Some Frequently Appearing Words with Meanings and Sample Sentences
abandon (v.; n) to leave behind; to give something up; freedom; enthusiasm; impetuosity
After failing for several years, he abandoned his dream of starting a grocery business.
Lucy embarked on her new adventure with abandon.
abase (v.) to degrade; humiliate; disgrace
The mother’s public reprimand abased the girl. The insecure father, after failing to achieve his own life-long goals, based his children whenever they failed.
abdicate (v.) to reject, renounce, or abandon
Because of his poor payment record, it may be necessary to abdicate our relationship with the client.
aberrant (adj.) abnormal; straying from the normal or usual path
The aberrant flight pattern of the airplane alarmed the air traffic controllers. His aberrant behavior led his friends to worry the divorce had taken its toll.
abeyance (n.) a state of temporary suspension or inactivity
Since the power failure, the town has been in abeyance.
abhor (v.) to hate
By the way her jaw tensed when he walked in, it is easy to see that she abhors him. The dog abhorred cats, chasing and growling at them whenever he had the opportunity.
abject (adj.) of the worst or lowest degree
The Haldemans lived in abject poverty, with barely a roof over their heads.
abjure (v.) to give up
The losing team may abjure to the team that is winning.
abnegation (n.) a denial
The woman’s abnegation of her loss was apparent when she began to laugh.
abominate (v.) to loathe; to hate
Randall abominated all the traffic he encountered on every morning commute. Please do not abominate the guilty person until you hear the complete explanation.
abridge (v.) to shorten; to limit
The editor abridged the story to make the book easier to digest.
abrogate (v.) to cancel by authority
The judge would not abrogate the law.
abrupt (adj.) happening or ending unexpectedly
The abrupt end to their marriage was a shock to everyone.
abscond (v.) to go away hastily or secretly; to hide
The newly wed couple will abscond from the reception to leave on the honeymoon.
absolve (v.) to forgive; to acquit
The judge will absolve the person of all charges. After feuding for many years, the brothers absolved each other for the many arguments they had.
abstemious (adj.) sparing in use of food or drinks
If we become stranded in the snow storm, we will have to be abstemious with our food supply.
In many abstemious cultures the people are so thin due to the belief that too much taken into the body leads to contamination of the soul.
abstinence (n.) the act or process of voluntarily refraining from any action or practice; self-control; chastity
In preparation for the Olympic games, the athletes practiced abstinence from red meat and junk food, adhering instead to a menu of pasta and produce.
abstruse (adj.) hard to understand; deep; recondite
The topic was so abstruse the student was forced to stop reading. The concept was too abstruse for the average student to grasp.
abysmal (adj.) very deep
The abysmal waters contained little plant life.
accede (v.) to comply with; to consent to
With defeat imminent, the rebel army acceded to hash out a peace treaty.
acclaim (n.) loud approval; applause
Edward Albee’s brilliantly written Broadway revival of A Delicate Balance received wide acclaim.
accolade (n.) approving or praising mention; a sign of approval or respect
Rich accolades were bestowed on the returning hero. Accolades flowed into her dressing room following the opening-night triumph.
accomplice (n.) co-conspirator; partner; partner-in-crime
The bank robber’s accomplice drove the get- away car.
accretion (n.)growth by addition; a growing together by parts
With the accretion of the new members, the club doubled its original size. The addition of the new departments accounts for the accretion of the company.
accrue (v.) a natural growth; a periodic increase
Over the course of her college career, she managed to accrue a great deal of knowledge.
The savings were able to accrue a sizable amount of interest each year. During his many years of collecting stamps, he was able to accrue a large collection of valuable items.
acerbic (adj.) tasting sour; harsh in language or temper
Too much Bay Leaf will make the eggplant acerbic. The baby’s mouth puckered when she was given the acerbic medicine. The columnist’s acerbic comments about the First Lady drew a strong denunciation from the President.
acquiesce (v.) to agree without protest
The group acquiesced to the new regulations even though they were opposed to them. After a hard-fought battle, the retailers finally acquiesced to the draft regulations.
acrid (adj.) sharp; bitter; foul smelling
Although the soup is a healthy food choice, it is so acrid not many people choose to eat it. The fire at the plastics factory caused an acrid odor to be emitted throughout the surrounding neighborhood.
acrimony (n.) sharpness or bitterness in language or manner
The acrimony of her response was shocking.
adage (n.) an old saying now accepted as being truthful
The adage “do unto others as you wish them to do unto you” is still widely practiced.
adamant (adj.) not yielding, firm
After taking an adamant stand to sell the house, the man called the real estate agency.
