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Vocabulary from “Robbie” by Isaac Asimov. From the Short Story Collection: I, Robot. c omplacence (noun). Definitions: A false sense of security; Satisfaction with things “as is.” Other forms: (adj.) complacent; ( n .) complacency

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vocabulary from robbie by isaac asimov

Vocabulary from “Robbie”by Isaac Asimov

From the Short Story Collection:

I, Robot

c omplacence noun


  • A false sense of security;
  • Satisfaction with things “as is.”

Other forms: (adj.) complacent; (n.) complacency

The government’s complacence regarding off-shore oil drilling has resulted in many environmental disasters.

composure noun

Definition: A calm state of mind; poise

Other form: (adj.) composed

It was difficult for me to maintain composure during my first public speech to a group of over 1,000 people.

contradiction noun

Definition: Anassertion of an opposing position

Other form: (adj.) contradictory

His speech contained many contradictions, and we have no idea of what he really stands for.

disheveled adjective

Definition: Messy or unkempt appearance

So I wouldn’t miss the bus, I ran out the front door with the worst case of bed head; I remained disheveled until I could hit the boy’s lav in order to put myself together.

emphatic adjective

Definition: Bold; forceful; with insistence or emphasis

Other form: (adv.) emphatically

Our teacher was emphatic when she said that if we didn’t do our homework, we would never pass her geometry class. We emphatically nodded our heads to let her know we understood!

futile adjective

Definition: Ineffective; useless; incapable of

having success

Other form: (n.) futility

We felt our chances of winning the game were futile as we eyed the other team’s six foot plus basketball players.

impending adjective

Definition: About to happen; imminent

I was very worried about my impending court date where I would be a witness for a robbery at a convenience store near my house. Would I be able to maintain my composure during the questioning? I had only five more days to go over what I would say.

infinite adjective

Definition: Unlimited; immeasurable; without end

Other forms: (n.) infinity; (adj.) infinitely

Is outer space infinite? What could be out there in infinity?

incessant adjective

Definition: continuing without interruption or end

Other form: (adv.) incessantly

My sister Sharon’s incessant chatter during our road trip was making us all crazy. How can anyone talk so much?

incoherent adjective

Definition: unable to be understood, especially speech

The state trooper noticed that the driver’s speech was nearly incoherent, so she suspected that he might be intoxicated. She had him step out of the car to give him a sobriety test.

inevitable adjective

Definition: cannot be avoided; obvious or certain

Other form: (adv.) inevitably

Since we are mortal, death is an inevitable part of our lives. Let’s make each day worthwhile!

intermittent adjective

Definition: alternately stopping and starting again

Other form: (adv.) intermittently

I was so annoyed my friend would intermittently text her other friends while we were out to dinner together. How rude!

irrefutable adjective

Definition: Unable to be disproved

Other form: (adv.) irrefutably

During murder trials, DNA evidence is considered irrefutable proof that the accused is either guilty or innocent.

ponderous adjective


  • Heavy or massive;
  • Awkward or unwieldy

Other form: (adv.) ponderously

Last night the president gave a ponderous speech about ending the wars we are currently in. He used so many big words, I have no idea what he was trying to convey!

He takes ponderous steps!

prosaic adjective

Definition: Commonplace; dull; unimaginative

Other form: (adv.) prosaically

Do all English teachers give the prosaic assignment of writing about what you did over the summer? Instead, how about writing a composition about if we were a color, what color would we be and why?

scrupulous adjective

Definition: Precise; careful; having high regard for

what is right

Other form: (adv.) scrupulously

My dad keeps his workshop scrupulous—there’s a place for everything, and everything needs to be in its place!

skeptical adjective

Definition: Having or showing doubt

Other form: (adv.) skeptically

I was skeptical when my friend Ben was convincing me to approach the bear. “Get closer,” he urged. “It’s friendly!”

smug adjective

Definition: Feeling confidently superior

Other forms: (n.) smugness; (adv.) smugly

My brother looked smug when we began to race downhill on our snowboards. Just because he’d been practicing longer than I, he was certain he’d win. He did!

A smug pug!

ultimatum noun

Definition: A final, uncompromising command

or set of conditions

My parents gave me a deadly ultimatum: either improve my grades or I’d have to babysit my little brother Timmy every weekend for a month.

undaunted adjective

Definition: Incapable of being discouraged;

without fear

Other form: (adv.) undauntedly

Undaunted, Ms. Hart got closer to the moose to get

a perfect picture.