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Having the same designation



: conscious abandonment of allegiance or duty (as to a person, cause, or doctrine) : desertion



: of or relating to social events where people can eat, drink, and talk in a friendly way with others



: to express mild disapproval of (someone) : to scold (someone) gently



: to put a muzzle on (a dog) : to place a covering on (the mouth of a dog) to stop biting
: to prevent (a person or group) from speaking or writing in a free or normal way





: an explanation or warning that should be remembered when you are doing or thinking about something



: a stupid person



: something that causes things to happen in a story in a way that does not seem natural or believable
: the use of contrivances in a story
: a machine or piece of equipment made with skill and cleverness



: made to be useful rather than to be decorative or comfortable
philosophy : of or relating to utilitarianism



: a way of thinking, behaving, or doing something that has been used by the people in a particular group, family, society, etc., for a long time
: the stories, beliefs, etc., that have been part of the culture of a group of people for a long time
—used to say that someone has qualities which are like the qualities of another well-known person or group of people from the past







di·dac·tic\dī-ˈdak-tik, də-\
: designed or intended to teach people something
—used to describe someone or something that tries to teach something (such as proper or moral behavior) in a way that is annoying or unwanted
Full Definition
1 a : designed or intended to teach
b : intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment
2 : making moral observations
di·dac·ti·cal \-ti-kəl\ adjective
di·dac·ti·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
di·dac·ti·cism \-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun
the poet's works became increasingly didactic after his religious conversion
Origin: Greek didaktikos, from didaskein to teach.
First use: 1658
Synonyms: sermonic, homiletic (or homiletical), moralistic, moralizing, preachy, sententious







: to be similar to or the same as something
: to obey or agree with something
: to do what other people do : to behave in a way that is accepted by most people
Full Definition
transitive verb
: to give the same shape, outline, or contour to : bring into harmony or accord
intransitive verb
1 : to be similar or identical; also : to be in agreement or harmony — used with to or with
2 a : to be obedient or compliant — usually used with to ll have to conform this new rule with existing policy regarding student-run organizations on campus
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French conformer, from Latin conformare, from com- + formare to form, from forma form.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: accord, agree, answer, chord, cohere, coincide, comport, check, consist, correspond, dovetail, fit, go, harmonize, jibe, rhyme (also rime), sort, square, tally



: annoying or irritating
Full Definition
: tending to irk : tedious
irk·some·ly adverb
irk·some·ness noun
the irksome habit of leaving all the kitchen cabinet doors open
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: abrasive, aggravating, bothersome, carking, chafing, disturbing, exasperating, frustrating, galling, annoying, irritating, maddening, nettlesome, nettling, peeving, pesky, pestiferous, pestilent, pestilential, pesty, plaguey (also plaguy), rankling, rebarbative, riling, vexatious, vexing













: to split and move out in different directions from a single point
: to be or become different
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 a : to move or extend in different directions from a common point : draw apart
b : to become or be different in character or form : differ in opinion
2 : to turn aside from a path or course : deviate
3 : to be mathematically divergent
transitive verb
: deflect
synonyms see swerve
Other forms: di·verged; di·verg·ing
the deer abruptly diverged from its intended path the moment it spied the waiting lynx
at that point the road and the railroad tracks diverge
Origin: Medieval Latin divergere, from Latin dis- + vergere to incline — more at wrench.
First use: 1665
Synonyms: detour, deviate, turn, sheer, swerve, swing, turn off, veer, wheel



di·vulge\də-ˈvəlj, dī-\
transitive verb
: to make (information) known : to give (information) to someone
Full Definition
1 archaic : to make public : proclaim
2 : to make known (as a confidence or secret)
synonyms see reveal
Other forms: di·vulged; di·vulg·ing
di·vul·gence \-ˈvəl-jən(t)s\ noun
we tried to make him divulge the name of the winner, but he wouldn't budge
Origin: Middle English, from Latin divulgare, from dis- + vulgare to make known, from vulgus mob.
First use: 15th century



: to change the way things are done in order to spend less money
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : cut down, reduce
b : to cut out : excise
2 : to pare away : remove
intransitive verb
: to make retrenchments; specifically : economize
synonyms see shorten
Origin: obsolete French retrencher (now retrancher), from Middle French retrenchier, from re- + trenchier to cut.
First use: 1596



: to place (someone or something) in a very strong position that cannot easily be changed
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to place within or surround with a trench especially for defense
b : to place (oneself) in a strong defensive position
c : to establish solidly
2 : to cut into : furrow; specifically : to erode downward so as to form a trenchintransitive verb
1 : to dig or occupy a trench for defensive purposes
2 : to enter upon or take over something unfairly, improperly, or unlawfully : encroach — used with on or upon
en·trench·ment \-mənt\ noun
a father who entrenched in our minds the belief that hard work pays off
Variants: also in·trench \in-\
First use: 1548
Synonyms: bed, embed (also imbed), enroot, fix, impact, implant, ingrain (also engrain), lodge, root
Antonyms: dislodge, root (out), uproot



: the use of reasoning or arguments that sound correct but are actually false
: a reason or argument that sounds correct but is actually false
Full Definition
1 : subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation
2 : sophism 1
First use: 14th century



