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Flashcards in 1100 Pink Deck Deck (200):


: to speak about (someone or something) in a very critical or insulting way
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to subject to verbal abuse : vituperate
intransitive verb
: to use abusive language : rail
synonyms see scold
Other forms: re·viled; re·vil·ing
re·vile·ment \-ˈvī(-ə)l-mənt\ noun
re·vil·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French reviler to despise, from re- + vil vile.
First use: 14th century



: expressing a low opinion of someone or something : showing a lack of respect for someone or something
Full Definition
1 : detracting from the character or standing of something — often used with to, towards, or of
2 : expressive of a low opinion : disparaging
de·rog·a·to·ri·ly \-ˌrä-gə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē\ adverb
fans made a steady stream of derogatory remarks about the players on the visiting team
Origin: (see derogate ).
First use: circa 1503
Synonyms: belittling, contemptuous, decrying, degrading, demeaning, denigrative, denigratory, deprecatory, depreciative, depreciatory, derisory, derogative, detractive, disdainful, disparaging, pejorative, scornful, slighting, uncomplimentary
Antonyms: commendatory, complimentary, laudative, laudatory



law : to formally decide that someone should be put on trial for a crime
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to charge with a fault or offense : criticize, accuse
2 : to charge with a crime by the finding or presentment of a jury (as a grand jury) in due form of law
in·dict·er or in·dict·or \-ˈdī-tər\ noun
the grand jury could indict the mayor for fraud and embezzlement
Origin: alteration of earlier indite, from Middle English inditen, from Anglo-French enditer to write, point out, indict — more at indite.
First use: circa 1626
Synonyms: charge, criminate, defame [archaic], impeach, incriminate, accuse
Antonyms: absolve, acquit, clear, exculpate, exonerate, vindicate



: not clear : difficult to see, understand, describe, etc.
Full Definition
1 : of, relating to, or resembling a nebula : nebular
2 : indistinct, vague
neb·u·lous·ly adverb
neb·u·lous·ness noun
made nebulous references to some major changes the future may hold
could just make out the nebulous outline of a fishing shack in the dense fog
Origin: Latin nebulosus misty, from nebula.
First use: 1674
Synonyms: ambiguous, arcane, cryptic, dark, deep, Delphic, double-edged, elliptical (or elliptic), enigmatic (also enigmatical), equivocal, fuliginous, inscrutable, murky, mysterious, mystic, obscure, occult, opaque
Antonyms: accessible, clear, nonambiguous, obvious, plain, unambiguous, unequivocal



: making someone annoyed or irritated
Full Definition
: troublesome, vexatious
Other forms: pes·ki·er; pes·ki·est
the pesky problem of what to do with all the leftovers
Origin: probably irregular from pest + 1-y.
First use: 1775
Synonyms: abrasive, aggravating, bothersome, carking, chafing, disturbing, exasperating, frustrating, galling, irksome, irritating, maddening, nettlesome, nettling, peeving, annoying, pestiferous, pestilent, pestilential, pesty, plaguey (also plaguy), rankling, rebarbative, riling, vexatious, vexing





transitive verb
: to lay at restintransitive verb
1 a : to lie at rest
b : to lie dead
c : to remain still or concealed
2 : to take a rest
3 archaic : rely
4 : to rest for support : lie
Other forms: re·posed; re·pos·ing
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French reposer, from Late Latin repausare, from Latin re- + Late Latin pausare to stop, from Latin pausa pause.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: bed, catnapping, dozing, napping, sleep, rest, resting, shut-eye, slumber, slumbering, snoozing, z's (or zs)
Antonyms: consciousness, wake, wakefulness
: a state of resting or not being active
Full Definition
1 a : a state of resting after exertion or strain; especially : rest in sleep
b : eternal or heavenly rest
2 a : a place of rest
b : peace, tranquillity
c : a harmony in the arrangement of parts and colors that is restful to the eye
3 a : lack of activity : quiescence
b : cessation or absence of activity, movement, or animation
4 : composure of manner : poise
First use: 1509

transitive verb
1 archaic : to put away or set down : deposit
2 a : to place (as confidence or trust) in someone or something
b : to place for control, management, or use
Other forms: re·posed; re·pos·ing
Origin: Middle English, to replace, from Latin reponere (perfect indicative reposui).



om·niv·o·rous\äm-ˈniv-rəs, -ˈni-və-\
: eating both plants and animals
: eager to learn about many different things
Full Definition
1 : feeding on both animal and vegetable substances
2 : avidly taking in everything as if devouring or consuming
om·niv·o·rous·ly adverb
Origin: Latin omnivorus, from omni- + -vorus -vorous.
First use: circa 1656



dis·pa·rate\ˈdis-p(ə-)rət, di-ˈsper-ət, -ˈspa-rət\
: different from each other
Full Definition
1 : containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements
2 : markedly distinct in quality or character
synonyms see different
dis·pa·rate·ly adverb
dis·pa·rate·ness noun
dis·par·i·ty \di-ˈsper-ə-tē, -ˈspa-rə-\ noun
disparate notions among adults and adolescents about when middle age begins
Origin: Middle English desparat, from Latin disparatus, past participle of disparare to separate, from dis- + parare to prepare — more at pare.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: different, dissimilar, distant, distinct, distinctive, distinguishable, diverse, nonidentical, other, unalike, unlike
Antonyms: alike, identical, indistinguishable, kin, kindred, like, parallel, same, similar



: not eating and drinking too much
Full Definition
: marked by restraint especially in the consumption of food or alcohol; also : reflecting such restraint
ab·ste·mi·ous·ly adverb
ab·ste·mious·ness noun
being abstemious diners, they avoid restaurants with all-you-can-eat buffets
Origin: Latin abstemius, from abs- + -temius; akin to Latin temetum intoxicating drink.
First use: 1609
Synonyms: abstentious, abstinent, continent, self-abnegating, self-denying, sober, temperate
Antonyms: self-indulgent



ex·tant\ˈek-stənt; ek-ˈstant, ˈek-ˌ\
: in existence : still existing : not destroyed or lost
Full Definition
1 archaic : standing out or above
2 a : currently or actually existing
b : still existing : not destroyed or lost
a celebrated author who is generally regarded as America's greatest novelist extant
when people envisage the future, they often base their predictions on the assumption that extant trends will continue indefinitely
Origin: Latin exstant-, exstans, present participle of exstare to stand out, be in existence, from ex- + stare to stand — more at stand.
First use: 1545
Synonyms: alive, around, existent, existing, living
Antonyms: dead, extinct, nonextant



vi·cis·si·tude\və-ˈsi-sə-ˌtüd, vī-, -ˌtyüd\
1 a : the quality or state of being changeable : mutability
b : natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs
2 a : a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition
b : a difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one's control
c : alternating change : succession
Origin: Middle French, from Latin vicissitudo, from vicissim in turn, from vicis change, alternation — more at week.
First use: circa 1576



: a large and usually impressive building (such as a church or government building)
Full Definition
1 : building; especially : a large or massive structure
2 : a large abstract structure
the U.S. Capitol is one of our nation's most impressive edifices
the first edifices built by the colonists were primitive huts with walls of dried mud and roofs covered with thatch
the edifice of the argument is quite simple, once you get past the fancy language
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin aedificium, from aedificare.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: cathedral, hall, palace, tower







puis·sant\-sənt, -sənt\
: having puissance : powerful
one of the nation's most respected and puissant advocates for the rights of minorities
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: heavy, heavy-duty, influential, mighty, potent, powerful, important, significant, strong
Antonyms: helpless, impotent, insignificant, little, powerless, unimportant, weak



: continuing at full strength or force without becoming weaker
Full Definition
: not abated : being at full strength or force
un·abat·ed·ly adverb
First use: circa 1611



: showing or expressing too much emotion especially in a foolish or annoying way
Full Definition
1 : drunk enough to be emotionally silly
2 : weakly and effusively sentimental
a maudlin movie about a lovable tramp
Origin: alteration of Mary Magdalene; from her depiction as a weeping penitent.
First use: 1509
Synonyms: chocolate-box, cloying, drippy, fruity, gooey, lovey-dovey, corny, mawkish, mushy, novelettish, saccharine, sappy, schmaltzy, sentimental, sloppy, slushy, soppy, soupy, spoony (or spooney), sticky, sugarcoated, sugary, wet
Antonyms: unsentimental



: a lack of seriousness
: an amusing quality
Full Definition
1 : excessive or unseemly frivolity
2 : lack of steadiness : changeableness
the teachers disapprove of any displays of levity during school assemblies
Origin: Latin levitat-, levitas, from levis light in weight — more at light.
First use: 1564
Synonyms: facetiousness, flightiness, flippancy, frivolousness, frothiness, frivolity, light-headedness, light-mindedness, lightness, silliness
Antonyms: earnestness, gravity, seriousness, soberness, solemnity, solemnness





: a person who was born into a rich, famous, or important family
botany : a piece of a plant that is attached to part of another plant
Full Definition
1 : a detached living portion of a plant (as a bud or shoot) joined to a stock in grafting and usually supplying solely aerial parts to a graft
2 a : descendant, child; especially : a descendant of a wealthy, aristocratic, or influential family
b : heir 1
Origin: Middle English sioun, from Old French cion, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English cīth sprout, shoot, Old High German kīdi.
First use: 13th century



: to teach (someone) to fully accept the ideas, opinions, and beliefs of a particular group and to not consider other ideas, opinions, and beliefs
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach
2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle
Other forms: in·doc·tri·nat·ed; in·doc·tri·nat·ing
in·doc·tri·na·tion \(ˌ)in-ˌdäk-trə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
in·doc·tri·na·tor \in-ˈdäk-trə-ˌnā-tər\ noun
indoctrinated children in proper safety procedures
Origin: probably from Middle English endoctrinen, from Anglo-French endoctriner, from en- + doctrine doctrine.
First use: 1626
Synonyms: educate, teach, instruct, lesson, school, train, tutor



1 : wealth, affluence
2 : abundance, profusion
in some parts of the city nearly unimaginable opulence can be found side by side with nearly unthinkable poverty
First use: circa 1510
Synonyms: assets, capital, fortune, means, wealth, riches, substance, wherewithal, worth



ob·se·qui·ous\əb-ˈsē-kwē-əs, äb-\
: too eager to help or obey someone important
Full Definition
: marked by or exhibiting a fawning attentiveness
synonyms see subservient
ob·se·qui·ous·ly adverb
ob·se·qui·ous·ness noun
Origin: Middle English, compliant, from Latin obsequiosus, from obsequium compliance, from obsequi to comply, from ob- toward + sequi to follow — more at ob-, sue.
First use: 15th century



: expressing something (such as praise or thanks) in a very enthusiastic or emotional way
Full Definition
1 a : characterized by abundance : copious
b : generous in amount, extent, or spirit s fulsome praise for the coach showed just how hard he was trying to be named captain of the team
grateful survivors who were fulsome in their praise of the rescue team
the author perpetuates some truly fulsome stereotypes in her novel
Origin: Middle English fulsom copious, cloying, from full + -som -some.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: adulatory, gushing, gushy, hagiographic (also hagiographical), oily, oleaginous, soapy, unctuous
Antonyms: cheap, close, closefisted, costive, illiberal [archaic], mingy, miserly, niggardly, parsimonious, penurious, selfish, stingy, stinting, tight, tightfisted, uncharitable, ungenerous
Usage: The senses shown above are the chief living senses of fulsome. Sense 2, which was a generalized term of disparagement in the late 17th century, is the least common of these. Fulsome became a point of dispute when sense 1, thought to be obsolete in the 19th century, began to be revived in the 20th. The dispute was exacerbated by the fact that the large dictionaries of the first half of the century missed the beginnings of the revival. Sense 1 has not only been revived but has spread in its application and continues to do so. The chief danger for the user of fulsome is ambiguity. Unless the context is made very clear, the reader or hearer cannot be sure whether such an expression as “fulsome praise” is meant in sense 1b or in sense 4.



: having a lot of full and healthy growth
: covered with healthy green plants
: having a pleasingly rich quality
Full Definition
1 a : growing vigorously especially with luxuriant foliage
b : lavishly productive: as (1) : fertile (2) : thriving (3) : characterized by abundance : plentiful (4) : prosperous, profitable
2 a : savory, delicious
b : appealing to the senses
c : opulent, sumptuous
synonyms see profuse
lush·ly adverb
lush·ness noun
lush grass
lush tropical vegetation
The frequent rainfall encourages the lush growth of trees, ferns, and shrubs.
Origin: Middle English lusch soft, tender.
First use: 1610
Synonyms: green, grown, leafy, luxuriant, overgrown, verdant
Antonyms: barren, leafless
Synonyms: alcoholic, alkie (or alky) [slang], boozehound, boozer, dipsomaniac, drinker, drunkard, inebriate, juicehead [slang], juicer [slang], drunk, rummy, soak, soaker, sot, souse, tippler, toper, tosspot
Antonyms: nonintoxicant
: a person who is often drunk
Full Definition
1 slang : intoxicating liquor : drink
2 : a habitual heavy drinker : drunkard
He's just an old lush.
she accused him of being a lush and a spendthrift
Origin: origin unknown.
First use: circa 1790
Synonyms: green, grown, leafy, luxuriant, overgrown, verdant
Antonyms: barren, leafless
Synonyms: alcoholic, alkie (or alky) [slang], boozehound, boozer, dipsomaniac, drinker, drunkard, inebriate, juicehead [slang], juicer [slang], drunk, rummy, soak, soaker, sot, souse, tippler, toper, tosspot
Antonyms: nonintoxicant
: drink
First use: circa 1811
Synonyms: green, grown, leafy, luxuriant, overgrown, verdant
Antonyms: barren, leafless
Synonyms: alcoholic, alkie (or alky) [slang], boozehound, boozer, dipsomaniac, drinker, drunkard, inebriate, juicehead [slang], juicer [slang], drunk, rummy, soak, soaker, sot, souse, tippler, toper, tosspot



des·ti·tu·tion\ˌdes-tə-ˈtü-shən, -ˈtyü-\
: the state of being destitute; especially : such extreme want as threatens life unless relieved
synonyms see poverty
widespread destitution in Third World countries
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: beggary, destituteness, poverty, impecuniosity, impecuniousness, impoverishment, indigence, necessity, need, neediness, pauperism, penuriousness, penury, poorness, want
Antonyms: affluence, opulence, richness, wealth, wealthiness



