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ABANDON: To give up completely – abandoned the sinking ship.

Synonyms: relinquish, forgo, forsake

ABASH: To lose self-confidence; to confuse, put to shame – abashed before the assembled dignitaries. 

Synonyms: fluster, disconcert, discomfit, discompose.

Antonym: (adj.) self-possessed

ABDICATE: To give up claim to – abdicated the throne.

Synonyms: renounce, abandon, relinquish

ABET: To encourage -or support – treacherously abetted the enemy.

Synonyms: spur, incite. 

Antonym: deter

ABRIDGE: To shorten – abridged his lengthy speech.

Synonyms: curtail, diminish, retrench.

Antonyms: protract, elongate, amplify

ABROGATE: To abolish or render void – a treaty abrogated by mutual consent.

Synonyms: annul, nullify, rescind, void.

ABSTEMIOUS: Moderate in the use of food or drink – abstemious in his habits.

Synonym: temperate

ACADEMIC: Pertaining to school; theoretical academic interests; an academic discussion, with no practical implications. 

Synonym: scholastic

ACCEDE: To agree to – accede to a request. Synonym: assent.

Antonym: demur

ACCELERATE: – To quicken, speed tip – took an accelerated course in order to graduate early. Synonym: expedite (adj. expeditious). 

Antonym: retard.

ACCOLADE: An award or salute – a tremendous accolade for a returning hero. Synonyms:

tribute, ovation

ACCORD: Agreement or harmony – in full accord with his view. 

Synonyms: concord, concurrence. 

Antonyms: dissension, discord

ACRIMONIOUS: Sharp or harsh in language or temper – stung by the acrimonious remark.

Synonyms: caustic, acerb, pungent, tart, mordant, acrid; (noun) asperity.

Antonyms: suave, affable,

ACUMEN: Keenness of mind or insight – showing exceptional business acumen.

Synonyms: perspicacity, discernment, perception. 

Antonym: obtuseness.

ADMONISH (noun: ADMONITION): To warn or find fault gently – admonishing the unruly child. 

Synonyms: chide, caution, reprimand, reprehend, reproach.

ADVERSARY: (adj.: ADVERSE): An opponent – his adversary in a bitter debate.

Synonym: antagonist. 

Antonyms: cohort, confederate, ally, accomplice.

ADVERSITY: Misfortune – calm in the face of adversity. 

Synonyms: affliction, mischance, reverses.

AESTHETIC: Pertaining to the beautiful – interested in aesthetic values rather than in purely practical affairs.

AFFABLE: Sociable, courteous, and agreeable in manner a much admired, affable gentleman.

Synonyms: civil, complaisant, benign, gracious, genial, urbane, cordial.  Antonyms: curt, brusque, rude, boorish, surly.

AFFLUENT: Prosperous, flourishing; copious – a large bequest from an affluent grandfather.

Synonyms: opulent, profuse. 

Antonyms: destitute, impecunious.

AGGRESSIVE (noun: AGGRESSION. an unprovoked attack): self-assertive; attacking, offensive – annoyed people by his aggressive attitude. 

Synonyms: bumptious, officious, obtrusive. 

Antonyms: meek, humble, retiring, diffident.

ALACRITY: Eagerness; cheerful promptness – responded to the flattering offer with alacrity.

Synonyms: celerity, briskness, energy, animation. 

Antonyms: apathy, nonchalance, sluggishness, lethargy, phlegmatism.

ALIENATE: To estrange – alterated by his gruff manner.

ALLAY: To calm; to lessen in severity – at ease now that his fears have been allayed.

Synonyms: appease, alleviate, pacify, assuage, abate, mitigate, propitiate, mollify, placate. Antonyms: intensify, aggravate.

ALLUDE (noun: ALLUSION): To refer to indirectly – alluded quite subtly to his friend’s misfortune. 

Synonyms: insinuate, intimate, imply. 

Antonyms: refer, cite.

ALLURE: To tempt by flattery or an attractive offer – allured by the prospect of a new job. Synonyms: lure, decoy, inveigle, entice, seduce, wheedle, beguile, cajole.  Antonym: repel.

AMBIGUOUS: Uncertain, vague, capable of being inter- in more than one way – puzzled by the ambiguous statement. 

Synonyms: hazy, obscure, equivocal, dubious, nebulous.

Antonyms: explicit, unquestionable.

AMENABLE: Obedient; willing to submit – amenable to the suggestion.  

Synonyms: tractable, docile, responsive. 

Antonyms: intractable, refractory, recalcitrant.

AMIABLE: Good-natured; friendly – attracted friends by his amiable disposition.  Synonym: complaisant.

ANACHRONISM: A thing placed or occurring out of its normal time – A machine gun at the Battle of Yorktown would be an anachronism.

ANALOGY (adj.: ANALOGOUS): A relation between two things shown in the resemblance not of the things themselves but of their characteristics – He indicated points of analogy between the two situations. Synonyms:  correspondence, affinity. 

Antonym: anomaly (a deviation from the general rule).

ANARCHY: State of confusion or lawlessness – a country brought to utter anarchy by civil war. Synonyms: chaos, pandemonium.

ANIMUS: A feeling of hatred-felt no animus, even against the enemy. 

Synonyms: enmity, rancor, malevolence, animosity. 

Antonym: amity.

ANNALS: Historical records – in the annals of literature.

ANONYMOUS: Of unknown authorship-an anonymous publication.

ANTHOLOGY: A collection of choice literary works – an anthology of modern poetry.

ANTITHESIS (adj.: ANTITHETICAL): Contrast; the direct opposite – His selfish attitude seemed to me the antithesis o patriotism.

APATHY (adj.: APATHETIC): Lack of feeling, emotion, or interest – attributed his failure to apathy, rather than lack of ability.

Synonyms:  torpor, lethargy, sluggishness, listlessness, languor, lassitude, dispassion; (verb) languish. Antonyms: zeal, animation.

APPREHENSIVE (verb: APPREHEND): Fearful – Being unprepared, John is apprehensive of the examination.

APPRISE: To inform –apprised his lieutenants of the new situation. 

APPROBATION: Approval; praise -a plan that met with hearty approbation. Synonyms: sanction, commendation. Antonym: disapprobation.

APT (noun: APTITUDE, APTNESS): ((1) Likely; inclined or disposed – apt to succeed. Synonym: prone. (2) Fit, suitable – an apt remark.

Synonyms: appropriate, felicitous. (3) Skillful, expert – apt at woodcarving. Synonyms: deft, dextrous, adept. Antonym: inept.

ARBITER: A person who has authority to decide matters in dispute – a fair decision rendered by the arbiter. Synonyms: mediator, arbitrator

ARCHETYPE: An original pattern – copies reproduced from the archetype. Synonym: prototype. Antonyms: Stereotype, facsimile, replica.

ARID: Dry; barren – the arid desert land. Synonyms: jejune, parched. Antonyms: arable, fertile.

ARISTOCRACY: Government by the best people; a privileged class -special privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy. Synonym: oligarchy. Antonym: democracy.

ARMISTICE: A temporary suspension of hostilities. The armistice halted the war. Synonym:


ARTFUL: Sly; crafty – attained his mean objective by artful measures. Synonyms: cunning, wily, adroit, ingenious, guileful. Antonyms: guileless, ingenuous, artless. 

ARTICULATE (verb): To speak clearly or distinctly – articulated slowly so that he could not be misunderstood. (adj.): Capable of speech; distinct, clear – an articulate man, always ready to give his views.

ASCETIC: Rigorously self-denying – pursued the ascetic life of a monk.

Synonyms: austere, abstinent.

Antonyms: wanton, self-indulgent.

ASKANCE: With distrust – looked askance at the forged signature.

ASSEVERATE: To declare positively; to confirm – asseverated his views with conviction.

Synonyms: assert, avouch, aver, avow, allege.

Antonyms: gainsay, controvert, recant, rescind, abjure, disavow.

ASSIDUOUS: Industrious – an assiduous worker, toiling long hours.

Synonyms: sedulous, attentive, diligent, indefatigable.

Antonyms:  indolent, slothful.

ASYLUM: A place offering shelter and retreat – found asylum from persecution.

Synonyms: sanctuary, refuge.

ATHEIST: One who denies that God exists – The atheist declared, “There is no God.”

Synonyms: infidel, agnostic, skeptic.

ATTRIBUTE (verb): Assign -attributed his success to bard work.

Synonym: ascribe (noun): An inherent quality -Generosity was his outstanding attribute.

AUGMENT: To increase or enlarge – an army augmented by numerous enlistments.

Synonyms: enhance, amplify. Antonyms: abate, curtail.

AUSPICIOUS: Indicating a happy outcome – The prospect for this project appears auspicious.

Synonyms: propitious, fortunate.

Antonyms: ominous, foreboding.

AUTHENTIC: Genuine -proved to be an authentic document.

Synonyms: veritable, bona fide.

Antonyms: apocryphal, counterfeit, spurious, bogus.

AUTOCRATIC: Despotic – feared by the masses as an autocratic ruler.

Synonym: tyrannical.

Antonym: benevolent.

AVARICE: Excessive greed – a fortune accumulated by avarice and miserliness.

Synonyms: covetousness, cupidity, avidity.

Antonym: magnanimity.

