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339 Cards in this Set

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aggrieved
adj. distressed, wronged, injured

ex: The foreman mercilessly overworked his aggrieved employees.
anesthesia
n. loss of sensation

ex: When the nerves in his spine were damaged, Mr. Hollins suffered anesthesia in his legs.
benign
adj. favorable, not threatening, mild

ex: We were all relieved to hear that the medical tests determined her tumor to be benign.
bereft
adj. devoid of, without

ex: His family was bereft of food and shelter following the tornado.
calumny
n. an attempt to spoil someone else's reputation by spreading lies

ex: The local official's calumny ended up running his opponet's prospect of winning the election.
cleave
1. v. to divide into parts

ex: Following the scandalous disgrace of their leader, the entire political party cleaved into warring factions.

2. v. to stick together firmly

ex: After resolving their martial problems, Junior and Rosa cleaved to one another all the more tightly.
connive
v. to plot, scheme

ex: She connived to get me to give up my vacation plans.
contrite
adj. penitent, eager to be forgiven

ex: Blake's contrite behavior made it impossible to stay angry at him.
cupidity
n. greed, strong desire

ex: His cupidity made him enter the abandoned gold mine despite the obvious dangers.
dearth
n. a lack, scarity

ex: An eager reader, she was dismayed by the dearth of classic books at the library.
debacle
n. a disastrous failure, disruption

ex: The elaborately designed fireworks show turned into a debacle when the fireworks started firing in random directions.
demarcation
n. the marking of boundaries or categories

ex: Different cultures have different demarcations of good and evil.
demean
v. to lower the status or stature of something

ex: She refused to demean her secretary by making him order her lunch.
demure
adj. quiet, modest, reserved

ex: Though everyone else at the party was dancing and going crazy, she remained demure.
denigrate
v. to belittle, diminish the opinion of

ex: The company decided that its advertisements would no longer denigrate the company's competitors.
deplore
v. to feel or express sorrow, disapproval

ex: We all deplored the miserable working conditions in the factory.
depravity
n. wickedness

ex: Rumors of the ogre's depravity made the children afraid to enter the forest.
deprecate
v. to belittle, depreciate

ex: Always over-modest, he deprecated his contribution to the local charity.
desecrate
v. to violate the sacredness of a thing or place

ex: They feared that the construction of a golf course would desecrate the preserved wilderness.
desiccated
adj. dried up, dehydrated

ex: The skin of the desiccated mummy looked like old paper.
desolated
adj. deserted, dreary, lifeless

ex: She found the desolate landscape quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the overcrowded city.
disaffected
adj. rebellious, resentful of authority

ex: Dismayed by Bobby's poor behavior, the parents sent their disaffected son to a military academy to be disciplined.
discomfit
v. to thwart, baffle

ex: The normally cheery and playful children's sudden misery discomfited the teacher.
discrepancy
n. difference, failure of things to correspond

ex: He was troubled by the discrepancy between what he remembered paying for the appliance and what his receipt showed he paid for it.
discretion
n. the quality of being reserved in speech or action; good judgment

ex: Not wanting her patient to to get overly anxious, the doctor used discretion in deciding how much to tell the patient about his condition.
discursive
adj. rambling, lacking order

ex: The professor's discursive lectures seemed to be about every subject except the one initially described.
disparage
v. to criticize or speak ill of

ex: The saleswoman disparaged the competitor's products to persuade her customers to buy what she was selling.
disparate
adj. sharply differing, containing sharply contrasting elements

ex: Having widely varying interests, the students had disparate responses toward the novel.
dour
adj. stern, joyless

ex: The children feared their dour neighbor because the old man would take their toys if he believed they were being too loud.
duress
n. hardship, threat

ex: It was only under intense duress that he, who was normally against killing, fired his gun.
ebullient
adj. extremely lively, enthusiastic

ex: She became ebullient upon receiving an acceptance letter from her first-choice college.
ecstatic
adj. intensely and overpoweringly happy

ex: The couple was ecstatic when they learned that they had won the lottery.
edict
n. an order, decree

ex: The ruler issued an edict requiring all of his subjects to bow down before him.
emend
v. to correct or revise a written text

ex: If my sentence is incorrect, the editor will emend what I have written.
emote
v. to express emotion

ex: The director told the actor he had to emote, or else the audience would have no idea what his character was going through.
engender
v. to bring about, create, generate

ex: During the Olympics, the victories of U.S. athletes engender a patriotic spirit among Americans.
evince
v. to show, reveal

ex: Christopher's hand-wringing and nail-biting evince how nervous he is about the upcoming English test.
exasperate
v. to irritate, irk

ex: George's endless comlains exasperated his roomate.
exculpate
v. to free from guilt or blame, exonerate

ex: My discovery of ring behind the dresser exculpated me from the charge of having stolen it.
excursion
n. a trip or outing

ex: After taking an excursion to the Bronx Zoo, I dreamed about pandas and monekys.
execrable
adj. loathsome, detestable

ex: Her pudding is so execrable that it makes me sick.
exhort
v. to urge, prod, spur

ex: Henry exhorted his colleagues to join him in protesting against the university's hiring policies.
exorbitant
adj. excessive

ex: Her exorbitant praise made me blush and squirm in my seat.
expedient
adj. advisable, advantageous, serving one's self-interest

ex: In his bid for reelection, the governor made an expedient move by tabling all controversial legislation.
expiate
v. to make amends for, atone

ex: To expiate my selfishness, I gave all my profits to charity.
fatuous
adj. silly, foolish

ex: He considers himself a serious poet, but in truth, he only writes fatuous limericks.
fecund
adj. fruitful, fertile