The girl’s parents were adamant about not allowing her to go on a dangerous backpacking trip.
addled (adj.) rotten; confused and vague, used especially of thinking
The egg will become addled if it is left unrefrigerated. She is unable to reach a decision because she is all so addled!
adept (adj.) skilled; practiced
The skilled craftsman was quite adept at creating beautiful vases and candleholders.
adjure (v.) solemnly ordered
The jurors were adjured by the judge to make a fair decision.
adroit (adj.) expert or skillful
The repair was not difficult for the adroit craftsman. The driver’s adroit driving avoided a serious accident.
adulation (n.) praise in excess
The adulation was in response to the heroic feat. The adulation given to the movie star was sickening.
adversary (n.) an enemy; foe
The peace treaty united two countries that were historically great adversaries.
adverse (adj.) negative; hostile; antagonistic; inimical
Contrary to the ski resort’s expectations, the warm weather generated adverse conditions for a profitable weekend.
advocate (v.; n.) to plead in favor of; supporter; defender Amnesty
International advocates the cause for human rights. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great advocate of civil rights.
aesthetic (adj.) of beauty; pertaining to taste in art and beauty
She found that her aesthetic sense and that of the artist were at odds. His review made one wonder what kind of aesthetic taste the critic had.
affable (adj.) friendly; amiable; good-natured
Her affable puppy loved to play with children.
affiliate (v.) to connect or associate with; to accept as a member
The hiking club affiliated with the bird-watching club.
affinity (n.) a connection; similarity of structure
There is a strong emotional affinity between the two siblings.
It turns out that the elements bear a strong affinity to each other.
aggrandize (v.) to make more powerful
The king wanted to aggrandize himself and his kingdom.
aghast (adj.) astonished; amazed; horrified; terrified; appalled
Stockholders were aghast at the company’s revelation. The landlord was aghast at his water bill.
agrarian (adj.) of the land
Many agrarian people are poor.
alacrity (n.) eager readiness or speed
The manager was so impressed by the worker’s alacrity; he suggested a promotion.
On the first day of her new job, the recent college graduate was able to leave early after completing all of her tasks with alacrity.
alchemy (n.) any mysterious change of substance or nature
The magician used alchemy to change the powder into a liquid
allegory (n.) a symbolic description
The book contained many allegories on Russian history.
alleviate (v.) to lessen or make easier
The airport’s monorail alleviates vehicular traffic.
allude (v.) to refer indirectly to something
The story alludes to part of the author’s life.
Without stating that the defendant was an ex-convict, the prosecutor alluded to the fact by mentioning his length of unemployment.
allure(v.; n.) to attract; entice; attraction; temptation; glamour
The romantic young man allured the beautiful woman by preparing a wonderful dinner. Singapore’s allure is its bustling economy.
allusion (n.) an indirect reference (often literary); a hint
The mention of the pet snake was an allusion to the man’s sneaky ways. In modern plays allusions are often made to ancient drama.
aloof (adj.) distant in interest; reserved; cool
Even though the new coworker was aloof, we attempted to be friendly. The calm defendant remained aloof when he was wrongly accused of fabricating his story.
altercation (n.) controversy; dispute
A serious altercation caused the marriage to end in a bitter divorce.
altruism (n.) unselfish devotion to the welfare of others
After the organization aided the catastrophe victims, it was given an award for altruism. She displayed such altruism by giving up all of her belongings and joining a peace corps in Africa.
amalgam (n.) a mixture or combination (often of metals)
The art display was an amalgam of modern and traditional pieces. That ring is made from an amalgam of minerals; if it were pure gold it would never hold its shape.
amalgamate (v.) to mix, merge, combine
If the economy does not grow, the business may need to amalgamate with a rival company. The three presidents decided to amalgamate their businesses to build one strong company.
amass (v.) to collect together; accumulate
Over the years the sailor has amassed many replicas of boats.
