100 Words with Uncommon Meanings

They are 100 common words with uncommon meanings; the example sentences are selected from recent English media, like Economics and BBC, most of them are for academic reading. The list is updated weekly to help readers refresh hot usage of common words.
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 100 Common Words with Uncommon Meanings and Sentences
settle  Speak
v.
resolve or reach an agreement about
It could herald a much bigger change: the precedent set would surely entice others to follow, why should a restaurant settle for paying an extra twice as much to accept credit-card fees?
heart  Speak
n.
the central or innermost part of something
Matilda's ability to escape into other worlds is also a key aspect of the novel, which is at its heart an ode to literature: through books, Matilda can flee oafish relatives and weapon-wielding teachers.
shell  Speak
v.
attack especially with artillery or bombers
Last year Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince pulverised Awamiyah, a rebellious town; Saudi forces shelled its 400-year-old neighbourhoods and erected siege walls to trap some 200 gunmen.
flock  Speak
v.
congregate or mass in a large group
Ponte City, a cylindrical brutalist skyscraper stretching 54 storeys, was built for yuppies who had flocked to the city, often from Europe.
quarters  Speak
n.
housing or accommodation, esp as provided for military personnel and their families
It was reserved for the wealthy, three-storey penthouses had wine cellars, saunas and jacuzzis; the only black residents were servants, in whose quarters windows had to be at least six feet off the ground.
pitch  Speak
n.
football field, a playing field
Although the signs of decline may not yet be evident on the pitch, Latin American football is in chaos, with financial and administrative problems that make the Europeans' troubles seem trifling.
friendly  Speak
n.
match which is not part of a competition, and is played for entertainment or practice
A congressional inquiry found no evidence to support this, though it confirmed that the Brazilian team had agreed to play an inordinate number of friendlies that drained the players' energies.
title  Speak
n.
champion, championship
For him, winning titles is just a weapon to make money; lest this sound a little bloodless to the fans, Mr Zohar explains that he aims to get Flamengo back to the point where it can hold on to its best players.
peak  Speak
v.
reach a highest point, either of a specified value or at a specified time
There is no credible rival for its position as the world’s preeminent innovation hub; but there are signs that the Valley’s influence is peaking.
horizon  Speak
n.
the limit of a person's mental perception or interest
Many startups are branching out into new places and those who stay have broader horizons: put more money outside Bay Area; but Peter, a high-profile venture capitalist, is among those upping sticks.
forgive  Speak
v.
ignore, turn a blind eye to, tolerate
Despite their mechanical complexity and the need for piloting skills akin to riding a unicycle, a helicopter’s idiosyncrasies can quickly be forgiven.
cover  Speak
n.
a thing that lies on, over, or around something to protect or conceal it
The air grew thick with dust and cordite as Leopard 2 tanks raced across the scrubby landscape, with howitzer fire providing cover and helicopters circling overhead.
premium  Speak
a.
of exceptional quality or greater value than others of its kind; superior
It includes a big expansion of the premium Alfa and Maserati brands, which have for years remained tantalisingly on the verge of a comeback.
wage  Speak
v.
carry on, engage in
Japanese people wage over $180bn a year on this pinball derivative, fleeing the tedium of office and home life for its noisy thrills.
inch  Speak
v.
move slowly and carefully in a specified direction
Tempers ran high as the bill inched toward law; an attempt by the government to cut off debate sparked scuffles among lawmakers.
look  Speak
n.
the appearance of someone or something
He found himself transfixed by the look, the dazed or vacant stare, of those who knew they were about to die.
blockstack  Speak
n.
a new type of internet where users own their data and apps run locally
Though Blockstack and its ilk have done the same, their main aim is to make the online world a more decentralized place; again, this sounds like the sort of thing geeks said in the 1990s.
cap  Speak
n.
a limit on the amount of money to be spent in a particular activity
The commission requested the power to levy larger fines, saying that the current cap of £20,000 per offence risked a mere cost of doing business for rule-breaking campaigns.