AWRY: Unsymmetrical; not straight – the picture, hanging awry on the wall.

Synonym: askew.

BANAL: Lacking in freshness, originality, or vigor-bored by his banal remarks.

Synonyms: commonplace, hackneyed, prosaic, trite, stereotyped, vapid.

Antonyms: racy, original, vivid.

BANEFUL (noun: BANE: poison; source of harm): Destructive, poisonous – a baneful effect, causing serious injury. Synonyms: deleterious, pernicious, virulent, noxious, toxic.

Antonym: beneficent.

BANTER: Good-natured teasing or ridicule-The two wits I exchanged banter, to the amusement of the audience. Synonyms: raillery, chaff

BATON: A stick or staff – The conductor wielded his baton gracefully.

BELIE: To give a false idea of – His gracious manner belled his evil purpose.


BELLICOSE; Inclined to quarrel; warlike – His bellicose attitude often got John into fights.

Synonyms: pugnacious, contentious, disputatious.

Antonyms: pacific, conciliatory.

BELLIGERENT: Engaged in war – two belligerent nations warring fiercely.

BENEVOLENT: Kindly; charitable – like a benevolent monarch, bestowing many favors.

Synonyms: benign, benignant, gracious, magnanimous.

Antonyms: malevolent, malignant.

BEREAVE: To deprive or leave desolate by loss – a widow just bereaved of her husband.

BESMIRCH: To soil or dirty – besmirched his opponent’s good name with vile epithets.

Synonyms: stilly, defile, smirch, bespatter.

BIASED: Prejudiced – misled by a biased point of view.

Synonyms: bigoted, arbitrary, partial, partisan.

Antonyms: disinterested, equitable.

BIBLIOPHILE: A lover of books – The bibliophile fingered the old book fondly. Antonym: bibliophobe.

BIZARRE: Queer; unusual in appearance- bizarre clothes, outlandish in the extreme.

Synonyms: odd, fantastic, grotesque, eccentric.

BLAND: Gentle; polite; agreeable – a bland diet, without irritating foods.

Synonyms: mild, suave (affable or persuasive in manner), soothing, non-irritating.

Antonyms: piquant, tart, racy, caustic, acrid, pungent.

BLANDISHMENT: A flattering speech or act – attracted people by his blandishments.

BLEMISH (verb): To scar or spoil – Bad associates blemished his character; (noun): A disfigurement, defect – a character without a blemish.

BLIGHT: To ruin or decay – the rotting wheat, blighted by incessant rain.

Synonyms: wither, blast

BLITHE: Gay and light-hearted in spirit or mood – spread cheer with her blithe spirit.

Synonyms: jocund, merry, joyous.

Antonyms: dejected, forlorn, abject.

BOG: A swamp – sank into the spongy bog.

Synonyms: morass, fen, quagmire, mire.

BOMBASTIC (noun: BOMBAST): High-sounding; pretentious in language – a bombastic speech, inflated with meaningless high-flown words.

Synonyms: ranting, pompous, fustian.

BOORISH: Unrefined in speech or manners – exhibited the boorish manners of a backwoodsman.

Synonyms: churlish, uncouth, uncultured, crass.

Antonym: suave.

BUCOLIC: Pertaining to the country – a bucolic poem – the joys of the shepherd.

Synonyms: pastoral, rustic, rural.

BUFFOON: A clown – acting like a buffoon, full of ludicrous tricks.

Synonym: harlequin.

BULWARK: (1) An embankment used as a fortification – a lofty bulwark for defense.

Synonym: rampart. 2) A person, idea, or object serving as a protection – acted as a bulwark in the fight against crime. 

BUMPTIOUS: Obnoxiously conceited or self-assertive – a bumptious monitor, puffed up with his own importance. Synonyms: aggressive, arrogant, contumelious, overbearing.

CABAL: A small group of persons engaged in plotting – a cabal of prominent persons united to overthrow the government.

Synonyms: junto, faction.

CACOPHONOUS: Unharmonious sounding – a cacophonous blare of trumpets, noisy and discordant.

Synonyms: dissonant, discordant, blatant, strident, raucous.

Antonyms: mellifluous, euphonious, dulcet.

CADAVEROUS: Corpselike; hence, haggard, pale -His face appeared cadaverous from long imprisonment.

Synonyms: ghastly, gaunt, pallid (noun: pallor), wan, ashen.

Antonyms: rubicund, florid.

CALLOUS: Unfeeling or insensitive – made callous by long suffering.

Synonyms: insensible, obdurate.

CALUMNIATE: To accuse falsely or maliciously in order to injure another’s reputation; slander – calumniated his political opponent by spreading false rumors.

Synonyms: asperse, vilify, defame, scandalize.

CANDID (noun: CANDOR): Frank, outspoken; impartial a candid reply that could hardly be more forthright. Synonyms: artless, ingenuous, unbiased.

Antonyms: guileful, evasive.

CANTANKEROUS: Ill-natured; quarrelsome – showed a cantankerous and sullen disposition.

Synonyms: petulant, peevish, contentious, pugnacious, testy, choleric, fretful.

Antonyms: amiable, affable, equable.

CAPRICIOUS: Inclined, through some whim or fancy change the mind, purpose, or actions suddenly – a capricious person, undependable in mood or temper.

Synonyms: fickle, fitful, changeable, erratic, inconstant, crotchety, whimsical, mercurial.

Antonyms: steadfast, constant, even-tempered.

CAPTIOUS: Quick to find fault about trifles- a captious critic pouncing on slight laws.

Synonyms: hypercritical, carping, carviling, censorious.

CARICATURE: A picture or other description of a person which exaggerates ludicrously one or more of his distinctive features – not a realistic portrait but a malicious caricature.

CASTIGATE: To punish or criticize severely – castigated for using improper language.

Synonyms: reprove, upbraid, reprehend, censure, reprimand, chasten.

Antonyms: commend, eulogize, laud.

CELESTIAL: Pertaining to the sky; heavenly-a celestial pageant of bright stars.

Synonyms: ethereal; (noun) firmament.

CHAUVINIST. An extreme patriot-a chauvinist with most pride in his country.

Synonym: jingoist.

CHICANERY: Trickery, deception,- practised chicanery all his shady dealings.

Synonyms: duplicity, craft, stratagem, wile, subterfuge.

CHRONIC: Continuing a long time; habitual-a. chronic complaint, persisting for years.

Synonyms: persistent, unremitting, inveterate, incessant, constant.

Antonyms: intermittent, sporadic, infrequent.

CIRCUMSPECT: Cautious – looked about him circumspectly.

Synonyms: prudent, vigilant, discreet, wary. Antonyms: rash, indiscreet, reckless, precipitate, foothardy, temerarious, headstrong.

CIRCUMVENT: To gain an advantage by the use of trick to evade by the use of deception; to go around – circumvented the law by evasive practices.

Synonyms: thwart, balk, outwit, delude.

CIVIL: (1) Of or having to do with citizens or the state – civil duties as well as civil liberties. 2) Polite, courteous – answered in a civil fashion.

Synonyms: respectful, gracious.

CLAMOROUS: Loud and noisy – a clamorous outburst the crowd outside.

Synonyms: vociferous, obstreperous, blatant, raucous, strident.

Antonyms: muted, quiet.

CLANDESTINE: Secret; stealthy – a clandestine meeting known only to a few.

Synonyms: furtive, covert, surreptitious.

Antonyms: overt, manifest, above-board.

CLEMENT: Merciful; gentle – a clement judge who tempered justice with leniency.

Synonyms: compassionate, forbearing.

Antonyms: relentless, ruthless.

COALITION (verb: COALESCE): Alliance; merging of various units into one unit – three parties forming a coalition to rule the country.

Synonyms: amalgamation, consolidation, fusion.

COERCION: Compelling a person by physical force or other means to do something against his will – rendered his services without the slightest coercion.

Synonyms: constraint, restraint, impelling.

COGENT: Having the force to compel, usually by appealing to reason – persuaded by cogent arguments.

Synonym: persuasive.

COLLUSION: Working together secretly for an evil purpose – acted in collusion to overthrow the government. Synonyms: collaboration, conspiracy, conniving, machination.

COMMODIOUS: Roomy – a commodious apartment.

Synonyms: spacious, capacious, ample.

COMPATIBLE: Harmonious; able, to get along together parted company because they were not compatible. Synonyms: congruous, consistent.

Antonyms: incongruous, discordant, incompatible.

COMPENDIUM (adj.: COMPENDIOUS): A brief summary of the main ideas of a larger work – a compendium of chemistry in a slim volume.

Synonyms: synopsis, digest, precis, abstract, epitome.

COMPENSATION: Payment for services – just compensation for his labor.

Synonyms: stipend, remuneration, recompense, emolument.

COMPLACENT: Self-satisfied – looked on his own performance with a complacent smile.

Synonym: smug.

COMPUNCTION: Regret for wrongdoing – displayed slight compunction for his misdeed.

Synonyms: contrition, penitence, atonement, remorse, qualm.

CONCEDE: To yield; to admit as true; to grant – conceded victory to a superior force.

Synonyms: acquiesce, capitulate.

CONDIGN: Well-deserved (applied chiefly to punishment) – received condign punishment for his crime.

CONDOLE (noun: CONDOLENCE): To express sympathy with another in sorrow, pain, or misfortune – condoled with each other in their grief.

