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383 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
  • 3rd side (hint)
Tether (n)
The limit of one's strength or resources
At the end of my tether
Gloat (int. vb)
To observe or think about something with triumphant and often malicious satisfaction, gratification, or delight
Gloat over an enemy's misfortune
Incongruous (adj)
Not comforming: Disagreeing
Crux (n)
A puzzling or difficult problem
An essential point requiring resolution or resolving or outcome
The crux of the problem
Tut-tut (int. vb)
To express disapproval or disbelief by or as if by uttering tut
The civilian press corps tut-tutted over the officers' equivocation, ignorance and bigotry
Quaint (adj)
Marked by beauty or elegance
figures of fun, quaint people
Bilk (t.v)
To block the free development
To cheat out of something valuable
To slip away from
fate bilks their hopes
bilks his creditors
Chasm (adj)
A marked division, separation or difference
Quixotic (adj)

Foolishly impractical esp. in the pursuit of ideals
as quixotic as a restoration of medieval knighthood
Uxorious (adj)
Excessively fond of or submissive to a wife
Pir.ou.ette (n)
A rapidly whirling about of the body esp a full turn on the toe or ball of one foot in ballet
Proffer (t.vb)
Present for acceptance
a proffered piece of fruit
Weary (adj)
Exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness
Frail (adj)
Easily broken or destroyed
Physcally weak
Hurl (v)
To throw down with violence
To throw forcefully
To utter with vehemence
Hurled insults at the police>
Prurient (adj)
Inordinate and unhealthy sexual interest or desire
eluding the lubricious embraces of her employer
Excoriate (t.vb)
condemn: express strong disapproval of
To wear of the skin off
We excoriate the racism in South Africa
Canard (n)
A false or unfounded report or story esp. fabricated
A groundless rumor or belief
Gaffe (n)
A social or diplomatic blunder
A noticeable mistake
Lame duck (n)
One that is weak or that falls behind in ability or achievement
Pander (int. vb)
To act as a pander esp to provide gratification for others' desires
films that pander to the basest emotions (n)
A place of horror, glory, or happiness: heaven
an academic's valhalla
Milieu (n)
The physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops
Draconian (adj)
draconian one endorsed
Angst (n)
A feeling of anxiety, apprehension or insecurity
There's no need for this angst
teenage angst
Hock (n)
in hock to the bank
...US in deeper hock to china
Vigilante (n)
A self-appointed doer of justice
A member of a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime
Pratfall (n)
A fall on the buttocks
A humiliating mishap or blunder
Bill Clinton's Sex behavior was a pratfall
Invective (adj)
of, relating to, or characteristerized by insult or abuse
leans on this form of "humorous" invective much more
Pungent (adj)
Latin: to prick, sting, to fight, fist
Sharp and to the point
Causing a sharp or irritating sensation
Having an intense flavor or odor
a pungent chili
characterized by refusal to compromise or to abandon an extreme position or attitude : UNCOMPROMISING
<intransigent in their opposition> <an intransigent attitude>
a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language
the English phrase to kick the bucket means to die. A listener knowing the meaning of kick and bucket will not thereby be able to predict that the expression can mean to die.
matter of interest or value forming the basis of a story or analysis
something turned to advantage or use
as the grist for current-events discussions
not easily pulled apart : COHESIVE
Persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired
Tending to adhere or cling especially to another substance
<The idea that women are somehow unsuited to science is widespread and tenacious>
<a tenacious metal>
<tenacious negotiators>
<a tenacious memory>
Judicious (adj)
having, exercising, or characterized by sound judgment : DISCREET
man as judicious
Flighty (adj)
lacking stability or steadiness
easily upset
easily excited
a flighty temper
women as flighty
Array (t.vb)
Draw up or to arrange
array of biological processes
Stating confidently
Poised (v)
carried a water jar poised on her head
insistent public expression (as of support or protest)
clamor fromt he public finally broke the NCAA's resistance
dawdle (verb)
To spend time idly
To spend fruitlessly or lackadiasically
dawdled the day away
Eke.out (t.v)
To make up for the deficiencies
eked out his income by getting a second job
flout (v)
treat with comtemptuous disregard
flouting the rules
lugging (v.t)
to haul or drag (something) laboriously
To pull with difficulty
Lugging a paunch
Something fatuous or absurd
Lacking substance - shallowness
a peasant
a coarse, rude person
a deep narrow passage w/steep rocky sides, enclosed on each side by mountains
to cover with or as if with a thin coating of gold
To give an often deceptively attractive or improved appearance to
a gilded palace
outside factors
A light manner or attitude esp. when inappropriate
Hooting (v)
To utter the typical cry of an owl
To make a loud raucous cry esp. of comtempt or derision
hoot the actor off the stage
Gleeful (adj)
Gleefully hooting at strangers
Feisty (adj)
Full of nervous energy
Having or showing a lively aggressiiveness
The movie's feisty heroine
To walk awkwardly dragging feet
Hebephrenia (n)
A form of schizophrenia characterized esp. by incoherence, delusions lacking an underlying theme, and affect that is usu. flat, inappropriate, or silly
Loathe (t. v)
Loath (adj)
unwilling to do something contrary to one's ways of thinking
Swaddle (t. vb)
Marriage...swaddled him in a domesticity he came to loathe
Crass (adj)
barbaric, uncivilized, rough, rude
