Wordsmart I (Cobuild)


To make ashamed; to embarrass


To subside; to reduce
If something bad or undesirable abates, it becomes much less strong or severe.


To step down from a position of power or responsibility
If a king or queen abdicates, he or she gives up being king or queen.
If you say that someone has abdicated responsibility for something, you disapprove of them because they have refused t


Something not typical; a deviation from the standard
An aberration is an incident or way of behaving that is not typical.
If someone considers a person or their behaviour to be an aberration, they think that they are strange and not socially


To hate very very much; to detest
If you abhor something, you hate it very much, especially for moral reasons.


[?bd?ekt, --?]
Hopeless; extremely sad and servile; defeated; utterly bummed out
You use abject to emphasize that a situation or quality is extremely bad.
If you describe someone as abject, you think they have no courage or respect for themselves.


To deny oneself things; to reject; to renounce


An abortive attempt or action is unsuccessful.


To shorten; to condense


[?bs?l�?t, -?--?]
Total; unlimited; perfect
Absolute means total and complete.
You use absolute to emphasize something that you are saying.
An absolute ruler has complete power and authority over his or her country.
Absolute is used to say that something


[�bz??lv, -s??lv]
To forgive or free from blame; to free from sin; to free from an obligation
If a report or investigation absolves someone from blame or responsibility, it formally states that he or she is not guilty or is not to blame.


Abstaining; voluntarily not doing something especially something pleasant that is bad for you or has a bad reputation


[�bstr?kt, -?-]
Theoretical; impersonal
An abstract idea or way of thinking is based on general ideas rather than on real things and events.
When you talk or think about something in the abstract, you talk or think about it in a general way, rather than c


Hard to understand
You can describe something as abstruse if you find it difficult to understand, especially when you think it could be explained more simply.


Extremely hopeless or wretched; bottomless
If you describe a situation or the condition of something as abysmal, you think that it is very bad or poor in quality.


[?k?l�id, -l???d]
An award; an honor
If someone is given an accolade, something is done or said about them which shows how much people admire them.


[?k??st, ?k??st]
To approach and speak to someone
If someone accosts another person, especially a stranger, they stop them or go up to them and speak to them in a way that seems rude or threatening.


Bitter; sour; severe
Acerbic humour is critical and direct.


To comply passively; to accept; to assent; to agree
If you acquiesce in something, you agree to do what someone wants or to accept what they do.


Harsh; like acid
An acrid smell or taste is strong and sharp, and usually unpleasant.


Full of spite; bitter; nasty
Acrimonious words or quarrels are bitter and angry.


[?kj�?m?n, ?kju-]
Keenness of judgment; mental sharpness
Acumen is the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions.


Sharp; shrewd
You can use acute to indicate that an undesirable situation or feeling is very severe or intense.
An acute illness is one that becomes severe very quickly but does not last very long. Compare chronic.
If a person's or animal's sight


[?d?m?nt, -m�?nt]
Stubborn; unyielding; completely inflexible
If someone is adamant about something, they are determined not to change their mind about it.


[?dr�s, ?dres]
To speak to; to direct ones attention to
Your address is the number of the house, flat, or apartment and the name of the street and the town where you live or work.
If a letter, envelope, or parcel is addressed to you, your name and address


[�dh�?r?nt, ?d-]
Follower; supporter; believer
An adherent is someone who holds a particular belief or supports a particular person or group.


[�dm??ni?, ?d-]
To scold gently; to warn
If you admonish someone, you tell them very seriously that they have done something wrong.


Skillful; dexterous; clever; shrewd; socially at ease
Someone who is adroit is quick and skilful in their thoughts, behaviour, or actions.


Wild or excessive admiration; flattery
Adulation is uncritical admiration and praise of someone or something.


To contaminate; to make impure
If something such as food or drink is adulterated, someone has made its quality worse by adding water or cheaper products to it.


[�dv???rs, -?-]
Unfavorable; antagonistic
Adverse decisions, conditions, or effects are unfavourable to you.


Having to do with artistic beauty; artistic
Aesthetic is used to talk about beauty or art, and people's appreciation of beautiful things.
The aesthetic of a work of art is its aesthetic quality.


Easy to talk to; friendly
Someone who is affable is pleasant and friendly.


Unnatural or artificial behavior usually intended to impress
If you say that someone's attitude or behaviour is an affectation, you disapprove of the fact that it is not genuine or natural, but is intended to impress other people.


Sympathy; attraction; kinship; similarity
If you have an affinity with someone or something, you feel that you are similar to them or that you know and understand them very well.
If people or things have an affinity with each other, they are sim


[?flu?nt, ?fl�?-]
Rich; prosperous
If you are affluent, you have a lot of money.
The affluent are people who are affluent.


Program; the things to be done
You can refer to the political issues which are important at a particular time as an agenda.
See also
hidden agenda
An agenda is a list of the items that have to be discussed at a meeting.


Relating to land; relating to the management or farming of land
Agrarian means relating to the ownership and use of land, especially farmland, or relating to the part of a society or economy that is concerned with agriculture.


Sum total; a collection of separate things mixed together
An aggregate amount or score is made up of several smaller amounts or scores added together.
Aggregate is also a noun.
An aggregate is a number of people or things that are being conside


One who believes that the existence of a god can be neither proven nor disproven
An agnostic believes that it is not possible to know whether God exists or not. Compare atheist.
Agnostic means relating to agnostics or to their beliefs.


Cheerful eagerness or readiness to respond
If you do something with alacrity, you do it quickly and eagerly.


To assert without proof
If you allege that something bad is true, you say it but do not prove it.


To relieve usually temporarily or incompletely; to make bearable; to lessen
If you alleviate pain, suffering, or an unpleasant condition, you make it less intense or severe.


To distribute; to assign; to allot
If one item or share of something is allocated to a particular person or for a particular purpose, it is given to that person or used for that purpose.


[?l?i, ?l?i]
A combination of two or more things usually metals
An alloy is a metal that is made by mixing two or more types of metal together.


An indirect reference often to a literary work; a hint hint
An allusion is an indirect reference to someone or something.


Uninvolved; standing off; keeping ones distance
Someone who is aloof is not very friendly and does not like to spend time with other people.
If someone stays aloof from something, they do not become involved with it.


Selflessness; generosity; devotion to the interests of others
Altruism is unselfish concern for other people's happiness and welfare.


Atmosphere; mood; feeling mood
ambiance /'�mbi?ns/
ambience /'�mbi?ns/; ambiance
The ambience of a place is the character and atmosphere that it seems to have.
also no det
The overall ambience of t


Unclear in meaning; confusing; capable of being interpreted in different ways
If you describe something as ambiguous, you mean that it is unclear or confusing because it can be understood in more than one way.
If you describe something as ambi


Undecided; neutral; wishy-washy
If you say that someone is ambivalent about something, they seem to be uncertain whether they really want it, or whether they really approve of it.


[?m�?lj?r�it, -li?r-]
To make better or more tolerable ;
If someone or something ameliorates a situation, they make it better or easier in some way.


[?m�?n?bl, ?m�n-]
Obedient; willing to give in to the wishes of another; agreeable
If you are amenable to something, you are willing to do it or accept it.


[?m�n?ti, ?m�?n-]
Pleasantness; attractive or comfortable feature
Amenities are things such as shopping centres or sports facilities that are provided for people's convenience, enjoyment, or comfort.


Friendly; agreeable
Someone who is amiable is friendly and pleasant to be with.


An official pardon for a group of people who have violated a law or policy
An amnesty is an official pardon granted to a group of prisoners by the state.
An amnesty is a period of time during which people can admit to a crime or give up weapons


[eim??r?l, eim??r-, �m-]
Lacking a sense of right and wrong; neither good nor bad neither moral nor immoral; without moral feelings
If you describe someone as amoral, you do not like the way they behave because they do not seem to care whether what they d


Feeling loving especially in a sexual sense; in love relating to love
If you describe someone's feelings or actions as amorous, you mean that they involve sexual desire.


Shapeless; without a regular or stable shape
Something that is amorphous has no clear shape or structure.


Something out of place in time or history; an incongruity
You say that something is an anachronism when you think that it is out of date or old-fashioned.
An anachronism is something in a book, play, or film that is wrong because it did not e


A comparison of one thing to another; similarity similarity
If you make or draw an analogy between two things, you show that they are similar in some way.


Absence of government or control; lawlessness; disorder
If you describe a situation as anarchy, you mean that nobody seems to be paying any attention to rules or laws.


A short account of a humorous or revealing incident
An anecdote is a short, amusing account of something that has happened.
Anecdotes are individual accounts of something that are not reliable evidence.


Agonizing physical or mental pain
Anguish is great mental suffering or physical pain.


Resentment; hostility; ill will
Animosity is a strong feeling of dislike and anger. Animosities are feelings of this kind.


An aberration; an irregularity; a deviation ;
If something is an anomaly, it is different from what is usual or expected.


Someone or something that went before; something that provides a model for something that came after it
An antecedent of something happened or existed before it and was similar to it in some way.
An antecedent thing or event happened or exis


Firm dislike; a dislike ?sympathy ;
Antipathy is a strong feeling of dislike or hostility towards someone or something.


The direct opposite
The antithesis of something is its exact opposite.
If there is an antithesis between two things, there is a contrast between them.


[?p???rtheit, -hait]
The abhorrent policy of racial segregation and oppression in the Repubic of South Africa
Apartheid was a political system in South Africa in which people were divided into racial groups and kept apart by law.


Lack of interest; lack of feeling
You can use apathy to talk about someone's state of mind if you are criticizing them because they do not seem to be interested in or enthusiastic about anything.


A brief often witty saying; a proverb
An aphorism is a short witty sentence which expresses a general truth or comment.


A prophetic revelation especially one concerning the end of the world
The apocalypse is the total destruction and end of the world.


Of dubious authenticity; fictitious; spurious
An apocryphal story is one which is probably not true or did not happen, but which may give a true picture of someone or something.


[?p???i�usis, �?p??�??-]
Elevation to divine status; the perfect example of something
If something is the apotheosis of something else, it is an ideal or typical example of it.
If you describe an event or a time as someone's apotheosis, you mean that it w


To soothe; to pacify by giving in to
If you try to appease someone, you try to stop them from being angry by giving them what they want.


To increase in value
If you appreciate something, for example a piece of music or good food, you like it because you recognize its good qualities.
If you appreciate a situation or problem, you understand it and know what it involves.
If you a


Worried; anxious
Someone who is apprehensive is afraid that something bad may happen.


Approval; praise
Approbation is approval of something or agreement to it.


To take without permission; to set aside for a particular use
Something that is appropriate is suitable or acceptable for a particular situation.
If someone appropriates something which does not belong to them, they take it, usually without


Capacity for learning; natural ability
Someone's aptitude for a particular kind of work or activity is their ability to learn it quickly and to do it well.


One who decides; a judge
An arbiter is a person or institution that judges and settles a quarrel between two other people or groups.
An arbiter of taste or style is someone who has a lot of influence in deciding what is fashionable or socially


Random; capricious random
If you describe an action, rule, or decision as arbitrary, you think that it is not based on any principle, plan, or system. It often seems unfair because of this.


Mysterious; known only to a select few mysterious
Something that is arcane is secret or mysterious.


Extremely old; ancient; outdated
Archaic means extremely old or extremely old-fashioned.


An original model or pattern
An archetype is something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing, because it has all their most important characteristics.


Passionate half-hearted
Ardent is used to describe someone who has extremely strong feelings about something or someone.


Hard; difficult
Something that is arduous is difficult and tiring, and involves a lot of effort.


[?r�st?kr?tik, �?r?s-]
Of noble birth; snobbish
Aristocratic means belonging to or typical of the aristocracy.


Wily; sly ; =crafty
If you describe someone as artful, you mean that they are clever and skilful at achieving what they want, especially by deceiving people.
If you use artful to describe the way someone has done or arranged something, you appr


A clever trick; cunning ;
Artifice is the clever use of tricks and devices.


Supremacy; domination
If one group has ascendancy over another group, it has more power or influence than the other group.


Hermit like; practicing self-denial
An ascetic person has a way of life that is simple and strict, usually because of their religious beliefs.
An ascetic is someone who is ascetic.


Hardworking; busy; quite diligent
Someone who is assiduous works hard or does things very thoroughly.


To take in; to absorb; to learn thoroughly
When people such as immigrants assimilate into a community or when that community assimilates them, they become an accepted part of it.
If you assimilate new ideas, techniques, or information, you lea


To soothe; to pacify; to ease the pain of; to relieve
If you assuage an unpleasant feeling that someone has, you make them feel it less strongly.
If you assuage a need or desire for something, you satisfy it.


[?stj�?t, �s-]
Shrewd; keen in judgment ;
If you describe someone as astute, you think they show an understanding of behaviour and situations, and are skilful at using this knowledge to their own advantage.


Gradual wearing away weakening or loss; a natural or expected decrease in numbers of size
Attrition is a process in which you steadily reduce the strength of an enemy by continually attacking them.
At a university or place of work, attrition is


Boldness; reckless daring; impertinence ;
Audacity is audacious behaviour.


To make bigger; to add to; to increase ;
To augment something means to make it larger, stronger, or more effective by adding something to it.


Favorable; promising; pointing to a good result
Something that is auspicious indicates that success is likely.


Unadorned; stern; forbidding; without excess
If you describe something as austere, you approve of its plain and simple appearance.
If you describe someone as austere, you disapprove of them because they are strict and serious.
An austere way of


Ruling with absolute authority; extremely bossy
An autocratic person or organization has complete power and makes decisions without asking anyone else's advice.


Acting independently
An autonomous country, organization, or group governs or controls itself rather than being controlled by anyone else.
An autonomous person makes their own decisions rather than being influenced by someone else.


Greed; excessive love of riches
Avarice is extremely strong desire for money and possessions.


To claim; to declare boldly; to admit
If you avow something, you admit it or declare it.


Like an uncle especially a nice uncle ;
An avuncular man or a man with avuncular behaviour is friendly and helpful towards someone younger.


Off course; twisted to one side ;
If something goes awry, it does not happen in the way it was planned.
If something is awry, it is not in its normal or proper position.


