Magoosh GRE Basic
352 카드 | mate234
세트공유
aboveboard
adjective: open and honest

Synonyms : straightforward

The mayor, despite his avuncular face plastered about the city, was hardly aboveboard - some concluded that it was his ingratiating smile that allowed him to engage in corrupt behavior and get away with it.
abysmal
adjective: extremely bad

Synonyms : abyssal , unfathomable

Coach Ramsey took his newest player off the field after watching a few painful minutes of her abysmal performance.
acme
noun: the highest point of achievement

Synonyms : elevation , height , meridian , peak , pinnacle , summit , superlative , tiptop , top

The new Cessna airplanes will be the acme of comfort, offering reclining seats and ample legroom.
adequate
adjective: good enough for what you need

Synonyms : decent , enough

A very light jacket will be adequate for Los Angeles's warm winter.
advocate
verb: speak, plead, or argue in favor of

Synonyms : preach

While the senator privately approved of gay marriage, he was unwilling to advocate for the cause in a public venue.

noun: a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea

Synonyms : advocator , exponent , proponent

Martin Luther King Jr. was a tireless advocate for the rights of African-Americans in the United States.

This word has other definitions but these are the most important ones to study
affable
adjective: likeable; easy to talk to

Synonyms : amiable , cordial , genial

For all his surface affability, Marco was remarkably glum when he wasn't around other people.
affluent
adjective: wealthy

The center of the city had sadly become a pit of penury, while, only five miles away, multi-million dollar homes spoke of affluence.
altruism
noun: the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others

Synonyms : selflessness

Albert Schweitzer spent most of his life doing missionary work as a doctor in Africa, seeking no reward, apparently motivated only by altruism.
amiable
adjective: friendly

Synonyms : affable , cordial , genial

Amy's name was very apt: she was so amiable that she was twice voted class president.
amply
adverb: more than is adequate

Synonyms : fully

The boat was amply supplied for its year at sea - no man would go hungry or thirst.
amuck
adverb: in a frenzied or uncontrolled state

Synonyms : amok , murderously

Wherever the bowl haircut teen-idol went, his legions of screaming fans ran through the streets amuck, hoping for a glance at his boyish face.
analogous
adjective: similar in some respects but otherwise different

Synonyms : correspondent

In many ways, the Internet's transformative effect on society has been analogous to that of the printing press.
animosity
noun: intense hostility

The governor's animosity toward his rival was only inflamed when the latter spread false lies regarding the governor's first term.
antedate
verb: precede in time

Synonyms : antecede , forego , forgo , precede , predate, foredate

Harry was so unknowledgable that he was unaware the Egyptian pharaohs antedated the American Revolution.
antiquated
adjective: old-fashioned; belonging to an earlier period in time

Synonyms : antediluvian , archaic

Aunt Betty had antiquated notions about marriage, believing that a man should court a woman for at least a year before receiving a kiss.
apex
noun: the highest point

Synonyms : acme , peak , vertex

The Ivy League is considered the apex of the secondary education system.
aphorism
noun: a short instructive saying about a general truth

Synonyms : apophthegm , apothegm

Nietzsche was known for using aphorisms, sometimes encapsulating a complex philosophical thought in a mere sentence.
aphoristic
adjective: something that is concise and instructive of a general truth or principle

Sometimes I can't stand Nathan because he tries to impress everyone by being aphoristic, but he just states the obvious.
appreciable
adjective: large enough to be noticed (usu. refers to an amount)

There is an appreciable difference between those who say they can get the job done and those who actually get the job done.
apprehension
noun: fearful expectation

Synonyms : apprehensiveness , dread,misgiving

Test day can be one of pure apprehension, as many students worry about their test scores.
archaic
adjective: so old as to appear to belong to a different period

Synonyms : antediluvian , antiquated

Hoping to sound intelligent, Mary spoke in archaic English that was right out of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice--needless to say, she didn't have many friends.
ascendancy
noun: the state that exists when one person or group has power over another

Synonyms : ascendance , ascendence , ascendency , control , dominance

The ascendancy of the Carlsbad water polo team is clear—they have a decade of championships behind them.
ascribe
verb: attribute or credit to

Synonyms : assign , attribute , impute

History ascribes The Odyssey and The Iliad to Homer, but scholars now debate whether he was a historical figure or a fictitious name.
assail
verb: attack in speech or writing

Synonyms : assault , attack , lash out , round , snipe

In the weekly paper, the editor assailed the governor for wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in public projects that quickly failed.
assuage
verb: make something intense less severe

Her fear that the new college would be filled with unknown faces was assuaged when she recognized her childhood friend standing in line.
augment
verb: enlarge or increase; improve

Ideally, the restaurant's augmented menu will expand its clientele and increase its profits.
autonomously
adverb: In an autonomous or self-governing manner.

Many of the factory workers are worried about being replaced by machines and computers that will work completely autonomously.
avarice
noun: greed (one of the seven deadly sins)

Synonyms : avaritia , covetousness , greed , rapacity,avariciousness , covetousness , cupidity

The Spanish conquistadors were known for their avarice, plundering Incan land and stealing Incan gold.
avert
verb: turn away

Afraid to see the aftermath of the car crash, I averted my eyes as we drove by.

verb: ward off or prevent

Synonyms : avoid , debar , deflect , fend off , forefend , forfend , head off , obviate , stave off , ward off

The struggling videogame company put all of its finances into one final, desperate project to avert bankruptcy.
avid
adjective: marked by active interest and enthusiasm

Synonyms : zealous

Martin is an avid birdwatcher, often taking long hikes into remote mountains to see some rare eagle.
badger
verb: to pester

Synonyms : beleaguer , bug , pester , tease

Badgered by his parents to find a job, the 30-year-old loafer instead joined a gang of itinerant musicians.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
balk
verb: refuse to comply

Synonyms : baulk , jib , resist

The students were willing to clean up the broken glass, but when the teacher asked them to mop the entire floor, they balked, citing reasons why they needed to leave.
banish
verb: expel from a community, residence, or location; drive away

Synonyms : ban , blackball , cast out , ostracise , ostracize , shun

The most difficult part of the fast was banishing thoughts of food.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
beatific
adjective: blissfully happy

Synonyms : angelic , angelical , sainted , saintlike , saintly

Often we imagine all monks to wear the beatific smile of the Buddha, but, like any of us, a monk can have a bad day and not look very happy.
becoming
adjective: appropriate, and matches nicely

Synonyms : comely , comme il faut , decent , decorous , seemly

Her dress was becoming and made her look even more beautiful.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
begrudge
verb: to envy someone for possessing or enjoying something

Synonyms : resent

Sitting all alone in his room, Harvey begrudged the happiness of the other children playing outside his window.
verb: to give reluctantly

We never begrudge money spent on ourselves.
behooves
verb: to be one's duty or obligation

The teacher looked down at the student and said, "It would behoove you to be in class on time and complete your homework, so that you don't repeat freshman English for a third straight year."
belittle
verb: lessen the importance, dignity, or reputation of

Synonyms : diminish,denigrate , derogate , minimize

A good teacher will never belittle his students, but will instead empower them.
bellicose
adjective: warlike; inclined to quarrel

Synonyms : battleful , combative

Known for their bellicose ways, the Spartans were once the most feared people from Peloponnesus to Persia.
benign
adjective: kind

I remember my grandfather's face was wrinkled, benign, and calm.

adjective: (medicine) not dangerous to health; not recurrent or progressive

The tumor located in your ear lobe seems to be benign and should not cause you any trouble.
besiege
verb: harass, as with questions or requests; cause to feel distressed or worried

Synonyms : beleaguer , circumvent , hem in , surround

After discovering a priceless artifact in her backyard, Jane was besieged by phone calls, emails, and reporters all trying to buy, hold or see the rare piece of history.
besmirch
verb: damage the good name and reputation of someone

Synonyms : asperse , calumniate , defame , denigrate , slander , smear , smirch , sully

The prince's distasteful choice of words besmirched not only his own name, but the reputation of the entire royal family.
bleak
adjective: having a depressing or gloomy outlook

Synonyms : bare , barren , desolate , stark

Unremitting overcast skies tend to lead people to create bleak literature and lugubrious music - compare England's band Radiohead to any band from Southern California.
boon
noun: a desirable state

Synonyms : blessing

Modern technology has been a boon to the travel industry.
adjective: very close and convivial

He was a boon companion to many, and will be sadly missed.
boorish
adjective: ill-mannered and coarse or contemptible in behavior or appearance

Synonyms : loutish , neandertal , neanderthal , oafish , swinish

Bukowski was known for being a boorish drunk and alienating close friends and family.
brusquely
adverb: in a blunt, direct manner

Synonyms : bluffly , bluntly , flat out , roundly

Not one for social pleasantries, the Chief of Staff would brusquely ask his subordinates anything he wanted, even coffee.
buck
verb: resist