Synonyms: commiserate, show compassion, solace.

CONDONE: To forgive or overlook (an offense) – condoned the deed, in view of the offender’s age.

Synonyms: extenuate, palliate, mitigate, gloss.

CONFEDERATE (noun): A person allied with others for a special purpose (frequently a bad one) – joined his confederate in secret enterprise.

Synonyms: collaborator, accomplice. (adj.): United or allied in a conspiracy – two confederate groups hurrying to their rendezvous.

CONGENIAL: ((1) Possessing similar interests and tastes; able to get on well with others – congenial people with similar backgrounds.

Synonym: compatible. (2) Agreeable – congenial to his taste.

CONJECTURE: To guess – Without facts, we can only conjecture about his guilt.

Synonyms: surmise, presume.

CONSECRATE: ((1) To set apart as sacred – consecrate the battlefield with a monument to the dead heroes. Synonyms: hallow, sanctify.

Antonym: desecrate. (2) To devote or dedicate to some aim – consecrated his life to teaching.

CONSENSUS. General agreement – The consensus of the committee was that no action should be taken.

Synonym: accord.

CONSTERNATION: Amazement; lack of courage caused by fearful prospect – The threat struck deep consternation into John.

Synonyms: dismay, bewilderment.

CONSTRUE (noun: CONSTRUCTION): To interpret, explain the sense of, or analyze – construed the statement to his own advantage.

CONSUMMATE (adj.): Perfect or highly accomplished – achieved with consummate skill.

Antonyms: botched. bungled, inept (verb): To complete, bring to perfection – consummated the deal without delay.

CONTEMPTUOUS: Expressive of contempt (an emotion involving anger and disgust) – cast a contemptuous look at his subordinate.

Synonyms: supercilious, scornful, disdainful, contumelious.

CONVIVIAL: Festive; gay – a convivial party.

Synonyms: jovial, jocund, mirthful.

Antonyms: lugubrious, dolorous, mirthless.

COPIOUS: Plentiful – shed copious tears at the bad news.

Synonyms: profuse, bountiful, abundant.

Antonyms: meager, scant.

CORPULENT: Fat – corpulent due to excessive eating.

Synonyms: obese, portly.

Antonyms: gaunt, lank, emaciated, peaked.

COSMOPOLITAN (noun): One who is at home in all countries – A cosmopolitan can feel at ease anywhere in the world. (adj.): Free from local prejudices – a world-wide traveler, cosmopolitan in tastes and attitudes.

Synonyms: Catholic.

Antonyms: parochial, provincial.

COTERIE: A group of people joined by common interests a coterie of select friend.

Synonym: clique.

COUNTENANCE (noun): A face – His countenance expressed his complete disgust. Synonym: visage. (verb): To approve – refused to countenance disrespectful conduct.

Synonym: sanction.

CRASS: Coarse and stupid – displayed crass ignorance.

Synonym: gross.

CRAVEN (noun): Coward – the deed of a craven, motivated by fear.

Synonym. Poltroon. (adj.):

Cowardly – a craven act which shocked the world.

Synonyms: pusillanimous, dastardly.

Antonyms: stalwart, intrepid, valiant, stout-hearted.

CREDENCE: Trust or belief – gave little credence to the rumor.

Synonym: conviction.

Antonym: skepticism.

CREDIBLE: Worthy of belief – a credible story, true to life.

Antonym: incredible.

CREDITABLE: Deserving or reflecting Credit or honor – applauded for his creditable performance.

Synonyms: praiseworthy, meritorious, commendable.

Antonyms: discreditable, infamous, opprobrious, ignominious.

CREDULOUS: Inclined to believe anything; easily imposed upon – a credulous fool whom anyone can dupe. Synonym: gullible.

Antonyms:  incredulous, skeptical.

CRINGE: To shrink in fear – cringing before superior force.

Synonyms: cower, flinch, fawn, truckle, wince.

CRUCIAL: Decisive or critical; difficult – the crucial event that decided the outcome. CRYPTIC: Containing hidden meaning – a cryptic message, difficult to decipher.

Synonyms:  occult, enigmatic.

Antonyms:  palpable, manifest. 

CULPABLE: Deserving blame or censure – removed from office for culpable negligence.

Synonyms:  censurable, reprehensible.

CUMBROUS: Burdensome and clumsy – a cumbrous knapsack, impeding his march.

Synonyms: cumbersome, unwieldy, bulk. CURB: To control, check, or restrain – forcibly curbed the people’s protest. Synonyms:  repress, subdue.

CURSORY: Hurried; hence, superficial – Time permitted only a cursory examination.

Antonyms:  painstaking, meticulous. CURT: Rudely abrupt -offended by the curt response.

Synonyms:  blunt, brusque, bluff. Antonyms:  affable, civil.

CYNICAL: Sneeringly distrustful of the good motives or conduct of others – belittled the hero with a cynical remark. Synonyms:  sarcastic, surly.

DEARTH: Scarcity – a dearth of news, brought about by censorship.

Antonyms:  plethora, abundance.

DEFERENCE: Submitting to the wishes or judgment of another – yielded out of deference to the old man.

Synonyms:  respect, complaisance, veneration. Antonym  recalcitrance.

DEITY: A god -The sun was a deity to ancient peoples. Synonym: divinity.

DELECTABLE: Very pleasing – a delectable meal, tastefully prepared. DELETE: To erase or cancel, take out or remove – deletedan offensive phrase.

Synonyms:  expunge, censor, efface, eradicate.

DELINEATE: To sketch or portray – striking features, delineated by a master artist. 

DELINQUENT (noun): An offender – found to be a delinquent by the court. (adj.): Failing to fulfill an obligation – too many people who are delinquent in meeting their civic duties.

Synonym: derelict.

DELUGE: A great flood; downpour – a spring deluge which caused the river to overflow.

DEMAGOGUE: A leader who tries to stir the passions of people for his own purposes – the mob roused by an unprincipled demagogue. 

DEMEANOR: Behavior; bearing – carrying himself with a proud demeanor.

Synonyms:  deportment, mien.

DEMURE: Affectedly or falsely modest or prim; serious demure as a Victorian maiden.

Synonyms:  sedate, staid, decorous, prudish, coy. Antonyms:  immodest, frivolous.

DENOUNCE (noun: DENUNCIATION): To speak against – denounced by the press as a traitor.

Synonyms:  stigmatize, censure, reprehend, castigate-

Antonyms:  laud, eulogize.

DEPLETE: To empty or to use up – depleted the public treasury by vast building programs.

Synonyms:  exhaust, drain.

Antonyms:  replenish; (adj.) replete.

DEPLORE: To express sorrow or grief over – a lamentable situation deplored by all parties.

Synonyms:  lament, decry, grieve.

DEPRAVED: Of low morals; corrupt – a depraved mind, devising evil.

Synonyms:  debased, wicked, vicious, perverted.

DEPRECATE: To plead or argue against a certain course of action – deprecated the proposal severely.

Synonyms:  remonstrate, protest, decry, expostulate.

Antonym:  sanction.

DEPRECIATE: To belittle or speak slightingly of – depreciated John’s acting ability.

Synonyms: disparage, derogate (adj. derogatory).

Antonyms:  enhance, magnify, extol, laud, eulogize.

DEVASTATION: Widespread ruin – the city left in utter devastation by war.

Synonyms:  destruction, desolation.

DEVIOUS: ((1) Winding; indirect – took a devious, rather than the direct way home. Synonym: circuitous. (2) Straying from the right course – used devious means to attain his wicked ends.

Synonyms:  crooked, erring.

DEVOID: Lacking in; not possessing – a speech devoid of even a trace of ill-will.

Synonym: destitute.

Antonyms:  abounding, prevalent.

DEVOUT: Devoted to religious observances – devout in his regularity of attendance at worship.

Synonyms:  pious, religious.

Antonym  impious.

DICTUM: Art authoritative statement; a saying-an imperial dictum demanding instant compliance.

DIDACTIC: Designed to teach, imparting a lesson – a poem with a didactic purpose.

Synonym: pedagogical.

DIFFIDENT: Lacking in self-confidence- too diffident to lead a group.

Synonyms:  shy, timid, reserved, reticent, retiring.

Antonyms:  forward, aggressive.

DILEMMA: A situation calling for a choice between two equally difficult alternatives; hence, a difficult or perplexing situation – faced with a dilemma defying solution.

Synonyms: predicament, quandary, plight.

DILETTANTE: One who dabbles in the fine arts for amusement only and without concentrated study – a doctor by profession, a dilettante in art.

Synonyms:  amateur, connoisseur.

DISCONCERT: To confuse; to embarrass – disconcerted by his suspicious stare.

Synonyms:  perturb, discomfit, discompose, abash, disquiet, fluster.

DISCONSOLATE: Depressed; without hope or possibility of consolation – made disconsolate by abject poverty. Synonyms: inconsolable, dejected.

Antonyms:  blithesome, carefree.

DISCOURSE: To converse or talk; to discuss – discoursed at length on the rise of political parties. DISCRETE: Separate – two discrete issues, totally unrelated. 

DISCURSIVE: Rambling from one subject to another – a discursive letter, covering many topics.

Synonyms:  desultory, digressive.