Self-evident rule or truth; a widely accepted saying
An axiom is a statement or idea which people accept as being true.


[b?n?l, -n???l, b�inl]
Unoriginal; ordinary
If you describe something as banal, you do not like it because you think that it is so ordinary that it is not at all effective or interesting.
You can refer to banal things as the banal.


Poison; torment; cause of harm
The bane of someone or the bane of someone's life is something that frequently makes them feel unhappy or annoyed.


[b?st??n, -ti?n]
Stronghold; fortress; fortified place
If a system or organization is described as a bastion of a particular way of life, it is seen as being important and effective in defending that way of life. Bastion can be used both when you think th


To give birth to; to create; to lead to; to cause
To beget something means to cause it to happen or be created.
When a man begets a child, he becomes the father of that child.


To go over repeatedly or to an absurd extent


To surround; to besiege; to harass


To give a false impression of; to contradict
If one thing belies another, it hides the true situation and so creates a false idea or image of someone or something.
If one thing belies another, it proves that the other thing is not true or genuine.


To make to seem little; to put someone down
If you belittle someone or something, you say or imply that they are unimportant or not very good.


Combative; quarrelsome; waging war
A belligerent person is hostile and aggressive.
The belligerents in a war are the countries or groups that are fighting each other.


Confused; bewildered
If something bemuses you, it puzzles or confuses you.


[b�n?f�?kt?r, -?--?-]
One who provides help especially in the form of a gift or donation
A benefactor is a person who helps a person or organization by giving them money.


Generous; kind; doing good deeds
If you describe a person in authority as benevolent, you mean that they are kind and fair.
Benevolent is used in the names of some organizations that give money and help to people who need it.


Gentle; not harmful; kind; mild
You use benign to describe someone who is kind, gentle, and harmless.
A benign substance or process does not have any harmful effects.
A benign tumour will not cause death or serious harm.
Benign conditions are ple


Something left to someone in a will
A bequest is money or property which you legally leave to someone when you die.


Deprived or left desolate especially through death
A bereaved person is one who has a relative or close friend who has recently died.
The bereaved are people who are bereaved.


Harass; to surround
If someone or something is beset by problems or fears, they have many problems or fears which affect them severely.


Irreverence; an insult to something held sacred; profanity
You can describe something that shows disrespect for God or a religion as blasphemy.


Unpleasantly or offensively noisy; glaring
You use blatant to describe something bad that is done in an open or very obvious way.


Disease in plants; anything that injures or destroys
You can refer to something as a blight when it causes great difficulties, and damages or spoils other things.
If something blights your life or your hopes, it damages and spoils them. If somethi


[bl�i�, bl�i?]
Carefree; cheerful
You use blithe to indicate that something is done casually, without serious or careful thought.
Someone who is blithe is cheerful and has no serious problems.


Middle class usually in a pejorative sense; boringly conventional
If you describe people, their way of life, or their attitudes as bourgeois, you disapprove of them because you consider them typical of conventional middle-class people.


Cow related; cow like cf canine equine feline pis cine porcine ursine
Bovine means relating to cattle.
If you describe someone's behaviour or appearance as bovine, you think that they are stupid or slow.


The brevity of something is the fact that it is short or lasts for only a short time.


To open up a subject for discussion often a delicate subject
When you broach a subject, especially a sensitive one, you mention it in order to start a discussion on it.


Charmingly rural; rustic; country like
Bucolic means relating to the countryside.


A system of government administration consisting of numerous bureaus or offices especially one run according to inflexible and inefficient rules; any large administrative system characterized by inefficiency lots of rules and red tape
A bur


To expand; to flourish
If something burgeons, it grows or develops rapidly.


A ludicrous mocking or exaggerated imitation
A burlesque is a performance or a piece of writing that makes fun of something by copying it in an exaggerated way. You can also use burlesque to refer to a situation in real life that is like this.


Harsh-sounding mixture of words voices or sounds
You can describe a loud, unpleasant mixture of sounds as a cacophony.


Rhythm the rise and fall of sounds
The cadence of someone's voice is the way their voice gets higher and lower as they speak.
A cadence is the phrase that ends a section of music or a complete piece of music.


To persuade someone to do something he or she doesn't want to do
If you cajole someone into doing something, you get them to do it after persuading them for some time.


A callow young person has very little experience or knowledge of the way they should behave as an adult.


Truthfulness; sincere honesty


Free enterprise
Capitalism is an economic and political system in which property, business, and industry are owned by private individuals and not by the state.


To surrender; to give up or give in
If you capitulate, you stop resisting and do what someone else wants you to do.


[k?pr�??s, -pr�??-]
Unpredictable; like to change at any moment
Someone who is capricious often changes their mind unexpectedly.
Something that is capricious often changes unexpectedly.


[k?rik?t??r, -t?�?r]
A portrait or description that is purposely distorted or exaggerated often to prove some point about its subject
A caricature of someone is a drawing or description of them that exaggerates their appearance or behaviour in a humorous


To criticize severely; to chastise
If you castigate someone or something, you speak to them angrily or criticize them severely.


In chemistry~; anyone or anything that makes something happen without being directly involved in it
You can describe a person or thing that causes a change or event to happen as a catalyst.
In chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that causes a


[k�?t?g??rik(?l), -g??r-]
Unconditional; absolute
If you are categorical about something, you state your views very definitely and firmly.


Purification that brings emotional relief or renewal
Catharsis is getting rid of unhappy memories or strong emotions such as anger or sadness by expressing them in some way.


Universal; embracing everything
The Catholic Church is the branch of the Christian Church that accepts the Pope as its leader and is based in the Vatican in Rome.
See also
A Catholic is a member of the Catholic Church.
If you desc


Like acid; corrosive
Caustic chemical substances are very powerful and can dissolve other substances.
A caustic remark is extremely critical, cruel, or bitter.


Abstinence from sex
Celibacy is the state of being celibate.


To condemn severely for doing something bad
If you censure someone for something that they have done, you tell them that you strongly disapprove of it.
Censure is also a noun.


[s?r�?br?l, s�r?-]
Brainy; intellectually refined
If you describe someone or something as cerebral, you mean that they are intellectual rather than emotional.
Cerebral means relating to the brain.


Humiliation; embarrassed disappointment
Chagrin is a feeling of disappointment, upset, or annoyance, perhaps because of your own failure.


A magical-seeming ability to attract followers or inspire loyalty
You say that someone has charisma when they can attract, influence, and inspire people by their personal qualities.


Fraud; quack; con man
You describe someone as a charlatan when they pretend to have skills or knowledge that they do not really possess.


A deep gaping hole; a gorge
A chasm is a very deep crack in rock, earth, or ice.
If you say that there is a chasm between two things or between two groups of people, you mean that there is a very large difference between them.


[t?�st�iz, -?-]
To inflict punishment on; to discipline
If you chastise someone, you speak to them angrily or punish them for something wrong that they have done.


[?ik�in?ri, t?i-]
Trickery; deceitfulness; artifice; especially legal or political
Chicanery is using cleverness to cheat people.


[kim�?r?, kai-]
An illusion; a foolish fancy
A chimera is an unrealistic idea that you have about something or a hope that you have that is unlikely to be fulfilled.
In Greek mythology, a chimera is a creature with the head of a lion, the body of a goat,


[k??l?rik, k?l�r-]
Hot-tempered; quick to anger
A choleric person gets angry very easily. You can also use choleric to describe a person who is very angry.


Constant; lasting a long time; inveterate
A chronic illness or disability lasts for a very long time. Compare acute.
You can describe someone's bad habits or behaviour as chronic when they have behaved like that for a long time and do not seem t


A record of events in order of time; a history
To chronicle a series of events means to write about them or show them in broadcasts in the order in which they happened.
A chronicle is an account or record of a series of events.
Chronicle is som


Round about; not following a direct path
A circuitous route is long and complicated rather than simple and direct.


An indirect expression; use of wordy or evasive language
A circumlocution is a way of saying or writing something using more words than are necessary instead of being clear and direct.


[s???rk?mskr�ib, -?--?]
To draw a line around; to set the limits; to define; to restrict.
If someone's power or freedom is circumscribed, it is limited or restricted.


If you are circumspect, you are cautious in what you do and say and do not take risks.


[s???rk?mv�nt, -?--?]
To frustrate as though by surrounding
If someone circumvents a rule or restriction, they avoid having to obey the rule or restriction, in a clever and perhaps dishonest way.
If you circumvent someone, you cleverly prevent them from a


Polite; civilized; courteous
You use civil to describe events that happen within a country and that involve the different groups of people in it.
You use civil to describe people or things in a country that are not connected with its armed forces.


Mercy; forgiveness; mildness
If someone is granted clemency, they are punished less severely than they could be.


[kli??�i, kli-]
An overused saying or idea
A clich� is an idea or phrase which has been used so much that it is no longer interesting or effective or no longer has much meaning.


[kl�?k, kl�k]
An exclusive group bound together by some shared quality or interest
If you describe a group of people as a clique, you mean that they spend a lot of time together and seem unfriendly towards people who are not in the group.


To come together as one; to fuse; to unite ;
If two or more things coalesce, they come together and form a larger group or system.


To force someone to do or not to do something
If you coerce someone into doing something, you make them do it, although they do not want to.


Powerfully convincing
A cogent reason, argument, or example is strong and convincing.


Dealing with how we know the world around us through our senses; mental
Cognitive means relating to the mental process involved in knowing, learning, and understanding things.


[k??gn?z?nt, k??n-]
Aware; conscious
If someone is cognizant of something, they are aware of it or understand it.


[kouh�?r?nt, -h�r-]
Holding together; making sense
If something is coherent, it is well planned, so that it is clear and sensible and all its parts go well with each other.
If someone is coherent, they express their thoughts in a clear and calm way, so th


Conversational; informal in language
Colloquial words and phrases are informal and are used mainly in conversation.


Conspiracy; secret cooperation
Collusion is secret or illegal co-operation, especially between countries or organizations.


[k?m�ns?r?t, -??r-]
Equal; proportionate
If the level of one thing is commensurate with another, the first level is in proportion to the second.


Forceful; causing to yield
If a situation, a rule, or a person compels you to do something, they force you to do it.
If you feel compelled to do something, you feel that you must do it, because it is the right thing to do.


A summary; an abridgment
A compendium is a short but detailed collection of information, usually in a book.


Self-satisfied; overly pleased with oneself; contented to a fault
A complacent person is very pleased with themselves or feels that they do not need to do anything about a situation, even though the situation may be uncertain or dangerous.


To complete or fill up; to be the perfect counterpart
If one thing complements another, it goes well with the other thing and makes its good qualities more noticeable.
If people or things complement each other, they are different or do somet


Participation in wrongdoing; the act of being an accomplice
Complicity is involvement with other people in an illegal activity or plan.


Covering or including everything
Something that is comprehensive includes everything that is needed or relevant.
In Britain, a comprehensive is a state school in which children of all abilities are taught together.
Comprehensive is also an


To consist of; to be composed of cf constitute compose
If you say that something comprises or is comprised of a number of things or people, you mean it has them as its parts or members.
The things or people that comprise something are the parts


Making peace; attempting to resolve a dispute through goodwill
When you are conciliatory in your actions or behaviour, you show that you are willing to end a disagreement with someone.


Brief and to the point; succinct
Something that is concise says everything that is necessary without using any unnecessary words.
A concise edition of a book, especially a dictionary, is shorter than the original edition.


[k??nk??rd, k???-]
Harmony; agreement
Concord is a state of peaceful agreement.
In grammar, concord refers to the way that a word has a form appropriate to the number or gender of the noun or pronoun it relates to. For example, in 'He hates it', there is


[k?nk???r?nt, -k?r-]
Happening at the same time; parallel
Concurrent events or situations happen at the same time.


To stoop to someone else level usually in an offensive way; to patronize
If someone condescends to do something, they agree to do it, but in a way which shows that they think they are better than other people and should not have to do it.


To overlook; to permit to happen
If someone condones behaviour that is morally wrong, they accept it and allow it to happen.


If one thing is conducive to another thing, it makes the other thing likely to happen.


A flowing together especially of rivers; place where they begin to flow together
The confluence of two rivers is the place where they join and become one larger river.
If there is a confluence of two things, they join, combine, or come togeth


Agreeably suitable; pleasant
A congenial person, place, or environment is pleasant.


A trait or condition acquired between conception and birth; innate
A congenital disease or medical condition is one that a person has had from birth, but is not inherited.
A congenital characteristic or feature in a person is so strong that y


To guess; to deduce or infer on slight evidence
A conjecture is a conclusion that is based on information that is not certain or complete.
When you conjecture, you form an opinion or reach a conclusion on the basis of information that is not


[k??nd??r, k?n-]
To summon or bring into being as if by magic
If you conjure something out of nothing, you make it appear as if by magic.
Conjure up means the same as conjure.
If you say that the name of a particular person or organization is a name to co


[k??n?s???r, -s�?r]
An expert particularly in matter of art or taste
A connoisseur is someone who knows a lot about the arts, food, drink, or some other subject.


To make or declare sacred
When a building, place, or object is consecrated, it is officially declared to be holy. When a person is consecrated, they are officially declared to be a bishop.


Unanimity or general agreement
A consensus is general agreement among a group of people.


Harmonious; in agreement
A consonant is a sound such as 'p', 'f', 'n', or 't' which you pronounce by stopping the air flowing freely through your mouth. Compare vowel.
Something that is consonant with something else fits or agrees with it ver


To interpret
If something is construed in a particular way, its nature or meaning is interpreted in that way.


Perfect; complete; supremely skillful
You use consummate to describe someone who is extremely skilful.
If two people consummate a marriage or relationship, they make it complete by having sex.
To consummate an agreement means to complete it.


Argumentative; quarrelsome
A contentious issue causes a lot of disagreement or arguments.
A contentious person seems to like arguing and disagreeing with other people.


Side by side; adjoining
Things that are contiguous are next to each other or touch each other.


Dependent; possible
A contingent of police, soldiers, or military vehicles is a group of them.
A contingent is a group of people representing a country or organization at a meeting or other event.
If something is contingent on something else


[k?ntr�it, k??ntrait]
Admitting guilt; especially feeling remorseful
If you are contrite, you are very sorry because you have done something wrong.


