Studying the words in context, and examining the brief definitions and examples provided in this list, will add significantly to the student's real understanding of proper usage.
abate (a bate')
Make less; die down.
Example: The city passed a law to abate the noise coming from factories.
Kidnapped; carried away a person by force.
abet (a bet')
Assist; help out, especially in doing something bad.
Example: Nixon had a staff to abet his crimes.
abide (a byd')
Tolerate; stand. In archaic usage, abide means to live there, and the home where one abides is called an abode.
abroad (a brod')
Outside of your own country.
abrogate (ab' ro gate)
Cancel by an official act.
abscond (ab skond')
Run off with the money.
Not there; missing.
absurd (ab serd')
Makes no sense; stupid; goofy.
Plentiful; there's lots of it.
abuse (ab yous') Noun.
Bad treatment. As a verb, abuse is pronounced (ab youz').
Permission to visit; admittance.
What happened to the money. People who can understand such statements are called accountants.
accuse (ak yuze')
Blame; say someone did something bad.
Recognize; admit to be true.
Someone you know slightly, less than a friend.
acquire (a qwire')
Found to be not guilty of the crime charged.
adept (a dept')
Good at something; skilled.
adhere (ad here')
adjacent (a jay' sent)
Next to each other; contiguous.
adjust (a just')
Improve; change; fix.
Allow; confess to be true.
adorn (a dorn')
Decorate; dress up.
adversary (ad' ver sary)
When the going gets tough.
Spoke in favor of.
affability (af a bil' i ty)
Genteel good humor; jolly but not overbearing behavior. The fine line between affability (which is pleasant) and jocularity (which is irritating) is most important to discover.
affinity (a fin' i ty)
Example: The judge afforded him an opportunity to tell his side of the story.
Afford also means to be able to spend. Example: Most college students can't afford to spend more than $500 a month on rent.
affront (a frunt')
aggravate (ag' ra vate)
Make worse, or more serious.
Example: Bill Clinton aggravated his crimes by his efforts to silence his accusers.
The one who starts the fight.
aghast (a gast')
Extremely astonished and horrified; a state of bewilderment usually expressed with open mouth and bugged eyes.
Disturbed; stirred up.
Be in fearful suspense.
Friendly; in harmony.
alacrity (a lak' ri ty)
Willingness and enthusiasm; energetic joy.
A major effort, using all available resources.
allays (a layz')
Tones down; softens.
Being a friend or ally; loyalty.
alliance (a ly' ans)
Partnership; coalition; team. A relationship based on mutual commitments to defend each other's interests. An ally (al' eye) is your partner in this relationship.
aloof (a loof')
Like you aren't interested in being there; superior and detached in attitude, like a cat more than like a dog.
Raised place for performing ritual killings.
ambiguous (am big' yoo us)
Vague; unclear because it could mean two things.
An ambiguity (am big yoo' i ty) is vague spot in a text.
ambitious (am bish' us)
Greedy; hungry for more power.
ambivalence (am biv' a lence)
The state of not being able to decide if you like it more than you hate it.
ambush (am' bush)
Surprise attack out of hiding.
anarchy (an' er ky)
Nobody's in charge; freedom for the criminals.
Forefathers; prior generations of your family.
animus (an' i mus)
Strong dislike; hostile attitude.
annotated (an' o ta ted)
With additional notes to the text, such as this edition of Plutarch's Lives. Example: Annotated statutes are printed laws supplemented with references to related judicial decisions.
annulled (a nuld')
Cancelled; made as if it never happened.
anomalous (a nom' a lus)
Out of place; shouldn't be there. An anomaly is something anomalous, i.e. something you don't expect to find there.
antagonist (an tag' o nist)
anti- (an' ty)
Against; opposed to.
anxious (ank' shus)
Worried; filled with anxiety.
Imitate without understanding, the way monkeys do.
apologize (a pol' o gize)
Say that you are sorry for what you have done; offer excuses for errors.
appease (a peez')
Give them what they want so they will stop making trouble.
aptitude (ap' ti tude)
Promise; probability of success at learning.
arbitrarily (ar bi trer' i ly)
For no good reason; from a whim of power.
arbitrate (ar' bi trate) Verb.
Decide a dispute by a third party, whose decision the disputants agree to follow. This third party is called the arbitrator, and the dispute resolution process is called arbitration.
Worst enemy; nemesis.
Soldier who shoots arrows.
arete (ah' re tay)
Arete, in English, means something like "virtue" and "excellence" and all of the qualities that together make up good character. The knightly code of chivalry is similar to the Greek idea of arete, but to the Greeks the concept had more metaphysical significance.
arguably (ar' gyu a bly)
It would not be unreasonable to think so; a good advocate could think up some plausible argument to support this position; unbiased and reasonable people would not laugh if you said this.
aristocracy (ar is tok' ra see)
The ruling class, or, as a political system, "rule of the best" (its literal meaning in Greek). Who these "best" are is usually determined by which family they happen to be born in.
Set up; organize.
arrest (a rest')
arrogant (ar' o gant)
Pushy; bossy. The opposite of humble.
A body of technical knowledge or skill. Note that the term is not limited to painting or sculpture, which is properly called "fine art."
Not natural; done by means of technology.
artisan (ar' ti zan)
One who makes beautiful things, for example, a jeweler or a craftsman in wood.
ashamed (a shaymd')
Embarrassed; wish you were dead.
Example: The fact that he was not ashamed proved that he had no sense of honor, and therefore could not be trusted with the office of President.
assailant (a say' lant)
Attacker; one who is trying to harm somebody.
assassinate (a sas' in ate)
Murder a public official.
Example: The crime of assault is complete even if no blow is struck (that's battery), so long as the victim was scared by the attack.
Suppose that it's true.
assurance (a shur' ance)
astonishing (as ton' ish ing)
Up for grabs; the prize for the winner; at risk.
atrocity (a tross' si ty)
Cruel and violent act; an outrage. Atrocious (a tro' shus) means outrageously bad. Example: His table manners are atrocious.
attribute (at' tri bute) Noun.
A quality or characteristic. Note the difference in how this word is pronounced from when it is used as a verb.
attribute (a trib' ute) Verb.
Say it came from that source.
Example: The painting was attributed to Rembrandt.
Loss in numbers.
Example: The attrition rate for first year law students is 35%.
Sold to the highest bidder at an auction, or public bidding procedure.
austere (os teer')
Spartan; serious and disciplined; not ornamented; not luxurious. The quality of being austere is called austerity (os ter' i ty).
The power and right to command.
avenge (a venge')
Get even for; take revenge.
Steer clear of; dodge; evade.
Impressed extremely, to the point of amazement. You are awed by something awesome.
awkward (ok' werd)
Not graceful; embarrassing; clumsy. 100
Withdraw from a commitment; retreat.
Example: When prices rose, they tried to back out of the deal.
backed up by
Supporting; on the side of.
ballast (bal' est)
Additional weight in the bottom of a ship, put there for the purpose of lowering its center of gravity, thereby preventing the ship from tipping over.
Order someone to leave and not ever come back.
When your debts exceed your assets; broke.
banquet (bank' wet)
Dinner party for a large group.
barbarian (bar bay' ri en)
To the Greeks, only Greece had civilization worthy of the name and people worthy of the system, therefore all foreigners who had made it past being savages were considered barbarians, even if they were technologically advanced. Barbarians, such as the Persians, were considered laughably crude and gaudy.
bargain (bar' gen)
Deal; contract. Your part of the bargain is what you are committed to doing under the terms of the contract.
Not fertile; nothing grows there.
Defensive barrier; wall against the enemy.
bear the brunt
Take most of the load.
beat to the punch
Strike first; launch a pre-emptive attack.
begrudge (be gruj')
behold (be hold')
belittle (be lit' tel)
Denigrate another person's abilities; criticize; run down.
Get something good.
betray (be tray')
Turn against. Betrayal is when a person you think is a friend acts as your enemy behind your back.
