Flashcards in Quick Quizzes 32 - 41 Deck (100):
derogatory ( dih RAHG uh tor ee) adj disapproving; degrading
Derogatory remarks are negative remarks expressing disapproval. They are nastier than merely critical remarks.
Stephen could never seem to think of anything nice to say about anyone; virtually all of his comments were derogatory.
desiccate ( DES uh kayt) v to dry out
The hot wind desiccated the few grapes remaining on the vine; after a day or two, they looked like raisins.
despondent (dih SPAHN dunt) adj extremely depressed; full of despair
After the death of his wife, the man was despondent for many months.
despot (DES puht) n an absolute ruler; an autocrat
Stephen was a despot; workers who disagreed with him were fired.
To act like a despot is to be despotic (di SPAH ti) There was cheering in the street when the country's despotic government was overthrown.
destitute (DES tuh toot) adj extremely poor; utterly lacking
Destitute people are people without money or possessions, or with very little money and very few possessions. To be left destitute is to be left without money or property. The word can also be used figuratively. A teacher might accuse her students of being destitute of brains, or intellectually destitute.
desultory ( DES ul tor ee) adj without a plan or purpose; disconnected; random
In his desultory address, Rizal skipped from one topic to another and never came to the point.
dextrous ( DEX trus) adj skillful; adroit
Dextrous often, but not always, connotes physical ability. Like adroit, it comes from the Latin word for right (as in the direction), because right-handed people were once considered physically and mentally superior.
Though not imposing in nature, Rashid was the most dextrous basketball player on the court; he often beat taller competitors with his nimble management of the ball.
You may also see this word spelled dexterous. Dexterity is the noun form. For an antonym see gauche.
dialectical (dye uh LEK ti kul) adj relating to discussions; relating to the rules and methods of reasoning; approaching truth in the middle of opposing extremes
The game of Twenty Questions is dialectical, in that the participants attempt to narrow down a chosen object by asking a series of ever more specific questions. The noun is dialectic.
dictum (DIK tum) n an authoritative saying; and adage; a maxim; a proverb
"No pain, no gain" is a hackneyed dictum of sadistic coaches everywhere.
didactic (dye DAK tik) adj intended to teach; morally instructive; pedantic
The new novel is painfully didactic; the author's aim is always to instruct and never to entertain.
diffident (DIF i dunt) adj timid; lacking in self-confidence.
Diffident and confident are opposites.
The diffident student never made a single comment in class.
digress (dye GRES) v to stray from the main subject
Speaking metaphorically, to digress is to leave the main highway in order to travel aimlessly on back roads. When a speaker digresses, he departs from the main topic and tells a story only distantly related to it. Such a story is called a digression. Sometimes a writer's or speaker's digressions are more interesting than his or her main points.
dilettante (DIL uh tahnt) n someone with superficial knowledge of the arts; an amateur; a dabbler
To be a dilettante is to dabble in something rather than doing it in a serious way.
Reginald said he was an artist, but he was merely a dilettante; he didn't know a pencil from a paintbrush.
discern (dih SURN) v to have insight; to see things clearly; to discriminate; to differentiate
To discern something is to perceive it clearly. A writer whose work demonstrates discernment is a writer who is a keen observer.
discreet (dih SKREET) adj prudent; judiciously reserved
To make discreet inquiries is to ask around without letting the whole world know you're doing it.
discrete (dih SKREET) adj unconnected; separate; distinct Do not confuse discrete with discreet.
The twins were identical, but their personalities were discrete.
discriminate (dih SKRIM uh nayt) v to notice or point out the difference between two or more things; to discern; to differentiate
disdain (dis DAYN) n arrogant scorn; contempt
Audrey viewed the hot dog with disdain, believing that to eat such a disgusting food was beneath her.
disinterested (dis IN truh stid) adj not taking sides; unbiased
Disinterested should not be used to mean uninterested. If you don't care about knowing something, you are uninterested, not disinterested.
A referee should be disinterested. He or she should not be rooting for one of the competing teams.
disparage (dih SPAR ij) v to belittle; to say uncomplimentary things about, usually in a somewhat indirect way.