: to do something as a way to show that you are sorry about doing something bad
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 obsolete : to put an end to
2 a : to extinguish the guilt incurred by
b : to make amends for
intransitive verb
: to make expiation
Other forms: ex·pi·at·ed; ex·pi·at·ing
ex·pi·a·ble \ˈek-spē-ə-bəl\ adjective
ex·pi·a·tor \-spē-ˌā-tər\ noun
Yom Kippur is the holy day on which Jews are expected to expiate sins committed during the past year
Origin: Latin expiatus, past participle of expiare to atone for, from ex- + piare to atone for, appease, from pius faithful, pious.
First use: circa 1500
Synonyms: atone (for), mend, redeem, make amends for, make good for



: the act of making something better or more acceptable
: the act of exchanging something for money, an award, etc.
Christianity : the act of saving people from sin and evil : the fact of being saved from sin or evil
Full Definition
: the act, process, or an instance of redeeming
Origin: Middle English redempcioun, from Anglo-French redempcion, from Latin redemption-, redemptio, from redimere to redeem.
First use: 14th century





1 : to give off or reflect light in bright beams or flashes : sparkle
2 : to be brilliant or showy in technique or style
Other forms: cor·us·cat·ed; cor·us·cat·ing
a classic car from the 1950s, replete with yards of coruscating chrome
Origin: Latin coruscatus, past participle of coruscare to flash.



: to make (someone or something) weak : to reduce the strength of (someone or something)
Full Definition
: to impair the strength of : enfeeble
synonyms see weaken
Other forms: de·bil·i·tat·ed; de·bil·i·tat·ing
de·bil·i·ta·tion \-ˌbi-lə-ˈtā-shən\ noun
the heart surgery debilitated the college athlete beyond his worst fears
Origin: Latin debilitatus, past participle of debilitare to weaken, from debilis weak.



: exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature



: the appearance of a person's face : a person's expression
Full Definition
1 obsolete : bearing, demeanor
2 a : calm expression
b : mental composure
c : look, expression
3 archaic
a : aspect, semblance
b : pretense
4 : face, visage; especially : the face as an indication of mood, emotion, or character
5 : bearing or expression that offers approval or sanction : moral support
Origin: Middle English contenance, from Anglo-French cuntenance, contenance, from Medieval Latin continentia, from Latin, restraint, from continent-, continens, present participle of continēre to hold together — more at contain.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: cast, look, expression, face, visage
Antonyms: agitation, discomposure, perturbation
2coun·te·nance\ˈkau̇n-tən-ən(t)s, ˈkau̇nt-nən(t)s\
transitive verb
: to accept, support, or approve of (something)
Full Definition
: to extend approval or toleration to : sanction
Other forms: coun·te·nanced; coun·te·nanc·ing
coun·te·nanc·er noun
The city would not countenance a rock concert in the park.
The leader did not officially countenance negotiations with the rebels.
Origin: (see 1countenance ).
First use: 1568



: in agreement with something
music : in harmony
Full Definition
1 : being in agreement or harmony : free from elements making for discord
2 : marked by musical consonances
3 : having similar sounds
4 : relating to or exhibiting consonance : resonant
con·so·nant·ly adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Latin consonant-, consonans, present participle of consonare to sound together, agree, from com- + sonare to sound — more at sound.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: balanced, congruous, harmonious, eurythmic (or eurhythmic), harmonic
Antonyms: disharmonic, disharmonious, incongruous, inharmonic, inharmonious, unbalanced



com·plai·sance\kəm-ˈplā-sən(t)s, -zən(t)s; ˌkäm-plā-ˈzan(t)s, -plə-, -ˈzän(t)s\
: disposition to please or comply : affability
the complaisance of his girlfriend is such that she meekly goes along with everything he says
First use: 1651
Synonyms: amenability, amiability, good-naturedness









: to persuade someone to give you (something) for free
Full Definition
: beg, sponge
Other forms: cadged; cadg·ing
cadg·er noun
He spent his time trying to cadge drinks from the customers.
She cadged money from her sister.
Origin: back-formation from Scots cadger carrier, huckster, from Middle English cadgear.
First use: circa 1812



: shining with many different colors when seen from different angles
Full Definition
: having or exhibiting iridescence
ir·i·des·cent·ly adverb
an iridescent soap bubble
First use: 1796
Synonyms: nacreous, opalescent, pearlescent



1 : a type of construction (as of a fuselage) in which the outer skin carries all or a major part of the stresses
2 : a type of vehicle construction (as of an automobile) in which the body is integral with the chassis
Origin: French, from mon- + coque shell, probably from Latin coccum kermes — more at cocoon.
First use: 1913



pav·o·nine (pv-nn)
1. Of or resembling a peacock.
2. Resembling a peacock's tail in color, design, or iridescence.
[Latin pvnnus, from pv, peacock.]



