A subset of all common SAT words that I specifically still needed to memorize.

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abase (v.) to humiliate, degrade (After being overthrown and abased, the deposedleader offered to bow down to his conqueror.)

abhor (v.) to hate, detest (Because he always wound up kicking himself in the headwhen he tried to play soccer, Oswald began to abhor the sport.)

abject (adj.) wretched, pitiful (After losing all her money, falling into a puddle, andbreaking her ankle, Eloise was abject.)

abjure (v.) to reject, renounce (To prove his honesty, the President abjured the evilpolicies of his wicked predecessor.)

abnegation (n.) denial of comfort to oneself (The holy man slept on the floor, took onlycold showers, and generally followed other practices of abnegation.)

abrogate (v.) to abolish, usually by authority (The Bill of Rights assures that thegovernment cannot abrogate our right to a free press.)

abscond (v.) to sneak away and hide (In the confusion, the super-spy absconded into thenight with the secret plans.)

absolution (n.) freedom from blame, guilt, sin (Once all the facts were known, the jurygave Angela absolution by giving a verdict of not guilty.)

abstruse (adj.) hard to comprehend (Everyone else in the class understood geometryeasily, but John found the subject abstruse.)

accentuate (v.) to stress, highlight (Psychologists agree that those people who arehappiest accentuate the positive in life.)

accost (v.) to confront verbally (Though Antoinette was normally quite calm, when thewaiter spilled soup on her for the fourth time in 15 minutes she stood up and accostedthe man.)

acerbic (adj.) biting, bitter in tone or taste (Jill became extremely acerbic and began tocruelly make fun of all her friends.)

acquiesce (v.) to agree without protesting (Though Mr. Correlli wanted to stay outsideand work in his garage, when his wife told him that he had better come in to dinner,he acquiesced to her demands.)

acrimony (n.) bitterness, discord (Though they vowed that no girl would ever comebetween them, Biff and Trevor could not keep acrimony from overwhelming theirfriendship after they both fell in love with the lovely Teresa.)

admonish (v.) to caution, criticize, reprove (Joe’s mother admonished him not to ruinhis appetite by eating cookies before dinner.)

adorn (v.) to decorate (We adorned the tree with ornaments.)

adulation (n.) extreme praise (Though the book was pretty good, Marcy did not believeit deserved the adulation it received.)

adumbrate (v.) to sketch out in a vague way (The coach adumbrated a game plan, butnone of the players knew precisely what to do.)

affinity (n.)a spontaneous feeling of closeness (Jerry didn’t know why, but he felt anincredible affinity for Kramer the first time they met.)

affront (n.) an insult (Bernardo was very touchy, and took any slight as an affront to hishonor.)

aggrandize (v.) to increase or make greater (Joseph always dropped the names of thefamous people his father knew as a way to aggrandize his personal stature.)

aggrieved (adj.) distressed, wronged, injured (The foreman mercilessly overworked hisaggrieved employees.)

alacrity (n.) eagerness, speed (For some reason, Chuck loved to help his motherwhenever he could, so when his mother asked him to set the table he did so withalacrity.)

allay (v.) to soothe, ease (The chairman of the Federal Reserve gave a speech to try toallay investors’ fears about an economic downturn.)

altercation (n.) a dispute, fight (Jason and Lionel blamed one another for the caraccident, leading to an altercation.)

amenity (n.) an item that increases comfort (Bill Gates’s house is stocked with so manyamenities, he never has to do anything for himself.)

anachronistic (adj.) being out of correct chronological order (In this book you’rewriting, you say that the Pyramids were built after the Titanic sank, which isanachronistic.)

analgesic (n.) something that reduces pain (Put this analgesic on the wound so that thepoor man at least feels a little better.)

annul (v.) to make void or invalid (After seeing its unforeseen and catastrophic effects,Congress sought to annul the law.)

antediluvian (adj.) ancient (The antediluvian man still believed that Eisenhower waspresident of the United States and that hot dogs cost a nickel.)

anthology (n.) a selected collection of writings, songs, etc. (The new anthology of BobDylan songs contains all his greatest hits and a few songs that you might never haveheard before.)

antipathy (n.) a strong dislike, repugnance (I know you love me, but because you are aliar and a thief, I feel nothing but antipathy for you.)

apocryphal (adj.) fictitious, false, wrong (Because I am standing before you, it seemsobvious that the stories circulating about my demise were apocryphal.)

approbation (n.) praise (The crowd welcomed the heroes with approbation.)

arable (adj.) suitable for growing crops (The farmer purchased a plot of arable land onwhich he will grow corn and sprouts.)

arbiter (n.) one who can resolve a dispute, make a decision (The divorce court judgewill serve as the arbiter between the estranged husband and wife.)

arboreal (adj.) of or relating to trees (Leaves, roots, and bark are a few arboreal traits.)

arcane (adj.) obscure, secret, known only by a few (The professor is an expert in arcaneLithuanian literature.)

ardor (n.) extreme vigor, energy, enthusiasm (The soldiers conveyed their ardor withimpassioned battle cries.)

arid (adj.) excessively dry (Little other than palm trees and cacti grow successfully inarid environments.)

arrogate (v.) to take without justification (The king arrogated the right to orderexecutions to himself exclusively.)

artisan (n.) a craftsman (The artisan uses wood to make walking sticks.)

ascertain (v.) to perceive, learn (With a bit of research, the student ascertained that

some plants can live for weeks without water.)

ascetic (adj.) practicing restraint as a means of self-discipline, usually religious (The

priest lives an ascetic life devoid of television, savory foods, and other pleasures.)

aspersion (n.) a curse, expression of ill-will (The rival politicians repeatedly cast

aspersions on each others’ integrity.)

assail (v.) to attack (At dawn, the war planes assailed the boats in the harbor.)

assuage (v.) to ease, pacify (The mother held the baby to assuage its fears.)

atone (v.) to repent, make amends (The man atoned for forgetting his wife’s birthday

avarice (n.) excessive greed (The banker’s avarice led him to amass a tremendous

personal fortune.)

balk (v.) to stop, block abruptly (Edna’s boss balked at her request for another raise.)

