/'ɒbdjʊrɪt/;/'ɑbdərɪt/ a. Syn. stubborn; inflexibleShow examples and contexts
hardened in wrongdoing or wickedness; not giving in to persuasion
He was obdurate in his refusal to listen to our complaints.
/'ɒbfʌskeɪt/ v. Syn. confuse; muddleShow examples and contexts
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?.
/ə'bli:k/ a. Syn. inclinedShow examples and contexts
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.
/əb'si:kwɪəs/ a. Show examples and contexts
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.
/əb'strɛpərəs/ a. Show examples and contexts
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?.
/əb'tju:s/;/əb'tu:s/ a. Syn. stupidShow examples and contexts
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?.
/'oʊdɪəs/ a. Syn. hateful; vileShow examples and contexts
hateful; arousing strong dislike, aversion, or intense displeasure
Cinderella's ugly stepsisters had the odious habit of popping their zits in public.
/ə'fɪʃəs/ a. Show examples and contexts
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.
/ɒ'stɛnsɪb(ə)l/ a. Syn. apparentShow examples and contexts
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.
/'pælɪeɪt/ v. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'pælɪd/ a. Syn. pale; wanShow examples and contexts
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.
/pænə'sɪə/ n. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'pærəgən/;/'pærəgɒn/ n. Syn. modelShow examples and contexts
model of excellence or perfection; peerless example
Mr. Brumby's paragon is shocked at the other's inaptitude for examination.
/'pærɪə/ n. Syn. untouchableShow examples and contexts
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.
/'pɑrsɪmənɪ/;/-moʊnɪ/ n. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'peɪθɒs/ n. Syn. pityShow examples and contexts
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.
/'pɔ:sɪtɪ/ n. Syn. scarcityShow examples and contexts
scarcity; smallness of number; fewness
They closed the restaurant because the paucity of customers made it uneconomical to operate.
/pɪ'dʒɒrətɪv/ a. Show examples and contexts
tending to make or become worse; disparaging or belittling
Instead of criticizing Clinton's policies, the Republicans made pejorative remarks about his character.
/pɪ'lju:sɪd/ a. Syn. transparent; limpidShow examples and contexts
transparent; limpid; easy to understand
After reading these stodgy philosophers, I find Bertrand Russell's pellucid style very enjoyable.
/pə'fɪdɪəs/ a. Syn. treacherous; disloyalShow examples and contexts
tending to betray; disloyal; faithless
When Caesar realized that Brutus had betrayed him, he reproached his perfidious friend.
/pə'fʌŋktərɪ/ a. Syn. superficialShow examples and contexts
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.
/pə'nɪʃəs/ a. Syn. deadlyShow examples and contexts
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.
/pɜrtɪ'neɪʃəs/;/-tn'eɪʃəs/ a. Syn. stubborn; persistentShow examples and contexts
stubbornly or perversely persistent; unyielding; obstinate
He is bound to succeed because his pertinacious nature will not permit him to quit.
/'pɪθɪ/ a. Syn. conciseShow examples and contexts
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!"
/'plætɪtju:d/;/-tu:d/ n. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'plɛθərə/ n. Syn. excess; overabundanceShow examples and contexts
excess; over-fullness in any respect; superabundance
She offered a plethora of excuses for her shortcomings.
/'pɔ:tɛnt/ n. Syn. sign; omen; forewarningShow examples and contexts
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.
/prɪ'koʊʃəs/ a. Show examples and contexts
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.
/praɪ'mi:v(ə)l/ a. Syn. ancient; primitiveShow examples and contexts
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.
/prə'klɪvɪtɪ/ n. Syn. inclinationShow examples and contexts
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.
/'prɒməlgeɪt/ v. Syn. announceShow examples and contexts
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.
/prə'pɛnsɪtɪ/ n. Syn. tendency; predilectionShow examples and contexts
natural inclination; tendency or preference; predilection
Convinced of his own talent, Sol has an unfortunate propensity to belittle the talents of others.