My roommate's father's girlfriends behavior was crass.
Lightheated inconcern
Estrange (t.v)
To arouse esp. mutual enmity or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection or friendliness
Millions of Americans have become so estrange fromt the political process
Gerrymander (t.v)
To divide (a territorial unit)into election districts to give one polical party an electoral majority in a large # of districts while concentrating the voting strength of the opposition in as few districts as possible
To divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group
Big $ & gerrymandering have placed gov't out of the reach of most Americans
Disillusion (t.v)
to free from illusion
to cause to lose naive faith and trust
black voter, disillusioned by voter suppression efforts
Hedge (v)
To protect oneself from loosing or failing by a counterbalancing action (hedging a bet)
To enclose or protect with
Republicans...are hedging their bets by pumping up campaign donations to Democratic candidates
Inbecile (n)
Fool, idiot
Usu. offensive: a person affected with moderate metal retardation
Grim (adj)
Fierce in disposition or action (savage)
unflinching, unyielding
grim determination
grim forecasts
Culprit (n)
The source or cause of a problem
One accused of or charged with a crime
...was the main culprit
Lam (v) Thrash
To beat soundly with or as if with a stick or whip
To defeat decisively or severely
Thrashed the visiting team
Expletive (n)
A syllable, word, or phrase inserted to fill a vacancy without adding to the sense
An exclamatory word or phrase esp. one that is obscene or profane
One that serves to fill out or as is filling
Insert expletive here
Froth (n)
Bubbles form in or on a liquid
Something resembling froth (as in being unsubstantial, worthless, or light and airy
There's little froth in this market
Carnage (n)
The flesh of slain animals or men
Great and usu. bloody slaughter or injury (as in a battle)
to offer as example, reason, or proof in discussion or analysis
inchoate (adj)
Being only partly in existance or operation esp. imperfectly formed or formulated
...inchoate suspicions that all is not well with the nation
Gangland (n)
The world of organized crime
a gangland killing
Revulsion (n)
Extreme disgust
American's revulsion against the action of the President in Iraq
Hegemony (n)
A leadership or dominance esp. that of one state or nation over the other
Iran do not relish it bid on nuclear hegemony
Theocraty (n)
Government by a person or persons claiming divine authority
A theocratic President in Iran
Fraught (adj)
Filled or loaded (with)
a life fraught with hardship
Febrile (adj)
Fever (feverish)
Febrile argument
Apocalypse (n)
A revelation of a violent struggle in which evil will be destroyed
Disastrous event esp. the end of the world
End of the world is an apocalypse
Thwart (t.v)
Run counter to so as to effectively oppose or battle
Oppose successfully
Cordon (n)
A line of troops or of military posts enclosing an area to prevent passage
a cordon of police
Abscond (v)
To free from a confining situation
the burglar was trying to abscond with the jewels when he trumbled down the stairs
Repudiate (t.vb)
Repudiate a debt
Mar (v)
Mar a politician't reputation with scurrilous rumors
Marred by widespread alligations
Debase (t.v)
Lower in status, esteem, quality or character
...politics to be debased by money and violence...
Despotism (n)
Rule by or as if by absolute power or authority
Steer the country back towards despotism
Boisterous (adj)
Rough and stormy: violent
Loud, noisy, unrestrained and undisciplined
It has been seven boisterous years since Nigeria...
Euphoria (n)
A feeling of elation or well-being
Suffused with euphoria of new freedoms
Suffuse (v)
To spread throughout
A living room suffused with warm sunlight
Graft (n)
The acquisition of gain (as money) in dishonest or questionable ways
political culture of graft
Ostensible (adj)
Open to view
Being such in appearance
...Ostensibly became a democracy
Subvert (t.v)
To overturn or overthrow from the foundation
To pervert or corrupt by an undermining of morals, allegiance or faith
Rollick (int. vb)
To move or behave in a carefree joyous manner
Pliant (adj)
Easily influence
Suitable for varied uses
...pliant Mr. Bush has decided to go along
Strident (adj)
Characterized by harsh, insistent, and discordant sound
Commanding attention by a loud or abtrusive quality
<a srident voice>
<strident slogans>
Maraud (v)
To roam about and raid in search of plunder
marauding rebels overran the countryside
Randy (adj)
Having a course manner
Randy congressmen
Convulsed (v)
To shake or agitate violently esp. to shake with or as if with irregular spasms
convulsed by hatred
was convulsed with laughter
Palpable (adj)
Capable of being held or touched ie tangible
Easily perceptible: noticeable
A palpable difference
A descendent or heir
Bush scion
Entrance (t.v)
To carry away with delight, wonder, or rapture
We were entranced by the view
Paragon (n)
A model of excellence or perfection
A paragon of unity, Tren Lott
Panacea (n)
A remedy for all ills or difficulties
Balk (v)
To stop short
Refuse to proceed
Refuse abruptly
Congress balked at putting up the $
Seethe (v)
To suffer violent internal excitement
Seethe with jealousy
Students were seething
Melee (n)
A confused struggled; esp, a hand-to-hand fight among several people
Prance (v)
To dance about
One held in bondage, as a serf or slave
a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition
the vicissitudes of daily life
Kowtow (int.vb)
To show obsequitous deference
To kneel and touch the forehead to the ground in token of homage, worship or deep respect
Kowtows to the boss
Obsequious (adj)
bootlicking: attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery

attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner
"obsequious waitress"
Ascendency (n)
governing or controlling influence
Mr. Warren who is in ascendance
Hyperbole (n)
Extravagant exaggeration
Mile-high ice cream cones
21st century slavery may sould like hyperbole
"the insulation of England was preserved by the English Channel"
To cherish as sacred
To enclose in or as if in a shrine
A great disaster
A sudden, disastrous collapse, downfall or defeat
Iraq is a debacle
To go or move stealthily or furtively (as in fear or shame)steal
To give premature birth to
I saw a cougar slinking toward its prey
Used to express unhappiness, pity or concern
Incorrigible (adj)
Incapable of being corrected
Non reformable
Not manageable
Puerile (adj)
Juvenile, childish, sily
Puerile remarks
Jejune (adj)
Devoid of significance or interest
Professors jejune lectures often left students dozing in the audithorium
Mellifluous (adj)
Having a smooth rich flow
Chaste (adj)
pure in thought and act
they maintained a chaste relations
Caprice (n)
a sudden desire;
"he bought it on an impulse"
Ricochet (n)
A glancing rebound
Auspice (n)
Kindly patronage and guidance
Squabble (n)
A noisy altercation or quarrel usu over petty matters
Expedient (adj)
serving to promote your interest
was merciful only when mercy was expedient
Fecund (adj)
fruitful in offspring or vegetation
intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree
a fecund imagination
unreserved, honest, or sincere expression : FORTHRIGHTNESS
The candor with which he acknowledged a weakness in his own case -- Aldous Huxley
Inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech : RESERVED
Restrained in expression, presentation, or appearance
<the room has an aspect of reticent dignity -- A. N. Whitehead>
Axiomatic (adj)
taken for granted : SELF-EVIDENT
an axiomatic truth
Their innocence is axiomatic
harsh or biting sharpness especially of words, manner, or disposition
marked by settled sedateness and often prim self-restraint : SOBER, GRAVE
staid atmosphere
She became increasingly staid as she grew older (adj)
of, relating to, or given to walking b : moving or traveling from place to place
Peripatetic career
Rapacious (adj)
1 : excessively grasping or covetous
2 : living on prey
<a rapacious appetite>
Ka•lei•do•scope (n)
1 : an instrument containing loose bits of colored material (as glass or plastic) between two flat plates and two plane mirrors so placed that changes of position of the bits of material are reflected in an endless variety of patterns
2 : something resembling a kaleidoscope: as a : a variegated changing pattern or scene
<the lake a kaleidoscope of changing colors -- Robert Gibbings>
<a... kaleidoscope of shifting values, information, fashions -- Frank McLaughlin>
Pugnacious (adj)
having a quarrelsome or combative nature : TRUCULENT
Anathema (n)
a detested person

1 a : one that is cursed by ecclesiastical authority b : someone or something intensely disliked or loathed -- usually used as a predicate nominative
2 a : a ban or curse solemnly pronounced by ecclesiastical authority and accompanied by excommunication
<this notion was anathema to most of his countrymen
he is an anathema to me
Petulant (adj)
cranky: easily irritated or annoyed
an incorrigibly fractious young man
Mea Culpa
An expresssion from Catholic ritual that assigns blame to oneself
“I gave you the wrong directions to my house—mea culpa.”
From Latin, meaning “my fault” or “my blame.”
Loquacious (adj)
full of excessive talk : WORDY
given to fluent or excessive talk : GARRULOUS
Demagogue (n)
1 : a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power
2 : a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times
Egregious (adj)
CONSPICUOUS; especially : conspicuously bad : FLAGRANT
<an egregious mistake>
eternal punishment
strongly angry
assertion or claim
ten•et (n)
An opinion, doctrine, or principle held as being true by a person or especially by an organization
Askance (adv)
with a side-glance
with disapproval or distrust : SCORNFULLY
<they eyed the stranger askance>
Leery (adj)
SUSPICIOUS, WARY -- often used with of
<leery of strangers>
Adroit (adj)
having or showing skill, cleverness, or resourcefulness in handling situations
<an adroit leader>
<adroit maneuvers>
Abstruse (adj)
difficult to comprehend : RECONDITE
<the abstruse calculations of mathematicians>
Highfalutin (adj)
2 : expressed in or marked by the use of high-flown bombastic language : POMPOUS
Pip-squeak (n)
one that is small or insignificant
Bromidic (adj)
lacking in originality : TRITE
Liberalism (n)
A movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party: a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party
beset (t.v)
to set upon : ASSAIL
<inflation besets the economy>
<the settlers were beset by savages>
Faction (n)
one held together by common interests, views, or purposes

1 : a party or group (as within a government) that is often contentious or self-seeking : CLIQUE
2 : party spirit especially when marked by dissension
ostentatious (adj)
intended to attract notice and impress others
"The Ashanti's are ostentatious"
"an ostentatious sable coat"
stultify (t. v)
1 : to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical
2 a : to impair, invalidate, or make ineffective : NEGATE b : to have a dulling or inhibiting effect on
Their behavior stultified the boss's hard work
brusque (adj)
1 : markedly short and abrupt
2: Blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness
cauldron (n)
1 : a large kettle or boiler
2 : something resembling a boiling cauldron in intensity or degree of agitation
<a cauldron of intense emotions>
Futile (adj)
1 : serving no useful purpose : completely ineffective
2 : occupied with trifles : FRIVOLOUS
<efforts to convince him were futile>
dilapidate (v)
to bring into a condition of decay or partial ruin
<furniture is dilapidated by use -- Janet Flanner>
pacify (t.v)
1 a : to allay the anger or agitation of : SOOTHE
2 a : to restore to a tranquil state : SETTLE
b : to reduce to a submissive state : SUBDUE
<pacify a crying child>
<made an attempt to pacify the commotion>
<forces moved in to pacify the country>
con•sig•li•e•re (n)
<consigliere of a Mafia family>
de•noue•ment (n)
1 : the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work
2 : the outcome of a complex sequence of events
def•er•ence (n)

