SAT Word of the Day            *




Part of

First Known Use

Used in a sentence*







PROFANE 1. not sacred or religious 2. showing disrespect for religion

transitive verb

FNU: 14th century Middle English prophanen, from Anglo-French prophaner, from Latin profanare, from profanus

The once-lovely landscape had been profaned by ugly factories.


ERRONEOUS incorrect


FNU: 15th century Middle English, from Latin erroneus, from erron-, erro wanderer, from errare

The article about the new virus was filled with much erroneous information.




FNU: circa 1616
Latin aequanimitas, from aequo animo with even mind

Patriot's quarterback Tom Brady displays wonderful equanimity under pressure.
?from B.S.G.


DEPRECATE (related:  deprecating) disapprove of, criticize

transitive verb

FNU: 1628
Latin deprecatus, past participle of deprecari to avert by prayer, from de- + precari to pray 

Movie critics tried to outdo one another in deprecating the comedy as the stupidest movie of the year.


CONSUMMATE 1. (verb) complete, make perfect 2. (adjective) highly skilled, perfect


FNU: 1527 Middle English 
consummat fulfilled, from Latin consummatus, past participle of consummare to sum up, finish, from com- + summa sum

He plays the piano with consummate skill.


SPATE outbreak of similar events happening one after another


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English

First Known Use: 15th century

There was a spate of corporate mergers in the 1980s.


REPUDIATE reject entirely, deny


FNU: 1545 Latin 
repudiatus, past participle of repudiare, from repudium rejection of a prospective spouse, divorce, probably from re- + pud?re to shame

She says she has evidence which repudiates the allegations.


INSULAR 1. related to or similar to an island 2. narrow-minded, isolated


FNU: 1611 Late Latin insularis, from Latin insula island


The insular community was not receptive to new ideas, especially from outsiders.


WRY having a clever or grim sense of humor

verb; intransitive verb; transitive verb

FNU: 14th century Middle English wrien, from Old English wrigian to turn; akin to Middle High German rigel kerchief wound around the head...

His books are noted for their wry humor.


EMPIRICAL based on observation and experimentation


First Known Use: 1569

They collected plenty of empirical data from their experiments.


FATHOM 1. (verb) understand 2. (noun) a unit of depth, usually measuring water

verb; noun

FNU:  (verb) 1607  FNU: before 12th century  (noun) Middle English fadme, from Old English fæthm outstretched arms, length of the outstretched arms 

(v)  I couldn't fathom how he escaped punishment.
(n) A fathom is a unit of length equal to six feet (1.83 meters) used especially for measuring the depth of water. 




First Known Use: 1651
French acquiescer, from Latin acquiescere, from ad- + quiescere to be quiet   

They demanded it, and he acquiesced.


DISCREDIT harm someone’s reputation


First Known Use:  1559  


The prosecution discredited 
the witness by showing that she had lied in the past.


EMBITTER (related:  embittered) cause someone to feel bitter


First Known Use:  15th century

The soldier was 
embittered by the war.


ATYPICAL not normal


First Known Use:  1885

Since that's an atypical response for an infant, you might want to have her hearing tested.


MERCENARY 1. (adjective) motivated by money 2. (noun) soldier hired to fight for a foreign country

adjective; noun

First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Latin mercenarius, irregular from merced-, merces wages 


His motives in choosing a career were purely mercenary.


HYPOTHESIS (related:  hypothetical) theory, guess


First Known Use: circa 1656
Greek, from hypotithenai to put under, suppose, from hypo- + tithenai to put 

The results of the experiment did not support his hypothesis.


INTEGRITY 1. honesty, dignity 2. completeness


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English integrite, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French integrité, from Latin integritat-, integritas, from integr-, integer entire

They are trying to preserve the cultural integrity of the community.


CRITERION standard by which things are judged or measured


First Known Use: 1622
Greek krit?rion, from krinein to judge, decide 


One criterion for grading these essays will be their conformity to the rules of traditional grammar.


PATRONIZE 1. support financially 2. act superior, look down on

1. verb;
2.transitive verb

First Known Use: 1589

1. I patronize the library regularly. 2. He hated being patronized and pitied by those who didn't believe his story.


OPAQUE (related: opacity) 1. not transparent 2. hard to understand


First Known Use: 1641

In the opening hour, a group of strangers receive a maddeningly opaque cell-phone summons to join a secret cross-country race with a $32 million prize.


WARY cautious


First Known Use: 15th century
ware, from Middle English war, ware, from Old English wær careful, aware, wary; akin to Old High German giwar aware, attentive, Latin vereri to fear, Greek horan to see

Investors are increasingly wary about putting money into stocks.


ECLECTIC from a variety of sources


First Known Use: 1683
Greek eklektikos, from eklegein to select, from ex- out + legein to gather 

The collection includes an eclectic mix of historical artifacts.


INDUCE 1. bring about, cause 2. arrive at a conclusion by logical reasoning


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French inducer, from Latin inducere, from in- + ducere to lead

No one knows what induced him to leave.

25 INHIBIT (related: inhibiting) hold back, restrain, prevent verb First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin inhibitus, past participle of inhib?re, from in- 2in- + hab?re to have 

Fear can inhibit people from expressing their opinions.

26 DETRIMENTAL damaging, harmful adjective First Known Use: 1590 The factory's waste was detrimental to the local environment.
27 GENERIC general, not specific adjective First Known Use: 1676
French générique, from Latin gener-, genus birth, kind, class

Flu is sometimes used as a generic term for any illness caused by a virus.

28 LOFTY 1. tall 2. majestic, noble 3. arrogant adjective First Known Use:  15th century

He set lofty goals for himself as a teacher.

29 IDEOLOGY system of ideas, way of thinking noun First Known Use: 1813
French idéologie, from idéo- ideo- + -logie -logy

He says that the election is not about ideology.

30 INHERENT innate, inborn, natural adjective First Known Use: 1581
Latin inhaerent-, inhaerens, present participle of inhaer?re 

He has an inherent sense of fair play.

31 AMENABLE 1. cooperative, easily persuaded 2. receptive, responsive adjective First Known Use: 1596
Anglo-French, from amener to bring, compel, from a- (from Latin ad-) + mener to lead, from Late Latin minare to drive, from Latin minari to threaten 
Our normally balky cat becomes the most amenable of creatures when confronted with the strange environment of the veterinary clinic.
32 AVERSION dislike noun First Known Use: 1596

They regarded war with aversion.

33 APPARATUS device, equipment noun First Known Use: circa 1628
Latin, from apparare to prepare, from ad- + parare to prepare

She fell off a gymnastics apparatus and broke her leg.

34 DEMURE (related: demurral) overly modest, shy adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English

The demure charm of the cottage made her feel peaceful.

