400 Must Have Words for the TOEFL » Index

a
  • abandon
    abandon [əˈbændən] v.
    To leave; to give up
    To save their lives,the sailors had to abandon the sinking ship.
    Parts of speech     abandonment n.
  • abduction
    abduction [æbˈdʌkʃən] n.
    Kidnapping
    Pirates got many crew members by abduction, snatching unlucky citizens from seaport towns.
    Parts of speech     abduct v.
  • abstract
    abstract [ˈæbstrækt] adj.
    Not concrete and realistic; not obviously related to everyday experience
    Abstract painting became popular partly because early photography was very realistic.
    Parts of speech     abstraction n.
  • accumulate
    accumulate [əˈkjuːmjəleɪt] v.
    To build up a large amount of something
    Over several generations, the Hardington family accumulated vast wealth by buying and selling land.
    Parts of speech     accumulation n.
  • accuracy
    accuracy [ˈækjurəsɪ] n.
    Precision; exactness
    The research department checks all our articles for accuracy of facts before we print them.
    Usage tips     Accuracy is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     accurate adj., accurately adv.
  • accuse
    accuse [əˈkjuːz] v.
    To say that someone did something wrong (e.g., committed a crime)
    Jordan was accused of using a stolen credit card to buy about $300 worth of electronic equipment.
    Usage tips     Accuse is often used in the passive voice.
    Parts of speech     accusation n., accuser n.
  • acquire
    acquire [əˈkwaɪər] v.
    To get something, usually something with special value or meaning
    Bart hoped to acquire the 1898 D Indian Head penny, which would make his collection complete.
    Usage tips     Unlike get, acquire implies that a possession has special value or meaning.
    Parts of speech     acquisition n., acquisitive adj.
  • acquisition
    acquisition [ˌækwəˈzɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    The act of taking possession of something
    Our recent acquisition of over 2,000 books makes ours the biggest library in the region.
    Usage tips     Acquisition is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     acquire v.
  • adapt
    adapt [əˈdæpt] v.
    To adjust to the circumstances; to make suitable
    Dinosaurs could not adapt to the warmer temperatures.
    Usage tips     Adapt is often followed by to.
    Parts of speech adaptation n., adapter n., adaptable adj.
  • addictive
    addictive [əˈdɪktɪv] adj.
    Making someone want it so much that the person feels ill without it
    Some drugs, like heroin or methamphetamines, are addictive to almost everyone who tries them.
    Parts of speech     addict v., addict n., addiction n.
  • adjacent
    adjacent [əˈdʒeɪsənt] adj.
    Next to
    Even though the villages are adjacent to each other, their residents speak different languages.
    Usage tips     Adjacent is often followed by to.
    Parts of speech     adjacency n.
  • adjust
    adjust [əˈdʒəst] v.
    To change; to get accustomed to something
    Travelers are advised to adjust their watches before arriving in the new time zone.
    Parts of speech     adjustment n., adjustable adj.
  • adolescent
    adolescent [ˌædəʊˈlesnt] adj.
    Characteristic of a teenager; not fully grown up
    In policy meetings, George refuses to reason with anyone and just scowls in an adolescent way.
    Parts of speech     adolescent n., adolescence n.
  • advent
    advent [ˈædvənt] n.
    Coming; arrival
    The advent of the automobile greatly increased the demand for petroleum.
    Usage tips     Advent is usually followed by an of phrase.
  • adversely
    adversely [ˈædvərsli] adv.
    In a harmful way; negatively
    Excessive rainfall early in the spring can adversely affect the planting of crops.
    Usage tips     Adversely is often followed by affect.
    Parts of speech     adversity n., adverse adj.
  • advocate
    advocate [ˈædvəkeɪt] v.
    To speak out in favor of something
    Some environmentalists advocate removing large dams from the Columbia River.
    Usage tips     Advocate is usually followed by a term for a process or action,very often the -ing form of a verb
    Parts of speech     advocate n., advocacy n.
  • affection
    affection [əˈfekʃən] n.
    An emotional closeness or warmth
    I show affection for my girlfriend by spending time with her, not by spending money on her.
    Usage tips     Affection is often followed by a for phrase.
    Parts of speech     affectionate adj.
  • affluence
    affluence [ˈæfluəns] n.
    Wealth and the style of life that goes with it
    Mohadzir grew up amid affluence, which poorly prepared him for his grad student days in crowded apartments with no servants.
    Parts of speech     affluent adj.
  • aggravate
    aggravate [ˈæɡrəˌveɪt] v.
    To make worse; to anger or intensify
    Running will aggravate your sore knees.
    Parts of speech     aggravation n.
  • aggregate
    aggregate [ˈæɡriɡət] adj.
    Gathered into or amounting to a whole
    It is impossible to judge last year’s performance without knowing the aggregate sales numbers.
    Usage tips     Aggregate is often followed by a term like sum, total, or numbers.
    Parts of speech     aggregate v., aggregate n.
  • agnostic
    agnostic [æɡˈnɑstɪk] adj.
    Believing that humans cannot know whether there is a god
    His devoutly Christian parents had problems with his agnostic beliefs.
    Parts of speech     agnostic n., agnosticism n.
  • allegedly
    allegedly [əˈlɛdʒədli] adv.
    According to what people say
    The chief financial officer of the company allegedly took company money for his personal use.
    Parts of speech     allege v., allegation n.
  • allegiance
    allegiance [əˈliːdʒəns] n.
    Loyalty
    My allegiance to my country is based on respect for its principles.
    Usage tips     Allegiance is commonly followed by a to phrase.
  • allocate
    allocate [ˈæləˌkeɪt] v.
    To give out different amounts for different purposes
    The budget allocates $58 billion to the military and only about $2 billion to education.
    Usage tips     Things that can be allocated are things that can be “spent”—money, time, energy, etc.
    Parts of speech     allocation n.
  • amateurish
    amateurish
    Not good enough to be the work of professionals
    Whoever painted this room did an amateurish job, with all sorts of uneven edges.
    Parts of speech     amateur n., amateurishly adv.
  • ambiguous
    ambiguous [æmˈbɪgjʊəs] adj.
    Having more than one possible meaning
    The sentence It’s hard to say is ambiguous, with different meanings in different contexts.
    Parts of speech     ambiguity n., ambiguously adv.
  • amend
    amend [əˈmend] v.
    To change for the better
    The residents voted to amend their neighborhood policy on fences.
    Parts of speech     amendment n.
  • analyze
    analyze [ˈænlˌaɪz] v.
    To examine something by looking at its parts
    Chemists analyzed the white powder and found it to be only a mixture of sugar and salt.
    Parts of speech     analysis n., analyst n.
  • ancestral
    ancestral [ænˈsestrəl] adj.
    Relating to family members from earlier generations
    Sweden is my ancestral homeland, from which my greatgrandfather emigrated in 1922.
    Parts of speech     ancestor n., ancestry n.
  • anesthesia
    anesthesia [ˌænəsˈθiʒə] n.
    Techniques for reducing sensation and feeling,specially to control pain
    The Civil War was the first American war when anesthesia was widely used in surgery on soldiers.
    Usage tips     Anesthesia and anesthetic are often used interchangeably.
    Parts of speech     anesthetic n., adj.
  • animism
    animism [ˈænəˌmɪzəm] n.
    The belief that natural objects, such as trees, have souls
    Desert cultures that practice animism often believe that winds contain spirits.
    Parts of speech     animistic adj.
  • annex
    annex [ˈænɛks] v.
    To make something (usually land) part of another unit
    Bardstown grew by annexing several farms at the north edge of town.
    Parts of speech     annexation n., annex n.
  • anomaly
    anomaly [əˈnɑməli] n.
    Something unusual
    White tigers get their beautiful coloring from a genetic anomaly.
  • anticipate
    anticipate [ænˈtisəˌpeit] v.
    To expect; to sense something before it happens
    By placing sensors in earthquake-prone areas, scientists can anticipate some tremors in time to warn the public.
    Parts of speech     anticipation n., anticipatory adj.
  • antipathy
    antipathy [ænˈtɪpəθɪ] n.
    A strong, long-lasting negative feeling
    My antipathy toward telemarketers is so strong that I am often rude to them.
    Usage tips     Antipathy is often followed by a toward phrase.
  • apex
    apex [ˈeɪpɛks] n.
    The highest point
    Gregory knew that his running skills had to be at their apex during the tournament.
    Usage tips     Apex is often used to describe the high point of someone’s abilities.
  • apprehend
    apprehend [ˌæprɪˈhend] v.
    To capture
    The police apprehended the robbery suspect as he tried to get on a bus to Chicago.
    Parts of speech     apprehension n.
  • arbitrary
    arbitrary [ˈɑːbɪtrərɪ] adj.
    Chosen simply by whim or chance, not for any specific reason
    The decision to build a school in Blackberry Township was arbitrary, without any thought to future housing patterns.
    Parts of speech     arbitrate v., arbitrator n., arbitrarily adv.
  • arrogantly
    arrogantly [ˈærəgəntlɪ] adv.
    In a way that shows a high opinion of oneself and a low opinion of others
    Jenny told us about her party only one day in advance, arrogantly thinking we had nothing else to do.
    Parts of speech     arrogance n., arrogant adj.
  • artillery
    artillery [ɑːˈtɪlərɪ] n.
    Large guns that shoot powerful shells; army units that handle such guns
    An artillery barrage broke down the city’s thick walls within seconds.
    Usage tips     When it means a part of an army, artillery is sometimes plural.
  • ascertain
    ascertain [ˌæsəˈteɪn] v.
    To make sure of
    The police failed to ascertain that the man they arrested was the Gregory Brown they were really looking for.
    Usage tips     Ascertain is often followed by a that clause.Notice that the root of the word is the adjective certain, meaning “sure.”
  • assail
    assail [əˈseɪl] v.
    To attack or criticize forcefully
    With DNA evidence from the crime scene, the defense lawyer assailed the police for falsely arresting his client.
    Parts of speech     assault n., assailant n.
  • assess
    assess [əˈses] v.
    To estimate the value of something
    The Barnes building was assessed at $1.3 million,but it can probably sell for much more than that.
    Parts of speech     assessor n., assessment n.
  • asset
    asset [ˈæset] n.
    A possession that has positive value
    Usage tips     Some examples of assets are real estate, cash, and stock shares.
  • assimilate
    assimilate [əˈsɪməˌleɪt] v.
    To consume and incorporate; to become similar
    Not all of the overseas students could assimilate into the rigidly controlled school.
    Usage tips     Assimilate is often followed by into.
    Parts of speech     assimilation n.
  • associate
    associate [əˈsəuʃɪeɪt] v.
    To regularly spend time together
    Carol doesn’t associate with people who smoke.
    Usage tips     Associate is often followed by a with phrase.
    Parts of speech     association n., associate n.
  • astrological
    astrological [ˌæstrəˈlɒdʒɪkəl] adj.
    Related to the study of the position of stars,the sun, and the planets in the belief that they influence earthly events
    Every day, Mona read her astrological forecast in the newspaper, and she was careful if the horoscope predicted trouble.
    Parts of speech     astrology n., astrologer n., astrologically adv.
  • atheist
    atheist [ˈeɪθiəst] n.
    One who does not believe in the existence of a supreme being
    He argued that his scientific training made it impossible for him to be anything but an atheist.
    Parts of speech     atheistic adj.
  • augment
    augment [ɔːgˈment] v.
    To make bigger or better by adding to
    In some types of popular cosmetic surgery people augment parts of their bodies.
    Parts of speech     augmentation n.
  • authority
    authority [ɔːˈθɒrɪtɪ] n.
    The power to make decisions, to tell others what to do.
    The governor has the authority to call the legislature together for emergency sessions.
    Usage tips     A to phrase often follows authority.