Synonyms : go against

The profits at our firm bucked the general downturn that affected the real estate industry.
buttress
verb: make stronger or defensible

China's economy has been buttressed by a global demand for the electronic parts the country manufactures.
cadaverous
adjective: emaciated; gaunt

Synonyms : bony ,haggard , pinched , skeletal , wasted

Some actors take challenging roles in which they have to lose so much weight that they appear cadaverous.
candid
adjective: a straightforward and honest look at something

Synonyms : blunt , forthright , frank , free-spoken , outspoken , plainspoken , point-blank , straight-from-the-shoulder

Even with a perfect stranger, Charles was always candid and would rarely hold anything back.
candidness
noun: the quality of being honest and straightforward in attitude and speech

Synonyms : candor , candour , directness , forthrightness , frankness

Although I was unhappy that the relationship ended, I appreciated her candidness about why she was ready to move on from the relationship.
cardinal
adjective: of primary importance; fundamental

Synonyms : central , fundamental , key , primal

Most cultures consider gambling a cardinal sin and thus have outlawed its practice.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
carping
adjective: persistently petty and unjustified criticism

Synonyms : faultfinding

What seemed like incessant nagging and carping about my behavior from my mother turned out to be wise and useful advice that has served me well.
catalyst
noun: something that speeds up an event

Synonyms : accelerator

Rosa Park's refusal to give up her bus seat acted as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement, setting into motion historic changes for African-Americans.
cavalier
adjective: given to haughty disregard of others

Synonyms : high-handed

Percy dismissed the issue with a cavalier wave of his hand.
censor
verb: to examine and remove objectionable material

Synonyms : ban

Every fall, high school English teachers are inundated by requests to censor their curriculum by removing The Catcher in the Rye and Scarlet Letter from their reading lists.
noun: an official who censors material

The censor insisted that every reference to drugs should be removed from the manuscript.
cerebral
adjective: involving intelligence rather than emotions or instinct

Synonyms : intellectual

A cerebral analysis of most pop music finds it to be simple and childish, but that ignores the point--the music's effect on the listener.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
champion
verb: to fight for a cause

Synonyms : defend

Martin Luther King Jr. championed civil rights fiercely throughout his short life.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
chauvinist
noun: a person who believes in the superiority of their group

Synonyms : flag-waver , hundred-percenter , jingo , jingoist , patrioteer

The chauvinist lives on both sides of the political spectrum, outright shunning anybody whose ideas are not consistent with his own.
check
verb: to limit (usually modifying the growth of something)

Deserted for six months, the property began to look more like a jungle and less like a residence - weeds grew unchecked in the front yard

noun: the condition of being held back or limited

When government abuses are not kept in check, that government is likely to become autocratic.

This word has other definitions but these are the most important ones to study
checkered
adjective: one that is marked by disreputable happenings

One by one, the presidential candidates dropped out of the race, their respective checkered pasts - from embezzlement to infidelity - sabotaging their campaigns.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
chivalrous
adjective: being attentive to women like an ideal knight

Synonyms : gallant , knightly

Marco's chivalrous ways, like opening doors and pulling out chairs, was much appreciated by his date.
clemency
noun: leniency and compassion shown toward offenders by a person or agency charged with administering justice

Synonyms : mercifulness , mercy

In the final moments of the trial, during his closing speech, Phillips was nearly begging the judge for clemency.
coalesce
verb: fuse or cause to grow together

Synonyms : blend , combine , commingle , conflate , flux , fuse , immix , meld , merge , mix

Over time, the various tribes coalesced into a single common culture with one universal language.
cogent
adjective: clear and persuasive

Synonyms : telling , weighty

A cogent argument will change the minds of even the most skeptical audience.
cohesive
adjective: well integrated, forming a united whole

A well-written, cohesive essay will keep on topic at all times, never losing sight of the main argument.
collusion
noun: agreement on a secret plot

Synonyms : connivance

Many have argued that Lee Harvey Oswald, JFK's assassin, was in collusion with other criminals; others maintain that Oswald was a lone gunman.
colossal
adjective: so great in size or force or extent as to elicit awe

Synonyms : prodigious , stupendous

Few appreciate the colossal scale of the sun: if hollow, it could contain a million Earths.
commendable
adjective: worthy of high praise

Synonyms : applaudable , laudable , praiseworthy

The efforts of the firefighters running into the burning building were commendable.
complacent
adjective: contented to a fault with oneself or one's actions

Synonyms : self-complacent , self-satisfied

After the water polo team won their sixth championship, they became complacent and didn't even make it to the playoffs the next year.
complementary
adjective: enhancing each other's qualities (for two things or more).

Synonyms : complemental , completing

The head waiter was careful to tell the amateur diners that red wine was complementary with beef, each bringing out subtle taste notes in the other.
compound
verb: make more intense, stronger, or more marked

Synonyms : deepen , heighten , intensify

Her headache was compounded by the construction crew outside, which had six jackhammers going at the same time.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
conducive
adjective: making a situation or outcome more likely to happen

Studying in a quiet room is conducive to learning; studying in a noisy environment makes learning more difficult.
conniving
verb: taking part in immoral and unethical plots

The queen was so conniving that, with the help of the prince, she tried to overthrow the king.
consecrate
verb: to make holy or set apart for a high purpose

Synonyms : bless , hallow , sanctify


At the church of Notre Dame in France, the new High Altar was consecrated in 1182.
constraint
noun: something that limits or restricts

Synonyms : restraint

We don't have many resources, so we'll have to work with some very tight constraints.
consummate
adjective: having or revealing supreme mastery or skill

Synonyms : masterful , masterly , virtuoso

Tyler was the consummate musician: he was able to play the guitar, harmonica, and the drum at the same time.

verb: to make perfect and complete in every respect

The restoration of the ancient church was only consummated after a twenty years of labor.

This word has other definitions but these are the most important ones to study
contemptuous
adjective: scornful, looking down at others with a sneering attitude

Synonyms : disdainful , insulting , scornful

Always on the forefront of fashion, Vanessa looked contemptuously at anyone wearing dated clothing.
contrite
adjective: to be remorseful

Synonyms : remorseful , rueful , ruthful

Though he stole his little sister's licorice stick with malevolent glee, Chucky soon became contrite when his sister wouldn't stop crying.
conundrum
noun: a difficult problem

Synonyms : brain-teaser , enigma , riddle

Computers have helped solve some of the mathematical conundrums which have puzzled man for many centuries.
convivial
adjective: describing a lively atmosphere

The wedding reception was convivial; friends who hadn't seen each other for ages drank and ate together before heading to the dance floor.
convoluted
adjective: highly complex or intricate

Synonyms : byzantine , involved , knotty , tangled , tortuous

Instead of solving the math problem in three simple steps, Kumar used a convoluted solution requiring fifteen steps.
cornucopia
noun: an abundant supply of something good

Synonyms : profuseness , profusion , richness

The International Food Expo was a cornucopia of culinary delights: gourmet foods from every continent were under one roof.
corroborate
verb: to confirm or lend support to (usually an idea or claim)

Synonyms : affirm , confirm , substantiate , sustain,bear out , support , underpin

Her claim that frog populations were falling precipitously in Central America was corroborated by locals, who reported that many species of frogs had seemingly vanished overnight.
cosmopolitan
adjective: comprising many cultures; global in reach and outlook

Synonyms : ecumenical , general , oecumenical , universal , world-wide , worldwide

There are few cities in the world as diverse and cosmopolitan as New York.
credence
noun: belief in something

He placed no credence in psychics, claiming that they offered no special powers beyond the ability to make people part with their money.
creditable
adjective: deserving of praise but not that amazing

Critics agreed the movie was creditable, but few gave it more than three out of five stars.
credulity
noun: tendency to believe readily

Virginia's wide-eyed credulity as a five-year old was replaced by suspicion after she learned that Santa Claus didn't really exist.
cumbersome
adjective: difficult to handle or use especially because of size or weight

Synonyms : cumbrous

Only ten years ago, being an avid reader and a traveler meant carrying a cumbersome backpack stuffed with books--these days we need only an e-reader.
dearth
noun: a lack or shortage

Synonyms : famine , shortage,paucity

I am surprised by the dearth of fast food chains; this is America and I assumed they were on every street.
debase
verb: reduce the quality or value of something

Synonyms : adulterate , dilute , load , stretch

The third-rate script so debased the film that not even the flawless acting could save it from being a flop.
debunk
verb: expose as false ideas and claims, especially while ridiculing

Synonyms : expose

Richard Dawkins tries to debunk religious belief, but his ridicule tends to push people away from his points rather than convince them.
decimation
noun: destroying or killing a large part of the population

The decimation after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is incomprehensible.
degrade
verb: reduce in worth or character, usually verbally

Synonyms : demean , disgrace , put down , take down

Jesse had mockingly pointed out all of Nancy's faults in front of their friends, publicly degrading the poor girl.
delegate
verb: give an assignment to (a person)

