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Flashcards in Barrons Essential words Deck (109)
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insularity (n)

narrow-mindedness; isolation

The insularity of many tribes in New Guinea allows anthropologists to study cultures that have been relatively uninfluenced by the modern world.

1

invective (n)

verbal abuse

The debate judge cautioned participants not to engage in invective, but rather in reasoned and decorous discourse.

2

perennial

adjective

present throughout the years; persistent


Perennial warfare has left most of the people of the country in poverty.

3

subpoena (n)


notice ordering someone to appear in court


The judge issued a subpoena for the man but the prosecutor had little hope that he would appear because he was living abroad.

4

alacrity

noun

cheerful willingness; eagerness; speed



The football coach was pleased to see the team get to work on the task of improving its tackling skills with alacrity.

5

insipid

adjective

lacking in flavor; dull

Ironically, the book about how to write lively, engaging prose is an insipid piece of writing.

6

negate

verb

to cancel out; nullify

The soldiers' poor treatment of the prisoners negated the goodwill they had built up among the population.

7

penchant

noun

inclination

Sue has a penchant for science, while her brother is more interested in the arts.

8

compendium (n)




brief, comprehensive summary


The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart's Life and Music by H. C. Robbins Landon is a convenient reference for finding information about the life and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

9

probity

noun

honesty; high-mindedness

No one questioned the probity of the judge being considered for elevation to the U.S. Supreme Court; what was at issue was his controversial views on several important issues.

10

incursion (n)

sudden invasion

Example, At first, the Native Americans were not too concerned about the incursions of European settlers, but their anxiety grew with the relentless flow of people, until, finally, calamitous wars were fought between the two sides.

11

castigation

noun

punishment; chastisement; criticism

Many British writers recall with loathing the castigation they received at school.

12

abeyance

N

temporary suppression or suspension


A good judge must hold his or her judgment in abeyance until all the facts in a case have been presented.

13

abscond

V

To depart secretly

A warrant is out for the arrest of a person believed to have absconded with three million dollars.

14

perfunctory

adjective

superficial; not thorough; performed really as a duty

The perfunctory inspection of the airplane failed to reveal
structural faults in the wing.

15

admonish

v

to caution or reprimand


The judge admonished the jury to discount testimony that had been ruled inadmissible.

16

warranted

adjective

Verb

justified

The book argues that a new investigation into Marilyn Monroe's death is warranted by new evidence released by the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act.

Warrant is a verb meaning to attest to the accuracy or quality; justify; grant authorization

Throughout most of America, procedures in criminal law cases are essentially the same: The government, through a prosecutor, presents its case against a suspect to a grand jury, which decides if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a full trial.

17

gregarious

adjective

sociable

A recent anthropological theory is that human beings are gregarious creatures that are comfortable living in groups of around 150 individuals.

18

diffuse

v: to spread out

Adj: wordy; rambling; spread out.

The idea of equality and liberty diffused through society after the French Revolution.



This essay is so diffuse it is difficult to follow its central argument.

19

conundrum

noun

riddle; puzzle with no solution

The paradoxical statement “This statement is false” presents us with a conundrum.

20

distill

verb

extract the essential elements

In his book Men of Ideas: Some Creators of Contemporary Philosophy, Bryan Magee manages to distill the essence of leading thinkers such as W. V. Quine, John Searle, Iris Murdoch, and Noam Chomsky.

21

iconoclastic

adjective


attacking cherished traditions

The linguist and political commentator Noam Chomsky has been described as gleefully iconoclastic because of the zeal with which he attacks many of the central beliefs of American society.

An icon is an image or representation.
The internal combustion engine is a ubiquitous feature of modern industrial society, helping the automobile to become an icon of the twentieth century, loved by many people but loathed by environmentalists.

22

abstemious

adj

Moderate in appetite

Some research suggests that people with an abstemious lifestyle tend to live longer than people who indulge their appetites.

23

obviate

verb

to make unnecessary; to anticipate and prevent

An experienced physician can often discern if a patient's symptoms are psychosomatic, thus obviating the need for expensive medical tests.

24

euphemism

N

use of agreeable or inoffensive language in place of unpleasant or offensive language


An illustration of the tendency toward euphemism is the change (reflecting the political concerns of the day) in the accepted appellation of poor countries from the unambiguous poor, to undeveloped, to underdeveloped, to less developed, to developing.

25

decorum

noun

proper behavior

When addressing the nation, the president generally has an air of decorum.

The adjective is decorous.

26

qualified

adjective

N

In Indian philosophy a position between monism at one extreme and dualism at the other is qualified non-dualism, a philosophy in which reality is considered to have attributes of both dualism and monism.

Qualification is a noun meaning limitation or restriction.

So many qualifications had been added to the agreement that Sue was now reluctant to sign it.

The verb qualify means to modify or limit.

27

connoisseur

noun

a person possessing expert knowledge or training; a person of informed and discriminating taste

The art connoisseur selected works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Picasso for the exhibition.

28

hyperbole.

n


purposeful exaggeration for effect


The American tradition of the tall tale uses hyperbole to depict a world in which the inhabitants and their deeds are larger than life, as befitting a people inhabiting a vast landscape.

29

fledgling

noun

beginner; novice

The coach said that some of the team's fledglings would play in
Saturday's game.

The adjective fledgling means immature or inexperienced.