    Parts of speech     authorize v., authoritative adj.
b
  • battle
    battle [ˈbætl] v.
    To fight against
    The Viet Minh battled French forces at Dien Bien Phu for nearly two months in 1954.
    Parts of speech     battle n.
  • be inclined to
    be inclined to [ɪnˈklaɪn] v.
    To favor an opinion or a course of action
    He couldn’t say which candidate he favored, but he had always been inclined to vote Republican.
    Parts of speech     incline n., inclination n.
  • berate
    berate [bɪˈreɪt] v.
    To say insulting and disrespectful things
    The teacher lost his job because he cruelly berated students who made mistakes.
    Usage tips     You can only berate someone directly—only when he or she can hear you.
  • biased
    biased [ˈbaɪəst] adj.
    Leaning unfairly in one direction
    Her newspaper article was criticized for being heavily biased toward the mayor’s proposal.
    Parts of speech     bias n.
  • bitterly
    bitterly [ˈbɪtəlɪ] adv.
    Strongly and with a lot of bad feelings
    Senator Thomas bitterly opposed the movement to design a new state flag.
    Parts of speech     bitterness n., bitter adj.
  • bond
    bond [bɒnd] n.
    A close connection
    Some researchers say that there is an especially strong emotional bond between twins.
    Usage tips     A between phrase—indicating the things that are connected—often follows bond.
    Parts of speech     bond v.
  • bribery
    bribery [ˈbraɪbərɪ] n.
    Giving money or other gifts to a government official or other person in authority in order to get special privileges
    Bribery of police officers is common in countries where police salaries are very low.
    Parts of speech     bribe v., bribe n.
  • bulk
    bulk [bʌlk] n.
    Largeness and a heavy appearance
    The bulk of Kevin’s athletic body was too great for one small chair, so he sat on a bench.
    Parts of speech     bulky adj.
  • burden
    burden [ˈbərdn] n.
    Something that is carried; a source of stress or worry
    The donkey walked slowly under the burden of its heavy load.
    Parts of speech     burden v.
  • bureaucratic
    bureaucratic [ˌbjʊərəʊˈkrætɪk] adj.
    Related to a large organization with a lot of complicated procedures
    Before I could speak with the chief, I had to go through a bureaucratic runaround of identity checks and written requests.
    Usage tips     Bureaucratic implies that something is inefficient and unnecessarily complicated.
    Parts of speech     bureaucracy n.
c
  • candidate
    candidate [ˈkændɪdeɪt] n.
    Someone who wants to be chosen, especially in an election, for a position
    In most U.S.elections, there are only two major-party candidates for president.
    Usage tips     Candidate is often followed by a for phrase.
    Parts of speech     candidacy n.
  • capricious
    capricious [kəˈprɪʃəs] adj.
    Moving unpredictably from one thing to another
    Your college studies will go on too long if you make capricious jumps from one major to another.
    Usage tips     Capricious comes from a Latin word meaning “goat”and implies a motion like the jumping of a goat.
    Parts of speech     capriciousness n., capriciously adv.
  • cartel
    cartel [kɑːˈtel] n.
    A small group controlling a certain area of business
    The world’s major oil producers formed a cartel to control the price and supply of petroleum.
  • cast
    cast [kɑːst] n.
    The group of actors in a play, movie, television show, etc.
    Some viewers mistakenly start thinking that a TV show’s cast members are really the characters they play.
    Usage tips     In U.S.English, cast is singular. In some other varieties of English it is plural.
    Parts of speech     cast v.
  • catastrophic
    catastrophic [ˌkædəˈstrɑfɪk] adj.
    Extremely harmful; causing financial or physical ruin
    The architect died in a catastrophic elevator accident.
    Parts of speech     catastrophe n., catastrophically adv.
  • cause
    cause [kɔːz] n.
    A political or social goal that one believes is right and works to achieve
    Our river cleanup effort would be more effective if someone famous spoke out for the cause.
  • cease
    cease [siːs] v.
    Stop
    The lightning continued even after the thunder had ceased.
    Usage tips     Cease is found in official statements,not usually in everyday speech.
    Parts of speech     cessation n., ceaseless adj.
  • certifiably
    certifiably [ˌsərdəˈfaɪəbli] adv.
    In a manner that is officially recognized
    He couldn’t be institutionalized until he was declared certifiably insane.
    Parts of speech     certify v., certification n., certificate n., certifiable adj.
  • charismatic
    charismatic [ˌkærɪzˈmætɪk] adj.
    Extremely attractive and charming
    Because of the sparkle in his eye and his confident style, John F. Kennedy was a charismatic leader.
    Parts of speech     charisma n., charismatically adv.
  • chronologically
    chronologically [ˌkrɒnəˈlɒdʒɪkəlɪ] adv.
    In order according to time
    Allen’s book is arranged chronologically, from the First Crusade in 1095 to the fall of Granada in 1492.
    Usage tips     Chronologically is often used with arranged, organized, listed, or some other word for order.
    Parts of speech     chronology n., chronological adj.
  • circulate
    circulate [ˈsərkjəˌleɪt] v.
    To move throughout an area or group; to move along a somewhat circular route
    The gossip circulated quickly through the small town.
    Usage tips     Circulate is often followed by through.
    Parts of speech     circulation n.
  • civil
    civil [ˈsɪvl] adj.
    Involving a dispute between two citizens, not a criminal charge
    In a civil suit against his neighbor, Barney claimed that the neighbor’s dog had bitten him.
    Usage tips     In a court context, civil almost always appears in one of the following phrases: civil suit, civil action, civil court, civil proceedings, and civil penalties.
  • clique
    clique [kliːk] n.
    A small group of friends who are unfriendly to people outside the group
    High-schoolers form cliques to gain security and acceptance.
    Usage tips     Clique indicates a negative feeling toward a group.
    Parts of speech     cliquish adj.
  • coalition
    coalition [ˌkəʊəˈlɪʃən] n.
    A group of several different groups or countries that are working together to achieve a certain goal.
    Several local churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples formed a coalition to promote understanding among people of different religions.
  • coerce
    coerce [koʊˈərs] v.
    To force; to put pressure on someone to do something
    A criminal’s confession is not usable in court if the police coerce him or her into giving it.
    Parts of speech     coercion n., coercive adj.
  • cohesion
    cohesion [kəʊˈhiːʒən] n.
    Ability to stay together as a unit
    Family cohesion is difficult if young people have to go far away to find work.
    Usage tips     Cohesion can also be used to describe forces that keep materials or structures together.
    Parts of speech     cohere v., cohesiveness n.
  • coincide
    coincide [ˌkəʊɪnˈsaɪd] v.
    Happen or exist at the same time
    The Viking attacks on western Europe coincided with an abnormally warm period in the Earth’s climate.
    Usage tips     Coincide is often followed by a with phrase.
    Parts of speech     coincidence n., coincidental adj., coincidentally adv.
  • collapse
    collapse [kəˈlæps] v.
    To fall down, usually because of weakness
    the roof collapsed on top of me
    Parts of speech     collapse n., collapsible adj.
  • collide
    collide [kəˈlaɪd] v.
    To come together with great or violent force
    As usual, their holiday was ruined when their in-laws’ views on politics collided with their own.
    Parts of speech     collision n.
  • combustion
    combustion [kəmˈbəstʃ(ə)n] n.
    The process of burning
    When air quality is poor, combustion of materials in a fireplace is prohibited.
    Usage tips     Combustion is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     combust v., combustible adj.
  • commodity
    commodity [kəˈmɑdədi] n.
    A thing that can be bought and sold,such as grain, oil, or wood
    Tulip bulbs were one of the most valuable commodities in seventeenth-century Holland.
    Usage tips     A thing is called a commodity only in the context of buying or selling it.
  • compensate
    compensate [ˈkɒmpənseɪt] v.
    To give an employee money or other things in exchange for the work he or she does
    My pay doesn’t properly compensate me for my efforts, but my other benefits,like health insurance, fill in the gap.
    Usage tips     Compensate is often followed by a for phrase.
    Parts of speech     compensation n., compensatory adj.
  • complex
    complex [kəmˈpleks] adj.
    Not simple; involving many parts that work together
    A modern car engine is too complex for most car owners to repair by themselves.
    Parts of speech     complexity n.
  • complication
    complication [ˌkɑmpləˈkeɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    A factor that makes something more difficult or complex
    The surgeons could not easily stop the bleeding because of complications related to the patient’s diabetes.
    Parts of speech     complicate v.
  • component
    component [kəmˈpoʊnənt] n.
    One part of a system or whole
    Their home theater system has a number of separate components.
    Usage tips     Component is often followed or preceded by of.
  • compress
    compress [kəmˈpres] v.
    To press together
    To make the foundation stronger, they compressed the soil before pouring the concrete.
    Parts of speech     compression n., compressed adj.
  • concentrated
    concentrated [ˈkɒnsənˌtreɪtʃd] adj.
    Strong because large amounts are in a certain space
    Concentrated lemon juice is very sour,so I mix it with water when I make lemonade.
    Parts of speech     concentrate v., concentration n., concentrate n.
  • condemn
    condemn [kənˈdem] v.
    To speak out against something in very strong terms
    Religious radicals condemned the government for allowing alcohol to be sold in restaurants.
    Parts of speech     condemnation n.
  • confide
    confide [kənˈfaɪd] v.
    To tell very personal things
    Teenagers are more willing to confide in a friend than in a parent.
    Usage tips     Confide is almost always followed by an in phrase.
    Parts of speech     confidence n., confidant n., confidential adj.
  • conflict
    conflict [kənˈflɪkt] v.
    To fit so poorly together that the differences cause a problem
    A teenager’s need for security can conflict with his desire for independence from his family.
    Parts of speech     conflict n.
  • connotation
    connotation [ˌkɒnəʊˈteɪʃən] n.
    A meaning implied, not stated directly
    When my boss says, “Thank you,” the connotation is that she’s done talking and I should leave.
    Parts of speech     connote v.
  • conquest
    conquest [ˈkɒŋkwest] n.
    A takeover by force or continued effort
    The first recorded conquest of Mt.Everest was by Tensing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hilary.
    Usage tips     Conquest is usually followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     conquer v.
  • consciously
    consciously [ˈkɑnʃəsli] adv.
    With awareness of one’s actions
    He may have hurt her feelings,but he never would have done so consciously.
    Parts of speech     consciousness n., conscious adj.
  • consequence
    consequence [ˈkɒnsɪkwəns] n.
    A result, often one much later in time than the cause
    One consequence of global warming may be the flooding of lowlying islands.
    Usage tips     Consequence usually implies something negative or serious about the result.
    Parts of speech     consequent adj., consequently adv.
  • constraint
    constraint [kənˈstreɪnt] n.
    Something that restricts thought or action
    The constraints of military life kept Eileen from seeing Private Morris more than once a month.
    Parts of speech     constrain v.
  • contamination
    contamination [kənˌtæməˈneɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    Being made less clean by a germ or hazardous substance
    The contamination in the river came from the factory located just upstream.
    Parts of speech     contaminate v., contaminant n.
  • contemplate
    contemplate [ˈkɑn(t)əmˌpleɪt] v.
    To consider thoughtfully
    If you contemplate each step for so long,we will never complete this project on time.
    Parts of speech     contemplation n., contemplative adj.
  • contemptuous
    contemptuous [kənˈtɛmptʃuəs] n.
    Having no respect
    Most scientists are contemptuous of reports that aliens from outer space have landed on the Earth.
    Usage tips     A very common structure is be contemptuous of.
    Parts of speech     contempt n., contemptible adj., contemptuously adv.
  • contest
    contest [ˈkɒntest] v.
    To challenge
    Dave Roper, who narrowly lost the mayor’s race, contested the results, demanding a recount of the votes.
