|Difficult Vocabulary Groups|
2021 Hot Words and Phrases
|Hard Words with Meaning and Sentence|
|obdurate||/'ɒbdjʊrɪt/;/'ɑbdərɪt/ a. Syn. stubborn; inflexible|
hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; not giving in to persuasion
He was obdurate in his refusal to listen to our complaints.
|obfuscate||/'ɒbfʌskeɪt/ v. Syn. confuse; muddle|
confuse; muddle; cause confusion; make needlessly complex
Was the president's spokesman trying to clarify the Whitewater mystery, or was he trying to obfuscate the issue so the voters would never figure out what went on?.
|oblique||/ə'bli:k/ a. Syn. inclined|
having slanting or sloping direction, course, or position; inclined
Casting a quick, oblique glance at the reviewing stand, the sergeant ordered the company to march.
|obsequious||/əb'si:kwɪəs/ a. |
slavishly attentive; attempting to win favor from influential people by flattery
Helen liked to be served by people who behaved as if they respected themselves; nothing irritated her more than an excessively obsequious waiter or a fawning salesclerk.
|obstreperous||/əb'strɛpərəs/ a. |
noisily aggressive; making great noise or outcry
What do you do when an obstreperous horde of drunken policemen goes carousing through your hotel, crashing into potted plants and singing vulgar songs?.
|obtuse||/əb'tju:s/;/əb'tu:s/ a. Syn. stupid|
lacking in insight or discernment; stupid
What can you do with somebody who's so obtuse that he can't even tell that you're insulting him?.
|odious||/'oʊdɪəs/ a. Syn. hateful; vile|
hateful; arousing strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure
Cinderella's ugly stepsisters had the odious habit of popping their zits in public.
|officious||/ə'fɪʃəs/ a. |
marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others
Judy wanted to look over the new computer models on her own, but the officious salesman kept on butting in with "helpful" advice until she was ready to walk out of the store.
|ostensible||/ɒ'stɛnsɪb(ə)l/ a. Syn. apparent|
put forth or held out as real, actual, or intended; proper or intended to be shown
Although the ostensible purpose of this expedition is to discover new lands, we are really interested in finding new markets for our products.
|palliate||/'pælɪeɪt/ v. |
lessen violence of disease; moderate intensity; gloss over with excuses
Not content merely to palliate the patient's sores and cankers, the researcher sought a means of wiping out the disease.
|pallid||/'pælɪd/ a. Syn. pale; wan|
abnormally pale; lacking intensity of color or luminousness
Because his job required that he work at night and sleep during the day, he had an exceptionally pallid complexion.
|panacea||/pænə'sɪə/ n. |
remedy for all diseases, evils, or difficulties; a cure-all
The rich youth cynically declared that the panacea for all speeding tickets was a big enough bribe.
|paragon||/'pærəgən/;/'pærəgɒn/ n. Syn. model|
model of excellence or perfection; peerless example
Mr. Brumby's paragon is shocked at the other's inaptitude for examination.
|pariah||/'pærɪə/ n. Syn. untouchable|
social outcast; person who is rejected from society or home
Shortly Tom came upon the juvenile pariah of the village, Huckleberry Finn, son of the town drunkard.
|parsimony||/'pɑrsɪmənɪ/;/-moʊnɪ/ n. |
extreme care in spending money; reluctance to spend money unnecessarily
Because her father wouldn't let her buy a new iPhone, Annie accused him of parsimony.
|pathos||/'peɪθɒs/ n. Syn. pity|
tender sorrow; pity; quality in art or literature that produces these feelings
The quiet tone of pathos that ran through the novel never degenerated into the maudlin or the overly sentimental.
|paucity||/'pɔ:sɪtɪ/ n. Syn. scarcity|
scarcity; smallness of number; fewness
They closed the restaurant because the paucity of customers made it uneconomical to operate.
|pejorative||/pɪ'dʒɒrətɪv/ a. |
tending to make or become worse; disparaging or belittling
Instead of criticizing Clinton's policies, the Republicans made pejorative remarks about his character.
|pellucid||/pɪ'lju:sɪd/ a. Syn. transparent; limpid|
transparent; limpid; easy to understand
After reading these stodgy philosophers, I find Bertrand Russell's pellucid style very enjoyable.
|perfidious||/pə'fɪdɪəs/ a. Syn. treacherous; disloyal|
tending to betray; disloyal; faithless
When Caesar realized that Brutus had betrayed him, he reproached his perfidious friend.
|perfunctory||/pə'fʌŋktərɪ/ a. Syn. superficial|
done routinely and with little interest or care; acting with indifference; showing little interest or care
I introduced myself, and at my name his perfunctory manner changed; I knew he heard me before.
|pernicious||/pə'nɪʃəs/ a. Syn. deadly|
very destructive; tending to cause death or serious injury; deadly
Crack cocaine has had a pernicious effect on urban society: it has destroyed families, turned children into drug dealers, and increased the spread of violent crimes.
|pertinacious||/pɜrtɪ'neɪʃəs/;/-tn'eɪʃəs/ a. Syn. stubborn; persistent|
stubbornly or perversely persistent; unyielding; obstinate
He is bound to succeed because his pertinacious nature will not permit him to quit.
|pithy||/'pɪθɪ/ a. Syn. concise|
precisely meaningful; forceful and brief
While other girls might have gone on and on about how un-cool Elton was, Liz summed it up in one pithy remark: "He's bogus!"
