N. error. The criminal's fatal blunder led to his capture. alsoV.
V. utter impulsively. Before she could stop him, he blurted out the news.
V. blow in heavy gusts; threaten emptily; bully. "Let the stormy winds bluster," cried Jack, "we'll set sail tonight." Jill let Jack bluster. she wasn't going anywhere, no matter what he said.
V. foreshadow; portend. The gloomy skies and the sulphurous odors from the mineral springs seemed to bode evil to those who settled in the area.
ADJ. counterfeit; not authentic. The police quickly found the distributors of the bogus twenty-dollar bills.
ADJ. unconventional (in an artistic way). Gertrude Stein ran off to Paris to live an eccentric, bohemian life with her writer friends. Oakland was not bohemian: it was too bourgeois, too middle-class.
ADJ. violent; rough; noisy. The unruly crowd became even more boisterous when he tried to quiet them.
V. support; reinforce. The debaters amassed file boxes full of evidence to bolstertheir arguments.
N. door bar; fastening pin or screw; length of fabric. The carpenter shut the workshop door, sliding the heavy metal bolt into place. He sorted through his toolbox for the nuts and bolts and nails he would need. Before he cut into the bolt of canvas, he measured how much fabric he would need.
V. dash or dart off; fasten (a door); gobble down. Jack was set to bolt out the front door, but Jill bolted the door. "Eat your breakfast," she said, "don't bolt your food."
N. attack with missiles. The enemy bombardment demolished the town. Members of the opposition party bombarded the prime minister with questions about the enemy attack.
ADJ. pompous; using inflated language. Puffed up with conceit, the orator spoke in such a bombastic manner that we longed to deflate him. bombast, N.
ADJ. deep and resonant; flourishing, thriving. "Who needs a microphone?" cried the mayor in his booming voice. Cheerfully he boomed out that, thanks to him, the city's economy was booming. boom,V.
N. blessing; benefit. The recent rains that filled our empty reservoirs were a boon to the whole community.
ADJ. rude; clumsy; ungentlemanly. Natasha was embarrassed by her fellow spy's boorish behavior. "If you cannot act like a gentleman, Boris, go back to Russia: espionage is no job for clumsy boors." boor, N.
ADJ. unlimited; vast. Mike's energy was boundless: the greater the challenge, the more vigorously he tackled the job.
ADJ. abundant; graciously generous. Thanks to the good harvest, we had a bountiful supply of food and we could be as bountiful as we liked in distributing food to the needy.
ADJ. middle class; selfishly materialistic; dully conventional. Technically, anyone who belongs to the middle class is bourgeois, but, given the word's connotations, most people resent it if you call them that.
ADJ. cowlike; placid and dull. Nothing excites Esther; even when she won the state lottery, she still preserved her air of bovine calm.
V. expurgate. After the film editors had bowdlerized the language in the script, the motion picture's rating was changed from "R" to "PG."
V. refrain from buying or using. To put pressure on grape growers to stop using pesticides that harmed the farm workers' health, Cesar Chavez called for consumers to boycott grapes.
N. boaster. Modest by nature, she was no braggart, preferring to let her accomplishments speak for themselves.
V. wave around; flourish. Alarmed, Doctor Watson wildly brandished his gun until Holmes told him to put the thing away before he shot himself.
N. swagger; assumed air of defiance. The bravado of the young criminal disappeared when he was confronted by the victims of his brutal attack.
N. muscular strength; sturdiness. It takes brawn to become a champion weightlifter. brawny,ADJ.
ADJ. insolent. Her brazen contempt for authority angered the officials.
N. breaking of contract or duty; fissure or gap. Jill sued Jack for breach of promise, claiming he had broken his promise to marry her. They found a breach in the enemy's fortifications and penetrated their lines. alsoV.
N. width; extent. We were impressed by the breadth of her knowledge.
N. conciseness. Brevity is essential when you send a telegram or cablegram; you are charged for every word.
ADJ. tawny or grayish with streaks or spots. He was disappointed in the litter because the puppies were brindled, he had hoped for animals of a uniform color.
ADJ. rising like bristles; showing irritation. The dog stood there, bristling with anger.
ADJ. easily broken; difficult. My employer's self-control was as brittle as an egg-shell. Her brittle personality made it difficult for me to get along with her.
V. introduce; open up. Jack did not even try to broach the subject of religion with his in-laws. If you broach a touchy subject, it may cause a breach.
N. pamphlet. This brochure on farming was issued by the Department of Agriculture.
N. ornamental clasp. She treasured the brooch because it was an heirloom.
V. bully; intimidate. Billy resisted Ted's attempts browbeat him into handing over his lunch money.
V. graze; skim or glance at casually. "How now, brown cow, browsing in the green, green grass." I remember lines of verse that I came across while browsing through the poetry section of the local bookstore.
N. main impact or shock. Tom Sawyer claimed credit for painting the fence, but the brunt of the work fell on others. However, he bore the brunt of Aunt Polly's complaints when the paint began to peel.
ADJ. blunt; abrupt. Was Bruce too brusque when he brushed off Bob's request with a curt "Not now!"?
N. pirate. At Disneyland the Pirates of the Caribbean sing a song about their lives as bloody buccaneers.
ADJ. rustic; pastoral. Filled with browsing cows and bleating sheep, the meadow was a charmingly bucolic sight.
N. table with food set out for people to serve themselves; meal at which people help themselves to food that's been set out. Please convey the soufflé on the tray to the buffet. (Buffet rhymes with tray.)
