CAT Vocabulary - Page 2 of 3

(n.) a raised platform at one end of a room

The dais was lowered to make the speaker look taller.


(v.) to loiter; to waste time

Please do not dally or we will miss our appointment.


(adj.) damp and chilly

The cellar became very dank during the winter time.


(adj.) fearless; not discouraged

The dauntless ranger scaled the mountain to complete the rescue.


(n.) scarcity; shortage

A series of coincidental resignations left the firm with a dearth of talent.

The dearth of the coverage forced him to look for a new insurance agent.


(n.) disaster; collapse; a rout

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the stock exchanges implemented
numerous safeguards to head off another debacle on Wall Street.


(v.) to make lower in quality

The French are concerned that “Franglais,” a blending of English and French, will
debase their language.


(n.) indulgence in one’s appetites

The preacher decried debauchery and urged charity.


(v.) to enfeeble; to wear out

The phlebitis debilitated him to the point where he was unable even to walk.

The illness will debilitate the muscles in his legs.  debonair (adj.) having an affable
manner; carefree; genial Opening the door for another is a debonair action.


(n.) a decline in morals or art

Some believe the decadence of Nero’s rule led to the fall of the empire.


(adj.) shedding; temporary

When the leaves began to fall from the tree we learned that it was deciduous.


(n.) an act of being firm or determined

Decisiveness is one of the key qualities of a successful executive.  decorous (adj.)
showing decorum; propriety, good taste This movie provides decorous refuge from
the violence and mayhem that permeates the latest crop of Hollywood films.  The
decorous suit was made of fine material.


(v.) to denounce or condemn openly

The pastor decried all forms of discrimination against any minority group.  defamation
(n.) to harm a name or reputation; to slander The carpenter felt that the
notoriousness of his former partner brought defamation to his construction business.  
deference (n.) a yielding of opinion; courteous respect for To avoid a confrontation,
the man showed deference to his friend.  The deference shown to the elderly woman’
s opinion was heartwarming.


(adj.) yielding to the opinion of another

After debating students living in the Sixth Ward for months, the mayor’s deferential
statements indicated that he had come to some understanding with them.


(adj.) no longer living or existing

The man lost a large sum of money when the company went defunct.


(v.) condescend; stoop

He said he wouldn’t deign to dignify her statement with a response.  Fired from his
job as a programmer analyst, Joe vowed he would never deign to mop floors-even if
he were down to his last penny.


(adj.) harmful; hurtful; noxious

Deleterious fumes escaped from the overturned truck.  deliberate (v.; adj.) to
consider carefully; weigh in the mind; intentional The jury deliberated for three days
before reaching a verdict.  The brother’s deliberate attempt to get his sibling blamed
for his mistake was obvious to all.


(v.) to outline; to describe

She delineated her plan so that everyone would have a basic understanding of it.


(v.) to dissolve

The snow deliquesced when the temperature rose.


(n.) a false belief or opinion

The historian suffered from the delusion that he was Napoleon.


(n.) ceasing to exist as in death

The demise of Gimbels followed years of decline.


(v.; n.) to object; objection; misgiving

She hated animals, so when the subject of buying a cat came up, she demurred.

She said yes, but he detected a demur in her voice.

She was nominated to sit on the committee, but she demurred.  The council
president called for a vote, and hearing no demur, asked for a count by the clerk.  
denigrate (v.) to defame, to blacken or sully; to belittle After finding out her evil
secret, he announced it to the council and denigrated her in public.

Her attempt to denigrate the man’s name was not successful.


(v.) to speak out against; condemn

A student rally was called to denounce the use of drugs on campus.


(v.) to portray; describe

The mural depicts the life of a typical urban dweller.


(v.) to reduce; to empty, exhaust

Having to pay the entire bill will deplete the family’s savings.  deposition (n.) a
removal from office or power; a testimony Failing to act lawfully could result in his
deposition.  She met with her lawyer this morning to review her deposition.


(n.) moral corruption; badness

Drugs and money caused depravity throughout the once decorous community.

The depravity of the old man was bound to land him in jail one day.  deprecate (v.) to
express disapproval of; to protest against The environmentalists deprecated the
paper companies for cutting down ancient forests.

The organization will deprecate the opening of the sewage plant.


(n.) a plundering or laying waste

The pharaoh’s once rich tomb was empty after centuries of depredation from grave


(v.) to laugh at with contempt; to mock

No matter what he said, he was derided.

It is impolite to deride someone even if you dislike him.


(n.) the act of mocking; ridicule, mockery

A day of derision from the boss left the employee feeling depressed.

Constant derision from classmates made him quit school.


(adj.) showing disrespect or scorn for

The derisive comment was aimed at the man’s life long enemy.


