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Barrons GRE Vocabulary List 17

scavenge: hunt through discarded materials for usable items; search, especially for food
E.g.If you need car parts that the dealers no longer stock, try to scavenge for odd bits and pieces at the auto wreckers' yards.

scenario: screenplay; outline or model of an expected sequence of events
E.g.The scenario is the same throughout the West countries, all of whose governments are responding to the collapse in similar ways.

schematic: relating to outline or diagram; represented simply, as using symbols
E.g.In working out the solution to this logic puzzle, you may find it helpful to construct a simple schematic diagram outlining the order of events.

scheme: elaborate and systematic plan of action; chart or outline of a system or object
E.g.As well as the baby bonus scheme, Prime Minister says his government is to encourage more immigration as a way of bringing in more talent.

schism: separation or division into factions; formal division or split within religious body
E.g.Let us not widen the schism by further bickering.

scintillate: give off sparks; shine as if emanating sparks; twinkle or glow
E.g.I enjoy her dinner parties because the food is excellent and the conversations scintillate.

scoff: mock; ridicule; show or express scorn; eat quickly and greedily
E.g.He used to scoff at dentists after he had his first toothache.

scorch: burn superficially; parch, or shrivel, the surface of, by heat; affect painfully with heat; burn
E.g.The meat will scorch if you don't lower the gas.

scotch: put an abrupt end to; block to prevent rolling or slipping
E.g.The prime minister should scotch the rumors of her illness with a public appearance as soon as possible.

scourge: whip used to inflict punishment; severe punishment
E.g.They feared the plague and regarded it as a deadly scourge.

scrap: small piece or bit; fragment; fragment; leftover bits of food; remnant
E.g.The EU recently shredded old euro coins and sent the scrap nickel and copper to China.

scruple: hesitate as a result of conscience or principle
E.g.Fearing that her husband had become involved in an affair, she did not scruple to read his diary.

scrupulous: exactly and carefully conducted; by extreme care and great effort; cautious
E.g.Though Alfred is scrupulous in fulfilling his duties at work, he is less conscientious about his obligations to his family and friends.

scrutinize: examine closely and critically
E.g.Searching for flaws, the sergeant wanted to scrutinize every detail of the private's uniform.

scuffle: shuffle; fight or struggle confusedly at close quarters; wrestle in a rough fashion
E.g.He tried to scuffle his funds among different accounts in various countries so as to avoid the IRS.

scurrilous: obscene; indecent; expressing offensive reproach
E.g.Your scurrilous remarks are especially offensive because they are untrue.

scurry: go with light running steps; move about or proceed hurriedly
E.g.Do not worry if I scurry from the grill room in a hurry.

scurvy: fit or deserving to be despised; contemptible; worthless; mean; shabby
E.g.Peter Pan sneered at Captain Hook and his scurvy crew.

seamy: sordid; morally degraded; squalid or corrupt
E.g.In The Godfather, Michael Corleone is unwilling to expose his wife and children to the seamy side of his life as the son of a Mafia don.

sear: make very hot and dry; become superficially burned
E.g.Accidentally brushing against the hot grill, I sear my hand badly.

seasonal: occurring at or dependent on a particular season
E.g.Farm workers from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine will no longer require work permits for seasonal jobs of up to three months.

seasoned: experienced, especially in terms of a profession or a hobby; aged or processed
E.g.The picture he threw on the screen of himself must have been something else again - seasoned sailor, hardy adventurer, and who knows what else?

secession: act of seceding; withdrawal; withdrawal of 11 Southern states from the Union
E.g.The secession of the Southern states provided Lincoln with his first major problem after his inauguration.

seclusion: isolation; solitude; secluded place; shutting out or keeping apart
E.g.Robinson is in seclusion, recovering from major surgery and suffering greatly from the loss of her only son.

secrete: hide away; generate and separate substance from cells or bodily fluids
E.g.The findings make sense, she said, because the glands that secrete tears bear receptors.

sect: separate religious body; faction united by common interests or beliefs
E.g.A peculiar attribute of this sect is the character of many of its members: bankers, civil service officials, navy officers, army officers and others of the finest professions.

sectarian: relating to religious faction or subgroup; narrow-minded; limited
E.g.Far from being broad-minded, the religious leader was intolerant of new ideas, paying attention only to purely sectarian interests.