The fecund tree bore enough apples to last us through the entire season.
feral
adj. wild, savage

That beast looks so feral that I would fear being alone with it.
fervent
adj. ardent, passionate

ex: The fervent protestors chained themselves to the building and shouted all night long.
fetter
v. to chain, restrain

ex: The dog was fettered to the parking meter.
flout
v. to disregard or disobey openly

ex: I flouted the school's dress code by wearing a tie-dyed tank top and a pair of cut-off jeans.
foil
v. to thwart, frustrate, defeat

ex: Inspector Wilkens foiled the thieves by locking them in the bank along with their stolen money.
garish
adj. gaudy, in bad state

ex: Mrs. Watson has poor taste and covers every object in her house with a garish gold lame.
genial
adj. friendly, affable

ex: Although he's been known to behave like a real jerk, I would say that my brother is an overall genial guy.
grandiloquence
n. lofty, pompous language

ex: The student thought her grandiloquence would make her sound smart, but neither the class nor the teacher bought it.
gratuitous
adj. uncalled for, unwarranted

ex: Every morning the guy at the donut shop gives me a gratuitous helping of ketchup packets.
grievous
adj. injurious, hurtful; serious or grave in nature

ex: Electrocuting the inmate without being sure of his guilt would be a truly grievous mistake.
guile
n. deceitful, cunning, sly behavior

ex: Because of his great guile, the politician was able to survive scandal after scandal.
illicit
adj. forbidden, not permitted

ex: The fourth-grader learned many illicit words from a pamphlet that was being passed around school.
impecunious
(adj.) poor

ex:“I fear he’s too impecunious to take me out tonight,” the bratty girl whined.
incendiary
1. (n.) a person who agitates

ex: If we catch the incendiary who screamed “bomb” in the middle of the soccer match, we’re going to put him in jail.

2. (adj.) inflammatory, causing combustion

ex: Gas and lighter fluid are incendiary materials that should be kept out of hot storage areas.
innuendo
(n.) an insinuation

ex: During the debate, the politician made several innuendos about the sexual activities of his opponent.
inoculate
(v.) to introduce a microorganism, serum, or vaccine into an organism in order to increase immunity to illness; to vaccinate

ex: I've feared needles ever since I was inoculated against 37 diseases at age one; but I have also never been sick
insidious
(adj.) appealing but imperceptibly harmful, seductive

ex: Lisa’s insidious chocolate cake tastes so good but makes you feel so sick later on!
insinuate
(v.) to suggest indirectly or subtly

ex: I wish Luke and Spencer would stop insinuating that my perfect report card is the result of anything other than my superior intelligence and good work habits.
insipid
(adj.) dull, boring

ex: The play was so insipid, I fell asleep halfway through.
iridescent
(adj.) showing rainbow colors

ex: The bride’s large diamond ring was iridescent in the afternoon sun.
judicious
(adj.) having or exercising sound judgment

ex: When the judicious king decided to compromise rather than send his army to its certain death, he was applauded.
juxtaposition
(n.) the act of placing two things next to each other for implicit comparison

ex: The interior designer admired my juxtaposition of the yellow couch and green table.
laceration
(n.) a cut, tear

ex: Because he fell off his bike into a rosebush, the paperboy’s skin was covered with lacerations.
languid
(adj.) sluggish from fatigue or weakness

ex: In the summer months, the great heat makes people languid and lazy.
larceny
(n.) obtaining another’s property by theft or trickery

ex: When my car was not where I had left it, I realized that I was a victim of larceny.
largess
(n.) the generous giving of lavish gifts

ex: My boss demonstrated great largess by giving me a new car.
lurid
(adj.) ghastly, sensational

ex: Gideon’s story, in which he described a character torturing his sister’s dolls, was judged too lurid to be printed in the school’s literary magazine.
malevolent
(adj.) wanting harm to befall others

ex: The malevolent old man sat in the park all day, tripping unsuspecting passersby with his cane.
manifest
1. (adj.) easily understandable, obvious

ex: When I wrote the wrong sum on the chalkboard, my mistake was so manifest that the entire class burst into laughter.

2. (v.) to show plainly

ex: His illness first manifested itself with particularly violent hiccups.
manifold
(adj.) diverse, varied

ex: The popularity of Dante’s Inferno is partly due to the fact that the work allows for manifold interpretations.
maudlin
(adj.) weakly sentimental

ex: Although many people enjoy romantic comedies, I usually find them maudlin and shallow.
maverick
(n.) an independent, nonconformist person

ex: Andreas is a real maverick and always does things his own way.
morass
(n.) a wet swampy bog; figuratively, something that traps and confuses

ex: When Theresa lost her job, she could not get out of her financial morass.
nadir
(n.) the lowest point of something

ex: My day was boring, but the nadir came when I accidentally spilled a bowl of spaghetti on my head.
nascent
(adj.) in the process of being born or coming into existence

ex: Unfortunately, my brilliant paper was only in its nascent form on the morning that it was due.
obsequious
adj.) excessively compliant or submissive

(Mark acted like Janet’s servant, obeying her every request in an obsequious manner.)
obstinate
(adj.) not yielding easily, stubborn

(The obstinate child refused to leave the store until his mother bought him a candy bar.)
obstreperous
(adj.) noisy, unruly

(Billy’s obstreperous behavior prompted the librarian to ask him to leave the reading room.)
obtuse
(adj.) lacking quickness of sensibility or intellect

(Political opponents warned that the prime minister’s obtuse approach to foreign policy would embroil the nation in mindless war.)
odious
(adj.) instilling hatred or intense displeasure

