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300 TOEFL Writing Vocabulary (5)



microcosm: Read
/'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: Read
/'mɪmɪk/ v. Syn. imitate; copy
copy or imitate closely, especially in speech, expression
Scientists process skin tissue to mimic embryonic stem cells.

misanthrope: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/'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: Read
/prə'vɪʒən(ə)l/ a. Syn. tentative; temporary
temporary; provided for present need only
Polanski is in provisional detention in Switzerland.

proximity: Read
/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: Read
/'sju:dənɪm/;/'su:-/ n.
pen name; fictitious name used when someone performs a particular social role
Samuel Clemens' pseudonym was Mark Twain.

punitive: Read
/'pju:nɪtɪv/ a. Syn. punishing
punishing; involving punishment; awarding or inflicting punishment
He asked for punitive measures against the offender.

querulous: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/ri:kə'pɪtjʊleɪt/ v. Syn. summarize
summarize; repeat in concise form
Let us recapitulate what has been said thus far before going ahead.

reciprocal: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'rɛdələnt/ a. Syn. fragrant; odorous
fragrant; odorous; suggestive of odor
Even though it is February, the air is redolent of spring.

redoubtable: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/ri:'ɪtəreɪt/ v.
say, state, or perform again or repeatedly
He will reiterate the warning to make sure everyone understood it.

remunerative: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/'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: Read
/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: Read
/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: Read
/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.