: to think about or consider (something) carefully
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to weigh in the mind : appraise
2 : to think about : reflect on
intransitive verb
: to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply
Other forms: pon·dered; pon·der·ing \-d(ə-)riŋ\
pon·der·er \-dər-ər\ noun
I'm pondering whether or not I should join another committee
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French ponderer, from Latin ponderare to weigh, ponder, from ponder-, pondus weight — more at pendant.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, eye, kick around, meditate, mull (over), perpend, pore (over), question, revolve, ruminate, study, think (about or over), turn, weigh, wrestle (with), beat one's brains out (about), chew on, cudgel one's brains (about), look at



intransitive verb
: to make a humble entreaty; especially : to pray to God
transitive verb
1 : to ask humbly and earnestly of
2 : to ask for earnestly and humbly
synonyms see beg
Other forms: sup·pli·cat·ed; sup·pli·cat·ing
sup·pli·ca·tion \ˌsə-plə-ˈkā-shən\ noun
the minister reminded his flock that God is a being to be obeyed and worshipped always and not just someone to be supplicated in times of trouble
Origin: Middle English, from Latin supplicatus, past participle of supplicare, from supplic-, supplex supplicant — more at supple.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: appeal (to), beseech, besiege, conjure, entreat, impetrate, implore, importune, petition, plead (to), pray, solicit, beg



dec·a·dence\ˈde-kə-dən(t)s also di-ˈkā-\
: behavior that shows low morals and a great love of pleasure, money, fame, etc.
Full Definition
1 : the process of becoming decadent : the quality or state of being decadent
2 : a period of decline
synonyms see deterioration
a symbol of the decadence of their once-mighty civilization
clergymen striving to combat decadence and sin in their communities
Origin: Middle French, from Medieval Latin decadentia, from Late Latin decadent-, decadens, present participle of decadere to fall, sink — more at decay.
First use: 1530
Synonyms: decline, declension, declination, degeneracy, degeneration, degradation, dégringolade, descent, deterioration, devolution, downfall, downgrade, ebb, eclipse, fall
Antonyms: ascent, rise, upswing



: something that you do or are given to do in order to show that you are sad or sorry about doing something wrong
Full Definition
1 : an act of self-abasement, mortification, or devotion performed to show sorrow or repentance for sin
2 : a sacramental rite that is practiced in Roman, Eastern, and some Anglican churches and that consists of private confession, absolution, and a penance directed by the confessor
3 : something (as a hardship or penalty) resembling an act of penance (as in compensating for an offense)
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin poenitentia penitence.
First use: 14th century
transitive verb
: to impose penance on
Other forms: pen·anced; pen·anc·ing
First use: circa 1600



as·cet·ic\ə-ˈse-tik, a-\
: relating to or having a strict and simple way of living that avoids physical pleasure
Full Definition
1 : practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline
2 : austere in appearance, manner, or attitude
synonyms see severe
ascetic noun
as·cet·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
as·cet·i·cism \-ˈse-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun
Variants: also as·cet·i·cal \ə-ˈse-ti-kəl\
Origin: Greek askētikos, literally, laborious, from askētēs one that exercises, hermit, from askein to work, exercise.
First use: 1646





: someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person
: one of a group of 12 men who were sent out to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ
Full Definition
1 : one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another: as
a : one of the twelve in the inner circle of Christ's followers according to the Gospel accounts
b : a convinced adherent of a school or individual
2 capitalized : a member of the Disciples of Christ founded in the United States in 1809 that holds the Bible alone to be the rule of faith and practice, usually baptizes by immersion, and has a congregational polity
synonyms see follower
dis·ci·ple·ship \-ˌship\ noun
a circle of dedicated disciples who conscientiously wrote down everything the prophet said
Origin: Middle English, from Old English discipul & Anglo-French disciple, from Late Latin and Latin; Late Latin discipulus follower of Jesus Christ in his lifetime, from Latin, pupil.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: acolyte, adherent, convert, follower, epigone, liege man, partisan (also partizan), pupil, votarist, votary
Antonyms: coryphaeus, leader



: a major change in the appearance or character of someone or something
biology : a major change in the form or structure of some animals or insects that happens as the animal or insect becomes an adult
Full Definition
1 a : change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means
b : a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances
2 : a typically marked and more or less abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching
Other forms: plural meta·mor·pho·ses\-ˌsēz\
the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies
the metamorphosis of the abandoned factory into a mixed-use property
Origin: Latin, from Greek metamorphōsis, from metamorphoun to transform, from meta- + morphē form.
First use: 1533
Synonyms: changeover, conversion, transfiguration, transformation


Bona fide



in Christianity : the act of saving someone from sin or evil : the state of being saved from sin or evil
: something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation
Full Definition
1 a : deliverance from the power and effects of sin
b : the agent or means that effects salvation
c Christian Science : the realization of the supremacy of infinite Mind over all bringing with it the destruction of the illusion of sin, sickness, and death
2 : liberation from ignorance or illusion
3 a : preservation from destruction or failure
b : deliverance from danger or difficulty
sal·va·tion·al \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
we spent the night in the cellar praying for salvation from the tornadoes
Origin: Middle English salvacion, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin salvation-, salvatio, from salvare to save — more at save.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: deliverance, rescue



: a way of thinking that gives too much importance to material possessions rather than to spiritual or intellectual things
philosophy : the belief that only material things exist
Full Definition
1 a : a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter
b : a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progress
c : a doctrine that economic or social change is materially caused — compare historical materialism
2 : a preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things
ma·te·ri·al·ist \-list\ noun or adjective
ma·te·ri·al·is·tic \-ˌtir-ē-ə-ˈlis-tik\ adjective
ma·te·ri·al·is·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
First use: 1733



: the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing
Full Definition
1 : training, upbringing
2 : something that nourishes : food
3 : the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism
Origin: Middle English norture, nurture, from Anglo-French nureture, from Late Latin nutritura act of nursing, from Latin nutritus, past participle of nutrire to suckle, nourish — more at nourish.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: advance, cultivate, encourage, forward, further, incubate, nourish, nurse, foster, promote
Antonyms: discourage, frustrate, hinder, inhibit
: to help (something or someone) to grow, develop, or succeed
: to take care of (someone or something that is growing or developing) by providing food, protection, a place to live, etc.
: to hold (something, such as an idea or a strong feeling) in your mind for a long time
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to supply with nourishment
2 : educate
3 : to further the development of : foster
Other forms: nur·tured; nur·tur·ing \ˈnərch-riŋ, ˈnər-chə-\
nur·tur·er \ˈnər-chər-ər\ noun
Members of the family helped in the nurture of the baby.
Is our character affected more by nature or by nurture?



nir·va·na\nir-ˈvä-nə, (ˌ)nər-\
: the state of perfect happiness and peace in Buddhism where there is release from all forms of suffering
: a state or place of great happiness and peace
Full Definition
Usage: often capitalized
1 : the final beatitude that transcends suffering, karma, and samsara and is sought especially in Buddhism through the extinction of desire and individual consciousness
2 a : a place or state of oblivion to care, pain, or external reality; also : bliss, heaven
b : a goal hoped for but apparently unattainable : dream
nir·van·ic \-ˈvä-nik, -ˈva-\ adjective
the spa experience was a week of pure nirvana
the popular fantasy that life as a beachcomber in the South Pacific would be never-ending nirvana
Origin: Sanskrit nirvāṇa, literally, act of extinguishing, from nis- out + vāti it blows — more at wind.
First use: 1801
Synonyms: forgetfulness, oblivion, obliviousness
Antonyms: anti-utopia, dystopia, hell



: to place (different things) together in order to create an interesting effect or to show how they are the same or different
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to place side by side
Other forms: jux·ta·posed; jux·ta·pos·ing
Origin: probably back-formation from juxtaposition.
First use: 1851



transitive verb
: to put or give in pledge : engage
plight·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Old English plihtan to endanger, from pliht danger; akin to Old English plēon to expose to danger, Old High German pflegan to take care of.
First use: 13th century
: a solemnly given pledge : engagement
the garden where the lovers plighted their troth
Origin: (see 1plight ).
First use: 13th century
: an unfortunate, difficult, or precarious situation
Origin: Middle English plight, plit danger, condition, in part from Old English pliht; in part from Anglo-French plit, pleit, pli condition, plight, literally, bending, fold — more at plait.





: a long, loose piece of clothing that is worn by a priest on special occasions
Full Definition
1 : a long enveloping ecclesiastical vestment
2 a : something resembling a cope (as by concealing or covering)
b : coping
Origin: Middle English, from Old English -cāp, from Late Latin cappa head covering.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: blanket, cloak, cover, covering, coverture, cover-up, curtain, hood, mantle, mask, pall, penumbra, robe, shroud, veil, wraps
transitive verb
: to cover or furnish with a cope
Other forms: coped; cop·ing
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: blanket, cloak, cover, covering, coverture, cover-up, curtain, hood, mantle, mask, pall, penumbra, robe, shroud, veil, wraps
intransitive verb
1 obsolete : strike, fight
2 a : to maintain a contest or combat usually on even terms or with success — used with with
b : to deal with and attempt to overcome problems and difficulties — often used with with
3 archaic : meet, encounter
transitive verb
1 obsolete : to meet in combat
2 obsolete : to come in contact with
3 obsolete : match
Other forms: coped; cop·ing
Origin: Middle English copen, coupen, from Anglo-French couper to strike, cut, from cop, colp blow, from Late Latin colpus, alteration of Latin colaphus, from Greek kolaphos buffet.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: blanket, cloak, cover, covering, coverture, cover-up, curtain, hood, mantle, mask, pall, penumbra, robe, shroud, veil, wraps
transitive verb
1 : to shape (a structural member) to fit a coping or conform to the shape of another member
2 : notch
Other forms: coped; cop·ing
Origin: probably from French couper to cut.
First use: circa 1901
Synonyms: blanket, cloak, cover, covering, coverture, cover-up, curtain, hood, mantle, mask, pall, penumbra, robe, shroud, veil, wraps



1 a : the quality or state of being incompatible
b : lack of interfertility between two plants
2 plural : mutually antagonistic things or qualities
Other forms: plural in·com·pat·i·bil·i·ties
First use: 1611



: to make (someone or something) unable to work, move, or function in the usual way
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make legally incapable or ineligible
2 : to deprive of capacity or natural power : disable
Other forms: in·ca·pac·i·tat·ed; in·ca·pac·i·tat·ing
in·ca·pac·i·ta·tion \-ˌpa-sə-ˈtā-shən\ noun
the malfunctioning of a single component can incapacitate the engine
the stroke left her completely incapacitated
First use: 1657
Synonyms: cripple, disable, hamstring, immobilize, paralyze, prostrate



: to make or build (something)
: to create or make up (something, such as a story) in order to trick people
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : invent, create
b : to make up for the purpose of deception
2 : construct, manufacture; specifically : to construct from diverse and usually standardized parts
Other forms: fab·ri·cat·ed; fab·ri·cat·ing
fab·ri·ca·tor \ˈfa-bri-ˌkā-tər\ noun
with a few inexpensive materials from a craft shop, we were able to fabricate our own holiday wreath
fabricated a daring plan to create an underground explosion that would take the enemy totally by surprise
the house was essentially fabricated at the factory and then shipped to the site for assembly
Origin: Middle English, from Latin fabricatus, past participle of fabricari, from fabrica.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: make, fashion, form, frame, manufacture, produce
Antonyms: demount, disassemble, dismantle, dismember, knock down, strike, take down, tear down



con·nu·bi·al\kə-ˈnü-bē-əl, -ˈnyü-\
: of or relating to the married state : conjugal
con·nu·bi·al·ism \-bē-ə-ˌli-zəm\ noun
con·nu·bi·al·i·ty \-ˌnü-bē-ˈa-lə-tē, -ˌnyü-\ noun
con·nu·bi·al·ly \-ˈnü-bē-ə-lē, -ˈnyü-\ adverb
a happy couple celebrating half a century of connubial bliss
Origin: Latin conubialis, from conubium, connubium marriage, from com- + nubere to marry — more at nuptial.
First use: circa 1656
Synonyms: conjugal, marital, married, matrimonial, nuptial, wedded
Antonyms: nonmarital



: to disagree politely with another person's statement or suggestion
: to politely refuse to accept a request or suggestion
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 archaic : delay, hesitate
2 : to file a demurrer
3 : to take exception : object — often used with to or at
Other forms: de·murred; de·mur·ring
Origin: Middle English demuren, demeren to linger, from Anglo-French demurer, demoerer, from Latin demorari, from de- + morari to linger, from mora delay — more at mora.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: challenge, complaint, objection, demurral, demurrer, difficulty, exception, expostulation, fuss, kick, protest, question, remonstrance, stink
Synonyms: object, except, expostulate, kick, protest, remonstrate
: an act of disagreeing about something
Full Definition
1 : hesitation (as in doing or accepting) usually based on doubt of the acceptability of something offered or proposed
2 : the act or an instance of objecting : protest
synonyms see qualm
She accepted the group's decision without demur.
we accepted his offer to pay for our dinners without demur
First use: 13th century



: a name or title
Full Definition
1 : an identifying name or title : designation
2 archaic : the act of calling by a name
3 : a geographical name (as of a region, village, or vineyard) under which a winegrower is authorized to identify and market wine; also : the area designated by such a name
a twisting road that deserved the appellation “Sidewinder Lane”
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: name, appellative, cognomen, compellation, denomination, denotation, designation, handle, moniker (also monicker), nomenclature, title





in·dif·fer·ence\in-ˈdi-fərn(t)s, -f(ə-)rən(t)s\
: lack of interest in or concern about something : an indifferent attitude or feeling
Full Definition
1 : the quality, state, or fact of being indifferent
2 a archaic : lack of difference or distinction between two or more things
b : absence of compulsion to or toward one thing or another
an alarming indifference toward the well-being of his own children
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: apathy, casualness, complacence, disinterestedness, disregard, incuriosity, incuriousness, insouciance, nonchalance, torpor, unconcern
Antonyms: concern, interest, regard



: capable of becoming real
Full Definition
1 : existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality
2 : expressing possibility; specifically : of, relating to, or constituting a verb phrase expressing possibility, liberty, or power by the use of an auxiliary with the infinitive of the verb (as in “it may rain”)
synonyms see latent
po·ten·tial·ly \-ˈten(t)-sh(ə-)lē\ adverb
Origin: Middle English potencial, from Late Latin potentialis, from potentia potentiality, from Latin, power, from potent-, potens.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: implicit, possible
Antonyms: actual, existent, factual, real
Synonyms: capability, eventuality, possibility, potentiality, prospect
: a chance or possibility that something will happen or exist in the future
: a quality that something has that can be developed to make it better
: an ability that someone has that can be developed to help that person become successful
Full Definition
1 a : something that can develop or become actual

b : promise 2
2 a : any of various functions from which the intensity or the velocity at any point in a field may be readily calculated
b : the work required to move a unit positive charge from a reference point (as at infinity) to a point in question
c : potential difference
Wet roads increase the potential for an accident.
If you study hard, there is a greater potential for success.
Scientists are exploring the potentials of the new drug.
First use: 1817
Synonyms: implicit, possible