(adj.) belittling; uncomplimentary

He was upset because his annual review was full of derogatory comments.


(v.) lengthy talking or writing

The man will descant on the subject if you give him too much speaking time.


(v.) to profane; violate the sanctity of

The teenagers’ attempt to desecrate the church disturbed the community.


(v.) to stop or cease

The judge ordered the man to desist from calling his ex-wife in the middle of the night.


(adj.) to be left alone or made lonely

Driving down the desolate road had Kelvin worried that he wouldn’t reach a gas
station in time.


(v.) to take everything; plunder

The Huns despoiled village after village.


(n.) tyranny; absolute power or influence

The ruler’s despotism went uncontested for 30 years.


(adj.) poor; poverty-stricken

One Bangladeshi bank makes loans to destitute citizens so that they may overcome
their poverty.

Many of the city’s sections are destitute.  desultory (adj.) moving in a random,
directionless manner The thefts were occurring in a desultory manner making them
difficult to track.  detached (adj.) separated; not interested; standing alone Detached
from modern conveniences, the islanders live a simple, unhurried life.


(v.) to prevent; to discourage; hinder

He deterred the rabbits by putting down garlic around the garden.


(adj.) distinct limits

The new laws were very determinate as far as what was allowed and what was not


(adj.) lacking; empty

The interplanetary probe indicated that the planet was devoid of any atmosphere.


(adj.) skillful, quick mentally or physically

The dexterous gymnast was the epitome of grace on the balance beam.


(n.) a bitter or abusive speech

During the divorce hearings she delivered a diatribe full of the emotion pushing her
away from her husband.

The diatribe was directed towards a disrespectful supervisor.


(n.) a division into two parts or kinds

The dichotomy within the party threatens to split it.  The dichotomy between church
and state renders school prayer unconstitutional.  dictum (n.) a formal statement of
either fact or opinion Computer programmers have a dictum: garbage in, garbage


(adj.) instructive; dogmatic; preachy

Our teacher’s didactic technique boosted our scores.

The didactic activist was not one to be swayed.


(n.) a hesitation in asserting oneself

A shy person may have great diffidence when forced with a problem.


(adj.) timid; lacking self-confidence

The director is looking for a self-assured actor, not a diffident one.  Her diffident
sister couldn’t work up the courage to ask for the sale.  diffuse (adj.) spread out;
verbose (wordy); not focused The toys were discovered in a diffuse manner after the
birthday party.  His monologue was so diffuse that all his points were lost.  digress
(v.) stray from the subject; wander from topic It is important to not digress from the
plan of action.


(n.) an admirer of the fine arts; a dabbler

Though she played the piano occasionally, she was more of a dilettante.


(n.) hard work

Anything can be accomplished with diligence and commitment.  diminutive (adj.; n.)
smaller than average; a small person; a word, expressing smallness, formed when a
suffix is added They lived in a diminutive house.

The diminutive woman could not see over the counter.


(n.) a noise which is loud and continuous

The din of the jackhammers reverberated throughout the concrete canyon.


(n.) strength

The dint of the bridge could hold trucks weighing many tons.  dirge (n.) a hymn for a
funeral; a song or poem expressing lament The mourners sang a traditional Irish
dirge .


(n.) disapproval

Her disapprobation of her daughter’s fiancZ’ divided the family.


(n.) (state of) disorder

The thief left the house in disarray.


(v.) to deny; to refuse to acknowledge

The actor has disavowed the rumor.


(adj.) distinguishing one thing from another; having good judgment He has a
discerning eye for knowing the original from the copy.  Being discerning about a
customer’s character is a key qualification for a loan officer.


(v.) to frustrate the expectations of

The close game discomfited the number one player.


(n.) disagreement; lack of harmony

There was discord amidst the jury, and therefore a decision could not be made.  
discourse (v.) to converse; to communicate in an orderly fashion The scientists
discoursed on a conference call for just five minutes but were able to solve three
major problems.

The interviewee discoursed so fluently, she was hired on the spot.  discreet (adj.)
showing good judgment in conduct; prudent We confided our secret in Mary because
we knew she’d be discreet.  discrete (adj.) separate; individually distinct; composed
of distinct parts There were four discrete aspects to the architecture of the home.  
The citizens committee maintained that road widening and drainage were hardly
discrete issues.


(v.) distinguish; demonstrate bias

Being a chef, he discriminated carefully among ingredients.  Reeling from the fact
that senior managers had been caught on tape making offensive remarks, the CEO
said he would not tolerate any of his firm’s employees discriminating against anyone
for any reason.  disdain (n.; v.) intense dislike; look down upon; scorn She showed
great disdain toward anyone who did not agree with her.  She disdains the very
ground you walk upon.