My guidance counselor disparaged my high school record by telling me that not everybody belongs in college.
indiscrete - not separated or sorted, when things are all jumbled up together
disparate (DIS pur it) adj different; incompatible; unequal
Our interests were disparate: Cathy liked to play with dolls and I liked to throw her dolls out the window.
disseminate (dih SEM uh nayt) v to spread the seeds of something; to scatter; to make widely known
News is disseminated through many media; radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and gossips.
dissipate (DIS uh payt) v to thin out, drift away, or dissolve; to cause to thin out, drift away, or dissolve; to waste or squander
The smoke dissipated as soon as we opened the window.
dissolution (dis uh LOO shun) n the breaking up or dissolving of something into parts; disintegration
Nothing could prevent the dissolution of the Justin Beiber fan club after he retired to seek a golf career.
distend (di STEND) v to swell; to extend a great deal
A distended belly is one symptom of malnutrition. A swelling is a distention.
distinguish (di STING gwish) v to tell apart; to cause to stand out
I studied and studied but I was never able to distinguish between discrete and discreet.
docile (DAHS ul) adj easily taught; obedient; easy to handle
The baby raccoons appeared docile at first, but they were almost impossible to control.
Mia's docility (dah SIL i tee) fooled the professor into believing that she was incapable of thinking for herself.
doctrinaire (dahk truh NAYR) adj inflexibility committed to a doctrine or theory without regard to its practicality; dogmatic
A doctrinaire opponent of fluoridation of water would be someone whose opposition could not be shaken by proof that fluoride is good for teeth and not bad for anything else.
dogmatic (dawg MAT ik) adj arrogantly assertive of unproven ideas; stubbornly claiming that something (often a system of beliefs) is beyond dispute
A dogma is a belief. A dogmatic person, however, is stubbornly convinced of his beliefs.
Marty is dogmatic on the subject of the creation of the world; he sneers at anyone whose views are not identical to his.
domestic (duh MES tik) adj having to do with the household or family; not foreign.
A maid is sometimes called a domestic engineer or simply as a domestic.
dogma - firmly held system of beliefs
dormant (DOR munt) adj inactive; as though asleep; asleep
Dormant, like dormitory, comes from a root meaning sleep. Many plants remain dormant through the winter; that is they stop growing until spring.
dubious (DOO bee us) adj full of doubt; uncertain
We were dubious about the team's chance of success and, as it turned out, our dubiety (doo BYE uh tee) was justified: The team lost.
dubiety (doo BYE uh tee) uncertainty
duplicity (doo PLIS uh tee) n the act of being two-faced; double-dealing; deception
Liars engage in duplicity all the time; they say one thing and do another.
ebullient (ih BUL yunt) adj boiling; bubbling with excitement; exuberant
A boiling liquid can be called ebullient. More often, though, this word describes excited or enthusiastic people.
The roaring crowd in a full stadium before the World Series might be said to be ebullient.
eccentric (ek SEN trik) adj not conventional; a little kooky; irregular
The eccentric inventor spent all his waking hours fiddling with what he said was a time machine but was actually just an old telephone booth.
eclectic (ih KLEK tik) adj choosing the best from many sources; drawn from many sources
Adolfo's taste in art was eclectic. He liked the Old Masters, the Impressionists, and Walt Disney.
edify (ED uh fye) v to enlighten; to instruct, especially in moral or religious matters
We found the pastor's sermon on the importance of not eating beans to be most edifying.
efface (ih FAYS) v to erase; to rub away the features of
The inscription on the tombstone had been effaced by centuries of weather.
To self-effacing is to be modest.
effusion (ih FYOO zhun) n a pouring forth
When the child was rescued from the well, there as an intense effusion of emotion from the crowd that had gathered around the hole.
To be effusive is to be highly emotional.
egalitarian ( ih gal uh TAYR ee un) adj believing in the social and economic equality of all people
People often lose interest in egalitarian measures when such measures interfere with their own interests.
egocentric (ee goh SEN trik) adj selfish; believing that one is the center of everything
It never occurred to the egocentric musician that his audiences might like to hear someone else's songs every once in a while.
An egoist is an egocentric person.
egotist - self-obsessed person; another type of egocentric; an egoist who tells everyone how wonderful he is
egregious ( ih GREE jus) adj extremely bad; flagrant.
Save this word for things that are worse than bad.
Aaron's manners were egregious; he ate his mashed potatoes with his fingers and slurped the peas right off his plate.
elicit (ih LIS it) v to bring out; to call forth
The interviewer skillfully elicited our true feelings by asking us questions that got to the heart of the matter.
elliptical (ih LIP ti kul) adj oval; missing a word or words; obscure
This word has several meanings.
An egg may have an elliptical shape.
An elliptical statement is one that is hard or impossible to understand, either because something is missing from it or because the speaker or writer is trying to be hard to understand.
elusive (ih LOO siv) adj hard to pin down; evasive
To be elusive is to elude, which means to avoid, evade, or escape.