: to make the effects of (something, such as an illness) less painful, harmful, or harsh
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to reduce the violence of (a disease); also : to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease
2 : to cover by excuses and apologies
3 : to moderate the intensity of
Other forms: pal·li·at·ed; pal·li·at·ing
pal·li·a·tion \ˌpa-lē-ˈā-shən\ noun
pal·li·a·tor \ˈpa-lē-ˌā-tər\ noun
don't try to palliate your constant lying by claiming that everybody lies
this medicine should palliate your cough at least a little
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin palliatus, past participle of palliare to cloak, conceal, from Latin pallium cloak.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: deodorize, excuse, explain away, extenuate, gloss (over), gloze (over), whitewash
Antonyms: aggravate, exacerbate



de·lude\di-ˈlüd, dē-\
: to cause (someone) to believe something that is not true
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to mislead the mind or judgment of : deceive, trick
2 obsolete
a : frustrate, disappoint
b : evade, elude
synonyms see deceive
Other forms: de·lud·ed; de·lud·ing
de·lud·er noun
we deluded ourselves into thinking that the ice cream wouldn't affect our diet
Origin: Middle English, from Latin deludere, from de- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: bamboozle, beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con, cozen, deceive, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gammon, gull, have, have on [chiefly British], hoax, hoodwink, hornswoggle, humbug, juggle, misguide, misinform, mislead, snooker, snow, spoof, string along, sucker, suck in, take in, trick
Antonyms: undeceive



pre·lude\ˈprel-ˌyüd, ˈprāl-; ˈpre-ˌlüd, ˈprā-; sense 1 also ˈprē-ˌlüd\
: something that comes before and leads to something else
: a short piece of music that introduces a longer piece
Full Definition
1 : an introductory performance, action, or event preceding and preparing for the principal or a more important matter
2 a : a musical section or movement introducing the theme or chief subject (as of a fugue or suite) or serving as an introduction to an opera or oratorio
b : an opening voluntary
c : a separate concert piece usually for piano or orchestra and based entirely on a short motif
Origin: Middle French, from Medieval Latin praeludium, from Latin praeludere to play beforehand, from prae- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous.
First use: 1561
Synonyms: curtain-raiser, overture, preamble, preliminary, prologue (also prolog), warm-up
Antonyms: epilogue (also epilog)
transitive verb
1 : to serve as a prelude to
2 : to play as a preludeintransitive verb
: to give or serve as a prelude; especially : to play a musical introduction
Other forms: pre·lud·ed; pre·lud·ing
pre·lud·er noun
First use: 1655
Synonyms: curtain-raiser, overture, preamble, preliminary, prologue (also prolog), warm-up



chi·me·ri·cal\kī-ˈmer-i-kəl, kə-, -ˈmir-\
1 : existing only as the product of unchecked imagination : fantastically visionary or improbable
2 : given to fantastic schemes
synonyms see imaginary
chi·me·ri·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
for the time being, interplanetary travel remains a chimerical feature of life in the 21st century
Variants: also chi·me·ric \-ik\
Origin: chimera.
First use: 1638
Synonyms: imaginary (also chimeric), fabulous, fanciful, fantasied, fantastic (also fantastical), fictional, fictitious, ideal, imaginal, imagined, invented, made-up, make-believe, mythical (or mythic), notional, phantasmal, phantasmic, phantom, pretend, unreal, visonary
Antonyms: actual, existent, existing, real



ac·knowl·edge\ik-ˈnä-lij, ak-\
: to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)
: to regard or describe (someone or something) as having or deserving a particular status
: to tell or show someone that something (such as a letter or message) has been received
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to recognize the rights, authority, or status of
2 : to disclose knowledge of or agreement with
3 a : to express gratitude or obligation for
b : to take notice of
c : to make known the receipt of
4 : to recognize as genuine or valid
Other forms: ac·knowl·edged; ac·knowl·edg·ing
finally had to acknowledge that she'd outgrown her favorite jacket
Origin: ac- (as in accord) + knowledge.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: admit, agree, allow, concede, confess, fess (up), grant, own (up to)
Antonyms: deny
Synonym discussion: acknowledge admit own avow confess mean to disclose against one's will or inclination. acknowledge implies the disclosing of something that has been or might be concealed . admit implies reluctance to disclose, grant, or concede and refers usually to facts rather than their implications . own implies acknowledging something in close relation to oneself . avow implies boldly declaring, often in the face of hostility, what one might be expected to be silent about . confess may apply to an admission of a weakness, failure, omission, or guilt .



het·ero·ge·neous\ˌhe-tə-rə-ˈjē-nē-əs, ˌhe-trə-, -nyəs\
: made up of parts that are different
Full Definition
: consisting of dissimilar or diverse ingredients or constituents : mixed
het·ero·ge·neous·ly adverb
het·ero·ge·neous·ness noun
the seating in the hall was a heterogeneous collection of old school desk chairs, wood and metal folding chairs, and even a few plush theater seats
Origin: Medieval Latin heterogeneus, from Greek heterogenēs, from heter- + genos kind — more at kin.
First use: 1630
Synonyms: assorted, eclectic, miscellaneous, indiscriminate, kitchen-sink, magpie, mixed, motley, patchwork, piebald, promiscuous, raggle-taggle, ragtag, varied
Antonyms: homogeneous



: a range or series of related things
Full Definition
1 : the whole series of recognized musical notes
2 : an entire range or series
synonyms see range
the actress's work runs the gamut from goofy comedies to serious historical dramas
Origin: Medieval Latin gamma, lowest note of a medieval scale (from Late Latin, 3d letter of the Greek alphabet) + ut ut.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: diapason, range, scale, spectrum, spread, stretch



: having or showing an ability to notice and understand things that are difficult or not obvious
Full Definition
: of acute mental vision or discernment : keen
synonyms see shrewd
per·spi·ca·cious·ly adverb
per·spi·ca·cious·ness noun
per·spi·cac·i·ty \-ˈka-sə-tē\ noun
Origin: Latin perspicac-, perspicax, from perspicere.
First use: 1640



: similar in some way
Full Definition
1 : showing an analogy or a likeness that permits one to draw an analogy
2 : being or related to as an analogue
synonyms see similar
anal·o·gous·ly adverb
anal·o·gous·ness noun
bad-mouthing your sister is analogous to slapping her in the face—it's just as bad
Origin: Latin analogus, from Greek analogos, literally, proportionate, from ana- + logos reason, ratio, from legein to gather, speak — more at legend.
First use: 1646
Synonyms: akin, alike, cognate, comparable, connate, correspondent, corresponding, ditto, like, matching, parallel, resemblant, resembling, similar, such, suchlike
Antonyms: different, dissimilar, diverse, unakin, unlike



: not able to deal with other people in a normal or healthy way
Full Definition
: poorly or inadequately adjusted; specifically : lacking harmony with one's environment from failure to adjust one's desires to the conditions of one's life
First use: 1886



phe·nom·e·non\fi-ˈnä-mə-ˌnän, -nən\
: something (such as an interesting fact or event) that can be observed and studied and that typically is unusual or difficult to understand or explain fully
: someone or something that is very impressive or popular especially because of an unusual ability or quality
Full Definition
1 plural phenomena : an observable fact or event
2 plural phenomena
a : an object or aspect known through the senses rather than by thought or intuition
b : a temporal or spatiotemporal object of sensory experience as distinguished from a noumenon
c : a fact or event of scientific interest susceptible to scientific description and explanation
3 a : a rare or significant fact or event
b plural phenomenons : an exceptional, unusual, or abnormal person, thing, or occurrence
usage see phenomena
Other forms: plural phe·nom·e·na \-nə, -ˌnä\ or phe·nom·e·nons
our jaws dropped when we saw this basketball phenomenon play for the first time
Origin: Late Latin phaenomenon, from Greek phainomenon, from neuter of phainomenos, present participle of phainesthai to appear, middle voice of phainein to show — more at fancy.
First use: 1605
Synonyms: caution, flash, marvel, miracle, wonder, portent, prodigy, sensation, splendor



medical : having or suggesting neurosis
: often or always fearful or worried about something : tending to worry in a way that is not healthy or reasonable
Full Definition
: of, relating to, constituting, or affected with neurosis(see neurosis )
neu·rot·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
First use: 1866
medical : a person who has a neurosis
: a person who is always fearful or worried about something
Full Definition
1 : one affected with a neurosis(see neurosis )
2 : an emotionally unstable individual
He was diagnosed as a neurotic.
He is a neurotic about keeping his clothes neat.
First use: 1896



: the quality or state of being a person or thing that is alive and therefore certain to die : the quality or state of being mortal
: the death of a person, animal, etc.
: the number of deaths that occur in a particular time or place
Full Definition
1 : the quality or state of being mortal
2 : the death of large numbers (as of people or animals)
3 archaic : death
4 : the human race
5 a : the number of deaths in a given time or place
b : the proportion of deaths to population
c : the number lost or the rate of loss or failure
First use: 14th century



de·cade\ˈde-ˌkād, de-ˈkād; especially sense 1b ˈde-kəd\
: a period of 10 years ; especially : a 10-year period beginning with a year ending in 0
Full Definition
1 : a group or set of 10: as
a : a period of 10 years
b : a division of the rosary that consists primarily of 10 Hail Marys
2 : a ratio of 10 to 1 : order of magnitude
de·cad·al \ˈde-kə-dəl\ adjective
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French décade, from Late Latin decad-, decas, from Greek dekad-, dekas, from deka.
First use: 15th century





: teacher, schoolmaster; especially : a dull, formal, or pedantic teacher
a pedagogue whose classroom lessons consisted entirely of reading directly from the textbook in a monotone
Variants: also ped·a·gog \ˈpe-də-ˌgäg\
Origin: Middle English pedagoge, from Latin paedagogus, from Greek paidagōgos, slave who escorted children to school, from paid- ped- + agōgos leader, from agein to lead — more at agent.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: educationist [chiefly British], educator, instructor, teacher (also pedagog), preceptor, schoolteacher



: to make a clear statement of (ideas, beliefs, etc.)
: to pronounce words or parts of words clearly
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to make a definite or systematic statement of
b : announce, proclaim
2 : articulate, pronounce
intransitive verb
: to utter articulate sounds
Other forms: enun·ci·at·ed; enun·ci·at·ing
enun·cia·ble \-ˈnən(t)-sē-ə-bəl, -ˈnən-ch(ē-)ə-\ adjective
enun·ci·a·tion \-ˌnən(t)-sē-ˈā-shən\ noun
enun·ci·a·tor \-ˈnən(t)-sē-ˌā-tər\ noun
enunciate your words, and then you won't have to repeat them so often
today the President enunciated a new foreign policy
a paper that enunciates the goals of the environmental organization
Origin: Latin enuntiatus, past participle of enuntiare to report, declare, from e- + nuntiare to report — more at announce.
First use: 1623
Synonyms: articulate



in·or·di·nate\in-ˈȯr-dən-ət, -ˈȯrd-nət\
: going beyond what is usual, normal, or proper
Full Definition
1 archaic : disorderly, unregulated
2 : exceeding reasonable limits : immoderate
synonyms see excessive
in·or·di·nate·ly adverb
in·or·di·nate·ness noun
an inordinate number of complaints about the slow pace of snow removal around the city
Origin: Middle English inordinat, from Latin inordinatus, from in- + ordinatus, past participle of ordinare to arrange — more at ordain.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: baroque, devilish, exorbitant, extravagant, extreme, fancy, immoderate, excessive, insane, intolerable, lavish, overdue, overextravagant, overmuch, overweening, plethoric, steep, stiff, towering, unconscionable, undue, unmerciful
Antonyms: middling, moderate, modest, reasonable, temperate



: becoming angry very easily : having a bad temper
Full Definition
: marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger
iras·ci·bil·i·ty \-ˌra-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
iras·ci·ble·ness \i-ˈra-sə-bəl-nəs\ noun
iras·ci·bly \-blē\ adverb
forced to endure a memorably irascible boss on her first job after college
Origin: Middle French, from Late Latin irascibilis, from Latin irasci to become angry, be angry, from ira.
First use: circa 1530
Synonyms: choleric, crabby, cranky, cross, crotchety, fiery, grouchy, grumpy, irritable, peevish, perverse, pettish, petulant, prickly, quick-tempered, raspy, ratty, short-tempered, snappish, snappy, snarky, snippety, snippy, stuffy, testy, waspish



: the process of examining your own thoughts or feelings
Full Definition
: a reflective looking inward : an examination of one's own thoughts and feelings
in·tro·spect \-ˈspekt\ verb
in·tro·spec·tion·al \-ˈspek-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
in·tro·spec·tive \-ˈspek-tiv\ adjective
in·tro·spec·tive·ly adverb
in·tro·spec·tive·ness noun
not a man given to introspection, he grew impatient with his wife's constant need to discuss their relationship
Origin: Latin introspectus, past participle of introspicere to look inside, from intro- + specere to look — more at spy.
First use: circa 1677
Synonyms: self-contemplation, self-examination, self-observation, self-questioning, self-reflection, self-scrutiny, self-searching, soul-searching



: to cause (something that should be stopped, such as a mistaken idea or a bad situation) to continue
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to make perpetual or cause to last indefinitely
Other forms: per·pet·u·at·ed; per·pet·u·at·ing
per·pet·u·a·tion \-ˌpe-chə-ˈwā-shən\ noun
per·pet·u·a·tor \-ˈpe-chə-ˌwā-tər\ noun
we hope to perpetuate this holiday tradition
Origin: Latin perpetuatus, past participle of perpetuare, from perpetuus.
First use: 1530
Synonyms: eternalize, immortalize



: an official order to do something
: the power to act that voters give to their elected leaders
Full Definition
1 : an authoritative command; especially : a formal order from a superior court or official to an inferior one
2 : an authorization to act given to a representative
3 a : an order or commission granted by the League of Nations to a member nation for the establishment of a responsible government over a former German colony or other conquered territory
b : a mandated territory
Origin: Middle French & Latin; Middle French mandat, from Latin mandatum, from neuter of mandatus, past participle of mandare to entrust, enjoin, probably irregular from manus hand + -dere to put — more at manual, do.
First use: 1501
Synonyms: accreditation, authorization, delegation, empowerment, license (or licence), commission
Synonyms: call, decree, dictate, direct, command, ordain, order
: to officially demand or require (something)
: to officially give (someone) the power to do something
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to administer or assign (as a territory) under a mandate (see 1mandate )
2 : to officially require (something) : make (something) mandatory : order
; also : to direct or require (someone) to do something
Other forms: man·dat·ed; man·dat·ing
Ours was the first state to mandate the change.
The law mandates that every car have seat belts.
Drug tests have been mandated by the government.
Origin: (see 1mandate ).
First use: 1919



com·pen·sate\ˈkäm-pən-ˌsāt, -ˌpen-\
: to provide something good as a balance against something bad or undesirable : to make up forsome defect or weakness
: to give money or something else of value to (someone) in return for something (such as work) or as payment for something lost, damaged, etc.
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to be equivalent to : counterbalance
2 : to make an appropriate and usually counterbalancing payment to
3 a : to provide with means of counteracting variation
b : to neutralize the effect of (variations)
intransitive verb
1 : to supply an equivalent — used with for
2 : to offset an error, defect, or undesired effect
3 : to undergo or engage in psychological or physiological compensation
synonyms see pay
Other forms: com·pen·sat·ed; com·pen·sat·ing
com·pen·sa·tive \ˈkäm-pən-ˌsā-tiv, -ˌpen-; kəm-ˈpen(t)-sə-\ adjective
com·pen·sa·tor \ˈkäm-pən-ˌsā-tər, -ˌpen-\ noun
com·pen·sa·to·ry \kəm-ˈpen(t)-sə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
you'll have to compensate the neighbors for cutting down their tree
compensate them well for their efforts
Origin: Latin compensatus, past participle of compensare, frequentative of compendere.
First use: 1646
Synonyms: indemnify, recompense, recoup, remunerate, requite, satisfy



neu·tral·ize\ˈnü-trə-ˌlīz, ˈnyü-\
: to stop (someone or something) from being effective or harmful
: to cause (a chemical) to be neither an acid nor a base
: to make (something, such as a country or area) neutral during a war
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make chemically neutral
2 a : to counteract the activity or effect of : make ineffective
b : kill, destroy
3 : to make electrically inert by combining equal positive and negative quantities
4 : to invest (as a territory or a nation) with conventional or obligatory neutrality conferring inviolability during a war
5 : to make neutral by blending with the complementary color
6 : to give (as a pair of phonemes) a nondistinctive form or pronunciation
intransitive verb
: to undergo neutralization
Other forms: neu·tral·ized; neu·tral·iz·ing
neu·tral·iz·er noun
a pro-government rally that is intended to neutralize the antiwar demonstrations
orders to find the renegade colonel and to neutralize him
First use: 1759
Synonyms: annul, cancel (out), compensate (for), correct, counteract, counterbalance, counterpoise, make up (for), negative, offset



