GRE Vocabulary Study

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abase (v) degrade or humble; to lower in rank, status, or esteem  
abeyance (n) temporary suspension, inactivity  
abreast (adj) side-by-side; the more common "abreast of" means keeping up with, staying aware of, or remaining equal in progress with  
abscission (n) cutting off; sudden termination; the separation of leaves, petals, or other parts from a plant or animal  
abscond (v) depart suddenly and secretively  
abyss (n) a deep and vast space or cavity; anything profound or infinite  
accede (v) agree, give consent; assume power (usu. as "accede to")  
accretion (n) gradual increase; an added part or addition  
acerbic (adj) sour; harsh or severe  
acidulous (adj) slightly acid or sour; sharp or caustic  
acumen (n) keen, quick, accurate insight or judgment  
adulterate (v) make impure by adding inappropriate or inferior ingredients  
adumbrate (v) give a rough outline of; foreshadow; reveal only partially  
aerie (n) dwelling or fortress built on a high place; the nest of a bird of prey, such as an eagle or hawk, built on a mountain or cliff  
albeit (conj) although, even though  
aloof (adj) distant physically or emotionally; reserved; indifferent  
amalgamate (v) blend, merge, or unite  
ameliorate (v) improve; make better or more bearable  
amortize (v) gradually pay off a debt, or gradually write off an asset  
anachronism (n) something that is not in its correct historical time; a mistake in chronology, such as by assigning a person or event to the wrong time period  
analgesia (n) pain relief; inability to feel pain  
annul (v) make void or null, cancel, abolish (usu. of laws or other established rules)  
anodyne (n) medicine that relieves pain; (adj) soothing, relieving pain  
antedate (v) be older than, precede in time; assign to an earlier date  
antithetical (adj) directly opposed, opposite; involving antithesis (the rhetorical act of placing two phrases opposite one another for contrast, as in "love me or hate me")  
apostate (n/adj) person who deserts a party, cause, religion, etc.  
apostle (n) pioneer of a reform movement (originally, an early follower of Jesus)  
apposite (adj) highly appropriate, suitable, or relevant  
apprise (v) inform, give notice to  
approbation (n) praise or approval, esp. formal approval  
appropriate (v) set aside or authorize (such as money) for a particular purpose; take for one's own use  
arbiter (n) judge, umpire, person empowered to decide matters at hand  
ardent (adj) very passionate, devoted, or enthusiastic  
arrogate (v) claim or take presumptuously without the right to do so  
ascribe (v) assign or credit to a certain cause or source  
asceptic (adj) free from germs  
aspersions (n) damaging remarks, defamation, slander  
assail (v) attack violently, assault  
assiduous (adj) persevering, diligent, constant  
attenuate (v) weaken or thin out  
attuned (adj) in harmony; in sympathetic relationship  
augury (n) telling the future, such as through supernatural means  
august (adj) venerable, majestic; inspiring admiration  
avarice (n) insatiable greed; a miserly desire to hoard wealth  
axiom (n) self-evident truth; universally or generally accepted principle  
balloon (v) swell or puff out; increase rapidly  
banal (adj) lacking freshness and originality; cliché  
bane (n) something that ruins or spoils  
baying (adj) howling in a deep way, like a dog or wolf  
beneficent (adj) doing good  
bent (n) personal inclination or tendency  
besiege (v) attack, overwhelm, crowd in on or surround  
bevy (n) group of birds or other animals that stick together; any large group  
bifurcate (v) to fork into two branches or divide into two halves  
bilk (v) cheat or defraud  
blight (n) disease that kills plants rapidly, or any cause of decay or destruction; (v) ruin or cause to wither  
blithe (adj) joyous, merry; excessively carefree (so as to ignore more important concerns)  
bombastic (adj) (of speech or writing) far too showy or dramatic than is appropriate; pretentious  
bonhomie (n) friendliness, open and simple good heartedness  
brandish (v) shake, wave, or flourish, as a weapon  
brook (v) suffer or tolerate  
bucolic (adj) pertaining to shepherds; suggesting a peaceful view of rural life  
burnish (v) polish, make smooth and lustrous  
calumny (n) malicious lie intended to hurt someone's reputation  
canard (n) rumor, a false or baseless story  
cardinal (adj) chief, most important  
catholic (adj) universal, broad-minded  
chicanery (n) trickery, deception by knowingly false arguments  
circumscribe (v) strictly limit a role, range of activity, or area; in math, to be constructed around so as to touch as many points as possible  
circumspect (adj) cautious, prudent; careful to consider the circumstances and consequences  