mix  Speak
n.
a combination of different kinds
Since e-bikes have been added to the mix, the term granny-pace has a whole new meaning as riders -often the elderly or parents ferrying children- overtake young racers without breaking a sweat.
sheet  Speak
n.
any broad thin expanse or surface
Each platelet is only a few millionths of a metre across, it consists of a sheet of stiff cellulose fibres; although the fibres are minute, they are strong.
spot  Speak
v.
see, notice, or recognize something that is difficult to detect
It spotted a tremor of magnitude 3.4 that had an epicentre 89km from the cable’s nearest point.
minutely  Speak
ad.
with great attention to detail; meticulously
The seismic waves from a nearby earthquake will deform the cable minutely, leaving the returning light slightly out of phase with the light emitted by the laser.
spike  Speak
n.
a sharp increase in the magnitude or concentration
Dry seasons are growing longer, withering crops; heat spikes are a growing problem too, with countries regularly notching lethal summer temperatures.
contain  Speak
v.
keep within limits; not to allow to spread
The big mistake last time was to dither: containing an epidemic early is easier and cheaper and saves lives; this time medical staff have been rushed to the scene.
humane  Speak
a.
having or showing compassion or benevolence
Mr Kore-Eda is one of world cinema's most humane and skilful storytellers, and "Shoplifters" is another of his low-key, acutely observed, ultimately devastating studies of contemporary Japanese life.
succession  Speak
n.
a number of things sharing a specified characteristic and following one after the other
In the past, companies with sloppy approaches have been able to count on their customers' lack of interest in cybersecurity which has dwindled over the years despite a succession of hacking scandals.
outfit  Speak
n.
a group that works as a team
The party locked arms with the third force, a regional outfit called the Janata Dal-Secular; the pairing of two parties thus claimed the right to replace the incumbent from them as chief minister.
side  Speak
v.
support or oppose in a conflict
When Mr Meshal sided with his Qatari financiers, who backed Syria's Islamist rebels after the uprising in 2011, Mr Assad and his men fumed at the treachery.
hideout  Speak
n.
a hiding place, especially one used by someone who has broken the law
In his hideout. he is close to clinching a deal on devolution that would let Renamo share or win power in some provinces.
snap  Speak
n.
a photograph usually taken with a small handheld camera
On the campaign trail before a general election, Mr Hariri has clambered atop cars, posed with fans and cuddled up to children in search of the best snap of himself.
redeem  Speak
v.
compensate for the faults or bad aspects of something
The fall from grace is embodied in capitalism; man is redeemed as the proletariat rises up against its exploiters and creates a communist utopia.
regime  Speak
n.
a government, especially an authoritarian one
The 40% of humanity who lived under Marxist regimes for much of the 20th century endured famines, gulags and party dictatorships.
hawk  Speak
v.
carry around and offer goods for sale, typically advertising them by shouting
China's earliest pawn shops were run by Buddhist monasteries; in recent decades monks are keen to attract visitors, paving roads to their temples and opening shops hawking spiritual tat.
man  Speak
v.
work at, run, or operate a place or piece of equipment
Monks are rattled: the one manning Guanyin's donation box fears such undisguised moneymaking would turn their shrine into a temple run by CEO abbot.
wreck  Speak
v.
cause the destruction by sinking or breaking up
The threat to a craft of deep space is that its electronics might be wrecked; radiation slowly displaces atoms in solids, to the detriment of any electronic components those atoms are part of.
chill  Speak
n.
an unpleasant feeling of coldness in the atmosphere
In the chill of deep space, bacteria somehow shielded from cosmic radiation might survive dormant for millions of years.
reach  Speak
n.
a continuous extent of land or water, especially a stretch of river between two bends
Just a few years ago Wuhan, a sprawling metropolis in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, exemplified China’s economic woes.
loft  Speak
v.
kick, hit, or throw (a ball or missile) high up
The company has built 500 burners on Himalayan ridges in the path of the monsoon, and is testing a system to loft particles of silver iodide from the machines into the atmosphere.