35 QUALIFIED 1. competent, able 2. limited adjective First Known Use: 1558

I'm not qualified to give you advice about what you should do.

36 SUBORDINATE lower in rank, inferior adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English subordinat, from Medieval Latin subordinatus, past participle of subordinare to subordinate, from Latin sub- + ordinare to order 
His contention is that environment plays a subordinate role to heredity in determining what we become.
37 DORMANT not active adjective First Known Use: circa 1500
Middle English, fixed, stationary, from Anglo-French, from present participle of dormir to sleep, from Latin dormire; akin to Sanskrit dr?ti he sleeps

The seeds will remain dormant until the spring.

38 SPARSE lacking, rare adjective First Known Use: 1753
Latin sparsus spread out, from
past participle of 
spargere to scatter 
Open land is sparse around here.
39 DEFINITIVE absolute, authoritative adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English diffinityf, from Anglo-French diffinitive, from Latin definitivus, from definitus

The court has issued a definitive ruling.

40 TEMPESTUOUS stormy adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Late Latin tempestuosus, from Old Latin tempestus season, weather, storm, from tempus
In terms of social change, the 1960s are generally considered the most tempestuous decade in recent American history.
41 DETER prevent, discourage verb First Known Use: circa 1547
Latin deterr?re, from de- + terr?re to frighten 

Some potential buyers will be deterred by the price.

42 FOLLY foolishness noun First Known Use: 13th century
Middle English folie, from Anglo-French, Latin inert-, iners unskilled, idle, from in- + art-, ars skill — more at arm
First Known Use: 1647from fol fool

Don't you think he'd realize the folly of driving fast on steep, winding roads?

43 EQUITABLE fair, even-handed adjective First Known Use:  1598 Does the United States have

an equitable system of taxation?

44 STOCK (adjective) standard, usual, automatic adjective First Known Use: before 12th century
Middle English stok, from Old English stocc; akin to Old High German stoc stick
First Known Use: before 12th century

That was a stock answer if I ever heard one!


45 INERT (related: inertia) not moving or active adjective First Known Use: 1647
Latin inert-, iners unskilled, idle, from in- + art-, ars skill

How does he propose to stimulate the inert economy and create jobs?

46 PEREMPTORY bossy, commanding adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English peremptorie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin peremptorius,from Latin, destructive, from perimere to take entirely, destroy, from per- thoroughly + emere to take 

Her peremptory tone angered me.

47 GLACIAL 1. icy, related to glaciers 2. cold, unfriendly 3. extremely slow adjective First Known Use: 1656
Latin glacialis, from glacies
First Known Use: 1656
glacial weather front coming down from Canada will bring freezing temperatures this weekend.
48 ACCEDE 1. give in, agree to 2. take office verb First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin accedere to go to, be added, from ad- + cedere to go
The teacher finally acceded to their pleas for more time to complete the project.
49 SIMILE comparison noun First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Latin, comparison, from neuter of similis

She's as fierce as a tiger is a simile, but She's a tiger when she's angry is a metaphor.

50 COMPLY go along with rules verb First Known Use: 1602
Italian complire, from Spanish cumplir to complete, perform what is due, be courteous, modification of Latin compl?re to complete

I asked the waitress to refill my coffee cup and she hap-
pily complied.

51 SUSCEPTIBLE easily influenced or affected adjective First Known Use: 1605
Late Latin susceptibilis, from Latin susceptus, past participle of suscipere to take up, admit, fromsub-, sus- up + capere to take

The virus can infect susceptible individuals.

52 REMISSION reduction or decrease, particularly of a debt or medical symptoms noun First Known Use: 13th century

The patient is in remission.

53 MAR hurt someone’s appearance verb First Known Use: before 12th century
Middle English marren, from Old English mierran to obstruct, waste; akin to Old High Germanmerren to obstruct

His acting mars an otherwise great movie.

54 THRIVE grow, develop, prosper intransitive verb  First Known Use: 15th centuryFirst Known Use: 13th century
Middle English, from Old Norse thr?fask, probably reflexive of thr?fa to grasp
These plants thrive with relatively little sunlight.
55 FALLACY mistaken belief, faulty reasoning noun First Known Use: 14th century
Latin fallacia, from fallac-, fallax deceitful, from fallere to deceive

The fallacy of their ideas about medicine soon became apparent.

56 SATIRE (related: satirical, satirize) sarcastic imitation noun First Known Use: 1501
Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin satura, satira, perhaps from (lanxsatura dish of mixed ingredients, from feminine of satur well-fed; akin to Latin satis enough 

The movie is a political satire.

57 IMPECCABLE perfect, flawless adjective First Known Use: 1531
Latin impeccabilis, from in- + peccare to sin
The etiquette expert was celebrated for her absolutely impeccable manners.
58 SUBJUGATE conquer, dominate, control

transitive verb


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latinsubjugatus, past participle of subjugare, from sub- + jugum yoke


The emperor's armies subjugated the surrounding lands.
59 LABORIOUS involving hard work adjective First Known Use: 14th century The volunteers have been commendably laborious in their cleanup of the beach.
60 CONSCIENTIOUS careful, hardworking adjective First Known Use: 1576 Because he wanted to get well, Jack was conscientious about following the doctor's orders.
61 SANCTION 1. (noun) penalty for disobeying a law 2. (verb) punish, impose a penalty 3. (verb) formally approve noun; transitive verb First Known Use: 15th century
Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin sanction-, sanctio, from sancire to make holy


The country acted without the sanction of the other nations.

The coaches sanctioned the new rule.

62 ACCLAIM praise verb

First Known Use: 1667

She has long been acclaimed by the critics for her realistic acting.acclaimed by the critics for her realistic acting.
63 CONSTRAINT restriction, limitation



First Known Use: 15th century

Middle English, from Middle French constrainte, from constraindre

Lack of funding has been a major constraint on the building's design.
64 INDISCRIMINATE unselective, random adjective First Known Use:  circa 1598  He objects to the indiscriminate use of pesticides.
65 UNPRECEDENTED without any previous example adjective First Known Use:  1623 Shakespeare served as exemplar of the writer who achieved success, and an unprecedented degree of financial reward, from his pen alone. —Jonathan Bate, Harper's, April 2007
66 HERESY (related: heretic) belief that goes against the established opinion noun First Known Use: 13th century
Middle Englishheresie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, action of taking, choice, sect, from hairein to take


He was preaching dangerous heresies.
67 PRECOCIOUS having early development in maturity and intelligence adjective First Known Use: 1650
Latinpraecoc-, praecox early ripening, precocious, from prae- + coquere to cook