in deference to
Respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also : affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes: HONOR

in consideration of
<returned early in deference to her parents' wishes>
re•pug•nant (adj)
Exciting distaste or aversion
<repugnant language>
<a morally repugnant practice>
rapt (adj)
1 : lifted up and carried away
2 : transported with emotion : ENRAPTURED
3 : wholly absorbed : ENGROSSED
he raptly followed each command
il•lic•it (adj)
avert (t.v)
1 : to turn away or aside (as the eyes) in avoidance
2 : to see coming and ward off : AVOID
<avert disaster>
ep•i•thet (n)
1 a : a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing b : a disparaging or abusive word or phrase c : the part of a taxonomic name identifying a subordinate unit within a genus
feck•less (adj)
proxy (n)
1 : the agency, function, or office of a deputy who acts as a substitute for another
2 a : authority or power to act for another b : a document giving such authority; specifically : a power of attorney authorizing a specified person to vote corporate stock
3 : a person authorized to act for another : PROCURATOR
tee•ter (int. v)
to move unsteadily : WOBBLE b : WAVER, VACILLATE
<teetered on the brink of bankruptcy>
grass•roots (adj)
2 : being, originating, or operating in or at the grass roots
3 : not adapted from or added to an existing facility or operation : totally new
<the grassroots factor in deciding to buy a house>
<a grassroots organization> <grassroots political support>
czar (n)
one having great power or authority
<a banking czar>
scorn (t.v)
to treat with scorn : reject or dismiss as contemptible or unworthy