clamber (v) climb awkwardly or with difficulty  
cloying (adj) disgustingly or distastefully sweet  
coagulate (v) cause a liquid to become solid or semisolid  
coda (n) final part of a musical composition; an ending  
coffer (n) chest for storing valuables; financial resources, a treasury  
collude (v) conspire; cooperate for illegal or fraudulent purposes  
compendium (n) concise but complete summary; a list or collection  
complaisant (adj) eager to please; cheerfully complying  
confound (v) confuse, frustrate; mix up or make worse  
connote (v) suggest or imply in addition to the precise, literal meaning  
contraries (n) things that are opposing; either of two opposite things  
contrite (adj) remorseful; feeling sorry for one's offenses or sins  
contumacious (adj) rebellious; stubbornly disobedient  
convoke (v) call together, as to a meeting  
cosset (v) treat as a pet, pamper  
coterie (n) close or exclusive group, clique  
cupidity (n) greed, great or excessive desire  
curmudgeon (n) bad-tempered, difficult person; grouch  
declaim (v) speak in an impassioned, pompous, or oratorical manner  
declivity (n) downward slope  
delimit (v) fix, mark, or define the boundaries of  
demagogue (n) a leader who lies and gains power by arousing the passions and esp. prejudices of the people  
demur (v) show reluctance or object, esp. for moral reasons  
desultory (adj) lacking consistency or order, disconnected, sporadic; going off topic  
diaphanous (adj) very sheer, fine, translucent  
dichotomy (n) division into two parts or into two contradictory groups  
dictum (n) formal or authoritative pronouncement; saying or proverb  
diffident (adj) lacking confidence, shy  
diffuse (v) spread widely, disseminate; (adj) dispersed, widely spread out, or wordy and going off-topic  
dilate (v) to become wider or make wider  
dilatory (adj) slow, late; procrastinating or stalling for time  
dilettante (n) person who takes up an art or activity for amusement only or in a superficial way  
dirge (n) a funeral or mourning song or poem  
discomfiting (adj) disconcerting, confusing, frustrating  
discordant (adj) harsh or inharmonious in sound; disagreeing, incongruous  
discrete (adj) separate, distinct, detached, existing as individual parts  
disparage (v) belittle, put down; bring shame upon, discredit  
disparate (adj) distinct, different  
dissemble (v) mislead, conceal the truth, put on a false appearance of  
dissolution (n) dissolving, the state of having been dissolved; breaking bonds or breaking up of a group of people; death, disintegration; sinking into extreme hedonism, vice, and degradation  
distaff (adj) female, esp. relating to the maternal side of the family; (n) women or women's work; a staff that holds wool or flax for spinning  
distend (v) swell, expand, stretch, bloat  
dither (v) act indecisively; (n) a state of fear or trembling excitement  
diurnal (adj) occurring every day; happening in the daytime (rather than at night)  
doctrinaire (n) person who applies doctrine in an impractical or rigid and close-minded way; (adj) merely theoretical, impractical, or fanatical about other people accepting one's ideas  
doff (v) take off (such as clothes), put aside; remove one's hat as a gesture  
dovetail (v) join or fit together  
droll (adj) funny in an odd way  
dupe (n) person who is easily fooled or used; (v) to fool or exploit  
duplicity (n) deceit, double-dealing, acting in two different ways for the purpose of deception  
dyspeptic (adj) grumpy, pessimistic, irritable; suffering from dispepsia (indigestion)  
ebullient (adj) very enthusiastic, lively, excited; bubbling as though being boiled  
echelon (n) a level, rank or grade; the people at that level  
edify (v) uplift, enlighten, instruct or improve in a spiritual or moral way  
effigy (n) representation or image of a person, esp. a crude facsimile used to mock a hated person  
effrontery (n) shameless boldness  
egress (n) an exit or the action of exiting  
elegy (n) song or poem of sorrow, esp. for a deceased person  
emaciate (v) make abnormally thin, cause to physically waste away  
encomium (n) warm, glowing praise, esp. a formal expression of praise  
endemic (adj) native, local; natural, specific to a particular place  
engender (v) produce, give rise to, cause to exist; procreate  
epicure (n) person with cultivated, refined tastes, esp. in food and wine  
equanimity (n) composure, evenness of mind; mental or emotional stability  
equivocate (v) use unclear language to avoid committing to a position  
ersatz (adj) artificial, synthetic; being an inferior substitute  
erstwhile (adj) former, previous; (adv) in the past, formerly  
ethos (n) the character, personality, or moral values specific to a person, group, time period, etc.  