(v.) to free from confusion

We need to disentangle ourselves from the dizzying variety of choices.


(adj.) discouraged; depressed

After failing the exam, the student became disheartened and wondered if he would
ever graduate.  disingenuous (adj.) not frank or candid; deceivingly simple (opposite:
ingenious) The director used a disingenuous remark to make his point to the student.

He always gives a quick, disingenuous response; you never get a straight answer.  
disinterested (adj.) neutral; unbiased (alternate meaning; uninterested) A
disinterested person was needed to serve as arbitrator of the argument.

He never takes sides; he’s always disinterested.


(v.) to belittle; undervalue; to discredit

After she fired him she realized that she had disparaged the value of his assistance.

The lawyer will attempt to disparage the testimony of the witness.


(adj.) unequal; dissimilar; different

They came from disparate backgrounds, one a real estate magnate, the other a

The disparate numbers of players made the game a sure blowout.


(n.) difference in form, character, or degree

There is a great disparity between a light snack and a great feast.


(adj.) lack of feeling; impartial

She was a very emotional person and could not work with such a dispassionate


(v.) to scatter; separate

The pilots dispersed the food drops over a wide area of devastation.

Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd.


(adj.) argumentative; inclined to disputes

His disputatious streak eventually wore down his fellow parliament members.

The child was so disputatious he needed to be removed from the room.  dissemble
(v.) to pretend; to feign; to conceal by pretense The man dissembled his assets
shamelessly to avoid paying alimony.  Agent 007 has a marvelous ability to
dissemble his real intentions.


(v.) to circulate; scatter

He was hired to disseminate newspapers to everyone in the town.

The preacher traveled across the country to disseminate his message.


(v.) to disagree; differ in opinion

They agreed that something had to be done, but dissented on how to do it.  
dissonance (n.) musical discord; a mingling of inharmonious sounds; nonmusical;
disagreement; lack of harmony Much twentieth-century music is not liked by classical
music lovers because of the dissonance it holds and the harmonies it lacks.  The
dissonance of his composition makes for some rough listening.


Despite several intense rehearsals, the voices of the choir members continued to be

The dissonant nature of the man’s temperament made the woman fearful to
approach him with the new idea.


(adj.) having separations or being reserved

Rolonda’s friends have become more distant in recent years.


(n.) inflation or extension

The bulge in the carpet was caused by the distention of the wood underneath.  dither
(v.; n.) to act indecisively; a confused condition She dithered every time she had to
make a decision.  Having to take two tests in one day left the student in a dither.


(v.) separate, split

The path diverges at the old barn, one fork leading to the house, and the other
leading to the pond.

The wide, long river diverged into two distinct separate rivers, never again to join.


(adj.) different; varied

The course offerings were so diverse I had a tough time choosing.


(n.) being stripped

When it was found the team cheated, there was a divestiture of their crown.


(adj.) manageable; obedient; gentle

We needed to choose a docile pet because we hadn’t the patience for a lot of
training.  document (n.; v.) official paper containing information; to support;
substantiate; verify They needed a written document to prove that the transaction
occurred.  Facing an audit, she had to document all her client contacts.  doggerel
(n.) verse characterized by forced rhyme and meter Contrary to its appearance,
doggerel can contain some weighty messages.


(n.) a collection of beliefs

The dogma of the village was based on superstition.


(adj.) stubborn; biased; opinionated

Their dogmatic declaration clarified their position.

The dogmatic statement had not yet been proven by science.  The student’s
dogmatic presentation annoyed his classmates as well as his instructor.


(adj.) as if asleep

The animals lay dormant until the spring thaw.


(adj.) excessively fond of

With great joy, the doting father held the toddler.


(adj.) brave and strong

The doughty fireman saved the woman’s life.


(adj.) shabby in appearance

The dowdy girl had no buttons on her coat and the threads were falling apart.  
dubious (adj.) doubtful; uncertain; skeptical; suspicious Many people are dubious
about the possibility of intelligent life on other planets.

The new information was dubious enough to re-open the case.


(n.) deception

She forgave his duplicity but divorced him anyway.


(n.) imprisonment; the use of threats

His duress was supposed to last 10-15 years.

The policewoman put the man under duress in order to get a confession.  The Labor
Department inspector needed to establish whether the plant workers had been held
under duress.


(adj.) unrefined

The earthy-looking table was bare.


(n.) an overflowing of high spirits; effervescence

She emanated ebullience as she skipped and sang down the hallway after learning
of her promotion.


(adj.) odd; peculiar; strange

People like to talk with the eccentric artist since he has such different views on
everyday subjects.

