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Dictionary and Workbook

2,856 Words You Must Know

Mark Phillips

All Rights Reserved 2006 Mark Phillips

Pronunciation Key

The syllable that receives the primary accent appears in capital letters; for example, in-TEND.

about, system, family, lemon, suppose
a apple, mat, carry
ape, fame, day
ask, fair, Mary
father, calm, art
b boy, rib
ch chin, inch
d dog, mad
e egg, enter, ten
each, seen, bee
f fog, if
g go, beg
h high, behave
i fig, if
ivy, time, deny
j joke, ridge
k call, kiss, tack
l light, small
m me, team
n new, tan
n (as in French) bon, garon
ng sing, trying
o ox, mop
open, tone, hello
ought, call, law
oi oil, join, boy
oo ooze, moon, too
oo book, pull

ou ouch, proud, cow

p pen, nap
r red, jar
s say, miss
sh shy, ash
t tell, bat
th think, athlete, myth
th then, another, smooth
tr tree, entrance
u up, fun, above
urge, turn, blur
v valley, river, swerve
w walk, away
y yellow, lawyer
z zebra, buzz
zh vision, mirage, pleasure

adj. = adjective; adv. = adverb; conj. = conjunction; n. = noun; vb. = verb

Chapter 1: abaseabolish

abase (-BS) vb. To abase yourself is to lower yourself in status or prestige; to bring
yourself down a notch; to humble yourself. Steve was dying to go to the party, but he refused
to abase himself by asking for an invitation.

abash (-BASH) vb. If you say that someone has been abashed, you mean that hes been
embarrassed; that his initial self-possession has been destroyed (usually by something that
produces a feeling of shame or inferiority or by excessive praise). When he learned hed been
awarded the 1958 Nobel Prize in literature, Russian writer Boris Pasternak (18901960) said
in a telegram, Immensely grateful, touched, proud, astonished, abashed.

abate (-BT) vb. If something (bad weather, conflict, pain, enthusiasm, interest, for
example) abates, it becomes less intense; it dies down. The years-old ethnic conflict in areas
of the former Yugoslavia showed no signs of abating.

aberrant (AB-r-nt) adj. If something is aberrant, it deviates from what is considered
normal or proper; its abnormal, deviant, unconventional, etc. Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund
Freud (18561939) believed that aberrant behavior in children was caused not by genetic

factors, but by mishandling on the part of the parents.

abet (-BET) vb. To abet someone is to assist or aid him (especially in something wrongful
or evil). In 1968, after his indictment on charges of aiding and abetting resistance to Selective
Service laws, pediatrician, author, and political activist Benjamin Spock explained, Im not a
pacifist; I was very much for the war against Hitler and I also supported the intervention in
Koreabut in this war we went in there to steal Vietnam.

abeyance (-B-ns) n. To hold something (a discussion, a decision to be made, etc.) in
abeyance is to temporarily set it aside, suspend it, make it inactive, put it on hold, etc. In
1993 the search for a new Commissioner of Baseball (to replace the one whod resigned the
year before) was held in abeyance pending the resolution of a labor dispute between players
and owners.

abhorrent (ab-HR-nt) adj. If you find something abhorrent, you find it hateful (or
disgusting or repellent). The word is especially used (instead of simply hateful) if the object
of your hatred is considered truly horrible or outrageous. Right-to-life groups find the idea of
abortion abhorrent. Note: The verb abhor means to hate (usually something horrible or
outrageous), as in I abhor any kind of animal cruelty.

abide (-BD) vb. To abide by something (an order, rule, etc.) is to go along with it without
question or complaint; to accept it, support it, obey it, comply with it, etc. On March 3, 1991,
when Allied and Iraqi military leaders meet on the battlefield to discuss terms for a formal
cease-fire to end the Persian Gulf War, Iraq agreed to abide by all of the UNs terms, including
the destruction of Iraqs unconventional weapons (but later sought to frustrate the carrying
out of UN inspections). Note: In another sense, to abide something is to put up with it, endure
it, tolerate it, etc., as in abide ones rudeness or abide fools.

abject (AB-ject) adj. To refer to a bad or unfortunate situation or condition as abject is to say
that its as low, degrading, miserable, wretched, and hopeless as it can possibly be. John
Steinbecks 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath is about the hardships of an American farm
family who move to California in the 1930s to escape the abject poverty of the Dust Bowl (a
parched region of the Great Plains plagued by drought and dust storms).

ablution (-BLOO-shn) n. This word can mean the washing of the hands or body, or it can
refer to the liquid itself thats used in the washing. Often (but not always) the word is used
when the washing is part of some religious ritual. A mosque (a place of public worship in the
Muslim religion) must point toward Mecca (Mohammeds birthplace) and have a place for
ritual ablutions.

abode (-BD) n. An abode is the place where one lives; a dwelling place, house, home, etc.
For example, in Greek mythology Olympus was the abode of the gods. In 1764 French

philosopher Voltaire (16941778) said, It is not known precisely where angels dwell
whether in the air, the void, or the planets; it has not been Gods pleasure that we should be
informed of their abode.

abolish (-BL-ish) vb. To abolish something (a practice, regulation, condition, etc.) is to do
away with it; put an end to it (as in abolish slavery, abolish the Stamp Act, or abolish poverty).
Some lawmakers would like to abolish the Electoral College in favor of direct popular vote for

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. abase
2. abet
3. abolish

a. do away with
b. lower (oneself)
c. aid, assist

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. abash: embarrass
2. abate: wait
3. abide: obey

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
abeyance, ablution, abode

1. Prison is a fit __________ for lawbreakers.
2. The unresolved issues were held in __________.
3. A stone basin was set up for __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. aberrant / normal
2. abhorrent / hateful

3. abject / wonderful

Chapter 2: abominableabundant

abominable (-BOM--n-bl) adj. Depending on the context, this word can mean either
hateful, detestable, despicable (often with an implication of vileness or unnaturalness), as in
abominable acts of torture, or unpleasant, disagreeable, as in abominable weather. The April
1995 Oklahoma City bombing (in which over 100 people were killed when a car bomb tore
away the faade of the nine-story, block-long Federal building) was perhaps the most
abominable act of terrorism of the 20th century.

abortive (-BR-tiv) adj. If something (a plan, an attempt, etc.) is abortive, its unsuccessful,
failed, ineffectual, useless, etc. (often because progress was halted before it had a chance to
succeed). The Chunnel, a 31-mile-long train tunnel under the English Channel connecting
England and France, had two abortive beginnings (1883 and 1974) before its present-day

abrasion (-BR-zhn) n. As a verb, to abrade is to wear down by friction or rubbing. And
as a noun, abrasion is the processes of abrading. But if youre speaking specifically of
someones skin, an abrasion is a scraped area (as from an injury). A Band-Aid is an adhesive
bandage with a gauze pad in the center used to cover minor cuts, insect bites, and abrasions.
Note: People often use this word informally to refer to any type of minor skin wound (cut,
scratch, bruise, etc.).

abridge (-BRIJ) vb. To abridge a written text (a novel or play, for example) is to make it
shorter (by condensing it or omitting parts of it) while retaining its overall sense. Modern
editions of Johann Wysss 1813 adventure novel Swiss Family Robinson are usually abridged
(the narrators numerous religious comments are omitted). To abridge anything else (a visit,
ones freedom, etc.) is to lessen the duration or extent of it. The First Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution states: Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

abrogate (AB-r-gt) vb. To abrogate something (a law, policy, treaty, agreement, contract,
etc.) is to officially end it, abolish it, do away with it, etc. A 1916 treaty that gave the United
States the exclusive right to build a canal through Nicaragua was abrogated in 1970.

abscond (ab-SKOND) vb. To abscond is to leave (someplace) quickly, suddenly, and secretly,
so as to avoid capture or arrest (for having committed a crime, for example); to flee from
justice, escape, run off, etc. In the 1960 horror classic Psycho, an employee, entrusted to
deposit a large sum of cash at her companys bank, instead absconds with it to an isolated

absolve (ab-ZOLV) vb. To absolve someone of (or from) guilt, blame, or the consequences
of a crime or sin is to pronounce him free; to clear, pardon, excuse, or forgive him. In 1958
U.S. critic and historian Van Wyck Brooks (18861963) said, Nothing is so soothing to our
[self-respect] as to find our bad traits in our [parents]; it seems to absolve us. To absolve
someone from an obligation, duty, or responsibility is to free or release him from it. The
Declaration of Independence (1776) states: These United Colonies are free and independent
states [and] they are absolved from all allegiance to [England].

abstemious (ab-ST-m-s) adj. If youre abstemious, youre restrained in eating and
drinking (of alcohol); you eat and drink sparingly or moderately. When she saw the painting
of the fat monk, she exclaimed, I thought those guys were supposed to be abstemious!

abstinence (AB-st-nns) n. The practice of refraining from (giving up) certain pleasures
(especially food or drink) is known as abstinence. Doctors say that for heavy smokers, more
than ten years of abstinence is necessary before the degree of risk of lung cancer approaches
that of those who have never smoked.

abstract (ab-STRAKT, AB-strakt) adj. Things that are abstract are conceptual or theoretical;
that is, they are thought of apart from material objects. For example, a piece of candy is a
material object, but the concept of sweetness is said to be abstract. In literature, the abstract
idea of time sometimes takes human form in the character Father Time.

abstruse (ab-STROOS) adj. If you say that something (a theory, idea, explanation, etc.) is
abstruse, you mean either that its difficult to understand or comprehend (its complex, deep,
etc.), or that it can be understood only by a select few (by members of a particular profession,
for example). In college I found calculus so difficult that not only did I not understand the
abstruse expressions written on the blackboard [f(x)dx=g(b)-g(a), for example], but I didnt
even know (in general terms) what calculus waseven after the teacher patiently explained
that it dealt with the differentiation and integration of functions of variables.

abundant (-BUN-dnt) adj. If a supply or amount of something (crops or wildlife, for
example) is abundant, its more than enough; its plentiful. Danish author Isak Dinesen once
said, I dont believe in evil; I believe only in horror. In nature there is no evil, only an
abundance of horror.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. abundant
2. abstract

3. abortive

a. unsuccessful, halted
b. plentiful
c. conceptual, theoretical

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. abrasion: scrape
2. abstemious: greedy
3. abrogate: instigate

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
abridge, abscond, absolve

1. His plan was to take the money and __________.
2. The judge was likely to __________ the defendant.
3. He decided to __________ the book by removing the glossary.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. abstruse / complex
2. abstinence / indulgence
3. abominable / horrible

Chapter 3: abusiveaccost

abusive (-BYOO-siv) adj. To be abusive is to mistreat someone either verbally (by using
harsh, insulting language) or physically (through maltreatment, battering, etc.). The 1981
biographical film Mommie Dearest portrays Academy Awardwinning actress Joan Crawford
(19081977) as an abusive mother.

abut (-BUT) vb. Things that abut each other are directly next to each other; theyre adjacent;
they touch; they share an edge or border. Lake Michigan (one of the Great Lakes) abuts four
states: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

abysmal (-BIZ-ml) adj. To refer to something (a condition, ignorance, a failure, a
performance) as abysmal is to say that its immeasurably bad. Note: An abyss is an

immeasurably deep cavity (chasm, pit, void, etc.). Clifford Beers, cofounder of the National
Committee for Mental Hygiene, was an early 20th-century mental-health pioneer who, as a
patient, discovered abysmal conditions in asylums.

accede (ak-SD) vb. When you accede to something (especially something insisted upon or
urged by another), you agree to it (or comply with it or permit it). At the Munich Conference
(1938), Britain and France, in an effort to maintain peace, acceded to Hitlers demand that
Germany immediately annex the Sudetenland (western Czechoslovakia). Note: Another
meaning of this word is assume (or attain, arrive at, or succeed to) an office, title, or
position, as in Spanish king Juan Carlos acceded to the throne upon the death of Francisco
Franco (1975).

acceleration (ak-sel--R-shn) n. In physics, acceleration is the rate of increase of velocity
(speed). For example, if you drop an ball from a tall building, the ball doesnt fall at a steady
rate; rather, it gains speed as it falls. The rate at which its speed increases is known as
acceleration. Downhill skiers use a pair of poles to aid in accelerating, turning, and
balancing. If youre not speaking of physics, the verb accelerate means simply to move or
cause to move (or proceed, develop, happen, etc.) faster; to speed up. During adolescence, the
bodys growth rate accelerates.

accessible (ak-SES--bl) adj. If something is accessible, its easy to reach or enter (as a
place), easy to get at (as an object), easy to approach or talk to (as a person), easy to
understand (as a concept), or easy to obtain (as information). In 1984 President Ronald
Reagans daughter Maureen said, We are an ideal political family, as accessible as
Disneyland. Note: When people say that a particular place is accessible, they often mean
simply that its reachable, whether easily or not (as in a mountaintop accessible only by
helicopter). Yellowstone Park became accessible to vacationers when the Northern Pacific
Railroad was completed in 1883.

acclaim (-KLM) n. Acclaim is an expression of enthusiastic praise, admiration, or
approval. Actor Tom Cruise won critical acclaim (including a Golden Globe Award and an
Oscar nomination) for his role in the 1989 film Born on the Fourth of July.

acclimated (AK-l-m-tid) adj. To be acclimated to something (a new environment, climate,
or situation, for example) is to be accustomed or adjusted to it. To maintain an acceptable
state of health in space, astronauts (in addition to needing air, food, hygiene facilities, and
exercise) require a proper balance between work and rest periods and sufficient time to
become acclimated to a weightless environment.

accolade (AK--ld) n. An expression of approval or praise (or a special acknowledgment or
award) is known as an accolade. The word is usually used in the plural. No poet won more
Pulitzer Prizes or received more accolades from universities and foundations than did New

Englander Robert Frost (18741963).

accomplice (-KOM-plis) n. An accomplice is a person who helps another person commit a
wrongdoing or criminal act. On the same day that President Abraham Lincoln was
assassinated by John Wilkes Booth (April 14, 1865), several of Booths accomplices tried
(unsuccessfully) to kill Secretary of State William Seward.

accord (-KRD) n. When two things are in accord, they are in agreement or harmony; they
go together without conflict. For example, a student dresses in accord with the schools dress
code, a swimmer breathes in accord with the pace of his strokes, a persons spending
increases in accord with the growth of his income, etc. When, in 1925, Tennessee teacher John
Scopes presented Darwins theory of evolution to his high school biology class, he was
arrested for violating a state law that prohibited the teaching of any theory not in accord with
the biblical story of the Creation.

accost (-KOST) vb. To accost someone is to approach him and speak to him (sometimes in
a bold or aggressive manner). In 1985 mild-mannered New Yorker Bernard Goetz shot four
threatening-looking youths who accosted him on a New York City subway.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. acclaim
2. accord
3. accomplice

a. praise
b. helper in a wrongdoing
c. agreement

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. acceleration: vacation
2. abusive: kind
3. accolade: expression of praise

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
abysmal, accessible, acclimated

1. The island retreat was __________ by boat.
2. He soon became __________ to his new surroundings.
3. His karaoke performance was __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. accede / disagree
2. accost / bypass
3. abut / touch

Chapter 4: accretionacuity

accretion (-KR-shn) n. A gradual, natural growth or increase in size (of something), as
by the growing or sticking together of external parts, is known as accretion (for example, a
coral reef grows larger through accretion). The verb is accrete. Scientists believe that planets
are formed by the accretion of gas and dust in a cosmic cloud.

accrue (-KROO) vb. To accrue something (money, sick leave, etc.) is to accumulate it over
time. During his 23-year major-league career (19541976), baseball great Hank Aaron
accrued a record-breaking 755 home runs.

acerbic (-SR-bik) adj. To describe food as acerbic is to say that it has a strong, sharp taste;
its sour, bitter, tart. To describe a persons temperament or facial expression as acerbic is to
say that its sour or bitter (that hes a sourpuss). To describe a persons language or wit as
acerbic is to say that its sharp, biting, sarcastic, harsh. The noun is acerbity. In Dr. Seusss
childrens book How the Grinch Stole Christmas, an acerbic, green-skinned creature tries to
prevent Christmas by stealing all the villagers gifts.

acknowledge (ak-NOL-ij) vb. To acknowledge something is to admit or recognize
(sometimes reluctantly or under pressure) that its true or that it exists. In the 1783 Treaty of
Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, Great Britain formally acknowledged American

acme (AK-m) n. The acme of something is its highest level or degree (that can be attained);
its utmost limit. The word generally refers to accomplishments rather than to physical objects.
In 1958, at the acme of his popular success, singer Elvis Presley was drafted into the army.

acolyte (AK--lt) n. Originally, an acolyte was an altar boy (a priests attendant). Today the
word is used to mean a follower or attendant (of an important person). Sometimes the word

is used sarcastically or as a put-down to describe servile, boot-licking followers. Unification

Church founder Sun Myung Moon, who is regarded by his acolytes as Gods messenger, was
convicted (1982) of conspiracy to evade taxes.

acoustics (-KOO-stiks) n. The branch of physics that deals with sound and sound waves is
known as acoustics. The adjective acoustical (or acoustic) is used to describe anything
pertaining to sound, the science of sound, or the sense of hearing. According to the Columbia
Encyclopedia, In 1979 a congressional committee [reviewing the November 1963
assassination of President John F. Kennedy] concluded, on the basis of acoustical evidence,
that [not one, but] two people had shot at Kennedybut that interpretation was later
criticized as flawed.

acquiesce (ak-w-ES) vb. When you acquiesce (to something proposed), you agree or submit
(to it) without protest. Often, the implication is that originally you were opposed to it, or at
least had some reservations about it. When we gently urged my strong-willed grandmother to
move into a nursing home, she strongly objected, going so far as to say that shed rather
destroy herself; then, a day later, for reasons we never understood, she quietly acquiesced.

acquisitive (-KWIZ-i-tiv) adj. Anything (ones mind, a nation, a corporation, a person, etc.)
described as acquisitive has a strong desire to acquire (gain, possess) things. An acquisitive
mind wants to acquire ideas, information, knowledge, etc. An acquisitive nation wants to
acquire other territories by force. An acquisitive corporation wants to acquire other
companies by buying them out. An acquisitive person is either one with an acquisitive mind
or one who strongly wants to acquire wealth, land, possessions, etc. In 1982 journalist and
humorist Andy Rooney said, [Republicans] think that if we [the American people] admit that
we have selfish, acquisitive natures and then set out to get all we can for ourselves by working
hard for it, that things will be better for everyone.

acrid (AK-rid) adj. If something (a taste or smell, for example) is acrid, its sharp, biting,
bitter, irritating, etc. (to the tongue, nose, eyes, etc.). A remark or language described as acrid
is stinging, cutting, bitter, biting, etc. In a 1961 article in the New York Herald Tribune
entitled Cookouts Got to Go, journalist Donald Rogers noted, Few things are more
revolting than the spectacle of a normally reasonable father and husband gowned in one of
those hot, massive aprons inscribed with disgustingly corny legends, presiding over a
[barbecue grill] as he destroys huge hunks of good meat and fills the neighborhood with
greasy, acrid smoke: a Boy Scout with five oclock shadow.

activist (AK-t-vist) n. An activist is a person who aggressively supports or promotes a
particular (usually controversial) political cause or goal (as in civil rights activist or anti-war
activist). After retiring from acting, (1950s and 60s film star) Doris Day became an animal
rights activist.

acuity (-KYOO-i-t) n. If you have acuity, you have the faculty of thinking and applying
knowledge; you have keenness of perception; youre insightful, astute, discerning, intelligent,
etc. The adjective is acute. Actor Dustin Hoffman is known for his acute characterizations in
such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969), Tootsie (1982), and Rain Man (1989). Note: The word
also can refer to sharpness of eyesight, as in visual acuity of 20/20.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. accrue
2. acquiesce
3. acknowledge

a. accumulate
b. admit
c. agree

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. acuity: sharpness
2. accretion: increase in speed
3. activist: athlete

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
acme, acolyte, acoustics

1. The rock star entered the room followed by his __________ .
2. He reached the __________ of his career when he was named vice-president.
3. As a musician, he was interested in the __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. acrid / sharp
2. acerbic / pleasant
3. acquisitive / uninterested

Chapter 5: acumenadorn

acumen (AK-y-min, -KYOO-min) n. The ability or power to keenly perceive, maturely
understand, and wisely judge something (such as business, law, politics, military strategy, etc.)
is known as acumen. During the late 19th century, Scottish-born American industrialist
Andrew Carnegie, through his business acumen, made millions in the steel industry; he later
gave most of the money away to educational, cultural, and peacemaking organizations,
explaining that the man who dies rich dies disgraced.

adage (AD-ij) n. An adage is a traditional or familiar saying that expresses a general truth; a
proverb. When we opened our fortune cookies we couldnt help but laugh when we saw that the
first predicted You will inherit a large sum of money and the second contained the adage A
fool and his money are soon parted.

adamant (AD--mnt) adj. If youre adamant about something (your point of view, for
example), you dont give in readily (to urgings, appeals, arguments, etc.); youre unyielding,
firm, insistent, etc. For years, U.S. tobacco companies have adamantly denied that tobacco is
an addictive substance.

addled (AD-ld) adj. If someone is addled (or addlebrained or addlepated), his mind is
confused or muddled; hes illogical, harebrained, foolish, etc. Nobel Prize-winning
playwright Eugene ONeill (18881953) once remarked, My brain is a bit addled by

adduce (-DOOS) vb. To adduce something (a fact, a reason, evidence, etc.) is to bring it
forward as an argument or as a means of proof in an argument. Many people have claimed
that Julius and Ethyl Rosenberg (an American couple who were executed in 1953 as spies for
the Soviet Union) were convicted because of cold war hysteria and not because of the evidence
adduced against them.

adept (-DEPT) adj. If youre adept at some skill or task, youre very good at it (as from
training, experience, or natural ability); youre proficient, capable, competent, expert, etc. By
the time he was a teenager, folksinger Pete Seeger (born 1919) was adept at playing the
ukulele, banjo, and guitar.

adhere (ad-HR) vb. If something (a substance, for example) adheres to something else, it
sticks or clings to it (by or as if by glue, suction, molecular forces, etc.). The noun is
adherence. Doctors say that if you are severely burned, you should cut away loose clothing, but
you should not remove clothing adhered to your skin. In another sense, if a person adheres to a
rule, principle, or manner of doing something, he follows it, supports, it, carries it out, etc. In
1860 presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln asked, What is conservatism? Is it not
adherence to the old and tried, against the new and untried?

adherent (ad-HR-nt) n. Someone who supports, upholds, or follows a leader or a cause is
known as an adherent. Although in the early 1920s the Ku Klux Klan had more than two
million adherents, by the 1930s it had lost nearly all its power.

adjacent (-J-snt) adj. If two things are adjacent to each other, they are lying next to each
other; theyre touching, bordering, adjoining, neighboring, etc. Minnesotas twin cities are
Minneapolis (the states largest city) and the adjacent St. Paul (the states capital).

adjourn (-JRN) vb. To adjourn is to move from one place to another (especially a room).
The implication is that youll be in the new room for some time. After dinner, we adjourned to
the den to watch some TV. Note: In another sense, this word is used in official meetings (such
as those that follow parliamentary procedure) and means to end or postpone to another
time, as in I move to adjourn.

admonition (ad-m-NISH-n) n. An admonition is a warning or a piece of cautionary advice.
The verb is admonish. Most cookbooks admonish the reader to avoid overcooking pasta and

adorn (-DRN) vb. To adorn something is to beautify or decorate it by adding ornaments,
jewels, flowers, pictures, or the like; to dress it up. Medieval books had wooden covers,
sometimes richly adorned with gold and silver work, enamels, and gem

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. adjourn
2. adhere
3. adorn

a. move (to another place)
b. decorate
c. stick, cling

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. adherent: loudspeaker
2. admonition: warning
3. acumen: archery bow

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
adamant, adept, adjacent

1. She was __________ at knitting.
2. He was __________ about not permitting smoking in the house.
3. Vermont and New Hampshire are __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. addled / clearheaded
2. adduce / bring forth
3. adage / saying

Chapter 6: adroitaffirm

adroit (-DROIT) adj. This word can mean expert or nimble in the use of the hands, as in
an adroit seamstress, or skillful, clever, ingenious, adept (in dealing with challenging
situations), as in an adroit negotiator. Harry Houdinis (18741926) adroit maneuvering
allowed him to escape from chains, handcuffs, straitjackets, and padlocked containers.

adulate (AJ--lt) vb. To adulate someone is to show excessive devotion to him or to
excessively admire or praise him; to adore, idolize, or cherish him. In 1984, when
interviewed on the occasion of her 50th birthday, French film star and sex symbol Brigitte
Bardot said, I have been very happy, very rich, very beautiful, much adulated, very famous,
and very unhappy.

advent (AD-vent) n. The advent of something (especially something important) is the coming
into being of it; the arrival of it; the start of it. In July 1963 President John F. Kennedy said,
Eighteen years ago the advent of nuclear weapons changed the course of the world.

adverse (ad-VRS, AD-vrs) adj. If something is adverse, its contrary to (acts against) ones
interests or welfare; it has a harmful effect; its damaging, injurious, hurtful, etc. Excessive
alcohol consumption can adversely affect the liver; for example, it can cause cirrhosis
(degeneration of liver tissue) or liver cancer. Note: The word can also mean unfriendly or
opposing in purpose or effect, as in adverse criticism.

adversity (ad-VR-si-t) n. A condition or state of hardship, misfortune, trouble, difficulty,
etc., is known as adversity. The word is often used in the plural (adversities) to refer to

particular unfortunate events or circumstances of ones life (such as poverty, hunger, illness,
accidents, etc.). Helen Keller (18801968), who overcame personal adversity (blindness and
deafness) to become a famous author, lecturer, and humanitarian, once gave this advice to a
five-year-old: Never bend your head; always hold it high; look the world straight in the eye.

advocate (AD-v-kt) vb. To advocate something (a policy, an idea, a plan, etc.) is to speak
or argue in favor of it, urge it, recommend it, support it, etc. American scientist Linus Pauling
(who won Nobel Prizes for both chemistry and peace) is probably most famous for advocating
the use of large doses of vitamin C to prevent sickness and to treat the common cold. As a
noun, an advocate is a person who speaks or argues in favor of some cause. Tennis champ
Billie Jean King was an outspoken advocate of equality for women in professional sports.

aegis (-jis) n. To be under the aegis of someone or something is to be under its protection
(as, for example, an abandoned baby whose welfare is under the aegis of the courts) or under
its sponsorship (as, for example, a school concert held under the aegis of the P.T.A.). Dr.
Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine (1957) under the aegis of the March of Dimes

aesthetic (es-THET-ik) adj. The branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of beauty or
art is known as aesthetics. The adjective aesthetic means having or showing an appreciation
of beauty or good taste (as distinguished from the practical or scientific). Whereas tattoos
were once applied for practical reasons (to signify ones rank, for example), today they are
generally applied for purely aesthetic purposes.

affable (AF--bl) adj. If youre affable youre friendly, warm, easy to approach, and easy to
talk to. Historians say that though President Ronald Reagan was affable to all, he felt close
only to his wife and a few friends.

affiliation (-fil---shn) n. An affiliation is a close connection or association between two
or more people, groups, or organizations. Sometimes the associated elements are independent
and equal, but more often one is dependent on, subordinate to, or part of the other. The verb is
affiliate. Radcilffe College for women is affiliated with Harvard University (in fact, Radcliffe
students are instructed by the Harvard faculty).

affinity (-FIN-i-t) n. In one sense, an affinity is a natural liking for (or attraction to) a
particular person or thing. As a conductor, Leonard Bernstein (19181990) had a special
affinity for the works of (Austrian composer) Gustav Mahler (18601911). In another sense, an
affinity is a similarity or likeness (of character, nature, structure, appearance, etc.) between
people or things (languages, plants, or animals, for example), suggestive of a relationship or
common type. In 1786 English linguist Sir William Jones noted an affinity between Sanskrit,
Latin, and Greek, and argued that all descended from an earlier, extinct language.

affirm (-FRM) vb. To affirm something is to state or declare it to be true; to state it as a

fact. Although many people claim to have seen UFOs, scientists cannot affirm their existence.
The noun is affirmation. In his inaugural address (1977), President Jimmy Carter said of his
goals of justice, equality, and world peace, They will not be my accomplishments, but the
affirmation of our nations continuing moral strength. Note: In law, to affirm something is to
confirm it (as in the higher court affirmed the opinion of the lower court) or to ratify it (as in
a vote was taken and the amendment was affirmed).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. adversity
2. advent
3. affiliation

a. beginning
b. association
c. hardship

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. affinity: wisdom
2. aesthetic: unconscious
3. adverse: harmful

III. Substitute one of the following words for each of the italicized expressions in the
sentences below:
adulate, advocate, affirm

1. Many doctors __________ a low-cholesterol diet.
2. Scientists cannot __________ the existence of Bigfoot.
3. Teenagers often __________ rock stars.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. aegis / protection
2. affable / cruel

3. adroit / clumsy

Chapter 7: afflictionajar

affliction (-FLIK-shn) n. An affliction is anything that causes suffering, harm, misery,
distress, etc., especially a physical disorder such as an injury, disease, disability, sickness, or
pain. Helen Keller (18801968) was blind and deaf since infancy; despite these afflictions she
learned to read and write and was graduated (1904) from Radcliffe College with honors.

affluent (AF-loo-nt) adj. A person (or town, neighborhood, etc.) described as affluent is
rich, wealthy, prosperous, well-off, etc. In 1966 New York governor Nelson Rockefeller (1908
1979), urging Syracuse University graduates to enter public service, said, There are many
other possibilities more enlightening than the struggle to become the local doctors most
affluent ulcer case.

agape (-GP) adj. If you say that someones mouth is agape you mean that its open in
wonder or amazement. If you say that a person is agape you mean that he has his mouth open
in wonder or amazement. In the 1982 film E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial, when Elliotts older
brother first sees E.T., he stands frozen with mouth agape.

agenda (-JEN-dh) n. An agenda can be a (written or mental) list of things to do, or it can be
a course of action to be followed regularly. According to The Reader s Companion to
American History, Although the future of the U.S. space program is promising, NASA must
tackle several issues before its agenda of both unmanned and manned missions can be [carried

aggrandize (-GRAN-dz) vb. If a person has become aggrandized, hes become greater in
power, rank, importance, influence, reputation, etc.; hes been magnified, glorified, etc. If a
thing (land, for example) has been aggrandized, its become greater in size; its been
enlarged, increased, extended, etc. The noun is aggrandizement. Historians say that one of the
main causes of World War II was territorial aggrandizement (by Japan in China, by Italy in
Ethiopia, and by Germany in central and eastern Europe).

aggregate (AG-ri-git) adj. This word means considered as, or gathered together into, one
mass or sum; total, combined, complete, added, entire, etc., as in aggregate wealth, aggregate
value, aggregate demand, etc. Weightlifting competitors must make two successful lifts: the
snatch (in which the bar is raised above the head in one uninterrupted motion), and the clean
and jerk (in which the bar is raised to shoulder height, held there briefly, then pushed above
the head); the aggregate weight of the two lifts is the competitors total. Note: The word can
also be used as a noun to denote an entire amount (of something) or a mass of parts collected
together. British politician and writer Edmund Burke (17291797) once said, An empire is

the aggregate of many states under one common head.

aghast (-GAST) adj. To be aghast is to be struck by or filled with amazement, shock,
surprise, terror, etc. According to the Cambridge Encyclopedia, after (English scientist) Sir
Isaac Newton (16421727) determined that all celestial bodies (stars, planets, moons, etc.)
have a gravitational attraction to one another, he was aghast at the implications for the
unfortunate investigator; with so many bodies, each pulling all the others, how could anyone
hope to cope with the mathematics involved?

agile (AJ-l) adj. If youre agile, youre quick and well-coordinated in movement. Mountain
goats are agile rock climbers. The noun is agility. In 1961 Time magazine said that a baseball
umpire should combine the [righteousness] of a Supreme Court justice [with] the physical
agility of an acrobat.

agitate (AJ-i-tt) vb. To agitate a person (or animal) is to disturb, upset, or excite him
emotionally; to stir up his thoughts, feelings, etc. When a skunk becomes agitated, it squirts a
foul-smelling mist from glands under its tail. To agitate a material substance (water, for
example) is to cause it to move with violence or sudden force; to stir it up, shake it up, churn
it, etc. In microwave ovens, high-frequency electromagnetic waves agitate water molecules in
food; this results in high temperatures and rapid cooking.

aide-de-camp (d-di-KAMP) n. An aide-de-camp is a military officer who serves as
confidential assistant to a superior (usually a general or admiral). Sometimes the word is used
informally to refer to someone whose function is similar to that of an aide-de-camp. U.S.
soldier and statesman Alexander Hamilton (who served as General George Washingtons aidede-camp during the Revolutionary War and later as Americas first secretary of the treasury)
was shot and killed (1804) in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr.

ailment (L-mnt) n. An ailment is a (sometimes mild) physical disorder or illness; a
sickness, disease. Acupuncture (a technique of traditional Chinese medicine in which needles
are inserted into the skin) has long been used in China for the treatment of such ailments as
arthritis, high blood pressure, and ulcers.

ajar (-JR) adj. If something (a door, for example) is ajar, its partially open. When the
vacationing police officer returned to his hotel room and found the door ajar and a strange
woman inside, he said, Either youre the chambermaid or youre under arrest!

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. agenda
2. ailment
3. aide-de-camp

a. physical disorder
b. assistant
c. course of action

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. affliction: tenderness
2. aghast: shocked
3. aggregate: total

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
agape, agile, ajar

1. He left the door __________.
2. The shocked spectators stood with mouth __________.
3. The __________ gymnast performed a back flip.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. agitate / soothe
2. affluent / prosperous
3. aggrandize / lessen

Chapter 8: alacrityalms

alacrity (-LAK-ri-t) n. When you do something with alacrity, you do it right away and
speedily (and often with a cheerful willingness). Our boss said that to him, the perfect
employee was one who responded to his orders with politeness and alacrity.

albeit (l-B-it) conj. This word means although, even though, or even if. In 1954 the
U.S. Supreme Court eliminated segregation in schools by overturning the separate but equal
rule (a doctrine by which whites and blacks were promised equal, albeit separate, educational

alienate (-l--nt) vb. To alienate someone is to cause him to become unfriendly, hostile,
etc., or to cause him to become withdrawn, indifferent, etc. In 1824 English essayist William
Hazlitt said, Few things tend more to alienate friendship than a [lack] of punctuality in our

allay (-L) vb. This word has two meanings, both having to do with relieving or lessening
(something). If you allay pain (or some other medical condition), you lessen it or relieve it (at
least for a short time). In science class we learned that certain eucalyptus trees are called
fever trees because their leaves and bark are actually used to allay fever. If you allay an
unpleasant emotion (fear, suspicion, anxiety, concern, anger, depression, doubt, etc.), you
calm it or put it to rest. To allay the doubts of the general public, the President volunteered to
be the first to receive a swine flu shot.

allege (-LEJ) vb. To allege something is to state or declare it to be true without proof. As an
adjective, if you refer to something as alleged (as in alleged murderer, for example), you
mean that it has been declared to be as described or designated, but without proof. During the
mid-20th century, the U.S. House of Representatives maintained a Committee on Un-American
Activities, which was especially known for its investigation of alleged Communists.

allegory (AL-i-gr-) n. An allegory is a story in which the literal characters and events
presented actually symbolize or represent some deeper abstract idea or principle. George
Orwells 1945 novel Animal Farm, which on the surface is about animals who take over a
farm, is an allegory attacking Stalinism.

alleviate (-L-v-t) vb. To alleviate something (pain, suffering, boredom, overcrowding,
poverty, etc.) is to make it less severe or make it easier to endure. There is no cure for the
common cold, and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms.

allocate (AL--kt) vb. To allocate money, time, or the like is to set it apart for a particular
purpose; to designate it, earmark it, etc. In September 1997 the U.S. Senate voted to allocate
$34 million for anti-smoking education and enforcement of rules prohibiting minors from
buying cigarettes. To allocate a particular product, service, resource, or the like is to
distribute it according to a plan; to allot it. The International Telecommunications Union, a UN
agency with headquarters in Switzerland, allocates radio frequencies on a worldwide scale to
avoid possible confusion and interference.

allude (-LOOD) vb. To allude to something is to make an indirect or casual mention of it; to
refer to it. Usage Note: Whereas some people use the words allude and refer synonymously,
others distinguish between them as follows: allude applies to indirect references in which the
source is not specifically identified (for example, if you were to say I dont think were in
Kansas anymore, youd be alluding to the film The Wizard of Oz); refer applies to a specific
mention of a source (for example, if you were to say Theyre debating the issue on the Hill

today, youd be referring to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., where Congress meets). When,
in an 1858 speech, Abraham Lincoln said, A house divided against itself cannot stand, he
was alluding to both the Bible and the intensifying conflict between the North and South over

allure (-LOOR) n. If a person or thing has allure it has a quality that draws ones interest,
attention, admiration, or enthusiasm; it has the power to attract, entice, charm, or fascinate.
For example, women sometimes wear jewelry, perfume, or makeup to add to their allure. In
1981 French artist Paul Gauguin (18481903) moved to (the South Pacific island of) Tahiti
and expressed its romantic allure through his paintings.

alma mater (al-m M-tr) n. Your alma mater is the school (usually high school or college)
you graduated from. Felix Frankfurter (U.S. Supreme Court justice from 19391962)
graduated from Harvard Law School in 1906; in 1914 he returned to his alma mater to join the
faculty. Note: The phrase can also refer to a schools official song.

alms (mz) n. Money or goods (such as food or clothing) given as charity to the poor are
called alms. We asked the preacher if the box thats passed around in church for collecting
alms for the poor has a special name, and he told us, not surprisingly, that its called a poor

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. alienate
2. allege
3. allay

a. cause to become unfriendly
b. lessen, relieve
c. state without proof

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. alms: charity
2. allude: escape
3. allegory: beverage

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
alacrity, alma mater, allure

1. On our trip to my home town, I visited my __________ .
2. Her long hair added to her __________.
3. He surprised us by performing the task with __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. albiet / although
2. alleviate / worsen
3. allocate / distribute

Chapter 9: aloofameliorate

aloof (-LOOF) adj. This word means emotionally indifferent, detached, distant,
disinterested, apart, etc. (often from feelings of superiority or shyness). Our team captain
said, Okay, now were going to give that tattletale the silent treatmentand remember, that
doesnt mean just maintaining silence; it means maintaining aloof silence.

also ran (L-s ran) n. Technically, an also-ran is a horse that doesnt finish among the first
three in a race. But the word can be used to refer to anyone who loses any type of competition
(a contest, election, race, etc.) or to someone who is generally unsuccessful or untalented. In
1987 Pulitzer Prizewinning commentator George Will said, In the 1940s a survey listed the
top seven discipline problems in public schools [as] talking, chewing gum, making noise,
running in the halls, getting out of turn in line, wearing improper clothes, [and] not putting
paper in wastebaskets; a 1980s survey lists these top seven: drug abuse, alcohol abuse,
pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, [and] assaultarson, gang warfare, and venereal disease
are also-rans.

altercation (l-tr-K-shn) n. An altercation is a heated verbal (or sometimes physical)
conflict; a fight, clash, dispute, quarrel, argument, etc. A race riot, such as Los Angeless Watts
riot (1965) or Rodney King riot (1992), is typically sparked by small altercations between
individuals, usually in public places.

altruistic (al-troo-IS-tik) adj. If youre altruistic, youre unselfishly concerned for the
welfare of others; youre generous, charitable. The noun is altruism. An altruistic person is
called an altruist. The Marshall Plan (also known as the European Recovery Program), which
channeled over $13 billion to finance the economic recovery of Europe between 1948 and
1951, was seen by most historians as a representation of American altruism.

amalgam (-MAL-gm) n. An amalgam is a mixture or combination of two or more diverse
elements. The population of Brazil is an amalgam of native, African, and European peoples.
Note: The word is also used to refer to the particular mixture of mercury and silver thats
used in dentistry.

amass (-MAS) vb. To amass something (money, a collection of valuable or useful items,
information, etc.) is to gather or accumulate it into a large quantity (for profit, pleasure,
future use, etc.). In the board game Monopoly, the player who amasses the most wealth is the

ambient (AM-b-nt) adj. If something (sound, air, etc.) is ambient, it completely surrounds
or encompasses (something). In 1994, 21 fragments of a comet tore through Jupiters ambient
clouds and bombarded its surface. As a noun, ambience is the overall quality, character, mood,
or atmosphere of something. People especially use the word to refer to the overall
atmosphere of a restaurant. On a scale of one to ten, I give the new restaurant a nine for food,
an eight for ambience, and a three for service.

ambiguous (am-BIG-yoo-s) adj. If something (a statement, a set of instructions, etc.) is
ambiguous, it has more than one possible meaning or interpretation; it lacks clarity; it causes
confusion. As a geographical label, America is ambiguousto some it means the United
States; to others it means all of North America; and to still others it means all of the Western

ambivalent (am-BIV--lnt) adj. When youre ambivalent, youre uncertain or indecisive
(about what to do in a particular situation), usually as a result of a coexistence (in your mind)
of two opposing feelings or attitudes. The noun is ambivalence. In 1980, speaking of people
who stutter, biographer Ted Morgan said, The stammerer is ambivalent about communicating
with othershe desperately wants to communicate, but is afraid of revealing himself.

ambrosia (am-BR-zh) n. In Greek and Roman mythology, ambrosia is the food of the
gods. In addition to being extra-delicious, it gave the gods immortality. Today anything that is
especially delicious can be referred to as ambrosia. In 1981 tennis player John McEnroe
tasted the sweet ambrosia of his first Wimbledon title. Note: Ambrosia is also the name of a
particular desserta mixture of orange, coconut, and marshmallow.

ambulatory (AM-by-l-tr-) adj. If youre ambulatory, youre capable of walking (as
opposed to, say, being bedridden or in a wheelchair). An institution that provides medical
diagnosis and treatment for ambulatory patients is usually called a clinic, not a hospital.

ameliorate (-ML-y-rt) vb. To ameliorate something (a bad condition that demands
change, for example) is to make it less bad; improve it; bring it to a better state. The New Deal

(a group of government programs and policies established under President Franklin D.

Roosevelt in the 1930s) was designed to ameliorate the devastating economic effects of the
Great Depression.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. amalgam
2. altercation
3. ambrosia

a. food of the gods
b. mixture
c. quarrel

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. also ran: winner
2. ameliorate: increase
3. amass: collect

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
aloof, ambiguous, ambivalent

1. We thought the teacher s long-winded instructions were __________ .
2. I was __________ about running for class treasurer.
3. They complained that the new transfer student acted __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. ambient / surrounding
2. ambulatory / wheelchair-bound
3. altruistic / generous

Chapter 10: amenableanalogy

amenable (-MEN--bl) adj. If youre amenable you tend to respond to things favorably or
youre ready and willing to do what is required; youre agreeable, yielding, open-minded,
receptive, responsive, dutiful, obedient, etc. After World War II President Truman adopted
measures designed to block Soviet expansion; his European policies were highly successful,
but Asia was less amenable to U.S. intervention.

amend (-MEND) vb. To amend something (a proposal, motion, law, policy, etc.) is to change
or modify it (by adding to it, subtracting from it, rephrasing it, etc.), so as to improve it, make
it more accurate, etc. The noun is amendment. The U.S. Constitution has been amended a
number of time, as when, for example, 18-year-olds were given the right to vote (1971). Note:
To amend ones behavior is to change it for the better; to correct it, improve it.

amenities (-MEN-i-tz) n. Features (often unessential extras) that contribute to physical
comfort or pleasure, especially when they increase the value of something (real estate, for
example) are known as amenities. The ad for the mountain lodge said that it overlooked a lake
and offered such amenities as air conditioning and cable TV. Note: Another meaning of the
word is social courtesies; pleasantries; that is, little things you say (How good to see you,
for example) to be pleasant in society.

amiable (-m--bl) adj. If youre either friendly (social, gracious, warm) or pleasant
(agreeable, good-natured, sweet-tempered) youre amiable. In 1998 journalist Lloyd Grove
said of Sonny Bono, As a television entertainer in the early 1970s, [he] perfected the persona
of an amiable loser; alongside the tall and stunning Cher, who regularly zapped him with putdowns, he looked like a grinning simpleton with mouse-brown hair.

amicable (AM-i-k-bl) adj. To describe someone as amicable is to say that hes pleasant and
easy to get along with; hes friendly, agreeable, peaceable, good-natured, personable, etc. To
describe a relationship (as between people or countries) as amicable is to say that its friendly,
peaceable, etc., with the implication that the parties involved have a desire not to quarrel. In
his first inaugural address (1861), President Abraham Lincoln said, One section of our
country believes slavery is right, while the other believes it is wrong; physically speaking, we
cannot remove [them] from each otherthey cannot but remain face to face, and
[communication], either amicable or hostile, must continue between them.

amiss (-MIS) adj. This word means not the way it should be; wrong, improper, incorrect,
etc. According to NASA, once the Mars Pathfinders airbags were installed (September 1996),
a detailed walk through of the whole lander was performed by some of the best spacecraft
mechanical engineers around; they looked for anything that might appear to be amiss. Note:
The word is also used as an adverb, meaning in a wrong way; improperly, incorrectly, etc.,
as in speak amiss.

amnesia (am-N-zh) n. A loss of memoryespecially one brought on by shock, disease, or

injuryis known as amnesia. After the car crash (August 1997) that killed Diana, Princess of
Wales, police sources said that her bodyguard, the sole survivor of the crash, had amnesia and
couldnt remember anything about the circumstances of the accident.

amnesty (AM-ni-st) n. Amnesty is a pardon (a freedom from prosecution; a granting of
immunity) given by a government to one who has committed a criminal act (especially a
political criminal act). Whereas President Richard Nixon denied amnesty to Vietnam draft
evaders, President Gerald Ford granted amnesty (1974) to those who were willing to do public
service work.

amorphous (-MR-fs) adj. Something described as amorphous has no definite or distinct
shape or form. In the 1958 science fiction film The Blob, an amorphous glob of goo devours

amulet (AM-y-lit) n. An amulet is something (a protective or good-luck charm, for
example) worn (often around the neck) to ward off evil. In preparation for battle, the Iroquois
Indians routinely applied war paint and collected amulets.

anachronism (-NAK-r-niz-m) n. Something (a person, concept, institution, custom, etc.)
that exists or happens in a time (era, century, historical order, etc.) other than the one it
belongs to is referred to as an anachronism. As can be seen in the 1958 film Witness for the
Prosecution, British trial lawyers and judges wear old-fashioned white wigsan anachronism
that signifies the continuity and dignity of the English justice system.

analogy (-NAL--j) n. An analogy is a comparison between two things that are alike in
certain respects but not others. People often offer analogies either as a form of reasoning (to
imply that because two things are alike in some respects they will be alike in others) or to
make complex ideas more understandable (as when one draws an analogy between the human
heart and a pump, for example). To explain the theory of the expanding universe (which says
that galaxies are moving away from each other), the teacher drew an analogy between the
universe and a balloon, saying, If you paint dots on an uninflated balloon and then blow it
up, the dots will move away from each other.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. amorphous
2. amiss
3. amiable

a. shapeless
b. friendly
c. wrong, incorrect

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. amenities: excuses
2. amulet: protective charm
3. amicable: nasty

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
amnesia, amnesty, analogy

1. In inmates were granted __________ and released.
2. The car accident victim suffered __________.
3. The __________ likened the human eye to a camera.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. amend / change
2. anachronism / spider
3. amenable / disagreeable

Chapter 11: anarchyanonymous

anarchy (AN-r-k) n. This word signifies either an absence of any form of government (or
political authority) in a society, or the (usually political or social) disorder and (often
lawless) confusion that naturally arises from an absence of governmental control. In 1992,
after famine killed more than 300,000 people, (the African nation of) Somalia fell into anarchy
and armed thugs prevented world food aid from relieving starvation. In another sense, the
word signifies any state of disorder or confusion. In 1860 writer and philosopher Ralph
Waldo Emerson (18031882) said, There is no chance, and no anarchy, in the universe; every
god is sitting in his sphere.

anathema (-NATH--m) n. This word is used to refer to any person or thing that arouses
extreme dislike. The implication is that this thing is so objectionable that its always rejected
out of hand or avoided. Because cigarette smoke is anathema to my wife, she covers her nose

with the top of her shirt whenever we walk past the smoking section of a restaurant.

anecdote (AN-ik-dt) n. An anecdote is a short account of a funny or interesting incident. In
October 1776 Benjamin Franklin sailed for France, where, according to Grolier s
Encyclopedia, he was at his best creating the legend of his life among the ladies of Paris,
writing witty letters, and telling anecdotes.

anemic (-N-mik) adj. Technically, people who are anemic suffer from a condition known
as anemia (a deficiency of red blood cells); as such, they are pale and weak. But in general
usage, anything physically weak, spiritless, feeble, ineffective, etc., can be described as
anemic. A recession (19901991) combined with an anemic economic recovery contributed to
George H. Bushs defeat in the 1992 presidential election.

animated (AN--m-tid) adj. This word describes things that are lively, active, spirited, in
motion, etc. Because the song started with a slow, out-of-rhythm introduction, the young
dancers didnt know what to make of it; then, when the bass and drums kicked in (and the
mirrored ball began to spin), they became suddenly animated.

animosity (an--MOS-i-t) n. When you feel animosity toward someone (or something), you
feel ill will, hostility, unfriendliness, dislike, hatred, etc., toward him (or it). Great animosity
exists between Israelis and Arabs because each group claims Palestinian land as theirs by
ancestral rights. Note: A related word is animus, which is a feeling of ill will or hostility,
especially of a personal nature, often based on ones prejudices or temperament. Sue hated
sport-utility vehicles but held no similar animus toward pickup trucks or vans (because they
had a reason for being oversized).

annals (AN-lz) n. If you speak of the annals of something, youre talking about the
historical records of it, either as actual written or published (often yearly) documents (as in
the annals of the Association of American Geographers) or in general terms (as in the annals
of the poor). According to Comptons Encyclopedia, Perhaps the most stirring accounts of
human resourcefulness and courage under fire are to be found in the annals of naval warfare.

annihilate (-N--lt) vb. To annihilate something is to completely destroy it; to wipe it out;
to kill, exterminate, eradicate, demolish, or slaughter it. The noun is annihilation. In his 1963
radio and television speech on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (an agreement by Britain, the
Soviet Union, and the United States not to test nuclear weapons in the air, in outer space, or
under the sea), President John F. Kennedy, after describing the horrors of nuclear war, said,
So let us try to turn the world away from war; let us check the worlds slide toward final

annul (-NUL) vb. To annul something (a marriage or law, for example) is to put an official
(often legal) end to it; to cancel it, make it void, declare it invalid, etc. Eleanor of Aquitaine,

the beautiful and intelligent heiress of the duchy of Aquitaine (historical region of southwest
France), became queen of France when she married King Louis VII (1137); when the marriage
was annulled (1152) she married King Henry II of England and became queen of that country!

anodyne (AN--dn) n. An anodyne is anything (sometimes a medicine) that relieves or
lessens pain. The word has more of a literary than a medical connotation. (In medicine a word
like analgesic or anesthetic is usually used). Our aerobics instructor confessed that she listens
to heavy metal music at full volume as an anodyne for depression.

anomaly (-NOM--l) n. An anomaly is something thats out of place, an exception or
deviation from a general rule. Any abnormality, irregularity, or peculiarity (a birth defect, for
example) can be seen as an anomaly. In an era when Republicans dominated the Presidency,
Jimmy Carters Democratic victory in 1976 was a historical anomaly.

anonymous (-NOM--ms) adj. If you say that a work of art or a gift is anonymous, you
mean that the name of the author, composer, etc. (for a work of art) or contributor (for a gift)
is either unknown or is intentionally withheld. Folksinger Woody Guthrie (19121967)
performed both traditional, anonymous folk songs and songs of his own composition (This
Land Is Your Land, for example).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. anemic
2. anonymous
3. animated

a. unknown
b. lively
c. weak

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. anodyne: toothpaste
2. anathema: school song
3. annals: historical records

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:

anarchy, anecdote, animosity

1. After the president was assassinated, the country fell into __________.
2. The two rivals stared at each other with __________ in their eyes.
3. After dinner he entertained us with a humorous __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. annihilate / destroy
2. annul / enact
3. anomaly / deviation

Chapter 12: antagonismaphorism

antagonism (an-TAG--niz-m) n. This word signifies a strong feeling of hostility, ill will,
displeasure, or dislike (as between unfriendly or conflicting people, groups, or countries). In
October 1969 Vice President Spiro Agnew, speaking of the national disharmony between
college-aged Vietnam War protesters and older Americans, said, The lessons of [history are
erased in a present-day] antagonism known as the generation gap. The adjective is
antagonistic (hostile, argumentative). When, in 1717, German composer Johann Sebastian
Bach (16851750) asked to be released from his duties as church organist, he did so in a
manner so antagonistic that he was imprisoned for a month!

antebellum (an-t-BEL-m) adj. This word literally means before the war. But when people
describe something (an object, institution, etc.) as antebellum, they mean it existed or
originated before the (American) Civil War. Baton Rouge (Louisiana), Mobile (Alabama), and
Tallahassee (Florida) are three Southern cities known for their beautiful antebellum houses.

antediluvian (an-ti-d-LOO-v-n) adj. Technically, antediluvian pertains to the period of
time before the Flood (the one concerning Noah and the ark written about in the Bible). But
figuratively, the word can be used to refer to anything considered extremely old, antiquated,
or old-fashioned. In 1980, in a ruling that wives have the right to sue their husbands, the
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said, [It is time to end] antediluvian assumptions
concerning the role and status of women in marriage.

anticlimax (an-t-KL-maks) n. An anticlimax is a weak or disappointing outcome or turn of
events where a climax is expected (see climactic). Y2K (the name given at the end of the last
century to the possibility that computer operating systems worldwide would malfunction on
January 1, 2000, because computers internal clocks would misread the century change as
1900 instead of 2000) turned out to be so anticlimactic that some people afterwards referred to

the non-event as Yawn2K.

antipathy (an-TIP--th) n. A (sometimes natural or instinctive) feeling of dislike, hatred, ill
will, hostility, opposition, etc. (toward something or someone), is known as antipathy. ROTC
(Reserve Officers Training Corps) enrollments dropped during the late 1960s and 1970s, when
the Vietnam War provoked student antipathy toward the military.

antipodal (an-TIP--dl) adj. On a globe, two places that are exactly or generally opposite
each other (England and New Zealand, for example) are said to be antipodal. The word can
also mean differing; worlds apart; irreconcilable. On (the sixties TV series) The Patty Duke
Show, an American teenager and her European cousin look exactly alike but have antipodal

antithesis (an-TITH-i-sis) n. The antithesis of something (a concept, style, philosophy,
policy, personality, etc.) is its direct or exact opposite. For example, stinginess is the
antithesis of generosity; capitalism is the antithesis of communism. German religious
philosopher Jakob Boehme (15751624) believed that evil was a necessary antithesis to good.

apace (-PS) adv. To do something (proceed, continue, move, etc.) apace is to do it swiftly,
rapidly, speedily, etc., or to do it at a necessary or required speed (to keep up with the
momentum of a particular thing). In a March 1997 article entitled New City Law Virtually
Bans Smoking Even in Bars, but Many Are Still Lighting Up, the Washington Post reported
that Toronto joined the big leagues of the anti-smoking movement with one of North
Americas strictest tobacco [laws, but] life in Torontos nightclub district continued apace with
late nights, loud music, and a slowly accumulating haze.

apathetic (ap--THET-ik) adj. When youre apathetic (about something) you dont care
(about it); youre indifferent, unconcerned, unemotional, etc. The noun is apathy. He blamed
television for our young peoples apathy toward reading.

aperture (AP-r-chr) n. An aperture is a small opening in something; a slit, crack, break,
gap, etc. You can whistle by forcing air either through your teeth or through an aperture
formed by puckering your lips.

apex (-peks) n. Depending on the context, this word can refer to somethings highest
physical point (as in the mountains apex), its point of culmination (as in the apex of Greek
drama), or its pointed end or tip (as in the leaf s apex). In the food pyramid (a diagram used in
nutrition education that fits various food groups into a triangle), oils and sweets appear at the
apex, with a recommendation that they be used sparingly.

aphorism (AF--riz-m) n. A concise (and often deep or stylistically distinguished) saying or
verbal expression that sets forth (or intends to set forth) a bit of wisdom or truth is known as

an aphorism. During the mid-1770s American statesman and scientist Benjamin Franklin, in
his Poor Richards Almanac, coined such aphorisms as Early to bed and early to rise makes
a man healthy, wealthy, and wise and God helps those who help themselves.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. antipathy
2. aperture
3. antagonism

a. small opening
b. indifference
c. hostility

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. apace: tired
2. antebellum: antisocial
3. anticlimax: disappointing letdown

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
antithesis, apex, aphorism

1. The athlete suddenly retired at the __________ of his career.
2. Her favorite __________ was a stitch in time saves nine.
3. Boastfulness is the __________ of modesty.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. antediluvian / modern
2. antipodal / opposite
3. apathetic / interested

Chapter 13: aplombappend

aplomb (-PLUM) n. A feeling of self-confident assurance (poise, composure, steadiness,
calmness, imperturbability, etc.), especially in difficult or challenging situations, is known as
aplomb. American tennis player Chris Evert (nicknamed the Ice Maiden for her cool aplomb
on the court) was ranked number one in the world seven times (197478, 198081).

apocryphal (-POK-r-fl) adj. If something is apocryphal, its of doubtful or questionable
authenticity; its erroneous or fraudulent. We thought it ironic that a story that glorified
honesty (the I cannot tell a lie story, in which young George Washington admitted hed
chopped down his fathers prized cherry tree) turned out to be apocryphal.

apogee (AP--j) n. The apogee of something is its highest point (physically or figuratively).
Note: As a technical term in astronomy, the apogee of something (the moon or a man-made
satellite, for example) is the point in its orbit at which its furthest from earth (and its
opposite, the perigee, is the point at which its closest). Although they had numerous hits before
and after, the British-Australian rock group the Bee Gees reached their apogee in 1977 when
their disco songs were featured in the film Saturday Night Fever.

Apollonian (ap--L-n-n) adj. In mythology, Apollo, a young man of great physical
beauty, was the god of music, poetry, medicine, and light. As such, he represents order in
civilization and in nature. To refer to someone or something as Apollonian (sometimes
spelled with a small a) is to say that its harmonious, clear, balanced, serene, disciplined,
orderly, etc. Although today American Indians can live wherever they wish, about half choose
to live on reservations so they can practice and preserve the Apollonian culture of their

apoplectic (ap--PLEK-tik) adj. Apoplexy is a medical condition marked by a sudden loss of
bodily function (as from a stroke). The word is also used to mean a sudden fit (of anger or
rage). If youre apoplectic, you act as if you have apoplexyyou have a fit. Her normally
laid-back husband became apoplectic when she told him shed spent $700 on a fancy mirror.

apostate (-POS-tt) n. A person who abandons his political party, religion, cause, etc. (often
to join another), is known as an apostate. The act of such abandonment is known as apostasy.
Note: As an adjective, apostate means at variance with or disrespectful of established beliefs
or values, as in an apostate scientist. In 1983 U.S. District Court judge John H. Pratt, in
ruling that Howard University had violated federal civil rights laws by dismissing a white
faculty member and then arguing that as a mostly black institution it can take race in
consideration in choosing its professors, said that the university had become an apostate to
the cause of racial equality.

apotheosis (-poth---sis) n. Technically, an apotheosis is the elevation of someone to the
level of a god or the transformation of someone into a god (for example, in Greek

mythology Hercules was apotheosized). But the word is usually used to refer to a person or
deed as a glorified ideal or highest level (of something) or to any supreme or perfect
example of something. Mel Brooks 1968 film comedy and 2001 Broadway musical The
Producers concerns a sleazy Broadway producer and his accountant who plan to mount the
worlds worst play (an apotheosis of bad taste entitled Springtime for Hitler) so that they can
keep their investors money after it flops.

appalling (-P-ling) adj. If you say that something (an action or behavior, for example) is
appalling, you mean that it causes horror, shock, dismay, outrage, alarm, etc. If you say that a
person is appalled, you mean that he feels such shock or outrage. In 1986, recalling a temper
tantrum of British Shakespearean actress Dame Edith Evans (18881976), British actor Alec
Guinness said, She flung herself full-length on the stage, drummed with her feet and, taking
the corner of a small Persian rug in her teeth, [shook] it, while I sat rigid and appalled on the
sofa, pressed back against the cushions.

apparition (ap--RISH-n) n. An apparition can be a ghost (or ghostly figure) or it can be a
sudden, unusual (or startling) appearance of something. While reflecting on my favorite
albums of the sixties, I could almost see, floating above the CD player, the apparitions of
grooved, 12-inch vinyl circles.

appease (-PZ) vb. When you appease a thing (such as hunger or thirst), you satisfy it or
relieve it. When you appease a person you calm or quiet his anger or agitation (by giving him
something or giving in to him). I sent my landlord a written apology and a gift, but his anger
was still not appeased.

appellation (ap--L-shn) n. An appellation is a word or phrase (other than a proper name)
by which a person or thing is identified or called (especially when this designation has gained
acceptance through popular usage). Today we call the wife of a President First Lady, but
until the Civil War Mrs. President was the common appellation.

append (-PEND) vb. To append something (to something else) is to add it on or attach it. A
postscript (P.S.) is a message appended at the end of a letter, after the writers signature.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. apparition
2. aplomb
3. apotheosis

a. poise
b. highest level
c. ghost

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. appellation: name
2. apostate: servant
3. apogee: sponge

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
apocryphal, apoplectic, appalling

1. The condition of the living quarters was __________ .
2. He became __________ when his car was towed.
3. The true-sounding account turned out to be __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. append / add
2. Apollonian / disorganized
3. appease / disturb

Chapter 14: appositearch

apposite (AP--zit) adj. If you describe something (a reference, an image, an answer, etc.) as
apposite, you mean that its strikingly appropriate, fitting, relevant, pertinent, applicable, etc.
(to the situation). The term Underground Railroad was used during the mid-1800s to describe
an informal system that helped slaves escape to the North and Canada; but since the system
was actually neither underground nor a railroad, a more apposite term might have been
Overground Roadway.

appraise (-PRZ) vb. To appraise something is to judge or evaluate it so as to estimate its
value, worth, quality, etc. Jewelers not only make jewelrythey also repair and appraise it.

apprehend (ap-ri-HEND) vb. To apprehend something is to grasp the meaning of it; to
understand it. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (18751961) once said, We should not pretend to
understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Note: To

apprehend a lawbreaker is to take him into custody; arrest him. The FBI earned its reputation
in the 1920s and 1930s by apprehending bank robbers and gangsters.

apprehension (ap-ri-HEN-shn) n. A fearful, nervous, or anxious anticipation (about
something difficult or scary that you have to do) is known as apprehension. The adjective is
apprehensive. Many people are apprehensive about going to the doctorespecially if they
think they might get an injection.

apprise (-PRZ) vb. To apprise someone of something is to give him notice of it; make him
aware of it; inform or advise him of it. When he was apprised (1946) of lynchings and other
forms of mob violence still practiced in the South, President Harry Truman appointed a
committee on civil rights to investigate.

approbation (ap-r-B-shn) n. An expression of warm or enthusiastic praise or approval
(kind words, cheers, applause, etc.) is known as approbation. In 1964 singer Barbra Streisand
admitted that she didnt know how to acknowledge the approbation of an admiring audience,
saying, What does it mean when people applaud? Should I give em money? Say thank you?
Lift my dress? The lack of applausethat I can respond to.

aptitude (AP-ti-tood) n. If you have an aptitude for something (a subject of study, a sport or
game, an artistic or mechanical skill, etc.) youre naturally good at it; you have the capacity to
learn it easily or excel in it; youre gifted or talented in it. When he was a child living on a
Michigan farm, (automobile manufacturer) Henry Ford (18631947) expressed a dislike for
farming and displayed an aptitude for machinery.

aquiline (AK-w-ln) adj. To describe someones nose as aquiline is to say that it resembles
an eagles beak; that is, its hooked or curved. Before the tobacco shop stood a life-sized,
aquiline-nosed wooden Indian holding a cluster of cigars.

arable (AR--bl) adj. Land that is arable is suitable for plowing and farming; its capable of
growing crops. Mexico is predominantly mountainous, and no more than 15 percent of the
land is considered arable.

arbitrary (R-bi-trer-) adj. An arbitrary decision is one based on individual will,
momentary personal preference, or whim (rather than on reason or principle). In algebra
class, when we were told that we can choose any letternot just xto represent an unknown
quantity, I arbitrarily chose k.

arcane (r-KN) adj. To describe something (a fact, rule, word, etc.) as arcane is to say that
its little known, obscure, mysterious, etc. By consulting a dictionary of football terms you can
find the meaning of such arcane phrases as zone blitz, flea-flicker, and nickel package.

arch (rch) adj. If you say that something (a person, a smile, a comment, a glance, etc.) is
arch, you mean that its mischievously playful. Comedian Steve Allen once began a speech
with this arch opening: Ladies, gentleman, and empty chairs

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. apprehend
2. appraise
3. apprise

a. judge
b. make aware of
c. understand

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. arbitrary: scholarly
2. arable: oxygenated
3. aquiline: curved, hooked

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
apprehension, approbation, aptitude

1. He basked in the audiences __________ .
2. As he boarded the plane, he was filled with __________.
3. His __________ for mathematics allowed him to do well on tests without studying.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. arch / serious
2. apposite / fitting

3. arcane / well-known

Chapter 15: archaicartifice

archaic (r-K-ik) adj. If you say that something is archaic, you mean either that it belongs
to or dates from an earlier period (of culture, art, etc.), or that its no longer in fashion or use
(as a language, word, style, etc.); in either case, its old, obsolete, antiquated, etc. According to
Comptons Encyclopedia, In the 20th century the Bible has often been updatedmainly to
eliminate archaic translations and reflect [modern] usage.

archetype (R-ki-tp) n. An original pattern or form upon which imitations or variations are
modeled is known as an archetype. The New York Times once said that the novels
Frankenstein (1818) and Dracula (1897) were the archetypes that have influenced all
subsequent horror stories.

ardent (R-dnt) adj. If youre ardent about something, you show great intensity of feeling
or emotion about it; youre enthusiastic, passionate, devoted, etc. The noun is ardor. An ardent
opponent of fascism, Spanish cellist and conductor Pablo Casals (18761973) exiled himself
from Spain (and for a time stopped performing) in protest against the regime (19391975) of
(Spanish dictator) Francisco Franco.

arduous (R-joo-s) adj. If something (a task, activity, etc.) is arduous, it demands or
requires great (and usually sustained) effort or exertion; its laborious, difficult, wearisome,
burdensome, toilsome, exhausting, etc. To say that a hill or path is arduous is to say that its
difficult to climb or cross. The Oregon Trail (a 2,000-mile overland route through prairies,
deserts, and mountains from Missouri to the Pacific Northwest) was opened in 1842; attracted
by fertile land, thousands of pioneers made the arduous journey during the next few years.

argot (R-g, R-gt) n. The (sometimes almost secret) special vocabulary and expressions
of a particular closely knit group (a profession, social class, clique, etc.) is called argot. At the
diner we found ourselves one booth away from a group of drug dealers; but because they spoke
in the argot of the underworld, we couldnt make sense of what they were saying.

arid (AR-id) adj. This word means dry or very dry and is usually used in describing land.
The implication is that the land so described is unproductive, parched, or barren. Hoover Dam
and its reservoir, Lake Mead, supply irrigation water to many areas of the arid Southwest.

aromatic (ar--MAT-ik) adj. An aroma is a (usually pleasant or sweet) odor or smell (as
from a food or spice). To describe something as aromatic is to say that it gives off an aroma;
that is, its fragrant, sweet-smelling, etc. Perfumes are made from both natural substances
(plant oil, for example) and aromatic synthetic chemicals.

arrant (AR-nt) adj. This word, used to intensify a particular negative quality of a person or
thing, means absolute, complete, utter, total, out-and-out, etc., as in an arrant fool, an arrant
coward, arrant nonsense. According to a 1965 issue of Town & Country magazine, real New
Yorkers feel sorry for the millions of unfortunates who, through misfortune or arrant
stupidity, live anywhere else in the world.

arrogant (AR--gnt) adj. People who are arrogant are conceited (big-headed, superior,
self-important, cocky, boastful, etc.) and domineering (pushy, bossy, overbearing, highhanded, dictatorial, etc.). The noun is arrogance. In his last major public address (the October
1963 dedication of the Robert Frost Library at Massachusetts Amherst College), President
John F. Kennedy said, When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his

articulate (r-TIK-y-lt) vb. To articulate is either to express (oneself) in words, as in
articulate ones emotions, or to pronounce (ones) words clearly and distinctly. When he
arrived, he was too out of breath and upset to articulate a single word.

articulate (r-TIK-y-lit) adj. If you say that someone is articulate, you mean that he uses
language (or puts his thoughts into words) easily, fluently, and effectively. An articulate
speaker, conductor Leonard Bernstein (19181990) won fame for his ability to explain music
clearly to people with little musical knowledge.

artifice (R-t-fis) n. A clever, devious means for achieving an end (a particular contrivance
or trick, for example) is known as an artifice. But deviousness (trickery, sneakiness, slyness,
etc.) in general is known as simply artifice (without the word an in front of it). The mail order
company (through misrepresentation and other artifice) convinced thousands of people to
order unwanted magazine subscriptions.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. archetype
2. artifice
3. argot

a. trickery, slyness
b. model, pattern
c. special language of a close-knit group

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. articulate (adj.): tongue-tied
2. articulate (vb.): make gestures
3. arrant: tardy

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
arid, aromatic, arrogant

1. We didnt like our bosss __________ attitude.
2. The __________ land was cracked and parched.
3. The __________ herbs whetted our appetites.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. arduous / easy
2. archaic / modern
3. ardent / enthusiastic

Chapter 16: artlessassert

artless (RT-lis) adj. If youre artless, youre free of deceit or craftiness; you dont scheme
or mislead; youre natural, innocent, open, forthright, trustful, etc.; you might even be navely
unaware of the reactions of others. Note: The opposite of artless is artful (full of deceit or
craftiness; sly). In the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, an artless boy named
Charlie wins a tour of a candy factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

ascertain (as-r-TN) vb. To ascertain something (previously unknown) is to find out about
it (learn about it, discover it, become aware of it, etc.) with certainty, usually through
examination or experimentation. An autopsy was performed to ascertain the cause of death.

ascetic (-SET-ik) noun, adj. As a noun, an ascetic is a person who lives a simple life,
practices self-discipline and self-denial, and, in so doing, denies himself normal pleasures
(such as material comforts and eating for enjoyment). As an adjective, the word describes that
way of life. Asceticism is the practice of that way of life. The son of a wealthy merchant, Saint
Francis of Assisi at the age of 22 rejected his inheritance and began living an ascetic life.

ashen (ASH-n) adj. Something ashen is the color of ashes: grayish-white. If you say that

someones face is ashen, you mean that its very pale or drained of color. After she identified
the body, she turned toward me, her face ashen and overwrought.

asinine (AS--nn) adj. To describe something (ones behavior, for example) as asinine is to
say that its silly, foolish, stupid, etc. According to a February 1990 report from the Associated
Press, a third-grade pupil who took an unopened can of [Billy Beer, a brand of beer named
for former President Jimmy Carters brother] to show-and-tell at school was suspended for
three days, an action that the girls mother said was asinine. Note: The word is derived
from the Latin word asin, which means donkey. As such, the word also means of or like a
donkey (in behavior, appearance, etc.); donkey-like, as in asinine ears.

askance (-SKANS) adv. To look at someone askance is to look at him with a sideways
glance, as in suspicion or distrust. I looked at the stranger askance when he pulled up
alongside me and offered to repair the dent in my fender then and there for $45.

asperity (a-SPER-i-t) n. If someone is angry, upset, or irritable, his manner or tone of voice
is likely to be sharp or bitter. This sharpness or bitterness of expression is known as asperity.
In June 1982, speaking of President Ronald Reagans pilgrimage [journey] of peace to the
Vatican, journalist Mary McGrory said, [Pope John Paul II]judging from the austerity
[severity], and even asperity, of his remarksthinks that Reagan must try harder [to be a

aspersion (-SPR-zhn) n. An aspersion (as in the phrase cast aspersions) is an
unfavorable, damaging, or accusatory remark (directed at someone); a criticism, put-down,
slur, etc. On a TV show in 1979, writer Mary McCarthy cast aspersions on playwright Lillian
Hellmans honesty, saying, Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the.

aspiration (as-p-R-shn) n. An aspiration is a strong desire for high achievement (as in
life, career, etc.); a goal, aim, ambition, etc. The word is often used in the plural. In 1984
journalist Hugh Newell Jacobsen said, When you look at a city, its like reading the hopes,
aspirations, and pride of everyone who built it.

assailant (-S-lnt) n. To assail someone is to attack him, especially violently or with
repeated blows. An assailant is one who assails; that is, an attacker, aggressor, mugger, etc. In
1984, speaking of his visit with the imprisoned Turkish terrorist whod wounded him in an
assassination attempt three years earlier, Pope John Paul II said, Today I was able to meet
my assailant and repeat to him the pardon [Id given] him.

assay (a-S) vb. To assay something is to test, analyze, or evaluate its quality, worth, or
value. As a noun, the word denotes such a test or evaluation. In her July 1997 article entitled
Martian Rover Makes Detailed Rock Analysis, journalist Kathy Sawyer said, The little
rover Sojourner planted a 10-hour equivalent of a robotic kiss on the Martian rock Barnacle

Bill last night, in the first chemical assay of a rock ever conducted on the Red Planet.

assert (-SRT) vb. To assert something (or, to use the noun, to make an assertion of
something) is to state it or declare it in a positive, confident, or forceful way. In 1543 Polish
astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus asserted that the sun (not the earth) was at the center of the
solar system and that the earth and other planets revolved around it.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. aspiration
2. asperity
3. assailant

a. sharpness of expression
b. attacker
c. goal, ambition

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. askance: with arms folded
2. aspersion: damaging remark
3. ashen: soft

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
ascertain, assay, assert

1. He held the gem under a magnifying glass to __________ it.
2. We heard the witness __________ that he had no knowledge of the crime.
3. We took a survey to __________ the preference of the people.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. asinine / foolish
2. artless / sly
3. ascetic / self-denying

Chapter 17: assessattire

assess (-SES) vb. When you assess something, you form a judgment of its value or character
(based on your impressions of it). In what is known as an Apgar test, a pediatrician assesses
the general physical condition of a newborn infant (a perfect score is 10).

assiduous (-SIJ-oo-s) adj. This word means persevering, especially when combined with
attentive. In other words, if you work hard and continuously (at some task or toward some
goal), and especially if you do this work carefully (with attention to detail), youre assiduous
(or your effort is assiduous). The publication in 1928 of the massive, multivolume Oxford
English Dictionary required decades of assiduous reading, writing, and editing.

assimilate (-SIM--lt) vb. To assimilate something is to absorb it, take it in. For example, to
assimilate knowledge is to absorb it into your mind; digest it, grasp it, understand it. To
assimilate nutrients is to absorb them into your body after digestion. To assimilate
immigrants is to incorporate or absorb them into society. According to the Columbia
Encyclopedia, [Charles Darwins] position as official naturalist aboard the H.M.S. Beagle
during its world voyage (18311836) started [him] on a career of accumulating and
assimilating data that resulted in the formulation of his concept of evolution.

assuage (-SWJ) vb. To assuage something (pain, hunger, anger, or fear, for example) is to
make it less intense; to relieve it, reduce it, satisfy it, or calm it. Years later Karen admitted
shed joined the Peace Corps only to assuage the guilt she felt about her overprivileged

astral (AS-trl) adj. This word means pertaining to the stars or resembling a star; starshaped. According to the Oxford Encyclopedia, [Astrology was] developed in Mesopotamia
in the second millennium B.C.; it interpreted astronomical [events] as astral omens, the
[events] being indications of the gods intentions for kings and kingdoms.

astute (-STOOT) adj. People who are astute have keen insight and perception; theyre wise
and shrewd (especially with regard to their own affairs); they have good judgment; theyre
difficult to mislead or fool. In literature, Sherlock Holmes is an astute English detective
whose powers of deduction enable him to solve crimes that leave all other crime fighters

atavistic (at--VIZ-tik) adj. This word is used to describe a trait or characteristic (in an
individual) that has been inherited not from parents, but from previous ancestors; that is, the
trait or characteristic has reappeared after having skipped one or more generations. Note:
Sometimes the word is used informally to refer to characteristics of remote ancestors or
primitive people in general. In 1957 Swiss author and critic Max Frisch (19111991) said,

Today we have means of communication that bring the world into our homes; to travel from
one place to another is atavistic.

atrocities (-TROS-i-tz) n. Shockingly or inhumanly cruel or savage acts (especially
unjustifiable acts of violence or torture inflicted by armed enemy forces on prisoners of war)
are known as atrocities. At the 1946 Doctors Trial at Nuremberg (at which Nazi doctors
were tried after World War II), prosecutor Telford Taylors opening statement began: The
defendants in this case are charged with murders, tortures, and other atrocities committed in
the name of medical science.

atrophy (A-tr-f) vb. When a part of the body (a muscle or organ, for example) atrophies, it
wastes away or decreases in size (from disuse, injury, disease, defective nutrition, etc.). Polio
(a highly infectious viral disease preventable through vaccination since 1954) can cause
paralysis, muscular atrophy, and deformity. The word is sometimes used informally to refer
to the wasting away of anything. In 1934 U.S. poet and critic Ezra Pound (18851972) said,
If a nations literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.

attenuate (-TEN-yoo-t) vb. If a moldable object (wire, for example) has been attenuated,
its been thinned out, made slender or fine. And if a gas has been attenuated, its been made
less dense. And if a virus or bacterium has been attenuated, its been made less destructive or
deadly. But when you say that a feeling or condition (desire, power, love, effectiveness, etc.)
has been attenuated, you mean that its been reduced or weakened in force, strength, intensity,
amount, value, degree, etc. Even though ties between religion and government had become
attenuated by the principle of separation of church and state (as required by the First
Amendment), some state courts continued to use religious language; for example, in 1897 an
Illinois court described a particular crime as not fit to be named among Christians.

attest (-TEST) vb. To attest to something is to confirm, certify, or declare the truth,
correctness, or genuineness of it. Although Barry Manilows music is dismissed by some
critics because of its sentimentality, his fan mail and enormous sales attest to the great
pleasure he gives listeners.

attire (-TR) n. Your attire is your clothing; its what you wear. In the 18th century,
embroidery (ornamental needlework) was applied to both male and female attire, but today its
used mainly on womens clothes.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. attenuate

2. assess
3. assuage

a. relieve, calm
b. thinned out, weakened
c. judge

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. atrocities: metropolises
2. atavistic: causing tooth decay
3. attire: clothing

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
assimilate, atrophy, attest

1. A witness was present during the transaction in order to __________ to what took place.
2. He became undernourished when his body failed to __________ nutrients properly.
3. Muscles can __________ through lack of use.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. astral / star-shaped
2. astute / dimwitted
3. assiduous / lazy

Chapter 18: attributeauthorize

attribute (-TRIB-yoot) vb. If you say that something is attributed to you, you mean that its
thought of (by people) as resulting from, caused by, or produced by you. The saying Any
man who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined has been attributed to film
producer Samuel Goldwyn (18821974).

attrition (-TRISH-n) n. A decrease in number or sizeespecially a gradual, natural
reduction in the size of a companys work force or a groups membership (as through
retirement, resignation, or death)is known as attrition. In 1985, explaining West Points
high rate of attrition (33 percent) compared to that of private colleges, the military academys
Director of Admissions said, Harvard doesnt consider anyone a loss until he dies without a

diplomabecause they say he can always come back and finish.

atypical (-TIP-i-kl) adj. If something (an object or living thing, for example) is atypical,
its not typical; that is, it departs from what is normal (for its type); its irregular, nonstandard,
uncharacteristic, etc. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Unlike normal cells, cancer
cells are atypical in structure and do not have specialized functions; they compete with normal
cells for nutrients, eventually killing normal tissue.

audacity (-DAS-i-t) n. Depending on the context, this word can mean either bold, reckless
daring; derring-do or disrespectful rudeness; nerve. The adjective is audacious. U.S. army
general George Patton (18851945) once noted, In war nothing is impossible, provided you
use audacity.

augment (g-MENT) vb. To augment something is to increase it (in amount, quantity, extent,
size, etc.); to make it larger. During the 1930s Japan augmented its military in an effort to
establish greater control over the Asian continent.

augur (-gr) vb. When this verb takes an object, it means predict, foretell, foreshadow,
etc, as in bad weather augurs low voter turnout. When it doesnt take an object, it means to
be a sign or omen (of), and is usually followed by the word well (if what is to follow is
good) or ill (if what is to follow is bad), as in a bad appetizer augurs ill for the rest of the
meal. Note: As a noun, an augur is a person who predicts future events, and an augury is an
omen or sign (of things to come). The 1964 Free Speech Movement at the University of
California at Berkeley (in which 800 students were arrested for protesting against the schools
restrictions on on-campus political activities) augured the nationwide college campus anti
Vietnam War protests of the late 60s.

august (-GUST) adj. To describe a person or thing as august is to say that it inspires
respect, admiration, or awe by virtue of its high rank, age, importance, dignity, grandeur,
stateliness, majesty, etc. In 1987, referring to the time he tested a live microphone before a
broadcast by saying into it, Ive signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever; we begin
bombing in five minutes and the time he fell asleep in the august presence of the pope,
President Ronald Reagan joked, Those were the good old days!

auspices (-spi-sz) n. To be under the auspices of someone or something is to be under its
sponsorship or protection. Created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps is a
U.S. government agency under the auspices of the Department of State that sends American
volunteers to developing nations to help improve living standards and provide training.

auspicious (-SPISH-s) adj. If something (an occasion, event, situation, etc.) is auspicious,
its circumstances are favorable and a successful or happy outcome is thus indicated or
suggested. In October 1908, on the auspicious occasion of the birth of the Model T, Henry

Ford said, I will build a motor car for the great multitude.

austere (-STR) adj. A place or an artistic style described as austere has no ornamentation
or adornment; its bleak, barren, cold, naked, or stark. Composer Roger Sessions early music
is romantic and harmonic, but his later works are austere and complex. A person described as
austere is severe in either his manner (hes strict and stern) or in his self-discipline (hes selfdenying and restrained). The noun is austerity. The phrase Trappist monk brings to mind a
vow of silence and a life of austerity.

authenticate (-THEN-ti-kt) vb. To authenticate something is to establish that its true or
genuine; to confirm it, substantiate it, etc. Although people have reported seeing the
abominable snowman (a hairy, humanlike creature) in Asias Himalaya Mountains, its
existence has never been authenticated.

authorize (-th-rz) vb. To authorize a person to do a particular thing is to give him formal
or legal power or permission to do it. In November 1979 the Supreme Court ruled that a
warrant to search a particular place does not automatically authorize police to search anyone
who happens to be there. To authorize a particular action or activity is to give formal or legal
permission for it. In 1902 Congress authorized the construction of a canal through Panama.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. attrition
2. auspices
3. audacity

a. nerve, rudeness
b. gradual reduction is size
c. sponsorship, protection

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. augur: foretell
2. august: hot
3. authorize: write

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:

attribute, augment, authenticate

1. The fire department used volunteers to __________ its firefighting force.
2. Many people __________ the phrase Let them eat cake to Marie Antoinette..
3. The museum hired an art expert to __________ the painting.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. austere / embellished
2. auspicious / favorable
3. atypical / regular

Chapter 19: autocracyavow

autocracy (-TOK-r-s) n. A government in which a single person rules with unlimited
power or authority is known as an autocracy. Such a person is known as an autocrat, despot,
or dictator. In the 1950s, Idi Amin was the heavyweight boxing champion of Uganda; in the
1970s he was its autocratic ruler, ordering the execution of thousands of people who disagreed
with his policies.

autonomous (-TON--ms) adj. This word derives from the Greek words for self (auto)
and law (nomos). If a government, organization, geographic region, etc., is autonomous, its
self-governing; its independent; its not controlled by outside forces. During World War II
the U.S. Air Force operated as a part of the U.S. Army; in 1947 it became an autonomous
military force.

auxiliary (g-ZIL-y-r) adj. This word means (1) giving assistance or support, as in
auxiliary health-care workers, (2) acting as a supplement, as in auxiliary engine, or (3)
held or used in reserve, as in auxiliary military units. Each of the skydivers carried a small
auxiliary parachute (in case the main chute failed to open).

avarice (AV--ris) n. A greedy or miserly desire to gain and hoard riches (wealth, money,
possessions) is known as avarice. The adjective is avaricious. In the classic Christmas film Its
a Wonderful Life (1946), an avaricious, scheming banker (Lionel Barrymore) sets out to
destroy an honest, ambitious competitor (James Stewart).

avatar (AV--tr) n. Technically, an avatar is the human embodiment (personification) of a
god; for example, in Hinduism, Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu. But in popular usage, an
avatar is an embodiment or manifestation of a principle, attitude, quality, or concept. After the
Civil War, Confederate forces commander Robert E. Lee was seen as a symbol of courage in

defeat and an avatar of the finest elements of Southern heritage.

avenge (-VENJ) vb. To avenge something (a wrongdoing) is to take vengeance (inflict pain
or harm in return) on behalf of another person. Shakespeares Hamlet is a tragedy about a
young Danish prince who feels he must avenge his fathers murder.

aver (-VR) vb. To aver something is to state or declare it positively and formally (as a
fact). The college sophomore was told by the housing department that if he wanted to be
assigned to a private dorm room, all he had to do was aver in a letter that he required solitude
for concentrated study.

averse (-VRS) adj. If youre averse to something (a plan, idea, activity, etc.), youre
opposed to it, youre disinclined toward it, or you strongly dislike it. In his personal memoirs
(18851886), former Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant said of President Abraham Lincoln,
[The Secretary of War and the Chief of Staff] both cautioned me against giving the President
my plans of campaign, saying that he was so kindhearted, so averse to refusing anything asked
of him, that some friend would be sure to get from him all he knew. Note: Dont confuse this
word with adverse, which means contrary to ones welfare or interests; harmful,
unfavorable, etc., as in the patient had an adverse reaction to the drug.

avert (-VRT) vb. To avert something is to prevent it (from happening); to stop it, ward it
off, etc. In November 1990 environmental ministers meeting at Geneva, Switzerland, demanded
that all nations burn less oil to avert global warming. Note: In another sense, to avert
something is to turn it away or aside (as in avert ones eyes).

avid (AV-id) adj. If youre avid about something (an activity, for example), youre keenly
interested in it or enthusiastic about it; you (sometimes greedily) crave it. The author of some
60 western adventure stories (including 1912s Riders of the Purple Sage), former dentist Zane
Grey (18721939) was an avid outdoorsman who also wrote nonfiction works on hunting and

avocation (av--K-shn) n. A vocation is ones regular work or profession. An avocation is
an activity engaged in for enjoyment outside of ones regular occupation (a hobby, for
example). (Alice in Wonderland author) Lewis Carrolls vocation was writing, but his
avocation was photography (he excelled especially at photographing children).

avow (-VOU) vb. To avow something is to say it or acknowledge it frankly and openly (and
usually without shame); to admit it, to confess it. Avowed can be a verb (past tense of avow) or
an adjective meaning declared or acknowledged, as in George Wallace was an avowed
segregationist. In 1966 Huey Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for
Self-Defense with the avowed intention of protecting the black community of Oakland,
California, from police brutality.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. avow
2. avert
3. aver

a. stop, prevent
b. state positively
c. confess, admit

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. avid: uninterested
2. avenge: install
3. avatar: embodiment

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
autonomous, auxiliary, averse

1. After World War II, Vietnam became an __________ state.
2. The flood control project involved one main dam and two __________ dams.
3. He was not __________ to accepting a portion of the profits.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. avarice / greed
2. autocracy / democracy
3. avocation / hobby

Chapter 20: avuncularbalm

avuncular (-VUNG-ky-lr) adj. The middle part of this word looks a little like the word
uncle, and, in fact, the word means uncle-like; in other words, kindly, compassionate,

generous, etc. In the 1988 film Big, actor Robert Loggia plays the avuncular boss of a toy

awry (-R) adv. If you say that something (a plan or procedure, for example) has gone awry,
you mean that its gone off course in an unexpected or undesirable fashion. Scientists believe
that viroids (infectious particles, smaller than viruses, that consist of a short strand of RNA)
are parts of normal RNA that have gone awry.

azure (AZH-r) adj. This word means light blue; specifically, the color of the sky on a
clear, cloudless day. Speaking of the Egyptian sunset, British photographer Cecil Beaton once
said, More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and
silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and

babel (BAB-l) n. A confused mixture of voices, sounds, or noises is known as babel (from
the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, in which when descendants of Noah tried to unite all
people by building a tower to Heaven, God stopped them by making them all speak in
different languages so that their speech was incomprehensible to one another). While some
music critics call composer John Cages Imaginary Landscape No. 4 (a 1951 experimental
piece scored for 12 radios tuned at random) a work of art, others call it babel.