bane (n.) a burden (Advanced physics is the bane of many students’ academic lives.)

beguile (v.) to trick, deceive (The thief beguiled his partners into surrendering all of

their money to him.)

bequeath (v.) to pass on, give (Jon’s father bequeathed his entire estate to his mother.)

bereft (adj.) devoid of, without (His family was bereft of food and shelter following the


beseech (v.) to beg, plead, implore (The servant beseeched the king for food to feed hisstarving family.)

bilk (v.) cheat, defraud (The lawyer discovered that this firm had bilked several clientsout of thousands of dollars.)

blandish (v.) to coax by using flattery (Rachel’s assistant tried to blandish her intoaccepting the deal.)

blight 1. (n.) a plague, disease (The potato blight destroyed the harvest and bankruptedmany families.) 2. (n.) something that destroys hope (His bad morale is a blightupon this entire operation.)

boisterous (adj.) loud and full of energy (The candidate won the vote after givingseveral boisterous speeches on television.)

boon (n.) a gift or blessing (The good weather has been a boon for many businesseslocated near the beach.)

buffet 1. (v.) to strike with force (The strong winds buffeted the ships, threatening tocapsize them.) 2. (n.) an arrangement of food set out on a table (Rather than sittingaround a table, the guests took food from our buffet and ate standing up.)

burnish (v.) to polish, shine (His mother asked him to burnish the silverware beforesetting the table.)

buttress 1. (v.) to support, hold up (The column buttresses the roof above the statue.) 2.(n.) something that offers support (The buttress supports the roof above the statues.)

cacophony (n.) tremendous noise, disharmonious sound (The elementary schoolorchestra created a cacophony at the recital.)

cadence (n.) a rhythm, progression of sound (The pianist used the foot pedal toemphasize the cadence of the sonata.)

callous (adj.) harsh, cold, unfeeling (The murderer’s callous lack of remorse shocked thejury.)

camaraderie (n.) brotherhood, jovial unity (Camaraderie among employees usuallyleads to success in business.)

canny (adj.) shrewd, careful (The canny runner hung at the back of the pack throughmuch of the race to watch the other runners, and then sprinted past them at the end.)

capacious (adj.) very spacious (The workers delighted in their new capacious officespace.)

capitulate (v.) to surrender (The army finally capitulated after fighting a long costlybattle.)

capricious (adj.) subject to whim, fickle (The young girl’s capricious tendencies made itdifficult for her to focus on achieving her goals.)

carouse (v.) to party, celebrate (We caroused all night after getting married.)

carp (v.) to annoy, pester (The husband divorced his wife after listening to her carpingvoice for decades.)

caustic (adj.) bitter, biting, acidic (The politicians exchanged caustic insults for over anhour during the debate.)

cavort (v.) to leap about, behave boisterously (The adults ate their dinners on the patio,while the children cavorted around the pool.)

chastise (v.) to criticize severely (After being chastised by her peers for mimickingBritney Spears, Miranda dyed her hair black and affected a Gothic style.)

chide (v.) to voice disapproval (Lucy chided Russell for his vulgar habits and sloppyappearance.)

clamor 1. (n.) loud noise (Each morning the birds outside my window make such aclamor that they wake me up.) 2. (v.)to loudly insist (Neville’s fans clamored forhim to appear on stage, but he had passed out on the floor of his dressing room.)

clemency (n.) mercy (After he forgot their anniversary, Martin could only beg Mariafor clemency.)

coagulate (v.) to thicken, clot (The top layer of the pudding had coagulated into a thickskin.)

cognizant (adj.) aware, mindful (Jake avoided speaking to women in bars because hewas cognizant of the fact that drinking impairs his judgment.)

commensurate (adj.) corresponding in size or amount (Ahab selected a very long rolland proceeded to prepare a tuna salad sandwich commensurate with his enormousappetite.)

commodious (adj.) roomy (Holden invited the three women to join him in the back seatof the taxicab, assuring them that the car was quite commodious.)

complicit (adj.) being an accomplice in a wrongful act (By keeping her daughter’s affaira secret, Maddie became complicit in it.)

compunction (n.) distress caused by feeling guilty (He felt compunction for the shabbyway he’d treated her.)

conflagration (n.) great fire (The conflagration consumed the entire building.)

congeal (v.) to thicken into a solid (The sauce had congealed into a thick paste.)

connive (v.) to plot, scheme (She connived to get me to give up my vacation plans.)

consecrate (v.) to dedicate something to a holy purpose (Arvin consecrated his spare bedroom as a shrine to Christina.)

consign (v.) to give something over to another’s care (Unwillingly, he consigned hismother to a nursing home.)

contemporaneous (adj.) existing during the same time (Though her novels do notfeature the themes of Romanticism, Jane Austen’s work was contemporaneous withthat of Wordsworth and Byron.)

contravene (v.) to contradict, oppose, violate (Edwidge contravened his landlady’s ruleagainst overnight guests.)

contrite (adj.) penitent, eager to be forgiven (Blake’s contrite behavior made itimpossible to stay angry at him.)

cordial (adj.) warm, affectionate (His cordial greeting melted my anger at once.)

coronation (n.) the act of crowning (The new king’s coronation occurred the day after his father’s death.)

corpulence (adj.)extreme fatness (Henry’s corpulence did not make him any lessattractive to his charming, svelte wife.)

coup 1. (n.) a brilliant, unexpected act (Alexander pulled off an amazing coup when hegot a date with Cynthia by purposely getting hit by her car.) 2. (n.) the overthrow ofa government and assumption of authority (In their coup attempt, the army officersstormed the Parliament and took all the legislators hostage.)

covet (v.) to desire enviously (I coveted Moses’s house, wife, and car.)

cupidity (n.) greed, strong desire (His cupidity made him enter the abandoned goldmine despite the obvious dangers.)

curt (adj.) abruptly and rudely short (Her curt reply to my question made me realizethat she was upset at me.)

curtail (v.) to lessen, reduce (Since losing his job, he had to curtail his spending.)

debase (v.) to lower the quality or esteem of something (The large raise that he gavehimself debased his motives for running the charity.)

debauch (v.) to corrupt by means of sensual pleasures (An endless amount of good wineand cheese debauched the traveler.)

