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