(Mark was assigned the odious task of cleaning the cat’s litter box.)
officious
(adj.) offering one’s services when they are neither wanted nor needed

(Brenda resented Allan’s officious behavior when he selected colors that might best improve her artwork.)
paragon
(n.) a model of excellence or perfection

(The mythical Helen of Troy was considered a paragon of female beauty.)
paramount
(adj.) greatest in importance, rank, character

(It was paramount that the bomb squad disconnect the blue wire before removing the fuse.)
pariah
(n.) an outcast

(Following the discovery of his plagiarism, Professor Hurley was made a pariah in all academic circles.)
parsimony
(n.) frugality, stinginess

(Many relatives believed that my aunt’s wealth resulted from her parsimony.)
patent
adj.) readily seen or understood, clear

(The reason for Jim’s abdominal pain was made patent after the doctor performed a sonogram.)
pathology
(n.) a deviation from the normal

(Dr. Hastings had difficulty identifying the precise nature of Brian’s pathology.)
pathos
(n.) an emotion of sympathy

(Martha filled with pathos upon discovering the scrawny, shivering kitten at her door.)
pejorative
(adj.) derogatory, uncomplimentary

(The evening’s headline news covered an international scandal caused by a pejorative statement the famous senator had made in reference to a foreign. leader.)
pillage
(v.) to seize or plunder, especially in war

(Invading enemy soldiers pillaged the homes scattered along the country’s border.)
pittance
(n.) a very small amount, especially relating to money

(Josh complained that he was paid a pittance for the great amount of work he did at the firm.)
plaudits
(n.) enthusiastic approval, applause

(The controversial new film received plaudits from even the harshest critics.)
pliable
(adj.) flexible

(Aircraft wings are designed to be somewhat pliable so they do not break in heavy turbulence.)
portent
(n.) an omen

(When a black cat crossed my sister’s path while she was walking to school, she took it as a portent that she would do badly on her spelling test.)
privation
(n.) lacking basic necessities

(After decades of rule by an oppressive government that saw nothing wrong with stealing from its citizens, the recent drought only increased the people’s privation.)
probity
(n.) virtue, integrity

(Because he was never viewed as a man of great probity, no one was surprised by Mr. Samson’s immoral behavior.)
procure
(v.) to obtain, acquire

(The FBI was unable to procure sufficient evidence to charge the gangster with racketeering.)
propensity
(n.) an inclination, preference

(Dermit has a propensity for dangerous activities such as bungee jumping.)
propitious
(adj.) favorable

(The dark storm clouds visible on the horizon suggested that the weather would not be propitious for sailing.)
quandary
(n.) a perplexed, unresolvable state

(Carlos found himself in a quandary: should he choose mint chocolate chip or cookie dough?)
rail
(v.) to scold, protest

(The professor railed against the injustice of the college’s tenure policy.)
rash
(adj.) hasty, incautious

(It’s best to think things over calmly and thoroughly, rather than make rash decisions.)
recalcitrant
(adj.) defiant, unapologetic

(Even when scolded, the recalcitrant young girl simply stomped her foot and refused to finish her lima beans.)
renovate
1. (v.) restore, return to original state

(The renovated antique candelabra looked as good as new.)

2. (v.) to enlarge and make prettier, especially a house

(After getting renovated, the house was twice as big and much more attractive.)
renunciation
(n.) to reject

(Fiona’s renunciation of red meat resulted in weight loss, but confused those people who thought she’d been a vegetarian for years.)
repentant
(adj.) penitent, sorry

(The repentant Dennis apologized profusely for breaking his mother’s vase.)
replete
(adj.) full, abundant

(The unedited version was replete with naughty words.)
reprieve
(n.) a temporary delay of punishment

(Because the governor woke up in a particularly good mood, he granted hundreds of reprieves to prisoners.)
reproach
(v.) to scold, disapprove

(Brian reproached the customer for failing to rewind the video he had rented.)
reprobate
(adj.) evil, unprincipled

(The reprobate criminal sat sneering in the cell.)
reprove
(v.) to scold, rebuke

(Lara reproved her son for sticking each and every one of his fingers into the strawberry pie.)
repulse
1. (v.) to disgust

(Antisocial Annie tried to repulse people by neglecting to brush her teeth.)

2. (v.) to push back

(With a deft movement of her wrist and a punch to the stomach, Lacy repulsed Jack’s attempt to kiss her.)
requisition
(n.) a demand for goods, usually made by an authority

(During the war, the government made a requisition of supplies.)
rife
(adj.) abundant

(Surprisingly, the famous novelist’s writing was rife with spelling errors.)
ruminate
(v.) to contemplate, reflect

(Terry liked to ruminate while sitting on the banks of the river, staring pensively into the water.)
ruse
(n.) a trick

(Oliver concocted an elaborate ruse for sneaking out of the house to meet his girlfriend while simultaneously giving his mother the impression that he was asleep in bed.)
sagacity
(n.) shrewdness, soundness of perspective

(With remarkable sagacity, the wise old man predicted and thwarted his children’s plan to ship him off to a nursing home.)
salient
(adj.) significant, conspicuous

(One of the salient differences between Alison and Nancy is that Alison is a foot taller.)
salve
(n.) a soothing balm

(After Tony applied a salve to his brilliant red sunburn, he soon felt a little better.)
sanguine
(adj.) optimistic, cheery

(Polly reacted to any bad news with a sanguine smile and the chirpy cry, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”)
subjugate
(v.) to bring under control, subdue

(The invading force captured and subjugated the natives of that place.)
surrogate
(n.) one acting in place of another

(The surrogate carried the child to term for its biological parents.)
swarthy
(adj.) of dark color or complexion

