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Flashcards in D Words Deck (23):

daunt (v)


Although we thought the amount of work left to do might daunt her, she refused to become discouraged and resolutely settled down to complete the job.


decorum (n)

appropriateness in behavior; orderliness and good taste in manners

Even the best-mannered students have trouble behaving with proper decorum on the last day of school.


definitive (adj)

providing a final, complete answer

Although many programming texts describe themselves as definitive guides to the subject, almost all of them leave out essential pieces of information.


deleterious (adj)

injurious to health

If you believe that smoking is deleterious to your health (and the surgeon general certainly does), then quit!


denigrate (v)

attack the reputation of or deny the importance of

The campaign took on a vicious tone as the rival candidates began to denigrate each other's accomplishments and character.


derisive (adj)

scornfully mocking

The reviewers made unanimously derisive comments about Hwang's new play, mocking its pretentious dialogue, flat characters, and simpleminded plot.


derivative (adj)

lacking in originality

Although her early poetry was clearly derivative in nature, the critics thought she had promise and eventually would find her own voice.


desiccate (v)

remove moisture from

The long drought desiccated the marshlands, leaving the once moist soil parched and dry.


desultory (adj)

lacking a definite plan, method, or purpose

In prison Malcolm X set himself the task of reading straight through the dictionary; to him, reading was purposeful, not desultory.


diatribe (n)

bitter, accusatory verbal attack

Infuriated by what he considered unfair attacks in the press, the candidate delivered a lengthy diatribe against biased reporting.


dichotomy (n)

branching into two parts (especially contradictory or mutually opposed parts)

According to Jung, the distinction between mind and body is an artificial dichotomy, a division based more on the peculiarity of intellectual understandings than on the nature of things.


didactic (adj)

intended to teach or convey information

Although Joan Walsh Anglund clearly gets across her message about the nature of friendship and the need to share and be flexible, her writing is no the least bit didactic or dogmatic.


diffidence (n)

lack of self-confidence

Doubting her ability to write English correctly, the young Japanese student felt some diffidence about replying to the first letter she received from her American pen pal.


dilatory (adj)

tending to procrastinate or cause delay

If you are dilatory in paying your bills, your credit rating may suffer.


disabuse (v)

free someone from an erroneous belief or false impression

On her return from Turkey, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu did her best to disabuse English minds of their prejudiced notions of Turkish cruelty, luxury, and sensuality.


disinterested (adj)

without any selfish motive or interest

Given the judge's political ambitions and the lawyers' financial stake in the case, the only disinterested person in the courtroom may have been the court reporter.


disparate (adj)

fundamentally different

Clue by clue, scientific investigators around the world are assembling a new picture of Earth, discovering ways that seemingly disparate events are connected.


dissemble (v)

conceal facts, motives, or intentions; hide behind a false appearance

Even though John tried to dissemble his motive for taking modern dance, we all knew he was there not to dance but to meet girls.


dissonance (n)

jarring, inharmonious sound

Composer Charles Ives often used dissonance (clashing or unresolved chords) for special effects in his musical works.


distend (v)

expand from internal pressure

At the watermelon-eating contest, Bob ate so much that his stomach began to distend.


divine (v)

perceive intuitively or through an insight

Nothing infuriated Tom more than Aunt Polly's ability to divine when he was not telling the truth.


dogmatic (adj)

positive in asserting one's opinion (especially when it is unwarranted)

Inflexible and dogmatic, Doug was not a man to be troubled by doubts.


dormant (adj)

marked by lack of activity; temporarily quiet, as if sleeping

At fifty her long-dormant ambition to write flared up once more; within a year she had completed the first of her great historical novels.