divert  Speak
v.
cause to change course or turn from one direction to another
Diverting water from the south of China to the north is not the country’s only crazily ambitious drought-alleviation scheme.
capably  Speak
ad.
ably, aptly, competently
It listens to customer-service calls and assigns an empathy score based on how compassionate agents are and how fast and how capably they settle complaints.
worthwhile  Speak
a.
worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance
Factory workers have long clocked in and out; but AI makes ubiquitous surveillance worthwhile, because every bit of data is potentially valuable.
track  Speak
v.
follow the course or trail of
Amazon has patented a wristband that tracks the hand movements of warehouse workers and uses vibrations to nudge them into being more efficient.
kindle  Speak
v.
light or set on fire
Such grandiose forecasts kindle anxiety as well as hope; many fret that AI (artificial intelligence) could destroy jobs faster than it creates them.
nestle  Speak
v.
settle or lie comfortably within or against something
Literally Buddha Place, Boudhanath is a village nestled within the sprawling Nepalese city; even though it's now a part of Kathmandu, it retains the self-contained cosiness of a village.
stray  Speak
v.
move away aimlessly from a group or from the right course or place
For a long time, I bought into this anti-circle bias; and while I often strayed from the straight and narrow, I always chalked up my circuitous path to personal shortcomings.
outfit  Speak
n.
a set of clothes worn together, typically for a particular occasion or purpose
Gabriella Papadakis's sparkling green outfit came undone in the back while she and partner were performing their short program.
malfunction  Speak
n.
a failure to function in a normal or satisfactory manner
CBC says it will edit the encore broadcast of ice dance competition to eliminate images of a French skater's breast that was exposed due to a costume malfunction.
imperative  Speak
a.
of vital importance, crucial
The defence team deployed peremptory challenges, which can be used by both sides for purely strategic reasons with no imperative to justify their use, to nix Indigenous people from being considered as jurors.
render  Speak
v.
cause to be or become; make
The lead-up to the trial itself sparked suspicions: secret jury deliberation can lead to jury nullification, when the jury renders a verdict based purely on its prejudices.
disregard  Speak
v.
pay no attention to; ignore
Did the jury simply disregard the law to give Stanley a free pass to murder? Jury deliberations are kept secret by law, and can never become the basis for a factual appeal.
indigenous  Speak
a.
originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native
There is outrage in Indigenous communities over the recent acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer of all charges relating to the shooting death of young Colten Boushie.
adorn  Speak
v.
make more beautiful or attractive
The sapphire engagement ring that now adorns the hand of the Duchess of Cambridge, wasn't custom-made; she selected the diamond-encrusted ring from a jewelry collection catalog.
scrap  Speak
n.
a small piece of something, especially one that is left over after the greater part has been used
The lace on Diana's dress was not just old, it was really, really old, sourced from antique scraps bought at auction by her dress designers.
resemble  Speak
v.
look or seem like
That franchise was told that the blue was chosen to echo the sky, and the building is more orange and red to resemble the surrounding terrain.
hoax  Speak
n.
a humorous or malicious deception
A flat-earther who witnessed this week’s SpaceX launch says it was a hoax – and that Elon Musk has been groomed to help fool people into thinking intergalactic travel is possible.
inspiration  Speak
n.
the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative
Scholars have long argued about the inspiration for Shakespeare's canon; now a piece of software, used for detecting plagiarism among university students, may have the answer.
poise  Speak
v.
be or cause to be balanced or suspended
This weekend is merely the calm before the proverbial marvel-powered storm as 'Black Panther' is poised to leap into theaters with potentially record-breaking results.
exert  Speak
v.
apply or bring to bear;
make a physical or mental effort
Justin, who works as an Uber driver, also speculated the main reason one percent of the world's elite want to keep the true shape of the Earth secret is to exert control.
roam  Speak
v.
move about or travel aimlessly, especially over a wide area
Mustang roam freely over much of the southwest United States; they live in bands of between 5-20 horses, mainly females and foals led by a dominant stallion.