Cast a spell on; influence by magic.
bizarre (be zar')
Weird; very odd.
When you prevent transportation in or out.
Made a bad mistake.
body politic (pol' i tic)
The politically active population, in general.
Grand and loud but empty. Bombast is called "bullshit" in colloquial American English.
Loot; plunder; ill-gotten gains.
Give orders because you are intoxicated with authority.
Annoying; pestering; being a nuisance.
braggadocio (brag a do' si o)
Produces, as a parent.
Breeding is the education of a person in the social graces by the example of his family. Ill-bred means that you have bad manners, and therefore your parents are presumably bumpkins too.
Easily cracked; not tough.
Example: After she broke off their engagement, she returned his ring.
The brother of your wife or husband.
Abrupt and blunt, not wasting time with courtesies and formalities.
buffoon (buff oon')
Person who is ignorant of manners and style; redneck.
Badly done; inept.
by means of
Through; using. 46
cadre (cad' re)
A group of future leaders; hard core of an organization.
Cancel a planned event.
Pacify; mellow out; chill.
came to pass
Turned out; happened as an expected result.
candid (can' did)
Example: After his comically insincere address on national TV, the American people suspected that Bill Clinton was not candid with the grand jury either.
Gets things done.
What you are capable of; how much you can do.
Also capacity means one's legal power, as opposed to personal power. Example: Mr. Smith signed the promissory note in his capacity as President of ABC Corporation, and he signed individually as well at the request of the bank.
Punishable by death.
caprice (ca preece')
Fickleness; unsteady affection; foolish whimsy.
Catch. As a noun, capture means being caught.
casual (cas' yu el)
Not nervous, tense, or strict. Nonchalant (non shal ont').
Those who are hurt or killed.
catastrophic (cat as tro' fic)
Very, very bad news. A catastrophe (cat as' tro fee) is bigger than a disaster or a calamity.
Overtake; close the lead; come from behind.
cavalry (cav' al ry)
Soldiers who ride on horses.
Centaur (sen' tar)
Mythical creature that is half horse and half man.
One who fights on behalf of another. This term comes from the days when lawsuits were decided by combat, and weak litigants were permitted to substitute a champion for themselves. Note that in contemporary American English, champion also means the winner of a tournament.
chaos (kay' os)
Disorganization; a state of total disorder; absolute randomness.
Running at the enemy; assault.
Accuse of; put a burden on.
chasm (kaz' um)
Deep crack in the ground.
chaste (rhymes with past)
Clean; refraining from sexual contact.
chauvinism (sho' vin is m)
Pride in your group identity.
cheered them up
Made them happier.
chronicle (kron' i cul)
Report of events.
circumstances (sir' cum stan ses)
The world around you.
Freedoms and powers; what you can lawfully do in the society.
Note that civil rights does not mean preferential treatment based on your race or gender -- that is called "affirmative action."
One who engages the services of a professional.
Bore the taste.
Example: Her relentless chatter soon began to cloy, and he looked for some excuse to leave.
Bunch or group.
Hostilities, but no all-out war.
colleagues (col' eegs)
Formally gave the job.
What you would expect anyone to know.
commonwealth (com' mon welth)
A social organization where each participant has a share in the governing power, like a corporation.
Sympathy; pity; kind spirit.
compel (com pel')
To force; make someone do something.
competent (com' pe tant)
Can do the job; capable.
Assemble data or documents into a record or book.
Going along with; doing what they want.
Calmness; emotional balance.
Add to, make worse.
As an adjective, compound means added on. Compound interest is added to the principal of a debt, either daily or annually, as it accrues. A compound fracture is a broken bone that pierces the skin.
Pressure; the opposite of persuasion; being compelled. When you are compelled to do something, you're not happy about it but you go ahead and get it done.
comrades (com' radz)
Fellow soldiers; buddies.
conceal (con seel')
Deluded by a high opinion of yourself; pretending to be cool.
What you can think of if you really try. "Every conceivable comfort " means that all possible efforts were made to provide the very best accommodations.
Agreement; common will.
Example: The strength of the Japanese management style is the emphasis on consensus building, rather than autocratic edicts from the big boss.
Note that the common mistake "consensus of opinion" is redundant.
Everybody is working as a team to accomplish a task.
Something given reluctantly.
Example: The school year concluded in June.
Concluded, in a different context, also means decided after thinking about it a while. Example: The company concluded that the exposure from harassment and discrimination lawsuits outweighed any benefit from making its product in the USA.
Express abhorrence; damn.
condemned (con demd') Past Participle, used as an Adjective.
Doomed; facing a bad future.
confer (con fer')
Trust; give secret information.
Establish the truth of; make more firm the opinion.
confiscation (con fis ka' shun)
Seizure of property by the government.
conflict (con' flict) Noun.
Fight. Used as a verb, the accent is on the second syllable.
conform (con form')
Do like everybody else does.
Showdown; potential fight.
congregate (con' gre gate)
Get together as friends.
conscience (con' shens)
Moral sense; what you know from inside.
consent (con sent')
Permit or permission.
consequences (con' sa quen ses)
Results that follow from an action.
Made up of.
Bring together and organize; make sure of.
Plan together to do something evil.
Agreed plan of government.
construe (con stroo')
Figure out the meaning of writings or actions; interpret.
Rome elected two co-presidents each year, called consuls.
Plan together with; seek counsel from.
Those who are alive when you are.
contempt (con tempt')
Disdain; scorn; an attitude of disrespect. Contemptible means worthy of contempt.
Argument, disagreement, competition.
Satisfaction; peaceful spirit.
From time to time, but not every moment.
Note the important difference between continually and continuously, which means without a break.
Go on; keep going.
continuous (con tin' yu us)
Without a break.
contrary to (con' tra ry)
Against; opposite to.
contrast (con' trast) Noun.
Used as a verb, the accent is on the second syllable.
Accomplish with some ingenuity.
Call together for a meeting.
Being convinced; what you believe.
corroborate (co rob' or ate)
Support the testimony of a witness with other evidence, such as the testimony of other witnesses or physical evidence.
Immoral; changed for the worse.
Example: Rust is corrupt iron, just as possessiveness is corrupt love.
Corruption is particularly concerned with the taking of bribes, or payoffs of various kinds to circumvent the civil or moral law. For the definitive treatment of this most interesting and relevant subject, see Bribes by John T. Noonan, Jr. [Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit] (University of California Press 1987).
counsel (kown' sel)
Rely on; depend on; have faith in.
Takeover of government by force.
courteous (ker' te us)
Well-mannered; polite; considerate and graceful in conversation and behavior. Courtesy (ker' te see) is the quality of being courteous.
Female entertainer; high-class prostitute.
Hide; conceal; distract attention from.
Being too afraid to act properly.
Example: "Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." -- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 2, Scene 2.
Believability; reputation for telling the truth.
One who money is owed to.
credulity (cre du' li tee)
Willingness to believe in what you're told.
crisis (kry' sis)
Important moment; time to worry a lot. The plural is crises (kry' seez).
Holy war; campaign for a good cause.
cuckold (cuk' old)
Husband of an unfaithful wife.
Signal for an actor to say or do something.
Slyness; craftiness; guile.
Ingratiate; suck up; brown nose.
Those who take care of something given to them by another.
According to custom; what's usually done. 109
debacle (de bok' ul)
Big defeat; screw-up.
debate (de bate')
Contest of arguments.
debauch (de bawch')
Orgy; excessive party.
debris (dey bree')
The broken pieces.
Intentionally giving the wrong idea. Deception is what is done by deceit.
Say no to some proposed action; turn down an offer.
decree (da cree')
Official public statement of new rules.
decrepit (de crep' it)
Worn out and falling apart.
deduced (de duced')
Figured out; drew the logical conclusion.
defaulted (de fal' ted)
Failed to meet a promise.