to show disdain or derision
<scorned local traditions> <scorned to reply to the charge>•ad (n)
a prolonged lamentation or complaint; also : a cautionary or angry harangue
their jeremiads against gay marriage
fer•vor (n)
1 : intensity of feeling or expression
2 : intense heat
<booing and cheering with almost equal fervor -- Alan Rich>
ba•zaar (n)
1 : a market (as in the Middle East) consisting of rows of shops or stalls selling miscellaneous goods
2 a : a place for the sale of goods b : DEPARTMENT STORE
3 : a fair for the sale of articles especially for charitable purposes
in•ex•pli•ca•ble (adj)
incapable of being explained, interpreted, or accounted for
<an inexplicable disappearance>
af•fec•ta•tion (n)
1 a : the act of taking on or displaying an attitude or mode of behavior not natural to oneself or not genuinely felt b : speech or conduct not natural to oneself : ARTIFICIALITY
Experience, like affectations, can be dangerous
sab•o•tage (n)
1 : destruction of an employer's property (as tools or materials) or the hindering of manufacturing by discontented workers
2 : destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation's war effort
3 a : an act or process tending to hamper or hurt b : deliberate subversion
brass (n)
brazen self-assurance : GALL
High-ranking members of the military b : persons in high positions (as in a business or the government)
military brass
swag•ger (int. v)
1 : to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence
jit•ter (n)
1 plural : a sense of panic or extreme nervousness
2 : the state of mind or the movement of one that jitters
<had a bad case of the jitters before his performance>
cor•rode (v)
to weaken or destroy gradually : UNDERMINE
<manners and miserliness that corrode the human spirit -- Bernard De Voto>
pre•text (n)
something serving to conceal plans; a fictitious reason that is concocted in order to conceal the real reason
under the pretext of friendship he betrayed them
emas•cu•late (t.v)
1 : to deprive of strength, vigor, or spirit : WEAKEN
2 : to deprive of virility or procreative power : CASTRATE
3 : to remove the androecium of (a flower) in the process of artificial cross-pollination
men•ace (n)
1 : a show of intention to inflict harm : THREAT
2 a : one that represents a threat : DANGER b : a person who causes annoyance
sy•co•phant (n)
one who seeks to please people in positions of authority or influence in order to gain power themselves
con•fla•gra•tion (n)
1 : FIRE; especially : a large disastrous fire
blissfully unaware of the conflagration to come.
bliss (n)
1 : complete happiness
man•gle (t.v)
1 : to injure with deep disfiguring wounds by cutting, tearing, or crushing
2 : to spoil, injure, or make incoherent especially through ineptitude
<people...mangled by sharks -- V. G. Heiser>
<a story mangled beyond recognition>
quip (n)
1 a : a clever usually taunting remark : GIBE b : a witty or funny observation or response usually made on the spur of the moment
2 : something strange, droll, curious, or eccentric : ODDITY
Mr. Kerry’s mangled gibe at the president.
injurious (adj)
1 : inflicting or tending to inflict injury : DETRIMENTAL
<injurious to health>
<speak not injurious words -- George Washington>
tatter (n)
1 : a part torn and left hanging : SHRED
2 plural : tattered clothing : RAGS
It means our democracy is in tatters
pry (int. v)
to look closely or inquisitively; also : to make a nosy or presumptuous inquiry
in•dig•na•tion (n)
Anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean
The more they talk, the more they reinforce one another’s indignation.
ran•cor (n)
bitter deep-seated ill will
fis•sure (n)
: a separation or disagreement in thought or viewpoint : SCHISM
<fissures in a political party>
given the fissures in Iraqi society
bi•par•ti•san (adj)
Of, relating to, or involving members of two parties
<a bipartisan commission>
<bipartisan support for the bill>
abys•mal (adj)
1 a : having immense or fathomless extension downward, backward, or inward
b : immeasurably great : PROFOUND
c : immeasurably low or wretched
the abysmal way the Republican majority has run Congress.
<an abysmal cliff>
<abysmal ignorance>
<abysmal living conditions of the poor>
man•ful (adj)
having or showing courage and resolution
David Hogberg manfully tries to look on the sunny side of defeat anyway.
Dix•ie•crat (n)
A dissident Southern Democrat; specifically : a supporter of a 1948 presidential ticket opposing the civil rights stand of the Democrats
botch (t.v)
1 : to foul up hopelessly -- often used with up
2 : to put together in a makeshift way
botch every aspect of that war
swathe (t.v)
1 : to bind, wrap, or swaddle with or as if with a bandage
his eye sockets swathed in bandages soaked in blood and pus
up•end (v)
1 : to set or stand on end; also : OVERTURN
2 a : to affect to the point of being upset or flurried
to prevent the cancer of genocide from completely upending these two countries.
eu•phe•mism (n)
: the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant; also : the expression so substituted
their most common call was for a “phased redeployment” — a euphemism for withdrawal
de•spon•dent (adj)
feeling or showing extreme discouragement, dejection, or depression
<despondent about his health>
pop•u•list (n)
1 : a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people; especially often capitalized : a member of a United States political party formed in 1891 primarily to represent agrarian interests and to advocate the free coinage of silver and government control of monopolies
2 : a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people
Cloture (n)
: the closing or limitation of debate in a legislative body especially by calling for a vote
voted for cloture
troupe (n)
COMPANY, TROOP; especially : a group of theatrical performers
if the new troupe will make us laugh, cheer, or cry
short shrift (n)
1 : barely adequate time for confession before execution
2 a : little or no attention or consideration
<gave the problem short shrift>
den•i•grate (t.v)
1 : to attack the reputation of : DEFAME
2 : to deny the importance or validity of : BELITTLE
<denigrate one's opponents>
<denigrate their achievements>
pique (pek)(t.v)
1 : to arouse anger or resentment in : IRRITATE
2 a : to excite or arouse especially by a provocation, challenge, or rebuff
<what piques linguistic conservatives -- T. H. Middleton>
<sly remarks to pique their curiosity>
<he piques himself on his skill as a cook>
ran•kle (v)
1 : to cause anger, irritation, or deep bitterness
2 : to feel anger and irritation
men need their own health bureau or that they must advocate for their rights like a victimized minority rankles some women’s health advocates
la•ment (v)
1 : to express sorrow, mourning, or regret for often demonstratively : MOURN
2 : to regret strongly
hob•ble (v)
1 : to cause to limp : make lame : CRIPPLE
sto•i•cism (n)
indifference to pleasure or pain
laud•able (adj)
: worthy of praise : COMMENDABLE
laudable motives of improving housing conditions
in•cen•di•ary (n)
1 a : a person who commits arson : ARSONIST b : an incendiary agent (as a bomb)
2 : a person who excites factions, quarrels, or sedition : AGITATOR
ravenous (adj)
having a huge appetite
main reason is China’s ravenous appetite for coal
grope (v)
to search for something blindly or uncertainly
<groped for her car keys> <groping for the right answer>
pi•ous (adj)
1 a : marked by or showing reverence for deity and devotion to divine worship
2 : showing loyal reverence for a person or thing : DUTIFUL
3 : deserving commendation : WORTHY
<a pious effort>
fo•ment (t.v)
to promote the growth or development of : ROUSE, INCITE
<foment a rebellion>
con•stel•la•tion (n)
1 : an assemblage, collection, or group of usually related persons, qualities, or things
<a constellation of symptoms>
<taking advantage of the shifting constellation of power throughout the known world -- H. D. Lasswell>
in·de·fat·i·ga·ble (adj)
Incapable of being fatigued : UNTIRING
<an indefatigable worker>
Chagrin (n)
Disquietude or distress of mind caused by humiliation, disappointment, or failure
<he seemed chagrined that he was unable to fulfill one part of his ambitious design>
Paean (n)
: a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph
2 : a work that praises or honors its subject : ENCOMIUM, TRIBUTE
paean to God
Supplant (t. v)
1 : to supersede (another) especially by force or treachery
I supplanted the previous worker
On.e.rous (adj)
1 : involving, imposing, or constituting a burden : TROUBLESOME
2 : having legal obligations that outweigh the advantages
<an onerous task>
<an onerous contract>
Deplore (v)
1 to feel or express sorrow for
2 to feel sorry or dissatisfied about
<a statement from the bishops deploring the loss of life in the war overseas>
<deplored the fact that his guests were seeing his apartment at its messiest>
Dictum (n)
1 : a noteworthy statement: as a : a formal pronouncement of a principle, proposition, or opinion b : an observation intended or regarded as authoritative
2 : a judge's expression of opinion on a point other than the precise issue involved in determining a case
Ire (n)
intense and usually openly displayed anger
Comity (n)
1 a : friendly social atmosphere : social harmony
b : a loose widespread community based on common social institutions
2 : avoidance of proselytizing members of another religious denomination
<group activities promoting comity>
<the comity of civilization>
Maverick (n)
1 : an unbranded range animal; especially : a motherless calf
2 : an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party
Kismet (n)
Could it have been kismet?
Lach.ry.mose (adj)
1 : given to tears or weeping : TEARFUL
2 : tending to cause tears : MOURNFUL
log·or·rhea (n)
excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness
obsequy (n)
a funeral or burial rite -- usually used in plural
Teem (v)
To become filled to overflowing : ABOUND b : to be present in large quantity

