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64 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
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assuage
To make something unpleasant less severe
Serena used aspirin to ASSUAGE her pounding headache.
attenuate
To reduce in force or degree; to weaken
The Bill of Rights ATTENUATED the traditional power of government to change laws at will.
austere
Severe or stern in appearance; undecorated
The lack of decoration makes Zen temples seem AUSTERE to the untrained eye.
bombastic
Pompous in speech and manner
The dictator's speeches were mostly BOMBASTIC; his boasting and outrageous claims had no basis in fact.
castigate
To punish or criticize harshly
Americans are amazed at how harshly the authorities in Singapore CASTIGATE perpetrators of what would be considered minor crimes in the United States.
caustic
Biting in wit
Dorothy Parker gained her reputation for CAUSTIC wit from her cutting, yet clever, insults.
chicanery
Deception by means of craft or guile
Dishonest used car sales people often use CHICANERY to sell their beat-up old cars.
cogent
Convincing and well reasoned
Swayed by the COGENT argument of the defense, the jury had no choice but to acquit the defendant.
condone
To overlook, pardon, or disregard
Some theorists believe that failing to prosecute minor crimes is the sane as CONDONING an air of lawlessness.
decorum
Appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety
The countess complained that the vulgar peasants lacked the DECORUM appropriate for a visit to the palace.
desiccate
To dry out thoroughly
After a few weeks of lying on the desert's baking sands, the cow's carcass became completely DESICCATED.
desultory
Jumping from one thing to another; disconnected
Diane had a DESULTORY academic record; she had changed majors 12 times in three years.
dilatory
Intended to delay
The congressman used DILATORY measures to delay the passage of the bill.
dilettante
Someone with an amateurish and superficial interest in a topic
Jerry's friends were such DILETTANTES that they seemed to have new jobs and hobbies every week.
dirge
A funeral hymn or mournful speech
Melville wrote the poem "A DIRGE from James McPherson" for the funeral of a Union general who was killed in 1864.
disabuse
To set right; to free from error
Galileo's observations DISABUSED scholars of the notion that the sun revolved around the earth.
elegy
A sorrowful poem or speech
Although Thomas Gray's "ELEGY Written in a Country Churchyard" is about death and loss, it urges its readers to endure this life and to trust in spirituality.
enervate
To reduce in strength
The guerrillas hoped that a series of surprise attacks would ENERVATE the regular army.
enumerate
To count, list, or itemize
Moses returned from the mountain with tablets on which the commandments were ENUMERATED.
equivocate
To use expressions of double meaning in order to mislead
When faced with criticism of his policies, the politician EQUIVOCATED and left all parties thinking she agreed with them.
erudite
Learned, scholarly, bookish
The annual meeting of philosophy professors was a gathering of the most ERUDITE, well-published individuals in the field.
esoteric
Known or understood by only a few
Only a handful of experts are knowledgeable about the ESOTERIC world of particle physics.
estimable
Admirable
Most people consider it ESTIMABLE that Mother Teresa spent her life helping the poor of India.
exculpate
To clear from blame; prove innocent
The adversarial legal system is intended to convict those who are guilty and EXCULPATE those who are innocent.
exigent
Urgent; requiring immediate action
The patient was losing blood so rapidly that it was EXIGENT to stop the source of the bleeding.
exonerate
To clear of blame
The fugitive was EXONERATED when another criminal confessed to committing the crime.
fawn
To grovel
The understudy FAWNED over the director in hopes of being cast in the part on a permanent basis.
fervid
Intensely emotional; feverish
The fans of Maria Callas were unusually FERVID, doing anything to catch a glimpse of the great opera singer.
florid
Excessively decorated or embellished
To palace had been decorated in an excessively FLORIS style; every surface had been carved and gilded.
foment
To arouse or incite
The protesters tried to FOMENT feeling against the war through their speeches and demonstrations.
iconoclast
One who opposes established beliefs, customs, and institutions
His lack of regard for traditional beliefs soon established him as an ICONOCLAST.
impetuous
Quick to act without thinking
It is not good for an investment broker to be IMPETUOUS, since much thought should be given to all the possible options.
