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106 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
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ABEYANCE n. (A-BAY-ANSE)
a temporary suspension of activity
Michelle held her excitement in abeyance while the college review board considered her application.
ABSTINENCE n.
voluntarily refraining from eating certain foods or drink, or from doing something pleasant but not good for you.
Michelle was tempted to find the student •who had done this and kick him where it hurts, but she decided abstinence was the wiser route.
Michelle abstained (v.) from calling the student and verbally abusing him.
ABSTRUSE adj. (AB-STROOSE)
hard to understand or grasp
The student attempted to explain himself but his reasons were so abjtriuie that everyone in a position of authority tuned out.

ADUMBRATE v.
to suggest partly, to give a hint of things to come, to foreshadow vaguely
It was clear Michelle's father was attempting to moderate his expectations of her so as not to intimidate her, and so he adumbrated for most of the hour.
ALACRITY adj.
cheerful readiness, liveliness or eagerness
Michelle was so happy when her father was through with his hole speech that she decided to take a walk, skipping out the door with great alacrity.
ALCHEMY n. (AL-KE-MEE)
a process of transformation that is seemingly magical
Half way down the block it occurred to Michelle that it might take a touch of alchemy to give her the confidence and sophistication she would need to meet her dad's expectations . . . and so she headed for the beauty salon.
AMBULATORY adj. (am-byou-la-tory)
able to walk or move about
After the accident La Donna •was not ambulatory, and spent many hours restlessly in bed.
She could not ambulate (v.).

APOCRYPHAL adj. (A-POCK-RE-FULL)
false, spurious, of doubtful origin
La Donna began hearing stories of such medical mismanagement from other patients that she wondered if they were not apocryphal and simply born of fear.
ARBITER n.
a judge, one -who decides
"I believe I am in a better position to be the arbiter of your progress than 3'ou," the therapist snapped, with a mixture of anger and anxiety.

ASCETIC adj. (AS-SET-TIC)
hermitlike, self-denial, austere
"You want me to live an ascetic life," La Donna cried out slightly irrationally, "shut up in my little hospital room with no pleasures of any kind!"
ASSIDUOUS adj.
hardworking, busy, diligent
“No,” the therapist explained, “but I am assiduous about what I do and that must include monitoring use and progress on this equipment.”
BELIE v.
run counter to, to show something as false
The director's confident demeanor, however, belied any rumors that he thought the film might be the biggest flop the studio had ever backed.
BROOK v.
to tolerate, to put up with something
Max Walker would brook no argument when it came to making the film appropriate for both children and adults.
CAPRICIOUS adj. (KA-PRI-SHUS)
whimsical, fanciful, impulsive
Martina was often thought of as capricious since she frequently changed her mind about everything for no particular reason.
CASTIGATE v.
to punish, chastise, criticize severely
Her boyfriend would often castigate Martina for her whimsical decisions, such as the time she booked tickets to Paris, and then suddenly decided she'd rather hike in the Rocky Mountains.
CHARY adj. (CHAR-EE)
careful, cautious, wary
The pilot was chary of expeditions into dangerous areas as he had seen too many horrific accidents.
CHICANERY n. (SHI-CANE-ERY)
deception or trickery
Martina toyed with the idea of using chicanery to get the pilot to fly, but at the last moment her capriciousness won out and she decided a trip to Rio would be more fun.
CHIMERICAL adj. (KI-MER-I-CAL)
wildly fanciful, absurd
She understood this sudden switch in plans might be seen as chimerical, and so she decided to try and make it sound profoundly logical.
CIRCUMLOCUTION n.
wordy language, an indirect, roundabout expression
Martina spoke •with such circumlocution in an effort to confuse the pilot into agreeing to the flight, that he simply turned and walked away.
CONTENTIOUS adj.
argumentative over a point, quarrelsome
Everyone around her became extremely contentious over the question of how the fire started, but Martina was disinterested in all that.
It was her contention (n.) that the fire was a cataclysmic event and that, since she was there, was enough for her.
DEBACLE n. (DEB-A-CUL)
a disaster or violent breakdown
This friend, Siri, knew that if she attempted to dethrone Queen Kristin, it would be a debacle for the principality.
