V. lower; 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. abasement, N.
V. embarrass. He was not at all abashed by her open admiration.
V. subside; decrease, lessen. Rather than leaving immediately, they waited for the storm to abate. abatement, N.
V. shorten. Because we were running out of time, the lecturer had to abbreviate her speech.
V. renounce; give up. When Edward VIII abdicated the British throne to marry the woman he loved, he surprised the entire world.
N. kidnapping. The movie Ransom describes the attempts to rescue a multimillionaire's son after the child's abduction by kidnappers. abduct,V.
N. abnormal or deviant. Given the aberrant nature of the data, we doubted the validity of the entire experiment. also N.
V. aid, usually in doing something wrong; encourage. She was unwilling to abet him in the swindle he had planned.
N. suspended action. The deal was held in abeyance until her arrival.
V. detest; hate. She abhorred all forms of bigotry. abhorrence, N.
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.
V. renounce upon oath. He abjured his allegiance to the king. abjuration, N.
N. washing. His daily ablutions were accompanied by loud noises that he humorously labeled "Opera in the Bath."
N. repudiation; self-sacrifice. No act of abnegation was more pronounced than his refusal of any rewards for his discovery.
V. cancel; put an end to. The president of the college refused to abolish the physical education requirement. abolition, N.
ADJ. detestable; extremely unpleasant; very bad. Mary liked John until she learned he was dating Susan; then she called him an abominable young man, with abominable taste in women.
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. aborigines, N.
ADJ. unsuccessful; fruitless. Attacked by armed troops, the Chinese students had to abandon their abortive attempt to democratize Beijing peacefully. abort,V.
V. wear away by friction; scrape; erode. The sharp rocks abraded the skin on her legs, so she put iodine on her abrasions.
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. abrade,V.
V. condense or shorten. Because the publishers felt the public wanted a shorter version of War and Peace, they proceeded to abridge the novel.
ADJ. abolish. He intended to abrogate the decree issued by his predecessor.
V. 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."
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.
V. pardon (an offense). The father confessor absolved him of his sins. absolution, N.
V. assimilate or incorporate; suck or drink up; wholly engage. During the nineteenth century, America absorbed hordes of immigrants, turning them into productive citizens. Can Huggies diapers absorb more liquid than Pampers can? This question does not absorb me; instead, it bores me. absorption, N.
V. 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. abstinence, N.
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.
N. restraint from eating or drinking. The doctor recommended total abstinence from salted foods. abstain,V.
ADJ. theoretical; not concrete; nonrepresentational. To him, hunger was an abstract concept; he had never missed a meal.
ADJ. obscure; profound; difficult to understand. She carries around abstruse works of philosophy, not because she understands them but because she wants her friends to think she does.
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.
ADJ. coarsely insulting; physically harmful. An abusive parent damages a child both mentally and physically.
V. border upon; adjoin. Where our estates abut, we must build a fence.
ADJ. bottomless. His arrogance is exceeded only by his abysmal ignorance.
N. enormous chasm; vast bottomless pit. Darth Vader seized the evil emperor and hurled him down into the abyss,
ADJ. related to a school; not practical or directly useful. The dean's talk about reforming the college admissions system was only an academic discussion: we knew little, if anything, would change.
V. agree. If I accede to this demand for blackmail, I am afraid that I will be the victim of future demands.
V. move faster. In our science class, we learn how falling bodies accelerate.
V. emphasize; stress. If you accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, you may wind up with an overoptimistic view of the world.
ADJ. easy to approach; obtainable. We asked our guide whether the ruins were accessible on foot.
N. additional object; useful but not essential thing. She bought an attractive handbag as an accessory for her dress. alsoADJ.
V. applaud; announce with great approval. The NBC sportscasters acclaimed every American victory in the Olympics and decried every American defeat. also N.
V. adjust to climate. One of the difficulties of our present air age is the need of travelers to acclimate themselves to their new and often strange environments.
