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Flashcards in I Words Deck (45):

iconoclastic (adj)

attacking cherished traditions

Deeply iconoclastic, Jean Genet deliberately set out to shock conventional theatergoers with his radical plays.


idiosyncrasy (n)

individual trait, usually odd in nature

One of Richard Nixon's little idosyncrasies was a liking for ketchup on his cottage cheese.


idolatrous (adj)

blindly devoted

Barack Obama's youthful admirers enthusiastically campaigned for him with a devotion that seemed almost idolatrous.


idyllic (adj)

charmingly carefree and simple

Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, she led an idyllic existence in her rural retreat.


ignominious (adj)

deeply disgraceful

To lose the Ping-Pong match to a trained chimpanzee! How could Rollo endure such an ignominious defeat?


illusory (adj)

not real; causing an illusion

Unfortunately, the costs of running the lemonade stand were so high that Tom's profits proved illusory.


immutable (adj)

not subject to change

All things change over time; nothing is immutable.


impassive (adj)

giving no sign of feeling

Refusing to let the enemy see how deeply shaken he was by his capture, the prisoner kept his face impassive.


impecunious (adj)

having little or no money

Though Scrooge claimed he was too impecunious to give money to charity, he easily could have afforded to be generous to those in need.


imperiousness (n)

overbearing manner; domineering attitude

Jane rather liked a man to be masterful, but Mr. Rochester seemed to be so bent on getting his own way that his high-handed manner verged on imperiousness.


impermeable (adj)

not permitting passage through its substance

Sue chose a raincoat made of GORE-Tex because the material was allegedly impermeable to liquids; she hoped it would keep her dry.


imperturbable (adj)

characterized by serenity and composure

In the midsts of the battle, the Duke of Wellington remained imperturbable and in full command of the situation despite the hysteria and panic all around him.


impervious (adj)

incapable of being damaged or distressed; incapable of being affected

Having read so many negative reviews of his acting, the movie star had learned to ignore them and was now impervious to criticism.


impetuous (adj)

marked by impulsive forcefulness or haste

"Leap before you look" was the motto suggested by one particularly impetuous young man.


impiety (n)

lack of respect for god

When members of the youth group draped the church in toilet paper one Halloween, the minister reprimanded them for their impiety.


implacable (adj)

unable to be appeased or placated

In A Tale of Two Cities, Madame Defarge, the implacable enemy of the aristocratic Evremondes, is relentless in her efforts to send every last one of them to the guillotine.


importune (v)

beg persistently

Democratic and Republican phone solicitors importuned her for contributions so frequently that she decided to give nothing to either party.


impregnable (adj)

incapable of being overcome by an assault

With the introduction of gunpowder and the use of cannons in siege warfare, castles that in earlier years had seemed impregnable were easily breached by the new weapons.


impugn (v)

dispute or contradict (often in an insulting way)

Our treasurer was furious when the finance committee's report impugned the accuracy of his financial records and recommended that he take basic math.


impunity (n)

freedom from punishment or harm

A 98-pound weakling can't talk back to a beachfront bully with impunity: the poor, puny guy is sure to get mashed.


inchoate (adj)

not fully formed

The night that Julia Ward Howe composed "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," she woke before dawn with a vague, inchoate idea of what she wanted to say.


incipient (adj)

in an early stage

I should go to sleep early tonight, for I want to break an incipient cold.


indefatigable (adj)

incapable of becoming tired

Although the effort of taking out the garbage left Wayne exhausted for the whole morning, when it came to partying, he was indefatigable.


indeterminate (adj)

not clearly fixed

That interest rates shall fall appears certain; exactly when they will do so, however, remains indeterminate.


indifferent (adj)

unmoved or unconcerned by

Because Ann felt no desire to marry, she was indifferent to Carl's constant proposals.


indigent (adj)

extremely poor

Reduced to scrounging around for cigarette butts, he was so indigent he could not afford to buy a single cigarette, much less a whole pack.


inert (adj)

lacking power to move

"Get up, you lazybones," Tina cried to her husband Tony, who lay in bed inert.


inexorable (adj)

unable to be moved or stopped

The "march of history" is thought of as, in some sense, "inexorable," likely to take its course despite our wishes or prayers, an inevitable process to which we all must adjust ourselves.


ingenuous (adj)

naive and trusting

The woodsman had not realized how ingenuous Little Red Riding Hood was until he heard that she had gone off for a walk in the woods with the Big Bad Wolf.


inherent (adj)

firmly established by nature or habit

Katya's inherent love of justice moved her to champion the cause of anyone she considered unfairly treated by society.


innate (adj)

existing from bith

The infant Mozarts' parents quickly realized that their son had an innate gift for music.


innocuousness (n)

quality of having little or no adverse effect

Doctor Spector was a firm believer in the innocuousness of an occasional glass of wine with dinner; such a minor indulgence, she maintained, should have no ill effect on anyone.


insensible (adj)

incapable of feeling

Sherry and I are very different; at times when I would be covered with embarrassment, she seems insensible to shame.


insipid (adj)

lacking in flavor

Flat prose and flat ginger ale are equally insipid; both lack sparkle.


insularity (n)


The insularity of the islanders manifested itself in their suspicion of anything foreign.


intractable (adj)

not easily ruled or manipulated

Charlie Brown's friend Pigpen was intractable: he absolutely refused to take a bath.


intransigence (n)

refusal of any compromise

The negotiating team had not expected such intransigence from the striking workers, who rejected any hint of a compromise.


intrepid (adj)

exhibiting courage

For her intrepid conduct nursing the wounded during the Crimean War and her many great contributions to the art of nursing, Florence Nightingale received the Royal Red Cross award from Queen Victoria.


inundate (v)

cover with water

Until the great dam was built, the waters of the Nile used to inundate the river valley like clockwork every year.


inure (v)

become accustomed to something unpleasant or unwelcome

Although Cinderella was inured to the drudgery of her menial tasks, she still flinched when her stepsisters hurled insults at her.


invective (n)

verbal attack

Galileo had expected criticism of his theory that the Earth moved in an orbit around the Sun; he had not expected the insults and invective that greeted his assertion.


inveigle (v)

persuade or entice using flattery or cunning words

Cajoling and wheedling Samson incessantly, Delilah inveigles him into telling her that the secret of his strength lies in his never having cut his hair.


irascible (adj)

possessing a hot temper

Miss Minchin's irascible temper intimidated her younger pupils, who feared she would burst into a rage at any moment.


irresolute (adj)

uncertain how to act

Once you have made your decision, don't waver; a leader should never appear irresolute.


itinerant (adj n)

characterized by traveling from place to place

During the Civil War, my great-grandfather, an itinerant tailor, followed the Union Army from Pennsylvania to Virginia as he made uniforms for the troops.