Bacchanalian (bak--NL-yn) adj. In Roman mythology, Bacchus was the god of wine and
fertility (his Greek name was Dionysus). A festival held in his honor, a Bacchanalia, was
marked by drunken orgies. Today a Bacchanalia is any noisy, rowdy, drunken party (or feast
or celebration). The adjective Bacchanalian refers to such a party. We found out that Mardi
Gras, that Bacchanalian celebration that literally means fat Tuesday and occurs the day
before Ash Wednesday, takes place not only in New Orleans, but in Biloxi (Mississippi) and
Mobile (Alabama) as well.

badger (baj-r) vb. To badger (someone) is to nag, pester, bother, or annoy (him). After her
three-year-old whined for a lollipop for an hour, the young motherwhod once promised
herself that shed never yell at her childrenlost her temper and screamed, Stop badgering

badinage (bad-en-zh) n. Light, playful, good-humored conversation or teasing is known as
badinage (pronounced bad-ih-NAHJ). Note: A synonym is banter. Legendary talk show host
Steve Allen (19212000) was known for exchanging hilarious badinage with members of his
studio audience; for example, a women once asked, Can I have your autograph? and Allen,
from the stage, answered, Only if you have a very long pen.

baffle (BAF-l) vb. In one sense, to baffle someone is to confuse him; to mystify him, perplex
him, dumbfound him, etc. In 1985 Henry G. Miller, President of the New York State Bar

Association, said, The legal system is often a mystery, and we [lawyers] preside over rituals
baffling to everyday citizens. In a related sense, to baffle someone is to defeat him in his
efforts by confusing him; to stymie him, foil him, etc. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia,
[A maze] was, in ancient times, a structure composed of an intricate series of passageways
and chambers, probably at first designed to baffle enemies.

bailiwick (B-l-wik) n. Your bailiwick is your specific area of skill, knowledge, training, or
study; your field, specialty, etc. American zoologist Dian Fossey (19321985), whose bailiwick
was gorillas, urges the preservation of this endangered species in her 1983 book Gorillas in
the Mist.

baleful (BL-fl) adj. Anything thats baleful in some way (either intentionally or
unintentionally) threatens or foreshadows evil or harm (which may or may not actually
occur). The vampire Count Dracula was played in films by actor Bela Lugosi, whose
Hungarian accent and baleful eye have become associated with the character. See usage note
at baneful.

balk (bk) vb. To balk is to hesitate or stop (before doing or continuing a particular action or
activity). All the tenants agreed that the apartment building should hire a 24-hour security
guard; then, most balked when they found out that doing so would result in a rent increase of
$150 a month! Note: In baseball a balk is a failure to complete a pitch once its been started;
its an illegal motion resulting in a penalty advancing the runner(s) one base.

balm (bm) n. Technically, a balm is an oily, fragrant substance that comes from a plant and
has some medicinal value. But any aromatic or soothing ointment can be called a balm. Also,
anything that soothes, heals, or comforts (even if its not a ointment) can be called a balm.
After the entire divorce process finally ended, he told us it wasnt his therapist but the balm of
our friendship that sustained him through the toughest times. Note: If something (weather, for
example) is balmy, its mild, gentle, or soothing.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bailiwick
2. balm
3. badinage

a. soothing ointment
b. playful talk
c. area of expertise

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. awry: in an unexpected or undesirable way
2. babel: the sound of a book or stream
3. Bacchanalian: fierce, aggressive

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
badger, baffle, balk

1. A code consisting of Navajo symbols was used to __________ the enemy.
2. In jumping competitions, horses tend to __________ if an obstacle is too high.
3. Children often __________ their parents for toys or candy.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. baleful / threatening
2. avuncular / mean
3. azure / blue

Chapter 21: banalbedclothes

banal (b-NAL, b-NL) adj. If something is banal, it lacks freshness or is uninspired; its
ordinary or commonplace and therefore dull and uninteresting. The noun is banality. It has
been said that pop artas exemplified by its most famous image, Andy Warhols Campbells
Soup Cancelebrates the banal.

bandy (BAN-d) vb. To bandy a ball is to throw, strike, or pass it back and forth. To bandy
words (insults or compliments, for example) is to give and receive them; to trade or exchange
them. To bandy ideas is to discuss them in a casual manner. In 1987, in his review of a new
NBC TV series, journalist Tom Shales said, Should cosmetic surgery be available to ugly
dogs? Will the seeing-eye cat and the artificial tonsil become realities? Questions like that are
bandied about and then stomped into submission on Our Planet Tonight, a mirthful sendup of
[CBSs] 60 Minutes.

baneful (BN-fl) adj. Something baneful is poisonous, destructive, or exceedingly harmful;
it can cause death, sickness, or ruin. (The noun bane refers to a deadly poison or to something
that causes death, destruction, or ruin.) Sometimes you know right away if a plant is baneful

because it actually contains the word bane as part of its name; for example, wolfsbane. Usage
note: While the word baleful is used to describe something that foreshadows harm or evil (a
baleful atmosphere), baneful is used to describe something that actually causes harm or

banter (BAN-tr) n. This word signifies light, playful, good-natured conversation (often
including teasing, joking, ribbing, joshing, etc.). TV sitcoms sometimes have no real plot, but
consist instead of misunderstandings, embarrassing situations, slapstick, and lively banter.

barb (brb) n. A barb is a critical, cutting, or sarcastic remark; a wisecrack, dig, put-down,
etc. In 1984 Queen Elizabeth II apparently better tolerated the publics barbs about her awful
hats than did her milliner (hat maker), who responded, She is not a fashion plate, she is a
monarch; you cant have both.

barrage (b-RZH) n. Technically, a barrage is a bombardment (concentrated discharge) of
artillery fire (bullets, bombs, missiles, rockets, etc.). But the word is also used to signify an
overwhelming quantity or outpouring of anything (as in a barrage of questions). In her 1962
book Silent Spring, biologist and environmentalist Rachel Carson said of Americas
widespread use of chemical insecticides, As crude a weapon as a cave mans club, the
chemical barrage has been hurled against the fabric of life.

bask (bask) vb. To bask in something (a pleasant situation) is to take great pleasure or
satisfaction in it; to enjoy it. According to the Reader s Companion to American History,
Boys idolized [home run champ Babe Ruth, who] basked in their admiration. Note: The
word often refers specifically to enjoying or lying in pleasant warmth (as in bask in the
sunshine). In 1958 British historian Arnold Toynbee said of Australia, The immense cities
[Sidney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth] lie basking on the beaches of the continent like whales
that have taken to the land.

bastion (BAS-chn) n. A bastion, literally, is a projecting portion of a fort. But people
usually use this word figuratively to refer to any thing or place that historically or
traditionally protects, promotes, supports, or ensures some particular (often philosophical)
concept. Our social studies teacher said that the Republican Party was a bastion of

bathos (B-thos) n. The quality of being excessively sentimental or overly emotional is
known as bathos. Early television soap operas were notorious for their bad acting, intrusive
organ music, and bathos.

bawdy (B-d) adj. Talk, writing, people, amusements, etc., that are bawdy are (often
humorously) obscene, indecent, dirty. My younger brother wrote a bawdy limerick that began
There was a young lady named Cass.

beatific (b--TIF-ik) adj. To refer to something as beatific is to say that is shows extreme or
angelic happiness (as in a beatific smile) or that it causes supreme happiness or blessedness
(as in beatific peace.) The sunlight filtered through the churchs stained-glass windows,
bathing the bride and groom in beatific illumination.

bedclothes (BED-klz, BED-klthz) n. Coverings that are ordinarily used on a bed (sheets,
blankets, etc.) are collectively known as bedclothes. In the famous fairy tale Little Red Riding
Hood, after the wolf eats the sick grandmother, he settles himself under the bedclothes to
await the little girl.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bathos
2. bedclothes
3. barb

a. cutting remark
b. excessive sentimentality
c. bedding

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. bask: flirt
2. bandy: drink
3. banter: light, playful talk

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
banal, bawdy, beatific

1. The photographer captured the brides __________ smile.
2. Some of the limericks were too __________ for our taste.
3. The movie had interesting characters but a __________ plot.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. baneful / healthful
2. bastion / stronghold
3. barrage / bombardment

Chapter 22: bedeckedbeleaguered

bedecked (bi-DEKT) adj. To deck something is to decorate it (as with something
ornamental), as in deck the halls with boughs of holly. To say that something is bedecked is
to say that it has been decorated or ornamented (especially in a showy fashion). In 1867,
speaking of a Cheyenne force hed seen on the Kansas plains, General George Custer said,
Most of the Indians were mounted; all were bedecked in their brightest colors.

bedevil (bi-DEV-l) vb. To bedevil someone is to (especially continuously) torment or annoy
him (with something); to cause him worry, frustration, etc. In her 1988 book The Worst Years
of Our Lives, columnist and feminist Barbara Ehrenreich said, Consider the Vice President,
George [H.] Bush, a man so bedeviled by bladder problems that he managed, for the last eight
years, to be in the mens room whenever an important illegal decision was made.

bedraggled (bi-DRAG-ld) adj. To describe something (or someone) as bedraggled is to say
that its wet, limp, dirty, messy, sloppy, soiled, etc. (as if having been dragged through the
mud). Legend tells us that late 16th-century English explorer and writer Sir Walter Raleigh
once spread his coat over a mud puddle so that Queen Elizabeth I could walk over it (but it
doesnt tell us what became of the bedraggled coat!).

befuddle (bi-FUD-l) vb. To befuddle someone is to confuse him, to stupefy him, to make
him fuzzy-headed or mixed up. The intent of a practical joke known as a phony phone call
is to befuddle, through outrageous or nonsensical talk, whoever happens to answer. The
adjective befuddled means confused, baffled, bewildered, confounded, mixed-up, etc. In
their comedy act, real-life husband and wife George Burns and Gracie Allen portrayed an
ever-patient man and his befuddled but imperturbable wife.

beguile (bi-GL) vb. To beguile someone is to trick or mislead him, especially by means of
charm, flattery, or persuasion. In the biblical story of Adam and Eve, a serpent (snake)
beguiles Eve into eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. Note: The word can also
mean simply greatly amuse, charm, entertain, etc. During the mid-20th century, Sammy
Davis, Jr., beguiled audiences with his spirited singing and dancing.

behemoth (bi-H-mth) n. Technically, a behemoth is a huge animal described in the Old
Testament (perhaps an elephant or hippopotamus, according to biblical scholars). But in
informal usage, the word can refer to anyone or anything enormous (in size or power). The
word can also be used as an adjective, meaning enormous. Among the works of Russian-

born artist Marc Chagall (18871985) are two huge murals designed for New York Citys
behemoth (4,000-seat) Metropolitan Opera House (at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts).

behest (bi-HEST) n. To do something at ones behest is to do it at his earnest (or urgent or
strongly worded) request, or at his authoritative command. In May 1998 Chinas President
Jiang Zemin, at the behest of President Bill Clinton, wrote to the Pakistani government asking
it not to test nuclear weapons.

beholden (bi-HL-dn) adj. To be beholden to someone is to owe him your gratitude or to
owe him a favor (usually for some favor or kindness he has done for you); to be indebted or
obligated to him. One problem with our democratic system is that an elected official might feel
beholden to a special interest group (the tobacco industry or the National Rifle Association,
for example) that contributed money to his campaign.

behoove (bi-HOOV) vb. If you say that it behooves you to do something, you mean that its to
your advantage to do it; that it would be a good idea (for your own sake) to do it. The
pickpocket told his wife that it would behoove him to attend the public hanging of a fellow
pickpocket whod been caughtnot for the moral lesson, but to take advantage of the large
crowd attracted to the execution. Note: In sentence construction, the subject of behoove is
almost always it.

bejeweled (bi-JOO-ld) adj. Someone or something thats bejeweled is decorated with (or
wearing) jewels or jewelry. Russian goldsmith and jeweler Peter Faberg (18461920) was
particularly well known for the bejeweled, enameled Easter eggs he created for the Russian
royal family.

belated (bi-L-tid) adj. Notice the similarity of this word to the word late. If something (a
birthday greeting, for example) is belated, it comes or happens after the customary or
expected time; its late, too late, overdue, after the fact, etc. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in
Washington, D.C., was built (1982) as a belated tribute to the more than 58,000 Americans
killed or missing during the Vietnam War (19541975).

beleaguered (bi-L-grd) adj. If someone (or something) is beleaguered, hes filled with (or
plagued or harassed by) troubles, worries, problems, annoyances, etc. In 1974, amid
accusations that hed obstructed justice (in the Watergate cover-up), abused presidential
powers, illegally bombed Cambodia (in 1969), and used public funds to improve his private
property, a beleaguered President Richard Nixon resigned from office.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. befuddle
2. beguile
3. bedevil

a. torment, annoy
b. confuse
c. trick, charm

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. behemoth: giant
2. behoove: scold
3. behest: request

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
bedecked, bedraggled, belated

1. After four days the cat finally returned, looking confused and __________.
2. In the parade the horses were __________ with armor and ribbons.
3. A week after his birthday, we sent him a __________ birthday card.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. bejeweled / adorned
2. beleaguered / carefree
3. beholden / indebted

Chapter 23: beliebenevolent

belie (bi-L) vb. Notice that the word lie is part of belie. To belie something is to show it to be
false; to show that its a misrepresentation or contradiction. The picturesque tropical
appearance of Devils Island (a small Caribbean isle off the coast of South Americas French
Guiana) belies its past as one of historys most brutal prison camps.

belittle (bi-LIT-l) vb. To belittle someone (or something) is to speak of him as being
unimportant or insignificant; to make him seem little. Author Mark Twain (18351910) once
said, Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions; small people always do that,

but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

belle (bel) n. A belle is a pretty (and often popular and charming) girl or woman, especially
the prettiest of a group, as in the belle of the ball. The word is usually heard in the phrase
Southern belle. British actress Vivien Leigh won the Academy Award as best actress for her
roles in 1939s Gone with the Wind (as young Southern belle Scarlett OHara) and in 1951s A
Streetcar Named Desire (as fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois).

bellicose (BEL-i-ks) adj. To describe someone (or something) as bellicose is to say that hes
inclined or eager to fight; hes warlike, combative, hostile, etc. On February 22, 1991,
President George H. Bush gave (Gulf War enemy) Iraq a bellicose ultimatum to withdraw its
troops from neighboring Kuwait by noon of the following day.

belligerent (b-LIJ-r-nt) adj. To describe someone (or his attitude, voice, tone, behavior,
words, etc.) as belligerent is to say that hes eager or inclined to fight; hes combative,
warlike, hostile, aggressive, militant, etc. Note: The word also describes countries actively
engraved in war (as in the belligerent nations of World War II). In 1990 Iraq began making
belligerent threats against Kuwait (whom it accused of breaking agreements limiting oil
production, thereby drastically lowering world oil prices and costing Iraq billions of dollars
in annual revenue).

bellwether (BEL-weth-r) n. Originally, a bellwether was a male sheep, wearing a bell, that
led a flock. But today a bellwether is anyone or anything (a group, company, city, etc.) that
assumes a leadership role and acts as an indicator of future trends. The Dow Jones industrial
average (the average of 30 blue-chip stocks) is a bellwether for the health of the entire stock

bemoan (bi-MN) vb. To bemoan something is to complain about it, moan over it (note that
bemoan contains the word moan), or express grief about it. In his campaign speeches of 1988
and 1992, Republican vice-presidential candidate Dan Quayle bemoaned the decline of family

bemused (bi-MYOOZD) adj. People who are bemused are (and usually appear, as by their
facial expression) confused, bewildered, in a daze, perplexed, stupefied, etc. We werent sure if
he was criticizing or complimenting his new girlfriend when he told us, She has the happy,
bemused expression of a baby animal.

benchmark (BENCH-mrk) n. A benchmark is something that serves as (or is taken as) a
measure by which other similar things can be compared, evaluated, judged, etc.; a yardstick.
For many years baseball experts considered Babe Ruths record of 60 home runs in a single
season (1927) a benchmark against which future home run hitters would be judged.

benefactor (BEN--fak-tr) n. A benefactor is a person (male or female) who gives kindly

aid or help (especially one who gives money to a person, organization, charity, or cause). If
such a person is female, she also may be called a benefactress. Harvard University
(Cambridge, Massachusetts) was named in honor of its first benefactor, clergyman John
Harvard (16071638), who left the school half his estate and his 400-volume library.

beneficent (b-NEF-i-snt) adj. Notice the similarity of this word to benefit. If youre
beneficent, you like to do good (give benefits); youre kindly in your actions or intentions.
Usually this word is used to describe people who are in a position to do (great) good (such as
kings or other people of power). In their darkest hour, the soldiers hoped not only that a
divine power exists, but that it has a beneficent interest in human affairs.

benevolent (b-NEV--lnt) adj. If youre benevolent, you want to do good for people;
youre kind, humane, and generous. Often (but not always), youll see this word used to
describe kings, queens, or other powerful rulers. We thought it was pretty obvious from their
names that Frederick the Great (of Prussia) was a benevolent ruler and Peter the Cruel (of
Spain) was not.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. belie
2. bemoan
3. belittle

a. complain, express grief
b. show to be false
c. speak of as unimportant

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. beneficent: generous
2. bellwether: weathervane
3. bellicose: jolly

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
belle, benchmark, benefactor

1. The college was named after its __________.

2. The novel became a __________ of literary excellence.
3. She was the __________ of the ball.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. benevolent / cruel
2. bemused / confused
3. belligerent / warlike

Chapter 24: benightedbte noire

benighted (bi-N-tid) adj. When its night, its dark. If a person is benighted, hes figuratively
in the dark (or kept in the dark); in other words, hes unenlightened, uneducated, ignorant.
When it comes to the current dating scene, my parents are as benighted as a couple of
Neanderthals, she complained.

benign (bi-NN) adj. If a person is benign, hes kindly, gentle, gracious, etc. (as in benign
ruler). If a thing (ones expression, a government, a work of art, etc.) is benign, its either
kindly, gentle, etc. (as in benign smile), or its mild, bland, inoffensive, etc. According to
Grolier s Encyclopedia, rock music styles of the 70s range from the benign bubble-gum rock
of the Osmond Brothers [to] intentionally [offensive] punk rock. Note: In medicine the word
means of no danger to health or life; not harmful (as in benign tumor).

benumbed (bi-NUMD) adj. The verb benumb means make numb (deprive of sensation).
Something described as benumbed has been made numb (its stiff, lifeless). The frostbite
victims benumbed fingers had turned grayish-yellow and felt doughy.

bequeath (bi-KWTH, bi-KWTH) vb. To bequeath something to someone is to hand it
down or pass it on to him (often upon death, as indicated in a will). Alfred Nobel was a 19thcentury Swedish chemist and engineer who invented dynamite (1866) and bequeathed his
fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes.

berate (bi-RT) vb. To berate someone is to (often angrily and at length) scold or criticize
him (for a wrongdoing or fault); to bawl him out, tell him off, etc. Speaking of late-19thcentury social reformer Carry Nation (who strongly believed that the drinking of alcoholic
beverages should be illegal), Comptons Encyclopedia said that she would appear at a
saloon, berate the customers, and proceed to damage as much of the place as she could with
her hatchet.

bereft (bi-REFT) adj. This word usually means suffering the death of a loved one, as in
bereft parents crying over the loss of their daughter; but it sometimes simply means deprived
(of something), as in bereft of his dignity. In 1884, after his wife and mother died within a
few hours of each other, a bereft Teddy Roosevelt temporarily retired to his ranch in the
Dakota territory. Note: As a verb, the word (also bereaved) is the past tense of bereave, which
means to deprive (especially by death), as in a sudden heart attack bereaved them of their

beseech (bi-SCH) vb. To beseech is to beg or to earnestly request. Sometimes the word
carries with it an implication of eagerness or anxiety. In the Leopold-Loeb thrill killing
murder case of 1924, criminal attorney Clarence Darrow introduced psychiatric evidence and
beseeched the court to have mercy on the defendants; the result was a verdict of life
imprisonment rather than the death penalty.

beset (bi-SET) vb. To be beset by something (troubles, difficulties, etc.) is to be attacked on
all sides by it; to be surrounded by it; to be plagued by it, bothered by it, overwhelmed by it,
weighed down by it, etc. When Hannibal (a general from the ancient city of Carthage) and his
army crossed the Alps, they were beset by snowstorms, landslides, and the attacks of hostile
mountain tribes.

besmirch (bi-SMRCH) vb. To besmirch a physical object is to soil, tarnish, or stain it. To
besmirch a persons reputation is to detract from the honor of it. A July 1997 Washington Post
editorial entitled Tooth and Glove said, Its pretty hard by now to besmirch the name of
prizefighting, but if anybody was capable of finding a new way of doing so it would be Mike
Tyson; on [June 28] the former heavyweight champ took a bite out of each of his opponents

bespectacled (bi-SPEK-t-kld) adj. To describe someone as bespectacled is to say that hes
wearing eyeglasses (spectacles). The trivia question was Name a famous, bespectacled
comedian whose last name is Allen, and I realized that either Steve or Woody could be
the correct answer.

bestow (bi-ST) vb. To bestow something (a prize, award, trophy, diploma, etc.) is to present
it (as an honor or gift). In 1996 Southampton College of the University of Long Island
bestowed an honorary degree on Sesame Streets Kermit the Frog to publicize the schools
marine studies program. Note: Sometimes the word means simply give. President Benjamin
Harrisons (18331901) nickname, Little Ben, was originally bestowed upon him by his
soldiers (hed commanded an Indiana volunteer regiment during the Civil War), perhaps
because of his short stature.

bte noire (bet NWR) n. This is a French phrase that literally means black beast and is
used to describe whoever or whatever you especially dread or dislike. In our school

production of Peter Pan, I played Captain Hooks bte noirethe crocodile whod bitten off his

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bequeath
2. bestow
3. beset

a. present, give
b. overwhelm, surround
c. hand down, pass on

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. bespectacled: made the center of attention
2. bte noire: best friend
3. benumbed: stiff, lifeless

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
berate, beseech, besmirch

1. We dont like it when mothers __________ their children in public.
2. She didnt want to do anything that might __________ her reputation.
3. Have mercy; I __________ you.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. benighted / unenlightened
2. bereft / deprived
3. benign / harmful

Chapter 25: betrothedblanch

betrothed (bi-TRTHT) adjective, n. As an adjective, betrothed means engaged (to be

married). As a noun, your betrothed is the person youre engaged to. In the 1934 film classic
It Happened One Night, an out-of-work reporter (Clark Gable) agrees to help a runaway
heiress (Claudette Colbert) get from Florida to her betrothed in New York in return for her
story, which will land him a job.

bevy (BEV-) n. A bevy is a (usually small) group of animals or people (or anything else),
especially of birds, girls, or women (as in a bevy of swans or a bevy of bathing beauties).
According to the Information Please Almanac, Miami, Florida, is home to over 170
multinational companies and a bevy of Fortune 500 companies [companies on Fortune
magazines list of the 500 largest U.S. corporations].

bewhiskered (bi-WIS-krd) adj. This word means having whiskers or bearded. In social
studies class, nearly everyone recognized the photo of a bewhiskered cigar-smoker in combat
uniform as Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

bias (B-s) n. A falsely based dislike or suspicion of a particular group (especially when
stemming from prejudice) is known as bias. People who show or feel bias are said to be
biased. Many people believe the 1921 murder convictions of Italian-born anarchists Sacco and
Vanzetti (who six years later were electrocuted in Massachusetts despite widespread
demonstrations of support) were based less on evidence (the trial testimony was contradictory)
than on bias against their political views.

bicker (BIK-r) vb. To bicker is to engage in bad-tempered, petty argument; to squabble. In
his inaugural address (January 1989), President George H. Bush said, The Congress and the
[President] are capable of working together to produce a budget. The American people await
action. They didnt send us here to bicker.

bigot (BIG-t) n. A bigot is a person who looks down on or dislikes anyone who is not a
member of his own race, religion, country, political party, etc. To be bigoted (toward a person
or group) is to have such negative feelings (toward that person or group). The attitude or state
of mind of a bigot is known as bigotry. African-American author Maya Angelou once said,
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat,
worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try [to] understand each other, we may even
become friends.

bilateral (b-LAT-r-l) adj. In Latin, bi means two and lateral means side. So something
bilateral (a decision, for example) is two-sided (that is, both parties agree to it). Note: In
Latin, uni means one; so something unilateral (a cease-fire, for example) is one-sided.
Because there is no international law governing extradition (the sending back of a fleeing or
suspected criminal to his own country for trial), the delivery of such persons occurs under the
authority of specific bilateral treaties between nations.

bilious (BIL-ys) adj. Your liver secretes a yellow or greenish bitter liquid, known as bile,
which aids in the digestion of fats. People described as bilious suffer from excessive secretion
of bile (they have indigestion) or they act as if they have excessive bile (theyre cranky,
irritable, etc.). To describe a thing (a work of art or article of clothing, for example) as
bilious is to say that its distasteful or unpleasant, or that its color resembles that of bile. In
July 1989 the Washington Post explained that the Library of Congress, famous for its
priceless collection of books and manuscripts, is also the secret storehouse for all short-lived
products of pop culture, such as a grinning Richard Nixon clown doll or a [3-D picture] of
the Last Supper in bilious brown plastic.

bilk (bilk) vb. To bilk someone is to trick him into giving up something valuable (usually
money). In October 1989 former TV evangelist Jim Bakker was convicted of fraud for bilking
followers out of $158 million and spending nearly $4 million to supply himself with mansions,
an air-conditioned doghouse, and fleets of Mercedes and Rolls-Royce automobiles.

bivouac (BIV-oo-ak) verb, n. To bivouac is to camp out; that is, to set up improvised,
temporary shelter in an unprotected outdoor area (for the purpose of resting or sleeping). As
a noun, a bivouac is such a camp. In the Civil Wars bloody Battle of Shiloh (April 1862),
Confederate troops surprised the Union army, bivouacked near Shiloh Church (in Pittsburg
Landing, Tennessee); the following day the Union took the offensive and gained the final

bizarre (bi-ZR) adj. If something is bizarre, its strikingly unusual or strange (as in style or
appearance); its weird, odd, peculiar, abnormal, fantastic, grotesque, etc. (as in the punk
rockers bizarre clothing). In 1965 Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (who represented human forms
as abstract geometric shapes) said, People seek the new, the extraordinary, the extravagant
[in art] . . . I have [satisfied them] with all the many bizarre things that have come into my
headand the less they understand, the more they admire it.

blanch (blanch) vb. To blanch is to turn white or become pale (as when a strong emotion
causes the blood to drain from your face). In 1984 food critic Bryan Miller, speaking of Pig
Heaven, a Manhattan restaurant specializing in pork dishes, said, The moist, flavorful meat
is concealed under a thick slab of crisp fat that would make a cardiologist blanch.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bewhiskered
2. betrothed

3. bilateral

a. bearded
b. two-sided
c. engaged (to be married)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. blanch: falter
2. bivouac: camp out
3. bilious: conceited

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
bevy, bias, bigot

1. His __________ against their political views clouded his judgment.
2. The novel involved the harassment of an immigrant by a __________.
3. We saw a __________ of pink flamingos.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. bizarre / weird
2. bicker / agree
3. bilk / cheat

Chapter 26: blandishmentsblubber

blandishments (BLAN-dish-mnts) n. A flattering or insincere statement intended to coax or
convince someone into doing or believing something is known as a blandishment. The word
is often used in the plural. In 1987 National Conference on Soviet Jewry chairman Morris
Abram said that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachevs implied promises that thousands of Jews
would soon be allowed to leave the Soviet Union are blandishments and soft soap intended
to cover up a repressive policy on Jewish emigration.

blas (bl-Z) adj. If youre blas about something, youre indifferent or unconcerned about
it; youre bored or unimpressed by it. It has been pointed out that men dont notice dust
which may explain why most of them have a blas attitude about housecleaning.

blasphemy (BLAS-f-m) n. A statement or action that shows disrespect or disregard for

something considered sacred (God, for example) is known as blasphemy. The adjective is
blasphemous; the verb is blaspheme. Indian-born British writer Salman Rushdies 1988 novel
The Satanic Verses was condemned by Muslims as a blasphemous attack on the Koran and the
Islamic faith.

blatant (BLT-nt) adj. Anything described as blatant is completely and unashamedly (and
often offensively) obvious or conspicuous; its glaring, barefaced, etc. (as in blatant lie or
blatant exaggeration). If you walk through various neighborhoods of New York City, youll see
blatant differences in levels of wealth.

blazon (BL-zn) vb. To blazon something (letters, a sign, etc.) is to make it conspicuously
visible; to publicly display it, broadcast it, publicize it, etc. The day we left for summer camp,
the walls of Grand Central Terminal were draped with colored banners, across each of which
was blazoned the word Camp, followed by the colorful name of an American Indian tribe
(Chippewa, Onondaga, Kickapoo, and so on).

bleak (blk) adj. If you say that a physical thing or place (a landscape, for example) is bleak,
you mean that its barren, empty, bare, without ornamentation, etc. Before going over the
rainbow to the Land of Oz, Dorothy lived on a bleak Kansas farm. If you say that a nonphysical thing (ones future, ones prospects, ones outlook, etc.) is bleak, you mean that it
provides no encouragement; its depressing, gloomy, disheartening, etc. In January 1973
President Richard Nixon began his second inaugural address as follows: When we met here
four years ago, America was bleak in spirit, depressed by the prospect of seemingly endless
war abroad and of destructive conflict at home. As we meet here today, we stand on the
threshold of a new era of peace in the world.

blight (blt) n. Any cause of destruction, ruin, or impairment (illness, poverty, severe weather,
pollution, etc.) is known as a blight. With its noise, ugliness, and gloom, the elevated railroad
was the blight of the neighborhood. Note: The word also refers specifically to any sudden,
severe plant disease.

bliss (blis) n. A state of extreme happiness or utter joy is known as bliss. Explaining how she
loves uninterrupted writing, Pulitzer Prizewinning novelist Edna Ferber (18871968) once
said that her idea of bliss is to wake up on a Monday morning knowing you havent a single
engagement for the entire week; you are cradled in a white paper cocoon tied up with
typewriter ribbon.

blithe (blth) adj. This word can mean merry (or cheerful, happy), and it can mean
lightheartedly carefree (or unconcerned, indifferent). But it especially means merry
and carefree (at the same time). I was all ready to scold her for being late, but her blithe
spirit somehow made me forget all about doing that.

bloated (BL-tid) adj. If something is bloated, its enlarged or swollen beyond normal size
(from internal liquid or gas); its puffy, inflated, etc. Leeches are bloodsucking worms with
slightly flattened bodies (but they become bloated after a large meal).

blowzy (BLOU-z) adj. This word (sometimes spelled blowsy) means disheveled, unkempt,
sloppy, untidy. It often carries with it a suggestion of coarseness, grossness, or crudity. The
punk rock band featured a blowzy, blue-haired female lead singer who began her act by
sniffing her armpits and spitting on the floor.

blubber (BLUB-r) vb. When you cry (out loud) and talk at the same time, so that what you
say is broken, inarticulate, or incoherent, youre blubbering. The young mother ignored her
childs blubbering about not being allowed a second ice cream cone.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. blight
2. blandishment
3. blasphemy

a. act of disrespect for something holy
b. cause of destruction or ruin
c. flattering remark

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. blazon: burn
2. blithe: merry, carefree
3. blubber: tell a lie

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
blatant, bleak, bloated

1. After the big meal, we all felt __________.
2. His claims were __________ exaggerations.
3. To the astronauts, the surface of the moon looked __________ and uninviting.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. bliss / joy
2. blowzy / tidy
3. blas / enthusiastic

Chapter 27: bludgeonbountiful

bludgeon (BLUJ-n) vb. To bludgeon someone is to hit or beat him (as with a club). Note: As
a noun, a bludgeon is a short, thick club thats thicker or weighted at one end. During their
1781 tour of the eastern United States, Shakers (members of a religious group practicing
celibacy and communal living) were whipped, bludgeoned, stoned, and dragged behind horses.

blunder (BLUN-dr) noun, vb. As a noun, a blunder is a (sometimes serious) mistake,
typically caused by stupidity, ignorance, carelessness, or confusion. As a verb, to blunder is to
make such a mistake. In 1948 the Chicago Tribune blundered when it reported Harry Trumans
defeat in that years presidential election (in fact, Truman defeated Republican candidate
Thomas E. Dewey).

bluster (BLUS-tr) n. Loud, overbearing (or bullying or arrogant) talk filled with empty
threats is known as bluster. In a 1965 news conference, discussing the U.S. governments
attitude toward the escalating Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson said, We do not want
an expanding struggle with consequences that no one can perceive, nor will we bluster or bully
or flaunt our power; but we will not surrender and we will not retreat.

bode (bd) vb. To bode is to suggest or indicate (a future possibility) beforehand; to be a sign
or omen of; to forecast, foreshadow, foretell, etc. If something bodes well, the outcome is
likely to be favorable; if something bodes ill, the outcome is likely to be unfavorable. In
1577 Taqi al-Din, chief astronomer of the Ottoman Empire, interpreted the appearance of a
bright comet as boding well for Sultan Murad III in his fight against the Persians.

bohemian (b-H-m-n) noun, adj. People who are interested in artistic or intellectual
pursuits (more so than in money) and who disregard conventional standards of dress and
behavior are called bohemians (or, to use the word as an adjective, their lifestyle, behavior,
dress, etc., is bohemian). They sometimes live in poverty and dress sloppily. New York Citys
Greenwich Village has been home to beatniks, hippies, and other bohemians.

boisterous (BOI-str-s, BOI-strs) adj. To describe someone or something (a party or
celebration, for example) as boisterous is to say that its noisy, rowdy, unrestrained, etc. At a
political partys national convention, a flowery nominating speech is generally followed by

boisterous demonstrations staged by the nominees supporters.

bolster (BL-str) vb. To bolster something (a theory, the economy, ones confidence, etc.)
is to prop it up, aid it, support it, strengthen it, uphold it, etc. Twentieth-century British novelist
Margaret Drabble once wrote of inseparable friends who bolstered each other by their
mutual devotion.

bombastic (bom-BAS-tik) adj. Writing or speech that is bombastic is overblown, selfimportant, puffed-up, showy, flamboyant, formal, etc. Some scholars say that Shakespeares
early historical tragedies are somewhat bombastic and lack depth of characterization.

bona fide (B-n f d) adj. This phrase (which in Latin means in good faith) describes
anything that is genuine, authentic, real, not fake, not phony, etc., as in a bona fide Picasso or
a bona fide member of the group. Taxpayers can deduct travel expenses paid for another
person with them on a business trip if the person has a bona fide business purpose for the

bonhomie (bon--M) n. The quality of being friendly, cheerful, good-natured, goodhearted, warm-hearted, etc., is known as bonhomie. According to journalist William Drozdiak,
when President George W. Bush visited Europe in June 2001, he impressed most of his
European peers with his confident manner and backslapping bonhomie.

boor (boor) n. A boor is a person with rude, clumsy manners (hes coarse, inconsiderate)
and little refinement (hes uncultured, ignorant); an oaf, clod, jerk. Note: Dont confuse this
word with bore (which means a boring person). In the 1984 film Amadeus, actor Tom Hulce
portrays the title character (brilliantly talented 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart) as a giggling, pleasure-seeking boor.

bountiful (BOUN-t-fl) adj. This word means abundant, plentiful, more than enough, as
in bountiful supply. For its bountiful wheat crops, flour mills, and high rank in butter making,
Minnesota is sometimes referred to as the Bread and Butter State. Note: The word can also
mean generous, giving freely, as in bountiful friends.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bode
2. bludgeon
3. bolster

a. foretell, predict
b. support, prop up
c. beat, hit

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. boor: a dull person
2. bluster: disguise
3. bonhomie: friendliness, cheerfulness

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
bohemian, boisterous, bona fide

1. As a __________ member of the press, he was allowed backstage.
2. Eventually, the police asked the __________ partygoers to keep it down.
3. His mother disapproved of his __________ lifestyle.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. bombastic / flowery
2. blunder / error
3. bountiful / scarce

Chapter 28: bovinebridle

bovine (B-vn) adj. This word means pertaining to or resembling a cow. (Technically, the
word can be used to refer to any animal of the genus Bos, such as the ox, buffalo, or yak.) The
word is also used figuratively to mean dull, sluggish. My mother is afraid to buy milk from
cows that have been given bovine growth hormone (a naturally occurring or genetically
engineered hormone that increases milk production).

bow (bou) n. The bow is the front part of a ship (or any water vessel). (The rear part is called
the stern.) Ancient warships were often equipped with beaks: metal projections on the bow
to ram enemy vessels.

bowdlerize (BD-l-rz, BOUD-l-rz) vb. In 1818 a prudish English editor named Thomas
Bowdler published an edition of Shakespeares plays with the immodest passages removed
(so it could be read aloud in a family). Today, to bowdlerize something (a novel or play, for

example) is to remove (or modify) objectionable (vulgar or erroneous) passages before

publication. Because The Ed Sullivan Show was family oriented, when rock groups whose
lyrics dealt with drugs or sex (the Door or the Rolling Stones, for example) appeared, Sullivan
insisted they perform bowdlerized versions of their songs.

Brahmin (BR-min) n. In Hinduism (the major religion of India) a Brahmin is a member of
the highest class. But in informal usage, when people refer to someone as a Brahmin, they
mean hes a cultured, intelligent, highborn, upper-class person, especially a member of New
Englands upper-crust society (as in Boston Brahmins). As niece of President Theodore
Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt began life as a sheltered Brahmin; as wife of President Franklin
D. Roosevelt she became an outspoken champion of social justice.

brandish (BRAN-dish) vb. To brandish something (a stick or weapon, for example) is to
wave it in a threatening or menacing manner. In the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon, Al Pacino
plays a bossy bank robber who spends much more time brandishing his gun than actually using

bravado (br-V-d) n. A false or pretended show of courage or bravery is known as
bravado. Often theres an implication that this show is swaggering or boastful. When I go to
the dentist alone, I tremble with fright; but whenever I take my young son with me, I force
myself to put on a convincing show of bravado.

brawn (brn) n. This word denotes physical or muscular strength (as distinguished from
intellectual or mental strength), as in bodyguards are hired for their superior brawn. In his
1973 book People and Performance, Austrian-born American management writer Peter
Drucker said, Management means, in the last analysis, the substitution of thought for
brawn, of knowledge for superstition, and of cooperation for force.

brazen (BR-zn) adj. To describe someone as brazen is to say that hes shamelessly rude,
bold, or disrespectful; hes nervy. American showman P. T. Barnum (18101891) took the
upper half of a dead monkey sewn onto the bottom half of a large dead fish and brazenly
exhibited it as the Feejee Mermaid.

breach (brch) n. In a general sense, a breach is a break; more specifically, it can be (1) a
break, gap, opening, etc., in a structure or line of defense, as in a breach in the wall, (2) a
break in friendly relations, as in a breach between the President and Congress, or (3) the
breaking of, or failure to meet the requirements of, a law, regulation, obligation, contract,
promise, trust, etc., as in a breach of the treaty. In 1962 the Supreme Court ruled that required
prayer in public schools is a breach of the First Amendment (which prohibits establishing a

breadth (bredth) n. The breadth of something is its size or extent, especially its distance from

side to side (its width). A notice posted (late 1950s) at the University of Wisconsin library
read: Books are quiet; they do not dissolve into wavy lines or snowstorm effects; they do not
pause to deliver commercials; they are three-dimensional, having length, breadth, and depth;
they are convenient to handle and completely portable.

brevity (BREV-i-t) n. This word, the noun form of the word brief, has two senses. If a
particular event (or situation, circumstance, activity, etc.) has brevity, its short in duration; its
brief. Not much is remembered about the Presidency of James Garfield, perhaps because of the
brevity of his term of officeonly 200 days from his inauguration (March 1881) to his death at
the hands of an assassin. If ones speech or writing has brevity, it uses few words; its
compact, concise, short, etc. Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address (November 1863) is noted
for its definition of democracy (government of the people, by the people, and for the people)
and its brevity (less than 300 words, which took less than three minutes to deliver).

bridle (BR-dl) vb. Technically, to bridle is to lift the head and draw in the chin as an
expression of anger, annoyance, resentment, disapproval, etc. But the word is also used to
mean simply to become angry, annoyed, etc. (without actually lifting the head or drawing in
the chin). American colonists bridled (1765) when the British government passed the Stamp
Act (which required the payment of a tax to Britain on newspapers and legal documents).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. brandish
2. bridle
3. bowdlerize

a. edit, make deletions
b. wave threateningly
c. become angry or annoyed

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. brawn: muscular strength
2. bovine: cow-like
3. Brahmin: candle holder

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:

bow, bravado, breadth

1. The bully put on a show of false __________.
2. The lake was eight miles in length and three miles in __________.
3. The rowing crews captain took his position at the vessels __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. brazen / rude
2. breach / gap
3. brevity / wordiness

Chapter 29: bristlebumptious

bristle (BRIS-l) vb. When someone bristles, he reacts in an angry, irritated, or offended
manner (as if his hair were standing or rising stiffly, like the bristles on a brush). It seemed to
us that during the televised hearings (1991) of his appointment to the Supreme Court, Clarence
Thomas silently bristled whenever Anita Hills accusation of sexual harassment was

broach (brch) vb. To broach a subject is to bring it up for the first time (as for discussion).
In May 1988 journalist Charles Krauthammer said, The idea of the monthto cure the
hysteria of the yearis to legalize illegal drugs. The idea has been broached by the mayors of
Baltimore and Washington; it has made the front pages of the Washington Post and the New
York Times; it even boasts an academic champion in a professor at Princeton University.

bromide (BR-md) n. A bromide is an often-repeated expression, phrase, or saying that has
lost its freshness and originality. Youll often see the word old before the word, as in the old
bromide that you are what you eat. The adjective, bromidic, means of or like a bromide. The
song A Wonderful Guy (from Rodgers and Hammersteins South Pacific) is filled with corny,
old expressions and contains the line Im as trite and as gay as a daisy in May, a clich
coming true; Im bromidic and bright as a moon-happy night pouring light on the dew.

brood (brood) vb. To brood about something (something unhappy or unfortunate) is to
sulkily or gloomily dwell on it (in your mind). In 1984, after he had written 289 books,
author Isaac Asimov said, If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't
brood; Id type a little faster.

brook (brook) vb. To brook something is to tolerate it, to put up with it. People always use
this word in the negative; they say they wont (or refuse to) brook something or other. I didnt

even bother saying that my dog ate my homework because I knew our teacher wouldnt brook
any excuses.

brown study (BROUN STUD-) n. To be in a brown study is to be deeply absorbed in
thought; to be lost in thought. If you visit the museums Picasso exhibit, skip the 15-minute
guided tour by headphones; instead, simply enjoy the fuzzy brown study that comes from
gazing into the silent masterpieces.

brusque (brusk) adj. People who are brusque (in manner or speech) are rudely abrupt or
brief; that is, theyre blunt, ungracious, impatient, discourteous, etc. In March 2000, journalist
Mary McGrory described New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a tiger of a mayor, who,
like his [fellow New Yorkers], is brusque, hostile, and given to communicating in insults.

bucolic (byoo-KOL-ik) adj. Land thats bucolic is rustic or rural; its out in the country. As
evidenced by his most famous work, The Blue Boy, British painter Thomas Gainsborough
(17271788) often set the subjects of his portraits in bucolic landscapes.

buffoon (b-FOON) n. A buffoon is a person who is an object of (often mocking) amusement
or laughter; a laughingstock, a fool, the butt of the joke. In a related sense, a buffoon is a
professional joker; a clown, a jester. In the mid-19th-century comedy team Abbott and
Costello, Bud Abbott played the straight man and Lou Costello the buffoon.

bulbous (BUL-bs) adj. To describe something as bulbous is to say that its shaped like a
bulb; that is, its rounded or swollen. Early 20th-century film comedian W. C. Fields was
known for his bulbous nose and his drawn-out pronunciation of vowels.

bulwark (BUL-wrk) n. Technically, a bulwark is a structure (a mound of earth, a wall, etc.)
used as a defense against attack (as at a fort, for example). But in general usage, a bulwark is
anything that offers any kind of protection (against danger, injury, etc.) or anyone who
provides support or encouragement in time of need. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once
said, The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect
the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain
its control over its government.

bumptious (BUMP-shs) adj. To describe someone as bumptious is to say that hes overly (or
offensively, loudly, crudely, etc.) self-assertive or cocky. Whereas (1980s hard rock band)
Guns N Roses (lead singer) Axl Rose has been widely criticized for his bumptious attitude (on
stage and off), Rolling Stone magazine once praised him for his manly scream.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bromide
2. bulwark
3. buffoon

a. old saying
b. clown, fool
c. something that offers support or protection

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. bristle: become angry or annoyed
2. bulbous: boastful
3. brown study: investigation, inquiry

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
broach, brood, brook

1. Dont __________ about it; things will get better.
2. We liked it that our teacher didnt __________ disrespectful behavior.
3. We tried to find a tactful way to __________ the subject.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. bumptious / meek
2. bucolic / rural
3. brusque / abrupt

Chapter 30: bunglecadge

bungle (BUNG-l) vb. To bungle something (a job, task, assignment, etc.) is to perform it
unskillfully, inefficiently, or clumsily; to botch it up. English comic actor Peter Sellers (19251980) is probably best known for playing the bungling French detective Inspector Clouseau in
The Pink Panther (1963) and its sequels.

bureaucrat (BYOOR--krat) n. A government in which power is concentrated in
administrative bureaus (divisions, units) is known as a bureaucracy. The implication is that in
this type of government a rigidity of routine leads to inefficiency, delays in making decisions,
lack of intelligent thought, etc. A bureaucrat is a non-elected official in such a government
(and as such hes not accountable to the public). The word is also sometimes used to describe
any petty, narrow-minded person. After Japans 1995 earthquake (in which 5,100 people were
killed and 26,800 were injured), bureaucrats held up the entry of emergency supplies and
rescue dogs flown from Europe.

burgeoning (BR-jn-ing) adj. Technically, a plant burgeons; that is, it begins to grow, to
sprout, to blossom, to flourish. But generally, when people describe something (besides a
plant) as burgeoning, they mean that its (usually suddenly or quickly) growing, expanding,
developing, increasing, thriving, etc. In the 1960s both industrial expansion and burgeoning
truck and automobile use worsened the air pollution problem.

burly (BR-l) adj. People who are burly have large, wide bodies; theyre heavy, strong,
beefy, muscular, etc. Characters featured in Popeye cartoons include the spindly Olive Oyl
and the burly Bluto.

buttonhole (BUT-n-hl) vb. To buttonhole someone is to stop him and detain him in
conversation (when hed rather be continuing on his way). It was practically impossible for
Fran to walk from her house to her car without being buttonholed by one of her lonely

Byzantine (BIZ-n-tn) adj. To describe something as Byzantine (sometimes spelled with a
small b) is to say that its highly complicated, involved, intricate, intertwining, etc. In an effort
to simplify our Byzantine tax structure, many policy makers in Washington have proposed some
form of flat tax or retail sales tax.

cabal (k-BAL) n. Technically, a cabal is an (often secret) group of plotters (that is, people
who conspire to work against or overthrow a government or authority). But the word is also
used informally to refer to any small group (a clique, circle, company, etc.) who share
characteristics; for example, they might all pursue the same artistic endeavor (as in a cabal of
poets), or they might all be devoted to or trail after a particular celebrity. In 1991, after Soviet
president Mikhail Gorbachev sought to revive his countrys ailing economy by introducing
elements of capitalism and democracy, a cabal of hard-line Communists tried (unsuccessfully)
to overthrow him.

cache (kash) n. A place used for hiding or storing provisions or valuables (or the store of
concealed provisions or valuables themselves) is known as a cache. The eastern red squirrel
stores large caches of pine and spruce cones for its winter food supply.

cachet (ka-SH) n. An official or unofficial sign, mark, or expression of approval,
distinction, authenticity, etc., is known as a cachet. Ivy League schools have a certain cachet
that state universities lack.

cacophonous (k-KOF--ns) adj. A sound described as cacophonous is harsh, dissonant,
unpleasant, or chaotic sounding. The noun is cacophony. We visited the forest because we
heard how peaceful it was; then when we arrived we were greeted with an unbearable
cacophony of bird calls and insect noises.

cadaver (k-DAV-r) n. A dead body, especially one intended for medical study, is known as a
cadaver. In human organ transplantation, whereas some organs (kidneys, for example) can be
obtained from either a living donor or a cadaver, others (the heart, for example) can be
obtained only from cadavers. Note: To describe a living person as cadaverous is to say that he
is extremely thin and pale.

cadge (kaj) vb. To cadge something (food, money, a cigarette, etc.) is to obtain it by imposing
on someones friendship or generosity; to ask for it with no intent to repay; to bum or mooch
it. In a letter to the Hobo Times, recalling his adventures as a 12-year-old orphan taking off
with a friend from Pennsylvania to Canada, 20th-century American novelist James Michener
wrote, We cadged stale bread and cakes from bakeries, slept in jails, and were often treated to
meals by the car owners who picked us up and gave us rides.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. bungle

2. buttonhole
3. cadge

a. mooch
b. detain in conversation
c. botch up

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. Byzantine: old
2. cachet: mark of distinction
3. cabal: jungle tent

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
bureaucrat, cache, cadaver

1. The __________ was placed in a drawer in the morgue.
2. The delay was blamed on a self-important __________.
3. When the police raided the apartment, they found a __________ of guns.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. burly / skinny
2. cacophonous / noisy
3. burgeoning / shrinking

Chapter 31: cadrecanny

cadre (K-dr) n. A cadre is a select group of (especially military) personnel, one capable of
assuming control or training others. In 1960 communist cadres within South Vietnam created
the National Liberation Front to challenge the U.S.-supported nationalist regime.

cajole (k-JL) vb. To cajole (someone) is to urge or persuade (him) by persistent flattery,
gentle teasing, repeated appeals, etc. The noun is cajolery. In January 2000 Defense Secretary
William Cohen said that he had recently visited Beverly Hills to cajole such film stars as Julia
Roberts, Tom Cruise, and Robert De Niro into making TV commercials praising service in the
armed forces.

caliber (KAL--br) n. The caliber of someone or something is its degree of worth,

excellence, merit, etc.; its quality. Leadership expert Dennis A. Peer once said, One measure
of leadership is the caliber of people who choose to follow you. Note: When speaking of a
firearm, the word refers to the diameter of the barrel (usually expressed in hundredths of an
inch), as in a .22-caliber rifle.

callous (KAL-s) adj. People described as callous are emotionally hardened; theyre
unsympathetic, uncaring, hardhearted, unfeeling, insensitive, indifferent, etc. At the
Nuremberg trials of 1946, the prosecution said, [Nazi doctors], callous to the sufferings of
people whom they regarded as inferior, were willing to gather whatever scientific fruit
[murders and tortures committed in the name of medical science] might yield.

callow (KAL-) adj. This word describes people who are immature, young, inexperienced,
etc. During the 1960 presidential campaign, to those who saw him as callow 43-year-old, John
F. Kennedy said, To exclude from positions of trust and command all those below the age of
44 would have kept Jefferson from writing the Declaration of Independence, Washington from
commanding the Continental Army, and Christopher Columbus from discovering America.

calumny (KAL-m-n) n. The uttering of false and harmful statements about someone (or one
of those statements itself) is known as calumny. In 1992, facing impeachment for dishonesty in
office, Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mello denied any wrongdoing in a televised
response to what he called calumnies, defamations, and injustices against him.

Calvinistic (kal-vi-NIS-tik) adj. People who are Calvinistic (named after the religious
doctrines of 16th-century Protestant theologian and reformer John Calvin) believe that all
events have been predetermined by an all-powerful God. Throughout the war, the young
soldier believed with Calvinistic certainty that he would survive and that his country would
eventually win.

camaraderie (k-m-R-d-r) n. The feeling of good-fellowship, goodwill, sociability, or
mutual trust that exists between friends or companions is known as camaraderie. According to
the Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, film director John Ford (18951973)
achieved his greatest [fame] for poetic visions of the American Westits rugged heroes,
pioneering families, and sense of male camaraderie.

canard (k-NRD) n. A canard is a (sometimes deliberately misleading and usually
damaging) false story, rumor, or report. After poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe
died (1849), his literary executor published a biographical essay that falsely represented the
writer as a drunk, a negligent journalist, a fraud, and a sexual deviant; the canard was
believed and Poe was condemned for faults that were never his.

candid (KAN-did) adj. To describe a statement or opinion as candid is to say that its frank,

forthright, blunt, honest, sincere, direct, up front, free-spoken, etc. (its free of pretense or
disguise). A photo described as candid is one in which the subject is unposed, unrehearsed,
unaware, etc. (and as such is also honest and free of pretense). In his August 1973 address to
the nation, explaining why he refused to surrender his oval office Watergate tapes, President
Richard Nixon said, If I were to make public these tapes, containing blunt and candid
remarks on many different subjects, the confidentiality of the office of the President would
always be suspect.

canine (K-nn) adjective, n. As an adjective, this word means pertaining to or characteristic
of dogs; like a dog. As a noun, a canine is a dog. Note: Technically, the noun refers to any
animal of the dog family (including wolves, coyotes, hyenas, foxes, etc.). Lassie, the worlds
most famous canine movie and TV star, first appeared in the 1942 film Lassie Come Home.

canny (KAN-) adj. People who are canny are shrewd and cautious (as in business or in
dealing with others); theyre sharp-witted, slick, thrifty, etc. Scottish-born U.S. industrialist
Andrew Carnegies canny investments made him wealthy by age 30.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. canny
2. canine
3. Calvinistic

a. pertaining to dogs
b. of the belief that events are predetermined
c. shrewd, thrifty

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. canard: card game
2. cajole: persuade through flattery
3. calumny: damaging remark

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
cadre, caliber, camaraderie

1. At summer camp, we especially enjoyed the sports and __________.

2. A cadre of marines was sent in to restore order __________.

3. Im surprised that a man of your __________ would pull such a stunt.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. candid / rehearsed
2. callow / mature
3. callous / uncaring

Chapter 32: cantankerouscarnivorous

cantankerous (kan-TANG-kr-s) adj. If someone is cantankerous, hes grouchy, irritable,
quarrelsome, ill-tempered, disagreeable, stubborn, etc. In Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol
(1843), Ebenezer Scrooge is a cantankerous old miser who eventually discovers the meaning of

canvass (KAN-vs) vb. To canvass a group of people is to ask for their opinions; to take a
survey or poll. The first U.S. newspaper to canvass public opinion during a presidential
election was the Harrisburg Pennsylvanian (during the election of 1824, in which John Quincy
Adams defeated Andrew Jackson). Note: In another sense, to canvass is to go through a
neighborhood (or city, district, etc.) asking for votes, sales orders, or donations.

capacious (k-P-shs) adj. Something described as capacious is large or roomy; it can hold
a large amount (of something). In 1963 Ralph Nader abandoned his private law practice in
Hartford, Connecticut, and with one capacious suitcase hitchhiked to Washington, D.C., to
begin a career as a public crusader.

caper (K-pr) vb. To caper is to playfully (and usually happily) leap (skip, hop, etc.) about.
The word comes from the Latin word for male goat, and, as you know, males goats
playfully leap about. In a famous fairy tale, every time Rumpelstiltskins name is guessed
incorrectly, he gleefully capers about.

capitulate (k-PICH--lt) vb. To capitulate is to surrender (give up, yield, succumb, etc.) or
to act in accordance with another s wishes (agree, submit, obey, etc.). V-E Day and V-J Day
are historic dates marking the end of World War II; V-E (Victory in Europe) Day was
celebrated following the surrender of Germany (May 8, 1945), and V-J (Victory over Japan)
Day designates the date (September 2, 1945) Japan officially capitulated.

capricious (k-PRISH-s, k-PR-shs) adj. To describe someone or something as
capricious is to say that its liable to change, especially without warning; its whimsical,

fickle, flighty, etc. In his 1867 book The English Constitution, British economist and social
scientist Walter Bagehot said, Our law very often reminds one of those outskirts of cities
where you cannot for a long time tell how the streets come to wind about in so capricious and
serpent-like a manner.

captious (KAP-shs) adj. People who are captious like to (or tend to) find and point out
trivial faults; theyre overly critical, nitpicking, hairsplitting, etc. We have a captious friend
who corrects practically everything we say; for example, if we say that we find cockroaches
antennas disgusting, hell say (in a rather stuffy tone), Actually, its antennae.

cardinal (KRD-nl) adj. If you describe something (a rule, principle, event, etc.) as
cardinal, you mean that its of primary (first, foremost) importance; that is, its crucial,
essential, fundamental, key, etc. The implication is that other things (future events, for
example) depend or hinge on it (in fact, the word cardinal derives from the Latin word for
hinge). Austrian writer Franz Kafka (18831924) once said, There are two cardinal sins from
which all the others spring: impatience and laziness.

careen (k-RN) vb. When a vessel, such as a boat or plane, careens, it leans, sways, or tips
to one side while in motion. When a vehicle, such as a car or bus, careens, it either leans to
one side while in motion (as when speeding around a corner, for example), or it lurches or
swerves. According to the Encarta Encyclopedia, BMX racing, or motocross, takes place on
indoor or outdoor dirt tracks [on which] packs of riders careen around tight turns and jump
over ramps and hills.

career (k-RR) vb. Everyone knows that as a noun, your career is your chosen occupation
or profession. But as a verb, to career is to move along at top speed (or at least to move
rapidly, to rush). When its brakes failed, the 18-wheeler careered down the hill.

carnage (KR-nij) n. The slaughter of many people (as in a war or massacre) is known as
carnage. The word can also refer to corpses (as of men killed in battle). In 1963 a
lawyer/spokesman for the World Conference on World Peace through Law said, What we
lawyers want to do is to substitute courts for carnage.

carnivorous (kr-NIV-r-s) adj. A carnivore is an animal that eats meat (or catches other
live animals for food); for example, tigers and wolves are carnivores. The adjective
carnivorous (meat-eating; flesh-eating) is used to describe such animals. Although the
deadly, sharp-toothed, carnivorous species of piranha (a freshwater fish of South America) is
by far the best known, most actually feed on plants. Note: An animal that feeds on plants is
said to be herbivorous (as in horses and giraffes are herbivorous), and an animal whose diet
includes both meat and plants is said to be omnivorous (as in raccoons and pigs are

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. caper
2. capitulate
3. careen

a. give in, surrender
b. lurch, swerve, sway
c. playfully leap about

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. canvass: cover, protect
2. carnage: slaughter
3. career: move at top speed

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
cantankerous, capacious, carnivorous

1. Bears are __________ animals.
2. Surprisingly, the narrow tunnel led to a __________ underground chamber.
3. When Grandma got mad at Grandpa, she called him a __________ old man.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. capricious / flighty
2. cardinal / unimportant
3. captious / faultfinding

Chapter 33: carousecaustic

carouse (k-ROUZ) vb. To carouse is to drink (alcohol) and (loudly) make merry; to whoop
it up, to party. Carson City is the official capital of Nevada, but Las Vegas is its gambling and
carousing capital.

carp (krp) vb. To carp is to complain unreasonably, find fault (especially ill-naturedly),
quibble, raise petty objections, etc. In 1960, after a British critic had carped about (Pulitzer
Prizewinning American author) William Saroyans latest play, the playwright said, One of
us is obviously mistaken.

carrion (KAR--n) n. The decaying flesh (meat, muscle, fat, etc.) of a dead animal is known
as carrion. The vulture (a large bird with dark feathers and a small, featherless head) is
natures great scavenger; instead of hunting and killing prey, it feeds on carrion.

cascade (kas-KD) noun, vb. As a noun, a cascade is a waterfall. As a verb, to cascade is to
fall, tumble, gush, flow, etc. (like water in a waterfall). In 1950, when Yale University was
looking for a new president, a member of the selection committee said that a Yale president
should be, among other things, profound with a wit that bubbles up and brims over in a
cascade of brilliance.

castigate (KAS-ti-gt) vb. To castigate someone is to punish him (for some fault or offense)
or to severely criticize him (often publicly). Pop superstar Michael Jackson has been praised
for his singing and dancing but castigated for his supposedly strange sexual behavior and
constantly changing appearance.

casualties (KAZH-oo-l-tz) n. People killed or injured in war or as the result of an
unfortunate accident, incident, or natural catastrophe (plane crash, riot, earthquake, etc.) are
referred to as casualties. Iraqi military casualties in the 1991 Persian Gulf War numbered
about 100,000 killed and 300,000 wounded. Note: Things (businesses, for example) lost,
destroyed, harmed, or eliminated (as the result of some act or event) can also be referred to as

cataclysm (KAT--kliz-m) n. In one sense a cataclysm is an event (a war, assassination,
economic depression, etc.) that brings about a sweeping or fundamental (usually social or
political) change. The cataclysmic effects of the Great Depression (Americas severe economic
slowdown of 19291941) were felt in Europe and contributed to Adolf Hitlers rise in
Germany. In another sense, a cataclysm is a violent geological (earth-related) or
meteorological (weather-related) event (such as an earthquake, tornado, or flood) that causes
great destruction. Many scientists believe that the dinosaurs extinction was caused by a
cataclysmic asteroid strike at Mexicos Yucatan Peninsula some 65 million years ago.

catalyst (KAT--list) n. In chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that causes some kind of
chemical reaction. In nuclear reactions, carbon acts as a catalyst to convert hydrogen into
helium and gamma rays. By extension, the word is used to refer to anything (a person,
situation, event, occurrence, etc.) that causes or sparks any type of reaction or change. The
Japanese surprise air attack (December 1941) on Pearl Harbor served as the catalyst that

brought the United States into World War II.

catastrophe (k-TAS-tr-f) n. A catastrophe is any severe misfortune; any (often
unexpected) occurrence causing great destruction or distress (often specifically a natural
disaster, such as an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption, or flood). Bombay,
India, has seen a number of catastrophes, including the Great Fire of 1803, the bubonic plague
epidemic of 1896, and the harbor explosion of 1944. Note: Informally, the word can signify
any complete or total failure or disappointment (as in our trip to Mexico was a catastrophe).

catharsis (k-THR-sis) n. A catharsis is a (sometimes sudden or violent) release or
discharge of disruptive, pent-up emotions, so as to result in the permanent relief of anguish or
in a cleansing of the spirit. Note: In medicine, a catharsis is a purging (of the digestive
system, by way of the bowels). By undergoing primal therapy (a method of psychotherapy that
treats neurosis cathartically; that is, it teaches patients to express feelings through angry
screaming), the substitute teacher learned to maintain her sanity in the classroom by
periodically screeching SHUT UP!! at the top of her lungs.

catholic (KATH-lik, KATH--lik) adj. When this word is spelled with a capital C, it refers to
a religion (Catholicism). But with a small c it means widespread; all-inclusive. The
psychologist said that the best cure for depression was outdoor exercise and catholic interests.

caustic (K-stik) adj. This word can refer to either chemicals or to critical commentary.
Caustic chemicals burn, corrode, or dissolve (something). (An example of a caustic chemical
is sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda or lye.) Caustic critical commentary (as
you might find in a negative movie or book review, for example) stingsits cutting or biting
and often satirical or sarcastic. With its caustic lyrics and pretty melody, Bob Dylans Blowin
in the Wind became an anthem of the early 1960s civil rights movement.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. carouse
2. castigate
3. carp

a. punish, scold
b. make merry, party
c. find fault

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. cascade: gush, fall
2. carrion: high-pitched musical instrument
3. casualties: people killed

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
catalyst, catastrophe, catharsis

1. After her __________ (she finally screamed her lungs out at him), she felt much better.
2. The near accident was the __________ that finally got him to start wearing a seatbelt.
3. Our presentation was a __________; everything went wrong.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. caustic / mild
2. catholic / limited
3. cataclysm / disaster

Chapter 34: cavalierchaos

cavalier (kav--LR) adj. To be cavalier is to show offhand disregard (for something); to be
(sometimes inappropriately) unceremonious, carefree, nonchalant, casual, etc. (about it). In
his autobiography, Confessions (1781), French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau tells of a
great princess who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, cavalierly
replied, Then let them eat cake (a statement often falsely attributed to French queen Marie

cavil (KAV-l) vb. To cavil is to find fault, especially unnecessarily or irritatingly; to raise
petty objections; to quibble. In 1950, in a reply to the music critic whod caviled about his
daughter Margarets singing, President Harry Truman wrote, Some day I hope to meet you;
when that happens you'll need a new nose.

cease (ss) vb. When something (a particular condition, the performance of an action or
activity, etc.) ceases, it comes to an end; it stops. The first mass-produced automobile, the
Model T Ford, was introduced in 1908; production ceased in 1927, after more than fifteen
million had rolled off the assembly line.

celerity (s-LER-i-t) n. To do something with celerity is to do it swiftly or quickly. When I

assured him that the months he had to spend in jail would pass with celerity, he didnt appear
especially comforted.

celestial (s-LES-chl) adj. This word means pertaining to the sky or heaven (whether
material or spiritual). For example, the sun, moon, planets, and stars are celestial bodies, and
angels are celestial beings. According to the New Testament, the Star of Bethlehem was a
bright celestial object that led the three gift-bearing Wise Men of the East to the infant Jesus.

censor (SEN-sr) vb. To censor something (speech, a book, a film, etc.) is to inspect it to see
whether it contains anything morally, socially, or politically objectionable (such as violence
or a vulgarism) and then to delete or change the offensive material. Anthropologist Margaret
Mead (19011978) once said, Thanks to television, for the first time the young are seeing
history made before it is censored by their elders. Note: As a noun, a censor is one who
performs such a function.

censure (SEN-shr) noun, vb. As a noun, a censure is a strong expression of disapproval.
Note: In politics the word refers to an official expression of disapproval (as by a legislature
or one of its members). As a verb, to censure (someone) is to strongly or harshly scold or
criticize (him). To refer to something (language, for example) as censorious (pronounced
sen-SR--s) is to say that its severely critical. In the late 1990s, some members of Congress
suggested that President Bill Clinton be censured (rather than impeached) for his sexual

cerebral (s-R-brl) adj. Your cerebrum is the part of your brain that controls thinking.
Technically, cerebral means pertaining to the cerebrum (as in President Franklin D.
Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage). But when people describe something as cerebral,
they usually mean that it appeals to the intellect (as opposed to the emotions) or that it requires
concentrated thinking or analyzing. And when they describe a person as cerebral, they mean
that hes brainy, intelligent, analytical, etc. Speaking of Johann Sebastian Bachs (16851750)
music, which often featured complex counterpoint (interplay between individual melodic
lines), Grolier s Encyclopedia said, Combined with its cerebral aspects are exquisite
melodies and a sense of passion.

chafe (chf) vb. To chafe is to feel or become annoyed, irritated, discontented, etc. (at
something). Speaking of 20th-century composer Igor Stravinskys monetary affairs, one of his
biographers disclosed, He is still chafing today because of the 26 percent service charge on
his hotel bill.

chagrin (sh-GRIN) n. A feeling of displeasure (sadness, disappointment, vexation,
annoyance, etc.) combined with embarrassment is known as chagrin. As a verb, to be
chagrined is to feel or experience this combination of displeasure and embarrassment.
Chagrined by his endorsement of Richard Nixon in 1972 (the year of the Watergate break-in),

preacher and evangelist Billy Graham has since shied away from politics.

champion (CHAM-p-n) n. One who fights for or argues in favor of a particular person,
group, or cause is known as a champion (of that person, group, or cause). Senator Robert F.
Kennedy (19251968) was a champion of the civil rights movement.

chaos (K-os) n. This word signifies either a state of complete disorder, confusion, or
turmoil (as in a classroom in chaos), or a complete lack of order or organization (as in a
desktop in chaos). Writer Katherine Anne Porter (18901980) once said, Human life itself
may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and
put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. censure
2. cease
3. chafe

a. stop
b. become annoyed
c. officially express disapproval

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. censor: delete offensive material
2. cavalier: knightly
3. celerity: swiftness, speediness

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
chagrin, champion, chaos

1. The judges threat to clear the room put an end to the noisy __________.
2. She was a __________ of the animal rights movement.
3. With __________ he announced that he was incapable of performing his duties.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. cavil / praise
2. cerebral / brainy
3. celestial / earthly

Chapter 35: charismachide

charisma (k-RIZ-m) n. Charisma means personal magnetism. People who are
charismatic have an appeal (charm, energy, excitement, etc.) that naturally attracts others. He
argued, and honestly believed, that the primary reason the United States was the greatest
country in the world was that it produced the worlds most charismatic personalities; then, as
examples, he named Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Leonard Bernstein.

charlatan (SHR-l-tn) n. A charlatan is a person who is a fraud, a quack, a cheat. For
example, someone at a county fair who tries to sell a (phony) miracle drug that supposedly
cures all illnesses is a charlatan. Because his compositions are extremely unconventional (one
is nothing but silence, another consists of sounds generated by plants, and another is a series
of notes and rhythms randomly selected by a computer), some music critics consider composer
John Cage a charlatan.

chary (CHR-) adj. If youre chary (of some suspected danger or risk) youre wary,
cautious, or carefully watchful, and youre reluctant to act or proceed. In March 1982
journalist William Claiborne said, Nearly three years after Egypt and Israel signed their
historic [March 1979] peace treaty, normalization of relations remains hesitant; Israel,
[ecstatic] in those initial days of peace fever, gradually has become charybordering on

chasm (KAZ-m) n. A chasm is a deep, steep-sided opening (a wide crack) in the Earths (or
another planets) surface; a pit, canyon, gulf, etc. According to the Information Please
Almanac, Mars is a rugged planet with huge volcanoes and deep chasms. Note: The word is
also used figuratively to refer to any type of wide or large break or split (as in the chasm
between the American Dream and middle-class reality).

chaste (chst) adj. If a person is chaste, shes pure in thought or conduct; shes moral,
innocent, decent, modest, etc. If a thing (a painting or an article of clothing, for example) is
chaste, its simple or pure in design or style. In Shakespeares Hamlet (1603), the young
prince tells his mother, Queen Ophelia, that even if she is as chaste as ice [and] as pure as
snow, she will not escape scandal (for having married Claudius, her husbands brother and

chasten (CH-sn) vb. To chasten someone is to scold or punish him in order to correct,

strengthen, or improve him. The implication is that he will be left humbled (brought down a
notch) or subdued. Seemingly chastened by the frightening possibility of nuclear warover
the tension-filled Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), in which the U.S. sought to prevent the USSR
from constructing launching sites for nuclear missiles in Cubathe Americans and Soviets
signed a treaty (1963) barring atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

chastise (CHAS-tz) vb. When you chastise someone, you either scold him or spank him for
having done something wrong (usually as a means of bringing about an improvement in his
behavior). When the freshman boys returned to their dorm after their first panty raid, the
faculty resident chastised them loudly.

checkered (CHEK-rd) adj. If you say that an object (a piece of fabric, for example) is
checkered, you mean that its marked with squares (like a checkerboard). But if you say that
someones career, life, past, etc., is checkered, you mean that its marked by alternating
periods of good and bad fortune, ups and downs, etc. With his foreign successes (visit to the
Peoples Republic of China, end of the Vietnam War) and failures at home (high inflation,
Watergate scandal) you might say that Richard Nixon had a checkered Presidency
(interestingly, his dogs name was Checkers!).

cherubic (ch-ROO-bik) adj. A cherub is an angel, or other celestial being, portrayed in art
as a winged child with a chubby, rosy face (Cupid, for example). To describe a person as
cherubic (or to refer to a person, especially a child, as a cherub) is to say that he or his face is
angelic, sweet, innocent, or chubby. In his review of the 1987 film Planes, Trains and
Automobiles, journalist Hal Hinson said, [Actor] John Candy is so exuberantly cherubic that
his feet never seem to touch the ground.

chevron (SHEV-rn) n. A chevron is a badge consisting of (usually) inverted Vshaped
stripes sewn onto the upper part of the sleeve of a military (or police) uniform to indicate
rank or years of service. We knew he was a corporal because his chevron had two gold stripes.

chicanery (shi-K-n-r) n. A trick or clever scheme employed for the purpose of deceiving
or cheating is known as chicanery. During the 2000 presidential election, some Democrats
claimed that George W. Bush won the state of Florida by legal and political chicanery.

chide (chd) vb. To chide someone is to scold or criticize him mildly or gently, usually to
correct a fault. After my English teacher chided me for ending a sentence with a preposition,
he winked and said, Then again, sometimes its a good word to end a sentence with.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. checkered
2. cherubic
3. chaste

a. marked by periods of good and bad
b. innocent, pure
c. angelic

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. chasten: cause to move faster
2. chicanery: trickery
3. chevron: V-shaped badge

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
charisma, charlatan, chasm

1. I would never go to that so-called doctor; hes a __________.
2. What the band needed more than anything else was a vocalist with __________.
3. A wooden bridge was built across the __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. chary / wary
2. chide / compliment
3. chastise / scold

Chapter 36: cholericcite

choleric (KOL--rik, k-LER-ik) adj. People described as choleric are bad-tempered or
easily angered; theyre crabby, grouchy, irritable, touchy, etc. After seeing the 1938 animated
film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, we couldnt remember Docs personality type; on the
other hand, the names of the other six dwarfs defined their natures (for example, there was the
shy Bashful, the choleric Grumpy, and so on).

choreography (kr--OG-r-f) n. Choreography is either the art of dancing or the art of
arranging (or composing, planning, etc.) dance patterns, steps, movements, etc., for

performance. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, Jerome Robbins choreography [for the

1961 film West Side Story] is an explosive blend of ballet, acrobatics, and jazz.

chronic (KRON-ik) adj. If you describe a behavior as chronic you mean that its habitual or
constant (as in chronic smoker). If you describe a situation or medical condition as chronic
you mean that it has lasted a long time and that its marked by frequent recurrences (as in
chronic warfare or chronic pain). According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, Many baseball
authorities believe that [Sandy Koufax] might have established himself as the greatest pitcher
ever had not chronic arthritis in his left elbow forced his early retirement in 1966.

churlish (CHR-lish) adj. People described as churlish are ill-natured, rude, uncouth, coarse,
and ungracious. When Sesame Streets Oscar the Grouch worked in a diner, the churlish green
trashcan dweller tossed a salad (across the room) and replied to a waitresss request for a
glass by asking her whether she wanted it dirty or broken.