Artificial; labored
If you contrive an event or situation, you succeed in making it happen, often by tricking someone.
If you contrive something such as a device or piece of equipment, you invent and construct it in a clever or unusual way.


common; customary; unexceptional
Someone who is conventional has behaviour or opinions that are ordinary and normal.
A conventional method or product is one that is usually used or that has been in use for a long time.
Conventional weapons an


Fond of partying; festive
Convivial people or occasions are pleasant, friendly, and relaxed.


Abundant; plentiful
A copious amount of something is a large amount of it.


[k??r?l�ri, k??r-]
something that follows; a natural consequence
A corollary of something is an idea, argument, or fact that results directly from it.


to confirm; to back up with evidence
To corroborate something that has been said or reported means to provide evidence or information that supports it.


at home in many places or situations; internationally sophisticated
A cosmopolitan place or society is full of people from many different countries and cultures.
Someone who is cosmopolitan has had a lot of contact with people and things f


face; facial expression especially an encouraging one
If someone will not countenance something, they do not agree with it and will not allow it to happen.
Someone's countenance is their face.


a brilliant victory or accomplishment; the violent overthrow of a government by a small internal group ;
When there is a coup, a group of people seize power in a country.
A coup is an achievement which is thought to be especially good because it was


a solemn agreement; a contract; a pledge
A covenant is a formal written agreement between two or more people or groups of people which is recognized in law.
A covenant is a formal written promise to pay a sum of money each year for a fixed peri


[k�uv?rt, k?v-]
secret; hidden
Covert activities or situations are secret or hidden.
A covert is a group of small trees or bushes very close to each other where small animals or game birds can hide.


to wish for enviously
If you covet something, you strongly want to have it for yourself.


eager to believe; gullible
If you describe someone as credulous, you have a low opinion of them because they are too ready to believe what people tell them and are easily deceived.


standard; basis for judgment
A criterion is a factor on which you judge or decide something.


mysterious; mystifying; clandestine mysterious;
A cryptic remark or message contains a hidden meaning or is difficult to understand.


[kj�?l?n�ri, k?l-]
relating to cooking or the kitchen
Culinary means concerned with cooking.


to climax; to reach full effect
If you say that an activity, process, or series of events culminates in or with a particular event, you mean that event happens at the end of it.


deserving blame; guilty
If someone or their conduct is culpable, they are responsible for something wrong or bad that has happened.


hasty; superficial
A cursory glance or examination is a brief one in which you do not pay much attention to detail.


to shorten; to cut short ...
If you curtail something, you reduce or limit it.


one who deeply distrusts human nature; one who believes humans are motivated only by selfishness
A cynic is someone who believes that people always act selfishly.


[d??nt, d???nt]
to make fearful; to intimidate
If something daunts you, it makes you feel slightly afraid or worried about dealing with it.


lack; scarcity
If there is a dearth of something, there is not enough of it.


[deib???kl, -b?kl]
violent breakdown; sudden overthrow; overwhelming defeat
A debacle is an event or attempt that is a complete failure.


wild living; excessive intemperance
You use debauchery to refer to the drinking of alcohol or to sexual activity if you disapprove of it or regard it as excessive.


to weaken; to cripple
If you are debilitated by something such as an illness, it causes your body or mind to become gradually weaker.
To debilitate an organization, society, or government means to gradually make it weaker.


decaying or decayed especially in terms of morals
If you say that a person or society is decadent, you think that they have low moral standards and are interested mainly in pleasure.


to kill or destroy a large part of 10:1
To decimate something such as a group of people or animals means to destroy a very large number of them.
To decimate a system or organization means to reduce its size and effectiveness greatly.


[d�k?r?s, dik??r?s]
proper; in good taste; orderly
Decorous behaviour is very respectable, calm, and polite.


to conclude from evidence; to infer
If you deduce something or deduce that something is true, you reach that conclusion because of other things that you know to be true.


to libel or slander; to ruin the good name of
If someone defames another person or thing, they say bad and untrue things about them.


submission to another's will; respect; courtesy
Deference is a polite and respectful attitude towards someone, especially because they have an important position.


conclusive; providing the last word
Something that is definitive provides a firm conclusion that cannot be questioned.
A definitive book or performance is thought to be the best of its kind that has ever been done or that will ever be done.


to break down; to deteriorate
If you say that someone or something degenerates, you mean that they become worse in some way, for example weaker, lower in quality, or more dangerous.
If you describe a person or their behaviour as degenerate,


Something that has a deleterious effect on something has a harmful effect on it.


to describe accurately; to draw in outline
If you delineate something such as an idea or situation, you describe it or define it, often in a lot of detail.
If you delineate a border, you say exactly where it is going to be.


to deceive
If you delude yourself, you let yourself believe that something is true, even though it is not true.
To delude someone into thinking something means to make them believe what is not true.


a flood; an inundation
A deluge of things is a large number of them which arrive or happen at the same time.
If a place or person is deluged with things, a large number of them arrive or happen at the same time.
A deluge is a sudden, very heavy


a leader of the people but more a rabble rouser
If you say that someone such as a politician is a demagogue you are criticizing them because you think they try to win people's support by appealing to their emotions rather than using reasonable


A denizen of a particular place is a person, animal, or plant that lives or grows in this place.


extreme wickedness or corruption
Depravity is very dishonest or immoral behaviour.


to express disapproval of
If you deprecate something, you criticize it.


to ridicule; to laugh at contemptuously
If you deride someone or something, you say that they are stupid or have no value.


disapproving; degrading
If you make a derogatory remark or comment about someone or something, you express your low opinion of them.


to dry out


extremely depressed; full of despair
If you are despondent, you are very unhappy because you have been experiencing difficulties that you think you will not be able to overcome.


[d�sp?t, -p?t]
an absolute ruler; an autocrat
A despot is a ruler or other person who has a lot of power and who uses it unfairly or cruelly.


extremely poor; utterly lacking
Someone who is destitute has no money or possessions.


without a plan or purpose; disconnected; random
Something that is desultory is done in an unplanned and disorganized way, and without enthusiasm.


relating to discussions; relating to the rules and methods of reasoning; approaching truth in the middle of opposing extremes
In philosophy, Dialectical is used to describe situations, theories, and methods which depend on resolving opposin


an authoritative saying; an adage; a maxim; a proverb
A dictum is a saying that describes an aspect of life in an interesting or wise way.
A dictum is a formal statement made by someone who has authority.


intended to teach; morally instructive; pedantic
Something that is didactic is intended to teach people something, especially a moral lesson.
Someone who is didactic tells people things rather than letting them find things out or discussin


timid; lacking in self-confidence
Someone who is diffident is rather shy and does not enjoy talking about themselves or being noticed by other people.


[digr�s, dai-]
to stray from the main subject
If you digress, you move away from the subject you are talking or writing about and talk or write about something different for a while.


[d�lit???nt, d�lit???nt, -t?nti]
someone with superficial knowledge of the arts; an amateur; a dabbler
You can use dilettante to talk about someone who seems interested in a subject, especially in art, but who does not really know very much about it.


[dis???rn, -z???rn]
to have insight; to see things clearly to discriminate; to differentiate
If you can discern something, you are aware of it and know what it is.
If you can discern something, you can just see it, but not clearly.


prudent; judiciously reserved
If you are discreet, you are polite and careful in what you do or say, because you want to avoid embarrassing or offending someone.
If you are discreet about something you are doing, you do not tell other people ab


unconnected; separate; distinct
Discrete ideas or things are separate and distinct from each other.


to notice or point out the difference between two or more things; to discern; to differentiate ;
If you can discriminate between two things, you can recognize that they are different.
To discriminate against a group of people or in favour o


arrogant scorn; contempt
If you feel disdain for someone or something, you dislike them because you think that they are inferior or unimportant.
If you disdain someone or something, you regard them with disdain.
If you disdain to do something, y


[dis�nt?r�stid, -tr�st-]
not taking sides; unbiased
Someone who is disinterested is not involved in a particular situation or not likely to benefit from it and is therefore able to act in a fair and unselfish way.
If you are disinterested in something, yo


to belittle; to say uncomplimentary things about usually in a somewhat indirect way
If you disparage someone or something, you speak about them in a way which shows that you do not have a good opinion of them.


[d�sp?r?t, disp?r-]
different; incompatible; unequal
Disparate things are clearly different from each other in quality or type.
A disparate thing is made up of very different elements.


to spread the seeds of something; to scatter; to make widely known
To disseminate information or knowledge means to distribute it so that it reaches many people or organizations.


to thin out drift away or dissolve; to cause to thin out drift away or dissolve; to waste or squander
When something dissipates or when you dissipate it, it becomes less or becomes less strong until it disappears or goes away completely.
When s


the breaking up or dissolving of something into parts; disintegration
Dissolution is the act of breaking up officially an organization or institution, or of formally ending a parliament.
Dissolution is the act of officially ending a formal ag


to swell; to extend a great deal
If a part of your body is distended, or if it distends, it becomes swollen and unnaturally large.


to tell apart; to cause to stand out
If you can distinguish one thing from another or distinguish between two things, you can see or understand how they are different.
A feature or quality that distinguishes one thing from another causes the


easily taught; obedient; easy to handle
A person or animal that is docile is quiet, not aggressive, and easily controlled.


inflexibly committed to a doctrine or theory without regard to its practicality; dogmatic
If you say that someone is doctrinaire or has a doctrinaire attitude, you disapprove of them because they have fixed principles which they try to force


[d??gm?tik(?l), d?g-]
arrogantly assertive of unproven ideas; stubbornly claiming that something often a system of beliefs is beyond dispute
If you say that someone is dogmatic, you are critical of them because they are convinced that they are right, and


having to do with the household or family; not foreign
Domestic political activities, events, and situations happen or exist within one particular country.
See also
gross domestic product
Domestic duties and activities are concerned with the ru


A inactive; as though asleep; asleep ~volcano ~window
Something that is dormant is not active, growing, or being used at the present time but is capable of becoming active later on.


A full of doubt; uncertain a ~ friend be ~ about cf dubitable
If you describe something as dubious, you mean that you do not consider it to be completely honest, safe, or reliable.
If you are dubious about something, you are not completely sure


N the act of being two-faced; double-dealing; deception cf duplication duplicate a n v
If you accuse someone of duplicity, you mean that they are deceitful.


[ib?lj?nt, ib�l-]
A boiling; bubbling with excitement; exuberant; n ebullience-cy n ebullition
If you describe someone as ebullient, you mean that they are lively and full of enthusiasm or excitement about something.


[iks�ntrik, ek-]
A not conventional; a little kooky; irregular
If you say that someone is eccentric, you mean that they behave in a strange way, and have habits or opinions that are different from those of most people.
An eccentric is an eccentric person.


[ikl�ktik, ek-]
A choosing the best from many sources; drawn from many sources n cf eclecticism
An eclectic collection of objects, ideas, or beliefs is wide-ranging and comes from many different sources.


Vt to enlighten; to instruct especially in moral or religious matters; cfedifying


Vt to erase; to rub away the features of eclipse Cf effaceable effacement
To efface something means to destroy or remove it so that it cannot be seen any more.
See also


N a pouring forth Effuse v Effusive a
If someone expresses their emotions or ideas with effusion, they express them with more enthusiasm and for longer than is usual or expected.


A believing in the social and economic equality of all people
Egalitarian means supporting or following the idea that all people are equal and should have the same rights and opportunities.


[�?gous�ntrik, �gou-]
A selfish; believing that one is the center of everything n egoism egoistic -tical
Someone who is egocentric thinks only of themselves and their own wants, and does not consider other people.


[igr�?d??s, -d?i?s]
A extremely bad; flagrant
Egregious means very bad indeed.


Vt to bring out; to call forth ~a laugh from ~a reply elicitation n
If you elicit a response or a reaction, you do or say something which makes other people respond or react.
If you elicit a piece of information, you get it by asking the right qu


Adj oval; missing a word or words; obscure
Something that is elliptical has the shape of an ellipse.
Elliptical references to something are indirect rather than clear.


In linguistics, ellipsis means leaving out words rather than repeating them unnecessarily; for example, saying 'I want to go but I can't' instead of 'I want to go but I can't go'.


Adj hard to pin down; evasive elude V elusion
Something or someone that is elusive is difficult to find, describe, remember, or achieve.


V to move to a new country; to move a new place to live; to expatriate
If you emigrate, you leave your own country to live in another country.


a n immigrate
An emigrant is a person who has left their own country to live in another country. Compare immigrant.


[imp�rik?l, em-]
Adj relying on experience or observation; not merely theoretical ; ~philosophy Empiricism
Empirical evidence or study relies on practical experience rather than theories.


Vt to strive to equal or excel usually through imitation emulator emulation emulous be emulous of
If you emulate something or someone, you imitate them because you admire them a great deal.


[inkr�ut?, en-]
Vi to make gradual or stealthy inroads into; to trespass on upon
If one thing encroaches on another, the first thing spreads or becomes stronger, and slowly begins to restrict the power, range, or effectiveness of the second thing.
If some


A native; restricted to a particular region or era; indigenous n endemicity
If a disease or illness is endemic in a place, it is frequently found among the people who live there.
If you say that a condition or problem is endemic, you mean that i


V to reduce the strength or energy of especially to do so gradually


[infr?nt?aiz, en-]
V to grant the privileges of citizenship especially the right to vote
To enfranchise someone means to give them the right to vote in elections.


[ind?�nd?r, en-]
V to bring into existence; to create; to cause produce ment
If someone or something engenders a particular feeling, atmosphere, or situation, they cause it to occur.


N a mystery riddle
If you describe something or someone as an enigma, you mean they are mysterious or difficult to understand.


N extreme evil; a hideous offense; immensity
If you refer to the enormity of something that you consider to be a problem or difficulty, you are referring to its very great size, extent, or seriousness.
If you refer to the enormity of an event,


A lasting a very short time
If you describe something as ephemeral, you mean that it lasts only for a very short time.


N a brief and usually witty or satirical saying
An epigram is a short saying or poem which expresses an idea in a very clever and amusing way.