A precocious musician, he was giving concerts when he was seven.
68 CONVOLUTED complicated, twisted adjective First Known Use: 1766 The chairman of the committee gave a convoluted explanation that left the listeners even more confused than they were before.
69 CONGENIAL pleasant adjective First Known Use: circa 1625 We studied in the congenial atmosphere of the library.
70 MERCURIAL unpredictable, inconsistent adjective First Known Use: 14th century The boss's mood is so mercurial that we never know how he's going to react to anything.
71 DIRE urgent, dreadful adjective First Known Use: 1565
Latindirus; akin to Greek deinos terrifying, Sanskrit dvesti he hates


All wild tigers are threatened with extinction, but Sumatran tigers are in especially dire straits because the world's zoos have only 235 of them in captive-breeding programs. —Audubon, November-December 1998
72 INNOVATE (related:  innovation, innovative) make something new, change, create verb First Known Use: 1548
Latin innovatus, past participle of innovare, from in- + novus new — more at new


The company innovated a new operating system.
73 NOTORIOUS (related:  notoriety) famous for something bad adjective First Known Use: 1534
Medieval Latin


The coach is notorious for his violent outbursts.
74 TANGENT (related:  tangential) 1. different or irrelevant line of thought 2. a line that touches a curve at a point (in math) adjective First Known Use: 1594
Latin tangent-, tangens, present participle of tangere to touch; perhaps akin to Old English thaccian to touch gently, stroke


In the middle of her description of her dog's symptoms, she went off on a tangent about its cute behavior.

FLAG 1. (noun) symbol of a country or institution
2. (verb) point out, signal, draw attention to 
3. (intransitive verb) become tired or weak




noun: First Known Use: 1530
probably akin to fag end of cloth

verb: First Known Use:  1856

intransitive verb: First Known Use:  1545


It is always meaningful to me to see the raising of our country's flag

The teacher flagged potential problems in his essay.

Flagging stock prices are worrying investors.

76 REMOTE distant, far adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, fromLatin remotus, from past participle of remov?re to remove


There is a remote possibility that I'll be free Friday night.
77 CIRCUMSCRIBE restrict, limit verb First Known Use: 14th century
Middle Englishcircumscriven, from Latincircumscribere, from circum- + scribere to write, draw


He circumscribed his enthusiasm so as not to make the losing side feel worse.
78 VICARIOUS felt indirectly by imagining someone else's experiences adjective First Known Use: 1637
Latinvicarius, fromvicis change, alternation, stead


To give himself the vicarious illusion of companionship, he fell back on letters. —Amy Lowell, John Keats, 1925
79 ELUDE escape from, avoid verb First Known Use: 1667
Latin eludere, from e- + ludere to play


The cause of the disease continues to elude researchers.
80 FACILITATE help, make easier verb First Known Use: 1611 The moderator's role is to facilitate the discussion by asking appropriate questions.
81 DILIGENT (related:  diligence) hardworking adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin diligent-, diligens, from present participle of diligere to esteem, love, from di- (from dis- apart) + legere to select 
She is a diligent teacher who is always well prepared and mindful of what will be of most benefit to her students.
82 IRONY (related: ironic) difference between what is expected and what actually happens noun First Known Use: 1502
Latin ironia, from Greek eir?nia, from eir?n dissembler


It was a tragic irony that he made himself sick by worrying so much about his health.
83 AFFABLE (related: affability) friendly adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English affabyl, from Anglo-French, from Latin affabilis, from affari to speak to, from ad- + fari to speak


In repose, he can be affable and quite funny. But woe betide anyone who crosses him or who fails to perform to his demanding standards. —Anthony Bianco et al., Business Week, 9 Sept. 2002
84 EXPLOIT 1. (verb) benefit unfairly from something 2. (noun) bold or heroic deed noun First Known Use: circa 1538
Middle English
Top athletes are able to exploit their opponents' weaknesses.
85 ORTHODOX conservative, traditional adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English orthodoxe, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French orthodoxe, from Late Latin orthodoxus, from Late Greek orthodoxos, from Greek orth- + doxa opinion


She believes in the benefits of both orthodox medicine and alternative medicine.
86 PROHIBITIVE (related:  prohibit, prohibition) 1. forbidding or restricting 2. excessively high in price adjective First Know Use:  15th century The prohibitive cost of rent makes it very difficult for young people to find an affordable place to live.
87 ASSAIL attack verb First Known Use: 13th century
Middle English, from Anglo-Frenchassaillir, from Vulgar Latin *assalire, alteration of Latin assilire to leap upon, from ad- + salire to leap 
The movie was assailed by critics because of the gratuitous (unnecessary) violence.


88 ANTITHESIS opposite noun First Known Use: 1529
Late Latin, from Greek, literally, opposition, fromantitithenai to oppose, from anti- + tithenai to set 


True love for another is the antithesis of the desire to control that person's life.
89 FACILE 1. shallow, simplistic 2. effortless adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle French, from Latin facilis, from facere to do


This problem needs more than just a facile solution.
90 CAJOLE persuade verb

First Known Use: 1630
French cajoler

She cajoled me into accompanying her.
91 ENDORSE approve, support verb First Known Use: 1581
alteration of obsolete endoss, from Middle English endosen, from Anglo-French endosser, to put on, don, write on the back of, from en- + dos back, from Latin dorsum


That brand of sneaker is endorsed by several basketball stars.
92 MALIGN (related:  malignant) 1. (adjective) evil 2. (verb) criticize, speak ill of adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle Englishmaligne, from Anglo-French, from Latin malignus, from male badly + gignere to beget


Her supporters say she is being unfairly maligned in the press.

EXCISE 1. remove

2. tax

3. to impose an excise on

1. transitive verb
2. noun

3.transitive verb 

First Known Use: 1634
Latinexcisus, past participle of excidere, from ex- + caedere to cut


The surgeon excised the small growth.
94 PROCURE get or provide verb First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French procurer, from Late Latinprocurare, from Latin, to take care of, from pro- for + cura care
She managed to procure a ticket to the concert.
95 AILMENT illness noun First Known Use: 1657  She suffered from a chronic back ailment.
96 INSIDIOUS sneaky, stealthy, treacherous adjective First Known Use: 1545
Origin of insidious   Latin insidiosus, from insidiae ambush, from insid?re to sit in, sit on, from in- + sed?re to sit 


Spin is sometimes dismissed as a simple euphemism for lying. But it's actually something more insidious: indifference to the truth. —Michael Kinsley, Time, 25 Dec. 2000–1 Jan. 2001
97 EFFERVESCE (related:  effervescent) bubble, fizz intransitive verb

First Known Use: 1784

*denoting the beginning of an action, state, or occurrence 

She effervesced when finding out that she got into college.
98 DEPOSE 1. remove from power 2. testify or give evidence (in a legal context)