The women amassed a huge collection of priceless diamonds and pearls.
ambiguous (adj.) not clear; uncertain; vague
The ambiguous law did not make a clear distinction between the new and old land boundary.
ambivalent (adj.) undecided
The ambivalent jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
ameliorate (v.) to improve or make better
A consistent routine of exercise has shown to ameliorate health. We can ameliorate the flooding problem by changing the grading.
amiable (adj.) friendly
The newcomer picked the most amiable person to sit next to during the meeting.
amiss (adj.; adv.) wrong; awry; wrongly; in a defective manner
Seeing that his anorak was gone, he knew something was amiss. Its new muffler aside, the car was behaving amiss.
amity (n.) friendly relations
The amity between the two bordering nations put the populations at ease.
amorphous (adj.) with no shape; unorganized; having no determinate form
The amorphous gel seeped through the cracks. The amorphous group quickly got lost.
amortize (v.) to put money into a fund at fixed intervals
The couple was able to amortize their mortgage sooner than they thought.
anachronism (n.) something out of place in time (e.g., an airplane in 1492)
The editor recognized an anachronism in the manuscript where the character from the 1500s boarded an airplane. He realized that the film about cavemen contained an anachronism when he saw a jet cut across the horizon during a hunting scene.
analogy(n.) similarity; correlation; parallelism
The teacher used an analogy to describe the similarities between the two books.
Comparing the newly discovered virus with one found long ago, the scientist made an analogy between the two organisms.
anaphylaxis (n.) an allergic reaction
The boy’s severe anaphylaxis to a series of medications made writing prescriptions a tricky proposition.
anarchist (n.) one who believes that a formal government is unnecessary
The yell from the crowd came from the anarchist protesting the government. The anarchist attempted to overthrow the established democratic government of the new nation and reinstate chaos and disarray.
anchorage (n.) something that can be relied on
Knowing the neighbors were right next door was an anchorage for the elderly woman.
anecdote (n.) a short account of happenings
The speaker told an anecdote about how he lost his shoes when he was young.
animosity (n.) a feeling of hatred or ill will
Animosity grew between the two feuding families.
anoint (v.) to crown; ordain
A member of the monarchy was anointed by the king.
anomaly (n.) an oddity, inconsistency; a deviation from the norm
An anomaly existed when the report listed one statistic, and the spokeswoman reported another.
In a parking lot full of Buicks, Chevys, and Plymouths, the Jaguar was an anomaly.
antagonism (n.) hostility; opposition
The antagonism was created by a misunderstanding. The rebellious clan captured a hostage to display antagonism to the new peace treaty.
antipathy (n.) a strong dislike or repugnance
Her antipathy for large crowds convinced her to decline the invitation to the city. The vegetarian had an antipathy toward meat.
apathy (n.) lack of emotion or interest
He showed apathy when his relative was injured. The disheartened peasants expressed apathy toward the new law which promised new hope and prosperity for all.
apocalyptic (adj.) pertaining to a discovery or new revelation
Science-fiction movies seem to relish apocalyptic visions.
apocryphal (adj.) counterfeit; of doubtful authorship or authenticity
The man who said he was a doctor was truly apocryphal.
appease (v.) to satisfy; to calm
A milk bottle usually appeases a crying baby.
apposite(adj.) suitable; apt; relevant
Discussion of poverty was apposite to the curriculum, so the professor allowed it.
Without reenacting the entire scenario, the situation can be understood if apposite information is given.
apprehensive (adj.) fearful; aware; conscious
The nervous child was apprehensive about beginning a new school year.
approbatory (adj.) approving or sanctioning
The judge showed his acceptance in his approbatory remark.
arable (adj.) suitable (as land) for plowing
When the land was deemed arable the farmer decided to plow.
arbiter (n.) one who is authorized to judge or decide
The decision of who would represent the people was made by the arbiter.
arbitrary (adj.) based on one’s preference or judgment
Rick admitted his decision had been arbitrary, as he claimed no expertise on the matter.
arcane (adj.) obscure; secret; mysterious
With an arcane expression, the young boy left the family wondering what sort of mischief he had committed. The wizard’s description of his magic was purposefully arcane so that others would be unable to copy it.
archetype (n.) original pattern or model; prototype
This man was the archetype for scores of fictional characters. The scientist was careful with the archetype of her invention so that once manufacturing began, it would be easy to reproduce it.
ardent (adj.) with passionate or intense feelings
The fans’ ardent love of the game kept them returning to watch the terrible team.
arduous (adj.) laborious, difficult; strenuous
Completing the plans for the new building proved to be an arduous affair. Building a house is arduous work, but the result is well worth the labor.