N a brief summary that captures the meaning of the whole; the perfect example of something; a paradigm ;
If you say that a person or thing is the epitome of something, you are emphasizing that they are the best possible example of a particular t


[�?kw?n�m?ti, �k-]
N composure; calm
Equanimity is a calm state of mind and attitude to life, so that you never lose your temper or become upset.


Adj fair
Something that is equitable is fair and reasonable in a way that gives equal treatment to everyone.


Adj ambiguous; intentionally confusing; capable of being interpreted in more than one way
If you are equivocal, you are deliberately vague in what you say, because you want to avoid speaking the truth or making a decision.
If something is equi


Adj scholarly; deeply learned ;
If you describe someone as erudite, you mean that they have or show great academic knowledge. You can also use erudite to describe something such as a book or a style of writing.


Adj hard to understand; understood by only a select few; peculiar
If you describe something as esoteric, you mean it is known, understood, or appreciated by only a small number of people.


[isp�uz, -p�us]
V to support; to advocate
If you espouse a particular policy, cause, or belief, you become very interested in it and give your support to it.


Adj heavenly as light and insubstantial as a gas or ether heavenly
Someone or something that is ethereal has a delicate beauty.
Ethereal means unrelated to practical things and the real world.


N a pleasant or inoffensive expression used in place of an unpleasant or offensive one
A euphemism is a polite word or expression that is used to refer to things which people may find upsetting or embarrassing to talk about, for example sex, t


Adj fleeting; vanishing; happening for only the briefest period
Something that is evanescent gradually disappears from sight or memory.


[igz?s?rb�it, eks?s-]
V to make worse ;
If something exacerbates a problem or bad situation, it makes it worse.


Adj extremely demanding; difficult; requiring great skill or care
Exact means correct in every detail. For example, an exact copy is the same in every detail as the thing it is copied from.
You use exact before a noun to emphasize that you are


V to raise high; to glorify
To exalt someone or something means to praise them very highly.


V to annoy thoroughly; to make very angry; to try the patience of
If someone or something exasperates you, they annoy you and make you feel frustrated or upset.


V to illustrate by example; to serve as a good example
If a person or thing exemplifies something such as a situation, quality, or class of things, they are a typical example of it.


Adj thorough; rigorous; complete; painstaking
If you describe a study, search, or list as exhaustive, you mean that it is very thorough and complete.


V to urge strongly; to give a serious warning to
If you exhort someone to do something, you try hard to persuade or encourage them to do it.


[�ks?d??nsi, igz�d?-]
N an emergency; an urgency
The exigencies of a situation or a job are the demands or difficulties that you have to deal with as part of it.


[�gzist�n??l, �ks-]
Adj having to do with existence; having to do with the body of thought called existentialism which basically holds that human beings are responsible for their own actions but is otherwise too complicated to summarize in a single senten


V to free completely from blame; to exculpate
If a court, report, or person in authority exonerates someone, they officially say or show that that person is not responsible for something wrong or unpleasant that has happened.


V to throw someone out of his or her native land; to move away from ones native land; to emigrate
An expatriate is someone who is living in a country which is not their own.
Expatriate is also an adjective.


Adj providing an immediate advantage; serving ones immediate self-interest; practical
An expedient is an action that achieves a particular purpose, but may not be morally right.
If it is expedient to do something, it is useful or convenient


V to speed up or ease the progress of
If you expedite something, you cause it to be done more quickly.


Adj clearly and directly expressed
Something that is explicit is expressed or shown clearly and openly, without any attempt to hide anything.
If you are explicit about something, you speak about it very openly and clearly.


[ikst�ul, -t?l]
V to praise highly; to laud
If you extol something or someone, you praise them enthusiastically.


Adj unnecessary; irrelevant; extra
Extraneous things are not relevant or essential to the situation you are involved in or the subject you are talking about.


V to protect or deduce from something known; to infer
If you extrapolate from known facts, you use them as a basis for general statements about a situation or about what is likely to happen in the future.


V to free from difficulty
If you extricate yourself or another person from a difficult or serious situation, you free yourself or the other person from it.
If you extricate someone or something from a place where they are trapped or caught, y


[�kstr?v???rt, -trou-]
N an open outgoing person; a person whose attention is focused on others rather than on himself or herself
Someone who is extrovert is very active, lively, and friendly.
An extrovert is someone who is extrovert.


V to rejoice; to celebrate
If you exult in a triumph or success that you have had, you feel and show great happiness and pleasure because of it.


N a lie; something made up


Adj humorous; not serious; clumsily humorous
If you say that someone is being facetious, you are criticizing them because they are making humorous remarks or saying things that they do not mean in a situation where they ought to be serious.


Adj fluent; skillful in a superficial way; easy
If you describe someone's arguments or suggestions as facile, you are criticizing them because their ideas are too simple and indicate a lack of careful, intelligent thinking.


N a group usually a small part of a larger group united around some cause; disagreement within an organization
A faction is an organized group of people within a larger group, which opposes some of the ideas of the larger group and fights for its


Adj absurd; ludicrous
If you describe a situation or event as farcical, you mean that it is so silly or extreme that you are unable to take it seriously.


[f�st�di?s, f?s-]
Adj meticulous; demanding; finicky
If you say that someone is fastidious, you mean that they pay great attention to detail because they like everything to be very neat, accurate, and in good order.
If you say that someone is fastidious,


N someone who believes that future events are already determined and that humans are powerless to change them


Adj foolish; silly; idiotic ;
If you describe a person, action, or remark as fatuous, you think that they are extremely silly, showing a lack of intelligence or thought.


N animals cf flora animal
Animals, especially the animals in a particular area, can be referred to as fauna.


[f�?k?nd, f�k-]
Adj fertile; productive
Land or soil that is fecund is able to support the growth of a large number of strong healthy plants.
If you describe something as fecund, you approve of it because it produces a lot of good or useful things.


N happiness; skillfulness especially at expressing things; adeptness
Felicity is great happiness and pleasure.
Felicity is the quality of being good, pleasant, or desirable.


N great warmth or earnestness; ardor; zeal ardor


V to restrain; to hamper
If you say that you are fettered by something, you dislike it because it prevents you from behaving or moving in a free and natural way.
You can use fetters to refer to things such as rules, traditions, or responsibilities


[fid�l?ti, fai-]
N faithfulness; loyalty
Fidelity is loyalty to a person, organization, or set of beliefs.
Fidelity is being loyal to your husband, wife, or partner by not having a sexual relationship with anyone else.
The fidelity of something such as a


Adj based on figures of speech; expressing something in terms usually for something else; metaphorical
If you use a word or expression in a figurative sense, you use it with a more abstract or imaginative meaning than its ordinary literal one


N skillful maneuvering; subtlety; craftiness
If you do something with finesse, you do it with great skill and style.


Adj glaringly bad; notorious; scandalous
You can use flagrant to describe an action, situation, or someone's behaviour that you find extremely bad or shocking in a very obvious way.


V show off; to display ostentatiously
If you say that someone flaunts their possessions, abilities, or qualities, you mean that they display them in a very obvious way, especially in order to try to obtain other people's admiration.
If you say th


V to disregard something out of disrespect
If you flout something such as a law, an order, or an accepted way of behaving, you deliberately do not obey it or follow it.


N a minor character flaw
A foible is a habit or characteristic that someone has which is considered rather strange, foolish, or bad but which is also considered unimportant.


V to stir up; to instigate
If someone or something foments trouble or violent opposition, they cause it to develop.


v to refrain from ; to abstain
If you forbear to do something, you do not do it although you have the opportunity or the right to do it.


v to do without ; to forbear
If you forego something, you decide to do without it, although you would like it.


[f?rs�ik, f??r-]
v to abandon ; to renounce ; to relinquish
If you forsake someone, you leave them when you should have stayed, or you stop helping them or looking after them.
If you forsake something, you stop doing it, using it, or having it.
If you for


a accidental ; occurring by chance
You can describe something as fortuitous if it happens, by chance, to be very successful or pleasant.


v to fail ; to collapse ; to sink
The founder of an institution, organization, or building is the person who got it started or caused it to be built, often by providing the necessary money.
If something such as a plan or project founders, it fai


a like brothers
Fraternal actions show strong links of friendship between two people or groups of people.
Fraternal twins are twins born from two eggs, so they are not exactly the same. They look different from each other and may be different


a frantic ; frenzied
If you describe an activity as frenetic, you mean that it is fast and energetic, but rather uncontrolled.


a economical ; penny-pinching
People who are frugal or who live frugal lives do not eat much or spend much money on themselves.
A frugal meal is small and not expensive.


a secretive ; sly
If you describe someone's behaviour as furtive, you disapprove of them behaving as if they want to keep something secret or hidden.


[fj�?tl, -tail]
a useless ; hopeless ;
If you say that something is futile, you mean there is no point in doing it, usually because it has no chance of succeeding.


[g?r?l?s, -rju-]
a talkative; chatty
If you describe someone as garrulous, you mean that they talk a great deal, especially about unimportant things.


n a type or category especially of art or writing
A genre is a particular type of literature, painting, music, film, or other art form which people consider as a class because it has special characteristics.


a refined ; polite ; aristocratic ; affecting refinement
A genteel person is respectable and well-mannered, and comes or seems to come from a high social class.
A genteel place or area is quiet and traditional, but may also be old-fashioned and


v to make gestures especially when speaking or in place of speaking
If you gesticulate, you make movements with your arms or hands, often while you are describing something that is difficult to express in words.


n surplus ; an overabundance
If there is a glut of something, there is so much of it that it cannot all be sold or used.
If a market is glutted with something, there is a glut of that thing.


a pompous ; using a lot of big fancy words in an attempt to sound impressive
Grandiloquent language or behaviour is very formal, literary, or exaggerated, and is used by people when they want to seem important.


a absurdly exaggerated
If you describe something as grandiose, you mean it is bigger or more elaborate than necessary.


a given freely said of something bad ; unjustified ; unprovoked ; uncalled for
If you describe something as gratuitous, you mean that it is unnecessary, and often harmful or upsetting.


n seriousness
Gravity is the force which causes things to drop to the ground.
See also
centre of gravity
The gravity of a situation or event is its extreme importance or seriousness.
The gravity of someone's behaviour or speech is the extremely


a sociable ; enjoying the company of others
Someone who is gregarious enjoys being with other people.
Gregarious animals or birds normally live in large groups.


n cunning ; duplicity ; artfulness
Guile is the quality of being good at deceiving people in a clever way.


a overused ; trite ; stale
If you describe something such as a saying or an image as hackneyed, you think it is no longer likely to interest, amuse or affect people because it has been used, seen, or heard many times before.


a unlucky unlucky
A hapless person is unlucky.


n a forerunner ; a signal of ;
Something that is a harbinger of something else, especially something bad, is a sign that it is going to happen.


n the pursuit of pleasure as a way of life
Hedonism is the belief that gaining pleasure is the most important thing in life.


[hid?�m?ni, h�d??m�u-]
n leadership especially of one nation over another
Hegemony is a situation in which one country, organization, or group has more power, control, or importance than others.


n any belief that is strongly opposed to established beliefs
Heresy is a belief or action that most people think is wrong, because it disagrees with beliefs that are generally accepted.
Heresy is a belief or action which seriously disagrees with


a impervious to external influence ; airtight
If a container has a hermetic seal, the seal is very tight so that no air can get in or out.
You use hermetic to describe something which you disapprove of because it seems to be totally separa


n golden age ; prime prime
Someone's heyday is the time when they are most powerful, successful, or popular.


n a break or interruption often from work ;
A hiatus is a pause in which nothing happens, or a gap where something is missing.


n an organization based on rank or degree ; pecking order
A hierarchy is a system of organizing people into different ranks or levels of importance, for example in society or in a company.
The hierarchy of an organization such as the Church


a overly dramatic ; theatrical ;
If you refer to someone's behaviour as histrionic, you are critical of it because it is very dramatic, exaggerated, and insincere.


n a sermon
A homily is a speech or piece of writing in which someone complains about the state of something or tells people how they ought to behave.


[h�um?d?�?ni?s, h??m-]
a uniform ; made entirely of one thing uniform
Homogeneous is used to describe a group or thing which has members or parts that are all the same.


n thrifty management of resources ; livestock farming
Husbandry is farming animals, especially when it is done carefully and well.


n an exaggeration used as a figure of speech ; exaggeration exaggeration
If someone uses hyperbole, they say or write things that make something sound much more impressive than it really is.


a uncertain ; unproven
If something is hypothetical, it is based on possible ideas or situations rather than actual ones.
Hypothetical is also a noun.


n one who attacks popular beliefs or institutions
If you describe someone as an iconoclast, you mean that they often criticize beliefs and things that are generally accepted by society.


[�idi??l?d?i, �di-]
n a system of social or political ideas
An ideology is a set of beliefs, especially the political beliefs on which people, parties, or countries base their actions.


[�di?s�?kr?si, -s�n-]
n a peculiarity ; an eccentricity
If you talk about the idiosyncrasies of someone or something, you are referring to their rather unusual habits or characteristics.


a charming in a rustic way ; naturally peaceful
If you describe something as idyllic, you mean that it is extremely pleasant, simple, and peaceful without any difficulties or dangers.


