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Spurious

1 : of illegitimate birth : bastard
2 : outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities : false
3 a : of falsified or erroneously attributed origin : forged
b : of a deceitful nature or quality
spu·ri·ous·ly adverb
spu·ri·ous·ness noun
Examples
a spurious Picasso painting that wouldn't have fooled an art expert for a second
claimed that the governor's election-year enthusiasm for conservation was spurious, since he had cut funding for state parks
the spurious son of Charles II, the Duke of Monmouth would later mount a rebellion in a disastrous attempt to claim the throne
Origin: Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin spurius false, from Latin, of illegitimate birth, from spurius, noun, bastard.
First use: 1598

1

Innocuous

: not likely to bother or offend anyone
: causing no injury
Full Definition
1 : producing no injury : harmless
2 : not likely to give offense or to arouse strong feelings or hostility : inoffensive, insipid
in·noc·u·ous·ly adverb
in·noc·u·ous·ness noun
Examples
those innocuous lies we must tell every day if society is to remain civil
Origin: Latin innocuus, from in- + nocēre (see innocent ).
First use: 1598

2

Facetious

3

Propensity

: a strong natural tendency to do something
Full Definition
: an often intense natural inclination or preference
synonyms see leaning
Other forms: plural pro·pen·si·ties
Examples
the criminal propensities of the family extended over several generations
a neighbor who has an unfortunate propensity for snooping
Origin: (see propense ).
First use: 1570
Synonyms: aptness, proneness, tendency, way

4

Fastidious

: very careful about how you do something
: liking few things : hard to please
: wanting to always be clean, neat, etc.
Full Definition
1 archaic : scornful
2 a : having high and often capricious standards : difficult to please
b : showing or demanding excessive delicacy or care
c : reflecting a meticulous, sensitive, or demanding attitude
3 : having complex nutritional requirements
fas·tid·i·ous·ly adverb
fas·tid·i·ous·ness noun
Examples
he is very fastidious about how he arranges his music collection, and woe to anyone who dares to mess around with it
Origin: Middle English, from Latin fastidiosus, from fastidium disgust, probably from fastus arrogance (probably akin to Latin fastigium top) + taedium irksomeness — more at tedium.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: choosy (or choosey), dainty, delicate, demanding, exacting, finicky, finical, finicking, fussbudgety, fussy, nice, old-maidish, particular, pernickety [chiefly British], persnickety, picky

5

Galvanize


: to cause (people) to become so excited or concerned about an issue, idea, etc., that they want to do something about it
: to cause (a force that is capable of causing change) to become active
: to cover (steel or iron) with a layer of zinc to prevent it from rusting
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to subject to the action of an electric current especially for the purpose of stimulating physiologically
b : to stimulate or excite as if by an electric shock
2 : to coat (iron or steel) with zinc; especially : to immerse in molten zinc to produce a coating of zinc-iron alloyintransitive verb
: to react as if stimulated by an electric shock
Other forms: gal·va·nized; gal·va·niz·ing
gal·va·ni·za·tion \ˌgal-və-nə-ˈzā-shən\ noun
gal·va·niz·er \ˈgal-və-ˌnī-zər\ noun
Examples
theatergoers were galvanized by the actor's powerhouse performance as Hamlet
First use: 1802

6

Idyllic

: very peaceful, happy, and enjoyable
Full Definition
1 : pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity
2 : of, relating to, or being an idyll
idyl·li·cal·ly \-ˈdi-li-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
First use: 1856

7

Gaudy

8

Encumbrance

1 : something that encumbers : impediment, burden
2 : a claim (as a mortgage) against property
Examples
without the encumbrance of a heavy backpack, I could sprint along the trail
First use: 1535
Synonyms: balk, bar, block, chain, clog, cramp, crimp, deterrent, drag, embarrassment, fetter, handicap, hindrance, holdback, hurdle, impediment, inhibition, interference, let, manacle, obstacle, obstruction, shackles, stop, stumbling block, trammel

9

Condescend


: to show that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people
: to do something that you usually do not do because you believe you are too important to do it
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 a : to descend to a less formal or dignified level : unbend
b : to waive the privileges of rank
2 : to assume an air of superiority
Examples
I will not condescend to answer the sore loser's charge that I cheated in order to win the race
wealthy people who tend to be condescending toward their poor relations
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French condescendre, from Late Latin condescendere, from Latin com- + descendere to descend.
First use: 14th century

10

Candor

: the quality of being open, sincere, and honest
Full Definition
1 a : whiteness, brilliance
b obsolete : unstained purity
2 : freedom from prejudice or malice : fairness
3 archaic : kindliness
4 : unreserved, honest, or sincere expression : forthrightness
Examples
an interview in which the members of the rock band speak with candor about their recent squabbling
the desert sun shone down on the intrepid travelers with fiery candor
Origin: French & Latin; French candeur, from Latin candor, from candēre — more at candid.
First use: 14th century

11

Mortify


: to cause (someone) to feel very embarrassed and foolish
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 obsolete : to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of
2 : to subdue or deaden (as the body or bodily appetites) especially by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort
3 : to subject to severe and vexing embarrassment : shame
intransitive verb
1 : to practice mortification
2 : to become necrotic or gangrenous
Other forms: mor·ti·fied; mor·ti·fy·ing
Examples
was mortified by her children's atrocious manners
Origin: Middle English mortifien, from Anglo-French mortifier, from Late Latin mortificare, from Latin mort-, mors.
First use: 14th century

12

Jocose

: very cheerful
Full Definition
1 : given to joking : merry
2 : characterized by joking : humorous
synonyms see witty
jo·cose·ly adverb
jo·cose·ness noun
jo·cos·i·ty \jō-ˈkä-sə-tē, jə-\ noun
Examples
the comedian's jocose introductions kept the awards ceremony from becoming a stodgy affair
Origin: Latin jocosus, from jocus joke.
First use: 1673

13

Malign

: causing or intended to cause harm
Full Definition
1 a : evil in nature, influence, or effect : injurious
b : malignant, virulent
2 : having or showing intense often vicious ill will : malevolent
synonyms see sinister
ma·lign·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English maligne, from Anglo-French, from Latin malignus, from male badly + gignere to beget — more at mal-, kin.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: bad [slang], bitchy, catty, cruel, despiteful, malevolent, malicious, hateful, malignant, mean, nasty, spiteful, vicious, virulent
Antonyms: benevolent, benign, benignant, loving, unmalicious
Synonyms: asperse, blacken, calumniate, defame, libel, slander, smear, traduce, vilify

14

Omnipotent

: having complete or unlimited power
Full Definition
1 often capitalized : almighty 1
2 : having virtually unlimited authority or influence
3 obsolete : arrant
om·nip·o·tent·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin omnipotent-, omnipotens, from omni- + potent-, potens potent.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: all-powerful, almighty

15

Peremptory

16

Zenith

: the strongest or most successful period of time
: the highest point reached in the sky by the sun, moon, etc.
Full Definition
1 : the point of the celestial sphere that is directly opposite the nadir and vertically above the observer — see azimuth illustration
2 : the highest point reached in the heavens by a celestial body
3 : culminating point : acme
Examples
at the zenith of her career as a dancer
Origin: Middle English cenyth, senyth, from Middle French cenit, from Medieval Latin, from Old Spanish zenit, modification of Arabic samt (al-ra's) way (over one's head).
First use: 14th century

17

Fledgling

18

Precedent

19

Decorum


noun
: correct or proper behavior that shows respect and good manners
Full Definition
1 : literary and dramatic propriety : fitness
2 : propriety and good taste in conduct or appearance
3 : orderliness
4 plural : the conventions of polite behavior
Examples
high standards of decorum are usually required when attending the opera
Origin: Latin, from neuter of decorus.
First use: 1568

20

Rustic

21

Wheedle


: to persuade someone to do something or to give you something by saying nice things
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to influence or entice by soft words or flattery
2 : to gain or get by wheedling Examples
wheedled him into doing their work for them
Origin: origin unknown.
First use: circa 1661
Synonyms: blandish, blarney, cajole, palaver, soft-soap, sweet-talk, coax

22

Jubilant

: feeling or expressing great joy : very happy
Full Definition
: exultant
ju·bi·lant·ly adverb
Examples
the nominee's jubilant acceptance speech before the cheering crowd
First use: 1667

23

Charlatan

: a person who falsely pretends to know or be something in order to deceive people
Full Definition
1 : quack 2
2 : one making usually showy pretenses to knowledge or ability : fraud, faker
char·la·tan·ism \-tə-ˌni-zəm\ noun
char·la·tan·ry \-rē\ noun
Examples
the famed faith healer turned out to be a charlatan
Origin: Italian ciarlatano, alteration of cerretano, literally, inhabitant of Cerreto, from Cerreto, Italy.
First use: 1618

24

Prudent

: having or showing careful good judgment
Full Definition
: characterized by, arising from, or showing prudence: as
a : marked by wisdom or judiciousness
b : shrewd in the management of practical affairs
c : marked by circumspection : discreet
d : provident, frugal
synonyms see wise
pru·dent·ly adverb
Examples
her calm response was very prudent under the circumstances
it wouldn't be prudent to ask for a raise while the company is having financial troubles
her many years of experience as a social worker have made her a prudent judge of character
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin prudent-, prudens, contraction of provident-, providens — more at provident.
First use: 14th century

25

Ostensible

: seeming or said to be true or real but very possibly not true or real
Full Definition
1 : intended for display : open to view
2 : being such in appearance : plausible rather than demonstrably true or real
synonyms see apparent
Examples
the ostensible reason for the meeting turned out to be a trick to get him to the surprise party
Origin: French, from Latin ostensus, past participle of ostendere to show, from obs-, ob- in the way + tendere to stretch — more at ob-, thin.
First use: circa 1771

26

Heresy

: a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion
Full Definition
1 a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma
b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2 a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards
Other forms: plural her·e·sies
Examples
the heresy of asserting that Shakespeare was not a great writer
Origin: Middle English heresie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, action of taking, choice, sect, from hairein to take.
First use: 13th century

27

Fervid

28

Propagate


: to make (something, such as an idea or belief) known to many people
: to produce (a new plant)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to cause to continue or increase by sexual or asexual reproduction
2 : to pass along to offspring
3 a : to cause to spread out and affect a greater number or greater area : extend
b : to foster growing knowledge of, familiarity with, or acceptance of (as an idea or belief) : publicize
c : to transmit (as sound or light) through a mediumintransitive verb
1 : to multiply sexually or asexually
2 : increase, extend
3 : to travel through space or a material — used of wave energy (as light, sound, or radio waves)
Other forms: prop·a·gat·ed; prop·a·gat·ing
prop·a·ga·tive \-ˌgā-tiv\ adjective
prop·a·ga·tor \-ˌgā-tər\ noun
Examples
the dams along the river are interfering with the salmon's ability to propagate
the various ways in which churches can propagate the faith
Origin: Latin propagatus, past participle of propagare to set slips, propagate, from propages slip, offspring, from pro- before + pangere to fasten — more at pro-, pact.
First use: circa 1570
Synonyms: breed, multiply, procreate, reproduce

29

Surfeit

Noun
: an amount that is too much or more than you need
Full Definition
1 : an overabundant supply : excess
2 : an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (as food or drink)
3 : disgust caused by excess
Origin: Middle English surfet, from Anglo-French, from surfaire to overdo, from sur- + faire to do, from Latin facere — more at do.
First use: 14th century

transitive verb
: to feed, supply, or give to surfeitintransitive verb
archaic : to indulge to satiety in a gratification (as indulgence of the appetite or senses)
synonyms see satiate
sur·feit·er noun
First use: 14th century

30

Anomaly

noun
: something that is unusual or unexpected : something anomalous
Full Definition
1 : the angular distance of a planet from its perihelion as seen from the sun
2 : deviation from the common rule : irregularity
3 : something anomalous : something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified
Other forms: plural anom·a·lies
Examples
her C grade is an anomaly, as she's never made anything except A's and B's before
snow in July is an anomaly in most of the northern hemisphere
Origin: (see anomalous ).
First use: 1603

31

Milieu

: the physical or social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops
Full Definition
: the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops : environment
synonyms see background
Other forms: plural mi·lieus or mi·lieux \-ˈyə(r)(z), -ˈyüz, -ˈyœ(z); -ˌyü(z)\
Examples
young, innovative artists thrive in the freewheeling milieu that a big city offers
Origin: French, from Old French, midst, from mi middle (from Latin medius) + lieu place, from Latin locus — more at mid, stall.
First use: 1854

32

Strident

33

Deleterious

: damaging or harmful
Full Definition
: harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way
synonyms see pernicious
del·e·te·ri·ous·ly adverb
del·e·te·ri·ous·ness noun
Examples
nicotine has long been recognized as a deleterious substance
Origin: Greek dēlētērios, from dēleisthai to hurt.
First use: 1643

34

Concomitant


adjective
: happening at the same time as something else
Full Definition
: accompanying especially in a subordinate or incidental way
con·com·i·tant·ly adverb
Origin: Latin concomitant-, concomitans, present participle of concomitari to accompany, from com- + comitari to accompany, from comit-, comes companion — more at count.
First use: 1607

noun
: something that happens at the same time as something else : a condition that is associated with some other condition
Full Definition
: something that accompanies or is collaterally connected with something else : accompaniment
Examples
hunger, a lack of education, and other concomitants of poverty
disease is all too often one of the concomitants of poverty
Origin: (see 1concomitant ).
First use: 1621

35

Lassitude


noun
formal + medical : the condition of being tired : lack of physical or mental energy
Full Definition
1 : a condition of weariness or debility : fatigue
2 : a condition of listlessness : languor
synonyms see lethargy
Examples
our lassitude was such that we couldn't even be bothered to get more soda from the fridge
as his cancer progresses, his days are increasingly marked by lassitude and isolation from the outside world
Origin: Middle English, from Latin lassitudo, from lassus weary; probably akin to Old English læt late — more at late.
First use: 15th century

36

Efficacy

: the power to produce a desired result or effect
Full Definition
: the power to produce an effect
Other forms: plural ef·fi·ca·cies
Examples
questioned the efficacy of the alarms in actually preventing auto theft
Origin: (see efficacious ).
First use: 13th century

37

Dissent


: to publicly disagree with an official opinion, decision, or set of beliefs
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to withhold assent
2 : to differ in opinion
Origin: Middle English, from Latin dissentire, from dis- + sentire to feel — more at sense.
First use: 15th century

noun
: public disagreement with an official opinion, decision, or set of beliefs
law : a statement by a judge giving reasons why the judge does not agree with the decision made by the other judges in a court case
Full Definition
: difference of opinion : as
a : religious nonconformity
b : a justice's nonconcurrence with a decision of the majority —called also dissenting opinion
c : political opposition to a government or its policies
Examples
Church leaders permitted no dissent from church teachings.
He did everything in his power to suppress political dissent.
These dissents come from prominent scientists and should not be ignored.
First use: 1585

38

Arbiter


noun
: a person who is considered to be an authority on what is right, good, or proper
: a person who has the power to settle an argument between people
Full Definition
1 : a person with power to decide a dispute : judge
2 : a person or agency whose judgment or opinion is considered authoritative
Examples
the dean of student affairs is the proper arbiter when a student disputes a grade
Origin: Middle English arbitre, from Anglo-French, from Latin arbitr-, arbiter.
First use: 14th century

39

Ferment


: to go through a chemical change that results in the production of alcohol
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to undergo fermentation
2 : to be in a state of agitation or intense activitytransitive verb
1 : to cause to undergo fermentation
2 : to work up (as into a state of agitation) : foment
fer·ment·able \-ˈmen-tə-bəl\ adjective
First use: 14th century

noun
: a situation in which there is much excitement and confusion caused by change
Full Definition
1 a : a living organism (as a yeast) that causes fermentation by virtue of its enzymes
b : enzyme
2 a : a state of unrest : agitation
b : a process of active often disorderly development
Origin: Middle English, from Latin fermentum yeast — more at barm.
First use: 15th century

40

Attenuate

1 : reduced especially in thickness, density, or force
2 : tapering gradually usually to a long slender point
Origin: Middle English attenuat, from Latin attenuatus, past participle of attenuare to make thin, from ad- + tenuis thin — more at thin.
First use: 15th century

: to make (something) weaker or less in amount, effect, or force
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make thin or slender
2 : to make thin in consistency : rarefy
3 : to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of : weaken
4 : to reduce the severity, virulence, or vitality of
intransitive verb
: to become thin, fine, or less
Other forms: at·ten·u·at·ed; at·ten·u·at·ing
at·ten·u·a·tion \-ˌten-yə-ˈwā-shən, -yü-ˈā-\ noun
First use: 1530

41

Incumbent


noun
: a person who holds a particular office or position
Full Definition
1 : the holder of an office or ecclesiastical benefice
2 : one that occupies a particular position or place
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin incumbent-, incumbens, present participle of incumbere to lie down on, from in- + -cumbere to lie down; akin to cubare to lie.
First use: 15th century

adjective
: holding an office or position
Full Definition
1 : imposed as a duty : obligatory
2 : having the status of an incumbent (see 1incumbent ) ; especially : occupying a specified office
3 : lying or resting on something else
4 : bent over so as to rest on or touch an underlying surface
Examples
the incumbent president/mayor/senator
incumbent members of Congress

42

Celerity


noun
: rapidity of motion or action
Examples
a journalist who writes his well-crafted stories with remarkable celerity
Origin: Middle English celerite, from Anglo-French, from Latin celeritat-, celeritas, from celer swift — more at hold.
First use: 15th century

43

Expedite


: to cause (something) to happen faster
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to execute promptly
2 : to accelerate the process or progress of : speed up
3 : issue, dispatch
Other forms: ex·pe·dit·ed; ex·pe·dit·ing
Origin: Latin expeditus, past participle of expedire (see 1expedient ).
First use: 15th century

44

Prodigious

: amazing or wonderful : very impressive
: very big
Full Definition
1 a obsolete : being an omen : portentous
b : resembling or befitting a prodigy : strange, unusual (see prodigy )
2 : exciting amazement or wonder
3 : extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree : enormous
synonyms see monstrous
pro·di·gious·ly adverb
pro·di·gious·ness noun
Examples
stage magicians performing prodigious feats for rapt audiences
a prodigious supply of canned food kept in the basement for emergencies
Origin: (see prodigy ).
First use: 15th century

45

Alleviate


: to reduce the pain or trouble of (something) : to make (something) less painful, difficult, or severe
Full Definition
transitive verb
: relieve, lessen: as
a : to make (as suffering) more bearable
b : to partially remove or correct
synonyms see relieve
Other forms: al·le·vi·at·ed; al·le·vi·at·ing
al·le·vi·a·tion \-ˌlē-vē-ˈā-shən\ noun
al·le·vi·a·tor \-ˈlē-vē-ˌā-tər\ noun
Examples
a car pool alleviates some of the stress of driving the kids to and from school every day
Origin: Late Latin alleviatus, past participle of alleviare, from Latin ad- + levis light — more at light.

46

Profound

47

Usurp

: to take and keep (something, such as power) in a forceful or violent way and especially without the right to do so
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right
b : to take or make use of without right
2 : to take the place of by or as if by force : supplant
intransitive verb
: to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully
usur·pa·tion \ˌyü-sər-ˈpā-shən also ˌyü-zər-\ noun
usurp·er \yu̇-ˈsər-pər also -ˈzər-\ noun
Examples
Some people have accused city council members of trying to usurp the mayor's power.
attempting to usurp the throne
Have we allowed their lies to usurp the truth?
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French usorper, from Latin usurpare to take possession of without legal claim, from usu (abl. of usus use) + rapere to seize — more at rapid.
First use: 14th century

48

Paltry

49

Trivial

50

Condone

51

Bizarre


adjective
: 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

Noun
: a flower with atypical striped marking
First use: circa 1753

52

Succinct

53

Menial

54

Venerable

55

Extraneous


adjective
: not forming a necessary part of something : not important
Full Definition
1 : existing on or coming from the outside
2 a : not forming an essential or vital part
b : having no relevance
3 : being a number obtained in solving an equation that is not a solution of the equation
synonyms see extrinsic
ex·tra·ne·ous·ly adverb
ex·tra·ne·ous·ness noun
Examples
the architect's streamlined modern style shuns any sort of extraneous ornamentation
the professor would have covered all of the course material if she had refrained from her extraneous remarks on just about everything
Origin: Latin extraneus — more at strange.
First use: 1638

56

Ambiguous

57

Salubrious


adjective
: making good health possible or likely
Full Definition
: favorable to or promoting health or well-being
synonyms see healthful
sa·lu·bri·ous·ly adverb
sa·lu·bri·ous·ness noun
sa·lu·bri·ty \-brə-tē\ noun
Examples
fresh air and exercise are always salubrious
Origin: Latin salubris; akin to salvus safe, healthy — more at safe.
First use: 1547

58

Archaic


adjective
: old and no longer used
: old and no longer useful
: of or relating to ancient times
Full Definition
1 : having the characteristics of the language of the past and surviving chiefly in specialized uses
2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of an earlier or more primitive time : antiquated
3 capitalized : of or belonging to the early or formative phases of a culture or a period of artistic development; especially : of or belonging to the period leading up to the classical period of Greek culture
4 : surviving from an earlier period; specifically : typical of a previously dominant evolutionary stage
5 capitalized : of or relating to the period from about 8000 b.c. to 1000 b.c. and the North American cultures of that time
synonyms see old
ar·cha·i·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples
a man with some archaic notions about the proper sphere for women
Origin: French or Greek; French archaïque, from Greek archaïkos, from archaios.

59

Emulate


: to try to be like (someone or something you admire)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to strive to equal or excel
b : imitate; especially : to imitate by means of an emulator
2 : to equal or approach equality with
Other forms: em·u·lat·ed; em·u·lat·ing
Origin: Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari, from aemulus rivaling.
First use: 1582

adjective
obsolete
: emulous 1b
Origin: (see 1emulate ).
First use: 1602

60

Rabid

61

Complacent

62

Impetuous


adjective
: acting or done quickly and without thought : controlled by emotion rather than thought
Full Definition
1 : marked by impulsive vehemence or passion
2 : marked by force and violence of movement or action
synonyms see precipitate
im·pet·u·ous·ly adverb
im·pet·u·ous·ness noun

63

Debilitate


: to make (someone or something) weak : to reduce the strength of (someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to impair the strength of : enfeeble
synonyms see weaken
Other forms: de·bil·i·tat·ed; de·bil·i·tat·ing
de·bil·i·ta·tion \-ˌbi-lə-ˈtā-shən\ noun
Examples
the heart surgery debilitated the college athlete beyond his worst fears
Origin: Latin debilitatus, past participle of debilitare to weaken, from debilis weak.
First use: 1533

64

Occult


adjective
: of or relating to supernatural powers or practices
Full Definition
1 : not revealed : secret
2 : not easily apprehended or understood : abstruse, mysterious
3 : hidden from view : concealed
4 : of or relating to the occult
5 : not manifest or detectable by clinical methods alone ; also : not present in macroscopic amounts
oc·cult·ly adverb
Origin: Latin occultus, from past participle of occulere to cover up, from ob- in the way + -culere (akin to celare to conceal) — more at ob-, hell.
First use: 1533

transitive verb
: to shut off from view or exposure : cover, eclipse
oc·cult·er noun
Origin: Latin occultare, frequentative of occulere.
First use: 1500

noun
: matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them — used with the
First use: 1923

65

Somber


adjective
: very sad and serious
: having a dull or dark color
Full Definition
1 : so shaded as to be dark and gloomy
2 a : of a serious mien : grave
b : of a dismal or depressing character : melancholy
c : conveying gloomy suggestions or ideas
3 : of a dull or heavy cast or shade : dark colored
som·ber·ly adverb
som·ber·ness noun
Examples
the prison's somber interrogation room has the desired effect of striking fear and despair into the prisoner
the somber occasion of a dear friend's funeral
Variants: or som·bre \ˈsäm-bər\
Origin: French sombre.
First use: 1760

66

Foment


: to cause or try to cause the growth or development of (something bad or harmful)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to promote the growth or development of : rouse, incite
synonyms see incite
fo·ment·er noun
Examples
John Adams's wife, Abigail, told him that if women were not remembered by the new American government, they would “foment a Rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice or Representation”
Origin: Middle English, to apply a warm substance to, from Late Latin fomentare, from Latin fomentum compress, from fovēre to heat, soothe; akin to Lithuanian degti to burn, Sanskrit dahati it burns.
First use: circa 1613

67

Glean


: to gather or collect (something) in a gradual way
: to search (something) carefully
: to gather grain or other material that is left after the main crop has been gathered
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to gather grain or other produce left by reapers
2 : to gather information or material bit by bit
transitive verb
1 a : to pick up after a reaper
b : to strip (as a field) of the leavings of reapers
2 a : to gather (as information) bit by bit
b : to pick over in search of relevant material
3 : find out
glean·able \ˈglē-nə-bəl\ adjective
glean·er noun
Examples
She gleaned her data from various studies.
He has a collection of antique tools gleaned from flea markets and garage sales.
They spent days gleaning the files for information.
Origin: Middle English glenen, from Anglo-French glener, from Late Latin glennare, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish doglenn he selects.

