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Flashcards in N Deck (46):

nadir (n.)

lowest point

Although few people realized it, the Dow-Jones averages had reached their nadir and would soon begin an upward spurge.


naiveté (n.)

quality of being unsophisticated; simplicity; artlessness; gullibility

Touched by the naiveté of sweet, convent-trained Cosette, Marius pledges himself to protect her innocence.


narcissist (n.)

conceited person; someone in love with his own image

A narcissist is her own best friend.


narrative (adj.)

related to telling a story

A born teller of tales, Tillie Olsen used her impressive narrative skills to advantage in her story "I Stand Here Ironing."


nascent (adj.)

incipient; coming into being

If we could identify these revolutionary movements in their nascent state, we would be able to eliminate serious trouble in later years.


natty (adj.)

neatly or smartly dressed

Priding himself of being a natty dresser, the gangster Bugsy Siegel collected a wardrobe of imported suits and ties.


nauseate (v.)

to cause to become sick; to fill with disgust

The foul smells began to nauseate him.


nautical (adj.)

pertaining to ships or navigation

The Maritime Museum contains many models of clipper ships, logbooks, anchors, and many other items of a nautical nature.


navigable (adj.)

wide and deep enough to allow ships to pass through; able to be steered

So much sand had built up at the bottom of the canal that the waterway was barely navigable.


nebulous (adj.)

vague; hazy; cloudy

Phil and Dave tried to come up with a clear, intelligible business plan, not some hazy, nebulous proposal.


necromancy (n.)

black magic; dealing with the dead

The evil sorcerer performed feats of necromancy, calling on the spirits of the dead to tell the future.


nefarious (adj.)

very wicked

The villain's crimes, though various, were one and all nefarious.


negate (v.)

to cancel out; to nullify; to deny

A sudden surge of adrenalin can negate the effects of fatigue: there's nothing like a good shock to wake you up.


negligence (n.)

neglect; failure to take reasonable care

Tommy failed to put back the cover on the well after he fetched his pail of water; because of his negligence.


negligible (adj.)

so small, trifling, or unimportant that it may be easily disregarded

Because the damage to his car had been negligible, Michael decided he wouldn't bother to report the matter to his insurance company.


nemesis (n.)

someone seeking revenge

Abandoned at sear in a small boat, the vengeful Captain Bligh vowed to be the nemesis of Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers.


neologism (n.)

new or newly coined word or phrase

As we invent new techniques and professions, we must also invent neologisms such as "microcomputer" and "astronaut" to describe them.


neophyte (n.)

recent convert; beginner

This mountain slop contains slides that will challenge experts as well as neophytes.


nepotism (n.)

favoritism (to a relative)

John left his position with the company because he felt that advancement was based on nepotism rather than ability.


nettle (v.)

to annoy; to vex

Do not let him nettle you with his sarcastic remarks.


neutral (adj.)

impartial; not supporting one side over another

Reluctant to get mixed up in someone else's quarrel, Bobby tried to remain neutral, but eventually he had to take sides.


nicety (n.)

subtlety; precision; minute distinction; fine point

This word list provides illustrative sentences for each entry word; it cannot, however, explain all the niceties of current English usage.


nihilist (n.)

one who believes traditional beliefs to be groundless and existence meaningless; absolute skeptic; revolutionary terrorist

In his final days, Hitler revealed himself a power-mad nihilist, ready to annihilate all of Western Europe, even to destroy Germany itself, in order that his will might prevail.
The root of the word nihilist is nihil, Latin for nothing.


nip (v.)

to stop something's growth or development; to snip off; to bite; to make numb with cold

The twins were plotting mischief, but Mother intervened and nipped that plan in the bud.
The gardener nipped off a lovely rose and gave it to me.
Last week a guard dog nipped the postman in the leg; this week the extreme chill nipped his fingers till he could barely hold the mail.


nirvana (n.)

in Buddhist teachings, the ideal state in which the individual loses himself in the attainment of an impersonal beatitude (=supreme blessedness)

Despite his desire to achieve nirvana, the young Buddhist found that even the buzzing of a fly could distract him from his meditation.


nocturnal (adj.)

done at night

Mr. Jones obtained a watchdog to prevent the nocturnal raids on his chicken coops.


noisome (adj.)

foul-smelling; unwholesome

The noisome atmosphere downwind of the oil refinery not only stank, it damaged the lungs of everyone living in the area.


nomadic (adj.)


Several nomadic tribes of Indians would hunt in this area each year.


nomenclature (n.)

terminology; system of names

Sharon found Latin word parts useful in translating medical nomenclature: when her son had to have a bilateral myringotomy, she figured out that he just needed a hole in each of his eardrums to end the earaches he had.


nominal (adj.)

in name only; trifling

He offered to drive her to the airport for only a nominal fee.


nonchalance (n.)

indifference; lack of concern; composure

Cool, calm, and collected under fire, James Bond shows remarkable nonchalance in the face of danger.


noncommittal (adj.)

neutral; unpledged; undecided

We were annoyed by his noncommittal reply for we had been led to expect definite assurances of his approval.


nondescript (adj.)

undistinctive; ordinary

The private detective was a short, nondescript fellow with no outstanding features, the sort of person one would never notice in a crowd.


nonentity (n.)

person of no importance; nonexistence

Because the two older princes dismissed their youngest brother as a nonentity, they did not realize that he was quietly plotting to seize the throne.


nonplus (v.)

to bring to halt by confusion; to perplex

Jack's uncharacteristic rudeness nonplussed Jill, leaving her uncertain how to react.


nostalgia (n.)

homesickness; longing for the past

My grandfather seldom spoke of life in the old country; he had little patience with nostalgia.


notable (adj.)

conspicuous; important; distinguished

Normally notable for his calm in the kitchen, today the head cook was shaking, for the notable chef Julia Child was coming to dinner.


notoriety (n.)

disrepute; ill fame

To the starlet, any publicity was good publicity: if she couldn't have a good reputation, she'd settle for notoriety.


novelty (n.)

something new; newness

The computer is no longer a novelty at work; every desk in our office has one.


novice (n.)


Even a novice at working with computers can install voice recognition software by following the easy steps outlined in the user's manual.


noxious (adj.)


We must trace the source of these noxious gases before they asphyxiate (=to kill someone by depriving them of air) us.


nuance (n.)

shade of difference in meaning or color; subtle distinction

Jody gazed at the Monet landscape for an hour, appreciating every subtle nuance of color in the painting.


nullify (v.)

to make invalid

Once the contact was nullified, it no longer had any legal force.


nuptial (adj.)

related to marriage

Reluctant to be married in a traditional setting, they decided to hold their nuptial ceremony at the carousel in Golden Gate Park.


nurture (v.)

to nourish; to educate; to foster

The Head Start program attempts to nurture pre-kindergarten children so that they will do well when they enter public school.


nutrient (n.)

nourishing substance

As a budding nutritionist, Kim has learned to design diets that contain foods rich in important basic nutrients.