euphemism (n) substitution of a mild, inoffensive, or indirect expression for one that is considered offensive or too direct  
euphony (n) pleasing or sweet sound, esp. as formed by a harmonious use of words  
exigent (adj) requiring immediate attention, action, or aid; excessively demanding  
exonerate (v) clear from blame or accusation; to free from a responsibility  
expedient (adj) suitable, proper; effective, often at the expense of ethics or other considerations  
expurgate (v) censor; remove objectionable or offensive parts  
extemporaneous (adj) done without preparation (esp. of a speech), or with some preparation but no notes; improvised, done on the spur of the moment  
faction (n) group or clique within a larger organization; party strife and dissension  
fallow (adj) left unplanted (of land); not in use  
fastidious (adj) excessively particular, difficult to please; painstaking, meticulous, requiring excessive attention to detail  
fatuous (adj) foolish, silly, esp. in a smug or complacent manner  
fawn (v) show affection or try to please in the manner of a dog; try to win favor through flattery and submissive behavior  
fecund (adj) fruitful, fertile; capable of abundantly producing offspring, vegetation, or creative or intellectual work  
felicitous (adj) admirably appropriate, very well-suited for the occasion; pleasant, fortunate, marked by happiness  
fervid (adj) very hot; heated in passion or enthusiasm  
fetid (adj) stinking; having an offensive smell  
fledgling (n) a young bird that has just recently gotten its feathers, an inexperienced person; (adj) new or inexperienced  
florid (adj) reddish or rosy; flowery, showy, or excessively fancy  
flout (v) treat with disdain, contempt, or scorn (usu. of rules)  
fluke (n) stroke of luck, something accidentally successful  
forage (v) wander in search of; rummage, hunt, make a raid  
ford (n) place where a river or similar body of water is shallow enough to walk or ride a vehicle across; (v) to cross at such a place  
forestall (v) delay, hinder, prevent by taking action beforehand  
fortuitous (adj) happening by chance; lucky  
fracas (n) noisy disturbance or fight; brawl  
fractious (adj) unruly, troublemaking; irritable  
frenetic (adj) wildly excited, frantic, distracted  
fulminate (v) explode, detonate; attack verbally in a vehement, thunderous way  
furtive (adj) done secretly; stealthy, sly, shifty  
gambol (v) frolic; skip or leap playfully  
garner (v) gather and store; amass, collect  
gestation (n) pregnancy; the period from conception until birth of an animal or (metaphorically) of an idea or plan  
glacial (adj) pertaining to glaciers; cold, icy, slow, unsympathetic  
glower (v) stare in an angry, sullen way  
goad (v) urge on (as cattle) with a pointed or electrically charged stick; spur on, stimulate, encourage  
gouge (n) scooping or digging tool, like a chisel, or a hole made with such a tool; (v) cut or scoop out; force out a person's eye with one's thumb; swindle, extort money from  
graft (v) insert part of a plant into another plant, where it continues to grow; join living tissue (such as skin) to part of the body where it will continue to live and grow; attach as if by grafting; (n) the part so grafted; the act of acquiring money or other benefits through illegal means, esp. by abusing one's power  
grandiloquent (adj) relating to lofty speech, esp. to the point of being pompous, overblown, bombastic  
grandstand (v) perform showily in an attempt to impress onlookers  
grating (adj) irritating; harsh or discordant (of a noise); scraping  
grievous (adj) causing grief or suffering; very serious, grave; flagrant, outrageous  
grouse (v) complain or grumble; (n) a reason for complaint  
grovel (v) creep or crawl with one's face to the ground, prostrate oneself as a token of subservience, degrade or abase oneself  
halcyon (adj) calm and peaceful, carefree; prosperous, successful, happy  
hallmark (n) a mark indicating quality, purity, genuineness, etc.; any distinguishing characteristic  
hand-wringing (n) grasping, squeezing, etc. of the hands as an expression of nervousness, guilt, etc.; extend debate over what to do about an issue  
hapless (adj) unlucky, unfortunate  
harangue (n) long, intense verbal attack, esp. when delivered publicly; (v) to deliver such a verbal attack  
harrow (n) farming tool that breaks up soil; (v) painfully disturb or distress  
hedge (v) avoid commitment by leaving provisions for withdrawal or changing one's mind; protect a bet by also betting on the other side  
hegemony (n) domination, authority; influence by one country over others socially, culturally, economically, etc.  
