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12 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Abysmal (adj.)
Abysmal means infinitely or immeasurably deep, limitless.

Her abysmal sadness sapped her energy for many months.

Abysmal also means hopelessly bad, wretched.

"It's an abysmal day and I'm not going to cheer up," declared Aunt Ida defiantly.
Ascendancy (n.)
Ascendancy is a controlling influence, a time of dominance.

Thankfully, the fascism that had risen to ascendancy in Europe in the 1930s faded after World War II.
Bourgeois (adj.)
Bourgeois means middle class. Bourgeois is a term first used in France to describe a city dweller who was neither a farmer nor a noble. Today it is used to describe anyone with middle class values of materialism and respectability. The person who uses the term "bourgeois" usually feels that he is more "hip" than the person he is describing.

Philip's brother has a cell phone and season tickets to the opera. He is just so bourgeois.
Ameliorate (v.)
Ameliorate is to improve, to make better, to make tolerable.

Dr. Burns hoped that allowing young patients to watch M-TV would ameliorate their attitudes about visiting the dentist.
Arcane (adj.)
Arcane means secret in the sense of known to or understood by only an enlightened few. The secret teachings of a cult would be said to be arcane knowledge. The ability to create fire by rubbing sticks together could be called an arcane skill.
Catalyst (n.)
A catalyst is an activator, something that causes something else to happen.

"Add the right catalyst to this mixture and it will blow sky high," said Nick as he held up the test tube.
Cajole (v.)
( kuh-JOHL)
To cajole means to coax, wheedle, attempt to persuade with a persistent emotional appeal.

"I didn't want to come," said Ashley, "but Joshua cajoled me until just to shut him up, I agreed."
Appropriate (v.)
To appropriate means to confiscate, to seize, to claim or set aside for oneself.

"I'm going to appropriate four chairs from the library," said Mrs. Carmody.

To appropriate also can mean to earmark or set aside for a specific purpose:

I have appropriated 10 dollars a day for spending money.

As an adjective "appropriate" is pronounced as uh-PROH-pree-it and means apt, fitting, suitable.

It is always appropriate to bring a small token when you are invited to someone's house.
Agnostic (n.)
An agnostic is one who doesn't know if God exists. An agnostic is a doubter who neither believes or disbelieves.

Since claims about God cannot be proved by science, atheists reject them, and agnostics point out that we cannot know if they are true.
Address (v.)
To address something is to deal with it, or to draw attention to it.

Upon being elected chairman, he immediately addressed the group's financial problems.

To address also is to give a speech or formal talk:

"Whenever Bob has to address the whole student body, he gets very nervous," the dean's wife confided.

To address also is to direct speech toward:

He addressed the king directly.
Complement (n.)
A complement is something that completes, perfects, or goes really well with something else; Garlic bread is a complement to spaghetti, popcorn is a complement to a good movie; A good book may be the perfect complement to a rainy Sunday afternoon, a DVD player complements a stereo system.

"Does red wine or white wine best complement fish?" asked Sheila.
Clique (n.)
A clique is a tight group from which others are excluded.

"Who wants to belong to that clique of snooty girls anyway?" exclaimed Naomi.