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Flashcards in O (I) Deck (67):

oaf (n.)

stupid, awkward person

"Watch what you're doing, you clumsy oaf!" Bill shouted at the waiter who had drenched him with iced coffee.


obdurate (adj.)


He was obdurate in his refusal to listen to our complaints.


obese (adj.)


It is advisable that obese people try to lose weight.


obfuscate (v.)

to confuse; to muddle; to cause confusion; to make needlessly complex

Was the president's spokesman trying to clarify the hidden weapons mystery, or was he trying to obfuscate the issue so the voters would never figure out what had gone on?


obituary (adj.)

death notice

I first learned of her death when I read the obituary column in the newspaper.


objective (adj.)

not influenced by emotions; fair

Even though he was her son, she tried to be objective about his behavior.


objective (n.)

goal; aim

A degree in medicine was her ultimate objective.


obligatory (adj.)

binding; required

It is obligatory that books borrowed from the library be returned within two weeks.


oblique (adj.)

indirect; slanting (deviating from the perpendicular or from a straight line)

Casting a quick, oblique glance at the reviewing stand, the sergeant ordered the company to march "Oblique Right."


obliterate (v.)

to destroy completely

The tidal wave obliterated several island villages.


oblivion (n.)

obscurity; forgetfulness

After a decade of popularity, Hurston's works had fallen into oblivion; no one bothered to read them anymore.


oblivious (adj.)

inattentive or unmindful; wholly absorbed

Deep in her book, Nancy was oblivious to the noisy squabbles of her brother and his friends.


obnoxious (adj.)

offensive; objectionable

A sneak and a tattletale, Sid was an obnoxious little brat.


obscure (adj.)

dark; vague; unclear

Even after I read the poem a fourth time, its meaning was still obscure.


obscure (v.)

to darken; to make unclear

Even after I read the poem a fourth time, its meaning was still obscure.


obsequious (adj.)

slavishly attentive; servile; sycophantic

Helen liked to be served by people who behaved as if they respected themselves; nothing irritated her more than an excessively obsequious waiter or a fawning salesclerk.


obsessive (adj.)

related to thinking about something constantly; preoccupying

Ballet, which had been a hobby, began to dominate his life: his love of dancing became obsessive.


obsolete (adj.)

no longer useful; outmoded; antiquated

The invention of the pocket calculator made the slide rule used by generations of engineers obsolete.


obstinate (adj.)

stubborn; hard to control or treat

We tried to persuade him to give up smoking, but he was obstinate and refused to change.
Blackberry stickers are the most obstinate weeds I know: once established in a yard, they're extremely hard to root out.


obstreperous (adj.)

boisterous; noisy

What do you do when an obstreperous horde of drunken policemen goes carousing through your hotel, crashing into potted plants and singing vulgar songs?


obtrude (v.)

to push (oneself or one's ideas) forward or intrude; to butt in; to stick out or extrude

Because Fanny was reluctant to obtrude her opinions about child-raising upon her daughter-in-law, she kept a close watch on her tongue.


obtuse (adj.)

blunt; stupid

Because Mr. Collins was too obtuse to take a hint, Elizabeth finally had to tell him that she wouldn't marry him if he were the last man on earth.


obviate (v.)

to prevent; to make unnecessary

In the twentieth century, people believed electronic communications would obviate the need for hard copy; they envisioned a paperless society.


odious (adj.)

hateful; vile

Cinderella's ugly stepsisters had the odious habit of popping their zits in public.


odium (n.)

strong dislike or contempt; hatefulness; disrepute

Unable to bare the odium attached to their family name, the killer's parents changed their name and moved away from their hometown.


odorous (adj.)

having an odor

This variety of hybrid tea rose is more odorous than the one you have in your garden.


odyssey (n.)

long, eventful journey

The refugee's journey from Cambodia was a terrifying odyssey.


offensive (adj.)

attacking; insulting; distasteful

Getting into street brawls is no minor matter for professional boxers, who are required by law to restrict their offensive impulses to the ring.


offhand (adj.)

casual; done without prior thought

Expecting to be treated with due propriety by he hosts, Great-Aunt Maud was offended by their offhand manner.


officious (adj.)

meddlesome; excessively pushy in offering one's services

Judy wanted to look over the new computer models on her own, but the officious salesman kept on butting in with "helpful" advice until she was ready to walk out of the store.


ogle (v.)

to look at amorously; to make eyes at

At the coffee house, Walters was too shy to ogle the pretty girls openly; instead, he peeked out at them from behind a rubber plant.


olfactory (adj.)

concerning the sense of smell

A wine taste must have a discriminating palate and a keen olfactory sense, for a good wine appeals both to the taste buds and to the nose.


oligarchy (n.)

government by a privileged few

One small clique ran the student council: what had been intended as a democratic governing body had turned into an oligarchy.


ominous (adj.)