decorous (adj.) socially proper, appropriate (The appreciative guest displayed decorousbehavior toward his host.)

deferential (adj.) showing respect for another’s authority (His deferential attitudetoward her made her more confident in her ability to run the company.)

deft (adj.) skillful, capable (Having worked in a bakery for many years, Marcus was adeft bread maker.)

defunct (adj.) no longer used or existing (They planned to turn the defunct schoolhouseinto a community center.)

delegate (v.) to hand over responsibility for something (The dean delegated the task offinding a new professor to a special hiring committee.)

delineate (v.) to describe, outline, shed light on (She neatly delineated her reasons forcanceling the project’s funding.)

demarcation (n.) the marking of boundaries or categories (Different cultures havedifferent demarcations of good and evil.)

demure (adj.) quiet, modest, reserved (Though everyone else at the party was dancingand going crazy, she remained demure.)

denigrate (v.) to belittle, diminish the opinion of (The company decided that itsadvertisements would no longer denigrate the company’s competitors.)

deplore (v.) to feel or express sorrow, disapproval (We all deplored the miserableworking conditions in the factory.)

derelict (adj.) abandoned, run-down (Even though it was dangerous, the childrenenjoyed going to the deserted lot and playing in the derelict house.)

desiccated (adj.) dried up, dehydrated (The skin of the desiccated mummy looked likeold paper.)

despondent (adj.) feeling depressed, discouraged, hopeless (Having failed the firstmath test, the despondent child saw no use in studying for the next and failed thatone too.)

despot (n.) one who has total power and rules brutally (The despot issued a deathsentence for anyone who disobeyed his laws.)

destitute (adj.) impoverished, utterly lacking (The hurricane destroyed many homesand left many families destitute.)

diaphanous (adj.) light, airy, transparent (Sunlight poured in through the diaphanouscurtains, brightening the room.)

dilatory (adj.) tending to delay, causing delay (The general’s dilatory strategy enabledthe enemy to regroup.)

diminutive (adj.) small or miniature (The bullies, tall and strong, picked on thediminutive child.)

dirge (n.) a mournful song, especially for a funeral (The bagpipers played a dirge as thecasket was carried to the cemetery.)

disaffected (adj.) rebellious, resentful of authority (Dismayed by Bobby’s poorbehavior, the parents sent their disaffected son to a military academy to bedisciplined.)

disavow (v.) to deny knowledge of or responsibility for (Not wanting others to criticizeher, she disavowed any involvement in the company’s hiring scandal.)

discomfit (v.) to thwart, baffle (The normally cheery and playful children’s suddenmisery discomfited the teacher.)

discursive (adj.) rambling, lacking order (The professor’s discursive lectures seemed tobe about every subject except the one initially described.)

disseminate (v.) to spread widely (The politician disseminated his ideas across the townbefore the election.)

distend (v.) to swell out (Years of drinking beer caused his stomach to distend.)

dither (v.) to be indecisive (Not wanting to offend either friend, he dithered about which of the two birthday parties he should attend.)

divisive (adj.) causing dissent, discord (Her divisive tactics turned her two friendsagainst each other.)

docile (adj.) easily taught or trained (She successfully taught the docile puppy severaltricks.)

dour (adj.)stern, joyless (The children feared their dour neighbor because the old manwould take their toys if he believed they were being too loud.)

duress (n.) hardship, threat (It was only under intense duress that he, who wasnormally against killing, fired his gun.)

eclectic (adj.) consisting of a diverse variety of elements (That bar attracts an eclecticcrowd: lawyers, artists, circus clowns, and investment bankers.)

efface (v.) to wipe out, obliterate, rub away (The husband was so angry at his wife forleaving him that he effaced all evidence of her presence; he threw out pictures of herand gave away all her belongings.)

effrontery (n.) impudence, nerve, insolence (When I told my aunt that she was boring,my mother scolded me for my effrontery.)

effulgent (adj.) radiant, splendorous (The golden palace was effulgent.)

elicit (v.) to bring forth, draw out, evoke (Although I asked several times where the exitwas, I elicited no response from the stone-faced policeman.)

emend (v.) to correct or revise a written text (If my sentence is incorrect, the editor willemend what I have written.)

eminent 1. (adj.) distinguished, prominent, famous (Mr. Phillips is such an eminentscholar that every professor on campus has come to hear him lecture.) 2. (adj.)conspicuous (There is an eminent stain on that shirt.)

emollient (adj.) soothing (This emollient cream makes my skin very smooth.)

emote (v.) to express emotion (The director told the actor he had to emote, or else the audience would have no idea what his character was going through.)

enervate (v.) to weaken, exhaust (Writing these sentences enervates me so much that Iwill have to take a nap after I finish.)

enfranchise (v.) to grant the vote to (The Nineteenth Amendment enfranchisedwomen.)

enmity (n.) ill will, hatred, hostility (Mark and Andy have clearly not forgiven eachother, because the enmity between them is obvious to anyone in their presence.)

ennui (n.) boredom, weariness (I feel such ennui that I don’t look forward to anything,not even my birthday party.)

epistolary (adj.) relating to or contained in letters (Some people call me “Auntie’s boy,”because my aunt and I have such a close epistolary relationship that we write eachother every day.)

equanimity (n.) composure (Even though he had just been fired, Mr. Simms showedgreat equanimity by neatly packing up his desk and wishing everyone in the officewell.)

equivocal (adj.) ambiguous, uncertain, undecided (His intentions were so equivocalthat I didn’t know whether he was being chivalrous or sleazy.)

eschew (v.) to shun, avoid (George hates the color green so much that he eschews allgreen food.)

esoteric (adj.) understood by only a select few (Even the most advanced studentscannot understand the physicist’s esoteric theories.)

espouse (v.) to take up as a cause, support (I love animals so much that I espouse animalrights.)

evanescent (adj.) fleeting, momentary (My joy at getting promoted was evanescentbecause I discovered that I would have to work much longer hours in a less friendlyoffice.)

evince (v.) to show, reveal (Christopher’s hand-wringing and nail-biting evince hownervous he is about the upcoming English test.)

