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Flashcards in A (I) Deck (150):

abase (v.)

to lower; to humiliate

Defeated, Queen Zenobia was forced to abase herself before the conquering Romans, who made her march in chains before the emperor in the procession celebrating his triumph.


abash (v.)

to embarrass

He was not at all abashed by her open admiration.


abate (v.)

to subside; to decrease, to lessen

Rather than leaving immediately, they waited for the storm to abate.


abbreviate (v.)

to shorten

Because we were running out of time, the lecturer had to abbreviate her speech.


abdicate (v.)

to renounce; to give up

When Edward VIII abdicated the British throne to marry the woman he loved, he surprised England.


abduction (n.)


The movie Ransom describes the attempts to rescue a multimillionaire's son after the child's abduction by kidnappers.


aberrant (n.)

abnormal or deviant

Given the aberrant nature of the data, we doubted the validity of the entire experiment.


abet (v.)

to aid, usually in doing something wrong; encourage

His lover was willing to abet him in the swindle he had planned.


abhor (v.)

to detest; to hate

She abhorred all forms of bigotry.


abject (adj.)

wretched; lacking pride

On the streets of New York the homeless live in abject poverty, huddling in doorways to find shelter from the wind.


abjure (v.)

to renounce upon oath

He abjured his allegiance to the king.


abnegation (n.)

repudiation--rejection; self-sacrifice

Though Rudolph and Duchess Flavia loved one another, their love was doomed, for she had to marry the king; their act of abnegation was necessary to preserve the kingdom.


abolish (v.)

to cancel; to put an end to

The president of the college refused to abolish the physical education requirement.


abominable (adj.)

detestable; extremely unpleasant; very bad

Mary like John until she learned he was dating Susan; then she called him an abominable young man, with abominable taste in women.


aboriginal (adj., n.)

being the first of its kind in a region (primitive) ; native

Her studies of the primitive art forms of the aboriginal Indians were widely reported in the scientific journals.


abortive (adj.)

unsuccessful; fruitless

Attacked by armed troops, the Chinese students had to abandon their abortive attempt to democratize Beijing peacefully.


abrade (v.)

to wear away by friction; to scrape; to erode

Because the sharp rocks had abraded the skin on her legs, she dabbed iodine on the scrapes and abrasions.


abrasive (adj.)

rubbing away; tending to grind down

Just as abrasive cleaning powders can wear away a shiny finish, abrasive remarks can wear away a listener's patience.


abridge (v.)

to condense or shorten

Because the publishers felt the public wanted a shorter version of War and Peace, they proceeded to abridge the novel.


abscond (v.)

to depart secretly and hide

The teller who absconded with the bonds went uncaptured until someone recognized him from his photograph on "America's Most Wanted."


absolute (adj.)

complete; totally unlimited; certain

Although the King of Siam was an absolute monarch, he did not want to behead his unfaithful wife without absolute evidence of her infidelity.


absolve (v.)

to pardon (an offense)

The father confessor absolved him of his sins.


absorb (v.)

to assimilate or incorporate; suck of drink up; wholly engage

During the nineteenth century, America absorbed hordes of immigrants, turning them into patriotic citizens.
Can Huggies diapers absorb more liquid than Pampers can?
This question does no absorb me; instead, it bores me.


abstain (v.)

to refrain; hold oneself back voluntarily from an action or practice

After considering the effect of alcohol on his athletic performance, he decided to abstain from drinking while he trained for the race.


abstemious (adj.)

sparing in eating and drinking; temperate

Concerned whether her vegetarian son's abstemious diet provided him with sufficient protein, the worried mother pressed food on him.


abstinence (n.)

restraint from eating or drinking

The doctor recommended total abstinence from salted foods.


abstract (adj.)

theoretical; not concrete; nonrepresentational

To him, hunger was an abstract concept; he had never missed a meal.


abstruse (adj.)

obscure; profound; difficult to understand

Baffled by the abstruse philosophical texts assigned in class, Dave asked Lexy to explain Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.


abundant (adj.)

plentiful; possessing riches or resources.

