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Flashcards in M Deck (129)
1

macabre

gruesome; grisly

The city morgue is a macabre spot for the uninitiated.

2

mace

ceremonial staff; clublike medieval weapon

The Grand Marshal of the parade raised his mace to signal that it was time for the procession to begin.

3

macerate

soften by soaking in liquid; waste away

The strawberries had been soaking in the champagn for so long that they had begun to macerate: they literally fell apart at the touch of a spoon.

4

machiavellian

crafty; double-dealing

I do not think he will be a good embassador because he is not accustomed to the machiavellian maneuverings of foreign diplomats.

5

machinations

schemes

I can see through your wily machinations.

6

maculated

spotted; stained

Instead of writing that Gorbachev had a birthmark on his forehead, the pompous young poet sang of the former premier's maculated brow.

7

madrigal

pastoral song

His program of folk songs included several madrigals which he sang to the accompaniment of a lute.

8

maelstrom

whirlpool

The canoe was tossed about in the maelstrom.

9

magisterial

authoritative; imperious

The learned doctor laid down the law to his patient in a magisterial tone of voice.

10

magnanimity

generosity

Noted for his magnanimity, philanthropist Eugene Lang donated millions to charity.

11

magnate

person of prominence or influence

The steel magnate decided to devote more time to city politics.

12

magniloquent

boastful, pompous

In their stories of the trial, the reporters ridiculed the magniloquent speeches of the defense attorney.

13

maim

mutilate; injure

The hospital could not take care of all who had been mangled or maimed in the railroad accident.

14

maladroit

clumsy; bungling

In his usual maladroit way, he managed to upset the cart and spill the food.

15

malaise

uneasiness; distress

She felt a sudden vague malaise when she heard sounds at the door.

16

malapropism

comic misuse of a word

When Mrs. Malaprop criticizes Lydia for being "as headstrong as an allegory on the banks of the Nile," she confuses "allegory" and "allegator" in a typical malapropism.

17

malcontent

person dissatisfied with existing state of affairs

He was one of the few malcontents in the Congress; he constantly voiced his objections to the Presidential program.

18

malediction

curse

The witch uttered maledictions against her captors.

19

malfeasance

wrongdoing

The authorities did not discover the campaign manager's malfeasance until after he had spent most of the money he had embezzled.

20

malign

speak evil of; defame

Because of her hatred of the family, she maligns all who are friendly to them.

21

malingerer

one who feigns illness to escape duty

The captain ordered the sergeant to punish all malingerers and force them to work.

22

malleable

capable of being shaped by pounding

Gold is a malleable metal.

23

malodorous

foul-smelling

The component heap was most malodorous in summer.

24

manacle

restrain; handcuff

The police immediately manacled the prisoner so he could not escape.

25

mangy

shabby; wretched

We finally thew out the mangy rug that the dog had destroyed.

26

maniacal

raving mad

His maniacal laughter frightened us.

27

manifest

understandable; clear

His evil intentions were manifest and yet we could not stop him.

28

manifesto

declaration; statement of policy

The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels proclaimed the principles of modern communism.

29

manifold

numerous; varied

I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your manifold kindnesses.

30

mannered

affected; not natural

Attempting to copy the style of his wealthy neighbors, Gatsby adopted a mannered, artificial way of speech.

31

manumit

emancipate; free from bondage

Enlightened slave owners were willing to manumit their slaves and thus put an end to the evil slavery in the country.

32

marred

damaged; disfigured

She had to refinish the marred surface of the table.

33

marshal

put in order

At a debate tournament, extemporaneous speakers have only a minute or two to marshal their thoughts before addressing their audience.

34

marsupial

one of a family of mammals that nurse their offspring in a pouch

The most common marsupial in North America is the opposum.

35

martinet

strict disciplinarian

The commanding officer was a martinet who observed each regulation to the ltter.

36

matrix

point of origin; array of numbers or algebraic symbols; mold or die

Some historians claim the Nile Valley was the matrix of the Western civilization.

37

maudlin

effusively sentimental

I do not like such maudlin pictures. I call them tearjerkers.

38

maul

handle roughly

The rock star was mauled by his overexcited fans.

39

mausoleum

monumental tomb

His body was placed in the family mausolem.

40

mauve

pale purple

The mauve tint in the lilac bush was another indication that spring had finally arrived.