hermetic (adj) airtight, sealed, isolated; reclusive; pertaining to alchemy occult  
hew (v) strike, chop, or hack (as with an axe, sword, etc.); make or shape something (such as a statue) with a cutting tool  
hoary (adj) very old, gray or white as from old age  
homage (n) honor or respect demonstrated publicly  
hoodwink (v) trick, deceive  
hotly (adv) in an intense, fiery, or heated way  
husband (v) manage prudently, sparingly, or economically; conserve  
iconoclast (n) attacker of cherished beliefs or institutions  
idolatry (n) idol worship; excessive or unthinking devotion or adoration  
idyllic (adj) presenting a positive, peaceful view of rural life  
ignoble (adj) not noble; having mean, base, low motives; low quality  
imbue (v) permeate or saturate, as dye in a fabric; influence throughout  
immutable (adj) unchangeable  
impasse (n) position or road from which there is no escape; deadlock  
impassive (adj) not having or not showing physical feeling or emotion  
impecunious (adj) poor, without money  
imperious (adj) domineering; acting like a high-ranking person; urgent  
impermeable (adj) impassable, not allowing a passage through (e.g. by liquid)  
imperturbable (adj) calm, not able to be upset or agitated  
impervious (adj) impenetrable, not able to be harmed or emotionally disturbed  
impetuous (adj) passionately impulsive, marked by sudden, hasty emotion; forceful, violent  
impious (adj) not religious, lacking reverence, ungodly  
implacable (adj) not able to be appeased, calmed, or satisfied  
imprecation (n) curse; prayer for harm to come to someone  
impugn (v) attack the truth or integrity of  
impute (v) credit, attribute; lay blame or responsibility for (sometimes falsely)  
incarnadine (adj) blood red or flesh-colored  
inconstancy (n) fickleness, unreliability; the state of changing w/o good reason  
inculcate (v) teach persistently, implant (an idea) in a person  
indefatigable (adj) untiring, not able to become fatigued  
indigence (n) extreme poverty  
indolent (adj) lazy, slothful  
inert (adj) inactive; having little or no power to move  
inexorable (adj) relentless, unyielding; not moved by pleading  
infallible (adj) incapable of error; certain  
ingrate (n) ungrateful person  
ingratiate (v) make an effort to gain favor with  
inimical (adj) hostile, adverse, harmful  
iniquity (n) injustice, wickedness, sin  
inordinate (adj) excessive, not within proper limits, unrestrained  
inquest (n) legal or judicial inquiry, esp. before a jury and esp. made by a coroner into the cause of someone's death; the results of such an inquiry  
insensible (adj) incapable of feeling; unconscious, unaware  
insinuate (v) hint, suggest slyly; introduce (an idea) into someone's mind in a subtle, artful way  
insipid (adj) dull, stale, lacking taste or interest  
insular (adj) pertaining to an island; detached, standing alone; narrow-minded, provincial  
insurrection (n) rebellion or revolt against a government or similarly established authority  
inter (v) bury (a dead body) or place in a tomb  
interplay (n) interaction, reciprocal relationship or influence  
interregnum (n) a time in between two reigns or regimes during which there is no ruler; a period during which government does not function; any period of freedom from authority or break or interruption in a series  
intransigent (adj) refusing to compromise, inflexible, having extreme attitudes  
inundate (v) flood, cover with water, overwhelm  
inure (v) toughen up; accustom or habituate to pain, hardship, etc.  