At his immigration interview, Ivan listed his abundant reasons for coming to America: the hope of religious freedom, the prospect of employment, the promise of a more abundant life.


abusive (adj.)

coarsely insulting; physically harmful

An abusive parent damages a child both mentally and physically.


abut (v.)

to border upon; adjoin

Where our estates abut, we must build a fence.


abysmal (adj.)


His arrogance is exceeded only by his abysmal ignorance.


academic (adj.)

related to a school; not practical or directly useful

The dean's talk about reforming the college admissions system only an academic discussion: we knew little, if anything, would change.


accede (v.)

to agree

If I accede to this demand for blackmail, I am afraid that I will be the victim of future demands.


accelerate (v.)

to move faster

In our science class, we learn how falling bodies accelerate.


accentuate (v.)

to emphasize; to stress

If you accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, you may wind up with an overoptimistic view of the world.


accessible (adj.)

easy to approach; obtainable

We asked our guide whether the ruins were accessible on foot.


accessory (n.)

additional object; useful but not essential thing

She bought an attractive handbag as an accessory for her dress.


acclaim (v.)

to applaud; to announce with great approval

The NBC sportscasters acclaimed every American victory in the Olympics and decried--condemned--every American defeat.


acclimate (v.)

to adjust to climate or environment; adapt

One of the difficulties of our present air age is the need of travelers to acclimate themselves to their new and often strange environments.


acclivity (n.)

sharp upslope of a hill

The car would not go up the acclivity in high gear.


accolade (n.)

award of merit

In Hollywood, an Oscar is the highest accolade.


accommodate (v.)

to oblige or help someone; adjust or bring into harmony; adapt

Mitch always did everything possible to accommodate his elderly relative, from driving them to medical appointments to helping them with paperwork. (secondary meaning)


accomplice (n.)

partner in crime.

Because he had provided the criminal with the lethal weapon, he was arrested as an accomplice in the murder.


accord (n.)


She was in complete accord with the verdict--final decision on a case; opinion or judgement.


accost (v.)

to approach and speak first to a person

When the two young men accosted me, I was frightened because I thought they were going to verbally assault me.


accoutre (v.)

to equip

The fisherman was accoutered with the best that the sporting goods store could supply.


acerbity (n.)

bitterness of speech and temper

The meeting of the United Nations General Assembly was marked with such acerbity that informed sources held out little hope of reaching any useful settlement of the problem.


acetic (adj.)


The salad had an exceedingly acetic flavor.


acidulous (adj.)

slightly sour; sharp; caustic

James was unpopular because of his sarcastic and acidulous remarks.


acknowledge (v.)

to recognize; to admit

Although Iris acknowledged that the Beatles' tunes sounded pretty dated nowadays, she still preferred them to the hip-hop songs her brothers played.


acme (n.)

top; pinnacle

His success in this role marked the acme of his career as an actor.


acoustics (n.)

science of sound; quality that makes a room easy or hard to hear in

Carnegie Hall is like by music lovers because of its fine acoustics.


acquiesce (v.)

to assent--to agree; to agree without protesting

Although she appeared to acquiesce to her employer's suggestions, I could tell she had reservations about the changed he wanted made.


acquire (v.)

to obtain; to get

Frederick Douglass was determined to acquire an education despite his master's efforts to prevent his doing so.


acquittal (n.)

deliverance from a charge--exoneration

His acquittal by the jury surprised those who had thought him guilty.


acrid (adj.)

sharp; bitterly pungent

The acrid odor of burnt gunpowder filled the room after the pistol had been fired.


acrimonious (adj.)

bitter in words or manner

The candidate attacked his opponent in highly acrimonious terms.


acrophobia (n.)

fear of heights

A born salesman, he could convince someone with a bad case of acrophobia to sign up for a life membership in a sky-diving club.


actuarial (adj.)

calculating; pertaining to insurance statistics

According to recent actuarial tables, life expectancy is greater today than it was a century ago.


acuity (n.)