Cimmerian (si-MR--n) adj. In Greek mythology, Cimmerians were people who inhabited
a land of perpetual darkness. Hence, a place described as Cimmerian is very dark (or
gloomy). Countless bats inhabit the deep, Cimmerian caves of New Mexicos Carlsbad
Caverns National Park.

cipher (S-fr) n. Technically, a cipher is a zero (the mathematical symbol or quantity). But if
you describe something as a cipher, you mean its unimportant or it has no value. If you
describe a person as a cipher, you mean hes a nobody, a nothing. She had always suspected
her son was a cipher; then, when he attained the office of Vice President of the United States,
she wondered if her suspicion was negated or confirmed! Note: Another meaning of this word
is code (a set of symbols for transmitting secret messages).

circadian (sr-K-d-n) adj. The word circa means about, and a day is a 24-hour period.
Knowing that, its easy to remember that the word circadian refers to a 24-hour cycle. The
phrase circadian rhythm refers to your cycle of activityincluding both your daily
functioning (eating, sleeping, etc.) and your bodys chemistry (changes in blood pressure,
urine production, etc.)that lasts for and recurs approximately every 24 hours. The natural
circadian rhythms of the astronauts were maintained by keeping the Americans on Houston
time and the Russians on Moscow time.

circuitous (sr-KYOO-i-ts) adj. To refer to something (a route or an explanation, for
example) as circuitous is to say that its roundabout and indirect (and often lengthy and
winding). The Snake River, which flows circuitously from Yellowstone National Park in
Wyoming to the Columbia River in Washington, has spectacular deep gorges and is an
important source of hydroelectric power.

circumlocution (sr-km-l-KYOO-shn) n. From Latin, circum means around and

locution refers to speech, so when you indulge in circumlocution you talk around a subject
youre wordy, indirect, or evasive. When you put the word a in front (a
circumlocution), youre referring to a particular roundabout expression or phrase. Pointing
to the phrase party of the first part in the wordy legal document my lawyer handed me, I
complained, This is all gobbledygook, to which he pointed to the phrase quid pro quo,
and replied, Not all of its circumlocutionsome of its just Latin.

circumspect (sr-km-SPEKT) adj. If youre circumspect, youre careful about your conduct
and you demonstrate sound judgment; you take into consideration circumstances and potential
consequences; youre wary and wise. After the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, the atomic
energy industry came to a halt as circumspect consumers across America voted to close
existing nuclear plants and cancel orders for new ones.

circumvent (sr-km-VENT) vb. To circumvent a physical thing is to go around it (instead of
through it); to bypass it. Canals near Louisville, KY, allow riverboats to circumvent 26-foot
waterfalls in the Ohio River. To circumvent a difficulty, a problem, unpleasantness, a law, etc.,
is to avoid it (often through clever deception); to sidestep it. Todays ten-pin bowling was
devised to circumvent laws against nine-pin bowling (which had been passed because of
widespread gambling in the 1800s).

cite (st) vb. To cite something is to mention it (out loud or in writing) as an example in order
to support, prove, or illustrate something. People who believe that ordinary citizens should be
allowed to own guns often cite the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees
the right of the people to keep and bear arms.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. choreography
2. circumlocution
3. cipher

a. a nothing, a nobody
b. an instance of talking around a subject
c. arranging of dance movements

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. circadian: pertaining to lizards

2. cite: observe, see

3. circumvent: avoid, bypass

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
chronic, churlish, circumspect

1. His __________ behavior earned him the nickname Grouchy.
2. He suffered from __________ pain in his right knee.
3. I dont think hed risk it; hes too __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. Cimmerian / bright
2. circuitous / straight
3. choleric / irritable

Chapter 37: cladcoagulate

clad (klad) vb. To be clad in something (a garment, an article of clothing) is to be clothed in
it; to be wearing it. Note: Clad is the past tense and past participle of the verb clothe. Many
rock music videos feature scantily clad dancers.

clairvoyant (klr-VOI-nt) adj. The supposed or supernatural ability to see things that are out
of sight or to know things that will happen in the future is known as clairvoyance. If youre
clairvoyant you have the power of clairvoyance; that is, you have knowledge of distant
objects or future events; youre psychic; you have ESP. Parapsychology is the study of the
ability of the mind to perform such psychic acts as telepathy, telekinesis, and clairvoyance.

clamber (KLAM-r) vb. To clamber (up or over something) is to climb (up or over it)
awkwardly or with difficulty, using both hands and feet. According to the Cambridge
Biographical Encyclopedia, when Australian aviation pioneer Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor flew
over the Tasman Sea in 1935, one engine cut out, and oil pressure was lost on another; [and
so he] spent the rest of the flight clambering across the wings every half-hour, transferring oil
from the dead engine into the ailing one.

clamor (KLAM-r) verb, n. As a verb, to clamor is to make a loud or noisy outcry (about
something). As a noun, a clamor is such an outcry. At the end of the 1997 film Titanic, wealthy
passengers in lifeboats await rescue amid the clamor of poor passengers drowning in the cold
Atlantic water.

clandestine (klan-DES-tin) adj. To describe something (a meeting or plot, for example) as
clandestine is to say that its done or kept in secret. Sometimes the implication is that theres
something immoral or illegal about whatever is being kept secret. The Iran-Contra affair was
a mid-1980s clandestine U.S. government arrangement to illegally provide funds to the
Nicaraguan Contras (rebels) from profits gained by selling arms (weapons) to Iran.

clement (KLEM-nt) adj. To describe a person (especially one in authoritya judge, for
example) as clement is to say that hes lenient, compassionate, merciful, humane, forgiving,
etc. To describe weather as clement is to say that its mild, pleasant, etc. Note: The noun
clemency means an act or instance of being compassionate, merciful, or forgiving.
Although President Gerald Ford denied amnesty (exemption from criminal prosecution) to
Vietnam War draft evaders, he did offer clemency to those who were willing to do public
service work.

cleric (KLER-ik) n. A cleric (or clergyman) is a person ordained for religious service; for
example, a minister, priest, reverend, pastor, chaplain, rabbi, etc. In 1968, comparing clerics
St. Paul (ancient Christian preacher and teacher) and Norman Vincent Peale (Protestant
minister and author of the 1952 self-help book The Power of Positive Thinking), former
presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson said, I find Paul appealing and Peale appalling.

clich (kl-SH) n. A clich is a phrase or sentence that, because of long overuse, has lost its
impact or freshness. He had an uncanny talent for freshening up old clichs by slightly
altering one of the words, as in where theres a whip [instead of will] theres a way!

climactic (kl-MAK-tik) adj. In a true or made-up literary or dramatic work (history, novel,
play, film, etc.), a climax is an intense, decisive moment that serves as a turning point or as the
conclusion of some crisis. The adjective climactic means pertaining to or in the nature of a
climax. The climactic Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) marked the beginning of the Union
armys advantage in the Civil Warbut nearly two years of heavy fighting would follow before
the South was finally forced to surrender (April 1865). Note: Be careful to spell the word with
a c after the a; the word climatic has a different meaning: pertaining to climate (weather

clique (klik) n. A clique is a small group of people (often within a larger group) who are
friends (or who share an interest, activity, or attitude) and who tend to exclude others (from
their group). The high school lunchroom, table by table, was divided into various cliques: a
clique of athletes, a clique of nerds, a clique of drama club members, and so on.

cloy (kloi) vb. Something that cloys (or thats cloying), starts out as sweet or pleasant (such as
a taste, smell, or sentiment), but becomes unpleasant or even disgusting when too much (of it)
has been supplied. I never knew how cloying sweets could be until I first moved out of my

parents house and made a meal of 12 chocolate donuts and two root beers.

coagulate (k-AG-y-lt) vb. When something (blood or milk, for example) coagulates, it
changes from a fluid to a thickened mass; it thickens, jells, clots, etc. Rubber plants yield a
milky, white sap that can be coagulated with an acid to form crude rubber.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. clamber
2. coagulate
3. clamor

a. protest loudly
b. become thickened
c. climb with difficulty

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. clique: meeting place
2. clich: overused saying
3. cloy: stick, cling

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
clairvoyant, clandestine, climactic

1. The __________ meeting took place at 3:00 a.m. in a back alley..
2. The films most __________ scene began with a shouting match and ended with a hug.
3. The woman who claimed to be __________ was finally exposed as a fraud.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. cleric / clergyman
2. clement / mean
3. clad / dressed

Chapter 38: coalescecoif

coalesce (k--LES) vb. When various (usually related) things coalesce, they come or grow
together to form a whole (a single body, unit, mass, group, etc.); they unite, blend, combine,
join, fuse, etc. Our solar system was born nearly five billion years ago when swirling masses
of gas and dust coalesced to form the Sun and the planets.

coax (kks) vb. To coax someone is to try to persuade him (to perform some action, agree to
something, etc.) by gentle urging, flattery, sweet-talk, promises, etc. We coaxed our cat out of
its hiding place by offering it food and speaking to it in a higher-than-normal voice.

coddle (KOD-l) vb. If you coddle someone, you excessively tend to his needs or feelings;
you treat him in an overly tender or indulgent manner. The implication is that by doing so you
weaken his character. She confessed to us that she secretly enjoyed when her children had
colds because it was the only time she got to coddle them without guilt!

codify (KOD-i-f, K-d-f) vb. To codify something (a set of laws or rules, for example) is
to put it into a complete, systematically arranged collection. The rules of baseball were
codified in 1846 by New York surveyor Alexander Cartwright of the Knickerbocker Baseball

coerce (k-RS) vb. To coerce someone into doing something (against his will) is to force
him to do it (by means of pressure, intimidation, threats, etc.). The noun is coercion. In the
movie, the police tried to coerce a suspect into signing a false confession by means of the
third degree and, when that failed, outright physical abuse.

cog (kog) n. Youve probably seen wheels or gears with a series of interlocking teeth
(projections) on their rims (as in clocks or machinery). Each of those teeth is known as a cog.
But people often use this word informally to refer to a person who plays a minor (but often
necessary) role in some large organization, activity, etc. In 1898 American essayist John Jay
Chapman said, Wherever you see a man who gives someone elses [immorality] as a reason
for not taking action himself, you see a cog in The Machine that governs us.

cogent (K-jnt) adj. If an explanation or argument is cogent, its convincing, believable, or
compelling (because its clearly presented and logical). Interestingly, Gregor Mendels cogent
explanation of inherited traits in plants was ignored until after his death.

cogitate (KOJ-i-tt) vb. When you cogitate about (or on) something, you think about it
carefully or intently; you turn it over in your mind. The noun is cogitation. As my five-yearold daughter stared intently at the dead ladybug, I assumed she was deep in cogitation over
the meaning of lifebut, I found out later, she was merely counting the spots on its back!

cognizant (KOG-ni-znt) adj. To be cognizant of something is to be aware of it; to have

knowledge of it; to be familiar with it. The word is used especially (instead of aware) in
formal contexts. The noun is cognizance. Historians say that while President Richard Nixon
was not cognizant of a planned 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee
headquarters in the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C., he subsequently tried
to prevent an investigation of the crime.

cohesive (k-H-siv) adj. To refer to something (a social group, a chemical mixture, etc.) as
cohesive is to say that the parts that make it up are unified; that is, they hold together firmly or
exist together without conflict. One of the earliest musicals to fully integrate plot and music
into a cohesive whole was Rodgers and Hammersteins Oklahoma! (1943).

cohort (K-hrt) n. Your cohorts are the people you hang out with; your companions,
associates, buddies, friends, etc. Sometimes the word has a negative connotation; that is, if
you refer to so-and-so and his cohorts, you may be implying that theyre up to no good. In
1975 Richard Nixons cohorts John Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, and John Ehrlichman were
found guilty of the Watergate cover-up and sentenced to prison.

coif (kwf) n. A coif (or coiffure) is a particular style of arranging or wearing the hair; a
hairstyle or hairdo. As a verb, to coif the hair is to arrange it (in a particular style). On the
animated TV series The Simpsons, mother Marge sports a blue beehive coif. Note: A coiffeur
is a hairdresser.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. cog
2. cohort
3. coif

a. anything that plays a minor but necessary role
b. hairstyle
c. buddy, companion

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. cohesive: heavy, burdensome
2. codify: unravel, solve
3. coalesce: come or grow together

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
coax, coddle, coerce

1. Marge likes to __________ her pet Chihuahua.
2. We tried to __________ him with promises of chocolate.
3. They tried to __________ him into signing the confession.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. cogitate / think
2. cogent / unclear
3. cognizant / unaware

Chapter 39: coincidencecommodious

coincidence (k-IN-si-dns) n. A coincidence is an accidental or random occurrence of two
(or more) separate events that, by virtue of some striking or notable similarity between them
(as of time, place, action, etc.), seems to be not accidental or random. Allman Brothers Band
founder and guitarist Duane Allman died (1971) in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia;
by a strange coincidence, the bands bassist, Berry Oakley, also died (1972) in a motorcycle
accident, just three blocks from the site of Allmans fatal crash.

collaborate (k-LAB--rt) vb. To collaborate (with another person or persons) is to work
together (with him or them) toward a common goal; to join forces, act jointly, cooperate, etc.
(as in Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated to write many operettas). The noun is collaboration.
Nobel Prizewinning French writer Andr Gide (18691951) once remarked, Art is a
collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.

colloquial (k-L-kw-l) adj. This word describes speech or writing that is informal,
conversational, familiar, everyday (rather than formal). A colloquialism is a colloquial word
or phrase. In her written report, the teacher indicated that the new student had become
extremely upset; but later, when she told her husband about it, she said, colloquially, that
the student had freaked out.

colloquy (KOL--kw) n. A colloquy is a conversation (or dialogue or discussion).
Sometimes the word implies that the conversation is rather formal or high-level. In 1956,
when asked about his colloquy with Soviet leaders, UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjld
said, I never discuss discussions.

collusion (k-LOO-zhn) n. A secret agreement between two or more people or parties for a
deceitful, evil, or illegal purpose is known as collusion. (People involved in collusion are
sometimes informally referred to as being in cahoots with each other.) Some people believe
that the reason gasoline prices sometimes suddenly rise is that American oil companies are
profiteering or working in collusion with OPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting

colossal (k-LOS-l) adj. As a noun, a colossus is a gigantic statue (such as the Statue of
Liberty, for example), and technically, if something is colossal, it resembles a colossus.
Egypts Great Sphinx is a colossal stone figure with the head of a man and the body of a lion.
However, most people use this word to mean simply gigantic, huge, enormous, etc. (when
describing anything of gigantic size). According to Comptons Encyclopedia, the blue whale
is the largest animal to have ever lived; whalers have reported colossal specimens over 100
feet long and weighing up to 150 tons.

combustible (km-BUS-t-bl) adj. If you say that something (a particular material or
substance) is combustible, you mean that its capable of catching fire and burningor, more
especially, that it tends to catch fire and burn easily and rapidly. An automobiles carburetor or
fuel injection system produces a combustible mixture of fuel and air.

comely (KUM-l) adj. A person (or face) described as comely is pleasing in appearance
(especially wholesomely so); shes (or hes) attractive, good-looking, pretty, handsome, etc.
President John F. Kennedy first met (1952) his comely wife, Jacqueline (Jackie), when she was
working as a reporter for the Washington Times-Herald.

comeuppance (kum-UP-ns) n. A comeuppance is a deserved punishment, especially an
overdue (or even long overdue) punishment. Saying that one received his comeuppance is the
same as saying that he received his just desserts. The noisy teenager received his comeuppance
when he was physically ejected from the movie theater.

commend (k-MEND) vb. To commend someone is to (sometimes officially) award him with
praise; to say he did a good job (on something). The implication is that the praise is usually
emotionally restrained or awarded by a superior. The noun is commendation; the adjective is
commendable. In 1971, in a ruling that upheld the presss right to publish the Pentagon Papers
(a secret Defense Department study of the Vietnam War that revealed deception by U.S.
policymakers), Supreme Court justice Hugo Black said, Far from deserving condemnation for
their courageous reporting, the New York Times , the Washington Post, and other newspapers
should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly.

commiserate (k-MIZ--rt) vb. When you commiserate with someone (who suffered some
misfortune), you sympathize with him; you express sorrow (to him); you share his pain. In

1990, speaking of heroes, British author Jeanette Winterson said, Its true that heroes are
inspiring, but mustnt they also do some rescuing if they are to be worthy of their name? Would
Wonder Woman matter if she only sent commiserating telegrams to the distressed?

commodious (k-M-d-s) adj. To describe something (a home, ship, harbor, etc.) as
commodious is to say that its spacious, roomy, ample, etc. During his Presidency (1909
1913), William Howard Taft (all 350 pounds of him) threw out the first ball of a major league
baseball game from a specially built, extra-commodious box seat.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. colloquy
2. comeuppance
3. collusion

a. deserved punishment
b. high-level discussion
c. secret agreement between people (for deceitful purpose)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. commiserate: sympathize, show sorrow
2. coincidence: stroke of luck
3. collaborate: join forces with another (toward a common goal)

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
colossal, combustible, commodious

1. The __________ statue was at least 100 feet high.
2. The train station had a __________ waiting room with numerous vending machines.
3. We looked around for some __________ material to get the fire started.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. colloquial / formal
2. commend / praise

3. comely / ugly

Chapter 40: compatiblecompunction

compatible (km-PAT--bl) adj. When two people are compatible, they exist together
harmoniously or agreeably; theyre friendly; they get along. The opposite is incompatible. An
April 1985 New York Times article said: What counts in making a happy marriage is not so
much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility. Note: When two things
(computer systems, for example) are compatible, theyre capable of operating together; they
dont cause a conflict. Blood transfusions can be given only between donors and recipients
who have compatible blood types.

compel (km-PEL) vb. If youre compelled to do something, youre forced to do it. The
implication is that the thing doing the forcing is either some kind of authority (who has the
power to compel) or some overpowering force or uncontrollable inner urge (such as your
conscience). The noun is compulsion. After seeing the TV documentary about crippled
children, Hank felt compelled to make a donation.

compilation (kom-p-L-shn) n. To compile is to bring together (materials from various
sources) into one place, especially to collect various writings into a single book (as in
compile an anthology of short stories). A compilation is something compiled, such as a book,
list, report, set of data, etc. The Nautical Almanac is a yearly compilation of the predicted daily
positions of the sun, moon, planets, and certain stars; these positions enable the longitude of a
ship at sea to be determined.

complacent (km-PL-snt) adj. If you feel complacent about something (such as your
situation or advantage), you feel smugly self-satisfied about it. Sometimes the implication is
that youre too self-satisfied (and therefore unconcerned) and that some hidden danger will
somehow cause your defeat. The noun is complacency. In 1985, speaking of academic
competition, the president of Yale University said, To take the measure of oneself by reference
to ones colleagues leads to envy or complacency rather than constructive self-examination.
Note: Dont confuse this word with complaisant (which is pronounced the same); see

complaisant (km-PL-snt) adj. If youre complaisant you have or show a desire to please
(others); youre agreeable, obliging, gracious, accommodating, friendly, etc. The noun is
complaisance. In the early 20th-century comedy team of Laurel and Hardy, Stan Laurel played
a complaisant but dimwitted Englishman, and Oliver Hardy a fat, irritable American. Note:
Dont confuse this word with complacent (which is pronounced the same); see complacent.

complement (KOM-pl-mnt) vb. Notice the similarity of this word to the word complete.

When one thing complements another, it adds something lacking in the other; it makes the
other more complete or more perfect. Frances magnificent Palace of Versailles is
complemented by the beautiful formal gardens that lie before it. Often two things complement
each other equally; they go or work well together (as a particular shirt and pair of pants, for
example). Note: Be careful to spell the sixth letter of this word with an e, not an i. The verb
compliment has a different mean (to express praise or admiration).

compliant (km-pl-nt) adj. To comply with someones requests, demands, wishes, etc., is to
agree to them, to give in to them. If youre compliant, you tend to comply, obey, yield, etc.,
especially meekly or without protest. Because her fathers nature was more compliant than her
mothers, Susie went to him whenever she needed money.

component (km-P-nnt) n. A component is something used with other things to make
something; or, to put it another way, its one of the parts into which something can be divided
(as in automobile components). A sundae is usually made of three components: ice cream,
syrup, and whipped cream.

comport (km-PRT) vb. To comport yourself (in a particular manner) is to conduct or
behave yourself (in that manner). In a 1955 address at Montgomery, Alabama, Martin Luther
King, Jr., said that if black civil rights protesters can demonstrate courage and love and
comport themselves with dignity, future history books will have to say, There lived a great
peoplea black peoplewho injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.

composure (km-P-zhr) n. A persons composure is his calmness of mind; his selfcontrol; his coolness, poise, etc. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was admired for her elegance
in fashion and for her composure following the 1963 assassination of her husband (President
John F. Kennedy).

comprehend (kom-pri-HEND) vb. To comprehend something is to understand the nature or
meaning of it; to grasp it; make sense of it. In 1985, speaking of the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial in Washington, D. C., the New York Times said, Ten years after the war, America
may not yet comprehend the loss of those 58,000 lives; but it has at least found a noble way to
remember them.

compunction (km-PUNGK-shn) n. A twinge of conscience; that is, a feeling of uneasiness
caused by a sense of guilt (over wrongdoing or the prospect of wrongdoing) is known as
compunction. The adjective compunctious means feeling compunction; regretful. Historians
say that Richard Nixon was not particularly compunctious about his involvement in the
Watergate affair; in fact, in 1990 he described the scandal as one part wrongdoing, one part
blundering, and one part political vendetta.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. component
2. compunction
3. composure

a. poise, coolness
b. a piece or part of something
c. sense of guilt or remorse

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. compel: ask politely
2. compatible: harmonious, agreeable
3. compilation: an unsolvable problem

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
complement, comport, comprehend

1. Children who dont __________ themselves appropriately will be sent home.
2. Im looking for a tie that will __________ this shirt.
3. We couldnt __________ our calculus teacher s explanation.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. compliant / unruly
2. complaisant / friendly
3. complacent / smug

Chapter 41: concondolence

con (kon) vb. To con (also spelled conn) a ship is to steer it (or direct the steering of it). (The
enclosed, raised area from which a warship is steered is called a conning tower.) We knew
that a pilot is a person who flies an airplane; then we learned that pilot is also the word
for a person who, though not belonging to a ship's company, is licensed to con the ship into

and out of port or through dangerous waters.

concede (kn-sd) vb. To concede is to (often reluctantly) acknowledge or recognize
(something) as being true (or valid, just, proper, etc.); to admit. Note: Often what is
acknowledged or admitted is an opponents victory before it has been officially established, in
which case to concede is to admit defeat, to give up (as in an election or chess match, for
example). American showman and circus owner P. T. Barnum (18101891), famous for the
phrase Theres a sucker born every minute, doubted that hed ever uttered those wordsbut
he did concede that he may have once said, The people like to be humbugged.

conceit (kn-st) n. We all know one meaning of this word (a very high opinion of
oneself). But conceit also means a fanciful, far-fetched, or extended metaphor (literary
comparison). Seventeenth-century English poet and clergyman John Donne is famous for his
conceits, as in a poem in which he compares the souls of two lovers to the two legs of a
drawing compass.

concentration (kon-sn-tr-shn) n. A concentration is a coming or drawing together (of
things) into one main body (at a common point or area). Usually when something becomes
concentrated it becomes more tightly packed (with something). Miami, Florida, is known for
its beaches, hotels, and high concentration of senior citizens.

conception (kn-SEP-shn) n. A conception is something that exists in the mind; that is, its
an idea (or thought, notion, understanding, plan, design, etc.), as in a blind man with no
conception of color or the popular conception that accountants have dull personalities. The
word often applies to a persons individual or peculiar idea about something (rather than a
widely held idea), as in Richard Nixons conception of the role of the President. In 1923
Spanish artist Pablo Picasso said, Through art we express our conception of what nature is

conciliate (kn-SIL--t) vb. To conciliate is to try to win peace or favor (as from an enemy
or opponent), especially by demonstrating a willingness to be fair or accommodating. The
adjective is conciliatory (tending to conciliate). In 1977 Egyptian president Anwar Sadat
angered his Arab allies by traveling to Jerusalem as a conciliatory gesture to Israel.

concise (kn-SS) adj. If you say that writing or speech is concise, you mean that its brief and
compact (expressed in few words) but nevertheless clear and meaningful. A concise sentence
that uses all 26 letters of the alphabet (such as The quick red fox jumps over the lazy brown
dog) is known as a pangram and is often used to quickly test the keys of a typewriter.

concoct (kn-KOKT) vb. To concoct something is to create it by using skill or intelligence,
especially by bringing together various ingredients or elements in a new or unexpected way.
The noun is concoction. According to Comptons Encyclopedia, in the 19th century,

treatments and cures for baldness were concocted of substances as varied as bears grease,
beef marrow, onion juice, butter, and flower water.

concomitant (kn-KOM-i-tnt) adjective, n. When something exists with or occurs with
something else (especially in a lesser way or as the result of the other), its referred to as
concomitant (meaning concurrent and accompanying). The lawyer knew from the outset that
raising his hourly fee might result in a concomitant decrease in demand for his services. As a
noun the word means something that accompanies (goes along with, results from) something
else. One of the concomitants of childhood is short pants.

concurrent (kn-KUR-nt) adj. When two things (events, occurrences, etc.) happen at the
same time, they are said to be concurrent. The adverb concurrently means at the same time.
The early Egyptians had two completely separate calendars running concurrently, one for
religious purposes and one for agricultural use.

condescend (kon-di-SEND) vb. To condescend is to talk down to people; to treat them in an
insultingly superior manner. The adjective condescending means displaying an insultingly
superior attitude. Our boss was always condescending to his secretary; for example, whenever
he asked her to do something, he began by saying, Let me explain this to you very slowly.
Another meaning of condescend is to lower oneself to a level considered inferior, as in he
condescended to watch cartoons with his little brother.

condolence (kn-D-lns) n. A condolence is an (often formal) expression of sympathy to
someone who is suffering grief, sorrow, misfortune, etc. (especially to a relative of one who
has died). The word is often used in the plural. After the assassination (November 1995) of
Israeli Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat visited Israel and
extended his personal condolences to Rabins widow, Leah.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. concentration
2. conceit
3. conception

a. fanciful literary comparison
b. a coming together, denseness
c. thought, idea

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. condolence: expression of sympathy
2. concomitant: occurring as a result of
3. condescend: be an offspring of

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
con, concede, conciliate

1. Because of the storm, it was hard to __________ the ship into the harbor.
2. His promise to never do it again failed to __________ his teacher.
3. We were surprised to hear the candidate __________ so early.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. concise / wordy
2. concoct / create
3. concurrent / simultaneous

Chapter 42: condonecongregate

condone (kn-DN) vb. To condone something (a wrongdoing, sin, offense, etc.) is to
pardon, forgive, or disregard it. Though the practice is universally outlawed today, in many
societies since ancient times (especially among peoples with insufficient food), the killing of a
newborn by a parent was socially condoned.

conducive (kn-DOO-siv) adj. If something is conducive (usually followed by the word to), it
tends to cause or bring about some particular end or result (by somehow contributing to,
allowing, promoting, or encouraging that end or result), as in soil conditions conducive to
farming or weather conducive to outdoor sports. In a 1990 speech, South African political
leader Nelson Mandela said of the armed struggle of South African blacks against apartheid
(strict racial segregation), We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated
settlement will be created soon.

confer (kn-FR) vb. This word has several meanings, depending on the context. We know
that when people confer with each other, they consult with one another; they exchange ideas to
reach a decision or solve a problem. And we know that when you confer an award or honor
on someone, you graciously and courteously give it to him. But when something confers a
quality (character, trait, or power) onto something else, it endows it with (gives to it) that

quality. A 1985 Time magazine article on secrecy says, From earliest childhood we feel its
mystery and attraction; we know both the power it confers and the burden it imposes.

confidant (kon-fi-DNT) n. To confide in someone is to reveal private information to him
and to trust him to keep it secret. A confidant is a person (usually a close friend) in whom you
confide. A female confidant is a confidante. To tell something in confidenceor, to use the
adverb, to tell something confidentiallyis to tell it with the understanding that it will be kept
secret. American financier Bernard Baruch (18701965) was an advisor and confidant of every
U.S. President from Woodrow Wilson to John F. Kennedy.

confiscate (KON-fi-skt) vb. To confiscate something owned by another (property, money, a
possession) is to take it with (sometimes legal) authority and usually without ceremony or
delay. The implication is that the person (or group, country, etc.) who confiscates something
believes that what is being taken is wrongfully owned by the other. After taking power in 1959,
Cuban leader Fidel Castro confiscated all foreign-owned property.

conflagration (kon-fl-GR-shn) n. A conflagration is a large fire (especially a destructive
one spread over a considerable area). In the great Chicago Fire of 1871, a conflagration
destroyed 17,450 buildings and killed 250 people.

confluence (KON-floo-ns) n. A flowing or meeting together of two or more things
(especially rivers) is known as a confluence. Note: When speaking of rivers, the word also
denotes the place of junction or the new body of water so formed. The historic town of
Harpers Ferry (where in 1859 abolitionist John Brown raided the federal arsenal in an
unsuccessful attempt to liberate Southern slaves), is located in the northeast corner of West
Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

conform (kn-FRM) vb. To conform is to act or be in agreement with accepted standards or
expectations (as in conduct, dress, law, business, etc.). The noun is conformity. In his book The
Naked Civil Servant (1968), British author Quentin Crisp said, The young always have the
same problemhow to rebel and conform at the same time; they have now solved this by
defying their parents and copying one another.

congeal (kn-JL) vb. When a liquid congeals, it hardens or thickens; it becomes solid or
semi-solid (often by cooling or freezing). To make Jell-O, first dissolve the powder in hot
water, then place the solution in the refrigerator to congeal.

congenial (kn-JN-yl) adj. A person described as congenial is pleasant and easy to get
along with; hes friendly, agreeable, good-natured, personable, sociable, etc. A relationship
described a congenial is friendly, pleasant, etc. Actress Katharine Hepburn and actor Spencer
Tracy, who appeared in nine films together, had a particularly congenial off-screen
relationship. To describe a thing (an occupation, home, surroundings, etc.) as congenial is to

say that its well suited to ones needs or nature; its pleasant, agreeable, etc. Scottish novelist
Robert Louis Stevenson (18501894) was a tuberculosis sufferer who traveled extensively in
search of a congenial climate.

congenital (kn-JEN-i-tl) adj. This word means existing since birth but not hereditary. Its
generally used to describe some medical defect that was acquired during fetal development, as
in a congenital heart malformation. Scientists are still not sure whether homosexuality is
congenital or acquired.

congregate (KONG-gr-gt) vb. When people congregate, they gather together into a group
or crowd; they assemble. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, ancient Greek philosopher
Socrates is described as having [ignored] his own affairs, instead spending his time
discussing virtue, justice, and [devotion] wherever his fellow citizens congregated.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. conflagration
2. confluence
3. confidant

a. large fire
b. someone with whom you trust a secret
c. a coming together, meeting

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. conducive: secretive, silent
2. confer: endow (with a particular quality)
3. congenital: personable, agreeable

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
condone, confiscate, congregate

1. Do you think the teacher will __________ my radio?
2. I cant __________ vulgar language.
3. The teenagers tended to __________ in front of the arcade.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. congeal / loosen
2. conform / rebel
3. congenial / friendly

Chapter 43: conjectureconstitutional

conjecture (kn-JEK-chr) vb. To conjecture is to form or state an opinion based on
guesswork or incomplete evidence. As a noun, a conjecture is such an opinion. He said that
when he first begins solving a crossword puzzle he uses nothing but conjecture; then he
assured us that as he nears the end hes able to fill in all the words with certainty.

conjugal (KON-j-gl) adj. To describe something as conjugal is to say that it refers to
marriage or to the relationship between a husband and wife. The films of Woody Allen (1986s
Hannah and Her Sisters, for example) often explore the bonds of conjugal and adulterous

connive (k-NV) vb. To connive is to secretly cooperate with others (usually to do
something illegal or immoral); to conspire. The noun is connivance. In 1963, with the
connivance of the United States, military leaders in South Vietnam overthrew their president,
Ngo Dinh Diem.

connoisseur (kon--SOOR) n. A person with expert knowledge or discriminating taste,
especially in the fine arts or in food and drink, is known as a connoisseur. In 1963 Lord
Champion of Pontypridd, speaking of fish and chips wrapped in newspapers, sarcastically
said, I am such a great connoisseur that I can tell the difference between the tang of the
Beaverbrook Daily Express and the mellow flavor of the Times.

connotation (kon--T-shn) n. Some words suggest certain ideas or concepts in addition to
the words primary meaning. These associated ideas are known as connotations. To use the
verb, certain words connote certain ideas or concepts. For example, the word home means a
place where one lives, but it connotes warmth, affection, comfort, etc. American author
Vance Packard (19141996) once said, The words instant coffee [seem to be] loaded with
unfortunate connotations.

conscientious (kon-sh-EN-shs) adj. If youre conscientious, youre controlled or guided by
your conscience; that is, youre principled (just, honest, upright) or hardworking (careful,
thorough, painstaking). In 1913 British doctor and psychologist Havelock Ellis (18591939)
said, It is curious how there seems to be an instinctive disgust in man for his nearest

ancestors and relations [apes]; if only [Charles] Darwin could conscientiously have traced
man back to the elephant or the lion or the antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would
have been spared to the [theory] of evolution.

conscription (kn-SKRIP-shn) n. Conscription is another word for draft (compulsory
enrollment for military service). During the Vietnam War, future President Bill Clinton
intended to avoid conscription by joining the Reserve Officers Training Corps; he canceled his
plans when draft calls were reduced.

consensus (kn-SEN-ss) n. A general agreement (about something) or a majority opinion
(about something) is known as a consensus. The Vice President of the United States presides
over the Senate, but the House of Representatives elects its presiding officer, the Speaker of the
House, by consensus of the majority party.

consequential (kon-si-KWEN-shl) adj. This word describes matters that have important or
significant consequences (results, effects, etc.) or people who are important or influential. The
consequential Supreme Court case Brown versus Board of Education (1954) ended racial
segregation in public schools.

conspicuous (kn-SPIK-yoo-s) adj. In one sense, if something is conspicuous its easily seen
or noticed. The Big Dipper is perhaps the most conspicuous constellation in the northern sky.
In another sense, if something is conspicuous, it draws attention to itself by being somehow
remarkable or unusual. The Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. military
decoration, is awarded to members of the armed forces for conspicuous bravery in action
against an enemy.

conspire (kn-SPR) vb. When two or more people conspire, they secretly agree to act
together (often to some unethical or illegal end). A group of political radicals known as the
Chicago Seven were accused of conspiring to incite the riots that occurred during the 1968
Democratic National Convention in Chicago. To describe something (a wink, smile, whisper,
etc.) as conspiratorial is to say that it sends the message this is just between us. As the waiter
surprised Jack with a piece of cake with a birthday candle in it, he gave Jacks wife a
conspiratorial wink.

constitutional (kon-sti-TOO-shn-l) n. A walk taken on a regular basis for the benefit of
ones health is known as a constitutional. When Bill confessed to his friend Steve that he was
too lazy to engage in any exercise other than his 15-minute daily constitutional, Steve replied,
I dont even do that; in fact, the only thing I exercise is caution!

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. conjugal
2. conscientious
3. consequential

a. principled, hardworking
b. of far-reaching importance
c. pertaining to marriage

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. connive: cut open
2. consensus: majority opinion
3. conspire: inhale

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
connoisseur, connotation, conscription

1. The color white carries a __________ of purity.
2. During the Vietnam War, some Americans moved to Canada to avoid __________.
3. You dont have to be a __________ to know that this is an inferior wine.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. conspicuous / hidden
2. conjecture / guess
3. constitutional / walk

Chapter 44: constraintcontext

constraint (kn-STRNT) n. If youre with an other person and neither of you is saying or
doing anything, you may begin to feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, or awkward. That feeling
is called constraint. For a while my new roommate and I stared at each other awkwardly; then,
when we began to argue over who gets the top bunk, all constraint vanished. Another, more
common, meaning of the word is confinement or restriction, as in the constraints of the

constrict (kn-STRIKT) vb. To constrict an opening or passageway (one of living tissue, for
example) is to make it smaller or narrower, as by binding, squeezing, or other (often
encircling) pressure. Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterized by labored breathing
resulting from constricted air passages. To constrict ones growth, development, freedom,
spontaneity, etc., is to limit or restrict it. According to the Cambridge Dictionary of American
Biography, In 1925 [opera singer Marian Anderson (19021993)] won a major vocal
competition that gained her a career as a [soloist], but [she] was always constricted by the
limitations placed on African-American artists. To constrict the flow of a liquid is to slow or
restrict it. Certain drugs are particularly dangerous if taken during pregnancy because they
constrict the blood flow to the developing fetus.

construe (kn-STROO) vb. To construe something (an action, condition, or statement whose
meaning is indefinite, for example) is to interpret it to mean a particular thing. In the 17th and
18th centuries poverty was regarded as a natural, normal condition; beginning in the 19th
century, however, it was generally construed as a sign of individual failure.

consummate (KON-s-mt) vb. To consummate something is to bring it to completion; to
carry it out, achieve it, accomplish it. In 1889 German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche
referred to euthanasia (mercy killing) as death of ones own free choice, death at the proper
time, with a clear head and with joyfulness, consummated in the midst of children and
witnesses, so that an actual leave-taking is possible while he who is leaving is still there.

consummate (KON-s-mt) adj. This word means complete, perfect, as in consummate
beauty, or supremely skilled or accomplished (in some area), as in a consummate actor.
After seeing John F. Kennedys first televised press conference (January 1961), New York
Times columnist Russell Baker wrote that the President was a new star with a tremendous
national appeal and had the skill of a consummate showman.

consumptive (kn-SUMP-tiv) adj. Another (especially former) name for the infectious lung
disease tuberculosis (TB) is consumption. People referred to as consumptive are afflicted with
tuberculosis. They appear thin, weak, and sweaty, sound hoarse, cough, and spit; they look as
if theyre wasting away. Seven-year-old Joey couldnt sleep after watching the horror movie
not because of the 80-foot monster but because of a short hospital scene featuring four
consumptive women.

contaminate (kn-TAM--nt) vb. To contaminate something is to make it impure or unsafe
(as by mixing into it something unclean or harmful), as in contaminate a reservoir with
industrial waste. In July 1963 President John F. Kennedy said, Continued unrestricted testing
[of nuclear weapons] will increasingly contaminate the air that all of us must breathe.

contemplate (KON-tm-plt) vb. To contemplate something is to think about it or consider it
carefully and at length. In the classic Christmas film Its a Wonderful Life (1946), a failing

banker contemplating suicide is saved by a guardian angel.

contemporary (kn-TEM-p-rer-) adj. If you say that something is contemporary, you mean
that its of the present time; its current, modern, etc. (as in the contemporary novel). In 1961
violinist Jascha Heifitz (19011987) said, I occasionally play works by contemporary
composers for two reasons: first to discourage the composer from writing any more and
secondly to remind myself how much I appreciate Beethoven. If you say that two (or more)
people are contemporary with each other, you mean that they exist (or existed) at the same
time; or, to use the noun, people of the same time period are known as contemporaries.
Abraham Lincoln, Edgar Allan Poe, and Charles Darwin were contemporaries; in fact, all
were born the same year (1809).

contempt (kn-TEMPT) n. A feeling of dislike or aversion mixed with a feeling of
superiority (toward someone or something) is known as contempt. A 1963 New York Times
article described how various countries viewed the typical Englishwomans clothing, as
follows: The French reaction is a shrug, the Italian reaction a spreading of the hands and a
lifting of the eyes, and the American reaction simply one of amused contempt.

contentious (kn-TEN-shs) adj. To describe someone as contentious is to say that he has a
tendency to argue; hes quarrelsome, disputatious, antagonistic, etc. To describe a thing (a
situation, an issue, a book, etc.) as contentious is to say that it causes or involves controversy
or argument. Baseball manager Leo Durocher (19061991) had a reputation for being
outspoken and contentious; in fact, he was nicknamed The Lip and was suspended (1947)
for cumulated unpleasant incidents.

context (KON-tekst) n. The surrounding conditions or circumstances in which a particular
event occurs, or the parts of a written or spoken statement that surround a particular passage
and help reveal its meaning, is known as context. Deaf people who interpret a speakers words
by reading lips rely not only on lip movements, but also on facial expressions and context.
Sometimes context refers to any meaningful frame of reference, overall picture, backdrop,
etc., in which events or words exist. Pluto exists in three well-known contexts: astronomy
(ninth planet from the Sun), mythology (god of the underworld), and Walt Disney cartoons (a
pet dog).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. constrict
2. contaminate
3. consummate (vb.)

a. make impure or unclean
b. bring to completion
c. make narrower by squeezing

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. context: legal document
2. consumptive: suffering from tuberculosis
3. constraint: self-denial

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
consummate (adj.), contemporary, contentious

1. She prefers baroque music to __________ classical music.

2. She was a __________ actress; in fact, she won two Academy Awards.
3. When the witness became __________, the defense attorney asked for a recess.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. contemplate / think
2. contempt / love
3. construe / interpret

Chapter 45: contiguousconviction

contiguous (kn-TIG-yoo-s) adj. When places share a border or are next to each other (that
is, they are adjacent, neighboring, adjoining, touching, etc.), they are said to be contiguous (as
in Kansas and Nebraska are contiguous). People in Alaska often refer to the 48 contiguous
U.S. states as the Lower 48.

contingent (kn-TIN-jnt) adj. If something (a particular desired course of action, for
example) is contingent on something else (someone elses approval, for instance), its
dependent on it. For example, proposed tax cuts are contingent on the approval of Congress.
In the Supreme Courts 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision (which legalized abortion), justice Harry
Blackmun noted, The law has been reluctant to [give] legal rights to the unborn except in
narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are contingent upon live birth.

contract (kn-TRAKT) vb. When a muscle contracts, it becomes tense or tight. Snakes move
by alternately contracting and relaxing a set of muscles down each side of the body. When
anything else contracts, it becomes smaller (or narrower, more confined, etc.) from the
drawing together (or shrinking, concentrating, etc.) of its parts. Nobel Prizewinning author
John Steinbeck (19021968) once wrote: The house creaked loudly as the cooler night air
contracted the wood.

contretemps (KON-tr-tn) n. A usually minor, embarrassing, unforeseen, disruptive event
or occurrence (as between countries or individuals) is known as a contretemps (pronounced
with the final syllable nasalized, as in French). Note: The same spelling is used for both the
singular and plural. The late-1970s and early-1980s TV sitcom Threes Company specialized
in creating and then resolving embarrassing contretemps between the characters (a young
single man and two young single women who share an apartment rented from an older married

contrite (kn-TRT) adj. To feel contrite about a wrong youve done (an offense or sin, for
example) is to feel sorry (regretful, apologetic, remorseful) about it. The noun is contrition.

Although President Bill Clinton apologized to the American people for his sexual misdeeds,
many felt he wasnt as contrite as he should have been.

contumacious (kon-t-M-shs) adj. To describe someone as contumacious is to say that hes
stubbornly or willfully rebellious or disobedient; hes defiant, pigheaded, headstrong,
unyielding, inflexible, contrary, etc. In a 1970 ruling that a disorderly defendant may forfeit
his constitutional right to be present in court, Supreme Court justice Hugo Black said, We
believe trial judges confronted with disruptive, contumacious, stubbornly defiant defendants
must be given sufficient discretion to meet the circumstances in each case.

contumelious (kon-t-M-l-s) adj. Remarks (or actions) described as contumelious are
insulting, disrespectful, or rude. The noun contumely (usually pronounced with the accent on
the first syllable) means harsh, insulting language. It seems that whenever a professional
wrestler is interviewed on television, he does nothing but make contumelious comments about
his opponent.

conundrum (k-NUN-drm) n. A conundrum is technically a riddle whose answer is a pun (a
play on words). But the word is more generally used to mean any difficult-to-solve problem,
or any problem that seems insolvable or paradoxical. How to achieve full employment
without inflation is a conundrum still unanswered.

convene (kn-VN) vb. When this verb doesnt take an object (as in we will convene at two
oclock), it means to come together or assemble (usually for some official public purpose).
When it takes an object (as in convene a meeting), it means to cause (individuals) to come
together or assemble formally. When the 104th Congress convened in January 1994, Newt
Gingrich of Georgia became the first Republican Speaker of the House in 40 years.

conventional (kn-VEN-sh-nl) adj. In one sense, if something is conventional it conforms
to accepted standards; its normal, traditional, customary, usual, etc. A sonnet is a poem, often
about love, that follows one of several strict conventional patterns of rhyme. In another sense,
if something is conventional its ordinary rather than unusual or experimental; its usual,
normal, expected, commonplace, everyday, etc. Frozen TV dinners can be heated in either a
microwave or conventional oven.

conversant (kn-VR-snt) adj. To be conversant with something (a particular subject or
topic, for example) is to be familiar with it or knowledgeable about it, as from study or
experience. If youre conversant with Mary Shelleys 1818 novel Frankenstein, you know that
Frankenstein is not the name of the monster, but of the doctor who created him.

conviction (kn-VIK-shn) n. A conviction is a fixed, firm, or strong belief (in something); a
feeling of certainty (about something). American writer Owen Wister (1860-1938) once said,
Every good man in this world has convictions about right and wrong.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. conviction
2. contretemps
3. conundrum

a. embarrassing situation
b. strong feeling (about something)
c. unsolvable problem

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. contingent: dependent on
2. contiguous: mysterious, hidden
3. convene: assemble, come together

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
contrite, conventional, conversant

1. The article discussed both alternative and __________ medicine.
2. The Canadian hotel clerk was __________ in both French and English.
3. In court, the pickpocket didnt look particularly __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. contumacious / easygoing
2. contumelious / insulting
3. contract / shrink

Chapter 46: convivialcorporeal

convivial (kn-VIV--l) adj. If youre convivial, you enjoy friendly companionship; youre
merrily sociable. In a convivial group, all the people are friendly and have a good time

enjoying each other s company. The noun is conviviality. When asked when he would retire,
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill replied, One does not leave a convivial party
before closing time.

convoluted (KON-v-loo-tid) adj. Technically, if something (a seashell, a leaf, a human
organ, etc.) is convoluted, it has overlapping folds (or coils, swirls, curls, etc.). But if you say
that a non-physical thing (reasoning, language, a lawsuit, a plot, etc.) is convoluted, you mean
that its complicated, intricate, involved, etc. The novels of William Faulkner (1929s The
Sound and the Fury, for example) are known for their convoluted time sequences and their
seemingly endless, convoluted sentences.

convulsive (kn-VUL-siv) adj. In medicine, convulsions are violent, involuntary muscle
contractions (as caused by high fever, poisoning, hysteria, etc.). A motion described as
convulsive is marked by quick, abrupt movements (its jerky, spasmodic, sudden, etc.).
Epilepsy is caused by uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain and is characterized by
periodic convulsive seizures.

copacetic (k-p-SET-ik) adj. This rather slangy word (whose derivation has never been
agreed upon) means all right, fine, okay, completely satisfactory, etc. Because Joe didnt
want to sound like a complainer on his first day at work, when his boss asked him how
everything was, instead of saying, My office is too small and hot, he just said, Everythings

copious (K-p-s) adj. To describe something as copious is to say that its large in quantity
or amount; its plentiful. The Marshall Plan (proposed in 1947 by Secretary of State George C.
Marshall) was a program by which the United States gave copious economic aid to European
countries to help them rebuild after the devastation of World War II.

copse (kops) n. A copse of trees is a clump (group, thicket) of trees standing by itself. In 1964
New Yorks Fire Island (a sandy, narrow, 30-mile-long island off the southern coast of Long
Island) was made a national seashore; as such, its animals, beaches, dunes, and copses of
pine trees are protected by federal law.

coquettish (k-KET-ish) adj. A woman whos coquettish is flirtatious; she makes light,
teasing, romantic overtures to men for her own gratification. A coquettish woman is called a
coquette; what she engages in is called coquetry (K-ki-tr). French actress Brigitte Bardot
rose to stardom playing a sexy coquette in the 1957 film And God Created Woman.

cordial (kr-jl) adj. To be cordial (to someone) is to be courteous, gracious, friendly, warm,
and kind (to him). Although hed once referred to the Soviet Union as an evil empire, when
President Ronald Reagan arrived there in 1988 (to negotiate a missile treaty) he was cordially
welcomed by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

cordon (kr-dn) n. A line of soldiers (or police, warships, etc.) guarding or enclosing an
area is known as a cordon. As a verb, to cordon (or cordon off) an area is to block movement
into it by means of such a line. At the 1969 Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California,
access to the stage area was blocked by a cordon of (members of the motorcycle gang) Hells
Angels; violence broke out and four people were killed.

cornucopia (kr-n-K-p-) n. Youve probably seen a picture of a curved, cone-shaped
basket (or hollowed-out goats horn) overflowing with fruit (and sometimes flowers and
grain, too). Thats known as a horn of plenty or a cornucopia. But figuratively, the word
signifies any great abundance or overflowing supply of something. He opened the paper to
the help wanted section and was greeted by a cornucopia of employment opportunities.

corollary (KR--ler-) n, adj. In mathematics and logic, a corollary is a proposition
(statement) that follows from one already proven. In general usage, a corollary is any natural
consequence, result, or effect of something else. In 1926 French poet Louis Aragon said,
Error is certaintys constant companion; error is the corollary of evidence. As an adjective,
the word means consequent; resultant. An October 1979 article in the Washington Post notes
that teenage unemployment (which was a problem in the 1960s and 1970s) may disappear in
the 1980s; explaining that the staggering national problem of teenagers seeking jobs that are
not thereand the corollary problems of crime and social disorientation that flow from itare
rooted in the sheer numbers of these young people, and those numbers are now heading into a
long-term decline.

corporeal (kr-PR--l) adj. Saying that something is corporeal is the opposite of saying
that its spiritual. In other words, anything corporeal relates to the physical body or to some
actual, physical thing; its concrete, material, tangible, real, etc. Seventeenth-century British
philosopher and scientist Thomas Hobbes suggested that human feelings are merely corporeal
motions within the brain.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. cornucopia
2. corollary
3. copse

a. overflowing supply
b. clump of trees
c. something that naturally follows from something else

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. copacetic: flavorful, tasty
2. cordon: type of wine
3. coquettish: flirtatious

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
convoluted, convulsive, copious

1. His __________ laughter interfered with our enjoyment of the film.
2. His reasoning was so __________ that we couldnt begin to follow it.
3. The picnic planner promised __________ amounts of lemonade.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. convivial / grim
2. cordial / rude
3. corporeal / physical

Chapter 47: corpulentcounterpart

corpulent (KR-py-lnt) adj. If youre corpulent, youre fat, heavy, overweight. Corpulence
used to be considered a sign of wealth; that (and because the word corpulent is not as insulting
as the word fat) is why the word was often applied to overweight European kings (Henry VIII,
for example). In the 1961 movie The Hustler, Paul Newman plays a young pool shark and
Jackie Gleason plays the corpulent champ, Minnesota Fats.

correlation (kr--L-shn) n. A correlation is a meaningful connection or relationship
between two or more things (fact, ideas, etc.), as in a correlation between poverty and crime.
Scientists have discovered that there is a correlation between exposure to the suns ultraviolet
rays and the occurrence of skin cancer in humans; thats why its important to wear sunscreen
when you go to the beach.

corroborate (k-ROB--rt) vb. To corroborate something (for example, a persons claim,
story, account, testimony, etc., or an experiments results, data, etc.) is to establish it as true or
genuine (as by swearing to it under oath, providing additional evidence supporting it, etc.); to
confirm it, verify it, prove it, back it up, etc. In 1973 former White House counsel John Dean

testified that President Richard Nixon knew of the Watergate cover-up; the subsequent release
of taped conversations in which Nixon discussed the matter corroborated Deans testimony.

corrugated (KR--g-tid) adj. If you say that something (metal or cardboard, for example)
is corrugated, you mean that it has been shaped or bent into folds or alternating, parallel
ridges and grooves (usually to strengthen or stiffen it). A washboard, a metal board with a
corrugated surface, can be used either to wash clothes or play music.

corrupt (k-RUPT) adj. If someone (a government official, for example) is corrupt, hes
morally bad or dishonest; for example, he can be influenced to take a bribe. The noun is
corruption (act or state of being corrupt). In his January 1987 State of the City address, New
York City mayor Ed Koch, referring to recent government scandals, said, The knife of
corruption endangered the life of New York City; the scalpel of the law is making us well

cortege (kr-TEZH) n. A cortege is a ceremonial (especially funeral) procession (group of
people, vehicles, etc., moving along in an orderly, formal way). A December 1963 issue of
Newsweek magazine, speaking of President Kennedys funeral cortege (which had been seen
on TV by more than a hundred million people in towns across America), said [His] casket did
not ride down Pennsylvania Avenue only; it rode down Main Street.

coruscate (KR--skt) vb. When something coruscates, it intermittently gives off glints or
flashes of light; it sparkles or glitters (as in the silvery tinsel coruscated as the Christmas tree
lights twinkled). The word can be used figuratively to mean exhibiting or displaying
brilliance or virtuosity (as if giving off glints of light). In his review of a June 1991 piano
recital at the University of Maryland, music critic Mark Adamo said, In scores by Chopin,
Rachmaninoff, and Prokofiev on the coruscating Steinway, the young Soviet pianist [Alexei
Sultanov] made the bass register bite and threaten and obsess, and made melodies in the
highest octaves echo and chime like ghosts in the chandeliers.

cosset (KOS-it) vb. When you cosset someone (a child, celebrity, or pet, for example), you
pamper him (indulge him, exclusively cater to his desires, etc.). In 1981 Pulitzer Prize
winning journalist Mary McGrory, speaking of the funeral of assassinated Egyptian president
Anwar Sadat, said, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter were entirely gratified to
go to Cairoto ride again on Air Force One, to feel wanted, to be cosseted, consulted,
interviewed, and photographed as of old.

coterie (K-t-r) n. A coterie is a usually small, select group of people united by some
common interest or activity; a clique, a gang. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, and
Gertrude Stein were members of a coterie of American writers living in Paris during the

countenance (KOUN-t-nens) n. Your countenance is your facial expression. After a 1960

meeting with David Ben Gurion, French president Charles de Gaulle described the Israeli
Prime Minister as a lion with a lions countenance.

countermand (KOUN-tr-mand) vb. To countermand something (an order, rule, law,
command, etc.) is to cancel or reverse it; to retract it, revoke it, etc. In 1989, after the U.S.
Supreme Court decided that burning the American flag in public to protest government
policies is a right protected by the First Amendment, President George H. Bush asked that the
decision be countermanded by a new constitutional amendment (but his idea was rejected by
the Senate).

counterpart (KOUN-tr-prt) n. A counterpart is someone or something that has the same
functions or characteristics as another, but in a different place, time, or context. Canadas
Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the counterpart of Americas FBI.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. cosset
2. coruscate
3. countermand

a. pamper, indulge
b. cancel, revoke
c. sparkle, glitter

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. countenance: facial expression
2. coterie: small restaurant, bistro
3. corroborate: bend, flex

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
correlation, cortege, counterpart

1. The American Presidents __________ counterpart in Great Britain is the Prime Minister.
2. The funeral __________ slowly wound its way to the cemetary.
3. There is a __________ between income and spending.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. corpulent / fat
2. corrugated / flat
3. corrupt / honest

Chapter 48: counterpointcrass

counterpoint (KOUN-tr-point) n. This is a technical term in music that means the
combining of two or more distinct melodies (such that they sound good together but at the
same time retain their individuality), as in much of the music of J. S. Bach. Figuratively, the
word can be used to indicate the combining of any contrasting but related elements (in art,
discussions, ideas, etc.). The adjective is contrapuntal. Unlike ballroom dancing, where you
gracefully sweep across the floor, in contemporary modern dance you pretty much remain in
one spot; your feet stomp and slide while your arms punch and swing in counterpoint.

coup (koo) n. A coup is a highly successful action or accomplishment; a masterstroke.
Getting them to give you not only a recording contract but also a position as a record
executive was quite a coup. The word can also be used as a shortened form of coup dtat,
which means the sudden overthrow or seizure of a government by a small military or
political group. In 1991 hard-line communists staged a coup against Soviet president Mikhail

courier (KUR--r) n. A courier is a person who carries and delivers messages, news,
reports, mail, envelopes, small packages, etc. In April 1775 American patriot Paul Revere, a
courier for the Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence, rode from Charlestown to
Lexington (Massachusetts) to warn of approaching British troops. Note: Overnight shipping
companies, such as Federal Express, are also referred to as couriers.

covenant (KUV--nnt) n. A covenant is an agreement, especially a formal or binding one; a
promise, pact, contract. According to the Bible, God made a covenant with the ancient
Israelites in which he promised to protect them if they were faithful to him and kept his law.

covert (k-VRT) adj. Something covert is not openly shown; its hidden or covered, as in a
covert glance. When you do something covertly, you do it secretly, so that people dont know
youre doing it. According to legend, although the townspeople were asked to remain indoors
and not look when the naked Lady Godiva, covered only by her long hair, rode by on
horseback, a tailor named Tom covertly watched through his shutter (and was struck blind).

covet (KUV-it) vb. To covet (or, to use the adjective, be covetous of) something (that doesnt
belong to you) is to eagerly wish for it, desire it, long for it (sometimes wrongfully). In 1973
Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai said, China is an attractive piece of meat coveted by all, but
very toughand for years no one has been able to bite into it.

cow (kou) vb. To cow someone is to intimidate or frighten him, usually by threats or a show
of force. Often, once youve been cowed (by someone or something), you lose spirit and
courage. Cowed by the overwhelming odds against getting rich by writing poetry, Arnold
decided to sell his typewriter and use the money to buy lottery tickets.

cower (KOU-r) vb. To cower is to shrink back (crouch, cringe, draw back, etc.) in fear or
shame. In 1951 U.S. author Henry Miller said, Every genuine boy is a rebel; if he were
allowed to develop according to his own instincts, society would undergo such [an extreme
change] as to make the adult revolutionary cower and cringe.

coy (koi) adj. To be coy is to pretend to be shy (especially as a form of flirtation). When he
asked to kiss her goodnight after their first date, she coyly fluttered her eyelashes and said
with a smile, Im not that kind of girl. Note: The word can also mean annoyingly
unwilling to make a commitment, as in (a newspaper headline that might read) Congress coy
about tax cut.

crafty (KRAF-t) adj. People who are crafty cleverly use underhanded or sneaky methods or
schemes to get what they want; theyre shrewd, slick, sly, etc. In Charles Dickens Oliver Twist
(1838), the crafty villain Fagin teaches young Oliver and other orphaned boys to pick pockets
and steal for him.

craggy (KRAG-) adj. To describe something (terrain or someones face, for example) as
craggy is to say that its not smooth; its rough, uneven, irregular, jagged, etc. Diamonds
found in nature are craggy; they must be cut and polished to bring out their true beauty.

crass (kras) adj. People described as crass have no sensitivity, refinement, or delicacy;
theyre crude, oafish, impolite, vulgar, bad-mannered, etc. Actor Carroll OConnor (1924
2001) is best known for his portrayal of Archie Bunker, the crass, bad-tempered, highly
prejudiced central character of the 1970s TV sitcom All in the Family.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. courier
2. coup

3. counterpoint

a. masterful stroke
b. messenger, deliverer
c. combination or contrasting elements

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. coy: pretty, attractive
2. cow: intimidate, frighten
3. cower: lift, raise

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
crafty, craggy, crass

1. Because of his __________ manners, he wasnt invited back.
2. The __________ door-to-door salesman unloaded all his merchandise in a single
3. In the cartoon, the witchs skin was green and __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. covert / open
2. covenant / agreement
3. covet / desire

Chapter 49: cravencrockery

craven (KR-vn) adj. If youre craven, youre cowardly. The word is especially used if
great timidity, faintheartedness, or fear accompanies your cowardice. As boys, even the most
craven among us, in an attempt to prove we were regular guys, jumped off the high diving

craw (kr) n. Technically, your craw is your stomach. But if you say that something (a
situation, action, behavior, etc.) sticks in your craw, you mean that it causes you feelings of
resentment, anger, discontent, irritation, annoyance, etc.; that its not easily tolerated. When
Brian first learned that the U.S. Government (the Agricultural Adjustment Administration)
paid farmers not to grow corn (in an attempt to raise prices by lowering supply), it stuck in his

craw and he complained, Hey, I dont grow cornwheres my money?

credence (KRD-ns) n. To give credence to something (a statement, story, report, etc.) is
either to accept its truthfulness (as in he didnt give any credence to the rumor) or to cause it to
become more believable (as in new evidence gave credence to the allegations). In June 1998
about 90 lawmakers and community activists, in an informal but symbolic test of water quality,
removed their shoes and socks, linked hands, and strolled into a tributary river of Chesapeake
Bay (an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean that separates Maryland and Virginia); that they were still
able to see their feet more than 100 feet from shore gave credence to scientific reports
suggesting that the Chesapeake was becoming less polluted.

credible (KRED--bl) adj. To refer to something (a statement, explanation, etc.) as credible
is to say that its believable. To refer to a person as credible (as in credible witness) is to say
that hes believable or trustworthy. In 1987 journalist P. D. James said, In 1930s mysteries,
all sorts of motives were credible which arent credible today, especially motives of preventing
guilty sexual secrets from coming outnowadays, people sell their guilty sexual secrets.

crepuscular (kri-PUS-ky-lr) adj. This word refers to that time of day when the sun is going
downwhen its twilight or dusk. By extension, the word can also mean dim or indistinct.
If you refer to animals (bats or owls, for example) as crepuscular, you mean that they become
active in the twilight. The meadows crepuscular charm was suddenly heightened by the
flashing lights of thousands of fireflies.

crescent (KRES-nt) n., adj. As a noun, a crescent is a figure (or shape) like that of the moon
when it is less than half full; that is, one side is convex (curves outward) and the other concave
(curves inward), and it tapers to points at the ends. As an adjective, the word means shaped
like a crescent, as in crescent roll (croissant). In geography class we learned that Nantucket
(an island off southeast Massachusetts) and Lake Geneva (a lake on the border of France and
Switzerland) are both roughly crescent shaped.

crestfallen (KREST-f-ln) adj. If youre crestfallen youre greatly unhappy or depressed
(especially if those feelings are the result of some great disappointment). The student,
expecting an A on his term paper, was crestfallen when he received a C minus. Note: If you
look carefully at the smaller words that make up this compound word (crest meaning the
head, or the top of something), youll realize that if youre crestfallen, you have (perhaps
figuratively) a drooping head (fallen crest).

crevice (KREV-is) n. A crevice is a narrow crack or opening. Birds build their nests not only
in tree branches, but also in shrubs, on the ground, in holes in trees, and in crevices in rocks.

crimson (KRIM-zn, KRIM-sn) adj. Crimson is a color; its red or purplish red. In the
Thanksgiving snowstorm, leaves of crimson and gold turned to white.

criteria (kr-tr--) n. A criterion is a standard, rule, or norm upon which a judgment or
decision can be based. The word is usually used in the plural: criteria. Show dogs are judged
by various criteria, including the shape of the head, the placement of the ears, and the color
and texture of the coat.

critique (kri-TK) n. A critique is a critical review or discussion of some subject or problem
(especially one dealing with a work of literature or art). Speaking of the unkind movie reviews
(French filmmaker) Franois Truffaut had written before he began directing, Comptons
Encyclopedia said, [He] wrote of the established French cinema, making enemies with each
new harshly worded critique.

crockery (KROK--r) n. Cooking pots (especially earthenware pots) are known collectively
as crockery. Because most people use their kitchen cupboards to store dishes, glasses,
crockery, and utensils, we thought it strange when we heard that Old Mother Hubbard went to
the cupboard to fetch her poor dog a bone.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. crevice
2. craw
3. crockery

a. narrow opening
b. cooking pots
c. stomach

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. credence: high status, prestige
2. crepuscular: sneaky, underhanded
3. crimson: red

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
crescent, criteria, critique

1. Our English teacher asked us to write a __________ of the novel.

2. The moon was __________ shaped, but we noticed a dim outline of the missing part.
3. What criteria will you use to __________ judge the contest?