    Usage tips     The noun contest can mean a game, especially one played for a prize.
    Parts of speech     contest n.
  • context
    context [ˈkɒntekst] n.
    A larger environment that something fits into
    In the context of Soviet Russia, public art had to be about the triumph of communism and its leaders.
    Usage tips     The preposition in often comes before context, and an of phrase often comes after it.
    Parts of speech     contextualize v., contextual adj.
  • contrary
    contrary [ˈkɒntrərɪ] adj.
    Opposite
    Contrary to most studies, Dr.Ito’s work shows the world’s climate is not getting warmer.
    Usage tips     Common phrases are contrary to and on the contrary.
  • convey
    convey [kənˈveɪ] v.
    To transport from one place to another; to transmit or make known
    A messenger conveyed the prince’s letter to the commander of the army.
    Parts of speech     conveyance n., conveyor n.
  • convict
    convict [ˈkɒnvɪkt] v.
    To decide that someone is guilty of a crime
    Dean was convicted of assault after the jury saw a video of him striking another man.
    Usage tips     Convict is often used in the passive voice.
    Parts of speech     convict n., conviction n.
  • core
    core [kɔːr] n.
    an area or object at the center
    The core of India’s film industry is in Bombay,where all but a few film studios are located.
    Usage tips     Core is often followed by another noun (e.g., core principle) or by an of phrase.
  • corrode
    corrode [kəˈrəʊd] v.
    To be slowly weakened by chemical reactions
    Sitting in salt water, the old coins corroded and became very easy to break.
    Usage tips     A familiar kind of corrosion produces rust, the reddish coating on iron or steel that has been exposed to air and water.
    Parts of speech     corrosion n.
  • counter
    counter [ˈkaʊntər] v.
    To act in opposition to; to offer in response
    The hockey player countered the punch with a smashing blow from his hockey stick.
    Parts of speech     counter n., counter adj.
  • cremation
    cremation [krəˈmeɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    The act of burning the dead
    Cremation is particularly common in Japan, where land for burial is very limited.
    Parts of speech     cremate v.
  • cultivation
    cultivation [ˌkʌltəˈveiʃən] n.
    Preparing the land to grow crops; improvement for agricultural purposes
    With the development of land cultivation, hunters and gatherers were able to settle in one place.
    Parts of speech     cultivate v.
  • cumbersome
    cumbersome [ˈkʌmbəsəm] adj.
    Difficult to wear or carry because of weight or shape
    To make it to the top of the mountain before dark, the hikers dumped their cumbersome tent.
  • cure
    cure [kjʊə:r] v.
    To restore to health
    They say laughter can help cure many illnesses.
    Parts of speech     cure n.
  • curriculum
    curriculum [kəˈrɪkjʊləm] n.
    The courses of study offered by an educational institution
    The teachers met to design a new curriculum for the Intensive English Program.
  • cynically
    cynically [ˈsɪnɪklɪ] adv.
    Disrespectfully; emphasizing the weaknesses of otherwise respected things
    Employees of the Roadways Department cynically referred to their boss as “the banker” because he took so many bribes.
    Parts of speech     cynic n., cynicism n., cynical adj.
d
  • de facto
    de facto [ˌdeɪ ˈfæktoʊ] adj.
    Truly doing a job, even if not officially
    Popular support established the Citizens Party as the de facto government.
    Parts of speech     de facto adv.
  • decipher
    decipher [dɪˈsaɪfəʳ] v.
    To figure out the meaning, even though it is written in a code or an unknown language
    The Rosetta Stone helped archaeologists decipher ancient Egyptian writing.
    Usage tips     A cipher is a code or puzzle; decipher means “solve a puzzle written in code.”
  • decline
    decline [dɪˈklaɪn] v.
    To decrease in power or amount
    America’s railroads declined because the automobile dominated American life.
    Parts of speech     decline n.
  • decrepit
    decrepit [dɪˈkrepɪt] adj.
    Weakened or worn out because of age, illness, or excessive use
    The once-beautiful building was now dirty, decrepit, and roofless.
  • degrade
    degrade [dəˈɡreɪd] v.
    To reduce in value or strength
    The roads in cold or wet areas of the United States degrade faster than those in warm,sunny regions.
    Parts of speech     degradation n., degradable adj.
  • deify
    deify [ˈdiəˌfaɪ] v.
    To worship as a god
    When people deify the leader of their country, the leader is able to abuse power more easily.
    Parts of speech     deity n.
  • delinquency
    delinquency [dɪˈlɪŋkwənsɪ] n.
    Serious misbehavior; not doing what one should do
    Because of his laziness and delinquency, Lefty was an unreliable friend.
    Usage tips     A common combination is juvenile delinquency, meaning “criminal behavior by a teenager.”
    Parts of speech     delinquent n., delinquent adj.
  • denominator
    denominator [dɪˈnɒmɪneɪtəʳ] n.
    The number written below the line in a fraction
    In the fraction 1⁄2, the number 2 is the denominator.
    Usage tips     The phrase lowest common denominator means “the most basic and unsophisticated things that most people share.”
    Parts of speech     denominate v., denomination n., denominational adj.
  • denote
    denote [dɪˈnəʊt] v.
    To mean something clearly and directly
    An “X” next to a name on this list denotes a person who has been chosen for the soccer team.
    Parts of speech     denotation n.
  • deny
    deny [diˈnai] v.
    Say that something is not true
    Movie star Allen Butcher denied that he and the Princess of Denmark were getting married.
    Usage tips     Deny is often followed by the -ing form of a verb or by a that clause.
    Parts of speech     denial n., deniably adv.
  • depict
    depict [dɪˈpɪkt] v.
    To show in pictures
    Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel depicts nine scenes from the Bible.
    Parts of speech     depiction n.
  • deplete
    deplete [dəˈplit] v.
    To greatly decrease the supply of a resource or material
    The prolonged war depleted the country’s national treasury.
    Parts of speech     depletion n.
  • derive
    derive [dɪˈraɪv] v.
    To come from, usually through a long, slow process
    The Cyrillic alphabet was derived from the Greek alphabet.
    Usage tips     Derive is often followed by from.
    Parts of speech     derivation n., derivative adj.
  • descendant
    descendant [dɪˈsendənt] n.
    A direct relative in a later generation (such as one’s son, daughter, or grandchild)
    Billy Sobieski claimed to be a descendant of Jan Sobieski, a former king of Poland.
    Usage tips     Descendant is often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     descend v., descent n.
  • despise
    despise [dɪsˈpaɪz] v.
    Hate very much
    Tom grew to despise his greedy and unfriendly boss.
  • despondent
    despondent [dɪsˈpɒndənt] adj.
    Extremely sad and without hope for the future
    After his girlfriend left him, Johnson was despondent and wouldn’t talk to anyone.
  • detain
    detain [dɪˈteɪn] v.
    To prevent someone, for a relatively short time, from going on their way
    The police detained at least 20 men for questioning,but charged none of them with a crime.
    Parts of speech     detention n., detainee n.
  • detection
    detection [dɪˈtekʃən] n.
    Discovering something that cannot easily be found
    With new medical technology, the detection of cancer is much easier nowadays.
    Usage tips     Detection is often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     detect v., detectable adj.
  • deviant
    deviant [ˈdiːvɪənt] adj.
    In a style that is not normal and is offensive to many
    The artist based his reputation on creating deviant works of art that disgusted most of the public.
    Usage tips     Deviant always implies a bad opinion of someone or something.
    Parts of speech     deviant n., deviation n., deviate v.
  • devise
    devise [dɪˈvaɪz] v.
    To find an original way to make an object or a plan
    The soldiers devised a way to cross the river into enemy territory without being seen.
    Parts of speech     device n.
  • devotion
    devotion [dɪˈvəʊʃən] n.
    A willingness to keep supporting someone you admire
    Grant showed great devotion to his wife, supporting her during her long illness.
    Usage tips     Devotion is often followed by a to phrase.
    Parts of speech     devote v., devotee n.
  • dilemma
    dilemma [daɪˈlemə] n.
    A difficult choice between two things
    I was caught in a dilemma between traveling by airplane and taking a train, which is slower but more comfortable.
  • dimension
    dimension [dɪˈmenʃən] n.
    A direction or surface along which something can be measured; an aspect
    The three dimensions of physical objects are length, width, and depth.
    Parts of speech dimensional adj.
  • diminish
    diminish [dɪˈmɪnɪʃ] v.
    Make something smaller or weaker; become smaller or weaker
    The Protestant Reformation diminished the power of the Roman Catholic Pope.
  • discretely
    discretely [dɪˈskriːtli] adv.
    Separately; distinctly
    In order to understand how the engine worked,each component needed to be studied discretely.
    Parts of speech     discrete adj.
  • discriminate
    discriminate [dɪsˈkrɪmɪneɪt] v.
    To choose carefully among options
    The governor wisely discriminated between urgent issues and those that could wait.
    Parts of speech     discriminatory adj., discriminate adj.
  • disease
    disease [dɪˈziːz] n.
    An unhealthful condition caused by an infection or a longterm physical problem
    Thanks to developments in medicine,many once-fatal diseases can now be cured.
  • dispose of
    dispose of [diˈspouzəv] v.
    To throw away; to get rid of; to kill
    She disposed of her unwanted possessions before moving.
    Usage tips     Dispose of should be learned as a unit.In this meaning, dispose does not occur without of.
    Parts of speech     disposal n., disposable adj.
  • distill
    distill [diˈstil] v.
    to remove one liquid from a mixture of liquids by boiling; to get something valuable from a confusing mix of ideas
    The forest peoples of Southeast Asia distill an alcoholic drink called arak from a paste of palm berries.
    Parts of speech     distillation n., distillery n.
  • distinctly
    distinctly [dɪsˈtɪŋktlɪ] adv.
    Clearly
    I distinctly remember saying that we would meet at noon.
    Parts of speech     distinction n., distinct adj.
  • distort
    distort [dɪsˈtɔːt] v.
    To twist or misrepresent; to make something seem different from what it really is
    If you hold a pencil in a glass of water, the water distorts the appearance of the pencil.
    Parts of speech     distortion n.
  • diverse
    diverse [dʌɪˈvəːs] n.
    Various; showing a lot of differences within a group
    India is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world.
    Usage tips     An -ly adverb (e.g.,linguistically) often comes before diverse.
    Parts of speech     diversify v., diversity n., diversification n.
  • divination
    divination [ˌdɪvəˈneɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    Foretelling the future by finding patterns in physical objects
    In Turkey, women offer divinations by reading the dregs from a coffee cup.
    Parts of speech     divine v.
  • domesticate
    domesticate [dəˈmestɪkeɪt] v.
    To make something suitable for being in a home
    The Barnes family hoped to domesticate the tiger, but their neighbors were skeptical.
    Usage tips     The object of domesticate is usually a plant or animal.
    Parts of speech     domestic adj.
  • dynamic
    dynamic [daɪˈnæmɪk] adj.
    Full of energy
    This job requires a dynamic person, someone who will look for opportunities instead of just waiting around for them.
    Parts of speech     dynamism n., dynamically adv.
e
  • ecclesiastical
    ecclesiastical [əˌkliziˈæstək(ə)l] adj.
    Relating to a church
    He was looking specifically for a university where he could study ecclesiastical history.
    Parts of speech     ecclesiastic n., ecclesiastically adv.
  • election
    election [əˈlɛkʃ(ə)n] n.
    A process in which people choose officials
    Because of problems with vote-counting four years ago, international observers monitored this year’s election to make sure it was fair.
    Parts of speech     elect v., elective adj.
  • elementally
    elementally [ˌeləˈmen(t)li] adv.
    In terms of elements; basically
    Elementally, coal and diamonds are the same.
    Parts of speech     element n., elemental adj.