68

Quarry


: to dig or take (stone or other materials) from a quarry
: to make a quarry in (a place)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to dig or take from or as if from a quarry
2 : to make a quarry in
intransitive verb
: to delve in or as if in a quarry
Other forms: quar·ried; quar·ry·ing
Examples
Limestone is quarried in this area.
The stone used for these buildings was quarried from a nearby site.
an area where workers are quarrying for limestone
First use: 1774

noun
1 obsolete : a heap of the game killed in a hunt
2 : game; specifically : game hunted with hawks
3 : one that is sought or pursued : prey

noun
1 : an open excavation usually for obtaining building stone, slate, or limestone
2 : a rich source

noun
: a diamond-shaped pane of glass, stone, or tile

69

Discreet


adjective
: not likely to be seen or noticed by many people
Full Definition
1 : having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech : prudent; especially : capable of preserving prudent silence
2 : unpretentious, modest
3 : unobtrusive, unnoticeable
dis·creet·ly adverb
dis·creet·ness noun
Examples
he was very discreet, only saying what was necessary
with a discreet gesture, she signalled to her husband that she was ready to leave the party
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French discret, from Medieval Latin discretus, from Latin, past participle of discernere to separate, distinguish between — more at discern.
First use: 14th century

70

Slovenly


adjective
: messy or untidy
: done in a careless way
Full Definition
1 a : untidy especially in personal appearance
b : lazily slipshod
2 : characteristic of a sloven
slo·ven·li·ness noun
slovenly adverb
Examples
for the sake of their image, the band members transformed themselves from clean-cut lads to slovenly rockers
First use: circa 1568

71

Evanescent


adjective
: lasting a very short time
Full Definition
: tending to vanish like vapor
synonyms see transient
Examples
beauty that is as evanescent as a rainbow
Origin: Latin evanescent-, evanescens, present participle of evanescere.
First use: 1717

72

Abjure


: to reject (something) formally
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to renounce upon oath
b : to reject solemnly
2 : to abstain from : avoid
Other forms: ab·jured; ab·jur·ing
ab·jur·er noun
Examples
abjured some long-held beliefs when she converted to another religion
a strict religious sect that abjures the luxuries, comforts, and conveniences of the modern world
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French abjurer, from Latin abjurare, from ab- + jurare to swear — more at jury.
First use: 15th century

73

Penitent


adjective
: feeling or showing sorrow and regret because you have done something wrong
Full Definition
: feeling or expressing humble or regretful pain or sorrow for sins or offenses : repentant
pen·i·tent·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French penitent, from Latin paenitent-, paenitens, from present participle of paenitēre to cause regret, feel regret, perhaps from paene almost.
First use: 14th century

noun
: a person who is sorry for doing something wrong and asks for forgiveness : a penitent person
Full Definition
1 : a person who repents of sin
2 : a person under church censure but admitted to penance or reconciliation especially under the direction of a confessor
Examples
penitents seeking God's forgiveness
First use: 14th century

74

Reproach


: to speak in an angry and critical way to (someone) : to express disapproval or disappointment to (someone)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to express disappointment in or displeasure with (a person) for conduct that is blameworthy or in need of amendment
2 : to make (something) a matter of reproach (see 1reproach )
3 : to bring into discredit
synonyms see reprove
re·proach·able \-ˈprō-chə-bəl\ adjective
re·proach·er noun
re·proach·ing·ly \-ˈprō-chiŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples
She reproached her daughter for her selfishness.
He reproached himself for not telling the truth.
Origin: (see 1reproach ).
First use: 14th century

noun
1 : an expression of rebuke or disapproval
2 : the act or action of reproaching or disapproving
3 a : a cause or occasion of blame, discredit, or disgrace
b : discredit, disgrace
4 obsolete : one subjected to censure or scorn
re·proach·ful \-fəl\ adjective
re·proach·ful·ly \-fə-lē\ adverb
re·proach·ful·ness noun
Origin: Middle English reproche, from Anglo-French, from reprocher to reproach, from Vulgar Latin *repropiare to bring close, show, from Latin re- + prope near — more at approach.
First use: 14th century

75

Tantamount

76

Allay

: to make (something) less severe or strong
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to subdue or reduce in intensity or severity : alleviate
2 : to make quiet : calm
intransitive verb
obsolete : to diminish in strength : subside
synonyms see relieve
Examples
a gentle breeze would allay the heat
Origin: Middle English alayen, from Old English ālecgan, from ā- (perfective prefix) + lecgan to lay — more at abide, lay.
First use: 14th century

77

Wary


adjective
: not having or showing complete trust in someone or something that could be dangerous or cause trouble
Full Definition
: marked by keen caution, cunning, and watchfulness especially in detecting and escaping danger
synonyms see cautious
Other forms: war·i·er; war·i·est
war·i·ly \ˈwer-ə-lē\ adverb
war·i·ness \ˈwer-ē-nəs\ noun
Examples
The store owner kept a wary eye on him.
Investors are increasingly wary about putting money into stocks.
They remain wary of the new plan.
Origin: 1ware, from Middle English war, ware, from Old English wær careful, aware, wary; akin to Old High German giwar aware, attentive, Latin vereri to fear, Greek horan to see.
First use: 15th century

78

Connoisseur

79

Deter


: to cause (someone) to decide not to do something
: to prevent (something) from happening
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to turn aside, discourage, or prevent from acting
2 : inhibit
Other forms: de·terred; de·ter·ring
de·ter·ment \-ˈtər-mənt\ noun
de·ter·ra·bil·i·ty \-ˌtər-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
de·ter·ra·ble \-ˈtər-ə-bəl\ adjective
Examples
we tried to deter him from his crazy scheme, but to no avail
Origin: Latin deterrēre, from de- + terrēre to frighten — more at terror.
First use: circa 1547

80

Site

81

Vigil


noun
: an event or a period of time when a person or group stays in a place and quietly waits, prays, etc., especially at night
Full Definition
1 a : a watch formerly kept on the night before a religious feast with prayer or other devotions
b : the day before a religious feast observed as a day of spiritual preparation
c : evening or nocturnal devotions or prayers — usually used in plural
2 : the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary; also : a period of wakefulness
3 : an act or period of watching or surveillance : watch
Examples
kept vigil at their ailing son's bedside the entire time he was in the hospital
Origin: Middle English vigile, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin vigilia watch on the eve of a feast, from Latin, wakefulness, watch, from vigil awake, watchful; akin to Latin vigēre to be vigorous, vegēre to enliven — more at wake.

82

Cumbersome


adjective
: hard to handle or manage because of size or weight
: complicated and hard to do
: long and difficult to read, say, etc.
Full Definition
1 dial : burdensome, troublesome
2 : unwieldy because of heaviness and bulk
3 : slow-moving : ponderous
synonyms see heavy
cum·ber·some·ly adverb
cum·ber·some·ness noun
Examples
a long-handled wrench that is too cumbersome for tight spots, such as under the sink
Origin: (see 1cumber ).
First use: 1535

83

Divulge


: to make (information) known : to give (information) to someone
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 archaic : to make public : proclaim
2 : to make known (as a confidence or secret)
synonyms see reveal
Other forms: di·vulged; di·vulg·ing
di·vul·gence \-ˈvəl-jən(t)s\ noun
Examples
we tried to make him divulge the name of the winner, but he wouldn't budge
Origin: Middle English, from Latin divulgare, from dis- + vulgare to make known, from vulgus mob.
First use: 15th century

84

Interrogate


: to ask (someone) questions in a thorough and often forceful way
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to question formally and systematically
2 : to give or send out a signal to (as a transponder) for triggering an appropriate response
synonyms see ask
Other forms: in·ter·ro·gat·ed; in·ter·ro·gat·ing
in·ter·ro·ga·tee \-ˌter-ə-(ˌ)gā-ˈtē\ noun
in·ter·ro·ga·tion \-ˌter-ə-ˈgā-shən\ noun
in·ter·ro·ga·tion·al \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
Examples
interrogated him about where he'd gone the night before
police interrogated the murder suspect for hours on end
Origin: Latin interrogatus, past participle of interrogare, from inter- + rogare to ask — more at right.
First use: 15th century

85

Unmitigated


adjective
: complete and total
Full Definition
1 : not lessened : unrelieved
2 : being so definitely what is stated as to offer little chance of change or relief
un·mit·i·gat·ed·ly adverb
un·mit·i·gat·ed·ness noun
Examples
it looks like another one of your get-rich-quick schemes has ended in unmitigated failure
First use: 1599

86

Fluctuate


: to change level, strength, or value frequently
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to shift back and forth uncertainly
2 : to ebb and flow in wavestransitive verb
: to cause to fluctuate
synonyms see swing
Other forms: fluc·tu·at·ed; fluc·tu·at·ing
fluc·tu·a·tion \ˌflək-chə-ˈwā-shən, -chü-ˈā-\ noun
fluc·tu·a·tion·al \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
Examples
temperatures will fluctuate between the low and high 50s today
Origin: Latin fluctuatus, past participle of fluctuare, from fluctus flow, wave, from fluere — more at fluid.
First use: 1634

87

Disheveled


adjective
: not neat or tidy
Full Definition
: marked by disorder or disarray
Examples
a slovenly woman with disheveled hair and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth
Variants: or di·shev·elled
Origin: Middle English discheveled bareheaded, with disordered hair, part translation of Anglo-French deschevelé, from des- dis- + chevoil hair, from Latin capillus.
First use: 1583

88

Commodious

89

Antiquated


adjective
: very old and no longer useful, popular, or accepted : very old-fashioned or obsolete
Full Definition
1 : obsolete
2 : outmoded or discredited by reason of age : being out of style or fashion
3 : advanced in age
synonyms see old
Examples
saw an antiquated hand-cranked rope-making machine at the textiles museum
First use: 1601

90

Facade

91

Tenacious

92

Asinine


adjective
: very stupid and silly
Full Definition
1 : extremely or utterly foolish
2 : of, relating to, or resembling an ass
synonyms see simple
as·i·nine·ly adverb
as·i·nin·i·ty \ˌa-sə-ˈni-nə-tē\ noun
Examples
it was asinine to run into the street like that
Origin: Latin asininus, from asinus ass.
First use: 15th century

93

Grimace


noun
: a facial expression in which your mouth and face are twisted in a way that shows disgust, disapproval, or pain
Full Definition
: a facial expression usually of disgust, disapproval, or pain
grimace intransitive verb
gri·mac·er noun
Examples
he made a grimace when he tasted the medicine
Origin: French, from Middle French, alteration of grimache, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English grīma mask.
First use: 1651

94

Calumny


noun
: an untrue statement that is made to damage someone's reputation ; also : the act of making such statements
Full Definition
1 : a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation
2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation
Other forms: plural cal·um·nies
ca·lum·ni·ous \kə-ˈləm-nē-əs\ adjective
ca·lum·ni·ous·ly adverb
Examples
a blogger whose site is little more than a foulmouthed forum for calumny and rumormongering
Origin: Middle English calumnye, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French calomnie, from Latin calumnia, from calvi to deceive; perhaps akin to Old English hōlian to slander, Greek kēlein to beguile.
First use: 15th century

95

Pittance


noun
: a very small amount of money
Full Definition
: a small portion, amount, or allowance; also : a meager wage or remuneration
Examples
the internship offers only a pittance for a salary, but it is a great opportunity to gain experience
Origin: Middle English pitance, from Anglo-French, piety, pity, dole, portion, from Medieval Latin pietantia, from pietant-, pietans, present participle of pietari to be charitable, from Latin pietas piety — more at pity.
First use: 14th century

96

Au courant


adjective
: knowing about the newest information, trends, etc.
: stylish or current
Full Definition
1 a : fully informed : up-to-date
b : fashionable, stylish
2 : fully familiar : conversant
Examples
au courant filmgoers have dismissed Hollywood's latest effects-laden actioner as so last year
glossy magazines full of reed-thin models in au courant outfits
doctors try to stay au courant with the latest advances in medicine
Origin: French, literally, in the current.
First use: 1762

97

Unkempt


adjective
: not neat or orderly : messy or untidy
Full Definition
1 : not combed
2 : deficient in order or neatness ; also : rough, unpolished
Examples
an unkempt and cluttered room
the stereotype of the unkempt but brilliant scientist
Origin: Middle English unkemd, unkempt, from un- + kembed, kempt, past participle of kemben to comb, from Old English cemban; akin to Old High German chempen to comb, Old English camb comb — more at comb.
First use: 14th century

98

Noisome


adjective
: very unpleasant or disgusting
Full Definition
1 : noxious, harmful
2 a : offensive to the senses and especially to the sense of smell
b : highly obnoxious or objectionable
synonyms see malodorous
noi·some·ly adverb
noi·some·ness noun
Examples
it's no fun having asthma and living in an area with noisome smog
a noisome remark about my weight that stuck with me for days
the noisome air of the area of the city that was downwind of the dog food factory
Origin: Middle English noysome, from noy annoyance, alteration of anoi, from Anglo-French anui, from anuier to harass, annoy — more at annoy.

99

Parable

noun
: a short story that teaches a moral or spiritual lesson ; especially : one of the stories told by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Bible
Full Definition
: example; specifically : a usually short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious principle
Examples
the parable in which the repentant sinner is compared to the returning prodigal son who is welcomed home
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin parabola, from Greek parabolē comparison, from paraballein to compare, from para- + ballein to throw — more at devil.
First use: 14th century

100

Lampoon

noun
: a piece of writing, a cartoon, etc., that mocks or makes fun of a well-known person or thing
Full Definition
: satire 1; specifically : a harsh satire usually directed against an individual
Origin: French lampon.
First use: 1645
: to publicly criticize (someone or something) in a way that causes laughter : to mock or make fun of (someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to make the subject of a lampoon : ridicule
lam·poon·er noun
lam·poon·ery \-ˈpü-nə-rē, -ˈpün-rē\ noun
Examples
He said such ridiculous things that he was often the target of lampoons in the press.
this classic musical is a lampoon of the movie business at the time when sound was introduced
First use: circa 1657

101

Sanctimonious

102

Whimsical

: unusual in a playful or amusing way : not serious
Full Definition
1 : full of, actuated by, or exhibiting whims (see whim ))
2 a : resulting from or characterized by whim or caprice; especially : lightly fanciful
b : subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change
whim·si·cal·i·ty \ˌhwim-zə-ˈka-lə-tē, ˌwim-\ noun
whim·si·cal·ly \ˈhwim-zi-k(ə-)lē, ˈwim-\ adverb
whim·si·cal·ness \-kəl-nəs\ noun
Examples
it's hard to make plans with such a whimsical best friend
Origin: whimsy.
First use: 1653

103

Effrontery

noun
: a very confident attitude or way of behaving that is shocking or rude
Full Definition
: shameless boldness : insolence
synonyms see temerity
Other forms: plural ef·fron·ter·ies
Examples
the little squirt had the effrontery to deny eating any cookies, even with the crumbs still on his lips
Origin: French effronterie, ultimately from Medieval Latin effront-, effrons shameless, from Latin ex- + front-, frons forehead.
First use: 1697

104

Equanimity

noun
: 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
Examples
an Olympic diver who always displays remarkable equanimity on the platform
Origin: Latin aequanimitas, from aequo animo with even mind.
First use: circa 1616

105

Debacle

noun
: a great disaster or complete failure
Full Definition
1 : a tumultuous breakup of ice in a river
2 : a violent disruption (as of an army) : rout
3 a : a great disaster
b : a complete failure : fiasco
Examples
the financial debacle that was the stock market crash of 1929
the movie, which some had predicted would be a blockbuster, turned out to be the summer's biggest debacle at the multiplexes
Variants: also dé·bâ·cle \also dā-ˈbäk(lə)\
Origin: French débâcle, from débâcler to clear, from Middle French desbacler, from des- de- + bacler to block, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *bacculare, from Latin baculum staff.
First use: 1802

106

Nonentity

non·en·ti·ty\-ˈen-tə-tē, -ˈe-nə-\
noun
: a person who is not famous or important
Full Definition
1 : something that does not exist or exists only in the imagination
2 : nonexistence
3 : a person or thing of little consequence or significance
Examples
the arctic circle is a nonentity—you won't see it on the way to the north pole
was so quiet he was almost a nonentity at the meeting
First use: circa 1600

107

Flabbergast

flab·ber·gast\ˈfla-bər-ˌgast\
: to shock or surprise (someone) very much
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to overwhelm with shock, surprise, or wonder : dumbfound
synonyms see surprise
flab·ber·gast·ing·ly \-ˌgas-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples
your decision to suddenly quit your job flabbergasts me
Origin: origin unknown.
First use: 1772
Synonyms: amaze, astonish, astound, bowl over, dumbfound (also dumfound), surprise, floor, rock, shock, startle, stun, stupefy, thunderstrike

108

Vivacious

vi·va·cious\və-ˈvā-shəs also vī-\
adjective
: happy and lively in a way that is attractive
Full Definition
: lively in temper, conduct, or spirit : sprightly
synonyms see lively
vi·va·cious·ly adverb
vi·va·cious·ness noun
Examples
an outgoing, vivacious girl who became a successful sales rep
the poem is a vivacious expression of his love for her
Origin: Latin vivac-, vivax long-lived, vigorous, high-spirited, from vivere to live.
First use: circa 1645

109

Gaunt

110

Mien

mien\ˈmēn\
noun
: a person's appearance or facial expression
Full Definition
1 : air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality : demeanor
2 : appearance, aspect
synonyms see bearing
Examples
a kindly mien
He has the mien of an ancient warrior.
Origin: by shortening & alteration from 1demean.
First use: 1522
Synonyms: aspect, dress, figure, garb, look, appearance, outside, presence, regard [archaic]

111

Hirsute

112

Refute

: to prove that (something) is not true
: to say that (something) is not true
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to prove wrong by argument or evidence : show to be false or erroneous
2 : to deny the truth or accuracy of
Other forms: re·fut·ed; re·fut·ing
re·fut·able \-ˈfyü-tə-bəl\ adjective
re·fut·ably \-blē\ adverb
re·fut·er noun
Examples
while he was publicly refuting rumors of a merger, behind the scenes the CEO was working to effect that very outcome
the victories of African-American athlete Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics effectively refuted the racial views of the Nazis
Origin: Latin refutare to check, suppress, refute.
First use: 1545

113

Stupor

114

Wince

wince\ˈwin(t)s\
: to have an expression on your face for a very short time which shows that you are embarrassed or in pain
Full Definition
intransitive verb
: to shrink back involuntarily (as from pain) : flinch
synonyms see recoil
Other forms: winced; winc·ing
wince noun
Examples
She winced (in pain) when she hit her elbow.
I wince with embarrassment whenever I think of that day.
Origin: Middle English wynsen to kick out, start, from Anglo-French *wincer, *guincer to shift direction, dodge, by-form of guenchir, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wenken, wankōn to totter — more at wench.
First use: circa 1748
Synonyms: blench, cringe, quail, recoil, shrink, squinch, flinch

115

Pensive

pen·sive\ˈpen(t)-siv\
adjective
: quietly sad or thoughtful
Full Definition
1 : musingly or dreamily thoughtful
2 : suggestive of sad thoughtfulness
pen·sive·ly adverb
pen·sive·ness noun
Examples
rainy days often put her in a pensive mood
Origin: Middle English pensif, from Anglo-French, from penser to think, from Latin pensare to ponder, frequentative of pendere to weigh — more at pendant.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: broody, cogitative, meditative, melancholy, musing, contemplative, reflective, ruminant, ruminative, thoughtful
Antonyms: unreflective

116

Cliche

cli·ché
noun
1 : a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it
2 : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation
3 : something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace
cliché adjective
Variants: also cli·che \klē-ˈshā, ˈklē-ˌ, kli-ˈ\
Origin: French, literally, printer's stereotype, from past participle of clicher to stereotype, of imitative origin.
First use: 1882
Synonyms: banality, bromide, chestnut, commonplace (also cliche), groaner, homily, platitude, shibboleth, trope, truism

117

Whet

whet\ˈhwet, ˈwet\
: to make (something, such as a person's appetite or curiosity) sharper or stronger
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to sharpen by rubbing on or with something (as a stone)
2 : to make keen or more acute : excite, stimulate
Other forms: whet·ted; whet·ting
whet·ter noun
Origin: Middle English whetten, from Old English hwettan; akin to Old High German wezzen to whet, waz sharp.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: edge, grind, hone, stone, strop, sharpen
Antonyms: blunt, dull

118

Genre

genre\ˈzhän-rə, ˈzhäⁿ-; ˈzhäⁿr; ˈjän-rə\
noun
: a particular type or category of literature or art
Full Definition
1 : a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content
2 : kind, sort
3 : painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usually realistically
Examples
a literary/film/musical genre
This book is a classic of the mystery genre.
Origin: French, from Middle French, kind, gender — more at gender.
First use: 1770
Synonyms: breed, class, description, feather, sort, ilk, kidney, kind, like, manner, nature, order, species, strain, stripe, type, variety

119

Venial

ve·nial\ˈvē-nē-əl, -nyəl\
adjective
: not serious
Full Definition
: of a kind that can be remitted : forgivable, pardonable; also : meriting no particular censure or notice : excusable
ve·nial·ly adverb
ve·nial·ness noun
Examples
taking the restaurant's menu as a souvenir seems like a venial offense
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French veniel, from Late Latin venialis, from Latin venia favor, indulgence, pardon; akin to Latin venus love, charm — more at win.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: condonable, excusable, forgivable, pardonable, remissible, remittable
Antonyms: indefensible, inexcusable, mortal, unforgivable, unjustifiable, unpardonable

120

Prudent

: having or showing careful good judgment
Full Definition
: characterized by, arising from, or showing prudence: as
a : marked by wisdom or judiciousness
b : shrewd in the management of practical affairs
c : marked by circumspection : discreet
d : provident, frugal
synonyms see wise
pru·dent·ly adverb
Examples
her calm response was very prudent under the circumstances
it wouldn't be prudent to ask for a raise while the company is having financial troubles
her many years of experience as a social worker have made her a prudent judge of character
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin prudent-, prudens, contraction of provident-, providens — more at provident.
First use: 14th century

121

Ostensible

: seeming or said to be true or real but very possibly not true or real
Full Definition
1 : intended for display : open to view
2 : being such in appearance : plausible rather than demonstrably true or real
synonyms see apparent
Examples
the ostensible reason for the meeting turned out to be a trick to get him to the surprise party
Origin: French, from Latin ostensus, past participle of ostendere to show, from obs-, ob- in the way + tendere to stretch — more at ob-, thin.
First use: circa 1771

122

Heresy

: a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion
Full Definition
1 a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma
b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church
c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2 a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice
b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards
Other forms: plural her·e·sies
Examples
the heresy of asserting that Shakespeare was not a great writer
Origin: Middle English heresie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, action of taking, choice, sect, from hairein to take.
First use: 13th century

123

Fervid

124

Propagate


: to make (something, such as an idea or belief) known to many people
: to produce (a new plant)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to cause to continue or increase by sexual or asexual reproduction
2 : to pass along to offspring
3 a : to cause to spread out and affect a greater number or greater area : extend
b : to foster growing knowledge of, familiarity with, or acceptance of (as an idea or belief) : publicize
c : to transmit (as sound or light) through a mediumintransitive verb
1 : to multiply sexually or asexually
2 : increase, extend
3 : to travel through space or a material — used of wave energy (as light, sound, or radio waves)
Other forms: prop·a·gat·ed; prop·a·gat·ing
prop·a·ga·tive \-ˌgā-tiv\ adjective
prop·a·ga·tor \-ˌgā-tər\ noun
Examples
the dams along the river are interfering with the salmon's ability to propagate
the various ways in which churches can propagate the faith
Origin: Latin propagatus, past participle of propagare to set slips, propagate, from propages slip, offspring, from pro- before + pangere to fasten — more at pro-, pact.
First use: circa 1570
Synonyms: breed, multiply, procreate, reproduce

125

Anomaly

noun
: something that is unusual or unexpected : something anomalous
Full Definition
1 : the angular distance of a planet from its perihelion as seen from the sun
2 : deviation from the common rule : irregularity
3 : something anomalous : something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified
Other forms: plural anom·a·lies
Examples
her C grade is an anomaly, as she's never made anything except A's and B's before
snow in July is an anomaly in most of the northern hemisphere
Origin: (see anomalous ).
First use: 1603

126

Milieu

: the physical or social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops
Full Definition
: the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops : environment
synonyms see background
Other forms: plural mi·lieus or mi·lieux \-ˈyə(r)(z), -ˈyüz, -ˈyœ(z); -ˌyü(z)\
Examples
young, innovative artists thrive in the freewheeling milieu that a big city offers
Origin: French, from Old French, midst, from mi middle (from Latin medius) + lieu place, from Latin locus — more at mid, stall.
First use: 1854

127

Strident

128

Deleterious

: damaging or harmful
Full Definition
: harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way
synonyms see pernicious
del·e·te·ri·ous·ly adverb
del·e·te·ri·ous·ness noun
Examples
nicotine has long been recognized as a deleterious substance
Origin: Greek dēlētērios, from dēleisthai to hurt.
First use: 1643

129

Concomitant


adjective
: happening at the same time as something else
Full Definition
: accompanying especially in a subordinate or incidental way
con·com·i·tant·ly adverb
Origin: Latin concomitant-, concomitans, present participle of concomitari to accompany, from com- + comitari to accompany, from comit-, comes companion — more at count.
First use: 1607

noun
: something that happens at the same time as something else : a condition that is associated with some other condition
Full Definition
: something that accompanies or is collaterally connected with something else : accompaniment
Examples
hunger, a lack of education, and other concomitants of poverty
disease is all too often one of the concomitants of poverty
Origin: (see 1concomitant ).
First use: 1621

130

Lassitude


noun
formal + medical : the condition of being tired : lack of physical or mental energy
Full Definition
1 : a condition of weariness or debility : fatigue
2 : a condition of listlessness : languor
synonyms see lethargy
Examples
our lassitude was such that we couldn't even be bothered to get more soda from the fridge
as his cancer progresses, his days are increasingly marked by lassitude and isolation from the outside world
Origin: Middle English, from Latin lassitudo, from lassus weary; probably akin to Old English læt late — more at late.
First use: 15th century

131

Efficacy

: the power to produce a desired result or effect
Full Definition
: the power to produce an effect
Other forms: plural ef·fi·ca·cies
Examples
questioned the efficacy of the alarms in actually preventing auto theft
Origin: (see efficacious ).
First use: 13th century