invective (n) violent denunciation; accusations, insults, or verbal abuse  
inveigle (v) entice, lure; get something by flattery, cleverness, or offering incentives  
investiture (n) investing; formally giving someone a right or title  
invidious (adj) hateful, offensive, injurious  
irascible (adj) irritable, easily angered  
irresolute (adj) wavering, not sure how to proceed, not firm in one's decision-making  
itinerant (adj) traveling from place to place, esp. as part of a job  
itinerary (n) travel schedule; detailed plan for a journey  
jettison (v) discard, cast off; throw items overboard in order to lighten a ship in an emergency  
jingoism (n) excessive, loud patriotism and aggressive, warlike foreign policy  
juxtapose (v) place side by side (either physically or in a metaphorical way, such as to make a comparison)  
kindle (v) ignite, cause to begin burning; incite, arouse, inflame  
kinetic (adj) pertaining to motion  
knell (n) the sound made by a bell for a funeral, or any sad sound or signal of a failure, death, ending, etc.; (v) to make such a sound  
lachrymose (adj) tearful, mournful  
larceny (n) theft  
largess or largesse (n) generosity, the giving of money or gifts (esp. w/ the implication that the giver is a bit superior to the recipient)  
latent (adj) potential; existing but not visible or active  
laudable (adj) worthy of praise  
lax (adj) not strict; careless, loose, slack  
leery (adj) suspicious or wary  
legerdemain (n) slight-of-hand (magic as performed by a magician); trickery or deception  
lethargic (adj) lazy, drowsy, or sluggish  
licentious (adj) sexually unrestrained; immoral; ignoring the rules  
limpid (adj) clear, transparent; completely calm  
lionize (v) treat like a celebrity  
lissome (adj) flexible, supple, agile  
listless (adj) spiritless, lacking interest or energy  
livid (adj) furiously angry, enraged  
lugubrious (adj) mournful, gloomy (sometimes in an exaggerated way)  
lumber (v) walk in a heavy or clumsy way, sometimes due to being weighed down  
luminous (adj) shining, radiant, well-lit; brilliant or enlightening  
lurid (adj) gruesome or excessively vivid; sensational, shocking, unrestrained  
machination or machinations (n, usu. pl.) crafty schemes or plots  
maelstrom (n) violent whirlpool; any chaotic, turbulent situation  
magnanimous (adj) high-minded, noble, lofty; generous in forgiving others, free of resentment  
magnate (n) very important or influential person, esp. in business  
malediction (n) a curse  
malinger (v) pretend to be sick, esp. to get out of work, duties, etc.  
manifest (adj) obvious, apparent, perceptible to the eye; (v) to show, make clear, or prove  
mannered (adj) having a particular manner, esp. an artificial one  
mar (v) damage, spoil, ruin  
martinet (n) person who adheres to rules extremely closely; strict disciplinarian  
maudlin (adj) excessively sentimental, showing sadness or some other emotion in a foolish or silly way  
maxim (n) a general truth or fundamental principle, esp. expressed as a proverb or saying  
mendicant (n) beggar, or religious follower who lives by begging  
meretricious (adj) attractive in a vulgar or flashy way, tawdry; deceptive  
metaphysical (adj) concerned with abstract thought, related to metaphysics (branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the nature of being and of the world); very subtle or abstruse  
milieu (n) environment, atmosphere; the environmental setting in which something happens or develops  
militate (v) have a great effect, weigh heavily (often as militate against)  
mired (adj) stuck, entangled (in something, like a swamp or muddy area), soiled  
mirth (n) jollity, merriment; amusement or laughter  
misanthrope or misanthropist (n) hater of humankind  
missive (n) letter, written message  
modicum (n) a little bit or limited quantity  
modish (adj) stylish, contemporary  
molt (v) shed or cast off, esp. to regularly shed skin, feathers, etc. (as a snake)  
monastic (adj) relating to or resembling a monastery (where monks or nuns live), esp. by being quiet, secluded, contemplative, strict, and/or lacking luxuries  
morose (adj) gloomy, sullen  
multifarious (adj) diverse, having a lot of variety  
munificent (adj) generous, giving liberally  
myopic (adj) near-sighted; lacking long-term thinking, short-sighted  
nadir (n) lowest point  
neologism (n) new word or phrase (or a new meaning applied to an existing word or phrase)  
neophyte (n) beginner, novice; person newly converted to a religion  
nettle (v) irritate, sting, or annoy  
noisome (adj) offensive, disgusting; harmful  
nominal (adj) trivial, so small as to be unimportant; in name only, so-called  
nontrivial (adj) important or big enough to matter  
normative (adj) implying or attempting to establish a norm; expressing value judgments or telling people what to do (rather than merely describing that which is happening)  
obdurate (adj) stubborn, hardhearted, hardened in wrongdoing  
oblique (adj) slanting or sloping; indirect, misleading, or evasive  
occlude (v) stop up, close, shut in or shut off  
opine (v) express an opinion  
opprobrium (n) disgrace and disapproval that result from outrageously shameful actions  
orotund (adj) full, rich, and clear (of the voice or speaking); pompous, bombastic  
ossify (v) become bone or become hard like bone; become inflexible in attitude, opinions, etc.  
