ADJ. relating to the stars. She was amazed at the number of astral bodies the new telescope revealed.
ADJ. binding; causing contraction. The astringent quality of the unsweetened lemon juice made swallowing difficult. also N.
ADJ. enormously large or extensive. The government seems willing to spend astronomical sums on weapons development.
ADJ. wise; shrewd; keen. The painter was an astute observer, noticing every tiny detail of her model's appearance and knowing exactly how important each one was.
ADV. into parts; apart A fierce quarrel split the partnership asunder: the two partners finally sundered their connections because their points of view were poles asunder.
N. place of refuge or shelter; protection. The refugees sought asylum from religious persecution in a new land.
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.
N. resemblance to remote ancestors rather than to parents; deformity returning after passage of two or more generations. The doctors ascribed the child's deformity to an atavism.
ADJ. denying the existence of God. His atheistic remarks shocked the religious worshippers.
N. a bound volume of maps, charts, or tables. Embarrassed at being unable to distinguish Slovenia from Slovakia, George W. finally consulted an atlas.
V. make amends for; pay for. He knew no way in which he could atone for his brutal crime.
N. brutal deed. In time of war, many atrocities are committed by invading armies.
N. wasting away. Polio victims need physiotherapy to prevent the atrophy of affected limbs. alsoV.
V. achieve or accomplish; gain. The scarecrow sought to attain one goal: he wished to obtain a brain.
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.
V. make thin; weaken. By withdrawing their forces, the generals hoped to attenuate the enemy lines.
V. testify, 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.
N. essential quality. His outstanding attribute was his kindness.
V. ascribe; explain. I attribute her success in science to the encouragement she received from her parents.
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.
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!"
ADJ. daring; bold. Audiences cheered as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia made their audacious, deathdefying leap to freedom, escaping Darth Vader's troops. audacity, N.
N. examination of accounts. When the bank examiners arrived to hold their annual audit, they discovered the embezzlements of the chief cashier. alsoV.
ADJ. pertaining to the sense of hearing. Audrey suffered from auditory hallucinations: she thought Elvis was speaking to her from the Great Beyond.
V. increase; add to. Armies augment their forces by calling up reinforcements; teachers augment their salaries by taking odd jobs.
N. omen; prophecy. He interpreted the departure of the birds as an augury of evil. augur,V.
ADJ. impressive; majestic. Visiting the palace at Versailles, she was impressed by the august surroundings in which she found herself.
N. sun's corona; halo. Many medieval paintings depict saintly characters with aureoles around their heads.
ADJ. pertaining to the aurora borealis. The auroral display was particularly spectacular that evening.
ADJ. favoring success. With favorable weather conditions, it was an auspicious moment to set sail. Thomas, however, had doubts about sailing: a paranoid, he became suspicious whenever conditions seemed auspicious.