In time his youthful acuity of vision failed him, and he needed glasses.


acumen (n.)

mental keenness

His business acumen helped him to succeed where others have failed.


acute (adj.)

quickly perceptive; keen; brief and severe

The acute young doctor realized immediately that the gradual deterioration of her patient's once acute hearing was due to a chronic illness, not an acute one.


adage (n.)

wise saying; proverb

There is much truth in the old adage about fools and their money.


adamant (adj.)

hard; inflexible

Bronson played the part of a revenge-driven man, adamant in his determination to punish the criminals who destroyed his family.


adapt (v.)

to alter; to modify

Some species of animals have become extinct because they could not adapt to a changing environment.


addiction (n.)

compulsive, habitual need

His addiction to drugs cause his friends much grief.


addle (v.)

to muddle; to drive crazy; to become rotten.

This idiotic plan is confusing enough to addle anyone.


address (v.)

to direct a speech to; deal with or discuss

Due to address the convention in July, Brown planned to address the issue of low-income housing in his speech.


adept (adj.)

expert at

She was adept at the fine art of irritating people.


adhere (v.)

to stick fast

I will adhere to this opinion until proof that I am wrong is presented.


adherent (n.)

supporter; follower

In the wake of the scandal, the senator's one-time adherents quickly deserted him.


adjacent (adj.)

adjoining; neighboring; close by

Philip's best friend Jason live only four houses down the block, close but not immediately adjacent.


adjunct (n.)

something added on or attached (generally nonessential or inferior)

Although I don't absolutely need a second computer, I plan to buy a laptop to serve as an adjunct to my desktop model.


admonition (n.)


After the student protester repeatedly rejected the dean's admonitions, the administration at once or the campus police would arrest the demonstrators.


adorn (v.)

to decorate

Wall paintings and carved statues adorned the temple


adroit (adj.)


His adroit handling of the delicate situation pleased his employers


adulation (n.)

flattery; admiration

The rock star thrived on the adulation of his groupies and yes men.


adulterate (v.)

to make impure by adding inferior or tainted substances

It is a crime to adulterate foods without informing the buyer; when consumers learned that Beech-Nut had adulterated their apple juice by mixing it with water, they protested vigorously.


advent (n.)


Most Americans were unaware of the advent of the Nuclear Age until the news of Hiroshima reached them.


adversary (n.)


The young wrestler struggled to defeat his adversary.


adverse (adj.)

unfavorable; hostile

The recession had a highly adverse effect on Father's investment portfolio: he lost so much money that could no longer afford the butler and the upstairs maid.


adversity (n.)

unfavorable fortune; hardship; a calamitous--disastrous--event

According to the humorist Mark Twain, anyone can easily learn to endure adversity, as long as it is another man's.


advocacy (n.)

support; active pleading on something's behalf

No threats could dissuade Bishop Desmond Tutu from his advocacy of the human rights of black South Africans.


advocate (v.)

to urge; to plead for

The abolitionists advocated freedom for the slaves.


aerie (n.)

nest of a large bird of prey (eagle, hawk)

The mother eagle swooped down on the unwitting rabbit and bore it off to her aerie high in the Rocky Mountains.


aesthetic (adj.)

artistic; dealing with or capable of appreciation of the beautiful

The beauty of Tiffany's stained glass appealed to Esther's aesthetic sense.


affable (adj.)

easily approachable; warmly friendly

Accustomed to cold, aloof supervisors, Nicholas was amazed at how affable his new employer was.


affected (adj.)

artificial; pretended; assumed in order to impress

His affected mannerisms--his "Harvard" accent, air of boredom, use of obscure foreign words--annoyed us; he acted as if he thought he was too good for his old high school friends.


affidavit (n.)

written statement made under oath

The court refused to accept his statement unless he presented it in the form of an affidavit.


affinity (n.)