1 a : of or relating to the walls of a part or cavity
b : of, relating to, or forming the upper posterior wall of the head
2 : attached to the main wall rather than the axis or a cross wall of a plant ovary — used of an ovule or a placenta
3 : of or relating to college living or its regulation; especially : of or relating to parietals
Origin: Middle English, from Medieval Latin parietalis, from pariet-, paries wall of a cavity or hollow organ, from Latin, wall.
First use: 15th century
1 : a parietal part (as a bone, scale, or plate)
2 plural : the regulations governing the visiting privileges of members of the opposite sex in campus dormitories



medical : to burn (something, such as a wound) with heat or a chemical substance in order to destroy infected tissue
Full Definition
1 : to sear with a cautery or caustic
2 : to make insensible : deaden
Other forms: cau·ter·ized; cau·ter·iz·ing
cau·ter·i·za·tion \ˌkȯ-tə-rə-ˈzā-shən\ noun
time had cauterized his bitterness, and he was willing to let bygones be bygones
First use: 14th century



: to not allow (someone) to be included in a group : to exclude (someone) from a group
Full Definition
1 : to exile by ostracism
2 : to exclude from a group by common consent
Other forms: os·tra·cized; os·tra·ciz·ing
Origin: Greek ostrakizein to banish by voting with potsherds, from ostrakon shell, potsherd — more at oyster.



: to make (an idea, belief, etc.) known to many people
: to make (a new law) known officially and publicly
Full Definition
1 : to make (as a doctrine) known by open declaration : proclaim
2 a : to make known or public the terms of (a proposed law)
b : to put (a law) into action or force
synonyms see declare
Other forms: pro·mul·gat·ed; pro·mul·gat·ing
pro·mul·ga·tion \ˌprä-məl-ˈgā-shən; ˌprō-(ˌ)məl-, (ˌ)prō-ˌ\ noun
pro·mul·ga·tor \ˈprä-məl-ˌgā-tər; prō-ˈməl-, prə-ˈ, ˈprō-(ˌ)\ noun
the encyclical that promulgated the church's position on artificial birth control
Origin: Latin promulgatus, past participle of promulgare, from pro- forward + -mulgare (probably akin to mulgēre to milk, extract) — more at emulsion.





: to secretly try to ruin or destroy a government, political system, etc.
: to make (something) weaker or less effective
Full Definition
1 : to overturn or overthrow from the foundation : ruin
2 : to pervert or corrupt by an undermining of morals, allegiance, or faith
sub·vert·er noun
by insisting that she pay me for helping her, she subverted my noble desire to do a good deed without reward
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French subvertir, from Latin subvertere, literally, to turn from beneath, from sub- + vertere to turn — more at worth.



: a person who in the past traveled to different places and made money by selling or repairing small items (such as pots and pans)
Full Definition
1 a : a usually itinerant mender of household utensils
b : an unskillful mender : bungler
2 chiefly Irish : gypsy
Origin: Middle English tinkere.
First use: 14th century
: to try to repair or improve something (such as a machine) by making small changes or adjustments to it
Full Definition
intransitive verb
: to work in the manner of a tinker; especially : to repair, adjust, or work with something in an unskilled or experimental manner : fiddle
transitive verb
: to repair, adjust, or experiment with
Other forms: tin·kered; tin·ker·ing \-k(ə-)riŋ\
tin·ker·er \-kər-ər\ noun



: a situation in which many people leave a place at the same time
Full Definition
1 capitalized : the mainly narrative second book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture — see bible table
2 : a mass departure : emigration
the mass exodus from the cities for the beaches and the mountains on most summer weekends
Origin: Latin, from Greek Exodos, literally, road out, from ex- + hodos road.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: outflow, gush, outpour, outpouring
Antonyms: flux, inflow, influx, inrush



in·ex·tri·ca·ble\ˌi-nik-ˈstri-kə-bəl, (ˌ)i-ˈnek-(ˌ)stri-\
: impossible to separate : closely joined or related
Full Definition
1 : forming a maze or tangle from which it is impossible to get free
2 a : incapable of being disentangled or untied
b : not capable of being solved
in·ex·tri·ca·bil·i·ty \ˌi-nik-ˌstri-kə-ˈbi-lə-tē, (ˌ)i-ˌnek-(ˌ)stri-\ noun
in·ex·tri·ca·bly \ˌi-nik-ˈstri-kə-blē, (ˌ)i-ˈnek-(ˌ)stri-\ adverb
Origin: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin inextricabilis, from in- + extricabilis extricable.
First use: 15th century



: a group of people who have been given the official job of finding information about something or controlling something
: an amount of money paid to an employee for selling something
: the act of committing a crime
Full Definition
1 a : a formal written warrant granting the power to perform various acts or duties
b : a certificate conferring military rank and authority; also : the rank and authority so conferred
2 : an authorization or command to act in a prescribed manner or to perform prescribed acts : charge
3 a : authority to act for, in behalf of, or in place of another
b : a task or matter entrusted to one as an agent for another
4 a : a group of persons directed to perform some duty
b : a government agency having administrative, legislative, or judicial powers
c : a city council having legislative and executive functions
5 : an act of committing something
6 : a fee paid to an agent or employee for transacting a piece of business or performing a service; especially : a percentage of the money received from a total paid to the agent responsible for the business
7 : an act of entrusting or giving authority
in commission or into commission
1 : under the authority of commissioners
2 of a ship : ready for active service
3 : in use or in condition for use
on commission : with commission serving as partial or full pay for work done
out of commission
1 : out of active service or use
2 : out of working order
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin commission-, commissio act of bringing together, from committere.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: accreditation, authorization, delegation, empowerment, license (or licence), mandate
Antonyms: nonfulfillment, nonperformance
transitive verb
: to order or request (something) to be made or done
: to order or request (someone) to make or do something
: to make (someone) an officer in the military
Full Definition
1 : to furnish with a commission: as
a : to confer a formal commission on
b : to appoint or assign to a task or function
2 : to order to be made
3 : to put (a ship) in commission
Other forms: commis·sioned; commis·sion·ing\-ˈmi-sh(ə-)niŋ\
A portrait of the queen was commissioned.