132

Dissent


: to publicly disagree with an official opinion, decision, or set of beliefs
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to withhold assent
2 : to differ in opinion
Origin: Middle English, from Latin dissentire, from dis- + sentire to feel — more at sense.
First use: 15th century

noun
: public disagreement with an official opinion, decision, or set of beliefs
law : a statement by a judge giving reasons why the judge does not agree with the decision made by the other judges in a court case
Full Definition
: difference of opinion : as
a : religious nonconformity
b : a justice's nonconcurrence with a decision of the majority —called also dissenting opinion
c : political opposition to a government or its policies
Examples
Church leaders permitted no dissent from church teachings.
He did everything in his power to suppress political dissent.
These dissents come from prominent scientists and should not be ignored.
First use: 1585

133

Arbiter


noun
: a person who is considered to be an authority on what is right, good, or proper
: a person who has the power to settle an argument between people
Full Definition
1 : a person with power to decide a dispute : judge
2 : a person or agency whose judgment or opinion is considered authoritative
Examples
the dean of student affairs is the proper arbiter when a student disputes a grade
Origin: Middle English arbitre, from Anglo-French, from Latin arbitr-, arbiter.
First use: 14th century

134

Ferment


: to go through a chemical change that results in the production of alcohol
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to undergo fermentation
2 : to be in a state of agitation or intense activitytransitive verb
1 : to cause to undergo fermentation
2 : to work up (as into a state of agitation) : foment
fer·ment·able \-ˈmen-tə-bəl\ adjective
First use: 14th century

noun
: a situation in which there is much excitement and confusion caused by change
Full Definition
1 a : a living organism (as a yeast) that causes fermentation by virtue of its enzymes
b : enzyme
2 a : a state of unrest : agitation
b : a process of active often disorderly development
Origin: Middle English, from Latin fermentum yeast — more at barm.
First use: 15th century

135

Attenuate

1 : reduced especially in thickness, density, or force
2 : tapering gradually usually to a long slender point
Origin: Middle English attenuat, from Latin attenuatus, past participle of attenuare to make thin, from ad- + tenuis thin — more at thin.
First use: 15th century

: to make (something) weaker or less in amount, effect, or force
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make thin or slender
2 : to make thin in consistency : rarefy
3 : to lessen the amount, force, magnitude, or value of : weaken
4 : to reduce the severity, virulence, or vitality of
intransitive verb
: to become thin, fine, or less
Other forms: at·ten·u·at·ed; at·ten·u·at·ing
at·ten·u·a·tion \-ˌten-yə-ˈwā-shən, -yü-ˈā-\ noun
First use: 1530

136

Incumbent


noun
: a person who holds a particular office or position
Full Definition
1 : the holder of an office or ecclesiastical benefice
2 : one that occupies a particular position or place
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin incumbent-, incumbens, present participle of incumbere to lie down on, from in- + -cumbere to lie down; akin to cubare to lie.
First use: 15th century

adjective
: holding an office or position
Full Definition
1 : imposed as a duty : obligatory
2 : having the status of an incumbent (see 1incumbent ) ; especially : occupying a specified office
3 : lying or resting on something else
4 : bent over so as to rest on or touch an underlying surface
Examples
the incumbent president/mayor/senator
incumbent members of Congress

137

Celerity


noun
: rapidity of motion or action
Examples
a journalist who writes his well-crafted stories with remarkable celerity
Origin: Middle English celerite, from Anglo-French, from Latin celeritat-, celeritas, from celer swift — more at hold.
First use: 15th century

138

Expedite


: to cause (something) to happen faster
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to execute promptly
2 : to accelerate the process or progress of : speed up
3 : issue, dispatch
Other forms: ex·pe·dit·ed; ex·pe·dit·ing
Origin: Latin expeditus, past participle of expedire (see 1expedient ).
First use: 15th century

139

Prodigious

: amazing or wonderful : very impressive
: very big
Full Definition
1 a obsolete : being an omen : portentous
b : resembling or befitting a prodigy : strange, unusual (see prodigy )
2 : exciting amazement or wonder
3 : extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree : enormous
synonyms see monstrous
pro·di·gious·ly adverb
pro·di·gious·ness noun
Examples
stage magicians performing prodigious feats for rapt audiences
a prodigious supply of canned food kept in the basement for emergencies
Origin: (see prodigy ).
First use: 15th century

140

Alleviate


: to reduce the pain or trouble of (something) : to make (something) less painful, difficult, or severe
Full Definition
transitive verb
: relieve, lessen: as
a : to make (as suffering) more bearable
b : to partially remove or correct
synonyms see relieve
Other forms: al·le·vi·at·ed; al·le·vi·at·ing
al·le·vi·a·tion \-ˌlē-vē-ˈā-shən\ noun
al·le·vi·a·tor \-ˈlē-vē-ˌā-tər\ noun
Examples
a car pool alleviates some of the stress of driving the kids to and from school every day
Origin: Late Latin alleviatus, past participle of alleviare, from Latin ad- + levis light — more at light.

141

Profound

142

Usurp

: to take and keep (something, such as power) in a forceful or violent way and especially without the right to do so
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to seize and hold (as office, place, or powers) in possession by force or without right
b : to take or make use of without right
2 : to take the place of by or as if by force : supplant
intransitive verb
: to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully
usur·pa·tion \ˌyü-sər-ˈpā-shən also ˌyü-zər-\ noun
usurp·er \yu̇-ˈsər-pər also -ˈzər-\ noun
Examples
Some people have accused city council members of trying to usurp the mayor's power.
attempting to usurp the throne
Have we allowed their lies to usurp the truth?
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French usorper, from Latin usurpare to take possession of without legal claim, from usu (abl. of usus use) + rapere to seize — more at rapid.
First use: 14th century

143

Paltry

144

Trivial

145

Condone

146

Bizarre


adjective
: 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

Noun
: a flower with atypical striped marking
First use: circa 1753

147

Succinct

148

Menial

149

Venerable

150

Extraneous


adjective
: not forming a necessary part of something : not important
Full Definition
1 : existing on or coming from the outside
2 a : not forming an essential or vital part
b : having no relevance
3 : being a number obtained in solving an equation that is not a solution of the equation
synonyms see extrinsic
ex·tra·ne·ous·ly adverb
ex·tra·ne·ous·ness noun
Examples
the architect's streamlined modern style shuns any sort of extraneous ornamentation
the professor would have covered all of the course material if she had refrained from her extraneous remarks on just about everything
Origin: Latin extraneus — more at strange.
First use: 1638

151

Ambiguous

152

Salubrious


adjective
: making good health possible or likely
Full Definition
: favorable to or promoting health or well-being
synonyms see healthful
sa·lu·bri·ous·ly adverb
sa·lu·bri·ous·ness noun
sa·lu·bri·ty \-brə-tē\ noun
Examples
fresh air and exercise are always salubrious
Origin: Latin salubris; akin to salvus safe, healthy — more at safe.
First use: 1547

153

Archaic


adjective
: old and no longer used
: old and no longer useful
: of or relating to ancient times
Full Definition
1 : having the characteristics of the language of the past and surviving chiefly in specialized uses
2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of an earlier or more primitive time : antiquated
3 capitalized : of or belonging to the early or formative phases of a culture or a period of artistic development; especially : of or belonging to the period leading up to the classical period of Greek culture
4 : surviving from an earlier period; specifically : typical of a previously dominant evolutionary stage
5 capitalized : of or relating to the period from about 8000 b.c. to 1000 b.c. and the North American cultures of that time
synonyms see old
ar·cha·i·cal·ly \-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples
a man with some archaic notions about the proper sphere for women
Origin: French or Greek; French archaïque, from Greek archaïkos, from archaios.

154

Emulate


: to try to be like (someone or something you admire)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to strive to equal or excel
b : imitate; especially : to imitate by means of an emulator
2 : to equal or approach equality with
Other forms: em·u·lat·ed; em·u·lat·ing
Origin: Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari, from aemulus rivaling.
First use: 1582

adjective
obsolete
: emulous 1b
Origin: (see 1emulate ).
First use: 1602

155

Rabid

156

Unsavory

un·sa·vory\-ˈsā-və-rē, -ˈsāv-rē\
adjective
: unpleasant or offensive
Full Definition
1 : insipid, tasteless
2 a : unpleasant to taste or smell
b : disagreeable, distasteful ; especially : morally offensive
Examples
an unsavory blend of spices that simply overwhelmed the fish's delicate flavor
unsavory doings that ruined the couple's good name in the community
hated the whole unsavory business of firing people
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: brackish, unappetizing, unpalatable, distasteful, yucky (also yukky)
Antonyms: appetizing, delectable, delicious, delish, palatable, savory (also savoury), tasty, toothsome, yummy

157

Degrade

de·grade\di-ˈgrād, dē-\
: to treat (someone or something) poorly and without respect
: to make the quality of (something) worse
: to cause (something complex) to break down into simple substances or parts
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to lower in grade, rank, or status : demote
b : to strip of rank or honors
c : to lower to an inferior or less effective level
d : to scale down in desirability or salability
2 a : to bring to low esteem or into disrepute
b : to drag down in moral or intellectual character : corrupt
3 : to impair in respect to some physical property
4 : to wear down by erosion
5 : to reduce the complexity of (a chemical compound) : decompose
intransitive verb
1 : to pass from a higher grade or class to a lower
2 of a chemical compound : to become reduced in complexity
de·grad·er noun
de·grad·ing·ly \-ˈgrā-diŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples
the view that such a system degrades doctors to the status of medical employees who ultimately are not in charge of their patients' health care
degrading the school's animal mascot with a silly costume
the players degraded themselves with their crude antics off the field
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French degrader, from Late Latin degradare, from Latin de- + gradus step, grade — more at grade.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: break, bust, demote, disrate, downgrade, reduce
Antonyms: advance, elevate, promote, raise

158

Candid

159

Grotesque

gro·tesque\grō-ˈtesk\
noun
1 a : a style of decorative art characterized by fanciful or fantastic human and animal forms often interwoven with foliage or similar figures that may distort the natural into absurdity, ugliness, or caricature
b : a piece of work in this style
2 : one that is grotesque
3 : sans serif
Origin: Middle French & Old Italian; Middle French, from Old Italian (pittura) grottesca, literally, cave painting, feminine of grottesco of a cave, from grotta.
First use: 1561
Synonyms: grating, harsh, jarring, unaesthetic
Antonyms: aesthetic (also esthetic or aesthetical or esthetical)
Synonyms: monster, grotesquerie (also grotesquery), monstrosity, ogre

2grotesque
adjective
: very strange or ugly in a way that is not normal or natural
: extremely different from what is expected or usual
Full Definition
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of the grotesque: as
a : fanciful, bizarre
b : absurdly incongruous
c : departing markedly from the natural, the expected, or the typical
synonyms see fantastic
gro·tesque·ly adverb
gro·tesque·ness noun
First use: 1603
Synonyms: grating, harsh, jarring, unaesthetic
Antonyms: aesthetic (also esthetic or aesthetical or esthetical)
Synonyms: monster, grotesquerie (also grotesquery), monstrosity, ogre

160

Epitome

epit·o·me\i-ˈpi-tə-mē\
noun
: a perfect example : an example that represents or expresses something very well
Full Definition
1 a : a summary of a written work
b : a brief presentation or statement of something
2 : a typical or ideal example : embodiment
3 : brief or miniature form — usually used with in
ep·i·tom·ic \ˌe-pə-ˈtä-mik\ or ep·i·tom·i·cal \-mi-kəl\ adjective
Examples
the golden rule is often cited as the epitome of moral conduct: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”
the prestigious prep school prides itself on being widely regarded as the epitome of tradition and old-fashioned values
Mahatma Gandhi is often cited as the epitome of resolute reformer who uses nonviolence to bring about social and political change
Origin: Latin, from Greek epitomē, from epitemnein to cut short, from epi- + temnein to cut — more at tome.
First use: 1520
Synonyms: abstract, breviary, brief, capsule, conspectus, digest, encapsulation, summary, inventory, outline, précis, recap, recapitulation, résumé (or resume also resumé), roundup, rundown, run-through, sum, summa, summarization, summing-up, sum-up, synopsis, wrap-up

161

Dexterity

dex·ter·i·ty\dek-ˈster-ə-tē, -ˈste-rə-\
noun
: the ability to use your hands skillfully
: the ability to easily move in a way that is graceful
: clever skill : the ability to think and act quickly and cleverly
Full Definition
1 : mental skill or quickness : adroitness
2 : readiness and grace in physical activity; especially : skill and ease in using the hands
Other forms: plural dex·ter·i·ties
Examples
the ambassador showed great dexterity in his handling of the touchy situation
the juggler needed lots of dexterity in order to keep all five balls in the air at the same time
Origin: Middle French or Latin; Middle French dexterité, from Latin dexteritat-, dexteritas, from dexter (see dexterous ).
First use: 1518
Synonyms: adroitness, cleverness, finesse, sleight
Antonyms: awkwardness, clumsiness, gaucheness, gawkiness, gawkishness, gracelessness, ham-handedness, heavy-handedness, klutziness, ungainliness

162

Repugnant

163

Compassion

com·pas·sion\kəm-ˈpa-shən\
noun
: a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.
Full Definition
: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
synonyms see pity
com·pas·sion·less \-ləs\ adjective
Examples
treats the homeless with great compassion
has no compassion for people who squander their money
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Late Latin; Anglo-French, from Late Latin compassion-, compassio, from compati to sympathize, from Latin com- + pati to bear, suffer — more at patient.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: commiseration, sympathy, feeling
Antonyms: callousness, coldheartedness, hard-heartedness, heartlessness

164

Acme

ac·me\ˈak-mē\
noun
: the highest point of something
Full Definition
: the highest point or stage; also : one that represents perfection of the thing expressed
synonyms see summit
Examples
the acme of their basketball season was their hard-won victory over last year's state champs
a movie that has come to be regarded as the acme of the Hollywood musical
Origin: Greek akmē point, highest point — more at edge.
First use: 1620
Synonyms: height, apex, apogee, capstone, climax, crescendo, crest, crown, culmination, head, high noon, high tide, high-water mark, meridian, ne plus ultra, noon, noontime, peak, pinnacle, sum, summit, tip-top, top, zenith
Antonyms: bottom, nadir, rock bottom

165

Copious

166

Vehement

167

Depict

168

Naive

na·ive
adjective
: having or showing a lack of experience or knowledge : innocent or simple
Full Definition
1 : marked by unaffected simplicity : artless, ingenuous
2 a : deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment; especially : credulous
b : not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation ; also : not having previously used a particular drug (as marijuana)
c : not having been exposed previously to an antigen
3 a : self-taught, primitive
b : produced by or as if by a self-taught artist
synonyms see natural
Other forms: na·iv·er; na·iv·est
na·ive·ly or na·ïve·ly adverb
na·ive·ness noun
Examples
a first-time buyer who was so naive that he believed the salesman's spiel and paid good money for the rusty and broken-down car
the young girl gave honest and naive answers to the social worker's probing questions
we get piles of junk mail because you are naive enough to keep entering these dumb contests
Variants: or na·ïve \nä-ˈēv, nī-\
Origin: French naïve, feminine of naïf, from Old French, inborn, natural, from Latin nativus native.
First use: 1654
Synonyms: aw-shucks, dewy, dewy-eyed, green, ingenuous, innocent, naïf (or naif), primitive, simple, simpleminded, uncritical, unknowing, unsophisticated, unsuspecting, unsuspicious, unwary, unworldly, wide-eyed
Antonyms: cosmopolitan, experienced, knowing, sophisticated, worldly, worldly-wise

169

Penury

pen·u·ry\ˈpen-yə-rē\
noun
: the state of being very poor : extreme poverty
Full Definition
1 : a cramping and oppressive lack of resources (as money); especially : severe poverty
2 : extreme and often niggardly frugality
synonyms see poverty
Examples
lived in a time when single women like herself faced a lifetime of genteel penury
Origin: Middle English, from Latin penuria, paenuria want; perhaps akin to Latin paene almost.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: beggary, destituteness, destitution, impecuniosity, impecuniousness, impoverishment, indigence, necessity, need, neediness, pauperism, penuriousness, poverty, poorness, want
Antonyms: affluence, opulence, richness, wealth, wealthiness

170

Ignominious

ig·no·min·i·ous\ˌig-nə-ˈmi-nē-əs\
adjective
: causing disgrace or shame
Full Definition
1 : marked with or characterized by disgrace or shame : dishonorable
2 : deserving of shame or infamy : despicable
3 : humiliating, degrading
ig·no·min·i·ous·ly adverb
ig·no·min·i·ous·ness noun
Examples
some of his friends considered the job of janitor to be an ignominious fate for the laid-off executive
the prison guards degraded themselves with their inhumane, ignominious treatment of the prisoners
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: discreditable, disgraceful, dishonorable, disreputable, infamous, louche, notorious, opprobrious, shady, shameful, shoddy, shy, unrespectable
Antonyms: honorable, reputable, respectable

171

Covet

cov·et\ˈkə-vət\
: to want (something that you do not have) very much
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to wish for earnestly
2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably
intransitive verb
: to feel inordinate desire for what belongs to another
synonyms see desire
cov·et·able \-və-tə-bəl\ adjective
cov·et·er \-tər\ noun
cov·et·ing·ly \-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples
I've been coveting that sleek sports car in the showroom for some time now
Origin: Middle English coveiten, from Anglo-French coveiter, from Vulgar Latin *cupidietare, from Latin cupiditat-, cupiditas desire, from cupidus desirous, from cupere to desire.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: ache (for), desire, crave, desiderate, die (for), hanker (for or after), hunger (for), itch (for), jones (for) [slang], long (for), lust (for or after), pant (after), pine (for), repine (for), salivate (for), sigh (for), thirst (for), want, wish (for), yearn (for), yen (for)

172

Perfidious

per·fid·i·ous\(ˌ)pər-ˈfi-dē-əs\
adjective
: not able to be trusted : showing that someone cannot be trusted
Full Definition
: of, relating to, or characterized by perfidy
synonyms see faithless
per·fid·i·ous·ly adverb
per·fid·i·ous·ness noun
Examples
a perfidious campaign worker revealed the senator's strategy to his leading rival for the nomination
First use: 1572
Synonyms: disloyal, false, fickle, inconstant, faithless, recreant, traitorous, treacherous, unfaithful, untrue
Antonyms: constant, dedicated, devoted, devout, down-the-line, faithful, fast, loyal, staunch (also stanch), steadfast, steady, true

173

Ingratiate

in·gra·ti·ate\in-ˈgrā-shē-ˌāt\
: to gain favor or approval for (yourself) by doing or saying things that people like
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to gain favor or favorable acceptance for by deliberate effort — usually used with with
Other forms: in·gra·ti·at·ed; -at·ing
in·gra·ti·a·tion \-ˌgrā-shē-ˈā-shən\ noun
in·gra·tia·to·ry \-ˈgrā-sh(ē-)ə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
Origin: 2in- + Latin gratia grace.
First use: 1621

174

Confront

con·front\kən-ˈfrənt\
: to oppose or challenge (someone) especially in a direct and forceful way
: to directly question the action or authority of (someone)
: to deal with (something, such as a problem or danger) ; especially : to deal with (something) in an honest and direct way
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to face especially in challenge : oppose
2 a : to cause to meet : bring face-to-face
b : to meet face-to-face : encounter
con·front·al \-ˈfrən-təl\ noun
con·front·er noun
Examples
you must confront your fear in order to conquer it
Origin: Middle French confronter to border on, confront, from Medieval Latin confrontare to bound, from Latin com- + front-, frons forehead, front.
First use: circa 1568
Synonyms: beard, brave, brazen, breast, face, dare, defy, outbrave, outface
Antonyms: dodge, duck, funk, shirk, sidestep

175

Servile

ser·vile\ˈsər-vəl, -ˌvī(-ə)l\
adjective
: very obedient and trying too hard to please someone
Full Definition
1 : of or befitting a slave or a menial position
2 : meanly or cravenly submissive : abject
synonyms see subservient
ser·vile·ly \-və(l)-lē, -ˌvī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb
ser·vile·ness \-vəl-nəs, -ˌvī(-ə)l-\ noun
ser·vil·i·ty \(ˌ)sər-ˈvi-lə-tē\ noun
Examples
had always maintained a servile attitude around people with money
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French servil, from Latin servilis, from servus slave.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: base, humble, menial, abject, slavish

176

Antipathy

an·tip·a·thy\an-ˈti-pə-thē\
noun
: a strong feeling of dislike
Full Definition
1 obsolete : opposition in feeling
2 : settled aversion or dislike
3 : an object of aversion
synonyms see enmity
Other forms: plural an·tip·a·thies
Examples
I feel no antipathy towards any of my opponents in the tournament
cruelty to animals is one of my most deeply felt antipathies
Origin: Latin antipathia, from Greek antipatheia, from antipathēs of opposite feelings, from anti- + pathos experience — more at pathos.
First use: 1592
Synonyms: animosity, animus, antagonism, enmity, bad blood, bitterness, gall, grudge, hostility, jaundice, rancor
Antonyms: amity

177

Volition

vo·li·tion\vō-ˈli-shən, və-\
noun
: the power to make your own choices or decisions
Full Definition
1 : an act of making a choice or decision; also : a choice or decision made
2 : the power of choosing or determining : will
vo·li·tion·al \-ˈlish-nəl, -ˈli-shə-nəl\ adjective
Examples
Tourette's syndrome is a neurological disorder marked by recurrent tics and vocalizations that are beyond the sufferer's volition or control
left the church of her own volition, not because she was excommunicated
Origin: French, from Medieval Latin volition-, volitio, from Latin vol- (stem of velle to will, wish) + -ition-, -itio (as in Latin position-, positio position) — more at will.
First use: 1615
Synonyms: accord, autonomy, choice, self-determination, free will, will

178

Sojourn

179

Austere

aus·tere\ȯ-ˈstir also -ˈster\
adjective
: simple or plain : not fancy
of a person : having a serious and unfriendly quality
: having few pleasures : simple and harsh
Full Definition
1 a : stern and cold in appearance or manner
b : somber, grave
2 : morally strict : ascetic
3 : markedly simple or unadorned
4 : giving little or no scope for pleasure
5 of a wine : having the flavor of acid or tannin predominant over fruit flavors usually indicating a capacity for aging
synonyms see severe
aus·tere·ly adverb
aus·tere·ness noun
Examples
an austere conductor who is as tough on himself as he is on the orchestra
an austere fortress at the top of some formidable cliffs
for the private office of the CEO of the large corporation, the room is unexpectedly austere
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin austerus, from Greek austēros harsh, severe; akin to Greek hauos dry — more at sere.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: severe, authoritarian, flinty, hard, harsh, heavy-handed, ramrod, rigid, rigorous, stern, strict, tough
Antonyms: clement, forbearing, gentle, indulgent, lax, lenient, tolerant

180

Felicitous

181

Halcyon

hal·cy·on\ˈhal-sē-ən\
noun
1 : a bird identified with the kingfisher and held in ancient legend to nest at sea about the time of the winter solstice and to calm the waves during incubation
2 : kingfisher
Origin: Middle English alceon, from Latin halcyon, from Greek alkyōn, halkyōn.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: calm, hushed, lown [dialect], peaceful, placid, quiet, serene, still, stilly, tranquil, untroubled
Antonyms: agitated, angry, inclement, restless, rough, stormy, tempestuous, turbulent, unquiet, unsettled

2halcyon
adjective
: very happy and successful
Full Definition
1 : of or relating to the halcyon or its nesting period
2 a : calm, peaceful
b : happy, golden
c : prosperous, affluent
First use: 1601
Synonyms: calm, hushed, lown [dialect], peaceful, placid, quiet, serene, still, stilly, tranquil, untroubled
Antonyms: agitated, angry, inclement, restless, rough, stormy, tempestuous, turbulent, unquiet, unsettled

182

Tenable

ten·a·ble\ˈte-nə-bəl\
adjective
: capable of being defended against attack or criticism
Full Definition
: capable of being held, maintained, or defended : defensible, reasonable
ten·a·bil·i·ty \ˌte-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
ten·a·ble·ness noun
ten·a·bly \ˈte-nə-blē\ adverb
Examples
the soldiers' encampment on the open plain was not tenable, so they retreated to higher ground
the tenable theory that a giant meteor strike set off a chain of events resulting in the demise of the dinosaurs
Origin: Middle French, from Old French, from tenir to hold, from Latin tenēre — more at thin.
First use: 1579
Synonyms: defendable, defensible
Antonyms: indefensible, untenable

183

Superfluous

su·per·flu·ous\su̇-ˈpər-flü-əs\
adjective
: beyond what is needed : not necessary
Full Definition
1 a : exceeding what is sufficient or necessary : extra
b : not needed : unnecessary
2 obsolete : marked by wastefulness : extravagant
su·per·flu·ous·ly adverb
su·per·flu·ous·ness noun
Examples
cleared off all the superfluous stuff on his desk to make room for the new computer
Origin: Middle English, from Latin superfluus, literally, running over, from superfluere to overflow, from super- + fluere to flow — more at fluid.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: excess, extra, redundant, supererogatory, spare, supernumerary, surplus

184

Motivate

mo·ti·vate\ˈmō-tə-ˌvāt\
: to give (someone) a reason for doing something
: to be a reason for (something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to provide with a motive : impel
Other forms: mo·ti·vat·ed; mo·ti·vat·ing
mo·ti·va·tive \-ˌvā-tiv\ adjective
mo·ti·va·tor \-ˌvā-tər\ noun
First use: 1836