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. crestfallen / sad
2. craven / brave
3. credible / believable

Chapter 50: cronecumbersome

crone (krn) n. A crone is a shriveled, ugly, old, frightening woman. While witches of fairy
tales (Hansel and Gretel, for example) are depicted as evil crones, modern witches are
simply women (including young, beautiful ones) popularly believed to practice sorcery.

crony (KR-n) n. A crony is a long-time close friend, especially one whose company you
often keep. Sometimes the word has political implications; for example, the term cronyism
refers to the practice of favoring ones friends in political appointments. The 1988 film
Married to the Mob is about a Mafia widow trying to escape the clutches of her husbands

crux (kruks) n. The crux of a matter (or issue, argument, etc.) is its most basic, central, or
decisive point. In her 1954 book Lets Eat Right to Keep Fit, nutritionist Adelle Davis
emphasized proper diet as the crux of both physical and emotional well-being.

cryptic (KRIP-tik) adj. If something (a remark or gesture, for example) is cryptic, its
mysterious, ambiguous, or puzzling. Although (16th-century French physician and astrologer)
Nostradamuss predictions of the future have fascinated people for centuries, experts point out
that his forecasts were written in cryptic language. Note: The word is also used to refer to
messages written in (a secret) code.

cuckold (KUK-ld) n., vb. As a noun, a cuckold is a man whos wife has been unfaithful (by
sleeping with another man). As a verb, to cuckold a man is to turn him into a cuckold (by
sleeping with his wife). We imagined that if supermarket tabloids existed in the time of Henry
VIII (famous for his six wives, more than one of whom was unfaithful), his obituary headline,
instead of reading King Dies, would have read Cuckolded King Conks.

cuisine (kwi-ZN) n. A manner of cooking (or the art of cookery), especially as
characteristic of a particular country or style, is known as cuisine, as in Mexican cuisine or
Creole cuisine. American cooking teacher and writer Julia Child stimulated American interest

in French cuisine with her popular cooking show The French Chef (19621976).

cul-de-sac (kul-di-SAK) n. A cul-de-sac is a dead end; that is, its a dead-end street (or
something that resembles a dead-end street in that its closed at one end) or a dead-end
situation (one in which further progress is impossible; a deadlock, impasse, stalemate, etc.).
Your appendix is a small, hollow, worm-shaped cul-de-sac projecting from your large intestine
into your lower right abdominal cavity. Note: The word sounds foreign because it comes from
the French, meaning, literally, bottom of the sack.

culinary (KYOO-l-ner-) adj. This word means pertaining to cooking or the kitchen, as in
culinary delights, culinary techniques, culinary wares, etc. Culinary expert and TV personality
Julia Child (19122004) once said, I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just

cull (kul) vb. To cull something is to pick out (or select) only the best parts of it (and reject
the rest). Radio comedian Fred Allen (18941956) once observed, The American arrives in
Paris with a few French phrases he has culled from a conversational guide or picked up from a
friend who owns a beret.

culminate (KUL-m-nt) vb. When something culminates, it ends (often in some particular
way or with some particular result or event); it concludes; it reaches its final stage. The
institution of slavery led to a bitter political struggle between the North and South that
culminated in the Civil War (18611865). The noun is culmination. The Wright brothers first
successful flight (1903) of a motor-driven aircraft was the culmination of years of
experimentation with kites and gliders.

culpable (KUL-p-bl) adj. If youre culpable (in regard to something bad that happened),
youre blameworthy, guilty, etc. The noun is culpability. In his 1995 book Oswalds Tale,
writer Norman Mailer discusses the possible culpability of (accused Kennedy assassin) Lee
Harvey Oswald.

cumbersome (KUM-ber-sm) adj. Something thats cumbersome is awkward or difficult to
carry, move, manipulate, deal with, or handle because its heavy, large, or clumsy. The
medieval suit of armor, while cumbersome, was an effective protective covering.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. cuisine
2. cul-de-sac

3. crone

a. dead end
b. ugly old woman
c. style of cooking

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. crony: friend
2. crux: religious symbol
3. cuckold: rooster

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
cryptic, culinary, cumbersome

1. He left a __________ message; we didnt know what to make of it.
2. Her brownies were a __________ miracle.
3. Leave the suitcase home; its too __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. culpable / blameless
2. cull / select
3. culminate / end

Chapter 51: cunningdandle

cunning (KUN-ing) n., adj. As a noun, this word means clever or shrewd slyness or
deception. In Rossinis 1816 opera The Barber of Seville, the scheming title character, by his
trickery and cunning, helps his former master win the hand of a beautiful woman. As an
adjective, the word means cleverly or shrewdly sly or deceptive. In the French fairy tale
Puss in Boots, a cunning cat brings great fortune to its master, a poor young man.

cupidity (kyoo-PID-i-t) n. This word means excessive desire for money or possessions;
greed. When, in 1986, former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcoss cupidity was revealed
through an exhibition of the contents of her closet (which included thousands of pairs of
shoes), U.S. Congressman Stephen Solarz said, Compared to Imelda, Marie Antoinette was a
bag lady.

curmudgeon (kur-MUJ-n) n. A curmudgeon is an ill-tempered, cranky, grouchy person.
Actor Walter Matthau specialized in humorously portraying curmudgeons in such films as The
Odd Couple (1968), The Sunshine Boys (1975), and Grumpy Old Men (1993).

cursory (KR-s-r) adj. If you describe something (an inspection, an analysis, a look, etc.)
as cursory, you mean that its performed in a hasty, superficial manner, with little attention to
detail. After a cursory inspection of New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration, we asked the
logical question, Why did we purchase Louisiana in the first place?

curt (krt) adj. If you refer to someones speech or manner as curt, you mean that its
(usually rudely) abrupt or overly concise; its short, snappish, brusque. Sometimes were
forced to be curt; for example, when telemarketers call, I say, Send me the information by
mail and then hang up.

curtail (ker-TL) vb. To curtail something is to cut it short; reduce or lessen it (in duration,
size, amount, etc.). Under the terms of 1997s multibillion dollar settlement proposal to bring
an end to lawsuits filed against them by 40 states, four tobacco companies agreed to place
warning labels on packages of cigarettes and to severely curtail advertising.

cushy (KOOSH-) adj. To refer to a job as cushy is to say that its easy, pleasant, comfortable,
makes few demands, etc. Note: The word is rather informal, even slangy. So that they could
earn some pocket money, the members of the college football team were given cushy part-time
jobssuch as watering the athletic field (which had automatic sprinklers!).

cutlery (KUT-l-r) n. Tableware for eating and serving (knives, forks, and spoons) is
collectively known as cutlery. When my mother first told me to put the vase on top of the
sideboard, I didnt realize she was referring to that thing in the dining room with drawers
and shelves where she keeps the linens and cutlery.

cynic (SIN-ik) n. A person who believes that all people are motivated by selfishness, or a
person who tends to doubt or question things, is known as a cynic. The adjective is cynical;
the noun is cynicism. According to Comptons Encyclopedia, the 1980s rock group Guns N
Roses were often compared to the early Rolling Stones because of their similar cynical style
of singing about a hostile world.

cynosure (S-n-shoor, SIN--shoor) n. Something that (by virtue of its brilliance, interest,
etc.) is a center of attention (such as Elvis Presley when he walked onstage) is known as a
cynosure. Note: The word has an interesting derivation. Cynosura was the Roman name for the
constellation Ursa Minor, which contains the North Star (Polaris). Because that star remains in
a nearly fixed position in the sky, mariners have long used it as a navigational focal point (a
center of attention). When the Beatles arrived in the U.S. in the mid-1960s, not only was the

English rock group the cynosure of all eyes, they were the objects of mass worship; in fact, in
1966 band member John Lennon contended, Were more popular than Jesus Christ now.

dally (DAL-) vb. To dally (also dilly-dally), is to delay, loiter, waste time, drag your feet, etc.
A 1983 article in Esquire magazine said that McDonalds restaurants are for a classless
culture that hasnt time to dally on its way to the next rainbows end.

dandle (DAN-dl) vb. When you lightly or playfully move someone (a baby, a small child,
etc.) up and down on your knee (or in your arms), youre dandling him. When he told me he
had once been dandled on Teddy Roosevelts knee, I did some quick math and figured him to be
at least 90 years old.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. cynosure
2. curmudgeon
3. cynic

a. grouchy person
b. one who doubts or disbelieves
c. center of attention

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. cushy: expensive, rare
2. dandle: move slowly, delay
3. curtail: cut short, reduce

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
cunning, cupidity, cutlery

1. Fictional character Ebenezer Scrooge is known for his __________.
2. Place the plates, glasses, and __________ on the table.
3. Thanks to his __________ and wits, he was able to escape capture.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. curt / abrupt
2. dally / rush
3. cursory / superficial

Chapter 52: dankdecadent

dank (dangk) adj. A place (a cave or tropical forest, for example) described as dank is
disagreeably or unhealthily damp or humid. In the Middle Ages peasants lived in dank huts
made of wood covered with mud.

dappled (DAP-ld) adj. Something dappled has spots or patches of different colors or shades
(from each other or from the background); its spotted, speckled, dotted, etc. In December
1981 Town & Country magazine said of New York Citys St. John the Divine Inside, the
cathedral is a Gothic forest dappled in violet twilight and vast with quiet.

dastardly (DAS-trd-l) adj. To describe a person (or his deeds) as dastardly is to say that
hes sneaky, mean, and usually cowardly. In most stories concerning (comic book character)
Superman, the superhero is pitted against a dastardly villain.

daunting (DN-ting) adj. To daunt someone is to fill him with fear; to intimidate him. To
describe something (an unpleasant or burdensome task, for example) as daunting is to say that
its overwhelming, difficult, scary, etc. According to the Internet Directory, With so much
good stuff on the Internet, it can seem like a daunting task to actually pinpoint the material
that you are looking for. But a variety of tools on the Net make finding resources a breeze.

deadlock (DED-lok) n. A deadlock is a situation or condition (as in a dispute or contest) in
which no further progress or activity is possible; a standstill, a tie. The 1800 presidential
election ended in a deadlock, with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each receiving 73
electoral votes (but the House of Representatives broke the tie, electing Jefferson).

deadpan (DED-pan) adj. If something (a facial expression or manner of speech, for example)
is deadpan, its totally without expression or emotion; its blank, wooden, etc. Such an
expression or manner is sometimes put on by performers for comic effect. Comedian Jack
Benny (1894-1974) was known for his deadpan stares and for his image as the worlds stingiest
man and worlds worst violin player.

dearth (drth) n. A dearth (of something) is a lack (of it); a scarcity, a deficiency, a shortage,
etc. In the Titanic disaster of 1912, many people perished because of a dearth of lifeboats.

debacle (di-B-kl) n. A sudden, utter, disastrous defeat, failure, collapse, breakdown, or

downfall (of something) is known as a debacle. The United States formally entered Word War
II the day after the December 1941 Pearl Harbor debacle (in which Japanese planes, without
warning, attacked and destroyed a U.S. naval base in Hawaii).

debauchery (di-B-ch-r) n. Excessive indulgence in (especially immoral or depraved)
sensual or sexual pleasures is known as debauchery. To describe a person as debauched is to
say that hes lewd and immoral. Nineteenth-century French poet Paul Verlaines early life was
marked by his stormy relationship with teenaged poet Arthur Rimbaud, and his later life (even
though hed returned to the Catholic faith) was marked by drunkenness and debauchery.

debilitate (di-BIL-i-tt) vb. To debilitate someone is to cause him to loose energy or
strength; to weaken him, enfeeble him, etc. The adjective is debilitating. During his
Presidency (18811885), Chester A. Arthur was neither happy nor healthyhe mourned the
death (1880) of his wife and suffered the debilitating effects of kidney disease.

debunk (d-BUNGK) vb. To debunk something (that falsely claims to be true or effective) is
to show it to be false or ineffective. During his later career, American magician and escape
artist Harry Houdini spent much of his time debunking mediums (people who claim to have the
power to communicate with the dead) by duplicating their tricks and incorporating them into
his act.

decadent (DEK--dnt) adj. Technically, this word means decaying, declining,
deteriorating, as in a decadent Southern setting or (to use the noun) moral decadence. But to
say that someones behavior is decadent is to say that its marked by a tendency or need to
obtain gratification by indulging in unwholesome or unhealthful activities (such as having too
much candy, too much alcohol, too much sleep, too much sex, etc.). In 1972 actress/singer
Liza Minnelli won an Academy Award for her performance in Cabaret, a film concerning a
PreWorld War II Berlin nightclub and the decadent behavior of its employees.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. debacle
2. deadlock
3. debauchery

a. overindulgence in immoral behavior
b. stalemate, tie
c. utter defeat or failure

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. dappled: spotted, speckled
2. debilitate: strengthen, invigorate
3. decadent: healthy, wholesome

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
dank, dastardly, deadpan

1. The cave was dark and __________.
2. The comedian delivered his jokes with a __________ expression.
3. The story featured a brave hero and a __________ villain.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. debunk / prove
2. daunting / comforting
3. dearth / lack

Chapter 53: decapitatedecry

decapitate (di-KAP-i-tt) vb. To decapitate someone is to cut off his head. Not many people
know that the guillotine, a machine that uses a large, heavy, falling blade to decapitate people,
was devised by a humanitarian French doctorJoseph Guillotin (17381814).

deceased (di-SST) adj., n. As an adjective, this word describes someone who is no longer
living. As a noun, it denotes a person who has died. In some societies a burial mask is placed
on a corpses face to protect the deceased from evil spirits.

decimate (DES--mt) vb. This word originally referred to the killing (as a punishment for
mutiny) of one out of every ten soldiers (chosen by lot). (Note the root deci, which refers to
ten.) But today the word, which means kill, destroy, ruin, or markedly reduce a significant
portion (of something), can refer to any large-scale destruction (as in a lumber boom
decimated Michigans huge forests) or loss of life (as in disease and warfare decimated the
Indian population). Experts say that the smoking population will be decimated by lung cancer.

decipher (di-S-fr) vb. To decipher something thats unclear is to make out the meaning of
it; read it; interpret it. To decipher something written in code is to convert it into ordinary

language. In 1973 Austrian zoologist Karl von Frisch received a Nobel Prize for deciphering
honeybees dance language (through which they communicate the direction and distance
from their hive to nectar sources).

decline (di-KLN) vb. To decline is to (usually politely) refuse something offered to you; to
say no. Concerning the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Arrowsmith (1925), Sinclair Lewis (whose
views differed from those of the Pulitzer panel) said, I declined election to the National
Institute of Arts and Letters some years ago, and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize. Note:
The word also means become less in strength, power, importance, etc. In 2002 DVD player
sales increased and VCR sales declined.

dcollet (d-kol-T, d-kol--T) adj. If you describe a dress (or other garment) as
dcollet, you mean that it has a low neckline. If you describe a woman as dcollet, you mean
that shes wearing a dress (or other garment) with a low neckline. (The noun dcolletage is
the name for a dress with a low neckline or for the low neckline itself.) The students at the
junior prom were shocked to see the school librarian dcollet.

decompose (d-km-PZ) vb. When a substance decomposes, it breaks down or separates into
its basic chemical components; it disintegrates, rots, decays, etc. Environmentalists oppose
plastic containers because, unlike natural substances (wood or paper, for example), they dont
decompose over time.

decorous (DEK-r-s) adj. This word is used to describe people whose conduct, manner,
appearance, etc., are characterized by properness and social correctness; theyre wellbehaved, polite, respectful, gentlemanly (or ladylike), etc. The noun decorum (di-KR-m)
refers to either the well-mannered behavior of an individual toward others or to the overall
observance (by a group) of the rules of polite society. In the 1989 based-on-fact film Lean on
Me, actor Morgan Freeman plays the new principle of a gang- and drug-infested New Jersey
high school; in an effort to restore decorum and to provide an effective place of learning, he
calls all troublemakers to the stage of the auditorium and then abruptly expels them.

decoy (D-koi) n. A decoy is anything used to lure or deceive others into error, danger, or
capture, especially a living or artificial bird or other animal used to lure game into a trap or
within shooting range. Sioux military leader Crazy Horses (18421877) first encounter with
U.S. soldiers was on the Oregon Trail at Platte Bridge (July 1865), where he acted as a decoy
to draw soldiers out of their defenses.

decree (di-KR) vb., n. To decree something (an order, policy, etc.) is to formally pronounce
it or it put into effect (as by a government or a person of authority). As a noun, a decree is an
authoritative order (having the force of law). In 1941 Congress decreed that Thanksgiving
should fall on the fourth Thursday of November.

decrepit (di-KREP-it) adj. A person described as decrepit is weak or frail from old age or
illness; hes worn out, wasted away. A thing described as decrepit is in a state of disrepair or
decay (from hard use or time); its broken-down, beat up, shabby, etc. In 1835 American
showman P. T. Barnum shamelessly exhibited a decrepit, hymn-singing woman as the 161-yearold nurse of George Washington.

decry (di-KR) vb. To decry something (a situation or condition, for example) is to openly
express strong disapproval of it; to cry out against it. In 1978, when serious rock fans were
decrying disco music as mechanical and repetitious, the London Sunday Observer went so far
as to call disco dancing just the steady thump of a giant moron knocking in an endless nail.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. decapitate
2. decry
3. decompose

a. express disapproval
b. break down over time, decay
c. cut off the head

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. deceased: no longer living
2. decoy: police officer
3. decree: gradual reduction (of something)

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
decimate, decipher, decline

1. He warned that hunters could __________ the elephant population.
2. We didnt bother inviting him because we knew he would __________ the invitation.
3. We couldnt __________ the unusual handwriting.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. decrepit / new
2. decorous / unruly
3. dcollet / low-cut

Chapter 54: deducedefunct

deduce (di-DOOS) vb. To deduce something (the answer to some puzzle or problem, for
example) is to reach or draw a conclusion about it by reasoning; to figure it out, put two and
two together, etc. By understanding and using the laws of physics, scientists can deduce the
internal structure of stars.

deem (dm) vb. To deem is to hold a certain opinion about something; to regard it, consider
it, judge it, look upon it, or think of it in a particular way, as in the book was removed from the
school library because its language was deemed inappropriate for children. In 1948 the White
House was deemed structurally unsound; over the next four years it was gutted and its interior
structure was replaced with steel framing.

defame (di-FM) vb. To defame someone is to attack his good name or reputation by making
(often untrue) evil, harmful statements about him. As a noun, defamation (often heard in the
phrase defamation of character) is an act or instance of (someone) defaming (another).
During the 1950s, many American actors, writers, and musicians were defamed (and their
careers were destroyed) when they were falsely accused of being Communists or Communist
Party sympathizers.

default (di-FLT) vb., n. As a verb, to default on something (a loan, a promise, an
obligation, etc.) is to fail to fulfil or deliver it (as by not paying back money, not performing
a particular task, not appearing at a required appointment, etc.). With the authority of
Congress, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) shares information with other government
agencies; in most cases the information is used in the attempt to find people who have
defaulted on child-support payments or student loans. As a noun, a default is an instance of
such a failure, often in particular the failure of a competitor or team to participate in a contest
or sporting event. In 1975 Russian chess master Anatoly Karpov was declared world champion
by default when American Bobby Fischer, the title-holder, refused to agree to terms for a

defect (di-FEKT) vb. To defect is to abandon or desert a particular cause, party, country,
position, association, etc. (often to join another). Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who at
age 14 won three gold medals in the 1976 Olympics at Montreal, defected to the U.S. in 1989.

deference (DEF-rns) n. When you courteously yield or submit to someone elses wishes,
opinion, judgment, will, etc. (often out of respect), youre showing deference. The verb is

defer (di-FR); the adjective is deferential (der--REN-shl). Although he considered it

unnecessarily fussy, in deference to his editor he changed he to he or she throughout the

defiant (di-F-nt) adj. To defy something (authority, an order, a regulation, etc.) is to boldly
or openly resist or challenge it; to refuse to go along with it. If youre defiant, you tend to
defy; youre resistant, disobedient, hostile, etc. Actor James Dean (19311955) specialized in
portraying defiant youths in such films as 1955s Rebel Without a Cause.

defile (di-FL) vb. To defile something is to make it unclean, make it morally impure, or spoil
whatever holiness or sacredness it possesses; to degrade it, violate it, blacken it, etc. In 1883
South African feminist writer Olive Schreiner said, Marriage for love is the [most beautiful]
symbol of the union of souls; marriage without [love] defiles the world.

definitive (di-FIN-i-tiv) adj. This word means either authoritative; complete; reliable, as in
a definitive biography, or serving to supply a final decision or answer, as in a definitive
verdict. Most film critics agree that the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty (starring
Charles Laughton and Clark Gable) remains the definitive version, in spite of excellent
remakes in 1962 (with Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando) and 1984 (with Anthony Hopkins
and Mel Gibson).

deflect (di-FLEKT) vb. To deflect something (a bullet, public attention, etc.) is to turn it aside
or away, or to cause it to be turned aside or away. The first connection between magnetism and
electricity was made in 1819, when Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted (17771851)
discovered that a magnetic needle could be deflected by a wire carrying an electric current.

deft (deft) adj. If youre deft in action, youre quick, skillful, neat, light, etc. Former
basketball great Magic Johnson was known for his height, speed, and deft ball handing. If
youre deft in thought or expression, youre quick, clever, practiced, accomplished, etc.
Comedian and actor Billy Crystal has earned praise for his deft hosting of the Academy

defunct (di-FUNGKT) adj. If you say that something (a practice, a political organization, a
business, a law, etc.) is defunct, you mean that its no longer in effect or that it no longer
operates or functions. If you say that a person is defunct, you mean that hes dead. The brand
name Frisbee (for a dinner-plate-sized plastic disk thrown through the air) is said to have
derived from the defunct Frisbie Baking Company, which produced Mother Frisbies Pies.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. defect
2. defile
3. defame

a. speak badly of
b. abandon one country for another
c. make impure, spoil

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. definitive: authoritative, reliable
2. default: crack or opening in the earth
3. deference: laziness, sluggishness

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
deduce, deem, deflect

1. By putting the clues together, you can __________ that the butler was the guilty one.
2. The knight used his metal shield to __________ the arrow.
3. We didnt wear shorts to school because we knew the teacher would __________ it

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. defiant / obedient
2. defunct / dead
3. deft / clumsy

Chapter 55: deifydemagogue

deify (D--f) vb. To deify someone is to elevate him to the level of a god. After winning the
Oscar for Best Actor, he was suddenly deified by his former critics.

deign (dn) vb. To deign (to do something) is to agree to lower yourself from your level of
dignity or importance (to do it). In 1985, speaking of parents who deign to take their kids to
fast-food restaurants that serve meals rich in unsaturated fats, cardiologist Dr. Tazewell Banks
said, It would be better if they told their children, Go out and play in traffic.

dejected (di-JEK-tid) adj. If youre dejected, youre in low spirits; youre downcast; youre
depressed. Usually this word is used (instead of depressed) if these feelings are sudden but
temporary. The noun is dejection. His teammates couldnt decide whether the quarterbacks
dejection was caused by their losing the game or by his girlfriends absence.

delectable (di-LEK-t-bl) adj. If something is delectable, its greatly pleasing, especially to
the taste; its delicious, scrumptious, delightful, enjoyable, etc. In 1968 British TV journalist
Alistair Cooke complained that all Americans mistakenly believe that cranberry sauce is a
delectable necessity of Thanksgiving and that turkey is uneatable without it.

delectation (d-lek-T-shn) n. This word (usually seen in the phrase for your delectation)
means delight, pleasure, enjoyment, etc. When I asked why he insisted upon reading all his
poems aloud to me, he answered (with a straight face), Strictly for you delectation.

delete (di-LT) vb. To delete something (a written or printed word, passage, or symbol, for
example) is to remove it, take it out, erase it, omit it, etc. English editor Thomas Bowdler is
famous for his 1818 edition of Shakespeares plays (called The Family Shakespeare), in which
he deleted words and expressions he considered improper for family reading.

deleterious (del-i-TR--s) adj. If something is deleterious, its harmful (usually to your
health or your body). In science class we learned that our lymph nodes are little reservoirs
that collect bacteria and other deleterious agents and prevent them from entering our blood.

deliberate (di-LIB--rt) vb. When you deliberate about something (a choice to be made, for
example), you consider it carefully and often slowly; you weigh it (in your mind), think it
through, etc. When a group of people deliberate, they consult with each other in order to
reach a decision (as in the jury deliberated for three hours). The noun is deliberation. In a
July 1965 press conference concerning the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson said,
After this past week of deliberations, I have concluded that it is not essential to order
Reserve units into service now. Note: As an adjective, deliberate (di-LIB-r-it) means
intentional; on purpose (as in deliberate dishonesty or deliberate misspelling).

delirium (di-LR--m) n. If you suffer from delirium, you have (as a result of high fever,
shock, drugs, alcohol, or the like) a temporary disorder of the mind characterized by
confusion, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, trembling, etc. Recovery from a coma
proceeds in stagesbefore regaining normal brain function the patient goes through a state of
restless delirium followed by a state of quiet confusion. Note: The word can also signify a
state of uncontrolled emotion (especially joy), as in, to use the adjective, delirious Yankee

delude (di-LOOD) vb. To delude someone is to thoroughly deceive him; to fool him or trick

him into believing that something false is true; to dupe him, bamboozle him, etc. In 1958
newscaster Edward R. Murrow said, Dont be deluded into believing that the heads of [radio
and TV] networks control what appears on their [networks news programs]; they all have
better taste. The noun delusion can refer to either an act or instance of deluding (someone)
or to any strongly held false belief (as when a mental patient suffers from the delusion that he
is Napoleon, for example). In 1991 journalist P. J. ORourke joked, It is a popular delusion
that the [American] government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and
[laziness]; enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste this much money.

deluge (DEL-yooj) n. Technically, a deluge is a great flood (of water) or a heavy downpour
(of rain). (In the Bible, the Deluge is the great flood that covered the earth at the time of
Noah.) But people often use the word to denote an abundant or overwhelming flow or flood
of anything. As a verb, to be deluged by something (requests, orders, applications, mail, etc.)
is to be flooded or overwhelmed by it. When birth control clinics offering contraceptive
information and services first opened (19141918) in major cities across the U.S., they were
deluged with clients.

demagogue (DEM--gog) n. A demagogue is a leader (often a magnetic politician) who gains
power by playing upon peoples emotions, passions, fears, or prejudices, and by using
exaggeration, distortion, and lies. In 1954, speaking of Republican Wisconsin senator Joseph
McCarthy (a demagogue who gained power by falsely accusing hundreds of public figures of
being Communists at a time when most Americans feared Communism), television
commentator Edward R. Murrow said, No one can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all
his accomplices.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. deliberate
2. delude
3. delete

a. consider, think over
b. remove, omit
c. fool, trick

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. deify: purify, cleanse

2. deign: think about, ponder

3. demagogue: mythological beast

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
dejected, delectable, deleterious

1. The strawberry sundae was __________.
2. We were warned that junk food is __________ to our health.
3. He looked __________ after losing the election.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. delirium / alertness
2. delectation / enjoyment
3. deluge / flood

Chapter 56: demeaningdenouement

demeaning (di-MN-ing) adj. If something (a hurtful nickname, unskilled work, an
embarrassing situation, etc.) is demeaning, it lowers ones social standing, or it lowers ones
level of dignity or self-worth; its degrading. As a verb, to demean someone is to cause his
status or dignity to be lowered. In March 2002 a petition was created to encourage Target
Department Stores to stop selling a Halloween costume that demeans the mentally ill by
portraying a mental patient as an individual in a straight jacket and a Hannibal Lecter face

demeanor (di-MN-r) n. Your demeanor is the way you carry or present yourself to others,
or the way you act or behave. From your demeanor, others can pretty accurately determine
your attitude and even your personality. During World War II, Marine Corps Lieutenant
General Holland M. Smiths demeanor was well expressed by his nickname, Howlin Mad.

demented (di-MEN-tid) adj. In psychiatry, dementia is a loss of intellectual faculties (such as
memory, concentration, judgment, etc.). If someone is demented, he suffers from dementia; in
other words, hes mentally ill, insane, mad, crazy, nuts, etc. In his 1855 poem Song of
Myself, Walt Whitman said of animals: Not one is dissatisfied; not one is demented [by an
obsession with] owning things.

demimonde (DEM--mond) n. The demimonde (whose literal translation is half world)
refers to a class of women whose respectability and reputation is lost or doubtful (usually

because of sexual looseness), or to prostitutes as a group, or to a class of people whose

success is marginal. A demimondaine (dem--mon-DN) is a woman belonging to the
demimonde. As an adjective, demimondaine means of or pertaining to the demimonde. The
French postimpressionistic artist Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) is known for his depictions of
music halls, cabarets, and Paris demimonde scenes.

demise (di-MZ) n. This word means death (usually of a person), but it can also mean the
end of the existence, operation, or activity of something, as in the demise of silent films or
the demise of trolley cars. In 1986, in a speech made a few hours after the demise of seven
astronauts in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, President Ronald Reagan said of
them, They had that special grace, that special spirit that says: Give me a challenge and Ill
meet it with joy.

demolish (di-MOL-ish) vb. To demolish something (a run-down building, for example) is to
destroy it (especially on purpose); tear it down, dismantle it, level it. In 1990 the Berlin Wall
was demolished and East and West Germany were formally reunited for the first time since
World War II.

demur (di-MR) vb. To demur is to voice an objection or hesitate (when someone suggests
that you do something). When it was suggested to Italian opera composer Giuseppe Verdi that
his Aida be premiered in Egypt to coincide with the opening of the Suez Canal (1869), he
demurred, believing the new work would not be ready in time.

demure (di-MYOOR) adj. People who are demure are quiet, shy, and modest (especially
overly, affectedly, or slyly so). The word is used more often to describe a female than a male.
A 1956 New England Life Insurance pamphlet entitled What Is a Girl? observes, A little
girl can jitter around and stomp and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when
you open your mouth she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes.

denigrate (DEN-i-grt) vb. To denigrate someone (or his name, reputation, memory, etc.) is
to speak badly or damagingly of him; to badmouth, criticize, ridicule, or belittle him. In 1987,
when (rap group) the Beastie Boys were accused of denigrating women (in their song lyrics), a
band member responded, Its not as if we just insult women; our insults go across the board.

denizen (DEN-i-zn) n. A denizen (of a city, country, etc.) is a resident or inhabitant (a person
who lives there). In the 1800s, Dodge City, Kansas, was a rough, disorderly cowboy town
whose denizens included such legendary law officers as Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson.

denote (di-NT) vb. To denote something is (1) to indicate or signify it (as in a falling
barometer denotes an approaching storm), (2) to be a name for it (as in the word palette
denotes the roof of the mouth), or (3) to stand as a symbol for it (as in the character +
denotes addition). To some people the term rock n roll denotes music in the style of Chuck

Berry; to others it denotes pop music in general (as distinguished from classical music, for

denouement (d-noo-MN) n. As a dramatic or narrative device, a denouement (pronounced
with the last syllable nasalized, as in French) is the ending of (or especially the resolution or
clarification of the intricacies of) a film, play, or novel. During the denouement of the 1960
film Psycho, a psychiatrist explains that Norman Bates had dressed in his dead mothers
clothes and had become his mother. But in general usage, the word can refer to the final
outcome (ending, result, conclusion) of any (doubtful) series of events. In the stunningly
dramatic denouement of the 1980 American League pennant race, George Brett slammed
Goose Gossages 100-mile-per-hour fastball into the third deck of Yankee Stadium to win the
Kansas City Royals the league championship.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. denigrate
2. denote
3. demolish

a. signify
b. destroy, tear down
c. criticize, ridicule

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. demure: soft, smooth
2. demimonde: a small glove
3. demeaning: degrading

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
demeanor, demise, denouement

1. During the __________ it was revealed that the nephew had committed the murder.
2. It wasnt until after his __________ that his artwork became popular.
3. We could tell by his __________ that he would be difficult to convince.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. demur / agree
2. denizen / citizen
3. demented / sane

Chapter 57: denudedderogatory

denuded (di-NOO-did) adj. If something has been denuded, it has been stripped bare (of its
natural or usual covering). (Note the similarity to the word nude.) Earthquakes and landslides
have long ago denuded Italys Apennines mountains of their original forest cover.

depict (di-PIKT) vb. To depict something is to represent or reproduce it in a picture or
sculpture (by drawing, painting, or sculpting it), or in words (by describing it). The painting
popularly titled Whistler s Mother (1872), which depicts American artist James Whistlers
(18341903) mother in profile, dressed in black, and seated on a straight chair, is actually
entitled Arrangement in Grey and Black Number 1.

deplete (di-PLT) vb. When a supply of something is depleted, its quantity or size decreases;
it becomes partially or totally used up, emptied out, etc. In 1974 environmentalists warned that
certain industrial chemicals (Freon, for example) could deplete the Earths ozone layer (a
band of ozone in the upper atmosphere that absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation from the

deplore (di-PLR) vb. In one sense, to deplore something is to feel or express strong
disapproval of it. Many parents deplore violence on television because of the harmful
influence it may have on children. In another sense, to deplore something is to feel or express
sorrow, regret, or grief over it. In 1958, speaking of Arkansass refusal to enforce the Supreme
Courts 1954 school desegregation ruling, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, I deplore
the need or the use of troops anywhere to get American citizens to obey the orders of [the]

deportment (di-PRT-mnt) n. Your deportment is the way you conduct or behave yourself
(especially as measured against some prevailing code of social behavior). As the head servant
in a household, the butler, in addition to being in charge of food service and the care of
silverware, is responsible for the deportment of the other servants.

depraved (di-PRVD) adj. If something (a person, idea, concept, etc.) is depraved, its
morally corrupt; that is, its perverted, indecent, unnatural, evil, sinful, etc. In his first annual
message to Congress (December 1901), President Theodore Roosevelt wrote of his
assassinated predecessor, President McKinley was killed by an utterly depraved criminal

belonging to that body of criminals who object to all governments, good and bad alike.

deprecate (DEP-ri-kt) vb. To deprecate something (an accomplishment, for example) is to
minimize it (to make it seem less important). Because he didnt want to seem conceited, he
deprecated his heroism by saying, Oh shucks, it was nothing. Note: The word can also mean
to express disapproval of (something). Although a slaveholder, statesman Henry Clay
(17771852) deprecated slavery as a system.

depredation (dep-ri-D-shn) n. Damage, loss, or ravage (as from natural decay or unlawful
attack) is known as depredation. Note: The word is often used in the plural. In 1965 President
Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare Act to protect citizens from the depredations of illness in
their old age. Note: In a related sense, the word means unlawful taking of property by force
(a raid, attack, robbery, ransacking, etc.).

deranged (di-RNJD) adj. If you say that someone is deranged, you mean that hes insane,
mentally unbalanced, crazy, mad, etc. The implication is that his instability has resulted in a
(perhaps dangerous) functional disorder. In December 1980, outside his New York City
apartment building, (former Beatles member) John Lennon was shot and killed by a deranged

derelict (DER--likt) adj. As an adjective describing an object, derelict means abandoned,
forgotten, deserted, neglected, etc. The fate of the captain and 14-man crew of the sailing ship
Mary Celeste, found derelict but in perfect order in December 1872, has never been learned.
Note: As an adjective describing a person, the word means negligent (in the performance of
duty). And as a noun, a derelict is a homeless person, a social outcast, a bum, etc.

deride (di-RD) vb. When you deride someone (usually someone you feel superior to and
feel an aversion toward), you treat him or speak of him as a laughingstock; you
disrespectfully ridicule, mock, or insult him (often for your own amusement). In 1992 Vice
President Dan Quayle was derided by the public and the press alike for misspelling the word
potato. The noun derision refers to either mocking laughter or to a state of being derided.
His newest get-rich-quick scheme was held in derision by his wife.

derogatory (di-ROG--tr-) adj. If you say that something (a remark, a term or phrase,
personal information, etc.) is derogatory, you mean that it tends to belittle or discredit
(someone); it lowers or insults (him). While in some regions of the Southwest the term
Chicaco, a shortened version of Mexicano (Mexican-American), is considered derogatory, in
others it actually suggests self-determination and ethnic pride.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. denuded
2. deranged
3. derelict

a. insane, crazy
b. stripped bare
c. abandoned, deserted

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. depredation: damage from natural decay
2. deprecate: express approval or praise
3. deportment: conduct, behavior

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
depict, deplete, deplore

1. Conservationists __________ the waste of natural resources.
2. Country music lyrics often __________ the ups and downs of everyday life.
3. Too much fishing can __________ a lake of fish.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. deride / ridicule
2. derogatory / favorable
3. depraved / wholesome

Chapter 58: desecratedeteriorate

desecrate (DES-i-krt) vb. To desecrate something is to violate or spoil the sacredness (or
sacred nature) of it (as in desecrate a church by covering it with graffiti). A 1968 federal law
make it illegal to publicly burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag (but in 1989 the
Supreme Court ruled that that law violated the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment).

desiccate (DES-i-kt) vb. When something becomes desiccated it becomes completely dried
up. The noun is desiccation. The skin of a snake is primarily a protective structure, guarding it

against injury and desiccation.

desist (di-SIST) vb. To desist is to stop or discontinue some (sometimes harmful or illegal)
action or activity. The U.S. government prohibits false or deceptive advertising, and violators
are ordered to desist from running such ads.

desolate (DES--lit) adj. A place described as desolate is uninhabited, deserted, lonely, stark,
barren. We all wondered what Neil Armstrong was thinking when he first set foot on the moons
desolate surface.

despair (di-SPR) n., vb. As a noun, despair is a state of being without hope (and the feeling
of sadness or powerlessness that accompanies that state). As a verb, to despair is to lose all
hope. Franklin D. Roosevelt became President (1933) during the Great Depression, when the
economy was in collapse and the nation was in despair.

despicable (di-SPIK--bl) adj. If you say that someone or something is despicable, you
mean that it deserves to be regarded with hate or disgust; its awful, wicked, vile, miserable,
etc. Note: This is the adjective form of the verb despise (see despise). The day after the
September 11th (2001) terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush said that the search for
those behind the evil, despicable acts of terror was underway.

despise (di-SPZ) vb. To despise someone (or something) is to regard him with extreme
dislike, distaste, hostility, aversion, etc.; to hate him. In 1962, speaking of the British upper
class, journalist Quentin Crewe said, The children despise their parents until the age of 40,
when they suddenly become just like them.

despondent (di-SPON-dnt) adj. When youre despondent (about something), you feel
depressed, gloomy, dispirited, or discouraged, especially when those feelings are
accompanied by a feeling of hopelessness. In 1968 Lyndon Johnson, despondent over the nowin Vietnam situation, announced that he would not seek or accept a second term as President.

destitute (DES-ti-toot) adj. To describe someone as destitute is to say that he completely
lacks the means (money) for providing for the necessities of life; hes completely povertystricken. The noun is destitution. When, at the age of 22, he was dismissed from West Point and
his foster father disinherited him, writer Edgar Allan Poe found himself destitute and without
a career.

desultory (DES-l-tr-) adj. When you proceed (move, act, or talk) in a desultory way, you
dont follow a constant, consistent, methodical courseyou jump about, from here to there.
Ive never heard conversations as desultory as those that take place in Internet chat rooms.
When you do something in a desultory way, you dont give it your full attention or effort
you do it in fits and starts. He made a few desultory attempts to find a job, but nothing panned


detached (di-TACHT) adj. If you say that someone is detached, you mean that hes not
emotionally involved; hes impersonal, distant, etc. In memoirs published by his former aides,
President Ronald Reagan was described as detached and uninformed.

deteriorate (di-tr---rt) vb. When something deteriorates, it grows worse (in quality,
character, value, etc.); it goes downhill (as in deteriorating neighborhoods). After the Civil
War (18611865), Confederacy President Jefferson Davis, charged with treason, spent two
years in prison, where his physical and emotional health deteriorated.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. deteriorate
2. desecrate
3. desiccate

a. destroy the holiness of
b. dry up
c. become worse

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. detached: emotionally involved
2. desultory: not steady, skipping about
3. despair: foolishness, childishness

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
desolate, despondent, destitute

1. He became __________ when his marriage failed.
2. He arrived in the country __________ but after a few years made a small fortune.
3. The explorers trudged across the hot, __________ desert.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. despicable / likeable
2. despise / hate
3. desist / continue

Chapter 59: detestdiagnosis

detest (di-TEST) vb. To detest something is to hate or despise it. In 1964, ruling that Henry
Millers 1934 novel The Tropic of Cancer (banned in the U.S. until 1961 for its sexually
explicit content) was not pornographic, a California Supreme Court judge said, The creations
which yesterday were the detested and the obscene become the classics of today.

detract (di-TRAKT) vb. If one thing detracts from another, it negatively interferes with it; in
other words, the first thing somehow (usually unintentionally) reduces the seconds level of
quality, value, reputation, importance, beauty, believability, etc. Although many Flamenco
dancers use castanets (hand-held percussion instruments that make a snapping sound), some
fans believe that these actually detract from the music and the dancing.

detractor (di-TRAK-tr) n. A detractor is a person who criticizes or tears down another
person (usually a public figure), an institution, or a cause; an attacker, antagonist, faultfinder,
etc. Whereas fans of hip-hop admire the musics inventiveness, detractors criticize it for
promoting violence.

detrimental (det-r-MEN-tl) adj. If something is detrimental, it has a harmful effect; its
damaging, injurious, hurtful, etc. Industrial pollutants dumped into natural waters have a
detrimental effect on fish and other aquatic life.

detritus (di-TR-ts) n. Technically, detritus is small, disintegrated particles of rock or other
material, worn away from a mass (as by erosion). But in general usage, people use this word
to refer to any kind of debris, junk, garbage, waste, castoffs, etc. Swiss-born motion-art
sculptor Jean Tinguely (19351991) was known for salvaging the discarded detritus of the
machine age and recycling it into huge, motor-powered sculptures.

deviate (D-v-t) vb. To deviate is to turn aside from a particular course, or to depart from
what is considered normal. Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (18951979) once
said, There was no member of my family who was a lawyer, but I never deviated from that
course from the time I was eight or nine years of age.

devious (D-v-s) adj. Anyone or anything (a plan, for example) devious uses unfair
methods; it intends to trick or deceive; its dishonest, underhanded, crooked, etc. Characters
featured in Peanuts cartoons include born loser Charlie Brown and the crabby, often
devious Lucy.

devoid (di-VOID) adj. To be devoid of something is to be completely without it, completely
lacking it. For example, a vacuum is space devoid of matter. The center of the city had become
a commercial area nearly devoid of residences.

devolution (dev--LOO-shn) n. A devolution is a stage-by-stage passage or evolution,
usually to a lower or worse condition. In 1841, years before he became involved with circus
management, P. T. Barnum opened a New York City museum featuring fossils, historical relics,
and what he called freaks of nature; his exaggerated publicity techniques did not lesson the
educational value of his exhibits, but they did represent a devolution from earlier ideals. The
verb is devolve. When something (a responsibility or duty, for example) devolves, its passed
on or down (from one person to another). The U.S. Constitution tells us that in case of the
removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the
powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President.

dexterous (DEK-strs, DEK-str-s) adj. If youre dexterous, you have skill and ease in
physical movement, especially in the use of your hands; you have good physical
coordination. The noun is dexterity. In 1986 the New York Times said of Seattle chef Kathy
Pavletich Casey, When she goes about her kitchen duties, chopping, carving, mixing, [and]
whisking, she moves with the grace of a ballet dancer, her fingers [working] the food with the
dexterity of a [Las Vegas card dealer]. Note: The word can also refer to mental skill and ease
(as in the Presidents dexterous use of his cabinet).

diabolical (d--BOL-i-kl) adj. To describe something (or someone) as diabolical is to say
that its characteristic of a devil; that is, its demonic, wicked, cruel, evil, fiendish, etc.
Referring to the diabolical character she portrayed in the 1962 film Whatever Happened to
Baby Jane?, actress Bette Davis once said, The best time I ever had with [co-star] Joan
Crawford was when I pushed her down the stairs.

diagnosis (d-g-N-sis) n. A diagnosis is an opinion or conclusion about what disease a
person (or animal) suffers from. Such an opinion or conclusion is generally expressed by a
doctor as the result of a physical examination, a review of laboratory tests, an evaluation of
patient history, etc. Biopsy (the removal and microscopic examination of a sample of living
tissue) is the only conclusive method for the diagnosis of cancer.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. diagnosis
2. detritus

3. detractor

a. identification of a disease (one suffers from)
b. one who criticizes or opposes (another)
c. debris, junk

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. devolution: acceleration, speed
2. deviate: lie, fabricate
3. detract: make less appealing

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
detrimental, devoid, diabolical

1. The astronauts found the barren planet __________ of life.
2. He specialized in playing __________ characters in horror films.
3. Many aspects of modern civilization are __________ to the environment.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. devious / straightforward
2. dexterous / clumsy
3. detest / hate

Chapter 60: diaphanousdiligent

diaphanous (d-AF--ns) adj. To describe something (clothing, for example) as diaphanous
is to say that its very sheer and light; its transparent, flimsy, gauzy, airy, wispy, etc. In 1890s
Paris, American dancer Loie Fuller created a sensation with her swirling, diaphanous skirts
under continually changing colored lights.

diatribe (D--trb) n. A diatribe is a bitter, abusive (usually lengthy) verbal attack. Some
historians have suggested that Senator Joseph McCarthys wild, anti-Communist diatribes of
the early 1950s were the result of heavy drinking.

dichotomy (d-KOT--m) n. Technically, a dichotomy is a division (of something) into two
parts. But people usually use this word to refer to a division into two parts which are (in
concept, opinion, idea, meaning, quality, etc.) somehow sharply contrasting (as in the
dichotomy between theory and practice or the dichotomy between words and action). In 1993
TV producer Ellen Lewis said, There is a striking dichotomy between the behavior of many
women in their lives at work [where they battle assumptions about the roles of men and
women] and in their lives as mothers [where they accept and reinforce these roles].

didactic (d-DAK-tik) adj. If a person (or his writing) is didactic, he tends to (sometimes
excessively) teach, lecture, or moralize. Greek storyteller Aesop (sixth century B.C.) is known
for his didactic animal fables (including The Tortoise and the Hare, which teaches that
steady effort leads to success).

diffident (DIF-i-dnt) adj. If you lack self-confidence (and dont really trust your own
opinions or abilities), and as a result act timid, restrained, or hesitant (in speaking or acting),
youre diffident. On the cafeteria line he luckily found himself standing right behind the

prettiest girl in the school; unfortunately, he was suddenly too diffident to say one word to her.

digress (d-GRES) vb. In speaking or writing, to digress is to stray from the main topic or
purpose; to go off the subject, go off on a tangent, etc. The noun is digression. The exciting
wilderness novels of James Fenimore Cooper (1826s The Last of the Mohicans, for example)
contain frequent social and political digressions.

dilapidated (di-LAP-i-d-tid) adj. If something (a building or automobile, for example) is
dilapidated, its in a state of disrepair or decay (as from age, wear, misuse, etc.); its brokendown, shabby, etc. In 1205 Italian Roman Catholic monk Saint Francis of Assisi began treating
lepers and restoring dilapidated churches.

dilate (D-lt) vb. When something dilates, it becomes wider or larger; it expands. For
example, the pupils of your eyes dilate in dim light (to allow more light to pass through) and
contract in bright light (to limit the amount passing through). In 1987 French author Jean
Baudrillard said, Boredom is like a pitiless zooming in on the skin of time; every instant is
dilated like the magnified pores of the face.

dilatory (DIL--tr-) adj. Someone whos dilatory tends to delay or procrastinate; hes slow,
late, etc. (sometimes intentionally, so as to avoid making a decision). During the 1950s and
1960s Southern Democratic senators used a dilatory tactic known as a filibuster (a lengthy
speech) to try to delay civil rights legislation.

dilemma (di-LEM-) n. Technically, a dilemma is a situation or problem that requires making
a difficult choice between two (sometimes undesirable) alternatives; but the word often is used
informally to refer to any type of problematic situation. In 1979 Wisconsin seminary professor
Robert Cooper said, There is no dilemma compared with that of the deep-sea diver who hears
the message from the ship above, Come up at once; we are sinking.

dilettante (DIL-i-tnt) n. A dilettante is a person who takes up a subject or activity in an
amateurish, superficial way; a dabbler (as distinguished from an expert or professional).
Many sensational news videotapes (the 1991 beating of black motorist Rodney King by four
white Los Angeles policemen, for example) were actually shot by amateur videographers
dilettantes who just happened to be near the scene with camera in hand.

diligent (DIL--jnt) adj. If youre diligent (about doing something) youre persevering and
painstaking (about it); youre industrious, hardworking, attentive, careful, etc. An AngloNorman text written around the beginning of the 15th century tells us that elephants guard
their ears diligently against flies.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. diatribe
2. dilemma
3. dichotomy

a. division into two contrasting parts
b. verbal attack
c. difficult or problematic situation

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. didactic: energetic, dynamic
2. digress: stray from the topic
3. dilettante: servant, slave

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
diaphanous, diffident, dilatory

1. He had something to say but was too __________ to speak up.
2. He was denied credit because he had been __________ in paying his bills.
3. The bride wore a __________ veil.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. dilate / expand
2. diligent / careless
3. dilapidated / shabby

Chapter 61: diminishdisclose

diminish (di-MIN-ish) vb. When something diminishes it becomes (sometimes gradually)
smaller or less (in size, amount, importance, etc.). Earthquakes usually begin with slight
tremors, rapidly increase to one or more violent shocks, and diminish gradually.

diminutive (di-MIN-y-tiv) adj. Something diminutive is small or smallish, below average in
size. The word sometimes implies that the smallness is exceptional or abnormal. Overly

aggressive men of diminutive stature are sometimes said to have a Napoleon complex.

din (din) n. A din is any (usually prolonged) noisy jumble of soundthe kind of loud but
indistinct sound you might hear in a crowded restaurant or a machine shop, for example. The
noon whistle pierced the din of the factory.

dint (dint) n. This word is usually heard in the phrase by dint of, which means through the
application of, by means of, by force of, etc. By dint of such dramatic strategies as mass
marches and hunger strikes, the National Womans Party helped win women the right to vote

Dionysian (d--NISH-n, d--NIS--n) adj. In mythology, Dionysus (pronounced d-N-ss or d--N-ss) is the Greek name of the Roman god Bacchus (the god of wine and
fertility), so this word is synonymous with Bacchanalian (see Bacchanalian). To describe
someone as Dionysian is to say that hes unrestrained, ecstatic, uninhibited, irrational,
undisciplined, frenzied, etc. (especially in drinking and lovemaking). In a well-known story by
Robert Louis Stevenson, the virtues of Dr. Jekylls well-intentioned medical experiments offset
the Dionysian excesses of Mr. Hyde.

diplomatic (dip-l-MAT-ik) adj. If youre diplomatic, youre skilled in handling people,
especially in avoiding ill will, hurt feelings, etc.; youre tactful. In 1960 Australian actor and
director Cyril Ritchard (18981977), describing matinee audiences, said, Two thousand dear
ladies, all very careful and diplomatic with one another; theyre busier watching each other
than the show.

dire (dr) adj. This word can mean causing or warning of great suffering, misfortune,
trouble, disaster, etc., as in dire consequences, or it can simply mean desperate, urgent, very
bad, etc., as in dire poverty. According to a July 1962 Atlantic magazine article entitled A
Marriage on the Rocks, for married people, divorce is always a threat, admittedly or not,
and such a dire threat that it is almost a dirty word.

dirge (drj) n. A dirge is a funeral song or tune (or a musical composition that sounds like
one; that is, one thats slow and mournful). My cousin, a confirmed bachelor, claims that a guy
can use the same slow music as both his wedding march and his funeral dirgebecause hes a
goner either way.

disabuse (dis--BYOOZ) vb. To disabuse someone is to rid him of a false notion or mistaken
conception (that he holds); to set him straight, show him the truth, undeceive him, etc. If, in
1765, the British government expected the American colonists to willingly pay a new stamp
tax, they were disabused of that notion when the colonists angrily rose in protest.

disarray (dis--R) n. If something (a persons clothing or hair, or a countrys government

or economy, for example) is in disarray, its in a state of disorder or confusion; its

disorganized, mixed up, messed up, etc. In July 1975, Boston University President John Silber
said, The younger generation finds a special value in the costumes of poverty and disarray
simply because these aspects of life have become far scarcer for children of the middle class
than good clothes and [attractiveness].

discern (di-SRN) vb. To discern something is to perceive it and recognize the difference or
distinction between it and something else through either one of the senses (sight, hearing, etc.)
or the intellect, as in through the fog, we were unable to discern the outlines of the building.
Looking at the night sky, its impossible to discern any matter lying between stars (but
scientists tell us that such matter indeed exists).

disclose (di-SKLZ) vb. To disclose something (a secret or anything that has been or ought
to be kept from the knowledge of others) is to make it known, reveal it, tell it, etc. In 1994
former President Ronald Reagan disclosed that he had Alzheimers disease in the hope of
increasing public awareness of the illness.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. disabuse
2. disclose
3. discern

a. undeceive, set straight
b. perceive, see
c. reveal, tell

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. dire: narrow, thin
2. din: noisy sound
3. Dionysian: peaceful, harmonious

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
dint, dirge, disarray

1. A __________ was played during the funeral.

2. He succeeded by __________ of hard work and perseverance.

3. Her clothes were stained and her hair was in __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. diminish / increase
2. diplomatic / tactful
3. diminutive / small

Chapter 62: discomfitdisdain

discomfit (dis-KUM-fit) vb. To discomfit someone is to (intentionally or unintentionally)
make him feel embarrassed or uneasy; to unnerve or disconcert him. (The noun discomfiture
means a feeling of uneasiness, embarrassment, etc.) The quiz show contestant was an
attorney who became visibly discomfited when he couldnt answer an easy question concerning

disconsolate (dis-KON-s-lit) adj. People who are disconsolate are hopelessly sad; theyre
beyond being cheered up. In the 1982 film E.T.The Extra-Terrestrial, a young boy becomes
disconsolate when his alien friend is pronounced dead.

discordant (dis-KR-dnt) adj. If a sound is discordant, its disagreeable to the ear; its
harsh, jarring, dissonant, etc. The shower scene in the 1960 horror film Psycho is accompanied
by a series of high-pitched, discordant violin screams. If two (or more) things are
discordant with each other, theyre not in agreement; theyre conflicting, differing,
inharmonious, at odds, etc. In his inaugural address (March 1825), President John Quincy
Adams said, Tens years of peace have blended into harmony the most discordant elements of
public opinion.

discount (dis-KOUNT) vb. To discount a story, rumor, claim, etc., is to disregard it or to
regard it with disbelief. Although hundreds of people in the northwest U.S. and Canada have
reported sighting a large, apelike creature known as Bigfoot (whose footprints, they say,
measure 17 inches in length), most scientists discount the existence of such a creature.

discourse (DIS-krs) n. A (usually formal or lengthy) communication of thoughts (such as a
speech, essay, or conversation) is known as a discourse. The word also denotes conversation
in general. In 1985 journalist Lucy Howard said of President Ronald Reagan, In the heat of a
political lifetime, [he] innocently squirrels away tidbits of misinformation and then, sometimes
years later, casually drops them into his public discourse, like gumballs in a quiche.

discredit (dis-KRED-it) vb. To discredit someone is to cause him to lose his good name or
reputation (by showing him to be untrustworthy, corrupt, etc.). Senator Joseph McCarthy (who
in the early 1950 wrongly accused many public figures of being Communists) was discredited
in 1954 when the Senate said that his actions were contrary to senatorial traditions.

discreet (di-SKRT) adj. To be discreet (about something) is to wisely use self-restraint in
conduct or speech (as when you keep quiet about a delicate situation, for example). The noun
is discretion. While he was married to Anne Boleyn, Englands King Henry VIII (15091547)
pursued his wifes lady in waiting (attendant), Jane Seymour, with giftsbut she discreetly
rejected his advances. Note: Dont confuse this word with discrete (see discrete).

discrepancy (di-SKREP-n-s ) n. A discrepancy is a lack of agreement between two things
(facts or claims, for example) that should match; a difference, inconsistency, etc. A slight
discrepancy exists between the length of a year as measured by our calendar (365.2425 days)
and the length of a year as measured by one complete revolution of the earth around the sun
(365.2422 days).

discrete (di-SKRT) adj. If you say that (two or more) things are discrete, you mean that
theyre separate and distinct (from each other). In the U.S. government, power is separated
among three discrete branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. Note: Dont confuse this
word with discreet (see discreet).

discriminate (di-SKRIM--nt) vb. To discriminate against a person or group is to treat that
person or group poorly or unjustly (in matters of education or employment, for example)
because of their race, gender, religion, class, nationality, etc. The noun is discrimination. New
York Yankee great Lou Gehrig once said, There is no room in baseball for discrimination; it is
our national pastime and a game for all. Note: In another sense, to discriminate is to be able
to recognize fine distinctions between things (see discriminating).

discriminating (di-SKRIM--n-ting) adj. If you have discriminating taste or a discriminating
mind, youre able to recognize fine differences or distinctions between things (for example,
you can easily tell the difference between cheap and fine wine, inferior and superior works of
art, valid and faulty arguments, etc.). The jazz saxophonist was so good at covering up his
mistakes that only a few discriminating listeners knew that hed started his solo in the wrong

disdain (dis-DN) n., vb. When you feel disdain for something (or, to use the verb, when you
disdain something), you regard it as inferior and unworthy; you look down upon it,
disapprove of it, dont like it. Some people (call them snobs, if you like) praise everything on
public television and disdain everything on commercial television.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. discomfit
2. discredit
3. discriminate

a. cause (one) to lose his good name or reputation
b. treat (one) unfairly because of his race or religion
c. cause (one) to become embarrassed or unnerved

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. disdain: nervousness, fear
2. discourse: conversation, dialog
3. discreet: shy, humble

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
disconsolate, discordant, discriminating

1. The punk rock band played loud, __________ music.
2. The restaurant advertised that its menu catered to those with __________ taste.
3. She was __________ at the loss of her pet cat.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. discrete / distinct
2. discount / accept
3. discrepancy / inconsistency

Chapter 63: disgruntleddispassionate

disgruntled (dis-GRUN-tld) adj. When someones disgruntled, hes discontented (with
something); hes (often sulkily or grumpily) dissatisfied or annoyed. In what is known as
Shays Rebellion (17861787), disgruntled Massachusetts farmers revolted against high

disheartened (dis-HR-tnd) adj. To become disheartened is to lose heart; in other words, to
lose hope, courage, spirit, enthusiasm, etc. People who become disheartened feel depressed,
discouraged, sad, broken, crushed, etc. After his 1851 novel Moby Dick was misunderstood
and poorly received, Herman Melville became disheartened; however, he continued to produce
important works, including the novella Billy Budd.

disheveled (di-SHEV-ld) adj. If something (ones hair or clothing, for example) is
disheveled, its hanging or thrown about in loose disorder; its untidy, disarranged, messy,
sloppy, unkempt, etc. A disheveled appearance can be either unintentional (as with mad
scientists, for example) or intentional (as with grunge musicians, for example).

disinterested (dis-IN-tri-stid) adj. If you refer to someone as disinterested (as in a
disinterested outsider), you dont mean that hes not interested. You mean that hes fair,
impartial, unbiased, etc. (because he is not swayed by his own interests). The implication is
that he would thus be good at settling disputes between others in a fair, just manner. Likewise,
a thing (a report, study, experiment, etc.) that is disinterested is one that is fair, objective,
unbiased, etc. Famed trial lawyer and author Louis Nizer once said, Books are standing
counselors and preachers, always at hand and always disinterested; having this advantage
over oral instructors, that they are ready to repeat their lesson as often as we please.

disjointed (dis-JOIN-tid) adj. If you say that speech or writing is disjointed, you mean that its
not properly connected; that is, its out of order, broken up, jumbled, etc. In his novel Ulysses
(1922), Irish author James Joyce employed a technique known as stream of consciousness,
in which he used disjointed language to reflect the rambling, fragmentary thoughts of the
human mind.

dismal (DIZ-ml) adj. In one sense this word describes anything that causes or expresses
gloom, dreariness, depression, etc. In 1887 journalist Nellie Bly (18671922) faked insanity
to get inside a mental institution to write an expos of its dismal conditions. In another sense
the word describes anything characterized by a lack of competence, merit, talent, or skill.
Under the guidance of coach Sid Gillman, footballs Houston Oilers rose from a dismal 1-13
record in 1973 to a respectable 7-7 in 1974.

dismay (dis-M) n., vb. As a noun, dismay is a loss of courage (as from an inability to cope
with trouble or danger) or a feeling of sad disappointment (as from a hopeless situation). As a
verb, to dismay someone is to break down his courage, disappoint him, or alarm him. In
1970, to the dismay of their intensely devoted fans, the Beatles disbanded.

dismember (dis-MEM-br) vb. To dismember a person or animal is to cut or tear off its limbs
(arms, legs, wing, tail, etc.). When crocodiles feed on large animals (antelope, deer, and hogs,
for example), they first drown them, then dismember them. To dismember a thing (a country,

for example) is to divide or separate it into pieces. During World War I (19141918) the
British and the French developed plans for the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.

disparage (di-SPAR-ij) vb. To disparage someone (or something) is to speak badly of him, to
put him down. During the 1950s, society praised mothers who stayed at home and disparaged
career women.

disparate (DIS-pr-it) adj. If you say that two or more things are disparate, you mean that
theyre fundamentally different (in kind) and distinct; they are unalike, dissimilar, separate,
etc. New Orleans Creole cuisine (cooking) is a unique blend of disparate influences: French,
Spanish, African, and Native American.

disparity (di-SPAR-i-t) n. A disparity (between two things) is an inequality or difference (as
in age, rank, degree, amount, etc.). According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, A greater
percentage of reports [of UFO sightings] have come from people living in rural areas than
from those living in urban areas; the reasons for this disparity are unknown.

dispassionate (dis-PASH--nit) adj. If someone is dispassionate (about a particular issue),
hes fair, impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced, etc. (that is, hes not influenced by personal
emotions). In the Introduction to his Origin of Species (1859), British naturalist Charles
Darwin (18091882) wrote: I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and
dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists until
recently entertained, and which I formerly entertainednamely, that each species has been
independently createdis erroneous.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. disjointed
2. disparate
3. dismal

a. jumbled, broken up
b. gloomy, depressing
c. separate, distinct

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. dismember: reject, kick out

2. dismay: a feeling or sadness, disappointment, or hopelessness

3. disparage: talk kindly (of someone)

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
disgruntled, disheartened, disinterested

1. The dispute was settled by a __________ third party.
2. The fire was set by a __________ employee.
3. The teacher was __________ by his students lack of interest.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. dispassionate / biased
2. disparity / inequality
3. disheveled / tidy

Chapter 64: dispersedissipate

disperse (di-SPRS) vb. This word can mean to drive off into various directions; scatter
(as in after the concert, the crowd dispersed), or to vanish; disappear; break up and scatter
out of sight (as in by noon the fog had dispersed), or to spread over a wide area (as in
disperse knowledge or disperse leaflets and pamphlets). The Knights of the Round Table
dispersed after the death of King Arthur.

dispirited (di-SPIR-i-tid) adj. If someone is dispirited, hes in low spirits (as from having lost
hope, courage, or enthusiasm); hes sad, depressed, discouraged, disheartened, etc. During a
particularly harsh winter (17771778) of the Revolutionary War, General George
Washingtons soldiers (stationed at Pennsylvanias Valley Forge) became dispirited; in fact,
many deserted.

disposition (dis-p-ZISH-n) n. Your disposition is your usual or natural attitude, mood, or
state of mind (as in he had a cheerful disposition). In 1987 actor Roddy McDowall, speaking of
his roles as a child star, said, I really liked Lassie, but that horse, Flicka, was a nasty animal
with a terrible disposition.

disputatious (dis-py-T-shs) adj. People who are disputation tend to engage in argument
or debate (they tend to dispute things); theyre argumentative, quarrelsome, disagreeable,
combative, etc. In his Autobiography, after describing his own disputatious turn as a youth,
Benjamin Franklin (17061790) said that disputatious people are generally unfortunate in

their affairs; they get victory, sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of more
use to them.

disquietude (dis-KW-i-tood) n. If you think of the word quiet as meaning restful peace,
then disquiet is a lack of restful peace. So, if you experience disquietude (a state or
condition of disquiet), you lose your peace of mind; you feel anxious, concerned, worried, or
uneasy (youve been disquieted). When the message on the airports Arriving Flights
display suddenly changed from on time to to be announced, an overwhelming disquietude
shot through him.

dissect (di-SEKT, d-SEKT) vb. To dissect something (animal tissue, for example) is to cut it
apart to examine or study its structure. Thanks to the Internet, students no longer have to
dissect dead frogs in biology class; today, using the Interactive Frog Dissection Kit, they can
perform a virtual dissection online.

dissemble (di-SEM-bl) vb. When you dissemble, you behave or speak falsely to hide your
true motives, feelings, or character. The fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood concerns a little
girl in a hooded red cloak and a big, bad, dissembling wolf whod like to devour her.

disseminate (di-SEM--nt) vb. To disseminate something (information, ideas, statistics,
schoolbooks, etc.) is to spread it widely; to make it widely known or widely available. After
adopting and proclaiming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 1948), the
United Nations asked that the text of the Declaration be disseminated, displayed, read, and
[explained] in schools throughout the world.

dissent (di-SENT) n., vb. As a noun, dissent is a difference of opinion (especially from the
majority opinion). In 1965 Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey said, Freedom is hammered
out on the anvil of discussion, dissent, and debate. As a verb, to dissent is to hold a differing
opinion (from someone else or from the majority), or to withhold assent (agreement) or
approval (as in a meeting); to disagree, oppose, contradict, vote no, refuse, etc. In
December 1941, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on
Japan (the day after Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor) only one member of
Congress dissented.

dissident (DIS-i-dnt) n. A dissident is a person who dissents (disagrees) with the majority
opinion about something (such as politics or religion). The implication is that this
disagreement might divide people into rival groups and cause fighting or turmoil.
Yugoslavian king Alexander I (who, in 1929, had unified the peoples of Serbia, Croatia, and
Slovenia) was assassinated in 1934 by Croation dissidents.

dissimulate (di-SIM-y-lt) vb. To dissimulate is to conceal your true thoughts or motives
(under a false appearance or through insincere or phony words or acts). In 1960, when a U-2

spy plane was shot down over Russia, American officials dissimulated, claiming that the U-2
was a weather plane that had strayed off course.

dissipate (DIS--pt) vb. When something (a crowd, a mist, a feeling, for example)
dissipates, it disappears or nearly disappears, usually by the scattering in various directions
of the elements that make it up (as a crowd) or by a lessening of intensity or degree (as a
feeling). The gas that comes out of a fire extinguisher dissipates quickly and leaves no residue.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. dissemble
2. dissipate
3. dissent

a. decrease, become less, disappear
b. disagree, withhold approval
c. behave falsely to hide true motives

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. dissident: one who disagrees with the majority opinion
2. dissimulate: dissolve, become absorbed
3. disposition: ones natural mood or attitude

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
disperse, dissect, disseminate

1. The biology students were expected to __________ a frog.
2. Police arrived and demanded that the crowd __________.
3. Since the 1990s people have used the Internet to __________ a wide variety of information.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. disputatious / agreeable
2. disquietude / anxiousness
3. dispirited / happy

Chapter 65: dissolutedivert

dissolute (dis--LOOT) adj. People who are dissolute are morally unrestrained; they
excessively indulge in sexual pleasures. Don Juan, a dissolute 14th-century Spanish nobleman
who seduced hundreds of women and was eventually damned for his immoral ways, is the
subject of Mozarts 1787 opera Don Giovanni.

dissolution (dis--LOO-shn) n. The dissolution of something (a marriage, corporation,
organization, etc.) is the (often legal or official) breaking up and ending of it. After the
dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991), Russia and ten other Soviet republics joined in a
Commonwealth of Independent States.

dissonant (DIS--nnt) adj. In music, a disagreeable-sounding combination of tones is said to
be dissonant (and an agreeable-sounding combination is said to be consonant). For example,
you make a dissonant sound when you bang your fist on the piano. Hungarian composer Bla
Bartk (18811945) combined Eastern European folk music with dissonant harmony. But
speaking generally, the word describes any harsh or unpleasant sound (whether musical or
not). British poet Samuel Coleridge (17721834) once wrote: No sound is dissonant which
tells of life. Note: The word can also mean disagreeing, conflicting, incompatible, being at
odds, etc. (as in dissonant colors or a lone, dissonant voice).

dissuade (di-SWD) vb. To dissuade someone from doing something is to persuade him not
to do it; to discourage him, talk him out of it, etc. During the Civil War, Charles Francis
Adams (son of President John Quincy Adams) helped dissuade Great Britain from officially
recognizing the Confederacy.

distaff (DIS-taf) adj. When speaking of marriage and family, the distaff side is the female (or
mother s) side of the family as opposed to the male (or father s) side. Note: The male side is
known as the spear side. In 1973 broadcaster and author Barbara Howar (who had had an
adulterous affair with a U.S. senator) noted, By and large, wife-changing and high office are
not compatible; this accounts for the many dull women in Washington and is the cause of much
smug [self-satisfaction] on the distaff side of political marriages.

distend (di-STEND) vb. If something hollow or elastic distends, it swells out (as from
internal pressure); it expands, inflates, bloats, etc. In its article on the swift (a type of bird
similar to the hummingbird), the Cambridge Encyclopedia says that parents feed their baby
chicks with a ball of insects stuck together with saliva and carried back to the nest in a
distended throat pouch.

distorted (di-STR-tid) adj. If a physical object is distorted, it gives a false or inaccurate

view; that is, its shape or form appears warped, deformed, out of proportion, etc. Greek-born
Spanish painter El Greco (15411614) is known for his intense contrasting colors and for his
distorted, elongated human figures. If something non-physical (facts, ideas, etc.) is distorted, it
gives a false or inaccurate impression of the truth; its misleading, exaggerated, skewed, etc.
Although the Warren Commission concluded (1964) that assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had
acted alone in the shooting (1963) of President John F. Kennedy, many people believe there is
evidence to suggest that the truth had been distorted by cover-ups and lies.

distraught (di-STRT) adj. If youre distraught, youre deeply worried and upset (as from
emotional conflict, feelings of hopelessness, etc.); youre troubled, tormented, distressed, etc.
According to the Cambridge Encyclopedia, on the day (November 22, 1963) President
Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX, astrologer Jeane Dixon was lunching with friends
at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington [when] she suddenly became so distraught that she
couldnt touch her food. Something dreadful is going to happen to the President today! she

diurnal (d-R-nl) adj. To refer to something as diurnal is to say that it pertains to or occurs
during the day (as opposed to during the night), or that it pertains to or occurs in a 24-hour
period (that is, it occurs once a day). If you refer to animals (eagles or kangaroos, for
example) as diurnal, you mean that they are active during the day (as opposed to during the
night). (Dutch painter) Rembrandts largest and most famous group portrait, The Night Watch
(1642), was renamed The Shooting Company of Capt. Frans Banning Cocq after a cleaning
(194647) revealed it to be a diurnal scene.

diverge (di-VRJ, d-VRJ) vb. When something (a road, for example) diverges, it lies,
extends, or proceeds in different directions from a common point; it branches off. Note: The
opposite is converge (come together at a common point). In his poem The Road Not
Taken, Robert Frost (18741963) said, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one
less traveled by/And that has made all the difference. In another sense, if peoples opinions
or interests diverge, they differ. The teaching of religious leader Martin Luther (14831546)
diverged from the traditional beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.

diverse (di-VRS, d-VRS) adj. If you say that one particular thing is diverse, you mean that
it consists of differing, sometimes contrasting, elements or parts (as in Atlantas diverse
economy). According to the Reader s Companion to American History, folksinger Woody
Guthrie (19121967) grew up in Oklahoma in a culturally diverse area, among cowboys,
farmers, coal miners, and railroad and oil workers. If you say that a number of things are
diverse, you mean that they are varied, unlike (as in peoples diverse interests). American
photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White (19061971) photographed such diverse subjects as
the release of World War II concentration camp victims, the rural South during the Great
Depression, mining in South Africa, and guerrilla warfare in Korea.

divert (di-VRT, d-VRT) vb. To divert something (a stream, traffic, money, etc.) is to turn
it aside from a particular direction, course, or purpose. In Greek mythology Hercules cleaned
the Augean stables (King Augeass stables, which housed a herd of 3,000 oxen and had not
been cleaned for 30 years) by diverting the course of two rivers so that they flowed through the
stalls. To divert a person (or his attention) is to distract him; to turn him away from his
original interest or focus. In 1856, presidential candidate Millard Fillmore tried to unite the
North and South against foreigners to divert national attention from the controversial slavery

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. diverge
2. divert
3. dissuade

a. proceed in a different direction, branch off
b. talk out of, discourage
c. turn aside, turn away

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. distaff: distant, far away
2. dissolute: moral, proper
3. dissolution: breakup or ending (of something)

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
dissonant, diurnal, diverse

1. New York is an ethnically __________ city.
2. Unlike the owl, the hawk is a __________ hunter.
3. We didnt like the music; it was too __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. distraught / carefree
2. distend / shrink

3. distorted / warped

Chapter 66: divinedollop

divine (di-VN) vb. As a verb, to divine something is to figure it out or know about it by (or
as if by) guesswork, intuition, or supernatural means. In ancient Rome, special priests divined
future events by studying the guts of sacrificed animals (today, thankfully, were more civilized
we merely gaze into crystal balls or read palms).

divulge (di-VULJ) vb. To divulge something (a secret or anything private or previously
unknown) is to reveal it (or report it, tell it, show it, etc.). According to the International
Treaty at the Hague Conference of 1899, prisoners of war must not be forced to divulge
military information other than name, rank, and serial number.

docile (DOS-l, DOS-l) adj. If youre docile, youre easy to handle, manage, or control; you
willingly or readily follow orders and take directions; youre submissive (agreeably
obedient) and mild-mannered. At the petting zoo we saw mostly farm animals, such as goats,
ducks, and sheep, but we also saw a few of the more docile wild animals, such as turtles and

doctrine (DOK-trin) n. A doctrine is a particular principle (or idea, belief, policy, etc.) taught
or accepted by a particular group, especially a religious, political, scientific, or philosophic
one (as in the doctrine that all men are created equal or the doctrine of survival of the fittest,
for example). In 1954, speaking of the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared
segregated schools unconstitutional, Chief Justice Earl Warren said, In the field of public
education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place.

document (DOK-y-mnt) vb. As a verb, to document something (a claim, for example) is to
support it or prove it with evidence or decisive information (sometimes by presenting official
papers or legal documents); to authenticate, certify, or substantiate it. After writing the antislavery novel Uncle Toms Cabin (1852), Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote A Key to Uncle Toms
Cabin (1853), which documented her case against slavery.

dodder (DOD-r) vb. To dodder (which is something you might see an old person do when
trying to walk) is to shake or tremble; to proceed feebly or unsteadily. Veterans of each war
were represented in the parade; even a few from World War I valiantly doddered by.

doff (dof, df) vb. To doff a hat is to tip it or remove it (as in greeting). To doff an article of
clothing is to remove it; take it off. In a 1985 New York Times advertisement, (upscale mens
clothing store) Brooks Brothers referred to hats as the classic finishing touch, a confident
statement of your personal good taste, then reminded readers that the well-dressed man still

doffs his hat.

dogmatic (dg-MAT-ik) adj. A dogma is a principle considered absolutely true. Someone
who behaves dogmatically acts as if something unproven (his opinion, for example) is
absolutely true; as such, hes dictatorial, arrogant, stubborn, authoritative, overbearing, etc. In
her January 1983 article entitled In Pursuit of the Perfect Pan, journalist Linda Greider
wrote, Nothing brings out the dogmatic nature of cooks faster than a discussion of omelets;
ask ten cooks how they make omelets and youll get ten Only Ways.

doldrums (DL-drmz) n. If youre in the doldrums, you feel sad, depressed, sluggish,
spiritless, etc. Note: The word comes from a region of the ocean near the equator, known as
the doldrums, where, because there is sometimes no wind (though at other times there are
violent winds), sailing ships can become stranded for weeks at a time. Pulitzer Prizewinning
poet Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978) once said, A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.

dole (dl) n., vb. Technically, the dole was a form of paying money to the unemployed
instituted by the British government in 1918. But any payment by a government to the poor
can be called a dole (though in the U.S. its more common to refer to such payments as
welfare or government assistance). To say that someone is on the dole is to say that hes
receiving money, as relief, from the government. As a verb, to dole something out is to
carefully distribute it in (usually small) measured quantities. To the surprise of their parents,
the teenagers spent their Thanksgiving holiday doling out meals at a homeless shelter.

doleful (DL-fl) adj. If youre doleful, youre sorrowful or mournful. The implication is
that youre also gloomy. Because of its doleful call, the turtledove is sometimes called a
mourning dove.

dollop (DOL-p) n. A dollop of something (a semi-liquid food, for example) is a small
portion or quantity of it; a lump or blob of it, as in a baked potato with a dollop of sour cream.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Tammy Faye Bakkers eyelashes are permanent, but
theyre augmented by generous dollops of LOreal mascara.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. dole
2. dollop
3. doctrine

a. small portion, blob

b. principle, belief, policy

c. payment by government to poor

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. doff: kill, execute
2. dodder: shake, tremble
3. doldrums: thunderstorms

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
divine, divulge, document

1. Astrologers supposedly __________ future events from the positions of stars.
2. At his tax audit, he was asked to __________ his deductions.
3. The magician refused to __________ the secret of the trick.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. docile / rebellious
2. doleful / sad
3. dogmatic / dictatorial

Chapter 67: doltdowdy

dolt (dlt) n. A dolt is a dull, stupid person. During the 2000 presidential campaign, the TV
show Saturday Night Live portrayed Republican nominee George W. Bush as a dolt who
couldnt pronounce the names of foreign leaders.

dominate (DOM--nt) vb. In one sense, to dominate something is to (sometimes in a bossy
manner) exert a commanding or controlling influence over it; to rule it, lord over it, etc.
While President (19531961), Dwight D. Eisenhower claimed that if the Communists
succeeded in controlling Vietnam, they would eventually dominate all of Southeast Asia. In
another sense, to dominate something is to be the most important, conspicuous, or influential
person or thing present. In the late 1970s, disco music dominated the pop charts.

don (don) vb. To don an article of clothing is to put it on. In the 1998 childrens book Harry
Potter and the Sorcerer s Stone, Harry becomes invisible when he dons a magic cloak.

dormant (DR-mnt) adj. When something is dormant, its lying asleep or at rest, or its
currently inactive but capable of becoming active (as in dormant volcano or dormant bank
account). According to medical experts, 15 million Americans carry the dormant tuberculosis

dotage (D-tij) n. If someone is in his dotage, his mental facilities have deteriorated as a
result of old age; hes become senile, feeble-minded, etc. A person in his dotage is known as a
dotard, and his behavior is described as dotty (see dotty). The nursing home comedians
opening joke (Whats a dotards number-one pickup line? Do I come here often?) was
received with blank stares.

dote (dt) vb. To dote on someone is to (often on a regular basis and often foolishly) bestow
excessive amounts of fondness, love, care, attention, etc., on him; to pamper him, baby him,
etc. In the 1980 film Ordinary People, Mary Tyler Moore plays a wealthy but stiff suburban
housewife who dotes on her emotionally troubled teenaged son.

dotty (DOT-) adj. To refer to someone as dotty is to say that hes senile, feeble-minded,
crazy, scatterbrained, forgetful, eccentric, nuts, etc. (from or as from the mental decline
associated with old age). See dotage. Actress Ruth Gordon specialized in portraying dotty old
ladies in such movies as 1971s Harold and Maude.

doughty (DOU-t) adj. To describe someone as doughty is to say that he shows courage and
determination. With her doughty spirit, Helen Keller overcame overwhelming handicaps
(blindness and deafness) by learning to read, write, and communicate with sign language.

dour (dour) adj. To describe something (a persons disposition or expression, for example)
as dour is to say that its sullen (gloomy, grave, humorless) and stern (severe, harsh, strict).
Most of the characters in Arthur Millers 1953 play The Crucible (based on the Salem witch
trials of 1692) are dour New England Puritans.

douse (dous) vb. To douse something is to throw water (or some other liquid) over it; to
drench it. When, in September 1997, forest fires threatened the fabled stone fortress Machu
Picchu in the Peruvian Andes, helicopters doused the mountainsides with water. Note: When
speaking of light or fire, the word is often used informally to mean put out; extinguish, as
in he doused his flashlight.

dowager (DOU--jr) n. Technically, a dowager is a widow with money or property derived
from her deceased husband. But the word can be used to refer to any rich or important
(especially widowed) older woman. In 1963 journalist Tom Wolfe, speaking of New York City
women meeting for lunch, said, On their way into the Edwardian Room of the Plaza Hotel
they all had that sort of dutiful, forward-tilted gait [manner of walking] that East Side
dowagers get after 20 years of walking small dogs up and down Park Avenue.

dowdy (DOU-d) adj. If something (a room, a persons clothing, etc.) is dowdy, its not
stylish; its frumpy, old-fashioned, tasteless, shabby, etc. In 1987, speaking of her heavy
makeup and of being the wife of TV evangelist Jim Bakker, Tammy Faye Bakker said, You
don't have to be dowdy to be a Christian.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. dotage
2. dowager
3. dolt

a. stupid, dull person
b. loss of mental faculties resulting from old age
c. wealthy widow

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. don: remove, take off
2. dormant: not active, at rest
3. doughty: drab, boring

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
dominate, dote, douse

1. If you __________ on your grandchildren too much, you might spoil them.
2. If you get too hot, you can __________ yourself with cool water.
3. He predicted that Tiger Woods would __________ mens golf for many years.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. dotty / senile
2. dowdy / stylish
3. dour / cheerful

Chapter 68: downcastdubious

downcast (DOUN-kast) adj. If youre downcast, youre low in spirits; youre sad, depressed,
discouraged, etc. In May 1944 teenaged Jewish refugee Anne Frank wrote in her diary: I
have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure,
romantic and interesting at the same time. Note: The word can also mean directed
downward, as in downcast eyes.

draconian (dr-K-n-n, dr-K-n-n) adj. Draco, a statesman of ancient Athens, was
known for the severity of his code of laws (for example, imposing the death penalty for a
trivial offense). So when you describe penalties, rules, laws, etc., as draconian, you mean they
are very strict, severe, or harsh, sometimes unreasonably so. At a 1985 UN ceremony
honoring his work against the draconian racist policies of apartheid, singer Stevie Wonder
referred to South Africa as the land with tears in her eyes. Note: The word draconic can
mean either draconian or of or like a dragon.

dragoon (dr-GOON) vb. To dragoon someone into doing something is to force him (by
pressure, threats, etc.) to do it; to twist his arm. As he prepared Germany for war in the late
1930s, dictator Adolf Hitler dragooned smaller nations into giving up territory to the Nazis.

dregs (dregz) n. Small pieces of solid matter that naturally settle at the bottom of a liquid
(wine, for example) are known as dregs. By extension, the word can be used to refer to any
tiny bits of worthless matter, or to people who are considered undesirable, low-class, coarse,
etc. According to the Reader s Companion to American History, Gerald Ford will be
remembered as a President whose historic role it was to mop up the dregs of the two most
damaging episodes in the history of the modern White House: the Watergate affair and the
Vietnam War.

drivel (DRIV-l) n. Meaningless, idiotic, childish, or silly talk is known as drivel. Note: The
word also denotes saliva flowing from the mouth. If you want to see the most inconsequential
drivel blown up into earthshaking events, you can find it in the tabloids (such as the Star and
the National Enquirer) sold at your local supermarket.

droll (drl) adj. To describe something (a persons humor or wit, for example) as droll is to
say that its amusing, but in an odd way. Ogden Nash (19021971) was an American poet
known for his droll rhymes (A bit of talcum is always walcum, for example).

drone (drn) vb. Technically, to drone is to speak in a monotonous tone (or a low,
monotonous tone). But usually, when you speak about someone droning on and on, you
mean that he talks continuously and lengthily (and sometimes in a monotone) about
something that is not interesting to you. Our computer has a feature called speech, which
allows you to hear text read aloud by a synthesized, strangely Swedish-sounding computer

voice; we tested it by opening our longest text document and clicking on speech, after
which the voice droned on endlessly.

dross (dros, drs) n. Technically, dross is a waste product or impurity found on the surface of
molten metal. But the word is generally used to denote any waste matter (garbage, junk,
rubbish, debris, etc.) or to refer to anything considered worthless, trivial, or commonplace. In
December 1979 journalist Joanne Sheehy noted, In recent years Handels Messiah has been
given the Great Cleansing to remove the dross added by everyone from Mozart on; tempos
have been quickened, orchestras have been lightened, and overly dramatic dynamics
eliminated in the effort to return to Handels original concept.

drudgery (DRUJ--r) n. Any heavy, wearisome, tedious, boring, or unpleasant work
(scrubbing floors, for example) is known as drudgery. Cinderella escaped from a life of
drudgery and married a prince.

druthers (DRUTH-rz) n. This word is usually heard in the phrase if I had my druthers,
which means if I had my way (choice, preference, etc.). Aviator Charles Lindbergh (who in
1927 made the first solo transatlantic flight) once said that if he had his druthers, hed
rather have birds than airplanes.

dry (dr) adj. To refer to an artistic work (a piece of writing, for example) as dry is to say that
it lacks emotion (tenderness, warmth, etc.); its severe, minimal, sterile, cold, unadorned,
stark, etc. Because we found Ernest Hemingways writing kind of dry (with his short sentences
and limited use of adjectives and adverbs), we were surprised to learn hed won the Nobel
Prize for literature in 1954.

dubious (DOO-b-s) adj. To refer to something as dubious is to say that it arouses doubt,
uncertainty, or suspicion; that its of questionable quality; or that it has little likelihood of
happening (or of being accomplished). With the 1932 serial Singing Sandy, actor John Wayne
achieved the dubious distinction of becoming Hollywoods first singing cowboy.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. drivel
2. drudgery
3. dross

a. tedious, unpleasant work
b. impurity, garbage

c. silly, meaningless talk

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. droll: ugly, deformed
2. dregs: fish eggs
3. drone: speak in a monotonous tone

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
downcast, draconian, dubious

1. The citys new mayor imposed __________ penalties for littering.
2. Dont be talked into buying an antique of __________ value.
3. He became __________ when the Yankees lost.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. druthers / preference
2. dragoon / force
3. dry / emotional

Chapter 69: dulcetechelon

dulcet (DUL-sit) adj. A sound thats dulcet is pleasing to the ear; its appealing, soothing, or
melodious. Examining the lyrics to the song The Sound of Music, we found several images
of dulcet sounds: a church chime flying on a breeze, a brook laughing, and a lark singing while
learning to pray (though we seriously doubted that larks learn how to pray!).

dunderhead (DUN-dr-hed) n. A dunderhead is a person regarded as stupid; a dunce,
blockhead, numbskull, etc. In 1970 the Director of the Selective Service System said hed
rather recruit (into the army) an honest dunderhead than a dishonest genius, explaining, I
wont get much out of him, but with that other guy I cant keep what Ive got.

duplicity (doo-PLIS-i-t) n. Deliberate deceptiveness or dishonesty (double-dealing) in
manner, action, or speech is known as duplicity. The adjective is duplicitous. In 1982, when
criticized for recycling her advice columns, Ann Landers said, I was nave, but I certainly
was not duplicitous.

dwindle (DWIN-dl) vb. When something dwindles, it becomes gradually smaller or less; it
decreases, shrinks, wastes away, etc. In the decades following World War II, Americans grew
increasingly concerned about such environmental problems as pollution, dwindling energy
resources, and the dangers of pesticides and radiation.

dynamic (d-NAM-ik) adj. If someone or something is dynamic, its full of energy, spirit, or
forcefulness; its lively, active, intense, in motion, changing, etc. Singer Tina Turners dynamic
performances helped win her numerous Grammy Awards and an induction into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame (1991).

dynamo (D-n-m) n. Technically, a dynamo is an electric generator. But people use the
word informally to refer to a person who is energetic, tireless, forceful, hard-working,
powerful, etc. Basketball player Pistol Pete Maravich (19481988) was a dynamo on the
court, dazzling fans with his quick, deceptive ball-handling.

earnest (R-nist) adj. To be earnest (about something) is to be serious and sincere (about it),
as when you have a purpose or goal and are steadily eager in pursuing it. In 1901, after
assuming the Presidency of the assassinated William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt said of his
predecessor, No Presidentnot even Lincoln himselfwas ever more earnestly anxious to
represent the well-thought-out wishes of the people.

eavesdrop (VZ-drop) vb. To eavesdrop is to secretly listen in on someones private
conversation. In 1961, in a unanimous opinion that the Constitution bars the police from
electronic eavesdropping, U.S. Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart said, At the very core
[of the 4th Amendment] stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free
from unreasonable governmental intrusion.

ebb (eb) vb., n. When something ebbs, it declines, recedes, or fades away; it becomes less.
The phrase ebb tide refers to the receding or outgoing (ocean) tide. The phrase ebb and
flow refers to alternating periods of decrease and increase (of something), as in the ebb and
flow of the economy. As a noun, an ebb is a low point. Columnist Art Buchwald once observed,
Every time you think television has hit its lowest ebb, a new program comes along to make
you wonder where you thought the ebb was.

ebullient (i-BOOL-ynt) adj. If youre ebullient, youre bubbling up with enthusiasm,
excitement, or spirit. On the first day of summer vacation the children were ebullient; by the
second day they were bored.

eccentric (ik-SEN-trik, ek-SEN-trik) adj. To describe a person (or his behavior) as eccentric
is to say that hes peculiar, odd, strange, bizarre, weird, offbeat, wacky, nutty, etc. To describe
an object as eccentric is to say that it deviates from a recognized standard or pattern; its
unconventional, irregular, unorthodox, etc. In 1984 Smithsonian magazine said, A toe shoe is

as eccentric as the ballerina who wears it; their marriage is a commitment.

echelon (ESH--lon) n. A particular rank or level of authority in a structured organization
(such as a corporation, government, or military force) is known as an echelon. For example,
in the army, generals belong to the upper echelon and privates to the lower. Civil rights
activists point out that while its not unusual for lineups of major league baseball teams to be
mostly African-American, the higher echelons (managers, general managers, and owners) are
mostly white. The phrase echelon formation refers to a formation of troops, aircraft, etc., in
which units are positioned successively in parallel lines (to the left or right of the rear unit) to
form a visual impression of steps.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. dunderhead
2. dynamo
3. duplicity

a. stupid person, dunce
b. double-dealing, deceptiveness
c. energetic, tireless person

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. earnest: serious. sincere
2. ebullient: tired, worn out
3. echelon: rubber tire

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
dwindle, eavesdrop, ebb

1. At six oclock the waters finally began to __________.
2. Its not polite to __________ on others conversations.
3. With the release of his fifth CD, his popularity began to __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. dulcet / jarring
2. dynamic / sluggish
3. eccentric / weird

Chapter 70: eclecticeffrontery

eclectic (i-KLEK-tik) adj. If something (a collection or someones taste or style, for example)
is eclectic, its made up of elements from a variety of sources; its not uniform. Canadian
singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, whose music is an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, rock, pop, and
prerock era ballads, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

eclipse (i-KLIPS) vb. In astronomy, an eclipse is a blocking of light between one body and
another. And, to use the verb, to eclipse something is to cast a shadow upon it (by blocking
light directed toward it), as in the earth eclipses the moon. But in general usage, if you say that
one person or thing eclipses another (in a competition or rivalry, for example), you mean that
one dims the other by comparison (in performance, reputation, importance, etc.); it surpasses
it, outshines it, etc. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, Babe Ruth (18951948) remains
perhaps the most famous baseball player in history despite the fact that most of his batting
records have been eclipsed.

edict (-dikt) n. An edict is a command or regulation (a law, for example) put into effect by a
ruler (a king, for example) or other lawful authority. In 1616 the Roman Catholic Church
issued an edict that one may never defend or teach (Polish astronomer) Copernicuss theory
that the earth revolves around the sun.

edification (ed--fi-K-shn) n. If you say that something is done for ones edification, you
mean that its done for his intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement; for his
enlightenment. To use the adjective, an edifying experience is one that improves or enlightens
(you). Aesops fables (The Tortoise and the Hare, for example) often use human-acting
animals to demonstrate some edifying moral lesson.

edifice (ED--fis) n. An edifice is a building or structure, especially a large or impressive
one. On a tour of a Washington, D.C., museum that was once Fords Theatre (where President
Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot in 1865), we learned that 28 years after the assassination,
part of the edifice collapsed, killing 28 people.

eerie (r-) adj. If something is eerie, it makes you feel fearful or uneasy, as if some sinister
power or mysterious (or even supernatural) force was at work. At 4:30 a.m. the foggy,
deserted metropolis was eerie and fantastic to behold.

efface (i-FS) vb. To efface something is to cause it to disappear, as by erasing it, rubbing it

out, wiping it out, etc. The ancient Egyptians used geometry to determine the boundaries of
fields whose dividing lines had been effaced by the annual flooding of the Nile River. Note: If
you say that someone is self-effacing, you mean that he tends not to draw attention to himself;
he keeps himself in the background, hes modest, humble, low-key, etc.

effervescent (ef-r-VES-nt) adj. To describe a liquid as effervescent is to say that it emits
small bubbles of gas (as does ginger ale or club soda). To describe something else (art or a
persons personality, for example) as effervescent is to say that its bubbly, lively, sparkling,
good-humored, etc. While some of choreographer Jerome Robbins ballets are light and
effervescent (1953s Fanfare, for example), others are dark and probing (1950s Age of
Anxiety, for example).

effete (i-FT) adj. To describe someone as effete is to say that hes physically or spiritually
weak, over-refined, or effeminate. In his 1945 book A Texan in England, historian James
Dobie said, It is part of American folklore as respects Englishmen to suppose that they are

efficacious (ef-i-K-shs) adj. This word is similar to effective in that they both mean able
to produce a desired result. But while effective means having the ability to produce a result
whether or not that ability is actually used, as in aspirin is an effective remedy for pain, the
word efficacious is often used when the ability has been used and the desired effect attained, as
in the aspirin was efficacious in lowering the patients temperature. Dairy farmers must find
the most efficacious and economical feed for their cows.

effluvium (i-FLOO-v-m) n. An effluvium is a (usually slight or invisible) vapor, gas, or
exhalation, especially one that is harmful or odorous. My aunt knew that the cesspool was
buried somewhere under her front lawn, but she wasnt sure exactly where; so, sniffing daintily
but continuously, and with her hand steadily waving back and forth in front of her nose, she
slowly walked across it, trying to detect the telltale effluvium. Note: The plural is effluvia.

effrontery (i-FRUN-t-r) n. Shamelessly arrogant rudeness or boldness (nerve, brashness,
etc.) is known as effrontery. In August 1999 New York Newsday printed the following letter to
the editor from an eight-year-old: [That] Hillary Clinton [should] formally proclaim her
candidacy for senator from New York [is the height of] effrontery. Who is this woman that she
should presume to represent our state? She comes from Arkansas!