exalt (v.) to glorify, praise (Michael Jordan is the figure in basketball we exalt the most.)

exasperate (v.) to irritate, irk (George’s endless complaints exasperated his roomate.)

excursion (n.) a trip or outing (After taking an excursion to the Bronx Zoo, I dreamed

about pandas and monkeys.)

execrable (adj.) loathsome, detestable (Her pudding is so execrable that it makes me


exhort (v.) to urge, prod, spur (Henry exhorted his colleagues to join him in protestingagainst the university’s hiring policies.)

exigent (adj.) urgent, critical (The patient has an exigent need for medication, or else hewill lose his sight.)

expiate (v.) to make amends for, atone (To expiate my selfishness, I gave all my profits tocharity.)

expunge (v.) to obliterate, eradicate (Fearful of an IRS investigation, Paul tried toexpunge all incriminating evidence from his tax files.)

expurgate (v.) to remove offensive or incorrect parts, usually of a book (The historyeditors expurgated from the text all disparaging and inflammatory comments aboutthe Republican Party.)

extricate (v.) to disentangle (Instead of trying to mediate between my brother andsister, I extricated myself from the family tension entirely and left the house for theday.)

exult (v.) to rejoice (When she found out she won the literature prize, Mary exulted bydancing and singing through the school’s halls.)

fatuous (adj.) silly, foolish (He considers himself a serious poet, but in truth, he onlywrites fatuous limericks.)

felicitous 1. (adj.) well suited, apt (While his comments were idiotic and rambling, minewere felicitous and helpful.) 2. (adj.) delightful, pleasing (I spent a felicitousafternoon visiting old friends.)

fetid (adj.) having a foul odor (I can tell from the fetid smell in your refrigerator thatyour milk has spoiled.)

fetter (v.) to chain, restrain (The dog was fettered to the parking meter.)

fickle (adj.) shifting in character, inconstant (In Greek dramas, the fickle gods help Achilles one day, and then harm him the next.)

florid (adj.) flowery, ornate (The writer’s florid prose belongs on a sentimentalHallmark card.)

flout (v.) to disregard or disobey openly (I flouted the school’s dress code by wearing atie-dyed tank top and a pair of cut-off jeans.)

forbearance (n.) patience, restraint, toleration (The doctor showed great forbearance in

calming down the angry patient who shouted insults at him.)

forestall (v.) to prevent, thwart, delay (I forestalled the cold I was getting by taking

plenty of vitamin C pills and wearing a scarf.)

forlorn (adj.) lonely, abandoned, hopeless (Even though I had the flu, my familydecided to go skiing for the weekend and leave me home alone, feeling feverish andforlorn.)

fractious (adj.) troublesome or irritable (Although the child insisted he wasn’t tired, hisfractious behavior—especially his decision to crush his cheese and crackers all overthe floor—convinced everyone present that it was time to put him to bed.) fraught (adj.) (usually used with “with”) filled or accompanied with (Her glances in hisdirection were fraught with meaning, though precisely what meaning remainedunclear.)

garish (adj.) gaudy, in bad taste (Mrs. Watson has poor taste and covers every object inher house with a garish gold lamé.)

garrulous (adj.) talkative, wordy (Some talk show hosts are so garrulous that theirguests can’t get a word in edgewise.)

goad (v.) to urge, spur, incite to action (Jim may think he’s not going to fight Billy, butBilly will goad Jim on with insults until he throws a punch.)

gourmand (n.) someone fond of eating and drinking (My parents, who used to eat littlemore than crackers and salad, have become real gourmands in their old age.)

grandiose (adj.) on a magnificent or exaggerated scale (Margaret planned a grandioseparty, replete with elephants, trapeze artists, and clowns.)

gratuitous (adj.) uncalled for, unwarranted (Every morning the guy at the donut shopgives me a gratuitous helping of ketchup packets.)

hallowed (adj.) revered, consecrated (In the hallowed corridors of the cathedral, thedisturbed professor felt himself to be at peace.)

harrowing (adj.) greatly distressing, vexing (The car crash was a harrowing experience,but I have a feeling that the increase in my insurance premiums will be even moreupsetting.)

haughty (adj.) disdainfully proud (The superstar’s haughty dismissal of her costars willbackfire on her someday.)

hedonist (n.) one who believes pleasure should be the primary pursuit of humans(Because he’s such a hedonist, I knew Murray would appreciate the 11 cases of wineI bought him for his birthday.)

hegemony (n.) domination over others (Britain’s hegemony over its colonies wasthreatened once nationalist sentiment began to spread around the world.)

heinous (adj.) shockingly wicked, repugnant (The killings were made all the moreheinous by the fact that the murderer first tortured his victims for three days.)

iconoclast (n.) one who attacks common beliefs or institutions (Jane goes to one protestafter another, but she seems to be an iconoclast rather than an activist with aprogressive agenda.)

idolatrous (adj.) excessively worshipping one object or person (Xena’s idolatrousfawning over the band—following them on tour, starting their fan club, filmingtheir documentary—is really beginning to get on my nerves.)

ignominious (adj.) humiliating, disgracing (It was really ignominious to be kicked out ofthe dorm for having an illegal gas stove in my room.)

impecunious (adj.) poor (“I fear he’s too impecunious to take me out tonight,” thebratty girl whined.)

impertinent (adj.) rude, insolent (Most of your comments are so impertinent that I don’twish to dignify them with an answer.)

impetuous (adj.) rash; hastily done (Hilda’s hasty slaying of the king was an impetuous,thoughtless action.)

impinge 1. (v.) to impact, affect, make an impression (The hail impinged the roof,leaving large dents.) 2. (v.) to encroach, infringe (I apologize for impinging uponyou like this, but I really need to use your bathroom. Now.)

impregnable (adj.) resistant to capture or penetration (Though the invaders usedbattering rams, catapults, and rain dances, the fortress proved impregnable andresisted all attacks.)

impudent (adj.) casually rude, insolent, impertinent (The impudent young man lookedthe princess up and down and told her she was hot even though she hadn’t askedhim.)

impute (v.) to ascribe, blame (The CEO imputed the many typos in the letter to his lazysecretary.)