  • elite
    elite [eiˈliːt] adj.
    Belonging to a special, honored group
    Messner is an elite climber who recently ascended an 8,000-meter mountain without extra oxygen.
    Parts of speech     elite n., elitist adj.
  • emission
    emission [əˈmɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    Sending out from a small space into the general environment; a substance discharged into the air
    The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the emission of pollutants into the air.
    Usage tips     Emission is usually followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     emit v.
  • engender
    engender [ɪnˈdʒendəʳ] v.
    To bring into being; to cause to exist
    The government’s warnings about terrorism engendered fear throughout the nation.
    Usage tips     Engender is often followed by a noun for an emotion.
  • enterprising
    enterprising [ˈentəpraɪzɪŋ] adj.
    Creative in thinking of ways to make money
    Immigrants are often among the most enterprising members of society, partly because anyone brave enough to make an overseas move is likely to be a risk-taker.
    Parts of speech     enterprise n. (Note:There is no verb “to enterprise.”)
  • entrepreneurial
    entrepreneurial [ˌɒntrəprəˈnɜːrɪəl] adj.
    Able to create business opportunities from a wide variety of circumstances
    Many engineers of the 1970s made great computers, but only a few were entrepreneurial enough to see the business possibilities in the new machines.
    Parts of speech     entrepreneur n.
  • equity
    equity [ˈekwɪtɪ] n.
    The value of one’s share in an investment
    Barnard’s equity in the business was one-third,or about $350,000.
    Usage tips     In this meaning, equity is always singular and usually followed by an in phrase.
  • erode
    erode [ɪˈrəʊd] v.
    To wear away and become smaller
    People’s respect for the government eroded as more officials were arrested for corruption.
    Usage tips     Erode can be intransitive (the beach eroded) or transitive (the waves eroded the beach).
    Parts of speech     erosion n., erosive adj.
  • erudite
    erudite [ˈerʊdaɪt] adj.
    Highly educated
    Even though Stella was only a freshman, she was considered erudite by both her classmates and her professors.
  • eruption
    eruption [əˈrəpʃ(ə)n] n.
    A sudden, often violent, outburst
    The eruption of Mount St.Helens in 1980 caused 57 deaths and immeasurable change to the face of the mountain.
    Usage tips     Eruption is often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     erupt v.
  • esthetically
    esthetically [ɛsˈθɛdɪkli] adv.
    In a way that relates to beauty or appearance
    The outside of the office building is esthetically pleasing,but the inside is dark and unpleasant.
    Usage tips     Esthetically is often spelled with an “a”at the beginning: aesthetically.
    Parts of speech     esthetic n., esthete n., esthetic adj.
  • evade
    evade [ɪˈveɪd] v.
    To get away from something that tries to catch you
    The robbery suspects tried to evade the police by fleeing to Canada.
    Parts of speech     evasion n., evasive adj.
  • evidence
    evidence [ˈevɪdəns] n.
    Something that makes the truth of a statement seem more likely
    The most convincing evidence that Garner robbed the store was a videotape from surveillance cameras.
    Parts of speech     evidence v., evident adj., evidently adv.
  • evolve
    evolve [iˈvɑlv] v.
    To develop; to come forth
    Modern-day sharks evolved from their ancestor Eryops, which lived more than 200 million years ago.
    Usage tips     Evolve is often followed by into or from.
    Parts of speech     evolution n., evolutionist n.
  • exalt
    exalt [ɪɡˈzɔlt] v.
    To praise or honor
    He would often exalt the virtues of his new wife.
    Parts of speech     exaltation n.
  • exclusive
    exclusive [ɪksˈkluːsɪv] adj.
    Keeping out all but a few people
    The most exclusive universities accept only a small percentage of people who want to attend.
    Usage tips     Exclusive can indicate a positive opinion,but in the context of friendship, it can mean “attached only to one person.”
    Parts of speech     exclude v., exclusion n., exclusively adv.
  • exotic
    exotic [ɪgˈzɒtɪk] adj.
    Interesting or unusual because of coming from a faraway place
    I walked into the restaurant and smelled the exotic aromas of Malaysian spices.
    Parts of speech     exoticism n., exotically adv.
  • expeditiously
    expeditiously [ˌekspɪˈdɪʃəslɪ] adv.
    Quickly and efficiently
    Using carrier pigeons, the military commanders exchanged messages expeditiously.
    Parts of speech     expedite v., expedition n., expeditious adj.
  • exploit
    exploit [ˈeksplɔɪt] v.
    To take advantage of; to treat inconsiderately in order to profit
    The company tried to exploit the low interest rates to expand operations.
    Parts of speech     exploitation n., exploitive adj.
  • exponentially
    exponentially [ˌekspəˈnen(t)ʃəli] adv.
    At a very fast rate
    In Turkey, the value of the lira has decreased exponentially in the last several decades.
    Usage tips     Exponentially is taken from mathematics,where an exponent is a number indicating how many times something is multiplied by itself.For example,43 contains the exponent “3,” indicating 4 × 4 × 4.
    Parts of speech     exponent n., exponential adj.
  • extinction
    extinction [ɪkˈstɪŋ(k)ʃ(ə)n] n.
    Complete disappearance; the end of existence
    Human beings have caused the extinction of many other species.
    Usage tips     Extinction implies an absolute end; an extinct thing cannot be brought back into existence.
    Parts of speech     extinct adj.
  • extract
    extract [ˈekstrækt] v.
    To take out
    International mining companies came to the Malay Peninsula to extract the region’s massive tin deposits.
    Parts of speech     extraction n., extractor n.
f
  • famine
    famine [ˈfæmən] n.
    Severe hunger; a drastic food shortage
    The potato famine in Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century caused large numbers of Irish people to emigrate to America.
  • fatally
    fatally [ˈfeɪdəli] adv.
    Causing death or disaster
    The soldier was fatally wounded in the battle.
    Parts of speech     fatality n., fatal adj.
  • feasibly
    feasibly [ˈfiːzəblɪ] adv.
    Practically; in a way that can work
    Scientists can’t feasibly bring energy from deep ocean currents to where it is needed—on land.
    Parts of speech     feasibility n., feasible adj.
  • feature
    feature [ˈfitʃər] n.
    Part, characteristic
    The best feature of this car is its heated seats.
    Usage tips     Feature is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     feature v.
  • fertilize
    fertilize [ˈfə:rtilaiz] v.
    To supply with nourishment for plants by adding helpful substances to the soil
    This farm fertilizes tomatoes more than any other crop.
    Parts of speech     fertilizer n., fertilization n.
  • flood
    flood [fləd] n.
    An overflowing of water; an excessive amount
    The constant rain and poor drainage system caused a flood in town.
    Parts of speech     flood v.
  • fluctuate
    fluctuate [ˈflʌktjʊeɪt] v.
    To change often, from one condition to another
    Earth’s climate fluctuates between warm periods and cold periods.
    Usage tips     Fluctuate is usually followed by a between phrase (or by a from . . . to structure).
    Parts of speech     fluctuation n.
  • folklore
    folklore [ˈfəʊklɔːr] n.
    Traditional myths of a people transmitted orally
    Through folklore, archaeologists have learned about the migration of Native Americans in North America.
    Parts of speech     folkloric adj.
  • forensics
    forensics [fəˈrɛnsɪks] n.
    The use of science and technology to investigate facts in criminal cases
    Advances in the study of forensics have made it much easier to identify criminals from very small traces of evidence.
    Parts of speech     forensic adj.
  • fortify
    fortify [ˈfɔːtɪfaɪ] v.
    To strengthen
    The high-priced drink had extra vitamins and minerals to fortify the body.
    Parts of speech     fortification n.
  • fossilize
    fossilize [ˈfɑsəˌlaɪz] v.
    To become preserved in clay or stone or ash after death, so that a natural record is left of the original organism; to become rigid and stuck in old ways
    The dinosaur eggs had fossilized over thousands of years.
    Parts of speech     fossilization n., fossil n.
  • fringe
    fringe [frɪndʒ] n.
    Edge; in social contexts, parts of society that look or act very different from most people
    Punk music got its start at the fringe of London’s rock music culture.
    Usage tips     Fringe implies an edge that is uneven and not very solid.
    Parts of speech     fringy adj.
g
  • gala
    gala [ˈgɑːlə] n.
    Expensive, elaborately arranged, and full of celebration
    A college graduation party should be a gala affair, not a backyard barbecue.
    Usage tips     Gala is somewhat old-fashioned, far more common in print than in speech.
    Parts of speech     gala n.
  • gap
    gap [ɡæp] n.
    Opening; a big difference in amount or quality
    The small gap between the walls in the old house caused cold drafts to come in.
  • generation
    generation [ˌdʒɛnəˈreɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    A group of people born at about the same time
    As older managers retired, a new generation of leaders took control of the company.
    Usage tips     Before generation, an adjective like new, next, earlier, or older is common. Generation is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     generational adj.
  • grotesque
    grotesque [grəʊˈtesk] adj.
    Extremely unattractive, in a way that catches a lot of attention.
    Spending $3.5 million to redecorate the governor’s house is a grotesque misuse of public money.
  • guilty
    guilty [ˈgɪltɪ] adj.
    Responsible for doing something bad
    The jury found that the director was guilty of embezzlement.
    Usage tips     Guilty is often followed by an of phrase that names a crime or bad deed.
    Parts of speech     guilt n., guiltily adv.
  • gut
    gut [gʌt] v.
    To empty or hollow out
    In order to remodel the house, we must first gut it and throw away all the old fixtures.
    Usage tips     Gut also means “the stomach of an animal”; this verb makes an image,that the inside of a building is like the inside of an animal.
    Parts of speech     gut n., gutted adj.
h
  • haggle
    haggle [ˈhægl] v.
    To argue back and forth about a price
    The customer and the shopkeeper haggled over the silver plate for more than an hour.
    Usage tips     Haggle is often followed by a phrase with over or about.
    Parts of speech     haggler n.
  • haunt
    haunt [hɔːnt] v.
    To continually appear (in the form of a ghost) in the same place or to the same person
    Some say the ghost of Princess Hilda haunts this castle, appearing as a headless form while she plays the piano.
  • hazardous
    hazardous [ˈhæzədəs] adj.
    Dangerous
    Parents have to be careful not to buy children’s clothes and toys made of hazardous materials.
    Parts of speech     hazard n., hazardously adv.
  • hedonistic
    hedonistic [ˌhiːdəˈnɪstɪk] adj.
    Excessively interested in seeking pleasure
    Suddenly wealthy, Allen fell into a hedonistic life of parties, expensive dinners, and heavy drinking.
    Usage tips     Hedonistic usually implies that the pleasures are wrong.
    Parts of speech     hedonist n., hedonism n., hedonistically adv.
  • hierarchy
    hierarchy [ˈhaɪərɑːkɪ] n.
    A system of levels that places people high or low according to their importance
    Starting as a lowly private, Burt Jones gradually rose through the hierarchy of the army.
    Usage tips     Hierarchy is often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     hierarchical adj., hierarchically adv.
  • hilarious
    hilarious [hɪˈlɛərɪəs] adj.
    Very funny
    In my opinion, the most hilarious character on television was Basil Fawlty.
    Parts of speech     hilarity n.
  • horror
    horror [ˈhɔrər] n.
    Strong fear mixed with disgust
    On Halloween night, all the horror movies were rented out.
    Parts of speech     horrify v., horrific adj.
  • humiliation
    humiliation [hjuːmɪlɪˈeɪʃən] n.
    An event that causes someone to feel that she or he has lost the respect of others
    Losing the chess tournament was a great humiliation for Marie, and she never played chess again.
    Parts of speech      humiliate v.
  • hypocritically
    hypocritically [ˌhɪpəˈkrɪtɪkəlɪ] adv.
