A (II) Flashcards Preview

SAT > A (II) > Flashcards

Flashcards in A (II) Deck (178):

amphibian (adj.)

able to live both on land and in water

Frogs are classified as amphibian.


amphitheater (n.)

oval building with tiers of seats

The spectators in the amphitheater cheered the gladiators.


ample (adj.)


Bond had ample opportunity to escape. Why did he let us catch him?


amplify (v.)

to broaden or clarify by expanding; to intensify; to make stronger

Charlie Brown tried to amplify his remarks, but he was drowned out by jeers from the audience. Lucy was smarter: she used a loudspeaker to amplify her voice.


amputate (v.)

to cut off part of body; prune--chop off

Though the doctors had to amputate his leg to prevent the spread of cancer, the young athlete refused to let the loss of a limb keep him from participating in sports.


anachronistic (adj.)

having an error involving time in a story

The reference to clocks in Julius Caesar is anachronistic; clocks did not exist in Caesar's time.


analogous (adj.)


She called our attention to the things that had been done in an analogous situation and recommended that we do the same.


analogy (n.)

similarity; parallelism

A well-known analogy compares the body's immune system with an army whose defending troops are the lymphocytes or white blood cells.


anarchist (n.)

person who seeks to overturn the established government; advocate of abolishing authority

Denying she was an anarchist, Katya maintained she wished only to make changes in our government, not to destroy it entirely.


anathema (n.)

solemn curse; someone or something regarded as a curse

The Ayatolla Khomeini heaped anathema upon "the Great Satan," that is, the United States. To the Ayatolla, America and the West were anathema; he loathed the democratic nations, cursing them in his dying words.


ancestry (n.)

family descent

David can trace his ancestry as far back as the seventeenth century, when one of his ancestors was a court trumpeter somewhere in Germany.


anchor (v.)

to secure or fasten firmly; to be fixed in place

We set the post in concrete to anchor it in place.


anecdote (n.)

short account of an amusing or interesting event

Rather than make concrete proposals for welfare reform, President Reagan told anecdotes about poor people who became wealthy despite their impoverished backgrounds.


anemia (n.)

condition in which blood lacks red corpuscles

The doctor ascribes her tiredness to anemia.


anesthetic (n.)

substance that removes sensation with or without loss of consciousness

His monotonous voice acted like an anesthetic; his audience was soon asleep.


anguish (n.)

acute pain; extreme suffering

Visiting the site of the explosion, the governor wept to see the anguish of the victims and their families.


angular (adj.)

sharped-cornered; stiff in manner

Mr. Spock's features, though angular, were curiously attractive, in a Vulcan way.


animated (adj.)

lively; spirited

Jim Carrey's facial expressions are highly animated: when he played Ace Ventura, he looked practically rubber-faced.


animosity (n.)

active enmity

He incurred the animosity of the ruling class because he advocated limitations of their power.


animus (n.)

hostile feeling or intent

The speaker's sarcastic comments about liberal do-gooders and elitist snobs revealed his deep-seated animus against his opponent.


annals (n.)

records; history

"In this year our good King Richard died," wrote the chronicler in the kingdom's annals.


annex (v.)

to attach; to take possession of

Mexico objected to the United States' attempts to annex the territory that later became the state of Texas.


annihilate (v.)

to destroy

The enemy in its revenge tried to annihilate the entire population.


annotate (v.)

to comment; to make explanatory notes

In explanatory notes following each poem, the editor carefully annotated the poet's more esoteric references.


annul (v.)

to make void

The parents of the eloped couple tried to annul the marriage.


anoint (v.)

consecrate--to dedicate or to declare sacred

The prophet Samuel anointed David with oil, crowning him king of Israel.


anomalous (adj.)

abnormal; irregular

He was placed in the anomalous position of seeming to approve procedures which he despised.


anomaly (n.)


A bird that cannot fly is an anomaly.


anonymity (n.)

state of being nameless; anonymousness

The donor of the gift asked the college not to mention him by name; the dean readily agreed to respect his anonymity.


anonymous (adj.)

having no name

She tried to ascertain the identity of the writer of the anonymous letter.


antagonism (n.)

hostility; active resistance

Barry showed his antagonism toward his new stepmother by ignoring her whenever she tried talking to him.


antecede (v.)

to precede--to come before something in time

The invention of the radiotelegraph anteceded the development of television by a quarter of a century.


antecedents (n.)

preceding event or circumstances that influence what comes later; ancestors or early background.