Wearing polka dot pants and a necklace made of recycled bottle tops is considered


(adj.) pertaining or relating to a church

Ecclesiastic obligations include attending mass.  eclectic (adj.) picking from various
possibilities; made up of material from various sources You have eclectic taste.

The eclectic collection of furniture did not match.


(adj.) not wasteful; thrifty

With her economical sense she was able to save the company thousands of dollars.


(n.) a large building

The edifice rose 20 stories and spanned two blocks.  edify (v.) to build or establish;
to instruct and improve the mind According to their schedule, the construction
company will edify the foundation of the building in one week.

The teachers worked to edify their students through lessons and discussion.


(v.) to draw out; to infer from information

Because she is so dour, I was forced to educe a response.

I educe from the report that the experiment was a success.


(v.) to erase; to make inconspicuous

Hiding in the woods, the soldier was effaced by his camouflage uniform.  effeminate
(adj.) having qualities attributed to a woman; delicate A high-pitched laugh made the
man seem effeminate.  effervescence (n.) liveliness; spirit; enthusiasm; bubbliness
Her effervescence was contagious; she made everyone around her happy.

The effervescence of champagne is what makes it different from wine.


(n.) the image or likeness of a person

Demonstrators carried effigies of the dictator they wanted overthrown.  effluvium (n.)
an outflow of vapor of invisible particles; a noxious odor The effluvium from the
exhaust had a bad smell.  It was difficult to determine from where the effluvium issued.


(n.) arrogance

The effrontery of the young man was offensive.


(adj.) pouring out or forth; overflowing

The effusive currents rush through the broken dam.  egocentric (adj.) self-centered,
viewing everything in relation to oneself The egocentric professor could not accept
the students’ opinions as valid.


(n.) a way out; exit

The doorway provided an egress from the chamber.


(n.) act of clarifying; adding details

The mayor called for an elaboration on the ordinance’s first draft.  elegy (n.) a poem
of lament and praise for the dead Upon conclusion of the elegy, the casket was
closed.  ellipsis (n.) omission of words that would make the meaning clear The
accidental ellipsis confused all those who heard the speech.


(n.) the ability to speak well

The speaker’s eloquence was attributed to his articulate manner of speaking.


(v.) to make clear; to explain

In the paper’s conclusion, its purpose was elucidated in one sentence.


(adj.) hard to catch

Even the experienced, old fisherman admitted that the trout in the river were quite


(v.) to emit

Happiness emanates from the loving home.


(v.) to engage or invest in

The embarkation into self-employment was a new start for the woman.


(v.) to improve by adding details

Adding beads to a garment will embellish it.


(n.) a lofty place; superiority

After toiling in the shadows for years, at last she achieved eminence.  The eminence
of the institution can be seen in the impact of its research.  emollient (adj.) softening
or soothing to the skin; having power to soften or relax living tissues When hands
become dry, it may be necessary to soothe them with an emollient lotion.


(v.) to try to equal or excel

The neophyte teacher was hoping to emulate her mentor.


(adj.) filled with love and desire

The young couple are enamored with each other.


(n.) formal expression of high praise

The sitcom actress gave her co-stars a long encomium as she accepted her Emmy.


(v.) to trespass or intrude

It is unlawful to encroach on another’s private property.  encumber (v.) to hold back;
to hinder; to burden, load down The review of the ethic’s committee encumbered the
deal from being finalized.

A brace will encumber the girl’s movement.  endemic (adj.) native to a particular area;
constantly present in a particular country or locality The endemic fauna was of great
interest to the anthropologist.  A fast-paced style is endemic to those who live in New
York City.


(v.) support; to approve of; recommend

The entire community endorsed the politician who promised lower taxes and a better
school system.  enervate (v.) to weaken; to deprive of nerve or strength The
sickness enervates its victims until they can no longer get out of bed.


(v.) to make weak

The illness will enfeeble anyone who catches it.  enfranchised (v.) to free from
obligation; to admit to citizenship The player was enfranchised when the deal was
called off.  The recent immigrants were enfranchised when they took their oath to
their new country.


(v.) to bring about; beget; to bring forth

The group attempted to engender changes to the law.  enhance (v.) to improve;
compliment; make more attractive The new fuel enhanced the performance of the
rocket’s engines.


(n.) mystery; secret; perplexity

To all of the searchers, the missing child’s location remained a great enigma.


(adj.) baffling

The enigmatic murder plagued the detective.


(n.) boredom; apathy

Ennui set in when the children realized they had already played with all the toys.


(n.) an indefinitely long period of time

The star may have existed for eons.


