The Electronic Portfolio of

Christopher’s Dictionary

Ad libitum: without restriction; freely.

À la: according to, in the manner of: a short poem a la Ogden Nash.

A la mode: in fashion; with ice cream.

A Priori: from a general law to a particular instance; valid independently of observation.

Abate: to reduce in amount, degree, intensity, etc.; lessen; diminish.

Abattoir: a slaughterhouse.

Abdicate: to renounce or relinquish a throne, right, power, claim, responsibility, or the like, especially in a formal manner.

Aberrant: departing from the right, normal, or usual course.

Abet: to encourage, support, or countenance by aid or approval, usually in wrongdoing.

Abjure: to solemnly recant, renounce, or repudiate.

About-face: (n.) a total change of attitude or viewpoint; (v.intr.) to reverse direction.

Aboveboard: without deceit or trickery (Skullduggery); straightforward.

Abrogate: to abolish or annul by formal or official means; to put aside; put an end to.

Abstemious: eating and drinking in moderation.

Accoutrement: personal clothing or garments, Raiment; accessories, etc.

Acerbic: sour or astringent in taste; harsh or severe, as of temper or expression.

Acolyte: an altar attendant in public worship; any attendant, assistant, or follower.

Acrimonious: caustic, stinging, or bitter in nature, speech, behavior, etc.

Adamantine: unyielding, inflexible; having the hardness or luster of a diamond.

Adept: very skilled; proficient; expert.

Ad hoc: for the specific purpose, case, or situation at hand and for no other.

Ad hominem: (adj.) appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason.

Admonish: to caution, advise, or counsel against something; Exhort.

Adonis: a very handsome young man.

Adroit: expert or nimble in the use of the hands or body; ant.: Maladroit: awkward.

Adulation: excessive devotion to someone; servile flattery.

Adumbrate: to produce a faint image or resemblance of; to outline or sketch.

Aegis: Classical Mythology the shield or breastplate of Zeus or Athena, bearing at its center the head of the Gorgon; protection, support; sponsorship, auspices.

Aesthete: a person who has or professes to have refined sensitivity toward the beauties of art or nature.

Affectation: an effort to appear to have a quality not really or fully possessed; the pretense of actual possession.

Afflatus: a strong creative impulse, esp. as a result of divine inspiration.

Ageist: discrimination against persons of a certain age group.

Aggrandize: to widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend.

Ague: a chill or fit of shivering.

Akimbo: hands on the hips and elbows bowed outward.

Alacrity: cheerful readiness, promptness, or willingness.

Amalgamate: to mix or merge so as to make a combination; blend; unite; combine.

Ameliorate: to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory; improve.

Ambivalent: uncertainty or fluctuation, esp. when caused by inability to make a choice or by a simultaneous desire to say or do two opposite or conflicting things.

Ambrosia: the food of the gods, thought to confer immortality; something with an especially delicious flavor or fragrance.

Amethyst: a purple or violet quartz, used as a gem; a purplish tint.

Amoral: neither moral or immoral, not involving questions of right or wrong, simply being.

Amorous: inclined or disposed to love, especially sexual love: an amorous disposition.

Amorphous: lacking definite ; having no specific shape; formless.

Anathema: a person or thing detested or loathed.

Andiron: metal supports for holding up logs in the fireplace.

Anodyne: capable of soothing or eliminating pain; relaxing; Palliative.

Anomalous: deviating from or inconsistent with the common order, form, or rule; irregular; abnormal.

Anomie: social instability caused by erosion of standards and values.

Anopisthograph: having writing on only one side of the leaves.

Antedate: to be of older date than, precede in time; to cause to return to an earlier time: to antedate one’s thoughts by remembering past events.

Aphrodisiac: arousing or intensifying sexual desire. (n.) something, as in drug or food, that has such effect.

Aspidistra: any of various eastern Asian plants of the genus Aspidistra, especially A. elatior, which has large evergreen basal leaves and small, brownish bell-shaped flowers and is widely cultivated as a houseplant. Also called cast-iron plant.