DISPARITY (adj.: DISPARATE): Inequality; difference in image, quantity, character, or rank – great disparity between promise and performance.

DISPASSIONATE: Free from feeling or partiality – coldly dispassionate as the chairman of the meeting.

Synonyms:  palm, impartial. Antonym  partial.

DISPATCH (verb): To do speedily; to send off – dispatched with remarkable promptness.

Synonym: expedite. (noun): A speedy performance; the sending off of something – done with all possible dispatch. Synonyms:  celerity, alacrity.

DISPEL: To drive away; to scatter – dispelled a doubt that had lingered. Synonyms: dissipate, disperse, diffuse.

DISSENT (noun: DISSENSION): To disagree; to differ in opinion – He dissented violently, rejecting compromise.

DISSOLUTE: Living loosely; unrestrained in conduct or morals – his life wasted by dissolute conduct. Synonyms:  debauched, dissipated, profligate.

DISTRAUGHT: Mentally distressed; distracted – distraught by trials and tribulations.

Synonym: harassed.

DIVERSE: (verb: DIVERSIFY; noun: DIVISIBILITY): Varied; different – two diverse characters; one candid, the other insincere.

Synonym: multifarious.

DIVERTING: Entertaining – a diverting one of the most amusing I’ve ever seen.

DIVULGE: To make public or reveal – refused to divulge his source of information.

Synonyms:  disclose, impart.

DOGMATIC: Positive in expressing an opinion; asserting an opinion as though it were an undisputed fact – spoken dogmatically, as if the speaker considered himself infallible.

Synonyms:  overbearing, opinionated, peremptory, dictatorial.

DOLOROUS: Sorrowful; mournful – a dolorous song full of sorrow for past joys.

Synonyms:  doleful, lugubrious, grievous.

Antonyms:  jocund, blithe, mirthful.

DYNAMIC: Forceful – possessed dynamic energy, tireless and powerful.

Synonym: energetic.

Antonyms:  static, inert, dormant, torpid, sluggish, quiescent.

ECCLESIASTIC (adj.): Pertaining to the clergy or the church – recognized as an authority in ecclesiastic matters. Antonyms:  secular, lay. (noun): A clergyman – an ecclesiastic of liberal views.

EDICT: A public command or proclamation issued by an authority – proclaimed by royal edict.

Synonym: decree.

EDIFY: To instruct or uplift, particularly in morals or religion – a story that edifies the reader, as well as entertains him.

EFFETE: No longer productive; hence, lacking in or, worn out – powerful in ancient days, now an effete civilization.

EGOTISTIC: Conceited – an egotistic person, flourishing on praise.

Synonyms:  egocentric, vain.

Antonym: altruistic.

EGREGIOUS: Outstandingly bad an egregious mistake with serious implications.

EJACULATE: To exclaim or utter suddenly – ejaculated a cry of horror.

ELICIT: To draw out – elicited no response from the audience.

Synonyms:  evoke, extract, extort.

ELUCIDATE: To make clear; to explain – elucidated his theory so that even a schoolboy could understand it.

Synonym: clarify.

EMISSARY: A person sent on an errand or mission – delegated his emissary to conclude a pact.

ENGENDER: To cause, produce, or stir up-an act that engendered good will.

ENNUI: Boredom; weariness of mind-fell asleep at the meeting from sheer ennui.

ENSUE: To follow or result-Silence ensued when the leader arose to speak. ENTREAT: To beg earnestly – entreated the judge to show mercy.

Synonyms:  solicit, supplicate, beseech, implore, importune; (adj.) importunate, mendicant, suppliant

EPHEMERAL: Very short-lived – an ephemeral joy, lasting but a day.

Synonyms:  fleeting, transitory, transient, evanescent.

Antonym: eternal

EPICUREAN (noun): A person devoted to luxurious living and pleasure – an epicurean, seeking to enjoy every meal. (adj.): Pleasure-loving – His entire existence demonstrated his epicurean tastes.

EPIGRAM: A brief pointed saying – a speech full of original epigrams. Synonyms:  maxim proverb, adage.

EPITAPH: A tombstone inscription – an epitaph engraved on marble.

EPITHET: A phrase that describes a quality (good or bad) in a person or thing – “Glaring” error is a commonly used epithet. Synonyms:  characterization , appellation

EQUANIMITY (adj.: EQUABLE): Evenness of temper or mind – suffered his cruel fate with equanimity.

Synonyms:  serenity, composure, imperturbability, aplomb.

ERR (noun: ERRATUM): To be mistaken or go astray – To err is human, to forgive divine.

Synonyms:  stray, blunder.

ERRATIC: Irresponsible, eccentric; lacking a fixed purpose erratic behavior, reflecting his queer ideas.

ERUDITE: Learned – an erudite person, an editor of many books.

Synonyms:  scholarly, knowing.

ESOTERIC: Understood by only a select few – an esoteric subject, discussed only by scholars.

Synonyms:  abstruse, recondite.

EXCEPTIONABLE: Objectionable – exceptionable behavior, universally criticized.

Synonyms: questionable, reprehensible, censurable. Antonym: laudable.

EXCULPATE: To free from blame – exculpated by a jury.

Synonyms:  vindicate, exonerate, absolve, acquit.

Antonyms:  arraign, indict, inculpate.

EXEMPLARY (noun: EXEMPLAR): Serving as a model; commendable – exemplary conduct approved by all. Synonyms:  illustrative, typical; praiseworthy, laudable.

EXODUS: Departure, emigration – the pathetic exodus of refugees from their homeland.

EXOTIC: Strange and foreign – an exotic costume imported from Asia.

EXPATIATE: To speak or write at great length – He expatiated on the subject for two hours.

Synonym: dilate.

EXPATRIATE (verb): To banish or exile; to withdraw from one’s country – expatriated for treachery to his country. (noun): An expatriated person – expatriates who left the United States to live in Paris.

EXPEDIENT (adj.): Convenient in helping to attain some purpose – found it expedient to maintain silence at that moment.

Synonyms:  opportune, seasonable. (noun): A means to accomplish something – tried all expedients to achieve a quick result.

EXPLOIT (verb): To use for one’s selfish purpose – refugees exploited by unscrupulous employers. (noun): A brilliant deed – lauded for his exploits in science.

Synonym: feat.

EXPOUND (noun: EXPOSITION): To set forth in detail; to explain – expounded his theory in a learned article.

EXPURGATE: To purify (usually a piece of writing) of offensive material – expurgate all obscenities before the book could be sold.

Synonyms:  purge, delete.

EXTEMPORANEOUS: Done or spoken on the spur of the moment or without preparation – an extemporaneous speech.

Synonyms:  impromptu, offhand.

EXTINCT: No longer existing or active – the extinct dinosaur, alive only in history.

Synonym: defunct. Antonym: extant.

EXTIRPATE: To root out, destroy totally – extirpated the cause of trouble.

Synonyms:  eradicate, exterminate, efface, obliterate.

EXTRANEOUS. Not essential; foreign; irrelevant – excluded material extraneous to the subject.

Synonyms:  extrinsic, adventitious.

Antonyms:  germane, intrinsic, inherent, relevant, pertinent.

EXULTATION: Great rejoicing – received the good news with exultation.

Synonym: jubilation.

FACADE: Front or face, especially of a building – a facade of marble.

FACETIOUS: Given to joking or inappropriate gaiety; said in fun – brightened the evening with his facetious remarks. Synonyms:  jocose, droll, flippant, frivolous.

Antonyms:  solemn, grave, saturnine.

FALLACIOUS (noun: FALLACY): Unsound; misleading; deceptive – led astray by fallacious reasoning and plans.

FALLIBLE: Liable to make mistakes or be deceived – Being human, Tom was naturally fallible.

Antonyms:  infallible, unerring.

FATHOM: To penetrate and understand – difficult to fathom his mysterious actions.

FATUOUS: Foolish; silly – a fatuous suggestion that struck us as stupid.

Synonyms:  inane, vacuous, puerile.

Antonyms:  judicious, sagacious, sage.

FEALTY: Faithfulness – The soldiers were pledged to fealty to their ruler.

Synonyms:  allegiance, constancy, fidelity.

Antonyms:  disloyalty, infidelity, treachery.

FEASIBLE: Workable – a feasible plan, proved practical by – previous experience.


FEIGN (noun: FEINT): To pretend – He feigned to be angry, but we saw through his pretense.

Synonyms:  dissemble, sham, dissimulate, affect.

FELICITY (adj.: FELICITOUS): (1) A state of happiness – promoted felicity in the nation.

Synonym: bliss. (2) A high ability – lie has a felicity of language, mastery of the well-chosen phrase.

FERVID: Spirited; ardent – a fervid debater, full of emotion.

Synonyms:  perfervid, impassioned, zealous, fervent, vehement.

FESTOON (noun): A garland of flowers, leaves, etc. hung between two points – the room bright with festoons of Thanksgiving decorations. (verb): To hang with festoons – a room festooned with spring flowers.

FETISH: (1) Something that is believed to have magical powers – savages worshipping the fetish in a ceremonial dance.

Synonym: charm, talisman, amulet. (2) An object of unreasoning devotion and worship – Photography, begun as a hobby, became a fetish.

FIASCO: A ludicrous and complete failure – all his glorious plans ending in a fiasco.