(When he got drunk, Robinson’s white skin became rather swarthy.)
tenuous
(adj.) having little substance or strength

(Your argument is very tenuous, since it relies so much on speculation and hearsay.)
toady
(n.) one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors

(The other kids referred to the teacher’s pet as the Tenth Grade Toady.)
torrid
(adj.) giving off intense heat, passionate

(I didn’t want to witness the neighbor’s torrid affair through the window.)
tortuous
(adj.) winding

(The scary thing about driving in mountains are the narrow, tortuous roads.)
transgress
(v.) to violate, go over a limit

(The criminal’s actions transgressed morality and human decency.)
undulate
(v.) to move in waves

(As the storm began to brew, the placid ocean began to undulate to an increasing degree.)
upbraid
(v.) to criticize or scold severely

(The last thing Lindsay wanted was for Lisa to upbraid her again about missing the rent payment.)
utilitarian
(adj.) relating to or aiming at usefulness

(The beautiful, fragile vase couldn’t hold flowers or serve any other utilitarian purpose.)
vapid
(adj.) lacking liveliness, dull

(The professor’s comments about the poem were surprisingly vapid and dull.)
viscous
(adj.) not free flowing, syrupy

(The viscous syrup took three minutes to pour out of the bottle.)
vituperate
(v.) to berate

(Jack ran away as soon as his father found out, knowing he would be vituperated for his unseemly behavior.)
vivacious
(adj.) lively, sprightly

(The vivacious clown makes all of the children laugh and giggle with his friendly antics.)
wallow
(v.) to roll oneself indolently; to become or remain helpless

(My roommate can’t get over her breakup with her boyfriend and now just wallows in self-pity.)
wane
(v.) to decrease in size, dwindle

(Don’t be so afraid of his wrath because his influence with the president is already beginning to wane.)
wistful
(adj.) full of yearning; musingly sad

(Since her pet rabbit died, Edda missed it terribly and sat around wistful all day long.)
wizened
(adj.) dry, shrunken, wrinkled

(Agatha’s grandmother, Stephanie, had the most wizened countenance, full of leathery wrinkles.)
abide
1. (v.) to put up with

(Though he did not agree with the decision, Chuck decided to abide by it.)

2. (v.) to remain

(Despite the beating they’ve taken from the weather throughout the millennia, the mountains abide.)
abject
(adj.) wretched, pitiful

(After losing all her money, falling into a puddle, and breaking her ankle, Eloise was abject.)
abjure
(v.) to reject, renounce

(To prove his honesty, the President abjured the evil policies of his wicked predecessor.)
abrogate
(v.) to abolish, usually by authority

(The Bill of Rights assures that the government cannot abrogate our right to a free press.)
absolution
(n.) freedom from blame, guilt, sin

(Once all the facts were known, the jury gave Angela absolution by giving a verdict of not guilty.)
adumbrate
(v.) to sketch out in a vague way

(The coach adumbrated a game plan, but none of the players knew precisely what to do.)
affront
(n.) an insult

(Bernardo was very touchy, and took any slight as an affront to his honor.)
amenable
(adj.) willing, compliant

(Our father was amenable when we asked him to drive us to the farm so we could go apple picking.)
amenity
(n.) an item that increases comfort

(Bill Gates’s house is stocked with so many amenities, he never has to do anything for himself.)
analgesic
(n.) something that reduces pain

(Put this analgesic on the wound so that the poor man at least feels a little better.)
anathema
(n.) a cursed, detested person

(I never want to see that murderer. He is an anathema to me.)
apocryphal
(adj.) fictitious, false, wrong

(Because I am standing before you, it seems obvious that the stories circulating about my demise were apocryphal.)
appalling
(adj.) inspiring shock, horror, disgust

(The judge found the murderer’s crimes and lack of remorse appalling.)
atone
(v.) to repent, make amends

(The man atoned for forgetting his wife’s birthday by buying her five dozen roses.)
atrophy
(v.) to wither away, decay

(If muscles do not receive enough blood, they will soon atrophy and die.)
bilk
(v.) cheat, defraud

(The lawyer discovered that this firm had bilked several clients out of thousands of dollars.)
blandish
(v.) to coax by using flattery

(Rachel’s assistant tried to blandish her into accepting the deal.)
buffet
1. (v.) to strike with force

(The strong winds buffeted the ships, threatening to capsize them.)

2. (n.) an arrangement of food set out on a table

(Rather than sitting around a table, the guests took food from our buffet and ate standing up.)
caucus
(n.) a meeting usually held by people working toward the same goal

(The ironworkers held a caucus to determine how much of a pay increase they would request.)
cavort
(v.) to leap about, behave boisterously

(The adults ate their dinners on the patio, while the children cavorted around the pool.)
chide
(v.) to voice disapproval

(Lucy chided Russell for his vulgar habits and sloppy appearance.)
coerce
(v.) to make somebody do something by force or threat

(The court decided that Vanilla Ice did not have to honor the contract because he had been coerced into signing it.)
cogent
(adj.) intellectually convincing

(Irene’s arguments in favor of abstinence were so cogent that I could not resist them.)
collateral
1. (adj.) secondary

(Divorcing my wife had the collateral effect of making me poor, as she was the only one of us with a job or money.)