Apogee: the farthest or highest point; the apex.

Aplomb: imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance.

Apocryphal: of doubtful authorship or authenticity.

Apoplectic: produced by apoplexy; stroke; extremely angry, furious rage.

Apostasy: a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

Apotheosis: exaltation to divine rank or stature; deification.

Appurtenance: something associated with another, more important thing; an accessory.

Approbation: approval; commendation.

Aquamanile: a vessel, often in the shape of an animal, used to pour water over the hands, esp. in ritual cleansing.

Arbiter elegantiarum: a judge of elegance or matters of taste.

Arcanum: (pl. arcane) a deep secret; mystery.

Arguendo: for the sake of argument.

Arrivederci: until we see each other again, good-bye for the present.

Ascetic: a person who dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons; abstains from normal pleasures of life [also adjective].

Ashram: a secluded building, often the residence of a guru, used for religious retreat or instruction in Hinduism.

Asperity: harshness or sharpness of tone, temper, or manner; severity; acrimony: The cause of her anger did not warrant such asperity.

Aspersion: a damaging or derogatory remark or criticism; slander [casting aspersions].

Assail: to attack vigorously or violently, assault; to attack with arguments, criticism, ridicule, abuse, etc.: to assail one’s opponent with slander.

Assiduity: constant or close application or effort; diligence; industry.

Assuage: to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate: to assuage one’s grief.

At loggerheads: (idiom) engaged in a dispute.

Atomize: to reduce or separate into atoms; to reduce into tiny particles or fine spray; to break into small fragments.

Atone: to make amends, as for a sin or fault; Expiate.

Atrophy: a wasting or decrease in size of a body organ, tissue, or part owing to disease, injury, or lack of use; a wasting away, deterioration, or diminution; to cause to or to wither or deteriorate.

Attaché: a person officially assigned to the staff of a diplomatic mission to serve in a particular capacity: a cultural attaché; a military attaché.

Attenuate: to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value.

Attrition: a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength.

Audacious: fearlessly, often recklessly daring, bold; unrestrained by convention or propriety, brazen or insolent; spirited and original.

Augment: to make larger; enlarge in size, number, strength, or extent; increase.

Augur: to make predictions from signs or omens.

Auspice: usually, auspices. Patronage; support; sponsorship: under the auspices of the Department of Education.

Auspicious: promising, boding well, heartening, encouraging.

Autarky: a policy of national self-sufficiency and nonreliance on imports or economic aid.

Auteur: a filmmaker, usually a director, who exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style.


Avant-garde: the advance group in any field, especially in the visual, literary, or musical arts, whose works are characterized chiefly by unorthodox and experimental methods.

Avuncular: of, pertaining to, or characteristic of an uncle: avuncular affection.

Bacchanal: a follower of Bacchus; a drunken reveler, or such occasion.

Bailiwick: a person’s specific area of interest, skill, or authority.

Balkanize: to divide (a region or territory) into small, often hostile units; to divide (an organization or system) into small, incompatible units: changes that would Balkanize the corporation.

Ballast: anything that gives mental, moral, or political stability or steadiness.

Ballyhoo: sensational or clamorous advertising or publicity; noisy shouting or uproar.

Balmy: mild and refreshing; soft; soothing.

Balsamaceous: possessing healing or restorative qualities.


Bastion: a fortified place, rampart; anything seen as preserving or protecting some quality, condition, etc.: a bastion of solitude; a bastion of democracy.

Bawdy: humorously coarse; lewd or risqué.

Bazaar: a market consisting of a street lined with shops and stalls, esp. in Middle East.

Bedfellow: one that is closely associated or allied with another: “stupidity here makes an easy bedfellow, as always, with racialism.”

Bedizen: to dress or adorn in a showy, gaudy, or tasteless manner.

Bedlam: a scene or state of wild uproar and confusion.

Bedraggled: wet, drenched, or messy; a state of deterioration, dilapidated.