[�gn?m�ni, ign??m?ni]
n deep disgrace
Ignominy is shame or public disgrace.


a illegal ; not permitted
An illicit activity or substance is not allowed by law or the social customs of a country.


a just about to happen
If you say that something is imminent, especially something unpleasant, you mean it is almost certain to happen very soon.


a unchangeable
Something that is immutable will never change or cannot be changed.


a fair ; not favoring one side or the other ; unbiased
Someone who is impartial is not directly involved in a particular situation, and is therefore able to give a fair opinion or decision about it.


a flawless ; entirely without sin
If you describe something such as someone's behaviour or appearance as impeccable, you are emphasizing that it is perfect and has no faults.


a like an emperor or an empire
Imperial is used to refer to things or people that are or were connected with an empire.
The imperial system of measurement uses inches, feet, and yards to measure length, ounces and pounds to measure weight, and


a not allowing anything to pass through ; impenetrable
If you are impervious to someone's actions, you are not affected or influenced by them.
Something that is impervious to water, heat, or a particular object is able to resist it or stop i


a impulsive ; extremely impatient ;
If you describe someone as impetuous, you mean that they are likely to act quickly and suddenly without thinking or being careful.


v to carry out
If you implement something such as a plan, you ensure that what has been planned is done.
An implement is a tool or other piece of equipment.


a powerless ; helpless ; unable to perform sexual intercourse
If someone feels impotent, they feel that they have no power to influence people or events.
If a man is impotent, he is unable to have sex normally, because his penis fails to get ha


v to attack especially to attack the truth or integrity of something
If you impugn something such as someone's motives or integrity, you imply that they are not entirely honest or honourable.


a silly ; senseless
If you describe someone's behaviour or actions as inane, you think they are very silly or stupid.


v to begin officially ; to induct formally into office
When a new leader is inaugurated, they are formally given their new position at an official ceremony.
When a new building or institution is inaugurated, it is declared open in a formal c


a brilliant ; giving off heat or light
Incandescent substances or devices give out a lot of light when heated.
If you describe someone or something as incandescent, you mean that they are very lively and impressive.
If you say that someone is


n a chant ; the repetition of statements or phrases in a way reminiscent of a chant
An incantation is a series of words that a person says or sings as a magic spell.


a make very angry
Incense is a substance that is burned for its sweet smell, often as part of a religious ceremony.
If you say that something incenses you, you mean that it makes you extremely angry.


a unceasing
An incessant process or activity is one that continues without stopping.


a beginning ; emerging
An incipient situation or quality is one that is starting to happen or develop.


a cutting right to the heart of the matter
You use incisive to describe a person, their thoughts, or their speech when you approve of their ability to think and express their ideas clearly, briefly, and forcefully.


a not harmonious ; not consistent ; not appropriate not fitting in
Someone or something that is incongruous seems strange when considered together with other aspects of a situation.


[ink??rid??bl, -k??r-]
a incapable of being reformed
If you tell someone they are incorrigible, you are saying, often in a humorous way, that they have faults which will never change.


[�nkr?m?nt, �?-]
n an increase ; one in a series of increases
An increment in something or in the value of something is an amount by which it increases.
An increment is an amount by which your salary automatically increases after a fixed period of time.


a not caring one way or the other ; apathetic ; mediocre
If you accuse someone of being indifferent to something, you mean that they have a complete lack of interest in it.
If you describe something or someone as indifferent, you mean that th


a native ; originating in that area
Indigenous people or things belong to the country in which they are found, rather than coming there or being brought there from another country.


a poor
Someone who is indigent is very poor.


a angry especially as a result of something unjust or unworthy ; insulted
If you are indignant, you are shocked and angry, because you think that something is unjust or unfair.


a lazy ;
Someone who is indolent is lazy.


lenient ; yielding to desire
If you are indulgent, you treat a person with special kindness, often in a way that is not good for them.


a incapable of being expressed or described
You use ineffable to say that something is so great or extreme that it cannot be described in words.


a clumsy ; incompetent ; gauche
If you say that someone is inept, you are criticizing them because they do something with a complete lack of skill.


a inactive ; sluggish ; not reacting chemically
Someone or something that is inert does not move at all.
If you describe something as inert, you are criticizing it because it is not very lively or interesting.
An inert substance is one which doe


a relentless ; inevitable ; unavoidable
You use inexorable to describe a process which cannot be prevented from continuing or progressing.


a shamefully wicked ; having an extremely bad reputation ; disgraceful
Infamous people or things are well-known because of something bad.


a foolish ; foolishly passionate or attracted ; made foolish ; foolishly in love
If you are infatuated with a person or thing, you have strong feelings of love or passion for them which make you unable to think clearly or sensibly about the


v to conclude ; to deduce
If you infer that something is the case, you decide that it is true on the basis of information that you already have.
Some people use infer to mean 'imply', but many people consider this use to be incorrect.


a very very very small ; infinitely small ;
Something that is infinitesimal is extremely small.


a frank ; without deception ; simple ; artless ; charmingly na ve
If you describe someone as ingenuous, you mean that they are innocent, trusting, and honest.


[inh�?r?nt, -h�r-]
a part of the essential nature of something ; intrinsic
The inherent qualities of something are the necessary and natural parts of it.


n a command or order especially a court order
An injunction is a court order, usually one telling someone not to do something.
An injunction to do something is an order or strong request to do it.


[in�it, -?-]
a existing since birth ; inborn ; inherent
An innate quality or ability is one which a person is born with.


a harmless ; banal
Something that is innocuous is not at all harmful or offensive.


a excessive ; unreasonable
If you describe something as inordinate, you are emphasizing that it is unusually or excessively great in amount or degree.


[ins�i??bl, -?i?-]
a hard or impossible to satisfy ; greedy ; avaricious
If someone has an insatiable desire for something, they want as much of it as they can possibly get.


a treacherous ; sneaky ;
Something that is insidious is unpleasant or dangerous and develops gradually without being noticed.


v to hint ; to creep in hind
If you say that someone insinuates that something bad is the case, you mean that they say it in an indirect way.
If you say that someone insinuates themselves into a particular situation, you mean that they manage


a dull ; bland ; banal
If you describe food or drink as insipid, you dislike it because it has very little taste.
If you describe someone or something as insipid, you mean they are dull and boring.


a arrogant ; insulting
If you say that someone is being insolent, you mean they are being rude to someone they ought to be respectful to.


v to provoke ; to stir up
Someone who instigates an event causes it to happen.


[�ns?l?r, -sju-]
a like an island ; isolated
If you say that someone is insular, you are being critical of them because they are unwilling to meet new people or to consider new ideas.


n a rebel ; someone who revolts against a government
Insurgents are people who are fighting against the government or army of their own country.


[�ntigr?l, int�g-]
a essential
Something that is an integral part of something is an essential part of that thing.


a uncontrollable ; stubborn ; disobedient
Intractable people are very difficult to control or influence.
Intractable problems or situations are very difficult to deal with.


a uncompromising ; stubborn
If you describe someone as intransigent, you mean that they refuse to behave differently or to change their attitude to something.


[intr�nsik(?l), -zik(?l)]
a part of the essential nature of something ; inherent
If something has intrinsic value or intrinsic interest, it is valuable or interesting because of its basic nature or character, and not because of its connection with other t


a tending to think about oneself ; examining ones feelings
Introspective people spend a lot of time examining their own thoughts, ideas, and feelings.


[�n?nd�it, �n?n-]
v to flood ; to cover completely with water ; to overwhelm
If you say that you are inundated with things such as letters, demands, or requests, you are emphasizing that you receive so many of them that you cannot deal with them all.
If a


n insulting or abusive speech
Invective is rude and unpleasant things that people shout at people they hate or are angry with.


a habitual ; firm in habit ; deeply rooted
If you describe someone as, for example, an inveterate liar or smoker, you mean that they have lied or smoked for a long time and are not likely to stop doing it.


[ir?s?bl, ai-]
a easily angered or provoked ; irritable
If you describe someone as irascible, you mean that they become angry very easily.


a meaning the opposite of what you seem to say ; using words to mean something other than what they seem to mean
When you make an ironic remark, you say something that you do not mean, as a joke.
If you say that it is ironic that something


a irreversible
If a decision, action, or change is irrevocable, it cannot be changed or reversed.


[ait�n?r?nt, it�n-]
a moving from place to place
An itinerant worker travels around a region, working for short periods in different places.
An itinerant is someone whose way of life involves travelling around, usually someone who is poor and homeless.


a exercising sound judgment
If you describe an action or decision as judicious, you approve of it because you think that it shows good judgment and sense.


[d??kst?p�uz, -?--?]
v to place side by side
If you juxtapose two contrasting objects, images, or ideas, you place them together or describe them together, so that the differences between them are emphasized.


[kin�tik, kai-]
a having to do with motion ; lively ; active
In physics, kinetic is used to describe something that is concerned with movement.


n a maze ; something like a maze maze
If you describe a place as a labyrinth, you mean that it is made up of a complicated series of paths or passages, through which it is difficult to find your way.
If you describe a situation, process, or are


a using few words especially to the point of seeming rude
If you describe someone as laconic, you mean that they use very few words to say something, so that they seem casual or unfriendly.


v to mourn
If you lament something, you express your sadness, regret, or disappointment about it.
Someone's lament is an expression of their sadness, regret, or disappointment about something.
A lament is a poem, song, or piece of music which exp


v to satirize ; to mock ; to parody
If you lampoon someone or something, you criticize them very strongly, using humorous means.
A lampoon is a piece of writing or speech which criticizes someone or something very strongly, using humorous means.


v to become weak listless or depressed ;
If someone languishes somewhere, they are forced to remain and suffer in an unpleasant situation.
If something languishes, it is not successful, often because of a lack of effort or because of a lot of di


[l??rd?�s, l???rd?is]
n generous giving of gifts or the gifts themselves ; generosity ; philanthropy


a present but not visible or apparent ; potential
Latent is used to describe something which is hidden and not obvious at the moment, but which may develop further in the future.


v to praise ; to applaud ; to extol ; to celebrate
If people laud someone, they praise and admire them.


n something handed down from the past ; a bequest
A legacy is money or property which someone leaves to you when they die.
A legacy of an event or period of history is something which is a direct result of it and which continues to exist after it


n sluggishness ; laziness ; drowsiness ; indifference
Lethargy is the condition or state of being lethargic.


n lightness ; frivolity ; unseriousness
Levity is behaviour that shows a tendency to treat serious matters in a non-serious way.


n a written or published falsehood that injures the reputation of or defames someone ;
Libel is a written statement which wrongly accuses someone of something, and which is therefore against the law. Compare slander.
To libel someone means to wri


v to try in court ; to engage in legal proceedings
To litigate means to take legal action.


a talking a lot or too much
If you describe someone as loquacious, you mean that they talk a lot.


a clear ; easy to understand ;
Lucid writing or speech is clear and easy to understand.
If someone is lucid, they are thinking clearly again after a period of illness or confusion.


a exaggeratedly mournful
If you say that someone or something is lugubrious, you mean that they are sad rather than lively or cheerful.


a giving off light ; glowing ; bright
Something that is luminous shines or glows in the dark.


n scheming activity for an evil purpose


a forgiving ; unresentful ; noble in spirit ; generous
If you are magnanimous, you behave kindly and generously towards someone, especially after defeating them or being treated badly by them.


[m?gneit, -n?t]
n a rich powerful or very successful businessperson
A magnate is someone who has earned a lot of money from a particular business or industry.


[m�l�iz, m?l-]
n a feeling of depression uneasiness or queasiness
Malaise is a state in which there is something wrong with a society or group, for which there does not seem to be a quick or easy solution.
Malaise is a state in which people feel dissatisf


n an illegal act especially by a public official


v to pretend to be sick to avoid doing work
If someone is malingering, they pretend to be ill in order to avoid working.


a easy to shape or bend
If you say that someone is malleable, you mean that they are easily influenced or controlled by other people.
A substance that is malleable is soft and can easily be made into different shapes.


[m?ndeit, -dit]
n a command or authorization to do something ; the will of the voters as expressed by the results of an election
If a government or other elected body has a mandate to carry out a particular policy or task, they have the authority to carry


a visible ; evident
If you say that something is manifest, you mean that it is clearly true and that nobody would disagree with it if they saw it or considered it.
If you manifest a particular quality, feeling, or illness, or if it manifests it


n a public declaration of beliefs or principles usually political ones
A manifesto is a statement published by a person or group of people, especially a political party, or a government, in which they say what their aims and policies are.


v to arrange in order ; to gather together for the purpose of doing something ;
If you marshal people or things, you gather them together and arrange them for a particular purpose.
A marshal is an official who helps to supervise a public event,


a warlike ; having to do with combat
Martial is used to describe things relating to soldiers or war.
See also
court martial


n someone who gives up his or her life in pursuit of a cause especially a religious one ; one who suffers for a cause ; one who makes a show of suffering in order to arouse sympathy
A martyr is someone who is killed or made to suffer greatly be


v to enroll especially at a college
In some countries, if you matriculate, you register formally as a student at a university, or you satisfy the academic requirements necessary for registration for a course.


a silly and overly sentimental
If you describe someone as maudlin, you mean that they are being sad and sentimental in a foolish way, perhaps because of drinking alcohol.
If you describe a song, book, or film as maudlin, you are criticizing it f


n a nonconformist ; a rebel
If you describe someone as a maverick, you mean that they are unconventional and independent, and do not think or behave in the same way as other people.
Maverick is also an adjective.


n a fundamental principle ; an old saying
A maxim is a rule for good or sensible behaviour, especially one in the form of a saying.


v to help settle differences
If someone mediates between two groups of people, or mediates an agreement between them, they try to settle an argument between them by talking to both groups and trying to find things that they can both agree to.


a sweetly flowing
A mellifluous voice or piece of music is smooth and gentle and very pleasant to listen to.


a lying ; dishonest
A mendacious person is someone who tells lies. A mendacious statement is one that is a lie.


n a beggar beggar


[m�nt??r, -t?r]
n a teacher tutor counselor or coach ; especially in business an experienced person who shows an inexperienced person the ropes teacher tutor
A person's mentor is someone who gives them help and advice over a period of time, especially hel


n a hired soldier ; someone who will do anything for money
A mercenary is a soldier who is paid to fight by a country or group that they do not belong to.
If you describe someone as mercenary, you are criticizing them because you think that


a emotionally unpredictable ; rapidly changing in mood
If you describe someone as mercurial, you mean that they frequently change their mind or mood without warning.


n a magical change in form ; a striking or sudden change
When a metamorphosis occurs, a person or thing develops and changes into something completely different.


n the world in miniature
A microcosm is a small society, place, or activity which has all the typical features of a much larger one and so seems like a smaller version of it.


[milj�, mi?l-]
n environment ; surroundings
Your milieu is the group of people or activities that you live among or are familiar with.


[m�n?skj�?l, min?skju?l]
a very tiny
If you describe something as minuscule, you mean that it is very small.


