microcosm: /'maɪkrəkɒz(ə)m/ n. small, representative system having analogies to larger system; miniature model of something The small village community that Jane Austen depicts serves as a microcosm of English society in her time.
mimic: /'mɪmɪk/ v. Syn. imitate; copy copy or imitate closely, especially in speech, expression Scientists process skin tissue to mimic embryonic stem cells.
misanthrope: /'mɪsənθroʊp/ n. one who hates or mistrusts mankind In Gulliver's Travels, Swift portrays an image of humanity as vile, degraded beasts; for this reason, various critics consider him a misanthrope.
misnomer: /mɪs'noʊmə(r)/ n. error in naming person or place; name wrongly or unsuitably applied to a person or an object The essay did make the point that the name “greenhouse effect” is a misnomer, which is correct.
monologue: /'mɒnəlɒg/ n. speech uttered by a person alone; dramatic soliloquy I am not really a big fan of Sarah either but what she said in her opening monologue is true.
morose: /mə'roʊs/ a. Syn. sullen; gloomy ill humored; sullen; depressingly dark; gloomy; persistent Though we feel sad at someone's pain and sorrow, feeling morose is difficult while actively wishing the person to be happy.
motley: /'mɒtlɪ/ a. Syn. mixed; heterogeneous multi-colored; mixed; having elements of great variety He wore a loose tunic and looser trousers, homespun and dyed in motley green and brown.
mottled: /'mɒt(ə)ld/ a. Syn. spotted spotted with different shades or colors When old Falstaff blushed, his face was mottled with embarrassment, all pink and purple and red.
mundane: /'mʌndeɪn/ a. Syn. worldly; earthly; secular belonging to this earth or world; not ideal or heavenly; concerned with commonplaces; ordinary Unlike other players, the CEO and Secretariat are less interested in mundane benefits than in value.
murky: /'mɜrkɪ/ a. Syn. vague dark and gloomy; thick with fog; vague The murky depths of the swamp were so dark that one couldn't tell the vines and branches from the snakes.
myriad: /'mɪrɪəd/ a. Syn. innumerable; many; countless; numberless of very large or indefinite number; of ten thousand In China, for example, where a number of different dialects are spoken, the same character can be pronounced in myriad ways.
nautical: /'nɔ:tɪk(ə)l/ a. Syn. marine; maritime; naval relating to ships, sailors, or navigation I dressed myself in nautical rig, and went on deck to see all that I could.
nettle: /'nɛt(ə)l/ v. Syn. annoy; vex cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations; vex Do not let him nettle you with his sarcastic remarks.
nocturnal: /nɒk'tɜrn(ə)l/ a. Syn. nightly of or relating to or occurring in the night; most active at night They wouldn't rest until the large black snake, which appears to be nocturnal, is no longer free.
noisome: /'nɔɪsəm/ a. foul-smelling; offensive by arousing disgust; harmful or dangerous The noisome atmosphere downwind of the oil refinery not only stank, it damaged the lungs of everyone living in the area.
nostalgia: /nə'stældʒə/ n. Syn. homesickness homesickness; bittersweet longing for things of past. We've been there for a couple weeks now and the nostalgia is there, but we are trying to keep everything fresh.
notorious: /noʊ'tɔ:rɪəs/ a. Syn. disreputable; infamous disreputable; known widely and usually unfavorably; infamous They could add a subset of public restrooms around the country where certain notorious events have taken place.
novice: /'nɒvɪs/ n. Syn. beginner beginner; person new to a field or activity To do this appears so abrupt that the novice is apt to make a further effort to finish up the subject.