She felt an affinity with all who suffered; their pains were her pains.


affirmation (n.)

positive assertion; confirmation; solemn pledge by one who refuses to take an oath

Despite Tom's affirmations of innocence, Aunt Polly still suspected he had eaten the pie.


affix (v.)

to fasten; to attach; to add on

First the registrar had to affix her signature to the license; then she had to affix her official seal.


affliction (n.)

state of distress; cause of suffering

Even in the midst of her affliction, Elizabeth tried to keep up the spirits of those around her.


affluence (n.)

abundance; wealth

Foreigners are amazed by the affluence and luxury of the American way of life.


affront (n.)

insult; offense; intentional act of disrespect

When Mrs. Proudie was not seated beside the Archdeacon--a senior Christian clerk--at the head table, she took it as a personal affront and refused to speak to her hosts for a week.


aftermath (n.)

consequences; outcome; upshot

People around the world wondered what the aftermath of China's violent suppression of the student protests would be.


agenda (n.)

items of business at a meeting

We had so much difficulty agreeing upon an agenda that there was very little time for the meeting.


agent (n.)

means or instrument; personal representative; person acting in an official capacity

"I will be the agent of America's destruction," proclaimed the beady-eyed villain, whose agent had gotten him the role.
With his face, he could never have played the part of the hero, a heroic F.B.I. agent.


aggrandize (v.)

to increase or intensify
The history of the past quarter century illustrates how a President may aggrandize his power to act aggressively in international affairs without considering the wishes of Congress.


aggregate (v.)

to gather; to accumulate

Before the Wall Street scandals, dealers in junk bonds managed to aggregate great wealth in short periods of time.


aggressor (n.)


Before you punish both boys for fighting, see whether you can determine which one was the aggressor.


aghast (adj.)


He was aghast at the nerve of the speaker who had insulted his host.


agility (n.)


The agility of the acrobat amazed and thrilled the audience.


agitate (v.)

to stir up; to disturb

Her fiery remarks agitated the already angry mob.


agnostic (n.)

one who is skeptical of the existence or knowability of a god or any ultimate reality

Agnostics say we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of god; we simply just can't know.


alacrity (n.)

cheerful eagerness

Eager to get away to the mountains, Phil and Dave packed up their ski gear and climbed into the van with alacrity.


alchemy (n.)

medieval chemistry

The changing of baser metals into gold was the goal of the students of alchemy.


alcove (n.)

nook--a corner, as in a room; small, recessed section of a room

Though their apartment lacked a full-scale dining room, and alcove adjacent to the living room made an adequate breakfast nook for the young couple.


alias (n.)

false name used to hide one's identity

John Smith's alias was Bob Jones.


alienate (v.)

to make hostile; to separate

Her attempts to alienate the two friends failed because they had complete faith in each other.


alimentary (adj.)

supplying nourishment

The alimentary canal in our bodies is so named because digestion of foods occurs there.


alimony (n.)

payments made to an ex-spouse after divorce

Because Tony had supported Tina through medical school, on their divorce he asked the court to award him $500 a month in alimony.


allay (v.)

to calm; to pacify

The crew tried to allay the fears of the passengers by announcing that the fire had been controlled.


allege (v.)

to state without proof

Although it is alleged that she had worked for the enemy, she denies the allegation and, legally, we can take no action against her without proof.


allegiance (n.)


Not even a term in prison could shake Lech Walesa's allegiance to Solidarity, the Polish trade union he had helped to found.


allegory (n.)

story in which characters are used as symbols; fable--short tale to teach a moral lesson

Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory of the temptations and victories of man's soul.


alleviate (v.)

to relieve

This should alleviate the pain; if it does not, we shall have to use stronger drugs.


alliteration (n.)

repetition of beginning sound in poetry

"The furrow followed free" is an example of alliteration.


allocate (v.)

to assign

Even though the Red Cross had allocated a large sum for the relief of the sufferers of the disaster, many people perished.


alloy (n.)

a mixture as of metals

Alloys of gold are used more frequently than the pure metal.


alloy (v.)

to mix; to make less pure; to lessen or moderate

Our delight at the Yankees' victory was alloyed by our concern for Dwight Gooden, who injured his pitching arm in the game.


allude (v.)

to refer indirectly

Try not to mention divorce in Jack's presence because he will think you are alluding to his marital problems with Jill.


allure (v.)

to entice; to attract

Allured by the song of the sirens, the helmsman steered the ship toward the reef.


allusion (n.)

indirect reference

When Amanda said to the ticket scalper, "One hundred bucks? What do you want, a pound of flesh?," she was making an allusion to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.


aloft (adj.)