/prə'pɪʃəs/ a. Syn. favorable; fortunate; advantageousShow examples and contexts
presenting favorable circumstances; fortunate; advantageous
Chloe consulted her horoscope to see whether Tuesday would be a propitious day to dump her boyfriend.
/proʊ'zeiɪk/ a. Syn. factualShow examples and contexts
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.
/proʊ'skraɪb/;/proʊ-/ v. Syn. banish; outlawShow examples and contexts
command against; banish; outlaw
Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus united to proscribe all those who had conspired against Julius Caesar.
/'proʊtɪɛn, 'proʊti:n/ a. Syn. versatileShow examples and contexts
versatile; able to take on many shapes; readily taking on varied shapes
A remarkably protean actor, Alec Guinness could take on any role.
/'prʊərɪənt/ a. Show examples and contexts
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.".
/'pjʊəraɪl/;/-rəl/ a. Syn. childishShow examples and contexts
childish; belonging to childhood; immature
His puerile pranks sometimes offended his more mature friends.
/'pʌlkrɪtju:d/ n. Syn. beauty; comelinessShow examples and contexts
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.
/pʌŋk'tɪlɪəs/ a. Show examples and contexts
marked by precise accordance with details
Percy is punctilious about observing the rules of etiquette whenever Miss Manners invites him to stay.
/'kwɒgmaɪə(r)/ n. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'kwɛrʊləs/ a. Syn. fretful; whiningShow examples and contexts
habitually complaining; expressing complaint or grievance
Even the most agreeable toddlers can begin to act querulous if they miss their nap.
/kwɪk'sɒtɪk/ a. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'ræŋkə(r)/ n. Syn. enmity; hatredShow examples and contexts
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.
/rɪ'bju:k/ v. Syn. admonish; scoldShow examples and contexts
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.
/rɪ'kælsɪtrənt/ a. Show examples and contexts
obstinately stubborn; determined to resist authority
Which animal do you think is more recalcitrant, a pig or a mule?.
/'rɛktɪtju:d/;/-tu:d/ n. Syn. uprightnessShow examples and contexts
uprightness; moral virtue; correctness of judgment
The Eagle Scout was a model of rectitude.
/rɪ'pli:t/ a. Show examples and contexts
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.
/'rɛproʊbeɪt/ n. Show examples and contexts
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.
/rɪ'pru:v/ v. Syn. censure; rebukeShow examples and contexts
voice or convey disapproval of; rebuke; find fault with
The principal would severely reprove the students whenever they talked in the halls.
/rɪ'pju:dɪeɪt/ v. Syn. disownShow examples and contexts
disown; refuse to acknowledge; reject validity or authority of
On separating from Tony, Tina announced that she would repudiate all debts incurred by her soon-to-be ex-husband.
/rɪ'sɪnd/ v. Syn. cancel; annul; repealShow examples and contexts
cancel; make void; repeal or annul
To change or rescind is justified only when re-estimate of all of the available facts.
/'rɛstɪv/ a. Show examples and contexts
impatient under restraint or opposition; resisting control; difficult to control
Waiting impatiently in line to see Santa Claus, even the best-behaved children grow restive and start to fidget.
/'rɪbəld/ a. Syn. wanton; tastelessShow examples and contexts
coarse or indecent; humorously vulgar or offensive
He sang a ribald song that offended many of the more prudish listeners.
/raɪf/ a. Syn. currentShow examples and contexts
excessively abundant or numerous; in widespread existence, practice, or use
In the face of the many rumors of scandal, which are rife at the moment, it is best to remain silent.
/ru:z/ n. Syn. trick; stratagemShow examples and contexts
trick; use of artifice or trickery; deceptive maneuver, especially to avoid capture
Police believe the ruse is attractive to criminal gangs because the profits are similar to those made by trafficking drugs, but with less punitive penalties.