2. (n.) security for a debt

(Jacob left his watch as collateral for the $500 loan.)
collusion
(n.) secret agreement, conspiracy

(The three law students worked in collusion to steal the final exam.)
commensurate
(adj.) corresponding in size or amount

(Ahab selected a very long roll and proceeded to prepare a tuna salad sandwich commensurate with his enormous appetite.)
concoct
(v.) to fabricate, make up

(She concocted the most ridiculous story to explain her absence.)
concomitant
(adj.) accompanying in a subordinate fashion

(His dislike of hard work carried with it a concomitant lack of funds.)
condolence
(n.) an expression of sympathy in sorrow

(Brian lamely offered his condolences on the loss of his sister’s roommate’s cat.)
condone
(v.) to pardon, deliberately overlook

(He refused to condone his brother’s crime.)
conduit
(n.) a pipe or channel through which something passes

(The water flowed through the conduit into the container.)
confection
(n.) a sweet, fancy food

(We went to the mall food court and purchased a delicious confection.)
confluence
(n.) a gathering together

(A confluence of different factors made tonight the perfect night.)
conundrum
(n.) puzzle, problem

(Interpreting Jane’s behavior was a constant conundrum.)
convene
(v.) to call together

(Jason convened his entire extended family for a discussion.)
convivial
(adj.) characterized by feasting, drinking, merriment

(The restaurant’s convivial atmosphere put me immediately at ease.)
convoluted
(adj.) intricate, complicated

(Grace’s story was so convoluted that I couldn’t follow it.)
copious
(adj.) profuse, abundant

(Copious amounts of Snapple were imbibed in the cafeteria.)
cordial
(adj.) warm, affectionate

(His cordial greeting melted my anger at once.)
coronation
(n.) the act of crowning

(The new king’s coronation occurred the day after his father’s death.)
corpulence
(adj.) extreme fatness

(Henry’s corpulence did not make him any less attractive to his charming, svelte wife.)
debauch
(v.) to corrupt by means of sensual pleasures

(An endless amount of good wine and cheese debauched the traveler.)
deface
(v.) to ruin or injure something’s appearance

(The brothers used eggs and shaving cream to deface their neighbor’s mailbox.)
defer
(v.) to postpone something; to yield to another’s wisdom

(Ron deferred to Diane, the expert on musical instruments, when he was asked about buying a piano.)
deferential
(adj.) showing respect for another’s authority

(His deferential attitude toward her made her more confident in her ability to run the company.)
defile
(v.) to make unclean, impure

(She defiled the calm of the religious building by playing her banjo.)
defunct
(adj.) no longer used or existing

(They planned to turn the defunct schoolhouse into a community center.)
delegate
(v.) to hand over responsibility for something

(The dean delegated the task of finding a new professor to a special hiring committee.)
delineate
(v.) to describe, outline, shed light on

(She neatly delineated her reasons for canceling the project’s funding.)
despondent
(adj.) feeling depressed, discouraged, hopeless

(Having failed the first math test, the despondent child saw no use in studying for the next and failed that one too.)
despot
(n.) one who has total power and rules brutally

(The despot issued a death sentence for anyone who disobeyed his laws.)
destitute
(adj.) impoverished, utterly lacking

(The hurricane destroyed many homes and left many families destitute.)
deter
(v.) to discourage, prevent from doing

(Bob’s description of scary snakes couldn’t deter Marcia from traveling in the rainforests.)
devious
(adj.) not straightforward, deceitful

(Not wanting to be punished, the devious girl blamed the broken vase on the cat.)
diffident
(adj.) shy, quiet, modest

(While eating dinner with the adults, the diffident youth did not speak for fear of seeming presumptuous.)
dispatch
(v.) to send off to accomplish a duty

(The carpenter dispatched his assistant to fetch wood.)
disrepute
(n.) a state of being held in low regard

(The officer fell into disrepute after it was learned that he had disobeyed the orders he had given to his own soldiers.)
dissemble
(v.) to conceal, fake

(Not wanting to appear heartlessly greedy, she dissembled and hid her intention to sell her ailing father’s stamp collection.)
dissipate
1. (v.) to disappear, cause to disappear

(The sun finally came out and dissipated the haze.)

2. (v.) to waste

(She dissipated her fortune on a series of bad investments.)
dissonance
(n.) lack of harmony or consistency

(Though the president of the company often spoke of the company as reliant solely upon its workers, her decision to increase her own salary rather than reward her employees revealed a striking dissonance between her alleged beliefs and her actions.)
dissuade
(v.) to persuade someone not to do something

(Worried that he would catch a cold, she tried to dissuade him from going out on winter nights.)
distend
(v.) to swell out

(Years of drinking beer caused his stomach to distend.)
dither
(v.) to be indecisive

(Not wanting to offend either friend, he dithered about which of the two birthday parties he should attend.)
efface
(v.) to wipe out, obliterate, rub away

(The husband was so angry at his wife for leaving him that he effaced all evidence of her presence; he threw out pictures of her and gave away all her belongings.)
efficacious
(adj.) effective

(My doctor promised me that the cold medicine was efficacious, but I’m still sniffling.)
effrontery
(n.) impudence, nerve, insolence

(When I told my aunt that she was boring, my mother scolded me for my effrontery.)
effulgent
(adj.) radiant, splendorous

(The golden palace was effulgent.)
eloquent
(adj.) expressive, articulate, moving

(The priest gave such an eloquent sermon that most churchgoers were crying.)
emaciated
(adj.) very thin, enfeebled looking

(My sister eats a lot of pastries and chocolate but still looks emaciated.)
ennui
(n.) boredom, weariness

(I feel such ennui that I don’t look forward to anything, not even my birthday party.)
entail
(v.) to include as a necessary step

(Building a new fence entails tearing down the old one.)
enthrall
(v.) to charm, hold spellbound

(The sailor’s stories of fighting off sharks and finding ancient treasures enthralled his young son.)
epistolary
(adj.) relating to or contained in letters