Beguile: to deceive by guile or charm: beguiled unwary investors; to deprive (someone) of something by guile or deceit, cheat: a disease that has beguiled me of strength; to distract the attention of, divert: to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming (Lincoln); to amuse or charm, delight or fascinate; to pass (time) pleasantly.

Beleaguered: to surround with military forces; to surround or beset, as with troubles.

Belie: to give a false representation to, misrepresent: “He spoke roughly in order to belie his air of gentility.” To show to be false, contradict: their laughter belied their outward grief.

Bellicose: inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.

Beltway: political establishment of Washington, DC, including federal officeholders, lobbyists, consultants, and media commentators.

Benedict Arnold: American Revolutionary general and traitor whose plan to surrender West Point to the British for 20,000 pounds was foiled when his accomplice John André was captured (1780). Arnold fled to New York and then to England (1781).

Benediction: blessing

Bequeath: to dispose of (personal property, esp. money) by last will; to hand down; pass on.

Bereave: to deprive and make desolate, especially by death (usually followed by of ): Illness bereaved them of their mother. [past tense: bereft, as in they are bereft of their mother.]

Besmirch: to stain; sully; soil, as in a reputation.

Beyond the pale: irrevocably unacceptable or unreasonable: behavior that was quite beyond the pale.

Bibulous: fond of or addicted to drink; absorbent; spongy.

Bi-furcate: (verb or adj.) to divide or fork into two branches.

Bildungsroman: a type of novel concerned with the education, development, and maturing of a young protagonist.

Blithe: joyous, merry, or gay in disposition; glad; cheerful.

Boffin: a scientist, esp. on engaged in research.

Boilerplate: hackneyed or conventional language, usually expressing a generally accepted viewpoint.

Bombastic: (of speech, writing, etc.) high-sounding; high-flown; inflated; pretentious.

Bon vivant: a person who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink.

Bona fides: (used with a sing. verb) Good faith; sincerity. 2. (used with a pl. verb) Information that serves to guarantee a person’s good faith, standing, and reputation; authentic credentials: “Sakharov’s bona fides within the Soviet system … have given added weight to his message”

Bonhomie: a pleasant and affable disposition; geniality.

Bottom line: the line in a financial statement that shows net income or loss; final result.

Bouleversement: (French) an overturning; convulsion; turmoil.

Brahmin: a member of a cultural and social elite, especially of that formed by descendants of old New England families: a Boston Brahmin.

Bravura: brilliant musical technique or style in performance; a showy manner or display.

Bridle: anything that restrains or curbs.

Brigand: a robber or bandit, esp. one of an outlaw band.


Bucolic: of or pertaining to shepherds, pastoral; of, pertaining to, or suggesting an idyllic rural life.

Bugbear: a cause of fear, anxiety, or irritation; a difficult or persistent problem.

Bullion: gold or silver considered with respect to quantity rather than value, i.e. bars or ingots.

Bully pulpit: a position such a public office where one may expound one’s opinions to a wide audience.

Bumptious: offensively self-assertive.

Buttonhole: to accost [to approach and speak to, esp. aggressively, with a demand] and detain (a person) in conversation: “he was also frequently buttonholed by White House lobbyists.”

Byzantine: complex or intricate.

Cabal: a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority; Camarilla.

Cache: a hiding place for valuables; to hide or store in a cache.

Cachet: a mark or indication of superior status; prestige.

Cacology: defectively produced speech; socially unacceptable diction.

Cacophony: harsh discordance of sound; dissonance.

Cadre: Military, the key group of officers and enlisted personnel necessary to establish and train a new military unit; a group of trained or otherwise qualified personnel capable of forming, training, or leading an expanded organization, as a religious or political faction, or a skilled work force.

Caduceus: a herald’s wand or staff, especially in ancient times; winged staff with two serpents twined around it, carried by Hermes; symbol of the medical profession.

Cajole: to persuade by flattery, gentle pleading, or insincere language.

Caliban: the ugly, beastlike slave of Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest; a brutish or brutalized man.