: a terrible disaster
Full Definition
1 : the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy
2 : a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin
3 a : a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth
b : a violent usually destructive natural event (as a supernova)
4 : utter failure : fiasco
cat·a·stroph·ic \ˌka-tə-ˈsträ-fik\ adjective
cat·a·stroph·i·cal·ly \-fi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
more than one natural catastrophe has threatened to destroy their farm over the years
the movie was a catastrophe, nearly bankrupting the studio that produced it
Origin: Greek katastrophē, from katastrephein to overturn, from kata- + strephein to turn.
First use: 1540
Synonyms: apocalypse, calamity, cataclysm, disaster, debacle (also débâcle), tragedy
Antonyms: blockbuster, hit, smash, success, winner



: the study of human races, origins, societies, and cultures
Full Definition
1 : the science of human beings; especially : the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture
2 : theology dealing with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings
an·thro·po·log·i·cal \-pə-ˈlä-ji-kəl\ adjective
an·thro·po·log·i·cal·ly \-ji-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
an·thro·pol·o·gist \ˌan(t)-thrə-ˈpä-lə-jist\ noun
Origin: New Latin anthropologia, from anthrop- + -logia -logy.
First use: 1593



: a strong and unusual need or desire for something
: a need or desire for an object, body part, or activity for sexual excitement
: an object that is believed to have magical powers
Full Definition
1 a : an object (as a small stone carving of an animal) believed to have magical power to protect or aid its owner; broadly : a material object regarded with superstitious or extravagant trust or reverence
b : an object of irrational reverence or obsessive devotion : prepossession
c : an object or bodily part whose real or fantasied presence is psychologically necessary for sexual gratification and that is an object of fixation to the extent that it may interfere with complete sexual expression
2 : a rite or cult of fetish worshipers
3 : fixation
dieting seems to be a fetish with some people
an archaeologist discovering an old animal tooth that may have been worn as a fetish
Variants: also fe·tich \ˈfe-tish also ˈfē-\
Origin: French & Portuguese; French fétiche, from Portuguese feitiço, from feitiço artificial, false, from Latin facticius factitious.
First use: 1613
Synonyms: fixation (also fetich), idée fixe, mania, obsession, preoccupation, prepossession
Antonyms: hoodoo, jinx



: a simple object (such as a tool or weapon) that was made by people in the past
: an accidental effect that causes incorrect results
Full Definition
1 a : something created by humans usually for a practical purpose; especially : an object remaining from a particular period
b : something characteristic of or resulting from a particular human institution, period, trend, or individual
2 : a product of artificial character (as in a scientific test) due usually to extraneous (as human) agency
ar·ti·fac·tu·al \ˌär-ti-ˈfak-chə(-wə)l, -ˈfak-shwəl, -chü-əl\ adjective
Origin: Latin arte by skill (abl. of art-, ars skill) + factum, neuter of factus, past participle of facere to do — more at arm, do.
First use: 1821



: very unusual or strange
Full Definition
: strikingly out of the ordinary: as
a : odd, extravagant, or eccentric in style or mode
b : involving sensational contrasts or incongruities
synonyms see fantastic
bi·zarre·ly adverb
bi·zarre·ness noun
Origin: French, from Italian bizzarro.
First use: circa 1648
Synonyms: absurd, fantastic, crazy, fanciful, foolish, insane, nonsensical, preposterous, unreal, wild
Antonyms: realistic, reasonable



: not living : not capable of life
Full Definition
1 : not animate:
a : not endowed with life or spirit
b : lacking consciousness or power of motion
2 : not animated or lively : dull
in·an·i·mate·ly adverb
in·an·i·mate·ness noun
“pathetic fallacy” is the literary term for the ascription of human feelings or motives to inanimate natural elements
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin inanimatus, from Latin in- + animatus, past participle of animare to animate.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: insensate, insensible, insentient, senseless, unfeeling
Antonyms: animate, feeling, sensate, sensible, sensitive, sentient



: to hurt or damage the good condition of (something)
: to make (something) dangerous or dirty especially by adding something harmful or undesirable to it
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to contaminate morally : corrupt
2 : to affect with putrefaction : spoil
3 : to touch or affect slightly with something bad
intransitive verb
1 obsolete : to become weak
2 : to become affected with putrefaction : spoil
synonyms see contaminate
The reputation of the university has been tainted by athletic scandals.
Their relationship was tainted with/by suspicion.
Bacteria had tainted the meat.
Origin: Middle English teynten to color & taynten to attaint; Middle English teynten, from Anglo-French teinter, from teint, past participle of teindre, from Latin tingere; Middle English taynten, short for attaynten — more at tinge, attain.
First use: 1573
Synonyms: blot, brand, onus, slur, smirch, smudge, spot, stigma, stain
Synonyms: blemish, darken, mar, poison, spoil, stain, tarnish, touch, vitiate
Antonyms: decontaminate, purify
: something that causes a person or thing to be thought of as bad, dishonest, etc.
Full Definition
: a contaminating mark or influence
taint·less \-ləs\ adjective
a political career damaged by the taint of scandal
that rare political campaign that wasn't marred by the taint of false accusations



pro·hi·bi·tion\ˌprō-ə-ˈbi-shən also ˌprō-hə-\
: the act of not allowing something to be used or done
: a law or order that stops something from being used or done
: the period of time from 1920 to 1933 in the U.S. when it was illegal to make or sell alcohol
Full Definition
1 : the act of prohibiting by authority
2 : an order to restrain or stop
3 often capitalized : the forbidding by law of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic liquors except for medicinal and sacramental purposes
the principal's prohibition against the use of cell phones in the school building met with unanimous approval by the teachers
the school issued a prohibition against wearing clothing with obscene and provocative slogans
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: banning, barring, enjoining, forbidding, interdicting, interdiction, outlawing, prohibiting, proscribing, proscription
Antonyms: prescription



: not wise or sensible : not prudent
Full Definition
: not prudent : lacking discretion, wisdom, or good judgment
im·pru·dent·ly adverb
a very sweet girl, but so imprudent that no one trusts her with a secret
Origin: Middle English, from Latin imprudent-, imprudens, from in- + prudent-, prudens prudent.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: brash, graceless, ill-advised, indiscreet, inadvisable, indelicate, injudicious, tactless, undiplomatic, unwise
Antonyms: advisable, discreet, judicious, prudent, tactful, wise



: not acceptable to talk about or do
Full Definition
1 : forbidden to profane use or contact because of what are held to be dangerous supernatural powers
2 a : banned on grounds of morality or taste
b : banned as constituting a risk
Variants: also ta·bu \tə-ˈbü, ta-\
Origin: Tongan tabu.
First use: 1777
Synonyms: banned, barred, forbidden, interdicted, outlawed, prohibited, proscribed, impermissible (also tabu), verboten
Antonyms: allowable, permissible, permissive, sufferable
: a rule against doing or saying something in a particular culture or religion
: something that is not acceptable to talk about or do : something that is taboo
Full Definition
1 : a prohibition against touching, saying, or doing something for fear of immediate harm from a supernatural force
2 : a prohibition imposed by social custom or as a protective measure
3 : belief in taboos
Other forms: plural taboos also tabus
religious/social taboos against drinking alcohol
Marrying a close relative is a taboo in many cultures.
Variants: also tabu
First use: 1777



im·per·a·tive\im-ˈper-ə-tiv, -ˈpe-rə-\
: very important
grammar : having the form that expresses a command rather than a statement or a question
: expressing a command in a forceful and confident way
Full Definition
1 a : of, relating to, or constituting the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another
b : expressive of a command, entreaty, or exhortation
c : having power to restrain, control, and direct
2 : not to be avoided or evaded : necessary
synonyms see masterful
im·per·a·tive·ly adverb
im·per·a·tive·ness noun
Origin: Middle English imperatyf, from Late Latin imperativus, from Latin imperatus, past participle of imperare to command — more at emperor.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: compulsory, forced, mandatory, incumbent, involuntary, necessary, nonelective, obligatory, peremptory, required
Antonyms: elective, optional, voluntary
Synonyms: behest, charge, commandment, decree, dictate, direction, directive, do, edict, command, injunction, instruction, order, word
2im·per·a·tive\im-ˈper-ə-tiv, -ˈpe-rə-\
: a command, rule, duty, etc., that is very important or necessary
grammar : the form that a verb or sentence has when it is expressing a command
: an imperative verb or sentence
Full Definition
1 : the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another or a verb form or verbal phrase expressing it
2 : something that is imperative (see 1imperative ): as
a : command, order
b : rule, guide
c : an obligatory act or duty
d : an obligatory judgment or proposition
She considers it a moral imperative to help people in need.
legal imperatives
“Eat your spinach!” is in the imperative.



ab·hor\əb-ˈhȯr, ab-\
: to dislike (someone or something) very much
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to regard with extreme repugnance : loathe
synonyms see hate
Other forms: ab·horred; ab·hor·ring
ab·hor·rer \-ˈhȯr-ər\ noun
abhors the way people leave their trash at the picnic sites in the park
Origin: Middle English abhorren, from Latin abhorrēre, from ab- + horrēre to shudder — more at horror.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: hate, abominate, despise, detest, execrate, loathe
Antonyms: love



ab·surd\əb-ˈsərd, -ˈzərd\
: extremely silly, foolish, or unreasonable : completely ridiculous
Full Definition
1 : ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous
2 : having no rational or orderly relationship to human life : meaningless ; also : lacking order or value
3 : dealing with the absurd (see 2absurd ) or with absurdism
ab·surd·ly adverb
ab·surd·ness noun
Origin: Middle French absurde, from Latin absurdus, from ab- + surdus deaf, stupid.
First use: 1557
Synonyms: fantastic, bizarre, crazy, fanciful, foolish, insane, nonsensical, preposterous, unreal, wild
Antonyms: realistic, reasonable
2ab·surd\əb-ˈsərd, -ˈzərd\
: the state or condition in which human beings exist in an irrational and meaningless universe and in which human life has no ultimate meaning — usually used with the
Origin: (see 1absurd.
First use: 1946





con·temp·tu·ous\kən-ˈtem(p)-chə-wəs, -chəs, -shwəs, -chü-əs\
: feeling or showing deep hatred or disapproval : feeling or showing contempt
Full Definition
: manifesting, feeling, or expressing deep hatred or disapproval : feeling or showing contempt
con·temp·tu·ous·ly adverb
con·temp·tu·ous·ness noun
loutish tourists who are contemptuous of the ways and traditions of their host countries
contemptuous comments about the baseball team's pathetic showings
Origin: Latin contemptus (see contempt ).
First use: 1574
Synonyms: abhorrent, disdainful, scornful
Antonyms: admiring, applauding, appreciative, approving



: a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person ; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)
Full Definition
: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance
big·ot·ed \-gə-təd\ adjective
big·ot·ed·ly adverb
an incorrigible bigot who hasn't entertained a new thought in years
Origin: French, hypocrite, bigot.
First use: 1660
Synonyms: dogmatist, dogmatizer, partisan (also partizan), sectarian



: a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time
: the stories, beliefs, etc., that have been part of the culture of a group of people for a long time
—used to say that someone has qualities which are like the qualities of another well-known person or group of people from the past
Full Definition
1 a : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
b : a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable
2 : the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3 : cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4 : characteristic manner, method, or style
tra·di·tion·al \-ˈdish-nəl, -ˈdi-shə-nəl\ adjective
tra·di·tion·al·ly adverb
tra·di·tion·less \-ˈdi-shən-ləs\ adjective
the town tradition of having the oldest resident ride at the head of the parade
according to tradition, this field was the site of a skirmish between the first settlers and the Native Americans living in the area
Origin: Middle English tradicioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French tradicion, from Latin tradition-, traditio action of handing over, tradition — more at treason.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: convention, custom, heritage, prescription, rubric, rule



vul·ner·a·ble\ˈvəl-n(ə-)rə-bəl, ˈvəl-nər-bəl\
: easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally
: open to attack, harm, or damage
Full Definition
1 : capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2 : open to attack or damage : assailable
3 : liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge
vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty \ˌvəl-n(ə-)rə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
vul·ner·a·ble·ness \ˈvəl-n(ə-)rə-bəl-nəs, ˈvəl-nər-bəl-\ noun
vul·ner·a·bly \-blē\ adverb
I'm vulnerable to sunburn whenever I go out in the sun
vulnerable baby chicks
Origin: Late Latin vulnerabilis, from Latin vulnerare to wound, from vulner-, vulnus wound; probably akin to Latin vellere to pluck, Greek oulē wound.
First use: 1605
Synonyms: endangered, exposed, open, sensitive, subject (to), susceptible, liable
Antonyms: insusceptible, invulnerable, unexposed, unsusceptible



: too important to be ignored or treated with disrespect
Full Definition
1 : secure from violation or profanation
2 : secure from assault or trespass : unassailable
in·vi·o·la·bil·i·ty \-ˌvī-ə-lə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
in·vi·o·la·ble·ness \-ˈvī-ə-lə-bəl-nəs\ noun
in·vi·o·la·bly \-blē\ adverb
a person with inviolable moral standards
an inviolable trust between lawyer and client
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin inviolabilis, from in- + violare to violate.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: hallowed, holy, sacred, sacrosanct, unassailable, untouchable



: to begin to exist : to be produced or created
: to cause (something) to exist : to produce or create (something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to give rise to : initiate
intransitive verb
: to take or have origin : begin
synonyms see spring
Other forms: orig·i·nat·ed; orig·i·nat·ing
orig·i·na·tion \-ˌri-jə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
orig·i·na·tor \-ˈri-jə-ˌnā-tər\ noun
the theory of relativity originated with Albert Einstein
First use: 1667
Synonyms: actualize, appear, arise, break, commence, dawn, engender, form, materialize, begin, set in, spring, start
Antonyms: cease, end, stop



: a serious request for something
Full Definition
: an act of entreating : plea
Other forms: plural en·treat·ies
our entreaties to give us another few minutes to answer the test questions fell on deaf ears
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: adjuration, appeal, conjuration, cry, desire, plea, petition, pleading, prayer, solicitation, suit, suppliance, supplication