Susi Bechhofer's ignorance of her Jewish background had its antecedents in the chaos of World War II. Smuggled out of Germany and adopted by a Christian family, she knew nothing of her birth and antecedents until she was reunited with her family in 1989.


antediluvian (adj.)

antiquated; extremely ancient

Looking at his great-aunt's antique furniture, which must have been cluttering up her attic since the time of Noah's flood, the young heir exclaimed "Heavens! How positively antediluvian!"


anthem (n.)

song of praise of patriotism

Let us now all join in singing the national anthem.


anthology (n.)

book of literary selections by various authors

This anthology of science fiction was complied by the late Isaac Asimov.


anthropocentric (adj.)

regarding human beings as the center of the universe

Without considering any evidence that might challenge his anthropocentric viewpoint, Hector categorically maintained that dolphins could not be as intelligent as men.


anthropoid (adj.)


The gorilla is the strongest of the anthropoid animals.


anthropologist (n.)

a student of the history and science of mankind

Anthropologists have discovered several relics of prehistoric man in this area.


anticlimax (n.)

letdown in thought or emotion

After the fine performance in the first act, the rest of the play was an anticlimax.


antidote (n.)

medicine to counteract a poison or disease

When Marge's child accidentally swallowed some cleaning fluid, the local poison control hotline instructed Marge how to administer the antidote.


antipathy (n.)

aversion; dislike

Tom's extreme antipathy for disputes keeps him from getting into arguments with his temperamental wife.


antiquated (adj.)

old-fashioned; obsolete

Philip had grown so accustomed to editing his papers on word processors that he thought typewriters were too antiquated for him to use.


antiseptic (n.)

substance that prevents infection

It is advisable to apply an antiseptic to any wound, no matter how slight or insignificant.


antithesis (n.)

contrast; direct opposite of or to

This tyranny was the antithesis of all that he had hoped for, and he fought it with all his strength.


apathy (n.)

lack of caring; indifference

A firm believer in democratic government, she could not understand the apathy of people who never bothered to vote.


ape (v.)

to imitate or mimic

He was suspended for a week because he had aped the principal in front of the whole school.


apex (n.)

tip; summit; climax

At the apex of his career, the star was deluged with offers of leading roles.


aphorism (n.)

pithy--concise and forcefully expressive--maxim--a short, pithy statement expressing general truth or role of conduct

An aphorism differs from an adage in that it is more philosophical or scientific.
"The proper study of mankind is man" is an aphorism. "There's no smoke without a fire" is an adage.


aplomb (n.)

poise--graceful and elegant bearing in a person; assurance

Gwen's aplomb in handling potentially embarrassing moments was legendary around the office; when one of her clients broke a piece of her best crystal, she coolly picket up her own goblet and hurled it into the fireplace.


apocalyptic (adj.)

prophetic; pertaining to revelations

The crowd jeered at the street preacher's apocalyptic predictions of doom.
The Apocalypse or Book of Revelations of Saint John prophesies the end of the world as we know it and foretells marvels and prodigies that signal the coming doom.


apocryphal (adj.)

untrue; made up

To impress his friends, Tom invented apocryphal tales of his adventures in the big city.


apolitical (adj.)

having an aversion or lack of concern for political affairs

It was hard to remain apolitical during the Vietnam War; even people who generally ignored public issues felt they had to take political stands.


apologist (n.)

one who writes in defense of a cause or institution

Rather than act as an apologist for the current regime in Beijing and defend its brutal actions, the young diplomat decided to defect to the West.


apostate (n.)

one who abandons his religious faith or political beliefs

Because he switched from one party to another, his former friends shunned him as an apostate.


apotheosis (n.)

elevation to godhood; an ideal example of something

The apotheosis of a Roman emperor was designed to insure his eternal greatness: people would worship at his altar forever.
The hero of the musical How to Succeed in Business...was the apotheosis of yuppieness: he was the perfect upwardly-bound young man on the make.


appall (v.)

to dismay; to shock

We were appalled by the horrifying conditions in the city's jails.


apparatus (n.)