inchoate (adj.) unformed or formless, in a beginning stage (The country’s governmentis still inchoate and, because it has no great tradition, quite unstable.)

incontrovertible (adj.) indisputable (Only stubborn Tina would attempt to disprove theincontrovertible laws of physics.)

indefatigable (adj.) incapable of defeat, failure, decay (Even after traveling 62 miles, theindefatigable runner kept on moving.)

indigent (adj.) very poor, impoverished (I would rather donate money to help theindigent population than to the park sculpture fund.)

indolent (adj.) lazy (Why should my indolent children, who can’t even pick themselvesup off the couch to pour their own juice, be rewarded with a trip to the mall?)

ineffable (adj.) unspeakable, incapable of being expressed through words (It is saidthat the experience of playing with a dolphin is ineffable and can only be understoodthrough direct encounter.)

inextricable (adj.) hopelessly tangled or entangled (Unless I look at the solutionmanual, I have no way of solving this inextricable problem.)

inimical (adj.) hostile, enemylike (I don’t see how I could ever work for a company thatwas so cold and inimical to me during my interviews.)

iniquity (n.) wickedness or sin (“Your iniquity,” said the priest to the practical jokester,“will be forgiven.”)

injunction (n.) an order of official warning (After his house was toilet-papered for thefifth time, the mayor issued an injunction against anyone younger than 21 buyingtoilet paper.)

insipid (adj.) dull, boring (The play was so insipid, I fell asleep halfway through.)

insular (adj.) separated and narrow-minded; tight-knit, closed off (Because of thesensitive nature of their jobs, those who work for the CIA must remain insular andgenerally only spend time with each other.)

interminable (adj.) without possibility of end (The fact that biology lectures came justbefore lunch made them seem interminable.)

intractable (adj.) difficult to manipulate, unmanageable (There was no end in sight tothe intractable conflict between the warring countries.)

inure (v.) to cause someone or something to become accustomed to a situation (Twentyyears in the salt mines inured the man to the discomforts of dirt and grime.)

invective (n.) an angry verbal attack (My mother’s irrational invective against the way Idress only made me decide to dye my hair green.)

inveterate (adj.) stubbornly established by habit (I’m the first to admit that I’m aninveterate coffee drinker—I drink four cups a day.)

irascible (adj.) easily angered (At the smallest provocation, my irascible cat will beginscratching and clawing.)

iridescent (adj.) showing rainbow colors (The bride’s large diamond ring wasiridescent in the afternoon sun.)

irreverence (n.) disrespect (The irreverence displayed by the band that marchedthrough the chapel disturbed many churchgoers.)

jubilant (adj.) extremely joyful, happy (The crowd was jubilant when the firefightercarried the woman from the flaming building.)

knell (n.) the solemn sound of a bell, often indicating a death (Echoing throughout ourvillage, the funeral knell made the stormy day even more grim.)

laconic (adj.) terse in speech or writing (The author’s laconic style has won him manyfollowers who dislike wordiness.)

languid (adj.) sluggish from fatigue or weakness (In the summer months, the great heatmakes people languid and lazy.)

larceny (n.) obtaining another’s property by theft or trickery (When my car was notwhere I had left it, I realized that I was a victim of larceny.)

largess (n.) the generous giving of lavish gifts (My boss demonstrated great largess bygiving me a new car.)

legerdemain (n.) deception, slight-of-hand (Smuggling the French plants throughcustoms by claiming that they were fake was a remarkable bit of legerdemain.)

licentious (adj.) displaying a lack of moral or legal restraints (Marilee has always beenfascinated by the licentious private lives of politicians.)

limpid (adj.) clear, transparent (Mr. Johnson’s limpid writing style greatly pleasedreaders who disliked complicated novels.)

linchpin (n.) something that holds separate parts together (The linchpin in theprosecution’s case was the hair from the defendant’s head, which was found at thescene of the crime.)

lurid (adj.) ghastly, sensational (Gideon’s story, in which he described a charactertorturing his sister’s dolls, was judged too lurid to be printed in the school’s literarymagazine.)

maelstrom (n.) a destructive whirlpool which rapidly sucks in objects (Little did theexplorers know that as they turned the next bend of the calm river a viciousmaelstrom would catch their boat.)

manifold (adj.) diverse, varied (The popularity of Dante’s Inferno is partly due to thefact that the work allows for manifold interpretations.)

maudlin (adj.) weakly sentimental (Although many people enjoy romantic comedies, Iusually find them maudlin and shallow.)

mawkish (adj.) characterized by sick sentimentality (Although some nineteenth-century critics viewed Dickens’s writing as mawkish, contemporary readers havefound great emotional depth in his works.)

medley (n.) a mixture of differing things (Susannah’s wardrobe contained anastonishing medley of colors, from olive green to fluorescent pink.)

modicum (n.) a small amount of something (Refusing to display even a modicum ofsensitivity, Henrietta announced her boss’s affair in front of the entire office.)

modulate (v.) to pass from one state to another, especially in music (The composerwrote a piece that modulated between minor and major keys.)

mollify (v.) to soften in temper (The police officer mollified the angry woman by givingher a warning instead of a ticket.)

morass (n.) a wet swampy bog; figuratively, something that traps and confuses (WhenTheresa lost her job, she could not get out of her financial morass.)

mores (n.) the moral attitudes and fixed customs of a group of people. (Mores changeover time; many things that were tolerated in 1975 are no longer seen as beingsocially acceptable.)

multifarious (adj.) having great diversity or variety (This Swiss Army knife hasmultifarious functions and capabilities. Among other things, it can act as a knife, asaw, a toothpick, and a slingshot.)

munificence (n.) generosity in giving (The royal family’s munificence made everyoneelse in their country rich.)

mutable (adj.) able to change (Because fashion is so mutable, what is trendy today willlook outdated in five years.)

nadir (n.) the lowest point of something (My day was boring, but the nadir came whenI accidentally spilled a bowl of spaghetti on my head.)

nascent (adj.) in the process of being born or coming into existence (Unfortunately,my brilliant paper was only in its nascent form on the morning that it was due.)

nebulous (adj.) vaguely defined, cloudy (The transition between governments meantthat who was actually in charge was a nebulous matter.)