[m�s?n?r??pik(?l), m�z-]
a hating mankind
If you describe a person or their feelings as misanthropic, you mean that they do not like other people.


v to moderate the effect of something
To mitigate something means to make it less unpleasant, serious, or painful.


v to soften ; to soothe ; to pacify
If you mollify someone, you do or say something to make them less upset or angry.


a massive solid uniform and unyielding
If you refer to an organization or system as monolithic, you are critical of it because it is very large and very slow to change, and does not seem to have different parts with different characters.
If y


a dying
If you describe something as moribund, you mean that it is in a very bad condition.


a gloomy ; sullen gloomy sullen
Someone who is morose is miserable, bad-tempered, and not willing to talk very much to other people.


a to humiliate
If you say that something mortifies you, you mean that it offends or embarrasses you a great deal.


[m?nd�in, -?-]
a ordinary ; pretty boring ; not heavenly and eternal
Something that is mundane is very ordinary and not at all interesting or unusual.
You can refer to mundane things as the mundane.


a very generous ; lavish lavish
A munificent person is very generous.


a nearsightedness ; lack of foresight ;
Myopia is the inability to see things properly when they are far away, because there is something wrong with your eyes.


n a huge number ;
A myriad or myriads of people or things is a very large number or great variety of them.
Myriad means having a large number or great variety.


n excessive love of ones body or oneself
Narcissism is the habit of always thinking about yourself and admiring yourself.


a vague ; hazy ; indistinct ;
If you describe something as nebulous, you mean that it is vague and not clearly defined or not easy to describe.


a evil ; flagrantly wicked
If you describe an activity as nefarious, you mean that it is wicked and immoral.


n a new word or phrase ; a new usage of a word
A neologism is a new word or expression in a language, or a new meaning for an existing word or expression.


n showing favoritism to friends of family in business or politics
Nepotism is the unfair use of power in order to get jobs or other benefits for your family or friends.


[n�i?l�zm, n�?-]
n the belief that there are no values or morals in the universe
Nihilism is a belief which rejects all political and religious authority and current ideas in favour of the individual.


a in name only ; insignificant ; A-OK during rocket launches
You use nominal to indicate that someone or something is supposed to have a particular identity or status, but in reality does not have it.
A nominal price or sum of money is very smal


[n?st?ld??, -d?i?, n?s-]
n sentimental longing for the past ; homesickness; homesickness
Nostalgia is an affectionate feeling you have for the past, especially for a particularly happy time.


[nout??ri?s, n?-]
a famous for something bad
To be notorious means to be well-known for something bad.


a new ; original ;
A novel is a long written story about imaginary people and events.
Novel things are new and different from anything that has been done, experienced, or made before.


a harmful ; offensive ;
A noxious gas or substance is poisonous or very harmful.
If you refer to someone or something as noxious, you mean that they are extremely unpleasant.


[nj�???ns, --?]
n a subtle difference or distinction
A nuance is a small difference in sound, feeling, appearance, or meaning.


a stubborn and insensitive
If you describe someone as obdurate, you think that they are being unreasonable in their refusal to change their decision or opinion.


[??bf?sk�it, ?bf?skeit]
v to darken ; to confuse ; to make confusing
To obfuscate something means to deliberately make it seem confusing and difficult to understand.


[?bl�?k, oub-; ???? -l�ik]
a indirect ; at an angle ;
If you describe a statement as oblique, you mean that is not expressed directly or openly, making it difficult to understand.
An oblique line is a straight line that is not horizontal or vertical. An o


n total forgetfulness ; the state of being forgotten ;
Oblivion is the state of not being aware of what is happening around you, for example because you are asleep or unconscious.
Oblivion is the state of having been forgotten or of no longer b


a unknown ; hard to understand ; dark
If something or someone is obscure, they are unknown, or are known by only a few people.
Something that is obscure is difficult to understand or deal with, usually because it involves so many parts or detai


a fawning ; subservient ; sucking up to
If you describe someone as obsequious, you are criticizing them because they are too eager to help or agree with someone more important than them.


a insensitive ; blockheaded
Someone who is obtuse has difficulty understanding things, or makes no effort to understand them.
An obtuse angle is between 90� and 180�. Compare acute angle.


a annoyingly eager to help or advise
If you describe someone as officious, you are critical of them because they are eager to tell people what to do when you think they should not.


[??n?r?s, �un-]
a burdensome ; oppressive
If you describe a task as onerous, you dislike having to do it because you find it difficult or unpleasant.


a impossible to see through ; impossible to understand
If an object or substance is opaque, you cannot see through it.
If you say that something is opaque, you mean that it is difficult to understand.


a luxurious
Opulent things or places look grand and expensive.
Opulent people are very wealthy and spend a lot of money.


a conventional ; adhering to established principles or doctrines especially in religion ; by the book
Orthodox beliefs, methods, or systems are ones which are accepted or used by most people.
If you describe someone as orthodox, you mean that


a apparent but misleading ; professed
Ostensible is used to describe something that seems to be true or is officially stated to be true, but about which you or other people have doubts.


[??stent�i??s, -t?n-]
a excessively conspicuous ; showing off
If you describe something as ostentatious, you disapprove of it because it is expensive and is intended to impress people.
If you describe someone as ostentatious, you disapprove of them becaus


v to calm someone down ; to placate
If you pacify someone who is angry, upset, or not pleased, you succeed in making them calm or pleased.
If the army or the police pacify a group of people, they use force to overcome their resistance or protest


[p�inzt�iki?, p�ins-]
a extremely careful ; taking pains =pains-taking = taking pains
A painstaking search, examination, or investigation is done extremely carefully and thoroughly.


v to relieve or alleviate something without getting rid of the problem ; to assuage ; to mitigate


a capable of being touched ; obvious ; tangible
You describe something as palpable when it is obvious or intense and easily noticed.


a insignificant ; worthless
A paltry amount of money or of something else is one that you consider to be very small.
You can use paltry to describe something or someone that you consider to be small or unimportant.


n something that cures everything
If you say that something is not a panacea for a particular set of problems, you mean that it will not solve all those problems.


[p?r?d�im, -d�m]
n a model or example ;
A paradigm is a model for something which explains it or shows how it can be produced.
A paradigm is a clear and typical example of something.


n a true statement or phenomenon that nonetheless seems to contradict itself ; an untrue statement or phenomenon that nonetheless seems logical
You describe a situation as a paradox when it involves two or more facts or qualities which seem to


a narrow or confined in point of view ; provincial
If you describe someone as parochial, you are critical of them because you think they are too concerned with their own affairs and should be thinking about more important things.
Parochial is


n a satirical imitation
A parody is a humorous piece of writing, drama, or music which imitates the style of a well-known person or represents a familiar situation in an exaggerated way.
When someone parodies a particular work, thing, or person,


a stingy =stingy
Someone who is parsimonious is very unwilling to spend money.


[p???rtiz?n, -s?n]
n one who supports a particular person cause or idea
Someone who is partisan strongly supports a particular person or cause, often without thinking carefully about the matter.
A partisan is someone who is partisan.
Partisans are ordinar


[p?tnt, p�it-]
a obvious =obvious
A patent is an official right to be the only person or company allowed to make or sell a new product for a certain period of time.
If you patent something, you obtain a patent for it.
You use patent to describe something,


a fatherly ; fatherlike
Paternal is used to describe feelings or actions which are typical of those of a kind father towards his child.
A paternal relative is one that is related through a person's father rather than their mother.


n the science of diseases
Pathology is the study of the way diseases and illnesses develop.


n the male head of a family or tribe
A patriarch is the male head of a family or tribe.
A patriarch is the head of one of a number of Eastern Christian Churches.


n a person of noble birth ; an aristocrat ;
A patrician is a person who comes from a family of high social rank.
If you describe someone as patrician, you mean that they behave in a sophisticated way, and look as though they are from a high soc


[p�itr?n�iz, p?t-]
v to treat as an inferior ; to condescend to
If someone patronizes you, they speak or behave towards you in a way which seems friendly, but which shows that they think they are superior to you in some way.
Someone who patronizes artists


n scarcity =scarcity
If you say that there is a paucity of something, you mean that there is not enough of it.


n a minor offense
Peccadilloes are small, unimportant sins or faults.


a boringly scholarly or academic
If you think someone is pedantic, you mean that they are too concerned with unimportant details or traditional rules, especially in connection with academic subjects.


a unimaginative ; banal unimaginative banal
A pedestrian is a person who is walking, especially in a town or city, rather than travelling in a vehicle.
If you describe something as pedestrian, you mean that it is ordinary and not at all inter


a negative ; disparaging negative disparaging
A pejorative word or expression is one that expresses criticism of someone or something.


n a strong taste or liking for something ; a predilection
If someone has a penchant for something, they have a special liking for it or a tendency to do it.


a sorry ; repentant ; contrite sorry repentant contrite
Someone who is penitent is very sorry for something wrong that they have done, and regrets their actions.


a thoughtful and sad
If you are pensive, you are thinking deeply about something, especially something that worries you slightly.


[p?r�mpt?ri, p�r?mpt??ri]
a final ; categorical ; dictatorial categorical
Someone who does something in a peremptory way does it in a way that shows that they expect to be obeyed immediately.


a continual ; happening again and again or year after year continual
You use perennial to describe situations or states that keep occurring or which seem to exist all the time; used especially to describe problems or difficulties.
A perennial p


n treachery treachery
Perfidy is the action of betraying someone or behaving very badly towards someone.


a unenthusiastic ; careless careless; unenthusiastic
A perfunctory action is done quickly and carelessly, and shows a lack of interest in what you are doing.


a wandering ; traveling continually ; itinerant
If someone has a peripatetic life or career, they travel around a lot, living or working in places for short periods of time.


n the outside edge of something ;
If something is on the periphery of an area, place, or thing, it is on the edge of it.
The periphery of a subject or area of interest is the part of it that is not considered to be as important or basic as the


n lying under oath
If someone who is giving evidence in a court of law commits perjury, they lie.


v to spread or seep through ; to penetrate
If an idea, feeling, or attitude permeates a system or permeates society, it affects every part of it or is present throughout it.
If something permeates a place, it spreads throughout it.


a deadly ; extremely evil ; deadly
If you describe something as pernicious, you mean that it is very harmful.


n a privilege that goes along with a job ; a perk =perk
A perquisite is the same as a perk.


a relevant ; dealing with the matter at hand ... relevant
Something that is pertinent is relevant to a particular subject.


v to disturb greatly
If something perturbs you, it worries you quite a lot.
See also


v to read carefully
If you peruse something such as a letter, article, or document, you read it.


v to spread throughout
If something pervades a place or thing, it is a noticeable feature throughout it.


[p�t?ul?nt, -tju-]
a rude ; cranky ; ill-tempered cranky rude
Someone who is petulant is unreasonably angry and upset in a childish way.


n love of mankind especially by doing good deeds
Philanthropy is the giving of money to people who need it, without wanting anything in return.


[f�l?st�?n, -st�in, fil�sti(?)n]
n a smugly ignorant person with no appreciation of intellectual or artistic matters
If you call someone a philistine, you mean that they do not care about or understand good art, music, or literature, and do not think that


a reverent or devout ; outwardly and sometimes falsely reverent or devout ; hypocritical
Someone who is pious is very religious and moral.
If you describe someone's words as pious, you think that their words are full of good intentions but do not


a crucial crucial
A pivotal role, point or figure in something is one that is very important and affects the success of that thing.


[pl�ikeit, pl?k-]
v to pacify ; to appease ; to soothe
If you placate someone, you do or say something to make them stop feeling angry.


a expressing sadness or sorrow
A plaintive sound or voice sounds sad.


n a dull or trite remark ; a clich�
A platitude is a statement which is considered meaningless and boring because it has been made many times before in similar situations.


n common ; vulgar ; low class ; bourgeois ; vulgar
A person, especially one from an earlier period of history, who is plebeian, comes from a low social class.
If someone describes something as plebeian, they think that it is unsophisticated and


n an excess
A plethora of something is a large amount of it, especially an amount of it that is greater than you need, want, or can cope with.


[p?inj?nt, -n?nt]
a painfully emotional ; extremely moving ; sharp or astute
Something that is poignant affects you deeply and makes you feel sadness or regret.


v to break up into opposing factions or groupings
If something polarizes people or if something polarizes, two separate groups are formed with opposite opinions or positions.


n a powerful argument often make to attack or refute a controversial issue
A polemic is a very strong written or spoken attack on, or defence of, a particular belief or opinion.
Polemics is the skill or practice of arguing very strongly for or a


a so large as to be clumsy ; massive ; dull massive dull
Ponderous writing or speech is very serious, uses more words than necessary, and is rather dull.
A movement or action that is ponderous is very slow or clumsy.


n an omen ; a sign of something coming in the future
A portent is something that indicates what is likely to happen in the future.


n something accepted as true without proof ; and axiom
If you postulate something, you suggest it as the basis for a theory, argument, or calculation, or assume that it is the basis.
A postulate is an idea that is suggested as or assumed to


a practical ; down to earth ; based on experience rather than theory
A pragmatic way of dealing with something is based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones. A pragmatic person deals with things in a practical way.


n an earlier example or model of something
If there is a precedent for an action or event, it has happened before, and this can be regarded as an argument for doing it again.


n a rule to live by ; a principle establishing a certain kind of action or behavior ; a maxim maxim;
A precept is a general rule that helps you to decide how you should behave in particular circumstances.


v to cause to happen abruptly
If something precipitates an event or situation, usually a bad one, it causes it to happen suddenly or sooner than normal.
A precipitate action or decision happens or is made more quickly or suddenly than most p


a steep steep;
A precipitous slope or drop is very steep and often dangerous.
A precipitous change is sudden and unpleasant.
A precipitous action happens very quickly and often without being planned.


v to prevent something from ever happening
If something precludes an event or action, it prevents the event or action from happening.
If something precludes you from doing something or going somewhere, it prevents you from doing it or going the


[prik???rs?r, pr�?k??r-]
n forerunner ; something that goes before and anticipates or paves the way for whatever it is that follows
A precursor of something is a similar thing that happened or existed before it, often something which led to the existence


[pr�?d?l�k??n, pr�d-]
n a natural preference for something
If you have a predilection for something, you have a strong liking for it.