Firefighters use specialized apparatus to fight fires.


apparition (n.)

ghost; phantom

On the castle battlements, an apparition materialized and spoke to Hamlet, warning him of his uncle's treachery.
In Ghostbusters, hordes of apparitions materialized, only to be dematerialized by the specialized apparatus wielded by Bill Murray.


appease (v.)

to pacify or soothe; to relieve

Tom and Jody tried to appease the crying baby by offering him one toy after another, but he would not calm down until they appeased his hunger by giving him a bottle.


appellation (n.)

name; title

Macbeth was startled when the witches greeted him with an incorrect appellation.
Why did they call him Thane of Cawdor, he wondered, when the holder of that title still lived?


append (v.)

to attach

When you append a bibliography to a text, you have just created an appendix.


application (n.)

diligent attention

Pleased with how well Tom had whitewashed the fence, Aunt Polly praised him for his application to the task.



appropriate; fitting

He was always able to find the apposite phrase, the correct expression for every occasion.


appraise (v.)

to estimate value of

It is difficult to appraise the value of old paintings; it is easier to call them priceless.


appreciate (v.)

to be thankful for; increase in worth; be thoroughly conscious of

Little Orphan Annie truly appreciated the stocks Daddy Warbucks gave her, which appreciated in value considerably over the years.


apprehend (v.)

to arrest (a criminal); to dread; to perceive

The police will apprehend the culprit and convict him before long.


apprehension (n.)


His nervous glances at the passersby on the deserted street revealed his apprehension.


apprenticeship (n.)

time spent as a novice learning a trade from a skilled worker

As a child, Pip had thought it would be wonderful to work as Joe's apprentice; now he hated his apprenticeship and scorned the blacksmith's trade.


apprise (v.)

to inform

When he was apprised of the dangerous weather conditions, he decided to postpone his trip.


approbation (n.)


She looked for some sign of approbation from her parents, hoping her good grades would please them.


appropriate (v.)

to acquire; to take possession of for one's own use

The ranch owners appropriated the lands that had originally been set aside for the Indians' use.


apropos (prep.)

with reference to; regarding

I find your remarks apropos of the present situation timely and pertinent.


aptitude (n.)

fitness; talent

The counselor gave him an aptitude test before advising him about the career he should follow.


aquatic (adj.)

pertaining to water

Paul enjoyed aquatic sports such as scuba diving and snorkeling.


aquiline (adj.)

curved, hooked

Cartoonists exaggerated the senator's aquiline nose, curving it until it looked like the beak of an eagle.


arable (adj.)

Fit for growing crops

The first settlers wrote home glowing reports of the New World, praising its vast acres of arable land ready for the plow.


arbiter (n.)

a person with power to decide a dispute; judge

As an arbiter in labor dispute, she has won the confidence of the workers and the employers.


arbitrary (adj.)

capricious; randomly chosen; tyrannical

Tom's arbitrary dismissal angered him; his boss had no reason to fire him.
He threw an arbitrary assortment of clothes into his suitcase and headed off, not caring where he went.


arbitrator (n.)


Because the negotiating teams had been unable to reach a contract settlement, an outside arbitrator was called upon to mediate the dispute between union and management.


arcade (n.)

a covered passageway, usually lined with shops

The arcade was popular with shoppers because it gave them protection from the summer sun and the winter rain.


arcane (adj.)

secret; mysterious; known only to the initiated

Secret brotherhoods surround themselves with arcane rituals and trappings to mystify outsiders.
Consider the arcane terminology doctors use and the impression they try to give that what is arcane to us is obvious to them.


archaeology (n.)

study of artifacts and relics of early mankind

The professor of archaeology headed an expedition to the Gobi Desert in search of ancient ruins.


archaic (adj.)


"Methinks," "thee," and "thou" are archaic words that are no longer part of our normal vocabulary.


archetype (n.)

prototype; primitive pattern

The Brooklyn Bridge was the archetype of the many spans that now connect Manhattan with Long Island and New Jersey.


archives (n.)

public records; place where public records are kept

These documents should be part of the archives so that historians may be able to evaluate them in the future.


ardent (adj.)

intense; passionate; zealous

Katya's ardor was contagious; soon all her fellow demonstrators were busily making posters and handing out flyers, inspired by her ardent enthusiasm for the cause.


arduous (adj.)

hard; strenuous

Her arduous efforts had sapped her energy.


aria (n.)

operatic solo

At her Metropolitan Opera audition, Marian Anderson sang an aria from Norma.


arid (adj.)

dry; barren

The cactus has adapted to survive in an arid environment.


aristocracy (n.)

hereditary nobility; privileged class

Americans have mixed feelings about hereditary aristocracy: we say all men are created equal, but we describe particularly outstanding people as natural aristocrats.


aromatic (adj.)