(Some people call me “Auntie’s boy,” because my aunt and I have such a close epistolary relationship that we write each other every day.)
epitome
(n.) a perfect example, embodiment

(My mother, the epitome of good taste, always dresses more elegantly than I do.)
ethereal
(adj.) heavenly, exceptionally delicate or refined

(In her flowing silk gown and lace veil, the bride looked ethereal.)
extant
(adj.) existing, not destroyed or lost

(My mother’s extant love letters to my father are in the attic trunk.)
extricate
(v.) to disentangle

(Instead of trying to mediate between my brother and sister, I extricated myself from the family tension entirely and left the house for the day.)
exult
(v.) to rejoice

(When she found out she won the literature prize, Mary exulted by dancing and singing through the school’s halls.)
forage
(v.) to graze, rummage for food

(When we got lost on our hiking trip, we foraged for berries and nuts in order to survive.)
forbearance
(n.) patience, restraint, toleration

(The doctor showed great forbearance in calming down the angry patient who shouted insults at him.)
forestall
(v.) to prevent, thwart, delay

(I forestalled the cold I was getting by taking plenty of vitamin C pills and wearing a scarf.)
forsake
(v.) to give up, renounce

(My New Year’s resolution is to forsake smoking and drinking.)
fortitude
(n.) strength, guts

(Achilles’ fortitude in battle is legendary.)
fortuitous
(adj.) happening by chance, often lucky or fortunate

(After looking for Manuel and not finding him at home, Harriet had a fortuitous encounter with him at the post office.)
fractious
(adj.) troublesome or irritable

(Although the child insisted he wasn’t tired, his fractious behavior—especially his decision to crush his cheese and crackers all over the floor—convinced everyone present that it was time to put him to bed.)
fraught
(adj.) (usually used with “with”) filled or accompanied with

(Her glances in his direction were fraught with meaning, though precisely what meaning remained unclear.)
frivolous
(adj.) of little importance, trifling

(Someday, all that anxiety about whether your zit will disappear before the prom will seem totally frivolous.)
hallowed
(adj.) revered, consecrated

(In the hallowed corridors of the cathedral, the disturbed professor felt himself to be at peace.)
harrowing
(adj.) greatly distressing, vexing

(The car crash was a harrowing experience, but I have a feeling that the increase in my insurance premiums will be even more upsetting.)
hegemony
(n.) domination over others

(Britain’s hegemony over its colonies was threatened once nationalist sentiment began to spread around the world.)
heinous
(adj.) shockingly wicked, repugnant

(The killings were made all the more heinous by the fact that the murderer first tortured his victims for three days.)
impertinent
(adj.) rude, insolent

(Most of your comments are so impertinent that I don’t wish to dignify them with an answer.)
impervious
(adj.) impenetrable, incapable of being affected

(Because of their thick layer of fur, many seals are almost impervious to the cold.)
impetuous
(adj.) rash; hastily done

(Hilda’s hasty slaying of the king was an impetuous, thoughtless action.)
impinge
1. (v.) to impact, affect, make an impression

(The hail impinged the roof, leaving large dents.)

2. (v.) to encroach, infringe

(I apologize for impinging upon you like this, but I really need to use your bathroom. Now.)
implement
1. (n.) an instrument, utensil, tool

(Do you have a knife or some other sort of implement that I could use to pry the lid off of this jar?)

2. (v.) to put into effect, to institute

(After the first town curfew failed to stop the graffiti problem, the mayor implemented a new policy to use security cameras to catch perpetrators in the act.)
implicate
(v.) to involve in an incriminating way, incriminate

(Even though Tom wasn’t present at the time of the shooting, he was implicated by the evidence suggesting that he had supplied the shooters with guns.)
impregnable
(adj.) resistant to capture or penetration

(Though the invaders used battering rams, catapults, and rain dances, the fortress proved impregnable and resisted all attacks.)
impute
(v.) to ascribe, blame

(The CEO imputed the many typos in the letter to his lazy secretary.)
inane
(adj.) silly and meaningless

(Some films are so inane that the psychology of the characters makes absolutely no sense.)
ineffable
(adj.) unspeakable, incapable of being expressed through words

(It is said that the experience of playing with a dolphin is ineffable and can only be understood through direct encounter.)
inexorable
(adj.) incapable of being persuaded or placated

(Although I begged for hours, Mom was inexorable and refused to let me stay out all night after the prom.)
inextricable
(adj.) hopelessly tangled or entangled

(Unless I look at the solution manual, I have no way of solving this inextricable problem.)
inimical
(adj.) hostile, enemylike

(I don’t see how I could ever work for a company that was so cold and inimical to me during my interviews.)
iniquity
(n.) wickedness or sin

(“Your iniquity,” said the priest to the practical jokester, “will be forgiven.”)
insurgent
(n.) one who rebels

(The insurgent snuck into and defaced a different classroom each night until the administration agreed to meet his demands.)
integral
(adj.) necessary for completeness

(Without the integral ingredient of flour, you wouldn’t be able to make bread.)
intimation
(n.) an indirect suggestion

(Mr. Brinford’s intimation that he would soon pass away occurred when he began to discuss how to distribute his belongings among his children.)
intransigent
(adj.) refusing to compromise, often on an extreme opinion

(The intransigent child said he would have 12 scoops of ice cream, or he would bang his head against the wall until his mother fainted from fear.)
intrepid
(adj.) brave in the face of danger

(After scaling a live volcano prior to its eruption, the explorer was praised for his intrepid attitude.)
inure
(v.) to cause someone or something to become accustomed to a situation