V. slap; batter; knock about. To buffet something is to rough it up. (Buffet rhymes with Muffett.) Was Miss Muffett buffeted by the crowd on the way to the buffet tray?
N. clowning. In the Ace Ventura movies, Jim Carrey's buffoonery was hilarious: like Bozo the Clown, he's a natural buffoon.
N. gold and silver in the form of bars. Much bullion is stored in the vaults at Fort Knox.
N. earthwork or other strong defense; person who defends. The navy is our principal bulwark against invasion.
ADJ. self-assertive. His classmates called him a show-off because of his bumptious airs.
N. small cottage. Every summer we rent a bungalow on Cape Cod for our vacation home. The rent is high, the roof is low-it's a basic bungalow.
V. mismanage; blunder. Don't botch this assignment, Bumstead; if you bungle the job, you're fired!
ADJ. able to float; cheerful and optimistic. When the boat capsized, her buoyant life jacket kept Jody afloat. Scrambling back on board, she was still in a buoyant mood, certain that despite the delay she'd win the race.
N. over-regulated administrative system marked by red tape. The Internal Revenue Service is the ultimate bureaucracy. taxpayers wasted so much paper filling out IRS forms that the IRS bureaucrats printed up a new set of rules requiring taxpayers to comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act.
V. grow forth; send out buds. In the spring, the plants that burgeon are a promise of the beauty that is to come.
V. give an imitation that ridicules. In Spaceballs, Rick Moranis burlesques Darth Vader of Star Wars, outrageously parodying Vader's stiff walk and hollow voice.
ADJ. husky; muscular. The burly mover lifted the packing crate with ease.
V. make shiny by rubbing; polish. The maid burnished the brass fixtures until they reflected the lamplight.
V. move about energetically; teem. David and the children bustled about the house getting in each other's way as they tried to pack for the camping trip. The whole house bustled with activity.
V. support; prop up. The attorney came up with several far-fetched arguments in a vain attempt to buttress his weak case. also N.
ADJ. plump; vigorous; jolly. The soldiers remembered the buxom nurse who had always been so pleasant to them.
N. small group of persons secretly united to promote their own interests. The cabal was defeated when their scheme was discovered.
N. hiding place. The detectives followed the suspect until he led them to the cache where he had stored his loot. He had cached the cash in a bag for trash: it was a hefty sum.
ADJ. discordant; inharmonious. Do the students in the orchestra enjoy the cacophonous sounds they make when they're tuning up? I don't know how they can stand the racket. cacophony, N.
N. corpse. In some states, it is illegal to dissect cadavers.
ADJ. like a corpse; pale. By his cadaverous appearance, we could see how the disease had ravaged him.
N. rhythmic rise and fall (of words or sounds); beat. Marching down the road, the troops sang out, following the cadence set by the sergeant.
V. coax; wheedle. Diane tried to cajole her father into letting her drive the family car. cajolery, N.
N. disaster; misery. As news of the calamity spread, offers of relief poured in to the stricken community.
ADJ. deliberately planned; likely. Lexy's choice of clothes to wear to the debate tournament was carefully calculated. Her conventional suit was one calculated to appeal to the conservative judges.
N. large kettle. "Why, Mr. Crusoe," said the savage heating the giant caldron, "we'd love to have you for dinner!"
N. ability; quality. Einstein's cleaning the blackboards again? Albert, quit it! A man of your caliber shouldn't have to do such menial tasks.
N. beautiful writing; excellent penmanship. As we examine ancient manuscripts, we become impressed with the calligraphy of the scribes.
ADJ. hardened; unfeeling. He had worked in the hospital for so many years that he was callous to the suffering in the wards. callus, N.
ADJ. youthful; immature; inexperienced. As a freshman, Jack was sure he was a man of the world; as a sophomore, he made fun of freshmen as callow youths. In both cases, his judgment showed just how callow he was.
ADJ. heat-producing. Coal is much more calorific than green wood.
N. malicious misrepresentation; slander. He could endure his financial failure, but he could not bear the calumny that his foes heaped upon him.
N. good-fellowship. What he loved best about his job was the sense of camaraderie he and his coworkers shared.
N. shell or jewel carved in relief; star's special appearance in a minor role in a film. Don't bother buying cameos from the street peddlers in Rome: the carvings they sell are clumsy jobs. Did you enjoy Bill Murray's cameo in Little Shop of Horrors? He was onscreen for only a minute, but he cracked me up.
V. disguise; conceal. In order to rescue Han Solo, Princess Leia camouflaged herself in the helmet and cloak of a space bandit.
N. frankness; open honesty. Jack can carry candor too far: when he told Jill his honest opinion of her, she nearly slapped his face. candid,ADJ.
ADJ. related to dogs; dog-like. Some days the canine population of Berkeley seems almost to outnumber the human population,
ADJ. shrewd; thrifty. The canny Scotsman was more than a match for the swindlers.
N. insincere expressions of piety; jargon of thieves. Shocked by news of the minister's extramarital love affairs, the worshippers dismissed his talk about the sacredness of marriage as mere cant. Cant is a form of hypocrisy: those who can, pray; those who cant, pretend.
ADJ. ill humored; irritable. Constantly complaining about his treatment and refusing to cooperate with the hospital staff, he was a cantankerous patient.
N. story set to music, to be sung by a chorus. The choral society sang the new cantata composed by its leader.
N. slow gallop. Because the racehorse had outdistanced its competition so easily, the reporter wrote that the race was won in a canter. alsoV.