Those clouds are ominous; they suggest a severe storm is on the way.


omnipotent (adj.)


Under Stalin, the Soviet government seemed omnipotent: no one dared defy the all-powerful State.


omnipresent (adj.)

universally present; ubiquitous

The Beatles are a major musical force, whose influence is omnipresent in all contemporary popular music.


omniscient (adj.)


I may not be omniscient, but I know a bit more than you do, young manQ


omnivorous (adj.)

eating both plant and animal food; devouring everything

Some animals, including man, are omnivorous and eat both meat and vegetables; others are either carnivorous or herbivorous.


onerous (adj.)


He asked for an assistant because his work load was too onerous.


onset (n.)

beginning; attack

Caught unprepared by the sudden onset of the storm, we rushed around the house closing windows and bringing the garden furniture into shelter.
Caught unprepared by the enemy onset, the troops scrambled to take shelter.


onus (n.)

burden; responsibility

The emperor was spared the onus of signing the surrender papers; instead, he relegated the assignment to his generals.


opalescent (adj.)

iridescent; lustrous

The oil slick on the water had an opalescent, rainbow-like sheen.


opaque (adj.)

dark; not transparent

The opaque window shade kept the sunlight out of the room.


opiate (n.)

medicine to induce sleep or deaden pain; something that relives emotions or causes inaction

To say that religious is the opiate of the people is to condemn religion as a drug that keeps the people quiet and submissive to those in power.


opportune (adj.)

timely; well-chosen

Sally looked at her father struggling to balance his checkbook; clearly this would not be an opportune moment to ask him for a raise in her allowance.


opportunist (n.)

individual who sacrifices principles for expediency by taking advantage of circumstances

Joe is such an opportunist that he tripled the trice of bottled water at his store as soon as the earthquake struck.
Because it can break water pipes, and earthquake is, to most people, a disaster; to Joe, it was an opportunity.


optimist (n.)

person who looks on the good side

The pessimist says the glass is half-empty; the optimist says it is half-full.


optimum (adj.)

most favorable

If your wait for the optimum moment to act, you may never begin your project.


optional (adj.)

not obligatory; left to one's choice

Most colleges require applicants to submit SAT score; at some colleges, however, submitting SAT scores is optional.


opulence (n.)

extreme wealth; luxuriousness; abundance

The glitter and opulence of the ballroom took Cinderella's breath away.


opus (n.)


Although many critics hailed his Fifth Symphony as his greatest work, he did not regard it as his major opus.


oracular (adj.)

prophetic; uttered as if with divine authority; mysterious or ambiguous

Like many others who sought divine guidance from the oracle at Delphi, Oedipus could not understand the enigmatic oracular warning he received.


orator (n.)

public speaker

The abolitionist Frederick Douglass was a brilliant orator whose speeches brought home to his audience the evils of slavery.


ordain (v.)

to decree or command; to grant holy orders; to predestine

The kind ordained that no foreigner should be allowed to enter the city.
The Bishop of Michigan ordained David a deacon in the Episcopal Church.
The young lovers felt that fate had ordained their meeting.


ordeal (n.)

severe trial or affliction

June was so painfully shy that it was an ordeal for her to speak up when the teacher called on her in class.


ordinance (n.)

decree (=an official order issued by a legal authority)

Passing a red light is a violation of a city ordinance.


ordination (n.)

ceremony making someone a minister

At the young priest's ordination, the members of the congregation presented him with a set of vestments.


orgy (n.)

wild, drunken revelry; unrestrained indulgence in a tendency

The Roman emperor's orgies were far wilder than the toga party in the movie Animal House.
When her income tax refund check finally arrived, Sally indulged in an orgy of shopping.


orient (v.)

to get one's bearings; adjust

Philip spent his first day in Denver orienting himself to the city.


orientation (n.)

act of finding oneself in society

Freshman orientation provides the incoming students with an opportunity to learn about their new environment and their place in it.


ornate (adj.)

excessively or elaborately decorated

With its elaborately carved, convoluted lines, furniture of the Baroque period was highly ornate.


ornithology (n.)

study of birds

Audubon's studies of American birds greatly influenced the course of ornithology.


orthodox (adj.)

traditional; conservative in belief

Faced with a problem, he preferred to take an orthodox approach rather than shock anyone.


oscillate (v.)

to vibrate pendulum-like; waver

It is interesting to note how public opinion oscillates between the extremes of optimism and pessimism.


ossify (v.)

to change or harden into bone

When he called his opponent a "bonehead," he implied that his adversary's brain had ossified to the point that he was incapable of clear thinking.


ostensible (adj.)

apparent; professed; pretended

Although the ostensible purpose of this expedition is to discover new lands, we are really interested in finding new markets for our products.


ostentatious (adj.)

showy; pretentious; trying to attract attention

Donald Trump's latest casino in Atlantic City is the most ostentatious gambling palace in the East: it easily out glitters its competitors.