke or anger
The child discovered that he could antagonize the cat by pulling its tail
capricious
changing one's mind quickly and often
Queen Elizabeth was quite capricious; her courtiers could never be sure which one would catch her fancy.
cacophony
harsh, jarring noise
The junior high orchestra created an almost unbearable cacophony as they tried to tune their instruments.
archaic
ancient, old fashioned
Her archaic commodore computer could not run the latest software.
arbitrate
to judge a dispute between two opposing parties
Since the couple could not come to agreement, a judge was forced to arbitrate their divorce proceedings.
banal
predictable, cliched, boring
His conversation consisted of banal phrases like "have a nice day".
laconic
using few words
He was the classic laconic native of Maine, who talked as if he were being charged for each word.
advocate
to speak in favor of
The vegetarian advocated a diet containing no meat.
abstain
to choose not to do something
During Lent, practicing catholics abstain from eating meat.
dilatory
intended to delay
The congressman used dilatory measures to delay the passage of the bill.
dissonance
a harsh and disagreeable combination, especially of sounds
Cognitive dissonance is the inner conflict produced when long standing beliefs are contradicted by new evidence.
apocryphal
or questionable authority of authenticity
There is no hard or authoritative evidence to support the apocryphal tales that link roswell to a downed U.F.O.
bombastic
pompous in speech and manner
Mussolini's speeches were mostly bombastic; his boasting and outrageous claims had no basis in fact.
paragon
model of excellence or perfection
He is the paragon of what a judge should be; honest, intelligent, hardworking and just.
monotony
no variation, tediously the same
The monotony of the sound of the dripping faucet almost drove the research assistant crazy.
mitigate
to soften, to lessen
A judge may mitigate a sentence if she decides that a person committed a crime out of need.
naive
lacking sophistication or experience
Having never traveled before, the hillbillies were totally naive to the customs of beverly hills.
verbose
wordy
The professor's answer was so verbose that his student forgot what the original question had been.
enumerate
to count, list, itemize
Moses returned from the mountain with tablets on which the commandments were enumerated.
eclectic
selecting from or made up from a variety of sources
Budapest's architecture is an eclectic mix of eastern and western styles.
emulate
to copy, to try to equal or excel
The graduate student sought to emulate his professor in every way, copying not only how she taught, but also how she conducted herself outside of class.
precipitate
to throw violently or bring about abruptly, lacking deliberation
Theirs was a precipitate marriage-they had only known each other for two weeks before they wed.
plastic
able to be molded, altered or bent
The new material was very plastic and could be formed into products of vastly different shape.
ephemeral
lasting a short time
The lives of mayflies seem ephemeral to us, since the flies' average life span is a matter of hours.
diffident
lacking self-confidence
Steve's diffidence during the job interview stemmed from his nervous nature and lack of experience in the field.
apathy
lack of interest or emotion
The apathy of voters is so great that less than half the people who are eligible to vote actually bother to do so.
anachronism
something out of place in time
The aged hippie used anachronistic phrases like 'groovy' and 'far out' that had not been popular for years.
aggrandize
to increase in power, influence and reputation
The supervisor sought to aggrandize himself by claiming that the achievements of his staff were actually his own.
deference
respect, courtesy
The respectful young law clerk treated the supreme court justice with the utmost deference.
tacit
done without using words
Although not a word was said, everyone in the room knew that a tacit agreement was made about what course of action to take.
arbitrary
determined by chance or impulse
When you lack the information to judge what to do next, you will be forced to make an arbitrary decision.
pervasive
to be present throughout, to permeate
Four spices pervade almost every indian dish, and give the cuisine its distinctive flavor.
philanthropy
charity, a desire or effort to promote goodness
The metro museum of art owes much of its collection to the philanthropy of private collectors who willed their estates to the museum.
pragmatic
practical as opposed to idealistic
While idealistic gamblers think they can get rich by frequenting casinos, pragmatic gamblers realize that the odds are heavily stacked against them.
vacillate
to physically sway or to be indecisive
The customer held up the line as he vacillated between ordering chocolate chip or rocky road ice cream.
torpor
extreme mental and physical sluggishness
After surgery, the patient experienced torpor until the anesthesia wore off.
conoisseur
a person with expert knowledge of discriminating tastes
Dr. Cane was a conoisseur of fine food and wine, drinking and eating only the best.
chaos
great disorder or confused situation
In most religious traditions, God created an ordered universe from a chaotic void.
circumspect
cautious, aware of potential consequences
She was very circumspect in her language and behavior when first introduced to her fiancee's parents.
crescendo
steadily increasing in volume or force
The crescendo of tension became unbearable as Evel Knievel prepared to jump his motorcycle over the school buses.
desiccate
to dry out thoroughly
After a few weeks lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely desiccated.
analogous
similar or alike in some way, equivalent to
His mother argued that not going to college was analogous to throwing his life away.
metaphor
a figure of speech comparing two different things, a symbol
The metaphor 'a sea of troubles' suggests a lot of troubles by comparing their number to the vastness of the sea.
lucid
clear and easily understood
The explanations were written in a simple and lucid manner so that students were immediately able to apply what they learned.
lethargic
acting in an indifferent or slow, sluggish manner
The clerk was so lethargic that, even when the store was slow, he always had a long line in front of him.
luminous
bright, brilliant, glowing
The park was bathed in luminous sunshine which warmed the bodies and the souls of the visitors.
abyss
an extremely deep hole
The submarine dove into the abyss to chart the previously unseen depths.
aberrant
deviant from what is normal or expected
Since he had been a steady, cheerful worker for many years, his fellow postal workers did not expect his aberrant burst of rage.
disabuse
set right, free from error
Galileo's observations disabused scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the earth.
dirge
a funeral hymn or mournful speech
Melville wrote the poem A Dirge for James Mcpherson for the funeral of the union general who was killed in 1864.
deride
to speak of or treat with contempt, to mock
The awkward child was often derided by his 'cooler' peers.
fortuitous
happening by chance, fortunate
It was fortuitous that he won the lotto just before he had to pay back his loans.
exacerbate
to make worse
It is unwise to take aspirin to try to relieve heartburn, since instead of providing relief, it will only exacerbate the problem.
explicit
clearly stated or shown
In reading comprehension, questions that ask directly about a detail in the passage are called explicit test questions.
estimable
admirable
Most people consider it estimable that mother teresa spent her life helping the poor in india.
fanatical
acting excessively enthusiastic, filled with extreme, unquestioned devotion
The stormtroopers were fanatical in their devotion to the emporer, readily sacrificing their lives for him.
euphemism
use of an inoffensive word or phrase in place of a distasteful one
The funeral director preferred to use the euphemism 'sleeping' instead of the word 'dead'.
opprobrium
public disgrace
After the scheme to embezzle the elderly was made public, the treasurer resigned in utter opprobrium.
paradox
a contradiction or dilemma
It is a paradox that those most in need of medical attention are often those least able to obtain it.
obstinate
stubborn, unyielding
The obstinate child could not be made to eat any food which he perceived to be 'yucky'.