[pri�m?n?nt, pri?-]
a better than anyone else ; outstanding ; supreme


[pri�mpt, pri?-]
v to seize something by prior right


n an assumption ; the basis for a conclusion
The premises of a business or an institution are all the buildings and land that it occupies in one place.
A premise is something that you suppose is true and that you use as a basis for developing an


v to preoccupy ; to influence beforehand or prejudice ; to make a good impression on beforehand


n a right or privilege connected exclusively with a position a person a class a nation or some other group or classification
If something is the prerogative of a particular person or group, it is a privilege or a power that only they have.


v to triumph ; to overcome rivals ; with on upon or with to persuade ;
If a proposal, principle, or opinion prevails, it gains influence or is accepted, often after a struggle or argument.
If a situation, attitude, or custom prevails in a partic


[pr�sti?n, --?]
a original ; unspoiled ; pure
Pristine things are extremely clean or new.


a wastefully extravagant ;
You can describe someone as a prodigal son or daughter if they leave their family or friends, often after a period of behaving badly, and then return at a later time as a better person.
Prodigal is also a noun.


a extraordinary; enormous; vast ;
Something that is prodigious is very large or impressive.


n an extremely talented child; an extraordinary accomplishment or occurrence; wonder /
A prodigy is someone young who has a great natural ability for something such as music, mathematics, or sport.


[prouf�in, pr?-]
a not having to do with religion; irreverent; blasphemous
Profane behaviour shows disrespect for a religion or religious things.
Something that is profane is concerned with everyday life rather than religion and spiritual things.
If someo


v to declare; to declare falsely or pretend cf professed professional a n
If you profess to do or have something, you claim that you do it or have it, often when you do not.
If you profess a feeling, opinion, or belief, you express it.


a thoroughly competent; skillful; very good at something at in n expert
If you are proficient in something, you can do it well.


[pr??flig?t, -g�it]
a extravagantly wasteful and usually wildly immoral
Someone who is profligate spends too much money or uses too much of something.


a deep several senses; ~sleep ~knowledge ~meaning ~thanks ~anxiety ~bow n profundity profoundness ; n
You use profound to emphasize that something is very great or intense.
A profound idea, work, or person shows great intellectual depth and und


a flowing; extravagant
Profuse sweating, bleeding, or vomiting is sweating, bleeding, or vomiting large amounts.
If you offer profuse apologies or thanks, you apologize or thank someone a lot.


n the industrial working class
The proletariat is a term used to refer to workers without high status, especially industrial workers.


v to spread or grow rapidly
If things proliferate, they increase in number very quickly.


a abundantly productive; fruitful or fertile
A prolific writer, artist, or composer produces a large number of works.
A prolific sports player scores a lot of goals or wins a lot of matches or races.
An animal, person, or plant that is prolific


[pr??m?lg�it, proum?lgeit]
v to proclaim; to publicly or formally declare something
If people promulgate a new law or a new idea, they make it widely known.
If a new law is promulgated by a government or national leader, it is publicly approved or made of


n a natural inclination or tendency; a predilection
A propensity to do something or a propensity for something is a natural tendency that you have to behave in a particular way.


a marked by favorable signs or conditions
If something is propitious, it is likely to lead to success.


n an advocate; a supporter of a position ;
If you are a proponent of a particular idea or course of action, you actively support it.


a characteristic of an owner of property; constituting property
Proprietary substances or products are sold under a trade name.
If someone has a proprietary attitude towards something, they act as though they own it.


n properness; good manners ;
Propriety is the quality of being socially or morally acceptable.


a dull; unimaginative; like prose as opposed to poetry
Something that is prosaic is dull and uninteresting.


v to outlaw; to prohibit ;
If something is proscribed by people in authority, the existence or the use of that thing is forbidden.


v to convert someone from one religion or doctrine to another; to recruit converts to a religion or doctrine
If you proselytize, you try to persuade someone to share your beliefs, especially religious or political beliefs.


n the leading character in a novel play or other work; a leader or champion
Someone who is a protagonist of an idea or movement is a supporter of it.
A protagonist in a play, novel, or real event is one of the main people in it.


[proutr?kt, pr?-]
v to prolong prolong


a preparing for the future; providing for the future; frugal


a limited in outlook to ones own small corner of the world; narrow
Provincial means connected with the parts of a country away from the capital city.
If you describe someone or something as provincial, you disapprove of them because you think


a conditional; temporary; tentative
You use provisional to describe something that has been arranged or appointed for the present, but may be changed in the future.


n nearness
Proximity to a place or person is nearness to that place or person.


a careful; having foresight
Someone who is prudent is sensible and careful.


a rumored; claimed
If you say that someone or something purports to do or be a particular thing, you mean that they claim to do or be that thing, although you may not always believe that claim.


a commonly accepted; supposed; reputed
If you describe someone or something as putative, you mean that they are generally thought to be the thing mentioned.


v to modify or restrict
When someone qualifies, they pass the examinations that they need to be able to work in a particular profession.
If you qualify for something or if something qualifies you for it, you have the right to do it or have it.


a having to do with the quality or qualities of something as opposed to the quantity
Qualitative means relating to the nature or standard of something, rather than to its quantity.


a complaining; grumbling; whining ;
Someone who is querulous often complains about things.


a romantic or idealistic to a foolish or impractical degree
If you describe someone's ideas or plans as quixotic, you mean that they are imaginative or hopeful but unrealistic.


n a consequence; a branching out
The ramifications of a decision, plan, or event are all its consequences and effects, especially ones which are not obvious at first.


n bitter long-lasting ill will or resentment
rancor /r'�?k?r/


a greedy; plundering; avaricious
If you describe a person or their behaviour as rapacious, you disapprove of their greedy or selfish behaviour.


v to criticize sharply
If you rebuke someone, you speak severely to them because they have said or done something that you do not approve of.
Rebuke is also a noun.


v to contradict; to argue in opposition to; to prove to be false
If you rebut a charge or criticism that is made against you, you give reasons why it is untrue or unacceptable.


a stubbornly defiant of authority or control; disobedient
If you describe someone or something as recalcitrant, you mean that they are unwilling to obey orders or are difficult to deal with.


v to publicly take back and deny something previously said or believed; to openly confess error
If you recant, you say publicly that you no longer hold a set of beliefs that you had in the past.


a mutual; shared; interchangeable mutual
A reciprocal action or agreement involves two people or groups who do the same thing to each other or agree to help each another in a similar way.


a hermitlike; withdrawn from society
A reclusive person or animal lives alone and deliberately avoids the company of others.


[r�k?nd�it, rik??ndait]
a hard to understand; over ones head
Recondite areas of knowledge or learning are difficult to understand, and not many people know about them.


n a bitter counteraccusation or the act of making a bitter counteraccusation
Recriminations are accusations that two people or groups make about each other.


a fragrant fragrant
If something is redolent of something else, it has features that make you think of that other thing.
If something is redolent of something else, it smells strongly of that other thing.


a unnecessarily repetitive; excessive; excessively wordy
If you are made redundant, your employer tells you to leave because your job is no longer necessary or because your employer cannot afford to keep paying you.
Something that is redundant


v to prove to be false; to disprove
If you refute an argument, accusation, or theory, you prove that it is wrong or untrue.
If you refute an argument or accusation, you say that it is not true.


v to say again; to repeat
If you reiterate something, you say it again, usually in order to emphasize it.


v to banish; to send away
If you relegate someone or something to a less important position, you give them this position.
If a sports team that competes in a league is relegated, it has to compete in a lower division in the next competition, be


a continuous; unstoppable
Something bad that is relentless never stops or never becomes less intense.
Someone who is relentless is determined to do something and refuses to give up, even if what they are doing is unpleasant or cruel.


v to release or let go of; to surrender; to stop doing
If you relinquish something such as power or control, you give it up.


v to argue against; to protest; to raise objections
If you remonstrate with someone, you protest to them about something you do not approve of or agree with, and you try to get it changed or stopped.


[r�n?s???ns, -z???ns, -?--?]
n a rebirth or revival
The Renaissance was the period in Europe, especially Italy, in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries, when there was a new interest in art, literature, science, and learning.
If something experiences a rena


v to give up formally or resign; to disown; to have nothing to do with anymore
If you renounce a belief or a way of behaving, you decide and declare publicly that you no longer have that belief or will no longer behave in that way.
If you renoun


n paying back; making amends; compensation ;
Reparations are sums of money that are paid after a war by the defeated country for the damage and injuries it caused in other countries.
Reparation is help or payment that someone gives you for da


[r�?p?rk???n, r�p-]
n a consequence; an indirect effect
If an action or event has repercussions, it causes unpleasant things to happen some time after the original action or event.


v to fill again; to resupply; to restore
If you replenish something, you make it full or complete again.


a completely filled; abounding ;
To be replete with something means to be full of it.
If you are replete, you are pleasantly full of food and drink.


a worthy of blame or censure
If you think that a type of behaviour or an idea is very bad and morally wrong, you can say that it is reprehensible.


n a military action undertaken in revenge for another; an act of taking an eye for an eye ;
If you do something to a person in reprisal, you hurt or punish them because they have done something violent or unpleasant to you.


v to scold usually in disappointment; to blame; to disgrace
If you reproach someone, you say or show that you are disappointed, upset, or angry because they have done something wrong.
If you look at or speak to someone with reproach, you show o


v to criticize mildly
If you reprove someone, you speak angrily or seriously to them because they have behaved in a wrong or foolish way.


v to reject; to renounce; to disown to have nothing to do with
If you repudiate something or someone, you show that you strongly disagree with them and do not want to be connected with them in any way.


required necessary
You can use requisite to indicate that something is necessary for a particular purpose.
A requisite is something which is necessary for a particular purpose.


determined; firm; unwavering
If you describe someone as resolute, you approve of them because they are very determined not to change their mind or not to give up a course of action.


n a period of rest or relief ;
A respite is a short period of rest from something unpleasant.
A respite is a short delay before a very unpleasant or difficult situation which may or may not take place.


a quiet; restrained; reluctant to speak especially about oneself
Someone who is reticent does not tell people about things.


v to respect highly; to honor
If you revere someone or something, you respect and admire them greatly.


n the art of formal speaking or writing; inflated discourse
If you refer to speech or writing as rhetoric, you disapprove of it because it is intended to convince and impress people but may not be sincere or honest.
Rhetoric is the skill or art


a strict; harsh; severe ;
A test, system, or procedure that is rigorous is very thorough and strict.
If someone is rigorous in the way that they do something, they are very careful and thorough.


[roub?st, r�ub?st]
a strong and healthy; vigorous
Someone or something that is robust is very strong or healthy.
Robust views or opinions are strongly held and forcefully expressed.


n a criminally dishonest persons; a scoundrel ;
A rogue is a man who behaves in a dishonest or criminal way.
If a man behaves in a way that you do not approve of but you still like him, you can refer to him as a rogue.
A rogue element is someone or


a basic; crude; unformed or undeveloped ;
Rudimentary things are very basic or simple and are therefore unsatisfactory.
Rudimentary knowledge includes only the simplest and most basic facts.


v to contemplate; to ponder; to mull over
If you ruminate on something, you think about it very carefully.
When animals ruminate, they bring food back from their stomach into their mouth and chew it again.


a rural lacking urban comforts or sophistication; primitive rural
You can use rustic to describe things or people that you approve of because they are simple or unsophisticated in a way that is typical of the countryside.
You can refer to someone


a sweet; excessively or disgustingly sweet
Saccharin is a very sweet chemical substance that some people use instead of sugar, especially when they are trying to lose weight.


n a violation of something sacred; blasphemy
Sacrilege is behaviour that shows great disrespect for a holy place or object.
You can use sacrilege to refer to disrespect that is shown for someone who is widely admired or for a belief that is wi


a sacred; held to be inviolable
If you describe something as sacrosanct, you consider it to be special and are unwilling to see it criticized or changed.


a discerning; shrewd; keen in judgment; wise
A sagacious person is intelligent and has the ability to make good decisions.


a sticking out; conspicuous; leaping ;
The salient points or facts of a situation are the most important ones.
A salient is a narrow area where an army has pushed its front line forward into enemy territory.


a healthful; remedial; curative
A salutary experience is good for you, even though it may seem difficult or unpleasant at first.


a pretending to be devout; affecting religious feeling
If you say that someone is sanctimonious, you disapprove of them because you think that they are trying to appear morally better than other people.


a cheerful; optimistic; hopeful
If you are sanguine about something, you are cheerful and confident that things will happen in the way you want them to.


a mocking; scornful
If you describe someone as sardonic, you mean their attitude to people or things is humorous but rather critical.


v to sparkle either literally or figuratively


a strict; careful; hesitant for ethical reasons
Someone who is scrupulous takes great care to do what is fair, honest, or morally right.
Scrupulous means thorough, exact, and careful about details.


v to examine very carefully
If you scrutinize something, you examine it very carefully, often to find out some information from it or about it.


a having nothing to do with religion or spiritual concerns
You use secular to describe things that have no connection with religion.


n treason; the incitement of public disorder or rebellion
Sedition is speech, writing, or behaviour intended to encourage people to fight against or oppose the government.


a having to do with the senses or sensation
Sensory means relating to the physical senses.


a able to perceive by the senses; conscious ...
A sentient being is capable of experiencing things through its senses.


v to set or keep apart ;
Sequester means the same as sequestrate.
If someone is sequestered somewhere, they are isolated from other people.


accidental good fortune; discovering good things without looking for them
Serendipity is the luck some people have in finding or creating interesting or valuable things by chance.


[s???rvil, -vail]
submissive and subservient; like a servant
If you say that someone is servile, you disapprove of them because they are too eager to obey someone or do things for them.


unique; superior; exceptional; strange
The singular form of a word is the form that is used when referring to one person or thing.
The singular of a noun is the form of it that is used to refer to one person or thing.
Singular means very great


to speak badly about someone publicly; to defame; to spread malicious rumor
Slander is an untrue spoken statement about someone which is intended to damage their reputation. Compare libel.
To slander someone means to say untrue things about them


laziness; sluggishness
Sloth is laziness, especially with regard to work.
A sloth is an animal from Central and South America. Sloths live in trees and move very slowly.