2.transitive verb

1. First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French deposer, from Late Latin deponere (perfect indicative deposui), from Latin, to put down

2. Middle English, from Medieval Latin deponere, from Late Latin

1. A military junta deposed the dictator after he had bankrupted the country.

2.  She was nervous when the time to depose before the jury finally arrived.


PRESCRIBE 1. recommend,

2. command

1. verb

2.transitive verb

1.  First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin praescribere to write at the beginning, dictate, order, from prae- + scribere to write — more at scribe

2.  Middle English, from Medieval

1. This drug should not be prescribed to children.

2. The law prescribes a prison sentence of at least five years for the crime.

100 GRAVITY seriousness noun First Known Use: 1505
Middle French or Latin; Middle French gravité, from Latin gravitat-, gravitas, from gravis


The hospital waiting room was filled with the kind of gravity that inevitably accompanies worry.
101 ARCHAIC old or old-fashioned adjective First Known Use: 1832
French or Greek; French archaïque, from Greek archaïkos, from archaios
The company needs to update its archaic computer systems.
102 SUSTAIN 1. strengthen, support 2. maintain, carry on 3. experience, suffer 1.transitive verb First Known Use: 13th century                        Middle English sustenen, from Anglo-French sustein-, stem of sustenir, from Latin sustinere to hold up, sustain, from sub-, sus- up + tenere to hold 

1. The roof, unable to sustain the weight of all the snow, collapsed.sustain the weight of all the snow, collapsed.

103 PRESUMPTION 1. assumption, guess 2. boldness, disrespect noun First Known Use: 13th century
Middle English presumpcioun, from Anglo-French presumption, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin praesumption-, praesumptio presumptuous attitude, from Latin, assumption, from praesumere


The trial was unfair from the beginning because there was no presumption of innocence.
104 EFFACE (related:  effacement) erase verb First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Anglo-Frenchesfacer, effacer, from e- + face face


Coins with dates effaced by wear are frustrating to collectors.
105 CONTINGENCY 1. possibility 2. unforeseen event noun First Known Use: 1561 In making our business plans, we tried to prepare for any contingency that might hurt sales.
106 EXACTING demanding, having severe requirements adjective First Known Use: 1634 He was shocked when his normally exacting supervisor complimented him on a job well done.
107 DISCOUNT (verb) 1. reduce in price 2. ignore, disregard verb First Known Use: 1629
modification of French décompter, from Old French desconter, from Medieval Latin discomputare, from Latin dis- + computare to count


1.  Car dealers are heavily discounting last year's unsold models.

2. These threats cannot be entirely discounted.

108 VITIATE spoil, destroy verb First Known Use: 1534
Latin vitiatus, past participle of vitiare, from vitium fault, vice


They believed that luxury vitiates even the most principled person.
109 SOLICITOUS (related:  solicitousness) expressing care or concern, often too much adjective First Known Use: 1563
Latin sollicitus


I appreciated his solicitous inquiry about my health.
110 VOCATION career   First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English vocacioun, from Anglo-French vocaciun, from Latin vocation-, vocatio summons, from vocare to call, from vox voice
I'm a carpenter by vocation, but my hobby is painting.
111 CHARISMATIC charming adjective First Known Use: circa 1868 The cult's charismatic leader had managed to persuade seemingly rational people to obey him blindly. 
112 DEVOID lacking adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, past participle of devoiden to dispel, from Anglo-French *desvoider, from des- dis- + voider to empty
The so-called comedy is totally devoid of intelligence, originality, and even laughs.
113 HEDONIST someone driven by pleasure noun First Known Use: 1856
Greek hedone pleasure; akin to Greek hedys sweet


Their spring break trip to Mexico became an exercise in heedless hedonism.hedonism.
114 DIPLOMATIC 1. having to do with foreign relations 2. tactful, sensitive, polite adjective First Known Use: 1711
(1) from New Latin diplomaticus, from Latin diplomat-, diploma; in other senses, from French diplomatique connected with documents regulating international relations, from New Latin diplomaticus

(1) Negotiators are working to restore full diplomatic relations. (2) The teacher made a diplomatic attempt at preventing any hurt feelings.

115 DISCREPANCY difference, mismatch noun First Known Use: circa 1623 Discrepancies in the firm's financial statements led to an investigation.
116 CAPACITY ability noun First Known Use: 1587

The nature of the tasks to which
you are assigned will depend on your capabilities.

117 PRECIPITATE cause a sudden outcome verb First Known Use: 1528


Her death precipitated a family crisis.
118 STAGNANT (related:   stagnation) not moving adjective First Known Use: 1666

The blue-green algae blooms can occur in both freshwater and saltwater environments, but are most commonly found in stagnant bodies of water enriched by runoff.  f.  Paerl said.
Bridgett M. Kuehn, JAMA, 25 May 20

119 INCREDULOUS (related: incredulity ) disbelieving, skeptical adjective First Known Use: 1579
Latin incredulus, from in- + credulus credulous
She listened to his explanation with an incredulous smile.
120 INCARNATE 1. possessing a concrete, material form 2. in the flesh adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle Englishincarnat, from Late Latin incarnatus, past participle of incarnare to incarnate, from Latin in- + carn-, caro flesh
The general view is that Hitler incarnated extreme egotism and indeed evil itself.
121 DISCRIMINATING selective, having refined taste adjective First Known Use: 1647 The company was accused of discriminating practices in the hiring of employees.
122 DOMINANT most important or powerful adjective First Known Use: circa 1532
Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin dominant-, dominans, present participle of dominari


It is the dominant culture in the region.
123 SPURN reject, turn down verb First Known Use: before 12th century
Middle English, from Old English spurnan; akin to Old High German spurnan to kick, Latin spernere to spurn, Greek spairein to quiver


Fiercely independent, the elderly couple spurned all offers of financial help.
124 APATHETIC (related: apathy) lacking interest adjective First Known Use: 1744 Surprisingly, most Americans are apathetic toward this important issue.
125 TRITE unoriginal, common adjective First Known Use: 1548
Latintritus, from past participle of terere to rub, wear away
By the time the receiving line had ended, the bride and groom's thanks sounded trite and tired.
126 INCORRIGIBLE incapable of being corrected or improved adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Late Latin incorrigibilis, from Latin in- + corrigere to correct


He has an incorrigible habit of playing practical jokes.
127 NONCHALANCE (related:  nonchalant) lack of concern noun First Known Use: 1678 With their usual nonchalance they arrived at the wedding ceremony half an hour late.
128 ASSUAGE 1. relieve, soothe 2. satisfy verb First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English aswagen, from Anglo-French asuager, from Vulgar Latin *assuaviare, from Latin ad- + suavis sweet
Life contains sorrows that cannot be assuaged, and it is important to be honest in acknowledging this. — Jo McGowan, Commonweal, 5 May 2006
129 BUOYANT 1. cheerful 2. floating 3. very active (in an economic context) adjective First Known Use: 1578 Warm air is more buoyant than cool air.
130 DISSEMINATE scatter or spread widely verb First Known Use: 1566
Latin disseminatus, past participle of disseminare, from dis- + seminare to sow, from semin-, semen seed 