41

maverick

rebel; nonconformist

To the masculine literary establishment, George Sand with her insistence on wearing trousers and smoking cigars was clearly a maverick who fought her proper womanly role.

42

mawkish

sickening; insipid

Your mawkish sighs fill me with disgust.

43

maxim

proverb; a truth pithily stated

Aesop's fables illustrate moral maxims.

44

mayhem

injury to the body

The riot was marked not only by mayhem, with its attendant loss of life and limb, but also by arson and pillage.

45

mealymouthed

indirect speech; hypocritical; evasive

Rather than tell Jill directly what he disliked, Jack made a few mealymouthed comments and tried to change the subject.

46

meander

to wind or turn in its course

It is difficult to sail up this stream because of the way it meanders through the countryside.

47

meddlesome

interfering

He felt his marriage was suffering because of his meddlesome mother-in-law.

48

medley

mixture

The band played a medley of Gershwin tunes.

49

meek

submissive; patient and long-suffering

Mr. Barrett never expected his meek daughter would dare to defy him by eloping with her suitor.

50

megalomania

mania for doing grandiose things

Developers who spend millions trying to build the world's tallest skyscraper suffer from megalomania.

51

melee

fight

The captain tried to ascertain the cause of the melee that had broken out among the crew members.

52

mellifluous

flowing smoothly; smooth

Italian is a mellifluous language.

53

memento

token; reminder

Take this book as a memento of your visit.

54

memorialize

commemorate

Let us memorialize his great contribution by dedicating this library in his honor.

55

mendacious

lying; false

He was pathological liar, and his friends learned to discount his mendacious stories.

56

mendicant

beggar

From the moment we left the ship, we were surrounded by mendicants and peddlers.

57

menial

suitable for sevants; low

I cannot understand why a person of your ability and talent should engage in such menial activities.

58

mercantile

concerning trade

I am more interested in the opportunites available in the mercantile field than I am in those in the legal profession.

59

mercenary

motivated solely by money or gain

"I'm not in this war because I get my kicks waving flags," said the mercenary soldier. "I'm in it for the dough."

60

mercurial

fickle; changing

He was of a mercurial temperament and therefore unpredictable.

61

meretricious

flashy; tawdry; falsely attractive

Her jewels were inexpensive but not meretricious.

62

mesmerize

hypnotize

The incessant drone seemed to mesmerize him and place him in a trance.

63

metallurgical

pertaining to the art of removing metals from ores

During the course of his metallurgical research, the scientist developed a steel alloy of tremendous strength.

64

mete

measure; distribute

He tried to be impartial in his efforts to mete out justice.

65

meteoric

swift; momentarily brilliant

We all wondered at his meteoric rise to fame.

66

methodical

systematic

An accountant must be methodical and maintain order among his financial records.

67

mettle

courage; spirit

When challenged by the other horses in the race, the thoroughbred proved its mettle by its determination to hold the lead.

68

miasma

swamp gas; heavy, vaporous atmosphere, often emanating from decaying matter; pervasive corrupting influence


The smog hung over Victorian London like a dark cloud; noisome, reeking of decay, it was a visible miasma.

69

militant

combative; bellicose

Althoughat this time he was advocating a policy of neutrality, one could usually find him adopting a more militant attitude.

70

militate

work against

Your record of lateness and absence will militate against your chances of promotion.

71

minatory

menacing; threatening

Jabbing a minatory forefinger at Dorothy, the Wicked Witch cried, "I'll get you, and your little dog, too!"

72

mincing

affectedly dainty

Yum-Yum walked across the stage with mincing steps.

73

minion

a servile dependent

He was always accompanied by several of his minions because he enjoyed their subservience and flattery.

74

minutiae

petty details

She would have liked to ignore the minutiae of daily living.

75

mirage

unreal reflection; optical illusion

The lost prospector was fooled by a mirage in the desert.

76

mire

entangle; stick in swampy ground

Their rear wheels became mired in mud.

77

mirth

merriment; laughter

Sober Malvolio found Sir Toby's mirth improper.

78

misanthrope

one who hates mankind

We thought the hermit was a miantrope because he shunned our society.

79

misapprehension

error; misunderstanding

To avoid msapprehension, I am going to ask all of you to repeat the instructions I have given.

80

miscellany

mixture of writings on various subjects

This is an interesting miscellany of nineteenth-century prose and poetry.

81

mischance

ill luck

By mischance, he lost his week's salary.