: causing feelings of fear and wonder : causing feelings of awe
: extremely good
Full Definition
1 : expressive of awe
2 a : inspiring awe
b : terrific, extraordinary
awe·some·ly adverb
awe·some·ness noun
the awesome power of the sea
the food at the Sunday brunch was just awesome
First use: 1598
Synonyms: amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvelous, awful, eye-opening, fabulous, miraculous, portentous, prodigious, staggering, stunning, stupendous, sublime, surprising, wonderful, wondrous
Antonyms: atrocious, awful, execrable, lousy, pathetic, poor, rotten, terrible, vile, wretched



: small and weak
: not very large, impressive, or effective
Full Definition
: slight or inferior in power, size, or importance : weak
Other forms: pu·ni·er; pu·ni·est
pu·ni·ly \ˈpyü-nə-lē\ adverb
pu·ni·ness \ˈpyü-nē-nəs\ noun
a puny, wrinkled apple
Origin: Anglo-French puisné younger, weakly, literally, born afterward, from puis afterward + né born.
First use: 1593
Synonyms: bantam, diminutive, dinky, dwarfish, fine, half-pint, Lilliputian, little, pint-size (or pint-sized), pocket, pocket-size (also pocket-sized), small, pygmy, shrimpy, slight, smallish, subnormal, toylike, undersized (also undersize)
Antonyms: big, biggish, considerable, goodly, grand, great, handsome, husky, king-size (or king-sized), large, largish, outsize (also outsized), overscale (or overscaled), oversize (or oversized), sizable (or sizeable), substantial, tidy, whacking, whopping



de·bris\də-ˈbrē, dā-ˈ, ˈdā-ˌ, British usually ˈde-(ˌ)brē\
: the pieces that are left after something has been destroyed
: things (such as broken pieces and old objects) that are lying where they fell or that have been left somewhere because they are not wanted
Full Definition
1 : the remains of something broken down or destroyed
2 : an accumulation of fragments of rock
3 : something discarded : rubbish
Other forms: plural de·bris \-ˈbrēz, -ˌbrēz\
the unsightly debris left after mining operations had ceased
the demolition workers cleared away all of the debris from the demolished building
Origin: French débris, from Middle French, from debriser to break to pieces, from Old French debrisier, from de- + brisier to break, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish brisid he breaks; perhaps akin to Latin fricare to rub — more at friction.
First use: 1708
Synonyms: chaff, deadwood, garbage, dreck (also drek), dross, dust, effluvium (also effluvia), junk, litter, offal, offscouring, raffle, refuse, riffraff, rubbish, scrap, spilth, trash, truck, waste



: to go or move in different directions : to spread apart
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to cause to break up
b : to cause to become spread widely
c : to cause to evaporate or vanish
2 : to spread or distribute from a fixed or constant source: as
a archaic : disseminate
b : to subject (as light) to dispersion
c : to distribute (as fine particles) more or less evenly throughout a medium
intransitive verb
1 : to break up in random fashion
2 a : to become dispersed
b : dissipate, vanish
synonyms see scatter
Other forms: dis·persed; dis·pers·ing
dis·persed·ly \-ˈspər-səd-lē, -ˈspərst-lē\ adverb
dis·pers·er noun
dis·pers·ible \-ˈspər-sə-bəl\ adjective
the crowd dispersed once the show ended
the family of the missing woman dispersed searchers to all corners of the national park
the campaign staff dispersed almost immediately after the election
Origin: Middle English, from Latin dispersus, past participle of dispergere to scatter, from dis- + spargere to scatter — more at spark.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: disassemble, dissipate, dissolve, scatter
Antonyms: assemble, cluster, collect, concentrate, congregate, gather, ingather



1 a : an act, process, or instance of erupting
b : the breaking out of a rash on the skin or mucous membrane
2 : a product of erupting (as a skin rash)
a great eruption of glee as it suddenly dawned on her that she had won
the eruption of the volcano Krakatoa was one of the most violent in global history
First use: 1555
Synonyms: agony, blaze, burst, ebullition, outburst, explosion, fit, flare, flare-up, flash, flush, gale, gush, gust, paroxysm, spasm, storm
Antonyms: implosion



: a large destructive fire
: a war or conflict
Full Definition
1 : fire; especially : a large disastrous fire
2 : conflict, war
the historic tavern burned to the ground in a horrible conflagration
what began as a skirmish over disputed territory erupted into a conflagration that swept the continent
Origin: Latin conflagration-, conflagratio, from conflagrare.
First use: 1600
Synonyms: fire, holocaust, inferno
Antonyms: peace



: regret, sorrow
Origin: Middle English rewe, from Old English hrēow; akin to Old High German hriuwa sorrow.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: bemoan, deplore, lament, repent, regret
: to feel sorrow or regret for (something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to feel penitence, remorse, or regret for
intransitive verb
: to feel sorrow, remorse, or regret
Other forms: rued; ru·ing
First use: 12th century
Synonyms: bemoan, deplore, lament, repent, regret
: a European strong-scented perennial woody herb (Ruta graveolens of the family Rutaceae, the rue family) that has bitter leaves used medicinally
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin ruta, from Greek rhytē.







: to cause the beginning of (something) : to start or begin (something)
: to formally accept (someone) as a member of a group or organization usually in a special ceremony
: to teach (someone) the basic facts or ideas about something
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to cause or facilitate the beginning of : set going
2 : to induct into membership by or as if by special rites
3 : to instruct in the rudiments or principles of something : introduce
synonyms see begin
Other forms: ini·ti·at·ed; ini·ti·at·ing
ini·ti·a·tor \-ˌā-tər\ noun
Origin: Late Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare, from Latin, to induct, from initium.
First use: 1533
Synonyms: begin, constitute, establish, inaugurate, found, innovate, institute, introduce, launch, pioneer, plant, set up, start
Antonyms: close (down), phase out, shut (up)
1 a : initiated or properly admitted (as to membership or an office)
b : instructed in some secret knowledge
2 obsolete : relating to an initiate
First use: 1537

: a person who is being formally accepted or who has been formally accepted as a member of a group or organization
Full Definition
1 : a person who is undergoing or has undergone an initiation
2 : a person who is instructed or adept in some special field
First use: 1811



: a large amount of something valuable that is kept hidden
Full Definition
: a supply or fund stored up and often hidden away
a hoard of jewels
a squirrel's hoard of nuts
Origin: Middle English hord, from Old English; akin to Gothic huzd treasure, Old English hȳdan to hide.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: cache, stash, stockpile, store
Synonyms: cache, lay away, lay by, lay in, lay up, put by, salt away, squirrel (away), stash, stockpile, store, stow, treasure, set aside
: to collect and hide a large amount of (something valuable)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to lay up a hoard of
2 : to keep (as one's thoughts) to oneselfintransitive verb
: to lay up a hoard
hoard·er noun
hoarding money/food
he's been hoarding empty yogurt containers all winter, with the intention of using them to start seedlings in the spring



: very wise
Full Definition
1 a : wise through reflection and experience
b archaic : grave, solemn
2 : proceeding from or characterized by wisdom, prudence, and good judgment
synonyms see wise
Other forms: sag·er; sag·est
sage·ly adverb
sage·ness noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere to taste, have good taste, be wise; akin to Oscan sipus knowing, Old Saxon ansebbian to perceive.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: discerning, insightful, perceptive, prudent, sagacious, wise, sapient
Antonyms: unperceptive, unwise
1 : one (as a profound philosopher) distinguished for wisdom
2 : a mature or venerable man of sound judgment
sage advice
He sagely suggested that she wait a few days.
First use: 14th century

1 a : a European perennial mint (Salvia officinalis) with grayish-green aromatic leaves used especially in flavoring meats; broadly : salvia
b : the fresh or dried leaves of sage
2 : sagebrush
3 : a light grayish green
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French sage, salge, from Latin salvia, from salvus healthy; from its use as a medicinal herb — more at safe.



: the power to protect, control, or support something or someone
Full Definition
1 : a shield or breastplate emblematic of majesty that was associated with Zeus and Athena
2 a : protection
b : controlling or conditioning influence
3 a : auspices, sponsorship
b : control or guidance especially by an individual, group, or system
having no claim to the land under the aegis of the law, the cattle baron decided to claim it by force
a medical study that was questioned by many because it was done under the aegis of a major pharmaceutical company
Variants: also egis \ˈē-jəs also ˈā-\
Origin: Latin, from Greek aigis, literally, goatskin, from aig-, aix goat; akin to Armenian ayc goat.
First use: 1581
Synonyms: defense (also egis), ammunition, armor, buckler, cover, guard, protection, safeguard, screen, security, shield, wall, ward











se·nile\ˈsē-ˌnī(-ə)l also ˈse-\
: showing a loss of mental ability (such as memory) in old age
Full Definition
1 : of, relating to, exhibiting, or characteristic of old age ; especially : exhibiting a loss of cognitive abilities (as memory) associated with old age
2 : approaching the end of a geological cycle of erosion
se·nile·ly \-ˌnī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb
Origin: Latin senilis, from sen-, senex old, old man.
First use: 1661



: walking and moving in a slow and unsteady way because of old age
Full Definition
: feeble, senile
First use: 1898



vir·ile\ˈvir-əl, ˈvir-ˌī(-ə)l, British also ˈvī(-ə)r-ˌī(-ə)l\
: having or suggesting qualities (such as strength and sexual energy) that are associated with men and that are usually considered attractive in men
Full Definition
1 : having the nature, properties, or qualities of an adult male; specifically : capable of functioning as a male in copulation
2 : energetic, vigorous
3 a : characteristic of or associated with men : masculine
b : having traditionally masculine traits especially to a marked degree
4 : masterful, forceful
vir·ile·ly adverb
men were once expected to be interested only in such virile activities as hunting
Origin: Middle French or Latin; Middle French viril, from Latin virilis, from vir man, male; akin to Old English & Old High German wer man, Sanskrit vīra.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: male, manlike, manly, mannish, man-size (or man-sized), masculine
Antonyms: unmanly, unmasculine



prev·a·lent\ˈpre-və-lənt, ˈprev-lənt\
: accepted, done, or happening often or over a large area at a particular time : common or widespread
Full Definition
1 archaic : powerful
2 : being in ascendancy : dominant
3 : generally or widely accepted, practiced, or favored : widespread
prevalent noun
prev·a·lent·ly adverb
the kinds of accidents seen in places where snowmobiles are prevalent
Origin: Latin praevalent-, praevalens very powerful, from present participle of praevalēre.
First use: 1576
Synonyms: conventional, customary, going, popular, prevailing, current, standard, stock, usual
Antonyms: nonstandard, unconventional, unpopular, unusual





: not showing enough care and attention
Full Definition
1 : negligent in the performance of work or duty : careless
2 : showing neglect or inattention : lax
synonyms see negligent
re·miss·ly adverb
re·miss·ness noun
I would be remiss if I didn't tell you how much I appreciated the lovely gift
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French remis, Latin remissus, from past participle of remittere to send back, relax.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: careless, derelict, disregardful, lax, lazy, neglectful, neglecting, negligent, slack
Antonyms: attentive, careful, conscientious, nonnegligent



le·thar·gic\lə-ˈthär-jik, le-\
: feeling a lack of energy or a lack of interest in doing things
Full Definition
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by laziness or lack of energy : feeling or affected by lethargy : sluggish
2 : indifferent, apathetic
le·thar·gi·cal·ly \-ji-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
a big meal always makes me feel lethargic and sleepy
Origin: (see lethargy ).
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: dull, inert, inactive, quiescent, sleepy, sluggish, torpid
Antonyms: active





: to show (something) clearly
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to constitute outward evidence of
2 : to display clearly : reveal
synonyms see show
Other forms: evinced; evinc·ing
evinc·ible \-ˈvin(t)-sə-bəl\ adjective
She evinced an interest in art at an early age.
the teenager caught shoplifting seemed to evince no remorse
Origin: Latin evincere to vanquish, win a point, from e- + vincere to conquer — more at victor.
First use: 1604
Synonyms: bespeak, betray, communicate, declare, demonstrate, display, show, expose, give away, manifest, reveal



: to speak in an angry and critical way to (someone)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to criticize sharply : reprimand
b : to serve as a rebuke to
2 : to turn back or keep down : check
synonyms see reprove
Other forms: re·buked; re·buk·ing
re·buk·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French rebucher, rebouker to blunt, check, reprimand.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: commination, condemnation, denunciation, excoriation, objurgation, censure, reprimand, reproach, reproof, riot act, stricture
Antonyms: citation, commendation, endorsement (also indorsement)
Synonyms: admonish, chide, reprimand, reproach, reprove, tick off, burn one's ears, get after, get on
Antonyms: cite, commend, endorse (also indorse)
: an expression of strong disapproval : reprimand
First use: 15th century



: something (such as a way of dressing or behaving) that is fashionable or popular in a particular time and place
Full Definition
1 archaic : the leading place in popularity or acceptance
2 a : popular acceptation or favor : popularity
b : a period of popularity
3 : one that is in fashion at a particular time
synonyms see fashion
vogue adjective
Origin: Middle French, action of rowing, course, fashion, from voguer to sail, from Old French, from Old Italian vogare to row.
First use: 1571
Synonyms: buzz, chic, craze, dernier cri, enthusiasm, fashion, flavor, go, hot ticket, last word, latest, mode, rage, sensation, style, ton, trend, fad
Antonyms: disfavor, unpopularity
intransitive verb
: to strike poses in campy imitation of fashion models especially as a kind of dance
Other forms: vogued; vogu·ing or vogue·ing
vogu·er \ˈvō-gər\ noun
Origin: from Vogue, a fashion magazine.
First use: 1989



aver·sion\ə-ˈvər-zhən, -shən\
: a strong feeling of not liking something
Full Definition
1 obsolete : the act of turning away
2 a : a feeling of repugnance toward something with a desire to avoid or turn from it
b : a settled dislike : antipathy
c : a tendency to extinguish a behavior or to avoid a thing or situation and especially a usually pleasurable one because it is or has been associated with a noxious stimulus
3 : an object of aversion
I simply have this ingrained aversion to the sight of bloodshed
couldn't overcome her aversion to her brother-in-law and pointedly avoided his company
clichés should be the pet aversion of every good writer
Origin: (see averse ).
First use: 1596
Synonyms: disgust, distaste, horror, loathing, nausea, repugnance, repulsion, revulsion
Antonyms: appetite, favor, fondness, like, liking, partiality, preference, relish, shine, taste, use



: concerned only with what is obvious or apparent : not thorough or complete
: affecting only the outer part or surface of something : not deep or serious
: lying close to the surface
Full Definition
1 a (1) : of, relating to, or located near a surface (2) : lying on, not penetrating below, or affecting only the surface
b British of a unit of measure : square
2 a : concerned only with the obvious or apparent : shallow
b : seen on the surface : external
c : presenting only an appearance without substance or significance
su·per·fi·cial·ly \-ˈfi-sh(ə-)lē\ adverb
a superficial scratch that barely even broke the skin
a superficial analysis of how the violence in video games affects young people
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin superficialis, from Latin superficies (see superficies ).
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: skin-deep, surface
Antonyms: deep, profound