This term is typically used to describe the failure of a borrower to pay back a loan. The loan goes into default when the payments are past due. The promise to pay is made with a promissory note, which must state the amount and a certain date for payment. Without the certain date, it is only an IOU.
defective (de fek' tive)
Something's wrong with it; badly made. If it's defective, it has a defect (dee' fect).
defer (de fer')
To defer to someone means to acknowledge the superior right or ability of another person to take action. To defer some action means to put it off until later.
defy (de fy')
Challenge the power of.
Bummed out; extremely discouraged.
deliberate (de lib' er et)
Carefully considered; cautious.
Used as a verb, to deliberate (de lib' er ate) means to think about something.
False perception; hallucination; mirage.
Public speaker that can arouse a crowd.
demeanor (de mean' er)
How you carry yourself; attitude.
Destroy completely and systematically.
Discouraged; have lost their morale (mo rall'), or fighting spirit.
Thick; lots of them in a small space.
Be extremely unhappy about.
Example: Her family deplored his atrocious table manners.
Removed from high office; impeached.
Sadness to the point of paralysis.
deprive (de pryv')
Prevent from having.
Taunt; speak scornfully to someone.
descend (de send')
To be a descendant means that you are related by blood to someone who has died, i.e. you are descended from him.
desert (de zert')
Walk out; abandon.
desolate (dess' o let)
Ruined and deserted; empty place.
The state of being desperate, or having the recklessness of despair.
Example: "The majority of men live lives of quiet desperation," said Thoreau in Walden.
View with extreme disgust and contempt.
despot (dez' pot)
Cruel and capricious ruler.
Being caught; discovery.
detest (de test')
Really hate a lot.
detour (dee' toor)
Change in path.
Critics; jeerleaders; those who say bad things about you.
devout (de vowt')
Pious; very religious.
You have two choices, and neither one is good.
diligent (dil' e jent)
diminish (dim in' ish)
Politeness and guile.
disarray (dis a ray')
Disorganization; a messed up state.
Example: The Americans were in disarray over the wisdom of supporting Clinton's new war.
discipline (dis' i plin)
disclaim (dis claim')
Deny that it's yours.
A disclaimer of warranties is frequently found on used cars, so that the salesman can claim you agreed to buy the car whether it runs or not.
discontent (dis con tent')
Unhappiness; the state of not being contented.
discourse (dis' course)
Speech; skill at talking.
disdained (dis daynd')
Rejected; declined with contempt.
disguise (dis kies')
False appearance; camouflage.
disgust (dis gust')
Discourage; bum out.
Afraid and shocked.
disown (dis own')
Say he's not one of us.
Talk about how bad someone is.
Quarrel; argument over something.
Disagreement; contrary opinion.
dissipate (dis' i pate)
Weaken by scattering.
dissuade (dis wayd')
Talk out of; opposite of persuade, which is to talk into.
distinct (dis tinct')
Not mixed up but different and separate; easy to see.
Standing out from the crowd; fame.
Characteristic and tending to identify.
Example: She could tell who sent her the note by the distinctive handwriting.
distract (dis tract')
Cause to move in a different direction; turn aside.
divine (de vine')
do away with
Get rid of; remove.
doctrine (doc' trin)
System of teachings.
Control by superior strength.
Being the boss.
dose (rhymes with close)
Quantity of medicine taken.
Spy who has been turned. You think he's your spy, by the enemy has made him work for them.
Price paid to a husband by the father of the bride to marry her.
Compelled to be soldiers.
This term is from entomology. In the world of bees, where the queen and all of the workers are female, a few drones are permitted to exist as consorts for the queen.
When the land dries up for lack of rain.
Notice of the intended action of the government and the opportunity to be heard concerning this intended action. "Due process" is a term of art in constitutional law, and it comprises the two elements of notice and opportunity to be heard. 79
eager (ee' ger, with a hard g, as in good)
Fired up; really wanting to.
Pleasant and calm.
Example: Television viewers still enjoy easy-going Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry.
Off-center; odd; weird in an amusing way.
Capable; competent; it works.
Weak and foolish.
elan (ey lan')
Vigor and style. A French concept, with no English equivalent.
eligible (el' i ji bul)
Qualified; fit to be chosen.
elite (e leet')
Belonging to a chosen group of individuals much better than average.
eloquence (el' o quence)
Get on a ship for a trip.
Steal while you are in a position of trust.
emphatic (em fat' ik)
Vehement; strongly worded; emotional.
Meet; run into.
You can't move easily because of all the stuff you are carrying.
Support, recommendation, backing.
Suffer patiently until the end.
enfranchise (en fran' chize)
Give the right to vote.
Example: He argued that the decline and fall of the United States began with the enfranchisement of women by the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.
Signing up; recruiting.
en masse (on moss')
All together in a compact group.
enrage (en rage')
Make very angry.
Working hard and happy.
entourage (on' tu raj)
The crowd that accompanies a big shot.
envoy (on' voy)
Messenger; person sent on official business.
Want to change places with someone.
essential (es sen' chul)
Not speaking to each other.
Moral system; code of behavior.
eunuch (yoo' nuk)
Castrated male slave. Eunuchs were extensively used in the ancient world as bureaucrats. Wealth was their compensation for the loss of their balls.
euphemism (yoo' fem is m)
Nice way to say it.
Example: The "political correctness" movement has made sensitivity into a joke by ridiculous euphemisms.
eventually (e ven' chwa ly)
Happens later, as expected.
evidence (e' vi dence)
Facts tending to prove the truth of an assertion.
Can be seen.
Hype; make to appear bigger than what is real.
Example: It was plain to the jury that the plaintiff was exaggerating her injury in the hope of getting rich.
exasperated (eg zas' per a ted)
Fed up; angry and impatient.
excessive (ek ses' ive)
Don't have to do what everyone else has to.
An exemption is a waiver of a requirement.
exert (eg zert')
Project one's power; exercise.
exhaustion (eg zaws' chun)
Tiredness; weariness; emptiness.
exhort (eg zort')
Loudly encourage someone.
Absence from your native country, against your will.
A person in this condition is called an exile.
expel (ex pel')
Kick out; send away.
Expulsion is the act of expelling.
expenditure (ex pen' di chur)
When you spend money on something, you make an expenditure.
expertise (ex per tees')
Knowledge of an expert.
Time has run out.
exploit (ex' ployt) Noun.
This word has very different meanings when used as a noun and as a verb. The verb exploit (ex ployt') means to make use of in a greedy way.
Clearly stated, in writing or otherwise.
Very, very nice.
Composed on the spot; not made up beforehand.
extirpate (ex' tir pate)
Root out; completely remove all vestiges of something bad.
extort (ex tort')
Compel to pay by threats. Extortion is a crime.
extraordinary (ex tror' di na ry)
extravagance (ex tra' va gance)
Excessiveness; immodesty; bad taste.
exult (eg zult')
Feel proud openly. 58
Instructive tale, with animals as the characters.
Group within a larger group.
Deceived by a feint.
familiarity (fa mil' i a" ri ty)
Knowledge from seeing something a lot.
famine (fam' in)
When there is not enough food, and people starve.
fatigue (fa teeg')
Tiredness from hard work.
Example: Most of the directors are in favor of the proposal.
Example: The judge decided in her favor.
Example: He did her a favor.
Giving excessive affection.
feigning (fay' ning)
Long quarrel between families.
Not constant; disloyal.
Find the answer to a puzzle or a question.
finance (fi' nance) verb
Pay the costs of something.
Financial (fi nan' shul) means having to do with money, such as the financial statements of a business. Financing is the process of putting money into an enterprise.
find fault with
Disapprove of; criticize; nit-pick.
Put the final touches on a victory.
By personal experience, rather than the experience of others.
First choice; priority in choosing.
The end of a line of troops.
To outflank the enemy line means getting around them.
Absolutely and bluntly; with no attempt to sugar-coat the message.
Fly; run away; escape.
Fleeing; running away.
Group of warships, less than a fleet.
flourish (fler' ish)
Be healthy and grow.