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.
oblivion: /ə'blɪvɪən/ n. Syn. amnesty condition or quality of being completely forgotten; official overlooking of offenses; amnesty The only thing keeping McCain from oblivion is his image as a nonpartisan maverick.
oblivious: /ə'blɪvɪəs/ a. Syn. forgetful inattentive or unmindful; lacking all memory; forgetful One can even travel to Ben Gurion Airport and remain oblivious to the concrete separation wall.
obsession: /əb'sɛʃ(ə)n/ n. Syn. fascination; mania compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion This obsession is aimless and brainless and ends with your oblivion in American politics.
obsolete: /'ɒbsəli:t/ a. Syn. outmoded; antiquated no longer useful; outmoded; antiquated But the content is very difficult to locate, and often in obsolete video formats.
obtrude: /əb'tru:d/ v. push oneself or one's ideas forward or intrude; stick out or extrude Because Fanny was reluctant to obtrude her opinions about child-raising upon her daughter-in-law, she kept a close watch on her tongue.
obtrusive: /əb'tru:sɪv/ a. inclined to intrude or thrust one's self or one's opinions upon others; enter uninvited; forward; pushing; intrusive. I might have escaped notice, had not my treacherous slate somehow happened to slip from my hand, and falling with an obtrusive crash, directly drawn every eye upon me.
obviate: /'ɒbvɪeɪt/ v. bypass requirement or make it unnecessary; get rid of I hope this contribution will obviate any need for further collections of funds.
omnipotent: /ɒm'nɪpətənt/ a. Syn. infinite all-powerful; having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force The monarch regarded himself as omnipotent and responsible to no one for his acts.
onus: /'oʊnəs/ n. Syn. burden; responsibility burden or obligation; difficult or disagreeable responsibility or necessity The emperor was spared the onus of signing the surrender papers; instead, he relegated the assignment to his generals.
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.
ostracize: /'ɒstrəsaɪz/ v. Syn. ban exclude from community or group; banish by popular vote As soon as the newspapers carried the story of his connection with the criminals, his friends began to ostracize him.
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.
panegyric: /pænɪ'dʒɪrɪk/ n. formal or high praise; formal eulogistic composition intended as public compliment Blushing at all the praise heaped upon him by the speakers, the modest hero said, "I don't deserve any panegyric.".
paradox: /'pærədɒks/ n. Syn. contradiction something apparently contradictory in nature; statement that looks false but is actually correct Richard presents a bit of a paradox, for he is a card-carrying member of both the National Rifle Association and the relatively pacifist American Civil Liberties Union.
paraphrase: /'pærəfreɪz/ v. Syn. restate; reword restate text in one's own words, especially to clarify thought of others In 250 words or less, paraphrase this article.
parody: /'pærədɪ/ n. work or performance that imitates another work or performance with ridicule or irony; make fun of The show Forbidden Broadway presents a parody spoofing the year's new productions playing on Broadway.
peccadillo: /pɛkə'dɪloʊ/ n. slight offense; small sin or fault When Peter Piper picked a peck of Polly Potter's pickles, did Pete commit a major crime or just a peccadillo?.
pecuniary: /pɪ'kju:nɪərɪ/ a. relating to money; requiring payment of money Seldom earning enough to cover their expenses, folk dance teachers work because they love dancing, not because they expect any pecuniary reward.
pedant: /'pɛdənt/ n. one who is overly concerned with formal rules and trivial points of learning Her insistence that the book be memorized marked the teacher as a pedant rather than a scholar.
pedantic: /pɪ'dəntɪk/ a. Syn. bookish marked by narrow focus on or display of learning, especially formal rules and trivial points Leavening his decisions with humorous, down-to-earth anecdotes, Judge Walker was not at all the pedantic legal scholar.
pensive: /'pɛnsɪv/ a. Syn. contemplative deeply, often dreamily thoughtful; engaged in serious thought or reflection; contemplative The pensive lover gazed at the portrait of his beloved and deeply sighed.
peremptory: /pə'rɛmptərɪ/;/'pɛrəmptɔ:rɪ/ a. Syn. imperative offensively self-assured; dictatorial; not allowing contradiction or refusal From Jack's peremptory knock on the door, Jill could tell he would not give up until she let him in.
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.
peruse: /pə'ru:z/ v. read or examine, typically with great care After the conflagration that burned down her house, Joan closely began to peruse her home insurance policy to discover exactly what benefits her coverage provided her.
perverse: /pə'vɜrs/ a. stubbornly wrongheaded; directed away from what is right or good When Jack was in a perverse mood, he would do the opposite of whatever Jill asked him.
petrify: /'pɛtrɪfaɪ/ v. convert wood or other organic matter into stony replica; cause to become stiff or stonelike His sudden and unexpected appearance seemed to petrify her.
plagiarism: /'pleɪdʒərɪzəm/ n. Syn. copying; imitation theft of another's ideas or writings passed off as original The editor recognized the plagiarism and rebuked the culprit who had presented the manuscript as original.