/'sækroʊsæŋkt/ a. Syn. inviolableShow examples and contexts
regarded as sacred and inviolable
The brash insurance salesman invaded the sacrosanct privacy of the office of the president of the company.
/sə'gæsətɪ/ n. Show examples and contexts
quality of being sagacious; quickness or acuteness of sense perceptions; keenness of discernment; shrewdness
She was half sorry her sagacity had miscarried, and half glad that Tom had stumbled into obedient conduct for once.
/'seɪlɪənt/ a. Syn. prominentShow examples and contexts
prominent or protruding; projecting outwardly; moving by leaps or springs
One of the salient features of that newspaper is its excellent editorial page.
/sæŋktɪ'moʊnɪəs/ a. Syn. hypocriticalShow examples and contexts
excessively or hypocritically pious; possessing sanctity; sacred; holy; saintly; religious
What we need to do is not fool ourselves and remain sanctimonious about the issue of doping in baseball.
/'sæŋgwɪn/ a. Syn. cheerful; hopeful; ruddyShow examples and contexts
cheerfully confident; optimistic; of healthy reddish color; ruddy
Let us not be too sanguine about the outcome; something could go wrong.
/'skʌrɪləs/ n. Syn. obscene; indecentShow examples and contexts
obscene; indecent; expressing offensive reproach
Your scurrilous remarks are especially offensive because they are untrue.
/sɛrən'dɪpɪtɪ/ n. Show examples and contexts
gift for finding valuable or desirable things by accident; accidental good fortune or luck
Many scientific discoveries are a matter of serendipity.
/'sɜrvaɪl/;/'sɛrvl/ a. Syn. slavish; cringingShow examples and contexts
slavish; suitable to slave or servant; relating to servitude or forced labor
Constantly fawning on his employer, humble Uriah Heap was a servile creature.
/sə'lɪsɪtəs/ a. Syn. worried; concernedShow examples and contexts
worried or concerned; full of desire; expressing care or concern
The employer was very solicitous about the health of her employees as replacements were difficult to get.
/'sɒmnələnt/ a. Show examples and contexts
half asleep; inclined to drowsiness; tending to induce sleep
The heavy meal and the overheated room made us all somnolent and indifferent to the speaker.
/'spjʊərɪəs/ a. Syn. false; counterfeit; forged; illogicalShow examples and contexts
false; counterfeit; forged; illogical
Natasha's claim to be the lost heir of the Romanoffs was spurious: the only thing Russian about her was the vodka she drank!.
/steɪd/ a. Syn. serious; sedateShow examples and contexts
sober; serious, organized, and professional; characterized by dignity and propriety
Her conduct during the funeral ceremony was staid and solemn.
/'stɒlɪd/ a. Syn. dull; impassiveShow examples and contexts
dull; impassive; having or revealing little emotion or sensibility
The earthquake shattered Stuart's usual stolid demeanor; trembling, he crouched on the no longer stable ground.
/'stju:pɪfaɪ/;/'stu:-/ v. Show examples and contexts
make senseless or dizzy; be mystery or bewildering to
Disapproving of drugs in general, Laura refused to take sleeping pills or any other medicine that might stupefy her.
/'sɜrfɪt/ v. Show examples and contexts
eat until excessively full; be more than full; feed someone to excess
Every Thanksgiving we surfeit with an overabundance of holiday treats.
/sə'maɪz/ v. Syn. guessShow examples and contexts
guess; infer something without sufficiently conclusive evidence
I surmise that he will be late for this meeting because of the traffic issue.
/sʌrəp'tɪʃəs/ a. Syn. secret; furtive; sneaky; hiddenShow examples and contexts
secret; done or made by stealth, or without proper authority; made or introduced fraudulently
Hoping to discover where his mom had hidden the Christmas presents, Timmy took a surreptitious peek into the master bedroom closet.
/'sɪkəfænt/ n. Syn. bootlicker; flattererShow examples and contexts
one who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people; bootlicker; yes man
Fed up with the toadies and flunkies who made up his entourage, the star cried, "Get out, all of you! I'm sick of sycophant!"