secular: worldly rather than spiritual; not specifically relating to religion; lasting from century to century
E.g.The church leaders decided not to interfere in secular matters.

sedate: composed, and dignified in character or manner
E.g.The years pass and the same figure grown older and more sedate is taking command of an army of peasantry at war with their King.

sedentary: requiring sitting; accustomed to sitting or to taking little exercise; living in one area, not migratory
E.g.Disliking the effect of her sedentary occupation on her figure, Stacy decided to work out at the gym every other day.

sedition: resistance to authority; insubordination or rebellion
E.g.His words, though not treasonous in themselves, were calculated to arouse thoughts of sedition.

seduce: tempt; entice; lead away from duty, accepted principles, or proper conduct
E.g.The temptation of easy money did seduce her to work in a massage parlor.

sedulous: diligent; hardworking; persevering and constant in effort or application
E.g.After weeks of patient and sedulous labor, we completed our detailed analysis of every published SAT examination.

seedy: disreputable; tired or sick; having many seeds
E.g.She spent much of her childhood living in seedy hotels with a mother who eventually married a taxi driver.

seemly: proper; appropriate; of pleasing appearance; handsome
E.g.Lady Bracknell did not think it was seemly for Ernest to lack a proper family.

seep: pass gradually or leak through, as if through small openings
E.g.During the rainstorm, water would seep through the crack in the basement wall and damage the floor boards.

seethe: be disturbed; boil; be in state of turmoil or ferment
E.g.The nation would seethe with discontent as the noblemen continue their arrogant ways.

seine: large fishing net made to hang vertically in the water by weights at the lower edge and floats at the top
E.g.Megan Peters, a trooper's spokeswoman, told the Juneau Empire the party was in possession of 148 sockeye salmon taken with a beach seine net.

seismic: caused by earthquake or earth vibration; earthshaking
E.g.The Richter scale is a measurement of seismic disturbances.

semblance: seeming; outward or token appearance; show; figure; form
E.g.Foolish men mistake transitory semblance for eternal fact.

seminal: influential in original way; providing basis for further development; creative
E.g.The scientist's discovery proved to be seminal in the area of quantum physics.

seminary: school, especially a theological school for training of priests, ministers, or rabbis; school of higher education, especially for girls
E.g.Sure of his priestly vocation, Terrence planned to pursue his theological training at the local Roman Catholic seminary.

sensual: physical rather than spiritual or intellectual; affecting any of senses or sense organ; sensory
E.g.His hand slid from the back of her neck to circle the base of her throat, and her pulse leaped as her breasts tightened in sensual hunger.

sententious: concise and full of meaning; using as few words as possible
E.g.After reading so many redundant speeches, I find his sententious style particularly pleasing.

sentimental: emotional; Resulting from emotion rather than reason or realism
E.g.I went back to the Philippines with MacArthur on his final journey there in 1961, what he called his sentimental journey.

sentinel: one that keeps guard; soldier stationed as a guard
E.g.You will take care, of course, to choose a dark night, and wait till the sentinel is asleep.

septic: of the seventh degree or order; act of causing to rot; causing sepsis or putrefaction
E.g.With your luck you'll get stuck behind a propane truck, or even worse a septic truck, the entire way up the hill.

sepulcher: burial vault; receptacle for sacred relics, especially in an altar
E.g.Called the Chamber of Paladine, the sepulcher was a large rectangular room, built far below the ground where the destruction of the Tower did not affect it.

sequester: isolate; retire from public life; segregate; seclude
E.g.To prevent the jurors from hearing news broadcasts about the case, the judge decided to sequester the jury.

serendipity: gift for finding valuable or desirable things by accident; accidental good fortune or luck
E.g.Many scientific discoveries are a matter of serendipity.

serenity: calmness of mind; quietness; stillness; peace
E.g.At one point, we veered off the beach, onto a golf course, where the serenity is almost overwhelming.

serpentine: winding; twisting; curving in alternate directions; having the shape or form of a snake
E.g.The car swerved at every curve in the serpentine road.

serrated: saw-like; having a row of sharp or tooth-like projections
E.g.The beech tree is one of many plants that have serrated leaves.

servile: slavish; suitable to slave or servant; relating to servitude or forced labor
E.g.Constantly fawning on his employer, humble Uriah Heap was a servile creature.