: a group of three usually related people or things
: a secret Chinese criminal organization
Full Definition
1 : a union or group of three : trinity
2 : a chord of three tones consisting of a root with its third and fifth and constituting the harmonic basis of tonal music
tri·ad·ic \trī-ˈa-dik\ adjective
tri·ad·i·cal·ly \-di-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
a triad of candlesticks on the mantle
Origin: Latin triad-, trias, from Greek, from treis three.
First use: 1546
Synonyms: threesome, trifecta, trinity, trio, triple, triplet, triumvirate





: to produce or lay eggs in water
: to cause (something) to develop or begin : to produce or create (something)
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to deposit or fertilize spawn
2 : to produce young especially in large numberstransitive verb
1 a : to produce or deposit (eggs) — used of an aquatic animal
b : to induce (fish) to spawn
c : to plant with mushroom spawn
2 : bring forth, generate
spawn·er noun
Salmon spawn in late summer or fall.
The health-food craze spawned a multimillion-dollar industry.
the incident that spawned a generation of student protests
Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French espandre to spread out, shed, scatter, spawn, from Latin expandere to expand.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: beget, breed, bring, bring about, bring on, catalyze, cause, create, do, draw on, effectuate, engender, generate, induce, invoke, make, occasion, produce, prompt, result (in), effect, translate (into), work, yield
: the eggs of a fish or frog
Full Definition
1 : the eggs of aquatic animals (as fishes or oysters) that lay many small eggs
2 : product, offspring; also : offspring in great numbers
3 : the seed, germ, or source of something
4 : mycelium especially prepared (as in bricks) for propagating mushrooms
Pacific salmon return to Alaskan streams to deposit their spawn.
sometimes I think those little brats are the spawn of Satan himself
First use: 15th century



: a usually short talk on a religious or moral topic
: advice that is often not wanted
Full Definition
1 : a usually short sermon
2 : a lecture or discourse on or of a moral theme
3 : an inspirational catchphrase; also : platitude
Other forms: plural hom·i·lies
last Sunday's homily was about being kind to your neighbors
a TV movie filled with the usual hokey homilies about people triumphing over life's adversities
Origin: Middle English omelie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin homilia, from Late Greek, from Greek, conversation, discourse, from homilein to consort with, address, from homilos crowd, assembly; akin to Greek homos same — more at same.







: a time when a particular activity is not allowed
Full Definition
1 a : a legally authorized period of delay in the performance of a legal obligation or the payment of a debt
b : a waiting period set by an authority
2 : a suspension of activity
Other forms: plural mor·a·to·riums or mor·a·to·ria \-ē-ə\
the director of the blood bank called for a moratorium in donations until the surplus could be used up
Origin: New Latin, from Late Latin, neuter of moratorius dilatory, from Latin morari to delay, from mora delay.
First use: 1875
Synonyms: cold storage, deep freeze, doldrums, dormancy, holding pattern, latency, abeyance, quiescence, suspended animation, suspense, suspension
Antonyms: continuance, continuation



: someone who helps another person, group, etc., by giving money
Full Definition
: one that confers a benefit; especially : one that makes a gift or bequest
an anonymous benefactor gave the school a dozen new computers
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: angel, donator, donor, fairy godmother, Maecenas, patron, sugar daddy



: to pull (something) behind you especially on the ground
: to be pulled behind someone or something
: to walk or move slowly as you follow behind (someone or something)
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 a : to hang down so as to drag along or sweep the ground
b : to extend over a surface in a loose or straggling manner

c : to grow to such length as to droop over toward the ground
2 a : to walk or proceed draggingly, heavily, or wearily : plod, trudge
b : to lag behind : do poorly in relation to others
3 : to move, flow, or extend slowly in thin streams
4 a : to extend in an erratic or uneven course or line : straggle
b : dwindle
5 : to follow a trail : track gametransitive verb
1 a : to draw or drag loosely along a surface : allow to sweep the ground
b : haul, tow
2 a : to drag (as a limb or the body) heavily or wearily
b : to carry or bring along as an addition, burden, or encumbrance
c : to draw along in one's wake
3 a : to follow upon the scent or trace of : track
b : to follow in the footsteps of : pursue
c : to follow along behind
d : to lag behind (as a competitor)
synonyms see chase
The dog was trailing its leash.
The little girl went to her room, trailing her teddy bear behind her.
The dog's leash was trailing along/on the ground.
Origin: Middle English, perhaps from Anglo-French *trailer, alteration of trainer to drag, trail on the ground — more at train.
First use: 13th century
Synonyms: bird-dog, chase, course, dog, hound, pursue, run, shadow, tag, tail, trace, track, follow
Antonyms: guide, lead, pilot
: a path through a forest, field, etc.
: the marks, signs, smells, etc., that are left behind by someone or something and that can often be followed
: a route that someone follows to go somewhere or achieve something
Full Definition
1 : something that trails or is trailed: as
a : a trailing plant
b : the train of a gown
c : a trailing arrangement (as of flowers) : spray
d : the part of a gun carriage that rests on the ground when the piece is unlimbered
2 a : something that follows or moves along as if being drawn along : train

b (1) : the streak produced by a meteor (2) : a continuous line produced photographically by permitting the image of a celestial body (as a star) to move over the plate
c : a chain of consequences : aftermath
3 a : a trace or mark left by something that has passed or been drawn along : scent, track

b (1) : a track made by passage especially through a wilderness (2) : a marked or established path or route especially through a forest or mountainous region
c : a course followed or to be followed
trail·less \ˈtrāl-ləs\ adjective
Stay on the trail if we get separated.
a bike/ski trail
He left (behind) a trail of blood.