Synonyms : assign , depute , designate

Since the senior manager had to go on many international business trips, she was forced to delegate many of her responsibilities to two lower-level managers.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
deliberate
verb: think about carefully; weigh the pros and cons of an issue

Synonyms : consider , debate , moot , turn over

Emergency situations such as this call for immediate action and leave no room to deliberate over options.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
demean
verb: to insult; to cause someone to lose dignity or respect

Synonyms : degrade , disgrace , put down , take down

At first the soccer players bantered back and forth, but as soon as one of the players became demeaning, calling the other's mother a water buffalo, the ref whipped out a red card.
demure
adjective: to be modest and shy

Synonyms : coy , overmodest

The portrait of her in a simple white blouse was sweet and demure.
deride
verb: treat or speak of with contempt

The nun derided the students for trying to sneak insects and worms into the classroom.
derisive
adjective: abusing vocally; expressing contempt or ridicule

Synonyms : gibelike , jeering , mocking , taunting

I was surprised by her derisive tone; usually, she is sweet, soft spoken, and congenial.
derogative
adjective: expressed as worthless or in negative terms

Synonyms : derogatory , disparaging

Never before have we seen a debate between two political candidates that was so derogative and filthy.
desecrate
verb: to willfully violate or destroy a sacred place

Synonyms : outrage , profane , violate

After desecrating the pharaoh's tomb, the archaeologist soon fell victim to a horrible illness.
destitute
adjective: poor enough to need help from others

Synonyms : impoverished , indigent , necessitous , needy , poverty-stricken

Jean Valjean, is at first destitute, but through the grace of a priest, he makes something of his life.

adjective: completely wanting or lacking (usually "destitute of")

Synonyms : barren , devoid , free , innocent

Now that the mine is closed, the town is destitute of any economic activity.
deter
verb: turn away from by persuasion

Synonyms : dissuade

His mother tried to deter him from joining the army, but he was too intoxicated with the idea of war to listen.

verb: try to prevent; show opposition to

Synonyms : discourage

The government's primary job should involve deterring paths to war, not finding ways to start them.
detrimental
adjective: (sometimes followed by "to") causing harm or injury

Synonyms : damaging , prejudicial , prejudicious

Many know that smoking is detrimental to your health, but processed sugar in large quantities is equally bad.
devolve
verb: pass on or delegate to another

Synonyms : degenerate , deteriorate , drop

The company was full of managers known for devolving tasks to lower management, but never doing much work themselves.
verb: grow worse (usually "devolve into")

The dialogue between the two academics devolved into a downright bitter argument.
diabolical
adjective: to be extremely wicked like the devil

Synonyms : demonic , diabolic , fiendish , hellish , infernal , satanic , unholy,devilish , diabolic , mephistophelean , mephistophelian

The conspirators, willing to dispatch anyone who stood in their way, hatched a diabolical plan to take over the city.
differentiate
verb: be a distinctive feature, attribute, or trait (sometimes in positive sense)

Synonyms : distinguish , mark

Mozart's long melodic lines differentiate his compositions from other works of late 18th century music.

verb: evolve so as to lead to a new species or develop in a way most suited to the environment

Synonyms : specialise , specialize , speciate

Animals on Madagascar differentiated from other similar animal species due to many years of isolation on the island.
dilapidated
adjective: in terrible condition

Synonyms : bedraggled , broken-down , derelict , ramshackle , tatterdemalion , tumble-down

The main house has been restored but the gazebo is still dilapidated and unuseable.
diligent
adjective: characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks

Synonyms : persevering

Michael was a diligent gardener, never leaving a leaf on the ground and regularly watering each plant.
discord
noun: lack of agreement or harmony

Synonyms : strife

Despite all their talented players, the team was filled with discord--some players refused to talk to others--and lost most of their games.
discreet
adjective: careful to protect one's speech or actions in order to avoid offense or gain an advantage

The professor thought that he was discreet, subtly wiping the stain off of his shirt, but as soon as he stepped off the podium a member of the audience pointed out the large ketchup stain.
discriminate
verb: recognize or perceive the difference

Synonyms : know apart,separate

Sarah couldn't discriminate between a good wine and a bad wine, so she avoided wine tastings.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
disenfranchise
verb: deprive of voting rights

Synonyms : disfranchise

The U.S. Constitution disenfranchised women until 1920 when they were given the right to vote.
disheartened
adjective: made less hopeful or enthusiastic

Synonyms : demoralised , demoralized , discouraged

After the visiting team scored nine times, the home team's fans were disheartened, some leaving the game early.
disparate
adjective: two things are fundamentally different

With the advent of machines capable of looking inside the brain, fields as disparate as religion and biology have been brought together by scientists trying to understand what happens in the brain when people have a religious experience.
dispatch
noun: the property of being prompt and efficient

Synonyms : despatch , expedition , expeditiousness

She finished her thesis with dispatch, amazing her advisors who couldn't believe she hadn't written 60 scholarly pages so quickly.

verb: dispose of rapidly and without delay and efficiently

As soon as the angry peasants stormed the castle, they caught the king and swiftly dispatched him.

This word has other definitions but these are the most important ones to study
docile
adjective: easily handled or managed; willing to be taught or led or supervised or directed

Synonyms : gentle

Barnyard animals are considerably more docile than the wild animals.
dog
verb: to pursue relentlessly; to hound

Synonyms : chase , chase after , give chase , go after , tag , tail , track , trail

Throughout his life, he was dogged by insecurities that inhibited personal growth.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
dupe
verb: to trick or swindle

Synonyms : befool , cod , fool , gull , put on , put one across , put one over , slang , take in

Once again a get-rich-fast Internet scheme had duped Harold into submitting a $5,000 check to a sham operation.

noun: a person who is easily tricked or swindled

Synonyms : victim

The charlatan mistook the crowd for a bunch of dupes, but the crowd was quickly on to him and decried his bald-faced attempt to bilk them.
eccentric
adjective: highly unconventional or unusual (usually describes a person)

Synonyms : eccentric person , flake , geek , oddball

Mozart was well-known for his eccentricities, often speaking words backward to confuse those around him.
egotist
noun: a conceited and self-centered person

Synonyms : egoist , swellhead

An egotist, Natasha had few friends because of her inability to talk about anything except her dream of becoming the next American Idol.
eke
verb: To live off meager resources, to scrape by

Stranded in a cabin over the winter, Terry was able to eke out an existence on canned food.
elaborate
adjective: marked by complexity and richness of detail

Synonyms : luxuriant

Thomas, on returning from Morocco, replaced his dirty gray carpet with an elaborate one he'd brought back with him.

verb: explain in more detail

Synonyms : dilate , enlarge , expand , expatiate , exposit , expound , flesh out , lucubrate

Most high school physics teachers find themselves elaborating the same point over and over again, since many concepts confuse students.
elude
verb: escape understanding

Synonyms : bilk , evade

Even a basic understanding of physics can elude most high schools students.
elusive
adjective: difficult to capture or difficult to remember

Synonyms : baffling , knotty , problematic , problematical , tough

Many first time skydivers say that describing the act of falling from the sky is elusive.
embellish
verb: make more attractive by adding ornament, colour, etc.; make more beautiful

Synonyms : adorn , beautify , decorate , grace , ornament , fancify , prettify

McCartney would write relatively straightforward lyrics, and Lennon would embellish them with puns and poetic images.
embroiled
adjective: involved in argument or contention

Synonyms : entangled

These days we are never short of a D.C. politician embroiled in scandal—a welcome phenomenon for those who, having barely finished feasting on the sordid details of one imbroglio, can sink their teeth into a fresh one.
empathetic
adjective: showing understanding and ready comprehension of other peoples' states and emotions

Synonyms : empathic

Most discrimination and hatred is based on a lack of empathetic awareness of people that have the same aspirations and fears.
emulate
verb: strive to equal or match, especially by imitating; compete with successfully

To really become fluent in a new language, emulate the speech patterns and intonation of people who speak the language.
endemic
adjective: native; originating where it is found

Synonyms : autochthonal , autochthonic , autochthonous , indigenous

Irish cuisine makes great use of potatoes, but ironically, the potato is not endemic to Ireland.
enmity
noun: a state of deep-seated ill-will

Synonyms : antagonism , hostility

Charles rude remark toward Sarah yesterday was due to his illness, not due to any real enmity toward Sarah.
entice
verb: get someone to do something through (often false or exaggerated) promises

Synonyms : lure , tempt

Harold enticed his wife, Maude, to go on a vacation to Hawaii, with promises of luaus on the beach and all-you-can-eat seafood buffets.
enumerate
verb: determine the number or amount of

Synonyms : count , number , numerate

The survey enumerates the number of happy workers and the number of unhappy workers.

verb: specify individually, one by one

Synonyms : itemise , itemize , recite

I sat and listened as she enumerated all of the things she did not like about the past three months.
err
verb: to make an error

Synonyms : mistake , slip

He erred in thinking that "indigent" and "indignant" were synonyms.
errant
adjective: to be wandering; not sticking to a circumscribed path