Caliphate: office or jurisdiction of a caliph, or a leader of an Islamic polity who is male and regarded as the successor of Muhammad.

Callow: lacking adult maturity or experience; immature: a callow young man.

Calumny: a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something.

Camel’s nose: a metaphor for a situation where permitting some small, seemingly innocuous act will open the door for larger, clearly undesirable actions: This bill and the foregoing remarks of the majority remind me of an old Arabian proverb: “If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.” If adopted, the legislation will mark the inception of aid, supervision, and ultimately control of education in this country by the federal authorities.” – B. Goldwater

Canard: an unfounded or false, deliberately misleading story.

Candor: the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression; candidness.

Canonical: conforming to orthodox or well-established rules or patterns, as of procedure; of or relating to a literary canon: a canonical writer like Keats.

Cant: to lean to one side; slant.

Cantilever: a projecting structure, such as a beam, that is supported at one end and carries a load at the other end or along its length.

Carafe: a glass or metal bottle, often with a flared lip, used for serving water or wine; glass pot with a pouring spout, used in making coffee.

Carpe diem: seize the day (before it is spent); enjoy the present, as opposed to placing all hope in the future. Carpe rosam: gather the flowers before they lose their bloom.

Carrot-and-stick: combining a promised reward with a threatened penalty: took a carrot-and-stick approach to the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.

Cartomancy: the telling of fortunes with playing cards.

Casuistry: specious or excessively subtle reasoning intended to rationalize or mislead; the determination of right and wrong in questions of conduct or conscience by analyzing cases that illustrate general ethical rules.

Casus belli: justification for acts of war, refers to threats or offenses directly against a nation.

Casus foderis: refers to offenses or threats to a fellow allied nation with which the justifying nation is engaged in a mutual defense treaty, such as NATO.

Catalectic: lacking one or more syllables, esp. in the final foot. Used of verse.

Catatonic: appearing to be in a daze or stupor; unresponsive.

Categorical: unconditional, absolute, without exception.

Caterwauler: to utter long wailing cries, as cats in rutting time; to screech, howl.

Catharsis: the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.

Cato: Roman politician and general who wrote the first history of Rome. As censor (an official, one who examines books) he attempted to restore simplicity to Roman life. A conservative opponent of Julius Caesar’s political ambitions, he supported Pompey against Caesar in the civil war and committed suicide after Caesar’s decisive victory at Thapsus

Cause célèbre: an issue arousing widespread controversy or heated public debate; a celebrated legal case.

Cavalier: a gallant or chivalrous man, esp. one serving as escort to a woman of high social position, a gentleman; a mounted soldier, a knight; a supporter of Charles I of England in his struggles against Parliament; (adj.) showing arrogant or offhand disregard, dismissive: a cavalier attitude toward the suffering of others; carefree and nonchalant, jaunty.

Cavil: to raise irritating and trivial objections; find fault with unnecessarily.

Cavort: to behave in a high-spirited, festive manner; make merry.

Celerity: swiftness of action or motion; speed.

Chagrin: a feeling of vexation, marked by disappointment or humiliation.

Charlatan: a person who pretends or claims to have more knowledge or skill than he or she possesses; quack; Mountebank: a hawker of quack medicines attracting customers with stories, jokes, or tricks.

Chasten: to correct by punishment or reproof, take to task; to restrain, subdue: chasten a proud spirit; to rid of excess, refine or purify: chasten a careless writing style.

Cheek to jowl: side by side; close together.

Chimerical: unreal; imaginary; visionary or wildly fanciful, highly unrealistic.

Chiaroscuro: technique of using light and shade in pictorial representation.

Chrysalis: a pupa, esp. of a butterfly; any protected stage of development.

Chumbolone: a person who is easily tricked into doing something directly counter to his own personal interest; exhibits incapacity for sound judgment; people who believe anything government officials and the media tell them.

Cherub: a winged celestial being; a person, esp. a child, with an innocent or chubby face. [-ic]

Circuitous: roundabout; not direct.