: to beat or whip (someone) severely
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 a : to beat with or as if with a rod or whip
b : to criticize harshly
2 : to force or urge into action : drive
3 a chiefly British : to sell (as stolen goods) illegally
b : sell 7
c : to promote aggressively : plug
4 British : steal 1
intransitive verb
1 : flap, flutter
2 British : to move along with difficulty : slog
Other forms: flogged; flog·ging
flog·ger noun
The sailors were flogged for attempting a mutiny.
He is being flogged in the press for his failure to take action.
Flogging was a common form of punishment in those days.
Origin: perhaps modification of Latin flagellare to whip — more at flagellate.
First use: circa 1676
Synonyms: birch, cowhide, flagellate, flail, whip, hide, horsewhip, lash, leather, rawhide, scourge, slash, switch, tan, thrash, whale
Antonyms: breeze, coast, glide, slide, waltz, whisk


Di rigueur

de ri·gueur\də-(ˌ)rē-ˈgər\
: necessary if you want to be fashionable, popular, socially acceptable, etc.
Full Definition
: prescribed or required by fashion, etiquette, or custom : proper
though he was wearing a dinner jacket and a black bow tie, his jeans and tennis shoes were hardly de rigueur
Origin: French.
First use: 1833
Synonyms: befitting, correct, decent, decorous, proper, genteel, nice, polite, respectable, seemly
Antonyms: improper, inappropriate, incorrect, indecent, indecorous, indelicate, unbecoming, ungenteel, unseemly



: to steal things that are not very valuable or to steal a small amount of something
Full Definition
intransitive verb
: steal; especially : to steal stealthily in small amounts and often again and againtransitive verb
: steal; especially : to steal in small quantities
synonyms see steal
Other forms: pil·fered; pil·fer·ing \-f(ə-)riŋ\
pil·fer·able \-f(ə-)rə-bəl\ adjective
pil·fer·age \-f(ə-)rij\ noun
pil·fer·er \-fər-ər\ noun
pil·fer·proof \-ˌprüf\ adjective
what sort of person would pilfer lunches from the office refrigerator?
Origin: Middle French pelfrer, from pelfre booty.
First use: circa 1548
Synonyms: appropriate, boost [slang], filch, heist, hook, lift, misappropriate, nick [British slang], nip, steal, pinch, pocket, purloin, rip off, snitch, swipe, thieve



: to seriously or continually try to do(something)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 archaic : to strive to achieve or reach
2 : to attempt (as the fulfillment of an obligation) by exertion of effort
intransitive verb
: to work with set purpose
synonyms see attempt
Other forms: en·deav·ored; en·deav·or·ing \-v(ə-)riŋ\
Origin: Middle English endeveren to exert oneself, from en- + dever duty — more at devoir.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: bang away, beaver (away), dig (away), drudge, labor, fag, grub, hump, hustle, moil, peg (away), plod, plow, plug, slave, slog, strain, strive, struggle, sweat, toil, travail, tug, work
: a serious effort or attempt
Full Definition
1 : serious determined effort
2 : activity directed toward a goal : enterprise
His endeavors have gone unrewarded.
He failed despite his best endeavors.
She is involved in several artistic endeavors.
Origin: (see 1endeavor ).
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: assay [archaic], bash [chiefly British], bid, crack, attempt, essay, fling, go, offer, pass, shot, stab, trial, try, whack, whirl



: encircle, surround
a decaying, impoverished city environed by affluent suburbs
Origin: Middle English envirounen, from Anglo-French enviruner, from envirun around, from en in (from Latin in) + virun circle, from virer to turn — more at veer.



: a small amount
Full Definition
: a small portion : a limited quantity
only a modicum of skill is necessary to put the kit together
Origin: Middle English, from Latin, neuter of modicus moderate, from modus measure.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: beans, bubkes (also bupkes or bupkus), continental, damn, darn (also durn), diddly [slang], diddly-squat [slang], doodley-squat (or doodly-squat), fig, ghost, hoot, iota, lick, jot, rap, squat [slang], syllable, tittle, whit, whoop



: to dip (food) quickly into a liquid (such as coffee or milk) while eating
: to push (someone or something) under water or other liquid for a short amount of time
basketball : to jump high in the air and push (the ball) down through the basket
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to dip (as a piece of bread) into a beverage while eating
2 : to dip or submerge temporarily in liquid
3 : to throw (a basketball) into the basket from above the rim
intransitive verb
1 : to submerge oneself in water
2 : to make a dunk shot in basketball
I like to dunk my doughnut in my coffee.
She dunked him while they were swimming.
He dunked the ladle into the soup.
Origin: Pennsylvania German dunke, from Middle High German dunken, from Old High German dunkōn — more at tinge.
First use: 1919
Synonyms: douse (also dowse), duck, dip, immerse, souse, sop, submerge, submerse
basketball : a shot that is made by jumping high in the air and pushing the ball down through the basket
Full Definition
: the act or action of dunking; especially : dunk shot
The pass led to a dunk.
First use: circa 1944