: sure to happen
Full Definition
: incapable of being avoided or evaded
in·ev·i·ta·bil·i·ty \-ˌne-və-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
in·ev·i·ta·ble·ness \-ˈne-və-tə-bəl-nəs\ noun
getting wet is inevitable if you are going to try to give your dog a bath
Origin: Middle English, from Latin inevitabilis, from in- + evitabilis evitable.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: certain, ineluctable, ineludible, inescapable, necessary, sure, unavoidable, unescapable, in the bag, in the cards (also on the cards)
Antonyms: avoidable, evadable, uncertain, unsure



jet·ti·son\ˈje-tə-sən, -zən\
: a voluntary sacrifice of cargo to lighten a ship's load in time of distress
Origin: Middle English jetteson, from Anglo-French geteson, literally, action of throwing, from Latin jactation-, jactatio, from jactare — more at jet.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: discarding, disposition, dumping, disposal, junking, removal, riddance, scrapping, throwing away
Synonyms: cashier, cast (off), chuck, deep-six, ditch, dump, eighty-six (or 86), exorcise (also exorcize), fling (off or away), discard, junk, lay by, lose, pitch, reject, scrap, shed, shuck (off), slough (off) also sluff (off), throw away, throw out, toss, unload
: to drop (something) from a moving ship, airplane, etc.
: to get rid of (something) : to reject (something, such as a plan or idea)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make jettison of
2 : to get rid of as superfluous or encumbering : omit or forgo as part of a plan or as the result of some other decision
3 : to drop from an aircraft or spacecraft in flight
jet·ti·son·able \-sə-nə-bəl, -zə-\ adjective



: producing money or wealth
Full Definition
: producing wealth : profitable
lu·cra·tive·ly adverb
lu·cra·tive·ness noun
the hired gun's mission was to turn the failing store into a lucrative operation
Origin: Middle English lucratif, from Middle French, from Latin lucrativus, from lucratus, past participle of lucrari to gain, from lucrum.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: economic, fat, gainful, juicy, profitable, moneymaking, money-spinning [chiefly British], paying, remunerative
Antonyms: unprofitable



: a short fight or struggle
: an argument or a dispute
Full Definition
1 : a physical contest or struggle : scuffle
2 : an intense argument, controversy, or struggle
First use: 1629
Synonyms: battle, clash, combat, conflict, contest, dustup, fracas, fray, hassle, scrap, scrimmage, scrum, scuffle, skirmish, struggle, fight
Synonyms: grapple, rassle, scuffle, wrestle
intransitive verb
: to fight or struggle with (someone) by grabbing or pushing
: to argue or compete with (someone)
Full Definition
: to struggle roughly : scuffle
Other forms: tus·sled; tus·sling \-s(ə-)liŋ\
The suspect was arrested after a tussle with a security guard.
a tussle for control of the company
The President is in for another tussle with Congress.
Origin: Middle English (Scots) tussillen, frequentative of Middle English -tusen, -tousen to tousle — more at touse.



in·trin·sic\in-ˈtrin-zik, -ˈtrin(t)-sik\
: belonging to the essential nature of a thing : occurring as a natural part of something
Full Definition
1 a : belonging to the essential nature or constitution of a thing
b : being or relating to a semiconductor in which the concentration of charge carriers is characteristic of the material itself instead of the content of any impurities it contains
2 a : originating or due to causes within a body, organ, or part
b : originating and included wholly within an organ or part — compare extrinsic 1b
in·trin·si·cal·ly \-zi-k(ə-)lē, -si-\ adverb
the question of whether people have an intrinsic sense of right and wrong
Origin: French intrinsèque internal, from Late Latin intrinsecus, from Latin, adverb, inwardly; akin to Latin intra within — more at intra-.
First use: 1635
Synonyms: built-in, constitutional, constitutive, essential, hardwired, immanent, inborn, inbred, indigenous, ingrain, ingrained (also engrained), innate, integral, inherent, native, natural
Antonyms: adventitious, extraneous, extrinsic





: very serious or dangerous : requiring serious attention or action
: having or showing an ability to think clearly and to understand what is not obvious or simple about something
: very strong and sensitive : highly developed
Full Definition
1 a (1) : characterized by sharpness or severity (2) : having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short course (3) : being, providing, or requiring short-term medical care (as for serious illness or traumatic injury)
b : lasting a short time
2 : ending in a sharp point: as
a : being or forming an angle measuring less than 90 degrees
b : composed of acute angles
3 a of an accent mark : having the form ´
b : marked with an acute accent
c : of the variety indicated by an acute accent
4 a : marked by keen discernment or intellectual perception especially of subtle distinctions
b : responsive to slight impressions or stimuli
5 : felt, perceived, or experienced intensely
6 : demanding urgent attention
Other forms: acut·er; acut·est
acute·ly adverb
acute·ness noun
an acute fuel shortage
an acute crisis
the acute phase of the struggle for independence
Origin: Middle English, from Latin acutus, past participle of acuere to sharpen, from acus needle; akin to Latin acer sharp — more at edge.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: delicate, fine, keen, perceptive, quick, sensitive, sharp



tran·sient\ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt; ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtran(t)-sē-; ˈtran-zhənt, -jənt\
: not lasting long
: staying somewhere only a short time
Full Definition
1 a : passing especially quickly into and out of existence : transitory
b : passing through or by a place with only a brief stay or sojourn
2 : affecting something or producing results beyond itself
tran·sient·ly adverb
Origin: Latin transeunt-, transiens, present participle of transire to cross, pass by, from trans- + ire to go — more at issue.
First use: 1599
Synonyms: brief, deciduous, ephemeral, evanescent, flash, fleeting, fugacious, fugitive, impermanent, passing, short-lived, temporary, momentary, transitory
Antonyms: ceaseless, dateless, deathless, endless, enduring, eternal, everlasting, immortal, lasting, long-lived, permanent, perpetual, timeless, undying, unending

2tran·sient\ˈtran(t)-sh(ē-)ənt; ˈtran-zē-ənt, ˈtran(t)-sē-; ˈtran-zhənt, -jənt\
: a person who does not have a permanent home and who stays in a place for only a short time before going somewhere else
Full Definition
1 : one that is transient (see 1transient ): as
a : a guest or boarder who stays only briefly
b : a person traveling about usually in search of work
2 a : a temporary oscillation that occurs in a circuit because of a sudden change of voltage or of load
b : a transient current or voltage



1 : the ground of a legal action
2 : the main point or part : essence
The gist of her argument was that the law was unfair.
I didn't read the whole article, but I got the gist of it.
Origin: Anglo-French, it lies, from gisir to lie, ultimately from Latin jacēre — more at adjacent.
First use: circa 1711
Synonyms: bottom line, bull's-eye, centerpiece, core, essence, crux, heart, kernel, keynote, meat, meat and potatoes, net, nub, nubbin, nucleus, pith, pivot, point, root, sum





: to place (a group of things) in a particular position so that they are in order or so that they look attractive
: to dress (someone, especially yourself) in fine clothing
: to put (soldiers) in a place or position so that they are ready to attack
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to dress or decorate especially in splendid or impressive attire : adorn
2 a : to set or place in order : draw up, marshal
b : to set or set forth in order (as a jury) for the trial of a cause
3 : to arrange or display in or as if in an array
ar·ray·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French arraier, from Vulgar Latin *arredare, from Latin ad- + a base of Germanic origin; akin to Gothic garaiths arranged — more at ready.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: group, assemblage, band, bank, batch, battery, block, bunch, clot, clump, cluster, clutch, collection, constellation, grouping, huddle, knot, lot, muster, package, parcel, passel, set, suite
Synonyms: adorn, decorate, beautify, bedeck, bedizen, blazon, caparison, deck, do, doll up, do up, drape, dress, embellish, emblaze, emboss, enrich, fancify, fancy up, festoon, garnish, glitz (up), grace, gussy up, ornament, pretty (up), trim
Antonyms: blemish, deface, disfigure, mar, scar, spoil
: a large group or number ofthings
: a group of numbers, symbols, etc., that are arranged in rows and columns
: a way of organizing pieces of information in the memory of a computer so that similar kinds of information are together
Full Definition
1 a : a regular and imposing grouping or arrangement : order
b : an orderly listing of jurors impaneled
2 a : clothing, attire
b : rich or beautiful apparel : finery
3 : a body of soldiers : militia
4 : an imposing group : large number ; also : variety, assortment

5 a (1) : a number of mathematical elements arranged in rows and columns (2) : a data structure in which similar elements of data are arranged in a table
b : a series of statistical data arranged in classes in order of magnitude
6 : a group of elements forming a complete unit
The layers consist of bricks arrayed in regular patterns.
The table was arrayed with all sorts of delicacies.
She arrayed herself in rich velvets and satins.



: to reach the end or the final result of something
: to be the end or final result of (something)
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 of a celestial body : to reach its highest altitude; also : to be directly overhead
2 a : to rise to or form a summit
b : to reach the highest or a climactic or decisive pointtransitive verb
: to bring to a head or to the highest point
Other forms: cul·mi·nat·ed; cul·mi·nat·ing
culminated the school year with a trip to New York
Origin: Medieval Latin culminatus, past participle of culminare, from Late Latin, to crown, from Latin culmin-, culmen top — more at hill.
First use: 1647
Synonyms: cap (off), climax, crown



: having or showing very strong feelings
Full Definition
1 : characterized by warmth of feeling typically expressed in eager zealous support or activity
2 : fiery, hot
3 : shining, glowing
synonyms see impassioned
ar·dent·ly adverb
made ardent declarations of love to the woman he someday hoped to marry
an ardent science-fiction fan who has read virtually all of his favorite author's many works
under an ardent sun the band of bedouins made their way across the sandy wastes
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin ardent-, ardens, present participle of ardēre to burn, from ardor.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: fervent, blazing, burning, charged, demonstrative, emotional, fervid, feverish, fiery, flaming, glowing, hot-blooded, impassioned, incandescent, intense, passional, passionate, perfervid, red-hot, religious, superheated, torrid, vehement, warm, warm-blooded
Antonyms: cold, cool, dispassionate, emotionless, impassive, unemotional



ob·scure\äb-ˈskyu̇r, əb-\
: not well-known : not known to most people
: difficult to understand : likely to be understood by only a few people
: difficult or impossible to know completely and with certainty
Full Definition
1 a : dark, dim
b : shrouded in or hidden by darkness
c : not clearly seen or easily distinguished : faint
2 : not readily understood or clearly expressed; also : mysterious
3 : relatively unknown: as
a : remote, secluded
b : not prominent or famous
4 : constituting the unstressed vowel \ə\ or having unstressed \ə\ as its value
ob·scure·ly adverb
ob·scure·ness noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French oscur, obscur, from Latin obscurus.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: ambiguous, arcane, cryptic, dark, deep, Delphic, double-edged, elliptical (or elliptic), enigmatic (also enigmatical), equivocal, fuliginous, inscrutable, murky, mysterious, mystic, nebulous, occult, opaque
Antonyms: accessible, clear, nonambiguous, obvious, plain, unambiguous, unequivocal
Synonyms: belie, blanket, blot out, cloak, conceal, cover, curtain, disguise, enshroud, mask, 1hide, occult, paper over, screen, shroud, suppress, veil
Antonyms: bare, disclose, display, divulge, expose, reveal, show, uncloak, uncover, unmask, unveil

2ob·scure\äb-ˈskyu̇r, əb-\
: to make (something) difficult to understand or know : to make (something) obscure
: to hide or cover (something) : to be in front of (something) so that it cannot be seen
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make dark, dim, or indistinct
2 : to conceal or hide by or as if by covering
3 : to reduce (a vowel) to the value \ə\
Other forms: ob·scured; ob·scur·ing
ob·scu·ra·tion \ˌäb-skyu̇-ˈrā-shən\ noun
The true history has been obscured by legends about what happened.
They accused the company of trying to obscure the fact that the product poses a health risk.
Low clouds obscured the mountains. = The mountains were obscured by low clouds.



: a high mountain top
: the best or most important part of something : the point of greatest success or achievement
: a tower on the roof of a building that comes to a narrow point at the top
Full Definition
1 : an upright architectural member generally ending in a small spire and used especially in Gothic construction to give weight especially to a buttress
2 : a structure or formation suggesting a pinnacle; specifically : a lofty peak
3 : the highest point of development or achievement : acme
synonyms see summit
Origin: Middle English pinacle, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin pinnaculum small wing, gable, from Latin pinna wing, battlement.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: acme, apex, apogee, capstone, climax, crescendo, crest, crown, culmination, head, high noon, high tide, high-water mark, meridian, ne plus ultra, noon, noontime, peak, height, sum, summit, tip-top, top, zenith
Antonyms: bottom, nadir, rock bottom
transitive verb
1 : to surmount with a pinnacle
2 : to raise or rear on a pinnacle
Other forms: pinnacled; pinnacling\-k(ə-)liŋ\



: to make (something) narrower, smaller, or tighter
: to become narrower, smaller, or tighter
: to prevent or keep (something or someone) from developing freely
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to make narrow or draw together
b : compress, squeeze
2 : to stultify, stop, or cause to falter : inhibit
intransitive verb
: to become constricted
synonyms see contract
con·stric·tive \-ˈstrik-tiv\ adjective
the vessel constricted, thereby reducing the flow of blood
constricted the opening with a clamp
Origin: Latin constrictus, past participle of constringere.
First use: 1732
Synonyms: compress, condense, contract, shrink
Antonyms: balloon, expand, snowball, swell





: to stop being strong or successful : to begin to fail or weaken
: to begin to walk or move in an unsteady way
: to feel doubt about doing something
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 a : to walk unsteadily : stumble
b : to give way : totter
c : to move waveringly or hesitatingly
2 : to speak brokenly or weakly : stammer
3 a : to hesitate in purpose or action : waver
b : to lose drive or effectiveness
transitive verb
: to utter hesitatingly or brokenly
synonyms see hesitate
Other forms: fal·tered; fal·ter·ing \-t(ə-)riŋ\
fal·ter·er \-tər-ər\ noun
fal·ter·ing·ly \-t(ə-)riŋ-lē\ adverb
Origin: Middle English.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: balance, dither, hesitate, halt, hang back, scruple, shilly-shally, stagger, teeter, vacillate, waver, wobble (also wabble)
Antonyms: dive (in), plunge (in)
: an act or instance of faltering



: a young person who is unusually talented in some way
Full Definition
1 a : a portentous event : omen
b : something extraordinary or inexplicable
2 a : an extraordinary, marvelous, or unusual accomplishment, deed, or event
b : a highly talented child or youth
Other forms: plural prod·i·gies
a new drug that is being hailed as the latest prodigy of the medical world
Origin: Middle English, from Latin prodigium omen, monster, from pro-, prod- + -igium (akin to aio I say) — more at adage.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: caution, flash, marvel, miracle, phenomenon, portent, wonder, sensation, splendor



ex·ul·ta·tion\ˌek-(ˌ)səl-ˈtā-shən, ˌeg-(ˌ)zəl-\
: a feeling of great happiness and excitement : an exultant feeling
Full Definition
: the act of exulting : the state of being exultant
First use: 15th century