(adj.) very short-lived; lasting only a short time

Living alone gave him an ephemeral happiness, soon to be replaced with utter
loneliness.  epicure (n.) a person who has good taste in food and drink As an
epicure, Lance is choosy about the restaurants he visits.


(n.) a witty or satirical poem or statement

The poet wrote an epigram about the upcoming election.  epilogue (n.) closing
section of a play or novel providing further comment.  The epilogue told us the
destiny of the characters.


(n.) an appearance of a supernatural being

The man bowed to the epiphany.


(n.) an inscription on a monument; in honor or memory of a dead person The epitaph
described the actions of a brave man.


(n.) model; typification; representation

The woman chosen to lead the dancers was the epitome of true grace.  equanimity
(n.) the quality of remaining calm and undisturbed Equanimity can be reached when
stress is removed from life.  equinox (n.) precise time when day and night is of equal
length On the equinox we had twelve hours of night and day.


(adj.) doubtful; uncertain

Scientific evidence was needed before the equivocal hypothesis was accepted by the
doubting researchers.


(n.) a purposely misleading statement

The equivocations by the man sent the search team looking in the wrong direction.  
eradication (n.) the act of annihilating, destroying, or erasing Some have theorized
that the eradication of the dinosaurs was due to a radical change in climate.


(adj.) roving in search of adventure

The young man set out across country on an errant expedition.


(adj.) unpredictable; irregular

His erratic behavior was attributed to the shocking news he had received.

The kitten’s erratic behavior was attributed to the owner’s cruel method of disciplining
his pet.


(adj.) untrue; inaccurate; not correct

The reporter’s erroneous story was corrected by a new article that stated the truth.  
erudite (adj.) having a wide knowledge acquired through reading The woman was so
erudite, she could recite points on most any subject.


(v.) to shun; to avoid

Eschew the traffic and you may arrive on time.  esoteric (adj.) understood by only a
chosen few; confidential The esoteric language was only known by the select group.  
We have had a number of esoteric conversations.


(adj.) deserving respect

The estimable hero was given a parade.


(adj.) very light; airy; heavenly; not earthly

The ethereal quality of the music had a hypnotic effect.  The dancer wore an
ethereal outfit which made her look like an angel.  ethnic (adj.) pertaining to races or
peoples and their origin classification, or characteristics Ethnic foods from five
continents were set up on the table.


(n.) words of praise, especially for the dead

The eulogy was a remembrance of the good things the man accomplished in his
lifetime.  euphemism (n.) the use of a word or phrase in place of one that is
distasteful The announcer used a euphemism when he wanted to complain.


(n.) pleasant combination of sounds

The gently singing birds created a beautiful euphony.  The euphony created by the
orchestra was due to years of practice.  evanescent (adj.) vanishing quickly;
dissipating like a vapor The evanescent mirage could only be seen at a certain angle.


(n.) the avoiding of a duty

The company was charged with tax evasion, as they did not pay all that they owed.


(v.) to call forth; provoke

Seeing her only daughter get married evoked tears of happiness from the mother.

Announcement of the results evoked a cheer from the crowd.


(v.) to free from guilt

The therapy session will exculpate the man from his guilty feelings.


(v.) to put to death; kill; to carry out; fulfill

The evil, murderous man was executed for killing several innocent children.

I expected him to execute my orders immediately.


(adj.) serving as an example; outstanding

The honor student’s exemplary behavior made him a role model to the younger

Employees of the month are chosen for their exemplary service to the firm.


(adj.) thorough; complete

It took an exhaustive effort, using many construction workers, to complete the new
home by the deadline.


(v.) to unearth; to reveal

The scientists exhumed the body from the grave to test the body’s DNA.  The next
episode will exhume the real betrayer.  exigent (adj.) a situation calling for immediate
attention; needing more than is reasonable The exigent request for more assistance
was answered quickly.  The bank seemed to feel that another extension on their loan
payment was too exigent a request to honor.


(v.) to declare or prove blameless

Hopefully, the judge will exonerate you of any wrongdoing.  exorbitant (adj.) going
beyond what is reasonable; excessive Paying hundreds of dollars for the dress is an
exorbitant amount.


(adj.) unusual; striking; foreign

Many people asked the name of her exotic perfume.  The menu of authentic Turkish
cuisine seemed exotic to them, considering they were only accustomed to American
food.  expedient (adj.) convenient in obtaining a result; guided by self-interest The
mayor chose the more expedient path rather than the more correct one.

There is no expedient method a teenager will not resort to in order to get the keys to
a car of their own.


(v.) to hasten the action of

We can expedite the bank transaction if we tell them it is an emergency.


(adj.) specific; definite

The explicit recipe gave directions for making a very complicated dessert.