185

Nascent

186

Rationalize

ra·tio·nal·ize\ˈrash-nə-ˌlīz, ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlīz\
: to think about or describe something (such as bad behavior) in a way that explains it and makes it seem proper, more attractive, etc.
: to find ways to make (something, such as an industry, a company, etc.) waste less time, effort, and money
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable: as
a : to substitute a natural for a supernatural explanation of
b : to attribute (one's actions) to rational and creditable motives without analysis of true and especially unconscious motives ; broadly : to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for
2 : to free (a mathematical expression) from irrational parts
3 : to apply the principles of scientific management to (as an industry or its operations) for a desired result (as increased efficiency)
intransitive verb
: to provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct
Other forms: ra·tio·nal·ized; ra·tio·nal·iz·ing
ra·tio·nal·iz·able \ˌrash-nə-ˈlī-zə-bəl, ˌra-shə-nə-ˈlī-\ adjective
ra·tio·nal·i·za·tion \ˌrash-nə-lə-ˈzā-shən, ˌra-shə-nə-lə-\ noun
ra·tio·nal·iz·er \ˈrash-nə-ˌlī-zər, ˈra-shə-nə-ˌlī-\ noun
Examples
rationalized his decision to buy the new car by noting that it was more fuel efficient than his old vehicle
First use: 1803
Synonyms: account (for), attribute, explain away, explain

187

Therapy

ther·a·py\ˈther-ə-pē\
noun
: the treatment of physical or mental illnesses
Full Definition
: therapeutic treatment especially of bodily, mental, or behavioral disorder
Other forms: plural ther·a·pies
Examples
talking over my problem with you has been good therapy
Origin: New Latin therapia, from Greek therapeia, from therapeuein.
First use: circa 1846
Synonyms: antidote, corrective, curative, rectifier, remedy, therapeutic, cure

188

Iconoclast

icon·o·clast\-ˌklast\
noun
: a person who criticizes or opposes beliefs and practices that are widely accepted
Full Definition
1 : a person who destroys religious images or opposes their veneration
2 : a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions
icon·o·clas·tic \(ˌ)ī-ˌkä-nə-ˈklas-tik\ adjective
icon·o·clas·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples
notorious as an iconoclast, that music critic isn't afraid to go after sacred cows
Origin: Medieval Latin iconoclastes, from Middle Greek eikonoklastēs, literally, image destroyer, from Greek eikono- + klan to break — more at clast.
First use: 1641
Synonyms: bohemian, boho, counterculturist, deviant, enfant terrible, free spirit, heretic, nonconformist, individualist, loner, lone ranger, lone wolf, maverick, nonconformer
Antonyms: conformer, conformist

189

Erudite

er·u·dite\ˈer-ə-ˌdīt, ˈer-yə-\
adjective
: having or showing knowledge that is learned by studying
Full Definition
: having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying : possessing or displaying erudition
er·u·dite·ly adverb
Examples
the most erudite people in medical research attended the conference
an erudite lecture on the latest discoveries in astronomy
the erudite language of a textbook on philosophy
Origin: Middle English erudit, from Latin eruditus, from past participle of erudire to instruct, from e- + rudis rude, ignorant.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: educated, knowledgeable, learned, lettered, literate, scholarly, well-read
Antonyms: benighted, dark, ignorant, illiterate, uneducated, unlearned, unlettered, unscholarly

190

Phobia

pho·bia\ˈfō-bē-ə\
noun
: an extremely strong dislike or fear of someone or something
Full Definition
: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation
Origin: -phobia.
First use: 1786

191

Germane

ger·mane\(ˌ)jər-ˈmān\
adjective
: relating to a subject in an appropriate way
Full Definition
1 obsolete : closely akin
2 : being at once relevant and appropriate : fitting
synonyms see relevant
ger·mane·ly adverb
Examples
my personal opinion isn't germane to our discussion of the facts of the case
Origin: Middle English germain, literally, having the same parents, from Anglo-French.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: applicable, apposite, apropos, pertinent, material, pointed, relative, relevant
Antonyms: extraneous, immaterial, impertinent, inapplicable, inapposite, irrelative, irrelevant, pointless

192

Vertigo

ver·ti·go\ˈvər-ti-ˌgō\
noun
: a feeling of dizziness caused especially by being in a very high place
Full Definition
1 a : a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual's surroundings seem to whirl dizzily
b : a dizzy confused state of mind
2 : disordered vertiginous movement as a symptom of disease in lower animals; also : a disease (as gid) causing this
Other forms: plural ver·ti·goes or ver·ti·gos
Origin: Middle English, from Latin vertigin-, vertigo, from vertere to turn.
First use: 15th century

193

Conducive

con·du·cive\kən-ˈdü-siv, -ˈdyü-\
adjective
: making it easy, possible, or likely for something to happen or exist
Full Definition
: tending to promote or assist
con·du·cive·ness noun
Examples
the claim that the state's long-standing antitax attitude is conducive to entrepreneurship
the noisy environment of the dorms was not very conducive to studying
Origin: (see conduce ).
First use: 1646
Synonyms: facilitative
Antonyms: unhelpful, useless

194

Glib

195

Homogenous

196

Malleable

mal·lea·ble\ˈma-lē-ə-bəl, ˈmal-yə-bəl, ˈma-lə-bəl\
adjective
: capable of being stretched or bent into different shapes
: capable of being easily changed or influenced
Full Definition
1 : capable of being extended or shaped by beating with a hammer or by the pressure of rollers
2 a : capable of being altered or controlled by outside forces or influences
b : having a capacity for adaptive change
synonyms see plastic
mal·lea·bil·i·ty \ˌma-lē-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē, ˌmal-yə-, ˌma-lə-\ noun
Examples
malleable cookie dough
the cult leader took advantage of the malleable, compliant personalities of his followers
Origin: Middle English malliable, from Medieval Latin malleabilis, from malleare to hammer, from Latin malleus hammer — more at maul.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: plastic, moldable, shapable (or shapeable), waxy
Antonyms: established, fixed, immutable, inelastic, inflexible, invariable, nonmalleable, ramrod, set, unadaptable, unalterable, unbudgeable, unchangeable

197

Legerdemain

leg·er·de·main\ˌle-jər-də-ˈmān\
noun
: skill in using your hands to perform magic tricks
Full Definition
1 : sleight of hand
2 : a display of skill or adroitness
Examples
the illusionist's show is an entertaining blend of legerdemain and over-the-top showmanship
the reduction of the deficit is due in part to financial legerdemain that masks the true costs of running the government
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French leger de main light of hand.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: conjuring, hocus-pocus, magic, prestidigitation

198

Trend

199

Procrastinate

pro·cras·ti·nate\prə-ˈkras-tə-ˌnāt, prō-\
: to be slow or late about doing something that should be done : to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc.
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to put off intentionally and habituallyintransitive verb
: to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done
synonyms see delay
Other forms: pro·cras·ti·nat·ed; pro·cras·ti·nat·ing
pro·cras·ti·na·tion \-ˌkras-tə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
pro·cras·ti·na·tor \-ˈkras-tə-ˌnā-tər\ noun
Origin: Latin procrastinatus, past participle of procrastinare, from pro- forward + crastinus of tomorrow, from cras tomorrow.
First use: 1588

200

Stagnant

201

Fatal

202

Passé

pas·sé\pa-ˈsā\
adjective
1 : past one's prime
2 a : outmoded
b : behind the times
Origin: French, from past participle of passer.
First use: 1775
Synonyms: antiquated, archaic, dated, démodé, demoded, fossilized, kaput (also kaputt), medieval (also mediaeval), moribund, mossy, moth-eaten, neolithic, Noachian, outdated, outmoded, out-of-date, outworn, obsolete, prehistoric (also prehistorical), rusty, Stone Age, superannuated

203

Facet

fac·et\ˈfa-sət\
noun
: a part or element ofsomething
: a small, flat surface on a jewel
Full Definition
1 : a small plane surface (as on a cut gem) — see brilliant illustration
2 : any of the definable aspects that make up a subject (as of contemplation) or an object (as of consideration)
3 : the external corneal surface of an ommatidium
4 : a smooth flat circumscribed anatomical surface (as of a bone)
fac·et·ed or fac·et·ted \ˈfa-sə-təd\ adjective
Examples
there are so many facets to Benjamin Franklin: statesman, scientist, inventor, American original
Origin: French facette, diminutive of face.
First use: 1625
Synonyms: angle, aspect, hand, phase, side

204

Foist

foist\ˈfȯist\
: to force someone to accept (something that is not good or not wanted)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to introduce or insert surreptitiously or without warrant
b : to force another to accept especially by stealth or deceit
2 : to pass off as genuine or worthy
Examples
scams that foist high funeral expenses on grieving customers
He foisted his prejudices upon his young students.
phony paintings foisted (off) on naïve buyers
Origin: probably from obsolete Dutch vuisten to take into one's hand, from Middle Dutch vuysten, from vuyst fist; akin to Old English fȳst fist.
First use: circa 1587
Synonyms: fob off, palm, palm off, pass off, wish

205

Capitulate

ca·pit·u·late\kə-ˈpi-chə-ˌlāt\
: to stop fighting an enemy or opponent : to admit that an enemy or opponent has won
: to stop trying to fight or resist something : to agree to do or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 archaic : parley, negotiate
2 a : to surrender often after negotiation of terms
b : to cease resisting : acquiesce
synonyms see yield
Other forms: ca·pit·u·lat·ed; ca·pit·u·lat·ing
Examples
one side finally capitulated when it became clear that they couldn't win the argument
the city reluctantly capitulated to the invaders after a three-day siege
Origin: Medieval Latin capitulatus, past participle of capitulare to distinguish by heads or chapters, from Late Latin capitulum.
First use: 1596
Synonyms: blink, bow, budge, yield, concede, give in, knuckle under, quit, relent, submit, succumb, surrender
Antonyms: resist

206

Audacity

au·dac·i·ty\ȯ-ˈda-sə-tē\
noun
: a confident and daring quality that is often seen as shocking or rude : an audacious quality
Full Definition
1 : the quality or state of being audacious: as
a : intrepid boldness
b : bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints
2 : an audacious act — usually used in plural
synonyms see temerity
Other forms: plural au·dac·i·ties
Examples
I can't believe she had the audacity to tell me to shut up!
Origin: Middle English audacite, from Latin audac-, audax.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: audaciousness, effrontery, brashness, brass, brassiness, brazenness, cheek, cheekiness, chutzpah (also chutzpa or hutzpah or hutzpa), crust, face, gall, nerve, nerviness, pertness, presumption, presumptuousness, sauce, sauciness, temerity

207

Stigmatize

stig·ma·tize\ˈstig-mə-ˌtīz\
transitive verb
: to describe or regard (something, such as a characteristic or group of people) in a way that shows strong disapproval
Full Definition
1 a archaic : brand
b : to describe or identify in opprobrious terms
2 : to mark with stigmata
Other forms: stig·ma·tized; stig·ma·tiz·ing
stig·ma·ti·za·tion \ˌstig-mə-tə-ˈzā-shən\ noun
First use: 1585

208

Tantalize

tan·ta·lize\ˈtan-tə-ˌlīz\
: to cause (someone) to feel interest or excitement about something that is very attractive, appealing, etc.
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to tease or torment by or as if by presenting something desirable to the view but continually keeping it out of reachintransitive verb
: to cause one to be tantalized
Other forms: tan·ta·lized; tan·ta·liz·ing
tan·ta·liz·er noun
Origin: Tantalus.
First use: 1597

209

Docile

210

Chicanery

chi·ca·nery\-ˈkān-rē, -ˈkā-nə-\
noun
: actions or statements that trick people into believing something that is not true : deception or trickery
Full Definition
1 : deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry : trickery
2 : a piece of sharp practice (as at law) : trick
Other forms: plural chi·ca·ner·ies
Examples
that candidate only won the election through chicanery
First use: 1609
Synonyms: artifice, chicane, trickery, gamesmanship, hanky-panky, jiggery-pokery, jugglery, legerdemain, skulduggery (or skullduggery), subterfuge, wile

211

Retort

re·tort\ri-ˈtȯrt\
transitive verb
1 : to pay or hurl back : return
2 a : to make a reply to
b : to say in reply
3 : to answer (as an argument) by a counter argumentintransitive verb
1 : to answer back usually sharply
2 : to return an argument or charge
3 : retaliate
Origin: Latin retortus, past participle of retorquēre, literally, to twist back, hurl back, from re- + torquēre to twist — more at torture.
First use: circa 1557
2retort
noun
: a quick, witty, or cutting reply; especially : one that turns back or counters the first speaker's words
synonyms see answer
First use: 1600
3re·tort\ri-ˈtȯrt, ˈrē-ˌ\
noun
: a vessel or chamber in which substances are distilled or decomposed by heat
Origin: Middle French retorte, from Medieval Latin retorta, from Latin, feminine of retortus; from its shape.
First use: 1605
4re·tort\ri-ˈtȯrt, ˈrē-ˌ\
transitive verb
: to treat (as oil shale) by heating in a retort
First use: 1850

212

Reticent

ret·i·cent\ˈre-tə-sənt\
adjective
: not willing to tell people about things
Full Definition
1 : inclined to be silent or uncommunicative in speech : reserved
2 : restrained in expression, presentation, or appearance
3 : reluctant
synonyms see silent
ret·i·cent·ly adverb
Examples
the panel decided to investigate the fraud charges against the company, which has always been reticent about its internal operations
her husband is by nature a reticent person, and she resigned herself to that fact long ago
understandably, she's reticent about becoming involved with another evangelical religious sect
Origin: Latin reticent-, reticens, present participle of reticēre to keep silent, from re- + tacēre to be silent — more at tacit.
First use: circa 1834
Synonyms: close, closemouthed, dark, secretive, tight-mouthed, uncommunicative
Antonyms: communicative, open

213

Tacit

tac·it\ˈta-sət\
adjective
: expressed or understood without being directly stated
Full Definition
1 : expressed or carried on without words or speech
2 : implied or indicated (as by an act or by silence) but not actually expressed
tac·it·ly adverb
tac·it·ness noun
Examples
we have a tacit agreement that if I wash the dishes, she dries them and puts them away
Origin: Middle French or Latin; Middle French tacite, from Latin tacitus silent, from past participle of tacēre to be silent; akin to Old High German dagēn to be silent.
First use: 1576
Synonyms: implied, implicit, unexpressed, unspoken, unvoiced, wordless
Antonyms: explicit, express, expressed, spoken, stated, voiced

214

Vacillate

vac·il·late\ˈva-sə-ˌlāt\
: to repeatedly change your opinions or desires
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 a : to sway through lack of equilibrium
b : fluctuate, oscillate
2 : to waver in mind, will, or feeling : hesitate in choice of opinions or courses
synonyms see hesitate
Other forms: vac·il·lat·ed; vac·il·lat·ing
vac·il·lat·ing·ly \-ˌlā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
vac·il·la·tor \-ˌlā-tər\ noun
Examples
vacillated for so long that someone else stepped in and made the decision
Origin: Latin vacillatus, past participle of vacillare to sway, waver — more at wink.
First use: 1597
Synonyms: balance, dither, falter, halt, hang back, scruple, shilly-shally, stagger, teeter, hesitate, waver, wobble (also wabble)
Antonyms: dive (in), plunge (in)

215

Belated

be·lat·ed\bi-ˈlā-təd, bē-\
adjective
: happening or coming very late or too late
Full Definition
1 : delayed beyond the usual time
2 : existing or appearing past the normal or proper time
be·lat·ed·ly adverb
be·lat·ed·ness noun
Examples
a belated birthday card
Origin: past participle of belate (to make late).
First use: 1670
Synonyms: behind, behindhand, late, delinquent, latish, overdue, tardy
Antonyms: early, inopportune, precocious, premature, unseasonable, untimely

216

Decrepit

de·crep·it\di-ˈkre-pət\
adjective
: old and in bad condition or poor health
Full Definition
1 : wasted and weakened by or as if by the infirmities of old age
2 a : impaired by use or wear : worn-out
b : fallen into ruin or disrepair
3 : dilapidated, run-down
synonyms see weak
de·crep·it·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Latin decrepitus.
First use: 15th century

217

Imperturbable

im·per·turb·able\ˌim-pər-ˈtər-bə-bəl\
adjective
: very calm : very hard to disturb or upset
Full Definition
: marked by extreme calm, impassivity, and steadiness : serene
synonyms see cool
im·per·turb·abil·i·ty \-ˌtər-bə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
im·per·turb·ably \-ˈtər-bə-blē\ adverb
Examples
the chef was absolutely imperturbable—even when the kitchen caught on fire
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin imperturbabilis, from Latin in- + perturbare to perturb.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: unflappable, nerveless, unshakable
Antonyms: perturbable, shakable (or shakeable)

218

Machiavellian

Ma·chi·a·vel·lian\ˌma-kē-ə-ˈve-lē-ən, -ˈvel-yən\
adjective
: using clever lies and tricks in order to get or achieve something : clever and dishonest
Full Definition
1 : of or relating to Machiavelli or Machiavellianism
2 : suggesting the principles of conduct laid down by Machiavelli; specifically : marked by cunning, duplicity, or bad faith
Machiavellian noun
Examples
yet another tale of a power-mad dictator with a Machiavellian plan to take over the world
Origin: Niccolo Machiavelli.
First use: 1572
Synonyms: cutthroat, immoral, unprincipled, unconscionable, unethical, unscrupulous
Antonyms: ethical, moral, principled, scrupulous

219

Staunch

220

Unconscionable

un·con·scio·na·ble\-ˈkän(t)-sh(ə-)nə-bəl\
adjective
: extremely bad, unfair, or wrong
: going far beyond what is usual or proper
Full Definition
1 : not guided or controlled by conscience : unscrupulous
2 a : excessive, unreasonable
b : shockingly unfair or unjust
un·con·scio·na·bil·i·ty \ˌən-ˌkän(t)-sh(ə-)nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
un·con·scio·na·ble·ness \ˌən-ˈkän(t)-sh(ə-)nə-bəl-nəs\ noun
un·con·scio·na·bly \-blē\ adverb
Examples
an unconscionable number of errors for an important government report
a politician with an unconscionable disregard for the truth
First use: 1565
Synonyms: baroque, devilish, exorbitant, extravagant, extreme, fancy, immoderate, inordinate, insane, intolerable, lavish, overdue, overextravagant, overmuch, overweening, plethoric, steep, stiff, towering, excessive, undue, unmerciful
Antonyms: middling, moderate, modest, reasonable, temperate

221

Pandemonium

Pan·de·mo·ni·um\ˌpan-də-ˈmō-nē-əm\
noun
1 : the capital of Hell in Milton's Paradise Lost
2 : the infernal regions : hell
3 not capitalized : a wild uproar : tumult
Origin: New Latin, from Greek pan- + daimōn evil spirit — more at demon.
First use: 1667

222

Opprobrium

op·pro·bri·um\-brē-əm\
noun
: very strong disapproval or criticism of a person or thing especially by a large number of people
Full Definition
1 : something that brings disgrace
2 a : public disgrace or ill fame that follows from conduct considered grossly wrong or vicious
b : contempt, reproach
Examples
saw no reason why “secretary” should suddenly become a term of opprobrium among the politically correct
the opprobrium that was long attached to the convicted embezzler's name
Origin: Latin, from opprobrare to reproach, from ob in the way of + probrum reproach; akin to Latin pro forward and to Latin ferre to carry, bring — more at ob-, for, bear.
First use: 1656
Synonyms: dishonor, disgrace, reflection, reproach, scandal
Antonyms: credit, honor

223

Flay

flay\ˈflā\
: to beat or whip (someone or something) in a very violent and severe way
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to strip off the skin or surface of : skin
2 : to criticize harshly : excoriate
3 : lash 1b
Examples
He was flayed by the media for his thoughtless comments.
her husband flayed her constantly for her incessant shopping
Origin: Middle English flen, from Old English flēan; akin to Old Norse flā to flay, Lithuanian plėšti to tear.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: baste, bawl out, berate, call down, castigate, chastise, chew out, dress down, scold, hammer, jaw, keelhaul, lambaste (or lambast), lecture, rag, rail (at or against), rant (at), rate, ream (out), rebuke, reprimand, reproach, score, tongue-lash, upbraid

224

Demeanor

de·mean·or\di-ˈmē-nər\
noun
: a person's appearance and behavior : the way someone seems to be to other people
Full Definition
: behavior toward others : outward manner
synonyms see bearing
Examples
the director of the opera company has a haughty demeanor that can be irritating
Origin: 1demean (see 1demean ).
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: actions, address, bearing, comportment, conduct, behavior, deportment, geste (also gest) [archaic]

225

Delineation

de·lin·ea·tion\-ˌli-nē-ˈā-shən\
noun
1 : the act of delineating
2 : something made by delineating
de·lin·ea·tive \-ˈli-nē-ˌā-tiv\ adjective
Examples
his simple but striking delineations of Dutch landscapes
a finely wrought delineation of a young woman's first experience with romantic love
First use: 1570
Synonyms: cartoon, drawing, sketch
de·lin·eate\di-ˈli-nē-ˌāt, dē-\
: to clearly show or describe (something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to indicate or represent by drawn or painted lines
b : to mark the outline of
2 : to describe, portray, or set forth with accuracy or in detail
Other forms: de·lin·eat·ed; de·lin·eat·ing
de·lin·ea·tor \-nē-ˌā-tər\ noun
Examples
the man's roly-poly shape was softly delineated by the glow of the fire
the story does a remarkable job of delineating the emotions that immigrants feel upon their arrival in a strange country
Origin: Latin delineatus, past participle of delineare, from de- + linea line.
First use: 1559
Synonyms: define, outline, silhouette, sketch, trace

226

Vindicate

vin·di·cate\ˈvin-də-ˌkāt\
: to show that (someone) should not be blamed for a crime, mistake, etc. : to show that (someone) is not guilty
: to show that (someone or something that has been criticized or doubted) is correct, true, or reasonable
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 obsolete : to set free : deliver
2 : avenge
3 a : to free from allegation or blame
b (1) : confirm, substantiate (2) : to provide justification or defense for : justify
c : to protect from attack or encroachment : defend
4 : to maintain a right to
synonyms see exculpate, maintain
Other forms: vin·di·cat·ed; vin·di·cat·ing
vin·di·ca·tor \-ˌkā-tər\ noun
Examples
vowed that the evidence would completely vindicate him
recent discoveries have generally vindicated the physicist's theories
Origin: Latin vindicatus, past participle of vindicare to lay claim to, avenge, from vindic-, vindex claimant, avenger.
First use: circa 1571
Synonyms: absolve, acquit, clear, exonerate, exculpate
Antonyms: criminate, incriminate

227

Heinous

hei·nous\ˈhā-nəs\
adjective
: very bad or evil : deserving of hate or contempt
Full Definition
: hatefully or shockingly evil : abominable
hei·nous·ly adverb
hei·nous·ness noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French hainus, heinous, from haine hate, from hair to hate, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German haz hate — more at hate.
First use: 14th century

228

Redress

re·dress\ri-ˈdres\
: to correct (something that is unfair or wrong)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a (1) : to set right : remedy (2) : to make up for : compensate
b : to remove the cause of (a grievance or complaint)
c : to exact reparation for : avenge
2 archaic
a : to requite (a person) for a wrong or loss
b : heal
synonyms see correct
re·dress·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French redresser to set upright, restore, redress, from re- + dresser to set straight — more at dress.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: damages, indemnification, indemnity, quittance, recompense, recoupment, compensation, remuneration, reparation, reprisal(s), requital, restitution, satisfaction
Synonyms: avenge, requite, retaliate, revenge, venge [archaic]

229

Infraction

in·frac·tion\in-ˈfrak-shən\
noun
: an act that breaks a rule or law
Full Definition
: the act of infringing : violation
in·fract \in-ˈfrakt\ transitive verb
Examples
speeding is only a minor infraction, but vehicular homicide is a serious felony
Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin infraction-, infractio, from Latin, subduing, from infringere to break — more at infringe.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: contravention, breach, infringement, transgression, trespass, violation
Antonyms: noninfringement, nonviolation, observance

230

Turpitude

tur·pi·tude\ˈtər-pə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\
noun
: a very evil quality or way of behaving
Full Definition
: inherent baseness : depravity ; also : a base act
Examples
pictorial advertisements for chic clothing and fragrances in which drug addiction and other forms of moral turpitude are depicted as alternative fashion statements
Origin: Middle French, from Latin turpitudo, from turpis vile, base.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: abjection, corruptness, debasement, debauchery, decadence, decadency, degeneracy, degenerateness, degeneration, degradation, demoralization, depravity, dissipatedness, dissipation, dissoluteness, libertinage, libertinism, perversion, pervertedness, rakishness, corruption

231

Vituperation

vi·tu·per·a·tion\(ˌ)vī-ˌtü-pə-ˈrā-shən, və-, -ˈtyü-\
noun
: harsh and angry criticism
Full Definition
1 : sustained and bitter railing and condemnation : vituperative utterance
2 : an act or instance of vituperating
synonyms see abuse
Examples
sick of the vituperation coming from ungrateful visitors, the put-upon webmaster took down the site's free webcam, which had afforded views of the town's picturesque harbor
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: billingsgate, fulmination, invective, obloquy, scurrility, vitriol, abuse

232

Callous

cal·lous\ˈka-ləs\
adjective
: not feeling or showing any concern about the problems or suffering of other people
Full Definition
1 a : being hardened and thickened
b : having calluses
2 a : feeling no emotion
b : feeling or showing no sympathy for others : hard-hearted

cal·lous·ly adverb
cal·lous·ness noun
Origin: Middle English, from Latin callosus, from callum, callus callous skin.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: affectless, hard, case-hardened, cold-blooded, compassionless, desensitized, hard-boiled, hard-hearted, heartless, indurate, inhuman, inhumane, insensate, insensitive, ironhearted, merciless, obdurate, pachydermatous, pitiless, remorseless, ruthless, slash-and-burn, soulless, stony (also stoney), stonyhearted, take-no-prisoners, thick-skinned, uncharitable, unfeeling, unmerciful, unsparing, unsympathetic
Antonyms: charitable, compassionate, humane, kindhearted, kindly, merciful, sensitive, softhearted, sympathetic, tender, tenderhearted, warm, warmhearted