/'tæsɪt/ a. Show examples and contexts
indicated or understood without expressed directly; not speaking; silent
We have a tacit agreement based on only a handshake.
/'tæsɪtə:n/ a. Syn. silentShow examples and contexts
silent or reserved in speech; saying little; not inclined to speak or converse
The stereotypical cowboy is a taciturn soul, answering lengthy questions with a "Yep" or "Nope.".
/'tæntəmaʊnt/ a. Show examples and contexts
equivalent in effect or value
Though Rudy claimed his wife was off visiting friends, his shriek of horror when she walked into the room was tantamount to a confession that he believed she was dead.
/tɪ'mɛrɪtɪ/ n. Syn. boldness; rashnessShow examples and contexts
boldness; rashness; foolhardy disregard of danger
Do you have the temerity to argue with me?.
/'tɛnjʊəs/ a. Syn. thin; rare; slimShow examples and contexts
long and thin; slender; having little substance
The allegiance of our allies is held by rather tenuous ties; we all should see it's in dangerous.
/'tɪmərəs/ a. Syn. fearfulShow examples and contexts
fearful; demonstrating fear; weakly hesitant
His timorous manner betrayed the fear he felt at the moment.
/'tɔ:pɪd/ a. Show examples and contexts
having lost motion, or the power of exertion and feeling; numb; benumbed
The two ships becalmed on a torpid sea, I believed to be marine phantoms.
/'træktəb(ə)l/ a. Syn. docileShow examples and contexts
easily managed or controlled; governable; easily handled or worked; docile
Although Susan seemed a tractable young woman, she had a stubborn streak of independence.
/'trænsɪənt, 'trɑr-/;/trænʃnt/ a. Syn. momentary; temporary; transitoryShow examples and contexts
momentary; temporary; staying for short time
Lexy's joy at finding the perfect Christmas gift for Phil was transient, she still had to find presents for the cousins and Uncle Bob.
/træns'mju:t, trɑr-/ v. Syn. convert; transformShow examples and contexts
change from one form, nature, substance, or state into another; transform
He was unable to transmute his dreams into actualities.
/'trɛntʃənt/ a. Syn. incisive; keenShow examples and contexts
forceful, effective, and vigorous; sharp or keen
I am afraid of his trenchant wit for it is so often sarcastic.
/'trukjələnt, 'trʌkjʊlənt/ a. Syn. belligerentShow examples and contexts
disposed to fight; belligerent; aggressively hostile
The bully was initially truculent but eventually stopped picking fights at the least provocation.
/'tɜrdʒɪd/ a. Syn. swollen; distendedShow examples and contexts
swollen; distended; excessively ornate or complex in style or language
The turgid river threatened to overflow the levees and flood the countryside.
/'tɜrpɪtju:d/;/-tu:d/ n. Syn. depravityShow examples and contexts
depravity; corrupt, depraved, or degenerate act
A visitor may be denied admittance to this country if she has been guilty of moral turpitude.
/ju:'bɪkwɪtəs/ a. Syn. omnipresentShow examples and contexts
being or existing everywhere; omnipresent
That Christmas "The Little Drummer Boy" seemed ubiquitous; we heard the tune everywhere.
/'ʌŋktjʊəs/ a. Syn. oily; blandShow examples and contexts
oily; composed of oil or fat; characterized by affected, exaggerated, or insincere earnestness
Uriah Heep disguised his nefarious actions by unctuous protestations of his "humility.".
/ʌp'breɪd/ v. Syn. reprimand; criticize; scoldShow examples and contexts
severely criticize; reprimand; reprove sharply
Not only did Miss Minchin upbraid Ermengarde for her disobedience, but she hung her up by her braids from a coat rack in the classroom.
/'jʊzəp/ v. Syn. appropriateShow examples and contexts
seize and hold power or rights of another by force or without legal authority
The revolution ended when the victorious rebel general succeeded in his attempt to usurp the throne.