ostensible or ostensive (adj) professed, evident, or pretended; outwardly appearing in a certain way  
ostentatious (adj) pretentious, boastful showiness  
overwrought (adj) overly nervous, agitated, or excited; too ornate, elaborate, or fussy; overdone  
palatial (adj) suitable for or resembling a palace, magnificent  
palliate (v) make less serious or severe; relieve symptoms of an illness  
pallid (adj) abnormally pale (as skin); lacking color or vitality  
panache (n) flair, style, swagger; a flamboyant or grand way of acting  
panegyric (n) formal or lofty expression of praise  
panoply (n) splendid, wide-ranging, impressive display or array  
paragon (n) model of excellence, perfect example  
pare (v) peel or cut off the outer layer (such as peeling fruit with a knife), reduce or trim as if cutting off the outer parts  
parley (n) discussion, negotiation, esp. between enemies; (v) to have such a discussion  
parry (v) deflect or avoid (esp. a blow or attack); skillfully evade (a question)  
pastiche (n) mix of incongruous parts; artistic work imitating the work of other artists, oft. satirically  
pathogenic (adj) capable of producing disease  
pedant (n) person who pays excessive attention to book learning and rules, or who uses his or her learning to show off  
peddle (v) travel around while selling; sell illegally; give out or disseminate  
pejorative (adj) disparaging, derogatory, belittling; (n) a name or word that is disparaging  
pellucid (adj) transparent, translucent; clear, easy to understand  
penitent (adj) regretful, feeling remorse for one's sins or misdeeds; (n) a person who feels this way  
penumbra (n) outer part of a shadow from an eclipse; any surrounding region, fringe, periphery; any area where something 'sort of' exists  
penury (n) extreme poverty or scarcity  
per se (adv) intrinsically; by itself; in itself  
peregrinate (v) travel from place to place, esp. on foot  
perennial (adj) lasting through the years or indefinitely, enduring; recurring  
perfunctory (adj) done superficially, w/o much care, or merely as routine  
peripatetic (adj) journeying from place to place; traveling on foot  
pernicious (adj) very harmful or destructive, deadly  
perspicacious (adj) having penetrating insight or good discernment  
phalanx (n) formation of soldiers carrying shields close together for defense; any very close group of people  
philistine (n) person deficient in or hostile to culture  
phlegmatic (adj) apathetic, sluggish, not easily excited or made emotional  
platitude (n) a shallow, overused statement; cliché  
plebian (adj) of the common people  
plethora (n) excess; excessive amount  
plucky (adj) brave, spirited  
plutocracy (n) rule by the wealthy  
polemic (n) controversial argument, esp. one attacking a specific idea  
politic (adj) shrewd, pragmatic; tactful or diplomatic  
polyglot (n) speaking or composed of many languages (of a person, book, etc.); a person who knows several languages  
posit (v) presume, suggest, put forward (an idea)  
prattle (v) talk in an idle, simple-minded, meaningless, or foolish way; chatter, babble  
precipitate (v) cause to happen suddenly or prematurely; fling, plunge, or hurl down  
précis (n) concise summary, abstract  
predilection (n) preference, tendency or favorability towards  
prescient (adj) having foreknowledge or foresight, seeing the future  
preternatural (adj) supernatural, exceptional  
prevaricate (v) stray from the truth, mislead, lie  
primacy (n) the state of being first or most important  
proclivity (n) inclination, natural tendency  
prolix (adj) excessively long and wordy (of a person, piece of writing, etc.)  
propagate (v) reproduce, spread, increase  
propensity (n) natural inclination or tendency  
prophetic (adj) relating to prophesy, predicting, ominous  
propitiate (v) attempt to reconcile with, satisfy, or reduce the animosity of (a person who is angry, offended, etc.)  