(n.) setting forth facts

The exposition by the witness substantiated the story given by the prisoner.


(v.) to blot out; to delete

Bleach may be used to expunge the stain.


(adj.) existing; refers especially to books or documents Some of my ancestor’s letters
remain extant.  extemporize (v.) to improvise; to make it up as you go along It was
necessary for the musician to extemporize when his music fell off the stand.


(v.) to give great praise

The father will extol the success of his son to everyone he meets.


(adj.) irrelevant; not related; not essential

During the long, boring lecture, most people agreed that much of the information was


(adj.) capable of being disentangled

The knots were complicated, but extricable.


(n.) the act of rejoicing

Exultation was evident by the partying and revelry.  facetious (adj.) joking in an
awkward or improper manner His facetious sarcasm was inappropriate during his first
staff meeting.


(v.) make easier; simplify

The new ramp by the door’s entrance facilitated access to the building for those in


(n.) copy; reproduction; replica

The facsimile of the elaborate painting was indistinguishable from the original.  
faction (n.) a number of people in an organization working for a common cause
against the main body A faction of the student body supported the president’s view.


(adj.) misleading

A used car salesman provided fallacious information that caused the naive man to
purchase the old, broken car.


(adj.) liable to be mistaken or erroneous

By not differentiating themselves from the popular band, the group was especially


(n.) enthusiast; extremist

The terrorist group was comprised of fanatics who wanted to destroy those who
disagreed with them.


(adj.) difficult to please; dainty

The fastidious girl would not accept any offers as suitable.  The woman was
extremely fastidious, as evident in her occasional fainting spells.  fathom (v.; n.) to
understand; a nautical unit of depth It was difficult to fathom the reason for closing
the institution.  The submarine cruised at 17 fathoms below the surface.


(adj.) lacking in seriousness; vain and silly

The fatuous prank was meant to add comedy to the situation.

His fatuous personality demands that he stop in front of every mirror.


(n.) loyalty

The baron was given land in exchange for his fealty to the king.


(adj.) reasonable; practical

Increased exercise is a feasible means of weight loss.


(adj.) productive

The construction crew had a fecund day and were able to leave early.


(v.) pretend

It is not uncommon for a child to feign illness in order to stay home from school.  feint
(v.; n.) to pretend to throw a punch, as in boxing; a fake show intended to deceive
The fighter feinted a left hook just before he went for the knockout.


(v.) to excite or agitate

The rally cry was meant to ferment and confuse the opponent.  ferret (v.; n.) to force
out of hiding; to search for; a small, weasel-like mammal The police will ferret the
fugitive out of his hiding place.

I spent the morning ferreting for my keys

I have a pet ferret.


(adj.) passionate; intense

They have a fervent relationship that keeps them together every minute of every day.


(adj.) intensely hot; fervent; impassioned

Her fervid skin alerted the doctor to her fever.

The fervid sermon of the preacher swayed his congregation.


(n.) passion; intensity of feeling

The crowd was full of fervor as the candidate entered the hall.  fester (v.) to become
more and more virulent and fixed His anger festered until no one could change his


(adj.) having a smell of decay

The fetid smell led us to believe something was decaying in the basement.  fetish (n.)
anything to which one gives excessive devotion The clay figure of a fertility goddess
was a fetish from an ancient civilization.


(n.) a chain to bind the feet

A fetter kept the dog chained to the fence.


(adj.) changeable; unpredictable

He is quite fickle; just because he wants something today does not mean he will want
it tomorrow.

Because the man was fickle he could not be trusted to make a competent decision.


(n.) faithfulness; honesty

His fidelity was proven when he turned in the lost money.


(n.) something made up in the mind

The unicorn on the hill was a figment of his imagination.  finesse (n.) the ability to
handle situations with skill and diplomacy The executor with the most finesse was
chosen to meet with the diplomats.


(adj.) measurable; limited; not everlasting

It was discovered decades ago that the universe is not finite; it has unknown limits
which cannot be measured.

The finite amount of stored food will soon run out.


(n.) a cleft or crack

The earthquake caused a fissure which split the cliff face.


(adj.) lacking firmness

The old dog’s flaccid tail refused to wag.


(v.) to become weak; to send a message

The smaller animal flagged before the larger one.


(adj.) glaringly wrong

The flagrant foul was apparent to everyone.


(adj.) being too showy or ornate

The flamboyant nature of the couple was evident in their loud clothing.


(n.; adj.) inexperienced person; beginner

The fledgling mountain climber needed assistance from the more experienced

The course was not recommended for fledgling skiers.


(v.) wince; drawback; retreat

The older brother made his younger sister flinch when he jokingly tried to punch her


(adj.) talkative; disrespectful

The youngsters were flippant in the restaurant.