St. Louis were teeming with fresh face evangelicals

<teem molten metal into a mold>
Girth (n)
1 : a band or strap that encircles the body of an animal to fasten something (as a saddle) on its back
2 a : a measure around a body
<a man of more than average girth>
<the girth of a tree>
Dicey (adj)
Stem cell research might be morally dicey
<a dicey proposition>
<dicey weather>
Voluble (adj)
1 : easily rolling or turning : ROTATING
2 : characterized by ready or rapid speech : GLIB, FLUENT
The world's most voluble atheist
benighted (adj)
lacking in education or the knowledge gained from books -- IGNORANT
<the poor benighted souls who do not know the joys of reading>
infantile (adj)
having or showing the annoying qualities (as silliness) associated with children
<the infantile humor that teenage boys are justly famous for>
Parody (adj)
1 : a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule
2 : a feeble or ridiculous imitation
fab·u·list (n)
He is a fabulist
dastardly (adj)
2 : characterized by underhandedness or treachery
<a dastardly attack> <a dastardly villain>
treachery (n)
1 : violation of allegiance or of faith and confidence : TREASON
2 : an act of perfidy or treason
mired (t.v)
Democrats mired us in Vietnam.
bulwark (n)
1 a : a solid wall-like structure raised for defense : RAMPART b : BREAKWATER, SEAWALL
2 : a strong support or protection
3 : the side of a ship above the upper deck -- usually used in plural
We invaded, thinking that we would get a pro-American bulwark...
Crave (verb)
1 : to ask for earnestly : BEG, DEMAND
2 a : to want greatly : NEED
b : to yearn for
<crave a pardon for neglect>
<craves drugs>
<crave a vanished youth>

Prescience (n)
: foreknowledge of events: a : divine omniscience b : human anticipation of the course of events : FORESIGHT
She was not prescient enough to see
Parse (v)
1 a : to resolve (as a sentence) into component parts of speech and describe them grammatically b : to describe grammatically by stating the part of speech and explaining the inflection and syntactical relationships
2 : to examine in a minute way : analyze critically
<having trouble parsing...explanations for dwindling market shares -- R. S. Anson>
Perennial (adj)
1 : present at all seasons of the year
3 a : PERSISTENT, ENDURING b : continuing without interruption : CONSTANT, PERPETUAL
c : regularly repeated or renewed : RECURRENT
<perennial criticisms>
<perennial favorites>
<death is a perennial literary theme>
Sully (t.v)
to make soiled or tarnished : DEFILE
...sully Africa’s image
Duly (adv)
: in a due manner or time : PROPERLY
<a duly elected official> <duly noted>
obfuscate (v)
1 a : DARKEN b : to make obscure
<obfuscate the issue>
<obfuscate the reader>
sulfurous (adj)
of, relating to, or dealing with the fire of hell
three sulfurous possibilities loom
limn (t.v)
to outline in clear sharp detail
limned in the intelligence report
Sordid (adj)
1 : marked by baseness or grossness : VILE 2 a : DIRTY, FILTHY b : WRETCHED, SQUALID
3 : meanly avaricious : COVETOUS
4 : of a dull or muddy color
<sordid motives>
red herring (n)
something that distracts attention from the real issue
brandish (t.v)
1 : to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly
2 : to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner
President Bush brandished that fearful “uranium from Africa” in his speech
wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft
impugn (t.vb)
1 attack as false or wrong
<impugned the defendant's character>
Traipse (v)
to go on foot : WALK
<traipsed over to the restaurant>
<traipse the countryside>
Pariah (n)
one that is despised or rejected : OUTCAST
a pariah in his own party
Morass (n)
A situation that traps, confuses, or impedes
overwhelming or confusing mass or mixture
<a legal morass>
<a morass of traffic jams -- Mary Roach>
Devolve (v)
Pass on or delegate to another
<the responsibility for breadwinning has devolved increasingly upon women -- Barbara Ehrenreich>

<where order devolves into chaos -- Johns Hopkins Magazine>
Posit (t.v)
To propose as an explanation : SUGGEST

To assume or affirm the existence of : POSTULATE
<...posit the obvious>
succor (n)
1 : RELIEF; also : AID, HELP
2 : something that furnishes relief
<take succor from it>
Poseur (n)
a person who pretends to be what he or she is not : an affected or insincere person
Augur (v)
To give promise of : PRESAGE
<higher pay augurs a better future>
burlesque (t.v)
to imitate in a humorous or derisive manner : MOCK
Carom (int.v)
rebound after hitting
<the car caromed off a tree>
<carom from city to city>
<robs the virus of the chance to carom wildly
overweening (adj)
1 : arrogant, presumptuous