Circumspect: watchful and discreet; cautious; prudent.

Citadel: a stronghold, fortress, refuge.

Citizens United (2010): Supreme Court recognized First Amendment rights of corporations and unions to spend money in support causes important to members.

Clandestine: done secretly or kept secret.

Claustration: the act of confining in or as in a cloister.

Clotheshorse: a person excessively concerned with dress.

Coalesce: to blend or come together.

Cocksure: perfectly sure or certain; completely confident in one’s own mind.

Codicil: a supplement to a will, containing an addition, explanation, modification, etc., of something in the will.

Cogent: convincing or believable by virtue of forcible, clear, or incisive presentation; telling.

Cogitations: concerted thought or reflection, meditation, contemplation; the faculty of thinking; a thought, design, plan.

Coif: to arrange or dress (the hair).

Collateral damage: damage to things that are incidental (unintended) to the intended target.

Comity: mutual courtesy; civility.

Commensurate: corresponding in amount, magnitude, or degree.

Compendium: a brief treatment or account of a subject, especially an extensive subject;
concise treatise: a compendium of medicine.

Complicit: participation in wrongdoing.

Comportment: personal bearing or conduct; demeanor; behavior (v. comport).

Compunction: a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety of the conscience caused by regret for doing wrong or causing pain; contrition; remorse.

Con brio: with great energy, vigorously. Used chiefly as a direction.

Concatenate: to link together; unite in a series or chain.

Conciliation: to overcome the distrust or hostility of; placate; win over: to conciliate an angry competitor.

Conclave: an assembly or gathering, esp. one that has special authority, power, or influence.

Concomitant: existing or occurring with something else, often in a lesser way; accompanying; concurrent; collateral: an event and its concomitant circumstances.

Conducive: tending to produce; conducing; contributive; helpful; favorable.

Conduit: a pipe or the like for conveying water or other fluid; an agency or means of access, communication, etc. The new laws also beef up the board’s audit committee as a conduit for internal complaints.

Confabulate: to talk casually; chat.

Confrere: a fellow member of a fraternity, profession, etc.; colleague.

Congeries: a collection of items or parts in one mass; assemblage; aggregation; heap: From the airplane the town resembled a congeries of tiny boxes.

Consternation: a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.


Consummate: to bring to a state of perfection; fulfill.

Contemporaneously: living or occurring during the same period of time; contemporary.

Contrarian: a person who takes an opposing view, especially one who rejects the majority opinion, as in economic matters.

Contretemps: an unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things, an inopportune occurrence; an argument or dispute.

Contrite: feeling regret and sorrow for one’s sins or offenses; penitent.

Contrived: obviously planned or calculated, not spontaneous or natural, labored.

Contumelious: (contumely) insulting display of contempt in words or actions; contemptuous or humiliating treatment.

Convalescence: gradual return to strength and health after illness; period needed to do so.

Convolute: to coil up, form into a twisted shape.

Cordon: a border, line of people, ships, to enclose or guard.

Corollary: an immediate consequence or easily drawn conclusion.

Corporeal: of the nature of the physical body, bodily; material; tangible: corporeal property.

Coterminous: having the same border or covering the same area; being the same in extent; coextensive in range or scope.

Couth: showing or having good manners or sophistication; smooth.

Coterie: a group of people who associate closely.

Coquetry: Dalliance (casual romantic or sexual activity); flirtation.

Corpulence: the condition of being excessively fat; obesity.


Countervail: to act against with equal force, counteract; to compensate for, offset.

Coup d’état: the sudden overthrow of a government by a usually small group of persons in or previously in positions of authority.

Coup de grâce: a deathblow delivered to end the misery of a mortally wounded victim; a finishing stroke or decisive event.


Credulous: gullible, eager to believe, naïve.

Crestfallen: dispirited and depressed; dejected.

Critical mass: An amount or level needed for a specific result or new action to occur: “The sudden national uproar over drugs and drug abuse has reached politically critical mass in Washington.”