The teacher became upset with the flippant answer from the student.


(v.) to mock or jeer

Do not flout an opponent if you believe in fair play.


(n.) ability to write easily and expressively

The child’s fluency in Spanish and English was remarkable.  The immigrant acquired
a fluency in English after studying for only two months.


(n.) a flow; a continual change

With the flux of new students into the school, space was limited.


(v.) to falsely identify as real

The smuggler tried to foist the cut glass as a priceless gem.


(v.) to raid for spoils, plunder

The soldiers were told not to foray the town.


(n.) patience; self-restraint

He exhibited remarkable forbearance when confronted with the mischievous children.


(adj.) pertaining to legal or public argument

The forensic squad dealt with the legal investigation.  formidable (adj.) something
which causes dread or fear The formidable team caused weak knees in the


(n.) firm courage; strength

It is necessary to have fortitude to complete the hike.


(adj.) happening accidentally

Finding the money under the bush was fortuitous.


(v.) encourage; nurture; support

A good practice routine fosters success.

After the severe storm the gardener fostered many of his plants back to health.


(adj.) rebellious; apt to quarrel

Fractious siblings aggravate their parents.


(adj.) loaded; charged

The comment was fraught with sarcasm.


(adj.) frenzied

A frenetic call was made from the crime scene.


(v.) to make rough or disturb

The pet will fret the floor if he continues to scratch.


(adj.) giddiness; lack of seriousness

The hard-working students deserved weekend gatherings filled with frivolity.  froward
(adj.) not willing to yield or comply with what is reasonable The executive had to deal
with a froward peer who was becoming increasingly difficult.


(n.) thrift; economical use or expenditure

His frugality limited him to purchasing the item for which he had a coupon.

Preparing to save money to send their daughter to college, the parents practiced
extreme frugality for several years.


(v.) to blame, denunciate

It is impolite to fulminate someone for your mistakes.  Senator Shay fulminated
against her opponent’s double-standard on campaign finance reform.


(adj.) disgusting due to excess

The man became obese when he indulged in fulsome eating.


(adj.) basic; necessary

Shelter is one of the fundamental needs of human existence.


(adj.) secretive; sly

The detective had much difficulty finding the furtive criminal.


(n.) pompous talk or writing

The fustian by the professor made him appear arrogant.


(adj.) worthless; unprofitable

It was a futile decision to invest in that company since they never made any money.


(n.) a blunder

Calling the woman by the wrong name was a huge gaffe.


(v.) to speak against; to contradict; to deny

With Senator Bowker the only one to gainsay it, the bill passed overwhelmingly.  
galvanize (v.) to stimulate as if by electric shock; startle; excite The pep rally will
galvanize the team.  gamut (n.) a complete range; any complete musical scale The
woman’s wardrobe runs the gamut from jeans to suits.  His first composition covered
the entire gamut of the major scale.


(adj.) mixed up; distorted or confused

The interference on the phone line caused the data to become garbled on the
computer screen.


(adj.) gaudy, showy

The gold fixtures seemed garish.


(v.) to gather up and store; to collect

The squirrels garnered nuts for the winter.


(adj.) extremely talkative or wordy

No one wanted to speak with the garrulous man for fear of being stuck in a long, one-
sided conversation.


(adj.) awkward; lacking social grace

Unfortunately, the girl was too gauche to fit into high society.


(n.) a protective glove

The gauntlet saved the man’s hand from being burned in the fire.


(adj.) common; general; universal

While generic drugs are often a better value, it always a good idea to consult your
doctor before purchasing them.


(adj.) contributing to life; amiable

Key West’s genial climate is among its many attractive aspects.

Her genial personality made her a favorite party guest.


(adj.) designating a type of film or book

The genre of the book is historical fiction.


(adj.) pertinent; related; to the point

Her essay contained germane information, relevant to the new Constitutional
amendment.  gerrymander (v.) to gain advantage by manipulating unfairly To
gerrymander during negotiations is considered unfair.


(v.) to rapidly speak unintelligibly

They did not want him to represent their position in front of the committee since he
was prone to gibbering when speaking in front of an audience.  glib (adj.) smooth
and slippery; speaking or spoken in a smooth manner The salesman was so glib that
the customers failed to notice the defects in the stereo.


(v.) brag; glory over

She gloated over the fact that she received the highest score on the exam, annoying
her classmates to no end.


(n.) overeater

The glutton ate 12 hot dogs


(adj.) full of knots; twisted

The raven perched in the gnarled branches of the ancient tree.  goad (n.; v.) a
driving impulse; to push into action His goad urged him to pursue the object of his
affection.  Thinking about money will goad him into getting a job.