Unlike his peers, who spent their hours studying in the library, Matthew preferred errant walks through the university campus.
erratic
adjective: unpredictable; strange and unconventional

Synonyms : fickle , mercurial , quicksilver

It came as no surprise to pundits that the President's attempt at re-election floundered; even during his term, support for his policies was erratic, with an approval rating jumping anywhere from 30 to 60 percent.
euphoria
noun: a feeling of great (usually exaggerated) elation

Synonyms : euphory

The euphoria of winning her first gold medal in the 100 meter dash overwhelmed Shelly-Ann Fraser and she wept tears of immense joy.
evasive
adjective: avoiding or escaping from difficulty or danger or commitment

His responses were clearly evasive; he obviously did not want to take on any responsibility or any new work.

adjective: deliberately vague or ambiguous

Every time I call the bank, I receive the same evasive answers about our mortgage and never get a clear response.
evenhanded
adjective: without partiality

Teachers often have trouble being evenhanded to all of their varied students.
exasperate
verb: to irritate intensely

Synonyms : aggravate , exacerbate , exacerbate , worsen, incense , infuriate

As a child, I exasperated my mother with strings of never-ending questions.
excruciating
adjective: extremely painful

Synonyms : agonising , agonizing , harrowing , torturesome , torturing , torturous

After the boulder rolled a couple of feet, pinning my friend's arm, he experienced excruciating pain.
exemplify
verb: be characteristic of

Synonyms : represent

Lincoln exemplified the best of not only America, but also the potential greatness that exists within each person.

verb: clarify by giving an example of

Synonyms : illustrate , instance

Please present some case studies that exemplify the results that you claim in your paper.
exhort
verb: to strongly urge on; encourage

Synonyms : barrack , cheer , inspire , pep up , root on , urge , urge on

Nelson's parents exhorted him to study medicine, urging him to choose a respectable profession; intransigent, Nelson left home to become a graffiti artist.
extenuating
adjective: making less guilty or more forgivable

The jury was hardly moved by the man's plea that his loneliness was an extenuating factor in his crime of dognapping a prized pooch.
facetious
adjective: cleverly amusing in tone

Synonyms : bantering , tongue-in-cheek

Facetious behavior will not be tolerated during sex eduation class; it's time for all of you to treat these matters like mature adults.
fawn
verb: try to gain favor by extreme flattery

Synonyms : bootlick , kotow , kowtow , suck up , toady , truckle

The media fawned over the handsome new CEO, praising his impeccable sense of style instead of asking more pointed questions.
ferret
verb: to search for something persistently

Synonyms : ferret out

Ever the resourceful lexicographer, Fenton was able to ferret out the word origin of highly obscure words.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
fete
verb: to celebrate a person

Synonyms : celebrate

After World War II, war heroes were feted at first but quickly forgotten.
fickle
adjective: liable to sudden unpredictable change, esp. in affections or attachments

Synonyms : erratic , mercurial , quicksilver

She was so fickle in her politics, it was hard to pinpoint her beliefs; one week she would embrace a side, and the next week she would denounce it.
finagle
verb: achieve something by means of trickery or devious methods

Synonyms : manage , wangle

Steven was able to finagle one of the last seats on the train by convincing the conductor that his torn stub was actually a valid ticket.
fledgling
adjective: young and inexperienced; describing any new participant in some activity

Synonyms : callow , unfledged,entrant , fledgeling , freshman , neophyte , newbie , newcomer , starter,

Murray has years of experience in family practice, but he is just a fledgling in surgery.
fleece
verb: to deceive

Synonyms : gazump , hook , overcharge , pluck , plume , rob , soak , surcharge

Many people have been fleeced by Internet scams and never received their money back.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
flounder
verb: behave awkwardly; have difficulties

Synonyms : stagger

Sylvia has excelled at advanced calculus, but ironically, when she has deal with taxes, she flounders.
flush
adjective: to be in abundance

Synonyms : bloom , blossom , efflorescence , flower , heyday , peak , prime

The exam's passage is flush with difficult words, words that you may have learned only yesterday.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
foible
noun: a behavioral attribute that is distinctive and peculiar to an individual

Synonyms : idiosyncrasy , mannerism

When their new roommate sat staring at an oak tree for an hour, Marcia thought it indicated a mental problem, but Jeff assured her it was a harmless foible.
foolhardy
adjective: marked by defiant disregard for danger or consequences

Synonyms : heady , rash , reckless

The police regularly face dangerous situations, so for a police officer not to wear his bullet-proof vest is foolhardy.
forthright
adjective: characterized by directness in manner or speech; without subtlety or evasion

Synonyms : blunt , candid , frank , free-spoken , outspoken , plainspoken , point-blank , straight-from-the-shoulder

I did not expect the insurance agent to give us any straight answers, but I was pleasantly surprised by how forthright he was.
futile
adjective: producing no result or effect; unproductive of success

Synonyms : ineffectual , otiose , unavailing,bootless , fruitless , sleeveless , vain

I thought I could repair the car myself, but after two days of work with no success, I have to admit that my efforts were futile.
genial
adjective: agreeable, conducive to comfort

Synonyms : kind

Betty is a genial young woman: everyone she meets is put at ease by her elegance and grace.
genteel
adjective: marked by refinement in taste and manners

Synonyms : civilised , civilized , cultivated , cultured , polite

A live string quartet would provide a more genteel air to the wedding than would a folk singer.
glean
verb: collect information bit by bit

Synonyms : harvest , reap

Herb has given us no formal statement about his background, but from various hints, I have gleaned that he grew up in difficult circumstances
glib
adjective: (of a person) speaking with ease but without sincerity

Synonyms : pat , slick

I have found that the more glib the salesman, the worse the product.
goad
verb: urge on with unpleasant comments

Synonyms : prick,needle

Doug did not want to enter the race, but Jim, through a steady stream of taunts, goaded him into signing up for it.
grovel
verb: show submission or fear

Synonyms : cower , crawl , creep , cringe , fawn

Every time Susan comes to the office, Frank grovels as if she were about to fire.
guffaw
verb: laugh boisterously

Synonyms : laugh loudly

Whenever the jester fell to the ground in mock pain, the king guffawed, exposing his yellow, fang-like teeth.
hamper
verb: prevent the progress or free movement of

Synonyms : cramp , halter , strangle

As the rain water began to collect in pools on the highway, it began to hamper the flow of traffic.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
hamstrung
verb: made ineffective or powerless

The FBI has made so many restrictions on the local police that they are absolutely hamstrung, unable to accomplish anything.
heyday
noun: the pinnacle or top of a time period or career

Synonyms : bloom , blossom , efflorescence , flower , flush , peak , prime

During the heyday of Prohibition, bootlegging had become such a lucrative business that many who had been opposed to the 18th Amendment began to fear it would be repealed.
hodgepodge
noun: a confusing mixture or jumble

Synonyms : farrago , gallimaufry , hotchpotch , melange , mingle-mangle , mishmash , oddments , odds and ends , omnium-gatherum , ragbag

Those in attendance represented a hodgepodge of the city's denizens: chimney sweepers could be seen sitting elbow to elbow with stockbrokers.
hound
verb: to pursue relentlessly

Synonyms : hunt , trace

An implacable foe of corruption, Eliot Ness hounded out graft in all forms - he even helped nab Al Capone.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
humdrum
adjective: dull and lacking excitement

Synonyms : commonplace , prosaic , unglamorous , unglamourous,monotonous

Having grown up in a humdrum suburb, Jacob relished life in New York City after moving.
illicit
adjective: contrary to or forbidden by law

Synonyms : illegitimate , outlaw , outlawed , unlawful

Though Al Capone was engaged in many illicit activities, he was finally arrested for income tax evasion, a relatively minor offense.
immaterial
adjective: not relevant

Synonyms : extraneous , impertinent , orthogonal, incorporeal

The judge found the defendant's comments immaterial to the trial, and summarily dismissed him from the witness stand.
impeccable
adjective: without fault or error

Synonyms : faultless , immaculate

He was impeccably dressed in the latest fashion without a single crease or stain.
impede
verb: be a hindrance or obstacle to

Synonyms : hinder,block , close up , jam , obstruct , obturate , occlude

Since the police sergeant had to train the pair of new hires, progress in his own case was impeded.
impending
adjective: close in time; about to occur

Synonyms : at hand , close at hand , imminent , impendent

The impending doom of our world has been a discussed and debated for 2000 years - maybe even longer.
impermeable
adjective: does not allow fluids to pass through

The sand bags placed on the river formed an impermeable barrier, protecting the town from flooding.
implicate
verb: convey a meaning; imply

Synonyms : entail

By saying that some of the guests were uncomfortable, the manager implicated to the hotel staff that it needed to be more dilligent.

verb: to indicate in wrongdoing, usually a crime

The crime boss was implicated for a long list of crimes, ranging from murder to disturbing the peace.
imponderable
adjective: impossible to estimate or figure out