2. excessive
overweening greed
had a witty but overweening manner
abject (adj)
1. expressing or offered in a humble and often ingratiating spirit
2. showing hopelessness or resignation
<given how abjectly Don Imus has apologized>
<abject surrender>
<abject flattery>
<an abject apology>
Precarious (adj)
characterized by a lack of security or stability that threatens with danger
<precarious generalizations>
dubious (adj)
1 : giving rise to uncertainty: as a : of doubtful promise or outcome
b : questionable or suspect as to true nature or quality
2 : unsettled in opinion : DOUBTFUL
<a dubious plan>
<the practice is of dubious legality>
<I was dubious about the plan>
Aggrieve (t.v)
1 : to give pain or trouble to : DISTRESS
2 : to inflict injury on
infan.til.ism (n)
1 : retention of childish physical, mental, or emotional qualities in adult life; especially : failure to attain sexual maturity
2 : an act or expression that indicates lack of maturity
blizzard (n)
1 : a long severe snowstorm
2 : an intensely strong cold wind filled with fine snow
3 : an overwhelming rush or deluge
<a blizzard of mail around the holidays>
alterity (n)
: OTHERNESS; specifically : the quality or state of being radically alien to the conscious self or a particular cultural orientation
Chortle (n)
A snorting, joyful laugh or chuckle.
chortled nonstop
gran·dil·o·quence (grăn-dĭl'ə-kwəns) pronunciation
Pompous or bombastic speech or expression.
pen·chant (pĕn'chənt) pronunciation
A definite liking; a strong inclination
I have penchant for Safeway's French bread
conjure (v)
To call or bring to mind; evoke
To influence or effect by or as if by magic:
“Arizona conjures up an image of stark deserts for most Americans”
“a sight to store away, then conjure up someday when they were no longer together”
Griot (n)
any of a class of musician-entertainers of western Africa whose performances include tribal histories and genealogies; broadly : STORYTELLER
sulky (adj)
given to or displaying a resentful silence and often irritability
<our teenage daughter turns sulky if we refuse to let her borrow the car>
<The woman objected sulkily>
welter (n)
Text: 1 a state of noisy, confused activity
2 an unorganized collection or mixture of various things
<there was a welter of pushing and shoving as people rushed to grab the best seats for the outdoor concert> -- see COMMOTION
<a welter of junk in the closet, most of which needed to be thrown out>
ephemeral (adj)
1 : lasting one day only
2 : lasting a very short time
<an ephemeral fever>
<the ephemeral pleasures of sex>
cortege (n)
1 : a train of attendants
2 : PROCESSION; especially : a funeral procession
the cortege set off through the streets of Dakar.
revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, and false earnestness or spirituality

Slippery, oily
unctous smile
"an oily sycophantic press agent"
effervesce (int. v)
1 : to bubble, hiss, and foam as gas escapes
2 : to show liveliness or exhilaration
ensconce (t.v)
1 to establish or place comfortably or snugly
<the kids had contentedly ensconced themselves on the couch before the TV>
taciturn (adj)
: temperamentally disinclined to talk
synonym see SILENT
Adja Awa Astou was a taciturn woman
Flair (n)
1 : a skill or instinctive ability to appreciate or make good use of something : TALENT
2 : a uniquely attractive quality : STYLE
<a flair for color>
<fashionable dresses with a flair all their own>
quorum (n)
1 : a select group
2 : the number (as a majority) of officers or members of a body that when duly assembled is legally competent to transact business
plutocracy (n)
1 : government by the wealthy
2 : a controlling class of the wealthy
Text: one who predicts future events or developments: prophet
2 : to give promise of : PRESAGE
<higher pay augurs a better future>
Hilarity (n)
Text: a mood characterized by high spirits and amusement and often accompanied by laughter
<hilarity is the last thing you expect to find at a funeral>
coquette (n)
Propriety (n)
1. the quality or state of being proper : APPROPRIATENESS
2. conformity to what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech b : fear of offending against conventional rules of behavior especially between the sexes c plural : the customs and manners of polite society
Predicate (t.v)
1 a: affirm, declare
2 a: to assert to be a quality, attribute, or property — used with following of b: to make (a term) the predicate in a proposition
<predicates intelligence of humans>
<the theory is predicated on recent findings>
paradigm (n)
1: example, pattern; especially : an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype
2: an example of a conjugation or declension showing a word in all its inflectional forms
deluge (n)
1 a: an overflowing of the land by water b: a drenching rain
2: an overwhelming amount or number
<received a deluge of offers>
up to this time
people have assumed hitherto
Trammel (t.v)
to prevent or impede the free play of : confine
without the trammels of customary beliefs
epistolary (adj)
written in the form of a series of letters
<an epistolary novel>
Mordant (adj)
biting and caustic in thought, manner, or style : INCISIVE
<a mordant wit>
1 : characterized by routine or superficiality : MECHANICAL
2 : lacking in interest or enthusiasm
<a perfunctory smile>
to accustom to accept something undesirable
to become of advantage
<children inured to violence>
<policies that inure to the benefit of employees>
Deserving blame
<culpable negligence>
Pelt (t.v)
1 a : to strike with a succession of blows or missiles
b. to assail vigorously or persistently
c. to beat or dash repeatedly against
<pelted him with stones>
<pelted her with accusations>
<hailstones pelting the roof>
Pernicious (adj)
highly injurious or destructive : DEADLY
cancer is pernicious
he making of false statements that damage another's reputation -- see SLANDER
<warned that the constant vilification of candidates for public office was undermining the people's faith in the political system>
1 a mean, evil, or unprincipled person
2 an appealingly mischievous person
<a rogue who had nothing but contempt for people who made their living honestly>
<the little rogue always seems to end up being forgiven for his pranks>
fester (v)
1. To be or become an increasing source of irritation or poisoning; rankle
2. To be subject to or exist in a condition of decline
bitterness that festered and grew.

