- Variants: simplistically (adverb)
- Definition: oversimplified; avoiding or ignoring complexities
- Synonym: unsophisticated, naive
- Antonym: sophisticated, complicated
- His simplistic plan for economic improvement failed to account for foreign investment and the GNP.
- Variants: incredulously (adverb); incredulousness (noun)
- Definition: unwilling or unable to believe; showing disbelief
- Synonym: skeptical
- Antonym: credulous, gullible
- The politician’s lavish promises provoked incredulous responses rather than the admiration he sought.
- Variants: ascetically (adverb)
- Definition: Reflecting self-denial (as in religious discipline); choosing minimal comforts
- Synonyms: austere, Spartan
- Antonym: self-indulgent, hedonistic
- Her modest room reflected the ascetic values she advocated.
- vicariously (adverb), vicariousness (noun)
- Definition: Experienced through someone else rather than first hand; endured as substitute for someone else; delegated
- synonym: second-hand [experience]
- antonym: actual [experience]
- Because she loved her son, she found vicarious pleasure in his tremendous successes.
- Variants: allocate (verb), allocatable (adjective); allocator (noun)
- Definition: the act of setting aside for a special purpose; designation
- Synonym: allotment, apportionment
- Antonym: abandonment
- Sentence: The mayor insisted the park district include an allocation of land in order to build a playground.
- The mayor insisted the parked district allocate land for a playground.
admonish (transitive verb)
- Variants: admonishment (noun)
- Definition: To caution, criticize, or counsel gently against
- Synonym: chastise, reproach, rebuke
- Antonym: approve, commend, praise
- The anti-tobacco lobbyist admonished the President for his inability to quit smoking.
- presumptuously (adv.), presumptuousness (noun)
- overconfident, excessively forward, taking too much for granted
- Syn: arrogant
- Ant: humble, modest
- Darcy’s presumptuous manner understandably offends Elizabeth Bennet.
- variants: subvert (verb), subversively (adverb)
- Definition: tending or seeking to subvert, overthrow or destroy (an established government, institution, belief, etc)
- Synonym: rebellious, disloyal
- Antonym: loyal, faithful
- Sentence: The Canadian government—indeed, the majority of Canadian citizens—believed the Nisei to be subversive operatives.
- Variants: vacuously (adverb)
- Definition: without contents, empty
- Synonym: bare, blank, devoid
- Antonym: full, abundant
- Sentence: When the class looked at her with vacuous stares, the teacher knew the lesson had failed.
- Variants: avocational (adjective)
- Definition: something a person does in addition to a principal occupation, especially for pleasure
- Synonym: pastime, hobby
- Antonym: job, occupation
- Sentence: Oddly enough, the math teacher’s avocation was the study of Old Norse epics.
- Definition: a moving force; impulse, stimulus
- Synonym: encouragement, incentive, motivation
- Antonym: hindrance, block
- Sentence: Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches were the impetus behind the civil rights movement.
- Variants: reticently (adverb), reticence (noun)
- Definition: inclined to keep one’s thoughts and feelings to oneself, secretive, quiet
- Synonym: reluctant, restrained, reserved
- Antonym: communicative, forward, unrestrained
- Sentence: The reticent student hid in the back row, unwilling to participate in the class discussion.
- Variants: physiognomic (adj), physiognomically (adv)
- Definition: The features of somebody’s face especially used as indicators of character or temperament.
- Synonym: aspect, look, visage
- Antonym: none
- Sentence: In Great Expectations, Pip is frightened by the convict, for his physiognomy is menacing.
- Variants: insipidness (noun), insipidly (adverb)
- Definition: without distinctive, interesting, or stimulating qualities
- Synonym: bland, dull
- Antonym: exhilarating
- Sentence: Cauliflower’s insipid taste requires cheese or spices to make it palatable.
- Variants: tedious (adjective), tediously (adverb)
- Definition: quality or condition of being wearisome or boring
- Synonym: dullness, monotony
- Antonym: entertainment, excitement, diversion
- Sentence: In order to take the tedium out of exercise, aerobic instructors rely on loud, exciting music.
- Variants: cajolery(noun), cajolingly(adverb)
- Definition: to persuade by flattery or promises
- Synonym: wheedle, coax, flatter
- Antonym: bully, force, repel
- Sentence: The boy cajoled her into giving him some of her cookies.
- Variants: none
- Definition: not impressed or worried by something, usually because of previous experience
- Synonym: unconcerned, nonchalant
- Antonym: uptight, worried
- Sentence: Paris Hilton’s blasé attitude towards spending money is typical of the very wealthy: they do not have to worry about paying bills.
- Variants: indolence (n), indolently (adv)
- Definition: Lethargic and not showing any interest. Also describes a disease that is slow to develop and causes no pain.
- Synonym: sluggish, apathetic, lazy
- Antonym: industrious, productive
- Sentence: It is difficult to move from summer’s indolence to the necessary productivity of the school year.
- Variants: choler (noun)*, cholerically (adverb)
- *NOT cholera—that’s a disease!