/'væsɪleɪt/ v. Syn. waver; fluctuateShow examples and contexts
sway unsteadily from one side to the other; oscillate
The big boss likes his people to be decisive: when he asks you for your opinion, whatever you do, don't vacillate.
/'vækjʊəs/ a. Syn. empty; inaneShow examples and contexts
empty; showing lack of thought or intelligence; vacant
The vacuous remarks of the politician annoyed the audience, who had hoped to hear more than empty platitudes.
/'væpɪd/ a. Syn. dullShow examples and contexts
dull and unimaginative; lacking taste or flavor
"Boring!" said Jessica, as she suffered through yet another vapid lecture about Dead White Male Poets.
/'vɛərɪgeɪtɪd/ a. Show examples and contexts
streaked, spotted, or marked with a variety of color; very colorful
Without her glasses, Gretchen saw the fields of tulips as a variegated blur.
/'vɛnəreɪt/ v. Show examples and contexts
treat with great respect and deference; consider hallowed or be in awe of
In Tibet today, the common people still venerate their traditional spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
/və'ræsɪti/ n. Syn. truthfulnessShow examples and contexts
truthfulness; unwillingness to tell lies
Asserting his veracity, young George Washington proclaimed, "Father, I cannot tell a lie!"
/'vɜrdənt/ a. Show examples and contexts
green; full of juice in vegetation
Monet's paintings of the verdant meadows were symphonies in green.
/vɛks/ v. Syn. annoy; distressShow examples and contexts
annoy; disturb, especially by minor irritations; be a mystery or bewildering to
Please try not to vex your mother; she is doing the best she can.
/vɪ'kɛərɪəs/ a. Show examples and contexts
acting as substitute; done by deputy; experienced at secondhand
Many people get a vicarious thrill at the movies by imagining they are the characters on the screen.
/vɪ'sɪsɪtud/ n. Show examples and contexts
change, especially in one's life or fortunes; regular change or succession of one thing to another; alternation
Humbled by life's vicissitude, the last emperor of China worked as a lowly gardener in the palace over which he had once ruled.
/'vɪlɪfaɪ/ v. Syn. slanderShow examples and contexts
debase; degrade; spread negative information about
Waging a highly negative campaign, the candidate attempted to vilify his opponent's reputation.
/'vɪskəs/ a. Syn. sticky; glueyShow examples and contexts
sticky; gluey; having high resistance to flow
Melted tar is a viscous substance.
/vɪtrɪ'ɒlɪk/ a. Syn. corrosive; sarcasticShow examples and contexts
harsh or corrosive in tone; sarcastic; bitterly scathing
Any time that a simple request for evidence results in vitriolic personal attacks, or an attempt to censor, with no attempt to address the issue.
/'wɒnt(ə)n/;/wɔ:ntən/ a. Syn. unrestrained; unchasteShow examples and contexts
unrestrained; willfully malicious; immoral or unchaste
Pointing to the stack of bills, Sheldon criticized Sarah for her wanton expenditures.
/'wɪnsəm/ a. Syn. agreeable; gracious; engagingShow examples and contexts
agreeable; gracious; charming, often in childlike or naive way
By her winsome manner, she made herself liked by everyone who met her.
/'wɪstfəl/ a. Show examples and contexts
full of wishful yearning or longing; sadly thoughtful
With a last wistful glance at the happy couples dancing in the hall, Sue headed back to her room to study for her exam.
/'zɛnɪθ/ n. Syn. summitShow examples and contexts
point directly overhead in sky; summit
When the sun was at its zenith, the glare was not as strong as at sunrise and sunset.
/'zɛfə(r)/ n. Show examples and contexts
gentle breeze; west wind; any of various soft light fabrics, yarns, or garments
A blessing on a hot day in zephyr form, something to lift birds and kites and make sailboats cut beautifully through the water.