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Chapter 7 Vocab. 1. curtail: (v.) shorten, reduce, lessen. “Curtail” comes from an English word no longer used—“curtal”—meaning a “horse with its tail cut short.” Ex. When I asked Judy for a date, she curtly replied “No!” and hung up the phone. Synonyms: cut, decrease, diminish

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1 curtail v shorten reduce lessen
1. curtail: (v.) shorten, reduce, lessen
  • “Curtail” comes from an English word no longer used—“curtal”—meaning a “horse with its tail cut short.”
  • Ex. When I asked Judy for a date, she curtly replied “No!” and hung up the phone.
  • Synonyms: cut, decrease, diminish
  • Related Words: abbreviate,
2 travesty n or v ridiculous imitation
2. Travesty (n. or v.): ridiculous imitation
  • “Travesty” derives ultimately from Latin vestire(“to dress, clothe”), coming to English from the French travestir (“to disguise by taking on someone else’s clothing”).
  • Ex. Corrupt judges and bribed witnesses make a travesty of justice.
  • Synonyms: mockery, joke, parody
  • Related Word: farce
3 scruple n doubt or uneasiness as to what is right or proper
3. scruple: (n.)doubt or uneasiness as to what is right or proper
  • When ancient Romans walked in their sandals, they were very aware if a small, sharp stone(scrupulus in Latin) became caught in their sandals.
  • Ex. I still have some scruples, so I will not sell defective merchandise no matter how profitable.
  • Synonyms: conscience, misgiving, qualm
4 havoc n or v great destruction or confusion
4. Havoc (n. or v.): great destruction or confusion
  • In the Middle Ages, “Havoc!” was a war cry signaling a victorious army to loot and rape in a conquered town.
  • Ex. Recent hurricanes have caused havoc along the Florida coast.
  • Synonyms: ruin, damage, devastation
5 mentor n wise trusted teacher or counselor
5. Mentor (n.): wise, trusted teacher or counselor
  • When Odysseus went to fight in the Trojan War, he left his wife and infant son in the charge of his trusted friend Mentor. Mentor’s name has become synonymous with wise, loyal, and protective guardianship.
  • Ex. Socrates was the mentor of Plato, Plato the mentor of Aristotle, and Aristotle the mentor of Alexander the Great.
  • Synonyms: instructor, guide, preceptor
6 haggard adj looking worn and tired
6. Haggard (adj.): looking worn and tired
  • “Haggard” entered the English language meaning a “wild hawk captured after it had already grown its mature feathers.”
  • Ex. Today, a student who stays up all night studying for examinations would most likely have a haggard look the next day.
  • Synonyms: careworn, weary, fatigued, gaunt
7 utopian adj characteristic of an ideal society visionary
7. Utopian (adj.): characteristic of an ideal society; visionary
  • The Englishman Thomas More wrote a book Utopia, which described a perfect society with justice and equality for everyone.
  • Ex: Any visionary plan for a perfect society or system can be characterized as utopian.
  • Synonyms: idealistic, imaginary, unfeasible
  • Related words: quixotic
8 mercurial adj changeable unpredictable lively
8. mercurial: (adj.)changeable; unpredictable; lively
  • The Roman god Mercury was the messenger of the gods. Because the planet Mercury orbits more swiftly around the sun than any other planet, the Romans named this planet after the swift-footed Mercury. Today, a lively, spritely, quick-witted person is said to be mercurial.
  • Ex. Your temperament is so mercurial; your moods are more changeable and unpredictable than the weather.
  • Synonyms: unstable, impulsive, erratic
  • Related words: protean
9 diffident adj lacking self confidence timid unassertive
9. diffident: (adj.)lacking self-confidence; timid; unassertive
  • “Diffident” comes from Latin dis (“not”) and fidere (“trust”). However, “diffident” came to have the meaning of mistrust in oneself.
  • Ex. Diffidence prevented the young man from asking girls for dates.
  • Synonyms: shy, insecure, timorous
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10. hypocrisy: (n.) pretending to be what one is not, especially to have feelings, beliefs, or virtues that one does not have
  • Hypocrites play a part pretending to be what they are not. Etymologically, this is appropriate since in ancient Greece the word for actor was hypokrites.
  • Ex: A hypocrite will smile and compliment you to your face, then criticize and abuse you to others.
  • Synonyms: Deceptiveness, dishonesty, insincerity, deceit, duplicity
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Monopoly (n.): total control of a product or service; company that has this total control; exclusive control or possession of anything.