Medieval sailing vessels brought aromatic herbs from China to Europe.


arousal (n.)

awakening; provocation (of a response)

On arousal, Papa was always grumpy as a bear.
The children tiptoes around the house, fearing they would arouse his anger by waking him up.


arraign (v.)

to charge in court; to indict--formally accuse of or charge with serious crime

After his indictment by the Grand Jury, the accused man was arraigned in the County Criminal Court.


array (v.)

to marshal--to arrange or assemble in order; to draw up in

His actions were bound to array public sentiment against him.


array (v.)

to clothe; to adorn

She liked to watch her mother array herself in her finest clothes before going out for the evening.


arrears (n.)

being in debt

He was in arrears with his payments on the car.


arrest (v.)

to stop or slow down' to catch someone's attention

Slipping, the trapeze artist plunged from the heights until a safety net luckily arrested his fall.
This near-disaster arrested the crowd's attention.


arrogance (n.)

pride; haughtiness

Convinced that Emma thought she was better than anyone else in the class, Ed rebuked her for her arrogance.


arsenal (n.)

storage place for military equipment

People are forbidden to smoke in the arsenal for fear that a stray spark might set off the munitions stored there.


articulate (adj.)

effective; distinct

Her articulate presentation of the advertising campaign impressed her employers.


artifact (n.)

object made by human beings, either handmade or mass-produced

Archaeologists debated the significance of the artifacts discovered in the ruins of Asia Minor but came to no conclusion about the culture they represented.


artifice (n.)

deception; trickery

The Trojan War proved to the Greeks that cunning and artifice were often more effective than military might.


artisan (n.)

manually skilled worker; craftsman, as opposed to artist

A noted artisan, Arturo was known for the fine craftsmanship of his inlaid cabinets.


artless (adj.)

without guile; open and honest

Sophisticated and cynical, Jack could not believe Jill was as artless and naive as she appeared to be.


ascendancy (n.)

controlling influence; domination

Leaders of religious cults maintain ascendancy over their followers by methods that can verge on brainwashing.


ascertain (v.)

to find out for certain

Please ascertain her present address.


ascetic (adj.)

practicing self-denial; austere

The wealthy, self-indulgent man felt oddly drawn to the strict, ascetic life led by members of some monastic orders.


ascribe (v.)

to refer; to attribute; to assign

I can ascribe no motive for her acts.


aseptic (adj.)

preventing infection; having a cleansing effect

Hospitals succeeded in lowering the mortality rate as soon as they introduced aseptic conditions.


ashen (adj.)


Her face was ashen with fear.


asinine (adj.)


"What an asinine comment!" said Bob contemptuously. "O've never heard such a stupid remark."


askance (adj.)

with a sideways or indirect look.

Looking askance at her questioner, she displayed her scorn.


askew (adj.)

crookedly; slanted; at an angle

Judy constantly straightened the doilies on her furniture: she couldn't stand seeing them askew.


asperity (n.)

sharpness (of temper)

These remarks, spoken with asperity, stung the boys to whom they had been directed.


aspersion (n.)

slander; slur; derogatory remark

Unscrupulous politicians practice character assassination as a political tool, casting aspersions on their rivals.


aspirant (n.)

seeker after position or status

Although I am an aspirant for public office, I am not willing to accept the dictates of the party bosses.


aspire (v.)

to seek to attain; to long for

Because he aspired to a career in professional sports, Philip enrolled in a graduate program in sports management.


assail (v.)

to assault

He was assailed with questions after his lecture.


assay (v.)

to analyze; to evaluate

When they assayed the ore, they found that they had discovered a very rich vein.


assent (v.)

to agree; to accept

It gives me great pleasure to assent to your request.


assert (v.)

to declare or state with confidence; to put oneself forward boldly

Malcolm asserted that if Reese quit acting like a wimp and asserted himself a bit more, he'd improve his chances of getting a date.


assessment (n.)

evaluation; judgment

Your high school record plays and important part in the admission committee's assessment of you as an applicant.


assiduous (adj.)