A person who is obedient to the point of absurdity and shame.
About to be stated.
Stir up; incite; make trouble.
for the sake of
For the intended benefit of.
A succinct definition of this common phrase in English is beyond my power. Study the example of its use in the text, and elsewhere.
Cross a stream of water on foot, by wading through it.
Stop; wipe out; prevent.
In real estate law, foreclosure occurs when a creditor who has not been paid legally stops the ownership interest of the debtor in some property.
foregoing (for go' ing)
What has already been stated in the document.
forewarned (for warned')
Knew what was about to happen.
Give up; abandon.
Construct to make stronger against attack. Fortifications are what is built.
Base; what provides stability for a building.
Easy to break.
Pleasant smell; odor.
Shape; construct a plan.
Example: The writers of the Constitution are referred to collectively as "the Framers."
frame of mind
Attitude; general feeling about things.
Truthful and to the point; honest.
Nuggets of sap from a certain Arabian bush, burned to produce a dense and fragrant smoke.
In a big hurry, with anxiety; freaking out.
A material misrepresentation made with the intent to induce reliance on it. A deliberate lie to cheat someone.
frivolous (friv' o lus)
Silly; a waste of time.
Party of the light-hearted.
One who has only apparent authority; puppet; figurehead.
Example: Many became convinced that Bill Clinton was merely a front man for some sinister forces.
The opposite of smiling.
Extremely reluctant about spending money. This is the nice way to say it. Frugality is the quality of being frugal.
Things are not going according to plan; disappointed and angry.
People that are running away from something.
Not miniature, but the real size of the thing.
If you do something full-time, it's your usual business. A part-time job is something you do for only a few hours.
Provide; give something necessary.
fury (fyu' ry)
futile (few' til)
Bound to fail; hopeless; useless. 60
garrison (ga' ri son)
The soldiers who are controlling a place.
gesticulate (jes tik' u late)
Make excited gestures, or expressive body movements, along with or in lieu of speech.
Leave; extricate one's self from a bad situation.
To get away with something is to escape punishment for it.
get the chance
Have the opportunity.
get the point
get out of
Not have to do it.
Pass through to the end of something bad.
Example: I can't play tennis until I get over my sprained ankle.
get rid of
get tired of
Lose your interest in.
A person who eats too much.
go along with
Indulge; consent; follow.
Freak out; become like an insane person.
Proceeding; taking place; happening.
A time long ago when things were much better. This refers to the first age after the creation of man, in Greek mythology. After the golden age came the silver age, then the bronze age, and finally the iron age. Maybe now it's the plastic age. See note 8 to the Life of Aristides.
Sincerity and honesty in a deal.
Affection and respect.
gourmet (gor mey')
A person who is an expert in food.
When an official takes bribes.
Seriousness; calm dignity.
This word comes from the Latin word gravitas (grah' vi tahs), which is today a term of art in politics, meaning the quality that command attention without effort. In the Hippie Era, such a dude was said to be heavy.
Complaint about bad conduct.
Having no support in reality.
Crawling on the ground in an exaggerated display of fear and subjection.
Animosity; resentment; score to settle.
Unwillingly and with feelings of resentment.
guarantee (gar an tee')
guile (gyle, with a hard g, as in good)
Sneaky tricks; craftiness.
Dance of the naked girls. 33
had in store
Held for the future.
harass (ha rass')
Bother; annoy; bug.
Example: Camping involves hardships such as bugs, cold, bad food, etc., yet some people like it.
harmony (har' mo ni)
Smooth and friendly cooperation.
haughty (haw' ty)
Disagreeably proud; stuck-up.
have a hard time
When it's difficult to do something.
hearing (hee' ring)
Chance to talk to the judge.
hegemony (he gem' o ny)
Someone who inherits.
Example: Because he's blind, he can't help it if he runs into things.
One who announces some news.
hereditary (her ed' it ary)
Passed on in the genes, so you're born with it.
Lives alone and has no interest in meeting people.
hoard (rhymes with board)
Stash; some cache of goods or cash that has been stored.
hold a grudge
Stay angry with someone.
An armored Greek soldier. The panoply of a hoplite comprised a helmet with face guards, armor for the chest and back, greaves to protect the shins, a spear, and a sword. Hoplites were used for close fighting in formation.
Prisoner kept to make sure a bargain is kept.
hostile (hos' tyle)
The process of unfriendly relations is called hostilities.
humble (hum' bul)
Modest; not trying to impress anybody.
Disgrace; shame because of your circumstances.
hypocrite (hip' o krit)
Someone who pretends to be good, but acts otherwise; one who fakes good faith.
For examples, read what Jesus said about the Jews and lawyers of his day (cf. Matthew 23:13-33). 23
ignore (ig nore')
Pay no attention; disregard.
Ignorant (ig' nor ant) means that no attention has been paid to something, so you don't know anything about it.
Can't read or write.
Wrong belief from mistaken perception.
imbecile (im' be sil)
Fool with a weak mind, but not as stupid as an idiot.
imitate (im' i tate)
immense (im ens')
Too big to measure; huge.
immune (im yune')
Can't be harmed; safe from some danger.
Give; transfer to.
Fair; not favoring either side in a dispute; the ideal of a judge.
Can't tell what he's feeling; stone-faced.
Being fired from high office because of misconduct.
About to happen.
imperative (im per' a tiv)
Necessary and in the nature of a command; no argument for or against is needed or invited.
Building an empire; asserting control outside your own country. This word connotes a reckless ambition to expand control. Example: Bill Gates, Hitler, and Napoleon made the same mistake: imperialism.
Bossy; seems to enjoy giving commands and acting like someone important.
implicate (im' pli cate)
Put blame on because of their involvement.
Example: Several lawyers at the White House were implicated in the cover-up scandal.
Following as a reasonable conclusion from words or conduct, although not clearly expressed. Implicit rather than explicit.
Ask passionately; beg.
impudent (im' pyu dent)
Sassy; disrespectful; bratty.
impulse (im' pulse)
Sudden change in momentum; push; whim.
impunity (im pyu' ni ty)
in charge of
in favor of
Likes the idea.
Example: Both the Republican and Democratic parties seem to be in favor of bigger, meaner, and more intrusive government.
in spite of
Example: In spite of his inferiority in size, David defeated Goliath.
in the interest of both parties
Both sides in the negotiation will benefit by this.
in the way Adjective.
An impediment; a nuisance; an obstruction.
inauspicious (in aw spish' us)
Unlucky looking; off to a bad start.
Can't do it.
Event; something that happens.
incite (in site')
Talk into taking bad action.
Being unable to do a job right.
Contradictory; no steady truth.
Example: Clinton's inconsistent explanations led the Americans to doubt his character and fitness to command them.
Hard to believe.
indefatigable (in de fa' ti ga bul)
Doesn't get tired.
indemnity (in dem' ni tee)
Paying for the harm done; insulating against loss. Frequently contracts will provide for one party to indemnify the other in the event of disputes raised by third parties by paying the legal fees and any judgment.
Give a sign; signal.
indictment (in dite' ment)
Formal accusation of a felony, or serious crime, by a grand jury. To be indicted (in di' ted) in the United States is big-time trouble.
Angry, highly offended.
Not direct; roundabout; circuitous.
indiscreet (in dis creet')
Prone to scandal; careless about keeping secrets.
Can't get along without it; necessary; critical.
Cause to act.
Pamper; permit another to do what pleases them.
inept (in ept')
No skill; awkward and clumsy.
inevitable (in ev' i ta bul)
Can't avoid it; has to happen.
infantry (in' fan try)
Soldiers who walk; foot-soldiers.
Spread disease into.
inferiority (in fe ri o' ri ty)
Being less than; the opposite of superiority.
Were present as pests, like roaches in a house.
infiltrate (in' fil trate)
Sneak your forces in.
influence (in' flu ence)
Ability to shape behavior by suggestion.
Example: The Hollywood elite has deliberately misused the power of television to influence the public.