82

misconstrue

interpret incorrectly; misjudge

She took the passage seriously rather than humourously because she misconstrued the author's ironic tone.

83

miscreant

wretch; villain

His kindness to the miscreant amazed all of us who had expected to hear severe punishment pronounced.

84

misdemeanor

minor crime

The culprit pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor rather than face trial for a felony.

85

miserly

stingy; mean

The miserly old man hoarded his coins not out of prudence but out of greed.

86

mishap

accident

With a little care you could have avoided this mishap.

87

misnomer

wrong name; incorrect designation

His tyrannical conduct proved to all that his nickname, King Eric the Just, was a misnomer.

88

misogamy

hatred of marriage

He remained a bachelor not because of misogamy but because of ill fate: his fiancee died before the wedding.

89

misogynist

hater of women

She accused him of being a misogynist because he had been a bachelor all his life.

90

missive

letter

The ambassador received a missive from the Secretary of State.

91

mite

very small object or creature; small coin

Gnats are annoying mites that sing.

92

mitigate

appease

Nothing he did could mitigate her wrath; she was unforgiving.

93

modicum

limited quantity

Although his story is based on a modicum of truth, most of the events he describes are fictitious.

94

modish

fashionable

She always discarded all garments that were no longer modish.

95

modulation 

toning down; changing from one key to another

When we she spoke, it was with quiet modulation of voice.

96

mogul 

powerful person

The oil moguls made great profits when the price of gasoline rose.

97

mollycoddle

pamper; indulge excessively

Don't mollycoddle the boy, Maud! You'll spoil him.

98

molt

shed or cast off hair or feathers

The male robin molted in the spring.

99

momentous

very important

On this momentous occasion, we must be very solemn.

100

monastic

related to monks

Wanting to live a religious life, he took his monastic vows.

101

monolithic 

solidly uniform; unyielding

Knowing the importance of appearing resolute, the patriots sought to present a monolithic front.

102

monotheism

belief in one God

Abraham was the first to proclaim his belief in monotheism.

103

moodiness

fits of depression or gloom

We could not discover the cause of her recurrent moodiness.

104

moratorium

legal delay of payment

If we declare a moratorium and delay collection of debts for six months, I am sure the farmers will be able to meet their bills.

105

morbid

given to unwholesome thought; gloomy

These morbid speculations are dangerous; we must lighten our spirits by emphasizing more pleasant matters.

106

mordant

biting; sarcastic; stinging

Actors feared the critic's mordant pen.

107

mores

customs

The mores of Mexico are those of Spain with some modifications.

108

moribund

at the point of death

The doctors called the family to the bedside of the moribund patient.

109

morose

ill-humored; sullen

When we first meet Hamlet, we find him morose and depressed.

110

mortician

undertaker

The mortician prepared the corpse for burial.

111

mortify

humiliate; punish the flesh

She was so mortified by her blunder that she ran to her room in tears.

112

mote

small speck

The tiniest mote in the eye is very painful.

113

motif

theme

This simple motif runs throughout the score.

114

motility

ability to move spontaneously

Certain organisms exhibit remarkable motility; motile spores, for example, may travel for miles before coming to rest.

115

motley

parti-colored; mixed

The captain had gathered a motley crew to sail the vessel.

116

mottled

spotted

When he blushed, his face took on a mottled hue.

117

mountebank

charlatan; boastful pretender

The patent medicine man was a mountebank.

118

muddle

confuse; mix up

His thoughts were muddled and chaotic.

119

muggy

warm and damp

August in New York City is often muggy.

120

mulct

defraud a person of something

The lawyer was accused of trying to mulct the boy of his legacy.

121

multifarious

varied; greatly diversified

A career woman and mother, she was constantly busy with the multifarious activities of her daily life.

122

munificent

very generous

The munificent gift was presented to the bride by her rich uncle.

123

murkiness

darkness; gloom

The murkiness and fog of the waterfront that evening depressed me.

124

muse

ponder

For a moment he mused about the beauty of the scene, but his thought soon changed as he recalled his own personal problems.

125

musky

having the odor of musk

She left a trace of musky perfume behind her.

126

muster

gather; assemble

Washington mustered his forces at Trenton.

127

musty

stale; spoiled by age

The attic was dark and musty.

128

mutinous

unruly; rebellious

The captain had to use force to quiet his mutinous crew.

129

millinery

person who makes or sells women's hats

The millinery displayed fashionable hats in the street where many women passed by.