DELETERIOUS adj.
harmful
And of course, if she lost her quest for the crown, the attempt to overthrow Kristin would be quite deleterious to her reputation as a loyal friend to say the least.
DESCRY v.
to discern, to see something, to catch sight of
The truth is Queen Kristin dejcried her friend's disloyalty years ago but felt it wiser to keep her close than to forge an outright rivalry between them.
DESICCATE v.
to dry out
Besides, a drought that had descended upon the land was now desiccating the crops — Queen Kristin had more important problems to resolve.
The Desiccation (n.) of the crops threatened the very existence of the principality.
DISCOMFIT v.
to confuse, deceive
Queen Kristin was so discomfited by the news that her subjects were planning to desert the principality that she too withdrew from public life and arranged for elections.
DOFF v.
to take off (usually clothing) as a sign of greeting
Once, at midnight. Count Igor saw his neighbor, Mr. Torres, doff}\\& hat at a passing young lady -who merely smiled delicately at the gesture.
DOGGEREL n.
comic, sometimes crude,-informal verse
Count Igor thought the lady, Ms. Madeleine, so beauteous that he sent her a note which he later heard her describe as utter doggerel.
DOSSIER n.
a file of documents, letters and records
The Count, undeterred, was so smitten that he decided to begin a diwier on the ladv which would help him keep track of her every nocturnal move.
DULCET adj. (DUL-SET)
having a nice, agreeable, melodious sound
His speaking voice was dulcet in tone and so he taped a romantic message for her to enjoy on her cassette player.
ENCOMIUM n.
a eulogy or expression of high praise
She murmured her apologies but he lavished such encomium upon her, that Madeleine immediately understood he desired her above all others.
ENDEMIC adj.
native, belonging to a specific region
Count Igor pointed to a particularly large bat hovering nearby, commenting it -was endemic to the area.
ESPY v. (ES-PIE)
to glimpse, to descry, to catch sight of
One day Michael espied a former teacher wandering through an arbor, and drawn to the gaunt figure, began to follow him.
EVANESCENT adj. (ev-uh-nes-ent
vanishing, happening for the briefest moment
Michael's sighting of Erik however was evanescent, for seconds later he seemed to disappear into thin air.
EXEMPLAR n. (IG-ZEM-PLAR)
an excellent model, a typical example
Michael scoured the arbor searching for his teacher whom he viewed as an exemplar of scholarly devotion despite the persistent rumors of his prejudicial tendencies.
EXIGENT adj.
urgent, demands prompt action Michael felt an exigent need to find
Erik and express his admiration.
It was not, he knew, an exigency (n.), but still, he devoted the following week to tracking down Erik Eliason.
EXTIRPATE v. (EX-TUR-PATE)
to rip up by the roots, to abolish, to annihilate
He was so single-minded in his pursuit that he almost extirpated the underpinnings of his own life, forgetting to audit classes, read tomes, and meditate on life's most difficult conundrums.
FACETIOUS adj. (FA-SEE-SHUS)
humorous, joking in a somewhat inappropriate or clumsy manner
Michael's friend Jim was given to facetious remarks whenever confronted with an upsetting situation.
After watching Michael knock on one hundred doors, he commented facetiously (adv.), "You know, if you keep this, up you might wake up once morning to discover you've become either a travel agent or gumshoe detective instead of a scholar."
FECUND adj.
fertile, productive, fruitful
Michael knew he was blessed with a fecund mind and that he was wasting it.
FUSILLADE n.
a rapid outburst, spray of gunfire
A guard at the prison reported a fusillade of gunfire somewhere in the bowels of the building.
The warden received a .fusillade of written protests from the population at large.
GAINSAY v.
to deny, to speak or act against
He invited the gainsayers (n.) to write an impassioned letter to the General stating their objections.
GARRULOUS adj.
Talkative
She proved to be quite garrulous, regaling the -warden with stories of her pathetic youth and her personal relationship with the prisoner who had been like a father to her.
HALITOSIS n.
bad breath
The prisoner stood as far away as possible from the judge, as the austere gentlemen suffered from acute halitosis.
IRASCIBLE adj. (IR-RAS-UH-BULL)
hot-tempered, cranky
General Wrath was known for his irascible nature and so most army personnel steered clear of him as much as possible.