servitude: forced labor imposed as a punishment for crime; lack of personal freedom
E.g.Born a slave, Frederick Douglass resented his life of servitude and plotted to escape to the North.

sever: cut off from a whole; set or keep apart; divide or separate
E.g.The result of England's last great colonial struggle with France was to sever from the latter all her American dependencies, her colonists becoming the subjects of alien and rival powers.

severity: extreme rigor; strictness; rigidity; harshness
E.g.The condition ranges in severity from a mild degree of poor functioning to complete kidney failure.

shack: small, crudely built cabin
E.g.The story of Leslie, the woman who was forced to leave her nice home and live in a shack, is also very inspiring.

shackle: chain; fetter; restraint that confines or restricts freedom
E.g.Police had to shackle the criminal's ankles to prevent his escape.

shade: a slight amount or degree of difference; shadow; protective covering that protects something from direct sunlight
E.g.The other guests had taken advantage of the Queen's absence, and were resting in the shade.

sham: pretend; put on false appearance of; feign
E.g.He decided to sham sickness to get out of going to school.

shambles: wreck; scene or condition of complete disorder or ruin
E.g.With the private sector in shambles, the Federal government is the only one with enough juice left to fix anything.

shard: fragment of brittle substance, as of glass or metal; piece of broken pottery, especially one found in archaeological dig
E.g.The archaeologist assigned several students the task of reassembling earthenware vessels except the shard he had brought back from the expedition.

sheaf: bundle of stalks of grain; any bundle of things tied together
E.g.The lawyer picked up a sheaf of papers as he rose to question the witness.

shear: cut or clip hair; strip of something; remove by cutting or clipping
E.g.You may not care to cut a sheep's hair, but they shear sheep for Little Bo Peep.

sheathe: enclose with protective covering; encase; cover up or hide
E.g.Until he recognized the approaching men, he did not sheathe his dagger and hail them as friends.

shed: get rid of ; cast off; cause to pour forth
E.g.In the three decades after 1945, Britain shed virtually all of the colonies that had taken centuries to acquire.

sheer: very thin or transparent; very steep; absolute or pure
E.g.Wearing nothing but an almost sheer robe, Delilah draped herself against the very steep temple wall.

shift: moving from one setting or context to another; moving very slightly
E.g.Twenty-one developing nations have come together to say, that they believe the meeting will be doomed unless there's a radical shift by the rich nations.

shimmer: shine with a weak or fitful light; glimmer intermittently
E.g.This rope is woven with a maximum amount of reflective tracers--which will make it shimmer in the night.

shirk: avoid or neglect duty or responsibility; malinger
E.g.Brian has a strong sense of duty; he would never shirk any responsibility.

shoddy: made of or containing inferior material; not genuine; of low rank; poor quality or craft
E.g.He says earlier reports from the U.S. had been based shoddy intelligence; it's necessary to wait for new ones.

shove: drive along by the direct and continuous application of strength; push along, aside, or away, in a careless manner
E.g.When we were ready to shove off, we were a quarter of a mile below the island.

shrewd: clever; characterized by keen awareness, sharp intelligence
E.g.As a music executive and a businessman, he's in shrewd, wildly successful and not shy about it.

shuffle: disorder; move back and forth; mix so as to make a random order or arrangement
E.g.He will shuffle his funds among different accounts in various countries.

shun: avoid deliberately; keep away from
E.g.Cherishing his solitude, the recluse wants to shun the company of other human beings.

shyster: lawyer using questionable methods; unethical lawyer or politician
E.g.He is horrified to learn that his newly-discovered half brother is nothing but a cheap shyster.

sibling: brother or sister; member of a family born to the same parents
E.g.You may not enjoy being sibling of ours, but we cannot forget that we still belong to the same family.

significant: fairly large; important in effect or meaning
E.g.This kind of planning presents the government with a significant problem.

silt: mud, clay, or small rocks deposited by river or lake
E.g.The river will silt up in 20 years.

simian: like an ape or monkey
E.g.Lemurs are nocturnal mammals and have many simian characteristics, although they are less intelligent than monkeys.

simile: comparison of one thing with another, in English generally using like or as
E.g."My love is like a red, red rose" is a simile.

simper: smirk; smile in artificial way to make an impression
E.g.. Complimented on her appearance, Stella had to self-consciously simper.