[s?br�i?ti, sou-]
the state of being sober; seriousness
Sobriety is the state of being sober rather than drunk.
Sobriety is serious and thoughtful behaviour.


eager and attentive often to the point of hovering; anxiously caring or attentive
A person who is solicitous shows anxious concern for someone or something.


not broke or bankrupt; able to pay ones bills
If a person or a company is solvent, they have enough money to pay all their debts.
A solvent is a liquid that can dissolve other substances.


[s??p?r�fik, s�up-]
sleeping inducing; extremely boring; very sleepy
Something that is soporific makes you feel sleepy.


vile; filthy; squalid filthy squalid vile
If you describe someone's behaviour as sordid, you mean that it is immoral or dishonest.
If you describe a place as sordid, you mean that it is dirty, unpleasant, or depressing.


to bring forth; to produce a large number
Spawn is a soft, jelly-like substance containing the eggs of fish, or of animals such as frogs.
When fish or animals such as frogs spawn, they lay their eggs.
If something spawns something else, it causes


deceptively plausible or attractive
Something that is specious seems to exist or be true, but is not real or true.


stopping and starting; scattered; occurring in bursts every once in a while
Sporadic occurrences of something happen at irregular intervals.


false; fake false fake
Something that is spurious seems to be genuine, but is false.
A spurious argument or way of reasoning is incorrect, and so the conclusion is probably incorrect.


[skw??l?r, skw??l-]
filth; wretched degraded or repulsive living conditions
You can refer to very dirty, unpleasant conditions as squalor.


to waste
If you squander money, resources, or opportunities, you waste them.


motionlessness; inactivity


stationary; not changing or moving
Something that is static does not move or change.
Static or static electricity is electricity which can be caused by things rubbing against each other and which collects on things such as your body or metal obje


[st??nt?, st???nt?]
firmly committed; firmly in favor of; steadfast
A staunch supporter or believer is very loyal to a person, organization, or set of beliefs, and supports them strongly.
To staunch the flow of something means to stop it.
To staunch a wou


loyal; faithful loyal faithful
If someone is steadfast in something that they are doing, they are convinced that what they are doing is right and they refuse to change it or to give up.


to brand with disgrace; to set a mark of disgrace upon
If someone or something is stigmatized, they are unfairly regarded by many people as being bad or having something to be ashamed of.


[st�pjul?t, -l�it]
to require something as part of an agreement
If you stipulate a condition or stipulate that something must be done, you say clearly that it must be done.


indifferent at least outwardly to pleasure or pain to joy or grief to fortune or misfortune
Stoic means the same as stoical.
If you say that someone is a stoic, you approve of them because they do not complain or show they are upset in bad situat


[str�it?m, str?t-]
a layer; a level layer level
A stratum of society is a group of people in it who are similar in their education, income, or social status.
Strata are different layers of rock.


a restriction; a limitation; a negative criticism ;
You can use strictures to refer to severe criticism or disapproval of something.
You can refer to things that limit what you can do as strictures of a particular kind.


bitter conflict; discord; a struggle or clash
Strife is strong disagreement or fighting.


strict; restrictive
Stringent laws, rules, or conditions are very severe or are strictly controlled.


to thwart; to get in the way of; to hinder
If you are stymied by something, you find it very difficult to take action or to continue what you are doing.


to subdue and dominate; to enslave
If someone subjugates a group of people, they take complete control of them, especially by defeating them in a war.
If your wishes or desires are subjugated to something, they are treated as less important t


awesome; extremely exalted; lofty; majestic
If you describe something as sublime, you mean that it has a wonderful quality that affects you deeply.
You can refer to sublime things as the sublime.
If you describe something as going from the subli


lower in importance position or rank; secondary
If someone is your subordinate, they have a less important position than you in the organization that you both work for.
Someone who is subordinate to you has a less important position than you


having substance; real; essential; solid; substantial
Substantive negotiations or issues deal with the most important and central aspects of a subject.


not obvious; able to make fine distinctions; ingenious; crafty
Something that is subtle is not immediately obvious or noticeable.
A subtle person cleverly uses indirect methods to achieve something.
Subtle smells, tastes, sounds, or colours are ple


corrupting; overthrowing; undermining; insurgent
Something that is subversive is intended to weaken or destroy a political system or government.
Subversives are people who attempt to weaken or destroy a political system or government.


brief and to the point; concise
Something that is succinct expresses facts or ideas clearly and in few words.


to yield or submit; to die ;
If you succumb to temptation or pressure, you do something that you want to do, or that other people want you to do, although you feel it might be wrong.
If you succumb to an illness, you become affected by it or die f


haughty; patronizing
If you say that someone is supercilious, you disapprove of them because they behave in a way that shows they think they are better than other people.


on the surface only; shallow; not thorough
If you describe someone as superficial, you disapprove of them because they do not think deeply, and have little understanding of anything serious or important.
If you describe something such as an


extra; unnecessary; redundant
Something that is superfluous is unnecessary or is no longer needed.


excess; an excessive amount; excess or overindulgence in eating or drinking
A surfeit of something is an amount which is too large.


sneaky; secret
A surreptitious action is done secretly.


[s???r?g�it, -g?t, s?r-]
You use surrogate to describe a person or thing that is given a particular role because the person or thing that should have the role is not available.
Surrogate is also a noun.


[s�k?f?nt, s�ik-]
one who sucks up to others
A sycophant is a person who behaves in a sycophantic way.


the combing of parts to form a whole ;
A synthesis of different ideas or styles is a mixture or combination of these ideas or styles.
The synthesis of a substance is the production of it by means of chemical or biological reactions.


implied; not spoken implied
If you refer to someone's tacit agreement or approval, you mean they are agreeing to something or approving it without actually saying so, often because they are unwilling to admit to doing so.


untalkative by nature
A taciturn person does not say very much and can seem unfriendly.


only superficially related to the matter at hand; not especially relevant; peripheral ;
If you describe something as tangential, you mean that it has only a slight or indirect connection with the thing you are concerned with, and is therefore


touchable; palpable touchable palpable
If something is tangible, it is clear enough or definite enough to be easily seen, felt, or noticed.


equivalent to
If you say that one thing is tantamount to a second, more serious thing, you are emphasizing how bad, unacceptable, or unfortunate the first thing is by comparing it to the second.


redundant; circular ; redundant
A tautological statement involves tautology.


boldness; recklessness; audacity boldness; recklessness; audacity
If you say that a person has the temerity to do something, you are annoyed about something they have done which you think showed a lack of respect.


mild; moderate; restrained mild
Temperate is used to describe a climate or a place which is never extremely hot or extremely cold.
If a person's behaviour is temperate, it is calm and reasonable, so that they do not get angry or lose their temp


defensible as in ones position in an argument; capable of being argued successfully; valid
If you say that an argument, point of view, or situation is tenable, you believe that it is reasonable and could be successfully defended against criticism


persistent; stubborn; not letting go
If you are tenacious, you are very determined and do not give up easily.
If you describe something such as an idea or belief as tenacious, you mean that it has a strong influence on people and is difficult t


a shared principle or belief
The tenets of a theory or belief are the main principles on which it is based.


experimental; temporary; uncertain
Tentative agreements, plans, or arrangements are not definite or certain, but have been made as a first step.
If someone is tentative, they are cautious and not very confident because they are uncertain or afr


flimsy; extremely thin
If you describe something such as a connection, a reason, or someone's position as tenuous, you mean that it is very uncertain or weak.


using no unnecessary words; succinct succinct
A terse statement or comment is brief and unfriendly.


the study of god or religion
Theology is the study of the nature of God and of religion and religious beliefs.
A theology is a particular set of religious beliefs and ideas.


[t�ireid, --?]
prolonged bitter speech
A tirade is a long angry speech in which someone criticizes a person or thing.


sluggishness; inactivity; apathy
Torpor is the state of being completely inactive mentally or physically, for example because of illness or laziness.


a standard; a test of authenticity or quality
If you use one thing as a touchstone of another, you use it as a test or standard by which you judge the second thing.


to praise highly; to brag publicly about
If someone touts something, they try to sell it or convince people that it is good.
If someone touts for business or custom, they try to obtain it.
If someone touts tickets, they sell them outside a sports g


to go beyond or above; to surpass
Something that transcends normal limits or boundaries goes beyond them, because it is more significant than them.


[tr�nsgr�s, tr�nz-]
to violate a law; to sin violate
If someone transgresses, they break a moral law or a rule of behaviour.


[tr?n??nt, -??nt, -zi?nt]
not staying for a long time; temporary
Transient is used to describe a situation that lasts only a short time or is constantly changing.
Transients are people who stay in a place for only a short time and then move somewhere else


fear; apprehension; nervous trembling fear
Trepidation is fear or anxiety about something that you are going to do or experience.


shameful wickedness; depravity
Turpitude is very immoral behaviour.


being everywhere at the same time
If you describe something or someone as ubiquitous, you mean that they seem to be everywhere.


not controlled by conscience; unscrupulous
If you describe something as unconscionable, you mean that the person responsible for it ought to be ashamed of it, especially because its effects are so great or severe.


oily both literally and figuratively; insincere
If you describe someone as unctuous, you are critical of them because they seem to be full of praise, kindness, or interest, but are obviously insincere.
If you describe food or drink as unctuous,


consistent; unchanging; the same for everyone consistent unchanging
A uniform is a special set of clothes which some people, for example soldiers or the police, wear to work in and which some children wear at school.
You can refer to the part


unceasing; unabated; relentless
Something that is unremitting continues without stopping or becoming less intense.


unintentional; ignorant; not aware
If you describe a person or their actions as unwitting, you mean that the person does something or is involved in something without realizing it.


poised; sophisticated; refined
Someone who is urbane is polite and appears comfortable in social situations.


[ju?s???rp, -z???rp]
to seize wrongfully
If you say that someone usurps a job, role, title, or position, they take it from someone when they have no right to do this.


stressing usefulness or utility above all other qualities; pragmatic
Utilitarian means based on the idea that the morally correct course of action is the one that produces benefit for the greatest number of people.
A utilitarian is someon


an ideal society
If you refer to an imaginary situation as a utopia, you mean that it is one in which society is perfect and everyone is happy, but which you feel is not possible.


to be indecisive; to waver ;
If you vacillate between two alternatives or choices, you keep changing your mind.


without liveliness; dull; spiritless
If you describe someone or something as vapid, you are critical of them because they are dull and uninteresting.


intense; forceful; violent
If a person or their actions or comments are vehement, the person has very strong feelings or opinions and expresses them forcefully.


capable of being bribed; willing to do anything for money; corrupt
If you describe someone as venal, you disapprove of them because they are prepared to do almost anything in return for money, even things which are dishonest or immoral.


to revere; to treat as something holy especially because of great age
If you venerate someone or something, you value them or feel great respect for them.


Veracity is the quality of being true or the habit of telling the truth.


using too many words; not succinct; circumlocutory
If you describe a person or a piece of writing as verbose, you are critical of them because they use more words than are necessary, and so make you feel bored or annoyed.


similarity to reality; the appearance of truth; looking like real thing
Verisimilitude is the quality of seeming to be true or real.


everyday speech; slang; idiom
The vernacular is the language or dialect that is most widely spoken by ordinary people in a region or country.
Vernacular architecture is the style of architecture in which ordinary people's houses are built in


a remaining bit of something; a last trace
A vestige of something is a very small part that still remains of something that was once much larger or more important.


to annoy; to pester; to confuse
If someone or something vexes you, they make you feel annoyed, puzzled, and frustrated.
Exporters, farmers and industrialists alike are vexed and blame the government.
See also


capable of living; workable
Something that is viable is capable of doing what it is intended to do.
Foetuses, seeds, or eggs are described as viable if they are capable of developing into living beings without outside help.


[vaik??ri?s, vi-]
experienced performed or suffered through someone else; living through the experiences of another as though they were ones own experiences
A vicarious pleasure or feeling is experienced by watching, listening to, or reading about other p


upheaval; natural cange; change in fortune ;


to say vile things about; to defame ;
If you are vilified by someone, they say or write very unpleasant things about you, so that people will have a low opinion of you.


to clear from all blame or suspicion; to justify
If a person or their decisions, actions, or ideas are vindicated, they are proved to be correct, after people have said that they were wrong.


seeking revenge
If you say that someone is vindictive, you are critical of them because they deliberately try to upset or cause trouble for someone who they think has done them harm.


[v???rt?u�usou, -zou]
a masterful musician; a masterful practitioner in some other field
A virtuoso is someone who is extremely good at something, especially at playing a musical instrument.
A virtuoso performance or display shows great skill.


extremely poisonous; malignant; full of hate
Virulent feelings or actions are extremely bitter and hostile.
A virulent disease or poison is extremely powerful and dangerous.


a dreamer; someone with impractical goals or ideas about the future
If you refer to someone as a visionary, you mean that they have strong, original ideas about how things might be different in the future, especially about how things might be i


to make impure; to pollute
If something is vitiated, its effectiveness is spoiled or weakened.


caustic; full of bitterness
If you describe someone's language or behaviour as vitriolic, you disapprove of it because it is full of bitterness and hate, and so causes a lot of distress and pain.


an occupation; a job ;
If you have a vocation, you have a strong feeling that you are especially suited to do a particular job or to fulfil a particular role in life, especially one which involves helping other people.
If you refer to your job


loud; noisy
If you describe someone as vociferous, you mean that they speak with great energy and determination, because they want their views to be heard.


[v??l?tl, -til]
quick to evaporate; highly unstable; explosive
A situation that is volatile is likely to change suddenly and unexpectedly.
If someone is volatile, their mood often changes quickly.
A volatile liquid or substance is one that will quickly ch


[voul�??n, v?-]
will; conscious choice
Your volition is the power you have to decide something for yourself.
If you do something of your own volition, you do it because you have decided for yourself that you will do it and not because someone else has tol


malicious; unjustifiable; unprovoked
A wanton action deliberately causes harm, damage, or waste without having any reason to.
If someone describes a woman as wanton, they disapprove of her because she clearly enjoys sex or has sex with a lot of


deliberate; obstinate; insistent on having ones way
willful /w'?lf?l/


yearning; sadly longing
Someone who is wistful is rather sad because they want something and know that they cannot have it.


enthusiastically devoted to something; fervent
Someone who is zealous spends a lot of time or energy in supporting something that they believe in very strongly, especially a political or religious ideal.