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. edifice

2. effrontery
3. edict

a. rudeness, boldness
b. building, structure
c. command, regulation

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. edification: intellectual or moral improvement, enlightenment
2. eclipse: surpass, outshine
3. effluvium: air-tight chamber

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
eerie, effervescent, efficacious

1. The cough drop was __________ in soothing the patients throat.
2. The head cheerleader had an __________ personality.
3. TVs The Twilight Zone featured __________, suspenseful stories.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. eclectic / uniform
2. effete / virile
3. efface / erase

Chapter 71: effulgentelegiac

effulgent (i-FOOL-jnt) adj. To describe something (light, beauty, wit, etc.) as effulgent is to
say that it shines brilliantly; its splendidly radiant. The noun is effulgence. The nickname Sun
King for Frances Louis XIV (16431715) captures the magnificence of his court and the
effulgence of his Palace of Versailles (which boasted silver furniture and a glittering Hall of

effusive (i-FYOO-siv) adj. If you say that something (a greeting, praise, an acceptance
speech, an apology, etc.) is effusive, you mean that its excessively or unduly emotional; its
unrestrained, gushy, profuse, overflowing, etc. According to journalist Mary McGrory, in May
1984 our aging, macho President met a young andro-rock star on the White Houses South

Lawn; President Reagan was effusive in his greeting and praise of Michael Jackson, who came
to his shoulder and glittered like a Christmas tree.

egalitarian (i-gal-i-TR--n) n., adj. As a noun, an egalitarian is a person who believes in
the equality of all people; he believes everyone should have the same political, economic,
social, and civil rights. As an adjective, the word refers to this belief. Some scholars dismiss
the phrase Jacksonian Democracy as a contradiction in terms because President Jacksons
so-called egalitarian ideals applied to white men only.

ego (-g) n. Your ego is your sense of self-importance; your self-image. People who are
said to have a large ego are usually self-centered and (often unjustifiably) think very highly
of themselves. People with a fragile ego tend to have their feelings hurt easily. Note: An alter
ego is another side (or aspect) of yourself (or of your personality); for example, Supermans
alter ego is Clark Kent. Actress Billie Burke (who played the Good Witch of the North in the
1939 film The Wizard of Oz) once said of Hollywood: To survive there, you need the
ambition of a Latin-American revolutionary, the ego of a grand opera tenor, and the
[endurance] of a cow pony.

egomaniac (-g-M-n-ak) n. The word egotist denotes a conceited, self-centered, selfish
person. An egomaniac is someone who is excessively or abnormally egotistic. The 1941 film
Citizen Kane traces the life of fictional publisher Charles Foster Kane (loosely based on
newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst) as he changes from an idealistic newspaperman
to a temperamental egomaniac.

egregious (i-GR-js) adj. To describe something (an error or violation, for example) as
egregious is to say that its outrageously, glaringly, or conspicuously bad or offensive. In the
late 1970s, a white man named Allan Bakke was denied admission to a California medical
school that had admitted black candidates with lower test scores (as a result of the schools
affirmative action policy that set aside 16 percent of openings for racial minorities); Bakke,
who saw this as an egregious violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment,
sued, and in 1978 the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that he be admitted.

egress (-gres) n. An act of leaving or exiting (some enclosed place) is known as egress. The
word can also refer to the right to leave or exit, as in refugees denied egress, or to an exit
(such as a doorway) itself. As he paid for the 100-foot rope ladder, he explained to the
salesman that his apartment building had no means of emergency egress in the event of a fire.
Note: The opposite is ingress.

elaborate (i-LAB--rt) vb. When telling a story or explaining something, to elaborate is to
give a longer or fuller treatment (by adding details, for example). The word is often followed
by the preposition on or upon. English scientist Sir Isaac Newton (16421727) elaborated on
his theory of light in his book Opticks (1704). Note: As an adjective, the word (pronounced i-

LAB-r-it) means intricate; detailed; complicated, as in an elaborate plan or elaborate


lan (-LN) n. Enthusiastic liveliness (spirit, dash, verve, spunkiness, zip, gusto, etc.) is
known as lan. American pianist Liberace (19191987) is best remembered for his outlandish
costumes, his virtuosity, and his lan.

elated (i-L-tid) adj. To be elated is to be very happy, overjoyed, ecstatic, thrilled, walking
on air, flying high, etc. The noun is elation. As she crossed the finish line of the marathon, a
brief expression of elation passed over her tortured features.

elegant (EL-i-gnt) adj. Things (art objects, clothing, ones handwriting, etc.) that are elegant
exhibit graceful, tasteful, or refined beauty. People who are elegant are refined, sophisticated,
well-dressed, well-spoken, polished, etc. According to the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, the
Presidency of John F. Kennedy was known for its dazzling, stylish quality, partly because of
his elegant wife, Jacqueline.

elegiac (el--J-k, i-L-j-ak) adj. An elegy is a song or poem that mourns someone who
has died. The adjective elegiac means resembling or characteristic of an elegy; expressing
sorrow (for something dead, lost, or past). In 1986 West Side Story choreographer Jerome
Robbins produced an elegiac ballet (Quiet City) as a tribute to Joseph Duell, a New York City
Ballet dancer who had committed suicide that year at age 29.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. egress
2. ego
3. lan

a. self-image, self-importance
b. exit, way out
c. liveliness, spirit

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. elaborate: tell a lie
2. egomaniac: extremely self-centered person
3. elegiac: sad, mournful

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
effusive, egalitarian, elegant

1. The Democratic Party is known for its __________ ideals.
2. Her __________ praise caused him to blush.
3. The vampire Dracula is known for his black cape and __________ manners.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. effulgent / dull
2. elated / thrilled
3. egregious / horrible

Chapter 72: elevateembark

elevate (EL--vt) vb. As a verb, to elevate something is to raise it to a higher position, level,
or rank (from a lower one). In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt elevated Spanish-American
War hero John Pershing in rank from captain to general. As an adjective, anything elevated is
either raised, especially above the ground (as in elevated railroad), or increased to a higher
than normal amount or degree (as in elevated temperature). Excessive drinking of coffee can
cause heart palpitations, insomnia, and elevated blood pressure.

elicit (i-LIS-it) vb. To elicit something (the truth, a response, etc.) is to draw it out (of
someone). In the U.S. Supreme Court, the chief justice presents his view of a case first, then
elicits the opinions of the other justices in order of seniority.

elite (i-LT) n., adj. As a noun, the elite (of a group or class of people) are those at the
highest level of skill in a certain category (as in basketballs elite), or at the highest social
level (as in Manhattans elite). As an adjective the word means indicative of the best or most
select (as in an elite private school). At the 1958 Interzonal tournament in (the Balkan
country of) Slovenia, 15-year-old Bobby Fischer secured a permanent place among the worlds
chess elite as the all-time youngest world championship candidate.

elliptical (i-LIP-ti-kl) adj. This word describes a phrase or statement thats expressed with
extreme brevity or conciseness. When we saw a vacant chair at the dinner table and threw our
host a questioning look, he half-grinned and murmured elliptically, Bashful; then he got up,
went to the doorway, and screamed (to his daughter, we supposed), Christine, get down
here! Note: The word can also mean (of speech or writing) ambiguous, obscure.

eloquent (EL--kwnt) adj. Verbal expression (speech or writing) described as eloquent
makes good and appropriate use of language, is appealing to reason or emotion, is fluent,
persuasive, forceful, etc. Cleric and civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his
eloquent I Have a Dream speech at the 1963 March on Washington. A person described as
eloquent is capable of such verbal expression; hes well-spoken, persuasive. Perhaps the three
most eloquent American Presidents were Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F.

elucidate (i-LOO-si-dt) vb. To elucidate something (usually an explanation) is to make its
meaning clearer. When you elucidate, you shed light (through further explanation,
clarification, illustration, etc.) on something that was previously not completely clear or
understandable. Psychiatrist Carl Jung elucidated the concepts of extroversion and
introversion in a book entitled Psychological Types (1921).

elusive (i-LOO-siv) adj. If something is elusive, its hard to capture, comprehend, or
remember; it tends to escape from you or evade you. Although some actors are highly paid,
most find economic stability elusive.

emaciated (i-M-sh--tid) adj. This word is used to describe people who are extremely or
abnormally thin (especially as a result of starvation). After World War II, photographs of
emaciated inmates of German concentration camps stunned the world.

emanate (EM--nt) vb. If something emanates (from a source), it flow out (from it); it
comes from it. The 1922 Nobel Prize for physics went to Niels Bohr for his investigation of the
structure of atoms and the radiations that emanate from them.

emancipate (i-MAN-s-pt) vb. To emancipate someone is to release him from (especially
legal or political) bondage or restraint; to set him free. President Abraham Lincoln led the
Union during the Civil War (18611865) and emancipated slaves in the South (1863).

embargo (em-BR-g) n. Technically, an embargo is a government prohibition on trade with
a foreign nation (usually for political purposes). But the word can also be used to refer to any
type of prohibition or ban (on something). In 1960, in an attempt to weaken communist leader
Fidel Castro, the United Stated imposed a trade embargo against Cuba.

embark (em-BRK) vb. If youre talking about a vessel (a ship or aircraft, for example), to
embark is to go aboard (as at the start of a journey). Note: To get off a vessel is to disembark.
If youre talking about a venture (or enterprise, undertaking, journey, etc.) to embark is to set
out on it; take the initial step of it; begin it. When he was six years old, Austrian
composer/pianist Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (17561791), along with his older sister, Maria
Anna, embarked on a series of concert tours to Europes courts and major cities.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. emancipate
2. emanate
3. elucidate

a. clarify, explain
b. set free
c. flow from

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. embargo: prohibition, ban
2. elliptical: cross-eyed
3. elusive: difficult to capture of achieve

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
elevate, elicit, embark

1. They put a phone book on the dining room chair to __________ the child.
2. When did Christopher Columbus __________ on his voyage to the New World?
3. We didnt expect the simple question to __________ a dozen different responses.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. elite / select
2. eloquent / awkward
3. emaciated / overweight

Chapter 73: embellishenamored

embellish (em-BEL-ish) vb. To embellish a story or account is to make it more interesting by
adding (real or imagined) details. To embellish an object (a dress, for example) is to beautify

it (by adding ornaments, decorations, etc.). The noun is embellishment. As the legend of Paul
Bunyan (a lumberjack of enormous size and strength) spread through the logging camps of the
Midwest, local embellishments (that he dug the Grand Canyon and created the Great Lakes
with his footprints, for example) were added.

embezzle (em-BEZ-l) vb. To embezzle is to illegally take something (usually money) that has
been entrusted to your care; for example, a dishonest bank employee might embezzle bank
funds. The noun is embezzlement. During the Clinton administration, the head of the White
House travel office, whod transferred $68,000 to a personal account, was charged with
embezzlement (but found not guilty when it was revealed that hed used the money to pay for
official expenses).

embody (em-BOD-) vb. When an abstract quality (goodness or evil, for example) is
embodied (in something), its exemplified in concrete (often human) form. In the childrens
story The Three Little Pigs, the dangers and evils of the world are embodied in the Big Bad
Wolf. When ideas (laws, principles, philosophy, etc.) are embodied (in something), they are
collected and organized together into a united or unified whole. The fundamental laws and
principles by which the United States is governed are embodied in the Constitution.

embolden (em-BL-dn) vb. At the center of this word is the word bold. To embolden
yourself is to make yourself bold, to give yourself courageenough courage to overcome
whatever timidity you might be feeling in a certain situation. She emboldened herself to play
the piano for her parents friends.

embroil (em-BROIL) vb. If youre speaking of a situation or circumstance marked by
conflict, controversy, hostile actions, etc. (such as a lawsuit, scandal, war, etc.), to be
embroiled (in it) is to be involved (in it), especially deeply or intimately so. In 1948 the newly
created State of Israel became embroiled in war with its Arab neighbors (Egypt, Syria, Jordan,
Lebanon, and Iraq), who opposed the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine (the Holy Land).

embryonic (em-br-ON-ik) adj. In biology an embryo is a plant or animal that is not yet fully
developed (such as a developing baby within the womb). By extension, people sometimes use
the word embryo figuratively to signify any new or developing project, concept, idea, etc. The
adjective embryonic (whether referring to living organisms or to concepts) is used to describe
what is in an early stage; what is just beginning; what is immature, undeveloped, etc. The first
Australian railroad (which linked Sydney with a town about 100 miles to the southwest) was
built in 1869; by the 1880s, all six of the colonies that made up the continent had at least an
embryonic rail network.

eminent (EM--nnt) adj. To describe someone as eminent (as in an eminent historian) is to
say that hes of high rank; hes distinguished, noted, celebrated, prominent, famous, etc. The
Scopes monkey trial was held in 1925, with eminent lawyers on both sidesWilliam

Jennings Bryan for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense.

emote (i-MT) vb. To emote is to express emotion, especially excessively or theatrically. In
1970, speaking of Christianitys traditional attraction for blacks, evangelist Calvin Marshall
said, Our religion had to mean more to us. We had to emote; we had to lose ourselves in it.
We had to sing and shout, and after it was all over we had to have a big meal and have
something going on Sunday afternoon. Because when Monday came, it was back out into the
fields, or back to the janitors job, or back to Miss Anns kitchen scrubbing the floor.

empathize (EM-p-thz) vb. To empathize is to understand and be sensitive to the feelings of
someone else; to sympathize with, identify with, relate to, feel compassion for, etc. The noun
is empathy; the adjective is empathetic. Psychology textbooks say that a good psychotherapist
is an empathetic listener who provides an accepting environment; on the other hand, in 1980 a
Yale University professor of psychiatry said, The practicing psychotherapist is perhaps better
qualified than other serious human beings to discuss boredom.

empower (em-POU-r) vb. To empower someone is to give him power or authority.
Sometimes the power is general in nature (as in empowered by his new-found confidence);
other times it refers to some particular, often legal, action (as in an agent empowered to sign
contracts for his client). The Federal Food and Drugs Act (1938) empowered the FDA (Food
and Drug Administration) to test the safety of new drugs and to prevent unsafe ones from being

emulate (EM-y-lt) vb. To emulate something is to try to equal it (to become as good as it)
by imitating or copying it. With their 1966 album Pet Sounds, the Beach Boys tried to emulate
the Beatles imaginative use of recording techniques.

enamored (i-NAM-rd) adj. To be enamored of someone or something is to love it or be in
love with it. In the 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast, the Beast becomes enamored of
his prisoner, the beautiful Belle.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. embolden
2. empower
3. empathize

a. give power or authority to
b. sympathize, feel compassion for

c. make bold, give courage to

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. embody: hug, embrace
2. emote: express emotion
3. embroil: expose to heat

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
embryonic, eminent, enamored

1. Early __________ development is similar in all species.
2. The hunchback was __________ of the beautiful Gypsy girl.
3. Platos most __________ pupil was Aristotle.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. embellish / decorate
2. emulate / copy
3. embezzle / steal

Chapter 74: encomiumengrossed

encomium (en-K-m-m) n. An encomium is a (usually formal and usually spoken)
expression of high (or warm, enthusiastic, glowing, etc.) praise (or admiration, approval,
etc.); a tribute, salute, homage, etc. Typically, the recipient of a special Academy Award for
lifetime achievement doesnt appear onstage until after the presenter delivers a 15-minute

encompass (en-KUM-ps) vb. Circles are drawn with an instrument known as a compass.
Literally, to encompass something is to form a circle around it. But people use this word to
mean include or contain (especially comprehensively so, as if encircled). The continental
United States encompasses four time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.

encroach (en-KRCH) vb. To encroach is to (sometimes illegally, sometimes gradually or
sneakily) advance beyond proper limits; to trespass, infringe, overstep, etc. Crazy Horse was
a 19th-century Sioux chief who resisting the encroachment of whites in the Black Hills of South

encumber (en-KUM-br) vb. To encumber someone is (1) to burden him (weigh him down)
with something heavy, as in a hiker encumbered with a 30-pound backpack, (2) to burden him
with debts, responsibilities, obligations, or the like, as in a man encumbered with child support
payments, or (3) to restrict or limit his progress or freedom of movement, as in political
action encumbered by red tape (time-consuming governmental procedures). According to the
Encarta Encyclopedia, Eighteenth-century [French] dancers were encumbered by elaborate
costumes, masks, wigs or large headdresses, and heeled shoes.

endeavor (en-DEV-r) n., vb. As a noun, an endeavor is an earnest, conscientious attempt or
effort at something (as in artistic endeavor, political endeavor, etc.); an undertaking, a
venture, etc. Physicist Albert Einstein (18791955) once philosophically said, Concern for
man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors; never forget
this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. As a verb, the word is a rather formalsounding synonym for try or attempt. In his first inaugural address (1933), President
Franklin D. Roosevelt said, We must endeavor to provide a better use of the land.

endemic (en-DEM-ik) adj. This word is used to describe things (customs, diseases, food
shortages, etc.) that are peculiar to (or prevalent in) a particular locality or people. One might
think that Rocky Mountain spotted fever (an infectious disease caused by a microorganism
transmitted by ticks) is endemic to the Rocky Mountains, but it actually occurs throughout
North America.

endorse (en-DRS) vb. To endorse something (a theory or philosophy, for example) is to
express approval of it; support it. President Bill Clinton endorsed the three strikes and youre
out provision of the Federal Crime Act of 1994. In politics, to endorse a candidate is to
publicly support him. Republican New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani crossed party lines
during the November 1994 New York gubernatorial election by endorsing Democrat Mario

endowment (en-DOU-mnt) n. An endowment is money or property donated to a person or
institution to be used as a permanent fund or source of income. Oil tycoon and art collector
Jean Paul Getty bequeathed (left in his will) an endowment of $750 million to the art museum
he founded (the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, CA), making it the worlds richest museum.

energize (EN-r-jz) vb. To energize someone or something is to give it energy; to activate it,
stimulate it, invigorate it, charge it up, etc. In 1963 President John F. Kennedy recommended
an 11-billion-dollar tax cut to energize the sluggish economy.

enervate (EN-r-vt) vb. This is a tricky word because it looks as if it may mean the opposite
of what it really does. Something that enervates doesnt give you energy; rather, it takes
energy (or strength or vitality) away from you; it tires or exhausts you. The trip to the zoo

was exhilarating for the child but enervating for his grandparents.

engender (en-JEN-dr) vb. When something engenders something else, it causes it to come
into being or to happen. President Lyndon Johnsons War on Poverty began in 1964 and
engendered dozens of programs, including the Job Corps, VISTA, Project Head Start, Upward
Bound, the Food Stamps program, and the Model Cities program.

engrossed (en-GRST) adj. If youre engrossed in something, your mind or attention is
completely occupied by it (often to the point that you lose awareness of everything else). As a
teenager, Austrian composer Alban Berg (18851935) became so engrossed in music that he
neglected his other studies and failed his high school examinations.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. encumber
2. enervate
3. engender

a. burden, weigh down
b. cause to happen
c. tire, fatigue

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. endowment: protective covering

2. engrossed: bored, restless

3. endemic: pertaining to disease

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
encompass, endorse, energize

1. The coach hoped to __________ the team with a rousing pep talk.
2. The term Great Britain is used to __________ England, Scotland, and Wales.
3. Which candidate will you __________ in the next election?

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. encomium / tribute
2. encroach / trespass
3. endeavor / try

Chapter 75: enhanceentreat

enhance (en-HANS) vb. To enhance something is to raise it to a higher degree; to increase it,
intensify it, etc. (in value, beauty, reputation, etc.). In May 1985 violinist (and then-president of
New York Citys Carnegie Hall) Isaac Stern said, Everywhere in the world, music enhances a
hall, with one exception: Carnegie Hall enhances the music.

enigma (i-NIG-m) n. An enigma is something (speech or behavior, for example) thats
difficult to interpret, figure out, understand, comprehend, etc.; a mystery, a puzzle. The
adjective is enigmatic (as in the Mona Lisas enigmatic smile). Whereas fifties rock groups
usually had simple, descriptive names (the Crew-cuts, the Platters, the Monotones), sixties
bands often had non-descriptive, enigmatic ones (Strawberry Alarm Clock, Jefferson Airplane,
Buffalo Springfield).

enjoin (en-JOIN) vb. To enjoin (someone to do something) is to, with authority, command or
order (him to do it). The Act of Supremacy (1534) enjoined subjects to recognize King Henry
VIII (as opposed to the pope) as head of the Church of England. In another sense, the word
means to prohibit or forbid. In 1971 television and radio stations were enjoined from
broadcasting cigarette ads.

enmity (EN-mi-t) n. A feeling of (often mutual) deep hostility or hatred (such as might be
felt between enemies during a war) is known as enmity. The United Provinces of Central
America, a political confederation that included Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala,

Honduras, and Nicaragua, existed from 18231838; since that time, numerous attempts to
restore the union have been frustrated by ongoing enmity between the countries.

ennui (on-W) n. Ennui is boredom, or a feeling of weariness or dissatisfaction (sometimes
depression) resulting from boredom or overindulgence (in something). Short story writer O.
Henry (whose works include the still-popular The Gift of the Magi and The Ransom of Red
Chief) first began writing to escape the ennui of prison life (in 1898 he was jailed for
embezzling funds from a bank).

enrapture (en-RAP-chr) adj. To enrapture someone is to fill him with overwhelmingly
strong, pleasurable emotions; to captivate him, delight him, enchant him, thrill him, transport
him, etc. In its description of a website concerning Greek mythology, the Internet Directory
says, Take a trip back in time as you page through Greek myths and stories, revisiting the
ancient creatures that have enraptured students of literature for thousands of years.

ensconce (en-SKONS) vb. To ensconce yourself in something (an armchair, for example) is
to comfortably and securely settle yourself in it. We finally found the cat in the bedroom,
ensconced among the pillows.

ensue (en-SOO) vb. To say that some action or activity ensues is to say that it happens or takes
place (often immediately) as a result or consequence of some prior action or activity. After
Abraham Lincoln was elected President (1860), the South seceded from the Union and the
Civil War ensued.

entice (en-TS) vb. To entice someone is to attract him to (or sometimes lure him into) some
particular thing (a situation, place, course of action, etc.) by arousing his hope or desire. The
noun enticement refers either to the act of enticing or to the actual thing (an object, a promise,
etc.) by which one is enticed. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, [Brazilian soccer great]
Pele retired in 1974 but was enticed to return to play in 1975 when the New York Cosmos
offered him a multimillion-dollar contract.

entourage (on-too-RZH) n. An entourage is a group of associates or attendants (followers,
companions, servants, etc.), as of an important or powerful person. Pop artist Andy Warhol
often surrounded himself with a glamorous entourage and rock group.

entrance (en-TRANS) vb. To entrance someone is to fill him with delight, wonder,
enchantment, fascination, etc.; to seemingly put him in a trance (as in entranced by the
beautiful music). In 1841 German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (18041872) said that in
dreams we see real things in the entrancing splendor of imagination instead of in the simple
daylight of reality. Note: The word can also refer to literally putting someone into a trance
(as in entranced by a magic spell).

entreat (en-TRT) vb. To entreat (somebody) is to earnestly or urgently ask or request

(something of him), especially persuasively, as to overcome resistance. Though in the 1890s
Ladies Home Journal editor Edward Bok entreated women to stay at home (to fulfill their
roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers), during World War I he endorsed their employment
in industry.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. ensue
2. entice
3. entrance

a. attract by arousing desire
b. fill with wonder or delight
c. happen, take place

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. enrapture: restrict, bind
2. ensconce: flee (as from a crime)
3. enjoin: command, order

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
enmity, ennui, entourage

1. His wild behavior earned him the __________ of the local residents.
2. The rock star finally entered, followed by her __________.
3. The student escaped her __________ by doodling.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. enigma / puzzle
2. entreat / urge
3. enhance / lessen

Chapter 76: entrenchepitome

entrench (en-TRENCH) vb. Technically, to entrench yourself is to dig a ditch or trench
around yourself (for protective purposes, as in a war). But when people say someone (or
something) is entrenched (in something), they mean hes in a position of strength or firm
protection, as in entrenched in his castle, or entrenched behind the arm of the law. Though
Northern states began abolishing slavery as early as 1774 (in Rhode Island), in the South,
where the institution was more deeply entrenched, slaveholding continued until the passage of
the 13th Amendment (1865).

enunciate (i-NUN-s-t) vb. To enunciate is to pronounce words clearly and distinctly. In his
1980 book Homesickness, author Murray Bail said, The British [must] enunciate clearly in
order to [pierce] the humidity and hedges, the moist walls and alleyways.

epaulet (EP--let, ep--LET) n. An epaulet is a shoulder piece (usually a rectangular strap)
worn on uniforms (usually of army and navy officers) as a decoration or to signify rank. The
uniforms of the toy soldiers were accurate in every detail, from the epaulets all the way down
to the boots.

ephemeral (i-FEM-r-l) adj. If you say that something is ephemeral, you mean that it lasts or
exists for only a very short time; its fleeting, short-lived, momentary, brief, temporary, etc.
In 1961 Pulitzer Prizewinning playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder (18971975) said, I
am not interested in the ephemeralsuch subjects as the adulteries [extramarital affairs] of
dentists; I am interested in those things that repeat and repeat and repeat in the lives of the

epic (EP-ik) n., adj. As a noun, an epic is an extended (often poetic) narrative that (usually in
elevated style) describes or celebrates the adventures or feats of a heroic figure. (Homer s
Odyssey is an example of an epic poem). But the word can also denote any story or series of
events that resembles an epic in scope, subject matter, etc. (as in war epic, space epic, etc.). As
an adjective, the word describes anything suggestive of an epic; that is, anything heroic or
impressive in quality (as in epic events), or anything unusually grand in size or scope (as in
epic proportions). American filmmaker Cecil B. De Mille (18811959) was known for his
spectacular epic productions, including The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) and The Ten
Commandments (1956).

epicure (EP-i-kyoor) n. An epicure is a person with refined or cultivated taste (especially in
food and drink). To describe something (a food, for example) as epicurean is to say that its
fit or suitable for an epicure. Because of the epicurean appeal of European sole, American
flounder is often marketed as sole.

epigram (EP-i-gram) n. An epigram is a clever or witty, briefly expressed, often brilliantly

worded, often satirical, saying or phrase. American author and humorist Mark Twain (1835
1910) was known for his epigrammatic remarks; for example, the text of a cablegram he sent
from London to the press in the U.S. after his obituary had been mistakenly published read
The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. Note: Dont confuse this word with
epigraph, which is an inscription (as on a building or statue) or a quotation (as at the
beginning of a book).

epiphany (i-PIF--n) n. If you have a sudden revelation, comprehension, insight, or
understanding about something (especially something considered important or far-reaching),
youve had an epiphany. The implication is that as a result of this revelation your life will
somehow be different or better. After (blind and deaf girl) Helen Kellers epiphany that words
represent objects, her learning progressed rapidly.

epistle (i-PIS-l) n. An epistle is a letter, a written communication (especially a formal,
impersonal, or instructive one). When spelled with a capital E, the word refers specifically to
letters of the New Testament (as written by St. Paul, St. Peter, or St. John, for example). Note:
A novel written in the form of a series of letters is known as an epistolary novel. In 1952, in
an epistle to the House Un-American Activities Committee (which was then investigating links
between American leftists and the Communist party), playwright Lillian Hellman explained
that shed refuse to testify about anyone but herself with these now-famous words: I cannot
and will not cut my conscience to fit this years fashions.

epitaph (EP-i-taf) n. An epitaph is a commemorative phrase inscribed on a tombstone. It can
also be a short piece of writing (not on a tombstone) that praises someone who died. In 1986
blue-eyed actor Paul Newman imagined what his own epitaph might say: Here lies Paul
Newman, who died a failure because his eyes turned brown.

epithet (EP--thet) n. An epithet is a term or phrase used as a descriptive substitute for a
persons actual name. While an epithet can be favorable (The Great Emancipator for Abraham
Lincoln or The King for Elvis Presley, for example), people usually use the word to refer to
an unfavorable, insulting substitute (a racial slur or dirty name, for example). During the 1995
O. J. Simpson murder trial, jurors were permitted to hear only two of 41 recorded instances of
former Los Angeles detective Mark Fuhrman using a racial epithet.

epitome (i-PIT--m) n. The epitome of something is the highest, most perfect, or most
representative example of it. British-born American film actor Cary Grant, who during the
mid-1900s was the epitome of the elegant leading man, once gave his formula for living, as
follows: I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night; in between, I occupy myself as best I

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. epaulet
2. epitome
3. epigram

a. decorative shoulder strap
b. witty saying or phrase
c. perfect example (of something)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. entrench: put at risk, make vulnerable
2. enunciate: pronounce words clearly
3. epic: fencing sword

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
epiphany, epitaph, epithet

1. He wanted his __________ to say nothing more than Rest in peace.
2. President George Washington was given the __________ Father of his country..
3. Yesterday I experienced an __________ that changed my life.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. ephemeral / long-lasting
2. epicure / gourmet
3. epistle / letter

Chapter 77: epocherode

epoch (EP-k, -pok) n. Technically, an epoch is a particular division of geological time.
Peking man (an early species of human beings) is known from fossil remains of the Pleistocene
Epoch. But people generally use this word to signify any period of time marked by distinctive
or significant events, features, etc. World War Is Battle of Jutland, the last great sea battle in
which the opponents (Britain and Germany) fought it out (off the coast of Denmark) within
sight of each other, marked the end of an epoch in naval warfare. If you say that something (an

event, discovery, invention, etc.) is epoch-making, you mean that its so significant or different
that it ushers in (or seems to usher in) a new epoch. Inventor Thomas Edison (18471931)
astonished the world with a series of epoch-making inventions (including the electric light,
record player, and motion picture).

eponymous (i-PON--ms) adj. An eponym (pronounced EP--nim) is a person (real or
fictional) from whom something (a country, a philosophy, a medical procedure, a record
album title, etc.) has taken its name (or is thought to have taken its name). The adjective
eponymous refers to such a person. Nineteenth-century German economist and revolutionary
Karl Marx is the eponymous father of Marxism, a philosophy which predicts the inevitable
triumph of the working class.

equanimity (ek-w-NIM-i-t) n. A state of emotional calmness, coolness, composure, etc.
(especially under stress or strain), is known as equanimity. In his July 1963 speech on nuclear
testing, President John F. Kennedy said, If only one thermonuclear bomb were to be dropped,
[it] could release more destructive power than all the bombs dropped in the Second World
War; neither the United States nor the Soviet Union can look forward to that day with

equestrian (i-KWES-tr-n) n., adj. As a noun, an equestrian is a person who rides (or
performs) on horseback. As an adjective, the word means relating or pertaining to horseback
riders or horseback riding or represented on horseback, as in an equestrian statue.
Whereas men and women compete separately in most Olympic sports, they may compete
against each other in equestrian and yachting events.

equilibrium (-kw-LIB-r-m) n. In physics, equilibrium is a state of rest or balance that
occurs when opposing forces (such as gravity, inertia, centrifugal force, etc.) cancel each
other out or equalize each other. But the word also can be used to signify any type of balance.
For example, in psychology, it refers to emotional balance; in economics, to a balance
between supply and demand; in ecology, to a balance of nature; and so on. According to
Comptons Encyclopedia, Due to the uneven heating of the Earths surface, the atmosphere is
in a constant state of imbalance; weather conditions are the result of the atmospheres attempt
to gain equilibriuma state it never achieves.

equine (-kwn, EK-wn) adj. To refer to something as equine is to say that it resembles a
horse. Some people say that the unicorn (a mythical, white, equine beast with a horn in the
middle of its forehead) is visible only to virgins.

equipoise (-kw-poiz, EK-w-poiz) n. A state of equality (equilibrium, balance) of weight
or force is known as equipoise. For example, when two sides of a scale are perfectly
balanced, they are said to be in equipoise. In his review of a June 1983 chamber music concert,
critic Lon Tuck said that the performers perfectly captured the sublime equipoise of the

Mozart Clarinet Quintet.

equitable (EK-wi-t-bl) adj. If you say that something (a settlement, deal, arrangement, etc.)
is equitable, you mean that its fair, impartial, just, right, etc. (as in equitable distribution of
wealth). Film star Lauren Bacall (born 1924) once said, In Hollywood, an equitable divorce
settlement means each party getting fifty percent of [the] publicity.

equivalent (i-KWIV--lnt) adj. If two things are equivalent, they are equal (in amount,
degree, value, effect, significance, meaning, etc.), or they are basically the same as each other
in that they have similar or identical effects, consequences, etc. Writer and naturalist Henry
David Thoreau (18171862) once said, A kitten is so flexible that she is almost double; the
hind parts are equivalent to another kitten with which the forepart plays; she does not discover
that her tail belongs to her until you [step] on it.

equivocal (i-KWIV--kl) adj. Language or speech described as equivocal is ambiguous, of
uncertain significance, open to more than one interpretation, etc. (usually intentionally, so as
to mislead or avoid commitment). To equivocate is to use equivocal language. Not wanting to
offend anyone, the candidate equivocated on the abortion issue.

eradicate (i-RAD-i-kt) vb. To eradicate something is to remove it, wipe it out, erase it, etc.
In 1985 the World Health Organization began an effort to eradicate polio worldwide by 2000.

erode (i-RD) vb. When a material object erodes, it slowly wears away (as from friction or
chemical reaction), as in ocean waves eroded the rocks. When something non-physical (peace,
happiness, democracy, profit, etc.) erodes, it slowly falls apart, becomes less significant, or
disappears (as if by wearing away). President John F. Kennedy once said, Peace is a daily, a
weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly
building new structures.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. equipoise
2. equanimity
3. epoch

a. large division of time, era
b. emotional calmness
c. state of balance

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. equestrian: spiritual, nonmaterial
2. equilibrium: lack of interest
3. erode: wear away, crumble

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
eponymous, equitable, equivalent

1. One aspect of democracy is the __________ treatment of all citizens.
2. William Penn was the __________ founder of Pennsylvania.
3. Zero degrees Celsius is __________ to 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. equivocal / certain
2. eradicate / erase
3. equine / horse-like

Chapter 78: errantesteem

errant (ER-nt) adj. This word has two meanings. The first is wandering or moving about
aimlessly. The errant calves were quickly lassoed and brought back into the herd. In another
sense, if youre errant, your action or behavior deviates from the proper course, or it
deviates from accepted standards. Every profession (medicine, law, journalism, politics, etc.)
must have some means for excluding or punishing errant members.

erratic (i-RAT-ik) adj. If something is erratic, it lacks consistency, uniformity, or regularity.
If something moves erratically it doesnt follow a fixed or regular course; it jumps from
place to place. A 1984 article in the London Times said that Academy Awardwinning
American actress Helen Hayes education was erratic, though she learned to add by counting
the nightly box office takings.

erroneous (i-R-n-s) adj. If something is erroneous, it contains (or is based on) an error
or mistake; its incorrect, faulty, untrue, wrong, etc. The milk snake gets its name from the
erroneous notion that it sucks milk from cows.

ersatz (ER-zts, er-ZTS) adj. This word is used to describe things (commercial products,

for example) that are made of a (usually inferior) artificial, synthetic, or substitute substance
(to replace something genuine or natural), as in ersatz chocolate made of carob. The word can
also be used to describe anything fake, phony, artificial, counterfeit, etc. The Kentucky coffee
tree (which doesnt produce coffee beans) got its name from the practice of 18th-century
Kentucky settlers using its seeds (contained in pods) to make ersatz coffee.

erstwhile (RST-wl) adj., adv. As an adjective, this word means former, as in erstwhile
enemies. As an adverb it means formerly. After his death in 1992, author Isaac Asimovs
erstwhile uncollected letters were edited by his brother and published in a book entitled Yours,
Isaac Asimov.

erudite (ER-y-dt) adj. To refer to a person (a professor, for example) as erudite is to say
that he has great learning; that is, hes well-trained, scholarly, educated, well-read, wellinformed, etc. The noun is erudition. In the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs, Welsh actor
Anthony Hopkins plays Hannibal Lecter, an erudite but psychopathic psychiatrist.

escapade (ES-k-pd) n. An escapade is an exciting, reckless, or wild (not necessarily lawful)
undertaking or adventure; a caper, prank, fling, stunt, etc. According to the Encarta
Encyclopedia, Cyrano de Bergerac was a 17th-century French writer whose many duels and
other escapades gained him a reputation as a romantic hero [in spite of his oversized nose].

eschew (es-CHOO) vb. To eschew something is to abstain from it, avoid it, keep away from it,
etc. The implication is that it would be unwise or morally wrong to do otherwise. When I
offered my witty friend a piece of bubble gum, he shook his head and said, Bubble gum is
something I eschew, not chew.

esoteric (es--TER-ik) adj. This word describes things (subjects, references, forms or works
of art, philosophies, etc.) that are aimed at or understood by only the members of a select
group (who have special knowledge of or special interest in the particular subject in
question). Although Jacob Grimm (with his brother Wilhelm) is best remembered as the
author/compiler of the popular Grimms Fairy Tales (18121815), he also wrote treatises on
such esoteric subjects as ancient German law and consonants in Indo-European languages.

espouse (i-SPOUZ) vb. One meaning of this word is to marry (a person). But usually, when
people use this word theyre referring to the marrying of a person to an idea; that is, the
taking of an idea (or principle) and embracing it as ones own, taking it to heart. In the early
1950s, many public figures who were suspected of espousing communismor any leftist causes
were ruined by blacklisting.

essence (ES-ns) n. The essence of something is that part or aspect of it that makes it what it
truly is; in other words, its its most crucial element, most important ingredient, real nature,
true substance, central part, etc. In his inaugural address (March 1925), President Calvin

Coolidge said, The essence of [democracy] is representative government. Note: The phrase
in essence means essentially; fundamentally; basically (as in Chinese cooking is, in
essence, quick cookery). Also note: The phrase of the essence means of utmost
importance (as in in an emergency time is of the essence).

esteem (i-STM) n. A feeling of positive regard, admiration, or respect for someone or
something is known as esteem. Baseball great Stan Musial, who between 1943 and 1957 won
the National League batting title seven times, was held is such high esteem that he was
affectionately called Stan the Man. Note: Such a feeling for oneself is known as selfesteem. Studies have shown that exercise is likely to reduce the risk of heart attack, help
weight loss, improve sleep, and increase self-esteem.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. esteem
2. essence
3. escapade

a. true substance, central part
b. respect, admiration
c. exciting adventure, fling

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. espouse: embrace, take to heart
2. erstwhile: pertaining to the future
3. errant: alternately rising and falling

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
erratic, erroneous, esoteric

1. The discussion was too __________ to appeal to the general public.
2. His bowling scores were __________sometimes high and sometimes low.
3. Ptomelys theory of an earth-centered solar system was __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. ersatz / genuine
2. erudite / scholarly
3. eschew / avoid

Chapter 79: etchevolve

etch (ech) vb. If something (a design or inscription, for example) is etched onto the surface
of a hard material (metal or glass, for example), its cut into it (by the action of a sharp tool,
acid, etc.). If something (an image or conversation, for example) is etched in your mind or
memory, its deeply or permanently implanted or imprinted there (you cant forget it). In
1985, speaking of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (a nearly 500-foot, Vshaped black granite wall inscribed with names of the more than 58,000 Americans killed or
missing during the Vietnam War), the New York Times said, In each sharply etched name one
reads the price paid by yet another family; in the sweeping pattern of names, chronological by
day of death, 1959 to 1975, one reads the price paid by the nation.

ethereal (i-THR--l) adj. Depending on the context, this word (derived from the Greek
word for upper air) can mean light, airy, insubstantial, delicate, highly refined,
heavenly, celestial, or otherworldly, spiritual. Art Garfunkels ethereal harmonies helped
(folk/rock duo) Simon and Garfunkel achieve major success in the late 1960s.

ethos (-thos, ETH-os) n. The particular underlying sentiment (basic beliefs, moral code,
attitude, character, values) of a group (or of an individual, organization, institution,
movement, subculture, culture, or society) is known as that groups ethos. Sociologists have
complained that the advertising industry encourages a materialistic approach to the world and
promotes an ethos suggesting that what you possess is more important than who you are.

eulogy (YOO-l-j) n. A eulogy is a speech praising someone who has recently died. It is
usually delivered at a funeral or memorial service. In his eulogy for Valley of the Dolls
author Jacqueline Susann (19211974), critic Gene Shalit noted, Her books were put down
by most critics, but readers would not put down her books.

euphemism (YOO-f-miz-m) n. Because words and phrases pertaining to such topics as
death, sex, and bathroom functions may be considered offensive, people sometimes substitute
inoffensive words or phrases in their place. Such a substituted word or phrase is known as a
euphemism. For example, pass away is a euphemism for die, and bathroom tissue is a
euphemism for toilet paper. Some scholars believe that the answer to how the phrase the
birds and the bees became a euphemism for sex education lies in a few lines from English
poet Samuel Coleridge (17721834): All nature seems at workthe bees are stirring, birds
are on the wing.

euphoria (yoo-FR--) n. A feeling or state of extreme happiness or well-being is known as
euphoria. This feeling can be induced by events in your life or by drugs. The adjective is
euphoric. Steve actually enjoys going to the dentist because of the euphoric feeling the
laughing gas gives him.

evanescent (ev--NES-nt) adj. If something is evanescent, it lasts for only a very short time;
its fleeting; it tends to disappear quickly, like vapor. According to my friend Bruces
moments theory, all the really good parts of your life add up to nothing more than a series
of pleasurable but evanescent moments.

evasive (i-V-siv) adj. People (or things) described as evasive tend to escape (from things) or
avoid (things), usually by cleverness or trickery; theyre hard to pin down; theyre dodgy,
shifty, slippery, etc. If someone asks you for certain information that you dont want to reveal,
an evasive but usually inoffensive answer you might give is A little birdie told me.

evince (i-VINS) vb. To evince something is to show it clearly. Sometimes the thing being
evinced is a persons desire, character, or feeling, which had been previously hidden or
unexpressed. In that case the showing takes the form of some outward sign. His sudden smile
evinced his satisfaction. Other times, the thing being evinced is evidence of something
(usually in order to prove something). During the trial, the wounds on the victims back were
evinced as proof the assault had taken place.

eviscerate (i-VIS--rt) vb. Technically, to eviscerate a person or animal is to remove its
internal organs, especially its intestines. Figuratively, to eviscerate something is to remove a
vital or essential part of it (the guts of it). The elephants were transported in the eviscerated
fuselage of a Boeing 747. Note: Sometimes the word is also used figuratively to mean simply
destroy (as if by evisceration).

evoke (i-VK) vb. To evoke a feeling, memory, image, or the like is to bring it to mind; to
call it forth, activate it, etc. According to Comptons Encyclopedia, American artist James
McNeill Whistler (18341903), famous for his painting popularly titled Whistler s Mother
(1872), sought to evoke emotions with patterns of tone and color as a musician would with
patterns of harmony and melody. To evoke a particular response (laughter, applause,
criticism, anger, etc.) is to cause it to happen or occur (sometimes suddenly or unexpectedly);
to bring it on, provoke it, etc. In his inaugural address (March 1909), speaking of proposed
changes in banking laws, President William Howard Taft said, There is no subject of
economic discussion so [complex] and so likely to evoke differing views and [opinionated]
statements as this one.

evolve (i-VOLV) vb. When something (an idea, an art form, an invention, etc.) evolves, it
gradually takes shape, develops, or changes (often by becoming more complex or

organized). According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, singer/songwriter Bob Dylan

exercised a profound influence on folk and rock music, his style evolving from folk to folkrock to country. Note: In biology, to evolve is to come into being through evolutionary
development (as in man evolved from apes).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. eulogy
2. euphemism
3. euphoria

a. state of extreme happiness
b. inoffensive word substituted for an offensive one
c. tribute given at a funeral

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. ethos: period of time
2. evince: show clearly
3. eviscerate: remove the guts of something

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
etch, evoke, evolve

1. The walls were painted blue to __________ a feeling of calmness.
2. Our sun will eventually __________ into a small, faint star known as a white dwarf.
3. He used a knife to __________ his initials into the metal dish.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. evanescent / permanent
2. evasive / shifty
3. ethereal / airy

Chapter 80: exacerbateexodus

exacerbate (ig-ZAS-r-bt) vb. To exacerbate something is to make it even worse (more
severe, violent, etc.) than it already is; to heighten, deepen, or intensify it. Population growth,
industrial expansion, and automobile exhaust led to an increase in pollution in the 1960s;
exacerbating the problem was the appearance of synthetic substances (plastics and fibers, for
example) that degrade extremely slowly or not at all.

exalt (ig-ZLT) vb. To exalt someone (or something) is to elevate his status or position, to
glorify or honor him, to put him on a pedestal, etc. We knew that in Greek mythology the most
exalted of all the gods was Zeus, who lived atop Mount Olympus; but we didnt know that he
had a weakness for women and that he fathered, among many others, Hercules, Apollo, and
Helen of Troy.

exasperate (ig-ZAS-p-rt) vb. To exasperate someone is to annoy or irritate him; to make
him angry, disturbed, etc. The noun is exasperation. In films featuring the (early 20th century)
comedy team Laurel and Hardy, the thin, dimwitted Stan Laurel continually exasperated his
fat, bullying partner, Oliver Hardy.

excoriate (ik-SKR--t) vb. To excoriate something is to rip (or strip or tear) its skin off.
The castaways trapped a rat; then they excoriated it, cooked it, and ate it. Often the word is
used figuratively to mean criticize severely (rip apart), as in in his review, the drama critic
excoriated the new playwright.

excruciating (ik-SKROO-sh--ting) adj. To describe something (pain, for example) as
excruciating is to say that its unbearably severe or intense; its torturous, agonizing, etc.
When the patient complained of excruciating nighttime spasms in his calf muscles, the doctor
told him that the next time it happens, he should try bending his toes back (toward his head).

exculpate (EK-skl-pt, ik-SKUL-pt) vb. To exculpate someone is to clear him of blame or
guilt. Something (a particular piece of evidence, for example) described as exculpatory
proves or tends to prove blamelessness or innocence. In the 1957 film Twelve Angry Men,
jurors, deliberating the fate of a boy accused of killing his father with a knife, present to each
other pieces of exculpatory evidence (a look-alike knife, the near-sightedness of an eyewitness,
etc.) that never came out during the trial.

execrable (EK-si-kr-bl) adj. To describe a certain behavior or action (theft, assault, rape,
murder, etc.) as execrable is to say that its deserving of hate; its utterly offensive, detestable,
reprehensible, etc. To describe the quality of something (a performance, food, etc.) as
execrable is to say that its very bad, inferior, shabby, etc. Whereas some people support
vivisection (the cutting into of a healthy living animal for the purpose of scientific research),
others view it as an execrable act of cruelty.

execute (EK-si-kyoot) vb. To execute a particular action or activity is to carry it out, perform
it, do it, accomplish it (as in execute a somersault). During the Vietnam War, Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger helped President Richard Nixon plan and execute a secret bombing of
Cambodia. To execute a law or policy is to put it into effect. In September 1957, speaking of
sending troops to enforce racial integration in Little Rock [Arkansas] High School, President
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, I intend to pursue this course until the orders of the federal
court can be executed without unlawful interference. Note: In another sense, to execute a
person is to put him to death; kill him (especially by carrying out a lawful sentence). In 1793
French queen Marie Antoinette was executed by guillotine.

exemplary (ig-ZEM-pl-r) adj. If something (ones behavior or efficiency, for example) is
exemplary, its good enough to serve as an example or model for others; its excellent,
superb, outstanding, etc. In Greek mythology, Zeuss son Rhadamanthus, in reward for his
exemplary sense of justice, was made a judge of the underworld.

exhaustive (ig-Z-stiv) adj. If something (a search, investigation, study, etc.) is exhaustive,
its thoroughly carried out; no part of it is left unexamined or unconsidered; its
comprehensive, complete, etc. After an exhaustive investigation of the assassination (1963) of
John F. Kennedy, the Warren Commission (a committee headed by Supreme Court chief justice
Earl Warren) concluded that 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, had killed the

exhort (ig-ZRT) vb. When you exhort someone, you give him an urgent warning or an
urgent piece of advice. An exhortation is an act of exhorting or the urgent message itself.
During World War I, Herbert Hoover, then U.S. Food Administrator, exhorted housewives to
observe meatless Mondays and wheatless Wednesdays as food conservation measures.

exodus (EK-s-ds) n. A departure or leave-taking of a large number of people (often from
ones native land to another) is known as an exodus. When spelled with a capital E, the word
refers to the departure of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt (as described in the second
book of the Old Testament). In 1879, as a result of postCivil War economic and political
repression, some 20,000 African-Americans migrated from the South to Kansas; by 1880,
however, because of stories of extreme poverty among the newcomers, discouragement of
further immigration by native Kansans, and the difficulties of winter travel, the mass exodus
had ended.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. exasperate
2. excoriate
3. exculpate

a. clear of blame or guilt
b. rip the skin from
c. annoy, irritate, anger

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. execrable: worthy of praise
2. exodus: song or prayer
3. exacerbate: make less severe

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
exalt, execute, exhort

1. Doctors often __________ their patients to get plenty of exercise.
2. Governments make and __________ laws.
3. The lyrics of America the Beautiful __________ the natural features of the United States.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. excruciating / agonizing
2. exhaustive / incomplete
3. exemplary / inferior

Chapter 81: exonerateexploit

exonerate (ig-ZON--rt) vb. To exonerate someone is to (often officially) clear him of
blame or guilt. In 1995 a court-martial exonerated Air Force captain Jim Wang of causing 26
deaths in the accidental shooting (1994) of two Army helicopters over Iraq.

exorbitant (ig-ZR-bi-tnt) adj. An amount (of money, for example) described as exorbitant
is beyond the limit of what is considered customary or fair; its excessive, unreasonable, etc.
The most memorable character of Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice is Shylock, a greedy
moneylender who charges exorbitant interest rates.

exotic (ig-ZOT-ik) adj. If something (a plant, animal, disease, fashion, language, etc.) is
exotic, its interestingly strange or strikingly unusual (often because it comes from or
originated in a faraway country). Since it first opened in 1899, the Bronx Zoo has exhibited
many exotic animals, including the platypus, the vampire bat, and the Komodo dragon.

expatriate (ek-SP-tr-it) adj., n. As an adjective, expatriate means residing in another
country. As a noun, an expatriate is a person who has been banished from or withdrew
himself from his native country. In the 1942 film Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart plays an
American expatriate who owns a Moroccan nightclub during World War II.

expeditious (ek-spi-DISH-s) adj. To do something in an expeditious manner is to do it
promptly, quickly, and efficiently. Note: To expedite (ek-spi-dt) something is to speed it up;
make it happen faster. With the introduction of ZIP codes (1963), the U.S. Post Office was able
to sort and deliver mail more expeditiously.

expel (ik-SPEL) vb. To expel something is to force it out or drive it away, as in expel air from
the lungs or expel a student from college. In the 1973 film The Exorcist, a priest tries to expel
a demon from a young girl.

expend (ik-SPEND) vb. To expend something (energy, time, etc.) is to use it up, consume it,
exhaust it. French writer and philosopher Albert Camus (1913-1960) once said, Nobody
realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. Note: To expend
money is to spend it, pay it out, etc. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers expended vast sums in
unsuccessfully searching for El Dorado (a kingdom of northern South America fabled for its
wealth of gold and precious jewels).

expertise (ek-spr-TZ) n. Expert skill or knowledge in a particular area or field is known as
expertise. World War II general George Patton was known for his expertise at warfare using
tanks and other vehicles.

expiate (EK-sp-t) vb. To expiate something (a sin, an offense, a misdeed) is to make up for
it, to make amends for it. In Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol (1843), after Ebenezer
Scrooge reforms, he expiates his miserliness by offering help to a crippled boy.

expletive (EK-spli-tiv) n. An expletive is an obscene or vulgar word or phrase; a dirty word,
four-letter word, curse, etc. When President Richard Nixons Oval Office tapes (which
contained blunt conversations concerning the Watergate cover-up) were transcribed to paper,
all expletives were replaced by the now-famous phrase expletive deleted.

explicit (ik-SPLIS-it) adj. If something is explicit, its clearly and definitely expressed; its
precise, specific, etc. The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly mention a right of privacy;
however, the Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable searches and seizures.

exploit (ik-SPLOIT) vb. To exploit something (or someone) it to (sometimes by indirect
means) use it, control it, or take advantage of it, for ones own ends (especially for ones own
financial gain). The actress was thrilled to have a popular clothing line named after her; then
she wondered if it was worth it when she was accused of exploiting Asian children (who
supposedly sewed the garments for only pennies a day). The word can also mean utilize or
employ to practical advantage (without a connotation of selfishness or wrongdoing), as in
just as the Beverly Hillbillies had, we exploited the oil well we discovered in our yard.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. exonerate
2. expiate
3. expel

a. make amends for
b. force out
c. clear of guilt

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. expatriate: ex-convict
2. expertise: expert skill or knowledge
3. expeditious: overly careful, fussy

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
exorbitant, exotic, explicit

1. The Pacific island of Tahiti is an __________ tourist destination.
2. Some people say that professional athletes salaries are __________.
3. Model airplanes come with __________ directions for assembly.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. expletive / curse
2. exploit / utilize

3. expend / save

Chapter 82: expostulateextraneous

expostulate (ik-SPOS-ch-lt) vb. To expostulate with someone is to express objection
(especially in the form of earnest reasoning) to something he intends to do or has done (in an
effort to dissuade or correct him). Social reformer Carry Nation (18461911) not only
expostulated with the American public about the evils of alcohol, she also used a hatchet to
destroy barroom liquor and property!

expropriate (ek-SPR-pr-t) vb. To expropriate something (money, goods, property, land,
etc.) is to take it (from a person) for ones own use; to steal it. The implication is that the
person doing the taking believes he has the right to do so. In the late 1800s, German settlers
in Namibia expropriated African lands and assigned Africans to reserves.

expunge (ik-SPUNJ) vb. To expunge something (written down or recorded, for example) is to
erase it, strike it out, or destroy it. The implication is that the erasure or removal leaves no
trace. In 1833 the U.S. Senate censured (officially expressed disapproval of) President Andrew
Jackson (for his removing from office two Secretaries of the Treasury who refused to withdraw
government funds from the Bank of the United States and place them in state banks); however,
in 1836 the Virginia legislature sought a resolution expunging censure of Jackson from the
Senate record.

expurgate (EK-spr-gt) vb. To expurgate something (an unpublished manuscript, for
example) is to remove (or sometimes change) objectionable or offensive words or passages;
to clean it up. The noun is expurgation, which can refer to the act of expurgating or to a
particular deletion. We imagined that people who edit Bible stories for young children must be
careful to expurgate all references to sex or violence.

extant (EK-stnt) adj. If you say that something (an old book or painting, for example) is
extant, you mean that it still exists; that is, it hasnt been destroyed, lost, etc. Note: If you say
that a particular animal species is extant, you mean that it exists; its not extinct. The
Gutenberg Bible (1455), of which fewer that 50 copies are extant, was the first book printed
from movable type.

extemporaneous (ik-stem-p-R-n-s) adj. If something (a speech or musical performance,
for example) is extemporaneous, its done (spoken, performed, etc.) on the spur of the
moment, without preparation; its ad-libbed, improvised, off the cuff, unrehearsed, etc.
According to Comptons Encyclopedia, U.S. jazz pianist Jelly Roll Mortons (18901941)
dedication to composition and rehearsed performance differentiated him from jazz musicians
whose music was solely extemporaneous.

extensive (ik-STEN-siv) adj. If something is extensive, its large in size or amount (that is, its
spacious, expansive, long, wide, etc.) or its great in scope or degree (that is, its far-reaching,
comprehensive, thorough, etc.). President Herbert Hoover (18741964) once joked, The
President differs from other men in that he has a more extensive wardrobe.

extirpate (EK-str-pt) vb. Technically, to extirpate something (a weed, for example) is to
pull it out by the roots. But in general usage the word is used to mean utterly remove,
destroy, exterminate, rid, etc. An August 1997 editorial in the Washington Post said that the
Redskins [will] play on natural grass in their new stadium; none of that artificial stuff that
began to spread over American playing fields in the 60s and is only gradually being
extirpated like so much stubborn crabgrass.

extol (ik-STL) vb. To extol something (or someone) is to praise it highly. Though he was
known for extolling the virtues of observing nature, writer Henry David Thoreau once declined
membership in a scientific society, saying he was a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural

extortion (ik-STR-shn) n. The criminal offense of obtaining money from someone by
force or intimidation is known as extortion. To describe something (a cost, price, interest rate,
etc.) as extortionate is to say that its excessive, exorbitant, unreasonable, etc. During the first
decade of the 1900s, the mayors of Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland accused streetcar
companies of charging extortionate fares and providing poor service.

extradite (EK-str-dt) vb. To extradite someone (a lawbreaker or prisoner in a foreign land,
for example) is to surrender him to another country or authority for trial or punishment. In
June 1968 James Earl Ray (assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr.) was captured in London and
extradited to the U.S. for trial.

extraneous (ik-STR-n-s) adj. Technically, if something is extraneous, it comes from
without (that is, it doesnt constitute a vital part of something). But people usually use this
word to describe anything considered unnecessary or irrelevant (not related to the topic at
hand). When he tried to record his new song at home, he found it impossible to completely
eliminate all the extraneous noise (such as ventilation system hum and the ringing of the
neighbors phone).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. expostulate

2. extirpate
3. expropriate

a. remove completely
b. take for ones own use
c. express objections

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. extortion: authorized execution
2. expurgate: remove objectionable material
3. extradite: place under arrest

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
extant, extensive, extraneous

1. Hurricanes often cause __________ damage along the Gulf coast of the U.S.
2. Pollution and __________ light made it difficult to see the stars.
3. Today there are four __________ copies of the original Magna Carta..

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. extemporaneous / unrehearsed
2. expunge / erase
3. extol / criticize

Chapter 83: extrapolatefacetious

extrapolate (ik-STRAP--lt) vb. To extrapolate is to use information that you already know
to make estimates or educated guesses about what you dont know. We knew that the square
root of 16 is 4 and that the square root of 25 is 5; by extrapolation we estimated the square
root of 20 to be about 4.5.

extremity (ik-STREM-i-t) n. This word refers to the outermost or farthest point or portion
of something. When used in the plural (extremities) it often refers to the hands or feet (the end
parts of bodily limbs). Frostbite is caused by prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures and
most often affects the ears, nose, or extremities.

extricate (EK-stri-kt) vb. To extricate something (yourself, another person, an object, etc.)
from something else (a tight spot, confinement, a difficult situation, etc.) is to free or release
it; to disengage it, untangle it, etc. In 1987 18-month-old Texas toddler Jessica McClure fell to
the bottom of an 8-inch-wide, 22-foot-long abandoned well pipe; it took rescue crews 58 hours
to extricate her.

extrovert (EK-str-vrt) n. An extrovert is a person who is outgoing, friendly, talkative,
sociable, unrestrained, etc. Note: The opposite is an introvert (a person who is shy, withdrawn,
quiet, restrained, etc.). Robin Williams (born 1951) has delighted audiences with his
extroverted, improvisational stand-up comedy and with his excellent performances in a wide
range of film roles.

exuberant (ig-ZOO-br-nt) adj. To be exuberant is to be full of extreme or uninhibited
happiness or enthusiasm. The noun is exuberance. According to Webster s World
Encyclopedia, the celebration of the Buddhist New Year is an occasion of great joy; in their
exuberance, [people] squirt water on whomever they meet in the streets, regardless of whether
it is a friend or a stranger.

exude (ig-ZOOD) vb. Technically, when something (sweat through pores in the skin, for
example) exudes, it oozes out. But to say that someone exudes a particular feeling (anger, selfsatisfaction, joy, etc.) or personality trait (sincerity, confidence, charm, shyness, etc.) is to say
that he exhibits it in abundance; it seems to flow out of him. The noun is exudation. Speaking
of actress Marilyn Monroe (19261962), the Reader s Companion to American History said,
In most of her films she exuded a blatant yet attractive sexuality that set her apart from the
other screen personalities of her time.

exultant (ig-ZUL-tnt) adj. When youre exultant, you feel great joy, jubilation, or elation
(sometimes mixed with a feeling of triumph). As a verb, to exult is to rejoice, delight, etc.
Photographer Alfred Eisenstaedts most famous picture shows a sailor kissing a nurse in the
middle of an exultant end of World War II victory celebration in Times Square.

exurb (EK-srb) n. Suburbs, as you know, are a citys outlying residential areas. Exurbs are
small communities lying beyond the suburbs of a city. With the exception of commuter lines
connecting major cities with their suburbs and exurbs, all city-to-city passenger rail service
today is supplied by Amtrak.

fabricate (FAB-ri-kt) vb. To fabricate something (a story, excuse, lie, etc.) is to make it up;
invent it; devise it (especially in order to deceive). A fabrication is something fabricated,
especially an untrue story; a lie. We cant help but think that most supermarket tabloid
headlines (such as Scientists Clone Dinosaurs to Use as Weapons against Russia) are mere

faade (f-SD) n. If youre talking about a building, the faade is the (often decorative)
front or face of it. New York Citys Grand Hyatt Hotel has a mirrored glass faade. If youre
talking about anything else, a faade is a deceptive outward appearance; a false front,
pretense, disguise, etc. American psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (born 1926) once said,
It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us; rather, our concern must be to
release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes from living behind a faade
designed to conform to the external definitions of what and who we are.

facet (FAS-it) n. Technically, a facet is one of the small, flat, smooth surfaces on a crystal, cut
gemstone, rock, etc. But if youre referring to something non-physical (an idea, plan,
argument, ones personality or career, etc.), a facet is one of numerous aspects (or parts,
details, elements, etc.) of it. In 1863 French composer Hector Berlioz wrote in a letter: Music
is the greatest of the arts; it is also the one which brings the greatest misery to those who
understand it in all its facets.

facetious (f-S-shs) adj. To be facetious is to be playfully humorous; to speak in fun; to be
kidding. In our high school year book, facetious captions appear under some of the photos; for
example, under a picture of two students holding a large sheet it says Quick! Hide the body!