simplistic: overly simple; simplifying something so that its complexity is lost or important details are overlooked
E.g.Though Jack's solution dealt adequately with one aspect of the problem, it was simplistic in failing to consider various complications that might arise.

simulate: make a pretence of; reproduce someone's behavior or looks
E.g.He tried to simulate insanity in order to avoid punishment for his crime.

sinecure: well-paid position with little responsibility
E.g.My job is no sinecure; I work long hours and have much responsibility.

sinewy: tough; strong and firm; possessing physical strength and weight
E.g.Great tears rolled down his sunken cheeks, he lightly rested her forehead on his thin sinewy arm.

singular: unique; extraordinary; being only one
E.g.Though the young man tried to understand Father William's singular behavior, he still found it odd that the old man incessantly stood on his head.

sinister: suggesting or threatening evil
E.g.In sudden panic, she's convinced someone sinister is trying to push her from the train.

sinuous: winding; bending in and out; not morally honest
E.g.The snake moved in a sinuous manner.

siren: electronic device producing a similar sound as a signal or warning; something insidious or deceptive; mermaid
E.g.He made out of the cabin at once on hearing the siren.

skeptic: doubter; person who suspends judgment until evidence has been examined
E.g.I am a skeptic about the new health plan; I want some proof that it can work.

skiff: small, light sailboat; small boat propelled by oars
E.g.Tom dreamed of owning an ocean-going yacht but had to settle for a skiff he could sail in the bay.

skim: pass near surface of; brush surface of; glide swiftly along surface of; read or examine rapidly, in order to cull the principal facts
E.g.It took me an hour to skim the book of 100 pages.

skimp: provide for or supply inadequately; deal with hastily, carelessly, or with poor material
E.g.They were forced to skimp on necessities in order to make their limited supplies last the winter.

skinflint: one who is very reluctant to spend money; miser; selfish person who is unwilling to give or spend
E.g.Scrooge was an ungenerous old skinflint until he reformed his ways and became a notable philanthropist.

skirmish: minor battle in war; minor or preliminary conflict or dispute
E.g.Custer's troops expected they might run into a skirmish or two on maneuvers; they did not expect to face a major battle.

skulk: move furtively and secretly; hide, or get out of the way, in a sneaking manner
E.g.He used to skulk through the less fashionable sections of the city in order to avoid meeting any of his former friends.

slacken: become slower; loosen; become less vigorous, intense, or severe
E.g.As they passed the finish line, the runners began to slacken their pace.

slag: residue by smelting metal ore; dross; waste material from a coal mine; scum that forms on the surface of molten metal
E.g.In English, slag is the mostly contaminated waste product of the iron- and steel-making process that would be inimical to agriculture.

slake: make less active or intense; satisfy thirst
E.g.When we reached the oasis, we were able to slake our thirst.

slander: defamation; false and malicious statement or report about someone
E.g.I have proven that you slander the gay community.

slap: sharp blow from a flat object as an open hand; smack; sharp insult
E.g.His decision was a slap in the face to those who had tried to change his mind.

slapdash: haphazard; careless; done hastily
E.g.From the number of typos and misspellings I've found in it, it's clear that Mario proofread the report in a remarkably slapdash fashion.

slaughter: act of killing; extensive, violent, bloody, or wanton destruction of life; carnage
E.g.The real reason for this slaughter is they are over-fishing and want to kill the competition for the fish.

slavish: blindly imitative; characteristic of a slave or servant
E.g.Slavish devotion to her job ruled her life.

sleek: having an even, smooth surface; smooth; not rough or harsh
E.g.The group did invest in sleek Apple computers and other technology to help them compete against larger ad agencies.

sleeper: something originally of little value becomes very valuable; unexpected hit; one that sleeps
E.g.Unnoticed by the critics at its publication, the eventual Pulitzer Prize winner was a classic sleeper.

sleight: skillful performance or ability in using hands; dexterity
E.g.The magician amazed the audience with his sleight of hand.

slew: rotate or turn something about its axis; veer a vehicle; pivot
E.g.The captain could not slew the ship round in time to avoid an accident.

slink: creep away meanly; steal away; sneak.
E.g.And then I can paddle over to town nights, and slink around and pick up things I want.