According to many lawmakers, the huge variety of factors affecting society make devising an efficient healthcare system an imponderable task.
impregnable
adjective: immune to attack; incapable of being tampered with

Synonyms : inviolable , secure , strong , unassailable , unattackable

As a child, Amy would build pillow castles and pretend they were impregnable fotresses.
inadvertent
adjective: happening by chance or unexpectedly or unintentionally

Synonyms : accidental

Although Prohibition was rooted in noble ideals, the inadvertent and costly consequences of making alcohol illegal in the U.S. led its the repeal.
inarticulate
adjective: without or deprived of the use of speech or words

Synonyms : unarticulate

Although a brilliant economist, Professor Black was completely inarticulate, a terrible lecturer.
incense
verb: make furious

Synonyms : exasperate , infuriate

When Herb bought football tickets for a game on the day of their wedding anniversary, Jill was incensed.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
incessant
adjective: uninterrupted in time and indefinitely long continuing

Synonyms : ceaseless , constant , never-ending , perpetual , unceasing , unremitting

I don't mind small children in brief doses, but I think the incessant exposure that their parents have to them would quickly wear me down.
inclement
adjective: (of weather) unpleasant, stormy

After a week of inclement weather, we finally are able to go outside and enjoy the sun.

adjective: used of persons or behavior; showing no mercy

Marcus Aurelius, though a fair man, was inclement to Christians during his reign, persecuting them violently.
incumbent
adjective: necessary (for someone) as a duty or responsibility

Middle managers at times make important decisions, but real responsibility for the financial well-being of the corporation is ultimately incumbent on the CEO.
indict
verb: to formally charge or accuse of wrong-doing

The bankrobber was indicted on several major charges, including possession of a firearm.
indigenous
adjective: originating in a certain area

Synonyms : autochthonal , autochthonic , autochthonous , endemic

The plants and animals indigenous to Australia are notably different from those indigenous to the U.S - one look at a duckbill platypus and you know you're not dealing with an opossum.
indignant
adjective: feeling anger over a perceived injustice

Synonyms : incensed , outraged , umbrageous

When the cyclist swerved into traffic, it forced the driver to brake and elicited an indignant shout of "Hey, punk, watch where you're going!"
industrious
adjective: characterized by hard work and perseverance

Synonyms : hardworking , tireless , untiring

Pete was an industrious student, completing every assignment thoroughly and on time.
inflammable
adjective: extremely controversial, incendiary

It only takes one person to leave an inflammable comment on an Internet thread for that thread to blow up into pages upon pages of reader indignation.
ingenuity
noun: the power of creative imagination

Synonyms : cleverness , ingeniousness , inventiveness

Daedalus was famous for his ingenuity; he was able to fashion his son Icarus with a pair of wings, using wax to hold them together.
inkling
noun: a slight suggestion or vague understanding

Synonyms : glimmer , glimmering , intimation

Lynne speaks four Romance languages, but she doesn't have an inkling about how East Asian languages are structured.
insipid
adjective: dull and uninteresting

Synonyms : bland , flat , flavorless , flavourless , savorless , savourless , vapid

The movie director was known for hiring beautiful actors in order to deflect attention away from the insipid scripts he would typically use.
insolvent
adjective: unable to pay one's bills; bankrupt

With credit card bills skyrocketing, a shockingly large number of Americans are truly insolvent.
intermittent
adjective: stopping and starting at irregular intervals

The intermittent thunder continued and the night was punctuated by cracks of lightning - a surreal sleepless night.
inundate
verb: to flood or overwhelm

Synonyms : deluge , submerge, flood , swamp

The newsroom was inundated with false reports that only made it more difficult for the newscasters to provide an objective account of the bank robbery.
irascible
adjective: quickly aroused to anger

Synonyms : choleric , hot-tempered , hotheaded , quick-tempered , short-tempered

If Arthur's dog is not fed adequately, he becames highly irascible, even growling at his own shadow.
irk
verb: irritate or vex

Synonyms : gall

My little sister has a way of irking and annoying me like no other person.
irresolute
adjective: uncertain how to act or proceed

He stood irresolute at the split in the trail, not sure which route would lead back to the camp.
jargon
noun: a characteristic language of a particular group

Synonyms : argot , cant , lingo , patois , slang , vernacular

To those with little training in medicine, the jargon of doctors can be very difficult to understand.
jocular
adjective: characterized by jokes and good humor

Synonyms : jesting , jocose , joking

My uncle was always in a jocular mood at family gatherings, messing up people's hair and telling knock-knock jokes to anyone who would listen.
junta
noun: an aggressive takeover by a group (usually military)

As dangerous of a threat as North Korea is, some analysts believe that were a junta suddenly to gain power, it could be even more unpredictable and bellicose than the current leadership
label
noun: a name or phrase given to a group of things to identify them (often negative)

verb: to give a label to something

Synonyms : mark , tag

The meaning of the label ""punk"" has changed greatly in the last 30 years.

Children are often unkind and label others who look different as outsiders.
laborious
adjective: characterized by effort to the point of exhaustion; especially physical effort

Synonyms : arduous , backbreaking , grueling , gruelling , hard , heavy , operose , punishing , toilsome

The most laborious job I've had was working 20 hours a day as a fisherman in King Salmon, Alaska.
leery
adjective: openly distrustful and unwilling to confide

Synonyms : mistrustful , suspicious , untrusting , wary

Without checking his references and talking to previous employers, I am leery of hiring the candidate.
lethargic
adjective: lacking energy

Synonyms : unenrgetic

Nothing can make a person more lethargic than a big turkey dinner.
lucid
adjective: (of language) transparently clear; easily understandable

Synonyms : crystal clear , limpid , luculent , pellucid , perspicuous

Though Walters writes about physics and time travel, his writing is always lucid, so readers with little scientific training can understand difficult concepts.
macabre
adjective: suggesting the horror of death and decay; gruesome

Synonyms : ghastly , grim , grisly ,sick

Edgar Allen Poe was considered the master of the macabre; his stories vividly describe the moment leading up to - and often those moments after - a grisly death.
malady
noun: a disease or sickness

Synonyms : illness , sickness , unwellness

The town was struck by a malady throughout the winter that left most people sick in bed for two weeks.
malevolent
adjective: wishing or appearing to wish evil to others; arising from intense ill will or hatred

Synonyms : evil , malefic , malign

Villians are known for their malevolent nature, oftentimes inflicting cruetly on others just for enjoyment.
malleable
adjective: capable of being shaped or bent or drawn out

Synonyms : ductile , pliable , pliant , tensile , tractile

The clay became malleable and easy to work with after a little water was added.

adjective: easily influenced

Synonyms : ductile

My little brother is so malleable that I can convince him to sneak cookies from the cupboard for me.
malodorous
adjective: having an unpleasant smell

Synonyms : ill-smelling , malodourous , stinky , unpleasant-smelling

Some thermally active fountains spew sulfur fumes--the air around them is sometimes so malodorous that many have to plug their noses.
martial
adjective: suggesting war or military life

Synonyms : warlike,soldierlike , soldierly , warriorlike

Americans tend to remember Abraham Lincoln as kindly and wise, not at all martial, despite the fact that he was involved in the fiercest war America has even fought.
maxim
noun: a short saying expressing a general truth

Synonyms : axiom

Johnson initially suggests that the secret to business can be summarized in a single maxim but then requires a 300-page book to explain exactly what he means.
meander
verb: to wander aimlessly

Synonyms : thread , wander , weave , wind

A casual observer might have thought that Peter was meandering through the city, but that day he was actually seeking out those places where he and his long lost love had once visited.
melancholy
noun: a deep, long-lasting sadness

Hamlet is a figure of tremendous melancholy: he doesn't have a truly cheerful scene throughout the entire play.
melee
noun: a wild, confusing fight or struggle

Synonyms : battle royal , scrimmage

After enduring daily taunts about my name, I became enraged and pummeled the schoolyard bully and his sycophantic friends in a brutal melee.
mesmerize
verb: to spellbind or enthrall

Synonyms : bewitch , magnetise , magnetize , mesmerise

The plot and the characters were so well developed that many viewers were mesmerized, unable to move their eyes from the screen for even a single second.
misanthrope
noun: a hater of mankind

Synonyms : misanthropist

Kevin is such a misanthrope that he refused to attend the Christmas party, claiming that everyone's happiness was "fake" and "annoying."
miscreant
noun: a person who breaks the law

Synonyms : reprobate

"Come back you miscreant!" yelled the woman who just had her purse stolen.
miser
noun: a person who doesn't like to spend money (because they are greedy)

Monte was no miser, but was simply frugal, wisely spending the little that he earned.
misogynist
noun: a person who dislikes women in particular

Synonyms : woman hater

Many have accused Hemingway of being a quiet misogynist, but recently unearthed letters argue against this belief.
moment
noun: significant and important value

Synonyms : consequence , import

Despite the initial hullabaloo, the play was of no great moment in Hampton's writing career, and within a few years the public quickly forgot his foray into theater arts.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
moot
adjective: open to argument or debate; undecidable in a meaningless or irrelevant way

Synonyms : arguable , debatable , disputable

Since the Board just terminated Steve as the CEO, what the finance committe might have thought of his proposed marketing plan for next year is now a moot point.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
morose
adjective: ill-tempered and not inclined to talk; gloomy

Synonyms : dark , dour , glowering , glum , moody , saturnine , sour , sullen

After Stanley found out he was no longer able to go on vacation with his friends, he sat in his room morosely.
morph
verb: To undergo dramatic change in a seamless and barely noticeable fashion.