(Twenty years in the salt mines inured the man to the discomforts of dirt and grime.)
invective
(n.) an angry verbal attack

(My mother’s irrational invective against the way I dress only made me decide to dye my hair green.)
inveterate
(adj.) stubbornly established by habit

(I’m the first to admit that I’m an inveterate coffee drinker—I drink four cups a day.)
inviolable
(adj.) secure from assault

(Nobody was ever able to break into Batman’s inviolable Batcave.)
irascible
(adj.) easily angered

(At the smallest provocation, my irascible cat will begin scratching and clawing.)
latent
(adj.) hidden, but capable of being exposed

(Sigmund’s dream represented his latent paranoid obsession with other people’s shoes.)
limpid
(adj.) clear, transparent

(Mr. Johnson’s limpid writing style greatly pleased readers who disliked complicated novels.)
linchpin
(n.) something that holds separate parts together

(The linchpin in the prosecution’s case was the hair from the defendant’s head, which was found at the scene of the crime.)
lithe
(adj.) graceful, flexible, supple

(Although the dancers were all outstanding, Jae Sun’s control of her lithe body was particularly impressive.)
mawkish
(adj.) characterized by sick sentimentality

(Although some nineteenth- century critics viewed Dickens’s writing as mawkish, contemporary readers have found great emotional depth in his works.)
maxim
(n.) a common saying expressing a principle of conduct

(Miss Manners’s etiquette maxims are both entertaining and instructional.)
medley
(n.) a mixture of differing things

(Susannah’s wardrobe contained an astonishing medley of colors, from olive green to fluorescent pink.)
mendacious
(adj.) having a lying, false character

(The mendacious content of the tabloid magazines is at least entertaining.)
mercurial
(adj.) characterized by rapid change or temperamentality

(Though he was widely respected for his mathematical proofs, the mercurial genius was impossible to live with.)
modulate
(v.) to pass from one state to another, especially in music

(The composer wrote a piece that modulated between minor and major keys.)
mollify
(v.) to soften in temper

(The police officer mollified the angry woman by giving her a warning instead of a ticket.)
nocturnal
(adj.) relating to or occurring during the night

(Jackie was a nocturnal person; she would study until dawn and sleep until the evening.)
noisome
(adj.) unpleasant, offensive, especially to the sense of smell

(Nobody would enter the stalls until the horse’s noisome leavings were taken away.)
nomadic
(adj.) wandering from place to place

(In the first six months after college, Jose led a nomadic life, living in New York, California, and Idaho.)
nominal
(adj.) trifling, insignificant

(Because he was moving the following week and needed to get rid of his furniture more than he needed money, Jordan sold everything for a nominal fee.)
noxious
(adj.) harmful, unwholesome

(Environmentalists showed that the noxious weeds were destroying the insects’ natural habitats.)
obdurate
(adj.) unyielding to persuasion or moral influences

(The obdurate old man refused to take pity on the kittens.)
palatable
(adj.) agreeable to the taste or sensibilities

(Despite the unpleasant smell, the exotic cheese was quite palatable.)
palette
(adj.) a range of colors or qualities

(The palette of colors utilized in the painting was equaled only by the range of intense emotions the piece evoked.)
palliate
(v.) to reduce the severity of

(The doctor trusted that the new medication would palliate her patient’s discomfort.)
pallid
(adj.) lacking color

(Dr. Van Helsing feared that Lucy’s pallid complexion was due to an unexplained loss of blood.)
panacea
(n.) a remedy for all ills or difficulties

(Doctors wish there was a single panacea for every disease, but sadly there is not.)
paradigm
(n.) an example that is a perfect pattern or model

(Because the new SUV was so popular, it became the paradigm upon which all others were modeled.)
perfunctory
(adj.) showing little interest or enthusiasm

(The radio broadcaster announced the news of the massacre in a surprisingly perfunctory manner.)
permeate
(v.) to spread throughout, saturate

(Mrs. Huxtable was annoyed that the wet dog’s odor had permeated the furniture’s upholstery.)
pernicious
(adj.) extremely destructive or harmful

(The new government feared that the Communist sympathizers would have a pernicious influence on the nation’s stability.)
perspicacity
(adj.) shrewdness, perceptiveness

(The detective was too humble to acknowledge that his perspicacity was the reason for his professional success.)
pert
(adj.) flippant, bold

(My parents forgave Sandra’s pert humor at the dinner table because it had been so long since they had last seen her.)
pertinacious
(adj.) stubbornly persistent

(Harry’s parents were frustrated with his pertinacious insistence that a monster lived in his closet. Then they opened the closet door and were eaten.)
pervasive
(adj.) having the tendency to spread throughout

(Stepping off the plane in Havana, I recognized the pervasive odor of sugar cane fields on fire.)
petulance
(n.) rudeness, irritability

(The Nanny resigned after she could no longer tolerate the child’s petulance.)
potentate
(n.) one who has great power, a ruler

(All the villagers stood along the town’s main road to observe as the potentate’s procession headed towards the capital.)
precipice
(n.) the face of a cliff, a steep or overhanging place

(The mountain climber hung from a precipice before finding a handhold and pulling himself up.)
preclude
(v.) to prevent

(My grandfather’s large and vicious guard dog precluded anyone from entering the yard.)
precocious
(adj.) advanced, developing ahead of time

(Derek was so academically precocious that by the time he was 10 years old, he was already in the ninth grade.)
predilection
(n.) a preference or inclination for something

(Francois has a predilection for eating scrambled eggs with ketchup, though I prefer to eat eggs without any condiments.)
preponderance
(adj.) superiority in importance or quantity