: very different, strange, or unusual
of a plant or animal : not living or growing naturally in a particular area : from another part of the world
Full Definition
1 : introduced from another country : not native to the place where found
2 archaic : foreign, alien
3 : strikingly, excitingly, or mysteriously different or unusual
4 : of or relating to striptease
ex·ot·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
ex·ot·ic·ness \-tik-nəs\ noun
Origin: Latin exoticus, from Greek exōtikos, from exō.
First use: 1599
Synonyms: bizarro, fantastic (also fantastical), glamorous (also glamourous), marvelous (or marvellous), outlandish, romantic, strange
Antonyms: familiar, nonexotic, nonglamorous, plain-Jane, unexotic, unglamorous, unromantic
: a plant or animal that does not live or grow naturally in a particular area
Full Definition
1 : one (as a plant or animal) that is exotic
2 : stripteaser
3 : exotic shorthair
Some native species are being crowded out by exotics.
the botanical garden boasts an array of horticultural exotics from around the world
First use: 1645
Synonyms: curio, curiosity, objet d'art (also objet), oddity, oddment, rarity



: an event in which the people of a county, state, etc., vote for or against a law that deals with a specific issue : a public vote on a particular issue
Full Definition
1 a : the principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or by popular initiative
b : a vote on a measure so submitted
2 : a diplomatic agent's note asking for government instructions
Other forms: plural ref·er·en·da \-də\ or ref·er·en·dums
Origin: New Latin, from Latin, neuter of referendus, gerundive of referre to refer.



: a usually brief written message or report from one person or department in a company or organization to another
law : an informal written record of an agreement that has not yet become official
Full Definition
1 : an informal record; also : a written reminder
2 : an informal written note of a transaction or proposed instrument
3 a : an informal diplomatic communication
b : a usually brief communication written for interoffice circulation
c : a communication that contains directive, advisory, or informative matter
Other forms: plural mem·o·ran·dums or mem·o·ran·da\-də\
I'm waiting for the memorandum that will explain the new vacation policy
the studio executives depend on endless memoranda to keep track of what's going on at a movie shot on location
dispatched a memorandum to her secretary about the assignment
Origin: Middle English, to be remembered, from Latin, neuter of memorandus, gerundive of memorare.
First use: 15th century
Synonyms: directive, memo, notice
Usage: Although some commentators warn against the use of memoranda as a singular and condemn the plural memorandas, our evidence indicates that these forms are rarely encountered in print. We have a little evidence of the confusion of forms, including use of memorandum as a plural, in speech (as at congressional hearings). As plurals memoranda and memorandums are about equally frequent.


Lieu (in lieu of)

: place, stead
in lieu : instead
in lieu of : in the place of : instead of
In lieu of flowers, the family of the deceased has requested that donations be made to the church fund.
You can use your ATM card in lieu of cash.
Origin: Middle English liue, from Anglo-French liu, lieu, from Latin locus — more at stall.
First use: 14th century



em·bez·zle\im-ˈbe-zəl, em-\
transitive verb
: to steal money that you have been trusted with
Full Definition
: to appropriate (as property entrusted to one's care) fraudulently to one's own use
Other forms: em·bez·zled; em·bez·zling \-(ə-)liŋ\
em·bez·zle·ment \-zəl-mənt\ noun
em·bez·zler \-z(ə-)lər\ noun
Origin: Middle English embesilen, from Anglo-French embesiller to make away with, from en- + besiller to steal, plunder.
First use: 15th century





: a small hill
Full Definition
: a small round hill : mound
Origin: Middle English knol, from Old English cnoll; akin to Old Norse knollr mountaintop.
First use: before 12th century
: knell
Origin: Middle English, probably alteration of knellen to knell.
First use: 15th century



: the tube that leads from the mouth through the throat to the stomach
Full Definition
1 : esophagus; broadly : throat
2 : an invagination of the protoplasm in various protozoans (as a paramecium) that sometimes functions in the intake of food
3 : the space between the tips of adjacent saw teeth
Origin: Middle English golet, from Anglo-French, diminutive of gule throat, from Latin gula — more at glutton.
First use: 14th century



: a small, deep, narrow valley
Full Definition
: a small narrow steep-sided valley that is larger than a gully and smaller than a canyon and that is usually worn by running water
he urged his horse down into the ravine where there was a thin stream of water flowing
Origin: French, from Middle French, rapine, rush, from Latin rapina rapine.
First use: circa 1772
Synonyms: col, couloir, defile, flume, gap, gill [British], gorge, gulch, gulf, kloof [South African], linn [chiefly Scottish], notch, pass, canyon, saddle



: a way to get out of a place or the act of leaving a place
Full Definition
1 : the action or right of going or coming out
2 : a place or means of going out : exit
Origin: Latin egressus, from egredi to go out, from e- + gradi to go — more at grade.
First use: 1538
Synonyms: exit, issue, outlet
Antonyms: entrance, entranceway, entry, entryway, ingress
intransitive verb
: to go or come out
Origin: (see 1egress ).
First use: 1578