The earnestness of the daytime talk shows of the 1970's has morphed into something far more sensational and vulgar: today guests actually standup and threaten to take swings at one another.
muted
adjective: softened, subdued

Synonyms : hushed , quiet , subdued

Helen preferred muted earth colors, such as green and brown, to the bright pinks and red her sister liked.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
obdurate
adjective: stubbornly persistent in changing an opinion or action

Synonyms : cussed , obstinate , unrepentant

No number of pleas and bribes would get him to change his obdurate attitude.
obliging
adjective: showing a cheerful willingness to do favors for others

Synonyms : complaisant

Even after all his success, I found him to be accommodating and obliging, sharing with me his "secret tips" on how to gain wealth and make friends.
obstinate
adjective: resistant to guidance or discipline; stubbornly persistent

Synonyms : cussed , obdurate , unrepentant, contrary , perverse , wayward

The coach suggested improvements Sarah might make on the balance beam, but she remained obstinate, unwilling to modify any of the habits that made her successful in the past.
ornate
adjective: marked by elaborate rhetoric and elaborated with decorative details

Synonyms : flowery

The ornate Victorian and Edwardian homes spread throughout San Francisco are my favorite part of the city.
paradoxical
adjective: seemingly contradictory but nonetheless possibly true

Synonyms : self-contradictory

That light could be both a particle and a wave seems paradoxical, but nonetheless, it is true.
pastoral
adjective: relating to the countryside in a pleasant sense

Synonyms : arcadian , bucolic

Those who imagine America's countryside as a pastoral region are often disappointed to learn that much of rural U.S. is filled with cornfields extending as far as the eye can see.
patronize
verb: treat condescendingly

Synonyms : condescend , patronise

She says she genuinely wanted to help me, but instead she patronized me, constantly pointing out how I was inferior to her.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
paucity
noun: a lack of something

Synonyms : dearth

There is a paucity of jobs hiring today that require menial skills, since most jobs have either been automated or outsourced.
peevish
adjective: easily irritated or annoyed

Synonyms : cranky , fractious , irritable , nettlesome , peckish , pettish , petulant , scratchy , techy , testy , tetchy

Our office manager is peevish, so the rest of us tip-toe around him, hoping not to set off another one of his fits.
perennial
adjective: lasting an indefinitely long time; eternal; everlasting

Even at the old-timers games, Stan Musial would get the loudest cheer: he was a perennial favorite of the fans there.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
perpetuate
verb: cause to continue

If you do not let him do things for himself, you are merely perpetuating bad habits that will be even harder to break in the future.
perquisite
noun: a right reserved exclusively by a particular person or group (especially a hereditary or official right)

Synonyms : exclusive right , prerogative , privilege

Even as the dishwasher at the French restaurant, Josh quickly learned that he had the perquisite of being able to eat terrific food for half the price diners would pay.
pertinent
adjective: having precise or logical relevance to the matter at hand

Synonyms : apposite , apt

While the salaries of the players might draw attention in the media, such monetary figures are not pertinent to the question of who plays the best on the field.
perturb
verb: disturb in mind or cause to be worried or alarmed

Synonyms : cark , disorder , disquiet , distract , trouble , unhinge

Now that Henry is recovering from a major illnesses, he no longer lets the little trivialities, such as late mail, perturb him.
peruse
verb: to read very carefully

Instead of perusing important documents, people all too often rush to the bottom of the page and plaster their signatures at the bottom.
pine
verb: to yearn for

Synonyms : ache , languish , yearn , yen

Standing forlornly by the window, she pined for her lost love.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
pinnacle
noun: the highest point

Synonyms : acme , elevation , height , meridian , peak , summit , superlative , tiptop , top

At its pinnacle, the Roman Empire extended across most of the landmass of Eurasia, a feat not paralleled to the rise of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th century.
piquant
adjective: having an agreeably pungent taste

Synonyms : savory , savoury , spicy , zesty

The chef, with a mere flick of the salt shaker, turned the bland tomato soup into a piquant meal.
pithy
adjective: concise and full of meaning

Synonyms : sententious

I enjoy reading the Daodejing for its pithy and insightful prose; it always gives me something to think about.
pittance
noun: a small amount (of money)

Vinny's uncle beamed smugly about how he'd offered his nephew fifty dollars for his Harvard tuition; even twice the amount would have been a mere pittance.
placid
adjective: not easily irritated

Synonyms : equable , even-tempered , good-tempered

Doug is normally placid, so we were all shocked to see him yelling at the television when the Mets lost the game.
plodding
adjective: (of movement) slow and laborious

Synonyms : leaden

Charlie may seem to run at a plodding pace, but he is an ultramarathoner, meaning he runs distances of up to 100 miles, and can run for ten hours at a stretch.
ploy
noun: a clever plan to turn a situation to one's advantage

Synonyms : gambit,stratagem

Dennis arranged an elaborate ploy, involving 14 different people lying for him in different situations, so that it could appear that he was meeting Mary completely by chance at the wedding reception.
powwow
noun: an informal meeting or discussion

Before the team takes the field, the coach always calls for a powwow so that he can make sure all the players are mentally in the right place.
precarious
adjective: fraught with danger

Synonyms : parlous , perilous , touch-and-go

People smoke to relax and forget their cares, but ironically, in terms of health risks, smoking is far more precarious than either mountain-climbing or skydiving.
precedent
noun: an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time

Synonyms : case in point

The principal explained that even though one student had done modelling work outside of school, the outfits that student wore in those photographs in no way established a precedent for what could be worn at school dances.
preempt
verb: take the place of or have precedence over

Synonyms : displace

A governmental warning about an imminent terrorist attack would preempt ordinary network programming on television.
preemptive
adjective: done before someone else can do it

Just as Martha was about to take the only cookie left on the table, Noah preemptively swiped it.
presumption
noun: an assumption that is taken for granted

Synonyms : given , precondition

When Mr. Baker found out the family car was gone, he acted under the presumption that his rebellious son had taken the car, calling his son's phone and yelling at him; only later did Mr. Baker realize that Mrs. Baker had simply gone out to get her nails done.

noun: audacious (even arrogant) behavior that you have no right to

The new neighbor quickly gained a reputation for her presumption; she had invited herself to several neighbors' homes, often stopping over at inopportune times and asking for a drink.
presumptuous
adjective: excessively forward

Synonyms : assuming , assumptive

Many felt that Barney was presumptuous in moving into the large office before the management even made any official announcement of his promotion
prevail
verb: be widespread in a particular area at a particular time; be current:

During the labor negotiations, an air of hostility prevailed in the office.

verb: prove superior

Before the cricket match, Australia was heavily favored, but India prevailed
pristine
adjective: Unspoiled, untouched (usu. of nature)

The glacial lake was pristine and we filled our canteens to drink deeply.

adjective: Immaculately clean and unused

Drill sergeants are known for demanding pristine cabinets, uniforms, and beds, and often make new recruits clean and clean and clean until they meet the expected high standards.
profuse
adjective: plentiful; pouring out in abundance

Synonyms : exuberant , lush , luxuriant , riotous

During mile 20 of the Hawaii Marathon, Dwayne was sweating so profusely that he stopped to take off his shirt, and ran the remaining six miles wearing nothing more than skimpy shorts.
profusion
noun: the property of being extremely abundant

Synonyms : cornucopia , profuseness , richness

When Maria reported that she had been visited by Jesus Christ and had proof, a profusion of reporters and journalists descended on the town.
proponent
noun: a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea

Synonyms : advocate , advocator , exponent

Ironically, the leading proponent of Flat-Earth Theory flies all over the world in an effort to win more adherents.
provisional
adjective: under terms not final or fully worked out or agreed upon

Synonyms : probationary , provisionary , tentative

Until the corporate office hands down a definitive decision on use of the extra offices, we will share their use in a provisional arrangement.
pugnacious
adjective: eager to fight or argue; verbally combative

The comedian told one flat joke after another, and when the audience started booing, he pugnaciously spat back at them, "Hey, you think this is easy - why don't you buffoons give it a shot?"
qualm
noun: uneasiness about the fitness of an action

Synonyms : misgiving , scruple

While he could articulate no clear reason why Harkner's plan would fail, he neverless felt qualms about committing any resources to it.
quandary
noun: state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options