    In a way that accuses other people of weaknesses that the speaker also possesses
    Henry spent $2,500 on a new suit and then hypocritically accused me of spending too much on clothes.
    Parts of speech     hypocrite n., hypocrisy n., hypocritical adj.
     
  • hypothesize
    hypothesize [haɪˈpɒθɪsaɪz] v.
    To make a guess, the correctness of which will eventually be investigated systematically.
    Scientists hypothesize that planets capable of supporting life exist beyond our solar system, but they have not yet seen any.
    Usage tips     Hypothesize is often followed by a that clause.
    Parts of speech     hypothesis n., hypothetical adj.
i
  • illiterate
    illiterate [ɪˈlɪtərɪt] adj.
    Unable to read
    In many villages nearly everyone was illiterate and unschooled, and the few who could read held great power.
    Parts of speech     illiterate n., illiteracy n.
  • impact
    impact [ˈɪmˌpækt] n.
    A strong influence
    The speech about the importance of education made an impact on me.
    Usage tips     Impact is usually followed by on or of.
    Parts of speech     impact v.
  • impair
    impair [ɪmˈpɛəʳ] v.
    To make something less effective than usual
    The snow impaired John’s ability to hear anyone’s footsteps.
    Usage tips     The object of impair is often [someone’s] ability to.
    Parts of speech     impairment n.
  • implant
    implant [ɪmˈplænt] v.
    To set in firmly; to insert in the body surgically
    The actress had cheek implants to make her face look fuller.
    Parts of speech     implantation n.
  • implement
    implement [ˈɪmpləˌmɛnt] v.
    To make use of; to carry out
    Not until after the new software was installed could we implement the new filing system.
    Parts of speech     implement n., implementation n.
  • implicate
    implicate [ˈɪmplɪkeɪt] v.
    To suggest that someone was involved in a crime or other wrong behavior
    No group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but the type of explosive used implicates the Heartland Freedom Militia.
    Usage tips     Implicate is often followed by in.
    Parts of speech     implication n.
  • implicitly
    implicitly [ɪmˈplɪsɪtlɪ] adv.
    Without being stated; unquestioningly
    By joining the competition, she agreed implicitly to the rules.
    Parts of speech     implicit adj.
  • impoverish
    impoverish [ɪmˈpɒvərɪʃ] v.
    To make a person or group poor
    The collapse of the steel industry impoverished several counties in eastern Ohio.
    Parts of speech     impoverishment n.
  • improvisation
    improvisation [ˌɪmprəvaɪˈzeɪʃən] n.
    Inventing a solution to an unexpected problem
    Boy Scouts take pride in their improvisation when faced with trouble during a camping trip.
    Parts of speech     improvise v., improvisational adj.
  • in common
    in common .adv
    As a shared characteristic
    Billy and Heather have a lot in common—basketball, a love of pizza, and an interest in snakes.
    Usage tips     In common very often appears with the verb to have.
  • in the trenches
    in the trenches [trentʃ] n.
    In the middle of the hardest fighting or work
    With their unrealistic view of this war, our generals don’t know what things are like out in the trenches.
    Usage tips     Creates an image of soldiers fighting in a long, dug-out place in the battlefield.
  • inaugurate
    inaugurate [ɪˈnɔːgjʊreɪt] v.
    To bring into public office; to start formally
    The U.S. president is elected in November but is not inaugurated until the following January.
    Usage tips     When it means “bring into public office,”inaugurate is usually in the passive voice.
    Parts of speech     inauguration n., inaugural adj.
  • incentive
    incentive [ɪnˈsentɪv] n.
    A possible benefit that motivates a person to do a certain thing
    This city’s willingness to support its public schools gave us an incentive to move here with our two young children.
    Usage tips     Incentive is usually followed by a to phrase.
  • incompetent
    incompetent [ɪnˈkɒmpɪtənt] adj.
    Unskilled; lacking the ability to perform a task
    Because we hired an incompetent builder to replace our roof, we now have leaks everywhere.
    Usage tips     Usually, incompetent implies that someone tries to do something but fails.
    Parts of speech     incompetence n., incompetently adv.
  • indisputable
    indisputable [ˌɪndəˈspjudəb(ə)l] adj.
    Beyond doubt; unquestionable
    The members of the jury found her guilty because they found the facts of the case indisputable.
    Parts of speech     indisputably adv.
  • industrious
    industrious [ɪnˈdʌstrɪəs] adj.
    Willing to work hard
    The Dutch settlements in Ottawa County were founded by industrious farmers who objected to frivolous behavior such as dancing.
    Usage tips     Only people can be industrious; companies cannot.
    Parts of speech     industriousness n., industriously adv.
  • inference
    inference [ˈɪnfərəns] n.
    A conclusion drawn from evidence
    Inspector Dowd’s inference that Ms.Miller was South African was based on her accent.
    Parts of speech     infer v.
  • infinitesimal
    infinitesimal [ˌɪnfɪnɪˈtesɪməl] adj.
    Immeasurably small
    The number of contaminants in the water was infinitesimal, so the water was safe to drink.
    Parts of speech     infinitesimally adv.
  • inflation
    inflation [ɪnˈfleɪʃən] n.
    A situation in which prices for many items rise quite fast
    During the rapid inflation of the 1970s, prices for food and fuel sometimes rose 20 percent in a single month.
    Parts of speech     inflate v., inflationary adj.
  • ingenious
    ingenious [ɪnˈdʒiːnɪəs] adj.
    Very clever and imaginative
    Ann thought up an ingenious way to keep other people from accidentally taking her pens.
    Parts of speech     ingenuity n., ingeniously adv.
  • inherent
    inherent [ɪnˈhɪərənt] adj.
    Naturally characteristic; always found within something, because it’s a basic part of that thing
    No job can be interesting all the time. Boredom is inherent in any kind of work.
    Usage tips     Inherent is often followed by in.
    Parts of speech     inherently adv.
  • inheritance
    inheritance [ɪnˈherɪtəns] n.
    Things passed down to you from your ancestors
    My inheritance from my grandmother included her favorite necklace.
    Parts of speech     inherit v., inheritor n.
  • inhibit
    inhibit [ɪnˈhɪbɪt] v.
    To discourage or to slow down
    This lotion will inhibit the itching caused by mosquito bites.
    Parts of speech     inhibition n.
  • inject
    inject [ɪnˈdʒekt] v.
    To insert a liquid by means of a syringe
    The doctor used a needle to inject the medicine slowly into her arm.
    Parts of speech     injection n.
  • innovative
    innovative [ˈɪnəˌveɪdɪv] adj.
    Ahead of the times; novel
    The innovative use of props and lighting drew many favorable comments.
    Parts of speech     innovation n.
  • inquiry
    inquiry [ɪnˈkwaɪərɪ] n.
    An investigation
    The FBI launched an inquiry into the relationship between organized crime and the trucking company.
    Parts of speech     inquire v.
  • inscription
    inscription [ɪnˈskrɪpʃən] n.
    Something written into a piece of rock or metal
    The inscription on my ring says “August 1, ”because that was the day of our wedding.
    Parts of speech inscribe v.
  • installation
    installation [ˌɪnstəˈleɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    Setting something into position for use
    Installation of the new software takes only four minutes.
    Parts of speech     install v.
  • integrally
    integrally [ˈin(t)əɡrəli] adv.
    In a whole or complete manner
    Writing and spelling are taught integrally as part of the reading program.
    Parts of speech     integrate v., integrity n., integral n., integral adj.
  • integrity
    integrity [ɪnˈtegrɪtɪ] n.
    Personal honesty and good character
    We don’t have a problem with our employees stealing from the store because we hire only people with a lot of integrity.
  • intensify
    intensify [inˈtensəˌfai] v.
    To increase in power;to act with increased strength
    Jacob’s long absence intensified his certainty that he should marry Rose.
    Parts of speech     intensification n., intense adj.
  • intentionally
    intentionally [ɪnˈtenʃnəlɪ] adv.
    On purpose, not by accident
    Danny intentionally lost his last golf ball because he was tired of playing.
    Parts of speech     intent n., intention n., intend v., intentional adj.
  • interdict
    interdict [ˈɪntədɪkt] v.
    To keep something from reaching a certain place
    With faster patrol boats, the Coast Guard can more easily interdict drugs being smuggled by sea.
    Parts of speech     interdiction n.
  • intermediary
    intermediary [ˌɪntəˈmiːdɪərɪ] n.
    Acting as an agent between people or things
    The plaintiff’s lawyer suggested that they hire an intermediary to help them discuss their case.
    Usage tips     Intermediary comes from the Latin words meaning “between the ways.”
  • intervene
    intervene [ˌɪn(t)ərˈvin] v.
    To come between
    A good mediator intervenes only as much as necessary to settle a dispute between other parties.
    Parts of speech     intervention n.
  • intrepid
    intrepid [ɪnˈtrepɪd] adj.
    Fearless
    For nearly 200 years, only the most intrepid colonists would cross the Appalachian Mountains.
  • intrinsic
    intrinsic [ɪnˈtrɪnsɪk] adj.
    Being part of the basic nature of something
    Frequent elections are intrinsic to a democratic system.
    Parts of speech     intrinsically adv.
  • intrusively
    intrusively [ɪnˈtruːsɪlɪ] adv.
    In a way that brings an unwanted person or thing into someone else’s affairs
    The new consultant from company headquarters appeared intrusively at meetings, staff parties, and other functions where he was not wanted.
    Parts of speech     intrude v., intrusion n., intruder n., intrusive adj.
  • intuitively
    intuitively [ɪnˈt(j)uədɪvli] adv.
    By means of a natural sense about things that are hard to observe
    Many mothers know intuitively when something is wrong with their children.
    Parts of speech     intuition n., intuitive adj.
  • invasive
    invasive [ɪnˈveɪsɪv] adj.
    Aggressively entering into someone else’s territory
    Surgery with a laser is less invasive than surgery with a knife or scalpel.
    Parts of speech     invade v., invasion n., invader n.
  • invoke
    invoke [ɪnˈvoʊk] v.
    To call on for support
    In many religions, believers invoke their god by holding out their hands.
    Parts of speech     invocation n.
  • irrigation
    irrigation [ˌiriˈgeiʃən] n.
    The supplying of water to dry land
    In dry areas of the country,you can see ditches all over the farmland for irrigation.
    Parts of speech     irrigate v.
j
  • jointly
    jointly [ˈdʒɔɪntlɪ] adv.
    Together with one or more other parties
    In most states, a husband and wife are assumed to own all their possessions jointly.
    Parts of speech     join v., joint n.
  • juxtapose
    juxtapose [ˈdʒʌkstəpəʊz] v.
    Place next to one another
    If you juxtapose these two similar flowers, you can see clear differences between them.
    Parts of speech     juxtaposition n.
k
  • kin
    kin [kɪn] n.
    Relatives
    Even though my uncle didn’t really like me, he was kind to me because we were kin.
    Usage tips     A common phrase is next of kin, meaning “closest relative.”
    Parts of speech     kinship n.
l
  • lease
    lease [liːs] v.
    To rent something for a long time (several months or years)
    Some drivers prefer to lease a car rather than buy one.
    Parts of speech     lease n., lessor n., lessee n.
  • legitimate
    legitimate [lɪˈdʒɪtɪmɪt] adj.
    True and respectable; in the context of family, born of a mother and father who were married to each other
    You can skip the meeting if you have a legitimate reason.
    Usage tips     The opposite of legitimate is illegitimate.
    Parts of speech     legitimize v., legitimacy n.
  • liability
    liability [ˌlaɪəˈbɪlɪtɪ] n.
    Legal responsibility for harming a person or property; a disadvantage
    Before you go river rafting, you sign a document releasing the trip leaders from liability in case of injury.