Crotchety: capriciously stubborn or eccentric; perverse.

Culpable: deserving blame or censure; blameworthy.

Curmudgeon: a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

Cursory: going rapidly over something, without noticing details; hasty; superficial.

Cynosure: an object that serves as a focal point of attention and admiration.

Daedal: skillful; ingenious.

Dais: a raised platform, as in a lecture hall, for speakers or honored guests.

Deadpan: (n.) a blank, expressionless face; (adj.) impassively matter-of-fact, as in style, behavior, or expression; ( to express in an impassive, matter-of-fact way; (v. intr,) to express oneself in an impassive, matter-of-fact way.

Dearth: a scarce supply; lack.

Debonair: sophisticated, urbane; gracious and charming, in a cheerful, carefree way.

Decadent: being in a state of decline or decay; marked by or providing unrestrained gratification, self-indulgent.

Déclassé: low or lowered in class, rank, or social position; characteristic of the lower classes.

Decorum: dignified propriety of behavior, speech, dress, etc.

De rigueur: necessary according to etiquette, protocol or fashion.

Deleterious: injurious or harmful to health.

Deliquesce: to melt away; to disappear as if by melting.

Demagogue: a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people; rabble-rouser.

Demesne: possession and use of one’s land; extensive piece of landed property; an estate.

Demur: to voice opposition; object; (n.) an objection.

Denizen: an inhabitant, resident; a person who regularly frequents a place, Habitué.

Denude: to divest of covering; make bare.

Deprecate: to express disapproval of, deplore.

Derelict: a person abandoned by society, especially a person without a permanent home and means of support; vagrant; bum [also adj.]

Derisively: characterized by or expressing disdain, contemptuous, mocking, Deride; [Derisory adj.]

Derogate: to take away, detract; to deviate from a standard or expectation, go astray.

Dervish: (n) one that possesses abundant, often frenzied energy.

Descry: to see (something unclear or distant) by looking carefully; discern; espy.

Desiccate: to dry thoroughly; dry up; Exsiccate; Wizen.

Despondent: feeling or showing profound hopelessness, dejection, discouragement, or gloom; Abject.

Desuetude: the state of being no longer used or practiced.

Desultory: lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful.

Detritus: any disintegrated material; debris.

Dialectic: the art or practice of arriving at the truth by the exchange of logical arguments; the process esp. associated with Hegel of arriving at the truth by stating a thesis, developing a contradictory antithesis, and combining and resolving them into a coherent synthesis.

Dictum: an authoritative pronouncement; judicial assertion.

Didactic: intended for instruction, instructive; inclined to teach or lecture others too much; teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson.

Diffident: lacking confidence in one’s own ability, worth, or fitness; timid; shy; reserved.

Digerati: people who are knowledgeable about digital technologies such as computer programming and design.

Diktat: a harsh, unilaterally imposed settlement with a defeated party; an authoritative or dogmatic statement or decree.

Dilatory: tending to delay or procrastinate, slow, tardy; intended to cause delay, gain time, or defer decision: a dilatory strategy.

Dilettante: a person who takes up an art, activity, or subject merely for amusement, especially in a desultory or superficial way; dabbler.

Discrete [not discreet]:

Dishabille: the state of being partially or very casually dressed; casual or lounging attire; an intentionally careless manner.

Divest: to strip of clothing, ornament; to rid of or free from; take away; to sell off.

Dodd-Frank: amended existing lending laws by making banks legally responsible for determining that a borrower has the ability to repay a mortgage.

Dogmatic (2): blindly committed to a belief system or doctrine and usually asserting that belief in an arrogant, opinionated manner that refuses to consider other points of view.

Dolorous: full of, expressing, or causing pain or sorrow; grievous; mournful: Doleful.

Donnybrook: a melee; free-for-all; brawl.

Dossier: a collection of papers giving detailed information about a particular person or subject.

Doyenne: a woman who is the eldest or senior member of a group.

Dregs: the sediment in a liquid, such as wine or coffee; the basest or least desirable portion: the dregs of humanity; a small amount, residue.