noisome (adj.) unpleasant, offensive, especially to the sense of smell (Nobody wouldenter the stalls until the horse’s noisome leavings weretaken away.)

nominal (adj.) trifling, insignificant (Because he was moving the following week andneeded to get rid of his furniture more than he needed money, Jordan soldeverything for a nominal fee.)

nuance (n.) a slight variation in meaning, tone, expression (The nuances of the poemwere not obvious to the casual reader, but the professor was able to point them out.)

obsequious (adj.) excessively compliant or submissive (Mark acted like Janet’s servant,obeying her every request in an obsequious manner.)

obstreperous (adj.) noisy, unruly (Billy’s obstreperous behavior prompted the librarianto ask him to leave the reading room.)

odious (adj.) instilling hatred or intense displeasure (Mark was assigned the odious taskof cleaning the cat’s litter box.)

oration (n.) a speech delivered in a formal or ceremonious manner (The prime ministerwas visibly shaken when the unruly parliament interrupted his oration about faileddomestic policies.)

ornate (adj.) highly elaborate, excessively decorated (The ornate styling of the newmodel of luxury car could not compensate for the poor quality of its motor.)

ostensible (adj.) appearing as such, seemingly (Jack’s ostensible reason for driving wasthat airfare was too expensive, but in reality, he was afraid of flying.)

ostentatious (adj.) excessively showy, glitzy (On the palace tour, the guide focused onthe ostentatious decorations and spoke little of the royal family’s history.)

palette (adj.) a range of colors or qualities (The palette of colors utilized in the paintingwas equaled only by the range of intense emotions the piece evoked.)

palliate (v.) to reduce the severity of (The doctor trusted that the new medicationwould palliate her patient’s discomfort.)

pallid (adj.) lacking color (Dr. Van Helsing feared that Lucy’s pallid complexion wasdue to an unexplained loss of blood.)

panacea (n.) a remedy for all ills or difficulties (Doctors wish there was a single panaceafor every disease, but sadly there is not.)

paragon (n.) a model of excellence or perfection (The mythical Helen of Troy wasconsidered a paragon of female beauty.)

parsimony (n.) frugality, stinginess (Many relatives believed that my aunt’s wealthresulted from her parsimony.)

pathos (n.) an emotion of sympathy (Martha filled with pathos upon discovering thescrawny, shivering kitten at her door.)

pejorative (adj.) derogatory, uncomplimentary (The evening’s headline news coveredan international scandal caused by a pejorative statement the famous senator hadmade in reference to a foreign leader.)

tendency, partiality, preference (Jill’s dinner parties quickly becamemonotonous on account of her penchant for Mexican dishes.)

penchant (n.) a

penitent (adj.) remorseful, regretful (The jury’s verdict may have been more lenient ifthe criminal had appeared penitent for his gruesome crimes.)

penurious (adj.) miserly, stingy (Stella complained that her husband’s penurious waysmade it impossible to live the lifestyle she felt she deserved.)

pernicious (adj.) extremely destructive or harmful (The new government feared thatthe Communist sympathizers would have a pernicious influence on the nation’sstability.)

pert (adj.) flippant, bold (My parents forgave Sandra’s pert humor at the dinner tablebecause it had been so long since they had last seen her.)

pertinacious (adj.) stubbornly persistent (Harry’s parents were frustrated with hispertinacious insistence that a monster lived in his closet. Then they opened the closetdoor and were eaten.)

petulance (n.) rudeness, irritability (The Nanny resigned after she could no longertolerate the child’s petulance.)

phlegmatic (adj.) uninterested, unresponsive (Monique feared her dog was ill after theanimal’s phlegmatic response to his favorite chew toy.)

pithy (adj.) concisely meaningful (My father’s long-winded explanation was a starkcontrast to his usually pithy statements.)

pittance (n.) a very small amount, especially relating to money (Josh complained thathe was paid a pittance for the great amount of work he did at the firm.)

platitude (n.) an uninspired remark, cliché (After reading over her paper, Heleneconcluded that what she thought were profound insights were actuallyjust platitudes.)

plaudits (n.) enthusiastic approval, applause (The controversial new film receivedplaudits from even the harshest critics.)

poignant (adj.) deeply affecting, moving (My teacher actually cried after reading to usthe poignant final chapter of the novel.)

polemic (n.) an aggressive argument against a specific opinion (My brotherlaunched into a polemic against my arguments that capitalism was an unjusteconomic system.)

portent (n.) an omen (When a black cat crossed my sister’s path while she was walking toschool, she took it as a portent that she would do badly on her spelling test.)

potable (adj.) suitable for drinking (During sea voyages it is essential that ships carry asupply of potable water because salty ocean water makes anyone who drinks it sick.)

precipice (n.) the face of a cliff, a steep or overhanging place (The mountain climberhung from a precipice before finding a handhold and pulling himself up.)

predilection (n.) a preference or inclination for something (Francois has a predilectionfor eating scrambled eggs with ketchup, though I prefer to eat eggs without anycondiments.)

preponderance (adj.) superiority in importance or quantity (Britain’s preponderance ofnaval might secured the nation’s role as a military power.)

presumptuous (adj.) disrespectfully bold (The princess grew angry after thepresumptuous noble tried to kiss her, even though he was far below her in socialstatus.)

pretense (n.)an appearance or action intended to deceive (Though he actually wantedto use his parents’ car to go on a date, Nick borrowed his parents’ car under thepretense of attending a group study session.)

privation (n.) lacking basic necessities (After decades of rule by an oppressivegovernment that saw nothing wrong with stealing from its citizens, the recentdrought only increased the people’s privation.)

probity (n.) virtue, integrity (Because he was never viewed as a man of great probity, noone was surprised by Mr. Samson’s immoral behavior.)

procure (v.) to obtain, acquire (The FBI was unable to procure sufficient evidence tocharge the gangster with racketeering.)

profligate (adj.) dissolute, extravagant (The profligate gambler loved to drink, spendmoney, steal, cheat, and hang out with prostitutes.)