propitious (adj) favorable, giving good signs for the future, likely to work out; kind or forgiving  
providential (adj) lucky, fortunate, or relating to divine care (the idea that a deity has helped or cared for a person)  
proxy (n) agent, substitute, person authorized to act on behalf of another  
puerile (adj) juvenile, immature  
pugilism (n) boxing, fighting with the fists  
puissance (n) power, might  
pulchritude (n) physical beauty  
pungent (adj) having a sharp taste or smell; biting, stimulating, sharp  
pusillanimous (adj) cowardly, timid  
querulous (adj) given go complaining, grumbling  
quiescent (adj) quiet, still  
quixotic (adj) extremely impractical but very romantic, chilvalrous, or idealistic; impulsive  
raconteur (n) witty storyteller  
rarefied (adj) lofty, very high up or elevated (in a metaphorical way); exclusive, select; thin, pure, or less dense (as air at the top of a mountain)  
reactant (n) something that reacts; a substance that undergoes a change in a chemical reaction  
recalcitrant (adj) not obedient, resisting authority, hard to manage  
recant (v) withdraw, retract, or disavow something one has previously said, esp. formally  
recapitulate (v) summarize, repeat in a concise way  
recondite (adj) not easily understood, hidden, dealing with an obscure topic  
recrudescent (adj) revival, breaking out into renewed activity  
redound (v) to have a good or bad effect, esp. as a result of a person's efforts or actions (usu. used with to, on, or upon)  
redress (n) setting something right after a misdeed, compensation or relief for injury or wrongdoing; (v) correct, set right, remedy  
refractory (adj) stubbornly disobedient, hard to manage  
refulgent (adj) shining, radiant  
rejoinder (n) response or reply, esp. a witty comeback  
rend (v) tear violently, esp. to hear one's clothing or hair out of grief; pull apart, split, or tear away  
repast (n) a meal; (v) to eat or feast  
repertorial (adj) pertaining to a repertory or repertoire, a stock of available things or a number of theatrical performances presented regularly or in sequence  
repose (n) the act or state of resting; peacefulness, tranquility; lying dead in a grave  
reprobate (n) disreputable, unprincipled, or damned person; (adj) shameless, depraved  
resurgent (adj) having a revival, renewing, rising or surging again  
revamp (v) renovate, redo, revise; (n) a restructuring, upgrade, etc.  
ribald (adj) using or relating to obscene or vulgar humor  
ridden (adj) dominated or burdened by  
rift (n) a gap or fissure (such as in rock), a break in friendly relations  
rococo (adj) very elaborate and ornate (in decorating or metaphorically, as in speech and writing); relating to a highly ornate style of art and architecture in 18th-century France  
rue (n) regret, remorse; (v) to feel regret or remorse  
ruminate (v) turn over in the mind, reflect on; chew cud (as a cow)  
salient (adj) obvious, standing out; projecting, protruding, jutting out  
sardonic (adj) scornfully or ironically mocking, cynically derisive  
savant (n) learned person, scholar, someone admitted to membership in a scholarly field; a person with amazing mental abilities despite having a cognitive difference or disability  
scintilla (n) a tiny bit or trace  
scurvy (adj) contemptible, mean  
searchingly (adv) in a searching or penetrating manner; while examining closely or probing for answers  
secrete (v) produce and release a substance from a cell or gland of the body for a functional purpose  
sedition (n) inciting rebellion against a government, esp. speech or writing that does this  
semantic (adj) relating to the different meanings of words or other symbols  
seraphic (adj) like an angel; serene, spiritually carried off or transported  
shard (n) fragment of some brittle substance, esp. a sharp fragment of pottery, glass, etc.  
sinecure (n) a job or position that pays while requiring little or no work  
skittish (adj) shy, fickle, uncertain, or prone to act suddenly due to nervousness; lively in a restless or excessive way  
slake (v) satisfy (esp. thirst), cool, or refresh; make less active  
sobriquet (n) a nickname  
solecism (n) nonstandard use of grammar or words; mistake, esp. in etiquette  
solidarity (n) fellowship in interests, feelings, responsibilities, etc., such as among a group of people or among classes, nations, etc.  
somatic (adj) of the body  
squalid (adj) disgusting, filthy, foul, extremely neglected  
squelch (v) crush, squash, suppress or silence; walk through ooze or in wet shoes, making a smacking or sucking sound  
stasis (n) equilibrium, a state of balance or inactivity, esp. caused by equal but opposing forces  
steeped (adj) immersed (in), saturated (with)  
stentorian (adj) very loud and powerful (generally of a human voice)  
stigma (n) mark of disgrace, a figurative stain or mark on someone's reputation  
stint (n) period of time spent doing something, or a specific, limited amount of work; (v) to be frugal, to get by on little  
stipulate (v) specify; make an open demand, esp. as a condition of agreement  
stratagem (n) military maneuver to deceive or surprise; crafty scheme  
stratum (n) one of many layers (such as in a rock formation or in the classes of a society)  
strut (n) a structural support or brace  
sublime (adj) lofty or elevated, inspiring reverence or awe; excellent, majestic; complete, utter  
subpoena (n/v) a court order requiring a person to appear in court and give testimony  
sully (v) make dirty, stain, tarnish, defile  
supplant (v) take the place of, displace, esp. through sneaky tactics  
supposition (n) assumption, hypothesis, something that has been supposed  
surly (adj) bad-tempered, hostile, unfriendly, or rude  
surrogate (n) substitute, person who acts for another; (adj) acting as a replacement  
sybarite (n) person devoted to pleasure and luxury  
symbiosis (n) mutually dependent relationship between two organisms, people, groups, etc.  