Synonyms : dilemma

Steve certainly is in a quandary: if he doesn't call Elaine, she will blame him for everything, but if he does call her, the evidence of where he currently is could cost him his job.
quip
noun: a witty saying or remark

Synonyms : epigram,crack , sally , wisecrack

In one of the most famous quips about classical music, Mark Twain said: "Wagner's music is better than it sounds."

verb: to make a witty remark, to say in jest

Synonyms : gag

When a old English teacher criticized Churchill for ending a sentence with a preposition, he quipped, "This is the kind of criticism up with which we will not put!"
raffish
adjective: marked by a carefree unconventionality or disreputableness

Synonyms : devil-may-care , rakish

The men found him raffish, but the women adored his smart clothes and casual attitude.
raft
noun: a large number of something

Synonyms : batch , deal , flock , good deal , great deal , hatful , heap , lot , mass , mess , mickle , mint , mountain , muckle , passel , peck , pile , plenty , pot , quite a little , sight , slew , spate , stack , tidy sum , wad

Despite a raft of city ordinances passed by an overzealous council, noise pollution continued unabated in the megalopolis.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
rakish
adjective: marked by a carefree unconventionality or disreputableness

Synonyms : devil-may-care , raffish

As soon as he arrived in the city, the rakish young man bought some drugs and headed straight for the seedy parts of town.
rankle
verb: gnaw into; make resentful or angry

Synonyms : eat into , fret , grate

His constant whistling would rankle her, sometimes causing her to leave in a huff.
rash
adjective: marked by defiant disregard for danger or consequences; imprudently incurring risk

Synonyms : foolhardy , heady , reckless

Although Bruce was able to make the delivery in time with a nightime motorcycle ride in the rain, Susan criticized his actions as rash.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
redress
noun: an act of making something right

Synonyms : remediation , remedy

Barry forgot his wife's birthday two years in a row, and was only able to redress his oversight by surprising his wife with a trip to Tahiti.
relegate
verb: assign to a lower position

Synonyms : break , bump , demote , kick downstairs

When Dexter was unable to fulfill his basic duties, instead of firing him, the boss relegated him to kitchen cleanup.
remiss
adjective: to be negligent in one's duty

Synonyms : delinquent , derelict , neglectful

Remiss in his duty to keep the school functioning efficiently, the principal was relieved of his position after only three months.
renege
verb: fail to fulfill a promise or obligation

Synonyms : go back on , renege on , renegue on

We will no longer work with that vendor since it has reneged on nearly every agreement.
replete
adjective: completely stocked or furnished with something

Only weeks after the hurricane made landfall, the local supermarket shelves were replete with goods, so quick was the disaster relief response.
reprobate
noun: a person who is disapproved of

Synonyms : miscreant

Those old reprobates drinking all day down by the river-they are not going to amount to much.
reservation
noun: an unstated doubt that prevents you from accepting something wholeheartedly

Synonyms : arriere pensee , mental reservation

I was initially excited by the idea of a trip to Washington, D.C. but now that I have read about the high crime statistics there, I have some reservations.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
resignation
noun: the acceptance of something unpleasant that can't be avoided

Synonyms : surrender

Since Jack could not think of a convincing reason why he had to miss the seminar, he attended it with a sense of resignation.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
resolve
verb: reach a conclusion after a discussion or deliberation

Synonyms : conclude

After much thought, Ted resolved not to travel abroad this summer because he didn't have much money in his bank account.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
respite
noun: a pause from doing something (as work)

Synonyms : break , recess , time out,
relief , rest , rest period

Every afternoon, the small company has a respite in which workers play foosball or board games.
retiring
adjective: to be shy, and to be inclined to retract from company

Synonyms : reticent , self-effacing

Nelson was always the first to leave soirees - rather than mill about with "fashionable" folk, he was retiring, and preferred the solitude of his garret.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
retract
verb: pull inward or towards a center; formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure

Synonyms : draw in,abjure , forswear , recant , resile

Email is wonderfully efficient, but once something awkward or damaging has been sent, there is no way to retract it.
rile
verb: cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations

Synonyms : annoy , bother , chafe , devil , get at , get to , gravel , irritate , nark , nettle , rag , vex

Dan is usually calm and balanced, but it takes only one intense glare from Sabrina to rile him.
robust
adjective: sturdy and strong in form, constitution, or construction

Chris preferred bland and mild beers, but Bhavin preferred a beer with more robust flavor.
sanctimonious
adjective: making a show of being pious; holier-than-thou

Synonyms : holier-than-thou , pharisaic , pharisaical , pietistic , pietistical , self-righteous

Even during the quiet sanctity of evening prayer, she held her chin high, a sanctimonious sneer forming on her face as she eyed those who were attending church for the first time.
sanguine
adjective: cheerful; optimistic

Synonyms : florid , rubicund , ruddy

With the prospect of having to learn 3,000 words during the course of the summer, Paul was anything but sanguine.
savvy
noun: a perceptive understanding

Synonyms : apprehension , discernment , understanding

Although a great CEO, he did not have the political savvy to win the election.

verb: get the meaning of something

Synonyms : apprehend , compass , comprehend , dig , get the picture , grasp , grok

The student savvies the meaning of astrophysics with little effort.
adjective: well-informed or perceptive

With his savvy business partner, the company was able to turn a profit within a year.
scintillating
adjective: describes someone who is brilliant and lively

Synonyms : aglitter , coruscant , fulgid , glinting , glistering , glittering , glittery , scintillant , sparkly, bubbling , effervescent , frothy

Richard Feynman was renowned for his scintillating lectures—the arcana of quantum physics was made lucid as he wrote animatedly on the chalkboard.
screed
noun: an abusive rant (often tedious)

Joey had difficulty hanging out with his former best friend Perry, who, during his entire cup of coffee, enumerated all of the government's deficiencies--only to break ranks and launch into some screed against big business.
sentimental
adjective: effusively or insincerely emotional, especially in art, music, and literature

Synonyms : bathetic , drippy , hokey , kitschy , maudlin , mawkish , mushy , schmaltzy , schmalzy , slushy , soppy , soupy

I don't like romanticism for the same reason I don't like melodramatic acting and soap operas - overly sentimental.
serendipity
noun: the instance in which an accidental, fortunate discovery is made

By pure serendipity, Sarah discovered, at a flea market in Peoria, a matching earring to replace the one that fell down the storm drain back home.
serene
adjective: calm and peaceful

Synonyms : tranquil , unagitated

I'd never seen him so serene; usually, he was a knot of stress and anxiety from hours of trading on the stock exchange.
slapdash
adjective: carelessly and hastily put together

Synonyms : haphazard , slipshod , sloppy

The office building had been constructed in a slapdash manner, so it did not surprise officials when, during a small earthquake, a large crack emerged on the façade of the building.
smattering
noun: a slight or superficial understanding of a subject; a small amount of something

Synonyms : handful

I know only a smattering of German, but Helen is able to read German newspapers and converse with natives.
smug
adjective: marked by excessive complacency or self-satisfaction

Synonyms : self-satisfied

When Phil was dating the model, he had a smug attitude that annoyed his buddies.
snide
adjective: expressive of contempt; derogatory or mocking in an indirect way

Synonyms : sneering , supercilious

The chairman interpreted Taylor's question about promotions as a snide remark, but in all innocence Taylor was trying to figure out the company's process.
snub
verb: refuse to acknowledge; reject outright and bluntly

Synonyms :cut , disregard , ignore, rebuff , repel

Wheeler was completely qualified for the committee, but the board snubbed him, choosing an obviously lesser qualified candidate instead.
sordid
adjective: involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt; foul and run-down and repulsive

Synonyms : seamy , seedy , sleazy , squalid,flyblown

The nightly news simply announced that the senator had had an affair, but the tabloid published all the sordid details of the interaction.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
spendthrift
noun: one who spends money extravagantly

Synonyms : scattergood , spend-all , spender

Taking weekly trips to Vegas, Megan was a spendthrift whose excesses eventually caught up to her.
spurn
verb: reject with contempt

Synonyms : disdain , freeze off , pooh-pooh , reject , scorn , turn down

She spurned all his flattery and proposals, and so he walked off embarrassed and sad.
squander
verb: spend thoughtlessly; waste time, money, or an opportunity

Synonyms : blow , waste,consume , ware

Fearing his money would be squandered by his family, he gave all of it to charity when he died.
staid
adjective: characterized by dignity and propriety

Synonyms : sedate

Frank came from a staid environment, so he was shocked that his college roommate sold narcotics.
start
verb: to suddenly move in a particular direction

All alone in the mansion, Henrietta started when she heard a sound.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
steadfast
adjective: marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable

Synonyms : firm , steady , stiff , unbendable , unfaltering , unshakable , unwavering

A good captain needs to be steadfast, continuing to hold the wheel and stay the course even during the most violent storm.
stem
verb: to hold back or limit the flow or growth of something