slipshod: untidy or slovenly; shabby; great carelessness; done poorly or too quickly
E.g.As a master craftsman, the carpenter prided himself on not doing slipshod work.

slither: glide or slide like reptile; slip and slide, as on a loose or uneven surface
E.g.Occasional drops of rain slither through the silvery mist, and the white stones of the buildings and roads of Cyad are gray with moisture.

sloth: laziness; apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue; any of several slow-moving arboreal mammals
E.g.The sloth is at its busiest at sunset, using the word busy here in a most relaxed sense.

slough: cast off hair, skin, horn, or feathers; discard as refuse
E.g.Each spring, the snakes slough off their skin.

slovenly: untidy; careless in work habits
E.g.Unshaven, sitting around in his bathrobe all afternoon, Gus didn't seem to care about the slovenly appearance he presented.

sluggard: lazy person; person habitually lazy, idle, and slow; sluggish; lazy
E.g."You are a sluggard, a drone, a parasite," the angry father shouted at his lazy son.

sluggish: lazy; with little movement; very slow
E.g.Technological advance is also a major factor in sluggish wage growth in the United States.

slur: speak indistinctly; pass over carelessly or with little notice
E.g.When Sol has too much to drink, he starts to slur his words: "Washamatter? Cansh you undershtand what I shay?".

smart: clever; intelligent; showing mental alertness and calculation
E.g.In an age of smart missiles and precision-guided weaponry President Bush is going to have to rely upon good old-fashioned charm if he is to win over America's sceptical NATO allies.

smear: overspread with anything adhesive; soil in any way; pollute
E.g.We smear cream on our faces in the party.

smelt: melt or blend ores, changing their chemical composition
E.g.The furnace men smelt tin with copper to create a special alloy used in making bells.

smolder: burn without flame; be liable to break out at any moment
E.g.The rags smolder for hours before they burst into flame.

smother: conceal or hide; envelop completely; extinguish; deprive of the oxygen necessary for combustion
E.g.They try to smother fires as soon as possible.

smug: studiously neat or nice, especially in dress; spruce; affectedly or conceitedly smart; self-satisfied in any respect
E.g.I was called smug and haughty for simply not following this personal soap opera.

sneak: creep or steal privately; come or go meanly, as a person afraid or ashamed to be seen
E.g.Tom Sawyer, you are just as mean as you can be, to sneak up on a person and look at what they're looking at.

snicker: laugh in half-suppressed or foolish manner; disrespectful laugh
E.g.The boy could not suppress a snicker when the teacher sat on the tack.

snip: small cut made with scissors or shears; small piece cut or clipped off
E.g.Here's a snip from a NASA article about the project.

soar: fly aloft, as a bird; mount upward on wings; rise in thought, spirits, or imagination
E.g.Set the bird's wings with gold and it will never again soar in the sky.

sober: not extreme; marked by seriousness or gravity; not affected by use of drugs; self-restraint
E.g.They agree that half the fun of being sober is watching how really stupid their drunk friends behave.

sobriety: moderation, especially regarding indulgence in alcohol; seriousness; gravity in manner or treatment
E.g.For my brother the celebration of his sobriety is as significant as his birthday.

sodden: thoroughly soakedsoaked; expressionless, stupid, or dull, especially from drink
E.g.He set his sodden overcoat near the radiator to dry.

sojourn: temporary stay; brief period of residence; place of temporary stay
E.g.After his sojourn in Florida, he began to long for the colder climate of his native New England home.

solace: comfort or relieve in sorrow, misfortune, or distress
E.g.I hope you will find solace in the thought that all of us share your loss.

solder: repair or unite by using fusible metal alloy, usually tin and lead
E.g.To fix the leak in the pipes, the plumber planned to solder a couple of joints from which water had been oozing.

solecism: error in use of language, especially intentional use of misspelling or incorrect grammar ; violation of the conventional rules of society
E.g.I cannot give this paper an excellent mark because it contains an critical solecism.

solemnity: seriousness; gravity; religious or ritual ceremony
E.g.The minister was concerned that nothing should disturb the solemnity of the marriage service.

solicit: request earnestly; seek to obtain by persuasion or formal application
E.g.Knowing she needed to have a solid majority for the budget to pass, the mayor telephoned all the members of the city council to solicit their votes.