His irascibility (n.) was known throughout the ranks.
LEITMOTIF n. (LITE-MOTEEF)
a dominant or recurring theme
The General marched into the barracks one morning and boomed, "We will search out and punish all lazy bums starting today," and indeed this proved to be his leitmotif throughout the war.
LEVEE n.
an embankment designed to prevent a river from flooding
Unfortunately some of his men were called away on a national emergency to help build a levee along the Mississippi River.
LOPE v.
to run at steady, easy pace
After completing the levee the soldiers gleefully loped to the nearest saloon, where, officially off duty, they guzzled a few beers.
MACERATE v.(MASS-ER-ATE)
soften by soaking, to cause to waste away
They did however, feel significant guilt for their captured comrades who were macerating in the prisons of Qiala.
MALAPROPISM n.
the humorous misuse of a word that sounds very much like the word intended.
"There's a whore out there?!" exclaimed an old, partially deaf man when told to vacate his home because of the "war out there." "That's a malapropism," the junta peon informed him.
MATRICULATE v.
to enroll, most particularly in college
She began to wonder if she should have matriculated at the local university instead of taking a year off to experience the "real world."
MAUDLIN adj. (MAWD-LIN)
overly sentimental
Mai's mother had displayed such a maudlin, concern for her daughter's academic future that Mai wanted to suggest that her mother matriculate as well.
MELLIFLUOUS adj. (mel-li-flu-ous)
sweetly flowing
Instead, Mai used mellifluous language to get her mother to agree to allow her to take the year off.
MENDACIOUS adj. (MEN-DAY-SHUS)
dishonest, deceitful
Actually Mai felt a bit mendacious, as she wasn't at all sure she did -want to attend college and •was using the "year off' strategy as a ploy.
Mai's mendacity (n.) was not something of which she was proud.
MORDANT adj.
bitingly sarcastic, incisive, caustic in manner
Mai was also hurt by their mordant tone when teasing her about her choice.
MORIBUND adj.
being in a dying or decaying condition
Mai grew moribund, as she weathered the last months of her commitment to the workplace.
NEOPHYTE n.
a beginner, a novice
Natalie, a neophyte on the account, was quite nervous over the attention, as she was sure her inexperience would shine forth like a beacon.
OFFICIOUS adj.
unnecessarily helpful, meddlesome, interfering
The director s new and officiate assistant bustled in and out of the room during this key meeting, bothering everyone with unwanted comments and overall intrusiveness.
OMNIVOROUS adj.
eating or absorbing everything, feeding on both animal and vegetable substances
Natalie was omnivorous when it came to learning what she could of the business, and so she hung on the president's every word.
OSCILLATE v.
to swing back and forth
The fans, oscillating in the ceiling, did very little to cool off the hot tempers in the courtroom.
OSSIFY v.
to become rigid, to be come set in one's ways
The judge, somewhat ossified by the courtroom dramatics, was becoming more and more annoyed by the attorneys' clear plays for sympathy.
PALLIATE v.
to hide the seriousness of something with excuses or apologies, to ease without curing
The crime was so vicious, it seemed useless to try to palliate what had happened that night.
The lawyer took an aspirin as & palliative (n.) in the hopes that he might regain his composure.
PALLID adj.
lacking color, wan
The defendant grew pallid when pictures of the crime he allegedly committed were displayed to the jury.
PANEGYRIC n. (PAN-E-JIR-IC)
lofty praise, eulogistic writing
The prosecutor launched in a panegyric, citing the victim's good works and close, meaningful, personal relationships.
PARSIMONIOUS adj.
stingy
One juror, a particularly parsimonious woman, noticed that the defendant's attorney wore very expensive suits and ties.
PENURY n. (PEN-YOO-REE)
extreme poverty
The defendant claimed to suffer from penury, but it was clear from tbe attire of his attorneys that this was highly unlikely, and so the jury were loathe to offer him much sympathy—or an acquittal.
PERFIDIOUS adj.
faithless, untrustworthy
Unfortunately when Megan was not at the school she was in the hands of a perfidious baby-sitter, who frequently left her charge unattended. The sitter's perfidy (n) was unforgivable.