He was assiduous, working at this task for weeks before he felt satisfied with his results.


assimilate (v.)

to absorb; to cause to become homogeneous

The manner in which the United States was able to assimilate the hordes of immigrants during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries will always be a source of pride to Americans.
The immigrants eagerly assimilated new ideas and customs; they soaked them up, the way plants soak up water.


assuage (v.)

to ease or lessen (pain); to satisfy (hunger); to soothe (anger)

Jilted by Jane, Dick tried to assuage his heartache by indulging in ice cream.
One gallon later, he had assuaged his appetite but not his grief.


assumption (n.)

something taken for granted; taking over or taking possession of

The young princess made the foolish assumption that the regent would not object to her assumption of power.


assurance (n.)

promise or pledge; certainty; self-confidence

When Guthrie gave Guinness his assurance that rehearsals were going well, he spoke with such assurance that Guinness felt relieved.


astral (adj.)

relating to the stars

She was amazed at the number of astral bodies the new telescope revealed


astringent (adj.)

binding; causing contraction; sharp or bitter in style

The astringent quality of the unsweetened lemon juice made swallowing difficult.


astronomical (adj.)

enormously large or extensive

The government seems wiling to spend astronomical sums on weapons development.


astute (adj.)

wise; shrewd; keen

John Jacob Astor made astute investments in land. shrewdly purchasing valuable plots throughout New York City.


asunder (adj.)

into parts; apart

A fierce quarrel split the partnership asunder: the two partners finally sundered their connections because their points of view were poles of asunder.


asylum (n.)

place of refuge or shelter; protection

The refugees sought asylum from religious persecution in a new land.


asymmetric (adj.)

not identical on both sides of a dividing central line

Because one eyebrow was set markedly higher than the other, William's face had a particularly asymmetric appearance.


atavism (n.)

reversion to an earlier type; throwback

In his love for gardening Martin seemed an atavism to his Tuscan forebears, who lavished great care on their small plot of soil.


atheistic (adj.)

denying the existence of God

His atheistic remarks shocked the religious worshippers.


atlas (n.)

a bound of volume of maps, charts, or tables

Embarrassed at being unable to distinguish Slovenia from Slovakia, George W. finally consulted an atlas.


atone (v.)

to make amends for; to pay for

He knew no way in which he could atone for his brutal crime.


atrocity (n.)

brutal deed

In time of war, many atrocities are committed by invading armies.


atrophy (v.)

to waste away

After three months in a cast, your calf muscles are bound to atrophy; you'll need physical therapy to get back in shape.


attain (v.)

to achieve or accomplish; to gain

The scarecrow sought to attain one goal: he wished to obtain a brain.


attentive (adj.)

alert and watchful; considerate; thoughtful

Spellbound, the attentive audience watched the final game of the tennis match, never taking their eyes from the ball.
A cold wind sprang up; Stan's attentive daughter slipped a sweater over his shoulders without distracting his attention from the game.


attenuate (v.)

to make thin; to weaken

By withdrawing their forces, the generals hoped to attenuate the enemy lines.


attest (v.)

to testify, to bear witness

Having served as a member of the Grand Jury, I can attest that our system of indicting individuals is in need of improvement.


attribute (n.)

essential quality

His outstanding attribute was his kindness.


attribute (v.)

to ascribe; to explain

I attribute her success in science to the encouragement he received from her parents.


attrition (n.)

gradual decrease in numbers; reduction in the work force without firing employees; wearing away of opposition by means of harassment

In the 1960s urban churches suffered from attrition as members moved from the cities to the suburbs.
Rather than fire staff members, church leaders followed a policy of attrition, allowing elderly workers to retire without replacing them.


atypical (adj.)

not normal

The child psychiatrist reassured Mrs. Keaton that playing doctor was not atypical behavior for a child of young Alex's age. "Yes," she replied, "but not charging for house calls!"


audacious (adj.)

daring; bold

Audiences cheered as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia made their audacious, death-defying leap to freedom, escaping Darth Vader's troops.