arid (adj.) extremely dry, parched; barren, unimaginative
The terrain was so arid that not one species of plant could survive. Their thirst became worse due to the arid condition of the desert.
arrogant (adj.) acting superior to others; conceited
After purchasing his new sports car, the arrogant doctor refused to allow anyone to ride with him to the country club.
arrogate (v.) to claim or demand unduly
The teenager arrogated that he should be able to use his parent’s car whenever he desired.
articulate (v.; adj.) to utter clearly and distinctly; clear, distinct; expressed with clarity; skillful with words
It’s even more important to articulate your words when you’re on the phone. You didn’t have to vote for him to agree that Adlai Stevenson was articulate. A salesperson must be articulate when speaking to a customer.
artifice (n.) skill in a craft
The artifice of glass-making takes many years of practice.
ascetic (n.; adj.) one who leads a simple life of self-denial; rigorously abstinent
The monastery is filled with ascetics who have devoted their lives to religion. The nuns lead an ascetic life devoted to the Lord.
askance (adv.) a sideways glance of disapproval
The look askance proved the guard suspected some wrongdoing.
asperity (n.) harshness
The man used asperity to frighten the girl out of going. The asperity of the winter had most everybody yearning for spring.
aspersion (n.) slanderous statement; a damaging or derogatory criticism
The aspersion damaged the credibility of the organization. He blamed the loss of his job on an aspersion stated by his co-worker to his superior.
aspirant(n.) a person who goes after high goals
The aspirant would not settle for assistant director—only the top job was good enough.
assay (n.) to determine the quality of a substance.
Has the soil been assayed.
assiduous (adj.) carefully attentive; industrious
It is necessary to be assiduous if a person wishes to make the most of his time at work.
He enjoys having assiduous employees because he can explain a procedure once and have it performed correctly every time.
assuage (v.) to relieve; ease; make less severe
Medication should assuage the pain. The medication helped assuage the pain of the wound.
astringent (n.; adj.) a substance that contracts bodily tissues; causing contraction; tightening; stern, austere
After the operation an astringent was used on his skin so that the stretched area would return to normal.
The downturn in sales caused the CEO to impose astringent measures. Her astringent remarks at the podium would not soon be forgotten.
astute (adj.) cunning; sly; crafty
The astute lawyer’s questioning convinced the jury of the defendant’s guilt.
atrophy (v.; n.) to waste away, as from lack of use; to wither; failure to grow A few months after he lost his ability to walk, his legs began to atrophy. The atrophy of the muscles was due to the injury.
attenuate (v.) to thin out; to weaken
Water is commonly used to attenuate strong chemicals. The chemist attenuated the solution by adding water.
atypical (adj.) something that is abnormal
The atypical behavior of the wild animal alarmed the hunters.
audacious (adj.) fearless; bold
The audacious soldier went into battle without a shield.
augment (v.) to increase or add to; to make larger
They needed more soup so they augmented the recipe. They were able to augment their savings over a period of time.
august (adj.) to be imposing or magnificent
The palace was august in gold and crystal.
auspicious (adj.) being of a good omen; successful
It was auspicious that the sun shone on the first day of the trip. The campaign had an auspicious start, foreshadowing the future.
austere (adj.) having a stern look; having strict self-discipline
The old woman always has an austere look about her. The austere teacher assigned five pages of homework each day.
authentic (adj.) real; genuine; trustworthy
An authentic diamond will cut glass.
authoritarian (n.; adj.) acting as a dictator; demanding obedience
The authoritarian made all of the rules but did none of the work. Fidel Castro is reluctant to give up his authoritarian rule.
autocracy (n.) an absolute monarchy; government where one person holds power
The autocracy was headed by a demanding man. She was extremely power-hungry and therefore wanted her government to be an autocracy.
autocrat (n.) an absolute ruler
The autocrat in charge of the government was a man of power and prestige. The autocrat made every decision and divided the tasks among his subordinates.
avarice (n.) inordinate desire for gaining and possessing wealth
The man’s avarice for money kept him at work through the evenings and weekends. The avarice of the president led to his downfall.
aver (v.) to affirm as true
The witness was able to aver the identity of the defendant.
awry (adj; adv.) crooked(ly); uneven(ly); wrong; askew
Hearing the explosion in the laboratory, the scientist realized the experiment had gone awry.
azure (adj.) the clear blue color of the sky
The azure sky made the picnic day perfect.