The Internet allows us to disseminate information faster.
131 STARK (related: starkness) harsh, plain adjective First Known Use: before 12th century
Middle English, stiff, strong, from Old English stearc; akin to Old High German starc strong, Lithuanian starinti to stiffen


His criticism of the movie stands in stark contrast to the praise it has received from others.
132 DISCOURSE discussion noun First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English discours, from Medieval Latin & Late Latin discursus; Medieval Latin, argument, from Late Latin, conversation, from Latin, act of running about, from discurrere to run about, from dis- + currere to run


He likes to engage in lively discourse with his visitors.
133 LUCID clear, easily understood adjective First Known Use: 1591
Latin lucidus, from luc?re (see lucent)


His lucid history of this grim subject is scrupulously accurate, so far as I am able to judge … — Richard A. Posner, New Republic, 8 Apr 2002
134 AUGMENT enlarge, increase verb First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French augmenter, from Late Latin augmentare, from Latin augmentum increase, from augere to increase


Heavy rains augmented the water supply.
135 DENOUNCE declare to be wrong, criticize verb First Known Use: 13th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French denuncier to proclaim, from Latin denuntiare, from de- + nuntiare to report
The film was denounced for the way it portrayed its female characters.
136 SUPINE 1. lying on one's back 2. not resisting adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English suppyne, from Latin supinus; akin to Latin sub under, up to
A supine legislature that is afraid to take action is of no value in a democracy.
137 NOVELTY 1. newness, originality 2. a trinket or toy noun First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English novelte, from Anglo-French novelté, from novel
Eating shark meat is a novelty to many people.
138 BUTTRESS support noun

First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English butres, from Anglo-French (arche) boteraz thrusting (arch), ultimately from buter to thrust

After the wall collapsed, the construction company agreed to rebuild it with a buttress.
139 RUDIMENTARY 1. basic 2. undeveloped, incomplete adjective First Known Use: 1839 When baseball was in its rudimentary stages, different teams played by different rules.
140 FASTIDIOUS careful, painstaking adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin fastidiosus, from fastidium disgust, probably from fastus arrogance (probably akin to Latin fastigium top) + taedium irksomeness


He is fastidious about keeping the house clean.
141 EXPLICIT fully expressed, leaving nothing implied adjective First Known Use: 1607
French or Medieval Latin; French explicite, from Medieval Latin explicitus, from Latin, past participle of explicare
The law is very explicit about how these measures should be enacted.
142 PIGMENT substance that gives color noun First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, spice, dye, from Latin pigmentum coloring substance, from pingere to paint


Chlorophyll is a group of green pigments.
143 PAROCHIAL 1. relating to church 2. narrow-minded, unsophisticated adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English parochiall, from Anglo-French parochial, from Late Latin parochialis, from parochia parish 


There is no patience for the parochial, the small-time, the stay-in-place, not in Los Angeles. — Richard Hoffer, Sports Illustrated, 8 Sept. 2008
144 MYOPIC 1. nearsighted 2. unimaginative noun First Known Use: circa 1752
New Latin, from Greek myopia, from myop-, myops


His myopic understanding of human nature requires corrective empathy treatment. Mrs. G.
145 INUNDATE flood, overwhelm verb First Known Use: 1590
Latin inundatus, past participle of inundare, from in- + unda wave
Water from the overflowing bathtub inundated the bathroom floor.
146 FLORID (related: floridity) 1. having a red or flushed face 2. flowery, elaborate adjective First Known Use: 1651
Latin floridus blooming, flowery, from florere


The ambassador gave a florid speech in honor of the queen's visit.
147 PROSPECTIVE likely or expected to become adjective First Known Use: circa 1699 In 2005 [Jerry] Colangelo arranged face-to-face sit-downs with every prospective national team player, to hear in their own words why they wanted to represent their country. —Alexander Wolff, Sports Illustrated, 28 July 2008
148 DEFICIT lack, shortage noun First Known Use: 1782
French déficit, from Latin deficit it is wanting, 3d singular present indicative of deficere


The team overcame a four-point deficit to win the game.
149 ELOQUENCE (related:  eloquent) flowing and persuasive speech or writing noun First Known Use: 14th century She spoke with eloquence on the need for better schools.
150 COMPREHENSIVE thorough adjective First Known Use: 1614 The college history course offered a comprehensive overview of European history since the French Revolution
151 ANOMALOUS (related:  anomaly) not normal, unusual adjective First Known Use: 1655
Late Latin anomalus, from Greek an?malos, literally, uneven, from a- + homalos even, from homos same
Researchers could not explain the anomalous test results.
152 PERVERSE 1. unacceptable, unreasonable 2. unnatural, abnormal adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French purvers, pervers, from Latin perversus, from past participle of pervertere


1. He seems to take perverse pleasure in making things as difficult as possible.
2. She has a perverse fascination with death.
153 IMPETUS motivation noun First Known Use: 1641
Latin, assault, impetus, from impetere to attack, from in- + petere to go to, seek 
Her discoveries have given impetus to further research.
154 RADICAL extreme adjective First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Late Latin radicalis, from Latin radic-, radix root


There are some radical differences between the two proposals.


ATROPHY waste away


First Known Use: 1601
Late Latin atrophia, from Greek, from atrophos ill fed, from a- + trephein to nourish

The doctor is concerned about possible atrophy of the shoulder muscles.


POIGNANT emotionally touching


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English poynaunt, from Anglo-French poinant, poignant, present participle of poindre to prick, sting, from Latin pungere

In a poignant attempt to split the difference between the two camps, Justices Breyer and David Souter tried to prevent the Court from destroying itself. —Jeffrey Rosen, New Republic, 25 Dec. 2000


MUTED quiet, soft


First Known Use:  1855

The muted sound of a distant trumpet wafted over the field.


PROLIFIC 1. productive, creative, fertile 2. plentiful


First Known Use: 1650
French prolifique, from Middle French, from Latin proles + Middle French -figue -fic


A writer as established and prolific as Joyce Carol Oates can approach her material in a wealth of ways unavailable to the more plodding. —Jane Smiley, New York Times Book Review, 5 May 1991


BOG marsh, swamp

(may also be used as a verb)

First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English (Scots), from Scottish Gaelic & Irish bog- (as in bogluachair bulrushes), from bog marshy, literally, soft, from Middle Irish bocc; probably akin to Old English bugan to bend


He warned the kids not to fall into the bog.
(Mrs. G.)