FICTITIOUS: Unreal; made-up – used a fictitious name to avoid being recognized.


FLACCID: Lacking firmness – muscles grown flaccid after the illness.

Synonyms: flabby, limp.

FLAGRANT: Outstandingly bad – condemned for his flagrant abuse of power.

Synonyms:  glaring, scandalous, notorious, conspicuous, gross.

FLAMBOYANT: Elaborately showy – written in a flamboyant, style, full of highly decorative imagery.

Synonyms:  florid, ornate, resplendent, embellished, garish, gaudy, gorgeous, rococo.

Antonym: somber.

FLAUNT: Display or wave boastfully – flaunted the excellent report before his delighted parents.

FLEETING: Passing swiftly -the fleeting hours of happiness.

Synonyms:  transitory, fugitive.

FLUCTUATE: To waver from one course to another; to vary irregularly – his mood fluctuating with every hour. Synonyms:  oscillate, vacillate, undulate, sway.

FORBEAR (noun: FORBEARANCE): To exercise self control; to keep from – forbearing to shoot the animal despite temptation.

Synonyms:  restrain, abstain.

FORENSIC: Pertaining to public discussion or law courts – a lawyer gifted in forensic debate.

Synonyms:  rhetorical, oratorical.

FORTUITOUS: Accidental – a fortuitous meeting with a friend in need. S

ynonyms:  casual, incidental, adventitious, random.

FRACAS: A disorderly quarrel – A fracas broke up the meeting.

Synonyms:  brawl, altercation, fray, wrangle, imbroglio.

FRUSTRATE: To prevent (the attainment of an object); to defeat or render ineffectual – His scholastic progress was frustrated by a serious illness.

Synonyms:  balk, thwart, foil, baffle, obstruct, discomfit.

Antonym: abet.

FULSOME: Disgustingly excessive – nauseated by fulsome praise.

GARNISH: To trim or decorate – dishes garnished attractively with greens.

Synonyms:  adorn, deck.

GENEALOGY: A record of a person’s or a family’s ancestors or relatives – an interesting genealogy, including saints and sinners.

Synonym: lineage.

GENESIS: Origin – chemistry, which had its genesis in alchemy.

Synonym: inception.

GESTICULATE: To make gestures, or indicate feelings by. motions – gesticulated wildly to show his distress.

GHASTLY: Horrible, deathlike – a ghastly disaster which shocked the world.

Synonyms: gruesome, grisly, pallid, macabre, grim, lurid.

GIBE (variant spelling: JIBE): To laugh at; to utter with scorn – gibed at his enemy mercilessly.

Synonyms:  mock, sneer, jeer, scoff, flout, deride (adj.: derisive), rail, taunt.

GLIB: Smooth-spoken, fluent – a glib liar, distorting the truth effortlessly.

GLUTTONOUS (noun. GLUTTON; verb: GLUT): Inclined to cat to excess – gulped down his food in gluttonous fashion. Synonyms: voracious, intemperate.

GOSSAMER (noun): A very thin gauzelike fabric or structure – a poem so delicate that it seemed an unreal gossamer. (adj.): Thin and light – the gossamer wings of a dragon fly. S

ynonyms:  diaphanous, flimsy, gauzelike

Antonyms:  substantial, ponderous.

GREGARIOUS: Habitually fond of associating in a company or herd – gregarious sheep; that gregarious animal, man. Antonyms: lone, aloof.

GRIMACE: A distortion of the face to express an attitude or feeling – a grimace that was more expressive than words.

HAIL: To greet – The crowd hailed the returning hero.

Synonyms:  accost, salute.

HARANGUE (verb): To deliver a long. noisy speech- harangued the multitude.

Synonyms: rant,

declaim. (noun): A loud, tiresome speech – an empty harangue which bored his audience.

Synonym: tirade.

HARBINGER, A forerunner; ail announcer – the robin, harbinger of spring.

Synonyms: precursor, herald.

HAUGHTY: Proud; looking down with contempt on others – dismissed the messenger in a haughty manner.

HEEDLESS: Thoughtless; taking little care – rushed into battle, heedless of the danger.

Synonyms: inadvertent, rash, incautious.

Antonyms: prudent, circumspect, mindful, wary.

HEINOUS: Wicked; hateful – committed a heinous crime.

Synonyms:  atrocious, outrageous, monstrous, odious, nefarious, abominable.

HERESY: An opinion held in opposition to the traditional view – a view condemned as heresy.

Synonym: heterodoxy.

Antonym: orthodoxy.

HIATUS: A gap or vacancy; break -left a hiatus on the page where he erased a sentence.

Synonym: breach.

HISTRIONIC: Pertaining to the theater; designed for show – broke into histrionic laughter, hollow and insincere. Synonyms:  dramatic, theatrical.

HOAX (noun): A trick or deception; a practical joke – played a hoax upon the credulous public.

Synonym: canard. (verb): To play a trick on; to deceive – He hoaxed the crowd completely with his disguise.

HOMONYM: Two words having the same sound but different meanings – confusing such homonyms as mail add male.

HOVEL: A dirty or wretched dwelling – born in a hovel, died in a mansion.

HYPERBOLE: Extravagant exaggeration for effect – An example of hyperbole: “There are a million objections to the project.”

Synonym: overstatement. Antonym: understatement.

HYPOTHESIS: An assumption made for the sake of argument – worked from a fantastic hypothesis.

Synonym: supposition.

IDIOSYNCRASY: A. personal peculiarity – Wearing white was one of Whistler’s idiosyncrasies.

Synonyms:  eccentricity, foible, mannerism, crotchet, aberration, quirk, singularity.

IGNOMINIOUS (noun: IGNOMINY): Incurring public disgrace – suffered an ignominious descent from political power. Synonyms:  infamous, degrading, opprobrious, odious. Antonyms: illustrious, renowned, preeminent.

IMMACULATE: Spotless; pure – an immaculate reputation.

Synonyms:  undefiled, unsullied, unblemished, untarnished.

Antonyms: defiled, sullied, blemished.

IMMINENT: Likely to occur soon – stood in imminent peril.

Synonym: impending. 

IMMUNE (verb: IMMUNIZE): Exempt from; protected from – immune from taxation.

Synonym: unsusceptible.

IMPALE: To pierce through with a pointed instrument – impaled a spider to the wall.

IMPEACH: (1) To accuse (a public official) of wrongdoing – impeached the judge for accepting a bribe.

Synonym: arraign. (2) To cast discredit upon – impeached his motives. Synonyms: call in question, discredit.

IMPECCABLE: Faultless – performed with impeccable skill.

Synonyms:  consummate, irreproachable, unerring, infallible.

Antonyms:  culpable, fallible.

IMPERVIOUS: Incapable of being penetrated – a mind impervious to new ideas.

Synonyms: impermeable, impenetrable.

Antonyms: permeable, pervasive.

IMPLACABLE: Incapable of being soothed, made peaceful, or forgiving – implacable resentment.

Synonyms: unrelenting, inexorable, unappeasable.

Antonyms: placable, forbearing.

IMPLICIT: (1) Implied but not clearly expressed – an implicit agreement. (2) Unquestioning – implicit confidence. Synonyms: tacit, implied. Antonym: explicit.

IMPORT (noun): Meaning; significance or importance – a matter of great import.

Synonyms:purport, moment, consequence.

IMPOSTOR (noun: IMPOSTURE): One who pretends to be what he is not unmasked as an impostor.

Synonyms:  quack, mountebank, charlatan, bogus, fraud.

IMPRECATION: A curse – hurled imprecations at those who would not listen to him.

Synonyms:  execration, malediction, anathema.

Antonyms:  benediction, benison.

IMPREGNABLE: Unconquerable – an impregnable fortress.

Synonym: invincible. Antonym: vulnerable.

IMPROPRIETY: Improper act, manners, or expression – guilty of impropriety in public office.

Synonyms:  indecency, indecorum.

Antonym: amenity.

IMPROVIDENT: Lacking in thrift; not providing for future needs – an improvident spender.

Synonyms:  prodigal, shiftless. 

IMPUGN: To attack or criticize as false; to call in question – impugned his honesty.

INCARCERATE: To imprison – crushed his opponents by incarcerating them.

Synonyms: intern, immure.

Antonyms: emancipate, enfranchise.

INCISIVE: Cutting, penetrating – incisive criticism.

Synonyms:  sarcastic, mordant, trenchant, acute.

INCOGNITO. With one’s identity concealed – traveled incognito.

INCONTROVERTIBLE: Indisputable – incontrovertible evidence.

Synonyms:  irrefutable, indubitable.

INCREMENT: An increase – a salary increment.

Synonym: accrual.

INCUMBENT (noun): An officeholder – the incumbent in an election. (adj.): Obligatory – felt it incumbent to reply. Synonyms: mandatory, imperative.

INDEFATIGABLE: Untiring – an indefatigable worker.

Synonyms: unflagging, unremitting, persevering. 

INDIGENOUS: Native – Rice is indigenous to China.

Synonyms: innate, inborn.

INDOOMITABLE: Stubborn in determination not to be subdued – indomitable courage.

Synonyms: insuperable, irrepressible, invincible, unyielding.

Antonyms: tractable, amenable, docile, submissive.

INFERENCE: A conclusion reached by reasoning from data or premises – an inference drawn from his remarks. Synonyms: deduction, implication.