    Usage tips     In its second meaning, liability is often followed by a to phrase.
    Parts of speech     liable adj.
  • longitude
    longitude [ˈlɒŋgɪtjuːd] n.
    A system of imaginary lines running from north to south along the Earth’s surface, where each line is numbered from 0º to 180° west or east
    The prime meridian, a line running through Greenwich, England, is marked as 0° longitude.
    Parts of speech     longitudinal adj., longitudinally adv.
  • loyal
    loyal [ˈlɔɪəl] adj.
    Faithful
    Carter was loyal to his girlfriend and would not date anyone else.
    Usage tips     Loyal is often followed by a to phrase.
    Parts of speech     loyalty n., loyally adv.
  • luxury
    luxury [ˈlʌkʃərɪ] n.
    Extreme comfort, beyond what anyone needs
    Automakers try to give their cars an image of luxury by including extras like heated seats and satellite tracking systems.
    Parts of speech     luxuriate v., luxurious adj.
m
  • maintenance
    maintenance [ˈmeɪntɪnəns] n.
    The act of keeping something in good condition
    The only problem with living in such a big house is that it requires a lot of maintenance.
    Parts of speech     maintain v.
  • manipulation
    manipulation [məˌnɪpjʊˈleɪʃən] n.
    Quietly moving or influencing people or things in order to get what you want
    Bob’s manipulation of the boss’s feelings led to his promotion.
    Parts of speech     manipulate v., manipulator n., manipulative adj.
  • marginal
    marginal [ˈmɑːdʒɪnl] adj.
    Not very significant or effective
    Our new advertising campaign had only marginal success, raising sales by a mere 3 percent.
    Parts of speech     marginally adv.
  • maximize
    maximize [ˈmæksɪmaɪz] v.
    To increase or make as great as possible
    A coach helps each athlete maximize his or her potential.
    Parts of speech     maximum n., maximum adj.
  • meditate
    meditate [ˈmɛdəˌteɪt] v.
    To reflect; to think quietly and deeply for a long time
    Every morning, the monks meditated for three hours in complete silence.
    Parts of speech     meditation n.
  • medium
    medium [ˈmiːdɪəm] n.
    A channel or way for a meaning to be expressed
    Watercolor art is often considered childish, but some artists have achieved great things working in that medium.
    Usage tips     The plural of medium is media.
  • merchant
    merchant [ˈməːtʃənt] n.
    A person who makes a living by selling things
    The spice merchants of the eastern markets charged top prices to the Dutch and British sailors, who had come too far to sail away without buying.
    Usage tips     The word merchant might be preceded by another noun telling what the merchant sells (e.g., spice merchant or wine merchant).
    Parts of speech     merchandise v., merchandise n., mercantile adj.
  • merit
    merit [ˈmerɪt] n.
    Value; success based on one’s work, not on luck
    Pay raises at our company are based on merit, as determined by a committee of managers.
    Usage tips     Merit is uncountable.
    Parts of speech     merit v., meritorious adj.
  • migration
    migration [maɪˈɡreɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    Movement from one place to another by a group of people or animals
    The migration of farm workers from one state to the next depends primarily on the harvest.
    Usage tips     Migration is often followed by to or from.
    Parts of speech     migrate v., migrant n., migratory adj.
  • milieu
    milieu [ˈmiːljɜː] n.
    General environment or surroundings
    Many Vietnam veterans did not feel comfortable in the antiwar social milieu of the 1970s.
  • minimum
    minimum [ˈmɪnɪməm] n.
    The smallest possible amount or level
    The minimum for being accepted to Cavill University is a score of 60 on the test.
    Parts of speech     minimize v., minimum adj., minimal adj., minimally adv.
  • misconception
    misconception [ˌmɪskənˈsepʃən] n.
    A mistaken belief
    A common misconception about rabbits is that they are a kind of rodent.
  • mobilize
    mobilize [ˈməʊbɪlaɪz] v.
    To put members of a group into motion
    After a terrible storm, the governor mobilized the National Guard to rescue victims.
    Parts of speech     mobilization n.
  • modify
    modify [ˈmɒdɪfaɪ] v.
    Make small changes in order to get a certain result
    People who live in high mountains often modify their car engines to run well in the thinner air.
    Parts of speech     modification n., modifier n.
n
  • net
    net [net] adj.
    After all costs have been subtracted from an amount
    My gross salary is around $35,000, but my net pay is closer to $29,000.
    Parts of speech     net v., net n.
  • nobility
    nobility [nouˈbɪlɪtɪ] n.
    A group of socially prominent people with special titles given by a king or queen, such as “duke”or “countess”
    In the Middle Ages, the nobility supposedly followed a code that required them to take care of poorer people who lived near their estates.
    Usage tips     Nobility is used as a name for a group of distinguished people; it can also mean “a highly dignified form of behavior.”
    Parts of speech     noble n., noble adj.
  • notion
    notion [ˈnəʊʃən] n.
    A belief; a fanciful impulse
    The notion that older office equipment is unreliable is inaccurate.
    Usage tips     Notion can be followed by a that clause or a to phrase.
  • nucleus
    nucleus [ˈn(j)ukliəs] n.
    A central or essential part around which other parts are gathered; a core
    The nucleus of many European cities is the town square.
    Usage tips     Nucleus is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     nuclear adj.
o
  • obese
    obese [əʊˈbiːs] adj.
    Excessively overweight
    More Americans are obese now because U.S. culture encourages overeating and discourages exercise.
    Parts of speech     obesity n.
  • objectively
    objectively [əbˈdʒektɪvlɪ] adv.
    Based on unbiased standards, not on personal opinion
    I don’t like Mr.Rowan, but looking objectively at his sales numbers, I saw that he was a very valuable employee.
    Parts of speech     objective adj.
  • obnoxious
    obnoxious [əbˈnɒkʃəs] adj.
    Bothersome; doing small things that others don’t like
    My obnoxious neighbor keeps talking to me while I’m trying to read in my backyard.
    Parts of speech     obnoxiously adv.
  • obtain
    obtain [əbˈtein] v.
    To gain possession of; to get
    After a series of difficult interviews,he finally was able to obtain the job.
  • offense
    offense [əˈfens] n.
    A specific act that breaks the law
    Convicted twice of reckless driving, Victor will lose his license if he commits another serious traffic offense.
    Parts of speech     offender n., offensive adj.
  • oppress
    oppress [əˈpres] v.
    To keep down by force; to weigh heavily on
    Factory management oppressed workers through intimidation.
    Parts of speech     oppression n.
  • orwellian
    orwellian [ɔrˈwɛliən] adj.
    Frightening and overcontrolled by a government that interferes in nearly every aspect of personal life
    Biometric devices like eye-scanners allow an Orwellian level of government knowledge about everyone’s location.
  • overlap
    overlap [ˌoʊvərˈlæp] v.
    To lie over part of something; to have elements in common
    One of the two assistants will likely get fired, since most of their duties in the office overlap.
    Parts of speech     overlap n.
p
  • paradigm
    paradigm [ˈpærədaɪm] n.
    A pattern or model; a set of assumptions
    The usual paradigm for economic growth in developed countries does not apply to some poor nations.
    Usage tips     Paradigm is often followed by for.
  • parallel
    parallel [ˈperəˌlel] adj.
    Being an equal distance apart everywhere
    The street where I live runs parallel to the main road through town.
    Usage tips     Parallel is often followed by to.
    Parts of speech     parallel n., parallel adv.
  • parochial
    parochial [pəˈrəʊkɪəl] adj.
    Restricted in outlook; relating to the local parish
    Marla moved from her rural community to get away from its parochial thinking.
  • passion
    passion [ˈpæʃən] n.
    An extremely strong emotion, like love or anger
    Debbie complained that there was no passion in her marriage.
    Parts of speech     passionate adj., passionately adv.
  • paternal
    paternal [pəˈtəːnl] adj.
    Relating to a father
    My mother’s parents have both died, but my paternal grandparents are still alive.
    Usage tips     Paternal may appear with maternal, meaning “relating to a mother.”
  • peer
    peer [pɪər] n.
    A person who is one’s social equal
    In requiring judgment by “a jury of one’s peers,” U.S.law meant to protect lower-class defendants from the possibly biased judgment of upper-class juries.
  • per capita
    per capita [pəˈkæpɪtə] adv.
    For each person
    Research shows we’re likely to sell 15 light bulbs per capita per year in medium-sized cities.
    Parts of speech     per capita adj.
  • permeate
    permeate [ˈpərmiˌeɪt] v.
    To spread or flow throughout; to pass through or penetrate
    The smell of cooking permeated the entire apartment building.
    Parts of speech     permeation n.
  • persevere
    persevere [ˌpərsəˈvɪr] v.
    To keep going, despite obstacles or discouragement; to maintain a purpose
    The hikers persevered despite the bad weather and the icy trail.
    Parts of speech     persist v., persistent adj.
  • persist
    persist [pərˈsɪst] v.
    To continue to exist; to hold to a purpose, despite any obstacle
    If your symptoms persist, you should go see a doctor.
    Parts of speech     persistence n., persistent adj.
  • perspective
    perspective [pəˈspektɪv] n.
    A way of seeing from a particular location; a way of thinking about something
    From my perspective, the entire town can be seen through a set of large windows.
  • phantom
    phantom [ˈfæntəm] n.
    A dimly visible form,usually thought to be the spirit of a dead person, a sunken ship, etc.
    Many visitors reported seeing a phantom who appeared around the lake.
    Usage tips     Phantom originates in a word meaning “dream”; like a dream, a phantom leaves an observer wondering whether it’s real or not.
  • phonetic
    phonetic [fəʊˈnetɪk] adj.
    Related to the sounds in a language
    Children learning to write often make up phonetic spellings, based on the way a word sounds.
    Parts of speech     phonetics n., phonetically adv.
  • photosynthesis
    photosynthesis [ˌfoutouˈsinθəsis] n.
    The process by which green plants make their own food by combining water,salts,and carbon dioxide in the presence of light.
    Oxygen is a by-product of the process of photosynthesis.
    Parts of speech   photosynthesize v.
  • physical
    physical [ˈfɪzɪk(ə)l] adj.
    Related to the body; related to materials that can be seen or felt
    Because of the shape of its throat, an ape does not have the physical ability to speak.
    Usage tips     Physical usually comes before the noun it describes.
    Parts of speech     physically adv.
  • pious
    pious [ˈpaɪəs] adj.
    Having or exhibiting religious reverence
    Sometimes she was so pious that the rest of us felt like heathens.
    Parts of speech     piousness n., piety n., piously adv.
  • piracy
    piracy [ˈpaɪərəsɪ] n.
    Stealing a ship or taking the ship’s cargo; the unlawful copying of books, CDs, etc.
    Modern-day piracy occurs mostly near groups of small,uninhabited islands where pirates can hide.
    Parts of speech     pirate n., pirate v.
  • plunge
    plunge [pləndʒ] v.
    To go down suddenly; to decrease by a great amount in a short time
    He jumped off the diving board and plunged into the pool.
    Usage tips     Plunge is often followed by an into phrase.
    Parts of speech     plunge n.
  • policy
    policy [ˈpɒlɪsɪ] n.
    An approved way for approaching a certain kind of situation
    The policy said that government money could not be given to any private hospital.
  • poll
    poll [poul] v.
    To find out a small group’s opinion so that you can guess what a much larger group thinks
    The newspaper polled 500 registered voters and found that only 27 percent were in favor of expanding the city zoo.
    Parts of speech     poll n., pollster n.
  • portrayal
    portrayal [pɔːˈtreɪəl] n.
    A description or drawing that reflects a certain point of view
    Most portrayals of Abraham Lincoln emphasize his sense of humor and his honesty.
    Usage tips     Portrayal is often followed by an of phrase to indicate what is being described.