implacable
Unable to be calmed down or made peaceful
His rage at the betrayal was so great the he remained IMPLACABLE for weeks.
inchoate
Not fully formed; disorganized
The ideas expressed in Nietzsche's mature work also appear in an INCHOATE form in his earliest writing.
ingenuous
showing innocence or childlike simplicity
She was so INGENUOUS that her friends feared that her innocence and trustfulness would be exploited when she visited the big city.
insipid
Lacking interest or flavor
The critic claimed that the painting was INSIPID, containing no interesting qualities at all.
intransigent
Uncompromising; refusing to be reconciled
The professor was INTRANSIGENT on the deadline, insisting that everyone turn the assignment in at the same time.
irascible
Easily made angry
Attila the Hun's IRASCIBLE and violent nature made all who dealt with him fear for their lives.
malinger
To evade responsibility by pretending to be ill
A common way to avoid the draft was by MALINGERING -- pretending to be mentally or physically ill so as to avoid being being taken by the Army.
mitigate
To soften; to lessen
A judge may MITIGATE a sentence if she decides that a person committed a crime out of need.
mollify
To calm or make less severe
Their argument was so intense that it was difficult to believe any compromise would MOLLIFY them.
obdurate
Hardened in feeling; resistant to persuasion
The president was completely OBDURATE on the issue, and no amount of persuasion would change his mind.
obstinate
Stubborn, unyielding
The OBSTINATE child could not be made to eat any food that he disliked.
obviate
To prevent; to make unnecessary
The river was shallow enough to wade across at many points, which OBVIATED the need for a bridge.
occlude
To stop up; to prevent the passage of
A shadow is thrown across the earth's surface during a solar eclipse, when the light from the sun is OCCLUDED by the moon.
onerous
Troublesome and oppressive; burdensome
The assignment was so extensive and difficult to manage that it proved ONEROUS to the team in charge of it.
opprobrium
Public disgrace
After the scheme to embezzle the elderly was made public, the treasurer resigned in utter OPPROBRIUM.
paragon
Model of excellence or perfection
She is the PARAGON of what a judge should be: honest, intelligent, hardworking, and just.
pedant
Someone who shows off learning
The graduate instructor's tedious and excessive commentary on the subject soon gained her a reputation as a PEDANT.
perfidious
Willing to betray one's trust
The actress' PERFIDIOUS companion revealed all of her intimate secrets to the gossip columnist.
perfunctory
Done in a routine way; indifferent
The machinelike bank teller processed the transaction and gave the waiting customer a PERFUNCTORY smile.
precipitate
To throw violently or bring about abruptly; lacking deliberation
Upon learning that the couple married after knowing each other only two months, friends and family members expected such a PRECIPITATE marriage to end in divorce.
prodigal
Lavish, wasteful
The PRODIGAL son quickly wasted all of his inheritance on a lavish lifestyle devoted to pleasure.
propitiate
To conciliate; to appease
The management PROPITIATED the irate union by agreeing to raise wages for its members.
propriety
Correct behavior; obedience to rules and customs
The aristocracy maintained a high level of PROPRIETY, adhering to even the most minor social rules.
quiescent
Motionless
Many animals are QUIESCENT over the winter months, minimizing activity in order to conserve energy.
rarefy
To make thinner or sparser
Since the atmosphere RAREFIES as altitudes increase, the air at the top of very tall mountains is too thin to breathe.
repudiate
To reject the validity of
The old woman's claim that she was the Russian royalty was REPUDIATED when DNA tests showed she was of no relation to them.
soporific
Causing sleep or lethargy
The movie proved to be so SOPORIFIC that soon loud snores were heard throughout the theater.
stolid
Unemotional; lacking sensitivity
The prisoner appeared STOLID and unaffected by the judge's harsh sentence.
torpor
Extreme mental and physical sluggishness
After surgery, the patient experienced TORPOR until the anesthesia wore off.
veracity
Filled with truth and accuracy
She had a reputation for VERACITY, so everyone trusted her description of events.
verbose
Wordy
The professor's answer was so VERBOSE that the student forgot what the original question had been.
verbose
Wordy
The professor's answer was so VERBOSE that the student forgot what the original question had been.