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Flashcards in Common Words Deck (40):
1

impertinent

impertinent
adjective: being disrespectful; improperly forward or bold

Dexter, distraught over losing his pet dachshund, Madeline, found the police officer’s questions impertinent—after all, he thought, did she have to pry into such details as to what Madeline’s favorite snack was?

2

amenable

amenable
adjective: easily persuaded

Even though she did not like the outdoors, Shirley was generally amenable and so her brother was able to persuade her to go camping.

3

prevaricate

prevaricate
verb: to speak in an evasive way

The cynic quipped, “There is not much variance in politicians; they all seem to prevaricate”.

4

parochial

parochial
adjective: narrowly restricted in scope or outlook

Jasmine was sad to admit it, but her fledgling relationship with Jacob did not work out because his culinary tastes were simply too parochial; "After all," she quipped on her blog, "he considered Chef Boyardee ethnic food."

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study

5

diffident

diffident
adjective: showing modest reserve; lacking self-confidence

As a young girl she was diffident and reserved, but now as an adult, she is confident and assertive.

6

reticent

reticent
adjective: disinclined to talk, not revealing one's thoughts

When asked about her father, Helen lost her outward enthusiasm and became rather reticent.

7

disaffected

disaffected
adjective: discontented as toward authority

After watching his superior take rations from the soldiers, he quickly became disaffected and rebelled.

8

frustrate

frustrate
verb: hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of

I thought I would finish writing the paper by lunchtime, but a number of urgent interruptions served to frustrate my plan.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study

9

tenacious

tenacious
adjective: stubbornly unyielding

Even the most tenacious advocates for gun ownership must admit some of the dangers that firearms present.

10

fallacious

fallacious
adjective: of a belief that is based on faulty reasoning

The widespread belief that Eskimos have forty different words for snow is fallacious, based on one false report.

11

espouse

espouse
verb: to adopt or support an idea or cause

As a college student, Charlie espoused Marxism, growing his beard out and railing against the evils of the free-market.

12

apocryphal

apocryphal
adjective: being of questionable authenticity

The web is notorious for sandwiching apocryphal stories between actual news.

13

temperance

temperance
noun: the trait of avoiding excesses

Welles wasn't known for his temperance--he usually ate enough for two and drank enough for three.

14

intransigent

intransigent
adjective: unwilling to change one's beliefs or course of action

Despite many calls for mercy, the judge remained intransigent, citing strict legal precedence.

15

abstruse

abstruse
adjective: difficult to understand; incomprehensible

Physics textbooks can seem so abstruse to the uninitiated that readers feel as though they are looking at hieroglyphics.

16

denigrate

denigrate
verb: charge falsely or with malicious intent; attack the good name and reputation of someone

Count Rumford denigrated the new theory of heat, demonstrating that it was wholly inadequate to explain the observations.

17

pundit

pundit
noun: someone who has been admitted to membership in a scholarly field

Steven Pinker's credentials are unquestioned as a pundit; he has taught at MIT and Stanford, teaches at Harvard, and has published a number of influential books on cognition, language, and psychology.

18

incorrigible

incorrigible
adjective: impervious to correction by punishment

Tom Sawyer seems like an incorrigible youth until Huck Finn enters the novel; even Sawyer can't match his fierce individual spirit.

19

rescind

rescind
verb: cancel officially

The man's driver's license was rescinded after his tenth car accident, which meant he would never be allowed to legally drive again.

20

prodigious

prodigious
adjective: so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe

After the relatively small homerun totals in the "dead ball" era, Babe Ruth's homerun totals were truly prodigious: every year, he set a new all-time record.

21

imprudent

imprudent
adjective: not wise

Hitler, like Napoleon, made the imprudent move of invading Russia in winter, suffering even more casualties than Napoleon had.

22

flux

flux
noun: a state of uncertainty about what should be done (usually following some important event)

Ever since Elvira resigned as the head of marketing, everything about our sales strategy has been in a state of flux.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study

23

trite

trite
adjective: repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse

Many style guides recommend not using idioms in writing because these trite expressions are uninteresting and show a lack of imagination on the part of the writer.

24

inveterate

inveterate
adjective: habitual

He is an inveterate smoker and has told his family and friends that there is no way he will ever quit.

25

lionize

lionize
verb: assign great social importance to

Students in the U.S. learn to lionize Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington because they are the founding fathers of the nation.

26

repudiate

repudiate
verb: reject as untrue or unfounded

Many in the public believed the rumors of a UFO crash outside town, so the chief of police did everything he could to repudiate the rumors.

27

obsequious

obsequious
adjective: attentive in an ingratiating or servile manner; attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery

The obsequious waiter did not give the couple a moment's peace all through the meal, constantly returning to their table to refill their water glasses and to tell them what a handsome pair they made.

28

circumscribe

circumscribe
verb: restrict or confine

Their tour of South America was circumscribed so that they saw only popular destinations and avoided the dangerous parts of cities.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study

29

pernicious

pernicious
adjective: exceedingly harmful; working or spreading in a hidden and injurious way

The most successful viruses are pernicious: an infected person may feel perfectly healthy for several months while incubating and spreading the virus.

30

subversive

subversive
adjective: in opposition to an established system or institution.

The ruling political party has begun a campaign to shut down subversive websites that it deems as a threat to "national safety."

31

precipitous

precipitous
adjective: done with very great haste and without due deliberation

Instead of calling his financial advisor, Harold acted precipitously, buying 4,000 shares of the latest "hot" stock, only to find out that the company had a history of inflating its year end numbers.

32

antithetical

antithetical
adjective: sharply contrasted in character or purpose

His deep emotional involvement with these ideas is, in fact, antithetical to the detachment Buddhism preaches.

33

taciturn

taciturn
adjective: habitually reserved and uncommunicative

While the CEO enthusiastically shares his plans and agenda with all who will listen, the CFO is far more taciturn, rarely revealing his perspective.

34

foment

foment
verb: try to stir up public opinion

After having his pay cut, Phil spread vicious rumors about his boss, hoping to foment a general feeling of discontent.

35

propitious

propitious
adjective: presenting favorable circumstances; likely to result in or show signs of success

The child's heartbeat is still weak, but I am seeing many propitious signs and I think that she may be healing.

36

inimical

inimical
adjective: hostile (usually describes conditions or environments)

Venus, with a surface temperature that would turn rubber to liquid, is inimical to any form of life.

37

winesome

winsome
adjective: charming in a childlike or naive way

She was winsome by nature, and many people were drawn to this free and playful spirit.

38

dilettante


noun: an amateur who engages in an activity without serious intentions and who pretends to have knowledge

Fred has no formal medical training; while he likes to claim authority on medical issues, he is little more than a dilettante.

39

arcane

arcane
adjective: requiring secret or mysterious knowledge

Most college fraternities are known for arcane rituals that those hoping to join the fraternity must learn.

40

gauche

gauche
adjective: lacking social polish

Sylvester says the most gauche things, such as telling a girl he liked that she was much prettier when she wore makeup.