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. extrapolate
2. exude
3. fabricate

a. flow out, ooze
b. use existing information to make an estimate
c. invent, make up

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. exultant: extremely happy, joyous
2. extrovert: a shy person
3. exurb: a short passage from a literary work

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
extremity, faade, facet

1. The cathedrals __________ is encrusted with marble.
2. The judge understood every __________ of the law.
3. Alaska occupies the northwest __________ of North America.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. extricate / release
2. facetious / serious
3. exuberant / sad

Chapter 84: facilefathom

facile (FAS-l) adj. If youre facile in doing something (working, moving, acting, speaking,
etc.), youre able to do it easily, effortlessly, fluently, smoothly, etc. During the 1960s boxer
Muhammad Alis facile rhymessuch as Only the nose knows where the nose goes when the
door close (when asked about the relationship between sex and physical strength)attracted
the attention of the media and fans alike.

faction (FAK-shn) n. A faction is a group (bloc, camp, clique) within a larger group (such
as a political party, company, or government). Its usually formed to pursue a goal or express
an opinion contrary to that of the majority or other factions. In the 1850s the state of Kansas
came to be known as Bleeding Kansas because of the violence between anti- and pro-slavery

faculties (FAK-l-tz) n. Your faculties (sometimes called mental faculties) are the powers of
your mind: concentration, memory, reason, judgment, etc. In 1994 former President Ronald
Reagan revealed that he had Alzheimers disease (a brain disease that gradually destroys the
mental faculties) in the hope of increasing public awareness of the illness.

fallacious (f-L-shs) adj. If you say that something (a concept, statement, etc.) is fallacious,
you mean that it contains a falsehood or that its logically unsound; its erroneous,
misleading, untrue, etc. Note: The noun fallacy refers to any false or mistaken notion. The
idea that eating meat makes one hostile and aggressive whereas eating a vegetarian diet makes
one peaceful and mellow is fallaciousboth Hitler and Mussolini were vegetarians.

fallible (FAL--bl) adj. If youre talking about people, to be fallible is to be liable (likely) to
make (or be capable of making) a mistake. All humans, by nature, are fallible. If youre
talking about a report, judgment, idea, or the like, fallible means liable to be in error, false,
inaccurate, etc. The noun is fallibility. In 1992 British actress and author Eleanor Bron said,

Both men and women are fallible; the difference is, women know it.

falter (FL-tr) vb. When speaking of physical motion, to falter is to move unsteadily or
stumble. When speaking of action or purpose, to falter is to hesitate or be indecisive. In a
1947 speech before Congress, President Harry Truman said, The free peoples of the world
look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms; if we falter in our leadership, we may
endanger the peace of the worldand we shall surely endanger the welfare of our nation.

famished (FAM-isht) adj. If youre famished, youre very hungry, starving. We were famished
after our all-night study session, so we stopped for breakfast on the way to the final exam.

fanciful (FAN-si-fl) adj. A fancy is a mental image, especially one that is strange or fantastic.
If something is fanciful, its characterized by or exhibits fancy; that is, its imaginary, unreal,
make-believe, etc., and at the same time often curious, queer, odd, etc. Long before man
traveled by rocket to the moon, science fiction writers suggested all sorts of fanciful methods
of getting there. Note: The word can also mean showing creativity or originality in design;
imaginative, as in fanciful Halloween costumes.

farce (frs) n. Technically, a farce is a humorous play (or other dramatic work) whose comic
appeal depends upon exaggerated situations and characters (TV comedies such as I Love Lucy
and The Honeymooners are examples of farce). But usually when people refer to something
(other than a play) as a farce, they mean its a ridiculous, false, empty, or inferior version (of
something). After his horse came in last he said, The race was a farce; it was fixed from the

farrago (f-R-g) n. A farrago is a confused mixture, a jumble, a hodgepodge (of various
items). The first quilt she sewed was a farrago of haphazardly arranged pieces of cloth of
various shapes, colors, and sizes.

fastidious (fa-STID--s) adj. People who are fastidious are difficult to please (theyre fussy,
particular, critical, etc.), often because theyre excessively attentive to detail or appearance
(theyre overly refined, delicate, dainty, correct, etc.). According to Comptons Encyclopedia,
Most cats never need a bath; a cat is naturally fastidiously clean and spends much time

fathom (fath-m) vb. Water depth is measured in fathoms (units of length equal to six feet),
and to fathom the depth of water is to measure it. But this word is usually used figuratively to
mean get to the bottom of; understand; figure out (as in fathom ones motives). According to
Webster s World Encyclopedia, the 20th century brought efforts to fathom psychiatric
diseases, establish their [classifications], and investigate their causes.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. fastidious
2. fallible
3. fanciful

a. capable of being wrong or false
b. imaginary, unusual
c. particular, fussy, correct

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. falter: criticize, mock
2. fathom: figure out, understand
3. facile: thin, light, airy

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
faction, faculties, farce

1. Fighting broke out when an antigovernment __________ staged a protest.
2. The play was a __________ based on a case of mistaken identities.
3. The stroke affected both her mobility and her mental __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. famished / starving
2. fallacious / true
3. farrago / hodgepodge

Chapter 85: fatuousfelicitous

fatuous (FACH-oo-s) adj. Someone who is fatuous is not only foolish (or stupid, dull, silly,
empty-headed, feeble-minded, etc.), but is at the same time smugly self-satisfied or seemingly
disregardful of reality. In 1988, when asked why he felt his parents ties to the extreme rightwing, anti-Communist John Birch Society werent relevant to his campaign, vice presidential

candidate Dan Quayle fatuously answered, Because I say it isnt.

fauna (F-n) n. Animals considered as a whole (especially the animals of a particular
region or animals as distinguished from plants) are known as fauna. The Galpagos Islands, a
group of 13 volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean about 600 miles west of Ecuador, are famous
for their rare species of fauna, including the giant land tortoises for which they are named
(galpagos is the Spanish word for tortoises).

faux pas (f-P) n. This phrase (which derives from the French and literally means false
step) describes any (usually social) blunder, error, or mistake (as in manners, conduct, or
etiquette). Note: The plural is faux pas (f-PZ). To make sure he didnt commit a faux pas at
the fancy tennis club, he yelled sorry every time he hit the ball badly, but also yelled
sorry every time he hit one too well.

fawn (fn) vb. If you fawn over someone, you seek favor through insincere flattery,
exaggerated attention, or servile submission; you butter him up. After seeing Elizabeth Taylor
play Cleopatra in a movie, we wondered who, in reality, had more people fawn over herthe
character or the actress.

fealty (F-l-t) n. Under feudalism (a political and economic system of Europe during the
Middle Ages) fealty was the fidelity (loyalty, allegiance, faithfulness, devotedness, etc.) a serf
(peasant) owed his lord (in return for land). But today the word refers to any compelling
fidelity; that is, any fidelity one has pledged or vowed to uphold (as in a judges fealty to the
laws of the land, a witnesss fealty to the truth, a husbands fealty to his wife, etc.). In 1861
General Robert E. Lee, believing he owed fealty to his home state, turned down an offer to
command the Federal army; he resigned his commission (in the U.S. Army) and offered his
services to Virginia (when it seceded).

feasible (F-z-bl) adj. If you describe something (an idea, plan, etc.) as feasible, you mean
that its capable of being carried out or accomplished; its workable, doable, suitable,
reasonable, practical, possible, attainable, etc. The noun is feasibility. In June 1942, after a
year of study, the OSRD (Office of Scientific Research and Development) informed President
Franklin D. Roosevelt that the creation of an atomic bomb (capable of affecting the course of
World War II) appeared to be feasible.

feckless (FEK-lis) adj. To describe someone as feckless is to say that hes a good-for-nothing;
hes ineffective, unproductive, weak, incompetent, unsuccessful, feeble, lazy, irresponsible,
worthless, useless, etc. In the 1985 film Back to the Future, a teenager watches in frustration
as his feckless father allows himself to be insulted, ridiculed, and knocked on the head by a

fecund (F-knd, FEK-nd) adj. Land that is fecund is fertile and productive. Lots of

vegetation grows there. But things other than land can be fecund, such as parents or
someones imagination. The sunfish (which derives its name from its practice of floating on its
side, as if sunning itself) is perhaps the must fecund of all fisha female lays up to 300
million eggs!

feign (fn) vb. To feign (something) is to put on a false appearance of it, to deceptively imitate
it. In the 1986 film Ferris Bueller s Day Off, the title character feigns illness in order to avoid
going to school.

feisty (F-st) adj. If a person or animal is feisty, hes quarrelsome or touchy, but in a lively,
spirited way; hes spunky. Singer/actor Frank Sinatra won an Academy Award for his
portrayal of a feisty army private in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity.

felicitate (fi-LIS-i-tt) vb. To felicitate someone is to congratulate him; to wish him well
upon a happy event. Expressions of such good wishes are known as felicitations. In 1968 Los
Angeles Dodger Don Drysdale pitched a record-breaking 58 consecutive scoreless innings;
when this record was broken in 1988 by fellow Dodger Oren Hershiser, Drysdale was among
the first on the field to offer his felicitations.

felicitous (fi-LIS-i-ts) adj. Something felicitous is fitting and appropriate; its well suited
(for the occasion). In his eulogy for George Washington, soldier and political leader Henry
Lee felicitously described our first President as First in war, first in peace, and first in the
hearts of his countrymen.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. feasible
2. felicitous
3. feisty

a. well suited, fitting
b. spiritedly quarrelsome, spunky
c. doable, possible

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. fawn: seek favor through excessive attention
2. fatuous: heavy, overweight

3. felicitate: congratulate

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
fauna, faux pas, fealty

1. At dinner he committed the __________ of drinking from the finger bowl.
2. The emperor forced his soldiers to swear __________.
3. The zoo housed a great collection of African __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. feign / pretend
2. feckless / successful
3. fecund / fertile

Chapter 86: felicityfettle

felicity (fi-LIS-i-t) n. The state of being greatly happy is known as felicity. In his Farewell
Address to the House of Representatives (1796), President George Washington said,
[Concern] for your welfare and the apprehension of danger urge me to offer some sentiments,
which appear to me all important to the permanency of your felicity as a people.

feline (F-ln) adj., n. As an adjective, feline means belonging or pertaining to the cat family
(which includes domestic cats, lions, tigers, etc.) or catlike. As a noun, a feline is an animal
of the cat family. In 1986 author Erica Jong, speaking of Venice, said, The stones themselves
are thick with history, and those cats that dash through the alleyways must surely be the ghosts
of the famous dead in feline disguise.

feral (FR-l, FER-l) adj. To describe something (a facial expression, for example) as feral
is to say that its suggestive of a wild animal (that is, its ferocious, brutal, savage, etc.). A
feral plant or animal is one that exists in its natural or wild state (that is, its not cultivated or
domesticated). First brought to the New World by 16th-century Spanish explorers, mustangs
are small, feral horses of the American West.

fertile (FR-tl) adj. This word means greatly productive. For example, fertile soil is soil
rich in materials necessary for initiating or sustaining plant growth, a fertile animal is one
capable of bearing offspring (reproducing), and a fertile mind is one rich in ideas. The noun
is fertility. Most of Egypts land is desert, but the Nile Valley and Delta contain extremely
fertile farmland.

fervid (FR-vid) adj. To describe someone or something as fervid is to say that it shows
great passion and intensity of feeling; its enthusiastic, afire, etc. Note: The related adjective
fervent also means impassioned; however, whereas fervid implies a spontaneous, fiery
passion (fervid outcries), fervent implies a steady, sincere passion (fervent Democrats). It has
been said people make an effort to read better than they usually do when they are in love and
reading a fervid love letter.

fervor (FR-vr) n. When you do something with fervor, you do it with intensity of feeling,
with warmth, passion, earnestness, eagerness, etc. When gospel music is performed in church,
correct vocal technique is usually not as important as religious fervor.

fester (FES-tr) vb. When a sore (or wound, cut, etc.) festers, it forms pus, decays, rots, etc.
When a feeling (bitterness or resentment, for example) festers (in ones mind), it increasingly
causes irritation, annoyance, anger, etc. In 1983, speaking of a plan to improve the image of
the Bronx by covering the windows of abandoned city-owned buildings with decals depicting
pleasant interiors, (New York City) mayor Ed Koch explained, In a neighborhood, as in life, a
clean bandage is much, much better than a raw or festering wound.

festive (FES-tiv) adj. If something (food, activities, decorations, etc.) is festive, its suitable
for a feast or festival; that is, its cheery, merry, celebratory, etc. In 1983, speaking of
campaigning for political office, author Ralph Martin said, Handshaking is friendly until
your hands bleed, [and] confetti looks festive until youre forced to spit out mouthfuls hurled
directly into your face.

festoon (fe-STOON) n., vb. A decorative string, chain (sometimes of flowers or leaves),
ribbon, etc., thats suspended in a curve between two points is called a festoon. As a verb, to
festoon is to hang such a decoration (or something similar). He knew hed walked into his own
surprise party, because, even before everyone shouted surprise, he saw, festooned on the
wall, a long piece of colored paper with the words Happy Birthday, Bill.

fete (ft, fet) n., vb. As a noun, a fete is an elaborate party, a celebration, a feast. As a verb, to
fete is to celebrate or honor with such a party. Customary activities at a Fourth of July fete
include picnics, parades, band concerts, and fireworks displays.

fetid (FET-id) adj. Something described as fetid has an (often peculiarly) offensive odor; its
smelly; its rotten; it stinks. The thin, fetid, greenish fluid discharged from the wound sickened
even the hospital workers.

fettle (FET-l) n. This word, usually seen in the phrase in fine fettle, refers to your
condition (especially your readiness for action or soundness) or to your emotional state or
spirits. Popeye, in fine fettle after eating his spinach, effortlessly hoisted his ships anchor.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. felicity
2. fervor
3. festoon

a. decorative chain suspended from two points
b. great happiness
c. passion, intensity, warmth

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. fervid: impassioned, enthusiastic
2. fettle: an unsolvable riddle
3. fester: become gradually less, decrease

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
feline, fertile, festive

1. Lions and tigers are large __________ mammals.
2. The region near the river was __________ but subject to floods.
3. The prom was held in the gymnasium, which had been decorated in __________ colors.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. feral / domesticated
2. fetid / smelly
3. fete / celebration

Chapter 87: feyfirmament

fey (f) adj. People described as fey have an otherworldly, unreal, or magical aspect about
them. Sometimes they appear a bit crazy, as if under a spell; other times they are in

unnaturally high spirits. In the 1971 cult classic Harold and Maude, actress Ruth Gordon plays
a fey 79-year-old who falls in love with a 20-year-old man who devises elaborate fake suicides
(to shock his mother).

fiasco (f-AS-k) n. Something referred to as a fiasco is a complete failure in which
everything goes wrong. The 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco, in which about 1400 CIA-trained Cuban
exiles tried to overthrow Castro but were killed or taken prisoner, was probably the most
embarrassing episode in the Presidency of John F. Kennedy, who had approved the mission.

fickle (FIK-l) adj. Someone who is fickle easily or frequently changes his mind (especially
about what or who he likes or dislikes). Some people who have many ups and downs in life
believe that their changes in fortune are caused by the fickle finger of fate.

fictitious (fik-TISH-s) adj. Literature whose content has been produced by the imagination
and is not based on fact is known as fiction (novels and short stories, for example). To
describe something as fictitious is to say that it has been invented or created by the mind; its
not real. No one knows for sure whether legendary English hero Robin Hood was a real person,
but many scholars believe that he is a fictitious character. Note: The word can also mean
used in order to deceive; phony, as in he checked into the hotel using a fictitious name.

fidelity (fi-DEL-i-t) n. This word signifies faithfulness (in fulfilling promises, obligations,
duties, etc.) or loyalty to a person or cause. In 1709 English poet Alexander Pope (16881744)
complained, Histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends. Note:
In another sense, the word signifies the degree to which something is accurately reproduced
(as in high fidelity recording).

figment (FIG-mnt) n. A figment (as in figment of the imagination) is something (a story,
idea, statement, etc.) merely made up or invented; that is, something that doesnt exist, except
in the imagination. Whereas some heroes of American folklore are mere figments of the
imagination (lumberjack Paul Bunyan, for example), others are real flesh-and-blood people
(pioneer and nurseryman Johnny Appleseed, for example).

figurative (FIG-yr--tiv) adj. If an expression is figurative, it involves or is based on a
figure of speech; that is, it uses an expression whose meaning is understood by those familiar
with the expression, but whose meaning is not predictable from the actual, literal meanings of
the words themselves. For example, if you say that you put your foot in your mouth, youre
using figurative language to indicate that you said something embarrassing. Bill complained,
My wife wont let me out of the doghouse; then he added, I speak figuratively, of course.

filial (FIL--l) adj. This adjective means pertaining to a son or daughter or having the
relationship of child to parent. Billionaire oil executive and art collector Jean Paul Getty
(1892-1976), father of five sons, changed his will 21 times, using it as a weapon to punish

what he perceived as filial disloyalty.

finicky (FIN-i-k) adj. People who are finicky are excessively or overly fussy or particular
about something (food, for example); theyre difficult to please; theyre picky. The 9-Lives
cat food TV commercial claimed that the cat who doesnt act finicky soon loses control of his

finite (F-nt) adj. If something (a number or amount of something, for example) is finite, its
capable of being completely counted; it has bounds or limits. The opposite is infinite (IN-fnit), which means without bounds or limits; uncountable. In our discussion about stars, we
couldnt agree on whether the number of stars in the universe was finite or infinite, but we did
agree that the life span of any individual star was finite.

firebrand (FR-brand) n. A person who stirs up trouble or who ignites a revolt is known as a
firebrand. As evidenced by his Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech, American
Revolutionary leader Patrick Henry was a firebrand who demanded national independence.

firmament (FR-m-mnt) n. The word firmament can be used as a synonym for sky when
sky is thought of as the expanse (or great arch) of the heavens. The word can also be used
figuratively to mean highest plane. Plato, Aristotle, Buddha, and Confucius are stars in the
firmament of thought.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. fiasco
2. firebrand
3. figment

a. something invented by the imagination
b. one who ignites a revolt
c. complete failure

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. filial: pertaining to a son or daughter
2. fickle: easy to please
3. fey: otherworldly, pixie-like

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
fictitious, figurative, finite

1. The __________ meaning of smell a rat is quite different from the literal one.
2. Light travels at a __________ velocityabout 186,000 miles per second.
3. Sherlock Holmes is a __________ English detective.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. firmament / sky
2. fidelity / disloyalty
3. finicky / fussy

Chapter 88: fiscalflaunt

fiscal (FIS-kl) adj. This word, often heard in the phrases fiscal year and fiscal policy,
means pertaining to financial matters (spending, income, and debt, for example). A fiscal
year is a 12-month period (not necessarily January through December) for which an
organization (such as a government or corporation) plans the use of its funds (money).
Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bill Clinton have been cited as Presidents who blended a belief in
programs for social welfare with fiscal responsibility.

fissure (FISH-r, FIZH-r) n. A fissure is a (usually long and narrow) opening (in something)
made by splitting or a separation of parts; a crack. Lava (molten rock) erupts not only from
volcanoes, but through fissures in the earths surface.

fisticuffs (FIS-ti-kufs) n. This word means combat with the fists; fist fighting. Professional
boxers first began using padded gloves in 1892 (after bare-knuckled fisticuffs had become

fitful (FIT-fl) adj. If you say that something happens in fits (or in fits and starts), you mean
that it happens or recurs at irregular intervals; its on and off, intermittent, etc. Anything fitful
comes, appears, or happens in fits. According to the second stanza of The Star-Spangled
Banner, as the breeze fitfully blows, [it] half conceals [and] half discloses [reveals] the
American Flag (as it continues to fly over Fort McHenry, Maryland, after a night of attack by
British troops in the War of 1812).

flaccid (FLAS-id) adj. To describe something (living tissue, for example) as flaccid is to say
that it lacks firmness; its limp, soft, weak, flabby, etc. By extension, anything (writing,

leadership, reasoning, etc.) thats weak or ineffectual can be referred to as flaccid. In 1994 TV
critic Verne Gay said the NYPD Blue season kickoff was as dull and flaccid as a beached

flag (flag) vb. When something flags, it decreases in energy, vitality, strength, activity, or
interest. In 1976 New Jersey legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City to help revive the citys
flagging economy.

flagellate (FLAJ--lt) vb. Literally, to flagellate someone is to whip him. Figuratively, the
word means to punish (someone) or to severely scold or criticize (him). Colorado
Democratic senator Gary Hart withdrew from the 1988 presidential race after being
flagellated for an extra-marital affair.

flagrant (FL-grnt) adj. If you describe something bad or objectionable (an error or
evildoing, for example) as flagrant, you mean that its outrageously noticeable or glaring (as
in a flagrant lie or a flagrant miscarriage of justice). The implication is that the wrongdoing
cant be missed and cant be forgiven. In 1970 Supreme Court justice Hugo Black said, The
flagrant disregard in the courtroom of elementary standards of proper conduct should not and
cannot be tolerated.

flail (fll) vb. If something (someones arm for example) flails, it vigorously (and usually
continuously) moves to and fro, waves about, etc.; it thrashes, flaps, swings, etc. In the
animated film, we enjoyed watching the mermaid propel herself through the water by
gracefully waving her tail back and forth (but we didnt like it when she was captured by
fishermen and her tail flailed helplessly in the net).

flair (flr) n. To have a flair for something is to have a natural talent or ability in it (as in
Jackie Kennedys flair for style, Winston Churchills flair for colorful speech, or Leonard
Bernsteins flair for teaching young people). In July 1986 British Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher said, What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you
are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain
sense of purpose.

flamboyant (flam-BOI-nt) adj. People described as flamboyant tend (often tastelessly) to
draw attention to themselves; theyre showy, theatrical, unrestrained, exaggerated, etc. With
his piano-pounding and yelping, flamboyant rocker Little Richard (born 1932) helped define
early rock-and-roll. Things described as flamboyant are strikingly bold or brilliant; theyre
colorful, elaborately styled, etc. (as in flamboyant theatrical makeup).

flaunt (flnt) vb. To flaunt something (that youre proud of) is to conspicuously display it; to
show it off, parade it, etc. Two peafowl may be brought together at the proper moment for
mating by the peacock flaunting his brilliant blue or green tail feathers before the drabber


Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. flag
2. flaunt
3. flail

a. become weaker
b. flap back and forth
c. show off, display

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. fisticuffs: handcuffs
2. flair: natural talent (for something)
3. fitful: suitable, appropriate

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
fiscal, flagrant, flamboyant

1. Singer/songwriter/pianist Elton John is known for his __________ stage costumes.
2. Tax cuts and increased spending led to the citys __________ crisis.
3. The unprovoked invasion was a __________ violation of international law.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. fissure / crack
2. flaccid / hard
3. flagellate / whip

Chapter 89: fledglingfoil

fledgling (FLEJ-ling) n., adj. Technically, a fledgling is a young bird that has only recently

acquired its flight feathers. But people usually use this word as an adjective to describe
something very new, inexperienced, untried, etc. Starting in the 1950s, the United States, in an
effort to contain the spread of Communism, sent aid and advisers to the fledgling Republic of
South Vietnam.

flippant (FLIP-nt) adj. Someone whos flippant is marked by disrespectful levity or a lack of
appropriate seriousness; hes smart-alecky, overly casual. Note: A shortened form of the
word, flip, means the same thing; the noun is flippancy. In 1980, describing the supple,
graceful coconut trees of the island of New Guinea, writer William Manchester said that they
crowd the beach like a minuet of slender elderly virgins adopting flippant poses.

flora (FLR-) n. Plants considered as a whole (especially the plants of a particular region or
plants as distinguished from animals) are known as flora. Note: In Roman mythology, Flora
was the goddess of flowers. Botany Bay, a small Australian inlet just south of Sydney, was
visited in 1770 by British explorer James Cook (Captain Cook) and named by the botanist in
his crew for the exotic flora on its shores.

florid (FLR-id) adj. To describe something (language, music, architecture, etc.) as florid is
to say that its flowery, showy, ornamental, fancy, intricate, etc. While in the 1970s Linda
Ronstadt specialized in singing simple country/rock songs, in 1981 she made her debut on
Broadway singing the florid melodies of Gilbert and Sullivans Pirates of Penzance.

flotilla (fl-TIL-) n. A flotilla is a small fleet (a group of ships, planes, etc., operated as a
unit). During the Civil War, Union Admiral David Farragut, famous for his battle cry Damn
the torpedoes; full speed ahead, secured control of the Mississippi River by defeating a
Confederate flotilla (1862).

flout (flout) vb. To flout something (a rule or code of conduct, for example) is to disregard it
and scoff at it. In November 1995 President Bill Clinton repealed the federal 55-mile-per-hour
speed limit law, which had been in place since 1974 but widely flouted (especially in Western
states). Note: Dont confuse this word with flaunt, which means to show off or
conspicuously display, as in she flaunted her diamonds.

fluctuate (FLUK-choo-t) vb. If something fluctuates, it changes (rises and falls, moves back
and forth, varies, etc.) irregularly. The volume of the oceans fluctuates as water is alternately
locked into and released from the polar ice caps.

fluent (FLOO-nt) adj. If youre fluent (in speech) youre able to express yourself smoothly,
easily, readily, effortlessly, etc. Albert Einstein (18791955), perhaps the greatest physicist of
all time, was slow in learning to speak; in fact, he was not fully fluent until he was ten. Note:
To be fluent in a particular foreign language is to be able to speak it easily and without
hesitation. As a child, journalist William F. Buckley, Jr., had Latin American nurses and French

governesses and spoke Spanish and French fluently.

flux (fluks) n. If you say that something is in flux (or in a state of flux), you mean that it
constantly changes or that it lacks stability. In 1690 English philosopher John Locke said,
Things of this world are in so constant a flux that nothing remains long in the same state;
thus [thriving] mighty cities come to ruin while other [deserted] places grow into countries
filled with wealth and inhabitants. Note: The word also refers to a flow (the flowing in of
the tide, for example) or flood (as in a flux of words).

fodder (FOD-r) n. Technically, fodder is food for livestock, especially coarsely chopped
hay or straw. But figuratively the word is used to refer to anything that is in abundant supply
and can serve as raw material for something (such as artistic creation). The phrase cannon
fodder refers to military personnel (soldiers, sailors, etc.) considered likely to be killed or
wounded in combat. Grant Woods 1930 painting American Gothic (which shows a sternfaced, pitchfork-holding Iowa farmer and his spinster daughter standing in front of a
farmhouse) has been fodder for political cartoonists and advertisers since the 1950s.

foible (FOI-bl) n. A foible is a minor weakness or fault in a persons character; in fact, it
may be so minor that it might be overlooked or even considered endearing. For 50 years in
his comic strip Peanuts, cartoonist Charles Schulz (19222000) used children and animals
to make us smile at our own foibles, follies, and frustrations.

foil (foil) vb. To foil someone or something is to prevent it from being successful (in
attaining a goal, for example); to defeat it, frustrate it, etc. In 1980 Larry Holmes foiled
Muhammad Alis try for a fourth heavyweight (boxing) championship.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. fluent
2. florid
3. fledgling

a. flowery, fancy
b. inexperienced, new
c. able to speak easily and smoothly

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. foil: aid, assist
2. flux: lack of stability, changeability
3. fodder: trivial talk

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
flora, flotilla, foible

1. The admiral and his fleet defeated an enemy __________.
2. Mathematics is his strength, and absentmindedness his __________.
3. The rock garden featured carved stones, __________, and water.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. fluctuate / vary
2. flippant / serious
3. flout / disregard

Chapter 90: foliageforgery

foliage (F-l-ij) n. The leaves of a plant (especially a tree), collectively, are known as
foliage. The word can also refer to leaves in general (or to a cluster of leaves) or to any
ornamental display of leaves, stems, and flowers (as in painting). In Massachusetts autumn
travelers can view spectacularly colored foliage from marked highway trails.

foment (f-MENT) vb. To foment something (rebellion, discord, discontent, trouble, for
example) is to stir it up, to provoke it, to incite it, etc. Seeking to foment revolutionary spirit in
the colonies, political philosopher Thomas Paine in 1776 began a series of pamphlets entitled
The American Crisis that began with the now-famous line These are the times that try mens

footfall (FOOT-fl) n. A footstep or the sound of a footstep is known as a footfall. From the
bedroom it was always easy to tell which family member was on the way up the stairseach
ones footfalls had a distinctive rhythm and intensity (but it was impossible to distinguish
between our two cats).

fop (fop) n. A fop is a man whose clothing and manner are overly elegant; a dandy. When

Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni, he didnt mean that the
feather was pasta; he meant that the feather was suggestive of a macaroni (an English fop
of the 18th century whose fancy clothing, powdered wig, rouge, and red lips strove to imitate
Italian fashion).

forage (FR-ij, FOR-ij) vb. To forage is to wander about in search of food (or sometimes
other provisions). He theorized that animals in the wild never become bored because theyre
too busy foraging for food.

foray (FR-) n. Technically, a foray is a sudden military raid or advance (of troops). But
people often use this word to refer to any type of initial venture or attempt, especially one
outside ones usual area (as in a singers foray into acting). After having written ten nonfiction
books (including 1979s The Right Stuff), journalist Tom Wolfe made a successful foray into
fiction with 1987s Bonfire of the Vanities.

forbearance (fr-BR-ns) n. If you have forbearance, you show restraint, patience, and
tolerance when provoked (by not retaliating or expressing disapproval, for example). The
1978 country hit Take This Job and Shove It tells of a man whose forbearance has reached
its limit.

forbidding (fr-BID-ing) adj. We all know what the verb forbid means, as in I forbid you to
leave the house. But the adjective forbidding is used to describe something that appears
threatening, scary, disagreeable, menacing, dangerous, hostile, etc. Most often, the word is
used to describe landscapes, buildings, or the weather. In a message from Apollo 8 in 1968,
astronaut Frank Borman described the moon as a vast, lonely, forbidding expanse of

foreboding (fr-BD-ing) adj. To describe something as foreboding is to say that it
possesses a quality that causes you to feel as if something bad or unfortunate is about to
happen. A synonym is ominous. As a noun, a foreboding is that feeling (that something bad is
going to happen). Gothic novels (which flourished in England from the late 18th to the early
19th century) usually involve evil characters, enchantments, castles, and a sense of

foresight (FR-st) n. Foresight is the act or power of looking forward and making
thoughtful, careful, or practical decisions about the future. According to Grolier s
Encyclopedia, The old streets [of Salt Lake City, Utah] were built wide enough to permit a
horse and wagon to make a full circle; [today], the generous width of the streets allows for
efficient traffic flow, making it appear as though the city planners had great foresight.

forestall (fr-STL) vb. To forestall something is to prevent it from happening by taking
some kind of precautionary action ahead of time. After the Watergate affair, Richard Nixon

forestalled possible prosecution by accepting President Gerald Fords pardon.

forgery (FR-j-r) n. The illegal signing of someone elses name (as on a check, for
example) or the production of a counterfeit work (a painting, for example) is known as
forgery. The word can also denote the counterfeit object itself, as in this painting is a forgery.
The verb is forge (to make or alter fraudulently), as in forge a signature. In 1994 a famous
1934 photograph of the Loch Ness Monster was revealed to be a forgery.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. footfall
2. fop
3. foreboding

a. the sound of a footstep
b. a feeling that something bad will happen
c. an overly elegant person, a dandy

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. forestall: prevent from happening
2. foresight: nearsightedness
3. forage: search for food

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
foliage, foray, forgery

1. The classical pianist made a successful __________ into jazz.
2. He was imprisoned for counterfeiting and __________.
3. The Maine travel brochure included pictures of lakes, lighthouses, and fall __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. forbidding / menacing
2. forbearance / impatience
3. foment / provoke

Chapter 91: forlornfractious

forlorn (fr-LRN) adj. People who are forlorn feel or express sadness, loneliness,
hopelessness, despair, etc., because they have been abandoned, deserted, forgotten, forsaken,
etc. Greek mythology explains that the earths first winter came because the goddess of the
harvest (Demeter) was so forlorn over the loss of her daughter (whod been carried off to the
underworld) that she did not tend the crops.

formality (fr-MAL-i-t) n. Technically, a formality is an established method of doing
something (as required by law, custom, etiquette, etc.). But people usually use this word to
imply that the requirement in question is carried out merely for the sake of form and lacks
any real importance. If youve hit the ball over the fence, youve made a home run; the running
of the bases is merely a formality. Note: The word also means formalness (state or condition
of being formal), as in lets do away with formality and address each other by our first

former (FR-mr) adj. When two people or things have been mentioned, the first-mentioned
is referred to as the former (and the second-mentioned is the latter). In the 1950s singer Frank
Sinatra starred in the films From Here to Eternity and Guys and Dolls; he won an Academy
Award for his performance in the former.

formidable (FR-mi-d-bl) adj. To describe someone or something as formidable is to say
that it (1) arouses feelings of fear or dread (in encounters or dealings) or (2) inspires feelings
of awe or admiration (by virtue of superiority, size, strength, etc.) or (3) is intimidating and
difficult to defeat or overcome. Between 1949 and 1960, baseball manager Casey Stengel led
the formidable New York Yankees to ten American League pennants and seven World Series

forte (FR-t) n. Your forte is the thing you excel at; your strong point. Baseball great Babe
Ruth (18951948) excelled at every aspect of the game, but his forte was hitting.

fortitude (FR-ti-tood) n. An aspect of human character, fortitude (sometimes referred to as
intestinal fortitude) is your natural ability to endure physical or mental hardship or suffering
with courage; your moral strength. In his 1962 autobiography, My Life in Court, attorney
Louis Nizer said, I know of no higher fortitude than stubborness in the face of overwhelming

fortnight (FRT-nt) n. A fortnight is a period of two weeks. Note: The word is a contraction
of fourteen nights. According to the Cambridge Encyclopedia, during the 16th century, the
English [government] discovered a welcome source of revenue [income] in beards; anyone

sprouting a beard of more than a fortnights growth was taxed.

fortuitous (fr-TOO-i-ts) adj. Something (often lucky or fortunate) that happens by chance
or accident is said to be fortuitous. In 1928 British bacteriologist Sir Alexander Fleming
discovered the antibiotic drug penicillin when a bit of mold that had fortuitously fallen from a
culture plate in his laboratory destroyed bacteria around it.

founder (FOUN-dr) vb. When a ship founders, it sinks (or fills with water and sinks). Over
1500 people drowned when, on its maiden voyage in April 1912, the Titanic foundered after
colliding with an iceberg. The word is also used figuratively to mean to fail utterly,
collapse. After his second marriage to Elizabeth Taylor foundered, Richard Burton said, Our
love is so furious that we burn each other out.

fourth estate (frth i-STT) n. This is a phrase (sometimes capitalized) that refers to the
press (people involved in writing or reporting the news). In 1961 writer Gene Fowler
observed: News is history shot on the wing; the huntsmen from the fourth estate seek to bag
only the peacock or the eagle of the swifting day.

fracas (FR-ks, FRAK-s) n. A fracas is a noisy, disorderly fight or disturbance; an uproar,
a brawl. Sioux leader Sitting Bull was killed (1890) in a fracas with police after he refused to
stop the people of South Dakotas Grand River Valley from joining the Ghost Dance (a tribal
religion based on the belief that all whites would disappear and dead Indians and buffalo
would return).

fractious (FRAK-shs) adj. If youre fractious, youre peevish (irritable, complaining,
quarrelsome, disagreeable, cranky) or unruly (difficult to control, apt to cause trouble). Or
youre both (peevish and unruly). Fractious machines are ones that tend to break down a lot.
Fractious animals are ones that havent been properly trained. I thought it might help to take
my whining little troublemaker to the amusement park, but then the thought of having to stand
on line with a fractious child put a quick end to that.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. fourth estate
2. fortnight
3. forte

a. a period of two weeks
b. ones strong point or specialty

c. journalists, the press

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. formidable: pertaining to the past
2. fortuitous: wealthy, rich
3. former: first-mentioned

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
formality, fortitude, fracas

1. Additional guards were called in to put down a __________ among the prisoners.
2. The American pioneers exhibited courage, bravery, and __________.
3. Even though only one name was nominated, a vote was taken as a __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. founder / sink
2. fractious / obedient
3. forlorn / sad

Chapter 92: frailtyfrolicsome

frailty (FRL-t) n. The adjective frail means weak, and a frailty is a physical or moral
weakness. But when people speak of human frailties, theyre talking about faults that arise
from the imperfections of human nature (such as a tendency to yield to temptation, for
example). In her 1980 biography of French-born American religious writer, poet, priest, and
monk Thomas Merton (19151968), author Monica Furlong said, I have avoided the
[devotional] approach, have tried to see him as the normal man he was, with his fair share,
perhaps more than his fair share, of human frailties.

frangible (FRAN-j-bl) adj. If something is frangible, its capable of being broken (but its
not necessarily weakearthenware pottery, for example, is strong but frangible). The
magazine ads before and after pictures of a pretty vase looked oddly identicalthen we
realized the advertiser was a moving company that promised to deliver all frangible items
completely intact and unscratched.

fraudulent (FR-j-lnt) adj. Trickery or deception used to achieve an unfair or unlawful

(usually financial) gain is known as fraud. A fraudulent person is one who uses fraud; hes
dishonest, cheating, etc. A fraudulent practice or activity is one involving fraud; its
underhanded, illegal, etc. A fraudulent object is one that is not genuine or real; its phony,
counterfeit, etc. In 1872 Congress enacted the first U.S. consumer protection law, making it a
federal offense to use the mails for fraudulent purposes.

fraught (frt) adj. This word means filled with (some specified element), as in fraught with
difficulties. In Greek mythology, the voyages of Jason and the Argonauts were fraught with
danger and adventure.

fray (fr) n. A fray is a noisy or heated fight; a brawl, a scuffle. Because of Switzerlands
strict neutrality, the city of Geneva sits beyond the fray and thus provides an impartial
meeting ground for representatives of other nations.

frenetic (fr-NET-ik) adj. To describe something (action or behavior, for example) as
frenetic is to say that its (often wildly) frantic, frenzied, hectic, agitated, etc. The jitterbug, a
dance performed to swing music, can range anywhere from easygoing two-step patterns to
frenetic improvisation using swings, lifts, turns, and acrobatics.

frenzied (FREN-zd) adj. The noun frenzy means a state of violent emotion or wild
excitement. Anything described as frenzied is characterized by frenzy; that is, its frantic,
wild, violent, raving, crazy, etc. In 1952 Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson
said, Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the [calm] and steady
dedication of a lifetime.

fret (fret) vb. To fret about something is to worry about it or be troubled by it; to anguish
over it. When stricken with a rare disease in his mid 40s, golf great Bobby Jones (19021971)
said, Its not going to get better; its going to get worse all the time. But dont fret; remember,
we play the ball where it lies.

frigid (FRIJ-id) adj. This word is used to describe something (air temperature, for example)
that is extremely cold. Its also used figuratively to describe people who are cold in feeling or
manner. A scientific study of steel samples from the Titanic show that the ship sank (after
hitting an iceberg during its 1912 maiden voyage) not because of a gash in its hull, but
because the hull was made of a type of steel that became brittle and fractured easily in (the
North Atlantics) frigid water.

fritter (FRIT-r) vb. To fritter away something (time, money, etc.) is to waste it little by little.
British novelist Julian Barnes (born 1946) once wrote of one of his characters: She had
watched her mothers intelligence being frittered away on calculations about the price of
tinned food.

frivolous (FRIV--ls) adj. If you refer to something (a remark or action, for example) as
frivolous, you mean either that its of little or no importance (its trivial, worthless, senseless),
or that its inappropriately silly (its foolish, childish, flighty). The noun is frivolity. To those
who believe playing trivia games is a frivolous pastime, the makers of the Trivial Pursuit
board game say, Every American is entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Trivia.

frolicsome (FROL-ik-sm) adj. As a verb, to frolic is to play merrily, have fun, make jokes,
play pranks, or playfully leap about. The adjective frolicsome describes anyone who frolics or
tends to frolic; that is, anyone who is merrily playful, full of high-spirited fun, etc. According
to the American Heritage Dictionary, Thomas Morton was an English-born American
colonist who was twice [sent back] to England (1628 and 1630) by Puritans who disapproved
of his business practices [he sold guns and rum to Native Americans] and frolicsome ways.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. frivolous
2. frenetic
3. frangible

a. capable of being broken
b. unimportant, silly
c. frantic, hectic

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. fray: noisy fight, scuffle
2. fraught: empty, lacking
3. frailty: physical or moral strength

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
fraudulent, frenzied, frigid

1. Antarctica has __________ weather throughout the year.
2. He moved to the country to escape the __________ activity of the city.
3. We suspected that the letter notifying us that wed won a valuable prize was __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. fret / worry
2. fritter / save
3. frolicsome / serious

Chapter 93: frowzyfuror

frowzy (FROU-z) adj. This word (sometimes spelled frowsy) means untidy, dirty. It
sometimes implies, as well, an ill-smelling mustiness. We werent sure if our new employees
frowzy clothes were a reflection of low self-esteem or simply the unfortunate result of his
circumstances (he couldnt afford to live anywhere, he said, except a basement apartment that
often became flooded).

frugal (FROO-gl) adj. To refer to a person as frugal is to say that he exercises care or
restraint in spending money; hes not wasteful; hes thrifty, economical, etc. To refer to a
thing as frugal is to say that it entails little expense. In his first inaugural address (1801),
President Thomas Jefferson stressed the necessity of a frugal Government, which shall not
take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

fruition (froo-ISH-n) n. When something worked for over time has been completed (or
realized, attained, achieved, fulfilled, etc.) its said to have been brought to fruition. U.S.
efforts to develop an atomic bomb during World War II came to fruition when one was
successfully tested in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.

fruitless (FROOT-lis) adj. If something (an attempt, a search, etc.) is fruitless, it produces no
success or no result; its useless, pointless, ineffectual, etc. In August 1994, major league
baseball players (mainly because they were opposed to a proposed player salary cap) went on
strike; a month later, after negotiations had proven fruitless, the baseball owners canceled the
rest of the season and the World Series.

frustrate (FRUS-trt) vb. To frustrate something (a plan, effort, goal, purpose, etc.) is to stop
it, prevent it, defeat it, etc. President Richard Nixons attempts to frustrate the Watergate
investigations ultimately failed when his own White House tape recordings revealed that the he
and his assistants had engaged in an obstruction of justice.

fugitive (FYOO-ji-tiv) n. A fugitive is a person who is fleeing (especially from the law); a
runaway. Belle Starr (18481889) was an American outlaw whose Oklahoma cabin became a
hideout for fugitives from justice.

fulgent (FOOL-jnt, FUL-jnt) adj. If something is fulgent, its shining, dazzling, radiant, etc.

In 1988, speaking of a north woods area of Lake Michigan, journalist Colman McCarthy said,
The waters are turquoise-green, Caribbean clear, and syringe-free; plant life 20 feet deep is
visible, [and] the growth, rising out of light sand, is healthy and fulgent, delivering the
message that once-sewery Lake Michigan is back to life.

fulminate (FOOL-m-nt, FUL-m-nt) vb. If a thing (a cannon, for example) fulminates, it
explodes with a loud noise. If a person fulminates, he explodes verbally; that is, he makes a
loud verbal attack or denunciation (against something or someone). As a noun, a fulmination
is a violent or thunderous verbal attack, a shouted denunciation. The old black-and-white
newsreel showed a huge Nazi rally with a frenzied Adolf Hilter fulminating against Jews,
Communists, and capitalists.

fulsome (FOOL-sm) adj. If something (praise, flattery, apologies, introductions, language,
etc.) is fulsome, its excessive (overdone, over-full) to the point of being offensive or
insincere. The comments people wrote to me in my high school yearbook run the gamut from
fulsome gushes of praise (youre the greatest guy in the world) to meaningless nothings
(good luck). The word can also mean sickening, disgusting, especially when it refers to
an excess in the quantity or richness of food.

functional (FUNGK-sh-nl) adj. If you say that something is functional, you mean that its
capable of serving the purpose it was designed for, or youre stressing its usefulness as
opposed to its structure, form, or beauty. In 1978 Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei (born
1917), who is known for structures that combine functional concerns with elegance of design,
said, [In architecture] you have to consider your client; only out of that can you produce
great architecture.

functionary (FUNGK-sh-ner-) n. A functionary is a person (often a non-elected
government official) who functions in a particular (often low-level) capacity; a bureaucrat,
civil servant, pen-pusher, etc. (as in the UN has a staff of about 13,000 functionaries). By
inserting a few of his own jazz compositions between Feelings and My Way, the cocktail
pianist was able to assert himself as a creative artist, not just a dining room functionary.

furor (FYOOR-r, FYOOR-r) n. A furor is a public uproar; a commotion, frenzy, etc. In
1966 John Lennon provoked a public furor when he claimed that the Beatles had become more
popular than Jesus.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. fruition

2. fugitive
3. functionary

a. completion, attainment
b. low-level employee who performs a particular function
c. one who flees from the law

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. fulgent: dull, dim
2. fulminate: explode loudly
3. fulsome: smelly, unclean

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
frugal, fruitless, functional

1. The arts and crafts fair featured both decorative and __________ objects.
2. His pay cut formed him to adopt a __________ lifestyle.
3. They tried to find the missing key, but the search proved __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. frowzy / neat
2. furor / uproar
3. frustrate / prevent

Chapter 94: furtivegargantuan

furtive (FR-tiv) adj. To do something in a furtive manner is to do it quietly and secretly
(and often slyly), so that no one will know youre doing it. I found myself on the commuter
train with nothing to read; but by furtively looking over shoulders, I was able to enjoy a
newspaper and an entire chapter of a book!

fusillade (FYOO-s-ld) n. A fusillade is a concentrated outburst or continuous discharge of
firearms (or, in an extended sense, of anything, as in a fusillade of protests). (Maryland
lawyer and poet) Francis Scott Keys (17791843) Star-Spangled Banner wordsthe
rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in airdescribe fusillades fired by British frigates
against Baltimores Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

futile (FYOOT-l, FYOO-tl) adj. If something (an attempt, action, plan, etc.) is futile, it wont
or cant produce the desired result; its useless, pointless, ineffective, etc. The noun is futility.
From 1876 to 1886 Apache chief Geronimo led strong but futile efforts to stop white expansion
into the Southwest.

gainsay (GN-s, gn-S) vb. To gainsay something is to deny it, declare it false, contradict
it, oppose it, or speak out against it. One who does this (critically disagrees) is known as a
gainsayer (or naysayer). Supporters of the U.S. governments policy of affirmative action in
employment and education say that its right to compensate blacks and other minorities for
past inequalities; gainsayers, however, argue that the policy is actually reverse discrimination
and as such is in conflict with the principle of equal opportunity.

gait (gt) n. Your gait is your manner of style of walkingwhat your walking looks like. A
man with one leg shorter than the other, for example, would have a clumsy, awkward gait. In
January 1998, speaking of a meeting between Pope John Paul II and Cuban president Fidel
Castro, the Washington Post said, For a few moments, they were just two old men, talking of
the aches and pains that come with age; Castro walked with a stiff-kneed gait [and] the pope
relied on a cane as he labored down the halls for their private talk.

gall (gl) n. Shameless, outrageous rudeness or aggressiveness (utter nerve, chutzpah, etc.) is
known as gall. I asked my lawyer if he wanted to hear a funny lawyer joke, and he said yes;
then he had the gall to bill me for the time it took to tell it!

galvanize (GAL-v-nz) vb. The literal meaning of this word is to stimulate with an electric
current (and you can imagine how startling that would feel). But people usually use the word
figuratively. If something galvanizes you, it suddenly arouses you to act. The Soviets
successful launch of Sputnik in 1957 galvanized the American government into accelerating its
own space program.

gambol (GAM-bl) vb. To gambol is to lightly skip, frolic, or leap about (as when dancing or
playing). British-born American poet W. H. Auden (19071973) once said, We all have these
places where shy humiliations gambol on sunny afternoons.

gamine (GAM-in, ga-MN) n. A gamine is a petite (small and slender), often appealingly and
playfully mischievous, girl or young woman. The star of such films as Breakfast at Tiffanys
(1961) and My Fair Lady (1964), the beautiful and gamine-like Audrey Hepburn (19291993)
devoted most of her later years to charitable causes, especially to UNICEF.

gamut (GAM-t) n. This word denotes the complete or entire range, scale, or extent (of
something). The expression run the gamut means cover the whole range. In 1961 famed
photographer/artist Edward Steichen said, Photography records the gamut of feelings written

on the human face.

garbled (GR-bld) adj. This word is used to describe speech or writing thats mixed up,
distorted, hard to understand, etc. Because Neil Armstrongs first words from the moons
surface (July 1969) were slightly garbled by static, they were understood to be One small
step for man, one giant leap for mankind; what he actually said (quoted the following day in
the New York Times) was Thats one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.

gargantuan (gr-GAN-choo-n) adj. To refer to something as gargantuan is to say that its
extremely large, enormous, gigantic, huge, etc. (Gargantua was the name of a giant in two
satirical novels by 16th-century French writer Franois Rabelais.) Easter Island, famous for
its gargantuan heads carved from volcanic rock, lies about 2,300 miles west of Chili.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. gambol
2. galvanize
3. gainsay

a. playfully leap about
b. deny, oppose
c. stir to action

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. gamine: petite young woman
2. gall: hot, feverish
3. fusillade: a discharge of firearms

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
gait, gall, gamut

1. After inviting himself over for dinner, he had the __________ to criticize the food.
2. An encyclopedia is a reference work that covers the __________ of human knowledge.
3. The strange animal had short, thick legs and a shuffling __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. futile / useless
2. gargantuan / small
3. garbled / distorted

Chapter 95: garishgenre

garish (GAR-ish) adj. Something (clothing or ornamentation, for example) described as
garish is excessively and tastelessly showy, bright, colorful, or flashy; its gaudy, loud, tacky.
In the early part of his career, singer Elton John was known for his intentionally garish

garner (GR-nr) vb. To garner something is to gather it, collect it, acquire it, etc. (and
sometimes to then amass it, store it, horde it, etc.). In the 1992 U.S. presidential election,
independent candidate Ross Perot, while not winning any electoral votes, managed to garner
19% of the popular vote.

garnish (GR-nish) n., vb. As a noun, a garnish is something placed on top of food to add
flavor or color. Watercress is used in salads and as a garnish. As a verb, to garnish food is to
place a garnish on it In cooking class we learned how to clean and cut fruits and vegetables,
garnish dishes, and plan meals.

garrison (GAR-i-sn) n., vb. As a noun, a garrison is a soldier or soldiers assigned to
provide protection or keep watch (as at a fort); a guard, lookout, etc. During the war for Texan
independence from Mexico (18351836), a garrison of about 180 Texans defending the Alamo
(a San Antonio chapel-fort) was massacred by an army of several thousand Mexicans. As a
verb, the word has two senses: to garrison a thing (a fort, town, etc.) is to provide it with such
soldiers; to garrison people (soldiers) is to place them on guard or lookout duty (as at a fort).

garrulous (GAR--ls, GAR-y-ls) adj. If youre garrulous, youre talkative; you like to
talk. Sometimes the implication is that the talk is excessive, rambling, or tiresome. Eddie said
that he hates to wind up sitting next to a garrulous neighbor on his evening commuter train
because he knows that for the next 30 minutes his mind wont have a single chance to rest.

gauche (gsh) adj. To describe someone (or his actions) as gauche is to say that hes
awkward (clumsy, gawky, bumbling, etc.) or that he lacks social graces (hes tactless,
unmannerly, coarse, crude, etc.). In the 1968 film The Party, British comedian Peter Sellers
portrays an inept Indian actor whose gauche manners and mannerisms wreak havoc at a fancy
Hollywood party.

gaunt (gnt) adj. If a person is gaunt, hes thin and bony in appearance (as from exhaustion,
hunger, worry, etc.). In Washington Irvings (17831859) story The Legend of Sleepy
Hollow, a gaunt, superstitious, cowardly schoolteacher named Ichabod Crane flees from a
legendary headless horseman.

genealogy (j-n--l-j) n. A record or study of family ancestry or lineage is known as
genealogy. In his 1976 book Roots, author Alex Haley traces his genealogy back seven
generations to his ancestor Kunta Kinte, who was abducted in Africa and taken as a slave to

generality (jen--RAL-i-t) n. A generality is a statement or principle that applies to a whole
class of instances, rather than to a particular instance. The implication is that such a statement
or principle is not always true. For example, the well-known phrase blondes have more fun
is a generality. While campaigning against Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election,
John F. Kennedy complained that his opponents speeches contained nothing but generalities
from Poor Richards Almanac.

generic (j-NER-ik) adj. If you refer to something (a name, for example) as generic, you
mean that it applies to all the members of a group of similar things (as opposed to any
specific members). Note: If youre referring to commercial products (drugs, for example),
the word means not protected by a trademark; thus, aspirin is a generic term, but a
particular brand of aspirin (Bayer, for example) is not. Today the word ketchup refers to a
condiment (sauce) made from tomatoes; in the 18th and 19th centuries, however, it was a
generic term for all sauces whose only common ingredient was vinegar.

genial (JN-yl, J-n-l) adj. If youre genial, youre friendly, agreeable, cheerful, and
pleasant, perhaps even a bit jolly. The noun is geniality. An unbeatable combination of talent
and geniality made Louis Armstrong (19001971) everyones favorite trumpet player.

genre (ZHN-r) n. A particular category (or class, type, style, etc.) of artistic endeavor
(music, literature, film, etc.) is known as a genre. Writer/director Mel Brooks movies are often
parodies of popular film genres, such as the western (1974s Blazing Saddles), horror (1975s
Young Frankenstein), suspense (1977s High Anxiety), and space fantasy (1987s Spaceballs).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. garish
2. genial
3. gauche

a. friendly, pleasant
b. awkward, uncouth
c. showy, gaudy

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. generic: specific, precise
2. genre: category or style
3. garrison: long sword

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
garnish, genealogy, generality

1. The Greek Mythology Chart visually displayed a __________ of the gods.
2. Parsley is used as both a seasoning and a __________.
3. The statement Left-handed people are creative is a __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. garrulous / talkative
2. gaunt / stocky
3. garner / accumulate

Chapter 96: genteelgist

genteel (jen-TL) adj. If you say that a person is genteel, you mean that he acts in a manner
suitable to polite society; that is, hes well-bred, refined, courteous, mannerly, elegant, stylish,
etc. In 1958 American hostess and author Amy Vanderbilt (19081974) said, [I am] a
journalist in the field of etiquette; I try to find out what the most genteel people regularly do.
Similarly, if you say that a thing (ones childhood, a lifestyle, fiction, a tradition, etc.) is
genteel, you mean that it belongs to or is suited to polite society. In 1842 future President
Abraham Lincoln (who was born in a log cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky and was almost
entirely self-educated) married Mary Todd, a Kentuckian of much more genteel origins (she
came from a distinguished family and was educated in a finishing school).

gentry (JEN-tr) n. When speaking of societys classes, the gentry is the upper class (people
of good breeding and high social/economic position). In Rodgers and Hammersteins 1945

musical Carousel, a handsome, unruly merry-go-round operator named Billy Bigelow is

adored by young girls but detested by the local gentry.

genuflect (jen-y-FLEKT) vb. To genuflect is to bend the knees or to touch the knee or knees
to the ground in (or as in) worship, prayer, or devotion. In 1829, when telegraph and Morse
code inventor Samuel Morse visited Rome, a soldier knocked him down when he failed to
genuflect before a Catholic procession.

geriatric (jer--A-trik) adj. The branch of medicine that deals with the health and diseases of
the elderly is known as geriatrics. The adjective geriatric means relating to the elderly or to
geriatrics. When the nursing home resident began spending all her waking hours tearing
newspapers into tiny pieces, the aide suggested calling in a geriatric psychiatrist.

germane (jr-MN) adj. If something (a remark, question, fact, etc.) is germane, its
pertinent, relevant, applicable, etc. (to the matter at hand). In July 1960 John F. Kennedy,
contending that his Roman Catholicism was not germane to his ability to serve as President,
said, I hope that no American will throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me
solely on account of my religious affiliation.

gesticulate (je-STIK-y-lt) vb. When you gesticulate you make gestures (movements of the
arms and hands) to emphasize what youre saying (or to express something without
speaking). Waving, pointing, signaling, and motioning are all forms of gesticulation. In
March 1995 journalist Tony Kornheiser noted that basketball coaches come in different sizes,
shapes, and temperamentssome sit quietly, with a program rolled up in their hands, [while
others] roam the sideline, shouting and gesticulating wildly.

ghastly (GAST-l) adj. If something (a crime, a persons appearance, an injury, a scream,
etc.) is ghastly, it arouses feelings of shock, horror, fright, dread, etc., especially because it
suggests death or ghosts; its gruesome, hideous, nightmarish, monstrous, etc. Jack the
Ripper, who was responsible for seven ghastly murders in London in 1888, was never captured.

gild (gild) vb. As a verb, to gild (something) is to cover it with a thin layer of gold or a goldcolored substance, or to give it a superficially or deceptively bright or pleasing appearance. A
related word is gilt, which as an adjective means covered with a thin layer of gold or gold
coloring; gilded (as in gilt bronze statuettes) or gold in color; golden, and as a noun
means the gold or other material used in gilding. In 1986, speaking of a legendary
European caf, Gourmet magazine said, Here, seated on red velvet [benches] at marbletopped tables, one cant help wonder what sights these smoky, gilded mirrors have reflected for
more than 250 years.

gingerly (JIN-jr-l) adv. To do something gingerly is to do it carefully or cautiously (and
therefore sometimes even delicately), so as to avoid danger or risk. While renovating the

barn, we chased raccoons from the stalls, cleared bird nests from the rafters, and very gingerly
shooed snakes out into the yard.

gingham (GING-m) n. This is a type of fabric used in making clothesits dyed cotton yarn
woven into stripes or checks, or sometimes solid colors or plaids. In May 1999 a New York
Times fashion show review said, Gingham is no longer restricted to country picnics but has
taken on a sophisticated look for spring.

gird (grd) vb. When you gird yourself for something (a battle, a test, etc.), you prepare
yourself for it (by drawing on your resources of strength and power). Finding himself face to
face with a drooling, snarling German shepherd, he forced himself to smile and say, Nice dog,
nice dog; meanwhile, he was girding himself for the fight of his life.

gist (jist) n. The gist of something (an argument, explanation, story, speech, etc.) is the central
or essential idea of it; the heart, substance, or essence of it. The 1807 childrens book Tales
from Shakespeare, by Charles and Mary Lamb, contains the gist of many of the playwrights
best-known works.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. gentry
2. gist
3. gingham

a. upper class
b. fabric of cotton yarn
c. main idea

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. geriatric: pertaining to the elderly
2. gild: make official, authorize
3. gird: prepare (oneself) by drawing on inner resources

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
genteel, germane, ghastly

1. In the horror movie, the intended victim spotted the killer, then let out a __________
2. The play concerned a wealthy Englishman with __________ manners.
3. Please stick to questions that are __________ to the topic.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. gesticulate / gesture
2. genuflect / kneel
3. gingerly / carelessly

Chapter 97: glabrousgoldbricker

glabrous (GL-brs) adj. This word is used to describe things that are hairless and smooth.
Of the glabrous-headed, bony-faced actor who so effectively portrayed the King of Siam in
Rodgers and Hammersteins The King and I, Time magazine said, Yul Brynner has identified
himself with a role more than any other actor since Bela Lugosi hung up his fangs.

glaze (glz) n., vb. As a noun, a glaze is a thin, smooth, shiny (often glassy) coating (as on
certain ceramics, furniture, foods, paintings, etc.). As a verb, to glaze something is to give it
such a coating. The adjective glazed (as in glazed eyes) means having a glassy coating.
Note: Glazed eyes are usually associated with an absence of thought (as from boredom,
shock, a coma, etc.). In 1867 Prussian premier Otto von Bismarck said, Anyone who has ever
looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting
a war.

glean (gln) vb. To glean something (information or evidence, for example) is to collect or
gather it little by little or bit by bit. One of the ways researchers glean information about
ancient peoples is by X-raying and dissecting mummies.

glib (glib) adj. If you refer to a remark as glib, you mean that its said easily and offhandedly,
but with little or no thought, concern, or sincerity. In 2001 a former drug addict who felt that
former First Lady Nancy Reagans 1980s anti-drug motto, Just say no, was glib, posted this
note on the Internet: I remember sitting in front of the TV hearing Nancy Reagan say Just
say no and thinking to myself, Just say how, Nancy; if it were a matter of just saying no,
there would be few, if any, addicts.

gloat (glt) vb. To gloat over something (that has happened) is to think about it with great or
excessive (and often spiteful or triumphant) self-satisfaction or pleasure (as in he gloated over
his enemys misfortune). In the circus, after one clown plays a practical joke on another (such

as dumping water on his head), the jokester usually smiles, struts, and gloats while the victim
sits in glum silence.

glossy (GL-s, GLOS-) adj. If a material is glossy, it has a smooth, shiny surface. For
example, high-quality magazines and paperback books have multicolored, glossy covers.
Note: When the word describes something other than a material, it means deceptively
attractive; flashy, showy (as in glossy production values). The narrator of Oliver Goldsmiths
novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) says, I chose my wife as she did her wedding gownnot
for a fine glossy surface, but [for] such qualities as would wear well.

glower (GLOU-r) vb., n. To glower is to give an angry, sullen, or discontented stare or look.
As a noun, a glower is such a look. When I whispered in class, the professor glowered at me
for a second, then went right on lecturing.

glut (glut) n. A glut is an excessive amount of something (goods on the market, for example);
an oversupply. In 1947 a glut of fresh oranges (in the U.S.) lowered prices from $4.00 to $.50
per box.

gnarled (nrld) adj. If wood is gnarled, its knotty and twisted. If a person (or his skin, hands,
etc.) is gnarled, he has a rough, rugged, weather-beaten appearance (as from hard outdoor
work or age). Japanese bonsai trees are cultivated indoors in small containers and stand only
about a foot tallbut they have the proportions and gnarled appearance of large outdoor

gnostic (NOS-tik) adj. To refer to something (a religion, for example) as gnostic
(pronounced NOS-tik), is to say that it possesses spiritual or mystical secret knowledge
(revealed by God). According to historians, the origins of witchcraft lie in ancient cults (that
believed in separate powers of good and evil) and in pre-Christian gnostic sects.

goad (gd) vb. Technically, a goad is a long, pointed stick used for prodding animals. But
when you goad someone (into doing something) you strongly urge, prod, prompt, or drive
him. In a famous play by Shakespeare, Scottish nobleman Macbeth, misled by the predictions
of three witches and goaded on by his wife, seizes the throne by murdering his cousin, King

goldbricker (GLD-brik-r) n. A goldbricker is a person, especially a soldier, who avoids
duty or work (usually by pretending to be ill). We agreed that, throughout American military
history, the army general least likely to have tolerated goldbrickers was the stern, demanding
one they nicknamed Old Blood and Guts, George Patton.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. gloat
2. glower
3. glean

a. stare angrily (at someone)
b. gather little by little
c. think about with triumphant self-satisfaction

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. glaze: rub gently
2. goldbricker: one who avoids work by pretending illness
3. gnostic: pertaining to the nasal passages

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
glib, glossy, gnarled

1. Every page of the magazine was in color and had a __________ finish.
2. His __________ answers made us question his sincerity.
3. His __________ skin told us that hed spent most of his time out-of-doors.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. goad / discourage
2. glut / oversupply
3. glabrous / bald

Chapter 98: gorgegratuitous

gorge (grj) vb. To gorge yourself is to stuff yourself (with food); to overeat. In 1986,
speaking of former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos, Newsweek magazine said,
Enriched beyond the dreams of any normal persons [greed], she accumulated possessions
with a single-minded lust that calls to mind those ancient Romans who gorged themselves, then
vomited so they could gorge again.

gormandize (GR-mn-dz) vb. To gormandize is to eat excessively or greedily; to binge,

feast, pig out, etc. Note: A glutton is a person who gormandizes, and a gourmand is either a
glutton or a gourmet (someone with refined taste in food), or both. In 1979 an article in the
New York Times said, The mere fact of an undiscovered restaurant, in a city where
gourmands travel in [hungry] packs, creates an excitement unrelated to the quality of the

gory (GR-) adj. As a noun, gore is blood that has been shed (as from violence or surgery),
especially clotted blood from a wound. If you say that something (a movie, a description, etc.)
is gory, you mean that it involves or is characterized by much bloodshed or violence (and that
therefore it is, to many people, disagreeable, disturbing, gruesome, disgusting, etc.). The
shower scene in Alfred Hitchcocks 1960 black-and-white horror classic Psycho (in which a
woman is stabbed to death in a cheap motel shower) is the goriest, and most memorable, scene
of the film (interestingly, the blood is actually chocolate syrup!).

gossamer (GOS--mr) n., adj. As a noun, gossamer is something delicate, light, or flimsy
(especially the thread of a spider s web or any thin, light fabric). As an adjective, the word
means thin and light; delicate, sheer, airy, gauzy, flimsy, threadlike, wispy, etc. In her book I
Leap over the Wall (1950), Monica Baldwin, speaking of first encountering modern lingerie
after spending 27 years as a cloistered nun, said [It looked like] a wisp of gossamer, about
the size and substance of a spiders web.

Gothic (GOTH-ik) adj. A Gothic (or gothic) novelCharlotte Bronts Jane Eyre (1847), for
exampleis one set among a decaying setting (a ruined castle, for example) and
characterized by an atmosphere of gloominess, mystery, and evil. Note: The word also refers
to a style of European architecture prevalent during the Middle Ages, characterized by slender
towers, pointed arches, and high ceilings (as Pariss Cathedral of Notre Dame). In 1980
Pulitzer Prizewinning author/commentator Anna Quindlen, speaking of Belvedere Castle (in
New York Citys Central Park), said, It looms above the landscape like the cover drawing on
a Gothic novela true castle in the air.

gradation (gr-D-shn) n. This word denotes a process of change that takes place through a
series of very small steps, stages, or degrees. It can also denote any one of the individual steps
(or stages, degrees) in the series. According to Comptons Encyclopedia, in classical
Japanese painting, the artist used only black ink, achieving a sense of color in the gradations
from deep, [shiny] black to silvery gray.

graft (graft) n. The unethical, dishonest, or unfair use of ones position (in government or
business, for example) to acquire profit or advantages (taking a bribe, for example) is known
as graft. In 1958 a congressional investigation of the FCC (Federal Communications
Commission) led to the resignation of one commissioner over graft in the granting of
television licenses.

grandiloquent (gran-DIL--kwnt) adj. Grandiloquent speech is speech thats showy, selfimportant, full of big words, flowery, formal, etc. (the kind of speech apt to be used by a
stuffy politician on the Fourth of July, for example). In September 1997 a Washington Post
editorial, speaking of an upcoming Senate vote on an amendment seeking to prevent the sale of
cigarettes to minors, said, This is a clear test of the instincts of the Senate on this issue,
which over the years has inspired so many grandiloquent speeches and so little action.

grandiose (gran-d-S) adj. If you say that something (an idea, writing, speech, art, etc.) is
grandiose, you mean that its either grand (large in scope, magnificent, splendid, spectacular,
awe-inspiring, etc.), as in the grandiose operas of Richard Wagner, or affectedly grand
(showy, theatrical, ceremonious, overblown, snobby, high-and-mighty, etc.), as in the
grandiose ravings of a lunatic claiming to be Napoleon. People who suffer from a behavioral
disorder known as narcissistic personality disorder exhibit a grandiose sense of selfimportance.

graphic (GRAF-ik) adj. If you say that a narrative (account, recital, story, etc.) is graphic, you
mean that its described in realistic detail. Sometimes the implication is that the detail is too
realistic and is thus unsettling or disturbing. Upton Sinclairs novel The Jungle (1906) exposed
unsanitary conditions in the meat-packing industry with its graphic descriptions of the
grinding up of poisoned rats and of workers falling into vats.

gratify (GRAT--f) vb. If something gratifies you, it pleases you, especially by satisfying
your desires, wishes, expectations, etc. In 1901, speaking to the Young Peoples Society in New
York City, author Mark Twain said, Always do rightthis will gratify some and astonish the

gratuitous (gr-TOO-i-ts, gr-TYOO-i-ts) adj. Another word for tip (extra money given
to a waitress or cab driver, for example) is gratuity. So in one sense, to say that something is
gratuitous is to say that its not obligatory (its voluntary). But when people refer to
something (a remark, an insult, a shock element, etc.) as being gratuitous, they usually mean
that its unnecessary; that theres no reason for it; its unwarranted, unjustified, groundless,
etc. Because the director believed his new horror film might sell more tickets with an R rating,
at the last minute he added a gratuitous scene of the female lead showering.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. grandiose
2. Gothic

3. graphic

a. (sometimes unsettlingly) detailed or realistic
b. characterized by a gloomy, evil atmosphere
c. large, grand, overblown

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. gradation: graduation (from school)
2. gormandize: eat excessively
3. gratify: give in to temptation

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
gory, gossamer, gratuitous

1. The __________ cobwebs were almost impossible to see.
2. Her __________ criticisms made her difficult to like.
3. His description of the murder included all the __________ details.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. grandiloquent / plain
2. graft / corruption
3. gorge / overeat

Chapter 99: gravegruff

grave (grv) adj. People described as grave are serious, thoughtful, and dignified. Matters
described as grave are important, weighty, critical. Situations described as grave threaten a
seriously bad outcome. In January 1987 journalist Richard Gilman said, Being a sports fan
is a complex mattera relief from the seriousness of the real world, with its unending
pressures and often grave obligations.

gravitate (GRAV-i-tt) vb. As you learned in science class, the force of gravity causes
physical objects to be attracted to (move toward) each other. But if you say that a person
gravitates toward something (another person, a particular location, a field of interest, etc.),
you mean that he has a natural tendency to move toward it (as if attracted by gravity). In 1977
U.S. architect Christopher Alexander said, When they have a choice, people will always

gravitate to those rooms [that] have light on two sides, and leave the rooms [that] are lit only
from one side unused and empty.

gregarious (gri-GR--s) adj. If youre gregarious, you like to socialize; you seek and
enjoy the company of others. If an animal is gregarious, it lives in a flock or herd. The psychic
told me that sometimes I feel like a loner and other times I feel gregariousand I thought:
Well, that covers just about every possibility.

grievous (GR-vs) adj. To refer to an offense (wrongdoing, misdeed, mistake, etc.) as
grievous is to say that its atrocious, outrageous, flagrant, dreadful, shameful, etc. Note: The
word can also mean causing or bringing grief or anguish, as in grievous news, or serious,
grave, dire, as in grievous consequences. In his May 1940 Victory at All Costs speech (his
first address as British Prime Minister), Winston Churchill referred to war with Germany as
an ordeal of the most grievous kind, then went on to say that without victory there is no

grimace (GRIM-is) n., vb. As a noun, a grimace is a (sometimes ugly or contorted) facial
expression that conveys displeasure, disapproval, pain, etc. As a verb, to grimace is to make
such an expression. In his 1886 book Beyond Good and Evil, German philosopher Frediedrich
Nietzsche (18441900) said of telling lies, One may indeed lie with the mouthbut with the
accompanying grimace one nevertheless tells the truth.

grisly (GRIZ-l) adj. This word describes things (especially instances of violence or cruelty)
that arouse horror or disgust. Jack the Ripper conducted a series of grisly murders in London
in 1888.

grotesque (gr-TESK) adj. If something is grotesque, its fantastically ugly or odd in
appearance or manner; its monstrous, hideous, nightmarish, deformed, abnormal, etc. The
1980 film The Elephant Man concerns a man whose grotesque appearance forces him to wear a
bag over his head.

grovel (GROV-l) vb. Technically, to grovel is to (with head downward) lie on or creep along
the floor before someone of power (in subservience, humility, fear, etc.)something youll
probably never see, except in cartoons. But in general usage, when people say that someone
grovels, they mean that he degradingly (and often exaggeratedly) humbles or lowers himself
before another while insincerely flattering him (to win favor) or desperately begging (for
something). In 1984 Frank Louchheim (head of an employment agency for executives),
speaking of the phrase Youre fired! said, No other words can so easily and [concisely]
reduce a confident, self-assured executive to an insecure, groveling shred of his former self.

grudgingly (GRUJ-ing-l) adv. As a noun, a grudge is an (especially long-standing) feeling
of resentment or ill will (toward someone). But as a verb, to grudge (or begrudge) is to give

(something to someone) reluctantly or unwillingly, or to resent the good fortune of

(someone). To do something grudgingly is to do it reluctantly or unwillingly. In the 1985
book Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam, Bernard Edelman is quoted as having
written: They were called grunts, and many of them, however grudgingly, were proud of the
name. They were the infantrymen, the foot soldiers of the war.

grueling (GROO-ling) adj. To refer to something (a task, a journey, a test, warfare, etc.) as
grueling is to say that its mentally or physically exhausting. American Red Cross founder
Clara Bartons work in nursing soldiers wounded in the Civil War was endless and grueling.

gruesome (GROO-sm) adj. If something is gruesome it causes feelings of horror or disgust
(especially as a result of its crudity or inhumanity); its hideous, frightful, shocking, etc. When
World War II ended (1945), some of the pictures of Nazi death camps were too gruesome to be

gruff (gruf) adj. If something (a persons voice or manner, for example) is gruff, its harsh,
rough, unfriendly, abrupt, blunt, impolite, etc. Actor Lee J. Cobb (19111976) is known for his
gruff characterizations in such films as On the Waterfront (1954) and 12 Angry Men (1957).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. gregarious
2. grisly
3. grievous

a. outrageously bad
b. horrible, disgusting
c. tending to enjoy the company of others

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. grimace: make a face
2. gravitate: rise into the air
3. grovel: protest loudly

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
grave, grotesque, grueling

1. A few of the Halloween masks were pleasant, but most were __________ .
2. He argued against a cut in social services, warning of __________ consequences for the
3. The marathon is a __________, 26-mile cross-country footrace.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. gruff / harsh
2. grudgingly / willingly
3. gruesome / hideous

Chapter 100: guilehalcyon

guile (gl) n. This word means craftiness, deceitfulness, deceptiveness, sneakiness, trickery,
underhandedness, etc. If youre without guile, youre guileless (honest, forthright, frank,
genuine, natural, innocent, nave, etc.) In the 1958 movie comedy No Time for Sergeants, Andy
Griffith plays a guileless, well-intentioned farm boy who creates mayhem when he gets drafted
into the army.

guise (gz) n. A guise is an outward appearance (sometimes a style of dress) thats usually
intended to deceive (or to conceal ones identity). In the guise of a sheep, the Big Bad Wolf
knocked on the third little pigs door.

gullible (GUL--bl) adj. People who are gullible tend to believe whatever theyre told; as
such, theyre easily deceived (tricked, fooled, duped). Some people believe that psychics are
legitimate professionals who are truly responsive to supernatural forces; others believe they
are merely frauds who like to take advantage of the gullible.

gusto (GUS-t) n. To do something (eat, drink, perform, speak, etc.) with gusto is to do it
with hearty enjoyment or with enthusiasm and energy. In 1985, speaking of the U.S. Marine
Band, journalist Dana Kleiman said, A sea of red coats and white trousers, in perfect step,
the [melodies] of the [nation] blasted with gusto, the kind of sing-along oom pah pah of which
patriotism is made.

habitual (h-BICH-oo-l) adj. This is the adjective form of the word habit. Anything (a
behavior, action, etc.) done habitually is done in the nature of a habit; that is, its done
regularly, frequently, repeatedly, etc. (as in the English are habitual tea drinkers). The cuckoo
bird habitually flips its tail in all directions.

habitu (h-bich-oo-) n. People who regularly or habitually frequent (pay frequent visits
to) a particular place (usually one that offers some pleasurable activity, such as a restaurant,
art gallery, or gambling casino) are known as its habitus. He explained to us that lounge
lizards werent actually lizards but were habitus of cocktail lounges; then he added with a
wink, But, depending on how much theyve had, some of them do turn green or breathe fire.

hackneyed (HAK-nd) adj. If you say that something (an idea, story line, verbal expression,
etc.) is hackneyed, you mean that it has become stale, ineffective, or unappealing through
overuse. In 1959, speaking of reviews, actor Robert Mitchum said, I never take any notice of
reviews unless a critic has thought up some new way of describing me; that old one about my
lizard eyes and anteater nose and the way I sleep my way through pictures is so hackneyed

haft (haft) n. The handle of a knife, sword, or dagger is known as a haft. While all fencing
swords have protective hand guards (between blade and handle), they are all shaped
differently: The foils is small and circular; the epees is bell shaped; and the sabres is arched
(it curves around the knuckles and attaches to the top of the haft).

hag (hag) n. A hag is a (sometimes vicious) ugly, frightening old woman; a witch. While
ninth-century Japanese poet Ono no Komachi was celebrated for her beauty, many legends
have arisen about her bitter end as a wandering hag.

haggard (HAG-rd) adj. If you have a worn-out and exhausted appearance (and especially if
you look thin or distressed) from (or as if from) exertion, anxiety, hunger, or disease, youre
haggard. The destructive effects of the Civil War were visible in Abraham Lincolns haggard

haggle (HAG-) vb. To haggle over something (a price, a deal, etc.) is to argue over it; to
bargain, dicker, negotiate, etc. In April 1958, speaking of unifying the militarys ground, sea,
and air commands, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, It is far more important to be able
to hit the target than it is to haggle over who makes a weapon or who pulls a trigger.

halcyon (HAL-s-n) adj. This word can mean peaceful, calm, tranquil as in halcyon
weather, but more often it means happy and carefree (especially when referring to past
times), as in halcyon days of youth. The word derives from the name of a mythical bird
(halcyon) which was said to have the power to calm the wind and waves as it bred in a nest
floating on the sea. In Alfred Hitchcocks 1943 film Shadow of a Doubt, a girls halcyon
existence is destroyed when she suspects that the visiting uncle she loves is really the Merry
Widow Murderer.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. gusto
2. haft
3. hag

a. hearty enjoyment or enthusiasm
b. ugly old woman
c. handle of a sword

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. gullible: easily fooled
2. habitu: nightwear, pajamas
3. guise: outward appearance, disguise

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
habitual, hackneyed, haggard

1. The book had an interesting plot but suffered from __________ characters.
2. He was a __________ smoker who eventually contracted lung disease.
3. The victims of the drought had sad, __________ faces.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. halcyon / peaceful
2. guile / honesty
3. haggle / negotiate

Chapter 101: hallmarkhardscrabble

hallmark (HL-mrk) n. Technically, a hallmark is an official stamp used in marking gold
that meets established standards of purity. But in general usage, the word refers to any
conspicuous or distinguishing feature (of something), as in violent slapstick was the hallmark
of the Three Stooges. The use of tools, once thought to be the hallmark of humans, is now
known to be common in chimpanzees.

hallowed (HAL-d) adj. To refer to something as hallowed is to say that its honored and
respected, perhaps even holy. An inscription on a monument located on the coast of (the
French region of) Normandy, whose beaches were the focal point of Allied landings on D-day
(June 6, 1944) in World War II, reads, This embattled shore, portal [doorway] of freedom, is
forever hallowed by the ideas, valor, and sacrifice of our fellow countrymen.

hallucinate (h-LOO-s-nt) n. People who suffer from mental illness or who are under the
influence of a drug sometimes believe they see or hear things that dont actually exist. To
hallucinate is to experience these false impressions. English novelist John Wain (19251994)
once wrote: Im imagining things, hallucinating a conversation with my sister, whos no
longer alive.

hamper (HAM-pr) vb. To hamper something is to hold back, slow down, or interfere with its
progress, activity, movement, completion, success, etc. (as in a runner hampered by knee
injuries or a space program hampered by a lack of funds). In his 1944 play No Exit, French
philosopher and author Jean Paul Sartre (19051980) wrote: I think of death only with
[peace], as an end; I refuse to let [the thought of] death hamper life.

haphazard (hap-HAZ-rd) adj. If something happens (or occurs) haphazardly, it happens
with no specific pattern; that is, it happens or seems to happen randomly, by chance,
unpredictably, etc. Looking at a map of Pittsburgh, we noticed that the streets appeared to wind
haphazardly, like strands of spilt spaghetti.

hapless (HAP-lis) adj. If youre hapless, youre unlucky or unfortunate; bad things seem to
happen to you for no apparent reason. On their way out, the bank robbers smacked the hapless
guard across the face.

harangue (h-RNG) n., vb. As a noun, a harangue is a long, passionate (usually angry,
denunciatory, or accusatory) speech. As a verb, to harangue is to make such a speech. Patrick
Henrys 1775 Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech was a harangue against British
rule in the American colonies.

harass (h-RAS, HAR-s) vb. To harass someone is to (usually persistently or repeatedly)
bother him (or disturb, pester, or irritate him) with demands, threats, annoyances, or the like.
According to Comptons Encyclopedia, before she was burned at the stake, (15th-century
teenaged French military leader and heroine) Joan of Arc had been held for many months in
chains, threatened with torture, and harassed by thousands of questions.

harbinger (HR-bin-jr) n. Anything (a natural phenomenon, for example) that foreshadows
or signals a future event is known as a harbinger (of that event). Cirrus clouds (high, wispy
clouds) that become thicker over time are sometimes a harbinger of a hurricane. A person
referred to as a harbinger is a forerunner (that is, he foreshadows or is influential in bringing

about a future trend or event). Beginning with his Third Symphony (Eroica, 1803), German
composer Ludwig van Beethoven (17701827) broke from the strict formalities of (late 18thcentury) Classicism to become the harbinger of (19th-century) Romanticism (which stressed
passion, experimentation, and freedom of form).

harbor (HR-br) vb. To harbor a feeling or thought is to keep or hold it in your mind.
According to the Reader s Companion to American History, Beneath a usually friendly
manner, [President Harry Truman (18841972)] harbored a thick layer of aggressiveness that
occasionally discharged itself in angry outbursts. To harbor a person (a fugitive or refugee,
for example) is to give him shelter.

hardihood (HR-d-hood) n. Hardihood is the capability of enduring fatigue and hardship;
the determination to survive; sturdiness, boldness, daring, fitness, soundness, etc. As a people,
Eskimos have been able to survive in cold, severe environments not only because they learned
to make clothing, tools, and weapons from sea mammals, but because they strongly emphasized
courage and hardihood in the training of their young males.

hardscrabble (HRD-skrab-l) adj. This word describes things (towns, farms, land, etc.) that
provide very little in return (crops, for example) for much effort. People who live a
hardscrabble existence (mountainside farmers, for example) barely subsist. In 1985 Pulitzer
Prizewinning columnist Russell Baker said, Goat cheese produced a bizarre eating era when
sensible people insisted that this miserable cheese produced by these miserable creatures
[raised] on miserable hardscrabble earth was actually superior to the magnificent creamy
cheeses of the noblest dairy animals bred in the richest green valleys of the earth.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. hamper
2. hallucinate
3. harass

a. see or hear things that dont exist
b. hold back or interfere with (the progress of something)
c. annoy, pester

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. harbor: provide shelter

2. hardscrabble: young, inexperienced

3. harbinger: something that signals a future event

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
hallmark, harangue, hardihood

1. After the defeat, the coach delivered an endless __________ on the disgrace of losing.
2. Antarctic explorers are known for their courage, endurance, and __________.
3. Intricate design is a __________ baroque architecture.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. hapless / lucky
2. haphazard / random
3. hallowed / disrespected

Chapter 102: harpheedless

harp (hrp) vb. To harp on something is to talk about it excessively, persistently, tediously,
etc.; to dwell on it. In his January 1941 Four Freedoms speech (which called for aid to the
Allies during World War II and named the four freedoms worth fighting for as freedom of
speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear), President Franklin D.
Roosevelt said, We need not overemphasize imperfections in the [treaty that ended World War
I, and] we need not harp on failure of the democracies to deal with problems of world

harridan (HAR-i-dn) n. A harridan is a woman who is vicious, scolding, nagging,
quarrelsome, etc.; a shrew. In its review of a 1997 TV movie, the Washington Post said, Think
of every rotten thing your mother ever did; now multiply by about a million and you have a
rough impression of the harridan at the heart of The Perfect Mother.

harrowing (HAR--ing) adj. An experience described as harrowing is one that is distressing,
agonizing, nerve-wracking, upsetting, disturbing, etc. The classic film The Snake Pit (1948) is
a harrowing look at life inside a mental institution.

harvest (HR-vist) vb., n. As a verb, to harvest crops is to gather them. By extension, the
word can be used informally to refer to the receiving or gathering of any kind of benefits
from any particular action (as in harvest rich rewards). As a noun, a harvest is a crop that has
ripened and been gathered. By extension, the word can be used informally to refer to a supply

of anything gathered or obtained (as in a harvest of perpetual peace). In 1859 English

playwright Douglas Jerrold said of Australia, Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a
hoe and she laughs with a harvest.

hasten (H-sn) vb. To hasten is to hurry (or cause to hurry); to move (or cause to move)
with speed. Jazz singer Billie Holidays (19151959) death was hastened by her drug
addiction. The noun is haste (swiftness of motion; speed). Cinderella leaves the ball just as
midnight is striking, and in her haste she drops a slipper.

haughty (H-t) adj. People who are haughty act superior and snobbish; they look down on
others with disapproval or dislike. Fed up with our haughty French waiter, we asked him,
Does your sneering come naturally, or did you take lessons? Note: The noun is haughtiness
or hauteur.

haven (H-vn) n. A haven originally meant a natural harbor used to keep ships safe. Now
the word can be used to refer to any place of safety. While some of the 13 original colonies
gave protection to persecuted religious groups, Georgia was conceived as a haven for English

havoc (HAV-k) n. The action of bringing about destruction or disorder, or the result of
being destroyed or thrown into disorder is known as havoc. When Washington States Mount
St. Helens erupted in May 1980, it killed over 60 people, triggered fires, and wreaked havoc on

hazardous (HAZ-r-ds) adj. If something is hazardous, its filled with danger, risk, peril,
etc. Speaking of cocktail parties, a July 1986 New York Times article said, You balance the
plate between the forefinger and three other fingers, which make a little platform, and with the
forefinger and the thumb you grasp the glassand if you think that isnt hazardous, you
havent done it lately.

hazy (H-z) adj. If the atmosphere or air is hazy, its marked by the presence of haze (tiny
particles of dust, smoke, vapor, etc., that reduce visibility); its misty, foggy, smoggy, cloudy,
etc. The surface of Titan (Saturns largest moon) is completely hidden from view by a dense,
hazy atmosphere. If anything else (an idea, a memory, a surface, a line, a detail, etc.) is hazy,
its indistinct, unclear, vague, indefinite, etc. British novelist and essayist Dame Rose
Macaulay (18811958) once wrote: I was becoming pretty hazy about right and wrong.

hector (HEK-tr) vb. To hector someone is to persistently, domineeringly, or annoyingly
intimidate, scold, harass, badger, hound, or torment him (often to break him down or break
his spirit). In March 2001 journalist Robert Kagan noted that when John Kennedy entered the
White House in 1961, Nikita Khrushchev wanted to find out right away what the young,
inexperienced American President was made of; so at a summit in Vienna that year, the Soviet

leader hectored and bullied Kennedy on the question of Berlin and other [controversial]

heedless (HD-lis) adj. To heed something is to pay careful attention to it. If youre heedless,
you dont pay careful attention; youre unthinking, unmindful, incautious, reckless,
inattentive, careless, etc. English playwright Sir Richard Steele (16721729) once wrote,
[Staggering] downstairs with heedless [speed], I [stepped into] a pail of water.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. harridan
2. havoc
3. haven

a. a place of safety
b. a nagging, scolding woman
c. a state of destruction or disorder

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. harvest: gather (crops)
2. hector: elevate (someone) to a higher position
3. harp: dwell (on something)

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
harrowing, hazardous, hazy

1. He told a __________ tale of an airplanes crash landing.
2. Through the fog, the street lamp appeared as a __________ patch of light.
3. Smoking is __________ to your health.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. heedless / careful
2. hasten / hurry
3. haughty / snobbish

Chapter 103: hegemonyhinterlands

hegemony (hi-JEM--n) n. Hegemony is total dominance or control of one country (or
group, or person) over others. You often see the word in the phrase world hegemony,
which means domination and control of the whole world. Adolf Hitlers strategy for world
hegemony can be found in his book Mein Kampf.

heinous (H-ns) adj. If something is heinous, its outrageously, atrociously bad or wicked.
The word is often heard in the phrase heinous crimes, which refers to crimes (such as
murder, rape, torture, etc.) that are so horrible that just hearing about them fills you with
shock and horror. In 1990 presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan interpreted the meaning of
the insanity verdict handed down to John Hinckley (would-be assassin of President Ronald
Reagan in 1981), as follows: If you commit a big crime then you are crazy, and the more
heinous the crime the crazier you must be; therefore, you are not responsible, and nothing is
your fault.

helm (helm) n. In nautical terminology, the helm of a ship is its steering wheel or steering
apparatus. But if you say that someone is at the helm (of something other than a ship), you
mean that hes in a position of leadership; hes in charge, in command, etc. At the beginning of
his term at the helm of the New York Mets (19621965), (former Yankees manager) Casey
Stengel disappointedly asked, Cant anybody here play this game?

herald (HER-ld) vb., n. To herald something (thats about to come) is to announce it, give a
sign or indication of it, or usher it in. As a noun, a herald is something (or someone) that
gives a sign or indication of something (thats about to come). Robin redbreasts herald the
coming of spring.