(Britain’s preponderance of naval might secured the nation’s role as a military power.)
prepossessing
(adj.) occupying the mind to the exclusion of other thoughts or feelings

(His prepossessing appearance made it impossible for me to think of anything else.)
presage
(n.) an omen

(When my uncle’s old war injury ached, he interpreted it as a presage of bad weather approaching.)
prescribe
(v.) to lay down a rule

(The duke prescribed that from this point further all of the peasants living on his lands would have to pay higher taxes.)
proscribe
(v.) to condemn, outlaw

(The town council voted to proscribe the sale of alcohol on weekends.)
prurient
(adj.) eliciting or possessing an extraordinary interest in sex

(David’s mother was shocked by the discovery of prurient reading material hidden beneath her son’s mattress.)
puerile
(adj.) juvenile, immature

(The judge demanded order after the lawyer’s puerile attempt to object by stomping his feet on the courtroom floor.)
pulchritude
(n.) physical beauty

(Several of Shakespeare’s sonnets explore the pulchritude of a lovely young man.)
punctilious
(adj.) eager to follow rules or conventions

(Punctilious Bobby, hall monitor extraordinaire, insisted that his peers follow the rules.)
pungent
(adj.) having a pointed, sharp quality—often used to describe smells

(The pungent odor in the classroom made Joseph lose his concentration during the test.)
putrid
(adj.) rotten, foul

(Those rotten eggs smell putrid.)
rectitude
(n.) uprightness, extreme morality

(The priest’s rectitude gave him the moral authority to counsel his parishioners.)
redoubtable
1. (adj.) formidable

(The fortress looked redoubtable set against a stormy sky.)

2. (adj.) commanding respect

(The audience greeted the redoubtable speaker with a standing ovation.)
refract
(v.) to distort, change

(The light was refracted as it passed through the prism.)
resilient
(adj.) able to recover from misfortune; able to withstand adversity

(The resilient ballplayer quickly recovered from his wrist injury.)
restitution
(n.) restoration to the rightful owner

(Many people feel that descendants of slaves should receive restitution for the sufferings of their ancestors.)
restive
(adj.) resistant, stubborn, impatient

(The restive audience pelted the band with mud and yelled nasty comments.)
revoke
(v.) to take back

(After missing the curfew set by the court for eight nights in a row, Marcel’s freedom of movement was revoked.)
rhapsodize
(v.) to engage in excessive enthusiasm

(The critic rhapsodized about the movie, calling it an instant classic.)
ribald
(adj.) coarsely, crudely humorous

(While some giggled at the ribald joke involving a parson’s daughter, most sighed and rolled their eyes.)
scintillating
(adj.) sparkling

(The ice skater’s scintillating rhinestone costume nearly blinded the judges.)
semaphore
(n.) a visual signal

(Anne and Diana communicated with a semaphore involving candles and window shades.)
sinuous
(adj.) lithe, serpentine

(With the sinuous movements of her arms, the dancer mimicked the motion of a snake.)
sobriety
(n.) sedate, calm

(Jason believed that maintaining his sobriety in times of crisis was the key to success in life.)
solipsistic
(adj.) believing that oneself is all that exists

(Colette’s solipsistic attitude completely ignored the plight of the homeless people on the street.)
somnolent
(adj.) sleepy, drowsy

(The somnolent student kept falling asleep and waking up with a jerk.)
spurious
(adj.) false but designed to seem plausible

(Using a spurious argument, John convinced the others that he had won the board game on a technicality.)
staid
(adj.) sedate, serious, self-restrained

(The staid butler never changed his expression no matter what happened.)
travesty
(n.) a grossly inferior imitation

(According to the school newspaper’s merciless theater critic, Pacific Coast High’s rendition of the musical Oklahoma was a travesty of the original.)
tremulous
(adj.) fearful

(I always feel a trifle tremulous when walking through a graveyard.)
trenchant
(adj.) effective, articulate, clear-cut

(The directions that accompanied my new cell phone were trenchant and easy to follow.)
turpitude
(n.) depravity, moral corruption

(Sir Marcus’s chivalry often contrasted with the turpitude he exhibited with the ladies at the tavern.)
umbrage
(n.) resentment, offense

(He called me a lily-livered coward, and I took umbrage at the insult.)
veracity
(n.) truthfulness, accuracy

(With several agencies regulating the reports, it was difficult for Latifah to argue against its veracity.)
verdant
(adj.) green in tint or color

(The verdant leaves on the trees made the world look emerald.)
vex
(v.) to confuse or annoy

(My little brother vexes me by poking me in the ribs for hours on end.)
vicarious
(adj.) experiencing through another

(All of my lame friends learned to be social through vicarious involvement in my amazing experiences.)
vigilant
(adj.) watchful, alert

(The guards remained vigilant throughout the night, but the enemy never launched the expected attack.)
vilify
(v.) to lower in importance, defame

(After the Watergate scandal, almost any story written about President Nixon sought to vilify him and criticize his behavior.)
annex
1. (v.) to incorporate territory or space

(After defeating them in battle, the Russians annexed Poland.)

2. (n.) a room attached to a larger room or space

(He likes to do his studying in a little annex attached to the main reading room in the library.)
attribute
1. (v.) to credit, assign

(He attributes all of his success to his mother’s undying encouragement.)

2. (n.) a facet or trait

(Among the beetle’s most peculiar attributes is its thorny protruding eyes.)
coup
1. (n.) a brilliant, unexpected act

(Alexander pulled off an amazing coup when he got a date with Cynthia by purposely getting hit by her car.)

2. (n.) the overthrow of a government and assumption of authority

(In their coup attempt, the army officers stormed the Parliament and took all the legislators hostage.)