The sailor climbed aloft into the rigging.

To get into a loft bed, you have to climb aloft.


aloof (adj.)

apart; reserved

Shy by nature, she remained aloof while all the rest conversed.


altercation (n.)

noisy quarrel; heated dispute

In that hot-tempered household, no meal ever came to a peaceful conclusion; the inevitable altercation might even end in blows.


altruistic (adj.)

unselfishly generous; concerned for other

In providing tutorial assistance and college scholarships for hundreds of economically disadvantaged youths, Eugene Lang performed a truly altruistic deed.


amalgamate (v.)

to combine; to unite in one body

The unions will attempt to amalgamate their groups into one national body.


amass (v.)

to collect

The miser--a person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money--'s aim is to amass and hoard as much gold as possible.


ambidextrous (adj.)

capable of using either hand with equal ease

A switch-hitter in baseball should be naturally ambidextrous.


ambience (n.)

environment; atmosphere

She went to the restaurant not for the food but for the ambience.


ambiguous (adj.)

unclear or doubtful in meaning

His ambiguous instructions misled us; we did not know which road to take.


ambivalence (n.)

the state of having contradictory or conflicting emotional attitudes

Torn between loving her parents one minute and hating them the next, she was confused by the ambivalence of her feelings.


amble (n.)

moving at an easy pace

When she first mounted the horse, she was afraid to urge the animal to go faster than a gentle amble.


ambulatory (adj.)

able to walk; not bedridden--confined to bed because of illness

Juan was a highly ambulatory patient; not only did he refuse to be confined to bed, but he insisted on riding his skateboard up and down the stairs.


ameliorate (v.)

to improve

Many social workers have attempted to ameliorate the conditions of people living in the slums.


amenable (adj.)

readily managed; willing to be led

Although the ambassador was usually amenable to friendly suggestions, he balked when we hinted that he should waive his diplomatic immunity and pay his parking tickets.


amend (v.)

to correct; to change, generally for the better

Hoping to amend his condition, he left Vietnam for the United States.


amenities (n.)

convenient features; courtesies

In addition to the customary amenities for the business traveler--fax machines, modems, a health club--the hotel offers the services of a butler versed in the social amenities.


amiable (adj.)

agreeable; lovable; warmly friendly

In Little Women, Beth is the amiable daughter whose loving disposition endears her to all who know her.


amicable (adj.)

politely friendly; not quarrelsome

Beth's sister Jo is the hot-tempered tomboy who has a hard time maintaining amicable relations with those around her.
Jo's quarrel with her friend Laurie finally reaches an amicable settlement, but not because Jo turns amiable overnight.


amiss (adj.)

wrong; faulty

Seeing her frown, he wondered if anythings were amiss.


amity (n.)


Student exchange programs such as the Experiment in International Living were established to promote international amity.


amnesia (n.)

loss of memory

Because she was suffering from amnesia, the police could not get the young girl to identify herself.


amnesty (n.)


When his first child was born, the king granted amnesty to all in prison.


amoral (adj.)


The amoral individual lacks a code of ethics; he cannot tell right from wrong.
The immoral person can tell right from wrong; he chooses to do something he knows is wrong.


amorous (adj.)

moved by sexual love; loving

"Love them and leave them" was the motto of the amorous Don Juan.


amorphous (adj.)

formless; lacking shape or definition

As soon as we have decided on our itinerary, we shall send you a copy; right now, our plans are still amorphous.