Herculean (hr-ky-L-n) adj. Hercules was a mythological hero known for his great
strength. If you describe something (a difficult task, for example) as Herculean, you mean that
it requires the strength of Hercules, or that its extremely difficult (to accomplish). The word
can also simply mean very strong. Scholars tell us it was slaves who accomplished the
Herculean feat of building the colossal Egyptian pyramids. Note: The word can also be spelled
with a lower case h (herculean).

heretic (HER-i-tik) n. A heretic is a person who holds opinions that are at variance with
established ones (as in religion, politics, philosophy, science, etc.), especially a person who
rejects the teachings of a particular church (especially the Roman Catholic Church). The
maintaining of such an unconventional opinion is known as heresy. The adjective heretical
means characteristic of heretics or heresy; that is, disbelieving, freethinking,
nonconforming, irreligious, rebellious, etc. Sixteenth-century German theologian and

Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther was proclaimed a heretic for rejecting many of
the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church.

heterogeneous (het-r--J-n-s) adj. If something is heterogeneous, its composed of
dissimilar or unlike parts or elements; its not uniform or consistent; its varied, mixed. The
population of (the Mediterranean island country) Malta is a heterogeneous mixture of Arab,
Sicilian, Norman, Spanish, Italian, and English peoples.

hiatus (h--ts) n. A hiatus is a break, pause, interruption, or gap in something (some work
or activity, for example). A key settlement of the Washington Conference (19211922), an
attempt at naval disarmament made after World War I, was the Five Power Naval Armament
Treaty (between the U.S., Britain, Japan, France, and Italy), which provided for a ten-year
hiatus in building warships of more than 10,000 tons.

hierarchy (H--rr-k) n. A hierarchy is any system of people or things (as in an
organization, social group, scientific classification, set of values, etc.) ranked one above the
other. For example, in the hierarchy of the U. S. army, a corporal is above a private but below
a sergeant, and in the hierarchy of biological classification, a genus is above a species but
below a family. Champion bridge player Ely Culbertson (18931955) once said, A deck of
cards [is] built like the purest of hierarchies, with every card a master to those below it, a
[servant] to those above it.

hilarity (hi-LAR-i-t, hi-LR-i-t) n. Hilarity is a state of great (sometimes noisy)
merriment or amusement. The adjective hilarious means extremely funny. Actor Don Knotts
won five Emmy Awards for his hilarious portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife on the 1960s TV
sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

hilt (hilt) n. The handle of a weapon or tool, especially a sword or dagger, is known as a hilt.
The well-known Japanese Samurai sword has a long, single-edge blade set in a long hilt. Note:
The phrase to the hilt means to the maximum extent or degree; completely; fully.

hinterlands (HIN-tr-landz) n. The hinterlands of a region are its undeveloped or less
developed areas; its backcountry, backwoods, etc. In the 18th century, grain and fruit flowed
from the hinterlands, down the Hudson and Delaware rivers, to New York and Philadelphia.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. hilarity
2. heretic

3. hegemony

a. total control or domination
b. one who rejects established opinions
c. great amusement or merriment

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. herald: give an indication of what is to come
2. hierarchy: a birdhouse
3. Herculean: requiring the strength of Hercules

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
helm, hiatus, hilt

1. The leader s sword was ornamented with an elegantly decorated __________.
2. Mr. Smith, an English teacher, used his summer __________ to begin his first novel.
3. The union president stepped down after 16 years at the __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. heinous / horrible
2. hinterlands / metropolis
3. heterogeneous / varied

Chapter 104: hirelinghomogeneous

hireling (HR-ling) n. A hireling is a (usually insignificant) person who does (usually tedious,
boring) work only for the sake of payment. Legend has it that some of the hirelings who built
Hoover Dam (located on the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona) were accidentally
buried in the concrete.

hirsute (HR-soot, hr-SOOT) adj. To describe something as hirsute is to say that its hairy
or covered with hair. Bigfoot is a very large, hirsute, humanlike creature reportedly sighted
hundreds of times in the Pacific Northwest and Canada (but most scientists discount its

histrionics (his-tr-ON-iks) n. Exaggerated, artificial, or theatrical emotional behavior (arm

waving, yelling, etc.) done for effect is known as histrionics. The adjective is histrionic
(excessively emotional or dramatic). In her review of the 1987 film Orphans (which
concerns a gangster who befriends two homeless young men), critic Rita Kempley said, Not
since Shelley Winters sank with the Poseidon have we seen such histrionics.

hitherto (HITH-r-too) adv. This word means until now; formerly. After the Watergate
affair, Democrats elected the hitherto unknown Jimmy Carter as President.

hoary (HR-, HR-) adj. If someone is described as hoary (or hoary-haired or hoaryheaded), it means he has white or gray hair as a result of being old. Sometimes the word
means simply old, as in hoary jokes or hoary show tunes. Because respect often comes with
age, the word can also mean old and respected, as in the hoary halls of Harvard University.
In May 2000, journalist William Booth reported that in his final months in the White House,
using the powers vested in him by the Antiquities Act of 1906, President Clinton [made] a
series of proclamations to ensure that Americas magnificent landmarks are preserved; so far,
[he] has protected hoary groves of giant [redwood trees], otherworldly volcanic spires, [and]
grand canyons in the painted deserts.

hoax (hks) n. A hoax is either an act that is intended to trick or fool someone (especially a
mischievous or playful one, such as a practical joke), or a thing (a photograph, a story,
evidence, etc.) that is passed off as true but is actually false. While some people believe that
crop circles are created by aliens from outer space, others believe they are a hoax perpetrated
by mischievous humans.

hobble (HOB-l) vb. If youve ever tried to walk with your pants around your ankles, you
know what it feels like to be hobbled. If something hobbles you, it doesnt prevent you from
walking; it just makes walking difficult. Sometimes a horses legs are fastened together to
prevent free motion; when that happens, the horse has been hobbled, and the piece of rope is
called a hobble. The word can be used figuratively to refer to anything that restrains or
hinders. In 1904 catcher Branch Rickey, hobbled by injuries and by his religious objections to
playing on Sundays, was dropped by the Cincinnati Reds.

hoi polloi (HOI p-LOI) n. This phrase, which in Greek literally means the many, refers to
the common people, the ordinary people, the masses. Sometimes it has the derogatory
connotation that common people are unsophisticated or ignorant. While the vulgar comedy
sickened the film critic, around him the hoi polloi laughed uproariously.

holocaust (HOL--kst, H-l-kst) n. When spelled with a capital H, the Holocaust denotes
the mass extermination of European Jews by the Nazis during World War II. When spelled
with a small h, the word denotes any great or complete devastation or destruction (especially
by fire) or any great disaster (war, rioting, storms, epidemic diseases, etc.). In the 1983 film
WarGames, a young computer whiz, trying to hook into a game manufacturers computer,

almost begins a thermonuclear holocaust when he accidentally connects with a government

military computer.

homage (HOM-ij, OM-ij) n. Respect or honor shown to another (especially publicly) is
known as homage. Bronze plaques on the walls of the Baseball Hall of Fame pay homage to
the greats of the game.

homily (HOM--l) n. A homily is a formal lecture or speech (or written essay) that gives
moral advice or warning; a sermon. English poet and preacher John Donne (15721631) is
famous for his spellbinding homilies and the well-known phrases they contained (for whom
the bell tolls, and No man is an island, for example).

homogeneous (h-m-J-n-s) adj. If youre talking about a substance (a liquid, for
example), then this word means uniform and consistent in structure or composition. A
milkshake is a homogeneous mixture of milk and ice cream. If youre talking about a group of
people or things, then the word means all of the same or similar type or kind. In 1958
novelist William Faulkner said, If we Americans are to survive, it will have to be because we
choose to be first of all Americans; to present to the world one homogeneous and unbroken
front, whether of white Americans or black ones or purple or blue or green.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. hireling
2. hoi polloi
3. histrionics

a. the common people

b. exaggerated emotional behavior
c. a person who performs a task for money

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. hobble: prevent from moving freely
2. holocaust: rebellion or uprising
3. hoary: white-haired from age

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
hoax, homage, homily

1. The Automobile Museum pays __________ to the tradition of car manufacturing.
2. The minister delivered an uplifting __________.
3. The report of a flying saucer sighting proved to be a __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. hitherto / formerly
2. hirsute / bald
3. homogeneous / uniform

Chapter 105: honehumdrum

hone (hn) vb. When you hone something (a knife, for instance), you sharpen it. Sometimes
the word is used to mean sharpen in the sense of making something more perfect, as in he
honed his skills. Theatrical agent Robert Kass once told a group of actors how to hone their
talent, how to market their talent, how to discipline their talent, and how to type their talent;
then he told them they might as well forget about talent.

hoodwink (HOOD-wingk) vb. To hoodwink someone is to fool or trick him; to pull the wool
over his eyes; to dupe him, bamboozle him, etc. In 1982 the New York Times was hoodwinked
into unknowingly rerunning one of their old crossword puzzles (a California man took an old
puzzle, switched the across with the down clues and answers, and sent it in).

horde (hrd) n. A horde is a large group (of something), a crowd, a multitude, etc.
Sometimes the word refers specifically to a moving pack of animals, as in a horde of

mosquitoes. During the 13th century, Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes conquered vast
portions of northern China and southwestern Asia.

host (hst) n. A host is a multitude or indeterminately large number (of things or people); a
slew, pack, mass, drove, army, legion, etc. In 1983 an article in Esquire magazine noted,
Television has changed how we choose our leaders; it elected a host of Kennedy-look-alike
congressmen with blow-dried hair and gleaming teeth.

hovel (HUV-l, HOV-l) n. A hovel is a small, miserable, dirty, ugly house; a shack, slum,
dump, etc. On preCivil War Southern plantations, slaves lived in hovels while their masters
lived in beautiful mansions.

hover (HUV-r) vb. Technically, if something (a helicopter or hummingbird, for example)
hovers, it hangs or remains suspended in the air. But if you say that a person hovers, you mean
that he waits nearby (sometimes annoyingly so). In 1987 U.S. author and humorist Garrison
Keillor said, [Children] seem not to notice us, hovering, and they seldom offer thanks; but
what we do for them is never wasted. Note: The word can also mean remain in an uncertain
state; waver, as in hovered between life and death.

hub (hub) n. The physical center of something (a wheel or fan, for example) or the figurative
center of something (an area of activity or interest, for example) is known as a hub. Secondcentury Egyptian astronomer Ptolemy believed that the stars and planets revolved in circular
orbits around a motionless, central Earth, whereas 16th-century Polish astronomer
Copernicus believed that they revolved around the Sun (but today many New Yorkers insist that
Times Square is the actual hub of the universe).

hubris (HYOO-bris) n. This word means shamelessly rude boldness or self-assurance;
nerve, gall, chutzpah. The adjective is hubristic. Gentle, childlike comedian Andy Kaufman
occasionally shocked his audience by appearing as his alter-ego: a swaggering, hubristic,
leisure-suited, mustachioed, bewigged, third-rate lounge singer named Tony Clifton.

hue (hyoo) n. A hue is a (particular) color, or a (particular) shade of a color. In 1984 the New
York Times described the first designer diaper as follows: It is embellished with a print of
Cabbage Patch Kids in muted hues of pink, blue, and green.

humane (hyoo-MN) adj. If youre humane, you show compassion and sympathy to others;
youre concerned with ending or minimizing pain or suffering (for people and animals);
youre kind, merciful, charitable, etc. Benjamin Rush (17451813) was an American doctor
and politician who signed the Declaration of Independence, spoke out against slavery and
capital punishment (the death penalty), and urged the humane treatment of the mentally

humble (HUM-bl) adj. Acting or being humble is the opposite of acting like youre a big
shot. Youre modest, unassuming, even perhaps a bit lowly or meek. The noun is humility
(state or quality of being humble). The word can also mean low in rank, position, or
quality, as in humble origins. Noticing that many highly competent people were also
annoyingly arrogant or conceited, we decided that to be truly successful one needed to
combine competence with humility.

humdrum (HUM-drum) adj. If something (ones life, for example) is humdrum, it lacks
variety or excitement; its uninteresting, boring, dull, etc. President William Howard Taft (who
served immediately after the dynamic Theodore Roosevelt) once said of his own term of office
(19091913), It is a very humdrum, uninteresting administration, and it does not attract the
attention or enthusiasm of anybody.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. hone
2. hover
3. hoodwink

a. trick or fool
b. sharpen
c. remain suspended in air

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. humble: unknown, hard to find
2. host: a large number (of something)
3. hovel: a miserable shack

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
horde, hub, hue

1. Insert the axle through the __________ of the wheel.
2. When seen from Earth, Mars has a reddish __________.
3. He was attacked by a __________ of bees.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. humane / cruel
2. humdrum / uninteresting
3. hubris / nerve

Chapter 106: hunkerideology

hunker (HUNG-kr) vb. To hunker (or hunker down) is to squat or crouch, close to the
ground. The water-skier generally maintained an upright position but hunkered down at each
curve and before each jumping ramp.

hurtle (HR-tl) vb. When something (a train, racecar, bobsled, missile, comet, avalanche,
etc.) hurtles, it moves or travels with great speed and usually with a rushing sound. In 1966
Vice President Hubert Humphrey noted, The earth itself is a kind of manned spaceship
hurtling through the infinity of space.

husband (HUZ-bnd) vb. To husband something is to use it sparingly or manage it
economically; to conserve it. With supplies limited, we were urged to husband our resources.

hybrid (H-brid) n. In biology, a hybrid is a plant or animal that is the offspring of
genetically different parents or stock. For example, a mule is a hybrid of a donkey and a
horse. In general usage, the word signifies anything that is composed of unlike elements or
parts; a mixture, a cross. For example, early rock n roll is a hybrid of rhythm & blues and
country & western. In 1985, Everette Dennis, Executive Director of Columbia Universitys
Gannet Center for Media Studies, said, Broadcasters are storytellers, [and] newspapers are
fact-gatherers and organizers of information; news magazines are kind of a hybrid of both.

hyperactive (h-pr-AK-tiv) adj. People or things that are hyperactive are overly, highly, or
abnormally active. If a person is hyperactive, hes constantly active; hes unable to relax or be
quiet. The noun is hyperactivity. A high-sugar diet was once thought to cause hyperactivity in
children (but recent studies do not support this idea).

hyperbole (h-PR-b-l) n. A statement or figure of speech that uses obvious or intentional
exaggeration and is not necessarily intended to be taken literally (such as Im so hungry I
could eat a horse) is known as hyperbole. The adjective is hyperbolic (using exaggeration;
exaggerated). A few weeks after the 2000 presidential election (between George W. Bush and
Al Gore), a Washington Post editorial, referring to the war of words surrounding the
controversial Florida recount, said, With luck, well reach Inauguration Day without a civil
war; okay, thats a little hyperbolic, but its no exaggeration to say that this election is growing
uglier by the hour.

hypercritical (h-pr-KRIT-i-kl) adj. The prefix hyper means overly or excessively.
One who is hypercritical is overly or excessively critical; hes faultfinding, nitpicking, fussy,
perfectionistic, etc. French composer Paul Dukas (18651935), famous for 1897s The
Sorcerer s Apprentice (featured in the 1940 animated film Fantasia), was hypercritical of his
own music and either destroyed or failed to complete the few works he wrote after 1912.

hypochondriac (h-p-KON-dr-ak) n. A hypochondriac is a physically healthy person who
excessively worries about becoming ill or imagines that he is ill; he often experiences the
physical symptoms (pain, for example) associated with illness. During the 1980s people who
complained of constant fatigue, weakness, and an inability to concentrate were dismissed as
hypochondriacs; today these people are said to be suffering from a physical disorder known as
chronic fatigue syndrome (whose cause is unknown).

hypocrite (HIP--krit) n. A hypocrite is a person who claims or pretends to have certain
(usually desirable) qualities or beliefs he doesnt actually possess or a person whose actions
contradict his statements; a deceiver; a phony. The noun hypocrisy refers to the practice of (or
an instance of) such falseness. To people who accused him of being conceited and domineering,
architect Frank Lloyd Wright (18691959) once explained, Early in life I had to choose
between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility [modesty]; I chose honest arrogance and
have seen no occasion to change.

hypothetical (h-p-THET-i-kl) adj. A hypothetical situation or object is one based on (or
relating to or restricted to) what is theoretical, supposed, or assumed, rather than on what is
real, true, or proven. A hypothetical question is one asked in the nature of what if or
lets say that, rather than one asked with purposeful or sincere intent. A time machine is a
hypothetical device by means of which one can travel into the future and the past.

iconoclast (-KON--klast) n. Originally, an iconoclast was a person who destroyed or broke
sacred religious images. But today people use the word to refer to someone or something that
challenges or attacks traditional, popular, or cherished beliefs, ideas, or institutions. The
adjective is iconoclastic (-kon--KLAS-tik). Developed in the 20th century, modern dance
resembles modern art and music in being experimental and iconoclastic.

ideology (-d-OL--j, id--OL--j) n. An ideology is a body of ideas (beliefs, principles,
theories, etc.) held by a person, or especially by a group, that form the basis of a political,
social, cultural, or economic system. Racial superiority, anti-Semitism, anti-Communism,
national expansion, and state control of the economy were all part of Hitlers Nazi ideology.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. hyperbole
2. hypochondriac
3. ideology

a. a system of beliefs
b. a person who imagines he is ill
c. a statement that uses exaggeration

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. hyperactive: sluggish, lazy
2. hurtle: to block or slow down (something)
3. hypercritical: nitpicking, faultfinding

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
hybrid, hypocrite, iconoclast

1. The animal known as a wolf dog is, not surprisingly, a __________ of a wolf and a dog.
2. His disturbing harmonies gained him a reputation as a musical __________.
3. When he said one thing but did another, he was accused of being a __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. hypothetical / imaginary
2. hunker / squat
3. husband / waste

Chapter 107: idiomimbue

idiom (ID--m) n. An idiom is the distinct style of artistic expression (as in music, art,
writing, etc.) of a particular period, country, school, artist, etc. (as in music videos in the rock
idiom). According to the Encarta Encyclopedia, early 18th-century composer Johann Sebastian
Bach understood and used every resource of musical language that was then available,
combining such [distinct] idioms as rhythmic French dances, graceful Italian melodies, and
intricate German counterpoint all in one composition. Note: In another sense, an idiom is any

common phrase or expression whose meaning is not literal but is nevertheless understood,
such as under the weather or strike a bargain.

idiosyncrasy (id---SING-kr-s) n. An idiosyncrasy is a characteristic, trait, or mannerism
(such as a habit or quirk) peculiar to an individual person. The adjective idiosyncratic is used
to describe anything peculiar or unique to an individual. For example, if you describe
someones style of painting as idiosyncratic, you mean that the style belongs to him alone; its
unlike that of any other person, group, school, etc.; its personal, individualistic, etc. In 1990
Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie said, The liveliness of literature lies in its
exceptionality, in being the individual, idiosyncratic vision of one human being, in which, to
our delight and great surprise, we may find our own vision reflected.

idle (-dl) adj. If youre idle, youre not engaged in activity; youre not working; youre
doing nothing. In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt said, Men who are idle, men who seek
gains not by genuine work but by gambling, are always a source of menace not only to
themselves but to others. Note: If you say that a thing is idle, you mean that its not being
used; its not in operation (as in idle machinery or idle hands).

idyllic (-DIL-ik) adj. An idyll (-dl) is a poem or short narrative that describes something
charmingly simple, especially a rural scene. To refer to something (a place, setting, vacation,
etc.) as idyllic is to say that its simple, carefree, picturesque, pleasing, etc. In 1891 French
artist and stockbroker Paul Gauguin (18481903) abandoned his business career, family, and
country to live in the idyllic South Pacific island of Tahiti, where he painted some of his finest
works (his series of paintings depicting the beauty of Polynesian women, for example).

ignoble (ig-N-bl) adj. If something (an activity or thought, for example) is ignoble, its
marked by low moral character; its dishonorable. Speaking of the Vietnam War, baby doctor,
best-selling author, and political activist Benjamin Spock (19031998) said, What is the use
of physicians like myself trying to help parents to bring up children healthy and happy, to have
them killed in such numbers for a cause that is ignoble?

ignominious (ig-n-MIN--s) adj. To refer to something (an action or event, for example) as
ignominious is to say that its marked by or deserving of disgrace or shame; its degrading,
embarrassing, etc. The word generally implies public disapproval. The noun is ignominy (IGn-min-), meaning personal dishonor or humiliation or disrepute, infamy, notoriety. In
1996, after a Russian spacecraft aimed at Mars landed in the Pacific Ocean, the Los Angeles
Times said, Russias most ambitious space probe landed with an ignominious 6.7-ton splash
in the South Pacific, along with a chunk of the countrys battered scientific prestige.

illuminate (i-LOO-m-nt) vb. To illuminate an object is to throw light on it; to light it up; to
brighten it with light. To illuminate a subject or topic is to make it more clear or
understandable. The noun is illumination. Astronomers tell us that the degree of fullness of the

moon depends on the amount of overlap between the half of the moons surface that faces us
and the half thats illuminated by the sun.

illusion (i-LOO-zhn) n. An illusion is a false mental image or conception of something, such
as an object that is seen in a way different from the way it is in reality, an object that is purely
imagined, or an erroneous belief. American novelist John Steinbeck (19021968) once said,
The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the worldand
he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.

illustrious (i-LUS-tr-s) adj. To describe a person (or a persons career) as illustrious is to
say that hes famous, celebrated, acclaimed, distinguished, respected, etc. Statuary Hall is a
semi-circular, domed chamber in the United States Capitol that displays statues of illustrious
Americans, such as Ethan Allen, Henry Clay, Sam Houston, and Daniel Webster.

imbibe (im-BB) vb. Depending on the context, this word can mean to drink, or to take in
or absorb (in the mind), as if by drinking. When the word means literally to drink and its
used without an object, alcoholic beverages are implied, as in I imbibe only once a yearon
New Years Eve. When your mind imbibes, it absorbs some concept or idea (knowledge,
beauty, etc.). With the enthusiastic encouragement of her Spanish-born husband (actor Jos
Ferrer), singer Rosemary Clooney imbibed the music, art, and culture of Europe on her very
first trip to the continent.

imbroglio (im-BRL-y) n. Depending on the context, this word can mean either a messy
confused situation; a mix-up, scandal, to-do, etc., or a bitter misunderstanding or
disagreement; a dispute, conflict, set-to, etc. (as between people or countries). After the
Watergate scandal (19721974), it became easy to nickname any Washington imbroglio; all
one had to do was add the suffix gate to the topic at hand, as in 1993s Nannygate (in
which President Clintons first two choices for Attorney General, Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood,
were accused of employing illegal aliens as household workers).

imbue (im-BYOO) vb. If a persons mind or spirit has become imbued with something (a
philosophy, teachings, etc.), its been filled with it or inspired by it. If a thing (a fabric, a
painting, food, for example) has been imbued by something (liquid, color, aroma, etc.), its
been penetrated by it or saturated with it. Few cities in the United States are more imbued with
early U.S. history than Philadelphia (home to such historical monuments as Independence
Hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Betsy Ross House).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. illusion
2. imbroglio
3. idiom

a. messy misunderstanding, scandal
b. a particular style of artistic expression
c. a false image

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. idiosyncrasy: undiagnosed illness
2. illuminate: shed light on, brighten
3. imbue: sketch or draw

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
idle, idyllic, illustrious

1. The basketball website includes brief biographies of 12 of the most __________
2. During the union strike, 200 workers remained __________.
3. She was raised in the __________ green countryside of Ireland.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. imbibe / drink
2. ignoble / honorable
3. ignominious / shameful

Chapter 108: immaculateimpart

immaculate (i-MAK-y-lit) adj. If something is immaculate, its spotlessly clean. As a standup comic in the mid-1970s, Steve Martin often wore an immaculate white suit and an arrow
through his head.

immensity (i-MEN-si-t) n. The adjective immense means (sometimes immeasurably) vast,
huge, enormous, etc. The noun immensity means the state or condition of being immense; in
other words, vastness, enormity, boundlessness, infiniteness, etc. In 1960 German-American
rocket engineer Wernher von Braun said, Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy;

our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies populating the universe. It would be [rudely bold] to
think that we are the only living things in that enormous immensity.

imminent (IM--nnt) adj. To describe an event as imminent is to say that its about to occur;
its near at hand. Often the word is used when what is about to occur is bad, as in imminent
danger or imminent war. In 1945, when his defeat in World War II was imminent, German
dictator Adolf Hitler committed suicide. Note: Dont confuse this word with immanent, which
is pronounced the same but means naturally occurring within as in God is immanent in

immobile (i-M-bl, i-M-bl) adj. If someone or something is immobile, it doesnt move,
cant move, or cant be moved; its fixed, stationary, etc. Ancient Greek astronomer Ptolemy
believed that the Earth was immobile at the center of the universe with the sun, moon, planets,
and stars revolving around it.

immortal (i-MR-tl) adj. To be mortal is to be subject to death; to have a limited life span.
Someone who is immortal is not mortal; hes not subject to death (for example, in Greek
mythology, the godsZeus, Poseidon, Apollo, etc.were said to be immortal). The noun is
immortality. In 1943 author and lecturer Anne Smedley said, The belief in immortality has
always seemed cowardly to me; when I was very young I learned that all things die, and
[anything] good must be won [while we are alive] or not at all. Also, a person (who has died)
might be called immortal if his reputation or memory lives forever. To immortalize someone
(or something) is to cause him or his memory to live forever (or seemingly forever).
Medieval Swiss archer William Tell was immortalized in an 1829 opera by Gioacchino Rossini.

immune (i-MYOON) adj. To be immune to a particular disease is to have resistance to it; to be
unable to catch it. Children who have had chicken pox are immune to future infection by the
virus that causes it. To be immune to a particular influence is to be unaffected by it or
unresponsive to it. According to the World Almanac and Book of Facts, The [1996] senate
elections appeared immune to any national trends. To be immune from a particular
obligation imposed on others is to be exempt from it. In 1994 a federal judge ruled that Bill
Clinton was immune to lawsuits while President, because they would distract him from his
official duties (but the decision was later reversed).

immure (i-MYOOR) vb. To immure someone (or something) is to enclose him within (or as if
within) walls, to confine or imprison him, or to entomb him in a wall. After a tremor in his
hand prevented him from writing, Nobel Prizewinning playwright Eugene ONeills (1888
1953) health deteriorated and he spent the last two years of his life in isolation, immured in a
Boston hotel.

immutable (i-MYOO-t-bl) adj. To describe something as immutable is to say that its
unchangeable, unalterable, changeless, etc. In his 1986 book The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica,

author Stephen Pyne said, In Antarctica foreground and background were difficult to
establish; on shelf and plateau the vision was of an immutable nothingness.

imp (imp) n. An imp can be a small evil spirit (devil, demon, etc.) or a mischievous child. To
describe someones behavior as impish is to say that its (sometimes amusingly) mischievous.
The 1993 film Dennis the Menace (based on Hank Ketchams famous comic strip) concerns the
relationship between an impish six-year-old and his grouchy neighbor, Mr. Wilson.

impair (im-PR) vb. To impair something is to make it less perfect, less sound, less effective,
or less valuable (usually by causing it to suffer injury or loss). While traveling (1890) on the
Congo River in West Africa, Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad (18571924)
contracted malaria, which impaired his health for the rest of his life. As an adjective, the word
impaired is used to describe anything that is defective, faulty, imperfect, etc. In 1818, after
twenty years of impaired hearing, German composer Ludwig van Beethoven (17701827)
became totally deaf.

impale (im-PL) vb. To impale someone (or something) is to pierce through his body with
something long and pointed (like a sharpened stake or spike). In the last scene of the movie,
the villain fell from the roof and was impaled on the sharp, spiked fence below.

impart (im-PRT) vb. To impart something (flavor, color, mood, energy, motion, character,
etc.) to someone or something is to give it. Writer R. C. Hutchinson once said, A particular
countryside imparts a special character to the men it breeds. Note: The word also means
make known; reveal; tell, as in impart information.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. immure
2. impair
3. impale

a. enclose within walls
b. pierce with a long pointed object
c. make less perfect or less effective

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. imp: evil spirit

2. impart: open, dissect

3. immortal: able to live forever

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
imminent, immobile, immune

1. If you receive the vaccine, you will be __________ to the disease.
2. The praying mantis attached itself to a leaf, then remained __________ for more than a day.
3. When death appeared __________, the patient was placed on artificial life support.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. immaculate / spotless
2. immutable / changeable
3. immensity / vastness

Chapter 109: impartialimpervious

impartial (im-PR-shl) adj. To be impartial (when making a determination about a dispute,
for example) is to be fair and just; to favor neither side; to be evenhanded, unprejudiced,
unbiased, etc. Speaking of his attempts at painting, (British prime minister) Winston Churchill
once said, I cannot pretend to be impartial about colors; I rejoice with the brilliant ones and
am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.

impasse (IM-pas) n. Technically an impasse is a road or passage with no exit or outlet. But
people usually use this word to refer to a situation or conflict in which no further progress
can be made. In November 1995 an impasse between Congress and President Bill Clinton over
the federal budget led to a temporary shutdown of government offices.

impassive (im-PAS-iv) adj. If youre impassive, you experience no emotion or you show
none; you are (or act as though you are) calm, unmoved, undisturbed, unaffected, indifferent,
etc. When he drew four aces on the first deal, he kept his face impassive, though his heart was
filled with glee.

impeach (im-Pch) vb. If a public official is impeached, he is accused of misconduct (while in
office) and placed on trial; if found guilty, he is removed from office. The noun is
impeachment. In 1998 the House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton (for perjury and
obstruction of justice); the Senate conducted a trial and found the President not guilty.

impeccable (im-PEK--bl) adj. If something (ones behavior or clothing, for example) is

impeccable, its faultless, perfectly correct, flawless, etc., as in impeccably clean clothes or he
speaks French impeccably. In 1927 satirical writer Dorothy Parker said, Those who have
mastered ettiquette, who are entirely, impeccably right, would seem to arrive at a point of
exquisite dullness.

impecunious (im-p-KYOO-n-s) adj. To describe someone as impecunious is to say that he
has little or no money; hes poor, penniless, poverty-stricken, etc. Industrialist and art
collector Henry Clay Fricks father was an impecunious Pennsylvania farmer; his mother,
however, was the daughter of the countys wealthiest man.

impede (im-PD) vb. To impede something is to slow down or block its movement or
progress (by means of obstacles, obstructions, hindrances, etc.). In the early 1970s President
Richard Nixon and his aides tried to impede the investigation of the Watergate case.

impel (im-PEL) vb. To be impelled to do something is to be forced (or driven, motivated,
propelled, etc.) to do it (usually by your own moral sense, but sometimes by the urging of
others). In 1962, when accepting his Nobel Prize for literature, novelist John Steinbeck (1902
1968) said, I am impelled not to squeak like a grateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like
a lion out of pride in my profession.

impending (im-PEN-ding) adj. If a particular event is impending, its about to happen or it
threatens to happen. In 1936, responding to rumors of the impending war (World War II),
British science fiction writer H. G. Wells said, If we dont end war, war will end us.

imperious (im-PR--s) adj. Someone whos imperious is bossy (in the way a ruler, whos
accustomed to commanding, might be); hes arrogantly domineering, overbearing,
dictatorial. We didnt agree with what she said, but her imperious tone ruled out any possibility
of argument.

impertinent (im-PR-t-nnt) adj. People who are impertinent are disrespectfully or
intrusively rude; they go beyond the limits of proper manners. The noun is impertinence. In
his 1845 autobiography, escaped slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, I have no
accurate knowledge of my age [and] I was not allowed to make any inquiries of my master
concerning ithe [considered] all such inquiries on the part of a slave improper and

impervious (im-PR-v-s) adj. To describe a physical material as impervious is to say that it
cant be penetrated (by something else, such as moisture, heat, etc.). To describe a person as
impervious is to say that he cant be emotionally affected (that is, hes uninfluenced by pity,
fear, etc.). Because philosophers seek wisdom through meditation and moral self-restraint,
people sometimes think of them as being impervious to the ups and downs of everyday life.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. impending
2. impertinent
3. imperious

a. about to happen
b. overbearingly bossy
c. disrespectfully rude

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. impeach: express praise
2. impasse: deadlock, stalemate
3. impede: climb on top of

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
impartial, impassive, impervious

1. The accused was guaranteed a speedy trial by an __________ jury.
2. A material or fabric said to be waterproof is __________ to moisture.
3. While the dummy spoke, the ventriloquist maintained an __________ facial expression.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. impeccable / faultless
2. impecunious / rich
3. impel / force

Chapter 110: impetuousimposing

impetuous (im-PECH-oo-s) adj. If youre impetuous, you act abruptly, hastily, or rashly,
without due consideration or deliberation. Often theres an implication that the action youre

undertaking has some element of risk or danger to it. New York Yankees principal owner
George Steinbrenner is known for his impetuous firings and hirings of team managers (hes
changed managers nearly 20 times).

impetus (IM-pi-ts) n. This word signifies anything (an impulse, stimulus, incentive, etc.) that
causes or increases motion, action, or effort. It can also signify the increased activity itself.
The civil rights movement gained impetus when the Supreme Court eliminated (1954)
segregation in schools. Note: The word can also signify the physical energy or force
associated with motion. If you wear a glove when playing handball, youll notice that the glove
not only protects the hand from injury, but gives the ball greater impetus.

impinge (im-PINJ) vb. When one thing impinges on (or upon) another, it has a (usually
unwanted) effect on it; it intrudes, infringes, or trespasses on it. According to the Cambridge
Biographical Encyclopedia, Boris Pasternaks novel Dr. Zhivago (1957) describes with
intense feeling the Russian Revolution as it impinged upon one individual [a Russian doctor
and poet]. Note: If youre speaking of physical objects, to impinge is to strike, collide, hit
against, etc., as in a bone impinging on a nerve.

implacable (im-PLAK--bl, im-PL-k-bl) adj. People who are implacable cant be
soothed or satisfied; they refuse to change (a behavior or an opinion). Some historians believe
that what really ended the Civil War in 1965 was Ulysses S. Grants implacable policy of
concentrating all his efforts on dividing and destroying the Confederate armies. Things that
are implacable are relentless and unalterable. Floods and mudslides from implacable rains
caused widespread property damage in Southern California in January 1969.

implement (IM-pl-mnt) vb. To implement something (a plan, policy, etc.) is to put it into
effect; to carry it out (as in the IRS has implemented programs for the electronic filing of tax
returns). In 1984 White House counsel Edwin Meese sarcastically defined an expert as
somebody who is more than 50 miles from home, has no responsibility for implementing the
advice he gives, and shows slides.

implicit (im-PLIS-it) adj. This word has several meanings, depending on the context. If you
describe trust, faith, obedience, or the like, as implicit, you mean that there are no doubts or
reservations connected with it; its absolute, unquestioning, etc. Eleanor Roosevelt once said
of her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, I had implicit confidence in his ability to
help the country in a crisis. If you say that an agreement, acceptance, guarantee, or the like,
is implicit, you mean that its implied or understood rather than directly expressed; its
unspoken. In loading passengers of the sinking Titanic into lifeboats, the crew followed the
implicit rule of women and children first. And if you say that something is implicit in
something else, you mean that its contained in the very nature of it but not readily apparent.
In 1987 Supreme Court justice Sandra Day OConnor said, [A] reckless disregard for human
life [is] implicit in knowingly engaging in criminal activity known to carry a risk of death.

implore (im-PLR) adj. To implore is to urgently or anxiously ask or request; to beg. In
1986, in an address to the nation with President Reagan, First Lady Nancy Reagan said, For
the sake of our children, I implore each of you to be unyielding and inflexible in your
opposition to drugs.

imply (im-PL) vb. If you say that a person implies something (a thought or meaning, for
example), you mean that he express it indirectly; he hints at it, suggests it, etc. Austrian-born
American psychologist Bruno Bettelheim (19031990) once said, Translators need to be very
sensitive to not only what is written but also to what is implied. If you say that an idea or
thing implies something, you mean that it indirectly conveys the truth or existence of
something (a certain understood meaning or consequence, for example). In 1984 Princeton
University professor George Kennan said, The very concept of history implies the scholar
and the reader; without a generation of civilized people to study history, to absorb its lessons
and relate them to its own problems, history, too, would lose its meaning. The noun is

import (IM-prt) n. The import of something (spoken words, gestures, actions, etc.) is that
which is implied or signified by it. For example, if spoken words dont clearly spell
something out, the import is the true meaning or idea of those words. Speaking of an
acquaintance, Hellen Keller once remarked, She grasps the import of whole sentences,
catching the meaning of words she doesnt know.

importune (im-pr-TOON, im-pr-TYOON) vb. To importune is to ask, request, or urge,
especially repeatedly, persistently, or annoyingly (as a child might when asking a parent for
candy). The adjective is importunate (im-PR-ch-nit). Because he was constantly being
harassed by importunate fundraisers from charities hed never heard of, Stan almost wished
hed never won the lottery.

impose (im-PZ) vb. To impose something (that must be obeyed, endured, paid, etc.) is to put
it into effect with authority (as in impose a sales tax). In 1974 the U.S. government, to reduce
the amount of gasoline Americans used, imposed a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour.
Note: When this verb doesnt take an object, to impose is to take unfair advantage by
(sometimes improperly) forcing yourself in where you may not be wanted (as in I didnt stay
for dinner because I didnt want to impose).

imposing (im-P-zing) adj. If you say that something is imposing, you mean that its
impressive, splendid, magnificent, majestic, grand, etc., by virtue of its size or power. On our
trip to Washington, D.C., we were able to see the imposing Washington Monument from
anywhere in the city.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. imply
2. importune
3. impose

a. repeatedly request
b. hint at, suggest
c. put into effect

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. implicit: inexpensive, cheap
2. imposing: impressive, grand
3. impetus: baseball umpire

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
impinge, implement, implore

1. Congress approved the policy, but it was up to the executive branch to __________ it.
2. The plays director refused to allow financial considerations to __________ upon artistic
3. The doctor said, I __________ you to educate your children about the dangers of

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. import / meaning
2. implacable / unyielding
3. impetuous / careful

Chapter 111: impostureinane

imposture (im-POS-chr) n. A person who uses a false name or identity (often in order to
deceive for financial gain) is known as an impostor. The fraudulent use of an assumed name

or identity is known as imposture. In the 2002 based-on-fact film Catch Me If You Can, actor
Leonardo DiCaprio plays a teenager who is arrested for passing bad checks and imposture
(hed passed himself off as a pilot, doctor, and lawyer).

impoverished (im-POV-r-isht) adj. If youre impoverished, youve been reduced to poverty;
you have no money; youre poverty-stricken, poor, broke, etc. In his War on Poverty
speech (1964), President Lyndon Johnson said, Through a new community-action program,
we intend to strike at poverty at its sourcein the streets of our cities and on the farms of our
countryside among the very young and the impoverished old.

imprecation (im-pri-K-shn) n. An imprecation is a curse, either in the sense of a wish for
(or a calling for) harm upon someone (an evil spell, a whammy, etc.) or in the sense of an
obscene or dirty word. To describe something as imprecatory is to say that it pertains to or is
characteristic of a curse. In a famous fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty is a beautiful princess cast
into a deep sleep through a jealous fairys imprecation.

impresario (im-pri-SR--, im-pri-SR--) n. The organizer, manager, sponsor, or
producer of a large-scale public entertainment (such as an opera, ballet, Broadway show, or
concert) is known as an impresario. Impresarios often scout out, work with, and introduce
entertainers to the public. Televisions rock n roll impresario Dick Clark (whose dance
program American Bandstand aired for 30 years and helped launch or promote the careers of
such early performers as Fabian, Bobby Rydell, and Frankie Avalon) was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

impromptu (im-PROMP-too) adj. To do something (speak, perform, etc.) impromptu is do it
on the spur of the moment, without preparation; to do it extemporaneously. Comedian and
Tonight Show pioneer Steve Allen was known for composing songs impromptu after audience
members gave him three random starting notes.

improvise (IM-pr-vz) vb. If youre talking about performing arts (music, dance, acting,
etc.), to improvise is to create or make up parts (melodies, steps, dialogue, etc.) on the spur of
the moment, as you perform (as in improvise a jazz solo). If youre talking about a particular
problematic situation, to improvise is to quickly or offhandedly prepare or provide
something by creatively making do with whatever materials happen to be available. During
the boring train ride we improvised a checkers set by using nickels, pennies, and a piece of
paper with squares drawn on it.

impudence (IM-py-dns) n. Disrespectful rudeness (freshness) or offensive boldness
(shameless immodesty) is known as impudence. The adjective is impudent. In 1969 Vice
President Spiro Agnew referred to opponents of the involvement of the U.S. in the Vietnam War
as impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals.

impugn (im-PYOON) vb. To impugn something (motives, statements, validity, etc.) is to call it
into question, to challenge it (as false), to refuse to accept or admit its truth or value. In 1610
Galileos observation of four moons revolving around Jupiter forced scientists to impugn the
validity of the then-popular theory that all heavenly bodies revolved around the earth.

impunity (im-PYOO-ni-t) n. If you have impunity you have exemption (freedom) from
punishment, penalty, or harm (especially where others might not have such immunity). In a
unanimous 1984 opinion that a man may be prosecuted for raping his wife, New York State
Court of Appeals judge Sol Wachtler said, A marriage license should not be viewed as a
license for a husband to forcibly rape his wife with impunity.

impute (im-PYOOT) vb. When you impute something (a characteristic, a quality, a result,
blame, credit, etc.) to someone (or something) you attribute it to him (that is, you consider it
resulting from or belonging to him). Sometimes the implication is that what is being
attributed might bring discredit to the person. Eskimos impute souls (capable of influencing
human life and events) to animals and to all important aspects of the landscape and

inadvertent (in-d-VR-tnt) adj. To describe something (a typing error, misstatement,
omission, etc.) as inadvertent is to say that it was done unintentionally or accidentally; it
wasnt done on purpose. Many dolphins have been killed inadvertently by commercial tuna
fishermen using nets.

inane (in-N) adj. To describe something (an idea or comment, for example) as inane is to
say that its silly, foolish, meaningless, stupid, pointless, etc. A 1979 Time magazine article
said that inane TV sitcoms are designed to attract juveniles of all ages.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. imposture
2. impunity
3. impresario

a. organizer of a large-scale entertainment
b. use of a false identity (in order to deceive)
c. freedom from punishment

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. improvise: make up on the spot
2. impute: figure out, reason
3. impugn: call into question

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
impoverished, impromptu, inadvertent

1. Appalachia is one of the most __________ regions of the United States.
2. He apologized for banging into me, explaining that the action was __________.
3. The public speaking students practiced giving __________ answers to questions thrown at

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. imprecation / curse
2. impudence / politeness
3. inane / foolish

Chapter 112: inanimateincipient

inanimate (in-AN--mit) adj. Objects described as inanimate dont have life; theyre inert (a
pencil, for example, is an inanimate object). But the word is generally used to describe what
has never had life (whereas the word dead describes what once did). In 2000 New York
Newsday contained a photograph of mayor Rudolph Guiliani standing next to his life-size wax
image at a museumand it was impossible to tell the real one from the inanimate one!

inaudible (in--d-bl) adj. If a sound is inaudible, it cant be heard (because its volume is
too soft, its frequency is overly high or low, its source is too far away, etc.). The opposite is
audible, which means capable of being heard. Ancient Greek philosopher and
mathematician Pythagoras believed that the movement of the stars and planets created music
of the spheres, a beautiful sound inaudible on Earth.

incantation (in-kan-T-shn) n. A formula (or string) of supposedly magic words (as used
in a spell or charm) is known as an incantation. Note: The word also refers to the recitation
(of magic words) itself, or to any non-magical utterance recited or repeated mechanically or
thoughtlessly. In the 1973 film The Exorcist, a Jesuit priest uses holy water and incantation to
drive the devil from a young girl.

incapacitated (in-k-PAS-i-t-tid) adj. If youre incapacitated, you have no strength or

ability to perform (usually as the result of a physical disability or handicap); youre disabled,
helpless, incapable, unfit, etc. Although in 1919 President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke
that left him incapacitated, his condition was not made public.

incarcerate (in-KR-s-rt ) vb. To incarcerate someone is to imprison him; to put him in
jail. The noun is incarceration (imprisonment). In a June 1975 Supreme Court ruling that
non-dangerous mental patients cannot be confined in institutions against their will, Justice
Stewart Potter said, May the state fence in the harmless mentally ill solely to save its citizens
from exposure to those whose ways are different? One might as well ask if the state, to avoid
public unease, could incarcerate all who are physically unattractive or socially [odd].

incarnate (in-KR-nit) adj. This word means in human form (invested with a bodily form),
as in the devil incarnate or personified (perfectly exemplified by a human being), as in
Mother Teresa was goodness incarnate. A fundamental doctrine of Christianity is that God
exists in three personsthe Father, the Son (who became incarnate as Jesus), and the holy
ghost (which is usually represented in art as a dove).

incendiary (in-SEN-d-er-) adj. Technically, something incendiary causes (or is capable of
causing) fire; for example, a Molotov cocktail is an incendiary bomb. But something (speech
or language, for example) that inflames (stirs up, arouses, excites, stimulates, etc.) the
emotions is also referred to as incendiary. The mysterious 1898 explosion and sinking of the
United States battleship Maine in Havana harbor has never been satisfactorily explained; but
incendiary newspaper articles blamed the Spanish government (which then owned Cuba), and
Remember the Maine became the rallying cry of the Spanish-American War.

incensed (in-SENST) adj. As a verb, to incense (in-SENS) someone is to cause him to
become extremely angry. To describe someone as incensed is to say that hes enraged,
infuriated, etc. In the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an evil queen becomes
incensed when a magical mirror tells her that Snow White is fairer (prettier) than she is.

incentive (in-SEN-tiv) n. An incentive is something that motivates action, usually because of a
promise of reward or a threat of punishment; an inducement, enticement, stimulus, etc. In
1790 Congress established a patent office to protect inventors and give them an incentive to
develop new machines and methods.

incessant (in-SES-nt) adj. This word describes things (actions, activities, etc.) that continue
or repeat without interruption; theyre continuous, constant, never-ending, etc. After watching
some ants mill about in our backyard, we wondered if they all walk incessantly or if they
sometimes (though weve never seen it) stop to rest.

inchoate (in-K-it) adj. If something is in an early or developing stage, it can be referred to

as inchoate. Or if something is disorganized, jumbled, or lacking order, it can be referred to

as inchoate. But if something is both at an early stage and lacks organization, then its
especially referred to as inchoate. Its amazing to think that our solar system began as nothing
more than an inchoate mass of swirling gas and dust.

incipient (in-SIP--nt) adj. If something is incipient, its just beginning to exist or appear;
its at an initial or early stage. After World War II, the insecticide DDT reduced incipient
epidemics of typhus and malaria in Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. incendiary
2. inchoate
3. incarnate

a. new and disorganized
b. capable of causing fire
c. having human form

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. incantation: a holy spirit
2. incentive: something that motivates action
3. incipient: pertaining to the winning of an award

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
inanimate, inaudible, incapacitated

1. The accident left him physically __________.
2. The high-pitched dog whistle was __________ to humans.
3. The painting depicted vases, bowls, and other __________ objects.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. incarcerate / imprison
2. incensed / pleased

3. incessant / constant

Chapter 113: incisiveinculpate

incisive (in-S-siv) adj. If something (a comment, a judgment, an analysis, an investigation, a
persons mind, etc.) is incisive, it clearly and sharply penetrates to the heart of a subject; its
cutting, keen, piercing, etc. Ted Koppel and Mike Wallace are two television newsmen known
for their incisive interviews.

incite (in-ST) vb. To incite is to provoke, prompt, or urge on (some particular action). The
Chicago Seven were seven political extremists accused of inciting a riot at the 1968
Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

incline (in-KLN) vb. To incline something is to slant or angle it. A helicopter is steered in a
particular direction by inclining the axis of the main propeller in that direction. Note: As a
noun, an incline (IN-kln) is a slanted surface.

incoherent (in-k-hr-nt) adj. To describe language or thought as incoherent is to say that it
shows no logical connection of ideas; its confused, fragmented, disordered, etc. An
incoherent person is one who is characterized by such language or thought. People who suffer
from (the mental illness) schizophrenia often exhibit incoherent speech and inappropriate

incongruous (in-KONG-groo-s) adj. If you say that something is incongruous (to or with
something else), you mean that its inharmonious or incompatible; its out of place or out of
keeping; its unfitting. In 1984 the president of the American Medical Association, calling for
a ban on professional boxing, said, It seems to us extraordinarily incongruous [to the
promotion of public health] that we have a sport in which two people are paid to get into a
ring and try to beat one another to death.

incorporate (in-KR-p-rt) vb. When one thing is incorporated into another, it is combined
into it to form a unified whole; it becomes a part of it; it merges with it. The Peace Corps (a
U.S. government agency that that sends American volunteers to developing nations to help
improve living standards and provide training) was established in 1961; in 1971 it was
incorporated into a larger agency, ACTION (but ten years later became an independent agency

incorrigible (in-KR-i-j-bl, in-KOR-i-j-bl) adj. If someone is incorrigible, hes
incapable of being corrected or reformed; hes hopelessly or incurably bad, unprincipled,
immoral, etc. (as in the incorrigible Mike Tyson). In 1981, speaking of lowering the crime rate,
Supreme Court chief justice Warren Burger said, A far greater factor [than ending poverty] is

the effect of swift and certain [punishment; however,] there may be some incorrigible human
beings who cannot be changed except by Gods mercy.

incredulous (in-KREJ--ls) adj. If youre incredulous about something, you dont believe it
or you find it difficult to believe. The noun incredulity (in-kri-DOO-li-t, in-kri-DYOO-li-t)
means the state of being incredulous. In a 1493 letter (translated to English in American
History Leaflets) to the Treasurer of (the Spanish region of) Aragon announcing his discovery
of America, Christopher Columbus wrote, Although these lands had been imagined and talked
of before they were seen, most men listened incredulously to what was thought to be but an idle

incremental (in-kr-MEN-tl, ing-kr-MEN-tl) adj. An increment (IN-kr-mnt, ING-kremnt) is something added (or the amount of something added), especially as one of a regular
or uniform series of such additions. If you describe something (increases, gains, steps,
progress, improvements, shifts, etc.) as incremental, you mean that they advance in
increments; that is, they advance in (often small) regular amounts or as a series of (often
small) steps. A January 1999 editorial in the Washington Post said that President Bill Clinton
continues to propose incremental health care reforms as [opposed to the large-scale] kind
that [failed] at such great political cost in 1994.

incriminate (in-KRIM--nt) vb. To incriminate someone is to accuse him of a crime or to
cause him to appear guilty of a crime or wrongdoing. As an adjective, if something (evidence
or testimony, for example) is incriminating (or incriminatory), it tends to prove guilt (of a
person accused of a crime or wrongdoing). In 1776 American Revolutionary War soldier
Nathan Hale spied on British soldiers on Long Island but was captured carrying incriminating
papers and sentenced to die by hanging; at his execution he declared, I only regret that I
have but one life to lose for my country.

inculcate (in-KUL-kt, IN-kul-kt) vb. To inculcate someone is to fix or impress an idea in
his mind by frequent instruction or repetition. Most elementary and secondary school social
studies curriculums in the U.S. dont consist merely of the study of history, geography, and
government; teachers also try to inculcate their students with a sense of patriotism,
democracy, and morality.

inculpate (in-KUL-pt, IN-kul-pt) vb. To inculpate someone is to say that hes blameworthy
(of some misdeed); to accuse or incriminate him. As an adjective, something (comments,
evidence, etc.) described as inculpatory (in-KUL-p-tr-) tends to blame, accuse, or
incriminate (someone). American Revolutionary War general and traitor Benedict Arnolds
1780 plot to surrender West Point to the British was discovered when his accomplice, carrying
inculpatory papers, was seized by the New York militia.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. incisive
2. incredulous
3. incorrigible

a. penetrating, keen
b. incapable of being corrected
c. skeptical, unbelieving

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. inculcate: impress (an idea) on ones mind
2. incremental: gigantic, tremendous
3. inculpate: cause to appear guilty

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
incite, incorporate, incriminate

1. A person accused of a crime cannot be forced to __________ himself.
2. Some painters __________ photographs and real objects into their work.
3. The speech was intended to __________ a rebellion against the government.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. incongruous / fitting
2. incline / slant
3. incoherent / orderly

Chapter 114: incumbentindoctrinate

incumbent (in-KUM-bnt) adj., n. If you say that a task or duty is incumbent on (or upon)
you, you mean that you have an obligation to perform that task or duty. Its incumbent on all
parents to provide for their children. As a noun, an incumbent is one who currently holds a
particular political office. Though, in a presidential election, the incumbent often wins a

second term, Bill Clintons defeat of George H. Bush in 1992 showed that that isnt always the

incur (in-KR) vb. To incur something (usually something undesirable, such as a loss, an
expense, a debt, or another s disfavor) is to become liable or subject to it through your own
actions; to bring it on yourself. British playwright George Bernard Shaw (18561950) once
sarcastically suggested, Let [an] Act of Parliament be passed placing all street musicians
outside the protection of the law, so that any citizen may [attack] them with stones, sticks,
knives, pistols, or bombs without incurring any penalties.

indecipherable (in-di-S-fr--bl) adj. If you decipher something (something ambiguous,
obscure, illegible, etc.), you interpret it or make sense of it. Consequently, if something is
indecipherable, it cant be deciphered; its illegible, incomprehensible, etc. Hieroglyphics
(strange symbols and pictures used in ancient Egyptian writing) were so difficult for scholars
to decipher that today, indecipherable handwriting is sometimes jokingly referred to as

indefatigable (in-di-FAT-i-g-bl) adj. If youre indefatigable, you dont become fatigued
(tired, weary, etc.); youre tireless, persevering, persistent, relentless, etc. (in some activity,
effort, or cause). Thurgood Marshall, the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, was an
indefatigable champion of civil rights.

indelible (in-DEL--bl) adj. In one sense, if something (ink from a laundry pen, ones
fingerprints, etc.) is indelible, it cant be erased, removed, washed away, etc.; its permanent.
British naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) once said, Man still bears in his bodily frame
the indelible stamp of his lowly origin. In a related sense, if something (a memory, for
example) is indelible, it makes a permanent impression on the mind; its unforgettable. In
1969 Dr. Hans Selye, Director of Montreals Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery,
said, Every stress leaves an indelible [emotional] scar, and the organism pays for it by
becoming a little older.

indeterminate (in-di-TR-m-nit) adj. Anything described as indeterminate has not been
precisely determined; its inexact, uncertain, vague, approximate, indefinite, etc. Some
percussion instruments (kettledrums, for example) produce sounds of definite pitch while
others (cymbals, for example) produce sounds of indeterminate pitch.

indict (in-DT) vb. To indict someone is to, through legal process, formally charge him with
a crime. Once indicted (by a grand jury), a person must stand trial. In 1967 heavyweight
boxing champion Muhammad Ali was indicted for refusing induction into the army (at trial he
was found guilty but the verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court).

indigenous (in-DIJ--ns) adj. If something (a plant, animal, race of people, cookery, folk

music, etc.) is indigenous to a certain region or country, it originated there; its native to it. In
his 1979 book The Americans, British-born American TV journalist Alistair Cooke said,
Texas does not, like any other region, simply have indigenous dishes; it proclaims them; it
congratulates you, on your arrival, at having escaped from the slop pails of the other 49

indigent (IN-di-jnt) adj. People who are indigent are poor, penniless, poverty-stricken, etc.,
often to the point of lacking the basic necessities of life (food, clothing, shelter). As a noun,
the indigent are these people collectively. In considering financial relief for the indigent, the
government distinguishes between the truly needy (orphans, the elderly, the handicapped)
and the merely needy (those whose poverty stems from laziness or wastefulness).

indignant (in-DIG-nnt) adj. If youre indignant, youre angry about something you consider
unfair. The noun is indignation. In 1995 many Americans, especially white Americans, were
indignant when a jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of murder.

indignity (in-DIG-ni-t) n. Humiliating, degrading, or insulting treatment, or the disgrace that
comes from such treatment, is know as indignity. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, in
Alban Bergs opera Wozzeck (1925), the soldier Wozzeck suffers many indignities, including
abuse from his captain, being experimented on by a mad doctor, and a beating by a drum
major. Note: In another sense, indignity (or indignation) is anger aroused by an instance of

indoctrinate (in-DOK-tr-nt) vb. To indoctrinate someone is to teach or instruct him (in a
particular subject, principle, belief, idea, etc.). The noun is indoctrination. According to
Grolier s Encyclopedia, American playwright Eugene ONeills (18881953) indoctrination
to the [principles] of Irish Catholicism, in his home and while attending a Catholic boarding
school and high school, left him with a deep spirituality that is [evident] in his work.
Sometimes the implication is that when a person is indoctrinated, he is taught or encouraged
to accept one particular side of an issue without criticism; that he is, in effect, brainwashed.
While in power (1933-1945), the Nazis indoctrinated the German people with their ideas.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. indoctrinate
2. indict
3. incur

a. charge with a crime, bring to trial

b. bring (something undesirable) upon yourself

c. instruct (in a particular principle)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. indignity: disgrace resulting from humiliating treatment
2. incumbent: temporary, short-lived
3. indignant: rude, ill-mannered

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
indecipherable, indigenous, indigent

1. __________ defendants in U.S. criminal cases are provided with free legal services.
2. The message was sent in code so that it would be __________ to others.
3. The turkey is __________ to the western hemisphere.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. indefatigable / tireless
2. indeterminate / specific
3. indelible / permanent

Chapter 115: indolentinfer

indolent (IN-d-lnt) adj. People who are indolent avoid exertion; theyre lazy, sluggish, etc.
The noun is indolence. In Greek mythology the Lotus-Eaters were a people of northern Africa
who, because they subsisted on the intoxicating fruit of the lotus tree, led a life of indolent
ease and contented forgetfulness.

indomitable (in-DOM-i-t-bl) adj. To refer to something (a warrior, pride, courage, valor,
etc.) as indomitable is to say that it cant be overcome or subdued; its unconquerable,
invincible, unyielding, strong, etc. According to a 1976 book entitled Winning Is Everything
and Other American Myths, tennis star Jimmy Connors (noted for his indomitable need to win)
once said, People dont seem to understand that its a damn war out there.

induce (in-DOOS) vb. To induce something is to cause it, bring it about, produce it, etc.
People who suffer from insomnia sometimes drink a glass of warm milk before bedtime to
induce sleep. To induce a person to do something is to influence or persuade him to do it. In

1963 clashes between police and demonstrating blacks induced President John F. Kennedy to
stress civil rights legislation.

indulge (in-DULJ) vb. To indulge something is to allow it; to permit it; to humor it; to
tolerate it. When he was 16, pioneer and folk hero Daniel Boone moved with his family from
Pennsylvania to North Carolina; there, on the edge of the frontier, his parents indulged his
desire to hunt.

inebriated (in--br--tid) adj. People who are inebriated are drunk, intoxicated (from
alcohol). Sometimes the word is used figuratively to mean mentally or emotionally
intoxicated (as from something exhilarating, confusing, etc.) With so many colorful
synonyms to choose from, we pity the poor writer who needs to refer to someones inebriated
state; why, considering just the s words alone, his possibilities include sloshed, smashed,
soused, stewed, stoked, stoned, and stupid (not to mention a few vulgarisms!).

ineffable (in-EF--bl) adj. If something (a feeling, for example) is ineffable, its beyond
words; its indescribable, inexpressible, indefinable, etc. In her 1962 book Thatched with
Gold, Lady Mabell Airlie describes Queen Mary watching the (1952) funeral procession of her
son King George VI as follows: As the cortege [procession] wound slowly along, the queen
whispered in a broken voice, Here he is, and I knew that her dry eyes were seeing beyond the
coffin a little boy in a sailor suit; she was past weeping, wrapped in the ineffable solitude of

inept (in-EPT) adj. If a person is inept (at some particular task, assignment, or purpose), hes
without competence, ability, or skill (in it); hes blundering, clumsy, awkward, etc. English
critic Alfred Alvarez (born 1929) once told of a young graduate student, too shy and inept to
make conversation. To describe a thing as inept is to say that it displays a lack of judgment
(as in an inept remark) or a lack of ability (as in an inept performance). The noun is

inequity (in-EK-wi-t) n. An inequity is an instance of unfairness or injustice. In the 1980s (in
the U.S.), such measures as school busing and affirmative action were instituted to correct past
inequities in education and employment.

inertia (i-NR-sh) n. As you learned in eight grade science, inertia is the technical term that
describes the tendency of a body at rest to stay at rest or of a body in motion to stay in motion
(in the same direction and at the same speed). But people often use the word figuratively to
refer to a state of sluggish inactivity; a resistance or disinclination to act, move, or change. He
suggested that people often remained in doomed marriages merely because of inertia; in other
words, that people are basically lazy and that hiring a lawyer and filing for divorce would take
too much effort.

inexorable (in-EK-sr--bl) adj. If something is inexorable, it cannot be swayed or diverted

from its (usually inevitable) course; its relentless, unyielding, unalterable. Unwilling to
submit to the inexorable forces of weather and time that break down mountains, Japan, in
1982, erected a wall to halt erosion of the perfectly formed, snow-capped cone of their sacred
Mount Fuji.

infamous (IN-f-ms) adj. If you refer to a person or thing as infamous, you mean that its
well known for a bad or evil reputation. Salem, Massachusetts, was the site of the infamous
1692 witchcraft trials. The noun is infamy (IN-f-m). President Franklin D. Roosevelt
referred to December 7, 1941 (on which Japanese planes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl
Harbor, Hawaii) as a date which will live in infamy.

infer (in-FR) vb. When you infer something (the truth about some matter, for example), you
use your reasoning to draw a conclusion about it based on indirect information (related
evidence, premises, suggestions, implications, etc.), as in infer ones personality from his
handwriting or infer the suns future from theoretical models. In the 1887 novel A Study in
Scarlet, (fictional English detective) Sherlock Holmes says: From a drop of water a logician
could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. induce
2. infer
3. indulge

a. allow, tolerate
b. cause, bring about
c. draw a conclusion based on indirect evidence

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. indomitable: unconquerable, strong
2. inertia: electromagnetism
3. inexorable: unyielding, relentless

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:

inebriated, inept, infamous

1. Al Capone is __________ for terrorizing Chicago in the 1920s.
2. Because he was __________, we took away his car keys.
3. The detective was good at catching criminals but __________ at paperwork.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. indolent / lazy
2. inequity / fairness
3. ineffable / inexpressible

Chapter 116: infernalingratiate

infernal (in-FR-nl) adj. Technically, to describe something as infernal is to say that its
hellish or that it pertains to hell. But informally, the word can be used to describe anything
dreadful, sinister, horrible, outrageous, etc. In his opening statement at the Nazi war crimes
trials (at Nuremberg, Germany, December 1946), prosecutor Telford Taylor said, These
defendants and others turned Germany into an infernal combination of a lunatic asylum and a
charnel house [building where bones or bodies of the dead are placed].

infidel (IN-fi-del, IN-fi-dl) n. A person with no religious beliefs, or a person who rejects or
doubts a particular religion, is known as an infidel. (Infidels are sometimes looked down
upon.) The Crusades (10961291) were military expeditions in which European Christians
sought to recapture the Holy Land (where Jesus had lived) from Muslim infidels.

infinitesimal (in-fin-i-TES--ml) adj. This word is used to describe anything immeasurably
small. All objects have a gravitational attraction to each other; but since there is a huge
difference between the earths mass and your own, your effect on the planet is infinitesimal
while its effect on you is very large.

infirmity (in-FR-mi-t) n. An infirmity is a physical ailment or weakness; a disease,
disorder, sickness, condition, injury, etc. The adjective infirm means weak in body; sick,
sickly, feeble, etc., as in infirm nursing home residents. The first generations of settlers in the
Virginia colonies were so plagued by life-threatening infirmities that historian Edmund
Morgan entitled one of his essays about the region Living with Death.

inflated (in-FL-tid) adj. If a balloon is inflated, its filled with air. But if you say that
something that cant be filled with air (expectations, costs, estimates, etc.) is inflated, you
mean that its unreasonably increased in size. In his second inaugural address (January 1973),

President Richard Nixon said, In trusting too much in government, [the American people]
have asked of it more than it can deliver; this leads only to inflated expectations [and] reduced
individual effort.

inflection (in-FLEK-shn) n. This word denotes a change of pitch or tone of the voice. In the
Chinese language, inflection affects a words meaning; that is, the same sound can mean one
thing if the voice rises but something else if it falls.

infringe (in-FRINJ) vb. To infringe on something (ones civil rights, a countrys air space, a
copyright or patent, etc.) is to overstep the boundaries or limits of it; to trespass upon it,
intrude on it, violate it, etc. In 1964 Russian-born French sculptor Jacques Lipchitz (1891
1973) said, Copy nature and you infringe on the work of [God]; interpret nature and you are
an artist.

infuriate (in-FYOOR--t) vb. To infuriate someone is to make him furious; that is, to make
him extremely angry, to enrage him, etc. In Greek mythology Paris (a prince of Troy) was
asked to choose the most beautiful of the goddesses; he selected Aphrodite (goddess of love)
and, in doing so, infuriated the other two contestants, Hera (wife of Zeus) and Athena (goddess
of wisdom).

ingnue (n-zh-NOO, N-zh-noo) n. In the theatre, movies, etc., ingnue is the term for the
leading young, unsophisticated female character. The word also refers to an actress who
typically plays that type of role or to any (real-life) simple, honest, innocent girl or young
woman. When we heard that Whitney Houston was starring in Disneys 1997 TV remake of
Rodgers and Hammersteins musical Cinderella, we thought that she was too old to play the
ingnuesure enough, it turned out she played the fairy godmother.

ingenuous (in-JEN-yoo-s) adj. Ingenuous people are unsophisticated, nave, and innocent,
and, when dealing with others, are open and honest, sometimes with a childlike directness.
Theyre free of deceit and deception; they cant mask their feelings. (Sesame Streets Big Bird
is an example of someone who is ingenuous.) When asked if it was her bad luck that
discouraged her from playing poker, she answered, No, its my ingenuousness. Note: The
opposite is disingenuous (dis-in-JEN-yoo-s), which means not straightforward; deceitful,
sneaky, sly, underhanded.

ingrate (IN-grt) n. An ingrate is an ungrateful person. The implication is that the person has
reason to be grateful. At the beginning of Shakespeares King Lear, Lear considers his
daughter Cordelia an ingrate because she refuses to flatter him as her two older sisters do (but
he soon learns that she is the only one of them who truly cares about him).

ingratiate (in-GR-sh-t) vb. To ingratiate yourself is to (often by deliberate effort) bring
yourself into the favor or good graces of someone else. The adjective ingratiating means

either charming, agreeable, pleasing, etc., as in an ingratiating manner, or meant to please

or win favor, as in an ingratiating smile. In 1975 singer John Denver (19431997), famous
for his pageboy haircut, granny glasses, and ingratiating stage presence, was named
Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. inflection
2. ingnue
3. ingrate

a. young, unsophisticated lead female character
b. one who is not grateful
c. change of pitch of the voice

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. inflated: unreasonably increased in size
2. ingenuous: smart, clever
3. infidel: prisoner, inmate

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
infringe, infuriate, ingratiate

1. He sought to __________ himself by making flattering comments to the hostess.
2. Please excuse me; I didnt mean to __________ on your privacy.
3. Stuck in traffic, he said, People who block intersections __________ me.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. infernal / hellish
2. infirmity / injury
3. infinitesimal / huge

Chapter 117: inhabitantinnovative

inhabitant (in-HAB-i-tnt) n. To inhabit a particular place is to live in that place (as in small
animals inhabit the woods). To refer to someone as an inhabitant of a particular place is to
say that he inhabits (lives in) that place; hes a resident, dweller, occupant, etc. According to
The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations, in (French author) Cyrano de Bergeracs The Other
World: States and Empires of the Moon (1656), the inhabitants of the moon tell time by using
a natural sundial formed by their long noses, which project their shadows onto the dial of
their teeth.

inherent (in-HER-nt, in-HR-nt) adj. Something that exists as an essential, permanent, and
inseparable part of something else is said to be inherent (in that something else). An inherent
trait in a person is one thats hereditary and existing since birth. After reading Darwin we
debated about whether the struggle to survive inherent in every species is the same thing as
the will to live inherent in every human.

inhibit (in-HIB-it) vb. To inhibit something is to restrain (hold back, restrict, control, limit,
etc.) its progress or development. Antibacterial soap destroys or inhibits the growth of
bacteria. A person described as inhibited is restrained in his actions, impulses, desires,
spontaneity, etc. In 1940 British novelist Virginia Woolf described Nobel Prizewinning poet T.
S. Eliots face as a great yellow bronze mask all draped upon an iron frameworkan
inhibited, nerve-drawn, dropped face.

inimical (i-NIM-i-kl) adj. This word has two meanings, depending on the context. The first is
unfriendly, hostile, as in an inimical tone of voice. The second is harmful, injurious, as in
high taxes are inimical to economic growth. Note that with the second meaning the word
usually describes a situation or concept (as opposed to a person), and that in the typical
construction something is said to be inimical to something else. Explaining why he moved to
San Francisco, Larry said, Since extreme heat and cold are both inimical to human beings, I
like to keep myself balanced between the two.

inimitable (i-NIM-i-t-bl) adj. To refer to someone or something as inimitable is to say that
its beyond imitation; that is, its unparalleled, matchless, unequaled, peerless, unique, etc. In
the 1930s Louis Armstrongs inimitable singing style became as well known as his trumpet

iniquitous (i-NIK-wi-ts) adj. To describe something (an act, decision, etc.) as iniquitous is to
say that its grossly unjust; its wicked, sinful, unprincipled, evil, perverse, immoral, wrong,
unfair, etc. The noun is iniquity. In 1962, referring to laws against the iniquitous practice of
white mobs hanging black men without due process of law, civil rights leader Martin Luther
King, Jr. (19291968) said, It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can
keep him from lynching me, and I think thats pretty important.

initial (i-NISH-l) adj. As an adjective, this word describes anything that relates to, exists at,
or occurs at the beginning (of something); to anything that is first (of several or many parts,
steps, stages, repetitions, etc.). The Wright brothers made their initial (airplane) flight at Kitty
Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. Note: The word is often used when a first impression or
reaction (to something) ultimately changes (as in the medical professions initial hostility
toward birth control).

injunction (in-JUNGK-shn) n. An injunction is an order (often a formal court order) that
requires a person or organization to either not perform a particular act (as in the injunction
prevented the workers from going on strike) or to perform a particular act (as in the injunction
forced the strikers to return to work). In a majority (7-2) opinion in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case
(which established the constitutional legality of abortion), Supreme Court justice Harry
Blackmun explained, Jane Roe, a single woman who was residing in Dallas County, Texas,
instituted this federal action in March 1970 against the District Attorney of the county; she
sought a judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional and an
injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes.

inkling (ING-kling) n. To be given an inkling of something is to be given a slight hint or
suggestion of it (as in she wasnt given an inkling of what was in the box). To have an inkling
of something is to have a slight understanding of it or vague notion about it (as in she had
only an inkling of how to operate a computer). In August 1986, speaking of President Ronald
Reagans proposed Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), Soviet military chief of staff
Sergei Akhromeyev warned, If the United States [installs] a shield in space, the Soviet Union
will very quickly respond in a way which the United States has no inkling of as yet.

innate (i-NT, IN-t) adj. If something (talent, curiosity, common sense, honesty, etc.) is
innate, it exists or occurs naturally, since birth; its inborn (as opposed to being acquired
through study or experience). In his 1973 book The Seduction of the Spirit, Harvard
University divinity professor Harvey Cox said, All human beings have an innate need to hear
and tell stories and to have a story to live by; religion, whatever else it has done, has provided
one of the main ways of meeting this need.

innocuous (i-NOK-yoo-s) adj. If a physical substance (a drug, chemical, or fume, for
example) is innocuous, it has no injurious effect; its harmless, non-toxic, safe, etc. During the
1880s doctors believed that cocaine was innocuous, and there were no restrictions on its sale
or distribution. If a remark or situation is innocuous, its not likely to offend, annoy, or
irritate (anyone); its unobjectionable, innocent, gentle, etc. When Charlie was called into his
bosss office, he worried that he was about to be firedbut it turned out to be an innocuous
meeting about the office copy machine.

innovative (IN--v-tiv) adj. To describe something (an idea, plan, method, etc.) as innovative

is to say that it introduces something new; its original, clever, creative, imaginative, etc. Jimi
Hendrix (19421970) innovative electric guitar playing greatly influenced the development of
rock music.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. inimitable
2. innate
3. innovative

a. original, new
b. existing since birth, inborn
c. unequaled, unique

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. inherent: existing as an essential part (of something)
2. inhibit: occupy, dwell, reside
3. inimical: friendly, gracious

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
inhabitant, injunction, inkling

1. An Aussie is an __________ of Australia.
2. The short encyclopedia article gave us only an __________ of what calculus is used for.
3. The workers walked off the job in spite of a federal court __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. iniquitous / wicked
2. initial / first
3. innocuous / harmful

Chapter 118: innuendoinstigate

innuendo (in-yoo-EN-d) n. If you express something (usually negative) about someone or
something without actually coming right out and saying itthat is, if you say it indirectly by
merely hinting at it or by making a remark with a double meaningyoure using innuendo.
During the 1980 presidential election campaign, Republican vice presidential candidate
George H. Bush said that while he was taking the high road (in conducting his campaign),
his Democratic opponents (Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale) were guilty of innuendo and
low-road politics.

inquisition (in-kwi-ZI-shn) n. An inquisition is any (often official) prolonged questioning or
investigation of someone. Sometimes the word implies that the rights of the person being
questioned are ignored, the questions are harsh, and the punishments for wrongdoing are
cruel (as in the religious and political Inquisitions of 13th19th century Europe). In the 1991
film Guilty by Suspicion, Robert De Niro plays a 1950s Hollywood director and suspected
Communist who loses his home and career after he refuses to cooperate with the House UnAmerican Activity Committees inquisition into his political affairs.

inscription (in-SKRIP-shn) n. To inscribe is to mark or engrave words on a surface (as by
writing a dedication on the first page of a book or by carving a phrase on a marble
gravestone, for example). An inscription is such a marking or engraving. Two well-known
inscriptions are those on the Liberty Bell (Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all
the inhabitants thereof) and the Statue of Liberty (which includes the words Give me your
tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free).

inscrutable (in-SKROO-t-bl) adj. To refer to something as inscrutable is to say that its
incapable of being scrutinized (carefully examined or observed); as such, its difficult or
impossible to understand; its impenetrable, cryptic, mysterious, incomprehensible,
unexplainable, etc., as in an inscrutable smile or an inscrutable God. The critic said that what
made the 1975 film Jaws scary wasnt so much the large, man-eating shark, but the eerie
background music and the oceans inscrutable depths.

insensate (in-SEN-st, in-SEN-sit) adj. If youre insensate, you lack sensation; youre
unaware or unconscious. The word can also mean lacking sensitivity or feeling, as in an
insensate society. In a famous fairy tale, the insensate Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a
princes kiss.

insidious (in-SID--s) adj. If something is insidious, its in some way harmful, but it works
(or spreads, proceeds, operates, etc.) in a subtle or inconspicuous manner; it sneaks up on
you, so to speak. Syphilis, which occurs in four stages, is a particularly insidious disease: the
symptoms of the first three stages, even when left untreated, are either mild or non-existent;
but in its final stage the disease can cause blindness, deafness, paralysis, or insanity.

insinuate (in-SIN-yoo-t) vb. To insinuate a thought or idea is to state it indirectly; to hint at

it, suggest it, imply it, etc. In February 2000 a Washington Post editorial noted that
Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has insinuated that George W. Bush lacks
the experience and knowledge to be President. To insinuate yourself into something or
someplace where youre not necessarily wanted (a group of people, ones good graces, etc.)
is to introduce or force yourself into it, especially by indirect or subtle means. In 1903
Russian self-proclaimed holy man Rasputin insinuated himself into Russias royal family (Czar
Ncholas II and his wife Alexandra). The noun insinuation refers either to an act or instance of
insinuating or to a particular (usually unfavorable) suggestion. In his first inaugural address
(January 1953), President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, We reject any insinuation that one
race or another, one people or another, is in any sense inferior or expendable.

insipid (in-SIP-id) adj. To describe something (or someone) as insipid is to say that its bland,
dull, uninteresting, unexciting, etc. In his 1956 television appearances, singer Elvis Presley,
gyrating his hips and curling his lips, shattered the world of insipid family entertainment.

insolence (IN-s-lns) n. Disrespectful rudeness (as in speech or manner) is known as
insolence. The adjective is insolent. In 1963 British author Aldous Huxley (18941963)
observed, No man ever dared to [show] his boredom so insolently as does a Siamese tomcat
when he yawns in the face of his [passionately persistent] wife.

insouciant (in-SOO-s-nt) adj. Someone whos insouciant is carefree, unconcerned, without
anxiety. If you remember that the French word souci means care and that the prefix inmeans without, its easy to remember that insouciant means without care. Insouciance is
the noun. According to the Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia, British actor Roger Moore
brought a lightweight insouciance to the role of [fictional secret service agent] Jame Bond.

instantaneous (in-stn-T-n-s) adj. If something (a particular action, for example) is
instantaneous, it happens (or occurs, or is done, or is completed) in an instant; that is, it
happens in an almost imperceptibly short amount of time (or, to use other words, it happens in
a split second, in a moment, lightning quick, immediately, spontaneously, etc.). In May 1844,
with his telegraph and Morse code, American inventor Samuel Morse demonstrated the
possibility of almost instantaneous communication between cities by sending an electrical
message (What hath God wrought!) from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland.

instigate (IN-sti-gt) vb. To instigate something (a fight or riot, for example) is to start it;
bring it about; provoke it. The Boston Tea Party (in which in 1773 a band of colonists
disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three anchored British ships and dumped 342 chests of
tea into Boston harbor in order to protest the British tea tax) was instigated by American
patriot Samuel Adams.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. inquisition
2. inscription
3. insolence

a. words marked or engraved on a surface
b. harsh questioning or investigation
c. disrespectful rudeness

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. insensate: lighter than air
2. innuendo: indirect or suggestive remark
3. insinuate: enclose completely

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
inscrutable, insidious, instantaneous

1. The computer s response to my keystroke was __________.
2. His __________ expression gave us no hint of his feelings.
3. The onset of the disease is __________; in fact, the patient may experience no symptoms.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. insouciant / troubled
2. insipid / exciting
3. instigate / provoke

Chapter 119: instrumentalinterloper

instrumental (in-str-MEN-tl) adj. If something is instrumental in bringing about a certain
result or effect, its contributory, helpful, productive, useful, etc. (in bringing it about). South
African leader Nelson Mandela has been instrumental in ending his countrys racist policies.

insuperable (in-SOO-pr--bl) adj. To describe something (a hardship, an obstacle, etc.) as

insuperable is to say that its impossible to overcome; its insurmountable. In the 1976 film
Rocky, an unknown boxer overcomes seemingly insuperable odds to go the distance with the
world heavyweight champ.

insurrection (in-s-REK-shn) n. An insurrection is a rebellion (or revolt or uprising)
against an established authority (a government, for example). The word sometimes implies
that the rebellion is popular, limited, or is viewed as the first stage of a larger revolt to come.
African-American slave and revolutionary Nat Turner, believing himself chosen by God to lead
his people to freedom, led about 60 followers in an 1831 slave insurrection in which 57 whites
were slaughtered.

intact (in-TAKT) adj. If you say that something is intact, you mean that it remains whole,
complete, or sound; that is, its unbroken, unimpaired, etc. Though heavy Allied bombing in
World War II destroyed much of Tokyo, the citys Imperial Palace remained intact.

integrate (IN-ti-grt) vb. To integrate various related things is to bring them together into a
whole; to combine or unite them. Under NAFTA (1992s North American Free Trade
Agreement), the United States, Canada, and Mexico became a single, giant, integrated market
of almost 400 million people. To integrate a single thing into a larger unit is make it part of it;
to add or merge it in. In 1981 Greece was integrated into the European Economic Community
(an economic union, established 1958, to promote trade and cooperation among the countries
of western Europe).

integrity (in-TEG-ri-t) n. Integrity is an aspect of a persons character. People who have
integrity are honest, moral, ethical, upright, etc. They do the right thing because it is part of
their nature to do so (even when no one is watching!). Baseball manager Leo Durocher once
said, I never question the integrity of an umpire; their eyesight, yes. Note: If youre talking
about a thing rather than a person, then integrity refers to the condition of being complete and
perfect in every respect; the condition of being whole, sound, consistent throughout, etc. (for
example, a letter written with the same pen throughout has integrity; a letter written with two
dissimilar pens doesnt have integrity).

intemperate (in-TEM-pr-it, in-TEM-prit) adj. To describe something (speech, behavior,
etc.) as intemperate is to say that its not moderate; its unrestrained, excessive, extreme, etc.
Note: The word often refers specifically to overindulgence in alcoholic beverages. In
November 1996, as ABCs election night coverage wound down, legendary TV news
commentator David Brinkley created a stir with his intemperate remarks about the newly
reelected President Bill Clinton (he referred to him as a bore and to his speeches as full of
goddamn nonsense).

intercede (in-tr-SD) vb. When you intercede, you intervene (on behalf of someone in some

difficulty or trouble); you try to mediate or reconcile differences (between people). The
Virgin Mary is honored by all Christians because they believe strongly in her mercy and her
power to intercede with God.

interim (IN-tr-im) n., adj. As a noun, an interim is an intervening period of time (as between
one event or situation and another); meantime. Grover Cleveland was elected to
nonconsecutive presidential terms (18851889 and 18931897); in the interim he moved to
New York City and practiced law. As an adjective, if something (a government, agreement,
president, etc.) is interim, it exists during an intervening period of time; its for the time
being; its temporary. Delhi was the interim capital of British India (191231) while the
modern city of New Delhi was being built.

interlard (in-tr-LRD) vb. To interlard something is to diversify it by inserting into it (here
and there) some contrasting, foreign, unique, or striking element. For example, a list of
boring, dry instructions might be interlarded with witty remarks; a thesis on the English legal
system might contain interlarding Latin phrases, etc. Note: The word originally meant to mix
fat (lard) with lean (as of meat). The first truly Russian opera, Mikhail Glinkas A Life for the
Tsar (1836), was written in the style of Russian folk songs but was interlarded with sections
written in the popular Italian operatic style of the time.

interlocutor (in-tr-LOK-y-tr) n. A person who (often formally or officially) takes part in
a conversation or dialogue (especially a high-level one), or a person who interjects questions
into a dialogue, is known as an interlocutor. In the 1200s and 1300s, Venice, strategically
located at the top of the Adriatic sea, not only dominated trade between Europe and the
Middle East but also served as interlocutor between the two cultures.

interloper (IN-tr-l-pr) n. An interloper is a person (usually an outsider) who thrusts
himself into other peoples affairs without invitation (sometimes for selfish reasons). The
criminal was about to hand his weapon to the police but suddenly changed his mind when an
interloper screamed at the top of his lungs, Shoot him! Hes got a gun!