1 obsolete : locality, place
2 : advantage — used chiefly in the phrase to stand one in good stead
3 : the office, place, or function ordinarily occupied or carried out by someone or something else
Origin: Middle English stede, from Old English; akin to Old High German stat place, Old English standan to stand — more at stand.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: better, bulge, catbird seat, drop, edge, high ground, inside track, jump, pull, advantage, upper hand, vantage, whip hand
Antonyms: disadvantage, drawback, handicap, liability, minus, penalty, strike
transitive verb
: to be of avail to : help
First use: 13th century



stead·fast\ˈsted-ˌfast also -fəst\
: very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause : not changing
Full Definition
1 a : firmly fixed in place : immovable
b : not subject to change
2 : firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal
synonyms see faithful
stead·fast·ly adverb
stead·fast·ness \-ˌfas(t)-nəs, -fəs(t)-\ noun
a steadfast supporter of women's rights
Origin: Middle English stedefast, from Old English stedefæst, from stede + fæst fixed, fast.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: constant, dedicated, devoted, devout, down-the-line, fast, good, loyal, pious, staunch (also stanch), faithful, steady, true, true-blue
Antonyms: disloyal, faithless, false, fickle, inconstant, perfidious, recreant, traitorous, treacherous, unfaithful, untrue



: a very small difference in color, tone, meaning, etc.
Full Definition
1 : a subtle distinction or variation
2 : a subtle quality : nicety
3 : sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)
nu·anced \-ˌän(t)st, -ˈän(t)st\ adjective
Origin: French, from Middle French, shade of color, from nuer to make shades of color, from nue cloud, from Latin nubes; perhaps akin to Welsh nudd mist.


Art nouveau

: a style of art, design, and architecture that uses curving lines and shapes that look like leaves and flowers
Full Definition
Usage: often capitalized A&N
: a design style of late 19th century origin characterized especially by sinuous lines and foliate forms



1 : of or relating to heathens, their religions, or their customs
2 : strange, uncivilized
Origin: Middle English hethen, from Old English hǣthen; akin to Old High German heidan heathen, and probably to Old English hǣth heath.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: barbarian, barbaric, barbarous, savage, heathenish, natural, Neanderthal (or Neandertal), rude, uncivil, uncivilized, uncultivated, wild
Antonyms: civilized
1 : an unconverted member of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the God of the Bible
2 : an uncivilized or irreligious person
Other forms: plural heathens or heathen
hea·then·dom \-dəm\ noun
hea·then·ism \-thə-ˌni-zəm\ noun
hea·then·ize \-thə-ˌnīz\ transitive verb
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: gentile, idolater (or idolator), pagan



: a member of a group of Scandinavian people who attacked the coasts of Europe in the 8th to 10th centuries A.D.
Full Definition
1 a : one of the pirate Norsemen plundering the coasts of Europe in the 8th to 10th centuries
b not capitalized : sea rover
2 : scandinavian
Origin: Old Norse vīkingr.
First use: 1807





1 : relating to or situated on the right
2 : being or relating to the side of a heraldic shield at the right of the person bearing it
dexter adverb
Origin: Latin; akin to Old High German zeso situated on the right, Greek dexios.
First use: 1562





: to make perpetual or cause to last indefinitely
Other forms: per·pet·u·at·ed; per·pet·u·at·ing
per·pet·u·a·tion \-ˌpe-chə-ˈwā-shən\ noun
per·pet·u·a·tor \-ˈpe-chə-ˌwā-tər\ noun
we hope to perpetuate this holiday tradition
Origin: Latin perpetuatus, past participle of perpetuare, from perpetuus.
First use: 1530



en·dorse\in-ˈdȯrs, en-\
transitive verb
: to publicly or officially say that you support or approve of (someone or something)
: to publicly say that you like or use (a product or service) in exchange for money
: to write your name on the back of (a check)
Full Definition
1 a : to write on the back of; especially : to sign one's name as payee on the back of (a check) in order to obtain the cash or credit represented on the face
b : to inscribe (one's signature) on a check, bill, or note
c : to inscribe (as an official document) with a title or memorandum
d : to make over to another (the value represented in a check, bill, or note) by inscribing one's name on the document
e : to acknowledge receipt of (a sum specified) by one's signature on a document
2 a : to approve openly ; especially : to express support or approval of publicly and definitely
b : to recommend (as a product or service) usually for financial compensation
synonyms see approve
Other forms: en·dorsed; en·dors·ing
en·dors·able \-ˈdȯr-sə-bəl\ adjective
en·dors·ee \in-ˌdȯr-ˈsē, ˌen-\ noun
en·dors·er \in-ˈdȯr-sər\ noun
an increase in the number of parents who endorse the idea of school uniforms
Variants: also in·dorse \in-\
Origin: alteration of obsolete endoss, from Middle English endosen, from Anglo-French endosser, to put on, don, write on the back of, from en- + dos back, from Latin dorsum.
First use: 1581





ac·cede\ak-ˈsēd, ik-\
intransitive verb
: to agree to a request or a demand
: to enter a high office or position
Full Definition
1 a : to become a party (as to an agreement)
b : to express approval or give consent : give in to a request or demand
2 archaic : approach
3 : to enter upon an office or position
synonyms see assent
Other forms: ac·ced·ed; ac·ced·ing
finally acceded to their pleas for more time to complete the project
Origin: Middle English, from Latin accedere to go to, be added, from ad- + cedere to go.
First use: 15th century