2cal·lous\ˈka-ləs\
transitive verb
: to make callous (see 1callous )
Origin: (see 1callous ).
First use: 1834
Synonyms: affectless, hard, case-hardened, cold-blooded, compassionless, desensitized, hard-boiled, hard-hearted, heartless, indurate, inhuman, inhumane, insensate, insensitive, ironhearted, merciless, obdurate, pachydermatous, pitiless, remorseless, ruthless, slash-and-burn, soulless, stony (also stoney), stonyhearted, take-no-prisoners, thick-skinned, uncharitable, unfeeling, unmerciful, unsparing, unsympathetic
Antonyms: charitable, compassionate, humane, kindhearted, kindly, merciful, sensitive, softhearted, sympathetic, tender, tenderhearted, warm, warmhearted

233

Clique

clique\ˈklēk, ˈklik\
noun
: a small group of people who spend time together and who are not friendly to other people
Full Definition
: a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by common interests, views, or purposes
cliqu·ey \ˈklē-kē, ˈkli-\ adjective
cliqu·ish \ˈkli-kish\ adjective
cliqu·ish·ly adverb
cliqu·ish·ness noun
Examples
high school cliques
The students in the high school are very cliquish and unfriendly.
cliquish attitudes
Origin: French.
First use: 1711
Synonyms: body, bunch, circle, clan, gang, community, coterie, coven, crowd, fold, galère, klatch (also klatsch), lot, network, pack, ring, set

234

Rhetoric

rhet·o·ric\ˈre-tə-rik\
noun
: language that is intended to influence people and that may not be honest or reasonable
: the art or skill of speaking or writing formally and effectively especially as a way to persuade or influence people
Full Definition
1 : the art of speaking or writing effectively: as
a : the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times
b : the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion
2 a : skill in the effective use of speech
b : a type or mode of language or speech; also : insincere or grandiloquent language
3 : verbal communication : discourse
Examples
the mayor's promise to fight drugs was just rhetoric, since there was no money in the city budget for a drug program
great leaders have often been masters of rhetoric, which they have used for both good and ill
Origin: Middle English rethorik, from Anglo-French rethorique, from Latin rhetorica, from Greek rhētorikē, literally, art of oratory, from feminine of rhētorikos of an orator, from rhētōr orator, rhetorician, from eirein to say, speak — more at word.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: bombast, fustian, gas, grandiloquence, hot air, oratory, verbiage, wind
Antonyms: inarticulateness

235

Extol

ex·tol
: to praise (someone or something) highly
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to praise highly : glorify
Other forms: ex·tolled; ex·tol·ling
ex·tol·ler noun
ex·tol·ment \-ˈstōl-mənt\ noun
Examples
campaign literature extolling the candidate's military record
Variants: also ex·toll \ik-ˈstōl\
Origin: Middle English, from Latin extollere, from ex- + tollere to lift up — more at tolerate.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: bless, carol, celebrate, emblazon, exalt, praise (also extoll), glorify, hymn, laud, magnify, resound

236

Mentor

men·tor\ˈmen-ˌtȯr, -tər\
noun
: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person
Full Definition
1 capitalized : a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus
2 a : a trusted counselor or guide
b : tutor, coach
men·tor·ship \-ˌship\ noun
Origin: Latin, from Greek Mentōr.
First use: 1616
Synonyms: coach, counsel, lead, guide, pilot, shepherd, show, tutor

2mentor
: to teach or give advice or guidance to (someone, such as a less experienced person or a child) : to act as a mentor for (someone)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to serve as a mentor for : tutor
Examples
The young intern was mentored by the country's top heart surgeon.
Our program focuses on mentoring teenagers.
young boys in need of mentoring
First use: 1976
Synonyms: coach, counsel, lead, guide, pilot, shepherd, show, tutor

237

Facile

238

Vilify

vil·i·fy\ˈvi-lə-ˌfī\
: to say or write very harsh and critical things about (someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to lower in estimation or importance
2 : to utter slanderous and abusive statements against : defame
synonyms see malign
Other forms: vil·i·fied; vil·i·fy·ing
vil·i·fi·er \-ˌfī(-ə)r\ noun
Examples
claimed that she had been vilified by the press because of her conservative views
Origin: Middle English vilifien, from Late Latin vilificare, from Latin vilis cheap, vile.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: asperse, blacken, calumniate, defame, libel, malign, smear, traduce, slander

239

Elucidate

elu·ci·date\i-ˈlü-sə-ˌdāt\
: to make (something that is hard to understand) clear or easy to understand
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to make lucid especially by explanation or analysis
intransitive verb
: to give a clarifying explanation
synonyms see explain
Other forms: elu·ci·dat·ed; elu·ci·dat·ing
elu·ci·da·tion \-ˌlü-sə-ˈdā-shən\ noun
elu·ci·da·tive \-ˈlü-sə-ˌdā-tiv\ adjective
elu·ci·da·tor \-ˌdā-tər\ noun
Examples
colored charts that really help to elucidate the points made in the text
Origin: Late Latin elucidatus, past participle of elucidare, from Latin e- + lucidus lucid.
First use: circa 1568
Synonyms: clarify, clear (up), construe, demonstrate, demystify, explain, explicate, expound, get across, illuminate, illustrate, interpret, simplify, spell out, unriddle
Antonyms: obscure

240

Cant

cant\ˈkant\
adjective
dial English
: lively, lusty
Origin: Middle English, probably from Middle Low German *kant.
First use: 14th century

2cant
transitive verb
1 : to give a cant or oblique edge to : bevel
2 : to set at an angle : tilt
3 chiefly British : to throw with a lurchintransitive verb
1 : to pitch to one side : lean
2 : slope
Origin: 3cant.
First use: circa 1543

241

Umbrage

um·brage\ˈəm-brij\
noun
: a feeling of being offended by what someone has said or done
Full Definition
1 : shade, shadow
2 : shady branches : foliage
3 a : an indistinct indication : vague suggestion : hint
b : a reason for doubt : suspicion
4 : a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult
synonyms see offense
Examples
took umbrage at the slightest suggestion of disrespect
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin umbraticum, neuter of umbraticus of shade, from umbratus, past participle of umbrare to shade, from umbra shade, shadow; akin to Lithuanian unksmė shadow.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: dudgeon, huff, miff, offense (or offence), peeve, resentment, pique

242

Magnanimous

mag·nan·i·mous\mag-ˈna-nə-məs\
adjective
: having or showing a generous and kind nature
Full Definition
1 : showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit
2 : showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind
mag·nan·i·mous·ly adverb
mag·nan·i·mous·ness noun
Examples
a magnanimous donation to the town's animal shelter
Origin: Latin magnanimus, from magnus great + animus spirit — more at much, animate.
First use: 1567
Synonyms: big, chivalrous, elevated, gallant, great, greathearted, high, high-minded, lofty, lordly, noble, natural, sublime
Antonyms: base, debased, degenerate, degraded, ignoble, low

243

Vapid

244

Unwieldy

un·wieldy\-ˈwēl-dē\
adjective
: difficult to handle, control, or deal with because of being large, heavy, or complex
Full Definition
: not easily managed, handled, or used (as because of bulk, weight, complexity, or awkwardness) : cumbersome
un·wield·i·ly \-ˈwēl-də-lē\ adverb
un·wield·i·ness \-dē-nəs\ noun
Examples
an unwieldy machine that requires two people to operate it
First use: 1530
Synonyms: awkward, bunglesome, clumsy, clunky, cranky, cumbrous, ponderous, ungainly, unhandy, cumbersome
Antonyms: handy

245

Vitiate

246

Proximity

prox·im·i·ty\präk-ˈsi-mə-tē\
noun
: the state of being near
Full Definition
: the quality or state of being proximate : closeness
Examples
the proximity of the curtains to the fireplace was a cause of concern for the safety inspector
Origin: Middle French proximité, from Latin proximitat-, proximitas, from proximus.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: adjacency, closeness, contiguity, immediacy, nearness, propinquity, vicinity
Antonyms: distance, remoteness

247

Lassitude

las·si·tude\ˈla-sə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\
noun
formal + medical : the condition of being tired : lack of physical or mental energy
Full Definition
1 : a condition of weariness or debility : fatigue
2 : a condition of listlessness : languor
synonyms see lethargy
Examples
our lassitude was such that we couldn't even be bothered to get more soda from the fridge
as his cancer progresses, his days are increasingly marked by lassitude and isolation from the outside world
Origin: Middle English, from Latin lassitudo, from lassus weary; probably akin to Old English læt late — more at late.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: burnout, collapse, exhaustion, frazzle, fatigue, prostration, tiredness, weariness
Antonyms: refreshment, rejuvenation, rejuvenescence, revitalization

248

Fatuous

249

Contort

con·tort\kən-ˈtȯrt\
: to twist into an unusual appearance or shape
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to twist in a violent manner
intransitive verb
: to twist into or as if into a strained shape or expression
synonyms see deform
con·tor·tion \-ˈtȯr-shən\ noun
con·tor·tive \-ˈtȯr-tiv\ adjective
Examples
the acrobat is able to contort his body so that it almost looks like a pretzel
Origin: Middle English, from Latin contortus, past participle of contorquēre, from com- + torquēre to twist — more at torture.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: deform, distort, misshape, screw, squinch, torture, warp

250

Augment

aug·ment\ȯg-ˈment\
: to increase the size or amount of (something)
: to add something to (something) in order to improve or complete it
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make greater, more numerous, larger, or more intense
2 : to add an augment to (see 2augment )
3 : supplement
intransitive verb
: to become augmented
synonyms see increase
aug·ment·er or aug·men·tor \-ˈmen-tər\ noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French augmenter, from Late Latin augmentare, from Latin augmentum increase, from augēre to increase — more at eke.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: accelerate, add (to), aggrandize, amplify, increase, boost, build up, compound, enlarge, escalate, expand, extend, hype, multiply, pump up, raise, swell, stoke, supersize, up
Antonyms: abate, decrease, de-escalate, diminish, downsize, dwindle, lessen, lower, minify, reduce, subtract (from)

251

Repertoire

rep·er·toire\ˈre-pə(r)-ˌtwär\
noun
: all the plays, songs, dances, etc., that a performer or group of performers knows and can perform
: all the things that a person is able to do
Full Definition
1 a : a list or supply of dramas, operas, pieces, or parts that a company or person is prepared to perform
b : a supply of skills, devices, or expedients ; broadly : amount, supply
c : a list or supply of capabilities
2 a : the complete list or supply of dramas, operas, or musical works available for performance
b : the complete list or supply of skills, devices, or ingredients used in a particular field, occupation, or practice
Examples
the chef's repertoire of specialties seems to be limited, with several of the dishes appearing over and over again in slightly varied guises
Origin: French répertoire, from Late Latin repertorium (see repertory ).
First use: 1847
Synonyms: budget, force, fund, inventory, pool, supply, reservoir, stock

252

Imperceptible

im·per·cep·ti·ble\ˌim-pər-ˈsep-tə-bəl\
adjective
: impossible to see or notice
Full Definition
: not perceptible by a sense or by the mind : extremely slight, gradual, or subtle
im·per·cep·ti·bly \-ˈsep-tə-blē\ adverb
Examples
a slight difference in hue between the two glasses that's imperceptible unless they're placed side by side
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin imperceptibilis, from Latin in- + Late Latin perceptibilis perceptible.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: impalpable, inappreciable, indistinguishable, insensible
Antonyms: appreciable, discernible (also discernable), palpable, perceptible, ponderable, sensible

253

Saga

254

Replenish

re·plen·ish\ri-ˈple-nish\
: to fill or build up (something) again
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to fill with persons or animals : stock
b archaic : to supply fully : perfect
c : to fill with inspiration or power : nourish
2 a : to fill or build up again
b : to make good : replace
intransitive verb
: to become full : fill up again
re·plen·ish·able \-ni-shə-bəl\ adjective
re·plen·ish·er noun
re·plen·ish·ment \-nish-mənt\ noun
Origin: Middle English replenisshen, from Anglo-French repleniss-, stem of replenir to fill, from re- + plein full, from Latin plenus — more at full.
First use: 14th century

255

Quandary

quan·da·ry\ˈkwän-d(ə-)rē\
noun
: a situation in which you are confused about what to do
Full Definition
: a state of perplexity or doubt
Other forms: plural quan·da·ries
Examples
I'm in a quandary about whether I should try to repair my stereo or buy a new one, even though I don't have the money to do either
Origin: origin unknown.
First use: 1579
Synonyms: catch-22, double bind, dilemma

256

Blase

bla·sé\blä-ˈzā\
adjective
1 : apathetic to pleasure or excitement as a result of excessive indulgence or enjoyment : world-weary
2 : sophisticated, worldly-wise
3 : unconcerned
synonyms see sophisticated
Variants: also bla·se
Origin: French.
First use: 1819

257

Negligible

neg·li·gi·ble\ˈne-gli-jə-bəl\
adjective
: very small or unimportant
Full Definition
: so small or unimportant or of so little consequence as to warrant little or no attention : trifling: a negligible error.
neg·li·gi·bil·i·ty \ˌne-gli-jə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
neg·li·gi·bly \ˈne-gli-jə-blē\ adverb
Examples
the two cents in change was such a negligible sum that she left the store without bothering to take it
the results from that small study of coffee drinkers are negligible and can be ignored
there's a negligible chance I may make it to the picnic, but don't count on it
Origin: Latin neglegere, negligere.
First use: 1829
Synonyms: chicken, de minimis, footling, inconsequential, inconsiderable, insignificant, measly, Mickey Mouse, minute, niggling, no-account, nominal, paltry, peanut, petty, picayune, piddling, piddly, piffling, pimping, slight, trifling, trivial
Antonyms: big, consequential, considerable, important, material, significant

258

Expedient

ex·pe·di·ent\ik-ˈspē-dē-ənt\
adjective
: providing an easy and quick way to solve a problem or do something
Full Definition
1 : suitable for achieving a particular end in a given circumstance
2 : characterized by concern with what is opportune; especially : governed by self-interest
ex·pe·di·ent·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin expedient-, expendiens, present participle of expedire to extricate, prepare, be useful, from ex- + ped-, pes foot — more at foot.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: advisable, desirable, judicious, politic, prudent, tactical, wise
2ex·pe·di·ent\ik-ˈspē-dē-ənt\
noun
: an easy and quick way to solve a problem or do something : an expedient solution
Full Definition
: something done or used to achieve a particular end usually quickly or temporarily : an expedient action or solution
synonyms see resource
Examples
The government chose short-term/temporary expedients instead of a real economic policy.
We can solve this problem by the simple expedient of taking out another loan.
Origin: (see 1expedient ).
First use: 1630
Synonyms: advisable, desirable, judicious, politic, prudent, tactical, wise
Antonyms: impolitic, imprudent, inadvisable, inexpedient, injudicious, unwise
Synonyms: makeshift, stopgap

259

Callous

260

Diversity

261

Ennui

en·nui\ˌän-ˈwē\
noun
: a lack of spirit, enthusiasm, or interest
Full Definition
: a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction : boredom
Examples
the kind of ennui that comes from having too much time on one's hands and too little will to find something productive to do
Origin: French, from Old French enui annoyance, from enuier to vex, from Late Latin inodiare to make loathsome — more at annoy.
First use: 1732
Synonyms: blahs, doldrums, boredom, listlessness, restlessness, tedium, weariness

262

Artifice

ar·ti·fice\ˈär-tə-fəs\
noun
: dishonest or insincere behavior or speech that is meant to deceive someone
Full Definition
1 a : clever or artful skill : ingenuity
b : an ingenious device or expedient
2 a : an artful stratagem : trick
b : false or insincere behavior
synonyms see trick, art
Examples
used the artifice of saying his grandmother had died so that he could get the last seat on the plane
using their artifice, the Greeks crafted a hollow wooden horse to hide inside and thereby gained entry into the city of Troy
a painting that could only have been created with the artifice of a master
Origin: Middle French, from Latin artificium, from artific-, artifex artificer, from Latin art-, ars + facere.
First use: circa 1604
Synonyms: trick, device, dodge, fetch, flimflam, gambit, gimmick, jig, juggle, knack, play, ploy, scheme, shenanigan, sleight, stratagem, wile
Antonyms: artlessness, ineptitude, ineptness, maladroitness

263

Comely

come·ly\ˈkəm-lē also ˈkōm- or ˈkäm-\
adjective
: pleasing in appearance : pretty or attractive
Full Definition
1 : pleasurably conforming to notions of good appearance, suitability, or proportion
2 : having a pleasing appearance : not homely or plain
synonyms see beautiful
Other forms: come·li·er; come·li·est
come·li·ness noun
Examples
a brood of comely children that any parent would be proud to claim
Origin: Middle English comly, alteration of Old English cȳmlic glorious, from cȳme lively, fine; akin to Old High German kūmig weak.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: aesthetic (also esthetic or aesthetical or esthetical), attractive, beauteous, bonny (also bonnie) [chiefly British], beautiful, cute, drop-dead, fair, fetching, good, good-looking, goodly, gorgeous, handsome, knockout, likely, lovely, lovesome, pretty, ravishing, seemly, sightly, stunning, taking, well-favored
Antonyms: grotesque, hideous, homely, ill-favored, plain, ugly, unaesthetic, unattractive, unbeautiful, uncomely, uncute, unhandsome, unlovely, unpleasing, unpretty, unsightly

264

Frenetic

fre·net·ic\fri-ˈne-tik\
adjective
: filled with excitement, activity, or confusion : wild or frantic
Full Definition
: frenzied, frantic
fre·net·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
fre·net·i·cism \-ˈne-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun
Examples
the frenetic rush to get every member of the cast in place before the curtain went up
Origin: Middle English frenetik insane, from Anglo-French, from Latin phreneticus, modification of Greek phrenitikos, from phrenitis inflammation of the brain, from phren-, phrēn diaphragm, mind.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: delirious, ferocious, feverish, fierce, frantic, furious, frenzied, mad, rabid, violent, wild
Antonyms: relaxed

265

Expurgate

ex·pur·gate\ˈek-spər-ˌgāt\
: to change (a written work) by removing parts that might offend people
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to cleanse of something morally harmful, offensive, or erroneous; especially : to expunge objectionable parts from before publication or presentation
Other forms: ex·pur·gat·ed; ex·pur·gat·ing
ex·pur·ga·tion \ˌek-spər-ˈgā-shən\ noun
ex·pur·ga·tor \ˈek-spər-ˌgā-tər\ noun
Examples
the newspaper had to expurgate the expletive-laden speech that the criminal made upon being sentenced to life imprisonment
Origin: Latin expurgatus, past participle of expurgare, from ex- + purgare to purge.
First use: 1678
Synonyms: bowdlerize, clean (up), censor, launder, red-pencil

266

Qualm

qualm\ˈkwäm also ˈkwȯm or ˈkwälm\
noun
: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty about whether you are doing the right thing
Full Definition
1 : a sudden attack of illness, faintness, or nausea
2 : a sudden access of usually disturbing emotion (as doubt or fear)
3 : a feeling of uneasiness about a point especially of conscience or propriety
qualmy adjective
Examples
He accepted their offer without a qualm.
She had/felt some qualms about moving to the big city.
He had no qualms about accepting their offer.

267

Begrudge

be·grudge\bi-ˈgrəj, bē-\
: to think that someone does not deserve something : to regard (something) as not being earned or deserved
: to give or allow (something) in a reluctant or unwilling way
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to give or concede reluctantly or with displeasure
2 : to look upon with disapproval t begrudge you your success—you earned it
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: envy, resent

268

Artless

art·less\ˈärt-ləs\
adjective
: not false or artificial
Full Definition
1 : lacking art, knowledge, or skill : uncultured
2 a : made without skill : crude
b : free from artificiality : natural
3 : free from guile or craft : sincerely simple
synonyms see natural
art·less·ly adverb
art·less·ness noun
Examples
a genuine and artless girl
artless though it may be, our homemade doghouse has a certain charm to it
First use: 1589
Synonyms: guileless, genuine, honest, ingenuous, innocent, naive (or naïve), natural, real, simple, sincere, true, unaffected, unpretending, unpretentious
Antonyms: affected, artful, artificial, assuming, dishonest, dissembling, dissimulating, fake, false, guileful, insincere, phony (also phoney), pretentious

269

Gratuity

gra·tu·ity\grə-ˈtü-ə-tē, -ˈtyü-\
noun
: an amount of money given to a person (such as a waiter or waitress) who has performed a service
: an amount of money given to a retiring soldier or employee
Full Definition
: something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service; especially : tip
Other forms: plural gra·tu·ities
Examples
for parties of eight or more, we automatically add a 15% gratuity onto the bill
got a $100 gratuity in addition to his regular pay
First use: 1540
Synonyms: 2tip, perquisite

270

Manifest

man·i·fest\ˈma-nə-ˌfest\
adjective
: able to be seen : clearly shown or visible
: easy to understand or recognize
Full Definition
1 : readily perceived by the senses and especially by the sense of sight
2 : easily understood or recognized by the mind : obvious
synonyms see evident
man·i·fest·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French manifeste, from Latin manifestus caught in the act, flagrant, obvious, perhaps from manus + -festus (akin to Latin infestus hostile).
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: apparent, bald, bald-faced, barefaced, bright-line, broad, clear-cut, crystal clear, decided, distinct, evident, lucid, luculent, luminous, clear, nonambiguous, obvious, open-and-shut, palpable, patent, pellucid, perspicuous, plain, ringing, straightforward, transparent, unambiguous, unambivalent, unequivocal, unmistakable
Antonyms: ambiguous, clouded, cryptic, dark, enigmatic (also enigmatical), equivocal, indistinct, mysterious, nonobvious, obfuscated, obscure, unapparent, unclarified, unclear, unclouded
Synonyms: bespeak, betray, communicate, declare, demonstrate, display, evince, expose, give away, show, reveal
Antonyms: disembody
2man·i·fest\ˈma-nə-ˌfest\
: to show (something) clearly
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to make evident or certain by showing or displaying
synonyms see show
man·i·fest·er noun
Examples
Both sides have manifested a stubborn unwillingness to compromise.
Their religious beliefs are manifested in every aspect of their lives.
Love manifests itself in many different ways.
Origin: (see 1manifest ).
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: apparent, bald, bald-faced, barefaced, bright-line, broad, clear-cut, crystal clear, decided, distinct, evident, lucid, luculent, luminous, clear, nonambiguous, obvious, open-and-shut, palpable, patent, pellucid, perspicuous, plain, ringing, straightforward, transparent, unambiguous, unambivalent, unequivocal, unmistakable
Antonyms: ambiguous, clouded, cryptic, dark, enigmatic (also enigmatical), equivocal, indistinct, mysterious, nonobvious, obfuscated, obscure, unapparent, unclarified, unclear, unclouded
Synonyms: bespeak, betray, communicate, declare, demonstrate, display, evince, expose, give away, show, reveal
Antonyms: disembody

271

Delve

delve\ˈdelv\
: to search for information about something
: to reach into a bag, container, etc., in order to find something
Full Definition
transitive verb archaic
: excavate
intransitive verb
1 : to dig or labor with or as if with a spade
2 a : to make a careful or detailed search for information
b : to examine a subject in detail
Other forms: delved; delv·ing
delv·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Old English delfan; akin to Old High German telban to dig.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: antre, cavern, cave [archaic], grot, grotto

272

Capricious

ca·pri·cious\kə-ˈpri-shəs, -ˈprē-\
adjective
: changing often and quickly ; especially : often changing suddenly in mood or behavior
: not logical or reasonable : based on an idea, desire, etc., that is not possible to predict
Full Definition
: governed or characterized by caprice : impulsive, unpredictable
synonyms see inconstant
ca·pri·cious·ly adverb
ca·pri·cious·ness noun
Examples
capricious weather that was balmy one day and freezing cold the next
a capricious woman who changed her mind dozens of times about what color to paint the bathroom
Origin: (see caprice ).
First use: 1601
Synonyms: fickle, changeable, changeful, flickery, fluctuating, fluid, inconsistent, inconstant, mercurial, mutable, skittish, temperamental, uncertain, unpredictable, unsettled, unstable, unsteady, variable, volatile
Antonyms: certain, changeless, constant, immutable, invariable, predictable, settled, stable, stationary, steady, unchangeable, unchanging, unvarying

273

Requisite

req·ui·site\ˈre-kwə-zət\
adjective
: needed for a particular purpose
Full Definition
: essential, necessary
requisite noun
req·ui·site·ness noun
Examples
this new CD is the requisite album of the year for classical music lovers
Origin: Middle English, from Latin requisitus, past participle of requirere.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: all-important, critical, imperative, indispensable, integral, must-have, necessary, necessitous, needed, needful, required, essential, vital
Antonyms: dispensable, inessential, needless, nonessential, unessential, unnecessary, unneeded

274

Curry

cur·ry\ˈkər-ē, ˈkə-rē\
transitive verb
1 : to clean the coat of (as a horse) with a currycomb
2 : to treat (tanned leather) especially by incorporating oil or grease
3 : beat, thrash
Other forms: cur·ried; cur·ry·ing
cur·ri·er noun
curry favor Middle English currayen favel to curry a chestnut horse : to seek to gain favor by flattery or attention
Origin: Middle English currayen, from Anglo-French cunreier, correier to prepare, curry, from Vulgar Latin *conredare, from Latin com- + a base of Germanic origin; akin to Gothic garaiths arrayed — more at ready.
First use: 13th century
2cur·ry
noun
: a food, dish, or sauce in Indian cooking that is seasoned with a mixture of spices
Full Definition
1 : a food, dish, or sauce in Indian cuisine seasoned with a mixture of pungent spices; also : a food or dish seasoned with curry powder
2 : curry powder
Other forms: plural curries
Variants: also cur·rie \ˈkər-ē, ˈkə-rē\
Origin: Tamil kaṟi (or a cognate word in a Dravidian language).
First use: 1681

275

Pall

276

Succulent

277

Satiety

sa·ti·ety\sə-ˈtī-ə-tē also ˈsā-sh(ē-)ə-\
noun
: a feeling or condition of being full after eating food
Full Definition
1 : the quality or state of being fed or gratified to or beyond capacity : surfeit, fullness
2 : the revulsion or disgust caused by overindulgence or excess
Origin: Middle French satieté, from Latin satietat-, satietas, from satis.
First use: 1541