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.
plebeian: /plɪ'bi:ən/ a. crude or coarse; unrefined or coarse in nature or manner; common or vulgar After five weeks of rigorous studying, the graduate settled in for a weekend of plebeian socializing and television watching.
ponderous: /'pɒndərəs/ a. Syn. weighty slow and laborious because of weight; labored and dull His humor lacked the light touch; his jokes were always ponderous.
precarious: /prɪ'kɛərɪəs/ a. Syn. uncertain; risky uncertain; risky; dangerously lacking in security or stability But that is why NASA used test pilots, men used to handling life and death decisions in precarious situations and instantly making the right choice.
precipitous: /prɪ'sɪpɪtəs/ a. Syn. steep; overhasty extremely steep; descending rapidly, or rushing onward This hill is difficult to climb because it is so precipitous.
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.
predatory: /'prɛdətərɪ/;/'prɛdətɔ:rɪ/ a. Syn. carnivorous living by preying on other animals Every few seconds the bait fish were flying out of the water from attacks by predatory fish.
predilection: /pri:dɪ'lɛkʃ(ə)n/;/prɛdl'ɛkʃən/ n. Syn. partiality; preference condition of favoring or liking; tendency towards; preference Although I have written all sorts of poetry over the years, I have a definite predilection for occasional verse.
prelude: /'prɛlju:d/ n. Syn. introduction; forerunner introduction; forerunner; preliminary or preface I am afraid that this border raid is the prelude to more serious attacks.
prerogative: /prɪ'rɒgətɪv/ n. Syn. privilege privilege; unquestionable right; exclusive power to command For the sake of policy and representativeness, we need a constitutional amendment to remove this prerogative from the president.
prestige: /prɛ'sti:ʒ/ n. Syn. fame; reputation impression produced by achievements or reputation; recognized distinction or importance What they are doing to our military, our treasury, our power, and our prestige is an unconscionable national betrayal.
presumption: /prɪ'zʌmpʃ(ə)n/ n. act of presuming, or believing upon probable evidence; act of assuming; belief upon incomplete proof And the poor old stick used to cry out 'Oh you villains childs!' -- and then we sermonized her on the presumption of attempting to teach such clever blades as we were, when she was herself so ignorant.
prevaricate: /prɪ'værɪkeɪt/ v. Syn. lie lie; stray from or evade truth; behave in evasive way such as to delay action Some people believe that to prevaricate in a good cause is justifiable and regard such a statement as a "white lie.".
procrastinate: /proʊ'kræstɪneɪt/ v. Syn. postpone postpone or delay needlessly; put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness Looking at four years of receipts he still had to sort through, Bob was truly sorry to procrastinate for so long and not finished filing his taxes long ago.
prognosis: /prɒg'noʊsɪs/ n. Syn. forecast; prediction forecasted course of a disease; forecast or prediction; likelihood of recovery from a disease Doctors have told him his long-term prognosis is good, but rehabilitation and training is necessary.
promontory: /'prɒməntərɪ/;/-tɔ:rɪ/ n. Syn. cliff natural elevation, especially a rock that projects into the sea; cliff; headland; high cape They erected a lighthouse on the promontory to warn approaching ships of their nearness to the shore.
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.
provisional: /prə'vɪʒən(ə)l/ a. Syn. tentative; temporary temporary; provided for present need only Polanski is in provisional detention in Switzerland.
proximity: /prɒk'sɪmɪtɪ/ n. Syn. nearness; adjacency state of being proximate; nearness in place, time, or relation Blind people sometimes develop a compensatory ability to sense the proximity of objects around them.
pseudonym: /'sju:dənɪm/;/'su:-/ n. pen name; fictitious name used when someone performs a particular social role Samuel Clemens' pseudonym was Mark Twain.
punitive: /'pju:nɪtɪv/ a. Syn. punishing punishing; involving punishment; awarding or inflicting punishment He asked for punitive measures against the offender.