audit (n.)

examination of accounts

When the bank examiners arrived to fold their annual audit, they discovered the embezzlements of the chief cashier.


auditory (adj.)

pertaining to the sense of hearing

Audrey suffered from auditory hallucinations: she thought Elvis was speaking to her from the Great Beyond.


augment (v.)

to increase; to add to

Armies augment their forces by calling up reinforcements; teachers augment their salaries by taking more jobs.


august (adj.)

impressive; majestic

Visiting the palace at Versailles, she was impressed by the august surroundings in which she found herself.


auspicious (adj.)

favoring success

With favorable weather conditions, it was an auspicious moment to set sail. Thomas, however, had doubt about sailing: a paranoid, he became suspicious whenever conditions seemed auspicious.


austere (adj.)

forbiddingly stern; severely simple and unornamented

The headmaster's austere demeanor tended to scare off the more timid students, who never visited his study willingly.
The room reflected the man, austere and bare, like a monk's cell, with no touches of luxury to moderate its austerity.


authenticate (v.)

to confirm as genuine

After a thorough chemical analysis of the pigments and canvas, the experts were prepared to authenticate the painting as an original Rembrandt.


authoritarian (adj.)

subordinating the individual to the state; completely dominating another's will

The leaders of the authoritarian regime ordered the suppression of the democratic protest movement.
After years of submitting to the will of her authoritarian father, Elizabeth Barrett ran away from home with the poet Robert Browning.


authoritative (adj.)

having the weight of authority; peremptory and dictatorial

Impressed by the young researcher's well-documented presentation, we accepted her analysis of the experiment as authoritative.


autocratic (adj.)

having absolute, unchecked power; dictatorial

Someone accustomed to exercising authority may become autocratic if his or her power is unchecked.
Dictators by definition are autocrats.
Bosses who dictates behavior as well as letters can be autocrats too.


automaton (n.)

robot; person performing a task mechanically

The assembly line job called for no initiative or intelligence on Homer's part; on automatic pilot, he pushed button after button like an automaton.


autonomous (adj.)


In the Lord of the Flies, the boys had to be autonomous, for there were no adults around.


autopsy (n.)

examination of a dead body; post-mortem

The medical examiner ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death.


auxiliary (adj.)

helper, additional or subsidiary

To prepare for the emergency, they built an auxiliary power station.


avalanche (n.)

great mass of falling snow and ice

The park ranger warned the skiers to stay on the main trails, where they would be in no danger of being buried beneath a sudden avalanche.


avarice (n.)

greediness for wealth

King Midas is a perfect example of avarice, for he was so greedy that he wished everything he touched would turn to gold.


avenge (v.)

to take vengeance for something (or on behalf of someone)

Hamlet vowed he would avenge his father's murder and punish Claudius for his horrible crime.


aver (v.)

to assert confidently; to affirm

Despite overwhelming popular skepticism about his voyage, Columbus averred he would succeed in finding a direct sea route to the Far East.


averse (adj.)

reluctant; disinclined

The reporter was averse to revealing the sources of his information.


aversion (n.)

firm dislike

Bert had an aversion to yuppies--well-paid middle-class professionals who work in city jobs and has luxurious lifestyles; Alex had an aversion to punks. Their mutual aversion was so great that they refused to speak to one another.


avert (v.)

to prevent; to turn away

She averted her eyes from the dead cat on the highway.


avid (adj.)

greedy; eager for

Avid for pleasure, Abner partied with great avidity.


avocation (n.)

secondary or minor occupation

His hobby proved to be so fascinating and profitable that gradually he abandoned his regular occupation and concentrated on his avocation.


avow (v.)

to declare openly

Lana avowed that she never meant to steal Debbie's boyfriend, but no one believed her avowal of innocence.


awe (n.)

solemn wonder

The tourists gazed with awe at the tremendous expanse of the Grand Canyon.


awry (adj.)

crooked; wrong; amiss

Noticing that the groom's tie was slightly awry, the bride reached over to set it straight.
A careful organizer, she hated to have anything go awry with her plans.


axiom (n.)

self-evident truth requiring no proof

Before a student can begin to think along the lines of Euclidean geometry, he must accept certain principles or axioms.


azure (adj.)

sky blue

Azure skies appear in bright sunny days.