Made very angry.
ingenious (in gee' ni us)
Clever; showing ingenuity; smart.
ingratiate (in gray' she ate)
Make yourself popular; suck up.
Not being properly grateful for benefits received.
Someone who lives there.
Get after someone dies because you are an heir.
initial (i nish' al)
First; at the beginning.
The opposite of justice; unfairness; partiality.
innate (in ate')
Born with it.
in on it
Privy; to be a participant in a project or the sharer of a secret.
insatiable (in say' sha bul)
Can't get enough.
Writing carved in.
insignia (in sig' ni a)
Symbols and marks of rank, such as the stars on the shoulders of a general, or the eagle with arrows on the podium of the President.
Not important; small.
insinuated (in sin' yu a ted)
Hinted in a sly way; snuck in the suggestion.
insolent (in' so lent)
Contemptuous and insulting; arrogantly rude.
The meaning of this word is best approached by examining its etymology: in (in) spire (breath) -- so inspire means to put in a breath, or catch a spirit.
instigator (in' sti ga tor)
Trouble-maker; one who incites another to take bad action.
Established; put in place some system.
intact (in tact')
Not broken; whole.
integrity (in teg' ri tee)
True spirit; honesty; honor.
Aim; purpose. Something that is intended to happen is intentional, or on purpose, and it is therefore not an accident.
intercede (in ter seed')
Plead on behalf of someone in trouble.
On the inside. Internal is the opposite of external, which means on the outside.
Question and answer session.
To step in between disputants, like a referee in a boxing match.
Making afraid; terrorism.
Poisoning of the mind; giddiness.
Complex and full of small detail.
What it's worth as raw materials.
The intrinsic value of a coin is what the metal is worth, regardless of what is stamped on it.
Put in; bring up for consideration.
inveterate (in vet' er et)
Stubborn in bad behavior.
Can't be defeated.
Mixed up with; part of.
Showing irony, or a joke of fate. For an example of irony, study the text in the Life of Philopoemen: what happened to him was what he had just finished criticizing in another -- becoming a prisoner of war. It would not be a case of irony if Philopoemen had said nothing.
irrelevant (ir rel' e vant)
Doesn't matter; beside the point.
Can't resist it; there's no stopping it.
Bother; annoy; bug. 92
jeopardy (jep' ar dy)
Risk of loss; danger.
Appears to be having a good time.
judicious (joo dish' us)
Wise; smart and not excessive.
Critical point in time.
In tune with the truth; honest and fair.
just in time
Almost too late. 6
keep a lookout
Be on guard against intruders; watch out for trouble.
Made the subject of a joke; teased. Kidding is a flexible term in English, meaning teasing or misleading for the purpose of humor, such as unkind people do to children (kids).
Relation by blood. Your kin are your relatives.
kiss of death
Refers to when the false friend Judas kissed Jesus to identify him to the Jews who were trying to arrest him. 4
labyrinth (lab' er inth)
Maze; place with complicated pathways so you easily get lost there. This term derives from the palace built by Daedelus for King Minos of Crete.
Limping; crippled in the leg.
Expressions of grief and sorrow.
lampoon (lam poon')
Ridicule; make fun of, especially by ridiculous imitation.
Large majority in a vote.
Slip up; break in good conduct.
Stealing or cheating.
Extravagant; profuse; way too much.
leaven the lump (le' ven, rhymes with heaven)
Yeast makes bubbles in bread, in a process called leavening. A little yeast mixed in a lump of dough rapidly multiplies and leavens the lump.
legacy (leg' a si)
Inheritance; what is passed down from generation to generation.
lenience (lee' ni ence)
Example: Children grow up to be violent underachievers because irritable parents show too little lenience for childish exploration.
Foolishly generous; not strict; not frugal; not prudent.
Permission or permissiveness. License is used pejoratively to describe a disordered state of society where anything goes.
lieutenant (loo ten' ant)
litigation (li ti ga' shun)
Court battles; lawsuits.
live up to
Act according to a certain standard.
loath (rhymes with both)
A related word is the verb loathe (rhymes with clothe), which means to hate and have disgust for.
Small probabilities of winning. Odds are the probability that a particular event will occur.
Theft on a large scale; stealing by a mob.
A true friend. 23
Compensated; supplied to fill a deficiency.
Make to appear bigger.
majesty (ma' jes ty)
Kingly conduct; strength and beauty and dignity; grandeur.
major (may' jer)
Relatively large; the opposite of minor.
malcontent (accent on first syllable)
Not happy about anything; always complaining.
malice (mal' iss)
Evil intentions; hate; desire to harm. Malicious (ma lish' us) means done with an attitude of malice.
man of his word
Trustworthy man, whose promises can be relied on.
maneuver (ma noo' ver)
Move your forces around.
martyr (mar' ter)
One who suffers punishment for his beliefs.
massacre (mass' a ker)
masterpiece (mas' ter peese)
In the guild system of feudal Europe, skill in crafts was recognized at three levels: apprentice (learning the basics); journeyman (knows the basics); and master (really good at it). To qualify for recognition as a master, a journeyman had to produce a work so good that it could be admired by masters. This work was his masterpiece.
There's not much there; inadequate.
Example: A medal was a meager reward for his heroism.
Procedure or device used to accomplish something.
Example: The battlecry of evil is: "The ends justify the means."
Help to resolve a dispute.
melee (may' lay)
menial (mee' ni al)
Servile; suitable for those who do boring work.
Strengths and weaknesses.
Motivated by money; hired soldier.
The difference between a soldier and a mercenary is that the soldier fights for a cause, while a mercenary fights for money. No equivalent distinction has been drawn for lawyers, however.
meticulously (me tik' u lus ly)
With great precision and attention to detail.
The opposite of major; small.
misery (miz' er ee)
Unhappiness and discomfort.
Bad luck; a time of trouble.
Doubts and second thoughts.
A project of importance given to you by high authority.
mobile (mo' bul)
Making fun of.
moderate (mod' er et)
Not extreme; temperate.
Not bragging; shy.
Mass times velocity. A moving object has momentum, which is its tendency to keep going in the same direction at the same speed.
monarchy (mon' ar ky)
Government by one person.
Behavior in harmony with laws of spiritual cause and effect.
One who is subject to death; as an adjective, mortal means fatal, or causing death.
mortgage (mor' gaj)
A security interest in property, for a debt. For example, to build a house, the landowner borrows money from a bank, and the bank gets a mortgage on the house and the land, so if the debt is not paid, the bank gets both.
Proposal for a formal decision.
Build enthusiasm; make someone willing to do something.
A reason for doing something.
March on an objective.
When the crew refuses to follow the captain; disobedience of a group to lawful authority.
mutual (mew' chu al)
In agreement; reciprocal.
Fragrant resin from a desert shrub, burned as incense. 44
naive (ny eve')
Ignorant and trusting, like a child.
nausea (naw' ze a)
Feeling you get before you vomit; disgust.
neglected (ne glek' ted)
Forgot about; paid no attention to.
negligent (neg' li gent)
Not paying attention; careless.
The concept of negligence is the foundation of tort law, and accusations of lack of due care consume billions of man-hours in the United States.
negotiate (ne go' she ate)
Try to make a deal; bargain.
Cheapskate; stingy person.
Fast and agile.
Not corruptible; aristocratic; high-minded.
Nobility is a difficult concept to explain to Americans in the late 20th century, when the party line is that everyone is at least as sordid and corrupt as our President. Look it up in the dictionary and meditate on it.
Offered as a candidate for office; proposed a person for election.
notorious (no tor' i us)
Well known to be bad.
Note the difference between notorious and famous. 11
Spring in the middle of the desert.
Promise before God as witness and guarantor.
When witnesses are called in court to testify, they do so under oath, so if they lie, it is a felony called perjury. This is punishable by severe penalties in the criminal law, and presumably by God as well.
objected (ob jek' ted)
Protested; said no to what was happening.
objective (ob jek' tiv) Noun
Goal; what you intend to accomplish.