SANGUINE cheerfully confident, optimistic


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English sanguin, from Anglo-French, from Latin sanguineus, from sanguin-, sanguis (see sanguinary))


How could a man of his caliber be this sanguine about a war we had barely begun to fight? He gave me the McNamara look, eyes focusing boldly through rimless glasses. “Every quantitative measurement we have shows that we're winning this war,” he said. —Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie, 1988


AUSPICIOUS favorable, promising


First Known Use: 1593
[Auspicious comes from Latin auspex, which literally means "bird seer" (from the words avis, meaning "bird," and specere, meaning "to look"). In ancient Rome, these "bird seers" were priests, or augurs, who studied the flight and feeding patterns of birds, then delivered prophecies based on their observations.]

She told him she couldn't dance with him just then, but her auspicious smile encouraged him to ask again later.


BANAL not original, common, boring


First Known Use: 1825
French, from Middle French, of compulsory feudal service, possessed in common, commonplace, from ban

He made some banal remarks about the weather.


SENSATIONAL amazing, shocking, scandalous


First Known Use: 1840

The sensational news story caused a stir, but after a few days everyone forgot about it.


RESIGN (related:  resignation, resigned) 1. give in, surrender 2. step down from a position

1.transitive verb

First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French resigner, from Latin resignare, literally, to unseal, cancel, from re- + signare to sign, seal

1. The newspaper's editor resigned after the scandal.
2. He resigned from his job as chief of staff. 


165 REGRESSIVE backward-looking, becoming less advanced adjective First Known Use: 1634 The child's regressive behavior worried the parents.
(Mrs. G.)
166 DOMESTIC relating to the home or the home country adjective First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Middle French domestique, from Latin domesticus,
from domus


The surest way to maintain domestic peace and harmony is to have everyone pitch in on chores.


PERENNIAL long-lasting, continual


First Known Use: 1644
Latin perennis, from per- throughout + annus year 

Flooding is a perennial problem for people living by the river.


RECTIFY (related: rectitude) put right, correct


First Known Use: circa 1529
Middle English rectifien, from Anglo-French rectifier, from Medieval Latin rectificare, from Latin rectus right 

Let me get the store manager, and he'll rectify the invoice for your order.


HIERARCHY ranking, classification


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English ierarchie rank or order of holy beings, from Anglo-French jerarchie, from Medieval Latin hierarchia, from Late Greek, from Greek hierarches


The idea that social order has to come from a centralized, rational, bureaucratic hierarchy was very much associated with the industrial age. —Francis Fukuyama, Atlantic, May 1999

170 STRAIN 1. (verb) stress, force, make an excessive effort 2. (noun) excessive stress, effort, or force 3. (verb) separate solids from a liquid

1. verb

2. noun

3. verb

First Known Use: 14th century
Origin and Etymology of strain
Middle English, from Anglo-French estreindre, from Latin stringere to bind or draw tight, press together; akin to Greek strang-, stranx drop squeezed out, strangal? halter


1. His muscles strained under the heavy weight.

2. The strain of having four deadlines was keeping him awake at night. [Mrs. G.]
3. He watched his mother strain the pasta and wondered which gravy they would have tonight. [Mrs. G.]


STAUNCH strong, loyal


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French estanche, feminine of estanc, from estancher to stanch

Ms Noyes is a staunch believer in the value of regular exercise, and she practices what she preaches. [Mrs. G.]


DERIVATIVE not original


First Known Use: 15th century

The word “childish” is a derivative of “child.”




First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin benevolent-, benevolens, from bene + volent-, volens, present participle of velle to wish

He belonged to several benevolent societies and charitable organizations.


MEANDER wander


First Known Use: 1576
Latin maeander, from Greek maiandros, from Maiandros (now Menderes), river in Asia Minor

The conversation meandered on for hours.




CAUSTIC 1. bitter and sarcastic 2. acidic


First Known Use: 14th century
Latin causticus, from Greek kaustikos, from kaiein to burn

The chemical was so caustic that it ate through the pipes.


PRETENSE 1. make-believe, fake 2. false claim


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, probably modification of Medieval Latin pretensio, irregular from Latin praetendere

1.  We tried to keep up the pretense that everything was fine.

2.  Their indifference is merely pretense.


PERFIDIOUS untrustworthy, disloyal


First Known Use: 1572

A perfidious campaign worker revealed the senator's strategy to his leading rival for the nomination.


VIRULENT 1. poisonous 2. bitter, harsh, hostile


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Latin virulentus, from virus poison

The virulent look on her face warned me that she was about to say something unkind.


ENCOMPASS include, surround


First Known Use: 14th century 
Middle English

The district encompasses most of the downtown area.


AFFLUENT wealthy


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin affluent-, affluens, present participle of affluere to flow to, flow abundantly, from ad- + fluere to flow

The store catered to a mostly affluent clientele that was relatively price insensitive, so we could afford to pay our suppliers a premium for the very best fish.
Frances Percival, Saveur, March 2008 


PLEBEIAN common citizen


First Known Use: 1533
Latin plebeius of the common people, from plebs common people

As he was a plebian in ancient Rome, he didn't know anyone in the ruling class.



transitive verb

First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English stupifien, modification of Latin stupefacere, from stup?re to be astonished + facere to make

I was stupefied that an athlete  was disqualified from all track events after he made a false start in the first race. 
Mrs. G.


PARTISAN 1. supporter of a party or a cause 2. someone who is prejudiced towards a certain cause


First Known Use: 1556
Middle French partisane, from north Italian dialect partizana, feminine of partizan



He was a partisan in the underground movement.  Mrs. G. 


LURID sensational, shocking


First Known Use: 1603
Latin luridus pale yellow, sallow

I didn't like the book because it was a lurid tale of violence and betrayal.


PRAGMATIC (related:  pragmatism, pragmatist) practical


First Known Use: 1616
Latin pragmaticus skilled in law or business, from Greek pragmatikos, from pragmat-, pragma deed, from prassein to do


… and her mysticism never failed to exasperate her pragmatic, mountain-climbing daughter. —Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses, 1989


WANE lessen, become weaker


First Known Use: before 12th century
Middle English, from Old English wanian; akin to Old High German wanon to wane, Old English wan wanting, deficient, Latin vanus empty, vain

The moon waxes and then wanes.


REPUGNANT offensive, disgusting


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, opposed, contradictory, incompatible, from Anglo-French, from Latin repugnant-, repugnans, present participle of repugnare to fight against, from re- + pugnare to fight — more at pungent

Technically speaking, it may not be a violation, but it is certainly repugnant to the spirit of the law.


