N. division of a long poem. Dante's poetic masterpiece The Divine Comedy is divided into cantos.
V. determine votes, etc. After canvassing the sentiments of his constituents, the congressman was confident that he represented the majority opinion of his district. also N.
ADJ. spacious. In the capacious rotunda of the railroad terminal, thousands of travelers lingered while waiting for their train.
N. mental or physical ability; role; ability to accommodate. Mike had the capacity to handle several jobs at once. In his capacity as president of SelecTronics he marketed an electronic dictionary with a capacity of 200,000 words.
V. surrender. The enemy was warned to capitulate or face annihilation.
N. sudden, unexpected fancy; whim. On a caprice, Jack tried drag-racing, but paid the price-his father took his Chevy Caprice away from him.
ADJ. unpredictable; fickle. The storm was capricious: it changed course constantly. Jill was capricious, too: she changed boyfriends almost as often as she changed clothes.
N. title; chapter heading; text under illustration. The captions that accompany The Far Side cartoons are almost as funny as the pictures. alsoV.
V. charm or enthrall. Bart and Lisa were captivated by their new nanny's winning manner.
N. unit of weight for precious stones; measure of fineness of gold. He gave her a three-carat diamond mounted in an eighteen-carat gold band.
ADJ. chief. If you want to increase your word power, the cardinal rule of vocabulary-building is to read.
N. doctor specializing in the heart. When the pediatrician noticed Philip had a slight heart murmur, she referred him to a cardiologist for further tests.
V. lurch; sway from side to side. The taxicab careened wildly as it rounded the corner.
N. distortion; burlesque. The caricatures he drew always emphasized a personal weakness of the people he burlesqued. alsoV.
N. destruction of life. The film The Killing Fields vividly depicts the carnage wreaked by Pol Pot's followers in Cambodia.
ADJ. fleshly. Is the public more interested in carnal pleasures than in spiritual matters? Compare the number of people who read Playboy daily to the number of those who read the Bible or Koran every day.
ADJ. meat-eating. The lion's a carnivorous beast. A hunk of meat makes up his feast. A cow is not a carnivore. She likes the taste of grain, not gore.
ADJ. finding fault. A carping critic is a nit-picker: he loves to point out flaws. If you don't like this definition, feel free to carp.
N. map-maker. Though not a professional cartographer, Tolkien was able to construct a map of his fictional world.
N. small waterfall. We were too tired to appreciate the beauty of the many cascades because we had to detour around them to avoid being drenched by the water cascading down.
V. criticize severely; punish. When the teacher threatened that she would castigate the mischievous boys if they didn't behave, they shaped up in a hurry.
N. serious or fatal accident. The number of automotive casualties on this holiday weekend was high.
N. upheaval; deluge. A cataclysm such as the French Revolution affects all countries. cataclysmic,ADJ.
N. agent which brings about a chemical change while it remains unaffected and unchanged. Many chemical reactions cannot take place without the presence of a catalyst.
N. slingshot; a hurling machine. Airplanes are sometimes launched from battleships by catapults. alsoV.
N. great waterfall; eye abnormality. She gazed with awe at the mighty cataract known as Niagara Falls.
N. calamity; disaster. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was a catastrophe that destroyed most of the city. A similar earthquake striking today could have even more catastrophic results.
N. shout of disapproval; boo. Every major league pitcher has off days during which he must learn to ignore the catcalls and angry hisses from the crowd.
N. book for religious instruction; instruction by question and answer. He taught by engaging his pupils in a catechism until they gave him the correct answer.
ADJ. without exceptions; unqualified; absolute. Though the captain claimed he was never, never sick at sea, he finally had to qualify his categorical denial: he was "hardly ever" sick at sea.