278

Intrinsic

in·trin·sic\in-ˈtrin-zik, -ˈtrin(t)-sik\
adjective
: 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
Examples
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

279

Potpourri

280

Sanction

sanc·tion\ˈsaŋ(k)-shən\
noun
: an action that is taken or an order that is given to force a country to obey international laws by limiting or stopping trade with that country, by not allowing economic aid for that country, etc.
: official permission or approval
Full Definition
1 : a formal decree; especially : an ecclesiastical decree
2 a obsolete : a solemn agreement : oath
b : something that makes an oath binding
3 : the detriment, loss of reward, or coercive intervention annexed to a violation of a law as a means of enforcing the law
4 a : a consideration, principle, or influence (as of conscience) that impels to moral action or determines moral judgment
b : a mechanism of social control for enforcing a society's standards
c : explicit or official approval, permission, or ratification : approbation
5 : an economic or military coercive measure adopted usually by several nations in concert for forcing a nation violating international law to desist or yield to adjudication
Origin: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin sanction-, sanctio, from sancire to make holy — more at sacred.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: allowance, authorization, clearance, concurrence, consent, granting, green light, leave, license (or licence), permission, sufferance, warrant
Antonyms: interdiction, prohibition, proscription
Synonyms: accredit, approbate, authorize, clear, confirm, finalize, formalize, homologate, OK (or okay), ratify, approve, warrant
Antonyms: decline, deny, disallow, disapprove, negative, reject, turn down, veto
2sanction
transitive verb
: to officially accept or allow (something)
Full Definition
1 : to make valid or binding usually by a formal procedure (as ratification)
2 : to give effective or authoritative approval or consent to
synonyms see approve
Other forms: sanc·tioned; sanc·tion·ing \-sh(ə-)niŋ\
sanc·tion·able \-sh(ə-)nə-bəl\ adjective
Examples
The government has sanctioned the use of force.
His actions were not sanctioned by his superiors.
First use: 1778
Synonyms: allowance, authorization, clearance, concurrence, consent, granting, green light, leave, license (or licence), permission, sufferance, warrant
Antonyms: interdiction, prohibition, proscription
Synonyms: accredit, approbate, authorize, clear, confirm, finalize, formalize, homologate, OK (or okay), ratify, approve, warrant
Antonyms: decline, deny, disallow, disapprove, negative, reject, turn down, veto

281

Denote

de·note\di-ˈnōt, dē-\
of a word : to have (something) as a meaning : to mean (something)
: to show, mark, or be a sign of (something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to serve as an indication of : betoken
2 : to serve as an arbitrary mark for
3 : to make known : announce
4 a : to serve as a linguistic expression of the notion of : mean
b : to stand for : designate
de·note·ment \-ˈnōt-mənt\ noun
Examples
a flashing red light that denotes danger
the unkempt yard denotes a homeowner with little concern for the well-being of his neighborhood
Origin: Middle French denoter, from Latin denotare, from de- + notare to note.
First use: 1562
Synonyms: mean, express, import, intend, signify, spell

282

Allude

al·lude\ə-ˈlüd\
intransitive verb
: to make indirect reference: comments alluding to an earlier discussion; broadly : refer
Other forms: al·lud·ed; al·lud·ing
Examples
Mrs. Simons alluded to some health problems, without being specific
Origin: Latin alludere, literally, to play with, from ad- + ludere to play — more at ludicrous.
First use: 1533
Synonyms: hint, imply, indicate, infer, insinuate, intimate, suggest

283

Insidious

in·sid·i·ous\in-ˈsi-dē-əs\
adjective
: causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed
Full Definition
1 a : awaiting a chance to entrap : treacherous
b : harmful but enticing : seductive
2 a : having a gradual and cumulative effect : subtle
b of a disease : developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent
in·sid·i·ous·ly adverb
in·sid·i·ous·ness noun
Origin: Latin insidiosus, from insidiae ambush, from insidēre to sit in, sit on, from in- + sedēre to sit — more at sit.
First use: 1545

284

Spate

285

Proffer

prof·fer\ˈprä-fər\
: to offer or give (something) to someone
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to present for acceptance : tender, offer
Other forms: prof·fered; prof·fer·ing \-f(ə-)riŋ\
Origin: Middle English profren, from Anglo-French profrer, proffrir, porofrir, from por- forth (from Latin pro-) + offrir to offer — more at pro-.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: offer, proposal, proposition, suggestion
Synonyms: extend, give, offer, tender, trot out

2proffer
noun
: offer, suggestion
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: offer, proposal, proposition, suggestion
Synonyms: extend, give, offer, tender, trot out

286

Impious

im·pi·ous\ˈim-pē-əs, (ˌ)im-ˈpī-\
adjective
: feeling or showing a lack of respect for God : not pious
Full Definition
: not pious : lacking in reverence or proper respect (as for God or one's parents) : irreverent
im·pi·ous·ly adverb
Examples
an impious act that horrified their pious mother
Origin: Latin impius, from in- + pius pious.
First use: 1542
Synonyms: blasphemous, irreverent, profane, sacrilegious
Antonyms: pious, reverent

287

Advent

Ad·vent\ˈad-ˌvent, chiefly British -vənt\
noun
1 : the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting
2 a : the coming of Christ at the Incarnation
b : second coming
3 not capitalized : a coming into being or use
Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin adventus, from Latin, arrival, from advenire.
First use: 12th century

288

Propriety

pro·pri·e·ty\prə-ˈprī-ə-tē\
noun
: behavior that is accepted as socially or morally correct and proper
: the state or quality of being correct and proper
: rules of correct social behavior
Full Definition
1 obsolete : true nature
2 obsolete : a special characteristic : peculiarity
3 : the quality or state of being proper or suitable : appropriateness
4 a : conformity to what is socially acceptable in conduct or speech
b : fear of offending against conventional rules of behavior especially between the sexes
c plural : the customs and manners of polite society
Other forms: plural pro·pri·e·ties
Examples
some people miss the straitlaced propriety that was largely abandoned in the 1960s
an etiquette columnist who insists that traditional proprieties are necessary in order to maintain a civil society
I'm not sure about the propriety of serving champagne in these glasses
Origin: Middle English propriete, from Anglo-French proprieté, propreté property, quality of a person or thing — more at property.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: decorum, form, decency
Antonyms: impropriety, indecency, indecorum

289

Nutritive

nu·tri·tive\ˈnü-trə-tiv, ˈnyü-\
adjective
: of or relating to nutrition
Full Definition
1 : of or relating to nutrition
2 : nourishing
nu·tri·tive·ly adverb
Examples
some people contend that whole wheat bread is significantly more nutritive than white bread
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: nourishing, nutrient, nutritional, nutritious
Antonyms: nonnutritious, nonnutritive

290

Substantiate

sub·stan·ti·ate\səb-ˈstan(t)-shē-ˌāt\
transitive verb
: to prove the truth of (something)
Full Definition
1 : to give substance or form to : embody
2 : to establish by proof or competent evidence : verify
synonyms see confirm
Other forms: sub·stan·ti·at·ed; sub·stan·ti·at·ing
sub·stan·ti·a·tion \-ˌstan(t)-shē-ˈā-shən\ noun
sub·stan·ti·a·tive \-ˈstan(t)-shē-ˌā-tiv\ adjective
Examples
substantiated his claim to local mountaineering fame with a photo of himself on the summit of Mount McKinley
Mr. MacGregor couldn't substantiate that it was Peter, and not some other rabbit, in the cabbage patch
the artist's intense feelings are substantiated by his paintings' bold colors and broad brush strokes
First use: 1657
Synonyms: demonstrate, prove, show, establish
Antonyms: disprove

291

Bogus

bo·gus\ˈbō-gəs\
adjective
: not real or genuine : fake or false
Full Definition
: not genuine : counterfeit, sham
bo·gus·ly adverb
bo·gus·ness noun
Examples
for that price, you're only going to get furniture covered in bogus leather and not the real stuff
the “designer” watches sold on the street are usually bogus
there was often a lot of bogus conviviality at the company's parties
Origin: obsolete argot bogus counterfeit money.
First use: 1825
Synonyms: artificial, imitation, dummy, ersatz, factitious, fake, false, faux, imitative, man-made, mimic, mock, pretend, sham, simulated, substitute, synthetic
Antonyms: genuine, natural, real

292

Raucous

rau·cous\ˈrȯ-kəs\
adjective
: loud and unpleasant to listen to
: behaving in a very rough and noisy way
Full Definition
1 : disagreeably harsh or strident : hoarse
2 : boisterously disorderly
synonyms see loud
rau·cous·ly adverb
rau·cous·ness noun
Examples
the partying neighbors kept up their raucous laughter half the night
Origin: Latin raucus hoarse; akin to Latin ravis hoarseness.
First use: 1769
Synonyms: hell-raising, knockabout, rambunctious, boisterous, robustious, roisterous, rollicking, rowdy, rumbustious [chiefly British]
Antonyms: orderly

293

Shibboleth

shib·bo·leth\ˈshi-bə-ləth also -ˌleth\
noun
: an old idea, opinion, or saying that is commonly believed and repeated but that may be seen as old-fashioned or untrue
: a word or way of speaking or behaving which shows that a person belongs to a particular group
Full Definition
1 a : a word or saying used by adherents of a party, sect, or belief and usually regarded by others as empty of real meaning
b : a widely held belief
c : truism, platitude
2 a : a use of language regarded as distinctive of a particular group
b : a custom or usage regarded as distinguishing one group from others
Examples
we knew that their claim of giving “the best deal in town” was just a shibboleth
there's a lot of truth in the shibboleth that if you give some people an inch, they'll take a mile
Origin: Hebrew shibbōleth stream; from the use of this word in Judg 12:6 as a test to distinguish Gileadites from Ephraimites.
First use: 1638
Synonyms: banner, catchphrase, cry, slogan, tagline, watchword

294

Roster

295

Stunt

stunt\ˈstənt\
transitive verb
: to hinder the normal growth, development, or progress of
stunt·ed·ness noun
Origin: English dialect stunt stubborn, stunted, abrupt, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse stuttr scant — more at stint.
First use: 1583
2stunt
noun
1 : one (as an animal) that is stunted
2 : a check in growth
3 : a plant disease in which dwarfing occurs
First use: 1725
3stunt
noun
1 : an unusual or difficult feat requiring great skill or daring; especially : one performed or undertaken chiefly to gain attention or publicity
2 : a shifting or switching of the positions by defensive players at the line of scrimmage in football to disrupt the opponent's blocking efforts
Origin: origin unknown.
First use: 1878
4stunt
intransitive verb
: to perform or engage in a stunt
First use: 1917

296

Atrophy

at·ro·phy\ˈa-trə-fē\
noun
medical : gradual loss of muscle or flesh usually because of disease or lack of use
Full Definition
1 : decrease in size or wasting away of a body part or tissue; also : arrested development or loss of a part or organ incidental to the normal development or life of an animal or plant
2 : a wasting away or progressive decline
Other forms: plural at·ro·phies
atro·phic \(ˌ)ā-ˈtrō-fik\ adjective
atrophy \ˈa-trə-fē, -ˌfī\ verb
Origin: Late Latin atrophia, from Greek, from atrophos ill fed, from a- + trephein to nourish.
First use: 1601

297

Maim

maim\ˈmām\
: to injure (someone) very badly by violence
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to commit the felony of mayhem upon
2 : to mutilate, disfigure, or wound seriously
maim·er noun
Origin: Middle English maymen, mahaymen, from Anglo-French maheimer, mahaigner — more at mayhem.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: cripple, disable, incapacitate, lame, mutilate
2maim
noun
1 obsolete : serious physical injury; especially : loss of a member of the body
2 obsolete : a serious loss
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: cripple, disable, incapacitate, lame, mutilate

298

Ameliorate

ame·lio·rate\ə-ˈmēl-yə-ˌrāt, -ˈmē-lē-ə-\
: to make (something, such as a problem) better, less painful, etc.
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to make better or more tolerable
intransitive verb
: to grow better
synonyms see improve
Other forms: ame·lio·rat·ed; ame·lio·rat·ing
ame·lio·ra·tion \-ˌmēl-yə-ˈrā-shən, -ˌmē-lē-ə-\ noun
ame·lio·ra·tive \-ˈmēl-yə-ˌrā-tiv, -ˈmē-lē-ə-\ adjective
ame·lio·ra·tor \-ˌrā-tər\ noun
ame·lio·ra·to·ry \-rə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
Examples
social legislation that must be given credit for ameliorating the lot of millions of deprived people
Origin: alteration of meliorate (see meliorate ).
First use: 1656
Synonyms: improve, amend, better, enhance, enrich, help, meliorate, perfect, refine, upgrade
Antonyms: worsen

299

Cynic

cyn·ic\ˈsi-nik\
noun
: a person who has negative opinions about other people and about the things people do ; especially : a person who believes that people are selfish and are only interested in helping themselves
Full Definition
1 capitalized : an adherent of an ancient Greek school of philosophers who held the view that virtue is the only good and that its essence lies in self-control and independence
2 : a faultfinding captious critic; especially : one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest
cynic adjective
Examples
a cynic who believes that nobody does a good deed without expecting something in return
Origin: Middle French or Latin, Middle French cynique, from Latin cynicus, from Greek kynikos, literally, like a dog, from kyn-, kyōn dog — more at hound.
First use: 1542
Synonyms: misanthrope, naysayer, pessimist

300

Unctuous

unc·tu·ous\ˈəŋ(k)-chə-wəs, -chəs, -shwəs\
adjective
—used to describe someone who speaks and behaves in a way that is meant to seem friendly and polite but that is unpleasant because it is obviously not sincere
Full Definition
1 a : fatty, oily
b : smooth and greasy in texture or appearance
2 : plastic
3 : full of unction; especially : revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, and false earnestness or spirituality
unc·tu·ous·ly adverb
unc·tu·ous·ness noun
Examples
an unctuous effort to appear religious to the voters
an unctuous appraisal of the musical talent shown by the boss's daughter
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French unctueus, from Medieval Latin unctuosus, from Latin unctus act of anointing, from unguere to anoint.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: artificial, backhanded, counterfeit, double, double-dealing, double-faced, fake, feigned, hypocritical, Janus-faced, jive [slang], left-handed, lip, mealy, mealymouthed, Pecksniffian, phony (also phoney), phony-baloney (or phoney-baloney), pretended, two-faced, insincere
Antonyms: artless, candid, genuine, heartfelt, honest, sincere, undesigning, unfeigned

301

Subservient

sub·ser·vi·ent\səb-ˈsər-vē-ənt\
adjective
: very willing or too willing to obey someone else
: less important than something or someone else
Full Definition
1 : useful in an inferior capacity : subordinate
2 : serving to promote some end
3 : obsequiously submissive : truckling
sub·ser·vi·ent·ly adverb
Origin: Latin subservient-, subserviens, present participle of subservire (see subserve ).
First use: circa 1626

302

Iniquity

in·iq·ui·ty\-kwə-tē\
noun
: the quality of being unfair or evil
: something that is unfair or evil
Full Definition
1 : gross injustice : wickedness
2 : a wicked act or thing : sin
Other forms: plural in·iq·ui·ties
Examples
the use of illegal narcotics is not only a destroyer of personal health but also an iniquity that undermines our society
a nation still struggling with the aftereffects of the iniquity of slavery
Origin: Middle English iniquite, from Anglo-French iniquité, from Latin iniquitat-, iniquitas, from iniquus uneven, from in- + aequus equal.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: corruption, debauchery, depravity, immorality, iniquitousness, vice, libertinage, libertinism, licentiousness, profligacy, sin
Antonyms: morality, virtue

303

Benevolent

304

Largess

lar·gesse
noun
: the act of giving away money or the quality of a person who gives away money ; also : money that is given away
Full Definition
1 : liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior; also : something so given
2 : generosity
Variants: also lar·gess \lär-ˈzhes, lär-ˈjes also ˈlär-ˌjes\
Origin: Middle English largesse, from Anglo-French, from large.
First use: 13th century

305

Criterion

cri·te·ri·on\krī-ˈtir-ē-ən also krə-\
noun
: something that is used as a reason for making a judgment or decision
Full Definition
1 : a standard on which a judgment or decision may be based
2 : a characterizing mark or trait
synonyms see standard
Other forms: plural -ria \-ē-ə\ also cri·te·ri·ons
Examples
one criterion for grading these essays will be their conformity to the rules of traditional grammar
an exceptionally high degree of physical risk is the preeminent criterion of an extreme sport
Origin: Greek kritērion, from krinein to judge, decide — more at certain.
First use: 1622
Synonyms: bar, barometer, benchmark, standard, gold standard, grade, mark, measure, metric, par, touchstone, yardstick
Usage: The plural criteria has been used as a singular for over half a century . Many of our examples, like the two foregoing, are taken from speech. But singular criteria is not uncommon in edited prose, and its use both in speech and writing seems to be increasing. Only time will tell whether it will reach the unquestioned acceptability of agenda.

306

Repent

re·pent\ri-ˈpent\
: to feel or show that you are sorry for something bad or wrong that you did and that you want to do what is right
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
2 a : to feel regret or contrition
b : to change one's mindtransitive verb
1 : to cause to feel regret or contrition
2 : to feel sorrow, regret, or contrition for
re·pent·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French repentir, from Medieval Latin repoenitēre, from Latin re- + Late Latin poenitēre to feel regret, alteration of Latin paenitēre — more at penitent.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: bemoan, deplore, lament, regret, rue

307

Mollify

mol·li·fy\ˈmä-lə-ˌfī\
: to make (someone) less angry : to calm (someone) down
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to soothe in temper or disposition : appease
2 : to reduce the rigidity of : soften
3 : to reduce in intensity : assuage, temper
intransitive verb
archaic : soften, relent
synonyms see pacify
Other forms: mol·li·fied; mol·li·fy·ing
mol·li·fi·ca·tion \ˌmä-lə-fə-ˈkā-shən\ noun
Examples
an apology would probably mollify your friend
a friendly gesture that did a lot to mollify their suspicions about the new neighbor
Origin: Middle English mollifien, from Middle French mollifier, from Late Latin mollificare, from Latin mollis soft; akin to Greek amaldynein to soften, Sanskrit mṛdu soft, and probably to Greek malakos soft, amblys dull, Old English meltan to melt.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: appease, assuage, conciliate, disarm, gentle, pacify, placate, propitiate
Antonyms: anger, enrage, incense, inflame (also enflame), infuriate, ire, madden, outrage

308

Mercenary

mer·ce·nary\ˈmər-sə-ˌner-ē, -ne-rē\
noun
: a soldier who is paid by a foreign country to fight in its army : a soldier who will fight for any group or country that hires him
Full Definition
: one that serves merely for wages; especially : a soldier hired into foreign service
Other forms: plural mer·ce·nar·ies
Origin: Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages — more at mercy.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: acquisitive, avaricious, avid, coveting, covetous, grabby, grasping, greedy, moneygrubbing, rapacious
2mercenary
adjective
: hired to fight
: caring only about making money
Full Definition
1 : serving merely for pay or sordid advantage : venal; also : greedy
2 : hired for service in the army of a foreign country
mer·ce·nar·i·ly \ˌmər-sə-ˈner-ə-lē, -ˈne-rə-\ adverb
mer·ce·nar·i·ness \ˈmər-sə-ˌner-ē-nəs, -ˌne-rē-\ noun
Examples
mercenary armies
a mercenary soldier
His motives in choosing a career were purely mercenary.
First use: 1532
Synonyms: acquisitive, avaricious, avid, coveting, covetous, grabby, grasping, greedy, moneygrubbing, rapacious

309

Pariah

pa·ri·ah\pə-ˈrī-ə\
noun
: a person who is hated and rejected by other people
Full Definition
1 : a member of a low caste of southern India
2 : one that is despised or rejected : outcast
Examples
I felt like a pariah when I wore the wrong outfit to the dinner party
Origin: Tamil paṟaiyan, literally, drummer.
First use: 1613
Synonyms: castaway, castoff, leper, offscouring, outcast, reject

310

Aloof

2aloof\ə-ˈlüf\
adjective
: not involved with or friendly toward other people
: not involved in or influenced by something
Full Definition
: removed or distant either physically or emotionally
synonyms see indifferent
aloof·ly adverb
aloof·ness noun
Origin: (see 1aloof ).
First use: 1608
Synonyms: cool, antisocial, asocial, buttoned-up, cold, cold-eyed, detached, distant, dry, frosty, offish, remote, standoff, standoffish, unbending, unclubbable, unsociable
Antonyms: cordial, friendly, sociable, social, warm
aloof\ə-ˈlüf\
adverb
: at a distance
Origin: obsolete aloof to windward, from 1a- + louf, luf luff.
First use: 1523
Synonyms: cool, antisocial, asocial, buttoned-up, cold, cold-eyed, detached, distant, dry, frosty, offish, remote, standoff, standoffish, unbending, unclubbable, unsociable
Antonyms: cordial, friendly, sociable, social, warm

311

Pragmatic

prag·mat·ic\prag-ˈma-tik\
adjective
: dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories
Full Definition
1 archaic
a (1) : busy (2) : officious
b : opinionated
2 : relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters : practical as opposed to idealistic
3 : relating to or being in accordance with philosophical pragmatism(see pragmatism )
pragmatic noun
prag·mat·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples
a pragmatic man, not given to grand, visionary schemes
Variants: also prag·mat·i·cal \-ti-kəl\
Origin: Latin pragmaticus skilled in law or business, from Greek pragmatikos, from pragmat-, pragma deed, from prassein to do — more at practical.
First use: 1616
Synonyms: down-to-earth, earthy, hardheaded, matter-of-fact, practical, realistic (also pragmatical)
Antonyms: blue-sky, idealistic, impractical, unrealistic, utopian, visionary

312

Vestige

ves·tige\ˈves-tij\
noun
: the last small part that remains of something that existed before
: the smallest possible amount of something
Full Definition
1 a (1) : a trace, mark, or visible sign left by something (as an ancient city or a condition or practice) vanished or lost (2) : the smallest quantity or trace
b : footprint 1
2 : a bodily part or organ that is small and degenerate or imperfectly developed in comparison to one more fully developed in an earlier stage of the individual, in a past generation, or in closely related forms
synonyms see trace
ves·ti·gial \ve-ˈsti-jē-əl, -jəl\ adjective
ves·ti·gial·ly adverb
Examples
a few strange words carved on a tree were the only vestige of the lost colony of Roanoke
the fossilized vestige of a dinosaur that traversed that muddy landscape millions of years ago
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin vestigium footstep, footprint, track, vestige.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: echo, ghost, relic, shadow, trace

313

Guise

guise\ˈgīz\
noun
: one of several or many different ways in which something is seen, experienced, or produced
: a way of seeming or looking that is not true or real
Full Definition
1 : a form or style of dress : costume
2 a obsolete : manner, fashion
b archaic : a customary way of speaking or behaving
3 a : external appearance : semblance
b : pretext
Examples
They serve the same basic dish in various guises.
She swindles people under the guise of friendship.
a story about a demon in the guise of an angel
Origin: Middle English gise, guise, from Anglo-French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German wīsa manner — more at wise.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: act, airs, charade, disguise, facade (also façade), front, masquerade, playacting, pose, pretense (or pretence), put-on, semblance, show

314

Nullify

nul·li·fy\ˈnə-lə-ˌfī\
: to make (something) legally null
: to cause (something) to lose its value or to have no effect
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to make null; especially : to make legally null and void
2 : to make of no value or consequence
Other forms: nul·li·fied; nul·li·fy·ing
Examples
the constitutional amendment that nullified Prohibition
Origin: Late Latin nullificare, from Latin nullus.
First use: 1595
Synonyms: abate, abrogate, annul, avoid, cancel, disannul, dissolve, invalidate, negate, null, abolish, quash, repeal, rescind, roll back, strike down, vacate, void

315

Deluge

del·uge\ˈdel-ˌyüj, -ˌyüzh; ÷də-ˈlüj, ˈdā-ˌlüj\
noun
: a large amount of rain that suddenly falls in an area
: a situation in which a large area of land becomes completely covered with water
: a large amount of things that come at the same time
Full Definition
1 a : an overflowing of the land by water
b : a drenching rain
2 : an overwhelming amount or number
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French deluje, from Latin diluvium, from diluere to wash away, from dis- + lavere to wash — more at lye.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: alluvion, bath, cataclysm, cataract, flood, flood tide, inundation, Niagara, overflow, spate, torrent
Antonyms: drought (also drouth)
Synonyms: flood, drown, engulf, gulf, inundate, overflow, overwhelm, submerge, submerse, swamp
Antonyms: drain
2deluge
: to give or send (someone) a large amount of things at the same time
: to flood (a place) with water
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to overflow with water : inundate
2 : overwhelm, swamp
Other forms: del·uged; del·ug·ing
Examples
The family was deluged with calls about the free puppies.
The office is deluged with mail every day.
Heavy rains deluged the region.
First use: 1593
Synonyms: alluvion, bath, cataclysm, cataract, flood, flood tide, inundation, Niagara, overflow, spate, torrent
Antonyms: drought (also drouth)
Synonyms: flood, drown, engulf, gulf, inundate, overflow, overwhelm, submerge, submerse, swamp
Antonyms: drain

316

Futility

fu·til·i·ty\fyü-ˈti-lə-tē\
noun
1 : the quality or state of being futile : uselessness
2 : a useless act or gesture
Other forms: plural fu·til·i·ties
First use: circa 1623
fu·tile\ˈfyü-təl, ˈfyü-ˌtī(-ə)l\
adjective
: having no result or effect : pointless or useless
Full Definition
1 : serving no useful purpose : completely ineffective
2 : occupied with trifles : frivolous
fu·tile·ly \-təl-(l)ē, -ˌtī(-ə)l-lē\ adverb
fu·tile·ness \-təl-nəs, -ˌtī(-ə)l-nəs\ noun
Examples
the prison is so well guarded that all attempts to escape have been futile
the futile chatter of gossip columnists about the comings and goings of Hollywood celebrities
Origin: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin futilis brittle, pointless, probably from fu- (akin to fundere to pour) — more at found.
First use: circa 1555
Synonyms: abortive, barren, bootless, empty, fruitless, ineffective, ineffectual, inefficacious, otiose, profitless, unavailing, unproductive, unprofitable, unsuccessful, useless, vain, in vain, no dice, not worth the candle, of no avail
Antonyms: deadly, effective, effectual, efficacious, efficient, fruitful, potent, productive, profitable, successful, virtuous