Used as an adjective, objective means unbiased, fair, based on the facts.
obliged (o blyjd')
Under an obligation, or duty to do something.
obliterated (o blit' er a ted)
Completely destroyed; wiped out.
Difficult to interpret.
Pay attention to, and try to obey.
Jobs; usual work.
Put a military force there to control the place.
Probability of success.
Insults; grosses out; makes angry.
Balance out; counter.
oligarchy (o' li gar ky)
Government by a few.
The alternatives are anarchy (no government at all) and monarchy (government by one).
Cause for superstitious speculation; signal of good or bad things about to happen.
Present on a ship.
on the lookout for
Example: Our company is on the lookout for acquisitions in the area of consumer electronics.
on the run
Fleeing; retreating as fast as possible.
Having the enemy on the run means that the battle is going in your favor.
on the verge of
onerous (own' er us)
Example: The congressman objected to the onerous demands of the federal government for paperwork on small business.
onslaught (on' slawt)
Competitor; enemy; antagonist.
oppress (o press')
Treat your people badly. Oppression is oppressive government.
Spirit that reliably forecasts the future.
Plutarch was for many years one of the two priests serving the Delphic oracle in the temple of Apollo.
Formal public speech, usually long.
Perhaps the most famous example is Antony's funeral oration in Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar. An orator (o' ra ter) is one who gives an oration.
ordeal (or deal')
Long and unpleasant experience.
order of battle
How you arrange your forces; formation; setup.
oscillated (os' il a ted)
Went from one extreme to another, like a vibrating string.
Showing off in a vulgar way.
ostensibly (os ten' si bly)
Not really, but pretending to be the reason.
ostracize (os' tra size)
Ostracism was a procedure in Athens whereby anyone deemed too dangerous to keep in the city was banished by popular vote in a secret ballot. Its purpose was to prevent one man from becoming too powerful and beginning a tyranny.
Indignation; being extremely offended and angry.
outdo (owt do')
Perform better than another.
outnumbered (owt num' berd)
At a disadvantage, numerically.
A standing ovation is where the audience stands up while it applauds.
Too bossy; domineering.
Conquer; defeat; beat.
Too much to handle.
Cancel because the boss says no.
Overpower; blow away. 44
Calmed down; tranquilized.
pageant (pa' jent)
Spectacular production, such as a parade or a beauty contest.
paid him back in kind
Did to him what he was guilty of.
paralyzed (pa' ra lyzed)
Unable to move.
paramount (pa' ra mount)
Greatest; most important.
Organism that feeds on another without killing it, like leeches, ticks, and fleas.
Figuratively, it means people who occupy the position of ticks on society.
Let off the hook; exonerate; excuse; absolve.
parsimonious (par si mo' ni us)
Cheap; hates to spend money.
Division of space.
One who gives money; sponsor.
Notice; be alert; concentrate.
List of employees; people who get a regular payment for services.
A lightly armed Greek soldier, who usually carried a small shield, a sword, and a javelin, bow, or sling. The peltast was not covered with body armor like a hoplite, and therefore was useful only in fighting from a distance.
penalty (pen' al ty)
persistence (per sis' tence)
Refusing to quit; keeping at a task until it's done.
Mask; public image.
Be the living embodiment of.
Talk into; convince.
Concerning; relating to.
pertinent (per' ti nent)
To the point; very relevant.
pervade (per vade')
Spread all through, like water in a sponge.
perverse (per verse')
Stubbornly contrary; determined to do the opposite of what's expected.
pervert (per vert') Verb.
To distort or twist into something wrong.
Example: Spin doctors pervert the truth.
Small; trivial; worthy of a small-minded person.
phalanx (fay' lanx)
Dense formation of tightly linked and heavily armored soldiers, several rows deep, with their spears projecting forward between them. Figuratively, any formidable array.
phantom (fan' tom)
Elite; those selected by merit to form a special group.
Stealing little bits.
Robbing by a conquering army, usually with killing.
pilot (pi' lot)
One who makes sure the ship doesn't crash. This word now is mostly used for the commander of an airplane.
piracy (py' ra see)
Robbery at sea; what pirates do.
placate (play' cate)
Give a little something to keep them quiet for a while.
Mass outbreak of serious desease.
One who writes plays.
Giving reasons for getting favorable treatment.
The papers submitted by the parties to a lawsuit and stating the merits of the case, pro or con, are called pleadings. Papers that pertain to requested action by the judge are called motions.
Directed attention to; what you do when you point your finger at something so that someone else will notice it.
policy (pol' i cy)
Spectacle in ceremonies.
Example: The pomp of an English coronation ceremony is very impressive.
populace (pop' u less)
People in a place.
portents (por' tents)
Signs of the future.
postpone (post pone')
Put off until later.
A medicinal brew.
poverty (pov' er ty)
Being poor; lack of money.
precede (pre seed')
precedent (press' i dent)
Model for future decisions.
Example: Roe v. Wade is a precedent for deciding cases where the right of privacy in abortion is involved.
predicament (pre dik' a ment)
Trouble; tight spot.
predictable (pre dik' ta bul)
You can tell what they will probably do.
prefer (pre fer')
Being treated better than others.
To have a strong bias for or against something; mind is made up already, before hearing the evidence.
Example: Most people are prejudiced against spiders, although some keep them as pets.
preoccupied (pre oc' u pied)
Distracted; all attention focussed on some worry.
presume (pre zyume')
Also, in another context, presume means to behave with unjustifiable forwardness.
pretense (pree' tense)
Pretending; fake reasons.
Putting on airs; pretending to be superior.
pretext (pree' text)
A fake reason for doing something.
prevail (pre vail')
Win; come out on top.
Victim; what a predator hunts.
Son of a king.
Note the difference between principal and principle. Although both are pronounced the same (homonyms) they have completely different meanings.
Not publicly; done by people on their own, and not as part of a group effort.
privilege (priv' lej)
Something you are allowed to do as a favor.
pro and con
For and against.
proceeds (pro' seeds)
Money from the sale.
procrastinate (pro kras' ti nate)
Put things off; neglect to take care of business promptly.
profligate (prof' li gat)
Forbid; order not to do something.
prolix (pro lix')
Talks too much.
Prolixity (pro lix' i ty) is the quality of being a blabbermouth. Example: If brevity is the soul of wit, prolixity must be the soul of stupidity.
prominent (prom' i nent)
Famous; distinguished; great.
promulgated (prom' ul ga ted)
Issued as a law.
propensity (pro pen' si ty)
Suggested course of action.
A proposed rule or deal.
prospect (pross' pect)
What's in view for the future.
prosper (pross' per)
provoke (pro voke')
Cause to react.
Provocative (pro vok' a tive) means tending to cause to react. Example: A red flag is said to be provocative to a bull.
prosecute (pross' e cute)
Go after; continue a project.
prosperity (pross per' i ty)
Wealth; being well-off; good fortune.
prowess (prow' ess)
Skill and strength; effectiveness of a fighter.
purported (per por' ted)
Pretended by an express claim to be; passed off as.
Example: American carmakers offer cars purported to be made in the USA, but which are made mostly of imported components.
pursuit (per sute')
Example: He was sorry that he put off doing his homework until the weekend.
Also, to put someone off means to give them some excuse for delay.
put up with
Endure; stand; tolerate; suffer.
Stack of wood for cremation, or burning a body to ashes. 92
Fight; dispute; argument.
quota (kwo' ta)
Required number to have or produce.
Example: The associate at the law firm had a quota of 165 billable hours each month, so he became accustomed to cheating and lying and became a partner. 2
Psych up; stop defeated troops from fleeing.
rampage (ram' page)
rancor (rank' or)
Bad will; hate; spite.
Reckless; too bold; not prudent.
Affirm; specifically approve; okay; make what another has done into your own act.