The elusive criminal was next impossible for the police to catch. (The criminal eluded the police).
emigrate (EM uh grayt) v to leave a country permanently; to expatriate
At the heart of this word is the word migrate, which means to move from one place or country to another. Emigrate adds to migrate the sense of moving out of some place in particular. On the other end of every emigration is an immigration (think of this as "in-migration")
When Solange emigrated from France, she immigrated to the United States.
immigration - moving into a country
eminent (EM uh nunt) adj well-known and respected; standing out from all others in quality or accomplishment; outstanding
The visiting poet was so eminent that our English teacher fell to the ground before him and licked his shoes. Our English teacher thought the poet was preeminent in his field.
empirical (em PIR uh kul) adj relying on experience or observation; not merely theoretical
We proved the pie's deliciousness empirically, by eating it.
emulate (EM yuh layt) v to strive to equal or excel, usually through imitation
To emulate someone is to try to be just as good as, or better than, him or her.
encroach (in KROHCH) v to make gradual or stealthy inroads into; to trespass
As the city grew, it encroached on the countryside surrounding it.
endemic (en DEM ik) adj native; restricted to a particular region or era; indigenous
You won't find that kind of tree in California; it is endemic to our part of the country.
enervate (EN ur vayt) v to reduce the strength or energy of, especially to do so gradually
Sander felt enervated by his long ordeal and couldn't make himself get out of bed.
enfranchise (en FRAN chyze) v to grant the privileges of citizenship, especially the right to vote
In the United States, citizens become enfranchised on their eighteenth birthdays. American women were not enfranchised until the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, which gave them the right to vote.
disfranchise (or disenfranchise)
disfranchise (or disenfranchise) to take away the privileges of citizenship or take away the right to vote
One of the goals of the reform candidate was to disfranchise the bodies at the cemetery, which had had a habit of voting for the crooked mayor.
engender (en JEN dur) v to bring into existence; to create; to cause
Smiles engender smiles.
enigma (uh NIG muh) n a mystery
Ben is an enigma; he never does any homework but he always gets good grades.
An enigma is enigmatic (en ig MAT ik). Ben's good grades were enigmatic.
enormity (i NOR muh tee) n extreme evil; a hideous offense; immensity
Hitler's soldiers stormed through the village, committing one enormity after another.
Hugeness or great size is not the main meaning of enormity. When you want to talk about the gigantic size of something, use immensity instead.
ephemeral (i FEM ur al) adj lasting a very short time
Ephemeral comes from the Greek and means lasting a single day. The word is usually used more loosely to mean lasting a short time.
Youth and flowers are both ephemeral. They're gone before you know it.
epigram (EP uh gram) n a brief and usually itty or satirical saying
People often find it difficult to remember the difference between epigram and similar words. An epigram is epigrammatic (ep uh gruh MAT ik)
epigraph - an apt quotation placed at the beginning of a book or essay
epitaph - a commemorative inscription on a grave
epithet - a term used to characterize the nature of something; sometimes a disparaging term used to describe a person
epitome (i PIT uh mee) n a brief summary that captures the meaning of the whole; the perfect example of something; a paradigm
The first paragraph of the new novel is an epitome of the entire book; you could read it and understand what the author was trying to get across. It epitomized the entire work.
equanimity (ik wuh NIM uh tee) n composure; calm
John's mother looked at the broken glass on the floor with equanimity; at least he didn't hurt himself when he knocked over the vase.
equitable (EK wuh tuh bul) adj fair
King Solomon's decision was certainly equitable; each mother would receive half the child.
Equity is fairness; inequity is unfairness. Iniquity and inequity both mean unfair, but iniquity implies wickedness as well.
equivocal (ih KWIV uh kul) adj ambiguous; intentionally confusing; capable of being interpreted in more than one way
Ambiguous means unclear. To be equivocal is to be intentionally ambiguous.
Joe's response was equivocal; we couldn't tell whether he meant yes or no, which is precisely what Joe wanted.
erudite (ER yoo dyte) adj scholarly; deeply learned
The professor said such erudite things that none of us had the slightest idea of what he was saying.