promulgate (v.) to proclaim, make known (The film professor promulgated that both interms of sex appeal and political intrigue, Sean Connery’s James Bond was superiorto Roger Moore’s.)

propitious (adj.) favorable (The dark storm clouds visible on the horizon suggested thatthe weather would not be propitious for sailing.)

proscribe (v.) to condemn, outlaw (The town council voted to proscribe the sale ofalcohol on weekends.)

protean (adj.)able to change shape; displaying great variety (Among Nigel’s proteantalents was his ability to touch the tip of his nose with his tongue.)

prowess (n.) extraordinary ability (The musician had never taken a guitar lesson in hislife, making his prowess with the instrument even more incredible.)

prurient (adj.) eliciting or possessing an extraordinary interest in sex (David’s motherwas shocked by the discovery of prurient reading material hidden beneath her son’smattress.)

puerile (adj.) juvenile, immature (The judge demanded order after the lawyer’s puerile

pulchritude (n.) physical beauty (Several of Shakespeare’s sonnets explore thepulchritude of a lovely young man.)

punctilious (adj.) eager to follow rules or conventions (Punctilious Bobby, hall monitorextraordinaire, insisted that his peers follow the rules.)

pungent (adj.) having a pointed, sharp quality—often used to describe smells(The pungent odor in the classroom made Joseph lose his concentration during thetest.)

quixotic (adj.) idealistic, impractical (Edward entertained a quixotic desire to fall inlove at first sight in a laundromat.)

quotidian (adj.) daily (Ambika’s quotidian routines include drinking two cups of coffeein the morning.)

rail (v.) to scold, protest (The professor railed against the injustice of the college’s tenurepolicy.)

rancor (n.) deep, bitter resentment (When Eileen challenged me to a fight, I could seethe rancor in her eyes.)

rapport (n.) mutual understanding and harmony (When Margaret met her paramour,they felt an instant rapport.)

raucous (adj.) loud, boisterous (Sarah’s neighbors called the cops when her house partygot too raucous.)

raze (v.) to demolish, level (The old tenement house was razed to make room for thelarge chain store.)

recalcitrant (adj.) defiant, unapologetic (Even when scolded, the recalcitrant young girlsimply stomped her foot and refused to finish her lima beans.)

rectitude (n.) uprightness, extreme morality (The priest’s rectitude gave him the moralauthority to counsel his parishioners.)

redoubtable 1. (adj.) formidable (The fortress looked redoubtable set against a stormysky.) 2. (adj.) commanding respect (The audience greeted the redoubtable speakerwith a standing ovation.)

relegate 1. (v.) to assign to the proper place (At the astrology conference, Simon wasrelegated to the Scorpio room.) 2. (v.) to assign to an inferior place (After spilling adrink on a customer’s shirt, the waiter found himself relegated to the least lucrativeshift.)

remedial (adj.) intended to repair gaps in students’ basic knowledge (After his teacher discovered he couldn’t read, Alex was forced to enroll in remedial English.)

remiss (adj.) negligent, failing to take care (The burglar gained entrance because thesecurity guard, remiss in his duties, forgot to lock the door.)

renunciation (n.) to reject (Fiona’s renunciation of red meat resulted in weight loss, butconfused those people who thought she’d been a vegetarian for years.)

repentant (adj.) penitent, sorry (The repentant Dennis apologized profusely forbreaking his mother’s vase.)

repose (v.) to rest, lie down (The cat, after eating an entire can of tuna fish, reposed in the sun and took a long nap.)

reprieve (n.) a temporary delay of punishment (Because the governor woke up in aparticularly good mood, he granted hundreds of reprieves to prisoners.)

reprobate (adj.) evil, unprincipled (The reprobate criminal sat sneering in the cell.)

requisition (n.) a demand for goods, usually made by an authority (During the war, thegovernment made a requisition of supplies.)

respite (n.) a break, rest (Justin left the pub to gain a brief respite from the smoke andnoise.)

resplendent (adj.) shiny, glowing (The partygoers were resplendent in diamonds andfancy dress.)

restive (adj.) resistant, stubborn, impatient (The restive audience pelted the band withmud and yelled nasty comments.)

rhapsodize (v.) to engage in excessive enthusiasm (The critic rhapsodized about themovie, calling it an instant classic.)

ribald (adj.) coarsely, crudely humorous (While some giggled at the ribald jokeinvolving a parson’s daughter, most sighed and rolled their eyes.)

ruminate (v.) to contemplate, reflect (Terry liked to ruminate while sitting on the banksof the river, staring pensively into the water.)

ruse (n.) a trick (Oliver concocted an elaborate ruse for sneaking out of the house tomeet his girlfriend while simultaneously giving his mother the impression that hewas asleep in bed.)

sacrosanct (adj.) holy, something that should not be criticized (In the United States,the Constitution is often thought of as a sacrosanct document.)

salve (n.) a soothing balm (After Tony applied a salve to his brilliant red sunburn, hesoon felt a little better.)

sanctimonious (adj.) giving a hypocritical appearance of piety (The sanctimoniousBertrand delivered stern lectures on the Ten Commandments to anyone who wouldlisten, but thought nothing of stealing cars to make some cash on the side.)

sanguine (adj.) optimistic, cheery (Polly reacted to any bad news with a sanguine smileand the chirpy cry, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!”)

scintillating (adj.) sparkling (The ice skater’s scintillating rhinestone costume nearlyblinded the judges.)

scurrilous (adj.) vulgar, coarse (When Bruno heard the scurrilous accusation beingmade about him, he could not believe it because he always tried to be nice toeveryone.)

sedentary (adj.) sitting, settled (The sedentary cat did little but loll in the sun.)

semaphore (n.) a visual signal (Anne and Diana communicated with a semaphore involving candles and window shades.)

serendipity (n.) luck, finding good things without looking for them (In an amazing bitof serendipity, penniless Paula found a $20 bill in the subway station.)

sinuous (adj.) lithe, serpentine (With the sinuous movements of her arms, the dancermimicked the motion of a snake.)

sobriety (n.) sedate, calm (Jason believed that maintaining his sobriety in times of crisiswas the key to success in life.)

solicitous (adj.) concerned, attentive (Jim, laid up in bed with a nasty virus,enjoyed the solicitous attentions of his mother, who brought him soup and extrablankets.)