solicitor: petitioner who seeks contributions or trade or votes; chief law officer of a city, town, or government department
E.g.52-year-old Carol, who qualified as a solicitor before switching to journalism, showed the spirit of an iron lady.

solicitous: worried or concerned; full of desire; expressing care or concern
E.g.The employer was very solicitous about the health of her employees as replacements were difficult to get.

soliloquy: talking to oneself; act of a character speaking to himself so as to reveal his thoughts to audience
E.g.The soliloquy is a device used by the dramatist to reveal a character's innermost thoughts and emotions.

solitude: state of being alone; seclusion; lonely or secluded place
E.g.She learns that she can feel happiness in solitude, at least for a period of time.

soluble: able to be dissolved; able to be explained
E.g.Sugar is soluble in water; put a sugar cube in water and it will quickly dissolve.

solvent: able to pay all debts; capable of meeting financial obligations
E.g.By dint of very frugal living, he was finally able to become solvent and avoid bankruptcy proceedings.

solvent: able to pay all debts; capable of meeting financial obligations
E.g.By dint of very frugal living, he was finally able to become solvent and avoid bankruptcy proceedings.

somber: gloomy; depressing or grave; dull or dark in color
E.g.From the doctor's grim expression, I could tell he had somber news.

somnambulist: sleepwalker; person who walks in his sleep
E.g.The most famous somnambulist in literature is Lady Macbeth; her monologue in the sleepwalking scene is one of the highlights of Shakespeare's play.

somnolent: half asleep; inclined to drowsiness; tending to induce sleep
E.g.The heavy meal and the overheated room made us all somnolent and indifferent to the speaker.

sonorous: having or producing full, loud, or deep sound; impressive in style of speech; easy to feel
E.g.We witnessed Professor Obama explaining the intricacies of the policy options in sonorous tones.

sophisticated: wide-ranging knowledge; complex; intellectually appealing
E.g.We could have secured our homeland -- investing in sophisticated new protection for our ports, our trains and our power plants.

sophistry: argument for exercise merely; plausible but misleading argument; art or process of reasoning; logic
E.g.Instead of advancing valid arguments, he tried to overwhelm his audience with a sophistry.

sophomoric: immature; half-baked, like a sophomore
E.g.Even if you're only a freshman, it's no compliment to be told your humor is sophomoric.

soporific: sleep-causing; marked by sleepiness
E.g.Professor Pringle's lectures were so soporific that even he fell asleep in class.

sordid: filthy; unethical or dishonest; dirty; foul; morally degraded
E.g.Many of these files contain sordid details about the personal lives of the litigants.

sound: sensation perceived by the ear; distinctive noise; long narrow inlet
E.g.The sound of TV is so loud that we have to talk in next room.

sour: taste experience when vinegar or lemon juice; showing ill humor
E.g.The incident now appears to be closed but it has left a sour taste among senior Italian diplomats responsible for relations with the Arab world.

sovereign: having supreme rank or power; self governing; excellent; independent
E.g.Belarus, Albania, the Ukraine also have sovereign currencies, not using euro, they also have crashed.

sovereignty: autonomy; independence
E.g.Iraq's Foreign Minister, Mr. Zebari let slip first thing this morning the news that it had been decided to bring forward the transfer of sovereignty to today.

sow: plant; place seeds in or on
E.g.You would sow the ground with sunflower seeds.

spangle: small metallic piece sewn to clothing for ornamentation
E.g.Each spangle on her dress sparkled in the glare of the stage lights.

spare: give up what is not strictly needed; hold back from; withhold or avoid; save or relieve from action
E.g.The terms of their new mandate were hard for Iraq to accept, but it had no choice to spare the country war.

sparse: occurring, growing, or settled at widely spaced intervals; not thick or dense
E.g.No matter how carefully Albert combed his hair to make it look as full as possible, it still looked sparse.

spartan: avoiding luxury and comfort; sternly disciplined
E.g.Looking over the bare, unheated room, with its hard cot, he wondered what he was doing in such spartan quarters.

spasmodic: affected by involuntary jerky muscular contractions; periodic
E.g.The spasmodic coughing in the auditorium annoyed the performers.

spat: minor dispute; brief quarrel
E.g.The most recent action in this spat is a complaint from Apple that mirrors Nokia's first complaint from October.