1 archaic : reference to or regard of a precedent or authority
2 : a review of or meditation on past events
in retrospect : in considering the past or a past event
Origin: probably from retro- + prospect.
First use: 1602
Synonyms: reappraisal, reconsideration, reexamination, review, retrospection
: retrospective
First use: 1709
Synonyms: reappraisal, reconsideration, reexamination, review, retrospection
intransitive verb
1 : to engage in retrospection
2 : to refer back : reflect
transitive verb
: to go back over in thought



: harsh and angry words
Full Definition
1 a : a sulfate of any of various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc); especially : a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate
b : oil of vitriol
2 : something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially : virulence of feeling or of speech
vit·ri·ol·ic \ˌvi-trē-ˈä-lik\ adjective
a film critic noted for the vitriol and sometimes outright cruelty of his pronouncements
the review was more than just unfavorable—it was loaded with vitriol
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French vitriole, from Medieval Latin vitriolum, alteration of Late Latin vitreolum, neuter of vitreolus glassy, from Latin vitreus vitreous.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: acidity, acidness, acridity, acridness, asperity, bile, bitterness, cattiness, corrosiveness, mordancy, tartness, virulence, virulency, acrimony



: of, relating to, or characterized by insult or abuse
in·vec·tive·ly adverb
in·vec·tive·ness noun
Origin: Middle English invectif, from Middle French, from Latin invectivus, from invectus, past participle of invehere.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: contumelious, abusive, opprobrious, scurrile (or scurril), scurrilous, truculent, vitriolic, vituperative, vituperatory
Synonyms: billingsgate, fulmination, abuse, obloquy, scurrility, vitriol, vituperation
: harsh or insulting words : rude and angry language
Full Definition
1 : an abusive expression or speech
2 : insulting or abusive language : vituperation
synonyms see abuse
First use: 1523



be·smirch\bi-ˈsmərch, bē-\
: to cause harm or damage to (the reputation of someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: sully, soil
inconsiderately besmirched the white bedsheets with their dirty feet
First use: 1599
Synonyms: befoul, begrime, bemire, dirty, blacken, daub, distain [archaic], foul, gaum [dialect], grime, mire, muck, muddy, smirch, smudge, soil, stain, sully
Antonyms: clean, cleanse



: always or often doing something specified
: always or often happening or existing
Full Definition
1 : firmly established by long persistence
2 : confirmed in a habit : habitual
in·vet·er·ate·ly adverb
he has an inveterate tendency to tell some very tall tales
the man is an inveterate liar who only rarely tells the truth
Origin: Middle English, from Latin inveteratus, from past participle of inveterare to age (v.t.), from in- + veter-, vetus old — more at wether.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: bred-in-the-bone, confirmed, deep, deep-rooted, deep-seated, entrenched (also intrenched), hard-core, rooted, settled





ad·a·mant\ˈa-də-mənt, -ˌmant\
1 : a stone (as a diamond) formerly believed to be of impenetrable hardness
2 : an unbreakable or extremely hard substance
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin adamant-, adamas hardest metal, diamond, from Greek.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: obstinate, adamantine, bullheaded, dogged, hard, hardened, hardheaded, hard-nosed, headstrong, immovable, implacable, inconvincible, inflexible, intransigent, mulish, obdurate, opinionated, ossified, pat, pertinacious, perverse, pigheaded, self-opinionated, self-willed, stiff-necked, stubborn, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding, willful (or wilful)
Antonyms: acquiescent, agreeable, amenable, compliant, complying, flexible, pliable, pliant, relenting, yielding
2ad·a·mant\ˈa-də-mənt, -ˌmant\
: not willing to change an opinion or decision : very determined
Full Definition
: unshakable or insistent especially in maintaining a position or opinion : unyielding
synonyms see inflexible
ad·a·mant·ly adverb
Origin: (see 1adamant ).
First use: 1897



ego·tism\ˈē-gə-ˌti-zəm also ˈe-\
: the feeling or belief that you are better, more important, more talented, etc., than other people
Full Definition
1 a : excessive use of the first person singular personal pronoun
b : the practice of talking about oneself too much
2 : an exaggerated sense of self-importance : conceit — compare egoism 2
ego·tist \-tist\ noun
ego·tis·tic \ˌē-gə-ˈtis-tik also ˌe-\ or ego·tis·ti·cal \-ˈtis-ti-kəl\ adjective
ego·tis·ti·cal·ly \-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
for someone who has won a Nobel Prize in physics, he is remarkably without egotism
egotism is not something that winners of the Nobel Prize for peace usually have time for
Origin: Latin ego + English -tism (as in idiotism).
First use: 1714
Synonyms: amour propre, bighead, complacency, conceit, conceitedness, ego, complacence, pomposity, pompousness, pride, pridefulness, self-admiration, self-assumption, self-conceit, self-congratulation, self-esteem, self-glory, self-importance, self-love, self-opinion, self-satisfaction, smugness, swelled head, swellheadedness, vaingloriousness, vainglory, vainness, vanity
Antonyms: humbleness, humility, modesty



hu·mil·i·ty\hyü-ˈmi-lə-tē, yü-\
: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people : the quality or state of being humble
Full Definition
: the quality or state of being humble
displaying genuine humility, the peace activist accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of all who have worked to end the violence
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: demureness, down-to-earthness, humbleness, lowliness, meekness, modesty
Antonyms: arrogance, assumption, bumptiousness, conceit, egoism, egotism, haughtiness, hauteur, huffiness, imperiousness, loftiness, lordliness, peremptoriness, pomposity, pompousness, presumptuousness, pretense (or pretence), pretension, pretentiousness, pride, pridefulness, superciliousness, superiority, toploftiness



: a very noisy and confused state or scene
Full Definition
1 obsolete : madman, lunatic
2 often capitalized : a lunatic asylum
3 : a place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion
bedlam adjective
French physician Philippe Pinel was instrumental in the transformation of bedlams from filthy hellholes to well-ordered, humane institutions
there's no way I can get any reading done in this bedlam, so I'm going to the library
Origin: Bedlam, popular name for the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem, London, an insane asylum, from Middle English Bedlem Bethlehem.
First use: circa 1529
Synonyms: asylum, madhouse, institution



ex·ploit\ˈek-ˌsplȯit, ik-ˈ\
: an exciting act or action
Full Definition
: deed, act; especially : a notable or heroic act
synonyms see feat
Origin: Middle English espleit, expleit, exploit furtherance, outcome, from Anglo-French, from Latin explicitum, neuter of explicitus, past participle.
First use: circa 1538
Synonyms: deed, feat, number, stunt, tour de force, trick
Synonyms: abuse, capitalize (on), cash in (on), impose (on or upon), leverage, milk, pimp, play (on or upon), use, work, trade on, walk on
2ex·ploit\ik-ˈsplȯit, ˈek-ˌ\
: to get value or use from (something)
: to use (someone or something) in a way that helps you unfairly
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make productive use of : utilize
ex·ploit·abil·i·ty \ik-ˌsploi-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
ex·ploit·able \-ˈsplȯi-tə-bəl\ adjective
ex·ploit·er noun
First use: 1838



1 : nearness of blood : kinship
2 : nearness in place or time : proximity
local housing prices, thanks to the propinquity of an especially picturesque beach, are out of the reach of many would-be buyers
Origin: Middle English propinquite, from Latin propinquitat-, propinquitas kinship, proximity, from propinquus near, akin, from prope near — more at approach.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: adjacency, closeness, contiguity, immediacy, nearness, proximity, vicinity
Antonyms: distance, remoteness



vul·ner·a·ble\ˈvəl-n(ə-)rə-bəl, ˈvəl-nər-bəl\
: easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally
: open to attack, harm, or damage
Full Definition
1 : capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2 : open to attack or damage : assailable
3 : liable to increased penalties but entitled to increased bonuses after winning a game in contract bridge
vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty \ˌvəl-n(ə-)rə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
vul·ner·a·ble·ness \ˈvəl-n(ə-)rə-bəl-nəs, ˈvəl-nər-bəl-\ noun
vul·ner·a·bly \-blē\ adverb
I'm vulnerable to sunburn whenever I go out in the sun
vulnerable baby chicks
Origin: Late Latin vulnerabilis, from Latin vulnerare to wound, from vulner-, vulnus wound; probably akin to Latin vellere to pluck, Greek oulē wound.
First use: 1605
Synonyms: endangered, exposed, open, sensitive, subject (to), susceptible, liable
Antonyms: insusceptible, invulnerable, unexposed, unsusceptible



ca·coph·o·ny\ka-ˈkä-fə-nē, -ˈkȯ- also -ˈka-\
: unpleasant loud sounds
Full Definition
: harsh or discordant sound : dissonance 2; specifically : harshness in the sound of words or phrases
Other forms: plural ca·coph·o·nies
the cacophony of a pet store full of animals
Origin: (see cacophonous ).
First use: circa 1656
Synonyms: babel, blare, bluster, bowwow, brawl, bruit [archaic], noise, chatter, clamor, clangor, decibel(s), din, discordance, katzenjammer, racket, rattle, roar
Antonyms: quiet, silence, silentness, still, stillness



: not capable of being wrong or making mistakes : not fallible
: certain to work properly or succeed
Full Definition
1 : incapable of error : unerring
2 : not liable to mislead, deceive, or disappoint : certain
3 : incapable of error in defining doctrines touching faith or morals
in·fal·li·bil·i·ty \-ˌfa-lə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
in·fal·li·bly \-ˈfa-lə-blē\ adverb
a teacher with an infallible memory for names
an infallible cure for hiccups
Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin infallibilis, from Latin in- + Late Latin fallibilis fallible.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: unerring, unfailing
Antonyms: fallible



transitive verb
: to make ill-humored or discontented — usually used as a participial adjective s shabby treatment, turned him in to the IRS
a crew disgruntled by a long voyage that provided no opportunity for recreation onshore
Origin: dis- + gruntle to grumble, from Middle English gruntlen, frequentative of grunten to grunt.
First use: 1682
Synonyms: alien, alienate, disaffect, estrange, sour
Antonyms: reconcile



: to remove (something) completely : to eliminate or destroy (something harmful)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to pull up by the roots
2 : to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots
synonyms see exterminate
Other forms: erad·i·cat·ed; erad·i·cat·ing
erad·i·ca·ble \-ˈra-di-kə-bəl\ adjective
erad·i·ca·tion \-ˌra-də-ˈkā-shən\ noun
erad·i·ca·tor \-ˌkā-tər\ noun
the successful effort to eradicate smallpox around the globe
Origin: Latin eradicatus, past participle of eradicare, from e- + radic-, radix root — more at root.
First use: 1532
Synonyms: abolish, black out, blot out, cancel, clean (up), efface, annihilate, erase, expunge, exterminate, extirpate, liquidate, obliterate, root (out), rub out, snuff (out), stamp (out), sweep (away), wipe out



: something that will make everything about a situation better
Full Definition
: a remedy for all ills or difficulties : cure-all
pan·a·ce·an \-ˈsē-ən\ adjective
a woman who seems to believe that chicken soup is a panacea for nearly everything
Origin: Latin, from Greek panakeia, from panakēs all-healing, from pan- + akos remedy.
First use: 1548
Synonyms: catholicon, elixir, nostrum, cure–all, theriac



: to slow the movement, progress, or action of (someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to interfere with or slow the progress of
synonyms see hinder
Other forms: im·ped·ed; im·ped·ing
im·ped·er noun
the construction work impeded the smooth running of the office for several months
Origin: Latin impedire, from in- + ped-, pes foot — more at foot.
First use: circa 1595
Synonyms: clog, cramp, embarrass, encumber, fetter, handcuff, handicap, hinder, hobble, hog-tie, hold back, hold up, hamper, inhibit, interfere (with), manacle, obstruct, shackle, short-circuit, stymie, tie up, trammel
Antonyms: aid, assist, facilitate, help



: slow and relaxed
: quiet and peaceful
Full Definition
: keeping a quiet steady attitude or pace : unruffled
synonyms see serious
se·date·ly adverb
se·date·ness noun
Origin: Latin sedatus, from past participle of sedare to calm; akin to sedēre to sit — more at sit.
First use: 1663
Synonyms: earnest, grave, humorless, no-nonsense, po-faced [British], serious, severe, sober, sobersided, solemn, staid, uncomic, unsmiling, weighty
Antonyms: facetious, flip, flippant, humorous, jesting, jocular, joking, kittenish, ludic, playful
transitive verb
: to give (a person or animal) drugs that cause relaxation or sleep
Full Definition
: to dose with sedatives
Other forms: se·dat·ed; se·dat·ing
The doctor sedated the patient heavily.
The patient had to be sedated.
The animal was heavily sedated during the procedure.
Origin: back-formation from sedative.
First use: 1945



: to have great respect for (someone or something) : to show devotion and honor to (someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to show devoted deferential honor to : regard as worthy of great honor
Other forms: re·vered; re·ver·ing
Origin: Latin revereri, from re- + vereri to fear, respect — more at wary.
First use: 1615
Synonyms: adore, deify, glorify, worship, reverence, venerate

: revers
Origin: by alteration.
First use: 1899
Synonyms: adore, deify, glorify, worship, reverence, venerate



: the quality or state of being serene
the serenity in the aftermath of the tornado was remarkable
his serenity calmed those around him
the momentary serenity experienced during his lunchtime rambles gets him through the rest of the workday
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: calmness, hush, peace, peacefulness, placidity, quiet, quietness, quietude, repose, restfulness, sereneness, calm, still, stillness, tranquillity (or tranquility)
Antonyms: bustle, commotion, hubbub, hurly-burly, pandemonium, tumult, turmoil, unquietness, unrest, uproar



: able to exist together without trouble or conflict : going together well
of devices and especially computers : able to be used together
Full Definition
1 : capable of existing together in harmony
2 : capable of cross-fertilizing freely or uniting vegetatively
3 : capable of forming a homogeneous mixture that neither separates nor is altered by chemical interaction
4 : capable of being used in transfusion or grafting without immunological reaction (as agglutination or tissue rejection)
5 : designed to work with another device or system without modification; especially : being a computer designed to operate in the same manner and use the same software as another computer
com·pat·i·bil·i·ty \-ˌpa-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
compatible noun
com·pat·i·ble·ness \-ˈpa-tə-bəl-nəs\ noun
com·pat·i·bly \-blē\ adverb
didn't think that they'd be compatible as roommates
a theory that is compatible with what we already know about early man
Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin compatibilis, literally, sympathetic, from Late Latin compati.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: agreeable, amicable, harmonious, congenial, frictionless, kindred, unanimous, united
Antonyms: disagreeable, discordant, disharmonious, disunited, incompatible, inharmonious, uncongenial