TENACIOUS (related:  tenacity) stubborn, determined


First Known Use: 1607
Latin tenac-, tenax tending to hold fast, from tenere to hold

A tenacious trainer, she adheres to her grueling swimming schedule no matter what.


NEBULOUS vague, cloudy


First Known Use: 1674
Latin nebulosus misty, from nebula

These philosophical concepts can be nebulous.


MITIGATE (related:  mitigation) make less serious, reduce


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin mitigatus, past participle of mitigare to soften, from mitis soft + -igare (akin to Latin agere to drive); akin to Old Irish moíth soft 

Emergency funds are being provided to help mitigate the effects of the disaster.


HAIL 1. (noun) pellets of ice 2. (verb) rain down with force 3. (verb) signal, greet, call out 4. (verb) praise


First Known Use: before 12th century
Middle English, from Old English hægl; akin to Old High German hagal hail


The hail were the size of golf balls.
The landslide hailed the road with stones.
He hailed a cab to take us to the museum.
"All Hail, the Might Caesar," he yelled.


FACTION a small group within a larger group


First Known Use: 1509
Middle French & Latin; Middle French, from Latin faction-, factio act of making, faction


The committee soon split into factions.


SATURATE soak, make completely full

transitive verb

First Known Use: 1538
Latin saturatus, past participle of saturare, from satur well-fed

Their new products are saturating the market.




GERMINATE begin or cause to grow


First Known Use: 1610
Origin and Etymology of germinate
Latin germinatus, past participle of germinare to sprout, from germin-, germen bud, germ

She learned the methods used by gardeners to germinate seeds to better understand the problems the farmers were experiencing.


VINDICATE (related:  vindication) clear someone of blame, prove to be right


First Known Use: circa 1571
Origin and Etymology of vindicate
Latin vindicatus, past participle of vindicare to lay claim to, avenge, from vindic-, vindex claimant, avenger

She will be completely vindicated by the evidence.


IDIOSYNCRASY (related: idiosyncratic ) unique personal trait


First Known Use: 1604
Greek idiosynkrasia, from idio- + synkerannynai to blend, from syn- + kerannynai to mingle, mix

The current system has a few idiosyncracies which makes it difficult to  
explain to others outside of the system.


ANTECEDENT what came before


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Medieval Latin & Latin; Medieval Latin antecedent-, antecedens, from Latin, what precedes, from neuter of antecedent-, antecedens, present participle of antecedere to go before, from ante- + cedere to go

“John” is the antecedent of the pronoun “him” in “Mary saw John and thanked him.”


CONDUCIVE favorable to, likely to bring about a certain outcome


First Known Use: 1646

Note: Something conducive "leads to" a desirable result.

The noisy environment of the dorms was not very conducive to studying.


CONTEMPORARY 1. living or occurring at the same time 2. occurring in the present


First Known Use:  1861
com- + Latin tempor-, tempus

1.  Mark Twain and Jack London were contemporary writers.
2.  I really like contemporary furniture.


CITE 1. quote as evidence 2. mention as an example


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French citer, to cite, summon, from Latin citare
to put in motion, rouse, summon, from frequentative of ciere to stir, moce

1. The article cites several experts on the subject.
2. She was cited for reckless driving.


CONTEMPTUOUS (related:  contempt) scornful, disrespectful


First Known Use: 1574
Latin contemptus
Note: "... contemptuous means "showing contempt"; contemptible means "deserving contempt"

Loutish tourists who are contemptuous of their host countries should probably not travel out of their native lands. 


SCINTILLATING lively, effervescent


First Known Use: 1846  

She was invited to many parties because she was a scintillating conversationalist. Mrs. G.


FURTIVE sneaky


First Known Use: 1612
French or Latin; French furtif, from Latin furtivus, from furtum theft, from fur thief, from or akin to Greek phor thief; akin to Greek pherein to carry

As he was sneaking around the corner, he cast a furtive glance in our direction. Mrs. G.


SHOPWORN worn out, trite


First Known Use: 1838

Please don't give me that shopworn advice about how to better myself!  Mrs. G.


SCOPE 1. range 2. opportunity, possibility


First Known Use: circa 1555
Italian scopo purpose, goal, from Greek skopos; akin to Greek skeptesthai to watch, look at

1. That subject is beyond the scope of this book.


INNOCUOUS harmless


First Known Use: 1598
Latin innocuus, from in- + noc?re

The salamander, an innocuous amphibian like a big newt, was also regarded with a mixture of horror and awe. —David Attenborough, The First Eden, 1987


COMPATIBLE 1. able to co-exist peacefully, well-suited 2. consistent


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Medieval Latin compatibilis, literally, sympathetic, from Late Latin compati

They worked well together as they had compatible personalities.


PROCLIVITY natural tendency


First Known Use: circa 1591
Latin proclivitas, from proclivis sloping, prone, from pro- forward + clivus slope

She thought she had a proclivity for making poor choices and getting into trouble.  But we all knew that she could change.   Mrs. G.


ANIMOSITY hostility


First Known Use: 1605
Middle English animosite, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French animosité, from Late Latin animositat-, animositas, from Latin animosus spirited, from animus

We put aside our personal animosities so that we could work together.


ODORIFEROUS having a strong or unpleasant smell


First Known Use:  15th century

I don't like having that odoriferous plant in the room because its smell is so strong.


SYNTHESIS combination of elements or ideas


First Known Use: 1589
Greek, from syntithenai to put together, from syn- + tithenai to put, place
First Known Use: 1589

Your paper offers a synthesis of the two themes we discussed.


BYZANTINE excessively complex


First Known Use: 1589

Looking at the architecture he thought it was a Byzantine structure.


CALLOUS cruelly insensitive


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Latin callosus, from callum, callus callous skin

Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. —Dylan Thomas, “A Child's Christmas in Wales” in Quite Early One Morning, 1954




First Known Use: 15th century

The new manager was given oversight of the project.


VULNERABLE susceptible, exposed


First Known Use: 1605
Late Latin vulnerabilis, from Latin vulnerare to wound, from vulner-, vulnus wound; probably akin to Latin vellere to pluck, Greek oule wound

The fort was undefended and vulnerable.


OPPORTUNIST (related:  opportunistic) a person who takes advantage of opportunities, often unethically


First Known Use: 1879

He was a political opportunist who changed his health-care plan to win the election.


UNORTHODOX not traditional


First Known Use: 1657

She was raised by an aunt, whose unorthodox parenting practices made for a strange but fun childhood.


RECOURSE the act of turning to someone or something for assistance


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English recours, from Anglo-French recurs, from Late Latin recursus, from Latin, act of running back, from recurrere to run back

The dispute was settled without recourse to law.