INGENIOUS: Demonstrating originality, skill, or resourcefulness – an ingenious device.

Synonyms: dextrous, inventive, adroit.

Antonyms: maladroit, gauche.

INGENUOUS: Simple and straightforward; concealing nothing – an ingenuous plan that anyone could see through. Synonyms:  unsophisticated, naive, candid.

Antonym: sophisticated.

INGRATIATE: To win another’s favor or good opinion tried to ingratiate himself with the politician.

INHIBIT: To check or hinder – inhibited his friend from a foolhardy course.

Synonyms:restrain, curb. Antonym: promote.

INNOCUOUS: Harmless; inoffensive – an innocuous remark, but it enraged him.

INNUENDO: An indirect reference or suggestion (frequently derogatory) – conveyed his idea by innuendo. Synonyms:  (verb) intimate, insinuate.

INORDINATE: Excessive – spoiled by inordinate praise.

Synonyms:  immoderate, intemperate, extravagant.

INSATIABLE: Unable to be satisfied – insatiable greed. Synonyms. unappeasable, unquenchable, insatiate. 

INSCRUTABLE: Incapable of interpretation or understanding – the inscrutable smile of the Mona Lisa.

Synonyms:  unfathomable, cryptic, enigmatic.

INSIDIOUS: Working secretly or slyly – that insidious disease, cancer.

Synonyms:  wily, crafty, furtive, treacherous, artful, guileful perfidious.

INSTIGATE: To stir tip – instigated discontent among the soldiers.

Synonyms:  foment, incite.

INTEGRITY: Honesty, moral soundness – a man of proved integrity.

Synonyms:  probity, uprightness, incorruptibility.

INVEIGH (noun-. INVECTIVE): To speak angrily or bitterly-inveighed against economic discrimination.

Synonyms:  rail, denounce, fulminate, vituperate.

IRASCIBLE: Easily angered – Even petty things made Peter irascible.

Synonyms: choleric, petulant, testy, peevish, splenetic, touchy.

Antonyms: placid, equable.

IRE: Anger -aroused his ire.

Synonyms:  resentment; (adj.) irate, incensed.

IRKSOME: Tedious, monotonous – an irksome chore that no one liked.

ITINERANT: Traveling about; wandering – an itinerant salesman.

Synonym: nomadic.

JARGON: Confused, unintelligible, meaningless talk; special vocabulary used only by members of a group or trade – Variety, a newspaper written in theatrical jargon.

Synonyms:  gibberish, argot, cant.

JAUNTY: Having an air of easy carelessness or liveliness – walked with a jaunty step.

Synonyms: sprightly, airy, gay, nonchalant, debonair.

Antonyms: somber, staid.

JEOPARDY: Danger – His life was in jeopardy.

Synonyms: hazard, peril.

JETTISON: To throw overboard (as cargo); to throw off (as a burden or something in the way )- jettisoned their old candidate as a political liability.

JUDICIOUS: Wise; using or exhibiting good judgment – a well-chosen plan, termed judicious by all.

Synonyms: discreet, politic, discerning.

KALEIDOSCOPIC: Constantly changing or varying in pattern or scenes – kaleidoscopic views of New York.

KEN: Range of sight or understanding – something beyond our ken.

Synonym: insight.

LABYRINTH (adj.: LABYRINTHINE): A structure or intricate passage out of which it is difficult to find one’s way (also applied to spiritual and intellectual complexities) – confused by a labyrinth of intellectual discussions.

Synonym: maze.

LACHRYMOSE: Causing or given to shedding tears – a lachrymose tragedy.

LACONIC: Saying much in few words – a laconic reply that spoke volumes.

Synonyms: concise, pithy, terse, succinct, taciturn, reticent.

Antonyms: verbose, prolix, redundant, diffuse, tautological, turgid, garrulous, voluble.

LARCENY: Theft – indicted for grand larceny.

LATENT: Hidden; present but not fully developed – latent talent that time will reveal.

Synonyms: dormant, quiescent, covert, potential.

Antonyms: apparent, patent.

LAVISH: (1) Profuse or generous – lavish in praise.

Synonyms:  ample, superabundant. (2) Given to extravagance – a lavish spender. Synonyms: prodigal, munificent, magnanimous.

Antonyms: parsimonious, niggardly, frugal, penurious.

LETHAL: Deadly – a lethal weapon.

Synonyms:  mortal, fatal.

LONGEVITY: Prolonged duration of life – a country remarkable for the longevity of its inhabitants.

LOW: To bellow softly like cattle – the lowing herd in the meadow.

Synonym: moo.

LUCID: Clear; transparent; easily understood – a lucid explanation of a difficult text.

Synonyms:  pellucid, perspicuous, intelligible, limpid, luminous, translucent.

Antonyms:  abstruse, obscure.

LUDICROUS: Ridiculous; producing laughter – a ludicrous remark that set them all to roaring.

Synonyms:  mirthful, droll, comical, absurd.

Antonyms:  doleful, lugubrious, dismal.

LUMINARY: An eminent person; a celestial body – the platform graced by a number of luminaries.

MACHIAVELLIAN: Sacrificing moral principles in order to attain power; politically cunning; crafty – a machiavellian design, wickedly contrived.

Synonym: unscrupulous.

MALICIOUS (noun: MALICE): Bearing, or acting with, deliberate ill-will or spite – hurting with malicious intent. Synonyms: rancorous, malignant, malevolent, virulent, vindictive.


MASQUERADE (verb): To assume a deceptive appearance or character – a thief masquerading as an honest man. Synonyms:  dissemble, feign. (noun): A disguise; a group of people in disguise or fancy costumes – a masquerade so perfect no one could guess his identity.

MAUDLIN: Sentimental to the point of tears – turned maudlin at the mention of his lost dog.

Synonym: mawkish, lachrymose.

MEANDER: To walk about (or talk) aimlessly; to wind about (as a stream) – meandered through the town, looking into shop windows.

Synonym: ramble.

MEDIOCRE: Average in quality – a mediocre performance, unworthy of his talents.

MERCENARY: Acting solely from a consideration of reward or profit – actuated by a mercenary motive.

Synonym: venal.

MERETRICIOUS: Attracting in a false, cheap, or showy manner- a meretricious beauty that is too flashy to be real. Synonyms: tawdry, specious.

METICULOUS: Fussy about minute details – took meticulous pains with his composition.

Synonyms: fastidious, punctilious, overscrupulous, finical, methodical.

Antonyms: desultory, perfunctory, slovenly.

METTLE (adj.: METTLESOME: high-spirited ): Disposition; spirit; courage – His mettle was tried in battle. Idiom: to be on one’s mettle (meaning, “ready to do one’s best”).

Synonyms: temperament, ardor.

MICROCOSM: A little world, or a universe in miniature this village, a microcosm of the great outside world.

Antonym macrocosm (world on a large scale).

MIMIC: To make fun of or copy by imitating – mimicked the comedian’s gestures.

MISANTHROPIC (noun: MISANTHROPE): Hating or distrusting mankind – condemned for his misanthropic views. Antonyms:  philanthropic, altruistic.

MISNOMER: A name or term that describes wrongly – To call him a brave man is really a misnomer.

MONOLOGUE: A speech by one person – The actor gave his views in a dramatic monologue.

Synonym: soliloquy.

Antonyms: colloquy (adj. colloquial): conversation between two or more persons; dialogue: conversation between two persons.

MOROSE: Gloomy; ill-humored – shunned because of his morose temper.

Synonyms:  sulky, crabbed, sullen, splenetic, saturnine.

Antonyms:  blithe, genial.

MOTLEY: Of various colors; of mixed ingredients – a motley costume; a motley crowd.

Synonyms:  checkered (referring to a varied career), piebald, variegated, diverse, heterogeneous.

Antonym: homogeneous.

MOTTLED: Spotted or streaked with varied colors – a mottled pony.

Synonyms: blotched, dappled.

MUNDANE: Of, or pertaining to, the world, as contrasted with the spirit – mundane affairs.

Synonyms: earthly, terrestrial, secular, temporal.

MURKY: Dark; cloudy – a murky cavern.

Synonyms: dismal, tenebrous, fuliginous.

Antonyms: resplendent, glowing, lustrous, luminous, fulgent, coruscating.

MUTABLE: Given to frequent change in nature, mood, or form – mutable in mood as a spring wind.

Synonyms: vacillating, fickle, inconstant, fitful, mercurial, wavering, capricious.

Antonyms: constant, steady.

MYRIAD: Innumerable – the myriad stars in the heavens.

NAUTICAL: Pertaining to ships or navigation – a nautical career.

Synonyms: marine, naval, maritime.

NETTLE: To irritate or provoke – nettled by his critics.

Synonyms: vex, pique, goad.

NOCTURNAL: Pertaining to, or occurring in, the night – awakened by the sounds of a nocturnal prowler.

Antonym: diurnal.

NOISOME: Foul-smelling; harmful-the swamp gave off a noisome odor.

Synonyms: malodorous, fetid, disgusting; noxious, deleterious.

Antonym: salubrious.

NONCHALANT: Unmoved or indifferent; casual – reacted to the news in a nonchalant manner.

Synonym: apathetic.

Antonyms:  enthusiastic, zealous.