    Parts of speech     portray v.
  • potent
    potent [ˈpəʊtənt] adj.
    Powerful
    A very potent type of marijuana with surprisingly strong effects became available in Burrytown.
    Parts of speech     potency n.
  • precipitation
    precipitation [prəˌsipəˈteiʃ(ə)n] n.
    Water that falls to the Earth’s surface
    In the Pacific Northwest, the high level of precipitation ensures rich, green plant life.
  • predicament
    predicament [prɪˈdɪkəmənt] n.
    A difficult situation, one that is hard to get out of
    College basketball stars face the predicament of wanting to graduate but being tempted by high professional salaries.
  • prejudiced
    prejudiced [ˈpredʒʊdɪst] adj.
    Causing to judge prematurely and unfairly
    Many consumers are prejudiced against commercial goods made in third-world countries.
    Parts of speech     prejudice v., prejudice n.
  • prestige
    prestige [presˈtiːʒ] n.
    Honor and respect for being better than the average
    The Grassleys enjoyed the prestige of living in the historic town, but they did not feel at home there.
    Parts of speech     prestigious adj.
  • prevailing
    prevailing [prɪˈveɪlɪŋ] adj.
    Strongest or most common
    The prevailing attitude among our neighbors is to be friendly but not too friendly.
    Parts of speech     prevail v., prevalence n.
  • prevalent
    prevalent [ˈprevələnt] adj.
    Common; easy to find because it exists in great amounts
    Distrust of elected officials was prevalent in our county because many of them were friends with certain candidates.
    Parts of speech     prevail v., prevalence n.
  • privileged
    privileged [ˈprɪvɪlɪdʒd] adj.
    Able to enjoy special advantages because of one’s position (usually because of being born into a wealthy or powerful family)
    Despite his privileged position in one of America’s most powerful families, the politician tried to portray himself as an ordinary person.
    Parts of speech     privilege n.
  • procedure
    procedure [prəˈsidʒər] n.
    A specific way of performing or doing something
    The flight attendant explained the emergency evacuation procedure.
    Parts of speech     proceed v., procedural adj.
  • process
    process [ˈproses] v.
    A series of steps leading to a result
    To get a good job, most people go through a long process of letter-writing and interviews.
    Usage tips     Process is often followed by of plus the -ing form of a verb.
    Parts of speech     proceed v., process v.
  • prognosis
    prognosis [prɒgˈnəʊsɪs] n.
    An educated guess of how something will develop, especially a disease
    The room fell silent when the doctor gave Senator Grebe a grim prognosis of months of treatment.
  • proliferation
    proliferation [prəˌlɪfəˈreɪʃən] n.
    An increase in the number of something and in the number of places it can be found
    The proliferation of fast-food restaurants has made it harder for Americans to eat healthy lunches.
    Usage tips     Proliferation is very often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     proliferate v.
  • promote
    promote [prəˈməʊt] v.
    To move someone to a higher position in a company
    Because of his excellent handling of the Vredeman account, Jim Harris was promoted to vice president.
    Usage tips     Promote is very often followed by a to phrase indicating the position one has been moved up to.
    Parts of speech     promotion n.
  • proportion
    proportion [prəˈpɔːʃən] n.
    A part in relation to the whole
    The average employee spends a large proportion of each workday answering e-mails.
    Usage tips     Proportion is often followed by of.
    Parts of speech     proportionate adj., proportionally adv.
  • proportionately
    proportionately [prəˈpɔːʃnɪtlɪ] adv.
    In an amount appropriate to each of several recipients
    The food aid was distributed proportionately per family, with larger families receiving more.
    Parts of speech     proportion n., proportionate adj., proportionally adv.
  • proprietor
    proprietor [prəˈpraɪətər] n.
    Owner, usually of a business or a building
    The proprietor of Hekman’s Windows is Nels Hekman,grandson of the people who established the factory.
    Usage tips     Very often, proprietor is followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     proprietary adj.
  • prosper
    prosper [ˈprɒspər] v.
    To do very well in one’s business or personal life
    Vargas prospered after finally patenting his new inventions.
    Usage tips     A person can prosper; so can a group, a company, or an area.
    Parts of speech     prosperity n., prosperous adj.
  • prototype
    prototype [ˈprəʊtəʊtaɪp] n.
    The first one made of a machine or system
    The airplane manufacturer uses robots to test every prototype, just in case there is a problem with the design.
  • proximity
    proximity [prɒkˈsɪmɪtɪ] n.
    Nearness
    The house was comfortable, except for its proximity to a busy road.
    Usage tips     Proximity can be followed by an of phrase or a to phrase.
    Parts of speech     proximate adj.
  • psychic
    psychic [ˈsaɪkɪk] adj.
    Relating to the supposed ability of the human mind to sense things that cannot be observed
    The governor’s assistant claimed to have unique psychic abilities enabling him to read people’s minds.
    Parts of speech     psychic n., psychically adv.
r
  • rank
    rank [ræŋk] v.
    To put into a many-leveled order, depending on importance or achievement
    The Marines ranked Jim Hurst highest among all their officer candidates.
    Parts of speech     rank n.
  • rate
    rate [reɪt] n.
    The cost per unit of a good or service; the motion or change that happens in a certain time.
    Some grasses grow at the rate of one inch per day.
    Parts of speech     rate v., rating n.
  • ratio
    ratio [ˈreɪʃɪəʊ] n.
    The relationship of one number or amount to another
    Military analysts say that the ratio of attackers to defenders in a battle should be about three to one for the attackers to win.
    Usage tips     Ratio is very often followed by an of . . . to structure.
  • realism
    realism [ˈrɪəlɪzəm] n.
    A technique that tries to picture something as it really looks
    Realism was popular among seventeenth-century Flemish painters like Rembrandt van Rijn.
    Parts of speech     realist n., realistic adj.
  • rebel
    rebel [ˈrebl] v.
    To go against an established system or authority
    The people of Ghurdia rebelled against the dictator and set up a new government.
    Usage tips     Rebel works well in political contexts and in contexts of personal relationships.
    Parts of speech     rebel n., rebellion n.
  • recede
    recede [rɪˈsiːd] v.
    To move back or away from
    After the age of 30, his hairline began to recede further back from his forehead.
    Parts of speech     recession n., recessive adj.
  • reciprocity
    reciprocity [ˌresɪˈprɒsɪtɪ] n.
    Doing as much for another as he or she has done for you
    Dan was giving a lot of attention to Kelly, but he felt no reciprocity in their relationship.
    Parts of speech     reciprocate v., reciprocal adj.
  • reconciliation
    reconciliation [ˌrekənsɪlɪˈeɪʃən] n.
    Coming back together peacefully after having been enemies
    South Africa avoided a bloodbath after apartheid by setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
    Parts of speech     reconcile v., reconciliatory adj.
  • reform
    reform [rɪˈfɔːm] v.
    To make big improvements
    The new law was an attempt to reform the system of giving money to political candidates.
    Parts of speech     reform n., reformer n.
  • regulate
    regulate [ˈrɛɡjəˌleɪt] v.
    Control according to a set of rules
    Trading on the New York Stock Exchange is regulated by officials of the exchange and by federal law.
    Parts of speech     regulation n., regulatory adj.
  • relic
    relic [ˈrelɪk] n.
    Something left from a long-ago culture, time period, or person
    Relics of the war can still be found in the sand dunes along this shore.
  • reservoir
    reservoir [ˈrezəvwɑːr] n.
    A place where a liquid is collected and stored
    Cult members threatened to poison the town’s water reservoir.
    Parts of speech     reserve v.
  • residual
    residual [rɪˈzɪdjʊəl] adj.
    Left behind after most of a thing has gone
    In the airplane, agents found residual traces of heroin.
    Usage tips     Residual is often followed by trace, amount, or some other word referring to “quantity.”
    Parts of speech     residue n.
  • resign
    resign [rɪˈzaɪn] v.
    To quit one’s job
    Because of controversy over his leadership style, Morton resigned from his job as president.
    Parts of speech     resignation n.
  • resist
    resist [rɪˈzɪst] v.
    To refuse to give in to a strong force or desire
    Although many native nations resisted, the U.S.government eventually took over almost all Indian land.
    Parts of speech     resistance n., resistant adj.
  • retain
    retain [rəˈteɪn] v.
    To keep or hold
    The rain fell so heavily that the banks of the river could not retain all the water.
    Parts of speech     retainer n., retention n.
  • retrieve
    retrieve [rɪˈtriːv] v.
    To bring or get back
    Most dogs can be trained to retrieve objects that their owners have thrown.
    Parts of speech     retriever n., retrievable adj.
  • reward
    reward [rɪˈwɔːd] n.
    Something one gets for having done well
    The greatest reward of being a parent is to see your child make a wise decision.
    Usage tips     Reward might be followed by an of or for phrase naming what one has done well.
    Parts of speech     reward v.
  • rigor
    rigor [ˈrɪɡər] n.
    Strictness; difficult situations that come from following rules strictly
    The wrestler followed his diet with rigor.
    Parts of speech     rigorous adj.
  • rite
    rite [raɪt] n.
    A ceremony meant to achieve a certain purpose
    Many cultures have fertility rites that supposedly make it more likely for women to bear children.
  • ritually
    ritually [ˈrɪtʃ(u)əli] adv.
    As part of a traditional ceremony or habit
    The children ritually kissed their parents on the cheek before bed.
    Parts of speech     ritual n., ritual adj.
  • roster
    roster [ˈrɑstər] n.
    A list, especially of names
    Two of the names on the roster were misspelled.
  • rotate
    rotate [ˈroʊˌteɪt] v.
    To turn around; to take turns in sequence
    The planet rotates on its axis once every 14 Earth days.
    Parts of speech     rotation n.
s
  • sacrifice
    sacrifice [ˈsækrəˌfaɪs] v.
    Anything offered to a deity as a religious thanksgiving; giving up something in order to have something more valuable later on
    Every harvest time, the Fadeloni people sacrificed vegetables to their gods as a show of thanks.
    Parts of speech     sacrifice n., sacrificial adj., sacrificially adv.
  • safeguard
    safeguard [ˈseɪfgɑːd] v.
    To protect
    A burglar-alarm system safeguards our house when we go away on vacation.
    Usage tips     Safeguard implies continuous protection over a long time.
  • saga
    saga [ˈsɑːgə] n.
    A long story about important events long ago
    Many American families tell sagas about their ancestors’arrival in the United States.
  • scandal
    scandal [ˈskændl] n.
    A case of wrongdoing that hurts someone’s reputation
    In the Watergate scandal, some of the president’s top advisors were revealed to be criminals.
    Parts of speech     scandalize v., scandalous adj.
  • scar
    scar [skɑːr] n.
    A mark on the skin left after a wound has healed; a lasting sign of damage, either mental or physical
    The surgery was successful, but it left a large scar across her abdomen.
    Parts of speech     scar v.
  • secular
    secular [ˈsekjʊlər] adj.
    Worldly rather than spiritual; not related to religion
    Few private schools in the United States are secular.
  • seep
    seep [sip] v.
    To pass slowly for a long time, as a liquid or gas might
    As the containers rusted, the toxic waste seeped into the ground.
    Usage tips     Seep is often followed by into or through.
  • seize
    seize [siːz] v.
    To take something against its owner’s will
    Federal agents can seize private homes and other property possibly used in the production or sale of illegal drugs.
    Parts of speech     seizure n.
  • self-perpetuating
    self-perpetuating [ˌselfpəˈpetjʊeɪtɪŋ] adj.
    Having the power to renew oneself for an indefinite period of time
    It is difficult to escape from a lie, as they are often self-perpetuating.
    Parts of speech     self-perpetuation n.
  • sentiment
    sentiment [ˈsentɪmənt] n.