AFFECTED 1. influenced by something 2. artificial, trying to impress


First Known Use: 1587

1. His behavior improved as he was affected by the teacher's positive comments.

2. With her pinkie extended, the four-year-old held her tiny teacup in that affected manner that some women have.


COMBUSTIBLE able to catch fire easily


First Known Use: 1529

Don't store oily rags and other combustible materials in a hot attic.


ENIGMA (related:  enigmatic) mystery


First Known Use: 1539
Latin aenigma, from Greek ainigmat-, ainigma, from ainissesthai to speak in riddles, from ainos fable

To his friends, he was always something of an enigma; we could never know what he was planning to do.


QUAGMIRE 1. complex, difficult situation 2. bog or swamp


First Known Use: circa 1580

The party was once again facing its quadrennial quagmire: the candidate sufficiently liberal to win the nomination would be too liberal for the general election.


HARBOR 1. (noun) safe place or shelter, particularly for boats 2. (verb) keep or hold in mind 3. (verb) give a home to, shelter, or hide someone

1. noun

2. verb

3. verb

First Known Use: 12th century
Middle English herberge, herberwe, from Old English herebeorg military quarters, from here army (akin to Old High German heri) + beorg refuge; akin to Old English burg fortified town

1. The tanker stayed in Boston harbor three days to undergo repairs.
2. He harbored deadly thoughts toward the wicked wizard.
3. She harbored the lost pup from the terrible storm.


USURP seize power without authority


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French usorper, from Latin usurpare to take possession of without legal claim, from usu (abl. of usus use) + rapere to seize

Attempting to usurp the throne seems to be the common plot in many movies about the sixteenth century.




Latin exasperatus, past participle of exasperare, from ex- + asper rough 

The criticism of his latest movie is sure to exasperate his admirers.


CURSORY quick, hurried, not thorough


First Known Use: 1601
Late Latin cursorius of running, from Latin currere

I was nervous because only a cursory inspection of the building's electrical wiring was done.


ICONOCLAST (related:  iconoclastic) someone who attacks traditional beliefs


Medieval Latin iconoclastes, from Middle Greek eikonoklast?s, literally, image destroyer, from Greek eikono- + klan to break 

Notorious as an iconoclast, that music critic isn't afraid to go after sacred cows.


COMPILE assemble, collect


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French compiler, from Latin compilare to plunder

We compiled our findings in the report.




First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Latin destitutus, past participle of destituere to abandon, deprive, from de- + statuere to set up

Many families were left destitute by the horrible fire.


PREVALENT widespread


First Known Use: 1576
Latin praevalent-, praevalens very powerful, from present participle of praevalere

Using wooden paddles to discipline students used to be prevalent at some schools.


INDISPOSED 1. ill 2. unwilling


First Known Use: 15th century

He stays home from work whenever he feels the least indisposed.




First Known Use: 15th century

I don't know why I chose that one; it was a completely arbitrary decision.


CEREBRAL intellectual


First Known Use: 1816
French cérébral, from Latin cerebrum brain; akin to Old High German hirni brain, Greek kara head, keras horn, Sanskrit siras head 

He's a very cerebral comedian; no slapstick for him.


REJUVENATE make young again


First Known Use: 1789
re- + Latin juvenis young

The spa treatment rejuvenated me.  I felt great!


HOSPITABLE welcoming, friendly


First Known Use: circa 1570

Elderly people are moving to Florida for its hospitable climate.


INCONTROVERTIBLE definitive, unable to be denied


First Known Use: 1646

The incontrovertible facts left the jury with no choice but to convict.


IMPETUOUS impulsive, spontaneous


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French,
from Late Latin impetuosus, from Latin impetus

And from the beginning, NASA was trapped beneath the dominoes, as the Soviets knocked off first satellite, first man in space, first earth orbit, first space walk. But it was Kennedy's impetuous science-fiction PR that really put the pressure on, when he promised to put an American on the moon by the end of the decade. —Erik Davis, Village Voice, 26 July 1994


DEROGATORY (related:  derogate) insulting, disrespecting


First Known Use: circa 1503   


In a pathetic display of poor sportsmanship fans made a steady stream of derogatory remarks about the players on the visiting team.


CATALYST something that triggers an event


First Known Use: 1902

She was proud to be a catalyst for reform in the government.


RENOUNCE reject, abandon


Middle English, from Anglo-French renuncer, from Latin renuntiare, from re- + nuntiare to report, from nuntius messenger

Because he hasn't done what he promised, many of his former supporters have renounced him.


RHETORIC (related:  rhetorical, rhetorician) persuasive speech or writing


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English rethorik, from Anglo-French rethorique, from Latin rhetorica, from Greek rhetorike, literally, art of oratory, from feminine of rhetorikos of an orator, from rhetor orator, rhetorician, from eirein to say, speak 

The mayor's promise to fight drugs was just rhetoric, since there was no money in the city budget for a drug program.


PARTICULAR (related:  particularity) 1. specific, individual 2. fussy, demanding


Middle English particuler, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin particularis, from Latin particula small part

1. The computer program will be of particular interest to teachers.
2. He is very particular about the sneakers he wears.


QUASH 1. reject 2. put down, suppress


First Known Use: 13th century
Middle English quashen to smash, from Anglo-French quasser, casser, from Latin quassare to shake violently, shatter, frequentative of quatere to shake

1. The parents quashed that argument when they heard that students would not be supervised.
2. In Russia opinions differing from the government's stance are quickly quashed.


AMBIVALENCE (related:  ambivalent) mixed feelings


First Known Use: 1909

Her ambivalence was upsetting because she couldn't make up her mind what to do!


TRANSCEND go beyond, rise above


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English, from Latin transcendere to climb across, transcend, from trans- + scandere to climb

She was able to transcend her own suffering and help others.


CIRCUMVENT overcome an obstacle


First Known Use: 1539
Latin circumventus, past participle of circumvenire, from circum- + venire to come

We circumvented the problem by using a different program.


SERVILE submissive, overly willing to please


First Known Use: 15th century
Middle English, from Anglo-French servil, from Latin servilis, from servus slave



They were uncomfortable and had unfortunately always maintained a servile attitude around people with money.


SUBTLE not obvious


First Known Use: 14th century
Middle English sotil, subtile, from Anglo-French, from Latin subtilis, literally, finely textured, from sub- + tela cloth on a loom; akin to Latin texere to weave

When it comes to giving criticism, sometimes it's best to take a subtle approach.


SUBSERVIENT 1. obedient, yielding 2. less important


First Known Use: circa 1626
Latin subservient-, subserviens, present participle of subservire 



She refused to take a subservient role in their marriage.  Why would she?


EVINCE show clearly


First Known Use: 1604
Latin evincere to vanquish, win a point, from e- + vincere to conquer



She evinced an interest in art at an early age.