PERFUNCTORY adj.
careless, unenthusiastic, done merely as duty
She would, in a perfunctory manner, make Megan lunch, park her in front of the TV, and then salivate over the phone with her latest boyfriend.
PERORATE v.
to make a long, formal speech, to sum up a speech
Once a year the nursery school director would perorate on the subject of good childcare, but she could tell most parents believed they already had the issue well under control.
After delivering her talk she would perorate with some dramatic warnings, but no one ever took heed.
Her peroration (n.) was meant to grab the attention of her audience, but they were a restless, inattentive group, and so her words fell on deaf ears.
PERSPICACIOUS adj.
shrewd, astute, showing strong powers of discernment
Megan was fortunately quite perspicacious; realizing her sitter was basically ineffectual, she learned to entertain and care for herself.
PIQUANT adj.
pungent, charmingly provocative
Megan had a certain piquant quality, and as a result charmed all who were in her presence, except perhaps, the sitter.
Her piquancy (n.) was noted early on, with great admiration, by all the relatives.
PRESCIENT adj.
having foresight
"You are not being particularly prescient in this decision," Paulo's best friend Carlos commented, "as you could come back a pauper."
PREVARICATE v.
to deviate from the truth
"I do no wish to prevaricate," Paulo replied, "as the simple truth is, your worries are not mine and I must follow my own heart."
"Are you sure that is not a. prevarication (n.)," his other friend queried, "for perhaps you are really just upset by the down turn in profits you have been experiencing."
PROFLIGATE adj.
corrupt, degenerate, wildly extravagant
"I have never," he continued, "been a .profligate spender—material things have always meant little to me."
"I hope, during the course of my journey, to fight profligate activity everywhere."
PROPINQUITY adj.
nearness in place or time, kinship
"Our propinquity to each other will make the coming separation quite difficult," Paulo noted gently.
PUTREFY v.
to rot
The cheese began to putrefy after two days out in the hot sun.
RECALCITRANT adj.
stubbornly defiant and resistant of authority
Her son had been an extraordinarily recalcitrant toddler who would not give in, even if threatened with a month of no desserts*
His recalcitrance (n.) was worse than that of most two-year-olds.
RECONDITE adj.
hard to understand, abstruse, over one's head
She would have delivered a speech on morality to her son, but recognized that to Peter it would have been recondite, little more than pig latin.
REPROBATE n.
a morally unprincipled person, a scoundrel
His best friend, Adrian, was a reprobate from way back, having committed his first robbery at age ten.
Adrian Received strong reprobation (n.) at the time, but the strong disapproval did set him a little straight.
RETICENT adj. (RET-I-SENT)
restrained, reluctant, uncommunicative
Peter’s mother had been reticent to tell her friends about her son’s lifestyle, but now she concluded she had to cut him out of her life.
RIBALD adj. (RIB-ULD)
vulgar or indecent language
Peter, deeply hurt, greeted his mothers damnation of him with ribald humor, which only served to aggravate her considerable hurt and disappointment.
SAGACIOUS adj. (SA-GAY-SHUS)
wise, shrewd
Her grandfather, a sagacious old world publisher, suggested she attempt straight fiction first so as not to get too bogged down with research.
SALUBRIOUS adj.
favorable to health
Sasha hoped the blue skies, green grass, and colorful flowers would have a salubrious effect on her physical and emotional health.
SCOTCH v.
to put an end to
Her grandfather hoped to scotch these draining friendships -with the help of his illustrious author.
SINUOUS adj.
winding, having many curves
"This wire, unfortunately follows a sinuous path through the wall," Sy observed.
"The sinuosity (n.) of this wire might be responsible for the trouble it has been causing."
STRIATED adj. (STRY-AY-TED)
marked with thin lines or grooves
"Why is your ID so striated?" she quizzed, flashing a suspicious look at the electrician and then staring back down at the oddly scratched plastic.
SUPERCILIOUS adj. (SUPER-SILLY-US)
arrogant, overbearing, condescending
"For a woman who comports herself like a filthy slob, you have some nerve coming on to us in such a supercilious manner," the drowsy apprentice commented with no regard for his position as freelance employee.