317

Carnage

car·nage\ˈkär-nij\
noun
: the killing of many people
Full Definition
1 : the flesh of slain animals or men
2 : great and usually bloody slaughter or injury (as in battle)
Examples
the appalling carnage in that war-torn country requires that the outside world intervene
Origin: French, from Medieval Latin carnaticum tribute consisting of animals or meat, from Latin carn-, caro.
First use: 1614
Synonyms: bloodbath, butchery, massacre, death, holocaust, slaughter

318

Technology

319

Defame

de·fame\di-ˈfām, dē-\
: to hurt the reputation of (someone or something) especially by saying things that are false or unfair
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 archaic : disgrace
2 : to harm the reputation of by libel or slander
3 archaic : accuse
synonyms see malign
Other forms: de·famed; de·fam·ing
de·fam·er noun
Examples
of course I want to win the election, but I refuse to defame my opponent in order to do so
so the harmless old woman was defamed of witchcraft
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French deffamer, diffamer, from Medieval Latin defamare, alteration of Latin diffamare, from dis- + fama reputation, fame.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: asperse, blacken, calumniate, slander, libel, malign, smear, traduce, vilify
Antonyms: absolve, acquit, clear, exculpate, exonerate, vindicate

320

Plaintiff

plain·tiff\ˈplān-təf\
noun
law : a person who sues another person or accuses another person of a crime in a court of law
Full Definition
: a person who brings a legal action — compare defendant
Examples
the judge ruled that the plaintiff's lawsuit was groundless, and he dismissed it
Origin: Middle English plaintif, from Anglo-French, from pleintif, adjective.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: complainant, suer
Antonyms: defendant

321

Libel

li·bel\ˈlī-bəl\
noun
: the act of publishing a false statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone
Full Definition
1 a : a written statement in which a plaintiff in certain courts sets forth the cause of action or the relief sought
b archaic : a handbill especially attacking or defaming someone
2 a : a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression
b (1) : a statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt (2) : defamation of a person by written or representational means (3) : the publication of blasphemous, treasonable, seditious, or obscene writings or pictures (4) : the act, tort, or crime of publishing such a libel
Origin: Middle English, written declaration, from Anglo-French, from Latin libellus, diminutive of liber book.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: aspersing, blackening, calumniation, calumny, character assassination, defamation, defaming, slander, libeling (or libelling), maligning, smearing, traducing, vilification, vilifying
Synonyms: asperse, blacken, calumniate, defame, slander, malign, smear, traduce, vilify
2li·bel\ˈlī-bəl\
: to write and publish a false statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of (someone)
Full Definition
intransitive verb
: to make libelous statementstransitive verb
: to make or publish a libel against (see 1libel )
Other forms: li·beled or li·belled; li·bel·ing or li·bel·ling \-b(ə-)liŋ\
li·bel·er \-b(ə-)lər\ noun
li·bel·ist \-bə-list\ noun
Examples
The jury found that the article libeled him.
the court decided that the newspaper's reportage of the former mayor, while irresponsible, did not constitute an effort to libel him
Origin: (see 1libel ).
First use: 1588
Synonyms: aspersing, blackening, calumniation, calumny, character assassination, defamation, defaming, slander, libeling (or libelling), maligning, smearing, traducing, vilification, vilifying
Synonyms: asperse, blacken, calumniate, defame, slander, malign, smear, traduce, vilify

322

Canard

ca·nard\kə-ˈnärd also -ˈnär\
noun
: a false report or story : a belief or rumor that is not true
Full Definition
1 a : a false or unfounded report or story; especially : a fabricated report
b : a groundless rumor or belief
2 : an airplane with horizontal stabilizing and control surfaces in front of supporting surfaces; also : a small airfoil in front of the wing of an aircraft that can increase the aircraft's performance
Examples
it's a popular canard that the actress died under scandalous circumstances
Origin: French, literally, duck; in sense 1, from Middle French vendre des canards à moitié to cheat, literally, to half-sell ducks.
First use: 1851
Synonyms: tale, story, whisper

323

Deprecate

dep·re·cate\ˈde-pri-ˌkāt\
: to criticize or express disapproval of (someone or something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a archaic : to pray against (as an evil)
b : to seek to avert
2 : to express disapproval of
3 a : play down : make little of
b : belittle, disparage
Other forms: dep·re·cat·ed; dep·re·cat·ing
dep·re·cat·ing·ly \-ˌkā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
dep·re·ca·tion \ˌde-pri-ˈkā-shən\ noun
Examples
movie critics tried to outdo one another in deprecating the comedy as the stupidest movie of the year
deprecates TV sitcoms as childish and simpleminded
Origin: Latin deprecatus, past participle of deprecari to avert by prayer, from de- + precari to pray — more at pray.
First use: 1628
Synonyms: bad-mouth, belittle, cry down, denigrate, decry, depreciate, derogate, diminish, dis (also diss) [slang], discount, dismiss, disparage, kiss off, minimize, play down, poor-mouth, put down, run down, talk down, trash, trash-talk, vilipend, write off
Antonyms: acclaim, applaud, exalt, extol (also extoll), glorify, laud, magnify, praise

324

Reputed

325

Frail

frail\ˈfrāl\
adjective
: having less than a normal amount of strength or force : very weak
: easily damaged or destroyed
Full Definition
1 : easily led into evil
2 : easily broken or destroyed : fragile
3 a : physically weak
b : slight, unsubstantial
synonyms see weak
frail·ly \ˈfrā(l)-lē\ adverb
frail·ness noun
Examples
a frail child
a frail old man
I could barely hear her frail voice.
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French fraile, from Latin fragilis fragile, from frangere.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: breakable, delicate, fragile, frangible
Antonyms: infrangible, nonbreakable, strong, sturdy, tough, unbreakable

326

Potent

327

Excoriate

ex·co·ri·ate\ek-ˈskȯr-ē-ˌāt\
: to criticize (someone or something) very harshly
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to wear off the skin of : abrade
2 : to censure scathingly
Other forms: ex·co·ri·at·ed; ex·co·ri·at·ing
ex·co·ri·a·tion \(ˌ)ek-ˌskȯr-ē-ˈā-shən\ noun
Examples
the mayor had hardly been in office for a month before she was being excoriated for problems of very long standing
the manacles had badly excoriated the prisoner's wrists
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin excoriatus, past participle of excoriare, from Latin ex- + corium skin, hide — more at cuirass.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: abuse, assail, bash, belabor, blast, castigate, attack, jump (on), lambaste (or lambast), potshot, savage, scathe, slam, trash, vituperate

328

Devout

329

Diminutive

di·min·u·tive\də-ˈmi-nyə-tiv\
noun
: a word or suffix that indicates that something is small
: an informal form of a name
Full Definition
1 : a diminutive word, affix, or name
2 : a diminutive individual
Origin: Middle English diminutif, from Medieval Latin diminutivum, alteration of Late Latin deminutivum, from neuter of deminutivus, adjective, from deminutus, past participle of deminuere.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: bantam, small, dinky, dwarfish, fine, half-pint, Lilliputian, little, pint-size (or pint-sized), pocket, pocket-size (also pocket-sized), puny, 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
Synonyms: dwarf, midget, mite, peewee, pygmy (also pigmy), runt, scrub, shrimp, Tom Thumb
Antonyms: behemoth, colossus, giant, jumbo, leviathan, mammoth, monster, titan
2diminutive
adjective
: very small
linguistics : indicating small size
Full Definition
1 : indicating small size and sometimes the state or quality of being familiarly known, lovable, pitiable, or contemptible — used of affixes (as -ette, -kin, -ling) and of words formed with them (as kitchenette, manikin, duckling), of clipped forms (as Jim), and of altered forms (as Peggy) — compare augmentative
2 : exceptionally or notably small : tiny

synonyms see small
di·min·u·tive·ly adverb
di·min·u·tive·ness noun
Examples
the diminutives “-ette” and “kitchenette”
dik-diks, the diminutives of the antelope family
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: bantam, small, dinky, dwarfish, fine, half-pint, Lilliputian, little, pint-size (or pint-sized), pocket, pocket-size (also pocket-sized), puny, 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
Synonyms: dwarf, midget, mite, peewee, pygmy (also pigmy), runt, scrub, shrimp, Tom Thumb
Antonyms: behemoth, colossus, giant, jumbo, leviathan, mammoth, monster, titan

330

Profuse

331

Dulcet

332

Impromptu

im·promp·tu\im-ˈpräm(p)-(ˌ)tü, -(ˌ)tyü\
noun
1 : something that is impromptu
2 : a musical composition suggesting improvisation
Origin: French, from impromptu extemporaneously, from Latin in promptu in readiness.
First use: 1683
Synonyms: ad hoc, ad-lib, down and dirty, extemporary, extempore, extemporaneous, improvisational, improvised, offhand, offhanded, off-the-cuff, snap, spur-of-the-moment, unconsidered, unplanned, unpremeditated, unprepared, unrehearsed, unstudied
Antonyms: considered, planned, premeditated, premeditative, prepared, rehearsed
Synonyms: ad-lib, extemporization, improvisation, improv
2impromptu
adjective
: not prepared ahead of time : made or done without preparation
Full Definition
1 : made, done, or formed on or as if on the spur of the moment : improvised
2 : composed or uttered without previous preparation : extemporaneous
impromptu adverb
First use: 1764
Synonyms: ad hoc, ad-lib, down and dirty, extemporary, extempore, extemporaneous, improvisational, improvised, offhand, offhanded, off-the-cuff, snap, spur-of-the-moment, unconsidered, unplanned, unpremeditated, unprepared, unrehearsed, unstudied
Antonyms: considered, planned, premeditated, premeditative, prepared, rehearsed
Synonyms: ad-lib, extemporization, improvisation, improv

333

Malevolent

ma·lev·o·lent\mə-ˈle-və-lənt\
adjective
: having or showing a desire to cause harm to another person
Full Definition
1 : having, showing, or arising from intense often vicious ill will, spite, or hatred
2 : productive of harm or evil
ma·lev·o·lent·ly adverb
Examples
the novel grossly oversimplified the conflict as a struggle between relentlessly malevolent villains on one side and faultless saints on the other
Origin: Latin malevolent-, malevolens, from male badly + volent-, volens, present participle of velle to wish — more at mal-, will.
First use: 1509
Synonyms: bad [slang], bitchy, catty, cruel, despiteful, hateful, malicious, malign, malignant, mean, nasty, spiteful, vicious, virulent
Antonyms: benevolent, benign, benignant, loving, unmalicious

334

Raiment

rai·ment\ˈrā-mənt\
noun
: clothing, garments
Examples
the prince exchanged his silken raiment for the pauper's humble homespun
Origin: Middle English rayment, short for arrayment, from arrayen to array.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: apparel, attire, clobber [British slang], clothes, costumery, dress, duds, garments, gear, habiliment(s), habit [archaic], rags, clothing, rig, rigging, threads, toggery, togs, vestiary, vestments, vesture, wear, wearables, weeds

335

Brigand

brig·and\ˈbri-gənd\
noun
: a robber who travels with others in a group
Full Definition
: one who lives by plunder usually as a member of a band : bandit
brig·and·age \-gən-dij\ noun
Origin: Middle English brigaunt, from Middle French brigand, from Old Italian brigante, from brigare to fight, from briga strife, of Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish bríg strength.
First use: 14th century

336

Corpulent

cor·pu·lent\-lənt\
adjective
: fat
Full Definition
: having a large bulky body : obese
cor·pu·lent·ly adverb
Examples
a corpulent, elegantly dressed opera singer came out and sang, and we knew it was over
Origin: Middle English, from Latin corpulentus, from corpus.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: blubbery, chubby, fat, fleshy, full, gross, lardy, obese, overweight, plump, podgy [chiefly British], portly, pudgy, replete, roly-poly, rotund, round, tubby
Antonyms: lean, skinny, slender, slim, spare, thin

337

Wistful

338

Rail

4rail
intransitive verb
: to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language
synonyms see scold
rail·er noun
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French railler to mock, probably from Old French reillier to growl, mutter, from Vulgar Latin *ragulare to bray, from Late Latin ragere to neigh.
First use: 15th century

2rail
transitive verb
: to provide with a railing : fence
First use: 14th century

339

Racounteur

ra·con·teur\ˌra-ˌkän-ˈtər, -kən-\
noun
: someone who is good at telling stories
Full Definition
: a person who excels in telling anecdotes
Origin: French, from Middle French, from raconter to tell, from Old French, from re- + aconter, acompter to tell, count — more at account.
First use: 1828

340

Rift

rift\ˈrift\
noun
: a situation in which two people, groups, etc., no longer have a friendly relationship
: a deep crack or opening in the ground, a rock, etc.
geology : a break in the Earth's crust
Full Definition
1 a : fissure, crevasse
b : fault 5
2 : a clear space or interval
3 : breach, estrangement
Origin: Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Dan & Norwegian rift fissure, Old Norse rīfa to rive — more at rive.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: check, chink, cleft, cranny, crevice, fissure, crack, split

2rift
intransitive verb
: to burst opentransitive verb
1 : cleave, divide : hills were rifted by the earthquake.
2 : penetrate
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: check, chink, cleft, cranny, crevice, fissure, crack, split

341

Sullen

342

Emissary

em·is·sary\ˈe-mə-ˌser-ē, -ˌse-rē\
noun
: a person who is sent on a mission to represent another person or organization
Full Definition
1 : one designated as the agent of another : representative
2 : a secret agent
Other forms: plural em·is·sar·ies
Examples
most of the industrialized nations of the world sent emissaries to the conference on global warming
the embassy's staff likely contains at least one emissary who reports to the home country's chief of intelligence
Origin: Latin emissarius, from emissus, past participle of emittere.
First use: 1607
Synonyms: agent, delegate, ambassador, envoy, legate, minister, representative

343

Ruminate

ru·mi·nate\ˈrü-mə-ˌnāt\
: to think carefully and deeply about something
of an animal : to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to go over in the mind repeatedly and often casually or slowly
2 : to chew repeatedly for an extended periodintransitive verb
1 : to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud
2 : to engage in contemplation : reflect
synonyms see ponder
Other forms: ru·mi·nat·ed; ru·mi·nat·ing
ru·mi·na·tion \ˌrü-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
ru·mi·na·tive \ˈrü-mə-ˌnā-tiv\ adjective
ru·mi·na·tive·ly adverb
ru·mi·na·tor \-ˌnā-tər\ noun
Examples
the minister hoped that the congregation would spend the remainder of the week ruminating the message of his sermon
Origin: Latin ruminatus, past participle of ruminari to chew the cud, muse upon, from rumin-, rumen rumen; perhaps akin to Sanskrit romantha act of chewing the cud.
First use: 1533
Synonyms: chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, eye, kick around, meditate, mull (over), perpend, pore (over), question, revolve, ponder, study, think (about or over), turn, weigh, wrestle (with)

344

Livid

345

Martinet

mar·ti·net\ˌmär-tə-ˈnet\
noun
: a person who is very strict and demands obedience from others
Full Definition
1 : a strict disciplinarian
2 : a person who stresses a rigid adherence to the details of forms and methods
Origin: Jean Martinet, 17th century French army officer.
First use: 1737

346

Yen

347

Taut

348

Bagatelle

bag·a·telle\ˌba-gə-ˈtel\
noun
1 : trifle 1
2 : any of various games involving the rolling of balls into scoring areas
3 : a short literary or musical piece in light style
Examples
the question of who will pick up the coffee is a mere bagatelle in the overall planning of the conference
Origin: French, from Italian bagattella.
First use: 1633
Synonyms: trifle, child's play, frippery, nonproblem, nothing, picayune, shuck(s), small beer, small change, triviality

349

Callow

cal·low\ˈka-(ˌ)lō\
adjective
—used to describe a young person who does not have much experience and does not know how to behave the way adults behave
Full Definition
: lacking adult sophistication : immature
cal·low·ness \ˈka-lō-nəs, -lə-nəs\ noun
Examples
a story about a callow youth who learns the value of hard work and self-reliance
Origin: Middle English calu bald, from Old English; akin to Old High German kalo bald, Old Church Slavic golŭ bare.
First use: 1580
Synonyms: adolescent, green, immature, inexperienced, juvenile, puerile, raw, unfledged, unformed, unripe, unripened, wet behind the ears
Antonyms: adult, experienced, grown-up, mature, ripe

350

Appalled

ap·pall
: to cause (someone) to feel fear, shock, or disgust
Full Definition
intransitive verb obsolete
: weaken, fail
transitive verb
: to overcome with consternation, shock, or dismay
synonyms see dismay
Other forms: ap·palled; ap·pall·ing
Examples
conditions inside the house overrun with cats simply appalled animal control officers
Variants: also ap·pal \ə-ˈpȯl\
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French apalir, from Old French, from a- (from Latin ad-) + palir to grow pale, from Latin pallescere, inchoative of pallēre to be pale — more at fallow.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: shock (also appal), floor, jolt, shake up

351

Penchant

pen·chant\ˈpen-chənt, especially British ˈpäⁿ-ˌshäⁿ\
noun
: a strong liking for something or a strong tendency to behave in a certain way
Full Definition
: a strong and continued inclination; broadly : liking
synonyms see leaning
Examples
a penchant for sitting by the window and staring moodily off into space
Origin: French, from present participle of pencher to incline, from Vulgar Latin *pendicare, from Latin pendere to weigh.
First use: 1672
Synonyms: affection, affinity, aptitude, bent, bias, bone, devices, disposition, genius, habitude, impulse, leaning, partiality, inclination, predilection, predisposition, proclivity, propensity, tendency, turn

352

Decapitate

de·cap·i·tate\di-ˈka-pə-ˌtāt, dē-\
: to cut off the head of (a person or animal)
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to cut off the head of : behead
Other forms: de·cap·i·tat·ed; de·cap·i·tat·ing
de·cap·i·ta·tion \-ˌka-pə-ˈtā-shən\ noun
de·cap·i·ta·tor \-ˈka-pə-ˌtā-tər\ noun
Examples
a particularly gruesome series of murders in which the victims were decapitated
Origin: Late Latin decapitatus, past participle of decapitare, from Latin de- + capit-, caput head — more at head.
First use: circa 1611
Synonyms: behead, guillotine, head

353

Termagant

ter·ma·gant\ˈtər-mə-gənt\
noun
1 capitalized : a deity erroneously ascribed to Islam by medieval European Christians and represented in early English drama as a violent character
2 : an overbearing or nagging woman : shrew
Origin: Middle English.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: battle-ax (or battle-axe), dragon lady, fury, harpy, harridan, shrew, virago, vixen

2termagant
adjective
: overbearing, shrewish
First use: circa 1598
Synonyms: battle-ax (or battle-axe), dragon lady, fury, harpy, harridan, shrew, virago, vixen

354

Ascertain

as·cer·tain\ˌa-sər-ˈtān\
: to learn or find out (something, such as information or the truth)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 archaic : to make certain, exact, or precise
2 : to find out or learn with certainty
synonyms see discover
as·cer·tain·able \-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective
as·cer·tain·ment \-ˈtān-mənt\ noun
Examples
was immediately able to ascertain that the girl was uncomfortable talking about her life at home
ascertained that their old colonial-era house had once functioned as a tavern
Origin: Middle English acertainen to inform, give assurance to, from Anglo-French acerteiner, from a- (from Latin ad-) + certein, certain certain.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: discover, catch on (to), find out, get on (to), hear, learn, realize, see, wise (up)
Antonyms: miss, overlook, pass over

355

Dormant

356

Burgeon

bur·geon
: to grow or develop quickly
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 a : to send forth new growth (as buds or branches) : sprout
b : bloom
2 : to grow and expand rapidly : flourish
Examples
the trout population in the stream is burgeoning now that the water is clean
the spring flowers burgeoned once the warm weather set in for good
chrysanthemums usually burgeon in early fall
Variants: also bour·geon \ˈbər-jən\
Origin: Middle English burjonen, from Anglo-French burjuner, from burjun bud, from Vulgar Latin *burrion-, burrio, from Late Latin burra fluff, shaggy cloth.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: accelerate, accumulate, appreciate, balloon, boom, build up, increase (also bourgeon), climb, enlarge, escalate, expand, gain, mount, multiply, mushroom, proliferate, rise, roll up, snowball, spread, swell, wax
Antonyms: contract, decrease, diminish, dwindle, lessen, recede, wane

357

Disseminate

dis·sem·i·nate\di-ˈse-mə-ˌnāt\
: to cause (something, such as information) to go to many people
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to spread abroad as though sowing seed
2 : to disperse throughout
Other forms: dis·sem·i·nat·ed; dis·sem·i·nat·ing
dis·sem·i·na·tion \-ˌse-mə-ˈnā-shən\ noun
dis·sem·i·na·tor \-ˈse-mə-ˌnā-tər\ noun
Examples
missionaries sent by their church to disseminate their faith
Origin: Latin disseminatus, past participle of disseminare, from dis- + seminare to sow, from semin-, semen seed — more at semen.
First use: 1566
Synonyms: broadcast, circulate, spread, propagate

358

Potentate

po·ten·tate\ˈpō-tən-ˌtāt\
noun
: a powerful ruler
Full Definition
: ruler, sovereign; broadly : one who wields great power or sway
Examples
Charles inherited the position of potentate of the Holy Roman Empire from his grandfather, as well that of king of Spain from his father
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: autocrat, monarch, ruler, sovereign (also sovran)

359

Derive

de·rive\di-ˈrīv, dē-\
: to take or get (something) from(something else)
: to have something as a source : to come fromsomething
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to take, receive, or obtain especially from a specified source
b : to obtain (a chemical substance) actually or theoretically from a parent substance
2 : infer, deduce
3 archaic : bring
4 : to trace the derivation of
intransitive verb
: to have or take origin : come as a derivative
synonyms see spring
Other forms: de·rived; de·riv·ing
de·riv·er noun
Examples
from the summit, he was able to derive his location from the position of several prominent landmarks
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French deriver, from Latin derivare, literally, to draw off (water), from de- + rivus stream — more at run.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: conclude, decide, deduce, infer, extrapolate, gather, judge, make out, reason, understand

360

Prerogative

pre·rog·a·tive\pri-ˈrä-gə-tiv\
noun
: a right or privilege ; especially : a special right or privilege that some people have
Full Definition
1 a : an exclusive or special right, power, or privilege: as (1) : one belonging to an office or an official body (2) : one belonging to a person, group, or class of individuals (3) : one possessed by a nation as an attribute of sovereignty
b : the discretionary power inhering in the British Crown
2 : a distinctive excellence
pre·rog·a·tived \-tivd\ adjective
Examples
it's your prerogative to refuse to attend religious services
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin praerogativa, Roman century voting first in the comitia, privilege, from feminine of praerogativus voting first, from praerogatus, past participle of praerogare to ask for an opinion before another, from prae- + rogare to ask — more at right.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: appanage (also apanage), birthright, right

361

Nepotism

nep·o·tism\ˈne-pə-ˌti-zəm\
noun
: the unfair practice by a powerful person of giving jobs and other favors to relatives
Full Definition
: favoritism (as in appointment to a job) based on kinship
nep·o·tis·tic \ˌne-pə-ˈtis-tik\ adjective
Origin: French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nepote nephew, from Latin nepot-, nepos grandson, nephew — more at nephew.
First use: 1670

362

Dearth

363

Internecine

in·ter·ne·cine\ˌin-tər-ˈne-ˌsēn, -ˈnē-sən, -ˈnē-ˌsīn, -nə-ˈsēn; in-ˈtər-nə-ˌsēn\
adjective
: occurring between members of the same country, group, or organization
Full Definition
1 : marked by slaughter : deadly; especially : mutually destructive
2 : of, relating to, or involving conflict within a group
Origin: Latin internecinus, from internecare to destroy, kill, from inter- + necare to kill, from nec-, nex violent death — more at noxious.
First use: 1663

364

Tyro

ty·ro\ˈtī-(ˌ)rō\
noun
: a person who has just started learning or doing something : a beginner or novice
Full Definition
Usage: often attributive
: a beginner in learning : novice
synonyms see amateur
Other forms: plural tyros
Examples
he's a good musician, but at 14, he's still a tyro and has a lot to learn
Origin: Medieval Latin, from Latin tiro young soldier, tyro.
First use: 1587
Synonyms: abecedarian, apprentice, babe, colt, cub, fledgling, freshman, greenhorn, neophyte, newbie, newcomer, novice, novitiate, punk, recruit, rook, rookie, tenderfoot, beginner, virgin
Antonyms: old hand, old-timer, vet, veteran

365

Sophistry

soph·ist·ry\ˈsä-fə-strē\
noun
: the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false
: a reason or argument that sounds correct but is actually false
Full Definition
1 : subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation
2 : sophism 1
First use: 14th century

366

Obloquy

ob·lo·quy\ˈä-blə-kwē\
noun
: harsh or critical statements about someone
: the condition of someone who lost the respect of other people
Full Definition
1 : a strongly condemnatory utterance : abusive language
2 : the condition of one that is discredited : bad repute
synonyms see abuse
Other forms: plural ob·lo·quies
Examples
unable to mount a rational defense of her position, she unleashed a torrent of obloquy on her opponent
although he had beaten the murder rap, the accused murderer was condemned to live out his days in perpetual obloquy
Origin: Middle English obloquie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin obloquium, from obloqui to speak against, from ob- against + loqui to speak.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: billingsgate, fulmination, invective, abuse, scurrility, vitriol, vituperation
Antonyms: esteem, honor, respect