N. sharp upslope of a hill. The car would not go up the acclivity in high gear.
N. award of merit. In Hollywood, an "Oscar" is the highest accolade.
V. oblige or help someone; adjust or bring into harmony; adapt. Mitch always did everything possible to accommodate his elderly relatives, from driving them to medical appointments to helping them with paperwork. (secondary meaning)
N. partner in crime. Because he had provided the criminal with the lethal weapon, he was arrested as an accomplice in the murder.
N. agreement. She was in complete accord with the verdict.
V. approach and speak first to a person. When the two young men accosted me, I was frightened because I thought they were going to attack me.
V. equip. The fisherman was accoutred with the best that the sporting goods store could supply. accoutrements, N.
N. growth; increase. The accretion of wealth marked the family's rise in power.
V. come about by addition. You must pay the interest that has accrued on your debt as well as the principal sum. accrual, N.
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. acerbic,ADJ.
ADJ. vinegary. The salad had an exceedingly acetic flavor.
ADJ. slightly sour; sharp, caustic. James was unpopular because of his sarcastic and acidulous remarks.
V. recognize; admit. Although I acknowledge that the Beatles' tunes sound pretty dated today, I still prefer them to the "gangsta rap" songs my brothers play.
N. top; pinnacle. His success in this role marked the acme of his career as an actor.
N. science of sound; quality that makes a room easy or hard to hear in. Carnegie Hall is liked by music lovers because of its fine acoustics.
V. assent; agree without protesting. Although she appeared to acquiesce to her employer's suggestions, I could tell she had reservations about the changes he wanted made. acquiescence, N.; acquiescent,ADJ.
V. obtain; get. Frederick Douglass was determined to acquire an education despite his master's efforts to prevent his doing so.
N. deliverance from a charge. His acquittal by the jury surprised those who had thought him guilty. acquit,V.
ADJ. sharp; bitterly pungent. The acrid odor of burnt gunpowder filled the room after the pistol had been fired.
ADJ. bitter in words or manner. The candidate attacked his opponent in highly acrimonious terms. acrimony,
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.
ADJ. calculating; pertaining to insurance statistics. According to recent actuarial tables, life expectancy is greater today than it was a century ago.
V. motivate. I fail to understand what actuated you to reply to this letter so nastily.
N. sharpness. In time his youthful acuity of vision failed him, and he needed glasses.
N. mental keenness. His business acumen helped him to succeed where others had failed.
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.
N. wise saying; proverb. There is much truth in the old adage about fools and their money.
ADJ. hard; inflexible. Bronson played the part of a revenge-driven man, adamant in his determination to punish the criminals who destroyed his family. adamancy, N.
V. alter; modify. Some species of animals have become extinct because they could not adapt to a changing environment.
N. an addition or supplement. As an addendum to the minutes, let me point out that Susan moved to appoint Kathy and Arthur to the finance committee.
N. compulsive, habitual need. His addiction to drugs caused his friends much grief.
V. muddle; drive crazy; become rotten. This idiotic plan is confusing enough to addle anyone. addled,ADJ.
V. 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.
ADJ. expert at. She was adept at the fine art of irritating people. also N.
V. stick fast. I will adhere to this opinion until proof that I am wrong is presented. adhesion, N.
N. supporter; follower. In the wake of the scandal, the senator's one-time adherents quickly deserted him.
ADJ. adjoining; neighboring; close by. Philip's best friend Jason lived only four houses down the block, close but not immediately adjacent.
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.
V. warn; reprove. He admonished his listeners to change their wicked ways. admonition, N.
N. warning. After the student protesters repeatedly rejected Chairman Deng's admonitions, the government issued an ultimatum: either the students would end the demonstration at once or the soldiers would fire on the crowd.
V. decorate. Wall paintings and carved statues adorned the temple. adornment, N.
ADJ. skillful. His adroit handling of the delicate situation pleased his employers.