To stem the tide of applications, the prestigious Ivy requires that each applicant score at least 330 on the Revised GRE.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
stipend
noun: a regular allowance (of money)

He was hoping for a monthly allowance loan from the government, but after no such stipend was forthcoming he realized he would have to seek other means of paying for his college tuition.
stolid
adjective: having or revealing little emotion or sensibility; not easily aroused or excited

Synonyms : impassive

Elephants may appear stolid to casual observers, but they actually have passionate emotional lives.
stymie
verb: hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of

Synonyms : block , blockade , embarrass , hinder , obstruct , stymy

The engineers found their plans stymied at every turn and were ultimately able to make almost no progress on the project.
summit
noun: the peak or highest point

Synonyms : acme , elevation , height , meridian , peak , pinnacle , superlative , tiptop , top, crest , crown

After hiking for two days, the climbers finally reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

noun: a meeting of high-level leaders

Since climate change policy has been mired in congressional fighting, this summit should help set the goals for president's next term.
surly
adjective: inclined to anger or bad feelings with overtones of menace

Synonyms : ugly

Every morning, Bhavin was a surly unhappy person, but once he ate breakfast, he became loving, laughing, and a joy to be around.
tact
noun: consideration in dealing with others and avoiding giving offense

Synonyms : tactfulness

In a tremendous display of tact, Shelly was able to maintain a strong friendship with Marcia, even though Marcia's husband, Frank, confessed to finding Shelley more attractive than Marcia.
tarnish
verb: make dirty or spotty, as by exposure to air; also used metaphorically

Synonyms : defile , maculate , stain , sully

Pete Rose was one of the best baseball players of his generation, but his involvement with gambling on baseball games has tarnished his image in the eyes of many.
tawdry
adjective: tastelessly showy; cheap and shoddy

Synonyms : brassy , cheap , flash , flashy , garish , gaudy , gimcrack , loud , meretricious , tacky , tatty , trashy,cheapjack , shoddy

Carol expected to find New York City magical, the way so many movies had portrayed it, but she was surprised how often tawdry displays took the place of genuine elegance.
taxing
adjective: use to the limit; exhaust

Synonyms : burdensome , onerous

The hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney was so taxing that I could barely speak or stand up.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
telling
adjective: significant and revealing of another factor

Her unbecoming dress was very telling when it came to her sense of fashion.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
telltale
adjective: revealing

The many telltale signs of chronic smoking include yellow teeth, and a persistent, hacking cough.
tender
verb: offer up something formally

Synonyms : bid

The government was loath to tender more money in the fear that it might set off inflation.

This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
thoroughgoing
adjective: very thorough; complete

Synonyms : exhaustive , thorough

As a thoroughgoing bibliophile, one who had turned his house into a veritable library, he shocked his friends when he bought a Kindle.
thrifty
adjective: spending money wisely

Synonyms : careful

He was economical, spending his money thriftily and on items considered essential.
thwart
verb: hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of

Synonyms : baffle , bilk , cross , foil , frustrate , queer , scotch , spoil

I wanted to spend a week in New York this autumn, but the high costs of travel and lodging thwarted my plans.
tirade
noun: an angry speech

Synonyms : broadside , philippic

In terms of political change, a tirade oftentimes does little more than make the person speaking red in the face.
tout
verb: advertize in strongly positive terms; show off

Synonyms : blow , bluster , boast , brag , gas , gasconade , shoot a line , swash , vaunt

At the conference, the CEO touted the extraordinary success of his company's Research & Development division.
transitory
adjective: lasting a very short time

Synonyms : ephemeral , fugacious , passing , short-lived , transient

If we lived forever and life was not transitory, do you think we would appreciate life less or more?
travail
noun: use of physical or mental energy; hard work; agony or anguish

Synonyms : effort , elbow grease , exertion , sweat

While they experienced nothing but travails in refinishing the kitchen, they completed the master bedroom in less than a weekend.
tribulation
noun: something, especially an event, that causes difficulty and suffering

Synonyms : trial , visitation

As of 2013, nearly 1.5 million Syrians have fled their country hoping to escape the tribulations of a civil war tearing their country to pieces.
tumult
noun: a state of chaos, noise and confusion

Synonyms : garboil , tumultuousness , uproar,commotion , din , ruckus , ruction , rumpus

Riots broke out just in front of our apartment building, and the tumult continued late into the night.
uncanny
adjective: suggesting the operation of supernatural influences; surpassing the ordinary or normal

Synonyms : eldritch , unearthly , weird,preternatural

Reggie has an uncanny ability to connect with animals: feral cats will readily approach him, and sometimes even wild birds will land on his finger.
uncompromising
adjective: not making concessions

Synonyms : inflexible , sturdy

The relationship between Bart and Hilda ultimately failed because they were both so uncompromising, never wanting to change their opinions.
unconscionable
adjective: unreasonable; unscrupulous; excessive

Synonyms : exorbitant , extortionate , outrageous , steep , usurious

The lawyer's demands were so unconscionable that rather than pay an exorbitant sum or submit himself to any other inconveniences, the defendant decided to find a new lawyer.
underwrite
verb: to support financially

Synonyms : subvent , subvention

The latest symphony broadcast was made possible with underwriting from the Carnegie Endowment.
unnerve
verb: to make nervous or upset

Synonyms : enervate , faze , unsettle

At one time unnerved by math problems, she began avidly "Magoosh-ing", and soon became adept at even combinations and permutations questions.
unprecedented
adjective: having never been done or known before; novel

When America first created its national parks, the idea of setting aside the most beautiful land in a country was unprecedented in the history of mankind.
unruly
adjective: (of persons) noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline; unwilling to submit to authority

Synonyms : boisterous , rambunctious , robustious , rumbustious,disobedient

Walk in to any preschool and I am sure that you will find an unruly and chaotic scene - unless it's nap time.
unseemly
adjective: not in keeping with accepted standards of what is right or proper in polite society

Synonyms : indecent , indecorous , unbecoming , uncomely , untoward

He acted in an unseemly manner, insulting the hostess and then speaking ill of her deceased husband.
urbane
adjective: showing a high degree of refinement and the assurance that comes from wide social experience

Synonyms : polished , refined , svelte

Because of his service as an intelligence officer and his refined tastes, W. Somerset Maugham became the inspiration for the urbane and sophistcate spy James Bond.
vacuous
adjective: devoid of intelligence, matter, or significance

Synonyms : asinine , fatuous , inane , mindless,empty , hollow

To the journalist's pointed question, the senator gave a vacuous response, mixing a few of his overall campaign slogans with platitudes and completely avoiding the controversial subject of the question.
vanquish
verb: come out better in a competition, race, or conflict

Synonyms : beat , beat out , crush , shell , trounce

For years, Argentina would dominate in World Cup qualifying matches, only to be vanquished by one of the European countries during the late stages of the tournament.
variance
noun: the quality of being different

The cynic quipped, "There is not much variance in politicians; they all seem to lie".
veneer
noun: covering consisting of a thin superficial layer that hides the underlying substance

Mark Twain referred to the Victorian Period in America as the "Gilded Age", implying the ample moral corruption that lay beneath a mere veneer of respectability
vicarious
adjective: felt or undergone as if one were taking part in the experience or feelings of another

The advent of twitter is a celebrity stalker's dream, as he or she can - through hundreds of intimate "tweets" - vicariously live the life of a famous person.
vie
verb: compete for something

Synonyms : compete , contend

While the other teams in the division actively vie for the championship, this team seems content simply to go through the motions of playing.
vindictive
adjective: to have a very strong desire for revenge

Though the other girl had only lightly poked fun of Vanessa's choice in attire, Vanessa was so vindictive that she waited for an entire semester to get the perfect revenge.
virago
noun: an ill-tempered or violent woman

Synonyms : amazon

Poor Billy was the victim of the virago's invective - she railed at him for a good 30-minutes about how he is the scum of the earth for speaking loudly on his cellphone in public.
voracious
adjective: very hungry; approaching an activity with gusto

Synonyms : edacious , esurient , rapacious , ravening , ravenous , wolfish

Steven was a voracious reader, sometimes finishing two novels in the same day.
wanton
adjective: without check or limitation; showing no moral restraints to one's anger, desire, or appetites

Synonyms : easy , light , loose , promiscuous , sluttish

Due to wanton behavior and crude language, the drunk man was thrown out of the bar and asked to never return.
wax
verb: to gradually increase in size or intensity

Synonyms : climb , mount , rise

Her enthusiasm for the diva's new album only waxed with each song; by the end of the album, it was her favorite CD yet.
This word has other definitions but this is the most important one to study
whimsical
adjective: determined by impulse or whim rather than by necessity or reason

Synonyms : capricious , impulsive

Adults look to kids and envy their whimsical nature at times, wishing that they could act without reason and play without limitation.
zenith
noun: the highest point; culmination

At the zenith of his artistic career, Elvis was outselling any other artist on the charts.
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