: calm emotions when dealing with problems or pressure
Full Definition
1 : evenness of mind especially under stress
2 : right disposition : balance
Other forms: plural equa·nim·i·ties
an Olympic diver who always displays remarkable equanimity on the platform
Origin: Latin aequanimitas, from aequo animo with even mind.
First use: circa 1616
Synonyms: aplomb, calmness, collectedness, composedness, composure, cool, coolness, countenance, equilibrium, imperturbability, placidity, repose, sangfroid, self-composedness, self-possession, serenity, tranquillity (or tranquility), tranquilness
Antonyms: agitation, discomposure, perturbation



mor·i·bund\ˈmȯr-ə-(ˌ)bənd, ˈmär-\
: no longer active or effective : close to failure
: very sick : close to death
Full Definition
1 : being in the state of dying : approaching death
2 : being in a state of inactivity or obsolescence
mor·i·bun·di·ty \ˌmȯr-ə-ˈbən-də-tē, ˌmär-\ noun
with its run-down look and empty aisles, the grocery store appeared moribund
youngsters snickering at the moribund slang their parents were using
Origin: Latin moribundus, from mori to die — more at murder.
First use: circa 1721
Synonyms: dying, at death's door



na·dir\ˈnā-ˌdir, ˈnā-dər\
: the worst or lowest point of something
Full Definition
1 : the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the zenith and vertically downward from the observer
2 : the lowest point
the discussion really reached its nadir when people resorted to name-calling
got into the stock market when it was at its nadir and then watched prices soar
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French, from Arabic naḍhīr opposite.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: bedrock, bottom, depth, rock bottom, zero
Antonyms: acme, apex, climax, crown, culmination, head, height, high-water mark, meridian, peak, pinnacle, summit, tip-top, top, zenith



: always wanting more : not able to be satisfied
Full Definition
: incapable of being satisfied : quenchless
in·sa·tia·bil·i·ty \(ˌ)in-ˌsā-shə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
in·sa·tia·ble·ness \(ˌ)in-ˈsā-shə-bəl-nəs\ noun
in·sa·tia·bly \-blē\ adverb
an insatiable need for the approval of others
Origin: Middle English insaciable, from Anglo-French, from Latin insatiabilis, from in- + satiare to satisfy — more at satiate.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: inappeasable, inextinguishable, insatiate, quenchless, unappeasable, unquenchable, unslakable
Antonyms: appeasable, extinguishable, satiable, satisfiable



av·a·rice\ˈa-və-rəs, ˈav-rəs\
: a strong desire to have or get money
Full Definition
: excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain : greediness, cupidity
the bank official's embezzlement was motivated by pure avarice
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin avaritia, from avarus avaricious, from avēre to crave — more at avid.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: acquisitiveness, greed, avariciousness, avidity, avidness, covetousness, cupidity, graspingness, greediness, mercenariness, rapaciousness, rapacity





: causing feelings of sadness and sympathy
: very bad, poor, weak, etc.
Full Definition
1 : having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity
2 : marked by sorrow or melancholy : sad
3 : pitifully inferior or inadequate s pathetic performance
Origin: Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French pathetique, from Late Latin patheticus, from Greek pathētikos capable of feeling, pathetic, from paschein (aor. pathein) to experience, suffer — more at pathos.
First use: 1598
Synonyms: heartbreaking, heartrending, miserable, piteous, pitiable, pitiful, poor, rueful, sorry, wretched
Antonyms: cheering, cheery, glad, happy



: very fat : fat in a way that is unhealthy
Full Definition
: having excessive body fat
providing medical treatment for obese patients
the problem of obesity in children
Origin: Latin obesus, from ob- against + esus, past participle of edere to eat — more at ob-, eat.
First use: 1651
Synonyms: blubbery, chubby, corpulent, fleshy, full, gross, lardy, fat, overweight, plump, podgy [chiefly British], portly, pudgy, replete, roly-poly, rotund, round, tubby
Antonyms: lean, skinny, slender, slim, spare, thin





ad·her·ent\ad-ˈhir-ənt, əd-\
1 : able or tending to adhere
2 : connected or associated with especially by contract
3 : adnate
ad·her·ent·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French adheirdant, adherent, from Latin adhaerent-, adhaerens, present participle of adhaerēre.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: sticky, adhesive, clingy, gluey, glutinous, gummy, tacky, tenacious, viscid
Antonyms: nonadhesive
Synonyms: acolyte, follower, convert, disciple, epigone, liege man, partisan (also partizan), pupil, votarist, votary
Antonyms: coryphaeus, leader
: a person who is loyal to a leader, group, or religion : a person who adheres to or supports a system or set of principles
Full Definition
: one that adheres: as
a : a follower of a leader, party, or profession
b : a believer in or advocate especially of a particular idea or church
synonyms see follower
First use: 15th century



: complete happiness
Full Definition
1 : complete happiness
2 : paradise, heaven
Their religion promises eternal bliss in heaven.
marital/wedded/domestic bliss
Relaxing on the porch of our private villa was sheer bliss.
Origin: Middle English blisse, from Old English bliss; akin to Old English blīthe blithe.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: above, heaven, elysian fields, Elysium, empyrean, kingdom come, New Jerusalem, paradise, sky, Zion (also Sion)
Antonyms: Gehenna, hell, Pandemonium, perdition



: affected by drinking too much alcohol
Full Definition
: exhilarated or confused by or as if by alcohol : intoxicated
after a night spent partying, the fraternity brothers were all severely inebriated
Origin: (see 1inebriate ).
First use: 1609
Synonyms: besotted, blasted [slang], blind, blitzed [slang], blotto [slang], bombed, boozy, canned [slang], cockeyed, crocked, drunken, fried, gassed, hammered [slang], high, impaired, inebriate, drunk, intoxicated, juiced [slang], lit, lit up, loaded [slang], looped, oiled [slang], pickled, pie-eyed, plastered, potted [slang], ripped [slang], sloshed [slang], smashed [slang], sottish, soused, sozzled, squiffed (or squiffy), stewed, stiff, stinking [slang], stoned, tanked [slang], tiddly [chiefly British], tight, tipsy, wasted [slang], wet, wiped out [slang]
Antonyms: sober, straight



: to try to influence (someone) by words or advice : to strongly urge (someone) to dosomething
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly
intransitive verb
: to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals
ex·hort·er noun
the speaker exhorted the graduating students to go forth and try to make a difference in the world
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French exorter, from Latin exhortari, from ex- + hortari to incite — more at yearn.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: egg (on), encourage, urge, goad, nudge, press, prod, prompt



ad·ver·sary\ˈad-və(r)-ˌser-ē, -ˌse-rē\
: an enemy or opponent
Full Definition
: one that contends with, opposes, or resists : enemy
Other forms: plural ad·ver·sar·ies
ad·ver·sari·ness noun
Origin: (see adverse ).
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: adversarial, hostile, antagonistic, antipathetic, inhospitable, inimical, jaundiced, mortal, negative, unfriendly, unsympathetic
Antonyms: friendly, hospitable, nonantagonistic, nonhostile, sympathetic
Synonyms: enemy, antagonist, foe, hostile, opponent
Antonyms: amigo, friend
2ad·ver·sary\ˈad-və(r)-ˌser-ē, -ˌse-rē\
1 : of, relating to, or involving an enemy or adversary
2 : having or involving antagonistic parties or opposing interests
Origin: (see adverse ).
First use: 14th century



: the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state
Full Definition
1 : lack of feeling or emotion : impassiveness
2 : lack of interest or concern : indifference
the apathy of the people of that war-torn country comes from their having seen too many horrors
her poor grades are proof enough of her apathy concerning all matters academic
Origin: Greek apatheia, from apathēs without feeling, from a- + pathos emotion — more at pathos.
First use: 1594
Synonyms: affectlessness, emotionlessness, impassiveness, impassivity, insensibility, numbness, phlegm
Antonyms: emotion, feeling, sensibility



fra·cas\ˈfrā-kəs, ˈfra-, British ˈfra-ˌkä\
: a noisy argument or fight
Full Definition
: a noisy quarrel : brawl
Other forms: plural fra·cas·es \-kə-səz\ or British frac·as \-ˌkäz\
the police broke up the fracas in the bar and threw both combatants in the lockup
police preparing for any fracas that might follow the soccer game
Origin: French, din, row, from Italian fracasso, from fracassare to shatter.
First use: 1716
Synonyms: battle, clash, combat, conflict, contest, dustup, fight, fray, hassle, scrap, scrimmage, scrum, scuffle, skirmish, struggle, tussle



: not liking to work or be active
Full Definition
1 a : causing little or no pain
b : slow to develop or heal
2 a : averse to activity, effort, or movement : habitually lazy
b : conducive to or encouraging laziness
c : showing an inclination to laziness
synonyms see lazy
in·do·lent·ly adverb
an indolent boy who had to be forced to help out with the chores
Origin: Late Latin indolent-, indolens insensitive to pain, from Latin in- + dolent-, dolens, present participle of dolēre to feel pain.
First use: 1663
Synonyms: idle, lazy, shiftless, slothful
Antonyms: industrious



plat·i·tude\ˈpla-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\
: a statement that expresses an idea that is not new
Full Definition
1 : the quality or state of being dull or insipid
2 : a banal, trite, or stale remark
“blondes have more fun” is a silly platitude
Origin: French, from plat flat, dull.
First use: 1812
Synonyms: banality, bromide, chestnut, cliché (also cliche), groaner, homily, commonplace, shibboleth, trope, truism



gar·ru·lous\ˈger-ə-ləs, ˈga-rə- also ˈger-yə-\
: tending to talk a lot : very talkative
Full Definition
1 : given to prosy, rambling, or tedious loquacity : pointlessly or annoyingly talkative
2 : wordy 1
synonyms see talkative
gar·ru·lous·ly adverb
gar·ru·lous·ness noun
a garrulous boy who was in constant trouble for talking out of turn
now that he's in his anecdotage, Grandpa likes to tell garrulous, shaggy-dog accounts of his youthful misadventures
Origin: Latin garrulus, from garrire to chatter — more at care.
First use: circa 1611
Synonyms: blabby, chatty, conversational, gabby, talkative, loquacious, motormouthed, mouthy, talky
Antonyms: closemouthed, laconic, reserved, reticent, taciturn, tight-lipped, uncommunicative



ba·nal\bə-ˈnal, ba-, -ˈnäl; bā-ˈnal; ˈbā-nəl\
: boring or ordinary : not interesting
Full Definition
: lacking originality, freshness, or novelty : trite
synonyms see insipid
ba·nal·ize \bə-ˈna-ˌlīz, ba-, -ˈnä-; bā-ˈna-; ˈbā-nəl-ˌīz\ transitive verb
ba·nal·ly \bə-ˈnal-lē, ba-, -ˈnäl-; bā-ˈnal-; ˈbā-nəl-(l)ē\ adverb
the sort of banal woman who appeals to men not looking for intellectual stimulation
please find new ways of phrasing your thoughts instead of relying on banal expressions
Origin: French, from Middle French, of compulsory feudal service, possessed in common, commonplace, from ban.
First use: 1825
Synonyms: wishy–washy, flat, insipid, milk-and-water, namby-pamby, watery
Antonyms: fresh, new, novel, original, unclichéd, unhackneyed



: great enjoyment, energy, and enthusiasm
Full Definition
1 a : an individual or special taste
b : enthusiastic and vigorous enjoyment or appreciation
c : vitality marked by an abundance of vigor and enthusiasm
2 archaic : artistic style
Other forms: plural gustoes
I don't have the gusto to go on a strenuous hike right now
Origin: Italian, from Latin gustus, past participle.
First use: 1620
Synonyms: beans, bounce, brio, dash, drive, dynamism, energy, esprit, gas, get-up-and-go, ginger, go, vigor, hardihood, juice, life, moxie, oomph, pep, punch, sap, snap, starch, verve, vim, vinegar, vitality, zing, zip
Antonyms: lethargy, listlessness, sluggishness, torpidity





: not easily described : having no special or interesting qualities, parts, etc. : typical and uninteresting
Full Definition
1 : belonging or appearing to belong to no particular class or kind : not easily described
2 : lacking distinctive or interesting qualities : dull, drab
nondescript noun
travelers settling for nondescript motel rooms that could be located anywhere
Origin: non- + Latin descriptus, past participle of describere to describe.
First use: 1789
Synonyms: beige, characterless, faceless, featureless, indistinctive, neutral, noncommital, vanilla



of the moon : to appear to become thinner or less full
: to become smaller or less : to decrease in size, amount, length, or quality
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to decrease in size, extent, or degree : dwindle: as
a : to diminish in phase or intensity — used chiefly of the moon, other satellites, and inferior planets
b : to become less brilliant or powerful : dim
c : to flow out : ebb
2 : to fall gradually from power, prosperity, or influence
synonyms see abate
Other forms: waned; wan·ing
The moon waxes and then wanes.
The scandal caused her popularity to wane.
Interest in this issue has continued to wane.
Origin: Middle English, from Old English wanian; akin to Old High German wanōn to wane, Old English wan wanting, deficient, Latin vanus empty, vain.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: abate, decline, de-escalate, die (away or down or out), diminish, drain (away), drop (off), dwindle, ease, ebb, fall, fall away, lessen, let up, lower, moderate, pall, phase down, ratchet (down) also rachet (down), recede, relent, remit, shrink, subside, taper, taper off, decrease
Antonyms: accumulate, balloon, build, burgeon (also bourgeon), enlarge, escalate, expand, grow, increase, intensify, mount, mushroom, pick up, rise, snowball, soar, swell, wax
1 a : the act or process of waning
b : a period or time of waning; specifically : the period from the full moon to the new moon
2 [Middle English, defect, from Old English wana; akin to Old English wan deficient] : a defect in lumber characterized by bark or a lack of wood at a corner or edge
Her popularity was on the wane.



dil·et·tante\ˈdi-lə-ˌtänt, -ˌtant; ˌdi-lə-ˈ\
: a person whose interest in an art or in an area of knowledge is not very deep or serious
Full Definition
1 : an admirer or lover of the arts
2 : a person having a superficial interest in an art or a branch of knowledge : dabbler
synonyms see amateur
Other forms: plural dil·et·tantes or dil·et·tan·ti \-ˈtän-tē, -ˈtan-tē\
dilettante adjective
dil·et·tant·ish \-ˌtän-tish, -ˌtan-, ˌdi-lə-ˈ\ adjective
dil·et·tan·tism \-ˌtän-ˌti-zəm, -ˌtan-, ˌdi-lə-ˈ\ noun
she writes about art not from the point of view of an artist but from that of a committed dilettante
a dilettante at heart, she was never willing to commit the time and effort that ballet demands
Origin: Italian, from present participle of dilettare to delight, from Latin dilectare — more at delight.
First use: 1748
Synonyms: cognoscente, connoisseur
Antonyms: authority, expert, pro, professional, specialist



: not typical : not usual or normal
Full Definition
: not typical : irregular, unusual
atyp·i·cal·i·ty \ˌā-ˌti-pə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun
atyp·i·cal·ly \(ˌ)ā-ˈti-pi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
the postal service delivered the package with atypical speed
since that's an atypical response for an infant, you might want to have her hearing tested
First use: 1885
Synonyms: aberrant, aberrated, abnormal, anomalous, exceptional, especial, exceeding, extraordinaire, extraordinary, freak, odd, peculiar, phenomenal, preternatural, rare, singular, uncommon, uncustomary, unique, unusual, unwonted
Antonyms: common, customary, normal, ordinary, typical, unexceptional, unextraordinary, usual