(n.) one who eats eagerly

A gourmand may eat several servings of an entree.


(adj.) magnificent; flamboyant

His grandiose idea was to rent a plane to fly to Las Vegas for the night.


(n.) seriousness

The gravity of the incident was sufficient to involve the police and the FBI.


(adj.) fond of the company of others

Gregarious people may find those jobs with human contact more enjoyable than jobs
that isolate them from the public.


(n.) boisterous laughter

A comedian’s success is assured when the audience gives forth a guffaw following
his jokes.


(n.) slyness; deceit

By using his guile, the gambler almost always won at the card table.


(n.) appearance

The undercover detective, under the guise of friendship, offered to help the drug
runner make a connection.


(adj.) easily fooled

Gullible people are vulnerable to practical jokes.


(adj.) commonplace; trite

Just when you thought neckties were becoming a hackneyed gift item, along comes
the Grateful Dead collection.

Have a nice day has become something of a hackneyed expression.


(adj.) untamed; having a worn look

The lawn in front of the abandoned house added to its haggard look.  He looked as
haggard as you would expect a new father of quadruplets to look.

Just by looking at her haggard features, you can tell she has not slept for many


(adj.) tranquil; happy

The old man fondly remembered his halcyon days growing up on the farm.


(v.) interfere with; hinder

The roadblock hampered their progress, but they knew a shortcut.


(adj.) disorganized; random

He constantly misplaced important documents because of his haphazard way of
running his office.


(adj.) unlucky; unfortunate

The hapless team could not win a game.


(n; v.) a lengthy, heartfelt speech; to talk or write excitedly We sat patiently and
listened to her harangue.  When he finally stopped his haranguing, I responded
calmly.  harbor (n.; v.) a place of safety or shelter; to give shelter or to protect.  We
stood at the dock as the ship sailed into the harbor.

The peasants were executed for harboring known rebels.

The rabbits used the shed as a harbor from the raging storm.  Her decision to harbor
a known criminal was an unwise one.  harmonious (adj.) having proportionate and
orderly parts The challenge for the new conductor was to mold his musicians’ talents
into a harmonious orchestra.  haughty (adj.) proud of oneself and scornful of others
The haughty ways she displayed her work turned off her peers.  The haughty girl
displayed her work as if she were the most prized artist.


(adj.) living for pleasure

The group was known for its hedonistic rituals.  Hot tubs, good food, and a plethora
of leisure time were the hallmarks of this hedonistic society.


(v.) obey; yield to

If the peasant heeds the king’s commands, she will be able to keep her land.


(adj.) heavy or powerful

The unabridged dictionary makes for a hefty book.


(n.) opinion contrary to popular belief

In this town it is considered heresy to want parking spaces to have meters.  heretic
(n.) one who holds opinion contrary to that which is generally accepted Because he
believed the world was round, many people considered Columbus to be a heretic.


(n.) interval; break; period of rest

Summer vacation provided a much-needed hiatus for the students.  Between
graduation and the first day of his new job, Tim took a threemonth hiatus in the
Caribbean.  hierarchy (n.) a system of persons or things arranged according to rank I
was put at the bottom of the hierarchy while Jane was put at the top.


(adj.) whitened by age

The paint had a hoary appearance, as if it were applied decades ago.


(n.) honor; respect

The police officers paid homage to their fallen colleague with a ceremony that
celebrated her life.


(n.) maintenance of stability

Knowing the seriousness of the operation, the surgeons were concerned about
restoring the patient to homeostasis.


(n.) solemn moral talk; sermon

The preacher gave a moving homily to the gathered crowd.  hone (n.; v.) something
used to sharpen; to sharpen; to long or yearn for He ran the knife over the hone for
hours to get a razor-sharp edge.  The apprenticeship will give her the opportunity to
hone her skills.

The traveler hones for his homeland.


(n.) arrogance

Some think it was hubris that brought the president to the point of impeachment.


(n.) lack of pride; modesty

Full of humility, she accepted the award but gave all the credit to her mentor.


(n.) anything of mixed origin

The flower was a hybrid of three different flowers.  hyperbole (n.) an exaggeration,
not to be taken seriously The full moon was almost blinding in its brightness, he said
with a measure of hyperbole.


(adj.) two-faced; deceptive

His constituents believed that the governor was hypocritical for calling for a
moratorium on “negative” campaigning while continuing to air some of the most
vicious ads ever produced against his opponent.  Most of his constituents believed
the governor was hypocritical for calling his opponent a “mud-slinging hack” when his
own campaign had slung more than its share of dirt.


(adj.) assumed; uncertain; conjectural

A hypothetical situation was set up so we could practice our responses.  

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