- Definition: showing or tending to show anger or irritation
- Synonym: bad-tempered, irascible
- Antonym: phlegmatic, impassive
- Sentence: Ivan Ilyich’s choleric manner intimidates his family.
- Variants: phlegmatically (adverb)
- Definition: unemotional, difficult to excite to action or display of emotion
- synonym: indifferent, undemonstrative
- antonym: energetic, lively
- Sentence: Obasan’s phlegmatic approach to life irritates the crusading Emily.
impasse (noun )
- Variants: none
- Definition: predicament from which there is no escape; impassible road or way
- Synonym: stalemate, deadlock
- Antonym: progress
- Sentence: After days of deliberation, the jury reached an impasse, necessitating a new trial.
- Variants: adulate (verb)
- Definition: excessive flattery or adoration
- Synonym: obsequiousness, sycophancy
- Antonym: insult, offense
- Sentence: Robert Pattinson is the object of young girls’ adulation.
censure (noun, verb)
- Variants: censure (transitive verb)
- Definition: judgment involving condemnation
- Synonym: rebuke, reproach
- Antonym: honor, acclamation
- Sentence: Following the lawyer’s emotional outburst, the judge had no choice but to censure him.
- Variants: dissimulate (verb), dissimulative (adjective), dissimulator (noun)
- Definition: act of deceiving/concealing true feelings and intentions
- synonym: deception, deceit, disguise, dissembling
- antonym: frankness, honesty, truthfulness
- Sentence: As he becomes more desperately ill, Ivan Ilyich finds dissimulation more difficult, and his family is frightened by the anger he reveals.
- variants: droller, drollest (more adjectives), drolly (adverb)
- definition: humorous, amusing in an odd way
- synonym: amusing, clownish, comical
- antonym: serious
- sentence: The professor entertained the class with his droll impersonations of literary characters.
- variants: expectoration (noun), expectorant (noun)
- definition: to expel matter, esp. phlegm
- synonym: flush out, eject
- antonym: inject, inhale, consume
- sentence: The doctor instructed the patient to expectorate regularly to speed healing.
- variants: surfeiter (I have never seen this!)
- definition: too great an amount or supply; excess; overindulgence, esp. in food or drink
- synonym: satiate, excess, surplus
- antonym: deficit, insufficiency
- sentence: In the child’s opinion, his plate held a surfeit of vegetables.
corroborate (trans. verb)
- variants: corroboration, corroborative, corroborant
- definition: to make more certain the validity of, confirm, support
- synonym: confirm, support, substantiate
- antonym: contradict
- Sentence: To corroborate the rumor about Malfoy, the trio made a Polyjuice potion.
- variants: moroseness, morosely
- definition: ill-tempered, gloomy, sullen
- synonym: glum, gloomy, depressed
- antonym: happy, cheerful
- sentence: The students were morose when the teacher returned their tests.
- variants: auspiciously (adv), auspiciousness (n)
- definition: favored by fortune
- synonym: fortunate, prosperous
- antonym: ominous, unfortunate
- Sentence: The couple was married on 09/09/09, as they believed the date to be an auspicious one.
- variants: vigilant (adjective) vigilantly (adverb)
- definition: keenly watchful to detect danger; wary
- synonym: observant, attentive
- antonym: negligent, careless
- Sentence: The watchmen needed to remain vigilant to protect their camp from any surprise attacks.
- variants: none
- definition: that which one turns to for help in desperation
- synonym: refuge, resort
- sentence: Is Sonia’s only recourse prostitution, and is Raskolnikov’s only recourse confession?
- variants: equivocalness (n), equivocally (adv), equivocation (n)
- definition: allowing the possibility of multiple meanings, susceptible to double interpretations
- synonym: ambiguous, dubious, questionable, suspicious
- antonym: unquestionable, definite, clear
- sentence: Svidrigailov’s conversation is equivocal; Raskolnikov cannot figure out his true intentions.
- variants: dubiously (adverb), dubiousness (noun)
- definition: full of doubt or uncertainty
- synonym: doubtful, questionable, unsure
- antonym: certain, definite, sure, trustworthy
- sentence: He enjoyed the dubious distinction of having the lowest GPA of the graduating class.
- variants: corporeality (noun); corporeally (adverb)
- definition: the physical body; material or physical rather than spiritual
- synonym: bodily, physical
- antonym: mental, spiritual
- sentence: The doctor examined the corporeal remains for clues to its identity.
- variants: chastener (n)
- definition: to punish in order to correct or make better; chastise; subdue; refine as to make purer
- synonym: punish, discipline, correct
- antonym: commend, praise
- Sentence: The sadistic headmaster chastened errant students with a leather strap.
- variants: resolutely (adverb), resoluteness (noun)
- definition: having or showing a fixed, firm purpose; determined; unwavering
- synonym: faithful, unyielding
- antonym: uncertain, unsure
- sentence: The Second Apparition advises Macbeth to be “bloody, bold and resolute” for only a man not of woman born can harm him.