To affirm a position means to declare publicly that you agree. If a judicial decision is appealed to a higher court, and the higher court agrees with the lower court, the decision is affirmed.
reciprocate (re sip' ro cate)
Do the same in return.
reckless (rek' less)
Careless; thoughtless; extremely negligent; like a child or a fool.
reconcile (rek' on sile)
Make friends again; restore good relations.
recruited (re cru' ted)
Gathered people into a group.
Absence of pollution; spirituality.
Changes for the better; improvements in government.
Martin Luther was disgusted by the Catholic practice of selling tickets to Heaven, so he started the Reformation, which was the beginning of the Protestant churches.
Keep from doing.
refuge (ref' uge)
Safe place; sanctuary.
regime (re zheem')
Period of rule; administration.
regret (re gret')
Be sorry. As a noun, regret means being sorry.
More people to help.
Be happy; celebrate with joy.
relatively (rel' a tiv ly)
relent (re lent')
Ease up; cease giving trouble.
relic (rell' ik)
What remains; holy object.
Enjoy a lot.
Don't want to do it.
remnant (rem' nant)
A small part that's left over; scrap.
remorse (re morse')
Being sorry; regret and shame.
rendered (ren' derd)
Done; caused to be.
rendezvous (ron' de voo)
Place to meet, or the meeting itself.
Payment to cover the damages from your action.
Abrogated; cancelled out by another law.
repent (re pent')
Be sorry for the past; take a new attitude for the future.
reprimand (rep' ri mand)
Unkind words from a boss; a scolding, or rebuke.
Opinion generally held about someone.
resemblance (re zem' blance)
resented (re zen' ted)
Took offense at; considered an insult.
Doubts and fears about a proposal.
resist (re zist')
Oppose; act against.
resolute (res' o lute)
Resolution is the quality of being resolute.
Example: "And thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied over with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pith and moment, with this regard, their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action." -- Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1.
resolve (re zolv')
Settle; finally decide.
Finally have to use this.
Example: When the police got no answer to their knock on the door, they resorted to a battering ram to enter the house and execute the search warrant.
Held back; kept under control.
The concept of self-restraint (sophrosyne in Greek) is key to understanding the ethos and aesthetic of ancient Greece.
resume (re zoom')
retaliate (re tal' e ate)
Hit back; take revenge.
retinue (ret' in oo)
Group of followers.
reverence (rev' er ence)
revile (re vyle')
Scold; criticize harshly; indulge in name-calling.
revive (re vyve')
Bring to life again; wake up.
revoked (re vokd')
Took back; repealed; cancelled.
Turn against the leader; mutiny.
rhetoric (ret' er ik)
The art of verbal persuasion.
rhetorical question (re tor' i cal)
A question that has an obvious answer, asked merely to get the listener to respond.
An irritating habit in ordinary conversation, and a cause for suspicion when used by salesmen and politicians.
ridicule (rid' i cule)
Making fun of somebody.
A rift is to society as a fault line is to geology.
Immediately; without wasting any more time.
Boss of criminals; chief crook.
riot (ry' ot)
Taking a risk, or chance.
Competitor in love or ambition.
routine (roo teen')
Usual; nothing special.
The movable blade at the back that steers a boat.
Have no more. If you run out of money, you are broke.
rustic (russ' tik)
Simple and country-style. 68
sabotage (sa' bo taj)
Sneaky damage intentionally done. A French concept.
Loot, burn, and kill.
sacred (say' cred)
Holy; property of God.
Ritual killing of an animal to please the gods.
sacrilege (sak' re lij)
Impiety; disrespect of religion; misuse of a religious space or object. If you commit a sacrilege, you are sacrilegious (sak re lij' us).
Place to hide.
Attack out of a fortified position.
A safe place.
A hereditary ruler of a large region in the Persian empire, similar in rank to a duke in the European feudal system.
Brutal and mean; scarcely human.
Something for a decent person to be ashamed of.
Rebuked; told off in a long-winded way.
Looked at with contempt.
scrutiny (screw' ti ny)
Careful examination; checking out.
seceded (see see' ded)
Left the group.
Have doubts about what you have decided.
Zone; area of responsibility.
Example: The distinction is often made between the private sector (business) and the public sector (government).
Safe; to make safe.
Just about to boil.
serene (se reen')
No worries; easy in manner.
series (see' rees)
A number of similar things arranged in order; sequence.
Defeat, reversal, or check.
severe (se veer')
Serious; grave; harsh. Severity (se ver' i ty) is how severe it is.
Survivors whose ship has sunk.
This term comes from poker, when the last players left show their cards to determine who takes the pot.
Not apparently a fool.
Avoid with care; refuse to have anything to do with.
Next to each other in a line.
sincere (sin sere')
Meaning what you say; honest.
Chosen from among many others.
False statement made to injure someone's reputation.
Insulting lack of respect.
Laziness; torpor; inactivity.
No flames, but almost burning.
Thinking that you're not a fool.
sniping (sny' ping)
Shooting from a safe distance; being a critic.
so long as
Provided that; on the condition that.
Serious; not dizzy with any excitement.
sole (rhymes with bowl)
One and only.
solemn (sol' um)
Not light and cheerful, but important and serious. Solemnity (so lem' ni ty) is the quality of being solemn.
solicit (so lis' it)
Solicitation is the act of asking for something.
solitude (sol' i tude)
Being alone; loneliness.
Calm; quiet down; ease the pain.
sorcerer (sor' ser er)
Evil magician; caster of spells.
The black art practiced by the sorcerer is called sorcery.
sordid (sor' did)
Showing a disgustingly bad character; abnormally materialistic.
sovereign power (sov' ren)
Being a king; supreme power in government, which is not subject to any other authority.
Sovereignty (sov' ren tee) is the status of absolute power. In the words of Lord Acton: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." See the life of Alexander.
Led into action, like the head of a spear leads the shaft. The head provides the hardness and sharpness to create an opening, and the shaft provides the mass to assure penetration. This is commonly used macho management lingo.
specious (spee' shus)
Attempting to confuse the truth; made in bad faith.
Example: She made the specious argument that all sex is harassment because of the historical dominance of the male.
One who watches an event.
Mean spirit; hatefulness.
Beautiful in a strong way.
What the winner collects on the battlefield after a battle.
spurious (spyu' ri us)
Not genuine; fake.
Rejected in anger.
Gross, messy and disgusting.
Reluctant to do it because it's disgusting or wrong.
Moving with erratic steps, as if heavily loaded.
A state of dullness and lack of progress. Stagnant water isn't flowing, and a stagnant economy is not growing.
Cause delay on purpose.
stamina (stam' i na)
Endurance; the ability to work without getting tired.
stampede (stam pede')
Panic of a herd.
Begin a journey.
steadfast (sted' fast)
Firm and unyielding.
steady (ste' dy)
Not changing; firm; reliable.
"Going steady" means having a usual companion of the opposite sex.
stealthily (stel' thi ly)
Without attracting attention; sneakily.
Taking care of the property of others.
To be killed by rocks thrown by a crowd.
stood their ground
Didn't back down but defended their position.
Those who fall behind or otherwise lose contact with the main body of a group.
Consecutive; without a break.
stratagem (stra' ta gem)
Trick; ploy; ruse.
strategic (stra tee' jik)
Pertaining to strategy, or the larger plans of a war.
Tactics are the techniques of battle.
strenuous (stren' yu us)
With a lot of effort and hard work.
Angry words and fighting.
Made stupid; spaced out; numbed by shock or amazement.
subjugate (sub' ju gate)
Bring under control; tame.
submit (sub mit')
Give in; surrender.
subordinated (sub or' di na ted)
Made secondary in rank.
Example: A subordinated debenture is a debt that will be paid after the senior debt is paid in full.
Like a servant; serving from a position of inferiority.
subtle (sut' l)
Hard to detect; not obvious; cunning; wily.
subvert (sub vert')
Undermine, or weaken in a sneaky way.