NOSTALGIA: Homesickness – felt nostalgia for the old homestead.

NOTORIOUS: Widely known (in a bad sense) – a notorious gambler.

NOVICE: A beginner – conducted himself in politics like a novice.

Synonyms: tyro, neophyte.

Antonym: virtuoso.

OBDURATE: Hard-hearted; stubborn – an obdurate, unrepentant criminal.

Synonyms:adamant, unyielding, inflexible.

Antonyms: submissive, docile, compliant.

OBLIVIOUS (noun: OBLIVION): Forgetful; absent-minded – walking oblivious of his surroundings.

Synonyms: unmindful, heedless, abstracted. 

OBSESSION: A persistent feeling, idea, activity, etc., which dominates a person; the state of being exclusively preoccupied by a fixed idea – Now that he has learned bowling, it has become his obsession.

Synonyms: mania, infatuation (a foolish passion), monomania.

OBSOLETE: No longer in use – an obsolete word, not even included by most dictionaries.

Synonyms: archaic, antiquated.

OBTRUSIVE (verb: OBTRUDE): Thrusting oneself or itself into undue prominence – made himself obnoxiously obtrusive.

Synonyms: intrusive, aggressive.

OBVIATE: To prevent, dispose of, or make unnecessary by appropriate actions – an act which obviated all objections. Synonyms: preclude, forestall.

OMNIPOTENT: All-powerful – an omnipotent despot.

ONUS: Burden; duty; obligation – bore the onus of his difficult office creditably.

OSTENSIBLE: Apparent; pretended – his ostensible, though not actual, purpose.

Synonyms: professed, plausible (that is, appearing true, reasonable, or fair), specious.

OSTRACIZE: To banish; to exclude from public favor or privileges – a former premier ostracized by popular vote. Synonym: outlaw.

PANACEA: A remedy for all ills – seeking a panacea to cure our social troubles.

Synonym: nostrum.

PANEGYRIC: A speech or writing of extravagant praise – delivered a panegyric at his friend’s testimonial dinner. Synonyms: eulogy, adulation, tribute, laudation (adj. laudatory), encomium.

Antonyms: censure, disparagement, derogation, castigation, depreciation.

PARADOX: A self -contradictory statement; something ‘that appears to be absurd and yet may be true -“Life is too important a matter to he taken seriously.” – a paradox by Oscar Wilde. Synonym: anomaly.

PARAPHRASE: To restate the meaning of a passage in other words – paraphrased the poem in a few lines of prose. 

PARODY (noun): A humorous imitation of an author’s style and mannerisms – wrote a parody on Kipling’s “Gunga Din.” 

Synonym: burlesque. (verb): To write a parody – parodied the popular authors of the (lay to his audience’s amusement.

Synonym: Mimic.

PECCADILLO: A petty fault-possesses one peccadillo among his many virtues.

Synonyms: frailty, foible, flaw, blemish.

PECUNIARY: Pertaining to money – involved in pecuniary difficulties.

Synonyms; financial, fiscal, monetary.

PEDANT (adj.: PEDANTIC): One who proudly shows off his learning or who overrates his knowledge – like a pedant glorying in his scholarly trifles.

PENSIVE: Sadly thoughtful – softly sang his pensive song.

Synonyms:  reflective, meditative, contemplative, musing.

PEREMPTORY: Positive in expressing an opinion – gave a peremptory judgment.

Synonyms: decisive, resolute, imperious, positive, dogmatic.

Antonyms: indecisive, tentative.

PERTINACIOUS: Clinging doggedly to an opinion or purpose – pertinacious in his efforts.

Synonyms: obdurate, tenacious, persistent, persevering, intractable, inflexible.

PERUSE: To read carefully – perused the important letter.

PERVERSE: Willfully bent on doing the wrong thing – a perverse lad, always disobeying his parents.

Synonyms: headstrong, froward, refractory, wayward, fractious.

PETRIFY: To paralyze with horror, fear, or surprise – petrified by the enemy bombardment.

Synonyms: stupefy, stun, bewilder, amaze.

PLAGIARISM. Adopting and reproducing, without acknowledgment, the writings or ideas of another and passing them off as one’s own – denied the charge of deliberate plagiarism.

PLATITUDE: A dull and commonplace remark – bored people by his pompous phrases and platitudes.

Synonyms: bromide, truism, axiom.

PLEBEIAN: Pertaining to the common people; hence, common or vulgar – plebeian in his tastes and outlook. Antonyms: patrician, aristocratic.

PLEBISCITE. A direct vote by the people – The decision to confederate was ratified by plebiscite.

POIGNANT: (1) Gripping and moving the feelings powerfully – a poignant grief. (2) Piercing, biting, pointed – a poignant cry; poignant wit.

PONDEROUS: Very heavy; clumsy; dull – a ponderous speech, extremely boring.

PRECARIOUS: Uncertain or risky – earning a precarious livelihood, providing no luxuries.

PRECIPITOUS: (1) Very steep – a precipitous cliff. (2) Descending rapidly – a precipitous decline in popularity.

PRELUDE: An introduction, forerunner, or preliminary step – a short prelude to the play.

Synonyms: preface, prologue, preamble.

Antonym: epilogue.

PREROGATIVE: A privilege or power attaching to a position – It is a woman’s prerogative to refuse to tell her age. Synonym: license.

PRESTIGE: Esteem or influence accorded for recognized achievements or reputation – As Senator he enjoyed great prestige.

Synonym: distinction.

PRESUMPTION: (1) Something taken for granted – acted on a reasonable presumption. (2) Going beyond proper bounds; impudent boldness – His question was downright presumption.

Synonyms:  effrontery, forwardness, arrogance.

PREVARICATE: To disguise or conceal the truth to lie – prevaricated in order to avoid detection.

Synonyms:  quibble, equivocate; (adj.) mendacious.

Antonyms:  (noun) veracity, verity; (adj.) forthright.

PROCRASTINATE: To postpone or put off to another time – missed his opportunity by procrastinating too long. Synonyms: defer, delay.

PROGNOSTICATE (noun: PROGNOSIS): To forecast – The Weather Bureau prognosticates daily.

Synonyms: presage, portend, augur, forebode.

PROLETARIAT: The wage-earning class – a truckman, humble member of the proletariat.

PROMONTORY: A cliff – an imposing promontory along the coast.

Synonyms: headland, precipice.

PROMULGATE: To publish or proclaim; to spread abroad The President promulgated a decree. Synonym: disseminate.

PROTUBERANT: Bulging or swelling out – a protuberant jaw.

Antonyms: receding, recessive.

PROVISIONAL: Temporary; for the time being – a provisional plan until a permanent decision is reached.

Synonym: tentative.

PROXIMITY: Nearness-worked in close proximity to his home.

Synonyms: propinquity, vicinity.

Antonym remoteness.

PSEUDONYM: A false name assumed by a writer – concealed his identity by a pseudonym.

Synonyms: alias, pen name, nom de plume.

PUNITIVE: Inflicting, or concerned with, punishment – took punitive measures against deserters.

QUASH: To crush; to render void – quashed a rebellion; quashed an indictment.

Synonyms: suppress, extinguish, quell; annul.

QUERULOUS: Given to fault-finding and complaining – Her querulous nature estranged many people.

Synonyms: fretful, whining, captious, carping, peevish, petulant.

Antonym: affable.

QUIXOTIC: Extravagantly romantic or idealistic; highly impractical – a quixotic scheme that can never materialize. Synonyms: utopian, visionary, fantastic.

RACONTEUR: A skilled storyteller – held spellbound by a superb raconteur.

RADICAL (noun): One who advocates extreme basic changes – The reform movement was led by a radical. (adj.): Thorough, extreme – radical measures adopted to meet the emergency. Antonym (noun and adj.): conservative.

RAMIFICATION: A branching; sub-division – studied the subject in all its ramifications.

RAZE: To tear down completely- razed the old building.

Synonyms: level.

Antonym: rear.

RECAPITULATE: To restate in a brief, concise form; to sum up – recapitulated the main ideas.

RECIPROCAL: Mutual; done in return for something received – held each other in reciprocal esteem.

RECUMBENT: Lying down; leaning back or down – resting in a recumbent position.

REDOLENT: (1) Fragrant – a room redolent of roses.

Synonym: aromatic. (2) Reminiscent of – redolent of olden times.

REDOUBTABLE: Commanding fear or respect – cringing before a redoubtable enemy.

Synonym: formidable.

REFUTE: To prove incorrect or false-refuted his opponent’s argument.

Synonyms: rebut, confute.

Antonyms: substantiate, confirm, corroborate.

REITERATE: Repeat (several times) – reiterated his story once more.

REMUNERATIVE: Profitable – a remunerative job.

Synonyms: lucrative, gainful.

RENEGADE: One who forsakes political or party principles or his religious faith – a renegade from his former allegiance.

Synonyms: turncoat, apostate, recreant, traitor.

REPRISAL: Injury inflicted in turn for one received – took action in reprisal against his neighbor.

Synonym: retaliation.

RESENTMENT: Feeling of displeasure or indignation resulting from mistreatment or abuse – showed resentment at what he considered an unwarranted insult.

Synonyms: umbrage, dudgeon, animosity.

RESILIENT: Elastic; light-hearted; possessing power of recovery – a resilient Spirit, refusing to admit defeat. Synonyms: flexible, pliable, supple, limber.