|platitude||/'plætɪtju:d/;/-tu:d/ n. |
dullness; insipidity of thought; commonplace statement; lack of originality
In giving advice to his son, old Polonius expressed himself only in same platitude; every word out of his mouth was a commonplace.
|plethora||/'plɛθərə/ n. Syn. excess; overabundance|
excess; over-fullness in any respect; superabundance
She offered a plethora of excuses for her shortcomings.
|portent||/'pɔ:tɛnt/ n. Syn. sign; omen; forewarning|
omen; forewarning; something that portends an event about to occur, especially unfortunate or evil event
He regarded the black cloud as a portent of evil.
|precocious||/prɪ'koʊʃəs/ a. |
advanced in development; appearing or developing early
Listening to the grown-up way the child discussed serious topics, we couldn't help remarking how precocious she was.
|primeval||/praɪ'mi:v(ə)l/ a. Syn. ancient; primitive|
ancient; primitive; belonging to the first or earliest age; original or ancient
The archaeologist claimed that the skeleton was primeval origin, though in fact it was the remains of a modern day monkey.
|proclivity||/prə'klɪvɪtɪ/ n. Syn. inclination|
inclination; natural tendency; readiness; facility of learning
Watching the two-year-old boy voluntarily put away his toys, I was amazed by his proclivity for neatness.
|promulgate||/'prɒməlgeɪt/ v. Syn. announce|
proclaim doctrine or law; make known by official publication
During an interview with ABC News, Barack Obama said Republican attempted to promulgate, falsely, his Muslim connections.
|propensity||/prə'pɛnsɪtɪ/ n. Syn. tendency; predilection|
natural inclination; tendency or preference; predilection
Convinced of his own talent, Sol has an unfortunate propensity to belittle the talents of others.
|propitious||/prə'pɪʃəs/ a. Syn. favorable; fortunate; advantageous|
presenting favorable circumstances; fortunate; advantageous
Chloe consulted her horoscope to see whether Tuesday would be a propitious day to dump her boyfriend.
|prosaic||/proʊ'zeiɪk/ a. Syn. factual|
dull and unimaginative; matter-of-fact; factual
Though the ad writers came up with an original way to publicize the product, the head office rejected it for a more prosaic, ordinary slogan.
|proscribe||/proʊ'skraɪb/;/proʊ-/ v. Syn. banish; outlaw|
command against; banish; outlaw
Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus united to proscribe all those who had conspired against Julius Caesar.
|protean||/'proʊtɪɛn, 'proʊti:n/ a. Syn. versatile|
versatile; able to take on many shapes; readily taking on varied shapes
A remarkably protean actor, Alec Guinness could take on any role.
|prurient||/'prʊərɪənt/ a. |
having or causing lustful thoughts and desires; having eager desire for something
Aroused by his prurient impulses, the dirty old man leered at the sweet young thing and offered to give her a sample of his "prowess.".
|puerile||/'pjʊəraɪl/;/-rəl/ a. Syn. childish|
childish; belonging to childhood; immature
His puerile pranks sometimes offended his more mature friends.
|pulchritude||/'pʌlkrɪtju:d/ n. Syn. beauty; comeliness|
great physical beauty and appeal; attractive moral excellence; moral beauty
I do not envy the judges who have to select this year's Miss America from this collection of female pulchritude.
|punctilious||/pʌŋk'tɪlɪəs/ a. |
marked by precise accordance with details
Percy is punctilious about observing the rules of etiquette whenever Miss Manners invites him to stay.
|quagmire||/'kwɒgmaɪə(r)/ n. |
soft wet boggy land; complex or dangerous situation from which it is difficult to free oneself
Up to her knees in mud, Myra wondered how on earth she was going to extricate herself from this quagmire.
|querulous||/'kwɛrʊləs/ a. Syn. fretful; whining|
habitually complaining; expressing complaint or grievance
Even the most agreeable toddlers can begin to act querulous if they miss their nap.
|quixotic||/kwɪk'sɒtɪk/ a. |
idealistic without regard to practicality
Constantly coming up with quixotic, unworkable schemes to save the world, Simon has his heart in the right place, but his head somewhere in the clouds.
|rancor||/'ræŋkə(r)/ n. Syn. enmity; hatred|
bitter, long-lasting resentment; deep-seated ill will; hatred
Thirty years after the war, she could not let go of the past but was still consumed with rancor against the foe.
|rebuke||/rɪ'bju:k/ v. Syn. admonish; scold|
scold harshly; criticize severely
No matter how sharply I rebuke Huck for his misconduct, he never talks back but just stand there like a stump.
|recalcitrant||/rɪ'kælsɪtrənt/ a. |
obstinately stubborn; determined to resist authority
Which animal do you think is more recalcitrant, a pig or a mule?.
|rectitude||/'rɛktɪtju:d/;/-tu:d/ n. Syn. uprightness|
uprightness; moral virtue; correctness of judgment
The Eagle Scout was a model of rectitude.
|replete||/rɪ'pli:t/ a. |
filled to brim or to point of being stuffed; abundantly supplied
The movie star's memoir was replete with juicy details about the love life of half of Hollywood.
|reprobate||/'rɛproʊbeɪt/ n. |
person hardened in sin; person without moral scruples
I cannot understand why he has so many admirers if he is the reprobate you say he is.
|reprove||/rɪ'pru:v/ v. Syn. censure; rebuke|
voice or convey disapproval of; rebuke; find fault with
The principal would severely reprove the students whenever they talked in the halls.