SURREPTITIOUS adj.
sneaky, secret
"You look perfectly capable of having a. surreptitious motive to me."
"How do I know you haven't been surreptitiously (adv.) casing the joint?" the woman snapped, ignoring his insult.
SYCOPHANT n. (SICK-O-FANT)
a flatterer, a self-serving yes-man
"Oh, I can see how you would feel that way. You're obviously a very perceptive woman," Sy lept into the fray, desperate to keep the job but feeling a bit like a sycophant.
TEMERITY adj.
boldness, rashness, audacity
Part of what made Andy and Todd so exceptional as a team was their amazing temerity, which usually resulted in an attention-grabbing advertising concept.
TRUCULENT adj.
hostile, aggressive, savage
"The only person at this agency truculent enough to fire us is too busy annihilating the accounts-payable department to even notice us," Andy laughed.
VACUOUS adj.
empty, lacking intelligence
"Vacuous I'm not," said Norita, clearly proud of her ability to think with depth and respond with humor and flare.
RECONDITE adj.
hard to understand, abstruse, over one's head
She would have delivered a speech on morality to her son, but recognized that to Peter it would have been recondite, little more than pig latin.
REPROBATE n.
a morally unprincipled person, a scoundrel
His best friend, Adrian, was a reprobate from way back, having committed his first robbery at age ten.
Adrian Received strong reprobation (n.) at the time, but the strong disapproval did set him a little straight.
RETICENT adj. (RET-I-SENT)
restrained, reluctant, uncommunicative
Peter’s mother had been reticent to tell her friends about her son’s lifestyle, but now she concluded she had to cut him out of her life.
RIBALD adj. (RIB-ULD)
vulgar or indecent language
Peter, deeply hurt, greeted his mothers damnation of him with ribald humor, which only served to aggravate her considerable hurt and disappointment.
SAGACIOUS adj. (SA-GAY-SHUS)
wise, shrewd
Her grandfather, a sagacious old world publisher, suggested she attempt straight fiction first so as not to get too bogged down with research.
SALUBRIOUS adj.
favorable to health
Sasha hoped the blue skies, green grass, and colorful flowers would have a salubrious effect on her physical and emotional health.
SCOTCH v.
to put an end to
Her grandfather hoped to scotch these draining friendships -with the help of his illustrious author.
SINUOUS adj.
winding, having many curves
"This wire, unfortunately follows a sinuous path through the wall," Sy observed.
"The sinuosity (n.) of this wire might be responsible for the trouble it has been causing."
STRIATED adj. (STRY-AY-TED)
marked with thin lines or grooves
"Why is your ID so striated?" she quizzed, flashing a suspicious look at the electrician and then staring back down at the oddly scratched plastic.
SUPERCILIOUS adj. (SUPER-SILLY-US)
arrogant, overbearing, condescending
"For a woman who comports herself like a filthy slob, you have some nerve coming on to us in such a supercilious manner," the drowsy apprentice commented with no regard for his position as freelance employee.
SURREPTITIOUS adj.
sneaky, secret
"You look perfectly capable of having a. surreptitious motive to me."
"How do I know you haven't been surreptitiously (adv.) casing the joint?" the woman snapped, ignoring his insult.
SYCOPHANT n. (SICK-O-FANT)
a flatterer, a self-serving yes-man
"Oh, I can see how you would feel that way. You're obviously a very perceptive woman," Sy lept into the fray, desperate to keep the job but feeling a bit like a sycophant.
TEMERITY adj.
boldness, rashness, audacity
Part of what made Andy and Todd so exceptional as a team was their amazing temerity, which usually resulted in an attention-grabbing advertising concept.
TRUCULENT adj.
hostile, aggressive, savage
"The only person at this agency truculent enough to fire us is too busy annihilating the accounts-payable department to even notice us," Andy laughed.
VACUOUS adj.
empty, lacking intelligence
"Vacuous I'm not," said Norita, clearly proud of her ability to think with depth and respond with humor and flare.
VISCOSITY adj.
a thick or sticky consistency of a liquid
Suddenly the cobbler noticed his feet were planted in a liquid of such viscosity he couldn't move, and after studying the substance more closely realized it was dragon saliva.