RESPITE: (1) Temporary deferment or cessation of work or pain – a brief respite from labor.

Synonym: surcease. (2) A temporary delay in the execution of -a sentence – granted the doom man a temporary respite.

Synonym: reprieve.

RETRIBUTION: The reward or punishment exacted for an injury, wickedness, or other action – suffered just retribution for his folly.

Synonyms: requital, nemesis.

RETRIEVE: (1) To make good -retrieved a mistake. (2) To recover -retrieved the suitcase left at the station. (3) To restore – retrieved his lost fortunes.

REVERBERATE: To echo – a shot reverberating through the valley.

Synonym: resound.

RUDIMENTARY: In an early stage of development – possessing only a rudimentary, knowledge of physics.

Synonym: incipient.

RUE (adj.: RUEFUL): To be sorry for-He will rue the day he left home.

Synonyms: regret, repent.

SACROSANCT: Very holy – a shrine. regarded as sacrosanct.

Synonyms:  consecrated, inviolable, hallowed.

SAGACIOUS (noun: SAGACITY): Wise; shrewd – proved to be sagacious in his judgment.

Synonyms: perspicacious, astute, sapient, discerning, sage.

SALLOW: Sick – a sallow complexion.

Synonym: pallid. Antonyms: rubicund, ruddy, florid.

SALLY: (verb): To rush forth suddenly – sallied out to meet the enemy. (noun): A Witty remark – amused the audience with his sallies against his opponent.

Synonyms:  quip, banter.

SANCTIMONIOUS: Pretending to be religious – showed his hypocrisy in a sanctimonious display of piety.

SANGUINARY: Bloody – a sanguinary battle.

Synonym: gory.

SANGUINE: Of a hopeful disposition; blood-red in color – a perennial optimist, sanguine in temperament.

Synonyms: buoyant, ardent.

SARTORIAL: Pertaining to a tailor or clothes – a picture of sartorial perfection.

SATELLITE: (1) An attentive or flattering follower – a prince surrounded by many satellites.

Synonyms:  lackey, toady, disciple, adherent; adj., fawning, obsequious, partisan. (2) A country influenced or controlled by another – Freedom is conspicuously absent ,in the Soviet satellites. (3) A body (natural or artificial) which revolves around a larger body, generally a planet – The moon is the only natural satellite of the earth, but in recent years it has been joined by many artificial satellites.

SCINTILLA: A trace; a particle – not a scintilla of convincing evidence.

Synonyms: iota; vestige.

SCOURGE (verb): To punish severely; to afflict; to whip – a disease that scourged the country.

Synonyms: excoriate, flay. (noun). A whip or other means of punishment; a cause of affliction – The Black Plague was a dreadful scourge of the Middle Ages.

Synonym: tribulation.

SCRUTINIZE: To examine carefully -scrutinized the contents of the letter.

SHIBBOLETH: A party slogan – a shibboleth designed to attract votes.

SIMPER (verb): To smile in a silly or affected way simpered as he greeted each guest. (noun): An affected or silly smile – stood nervously, a simper on his face.

Synonym: (verb and noun) smirk.

SINECURE: Employment entailing little or no responsibility or labor – His job was a sinecure.

SINISTER: Threatening or showing evil; dishonest – the sinister look of a gangster.

SLEAZY: Flimsy and cheap – sleazy cloth which is used only in cheap garments.

Synonym: unsubstantial.

SLOVENLY: Untidy-severely criticized the student’s slovenly appearance.

Synonyms: slipshod, slatternly, frowzy.

SOPORIFIC: Tending to induce sleep – a poorly written novel, soporific in effect.

SORDID: Mean and base; filthy – Sordid motives breed selfish actions.

Synonyms: degraded, vile, ignoble.

SOVEREIGN: Supreme m power and authority; independent of the control of any other government – possessing sovereign powers; a sovereign state.

Synonyms: autonomous, imperial, majestic, paramount.

SPORADIC: Occurring singly, at irregular intervals; scattered – sporadic cases of illness.

SPURN: To refuse or reject with contempt – an offer that was spurned instantly.

Synonyms: repel, snub.

STOIC: Indifferent, calm in bearing pain or pleasure; practising remarkable self-control over emotions – maintained a stoic attitude despite all his trials.

Synonyms: stolid, impassive.

STRINGENT: Strict; compelling, constraining stringent regulations; stringent requirements.

Synonyms: exacting, rigid. Antonym: lax.

STUPENDOUS: Amazing by, virtue of its immense size, force, or any quality in exceptional degree – The circus is a stupendous spectacle.

Synonyms:  astounding, prodigious, monstrous, marvelous, colossal, awful.

SULTRY: Close, hot, and moist – sultry tropical weather.

SUCCULENT: juicy – a succulent steak.

Antonyms: desiccated, vapid.

SUPINE: (1) Lying flat on the back – resting in a supine position. Antonym: erect. (2) Inert, inactive, averse to taking action – a supine, ineffective administrator.

Synonyms: listless, torpid.

TANGIBLE: Real; actual – tangible gains which may be seen, and counted.

Synonyms: material, veritable, perceptible, substantial.

TANTAMOUNT: Equivalent – an act that is tantamount to treason.

TAUNT (verb). To reproach with contempt – taunted him with the charge of failure to act promptly.

Synonyms: mock, twit, gibe, sneer, deride. (noun): An insulting, jeering, or bitter remark – hurled taunts at his foes.

TEEMING: In abundance, fertile, highly productive – the teeming tropics, rank with vegetation. Synonyms: swarming, fruitful, fecund, abounding.

TEMERITY: Unwise or reckless boldness – leaped into battle with thoughtless temerity.

Synonyms: audacity, presumptuousness, effrontery, rashness; (adj.) temerarious, foolhardy, venturesome.

Antonyms: prudence, circumspection, wariness.

TEMPORAL: Worldly, as opposed to spiritual; existing for a time only – a man preoccupied with temporal matters. Synonyms: mundane, secular, civil.

TEMPORIZE: To delay or refuse to commit oneself in order to gain time – temporized while his friends hurried to his aid.

Synonym: equivocate.

TENET: A principle of belief held as true – a tenet of religion which be maintained loyally.

Synonyms: creed, doctrine, dogma.

TENUOUS: Slender; not substantial; of slight importance – clung desperately to his tenuous hope.

TRANQUIL: Calm; peaceful – a tranquil summer night. Synonyms: placid, serene.

Antonyms: perturbed, ruffled, turbulent.

TRANSGRESS: To break a law or command; to violate a moral principle; to overstep a moral bound or limit – transgressed the bounds of decency; transgressed the law.

TREMULOUS: Trembling – tremulous with fright.

Synonym: quivering.

TRIVIAL: Of little – importance – a trivial offense. Synonym: paltry.

Antonyms: gross, momentous.

TRUCULENT (noun: TRUCULENCE): Cruel, fierce; harsh; threatening or intimidating savagely – a dispute marked by a truculent attitude on both sides.

TURGID: (1) Swollen, inflated – turgid rivers overflowing their banks.

Synonyms: bloated, distended. (2) Using big or high-sounding words – a turgid prose style.

Synonyms: pompous, bombastic, prolix.

UBIQUITOUS: Existing everywhere – The common cold is a ubiquitous complaint.

Synonyms: omnipresent, universal.

UNTENABLE: Incapable of being defended or held – withdrew the argument as untenable.

UTILITARIAN (adj.): Materially or practically useful – beautiful, but not utilitarian.

VANQUISH: To subdue or conquer -an army vanquished with heavy losses. 

VAUNT: To boast – proudly vaunted his strength.

Synonyms: brag (noun: braggadocio, braggart), proclaim.

VENEER: A superficial appearance or show designed to impress one with superiority – pierced beneath his thin veneer of elegance.

Synonym: gloss.

VENERABLE: Deserving respect or reverence because of age – a venerable leader.

VERNAL: Pertaining to spring-an array of vernal flowers.

Antonym: hibernal (wintry).

VERSATILE: Able to do many things skillfully – versatile in all the arts.

VICARIOUS: Taking the place of another; felt, received, or done in place of another – took vicarious pleasure in his brother’s victory.

VICISSITUDE: A change from one condition to another, often unexpected – suffered many vicissitudes of fortune.

VIRAGO: A scolding or ill-tempered woman – My neighbor’s wife is a virago. Synonyms: shrew, termagant, vixen.

VITUPERATE (noun: VITUPERATION; adj.: VITUPERATIVE): To scold or blame loudly, find fault with in abusive language – an angry man, vituperating the world.

Synonyms: berate, revile.

WAIVE: To give up (privileges, etc.); to do without – waived his rights to the property.

Synonyms: relinquish, forgo, forsake.

WHIM (adj.: WHIMSICAL): A sudden notion or passing fancy -frequently acted on the whim of the moment. Synonyms: caprice, vagary, crotchet.

WRITHE: To twist about (usually with pain) – writhed in agony on the floor.

Synonyms: contort, squirm.

ZEALOUS (noun: ZEALOT: fanatic): Full of enthusiasm or eagerness -a zealous student, first in his class.

Antonym: perfunctory.

ZENITH: The highest point – the zenith of his career.

Synonyms: acme, apex, culmination, summit.

Antonym: nadir.

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