: principles or measures fostering abolition especially of slavery



1 : something that foreshadows or portends a future event : omen
2 : an intuition or feeling of what is going to happen in the future
3 archaic : prognostication
4 : warning or indication of the future
pre·sage·ful \pri-ˈsāj-fəl\ adjective
Origin: Middle English, from Latin praesagium, from praesagus having a foreboding, from prae- + sagus prophetic — more at seek.
First use: 14th century
Synonyms: foreboding, premonition, presentiment, prognostication
2pre·sage\ˈpre-sij, pri-ˈsāj\
: to give or be a sign of (something that will happen or develop in the future)
Full Definition
transitive verb
1 : to give an omen or warning of : foreshadow
2 : foretell, predict
intransitive verb
: to make or utter a prediction
Other forms: pre·saged; pre·sag·ing
pre·sag·er noun, obsolete
First use: 1562
Synonyms: augur, call, forecast, predict, foretell, prognosticate, prophesy, read, vaticinate



: a narrow part of the ocean between cliffs or steep hills or mountains
Full Definition
: a narrow inlet of the sea between cliffs or steep slopes
the fjords of Norway
a cruise through the breathtaking fjords along the coast of Norway
Variants: also fiord \fē-ˈȯrd, ˈfē-ˌ; ˈfyȯrd\
Origin: Norwegian fjord, from Old Norse fjǫrthr — more at ford.
First use: 1674
Synonyms: arm, bay, bight, cove, creek [chiefly British], embayment, estuary, firth, gulf (also fiord), inlet, loch [Scottish]



: to express (something) in words : to say (something) in speech or writing
Full Definition
intransitive verb
1 : to speak or write verbosely
2 : to express something in wordstransitive verb
1 : to convert into a verb
2 : to name or express in words
Other forms: ver·bal·ized; ver·bal·iz·ing
ver·bal·i·za·tion \ˌvər-bə-lə-ˈzā-shən\ noun
ver·bal·iz·er \ˈvər-bə-ˌlī-zər\ noun
couldn't quite verbalize the cause of his mental distress
First use: 1609
Synonyms: articulate, bring out, enunciate, pass, speak, state, talk, tell, utter, say, vocalize





: being hatched or born or having young that are hatched or born in a very immature and helpless condition so as to require care for some time — compare precocial
Origin: Latin altric-, altrix, feminine of altor one who nourishes, from alere to nourish — more at old.
First use: 1869



: a pointed rod used to make an animal move forward
: someone or something that urges or forces someone to do something
Full Definition
1 a : something that pains as if by pricking : thorn
b : something that urges or stimulates into action : spur
2 : a pointed rod used to urge on an animal
synonyms see motive
He was goaded (on) by a sense of duty.
The threat of legal action should goad them into complying/compliance.
Origin: Middle English gode, from Old English gād spear, goad; akin to Langobardic gaida spear, and perhaps to Sanskrit hinoti he urges on.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: boost, encouragement, impulse, impetus, incentive, incitation, incitement, instigation, momentum, motivation, provocation, spur, stimulant, stimulus, yeast
Antonyms: counterincentive, disincentive
transitive verb
: to urge or force (someone) to do something
Full Definition
1 : to incite or rouse as if with a goad
2 : to drive (as cattle) with a goad
The threat of legal action is a powerful goad to companies that have ignored the regulations.
the threat of skin cancer—not to mention the prospect of wrinkles—should be sufficient goad for using sunscreen



: a group of people who work for an organization or business
: a group of military officers who help a commanding officer but who do not take part in active fighting
: a long stick that you carry in your hand for support while walking
Full Definition
1 a : a long stick carried in the hand for support in walking
b : a supporting rod: as (1) archaic : shaft 1a(1) (2) : a crosspiece in a ladder or chair : rung (3) : flagstaff (4) : a pivoted arbor
c : club, cudgel
2 a : crosier
b : a rod carried as a symbol of office or authority
3 : the horizontal lines with their spaces on which music is written —called also stave
4 : any of various graduated sticks or rules used for measuring : rod
5 plural staffs
a : the officers chiefly responsible for the internal operations of an institution or business
b : a group of officers appointed to assist a civil executive or commanding officer
c : military or naval officers not eligible for operational command
d : the personnel who assist a director in carrying out an assigned task
e plural staff : a member of a staff
Other forms: plural staffs \ˈstafs, ˈstavz\ or staves \ˈstavz, ˈstāvz\
staff adjective
The entire staff has done a great job this year.
The staff is at a meeting.
a teaching/sales/editorial/coaching/pitching staff
Origin: Middle English staf, from Old English stæf; akin to Old High German stab staff, Sanskrit stabhnāti he supports.
First use: before 12th century
Synonyms: help, labor force, manpower, personnel, pool, force, workforce
transitive verb
: to supply (an organization or business) with workers
: to work for (an organization or business) as a member of a staff
Full Definition
1 : to supply with a staff or with workers
2 : to serve as a staff member of
We'll need 300 workers to properly staff the hotel.
The department is staffed with an equal number of men and women.
The office is fully staffed.