allowed the once beautiful park to fester.
Nihilism (n)
1. Rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.
2. The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.
Vitiate (t.v)
To corrupt morally; debase
The Bush Administration's hubris has vitiated America's moral clout.
Goon (n)
A thug hired to intimidate or harm opponents
Rabid (adj)
"rabid thirst"
"a rabid iced-coffee drinker"
Spurious (adj)
Lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin; not genuine; false.
Bought spurious necklace in Tiawana
a disorderly outburst or tumult
disturbance, disruption, to-do, stir
"they were amazed by the furious kerfuffle they had caused"
To scold sharply; berate
Congressional Democrats rushed out statements lambasting the president’s move
Serendipity is finding something unexpected and useful while searching for something else entirely
For instance, the discovery of the antibacterial properties of penicillin by Alexander Fleming is said to have been serendipitous, because he was merely cleaning up his laboratory when he discovered that the Penicillium mould had contaminated one of his old experiments.
ridiculous or empty show b: mockery
<the enforcement of this law became a farce>
a scabrous situation
a scabrous novel.
inveterate (adj)
Firmly and long established; deep-rooted
Persisting in an ingrained habit; habitual
inveterate preferences
an inveterate liar
huckster (n)
One who sells wares or provisions in the street; a peddler or hawker.
One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product.
an inveterate huckster who could be counted on to wrap every actual fact in six layers of embellishment.
a scene that constantly changes
temerity (n)
Foolhardy disregard of danger; recklessness.
Mr. Wilson concluded that Iraq had not done that and had the temerity to share those conclusions with the American public
fulminate (v)
To cause to explode
To issue a thunderous verbal attack or denunciation
Republican commentators who fulminated when Paris Hilton got a few days knocked off her time in a county lockup were parroting Mr. Bush’s contention that a fine, probation and reputation damage were “harsh punishment” enough for Mr. Libby.
the quality of lively or enthusiastic expression of thoughts or feelings
But he was also full of a characteristic quality of delight, bordering on ebullience
marked by or indicating a liking for companionship
Something that incites especially a violent response

To stir to action or feeling
The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.
Republican minority maintained serial threats of filibuster to buy time for President Bush’s aimless policies.
Folly (n)
A lack of good sense, understanding, or foresight

An act or instance of foolishness
regretted the follies of his youth
lacking due thought or consideration : CASUAL
you will not blithely think you understand when you do not.
to soothe or mollify especially by concessions : APPEASE
She managed to placate the angry customer
dominated by or emphasizing masculine interests or a masculine point of view
Sampson's friends' tried to placate him with endrocentric consolation
Sampson was also culpable
suppress or crush completely
"quell my hunger"
To give a false appearance of
Dalila approaches Samson in the prison, she feigns contrition
to soothe or mollify especially by concessions : APPEASE
She managed to placate the angry customer
dominated by or emphasizing masculine interests or a masculine point of view
Sampson's friends' tried to placate him with endrocentric consolation
Sampson was also culpable
suppress or crush completely
"quell my hunger"
To give a false appearance of
Dalila approaches Samson in the prison, she feigns contrition
A feeling of repentance for sin
Dalila feigns contrition
so far
gain favor with somebody by deliberate efforts
Dalila tried to ingratiate herself with Samson
décolleté (dā'kôl-tā')
Cut low at the neckline

Wearing a garment that is low-cut or strapless
a décolleté dress
To make or perform clumsily
I have made a miserable botch of this description
To regard with respect, reverencE
To take away a vital or essential part of
a compromise that eviscerated the proposed bill
To evade work or obligation
The senators then hurriedly approved the White House bill, dumped it on the House and skulked off on vacation
wrongdoing or misconduct especially by a public official
Boisterous and disorderly
modicum (n)
A small, moderate, or token amount
“England still expects a modicum of eccentricity in its artists” (Ian Jack).
bollix (tv)
To throw into confusion; botch or bungle
managed to bollix up the whole project
velleity (n)
A mere wish or inclination
A state of sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy
glib (adj)
Performed with a natural, offhand ease
Showing little thought, preparation, or concern
a glib response to a complex question.
clandestine (adj)
Iran's clandestine nuclear weapon program
dole (n)
To dispense as charity.
Stoke (adj)
1. Exhilarated or excited.
2. Being or feeling high or intoxicated, especially from a drug.
Shannon's father's girlfriend is always stoked
Pincer (n)
A maneuver in which an enemy force is attacked from two flanks and the front
handle, control, exercise
There is a growing awareness in city after city that wielding a police department like a blunt instrument is counterproductive
To cause to sleep or rest; soothe or calm
“that honeyed charm that he used so effectively to lull his victims”
incipient (adj)
Beginning to exist or appear
detecting incipient tumors
smidgen (n)
A very small quantity or portion
“a smidgen of genius, a sliver of cutting truth”
A heavy, uncontrolled outpouring
a torrent of insults; torrents of mail
To fall away or back; decline or recede
The unpopularity of George W. Bush has led many to believe global America-hating will ebb once he leaves office on Jan. 20, 2009
A crafty stratagem
a ruse concocted by American robber barons
1. An affectionate or humorous nickname.
2. An assumed name.