367

Fictitious

fac·ti·tious\fak-ˈti-shəs\
adjective
1 : produced by humans rather than by natural forces
2 a : formed by or adapted to an artificial or conventional standard
b : produced by special effort : sham
fac·ti·tious·ly adverb
fac·ti·tious·ness noun
Examples
presumably the statue is of factitious marble, because for that price you're not going to get the real stuff
the factitious friendliness shown by the beauty-pageant contestants to one another
Origin: Latin facticius, from factus, past participle of facere to make, do — more at do.
First use: 1646
Synonyms: artificial, bogus, dummy, ersatz, imitation, fake, false, faux, imitative, man-made, mimic, mock, pretend, sham, simulated, substitute, synthetic
Antonyms: genuine, natural, real

368

Encomium

en·co·mi·um\en-ˈkō-mē-əm\
noun
: glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise; also : an expression of this
Other forms: plural en·co·mi·ums also -mia\-mē-ə\
Examples
the encomiums bestowed on a teacher at her retirement ceremonies
Origin: Latin, from Greek enkōmion, from en in + kōmos revel, celebration.
First use: 1567
Synonyms: accolade, citation, commendation, dithyramb, eulogium, eulogy, homage, hymn, paean, panegyric, salutation, tribute

369

Munificent

mu·nif·i·cent\myu̇-ˈni-fə-sənt\
adjective
: very generous
Full Definition
1 : very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish
2 : characterized by great liberality or generosity
synonyms see liberal
mu·nif·i·cence \-sən(t)s\ noun
mu·nif·i·cent·ly adverb
Examples
a munificent host who has presided over many charitable events at his mansion
Origin: back-formation from munificence, from Latin munificentia, from munificus generous, from munus service, gift — more at mean.
First use: 1581
Synonyms: bighearted, bounteous, bountiful, charitable, free, freehanded, freehearted, fulsome, liberal, generous, open, openhanded, unselfish, unsparing, unstinting
Antonyms: cheap, close, closefisted, costive, illiberal [archaic], mingy, miserly, niggardly, parsimonious, penurious, selfish, stingy, stinting, tight, tightfisted, uncharitable, ungenerous

370

Hyperbole

hy·per·bo·le\hī-ˈpər-bə-(ˌ)lē\
noun
: language that describes something as better or worse than it really is
Full Definition
: extravagant exaggeration (as “mile-high ice-cream cones”)
hy·per·bo·list \-list\ noun
Examples
“enough food to feed a whole army” is a common example of hyperbole
Origin: Latin, from Greek hyperbolē excess, hyperbole, hyperbola, from hyperballein to exceed, from hyper- + ballein to throw — more at devil.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: caricature, coloring, elaboration, embellishment, embroidering, embroidery, exaggeration, magnification, overstatement, padding, stretching
Antonyms: meiosis, understatement

371

Prevaricate

pre·var·i·cate\pri-ˈver-ə-ˌkāt, -ˈva-rə-\
: to avoid telling the truth by not directly answering a question
Full Definition
intransitive verb
: to deviate from the truth : equivocate
synonyms see lie
Other forms: pre·var·i·cat·ed; pre·var·i·cat·ing
pre·var·i·ca·tion \-ˌver-ə-ˈkā-shən, -ˈva-rə-\ noun
pre·var·i·ca·tor \-ˈver-ə-ˌkā-tər, -ˈva-rə-\ noun
Examples
during the hearings the witness was willing to prevaricate in order to protect his friend
Origin: Latin praevaricatus, past participle of praevaricari to act in collusion, literally, to straddle, from prae- + varicare to straddle, from varus bowlegged.
First use: circa 1631
Synonyms: fabricate, fib, 1lie

372

Charisma

cha·ris·ma\kə-ˈriz-mə\
noun
: a special charm or appeal that causes people to feel attracted and excited by someone (such as a politican)
Full Definition
1 : a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (as a political leader)
2 : a special magnetic charm or appeal
Examples
a movie star with great charisma
Origin: Greek, favor, gift, from charizesthai to favor, from charis grace; akin to Greek chairein to rejoice — more at yearn.
First use: 1930
Synonyms: allure, animal magnetism, appeal, attractiveness, captivation, charm, duende, enchantment, fascination, force field, glamour (also glamor), magic, magnetism, oomph, pizzazz (or pizazz), seductiveness, witchery
Antonyms: repulsion, repulsiveness

373

Genocide

geno·cide\ˈje-nə-ˌsīd\
noun
: the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group
Full Definition
: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group
geno·cid·al \ˌje-nə-ˈsī-dəl\ adjective
First use: 1944

374

Impregnable

im·preg·na·ble\im-ˈpreg-nə-bəl\
adjective
: not able to be captured by attack : very strong
: not likely to be weakened or changed
Full Definition
1 : incapable of being taken by assault : unconquerable
2 : unassailable; also : impenetrable
im·preg·na·bil·i·ty \(ˌ)im-ˌpreg-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
im·preg·na·ble·ness \im-ˈpreg-nə-bəl-nəs\ noun
im·preg·na·bly \-blē\ adverb
Examples
an impregnable fortress that had foiled one invader after another over the centuries
the castle's supposedly impregnable walls
Origin: Middle English imprenable, from Middle French, from in- + prenable vulnerable to capture, from prendre to take — more at prize.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: bulletproof, invincible, indomitable, insuperable, insurmountable, invulnerable, unbeatable, unconquerable, unstoppable
Antonyms: superable, surmountable, vincible, vulnerable

375

Toxic

376

Patriarch

pa·tri·arch\ˈpā-trē-ˌärk\
noun
: a man who controls a family, group, or government
: an official (called a bishop) of very high rank in the Orthodox Church
Full Definition
1 a : one of the scriptural fathers of the human race or of the Hebrew people
b : a man who is father or founder
c (1) : the oldest member or representative of a group (2) : a venerable old man
d : a man who is head of a patriarchy
2 a : any of the bishops of the ancient or Eastern Orthodox sees of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem or the ancient and Western see of Rome with authority over other bishops
b : the head of any of various Eastern churches
c : a Roman Catholic bishop next in rank to the pope with purely titular or with metropolitan jurisdiction
3 : a Mormon of the Melchizedek priesthood empowered to perform the ordinances of the church and pronounce blessings within a stake or prescribed jurisdiction
Origin: Middle English patriarche, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin patriarcha, from Greek patriarchēs, from patria lineage (from patr-, patēr father) + -archēs -arch — more at father.
First use: 13th century

377

Neophyte

neo·phyte\ˈnē-ə-ˌfīt\
noun
: a person who has just started learning or doing something
: a person who has recently joined a religious group
Full Definition
1 : a new convert : proselyte
2 : novice 1
3 : tyro, beginner
Examples
neophytes are assigned an experienced church member to guide them through their first year
a neophyte in snowboarding
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin neophytus, from Greek neophytos, from neophytos newly planted, newly converted, from ne- + phyein to bring forth — more at be.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: convert, proselyte
Antonyms: old hand, old-timer, vet, veteran

378

Extenuate

ex·ten·u·ate\ik-ˈsten-yə-ˌwāt, -yü-ˌāt\
transitive verb
1 a archaic : to make light of
b : to lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of by making partial excuses : mitigate
c obsolete : disparage
2 a archaic : to make thin or emaciated
b : to lessen the strength or effect of
Other forms: ex·ten·u·at·ed; ex·ten·u·at·ing
ex·ten·u·a·tor \-ˌ(w)ā-tər\ noun
ex·ten·u·a·to·ry \-(w)ə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
Examples
don't even try to extenuate their vandalism of the cemetery with the old refrain of “Boys will be boys”
Origin: Latin extenuatus, past participle of extenuare, from ex- + tenuis thin — more at thin.
First use: 1529
Synonyms: deodorize, excuse, explain away, palliate, gloss (over), gloze (over), whitewash

379

Foreboding

fore·bod·ing\-ˈbō-diŋ\
noun
: a feeling that something bad is going to happen
Full Definition
: the act of one who forebodes; also : an omen, prediction, or presentiment especially of coming evil : portent
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: baleful, dire, direful, doomy, ominous, ill, ill-boding, inauspicious, menacing, minatory, portentous, sinister, threatening
Antonyms: unthreatening
Synonyms: premonition, presage, presentiment, prognostication

380

Emanate

381

Miscreant

2miscreant
noun
: a person who does something that is illegal or morally wrong
Full Definition
1 : infidel, heretic
2 : one who behaves criminally or viciously
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: baddie (or baddy), beast, brute, caitiff, devil, evildoer, fiend, heavy, hound, knave, meanie (also meany), villain, monster, nazi, no-good, rapscallion, rascal, reprobate, rogue, savage, scalawag (or scallywag), scamp, scapegrace, scoundrel, varlet, wretch

mis·cre·ant\ˈmis-krē-ənt\
adjective
1 : unbelieving, heretical
2 : depraved, villainous
Origin: Middle English miscreaunt, from Anglo-French mescreant, present participle of mescreire to disbelieve, from mes- + creire to believe, from Latin credere — more at creed.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: baddie (or baddy), beast, brute, caitiff, devil, evildoer, fiend, heavy, hound, knave, meanie (also meany), villain, monster, nazi, no-good, rapscallion, rascal, reprobate, rogue, savage, scalawag (or scallywag), scamp, scapegrace, scoundrel, varlet, wretch

382

Protocol

383

Circuitous

384

Knell

knell\ˈnel\
transitive verb
: to summon or announce by or as if by a knellintransitive verb
1 : to ring especially for a death, funeral, or disaster : toll
2 : to sound in an ominous manner or with an ominous effect
Origin: Middle English, from Old English cnyllan; akin to Middle High German erknellen to toll.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: bong, chime, 2ring, peal, toll

2knell
noun
: a sound of a bell when it is rung slowly because someone has died
Full Definition
1 : a stroke or sound of a bell especially when rung slowly (as for a death, funeral, or disaster)
2 : an indication of the end or the failure of something
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: bong, chime, 2ring, peal, toll

385

Insurgent

in·sur·gent\-jənt\
noun
: a person who fights against an established government or authority
Full Definition
1 : a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government; especially : a rebel not recognized as a belligerent
2 : one who acts contrary to the policies and decisions of one's own political party
Origin: Latin insurgent-, insurgens, present participle of insurgere to rise up, from in- + surgere to rise — more at surge.
First use: 1765
Synonyms: rebellious, insurrectionary, mutinous, revolutionary
Synonyms: rebel, insurrectionary, insurrectionist, mutineer, red, revolter, revolutionary, revolutionist

2insurgent
adjective
: rising in opposition to civil authority or established leadership : rebellious
in·sur·gent·ly adverb
First use: 1807
Synonyms: rebellious, insurrectionary, mutinous, revolutionary
Synonyms: rebel, insurrectionary, insurrectionist, mutineer, red, revolter, revolutionary, revolutionist

386

Macabre

ma·ca·bre\mə-ˈkäb; -ˈkä-brə, -bər; -ˈkäbrə\
adjective
: involving death or violence in a way that is strange, frightening, or unpleasant
Full Definition
1 : having death as a subject : comprising or including a personalized representation of death
2 : dwelling on the gruesome
3 : tending to produce horror in a beholder
synonyms see ghastly
Examples
a macabre movie about animated corpses
Origin: French, from (danse) macabre dance of death, from Middle French (danse de) Macabré.
First use: 1889
Synonyms: appalling, atrocious, awful, dreadful, frightful, ghastly, grisly, gruesome (also grewsome), hideous, horrendous, horrid, horrific, horrifying, lurid, horrible, monstrous, nightmare, nightmarish, shocking, terrible, terrific

387

Ramification

ram·i·fi·ca·tion\ˌra-mə-fə-ˈkā-shən\
noun
: something that is the result of an action, decision, etc.
Full Definition
1 a : branch, offshoot
b : a branched structure
2 a : the act or process of branching
b : arrangement of branches (as on a plant)
3 : consequence, outgrowth
First use: 1665

388

Rapacious

389

Specious

spe·cious\ˈspē-shəs\
adjective
: falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right : appearing to be true but actually false
Full Definition
1 obsolete : showy
2 : having deceptive attraction or allure
3 : having a false look of truth or genuineness : sophistic
spe·cious·ly adverb
spe·cious·ness noun
Examples
a specious argument that really does not stand up under close examination
Origin: Middle English, visually pleasing, from Latin speciosus beautiful, plausible, from species.
First use: 1513
Synonyms: beguiling, deceitful, deceiving, deluding, delusive, delusory, fallacious, false, misleading, deceptive
Antonyms: aboveboard, forthright, nondeceptive, straightforward

390

Glut

glut\ˈglət\
transitive verb
1 : to fill especially with food to satiety
2 : to flood (the market) with goods so that supply exceeds demandintransitive verb
: to eat gluttonously
synonyms see satiate
Other forms: glut·ted; glut·ting
Examples
a glut of oil on the market
Origin: Middle English glouten, probably from Anglo-French glutir to swallow, from Latin gluttire — more at glutton.
First use: 14th century

391

Risible

ris·i·ble\ˈri-zə-bəl\
adjective
: deserving to be laughed at : very silly or unreasonable
Full Definition
1 a : capable of laughing
b : disposed to laugh
2 : arousing or provoking laughter; especially : laughable
3 : associated with, relating to, or used in laughter
ris·i·bly \-blē\ adverb
Examples
a risible comment that made the whole class laugh
the idea that people are meant to have wings is risible
Origin: Late Latin risibilis, from Latin risus, past participle of ridēre to laugh.
First use: 1557
Synonyms: antic, chucklesome, comedic, comic, comical, droll, farcical, hilarious, humoristic, humorous, hysterical (also hysteric), killing, laughable, ludicrous, ridiculous, riotous, funny, screaming, sidesplitting, uproarious
Antonyms: humorless, lame, unamusing, uncomic, unfunny, unhumorous, unhysterical

392

Dilatory

dil·a·to·ry\ˈdi-lə-ˌtȯr-ē\
adjective
: causing a delay
: tending to be late : slow to do something
Full Definition
1 : tending or intended to cause delay
2 : characterized by procrastination : tardy
dil·a·to·ri·ly \ˌdi-lə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē\ adverb
dil·a·to·ri·ness \ˈdi-lə-ˌtȯr-ē-nəs\ noun
Examples
the homeowner is claiming that local firefighters were dilatory in responding to the call
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French dilatorie, Late Latin dilatorius, from Latin differre (past participle dilatus) to postpone, differ — more at differ, tolerate.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: crawling, creeping, dallying, dawdling, slow, dillydallying, dragging, laggard, lagging, languid, leisurely, poking, poky (or pokey), sluggish, snaillike, snail-paced, tardy, unhurried
Antonyms: barreling, bolting, breakneck, breathless, brisk, careering, dizzy, fast, fleet, flying, hasty, hurrying, lightning, meteoric, quick, racing, rapid, rocketing, running, rushing, scooting, scudding, scurrying, snappy, speeding, speedy, swift, warp-speed, whirling, whirlwind, whisking, zipping

393

Denouement

de·noue·ment
noun
: the final part of something (such as a book, a play, or a series of events)
Full Definition
1 : the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work
2 : the outcome of a complex sequence of events
Variants: also dé·noue·ment \ˌdā-ˌnü-ˈmäⁿ, dā-ˈnü-ˌ\
Origin: French dénouement, literally, untying, from Middle French desnouement, from desnouer to untie, from Old French desnoer, from des- de- + noer to tie, from Latin nodare, from nodus knot — more at node.
First use: 1705

394

Dolorous

do·lor·ous\ˈdō-lə-rəs also ˈdä-\
adjective
: causing, marked by, or expressing misery or grief
do·lor·ous·ly adverb
do·lor·ous·ness noun
Examples
dolorous ballads of death and regret
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: aching, agonized, anguished, bemoaning, bewailing, bitter, deploring, doleful, dolesome, mournful, funeral, grieving, heartbroken, lamentable, lugubrious, plaintive, plangent, regretful, rueful, sorrowful, sorry, wailing, weeping, woeful

395

Enervate

2en·er·vate\ˈe-nər-ˌvāt\
: to make (someone or something) very weak or tired
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to reduce the mental or moral vigor of
2 : to lessen the vitality or strength of
synonyms see unnerve
Other forms: en·er·vat·ed; en·er·vat·ing
en·er·vat·ing·ly \-ˌvā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb
en·er·va·tion \ˌe-nər-ˈvā-shən\ noun
Origin: Latin enervatus, past participle of enervare, from e- + nervus sinew — more at nerve.
First use: 1605
Synonyms: castrate, damp, dampen, deaden, desiccate, devitalize, dehydrate, geld, lobotomize, petrify
Antonyms: brace, energize, enliven, invigorate, quicken, stimulate, vitalize, vivify

ener·vate\i-ˈnər-vət\
adjective
: lacking physical, mental, or moral vigor : enervated
First use: 1603
Synonyms: castrate, damp, dampen, deaden, desiccate, devitalize, dehydrate, geld, lobotomize, petrify
Antonyms: brace, energize, enliven, invigorate, quicken, stimulate, vitalize, vivify

396

Suffrage

suf·frage\ˈsə-frij, sometimes -fə-rij\
noun
: the right to vote in an election
Full Definition
1 : a short intercessory prayer usually in a series
2 : a vote given in deciding a controverted question or electing a person for an office or trust
3 : the right of voting : franchise; also : the exercise of such right
Examples
even as the world entered the 21st century, some nations still did not permit women's suffrage
Origin: in sense 1, from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin, vote, political support, from suffragari to support with one's vote; in other senses, from Latin suffragium.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: ballot, enfranchisement, franchise, vote
Antonyms: disenfranchisement

397

Cabal

398

Odious

399

Prescience

pre·science\ˈpre-sh(ē-)ən(t)s, ˈprē-, -s(ē-)ən(t)s\
noun
: the ability to know what will or might happen in the future
Full Definition
: foreknowledge of events:
a : divine omniscience
b : human anticipation of the course of events : foresight
pre·scient \-sh(ē-)ənt, -s(ē-)ənt\ adjective
pre·scient·ly adverb
Examples
most believers would probably agree that complete prescience is one of God's attributes
parents who had the prescience to make everything in their house childproof before the arrival of their first baby
Origin: Middle English, from Late Latin praescientia, from Latin praescient-, praesciens, present participle of praescire to know beforehand, from prae- + scire to know — more at science.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: foreknowledge, foresight
Antonyms: improvidence, myopia, shortsightedness

400

Verbatim

401

Reverie

rev·er·ie
noun
: a state in which you are thinking about pleasant things
Full Definition
1 : daydream
2 : the condition of being lost in thought
Other forms: plural rev·er·ies
Examples
I was lost in reverie and didn't realize my flight was boarding until it was almost too late
Variants: also rev·ery \ˈre-və-rē, ˈrev-rē\
Origin: French rêverie, from Middle French, delirium, from resver, rever to wander, be delirious.
First use: 1654
Synonyms: daydreaming, study, trance, woolgathering

402

Thespian

thes·pi·an\ˈthes-pē-ən\
adjective
1 capitalized : of or relating to Thespis
2 often capitalized [from the tradition that Thespis was the originator of the actor's role] : relating to the drama : dramatic
First use: 1567
Synonyms: impersonator, mummer, player, thesp, actor, trouper
Antonyms: nonactor

2thespian
noun
: actor
First use: 1827
Synonyms: impersonator, mummer, player, thesp, actor, trouper
Antonyms: nonactor

403

Despot

des·pot\ˈdes-pət, -ˌpät\
noun
: a ruler who has total power and who often uses that power in cruel and unfair ways
: a person who has a lot of power over other people
Full Definition
1 a : a Byzantine emperor or prince
b : a bishop or patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church
c : an Italian hereditary prince or military leader during the Renaissance
2 a : a ruler with absolute power and authority
b : a person exercising power tyrannically
Examples
the despot exiled political dissidents to remote labor camps, where they were left to rot
Origin: Middle French despote, from Greek despotēs master, lord, autocrat, from des- (akin to domos house) + -potēs (akin to posis husband); akin to Sanskrit dampati lord of the house — more at dome, potent.
First use: 1585
Synonyms: caesar, dictator, führer (or fuehrer), oppressor, pharaoh, strongman, tyrannizer, tyrant, man on horseback

404

Pathological

405

Articulate

ar·tic·u·late\är-ˈti-kyə-lət\
adjective
: able to express ideas clearly and effectively in speech or writing
: clearly expressed and easily understood
Full Definition
1 a : divided into syllables or words meaningfully arranged : intelligible
b : able to speak
c : expressing oneself readily, clearly, or effectively ; also : expressed readily, clearly, or effectively
2 a : consisting of segments united by joints : jointed
b : distinctly marked off
ar·tic·u·late·ly adverb
ar·tic·u·late·ness noun
Origin: Latin articulatus jointed, past participle of articulare, from articulus (see 1article ).
First use: 1586
Synonyms: eloquent, fluent, silver-tongued, well-spoken
Antonyms: inarticulate, ineloquent, unvocal
Synonyms: enunciate

2ar·tic·u·late\är-ˈti-kyə-ˌlāt\
: to express (something, such as an idea) in words
: to say or pronounce (something, such as a word) in a way that can be clearly heard and understood
: to connect with a joint or something that is like a joint
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to give clear and effective utterance to : put into words noun
Origin: (see 1articulate ).
First use: 1551
Synonyms: eloquent, fluent, silver-tongued, well-spoken
Antonyms: inarticulate, ineloquent, unvocal
Synonyms: enunciate

406

Grandeur

gran·deur\ˈgran-jər, -ˌju̇r, -ˌd(y)u̇r, -d(y)ər\
noun
: a great and impressive quality
Full Definition
1 : the quality or state of being grand : magnificence
2 : an instance or example of grandeur
Examples
struck by the grandeur of the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge
Origin: French, from Old French, from grand.
First use: 1600
Synonyms: augustness, brilliance, gloriousness, glory, gorgeousness, magnificence, grandness, majesty, nobility, nobleness, resplendence, resplendency, splendidness, splendiferousness, splendor, stateliness, stupendousness, sublimeness, superbness

407

Polemic

po·lem·ic\pə-ˈle-mik\
noun
: a strong written or spoken attack against someone else's opinions, beliefs, practices, etc.
: the art or practice of using language to defend or harshly criticize something or someone
Full Definition
1 a : an aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of another
b : the art or practice of disputation or controversy — usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction
2 : an aggressive controversialist : disputant
po·lem·i·cist \-ˈle-mə-sist\ noun
Origin: French polémique, from Middle French, from polemique controversial, from Greek polemikos warlike, hostile, from polemos war; perhaps akin to Greek pelemizein to shake, Old English ealfelo baleful.
First use: 1638

408

Impasse

im·passe\ˈim-ˌpas, im-ˈ\
noun
: a situation in which no progress seems possible
Full Definition
1 a : a predicament affording no obvious escape
b : deadlock
2 : an impassable road or way : cul-de-sac
Examples
in their bitter custody battle, the divorcing couple are at a total impasse
the impossible impasse faced by those who opposed the war but did not want to seem disloyal to the troops
Origin: French, from in- + passer to pass.
First use: 1851
Synonyms: deadlock, gridlock, halt, logjam, Mexican standoff, stalemate, standoff, standstill

409

Regimen

reg·i·men\ˈre-jə-mən also ˈre-zhə-\
noun
: a plan or set of rules about food, exercise, etc., to make someone become or stay healthy
Full Definition
1 a : a systematic plan (as of diet, therapy, or medication) especially when designed to improve and maintain the health of a patient
b : a regular course of action and especially of strenuous training
2 : government, rule
3 : regime 1c
Examples
with the start of the new year, a new party will have regimen over the nation and, hopefully, bring some much-needed change
Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin regimin-, regimen position of authority, direction, set of rules, from Latin, steering, control, from regere to direct.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: administration, authority, governance, government, jurisdiction, regime (also régime), rule

410

Denigrate

den·i·grate\ˈde-ni-ˌgrāt\
: to say very critical and often unfair things about (someone)
: to make (something) seem less important or valuable
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to attack the reputation of : defame adjective
Examples
theater critics have been denigrating her acting ability for years
Origin: Latin denigratus, past participle of denigrare, from de- + nigrare to blacken, from nigr-, niger black.
First use: 1526
Synonyms: bad-mouth, belittle, cry down, decry, deprecate, depreciate, derogate, diminish, dis (also diss) [slang], discount, dismiss, disparage, kiss off, minimize, play down, poor-mouth, put down, run down, talk down, trash, trash-talk, vilipend, write off
Antonyms: acclaim, applaud, exalt, extol (also extoll), glorify, laud, magnify, praise

411

Mortal

412

Inflict

in·flict\in-ˈflikt\
: to cause someone to experience or be affected by (something unpleasant or harmful)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : afflict
2 a : to give by or as if by striking
b : to cause (something unpleasant) to be endured
in·flict·er or in·flic·tor \-ˈflik-tər\ noun
in·flic·tive \-tiv\ adjective
Origin: Latin inflictus, past participle of infligere, from in- + fligere to strike — more at profligate.
First use: 1566

413

Guile

guile\ˈgī(-ə)l\
noun
: the use of clever and usually dishonest methods to achieve something
Full Definition
1 : deceitful cunning : duplicity
2 obsolete : stratagem, trick
guile·ful \-fəl\ adjective
guile·ful·ly \-fə-lē\ adverb
guile·ful·ness noun
Examples
When they couldn't win by honest means, they resorted to guile.
a shady salesman who usually relies on a combination of quick thinking and guile
Origin: Middle English gile, from Anglo-French, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old English wigle divination — more at witch.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: artfulness, artifice, caginess (also cageyness), canniness, craft, craftiness, cunningness, deviousness, foxiness, cunning, guilefulness, slickness, slyness, sneakiness, subtleness, subtlety, wiliness
Antonyms: artlessness, forthrightness, good faith, guilelessness, ingenuousness, sincerity