swoop  Speak
v.
move rapidly downward through the air
Swooping in for the hunt, the long-eared bat takes on the deadly deathstalker scorpion on foot;this scorpion's venom is so strong it is capable of killing a human.
accommodate  Speak
v.
provide lodging or sufficient space for;
fit in with the wishes or needs of
People of different ages have very divergent working styles, priorities, and needs; but how can your business accommodate these unique needs, while still enabling effective collaboration and productivity?
bootleg  Speak
n.
illegal musical recording, especially one made at a concert
Star Wars was banned in the Soviet Union until 1990, although a thriving black market bootleg video exchange meant many Soviet citizens had in fact seen the films during the 1980s.
fickle  Speak
a.
changing frequently, especially as regards one's loyalties
The surveys will be used to divide publications into buckets to screen out likely peddlers of misinformation; it's also betting on the notoriously fickle news judgment of the masses.
perceive  Speak
v.
become aware or conscious of; come to realize or understand
Friday's change is notable, however, given Facebook's fear of being perceived as an arbiter of news quality.
overhaul  Speak
v.
take apart in order to examine it and repair it if necessary
The move comes roughly a week after Facebook announced it would overhaul its core News Feed product to focus more on engaging content from friends and family rather than passive low-quality news.
trustworthy  Speak
a.
able to be relied on as honest or truthful
Facebook will begin allowing its users to rank news sources they see as the most credible and trustworthy so it can better rank and prioritize them in its News Feed.
euphoria  Speak
n.
a feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness
The euphoria is what was once considered the provenance of libertarians seeking to create an alternative to central bank system, bitcoin, is bringing to mainstream.
scenery  Speak
n.
the natural features of a landscape
While the breathtaking scenery remains the same, pretty much everything else has changed at Whistler Blackcomb, including the gondola.
goody  Speak
n.
something that causes delight or satisfaction
Outside bright snow can be seen piled on the eaves of massive dark-wood buildings, whose small windows glow with goodies.
hearty  Speak
a.
loudly vigorous and cheerful
Families tuck in to hearty meals of sausages and rye bread, and men play cards over glasses of locally brewed beer.
salvage  Speak
v.
rescue a wrecked or disabled ship or its cargo from loss at sea
Japan's ancient sport sumo is again fighting to salvage its reputation after a top-ranking wrestler seriously injured a fellow competitor in an alcohol-fuelled attack.
ideology  Speak
n.
a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy
This debate often represents a schism in American political ideology that claims to champion the same goals but attempts to meet those goals through different methods.
trigger  Speak
v.
cause an event or situation to happen or exist
Scientists knew that photons striking a plant’s leaves triggered a cascade that ultimately resulted in sugar production, but no one knew exactly how that worked.
startling  Speak
a.
very surprising, astonishing, or remarkable
Jesus taught that life does not end after our bodies die. He made this startling claim: I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.
cast  Speak
v.
throw something forcefully in a specified direction
Although boosters of drilling there have long tried to cast the vast region in northeastern Alaska as a virtual frozen desert, the wilderness actually teems with life.
flee  Speak
v.
run away from a place or situation of danger
They've fled violence in Myanmar and sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh; the amount of people is just unfathomable, and U.N. called the exodus as the fastest growing refugee crisis.
defect  Speak
v.
abandon one's country or cause in favor of an opposing one
The soldier shot multiple times while defecting to the South is in a stable condition but riddled with parasites that could complicate his chances of survival.
outrage  Speak
n.
an extremely strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation
The outrage echoed that of 2015 when a Minnesota dentist killed a well-studied lion nicknamed Cecil after he was lured out of a protected Zimbabwe park.
slay  Speak
a.
kill a person or animal in a violent way
The move triggered protests from conservation groups and a frenzy on social media from opponents who posted pictures of Trump sons, who are avid hunters, posing with the cutoff tail of a slain elephant on Twitter.
aide  Speak
n.