- variants: languidness (n), languidly (adv)
- definition: without vigor or vitality; without spirit or interest
- synonym: weak; listless; indifferent; sluggish
- antonym: energetic, lively
- sentence: His languid movements annoyed the movie director, who envisioned a violent, wild scene.
- variants: dissolutely(adverb), dissoluteness (noun)
- definition: dissipated and immoral; debauched
- synonym: debauched, depraved, degenerate
- antonym: decent, upright, moral
- sentence: Svidrigailov’s reputation for dissolute behavior disgusts Dunya.
- variants: extoller (n); extolment (n)
- definition: to praise highly; laud
- synonym: praise, laud, acclaim
- antonym: disparage, denigrate
- sentence: Many journalists extol the virtues of our President.
- variants: amorousness (n), amorously (adv)
- definition: full of love, showing love or sexual desire
- synonym: passionate, ardent
- antonym: detached, unloving
- sentence: The amorous behavior displayed in high school hallways is often disturbing.
- variants: [from scruple] scrupulously (adv), scrupulousness (n);
- definition: extremely careful to do the precisely right, proper or correct thing in every last detail; obsessively hesitant in deciding what is morally right
- synonym: careful, conscientious, meticulous
- antonym: careless, rash
- sentence: The scrupulous student double-checked all his essay’s quotations to avoid plagiarism.
- variants: ponderously (adverb), ponderousness (noun)
- definition: very heavy; unwieldy because of weight
- synonym: heavy, weighty, dull and labored
- antonym: light
- sentence: Marley’s Ghost tells Ebenezer Scrooge that the chain Scrooge bears is a ponderous one.
- related: brief (adjective), briefly (adverb)
- definition: the quality of being brief or concise
- synonym: conciseness, terseness
- antonym: length
- sentence: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
- variants: deport (verb)
- definition: the manner of conducting or bearing oneself
- synonym: manner, bearing, posture, behavior
- antonym: none
- sentence: Because she was a mature 12 year old, the girl’s deportment did not accurately reflect her age.
- variants: prodigally (adverb), prodigality (noun)
- definition: exceedingly, recklessly wasteful
- synonym: wasteful, extravagant
- antonym: cautious, thrifty
- sentence: The prodigal shopper saved no money for the gas she desperately needed for her return home.
- related: intercede (verb), intercessional (adjective)
- definition: the act of interceding, pleading or prayer on behalf of another
- synonym: intervention, mediation
- antonym: none
- sentence: The marriage counselor’s intercession was necessary for the fighting couple.
- variants: solicitously (adverb), solicitude (noun)
- definition: showing care, attention or concern
- synonym: attentive, considerate
- antonym: uncaring, unconcerned
- sentence: Although it was second semester senior year, she maintained a solicitous attitude towards her grades.
- definition: of the earliest times or ages
- synonym: primordial, primal, primitive
- antonym: modern
- sentence: Sally walked in the primeval forest, where ancient groves awed her.
deprecate (transitive verb)
- related: deprecatingly (adverb), deprecation (noun)
- definition: to feel and express disapproval of
- synonym: denounce, denigrate
- antonym: approve, praise
- sentence: The staunch Republican deprecated the policies of the Democratic Congress.
- variants: capitulation (noun)
- definition: to surrender, especially on conditions agreed upon
- synonym: acquiesce, submit, yield
- antonym: stand firm, remain resolute
- sentence: The class proposed watching a movie, and the exhausted teacher willingly capitulated.
- variants: sardonically (adverb)
- definition: bitterly ironic, derisively mocking
- synonym: scornful, satirical, caustic
- antonym: respectful
- sentence: Despite his thirst for knowledge, the tough teenager maintained a sardonic attitude towards school when he was with his friends.
- related: furtively (adverb), furtiveness (noun)
- definition: done by stealth
- synonym: secretive, sly, surreptitious
- antonym: open, direct
- sentence: Modestly lowering her eyes, the girl continued to shoot furtive glances towards the handsome new student.
- variants: ethereally (adverb); etherealize (verb)
- definition: light, delicate; heavenly
- synonym: unearthly, airy
- antonym: earthly, substantial
- sentence: The singer’s ethereal voice made me think of heaven.
- variants: confounded (adjective)
- definition: to mix up or lump together indiscriminately; to make feel confused; to damn: used as a mild oath
- synonym: puzzle, confuse
- antonym: clarify
- sentence: The rapid-fire delivery of the lecture confounded all the students.
- related: wryly (adverb), wryness (noun)
- definition: made by twisting or distorting the features (a wry face); dry, ironic (as in humor)
- synonym: ironic, cynical
- antonym: straight-forward
- sentence: Her wry expression signaled her amusement with the awkward situation.
- sentence: Taking his words at face value, the audience misunderstood his wry remarks.
- variants: veraciously (adverb); veracious (adjective)
- definition: habitual truthfulness; honesty
- synonym: truth
- antonym: dishonesty, false
- sentence: The man’s known veracity made him a reliable witness.
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