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Flashcards in B Words Deck (21):

baleful (adj)

threatening harm or misfortune; having a malign influence

The fortune-teller made baleful predictions of terrible things to come.


balk (v)

stop short, as if faced by an obstacle, and refuse to continue

The chief of police balked at sending his officers into the riot-torn area.


banality (n)

lack of originality

Appalled by its worn-out cliches and trite ideas, the professor awarded the essay a D for banality.


bane (n)

cause of ruin or misery

Skeptical of the benefits of nanotechnology, the columnist inquired whether this new methodology would prove to be a blessing or a bane.


belabor (v)

explain or go over excessively or to a ridiculous degree

The debate coach warned her student not to bore the audience by belaboring his point.


belie (v)

give a false impression

His coarse, hard-bitten exterior belied his inner sensitivity.


bellicose (adj)

naturally inclined to fight

Paddy's undoubtedly aggressive behavior served only to further endear him to all who had dealings with him, for they recognized that behind the bellicose facade beat a big, warm, compassionate heart.


beneficent (adj)

doing good, especially through works of charity

The overgenerous philanthropist had to curb her beneficent impulses before she gave away all her money and left herself with nothing.


betoken (v)

be evidence of

The well-equipped docks, tall piles of cargo containers, and numerous vessels being loaded all betoken Oakland's importance as a port.


blatant (adj)

extremely obvious

Caught in a blatant lie, the scoundrel had only one regret: he wished that he had lied more subtly.


blithe (adj)

merry in disposition; free of anxieties

Without a care in the world, Beth went her blithe, lighthearted way.


bode (v)

be an omen of

The gloomy skies and the sulfurous odors from the mineral springs seemed to bode evil to those who settled in the area.


bolster (v)


The debaters amassed file boxes of evidence to bolster their arguments


bombastic (adj)

pretentious and long-winded

Puffed up with self-importance, the bombastic lecturer attempted to impress the audience with his polysyllabic vocabulary.


bowdlerize (v)

expurgate by omitting portions considered vulgar

After the film editors had bowdlerized the language in the script, cutting out the obscenities, the rating of the film The King's Speech was changed from "R" to "PG."


broach (v)

mention or make known for the first time

Jack did not even try to broach the subject of religion with his in-laws.


brook (v)

put up with

The dean would brook no interference with his disciplinary actions.


burgeon (v)

develop rapidly

Despite political ups and downs, the Thai economy continued to burgeon, until, but the early 1990s, a flourishing Thailand was one of the leading industrialized countries of eastern Asia.


burnish (v)

make shiny by rubbing

The maid burnished the brass fixtures until they gleamed in the lamplight.


buttress (v)

shore up with a support

Just as architects buttress the walls of cathedrals with arched supporting piers, debaters buttress their arguments with facts.


byzantine (adj n)

devious and complex; relating to the Byzantine Empire

Complex, constantly changing, Byzantine regulations make it virtually impossible for even college-educated patients to figure out how to maneuver through the health insurance system.