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. integrate
2. intercede
3. interlard

a. act on another s behalf
b. diversity (something) by inserting contrasting elements
c. bring together (into a whole)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. interlocutor: executioner
2. instrumental: useful or contributory (in bringing about a desired result)
3. interloper: translator

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
insurrection, integrity, interim

1. He played pro baseball from 193641 and from 194651; in the __________ he served in
the army.
2. A judge must be a person of unquestioned __________.
3. Spartacus led an __________ of slaves that defeated several Roman armies.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. insuperable / insurmountable
2. intact / broken
3. intemperate / moderate

Chapter 120: interminableintrepid

interminable (in-TR-m-n-bl) adj. If something is interminable, either it lasts, or seems
to last, forever (as in an interminable wait on a stalled train), or its annoyingly, tiresomely,
or monotonously long (as in an interminable list of rules and regulations). In 1976 journalist
Anatole Broyand said, The tension between yes and no, between I can and I cannot, makes us
feel that, in so many instances, human life is an interminable debate with ones self.

intermittent (in-tr-MIT-nt) adj. Something (a sound, for example) described as

intermittent stops and starts; it goes on and off (usually at irregular intervals). Fireflies emit
intermittent flashes of light to attract mates.

internecine (in-tr-NES-n, in-tr-NES-in, in-tr-N-sn) adj. If you say that a conflict or
struggle is internecine, you mean that it occurs within a group, organization, or nation (as
opposed to between different groups). Although the Arab League (an association or over 20
Arab countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan) was formed
(1945) to coordinate the political interests of its members, it has really become more a forum
for internecine squabbles (as when members clashed over Egypts 1979 peace treaty with
Israel and Iraqs 1990 invasion of Kuwait).

interpose (in-tr-PZ) vb. Something that interposes (between two things), comes (is located
or put) between those things; for example, an interposing wall might be placed between two
fighting pet hamsters. By interposing cold solder and then heating it, he was able to join
together the two metal parts. Note: The word can also mean interject (throw a comment into
a conversation) or intervene (come between two parties to help negotiate).

interstices (in-TR-sti-sz, in-TR-sti-siz) n. Narrow spaces or gaps that occur between
things or parts of a thing (especially when these spaces look alike and occur at regular
intervals) are known as interstices. Jimmy ran his stick only along slatted fencesnever solid
onesbecause he loved the rat-tat-tat sound generated by the interstices.

intervene (in-tr-VN) vb. In one sense, to intervene is to interfere in the affairs of others; to
meddle, intrude, butt in, etc. In 1904 President Theodore Roosevelt declared that the United
States could intervene in the affairs of any Latin American country guilty of misconduct. In
another sense, to intervene is to come between two people or groups engaged in a dispute so
as to influence the outcome or result; to mediate, intercede, step in, etc. The U.S. President has
the power to intervene in labor-management disputes.

intimate (IN-t-mt) vb. To intimate something (an idea, for example) is to express it in an
indirect manner; to hint at it, imply it, suggest it. At one time angels were popular features on
graves; their presence intimated that, just as they had protected the departed during his
lifetime, they did so now in death.

intimidate (in-TIM-i-dt) vb. Depending on the context, to intimidate someone is to (1) make
him feel afraid (by threats, for example), (2) influence or force him (by threats or fear) to
carry out (or not carry out) some particular action, or (3) make him feel inferior by
displaying superiority (of wealth, fame, importance, intelligence, etc.). Concerning the 1973
Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion (Roe v. Wade), Justice Harry Blackmun said, The
states are not free, under the [pretense] of protecting [the mothers] health or [an unborn] life,
to intimidate women into continuing pregnancies.

intone (in-TN) vb. To intone something (a set of instructions or rules, minutes to a meeting,
etc.) is to recite it (say it out loud), especially in a monotonous or chant-like way. In her 1980
book Hearts, Hilma Wolitzer says: The waitress intoned the specialties of the day, Chicken
Cordon Bleu, Sole Amandine, Veal Marsala; she might have been a train conductor in a
foreign country, calling out the strange names of the stations.

intractable (in-TRAK-t-bl) adj. To refer to a person as intractable is to say that hes either
difficult to manage (hes uncontrollable, uncooperative, etc.) or that he inflexibly sticks to a
particular position or purpose (hes headstrong, stubborn, willful, etc.). The word is also used
to refer to things (problems, disputes, illnesses, for example) that are stubborn or difficult to
control. The words opposite is tractable, which means yielding readily to external
pressure. Concerning the treatment of mental disorders, the psychiatrist said, I recommend
talk therapy for mild ones, medication for more severe ones, and brain surgery for truly
intractable ones.

intransigent (in-TRAN-s-jnt, in-TRAN-z-jnt) adj. To describe someone as intransigent
is to say that he inflexibly maintains a position (as in politics, for example), or that he firmly
sticks to an intention or purpose; hes uncompromising, unyielding, stubborn, etc. In May
1856 Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner, an outspoken and intransigent opponent of
slavery, was physically assaulted by a congressman at odds with his views.

intrepid (in-TREP-id) adj. If youre intrepid, youre boldly or daringly fearless (when faced
with something dangerous or scary). The intrepid Mercury astronauts (Alan Shepard, John
Glenn, and others) paved the way for the later Apollo astronauts.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. intone
2. intimidate
3. intervene

a. instill fear, threaten
b. recite in a monotone
c. come between disputing parties

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. interstices: narrow gaps or spaces (in something)

2. internecine: shiny, slick

3. interpose: place between (two things)

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
interminable, intermittent, intrepid

1. After six months of __________ fighting, full war broke out.
2. The documentary concerned the __________ pioneers who settled the American West.
3. The movie was __________; in fact, we fell asleep before it ended.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. intractable / cooperative
2. intimate / hint
3. intransigent / unyielding

Chapter 121: intrinsicinveterate

intrinsic (in-TRIN-zik, in-TRIN-sik) adj. Things that exist as part of the essential nature of
something are said to be intrinsic (to it); that is, they are built in, naturally occurring, etc.
For example, you might speak of the intrinsic brightness of a star or of the intrinsic value of a
gemstone. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, As demonstrated by the Woodstock Festival
in August 1969, rock music was by [that] time an intrinsic element in the life of American
youth and a powerful articulation of their moods, hopes, and fears. Note: The opposite is
extrinsic, meaning not forming an essential part (of something); originating or existing
outside (of something).

introspective (in-tr-SPEK-tiv) adj. If youre introspective, you tend to observe or examine
your own thoughts and feelings; youre thoughtful, meditative, self-aware, inner-directed, etc.
The noun is introspection. Speaking of getting older, writer and botanist Janice Emily Bowers
once said, Forty is about the age for unexpected developments: [outgoing people] turn
introspective, [shy people] become sociable, and everyone, without regard to type, acquires
grey hairs and philosophies of life; many also acquire gardens.

intrude (in-TROOD) vb. When you intrude, you force yourself upon another (or others)
without his invitation or permission; you butt in, horn in, stick your nose in, etc. Penguins
show little fear of humans; in fact, they sometimes use their wings to beat the shins of people
who intrude on their nesting grounds.

intuition (in-too-ISH-n) n. The act of knowing, or the ability to know, something (a fact or
truth, for example) without using any reasoning process (study, analysis, logic, etc.) is known
as intuition. Intuition is sometimes informally referred to as a sixth sense or a funny
feeling. According to Grolier s Encyclopedia, the master builders who designed the
magnificent cathedrals of 12th-century Europe proceeded without the insights of science,
basing their specifications only on experience, rules of thumb, intuition, and daring.

inundate (IN-un-dt, IN-n-dt) vb. Technically, to inundate something is to cover it with
water; to saturate it with liquid; to flood it. But people generally use this word to refer to
anything that resembles a flooding; that is, to any overspreading or overwhelming (of
something) by anything. After the 2001 Tony Awards presentation, the theatre showing (the
Mel Brooks musical) The Producers was inundated with requests for tickets.

inure (in-YOOR) vb. To become inured to something undesirable is to become used to it; to
become accustomed to it by being subjected to it over time. After two years he had still not
become inured to his mother-in-laws whining voice.

invalidate (in-VAL-i-dt) vb. If something legal (a contract or ruling, for example) is valid,
its sound and binding; it has the force of law. If you invalidate something, you make it no
longer valid; you cancel it, nullify it, undo it, etc. In 1973 the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated
state laws that prohibited abortion.

invective (in-VEK-tiv) n. Invective is harshly abusive or denunciatory language; a tonguelashing. In the 1973 film The Paper Chase, veteran actor John Houseman portrays an awesome
but stuffy Harvard Law School professor whose sarcastic invective humiliates unprepared

inveigh (in-V) vb. To inveigh against something is to speak out against it, usually angrily,
forcefully, or emotionally. During the late 1960s, many people inveighed against U.S.
involvement in the Vietnam War; among the best known were actress Jane Fonda, cultural
revolutionary Abbie Hoffman, and pediatrician Benjamin Spock.

inveigle (in-V-gl) vb. To inveigle someone (into doing something that he doesnt want to)
is to induce, entice, or convince him (to do it) by means of flattery, coaxing, slick talk, etc. To
inveigle a desired object (a free pass to something, for example) is to obtain it (from
someone) by means of charm, sweet-talk, flattery, etc. In Carlo Collodis Adventures of
Pinocchio (1883), a lazy, mischief-making boy named Lampwick inveigles Pinocchio into
skipping school and running away with him to Playland (where there are no schools, no
teachers, no books!).

inversion (in-VR-zhn) n. An inversion of something is an upside-down or backward
version or rearrangement of it. We were surprised to learn that many people who had once

lived in (the New York City borough of) Brooklyn had moved to (what is now the Long Island
village of) Lynbrook, and that the name Lynbrook was simply an inversion of Brooklyn.

inveterate (in-VET-r-it) adj. If you describe something (a particular behavior, for example)
as inveterate, you mean that its firmly established (hardened, fixed, set) through long
continuance; its habitual, confirmed, chronic (as in an inveterate gambler, an inveterate liar,
an inveterate schemer, etc.). An inveterate art collector, American oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty
(18921976) established (1954) a museum in Malibu, California, to publicly display his vast

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. intuition
2. invective
3. inversion

a. backward or upside-down version (of something)
b. ability to know something without any reasoning process
c. harsh, critical language

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. intrinsic: microscopic, tiny
2. inveigh: speak out angrily (against something)
3. inure: dig, uncover

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
intrude, invalidate, inveigle

1. He tried to __________ me into investing in his new company.
2. I dont mean to __________, but may I interrupt?
3. The U.S. Supreme Court has the power to __________ an act of Congress.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. introspective / meditative

2. inveterate / habitual
3. inundate / flood

Chapter 122: invidiousirksome

invidious (in-VID--s) adj. If something is invidious, it arouses (or tends to arouse) feelings
of ill will, resentment, aversion, anger, envy, etc. (as in an invidious comparison), or it
contains or implies a slight or insult (as in an invidious accusation). In 1986, in a ruling that
compulsory drug testing of government employees was unconstitutional, U.S. District Court
judge H. Lee Sarokin said, The invidious effect of such mass, roundup urinalysis is that it
casually sweeps up the innocent with the guilty.

invigorate (in-VIG--rt) vb. To invigorate someone or something is to give it or fill it with
strength, energy, or liveliness (as in the Beatles invigorated popular music). As an adjective, if
something is invigorating, either its strength-giving, enlivening, etc. (as in an invigorating
cup of tea) or its refreshing, stimulating, etc. (as in an invigorating sea breeze). In his third
inaugural address (January 1941), President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, A nation, like a
person, has a bodya body that must be fed and clothed and housed, invigorated and rested,
in a manner that measures up to the [goals] of our time.

invincible (in-VIN-s-bl) adj. This word describes anything that cant be conquered or
defeated (as in an invincible army), or anything that cant be subdued or put down (as in
invincible courage). In 1978 boxer Leon Spinks surprised everyone by winning the
heavyweight crown from the seemingly invincible Muhammad Ali.

inviolable (in-V--l-bl) adj. Things that are inviolable are incapable of being violated; that
is, theyre untouchable, sacred, unassailable, well-protected, invulnerable, impregnable, etc.
The English Bill of Rights (1689) stated that no Roman Catholic would rule England; in
addition, it gave inviolable civil and political rights to the people and political supremacy to

invoke (in-VK) vb. To invoke a higher power (God, for example) is to call upon it (for help,
aid, support, etc.). The last sentence of President Abraham Lincolns Emancipation
Proclamation (1863), which declared that all persons held as slaves shall be forever free,
reads: And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justiceI invoke the considerate
judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God. Note: The word has two other
meanings. To invoke a law, rule, treaty, strategy, etc., is to apply it or enforce it (as in invoke
the Fifth Amendment). And the word can also mean cite (mention) as an authority or an
authoritative example in order to support or justify something (as in invoke the U.S.

iota (--t) n. An iota of something is a tiny amount of it; a bit, particle, atom, or speck of it.
The word is generally used to refer to non-material things (as in an iota of common sense or
an iota of decency) rather than to physical substances. In 1979 former Yugoslavian Communist
political leader Milovan Djilas said, One cannot be a Communist and preserve an iota of
ones personal integrity. Note: The word is also the name of the ninth letter of the Greek
alphabet (the equivalent of the English i).

irascible (i-RAS--bl) adj. Someone whos irascible is easily angered; hes irritable, cranky,
short-tempered, testy, etc. In 1981 irascible tennis star John McEnroe shouted to the umpires,
spectators, and reporters at Wimbledon, You are the pits of the world! Vultures! Trash!

irate (-RT) adj. If someone is irate, hes very angry (enraged, irritated, etc.) The
implications are that his anger is apparent rather than hidden and that hes likely to take some
action as a result of his anger. At the age of 32, Bill Clinton was elected (1979) as the nations
youngest governor (of Arkansas)but he was defeated for re-election by voters irate at a rise
in the states automobile license fees!

ire (r) n. This is a somewhat literary word meaning anger, rage. The implication is that
some sort of emotional display (flushed cheeks, for example) might accompany the anger.
When New York State appointed a commission to investigate abortion, the makeup of the
commission (14 men and a nun) aroused the ire of many women.

iridescent (ir-i-DES-nt) adj. If something is iridescent it has or displays shining, glowing
colors, like those of a rainbow. Six-year-old Billy was afraid to admit to his teacher that the
reason he was five minutes late for school was that hed just spent that much time standing in
front of the building staring in wonder at the iridescent streaks of an oil slick.

iris (-ris) n. Your iris is the round, colored portion of your eye. Sitting behind the cornea and
surrounding the pupil, it contracts and expands to regulate the amount of light that enters your
eye. Explaining that all Christmas decorations should be red and green, Ed took out some
crayons and made the cardboard Santas eyes bloodshot with green irises.

irksome (RK-sm) adj. If something (performing a difficult or time-consuming task, for
example) is irksome, its annoying, bothersome, irritating, etc., and at the same time (because
it may involve dull or unrewarding work) tedious, tiresome, wearisome, etc. When the bride
and groom returned from their honeymoon, they were faced with the irksome task of writing
250 thank-you notes.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. invidious
2. inviolable
3. irate

a. incapable of being violated, sacred
b. tending to cause feelings of ill will or envy
c. angry, enraged

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. iota: tiny amount
2. iris: rainbow or prism
3. invoke: stir up, provoke

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
invincible, iridescent, irksome

1. The peacocks tail feathers were marked with __________ circles.
2. Samsons uncut hair have him __________ strength.
3. Washing dishes is an __________ task.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. irascible / touchy
2. ire / anger
3. invigorate / weaken

Chapter 123: ironicjettison

ironic (-RON-ik) adj. If you refer to an outcome of events as ironic, you mean that its
(sometimes humorously) contradictory to the expected or anticipated outcome (especially
when it involves a twist of fate or improbable coincidence). In O. Henrys short story The
Gift of the Magi (1906), at Christmastime a poor young man sells his pocket watch to buy a
set of combs for his wifes beautiful long hair; ironically, at the same time she cuts off her hair
and sells it to buy him a chain for his watch.

irresolute (i-REZ--loot) adj. If youre irresolute (about something), youre uncertain or

undecided (about it); you cant make up your mind (about how to act or proceed). Historians
say that after taking office in January 1993, President Bill Clinton acted decisively on such
issues as gays in the military and the appointment of women and minorities to high federal
posts, but that he appeared inexperienced and irresolute in dealing with foreign crises (as in
Bosnia, Somalia, Rwanda, Cuba, and Haiti).

irrevocable (i-REV--k-bl) adj. Something (a decision or law, for example) referred to as
irrevocable cannot be revoked (taken back, withdrawn, repealed, recalled, annulled, voided,
cancelled, reversed, etc.). A 1980 article on sex education in People magazine said, Before
the child ever gets to school it will have received crucial, almost irrevocable sex education,
and this will have been taught by the parents, who are not aware of what they are doing.

itinerant (-TIN-r-nt) adj. An itinerant person is one who travels from place to place
(especially to perform work or duty); he has no fixed home. At about the age of 20, AfricanAmerican ragtime composer Scott Joplin (18681917) became an itinerant pianist, traveling
throughout the Midwest.

jaded (J-did) adj. If youve become jaded with something, then (as a result of overuse of it,
overexposure to it, or overindulgence in it) youve become dulled to it; that is, youre no
longer moved by it, enthusiastic about it, or interested in it. Jaded with sitcoms and crime
dramas, TV audiences in 2000 turned to the reality series Survivor, in which contestants
competed for a million dollars by living in the wild.

japanned (j-PAND) adj. This word is used to describe a surface (wood or metal, for
example) thats coated or decorated with a hard, glossy (often black) varnish or enamel. In the
Orient, women often wear hair ornaments consisting of japanned pins and combs.

jargon (JR-gn) n. The specialized or technical language or vocabulary of a particular
group (profession, class, region, etc.) is known as jargon. In CB radio jargon, smokey
means highway patrolman (from the resemblance of state troopers hats to that of Smokey
the Bear).

jaundiced (JN-dist) adj. Medically speaking, to say that someone is jaundiced is to say that
his skin has taken on a yellowish cast (as from yellow fever, hepatitis, malaria, or cirrhosis).
But in general usage, to say that someones viewpoint or attitude is jaundiced (toward
something) is to say that its prejudiced, hostile, slanted, colored, etc. (often as the result of a
particular bad experience). In 1986 Wole Soyinka (a Nobel Prizewinning writer from the wartorn African country of Nigeria) said of his 1962 play A Dance of the Forests, [It] takes a
jaundiced view of the [much-praised] glorious past of Africa.

jeer (jr) vb., n. To jeer is to speak or call out in a mocking, insulting, or teasing manner; to
make fun of or poke fun at (someone), especially in a rude or unkind way; to tease, insult,

ridicule, etc. As a noun, a jeer is a mocking, insulting, or teasing remark or shout; a sarcastic
wisecrack. Baseball umpire Tom Gorman once said (of his profession), Its a strange
business: all jeers and no cheers.

jejune (j-JOON) adj. This word can mean dull (not interesting, plain, uninspired), as in a
jejune novel, or it can mean childish (immature, amateurish, uninformed, inexperienced), as
in jejune attempts to create a business plan, or it can mean one (dull or childish) with the
added implication of the other. When Sheldon asked his girlfriend why she was breaking up
with him, she answered, Because of all the stupid, jejune activities you suggestlike staring
at your ant farm!

jeopardy (JEP-r-d) n. Exposure to or risk of possible harm (loss, death, injury, etc.) is
known as jeopardy. To jeopardize something is to put it at risk. In a March 1947 speech before
Congress, President Harry Truman said, If we wish to inspire the peoples of the world whose
freedom is in jeopardy, we must correct the remaining imperfections in our practice of

jettison (JET-i-sn, JET-i-zn) vb. To jettison something (goods, supplies, provisions, fuel,
etc.) is to cast or throw it overboard or off (as from a ship or plane that needs to be lightened
or stabilized in an emergency). Informally, the word can be used to denote the throwing away
or discarding of anything (a burden, obstacle, difficulty, etc.), as in they jettisoned the plan.
(By the way, cargo or equipment that has been jettisoned from a ship is known as jetsam;
however, wreckage that remains afloat after a ship has sunk is known as flotsam. The phrase
flotsam and jetsamor either of those words alonecan be used informally to mean
discarded odds and ends; junk. The word flotsam alone also can be used informally to refer
to undesirable peoplevagrants, derelicts, bums, lowlifes, etc.) During the Watergate
hearings (1973), in an effort to preserve his Presidency, Richard Nixon jettisoned his top
assistants and fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. japanned
2. jaundiced
3. jejune

a. coated with a hard, glossy finish
b. childish or dull
c. prejudiced, slanted, colored

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. ironic: reddish in color (as from rusted iron)
2. jettison: throw overboard
3. jargon: illegal gambling

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
irrevocable, itinerant, jaded

1. Even the most __________ fan will find something of interest on the new Star Wars
2. Its too late; the decision has been made and is __________.
3. Troubadours were __________ entertainers of medieval Europe.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. irresolute / decisive
2. jeer / mock
3. jeopardy / safety

Chapter 124: jocularken

jocular (JOK-y-lr) adj. People who are jocular speak or act in a joking manner; theyre
funny, witty, playful, tongue-in-cheek, etc. Speech or action described as jocular is in the
nature of (or contains) a joke. In 2001 journalist Rich Lowry said that whenever President
George W. Bush is first introduced to someone, his routine is a firm handshake, a look in the
eye, [and] a jocular exchange of words.

jocund (JOK-nd, J-knd) adj. People who are jocund are merry, jolly, cheerful, etc.,
especially in a lively and carefree way. When they got back from the bar, the jocund
conventioneers, laughing uncontrollably, began throwing water balloons out the hotel window.

jovial (J-v-l) adj. If youre jovial, youre merry and jolly and have a hearty good humor.
The noun is joviality. At the beginning of his shift, the department store Santa felt
appropriately jovial, but by the time the last kid climbed off his lap he was ready to scream.

jubilant (JOO-b-lnt) adj. People or celebrations described as jubilant are filled with great
joy, happiness, delight, merriment, etc. The noun is jubilation. In the United States, the Fourth

of July is an occasion for parades, patriotic speeches, and noisy jubilation.

judicious (joo-DISH-s) adj. To be judicious (in handling some matter) is to act wisely or to
show sound judgment or common sense. Their judicious use of pesticides allowed them to
control the insects without violating any environmental regulations.

juggernaut (JUG-r-nt) n. Something (a destructive force, an object, a set of beliefs, for
example) that overwhelmingly, ruthlessly, or unstoppably advances forward (as a football
team, a war, a large battleship, etc.) and crushes all opposition is referred to as a juggernaut.
Though individually puny, when tropical army ants move in a million-strong swarm, they are a
juggernaut that overruns and devours any animal in their path.

juncture (JUNGK-chr) n. A juncture is a point in time, especially an important, critical, or
crucial point (as when circumstances come to a head or when a decision must be made).
According to Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Frances Fitzgerald, The United States came
to Vietnam at a critical juncture of Vietnam history. Note: The word can also be used as a
synonym for junction (place where two things meet), as in the juncture of the Missouri and
Mississippi rivers.

junket (JUNG-kit) n. A (usually short) trip or tour, especially one made by a government
official at public expense (or by a businessman at company expense), is known as a junket.
Because during these trips the working (fact-finding, for example) traveler often stays at a
fancy resort in an exotic location and enjoys himself (by playing golf, feasting, etc.), the word
generally carries a somewhat negative connotation. Note: The word can also be used
informally to refer to any short pleasure trip or outing (as in a gambling junket to Atlantic
City). In a November 1989 article entitled Shopping Junkets for Hill Spouses, the
Washington Post reported, Dont expect all of your elected representatives to be home for the
holidays; some will give themselves and their spouses Christmas presents from you in the form
of first-class junkets to warm climates for official business.

jurisdiction (joor-is-DIK-shn) n. This word can signify either (1) the authority or power (of
a person, court, etc.) to interpret and apply laws (as in on a naval vessel the captain has
jurisdiction) or (2) the things or geographical areas over which such authority extends (as in
all districts south of the river are his jurisdiction). In the United States, the federal
government has jurisdiction over some matters (the age at which one may vote, for example)
and state governments have jurisdiction over others (the age at which one may drive, for

juxtapose (juk-st-PZ) vb. To juxtapose two or more things is to set them close together or
side by side for the purpose of comparing them, contrasting them, showing how they enhance
each other, showing how they form a strange combination, etc. In the 1970 film M*A*S*H,
scenes of bloodshed and death are juxtaposed with scenes of sarcasm and high jinks.

keen (kn) n., vb. A keen is a loud, wailing expression of grief (often like a chant) for the
dead. To keen is to make such a wail. A sound described as keening resembles the sound of a
keen. I realize my son whines, but I was more than a bit dismayed to learn that his pre-school
teachers had nicknamed him the keening banshee.

ken (ken) n. Your ken is your range of knowledge, understanding, or perception. In the song
Sixteen Going on Seventeen (from Rodgers and Hammersteins The Sound of Music), an
inexperienced girl admits, Totally unprepared am I to face a world of men; timid and shy and
scared am I of things beyond my ken.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. juggernaut
2. jurisdiction
3. keen

a. authority to apply laws
b. a wail of grief
c. unstoppable force

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. jocund: curved, rounded
2. juxtapose: place (two things) close together
3. jovial: merry, jolly

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
juncture, junket, ken

1. The congressmen were never asked to account for their expenses on their __________ to
2. I can help you with your geometry homework, but trigonometry is beyond my __________.
3. At this __________, we must decide whether to advance or retreat.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. jocular / serious
2. jubilant / joyous
3. judicious / wise

Chapter 125: knolllaconic

knoll (nl) n. A knoll is a small, rounded hill. Although the Warren Commission concluded
that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy, some
people claim that a second shot was fired at almost the same time from a grassy knoll along
the motorcade.

knot (not) n. A knot of people is a (not large) group of people, somewhat tightly clustered
together, as in a knot of onlookers. Sometimes the word can refer to things (instead of people),
as in a knot of trees. Speaking of Richard Nixon to a knot of reporters after a 1977 press
conference, President Jimmy Carter said, I personally think that he did violate the law, but I
dont think that he thinks he did.

knotty (NOT-) adj. To describe something (a situation, for example) as knotty is to say that
its difficult to resolve; its tangled, intricate, involved, complex, etc. Although in 1973 the
U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion is legal, for many political candidates this knotty,
litmus test issue remains a trying one.

kowtow (KOU-tou) vb. When you kowtow to someone you give in to or support everything
he requests or believes; you always say yes to him; you suck up to him. (In China this word
literally means knock head and refers to the former custom of touching ones forehead to
the ground while kneeling, as a sign of respect or worship.) In 1953 Soviet diplomat Andrei
Gromyko, speaking of Americas sweeping influence throughout the world remarked, Greece
is a sort of American vassal; the Netherlands is the country of American bases that grow like
tulip bulbs; Cuba is the main sugar plantation of the American monopolies; Turkey is prepared
to kowtow before any United States proconsul, and Canada is the boring second fiddle in the
American symphony.

kudos (KOO-dz, KOO-ds) n. Praise, approval, or acclaim for outstanding achievement is
known as kudos. Note: Even though the word looks like a plural, its actually singular (there is
no such thing as a single kudo). In pronunciation, many people, believing the word to be
plural (in the same way that accolades is the plural of accolade), pronounce the final
consonant as a z; however, if you want to emphasize the words singularity, pronounce the
final consonant as an s. In his debut as a director, actor Robert Redford won kudos (and an
Oscar) for the 1980 film Ordinary People.

labyrinth (LAB--rinth) n. A labyrinth is a maze or, figuratively, any bewilderingly intricate

construction or problem. In 1965 French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez said, Music
is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no
beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover. Note: In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth
was the maze in which the Minotaur (a monster with a mans body and bulls head) was
confined. To describe something as labyrinthine is to say that it resembles a labyrinth; that is,
its intricate, convoluted, mazelike, etc.

lacerate (LAS--rt) vb. To lacerate something (your skin, for example) is to rip, cut, or tear
it. A laceration is a cut or wound, especially a rough or jagged one. According to the World
Almanac and Book of Facts, people visit hospital emergency rooms for lacerations of the face
more often than they do for skin rashes but less often than they do for earaches.

lachrymose (LAK-r-ms) adj. Sometimes this word is used as a synonym for sad or
mournful, but more specifically (because in the human body the lachrymal glands are the
glands that produce tears), it means tearful or weepy. A thing described as lachrymose
tends to cause tears. It wasnt until after she finished her lachrymose confession that the
suspect realized her carefully applied makeup was destroyed.

lackadaisical (lak--D-zi-kl) adj. To describe an effort as lackadaisical is to say that it
lacks vigor or determination; its halfhearted, unenthusiastic, etc. To describe a person as
lackadaisical is to say that hes lazy, sluggish, indifferent, etc. In August 1998, speaking of
that seasons major league home run race, journalist Linton Weeks said, What happened to
August? Didnt the eighth month used to be laid-back and lackadaisical? No longer. This
August has been a gust of activity, manic as Mark McGwire, slamming as Sammy Sosa.

lackey (LAK-) n. A lackey is a flunky; a servile follower. TV shows about comic book
character Superman typically involve a scheming gangster (called Boss) and his lackeys
(named, perhaps, Lefty and Mugsy).

lackluster (LAK-lus-tr) adj. If you understand that to lack something is to be without it and
that luster is a glow (as of reflected light), then you can see that something lackluster has no
shine or glow (it lacks luster); its drab, dull, lifeless, colorless, or ordinary. The candidate
wasnt sure whether it was his lackluster personality or his lackluster campaign that was
responsible for his losing the election.

laconic (l-KON-ik) adj. To describe a person as laconic is to say that he uses few words; his
language is concise, brief, short. Speech or writing described as laconic is similarly compact.
A famously laconic radio message sent by a U.S. Navy officer during World War II read
Sighted sub; sank same.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. knotty
2. lachrymose
3. laconic

a. tearful, weepy
b. difficult to resolve
c. tending to use few words

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. knoll: small, rounded hill
2. lackey: horse-drawn carriage
3. kowtow: refuse to yield or change

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
knot, kudos, labyrinth

1. His first novel received __________ from readers and critics alike.
2. We tried to make sense of the __________ of income tax laws, rules, and regulations.
3. At the reception, a __________ of students surrounded the professor.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. lacerate / rip
2. lackluster / exciting
3. lackadaisical / energetic

Chapter 126: lacunalascivious

lacuna (l-KYOO-n) n. A lacuna is an empty space. Technically (in anatomy or botany, for
example), its a cavity, depression, or air space (as in bone substance or cellular tissue). In
general usage it means a missing part or gap (as in a manuscript or argument, for
example). The plural is lacunae (l-KYOO-n) or lacunas. In science class we learned that

the lacunae between our nerve cells are called synapses and that signals are sent across
them by special chemicals called neurotransmitters.

laggard (LAG-rd) adj., n. If someone is laggard (or moves in a laggard manner), hes slow
(to act), falls behind, lags, etc.; hes sluggish, unhurried, slow-footed, etc. As a noun, a
laggard is one who moves in this manner or fails to keep up (with others); a straggler. In 1975
drama critic Walter Kerr said, Reviewers must normally function as huff-and-puff artists
blowing laggard theatergoers stageward.

lambaste (lam-BAST, lam-BST) vb. To lambaste someone (or something) is to attack him
by severely scolding or criticizing him. In his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed, consumer
advocate Ralph Nader lambasted General Motors for producing an unsafe car (the Corvair).

lambent (LAM-bnt) adj. To describe light as lambent is to say that it flickers lightly and
gracefully over a surface or that its softly radiant. To describe wit as lambent is to say that it
deals lightly and gracefully with a subject or that its brilliantly playful. After the rain, the sun
streamed through the budding wet trees, turning the entire forest a lambent green.

lament (l-MENT) vb. If you lament something, you feel or express grief or sorrow over it
(as in she lamented her mothers death). But you dont have to lament over something; you can
just plain lament (as in ever since her puppy ran away, all she does is lament). In April 1999
journalist Rachel Alexander, speaking of The Great One, said, Showing the grace and
poise that marked his 20-year NHL career, Wayne Gretzky today made official the retirement
hockey fans have been lamenting for days.

languish (LANG-gwish) vb. To languish is to lose strength or vitality (as from living in
miserable or depressing conditions, or from remaining neglected or unattended); to weaken,
decline, deteriorate, fade, droop, waste away, etc. According to news correspondent Shana
Alexanders 1985 book Nutcracker, Until quite recently dance in America was the ragged
Cinderella of the arts; [Greek goddess of dancing] Terpsichore was condemned to the chimney
corner, and there she languished until the early 1930s.

languor (LANG-gr) n. This word means a lack of energy, spirit, or vitality and is often
used when this lack is caused by one of the following: a life of easy luxury, hot or humid
weather, illness, a natural laziness, or love. The adjective is languorous or languid. After the
teenager spent an entire April weekend on the couch numbly flipping channels, his mother
suggested a trip to the doctor; however, his father insisted their sons languor was induced by
nothing more than spring fever.

lanky (LANG-k) adj. To describe someone (or his arms or legs) as lanky is to say that hes
thin (especially ungracefully so), gaunt, gangly, bony, etc. In appearance, President Abraham
Lincoln (18091865) was very tall and lanky, and often wore a tall, black, silk hat.

lap (lap) vb. When water laps something, it washes or slaps against it with soft splashing
sounds. The waves lapped the side of the dock.

larcenous (LR-s-ns) adj. The legal term for theft (unlawful taking of someones
property) is larceny (LR-s-n). The adjective larcenous can mean having a tendency
toward larceny, guilty of larceny, or involving or relating to larceny. Legend has it that
12th-century English outlaw Robin Hood stole from the rich not because of a larcenous nature
but because he wanted to aid the poor.

largess (lr-JES, lr-ZHES) n. Generosity in the giving of gifts or money (or the actual gifts
or money so given) is known as largess (also spelled largesse). During the 1960s some blacks
opposed Martin Luther King, Jr., because they believed his nonviolent philosophy relied too
heavily on the largess of the white establishment.

lascivious (l-SIV--s) adj. People who are lascivious are inclined toward (or are expressive
of) lustfulness, or they excessively indulge in sexual activity. Lascivious materials (books,
pictures, etc.) excite sexual desire. We felt sorry for Tammy Faye Bakkernot so much because
her secretly lascivious TV evangelist husband had been exposed, but because her makeup
looked so frightful.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. lambent
2. larcenous
3. lanky

a. tending to steal
b. softly radiant
c. thin, bony

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. lambaste: severely criticize
2. languor: lack of energy
3. lascivious: smooth and slippery

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
lament, languish, lap

1. His novels celebrate the simplicity of nature and __________ the complications of
2. We listened to the water __________ the side of the canoe.
3. The lawmaker said, If we allow the bill to __________, it will surely be defeated.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. laggard / fast
2. largess / stinginess
3. lacuna / gap

Chapter 127: lassitudelegible

lassitude (LAS-i-tood) n. This word describes a condition of unpleasant weariness (of body
or mind) or a condition of lazy indifference, especially when these conditions are brought on
by fatigue, illness, or depression. We all noticed the gorillas lassitude and agreed that zoos
with cages should be outlawed.

latent (LT-nt) adj. If something (a trait, ability, tendency, etc.) is latent, its present or in
existence, but not visible, evident, or active. The implication is that it has the potential to
become visible or active. In 1962 Richard Nixon said, Only in losing himself in a cause
bigger that himself does [a man] discover all the latent strengths he never knew he had and
which otherwise would have remained dormant.

latitude (LAT-i-tood) n. If you say you have latitude (in a particular situation), you mean that
you have a certain amount of freedom (of action, opinion, etc.); youre not unduly restricted
or limited. In the Supreme Courts 1966 Miranda vs. Arizona ruling (which requires police
officers to advise a suspect of his right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present during
questioning), chief justice Earl Warren pointed out, This Court has always given ample
latitude to law enforcement agencies in the legitimate exercise of their duties.

latter (LAT-r) adj. When two people or things have been mentioned, the second-mentioned
is referred to as the latter (and the first-mentioned is the former). Of Oliver Wendell Holmes
(18091894) and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (18411935), the latter was the Supreme Court
justice (the former, his father, was the essayist and poet who wrote Old Ironsides).

laudatory (L-d-tr-) adj. To refer to something (remarks, a speech, writing) as laudatory

is to say that it expresses praise; its complimentary, flattering, approving, etc. George
Washingtons role as a symbol of American virtue was enhanced after his death by (clergyman)
Mason Weems laudatory, fictionalized 1800 biography (a later edition of which first
contained the I cannot tell a lie legend).

laurels (LR-lz) n. In ancient times a wreath of leaves from the laurel (a Mediterranean
evergreen tree) was bestowed (upon poets, heroes, athletes, etc.) as a mark of honor. Today,
any honor or glory won (as for achievement in a particular field or activity) can be referred
to as laurels. In February 1992 journalist William Drozdiak reported, When Vegard Ulvang
captured three gold medals in cross-country skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics, he did not
rest on his laurels; while fellow Norwegians were celebrating his victories, he decided to wind
down by climbing the highest peaks on four continents.

lavish (LAV-ish) adj. A person described as lavish is either very free or overly free in
spending or giving (as in the millionaire was lavish with his money). A thing described as
lavish is either very great or overly great in amount, number, quantity, quality, etc. (as in
lavish helpings of dessert). In 1967 actor Richard Burton said of his wife, actress Elizabeth
Taylor, She is an extremely beautiful woman, lavishly endowed by nature; then he added that
she has a double chin, her legs are too short, and she has a slight potbelly.

leery (LR-) adj. If youre leery of something, youre wary, suspicious, or distrustful of it.
When a stranger telephoned me to say that I had been chosen to receive a free Florida
vacation, I was immediately leery.

leeway (L-w) n. This word signifies a degree of freedom of action (within some set limits);
latitude. It can also signify the room (adequate or extra time, space, opportunity, etc.) allowed
for this; elbowroom. Many federal programs (such as Medicaid, Aid to Families with
Dependent Children, and unemployment insurance) give individual states considerable leeway
in establishing eligibility requirements and benefits.

legacy (LEG--s) n. Something (a work of art, principle, philosophy, improvement,
tradition, monetary gift, trait, etc.) handed down or passed on (to succeeding or future
generations) is known as a legacy. In his August 1974 resignation speech, President Richard
Nixon said, As a result of [my] efforts, I am confident that the world is a safer place today
and that all of our children have a better chance than before of living in peace rather than
dying in war; this, more than anything, is what I hope will be my legacy to you, to our

legerdemain (lej-r-d-MN) n. Another word for magic (especially sleight of hand) is
legerdemain. The word can also be used figuratively to mean clever deception; trickery, as
in financial legerdemain. While most magicians are known for their legerdemain (such as
making coins disappear or pulling rabbits out of hats), the most famous of all, Harry Houdini,

was known primarily as an escape artist.

legible (LEJ--bl) adj. If you refer to something (handwriting, lettering, etc.) as legible, you
mean that its readable, understandable, clear, etc. (If its illegible, its not readable). The noun
is legibility. After vetoing hundreds of possible wedding invitation typefaces for being either
too common-looking or too hard to read, the bride finally found one that she felt perfectly
balanced beauty with legibility (and the groom, when asked, said he liked it, too).

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. lassitude
2. legacy
3. leeway

a. weariness, lazy indifference
b. freedom of action (to an extent)
c. something handed down to future generations

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. latitude: ones emotional state
2. laurels: honors or awards
3. latter: second-mentioned

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
latent, lavish, legible

1. The new opera production featured __________ sets and costumes.
2. Some viruses remain __________ for many years.
3. Typewritten characters are usually more __________ than handwritten ones.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. laudatory / insulting
2. legerdemain / magic
3. leery / distrustful

Chapter 128: lenientlicentious

lenient (LN-ynt) adj. If youre lenient, you tend not to be harsh or strict (in establishing or
enforcing punishments, for example); youre tolerant, easygoing, mild, permissive, merciful,
etc. The noun is leniency. In his second inaugural address (March 1865, when the Union
victory in the Civil War was in sight), President Abraham Lincoln urged leniency toward the
South when he said, With malice [ill will] toward none, with charity for alllet us strive on
to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nations wounds.

leonine (L--nn) adj. This word means pertaining to or characteristic of lions; lionlike.
The sphinx, a mythical creature with a leonine body and a human head, was frequently the
subject of ancient Egyptian sculpture.

lethal (L-thl) adj. To describe something as lethal is to say that its deadly; it causes or is
capable of causing death. Of the states that impose the death penalty, not all use the same
method of execution; for example, Nebraska uses electrocution, whereas its southern neighbor,
Kansas, employs lethal injection.

lethargy (LETH-r-j) n. When you suffer from lethargy, you feel sluggish, dull, drowsy,
and indifferent (as from fatigue, illness, overwork, or depression). The adjective is lethargic.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (known in the 1980s as yuppie flu) begins with flu-like symptoms
and is followed by months or years of lethargy and an inability to concentrate.

leviathan (l-V--thn) n. This word can designate something thats extremely large and
powerful (a monster, a giant, a corporation, etc.), something thats unusually large of its kind
(especially a ship), or a sea monster (as mentioned in the biblical story of Job) or large sea
animal (especially a whale). Herman Melvilles 1851 novel Moby Dick tells the tale of a
whaling captains obsessive search for the leviathan that had ripped off his leg.

levity (LEV-i-t) n. Technically, this word signifies lightness of mind, manner, character,
behavior, etc. But people generally use this word to signify a lack of seriousness; an instance
of (sometimes inappropriate) merriment; undignified behavior, etc. In 1973 writer Michael
Lesy said that if youve ever had pictures taken by a professional photographer, you seldom
smiled, since levity was not the mark you wanted put across your face forever.

levy (LEV-) vb. To levy a tax is to impose (establish and apply) a tax. The personal income
tax was first levied by the U.S. government in 1913; the rate was one percent on income above

lewd (lood) adj. People who are lewd are preoccupied with sex or they behave in an obscene,

indecent manner. Lewd language, literature, songs, pictures, etc., are obscene, indecent, dirty.
After the funeral we all acknowledged his lifelong inclination toward lewdness; then we
agreed that we liked him better as a red-blooded young male than as a dirty old man
(even though we werent sure exactly when the change took place).

lexicon (LEK-si-kon) n. Depending on the context, a lexicon is an inventory or record (as of
important events), or its the particular vocabulary (the stock of words) used by a certain
profession, person, language, etc. Cuts in social welfare programs in the 1980s made the word
homelessness part of the national lexicon.

liaison (L--zon, l--zon) n. A liaison is someone who provides communication between
two persons, groups, organizations, governments, etc.; a go-between, middle man, etc. (as in
a stage manager who served as liaison between the theater groups technical crew and its
actors). From 19741975 future President George H. Bush served as Americas liaison with

libertine (LIB-r-tn) n. A libertine is a person (male or female) who is morally or sexually
unrestrained. Charged with numerous sexual offenses, the 18th-century French libertine and
author known as the Marquis de Sade spent 27 years in prisons and asylums.

licentious (l-SEN-shs) adj. Originally, this word was used to describe people who were
unrestrained by law, who had no regard for universally accepted standards or rules. But today,
people use this word to describe someone or something sexually unrestrained, someone or
something lewd or indecent. In our college course on the history of the feminist movement, the
teacher asked, Historically, have feminists encouraged or discouraged licentious sexuality?
and someone raised his hand and asked, Do you mean before or after the 1960s?

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. lethargy
2. lexicon
3. libertine

a. sluggishness, indifference
b. morally or sexually unrestrained person
c. stock of words (used by a particular group)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. licentious: tending to tell lies, untruthful
2. leviathan: something extremely large or powerful
3. levy: to put (a tax) into effect

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
lenient, leonine, lethal

1. Cancer is a serious, often __________, disease.
2. The detective said, If you confess to the crime, Ill recommend __________ punishment.
3. He was nicknamed the lion for his __________ appearance.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. levity / seriousness
2. liaison / go-between
3. lewd / obscene

Chapter 129: Lilliputianlithe

Lilliputian (lil--PYOO-shn) adj. In Jonathan Swifts 1726 satire Gullivers Travels, the first
land Gulliver visits is Lilliput, where the people are only six inches tall. (The most famous
image from this book is of the tiny Lilliputians having tied down the sleeping giant, Gulliver.)
Consequently, something described as Lilliputian is very tiny (like the inhabitants of Lilliput).
In February 1993, speaking of drugstores of the future, journalist Jay Mathews said, The
pills bump along on conveyor belts in their little blue, orange, green, or yellow trays like rides
at a Lilliputian Disneyland, up and down and across the huge, brightly lit room full of people
in white coats. Welcome to your favorite (and perhaps only) drugstore, circa 2010where
prescriptions are filled only by mail.

limber (LIM-br) adj., vb. Something (a person, tree branch, etc.) described as limber bends
easily; its flexible. As a verb, to limber up is to make oneself limber (as by stretching or
flexing). People limber up before exercising to prevent tears in their muscles and tendons.

limbo (LIM-b) n. To be in limbo (or in a state of limbo) is either to be in an intermediate
place or state (as between two extremes, outcomes, conditions, etc.), or to be in a state of
uncertainly or inactivity, pending some future event. According to the World Almanac and
Book of Facts, the question of whether dinosaurs were warm-blooded has not been resolved;
nonetheless, and even with this issue in limbo, we can be confident that dinosaurs were fully

efficient creatures. The word also can signify an imaginary place of nothingness for
forgotten, useless, or out-of-date people or things. In 1954 humorist Fred Allen (18941956)
said, When a radio comedians program is finally finished, it slinks down Memory Lane into
the limbo of yesteryears happy hours.

limpid (LIM-pid) adj. To describe an object or substance (water, air, crystal, etc.) as limpid is
to say that it admits light through it; that is, its clear, transparent, see-through, etc. To
describe writing or speech as limpid is to say that its transparently clear in style; that is, its
understandable, direct, unambiguous, etc. In 1981, speaking of Floridas Cypress Swamp,
journalist Anne Oman said, Spring rain is plopping into the limpid pools, marring the mirror
image of the bald cypress trees that merge into a cathedral ceiling 150 feet overhead.

linchpin (LINCH-pin) n. Technically, a linchpin is a metal pin inserted crosswise at the end of
an axle to keep the wheel on. Figuratively, a linchpin is someone or something that holds a
situation together, a central unifying force. Black Panther linchpin Huey Newton, quoting
Chinese Communist party chairman Mao Tse-tung, once said, Political power comes through
the barrel of a gun.

lionize (L--nz) vb. To lionize someone is to treat him (or look upon him) as a celebrity.
When a 1919 solar eclipse confirmed his light-deflection theory, scientist Albert Einstein was
lionized by the press.

liquidate (LIK-wi-dt) vb. This word has several meanings, depending on the context. To
liquidate a person (an enemy, for example) is to do away with him, get rid of him, especially
by killing. To liquidate a thing (that has been created or put into effect, such as a corporation,
agency, political party, etc.) is to put an end to it, abolish it. To liquidate an asset (something
you own thats worth money) is to convert it to cash (by selling it). In the late 1930s Soviet
leader Joseph Stalin consolidated his power by liquidating much of Russias political and
military leadership.

lissome (LIS-m) adj. If youre lissome (or lithesome), youre flexible, limber, and graceful.
At the 1976 Olympics at Montreal, Nadia Comaneci, a lissome 14-year-old, 86-pound
Romanian gymnast, won six medals, twice scoring an unprecedented perfect 10.

list (list) vb. This word usually applies to boats (or any water vessels). When a boat lists, it
leans (or tilts or slants) to one side. In most movies about the December 7, 1941, surprise
Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, you can see American ships listing, burning, or sinking.

listless (LIST-lis) adj. If you lack vitality and spirit or if you simply feel like you dont have
the energy or the interest to do anything, youre listless. According to reporter William
Branigin, in July 1998 Border Patrol agents in Del Rio, Texas, were checking a train bound
for San Antonio when they came across air holes punched in the top of a sealed boxcar; inside,

they found 11 listless men from Mexico, baking in 150-degree heat with no food or water.

litany (LIT-n-) n. Technically, a litany is a form of prayer (as in the Christian religion) in
which a priest (or other clergyman) speaks or sings a series of requests to God, to which the
congregation as a whole repeats a fixed response (Lord, have mercy, for example). But
people use this word informally to refer to any repetitive (non-religious) recitation or recital
that resembles a litanyespecially an (often prolonged, monotonous, or dreary) list,
enumeration, or account of something (as in her mother-in-laws usual litany of complaints).
In July 1984, referring to speakers at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco,
Time magazine noted, One after another recited a litany of races and classes and minorities
and interests and occupations; some, in fact, made the nation sound like an immense gathering
of victimsterrorized senior citizens, forsaken minorities, [and] Dickensian children.

lithe (lth) adj. To describe a thing (a tree branch, for example) as lithe (or lithesome) is to
say that its easily bent; its flexible, etc. To describe a person (a dancer, for example) as lithe
(or lithesome) is to say that shes limber and effortlessly graceful. In Greek mythology a giant
named Sinis (the Pine-Bender) killed his victims by tying their arms and legs to two
different bent pine trees and then releasing the strong but lithe trunks to tear their bodies

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. limbo
2. linchpin
3. litany

a. state of uncertainly
b. monotonous listing (of something)
c. central unifying force

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. lithe: narrow, skinny
2. lionize: treat as a celebrity
3. liquidate: melt by heating

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:

Lilliputian, limber, listless

1. The gymnasts body was strong and __________.
2. If your dog is __________, he may be sick and need veterinary care.
3. We visited a flea circus and were amazed by the __________ acrobats.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. limpid / clear
2. lissome / stiff
3. list / tilt

Chapter 130: litigationloom

litigation (lit-i-G-shn) n. To litigate (LIT-i-gt) is to carry on a lawsuit. The noun
litigation is used to signify an act or instance of carrying on a lawsuit, or to signify a
particular lawsuit itself. Before becoming (1967) the first black member of the U.S. Supreme
Court, Thurgood Marshall practiced law, specializing in civil rights litigation. Note: A person
involved in a lawsuit (a plaintiff or defendant) is known as a litigant (LIT-i-gnt). The TV
show The Peoples Court features real litigants arguing real cases before a real judge. Also
note: People who tend to initiate lawsuits or people who tend to dispute (things) or argue are
said to be litigious (li-TIJ-s).

livid (LIV-id) adj. Technically, someone described as livid has skin that has become a dull
grayish or purplish blue, as from bruising, strangulation, etc. But in general usage, when
people refer to someone as livid, they mean simply that hes extremely angry, enraged,
furious, etc. (And you can imagine that if someone is angry enough, his skin might appear or
threaten to become purplish blue, as from emotional strangulation.) In a famous fairy tale, an
old dwarf named Rumpelstiltskin tells a woman who has promised him her first-born child that
he will not hold her to her promise if she can guess his name; when she finds it out, he
becomes livid, then destroys himself.

loath (lth) adj. If youre loath to do something, youre unwilling, reluctant, or disinclined to
do it. According to most women, men are not loath to say I love you; getting them to say
Will you marry me? is another story altogether.

loathe (lth) vb. To loathe something (or someone) is to hate it or feel disgust for it. Bob
likes most kinds of meat, but he loathes liver. The noun is loathing, which means a feeling of
hatred or disgust.

loathsome (LTH-sm) adj. To describe an act, person, or thing as loathsome is to say that it
arouses a feeling of hostility and disgust; its hateful, detestable, repulsive, etc. We werent
surprised to learn that that most loathsome insectthe cockroachreproduces in dirty, damp
places and has the highest tolerance to radiation of all animals.

lock (lok) n. A lock of hair is a piece (portion, tuft, strand, etc.) of hair. The plural, locks, can
refer to several of those strands, or to the hair of the head in its entirety. At the Beatles
convention, someone was selling envelopes that supposedly contained locks of Paul
McCartneys hair.

lofty (LF-t) adj. This word is used in two senses, each of which concerns highness.
Physical objects described as lofty are very high or tall, as in lofty mountain peaks. Things
non-physical (ideas, ideals, sentiments, views, goals, conduct, language, etc.) described as
lofty are on a higher (nobler, more virtuous, more decent, more serious, more intelligent,
etc.) than usual plane. Before the unethical practices of certain doctors began to be exposed in
newspapers and on television, the public image of the medical profession was one of lofty
devotion to the good of humanity.

loggerheads (LOG-r-hedz) n. To be at loggerheads is to be engaged in dispute; to be
quarreling. In 1985, when New York City hotel labor and management came to loggerheads,
Mayor Ed Koch said to them, If you seek violence, we will seek to put you in jail.

loiter (LOI-tr) vb. To loiter is to stand idly about; to linger aimlessly (in or about a
particular place); to hang around (as in teenagers loitering on street corners). In some
communities loitering is illegal. When it was pointed out that singer Dinah Shores 1970s TV
talk show was so successful because Dinah herself was so relaxed, comedian Steve Allen
(19212000) joked, If she was any more relaxed she would have been arrested for loitering.

loll (lol) vb. If youre half sitting and half lying (on your couch, for example) in a relaxed,
comfortable way, youre lolling. He called in sick to work and then spent the day in his
bathrobe, lolling on the sofa, watching TV.

longevity (lon-JEV-i-t) n. This word means either long life; great duration of life (as in
exercise increases longevity) or length of life; life span (whether long or short) (as in the
average longevity of a chipmunk is six years). Two actor/comedians known for their longevity
(in fact, each lived to 100) are George Burns (18961996) and Bob Hope (19032003).

loom (loom) vb. When something (especially something massive or indistinct) looms (into
view), it becomes visible or rises before you. We turned the corner at 34th Street, and the
Empire State Building suddenly loomed before us.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. loathe
2. loiter
3. loom

a. hate, detest
b. come into view
c. hang around aimlessly

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. loll: laugh heartily
2. livid: extremely angry
3. loathsome: hateful, disgusting

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
litigation, loggerheads, longevity

1. It has been shown that strenuous exercise increases __________.
2. The players and owners are at __________ and may not reach an agreement.
3. The ruling was intended to halt new lawsuits as well as existing __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. lofty / high
2. lock / strand
3. loath / eager

Chapter 131: loquaciouslunatic

loquacious (l-KW-shs) adj. People who are loquacious are either talkative (chatty, ready
to talk, easy and fluent with speech) or wordy (using too many words to express their ideas,
longwinded). Scolding loquacious audience members at a 1967 concert, famed orchestra
conductor Leopold Stokowski remarked, A painter paints his pictures on canvas, but

musicians paint their pictures on silence; we provide the music and you provide the silence.

low (l) vb. To low is to make a mooing sound (as a cow). The second verse of the famous
Christmas carol Away in a Manger begins The cattle are lowing; the Baby awakes.

lower (LOU-r) vb. To lower (rhymes with tower) is to appear dark and threatening. American
artist Winslow Homers most famous painting, The Gulf Stream (1899), shows a man in a
small boat struggling against a raging sea beneath a lowering sky.

lucid (LOO-sid) adj. This word has three meanings, all having to do with the concept of being
clear. First, it means clear in the sense of allowing light to pass through; transparent. But
youll usually see this word used as described in either of the following definitions. Second, it
means clear (as of language or speech) in the sense of being intelligible or easily
understood. Author Isaac Asimov (19201992) was known for his lucid explanations of
complex scientific principles. Third, it means clear in the sense of being characterized by
rational thought or understanding. When my wife returned from the hospital and I asked if her
grandmother was okay, she answered, There were a few lucid moments, but mostly she just
ranted incoherently.

lucrative (LOO-kr-tiv) adj. If you say that something (a type of employment, for example)
is lucrative, you mean that its profitable, well-paying, etc. Professional tennis has become
very lucrative for the top-ranked players, with many earning more than a million dollars a
year in prize money.

lucre (LOO-kr) n. This word means money or monetary gain. It often carries a negative
connotation; as such, its usually used to imply that greed or illegality is somehow connected
(with the money or monetary gain). Continental army general Benedict Arnolds motive for
planning to surrender West Point to the British for 20,000 pounds was personal rather than
political: he was greedy and always on the lookout for lucre.

ludicrous (LOO-di-krs) adj. If something is ludicrous, its laughably absurd or foolish; its
ridiculous. American humorist and author S. J. Perelman (19041979) once wrote: The effect
of the trousers, at least three sizes too large for him, was ludicrous.

lugubrious (l-GOO-br-s) adj. To describe something (a manner, an atmosphere, a tone of
voice, etc.) as lugubrious is to say that its extremely, exaggeratedly, or continuously
mournful, gloomy, dismal, somber, sorrowful, etc. During the mid-1900s Emmett Kelly won
fame as a circus clown (Weary Willie) who wore tattered clothes and affected a lugubrious

luminary (LOO-m-ner-) n. Technically, a luminary is something that gives light (the sun,
for example). But when you refer to a person as a luminary you mean that hes attained top

standing in his field; hes famous; hes a celebrity, an inspiration, a leading light, a star. Sun
Records producer Sam Phillips, the first to record such early rock luminaries as Elvis Presley,
Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

luminous (LOO-m-ns) adj. Something luminous gives off light; it shines. The word is used
especially to describe objects whose light is steadily glowing and is surrounded by a
contrasting darkness. The noun luminance (also called luminosity) means the state or quality
of being luminous. The New Testament tells us that the three Wise Men of the East were led to
the infant Jesus by a luminous celestial object known as the Star of Bethlehem.

lunar (LOO-nr) adj. This word means pertaining to the moon. A plaque planted on the
lunar surface by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin reads: Here men from
the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all

lunatic (LOO-n-tik) n. It was once believed that the changing phases of the moon could
cause insanity. The Latin word for moon is luna. A lunatic is a person who is insane or one
whose behavior is highly abnormal; a madman, maniac, nut, etc. According to the Dictionary
of Cultural Literacy, In his story The Tell-Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe makes his narrator a
raving lunatic.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. lucre
2. luminary
3. lunatic

a. celebrity, star
b. insane person, madman
c. money or monetary gain

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. lower: appear dark and threatening
2. lugubrious: oily, shiny
3. ludicrous: ridiculous, absurd

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
lucrative, luminous, lunar

1. The Apollo astronauts brought back the first __________ rocks ever seen on Earth.
2. The list of __________ professions included doctor, lawyer, and engineer.
3. The northern lights is a __________ display of colors in the night sky.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. lucid / ambiguous
2. low / moo
3. loquacious / talkative

Chapter 132: lupinemagnanimous

lupine (LOO-pn) adj. This word means pertaining to or characteristic of wolves; wolflike.
In a famous fairy tale, when Little Red Riding Hood notices her bedridden grandmothers
lupine fangs, she exclaims, Grandma, what big teeth you have!

lurid (LOOR-id) adj. Something lurid is shockingly sensational (or gruesome, ghastly, or
horrible). The word is usually used to describe accounts, as in a lurid account of the murder,
or periodicals, as in lurid supermarket tabloids. Just by looking at the names of some of those
1930s pulp mystery magazines, such as Strange Detective Mysteries, Thrilling Mystery, and
Black Mask, we knew they would be full of lurid accounts of ghastly crimes.

luscious (LUSH-s) adj. Something (food, for example) described as luscious is pleasing to
the senses (especially taste); its delicious, juicy, delightful, etc. According to Comptons
Encyclopedia, the mango originally tasted like turpentine, but centuries of cultivation and
selection have produced a luscious, often very colorful, fruit with a distinctive spicy flavor.

luster (LUS-tr) n. If something has luster, it has a shine (from reflected light) on its surface;
it glitters, glows, twinkles, sparkles, etc. From looking at our mothers silverware we knew that
silver had a brilliant luster; then in science class we learned that it was the best conductor of
heat and electricity of any of the metals.

luxuriant (lug-ZHOOR--nt, luk-SHOOR--nt) adj. Dont confuse this word with luxurious
(which means characterized by luxury). The word luxuriant means either excessively
fertile and productive (as land), or characterized by rich growth (as vegetation). The
Hawaiian Islands are largely covered with luxuriant vegetation.

luxuriate (lug-ZHOOR--t, luk-SHOOR--t) vb. To luxuriate is to unrestrainedly indulge

yourself or take pleasure or delight (in something enjoyable or luxurious). While some
celebrities hide from the public (Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger, for example), others
luxuriate in the admiration of their fans (former President Bill Clinton, for example).

macabre (m-KB, m-K-br) adj. This word describes things (stories or descriptions, for
example) that pertain to death (especially the grimness or ugliness of death) or that arouse
feelings of horror or dread; theyre gruesome, ghastly, grisly, nightmarish, morbid, horrible,
weird, etc. Twentieth-century American cartoonist Charles Addams macabre cartoons (in
which humanoid monsters were shown in everyday situations) were the basis for the 1960s TV
sitcom The Addams Family.

Machiavellian (mak---VEL--n) adj. Niccolo Machiavelli (14691527) was an Italian
political philosopher and statesman who held that in pursuing and maintaining political
power, slyness, deceit, ruthlessness, and amorality are justified. Thus, to describe someone as
Machiavellian is to say that hes sly, shrewd, deceitful, calculating, cold-hearted, amoral,
wicked, etc. After his death, Richard Nixon came to be seen as an ambitious, intelligent, if
sometimes Machiavellian President (in fact, he was nicknamed Tricky Dick), who achieved
a cease-fire in Vietnam and initiated strategic arms limitation talks with the Soviet Union.

machinations (mak--N-shnz) n. Tricky, underhanded dealings, plots, strategies, schemes,
plans, etc., designed to achieve an evil or illegal end are known as machinations. Some experts
say the U.S. Tax Code needs to be complex in order to counter the machinations of not only
average citizens but of clever tax attorneys (some of whom are former IRS employees!).

maelstrom (MAL-strm) n. A maelstrom is any large or powerful whirlpool. Its named after
an actual whirlpool (named Maelstrom) located off the coast of Norway. The word can also be
used figuratively to describe any violent or turbulent situation, as in the maelstrom of war or
the maelstrom of morning traffic. During the 2000 presidential election, the state of Florida
became caught in a maelstrom of competing definitions of clear intent of the voter.

maggot (MAG-t) n. Technically, a maggot is a larval (newly hatched) fly. Its soft-bodied,
legless, wingless, wormlike, and usually white; it consumes plant or animal tissue. But the
word is sometimes used informally to refer to any kind of tiny insect (especially one that
infests or exists in multitudes) or to any person considered despicable, detestable, etc. The
belief in spontaneous generation (the theory that life develops spontaneously from nonliving
matter) arose in ancient times as a way of explaining why certain living creatures are
commonly found in association with certain inanimate materials (maggots on decaying meat,
for example).

magnanimous (mag-NAN--ms) adj. If youre magnanimous, youre generous in forgiving
an insult or injury; youre not petty or spiteful; youre unselfish, high-minded, etc. The noun

is magnanimity (mag-n-NIM-i-t). In 1846 novelist and anti-slavery campaigner Harriet

Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) said, What makes saintliness, as distinguished from ordinary
goodness, is a certain quality of magnanimity and greatness of soul that brings life within the
circle of the heroic.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. luster
2. maelstrom
3. maggot

a. shininess (from reflected light)
b. newly hatched fly, tiny insect
c. powerful whirlpool, violent situation

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. lurid: unbelievable, false
2. machinations: underhanded strategies or dealings
3. luxuriate: saturate completely

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
lupine, luxuriant, macabre

1. Africas plant life varies from sparse in the north to __________ in the center.
2. Edgar Allan Poe is known for his __________ horror tales.
3. Embarrassed, the Wolf Man tried to hide his __________ hands.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. luscious / bitter
2. Machiavellian / sly
3. magnanimous / spiteful

Chapter 133: magnatemalfunction

magnate (MAG-nt) n. A magnate is a person of great influence, standing, or importance in a
particular field, especially business (as in shipping magnate); a tycoon. Orson Welles
landmark film Citizen Kane (1941) is a character study loosely based on the life of publishing
magnate William Randolph Hearst.

magnitude (MAG-ni-tood) n. Depending on the context, this word means either greatness in
size, rank, or significance, as in the magnitude of the Great Depression, or simply size,
extent, dimensions (whether great or not), as in angles of similar magnitude. In his second
inaugural address (March 1865), President Abraham Lincoln said, Neither party expected,
for the [Civil War], the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.

maim (mm) vb. To maim someone is to deprive him of some part of his body (or its use) by
causing him severe injury; to cripple, disfigure, disable, or mutilate him. According to
Grolier s Encyclopedia, An estimated 110 million land mines [concealed explosive devises
used in war and designed to be detonated by contact] lie buried in some 64 countries; in the
1990s they killed or maimed over 20,000 people each year. Sometimes the word is used
figuratively to mean make powerless or incomplete (as if by maiming). In 1959 journalist
John Canaday, speaking of a New York City art museum designed by famed architect Frank
Lloyd Wright, said, The Guggenheim Museum is a war between architecture and painting in
which both come out badly maimed.

mainstay (MN-st) n. As a nautical term, the mainstay of a sailing vessel is the stay (heavy
rope or wire cable) that steadies and supports the mainmast (large forward mast). But in
general usage, a mainstay is someone or something that acts as a chief support or part of
something, as in tourism is the mainstay of Bermudas economy. For 30 years comedian
Johnny Carson was a mainstay of late-night television as host of The Tonight Show (1962

malaise (ma-LZ) n. A general or vague feeling of bodily discomfort and weakness (as at the
onset of or during an illness) is known as malaise. Chickenpoxa contagious disease,
primarily of childrenis caused by a virus and is characterized by skin eruptions, fever, and

malapropism (MAL--prop-iz-m) n. A malapropism (sometimes called simply a malaprop)
is the humorous misuse of a word (usually the unintentional substitution of an incorrect word
for a similar-sounding, correct one), as in he gave arguments to some of Sigmund Freuds
tenants [for tenets, which means principles, opinions, etc.] Note: The word is coined from
the name of a character (Mrs. Malaprop, who constantly mixes up words) in Richard
Sheridans 1775 satirical British play The Rivals. Her name, in turn, derives from the word
malapropos (inappropriate, out of place, etc.), which derives from the French phrase mal

propos, which literally means badly to the purpose. Not wanting to laugh at the toughlooking traffic cops malapropism (let me see your license and resignation), I looked at him
seriously and said But I was only just hired today.

malcontent (MAL-kn-tent) n., adj. The prefix mal means bad (or wrongful or ill) and
content means satisfied or pleased. So, as a noun, a malcontent is a person who is always
dissatisfied or unhappy (either in general or with an established system, such as a
government). As an adjective, the word means dissatisfied, displeased, etc. In May 1980,
journalist Kevin Klose, speaking of the deadline for participation in the Moscow Olympics,
wrote, The Soviet Union declared that American efforts to organize a massive boycott of the
Games have completely failed. Brushing aside the fact that more than 50 nations will not
attend, including three of the top five winners at the 1976 Games, the Soviets asserted that
those joining the boycott are isolated malcontents wishing only to wreck international sports.

malediction (mal-i-DIK-shn) n. A malediction is a curse (an appeal to a supernatural force
for evil to befall someone). When trying to bring harm to an enemy, a practitioner of voodoo
recites maledictions or sticks pins into a doll (made in the victims likeness).

malefactor (MAL--fak-tr) n. A malefactor is a person who commits a crime or does evil.
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional English detective whose incredible powers of deduction enable
him to solve mysteries and identify malefactors in cases that leave all other detectives baffled.

malevolent (m-LEV--lnt) adj. Someone (or something) malevolent usually has a natural
evilness or ill will and will cause (or would like to cause) harm or injury to others. When she
replied that she was on her way to her grandmothers house, Little Red Riding Hood never
suspected that the wolf was actually holding malevolent intentions.

malfeasance (mal-F-zns) n. The performance of a wrongdoing or illegal act, especially by
a public official, is known as malfeasance. In 1973 Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid
charges of malfeasance (he was accused of taking bribes and kickbacks and failing to pay
income tax) during his term of office as governor of Maryland (1966-1968).

malfunction (mal-FUNGK-shn) vb. If something (a machine or bodily organ, for example)
malfunctions, it fails to function properly; it breaks down, acts up, stalls, quits, goes on the
fritz, etc. In November 1996 a Russian spacecraft headed for Mars malfunctioned and
crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. magnitude
2. malapropism
3. malcontent

a. extent or size
b. one who is displeased or dissatisfied
c. humorous misuse of a word

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. malfunction: break down
2. malevolent: forgetful, absentminded
3. maim: injure, cripple

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
mainstay, malaise, malfeasance

1. The mayor was forced to resign because of financial __________.
2. Pineapple production is a __________ of Hawaiis economy.
3. Symptoms of a cold include nasal congestion, sore throat, and __________.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. magnate / tycoon
2. malediction / blessing
3. malefactor / evildoer

Chapter 134: maliciousmanipulate

malice (MAL-is) n. A desire to harm or hurt someone, especially when based on natural
meanness, is known as malice. The adjective malicious (m-LISH-s) means acting or
resulting from malice; intentionally hurtful or harmful; nasty, spiteful, mean, etc. In the late
1940s, malicious gossip columnists portrayed singer Frank Sinatra as a communist

malign (m-LN) vb. To malign someone is to speak badly (sometimes even untruthfully) of
him (often in order to harm him). Although often maligned as corrupt or incompetent, big-city
mayors generally work hard to handle the needs of the people.

malinger (m-LING-gr) vb. To malinger is to pretend illness to avoid work or duty. Finally
fed up, the army doctor threatened to take the suspected malingerers temperature orallywith
a rectal thermometer!

malleable (MAL---bl) adj. If something (a physical material or a persons mind, for
example) is malleable, its moldable or shapeable; its not fixed or rigid. In constructing the
Statue of Liberty, metalworkers placed thin sheets of copper in wooden forms (that followed
the shape of the plaster model of the statue); then they bent and hammered the malleable metal
into the shape of the forms.

malnourished (mal-NR-isht, mal-NUR-isht) adj. People who are malnourished have a lack
of proper nutrition (from eating too little food or eating the wrong foods). According to a
1997 United Nations report, 40 percent of the worlds malnourished children live in India.

malodorous (mal--dr-s) adj. To describe something as malodorous is to say that it has or
gives off a bad or foul smell. Note: The prefix mal means bad. When fresh, ambergris (a
substance formed in the intestines of sperm whales) is black, greasy, and malodorous; but after
exposure to the air it hardens, turns gray, and develops a pleasant aroma (and is used in

mammoth (MAM-th) n., adj. As a noun, a mammoth is large, hairy, extinct, elephant-like
mammal (with tusks up to 16 feet long!) of prehistoric times. As an adjective, the word is used
to describe anything comparable to a mammoth (that is, anything huge but also heavy, bulky,
clumsy, or unwieldy), as in mammoth oil-tanker, or anything simply huge (whether bulky or
not), as in mammoth gardens. President Lyndon Johnson once complained of the mammoth
task of preparing a 100-billion-dollar budget.

mandatory (man-d-TR-) adj. If you refer to something (an activity ordered by an
authority, for example) as mandatory, you mean that its required, compulsory, obligatory,
etc. (and that failure to carry it out will result in punishment). Note: The opposite is voluntary.
In the United States, mandatory service in the armed forces was first introduced during the
Civil War.

mangy (MN-j) adj. Technically, if an animal is mangy, it suffers from mange (a skin
disease caused by mites and characterized by infected patches of skin, itching, and hair loss).
But in general usage, if you say that something is mangy, you mean that its worn out, shabby,
filthy, moth-eaten, etc. (as in a mangy carpet), or that it looks sickly, scabby, scaly, etc. U.S.
author John Steinbeck (19021968) once said, A book is like a manclever and dull, brave
and cowardly, beautiful and ugly; for every flowering thought there will be a page like a wet
and mangy [dog].

maniacal (m-N--kl) adj. The adjective form of the noun maniac is maniacal. If you do
something in a maniacal way, you do it as one who is a maniac might; that is, you do it with
frenzy, franticness, wildness, violence, excessive excitement, etc. During the 1950s and 60s,
actor Vincent Price specialized in portraying horror film villains with deep, long, maniacal

manifest (MAN--fest) vb., adj. If something manifests itself in a particular way, it plainly
shows, exhibits, reveals, or gives evidence of itself in that way. Starvation manifests itself first
by weight loss; if unrelieved, it may progress to infections and eventually death. If one thing
manifests another, it plainly shows or exhibits it. About three percent of all children manifest
symptoms of attention deficit disorder, with boys outnumbering girls. As an adjective, the word
means readily seen; obvious, plain, apparent. While some hereditary defects can be
immediately observed, others become manifest later in life.

manipulate (m-NIP-y-lt) vb. This word has two senses, depending on the context. To
manipulate something with your hands is to skillfully control or operate it; handle it (as in
manipulate the dials of a machine). The pitch of a kettledrum can be changed by manipulating
screws (with T-shaped handles) at the edge of the head. In another sense, to manipulate
something is to shrewdly, deviously, or falsely influence it to ones own advantage (as in
manipulate public opinion or manipulate stock prices). In 1955 journalist Walter Lippmann
said, Successful politicians advance only as [long as they satisfy], bribe, seduce, bamboozle,
or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding and threatening elements in [the

Word Games

I. Match the correct lettered definition to each of the following numbered words.

1. malign
2. malinger
3. manifest

a. pretend illness to avoid work
b. show plainly; exhibit clearly
c. speak badly of (someone)

II. Does the definition on the right fit the word on the left? Answer yes or no.

1. mangy: angry, enraged
2. manipulate: control with the hands
3. malice: itchiness

III. Use the following words to fill in the blanks in the sentences below:
malleable, malnourished, malodorous

1. Children of the poor are often underweight and __________ .
2. The skunk squirts a __________ mist for defense.
3. Tin is a soft and __________ metal that can be molded into thin sheets.

IV. Are the two words on each line similar or opposite?

1. mammoth / huge
2. mandatory / voluntary
3. maniacal / wild

Chapter 135: mantlemaul

mantle (MAN-tl) n. Anything (darkness, a substance, a particular mood, etc.) that covers,
surrounds, envelopes, or conceals (something) is known as a mantle. In the early morning a
mantle of fog hung over the dew-covered meadow.

mar (mr) vb. To mar something is to damage or spoil it to some extent or in some way; to
make it less than perfect. His brilliant essay was marred by numerous typographical errors.

maraud (m-RD) vb. To maraud is to roam about looking for goods or property to steal,
then to take those goods or property by force. Marauders often travel in bands. When asked
why she refused to enter the stagecoach, the girl explained she was afraid they might
encounter marauding bands of outlaws.

marshal (MR-shl) vb. To marshal ideas (thoughts, arguments, facts, etc.) is to arrange them
(in your mind) in a proper, methodical order (as in preparation for a debate, an exam, etc.).
To marshal people (soldiers, for example) is to line them up (as for battle or for a parade). In
the Shakespeare tragedy Hamlet, Prince Hamlet, considering suicide as an escape from his
troubles, marshals his thoughts aloud, beginning with To be, or not to be: that is the

martial (MR-shl) adj. To describe something as martial is to say that it pertains to or is
appropriate for war (fighting) or the military, as martial law (law administered by domestic
military forces when civil authority has broken down). In 1966 singer Frank Sinatra
described rock n roll as the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the

martinet (mr-tn-ET) n. A martinet is a strict disciplinarian, especially a military one
(named after a 17th-century French army general, Jean Martinet). Demanding, legendary
orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski once said, On matters of intonation and
technicalities I am more than a martinetI am a martinetissimo.

martyr (MR-tr) n. Originally this word referred to a person who chose to die rather than
give up his religion. Today, anybody who (sometimes willingly) dies or undergoes constant
hardship or suffering on behalf of any cause, belief, principle, etc., is known as a martyr.