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.
raconteur: /rækɒn'tə:(r)/ n. Syn. storyteller storyteller; one who tells stories and anecdotes with skill and wit My father was a gifted raconteur with an unlimited supply of anecdotes.
radical: /'rædɪk(ə)l/ a. Syn. drastic; extreme drastic; extreme; arising from or going to a root or source; basic President Correa has shown he is determined to follow a radical program of reforms to tackle poverty in Ecuador.
ramification: /ræmɪfɪ'keɪʃ(ə)n/ n. Syn. subdivision act or process of branching out or dividing into branches; subdivision or branch We must examine every ramification of this problem.
raze: /reɪz/ v. Syn. demolish; ruin destroy completely; scrape or shave off Spelling is important: to raise a building is to put it up; to raze a building is to tear it down.
recapitulate: /ri:kə'pɪtjʊleɪt/ v. Syn. summarize summarize; repeat in concise form Let us recapitulate what has been said thus far before going ahead.
reciprocal: /rɪ'sɪprək(ə)l/ a. Syn. mutual; exchangeable; interacting concerning each of two or more persons or things; exchangeable; interacting The two nations signed a reciprocal trade agreement.
recumbent: /rɪ'kʌmbənt/ a. Syn. reclining reclining; lying down completely or in part The command "AT EASE" does not permit you to take a recumbent position.
redolent: /'rɛdələnt/ a. Syn. fragrant; odorous fragrant; odorous; suggestive of odor Even though it is February, the air is redolent of spring.
redoubtable: /rɪ'daʊtəb(ə)l/ a. Syn. formidable formidable; arousing fear or awe; worthy of respect or honor During the Cold War period, neighboring countries tried not to offend the Russians because they could be redoubtable foes.
refute: /rɪ'fju:t/ v. Syn. disprove disprove; prove to be false or incorrect The defense called several respectable witnesses who were able to refute the false testimony of the prosecution's sole witness.
reiterate: /ri:'ɪtəreɪt/ v. say, state, or perform again or repeatedly He will reiterate the warning to make sure everyone understood it.
remunerative: /rɪ'mju:nərətɪv/ a. Syn. compensating; rewarding compensating; rewarding; profitable or paying I find my new work so remunerative that I may not return to my previous employment.
renegade: /'rɛnɪgeɪd/ n. Syn. deserter; traitor disloyal person; traitor or rebel Because he had abandoned his post and joined forces with the Indians, his fellow officers considered the hero of Dances with Wolves a renegade.
reprisal: /rɪ'praɪz(ə)l/ n. Syn. retaliation action taken in return for injury or offense Villagers have reported that thousands of homes have been burned to the ground in reprisal attacks mainly by the FDLR.
resentment: /rɪ'zɛntmənt/ n. Syn. indignation; bitterness; displeasure indignation; deep sense of injury; strong displeasure That Gerry finally has let go of his resentment is an enormous relief to me.
resilient: /rɪ'zɪlɪənt/ a. Syn. elastic; flexible; rebounding elastic; having power of springing back or recover readily Based on its highly resilient, the steel is good to make excellent bedsprings.
respite: /'rɛspaɪt/ n. Syn. pause usually short interval of rest or relief; delay in punishment For David, the two weeks vacationing in New Zealand were a delightful respite from the pressures of his job.
retribution: /rɛtrɪ'bju:ʃ(ə)n/ n. Syn. vengeance; compensation something justly deserved; recompense; compensation; punishment for offenses A robber whom a jury sentences to 10 years in retribution said something misled them.
retrieve: /rɪ'tri:v/ v. Syn. recover; regain recover; find and bring in; get back They say the more they talk to these detainees, the more tips and evidence they retrieve from the area.
rudimentary: /ru:dɪ'mɛntərɪ/ a. Syn. elementary; crude; incipient relating to basic facts or principles; being in the earliest stages of development; incipient One teacher is assigned for four years to the homeroom class, which combines lessons in rudimentary social skills with those in computer and civics.