synoptic (adj) relating to a synopsis or summary; giving a general view  
syntax (n) the rules governing grammar and how words join to make sentences (or how words and symbols join in writing computer code), the study of these rules, or any system or orderly arrangement  
tawdry (adj) gaudy, cheap or cheap-looking; indecent  
tendentious (adj) marked by a strong point of view, biased  
terrestrial (adj) relating to the Earth or to land; worldly  
terse (adj) concise, brief and to the point (sometimes to the point of rudeness)  
toady (n) someone who flatters or acts in a servile manner for self-serving reasons  
token (n) sign, symbol, mark, badge; souvenir, memento; coin-like disk used as currency for subways, arcade games, etc.; sample, or person, thing, idea taken to represent an entire group; (adj) of very little or merely symbolic value  
tome (n) large or scholarly book; one of the volumes in a set of several books  
tortuous (adj) twisting, winding, complex; devious, not straightforward  
transgression (n) violation of a law, moral rule, order, etc.; sin  
travesty (n) exaggerated, debased, or grotesque imitation  
treacherous (adj) betraying trust, not faithful or trustworthy; not dependable; dangerous or deceptive  
trenchant (adj) forceful or vigorous, effective, keen; caustic, sharp  
truculent (adj) fierce, cruel, savage, belligerent  
tumultuous (adj) riotous, violently agitated, marked by disturbance or uproar; noisy, chaotic  
turgid (adj) swollen, inflated; or, metaphorically "inflated," such as in overblown, pompous speech  
turpitude (n) depravity, baseness of character, corrupt or depraved acts  
tyro (n) beginner  
umbrage (n) offense or annoyance (usu. as "take umbrage," meaning become offended or annoyed)  
unconscionable (adj) not guided by conscience; morally wrong, unjust, unreasonable  
unsparing (adj) generous, lavish (as in not sparing any help or gifts to others); unmerciful, harsh (as in not sparing any criticism)  
untempered (adj) not toned down; not moderated, controlled, or counterbalanced  
upbraid (v) find fault with, criticize or scold severely  
usury (n) charging interest on a loan, esp. charging illegally high or excessive interest  
vanguard (n) leading units at the front of an army; leaders in a trend or movement, people on the "cutting edge"; the forefront of a trend or movement  
variegated (adj) varied in color, having multicolored patches or spots; diverse  
verdant (adj) green, such as with vegetation, plants, grass, etc.; young and inexperienced  
verisimilar (adj) having the appearance of truth, probable  
vernal (adj) relating to the spring; fresh, youthful  
vestige (n) trace or sign of something that once existed  
vex (v) annoy or bother; puzzle or distress  
via (prep) through, by means of, by way of (by a route that goes through or touches)  
vicissitude (n) changes or variations over time, esp. regular changes from one thing to another  
vim (n) pep, enthusiasm, vitality, lively spirit  
virulent (adj) extremely infectious, poisonous, etc.; hateful, bitterly hostile  
viscid or viscous (adj) thick, adhesive, or covered in something sticky  
vitriol (n) something highly causetic, such as criticism (lit. one of a number of chemical including sulfuric acid)  
vociferous (adj) noisily crying out, as in protest  
voluble (adj) easily fluent in regards to speech  
wan (adj) unnaturally pale, or showing some other indication of sickness, unhappiness, etc.; weak, lacking forcefulness  
wanton (adj) reckless, vicious, w/o regard for what is right; unjustifiable, deliberately done for no reason at all; sexually unrestrained or excessively luxurious  
welter (n) confused mass or pile, jumble; confusion or turmoil; (v) roll around, wallow, toss about, writhe  
whet (v) stimulate, make keen or eager (esp. of an appetite)  
whitewash (n) a substance used to whiten walls, wood, etc.; (v) to deceive, cover up of wrongs, errors, misdeeds, etc.  
winnow (v) sift, analyze critically, separate the useful part from the worthless part  
winsome (adj) charming, engaging, esp. in a sweet and innocent way  
wizened (adj) withered, shriveled  
xenophobia (n) fear or hatred of foreigners or that which is foreign  
yoke (n) a burden or something that oppresses; a frame for attaching animals (such as oxen) to each other and to a plow or other equipment to be pulled, or a bar across a person's shoulders to help carry buckets of water, etc.; (v) to unite together or to burden  

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