spate: sudden flood or strong outburst; sudden heavy fall of rain
E.g.After the spate of angry words that came pouring out of him, Mary was sure they would never be reconciled.

spatial: relating to space; existing in or connected with space
E.g.NASA is engaged in an ongoing program of spatial exploration.

spatula: broad-bladed instrument used for spreading or mixing
E.g.The two case knives are needed for mixing the ingredients in the bowl, and the spatula is used in handling the paste.

spawn: lay eggs; produce offspring in large numbers
E.g.Fish ladders had to be built in the dams to assist the salmon returning to spawn in their native streams.

specious: seemingly reasonable but incorrect; misleading intentionally
E.g.To claim that, because houses and birds both have wings, both can fly, is extremely specious reasoning.

speck: particle; a very small spot ; stain
E.g.I sought the orchard, driven to its shelter by the wind, which all day had blown strong and full from the south, without, however, bringing a speck of rain.

spectrum: colored band produced when beam of light passes through a prism; a range of values
E.g.The FCC plans to obtain spectrum from a number of sources, including the Wireless Communications Service Band and the Advanced Wireless Services Band.

spendthrift: one who spends money recklessly or wastefully
E.g.Easy access to credit encourages one to turn into spendthrift who shops till he drops.

spin: turn round rapidly; move round rapidly; move swiftly
E.g.We laid there all day, and watched the rafts and steamboats spin down the Missouri shore.

splice: fasten together; join at the ends; join by interweaving strands
E.g.Before you splice two strips of tape together, be sure to line them up evenly.

spontaneity: naturalness; freedom from constraint; happening or arising without external cause; self-generated
E.g.Next to his spontaneity is his rare simplicity, his gift of speaking straight from a heart that never grew old.

sporadic: occurring at irregular intervals; having no pattern or order in time
E.g.Although you can still hear sporadic outbursts of laughter and singing outside, the big Halloween parade has passed; the party's over till next year.

sportive: playful; relating to or interested in sports
E.g.Such a sportive attitude is surprising in a person as serious as you usually are.

sprightly: lively; brisk; animated; vigorous; airy; gay
E.g.The patient smiled when he heard the sprightly music on the radio.

sprout: have new growth of a plant such as a new branch or a bud; shoot up
E.g.The plant will sprout early this year.

spruce: coniferous tree of the genus Picea; neat, trim, and smart in appearance
E.g.He looks very spruce in his new suit.

spry: vigorously active; active, as in leaping or running
E.g.She was eighty years old, yet still spry and alert.

spurious: false; counterfeit; forged; illogical
E.g.Natasha's claim to be the lost heir of the Romanoffs was spurious: the only thing Russian about her was the vodka she drank!.

spurn: reject disdainfully or contemptuously; scorn
E.g.The heroine had to spurn the villain's advances.

squabble: minor quarrel; noisy quarrel, usually about a trivial matter
E.g.Children invariably get involved in such a squabble; wise parents know when to interfere and when to let the children work things out on their own.

squalor: filthy and wretched condition or quality; dirty or neglected state
E.g.Rusted, broken-down cars in its yard, trash piled up on the porch, tar paper peeling from the roof, the shack was the picture of squalor.

squander: spend wastefully; fail to take advantage of; lose a chance for
E.g.The real challenge here for the Obama campaign will be to avoid taking the bait, and let McCain squander his one asset.

squash: a game played in an enclosed court by two or four players who strike the ball with long-handled rackets; crush; press; depress
E.g.Squash is characterized as a "high-impact" exercise that can place strain on the joints, notably the knees.

squat: stocky; short and thick; low and broad
E.g.The man with the bottle was an Ossetian, like Stalin - squat and dark, with the same sort of brows, mustache and beetle eyes.

staccato: played in abrupt manner; marked by abrupt sharp sound
E.g.His staccato speech reminded one of the sound of a machine gun.

stagnant: not moving or flowing; lacking vitality or briskness; stale; dull
E.g.Mosquitoes commonly breed in ponds of stagnant water.

staid: sober; serious, organized, and professional; characterized by dignity and propriety
E.g.Her conduct during the funeral ceremony was staid and solemn.

stalemate: deadlock; situation in which further action is blocked
E.g.Negotiations between the union and the employers have reached a stalemate; neither side is willing to budge from previously stated positions.