To be erudite is to possess erudition (er yoo DISH un), or extensive knowledge.
equivocate - to mislead by saying confusing or ambiguous things
esoteric (is uh TER ik) adj hard to understand; understood by only a select few; peculiar
Chicken wrestling and underwater yodeling were just two of Earl's esoteric hobbies.
espouse (eh SPOWZ) v to support; to advocate
The Mormons used to espouse bigamy, or marriage to more than one woman.
ethereal (ih THIR ee ul) adj heavenly; as light and insubstantial as a gas or ether
The ethereal music we heard turned out to be not angels plucking on their harps but the wind blowing past our satellite television antenna.
euphemism (YOO fuh miz um) n a pleasant or inoffensive expression used in place of an unpleasant or offensive one
Aunt Angie, who couldn't bring herself to say the word death said that Uncle George had taken the big bus uptown. "Taking the big bus uptown" was her euphemism for dying.
evanescent (ev uh NES unt) adj fleeting; vanishing; happening for only the briefest period
Meteors are evanescent: They last so briefly that it is hard to tell whether one has actually appeared.
exacerbate (ig ZAS ur bayt) v to make worse
Dipping Austin in lye exacerbated his skin condition.
exacting (ig ZAK ting) adj extremely demanding; difficult; requiring great skill or care
The exacting math teacher subtracted points for even the most unimportant errors.
exalt (ig ZAWLT) v to raise high; to glorify
The manager decided to exalt the lowly batboy by asking him to pitch in the opening game of the World Series.
exasperate (ig ZAS puh rayt) v to annoy thoroughly; to make very angry; to try the patience of
The child's insistence on hopping backward on one foot exasperated his mother, who was in a hurry.
exemplify (ig ZEM pluh fye) v to illustrate by example; to serve as a good example
Fred participated in every class discussion and typed all of his papers. His teacher thought Fred exemplified the model student; Fred's classmates thought he was sycophantic.
exhaustive (ig ZAWS tiv) adj thorough; rigorous; complete; painstaking
Before you use a parachute, you should examine it exhaustively for defects. Once you jump, your decision is irrevocable.
exhort (ig ZORT) v to urge strongly; to give a serious warning to
The coach used his bullhorn to exhort us to try harder.
The adjective is hortatory (HOR tuh tor ee).
exigency (EK si jen see) n an emergency; an urgency
An academic exigency: You haven't opened a book all term and the final is tomorrow morning. Exigent means urgent.
existential (eg zis TEN shul) adj having to do with existence; having to do with the body of thought called existentialism, which basically holds that human beings are responsible for their own actions but is otherwise too complicated to summarize in a single sentence. This word is overused but under-understood by virtually all of the people who use it. Unless you have a very good reason for throwing it around, you should probably avoid it.
exonerate (ig ZAHN uh rayt) v to free completely from blame; to exculpate
Our dog was exonerated when we discovered that it was in fact the cat that had eaten all the chocolate chip cookies.
expatriate (eks PAY tree ayt) v to throw (someone) out of his or her native land; to move away from one's native land; to emigrate
Hugo was fed up with his native country and so expatriated to America. In doing so, Hugo became an expatriate (eks PAY tree ut).
expedient ( ik SPEE dee unt) adj providing an immediate advantage; serving one's immediate self-interest; practical
Since the basement had nearly filled with water, the plumber felt it would be expedient to clear out the drain.
expedite (EK spi dyte) v to speed up or ease the progress of
The post office expedited mail delivery by hiring more letter carriers.
explicit (ik SPLIS it) adj clearly and directly expressed
The machine's instructions were explicit -- they told us exactly what to do.
implicit - indirectly expressed or implied
Gerry's dissatisfaction with our work was implicit in his expression, although he never criticized us directly.
extol (ik STOHL) v to praise highly; to laud
The millionaire extolled the citizen who returned his gold watch and then rewarded him with a heartfelt handshake.
extraneous (ik STRAY nee us) adj unnecessary; irrelevant; extra
The soup contained several extraneous ingredients, including hair, sand, and a single dead fly.
extrapolate (ik STRAP uh layt) v to project or deduce from something known; to infer
George's estimates were extrapolated from last year's data; he simply took all the old numbers and doubled them.
extricate ( EK struh kayt) v to free from difficulty
Monica had no trouble driving her car into a ditch, but she needed a tow truck to extricate it.
extrovert (EKS truh vurt) n an open, outgoing person; a person whose attention is focused on others rather than on himself or herself
Maria was quite an extrovert; she walked boldly into the roomful of strange adults and struck up a friendly conversation.
introvert (IN truh vurt) n a person whose attention is directed inward and who is concerned with little outside himself or herself
Ryan was an introvert; he spent virtually all his time in his room, writing in his diary and talking to himself. An introvert is usually introspective.