assistant, adjutant, auxiliary
President Trump as well as his top aides have expressed skepticism about climate change, while others say human activity is to blame for global warming.
fragment  Speak
n.
a small part broken or separated off something
Muons are produced when cosmic rays - high-speed atom fragments that hurtle through space - smash into the atmosphere; they carpet bomb Earth at a rate of 10,000 per square meter per minute.
pinch  Speak
v.
grip something tightly and sharply between finger and thumb
I worked at McDonald's and they taught me how to pinch the fry carton just right while putting the fries into them so that it looked full, but actually wasn't.
whopping  Speak
a.
very large
Overall mortality rates are up from the same time last year, and deaths from drug overdoses in America rose a whopping 21% last year.
mandate  Speak
n.
an official order or commission to do something
He claims a mandate from that referendum; but they face some unpleasant realities: more than 1,500 companies have moved their domicile outside the region, and tourist bookings have dipped.
compel  Speak
v.
force or oblige someone to do something
The Senate duly approved Mr Rajoy’s request to apply Article 155 of the constitution; it grants the government wide powers to compel a region to obey the constitution.
farce  Speak
a.
foolish show; mockery; a ridiculous sham
It was political theatre: epic for some, farce for others and tragic for many more; the Catalan parliament voted today, October 27th, to declare independence and constitute Catalonia as a republic.
aggression  Speak
n.
hostile or violent behavior or attitudes toward another
Any tentative move towards re-militarisation would trigger alarm bells in China given Japan's history of military aggression in the region.
boost  Speak
n.
a source of help or encouragement leading to increase or improvement
Abe's long-held dream to change the pacifist constitution got a big boost today as conservative coalition won a crucial 2/3 majority in a snap election.
outcry  Speak
n.
an exclamation or shout
The stories dominated news cycles, to be sure, but the outcry accompanying Mr Weinstein’s downfall seems louder and more impassioned.
gust  Speak
n.
a brief, strong rush of wind.
One of the most destructive gusts in the northeastern Atlantic bore down on Ireland, unleashing strong winds and rain that killed at least three people.
watershed  Speak
n.
an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers
It's a bizarre concept that Alaskan volcanoes were screwing up the Nile watershed, causing the flow of one of the world’s mightiest rivers to slow.
subsidy  Speak
n.
a sum of money granted by the government
Key senators reach bipartisan health-care subsidy deal; the compromise help offset deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income consumers.
household  Speak
n.
a house and its occupants regarded as a unit.
It allows parents to specify time limits for specific devices in the household, restrict the applications vulnerable children can use and prevent access to pages with obscene language.
leverage  Speak
n.
the act of using borrowed money to buy an investment or a company
This was on their backburner and not likely to get fixed anytime soon, and we were hoping to get some additional leverage to make them bump up the priority on their end.
variant  Speak
n.
a form or version of something that differs in some respect from other forms of the same thing or from a standard.
The ransomware Locky once considered almost defunct, however, its variant was touted by over 23 million emails with the malware to the US workforce in just 24 hours on August 28.
stoke  Speak
v.
add coal or other solid fuel to a fire, furnace, or boiler
The Pentagon won’t yet say how the USS John S. McCain was rammed by an oil tanker near Singapore, but an information warfare specialist in the Navy doubts the collision stoke cyber threat fears that GPS systems can be spoofed by hackers.
gleeful  Speak
a.
full of exultant joy; merry; delighted
I'm hovering in a makeshift kitchen, watching one of Italy's most eminent marine biologists gleefully playing chef.
malicious  Speak
a.
intending or intended to do harm
The same principles of deception and misdirection, albeit on a much smaller scale, are now starting to be used by some organisations to thwart malicious hackers keen to establish a bridgehead on internal networks.
windfall  Speak
n.
an apple or other fruit blown down from a tree or bush by the wind.
It was agreed without further argument that the milk and the windfall apples should be reserved for the pigs alone.
selfie  Speak
n.
a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
We prefer to be seen with each other, instead of looking at each other: the back of selfie is vanity.