Example: Subversive people subvert an organization by creating bad feelings like resentment and suspicion.
succession (suk sess' shun)
The order in which power passes. For example, in the United States government, the presidential succession goes: President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, President pro tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, and then other cabinet officers. A person succeeds to an office automatically when the previous occupant dies or retires. The one who steps into the vacated position is the successor.
Endure; have a bad time.
Command to come.
sumptuous (sum' chu us)
Luxurious; very comfortable.
superflous (su per' flu us)
Not needed; extra and useless.
superiority (su pee ri o' ri ty)
Being better by comparison. The opposite of inferiority.
superstition (su per stish' un)
False beliefs, arising from misunderstanding of cause and effect.
Example: Perhaps the most peculiar superstition in modern times is the Cargo Cult of the Trobriand Islands, who believed that they could bring cargo planes back to a deserted airstrip by imitating the actions they had observed done by the ground crew.
suppress (sup ress')
Check; keep under control.
supreme (su preem')
surety (shu' re tee)
Person who must pay a debt if the debtor defaults, or fails to pay the creditor according to the promissory note; guarantor.
surplus (ser' plus)
Excess; the amount that is more than what is needed.
Doubted; thought to be guilty.
Interrupted; put off until later.
sycophant (sy' co fant)
Yes man; toady; suck up; snitch and flatterer. 115
tacit (tass' it)
Unspoken, but understood.
Diplomacy, politeness, intelligent conduct.
Techniques of battle.
take care of
Do what is necessary in that regard.
Be the boss.
take him along
Allow him to accompany you; bring him along; not leave him behind.
take it easy
Go at a slow pace; relax; goof off.
Assume control; take charge.
A takeover is a change in control. A hostile takeover in the business world is when management is replaced by the voting power of unwelcome new shareholders.
6000 drachmas, approximately a day's pay for 6000 laborers, or 20 years of wages for one. A brick of gold, slightly bigger than a common construction brick, and weighing approximately 51 pounds. The amount of gold that a bearer can carry on a long journey.
talk out of
Convince not to do. This is the opposite of talk into, which means persuade to do something.
Docile; not wild; safe to be around.
A project or job to be done.
Someone who puts ketchup on ice cream is said to have bad taste in food. Someone who likes Bach is said to have good taste in music.
Insulting and defiant remark or behavior, typically made with the intention of provoking a fight.
temperament (tem' pra ment)
General disposition of a person.
Moderation; the quality of not getting carried away by pleasure or emotion.
tendency (ten' den see)
What you usually do.
Example: He has a tendency to blame others for his troubles.
tenure (ten' yer)
Time that you can hold an office.
Example: Federal judges in the United States have life tenure to insulate them from political pressures.
The details of a deal.
terrain (ter ayn')
The lay of the land.
Prosper; flourish; grow and be happy.
Put obstacles in the way of; frustrate.
timid (tim' id) [first syllable rhymes with him]
Very cautious; too scared to act; fearful.
Fix, construct, or repair in a small way.
tirade (ty' rade)
to the effect that
Meaning to give the impression that; suggesting that.
to the point
Getting at the important features of a problem, instead of blabbering about things that don't matter.
toady (toe' di)
A flattering leech; suck-up; sycophant.
Short statement before a drink. A custom of unknown origin.
Hard and boring work.
Endure patiently. Tolerable means that you can stand it.
Places for the dead.
Confronted; challenged; selected as an opponent or a task.
Torturer; one who is causing you pain and/or trouble.
Find by patient effort.
Clothes and other marks of rank.
treachery (trech' er y)
Back-stabbing; disloyalty; deceit; false friendship.
Selling out your country; disloyalty.
Contract between sovereigns; deal between states.
Taxes; payment of respect.
Put through the judicial process.
When the fighting stops for a while, by agreement.
trustee (trus tee')
Someone who administers something for the benefit of another, called the beneficiary. The trustee has legal title, but beneficial ownership is in the beneficiary, so the trustee has a fiduciary duty to take good care and not to treat it as his own. The legal arrangement is called a trust.
In modern American English, try to is the preferred form for expressing an attempt to do something.
Example: He tried to make an appointment for next Tuesday, but the dentist was not available.
Boiling with trouble.
Turmoil; a term used in fluid mechanics to denote when a fluid flows in highly disorganized motion, like a river rapids.
Zone of control; domain.
turmoil (tur' moyl)
Trouble and confusion.
turn out to be
It's impossible to give a brief definition of this phrase, which is commonly used in American English. It is best learned by studying some examples: That investment turned out to be a winner. That President turned out to be a crook. We thought it was a pool of water, but it turned out to be a mirage.
Surrender control or possession; give up.
Example: Vince Foster's lawyer refused to turn over some notes of an interview before Foster's death.
tyrant (ty' rant)
Boss who rules by fear.
Government of this style is called tyranny (tir' a nee). Typically, the tyrant is fearful himself, and uses a squad of assassins to silence or kill anyone who opposes him. See the life of Dion, note 6. Dionysius of Syracuse was perhaps the most famous tyrant of the ancient world. 59
Secret reason for doing something; hidden agenda.
ultimatum (ul ti may' tum)
Final warning before war.
unanimous (yu nan' i mus)
Everyone feels the same way about it; all votes are for it.
unbiased (un by' est)
Unprejudiced; open minded..
Example: If the jury is unbiased, the scales of justice are equally balanced at the beginning of the trial.
Subvert; work against in a sneaky way.
This term is from the ancient technique of siegecraft where tunnels were dug under walls and then the tunnel supports were burned to cause the walls to collapse.
undue (un doo')
Not justified by the circumstances.
Don't know about it.
unison (yu' ni zon)
Cooperation of all together.
unprecedented (un press' i den ted)
Never happened before.
unruly (un roo' ly)
Disobedient and troublesome.
Mean; without conscience or humanity; doesn't care how other people are hurt by his career of greed and power.
In the process of doing.
uproar (up' roar)
Very important to act immediately.
usury (yoo' ser y)
Using interest on debts to take over property. Usury connotes an unusually high rate of interest, e.g. loan sharking. 15
vagabond (vag' a bond)
Foolish; unrealistic. In vain means futile.
Value in battle; courage and skill.
Foolish notions of selfish pride.
vehement (vee' a ment)
Angry and emphatic.
vendetta (ven det' a)
Persistent persecution; a feud, or stubborn grudge fight.
A joint venture is a contractual arrangement between two companies whereby they agree to share the costs and profits of a particular project, without binding themselves to a complete merger or partnership.
Investment; there's something in it for you, so you are not objective because what happens affects you personally.
When a person or a proposition is checked out and debated before being submitted for consideration to a decision-maker.
You get blamed for what someone else does.
For example, the company has to pay for what its employee did. This doctrine of vicarious liability is the reason that there are so many lawsuits in America, because lawyers would not pay to create the trouble unless they had rich defendants to extort money from.
vicious (vish' us)
Intending to hurt; mean.
vicissitudes (va sis' a tudes)
Ups and downs; changes of Fortune.
The one who wins the fight or athletic contest.
Energy and strength.
villain (vil' un)
The bad guy; evil person.
vituperation (vy tu' per a" shun)
Spiteful, intemperate language; name-calling.
voluntary (vol' un ta ry)
Not forced; done of your own free will. When you do something voluntarily (vol un tar' i ly) nobody is forcing you to do it. 21
One who is trying to promote a war.
Unpredictable; changing for no apparent reason.
Woven of flexible sticks.
Found all over.
Voluntary; done according to one's own will, and not under compulsion.
Smart in a fundamental way; having deep judgment.
Be OK after it happens.
See, and say you saw.
Example: We need two people to witness this will in order to make it valid. Used as a noun, a witness is one who says that he saw something.
Aroused to an emotional fever.
wound up (wownd up')
Resulted; turned out to be the consequence.
Example: Alexander the Great wound up losing all of his friends when he made himself a god.
Circular braid of leaves, used to crown the winners of events at the ancient Olympic games and other games in Greece. The intention was to show that human glory is as temporary as these leaves. 15