solipsistic (adj.) believing that oneself is all that exists (Colette’s solipsistic attitudecompletely ignored the plight of the homeless people on the street.)

somnolent (adj.) sleepy, drowsy (The somnolent student kept falling asleep and wakingup with a jerk.)

spurious (adj.) false but designed to seem plausible (Using a spurious argument, Johnconvinced the others that he had won the board game on a technicality.)

staid (adj.) sedate, serious, self-restrained (The staid butler never changed hisexpression no matter what happened.)

stolid (adj.) expressing little sensibility, unemotional (Charles’s stolid reaction to hiswife’s funeral differed from the passion he showed at the time of her death.)

subjugate (v.) to bring under control, subdue (The invading force captured andsubjugated the natives of that place.)

surfeit (n.) an overabundant supply or indulgence (After partaking of the surfeit oftacos and tamales at the All-You-Can-Eat Taco Tamale Lunch Special, Beth feltrather sick.)

swarthy (adj.) of dark color or complexion (When he got drunk, Robinson’s white skinbecame rather swarthy.)

sycophant (n.) one who flatters for self-gain (Some see the people in the cabinet as thepresident’s closest advisors, but others see them as sycophants.)

tantamount (adj.) equivalent in value or significance (When it comes to sports, fearingyour opponent is tantamount to losing.)

temperance (n.) moderation in action or thought (Maintaining temperance will ensurethat you are able to think rationally and objectively.)

tenable (adj.) able to be defended or maintained (The department heads toredown the arguments in other people’s theses, but Johari’s work proved to be quitetenable.)

tenuous (adj.) having little substance or strength (Your argument is very tenuous, sinceit relies so much on speculation and hearsay.)

tirade (n.) a long speech marked by harsh or biting language (Every time Jessica waslate, her boyfriend went into a long tirade about punctuality.)

tome (n.) a large book (In college, I used to carry around an anatomy book that was theheaviest tome in my bag.)

torrid (adj.) giving off intense heat, passionate (I didn’t want to witness the neighbor’storrid affair through the window.)

transmute (v.) to change or alter in form (Ancient alchemists believed that it waspossible to transmute lead into gold.)

travesty (n.) a grossly inferior imitation (According to the school newspaper’s mercilesstheater critic, Pacific Coast High’s rendition of the musical Oklahoma was atravesty of the original.)

trenchant (adj.) effective, articulate, clear-cut (The directions that accompanied my newcell phone were trenchant and easy to follow.)

truculent (adj.) ready to fight, cruel (This club doesn’t really attract the dangeroustypes, so why was that bouncer being so truculent?)

turpitude (n.) depravity, moral corruption (Sir Marcus’s chivalry often contrasted withthe turpitude he exhibited with the ladies at the tavern.)

umbrage (n.) resentment, offense (He called me a lily-livered coward, and I tookumbrage at the insult.)

unctuous (adj.) smooth or greasy in texture, appearance, manner (The unctuousreceptionist seemed untrustworthy, as if she was only being helpful because shethought we might give her a big tip.)

upbraid (v.) to criticize or scold severely (The last thing Lindsay wanted was for Lisa toupbraid her again about missing the rent payment.)

usurp (v.) to seize by force, take possession of without right (The rogue army generaltried to usurp control of the government, but he failed because most of the armybacked the legally elected president.)

veneer (n.) a superficial or deceptively attractive appearance, façade (Thanks to herChanel makeup, Shannen was able to maintain a veneer of perfection that hid theflaws underneath.)

venerate (v.) to regard with respect or to honor (The tribute to John Lennon sought tovenerate his music, his words, and his legend.)

vestige (n.) a mark or trace of something lost or vanished (Do you know if the Mexicantortilla is a vestige of some form of Aztec corn-based flat bread?)

vicarious (adj.) experiencing through another (All of my lame friends learned to besocial through vicarious involvement in my amazing experiences.)

vicissitude (n.) event that occurs by chance (The vicissitudes of daily life prevent mefrom predicting what might happen from one day to the next.)

vigilant (adj.) watchful, alert (The guards remained vigilant throughout the night, butthe enemy never launched the expected attack.)

vindicate (v.) to avenge; to free from allegation; to set free (The attorney had no chanceof vindicating the defendant with all of the strong evidence presented by the state.)

vindictive (adj.) vengeful (The vindictive madman seeks to exact vengeance for anyinsult that he perceives is directed at him, no matter how small.)

virtuoso (n.) one who excels in an art; a highly skilled musical performer (Even thoughLydia has studied piano for many years, she’s only average at it. She’s no virtuoso,that’s for sure.)

vitriolic (adj.) having a caustic quality (When angry, the woman would spew vitriolicinsults.)

vituperate (v.) to berate (Jack ran away as soon as his father found out, knowing hewould be vituperated for his unseemly behavior.)

vociferous (adj.) loud, boisterous (I’m tired of his vociferous whining so I’m breakingup with him.)

wallow (v.) to roll oneself indolently; to become or remain helpless (My roommatecan’t get over her breakup with her boyfriend and now just wallows in self-pity.)

wanton (adj.) undisciplined, lewd, lustful (Vicky’s wanton demeanor often made thefrat guys next door very excited.)

whimsical (adj.) fanciful, full of whims (The whimsical little girl liked to pretend thatshe was an elvin princess.)

wily (adj.) crafty, sly (Though they were not the strongest of the Thundercats, wily Kitand Kat were definitely the most clever and full of tricks.)

winsome (adj.) charming, pleasing (After such a long, frustrating day, I was grateful forChris’s winsome attitude and childish naivete.)

wistful (adj.) full of yearning; musingly sad (Since her pet rabbit died, Edda missed itterribly and sat around wistful all day long.)

wizened (adj.) dry, shrunken, wrinkled (Agatha’s grandmother, Stephanie, had themost wizened countenance, full of leathery wrinkles.)

yoke (v.) to join, link (We yoked together the logs by tying a string around them.)

zenith (n.) the highest point, culminating point (I was too nice to tell Nelly that she hadreached the absolute zenith of her career with that one hit of hers.)