    Feelings; opinion based on feelings
    I share your sentiments about air travel, but I disagree that cars are safer.
    Usage tips     Sentiments (the plural) is more common than sentiment.
    Parts of speech     sentimentality n., sentimental adj.
  • sequence
    sequence [ˈsiːkwəns] v.
    To organize or arrange in succession
    Volunteers have been asked to sequence the files and organize the boxes.
    Parts of speech     sequence n., sequentially adv.
  • severely
    severely [sɪˈvɪəlɪ] adv.
    Harshly; extremely
    Commanders severely punished any soldier who criticized the battle plan.
    Parts of speech     severity n., severe adj.
  • shame
    shame [ʃeɪm] n.
    Dishonor because one has done something wrong
    Feeling deep shame because of their son’s crimes, the Ford family moved to a different town.
    Usage tips     Shame is often followed by an of or about phrase.
    Parts of speech     shame v., shameful adj., ashamed adj., shamefully adv.
  • shrink
    shrink [ʃrɪŋk] v.
    To become reduced in size, amount, or value
    If you dry your clothing on the “high heat” setting, they may shrink.
    Parts of speech     shrinkage n., shrinkable adj.
  • shuttle
    shuttle [ˈʃʌtl] v.
    To move back and forth often between two places
    The small jet shuttles between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore nearly every two hours.
    Parts of speech     shuttle n.
  • sibling
    sibling [ˈsɪblɪŋ] n.
    Brother or sister
    My siblings and I got together to buy our parents a gift for their anniversary.
    Usage tips     Sibling is often preceded by a possessive noun or pronoun.
  • simulation
    simulation [ˌsɪmjəˈleɪʃ(ə)n] n.
    An imitation or representation
    To test car safety, automobile makers study crash simulations.
    Parts of speech     simulate v., simulator n.
  • skit
    skit [skɪt] n.
    A short, informal play
    Marnie and Chris spent a long time practicing their skit for the school show.
  • smuggle
    smuggle [ˈsmʌgl] v.
    To illegally bring things into a country
    The pirate Ben Dewar smuggled guns to British and Indian fighters in North America.
    Parts of speech     smuggler n., smuggling n.
  • solar
    solar [ˈsoʊlər] adj.
    Of,or relating to, the sun
    The ancient society kept time with a solar calendar.
  • sole
    sole [soul] adj.
    Only
    Many people have wanted to invest in Harry’s publishing business, but he remains the sole owner.
    Usage tips     Sole almost always appears before the noun it modifies. It does not come after a linking verb like be.
    Parts of speech     solely adv.
  • solidarity
    solidarity [ˌsɒlɪˈdærɪtɪ] n.
    Standing together despite pressure to move apart
    Many student groups declared solidarity with the Latino Student Association in their effort to get a Spanish-speaking principal.
    Usage tips     Solidarity is usually used in political contexts.
  • source
    source [sɔrs] n.
    The point of origin or creation
    The reporter was unable to identify the source of the information for his story.
    Parts of speech     source v.
  • spectrum
    spectrum [ˈspektrəm] n.
    A range of different things, usually colors
    Bart’s colorful designs include every color of the spectrum, from deep blue to vibrant red.
    Usage tips     The phrase the spectrum frequently means “the colors that the human eye can see.”
  • stable
    stable [ˈsteɪbəl] adj.
    Firm and dependable; showing little change
    He fell because the ladder wasn’t stable.
    Parts of speech     stability n., stably adv.
  • status quo
    status quo n.
    The systems and conditions that exist now
    Let’s just maintain the status quo until we can think of a better way.
  • stigmatize
    stigmatize [ˈstɪgmətaɪz] v.
    To mark with a visible feature that makes other people think, perhaps incorrectly, that someone or something is wrong
    Cadbury’s beard and tattoos stigmatized him as a bad match for Wall Street,so he couldn’t find work as a financial analyst.
    Parts of speech     stigma n.
  • strategic
    strategic [strəˈtiːdʒɪk] adj.
    Related to long-term plans for achieving a goal
    The United States has formed strategic friendships with Tajikistan and Mongolia to have Central Asian bases in the future.
    Usage tips     Strategic is often used with nouns for plans.
    Parts of speech     strategy n., strategize v., strategically adv.
  • striking
    striking [ˈstraɪkɪŋ] adj.
    Very noticeable;easily attracting attention
    Gordon had a striking new attitude after he learned self-discipline at the army academy.
    Usage tips     Striking comes from a verb that means “to hit.”
    Parts of speech     strike v., strikingly adv.
  • structure
    structure [ˈstrək(t)ʃər] n.
    Something constructed, such as a building
    Most companies have a social structure that can’t be understood by outsiders.
    Parts of speech     structure v., structural adj, structurally adv.
  • subsidy
    subsidy [ˈsʌbsɪdɪ] n.
    Money given by a government or other organization to support an activity
    Federal subsidies to grain farmers have helped them stay in business despite three years of bad weather.
    Parts of speech     subsidize v.
  • subtly
    subtly [ˈsʌtlɪ] adv.
    In a quiet, hard-to-notice way
    By subtly changing the soft drink’s formula, we improved its taste and made production cheaper.
    Parts of speech     subtlety n., subtle adj.
  • surveillance
    surveillance [sərˈveɪləns] n.
    A process of watching something or someone for a long time, usually because the person is suspected of something
    Police surveillance of one suspected car thief resulted in the arrest of a whole gang of carjackers.
    Usage tips     Surveillance is often followed by an of phrase.
  • survive
    survive [sərˈvaɪv] v.
    To continue living (despite some danger or illness)
    After getting lost in the mountains, Gordon survived by eating wild plants and catching fish.
    Usage tips     Survive is often followed by a phrase with by.
    Parts of speech     survivor n., survival n.
  • suspect
    suspect [ˈsʌspekt] n.
    Someone who,in the opinion of the police, might have committed a certain crime
    The police were investigating the activities of five suspects in the liquor-store robbery.
    Parts of speech     suspect v., suspicion n., suspicious adj., suspiciously adv.
  • suspend
    suspend [səsˈpend] v.
    To cause to stop for a period; to hang as to allow free movement
    The trial was suspended when the judge learned that one of the jury members knew the defense lawyer.
    Parts of speech     suspension n., suspension adj.
  • suspicious
    suspicious [səsˈpɪʃəs] adj.
    Believing that something is wrong; acting in a way that makes people believe you have done something wrong
    The neighbors became suspicious of Jim when he bought a big new car and some fancy clothes.
    Parts of speech     suspicion n., suspiciously adv.
  • symbolic
    symbolic [sɪmˈbɒlɪk] adj.
    Acting as a sign for some other thing or idea
    Since the 1970s, yellow ribbons have been symbolic of hope that someone will return from a dangerous situation.
    Usage tips     Symbolic is often followed by an of phrase indicating the meaning of a symbol.
    Parts of speech     symbolize v., symbol n., symbolically adv.
t
  • tangible
    tangible [ˈtændʒəbl] adj.
    Obviously real because it can be seen, touched, or otherwise observed
    One tangible benefit of putting electrical cables underground is a clearer view of the sky.
  • terminal
    terminal [ˈtɜːmɪnl] adj.
    Located at an end; approaching death
    The cancer ward at the hospital held both terminal and recovering patients.
    Parts of speech     terminate v., terminally adv.
  • tolerate
    tolerate [ˈtɒləreɪt] v.
    To avoid getting upset about something
    My math teacher tolerates a lot of talking in her class, but my history teacher tells us to be quiet.
    Parts of speech     toleration n., tolerance n., tolerant adj.
  • trend
    trend [trend] n.
    A movement in one direction or a widespread change in fashion
    The trend among some young men is to wear their caps with the bill off to one side.
    Parts of speech     trend v., trendy adj.
  • trigger
    trigger [ˈtrɪɡər] v.
    To set off or initiate
    I was certain any mention of politics would trigger a big argument.
    Parts of speech     trigger n.
u
  • unleash
    unleash [ˌənˈliʃ] v.
    To release a thing or an emotion
    When they saw the strange man on their property, they unleashed their dogs.
  • unmask
    unmask [ˈʌnˈmɑːsk] v.
    Reveal; expose something that is hidden
    The Forge Trucking Company was eventually unmasked as a front for organized crime.
v
  • vanish
    vanish [ˈvænɪʃ] v.
    To disappear suddenly
    When the sun came out, last night’s light snowfall vanished.
  • vanity
    vanity [ˈvænɪtɪ] n.
    An excessive concern for one’s appearance
    Mark’s vanity led him to spend far too much money on haircuts and new clothes.
    Parts of speech     vain adj.
  • vein
    vein [veɪn] n.
    Any of the tubes that form a branching system, especially those that carry blood to the heart
    She became fascinated with human anatomy, especially when she learned how veins transport oxygen.
  • verdict
    verdict [ˈvɜːdɪkt] n.
    A judgment in a court case
    It took the jury only 30 minutes to reach a verdict of “guilty.”
    Usage tips     Verdict is often the object of the verbs reach or arrive at.
  • versus
    versus [ˈvɜːsəs] prep.
    Against
    In the debate, it was pro-war senators versus antiwar senators.
    Usage tips     Versus is often abbreviated as vs. in sports contexts, or simply v. in legal contexts.
  • vestige
    vestige [ˈvestɪdʒ] n.
    A visible trace that something once existed
    The wilted flowers were the only vestige of their romantic weekend.
  • villainy
    villainy [ˈvɪlənɪ] n.
    Exceptional badness, as demonstrated by many serious evil deeds
    Fred was not a natural criminal, but he learned all kinds of villainy while being jailed for a minor crime.
    Parts of speech     villain n., villainous adj.
  • violation
    violation [ˌvaɪəˈleɪʃən] n.
    An action that breaks a law or agreement; mistreatment of something that deserves respect
    The army’s testing of new weapons was a violation of the cease-fire agreement.
    Usage tips     Violation is often followed by an of phrase.
    Parts of speech     violate v., violator n.
  • vitriolic
    vitriolic [ˌvɪtrɪˈɒlɪk] adj.
    Showing an extreme, hateful anger
    The mayor’s vitriolic attacks against the city council only made him sound unreasonable.
    Usage tips     The origin of vitriolic is “vitriol,”a strong chemical that could cause painful burns.
  • vulnerable
    vulnerable [ˈvʌlnərəbl] adj.
    Exposed to possible harm
    Babies and very old people are especially vulnerable to the new disease.
    Usage tips     Vulnerable is often followed by a to phrase.
    Parts of speech     vulnerability n., vulnerably adv.
w
  • willing
    willing [ˈwɪlɪŋ] adj.
    Agreeable and ready to do something
    Because of their long friendship, Professor Gardner was willing to say a few words at Jones’s birthday celebration.
    Usage tips     Willing is almost always followed by a to + verb structure.
    Parts of speech     will v., will n., willingness n.
  • witness
    witness [ˈwɪtnɪs] v.
    To see something, especially a crime, happen
    After witnessing the car theft, Rodney called the police.
    Parts of speech     witness n.
  • working class
    working class [ˈwərkɪŋ ˈˌklæs] n.
    People with low-paying (often unskilled) jobs who are not poor but who are not securely in the middle class
    The Farrelly family, like other members of the working class, were proud of their jobs and did not want any handouts from charity or the government.
  • wound
    wound [wuːnd] v.
    To inflict an injury on
    Sometimes he didn’t realize his sharp humor could wound as well as entertain.
    Parts of speech     wound n.
z
  • zeal
    zeal [ziːl] n.
    Enthusiasm; a deep determination to do well
    Unfortunately, Tom’s zeal to become a rock star distracted him from his studies.
    Usage tips     Zeal is often followed by to plus a verb or by a for phrase.
    Parts of speech     zealot n., zealous adj.
Answer Key
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