Drivel: to drool or slobber; to talk childishly or stupidly; (n.) childish talk.

Druthers: a choice or preference: given their druthers, these hell-for-leather [at breakneck speed] free marketeers might sell the post office.

Dubious: doubtful; marked by or occasioning doubt.

Dullard: a stupid, insensitive person.

Duplicitous: marked or characterized by duplicity, deceitfulness in speech or conduct, as by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter; double-dealing.

Duress: compulsion by threat or violence; coercion: confessed under duress.

Dyad: two individuals or units regarded as a pair: the mother-daughter dyad.

Ebullient: overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited.

Eclectic: selecting or choosing from various sources.

Edifice: a building, especially one of large size or imposing appearance.

Effervescent: high spirited; vivacious.

Effluence: the action or process of flowing out; efflux.

Egregious: extraordinary in some bad way; glaring; flagrant.

Élan: enthusiastic vigor and liveliness; distinctive style or flair.

Elegiac: of, relating to, or involving elegy or mourning or expressing sorrow for that which is irrecoverably past.

Eleventh hour: the latest possible time.

Elliptical: extreme economy of oral or written expression; deliberate obstruction in style or expression.

Empirical: relying on or derived from observation or experiment; guided by practical experience.

Empyrean: (n.) the highest reaches of heaven, believed by the ancients to be a realm of pure fire or light; the abode of God and angels, paradise; the sky.

Enchiridion: a handbook; manual.

Enervate: to deprive of force or strength; destroy the vigor of; weaken.

Enfilade: gunfire directed along the length of a target, such as a column of troops; (architecture) a linear arrangement of a series of interior doors, so as to provide an unobstructed view when the doors are open.

Enmity: deep-seated, often mutual, hatred.

Ennui: a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.

Ensconced: to settle securely or snugly.

Entente: an agreement between two or more governments or powers for cooperative action or policy.

Entreat: to make an earnest request of someone.

Envisage: to contemplate; visualize.

Epater la bourgeoisie: to shock the middle classes; upper-class dressing down for plane ride.

Ephemeral: lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory.

Epicene: having characteristics of both sexes; having characteristics traditionally ascribed to the other sex, especially as a male who is considered to be effeminate.

Epistemic: relating to knowledge; cognitive.

Epoch: a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc.

Eponymous: giving one’s name to a tribe, place, etc.: Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome.

Equanimity: the quality of being calm and even-tempered; composure.

Ergo: (conj.) consequently, therefore; (adv.) consequently, hence.

Errant: deviating from the regular or proper course; erring; straying.

Erstwhile: former; of times past: erstwhile friends.

Erudite: characterized by great knowledge; learned or scholarly.

Eschew: to abstain or keep away from; shun; avoid.

Esoteric: understood by or meant for only the select few who have special knowledge or interest; Recondite [reckin-dite]; Abstruse.

Esprit: sprightliness of spirit or wit; lively intelligence.

Ethereal: light, airy, or tenuous: an ethereal world created through the poetic imagination; extremely delicate or refined: ethereal beauty.

Equanimity: mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.

Evanescent: vanishing; fading away; fleeting.

Ex ante: based on anticipated changes or activity in an economy (opposed to ex post NB- add “facto” to mean after the fact).

Ex officio: by virtue of office or position.

Exact: to call for, demand, or require: to exact respect from one’s children.

Excoriate: to denounce or berate severely, flay verbally; remove skin from.

Execrable: deserving of execration, hateful; extremely inferior, very bad: an execrable meal.

Exegesis: critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.

Exigency: exigent state or character, urgency; usually, exigencies: the need, demand, or requirement intrinsic to a circumstance, condition, etc.: the exigencies of city life; a case or situation that demands prompt action or remedy, emergency: he promised help in any exigency.

Exodus: a going out; a departure or emigration, usually of a large number of people.

Exogenous: originating from outside; derived externally.

Exonerate: to free from blame; Exculpate.


Expeditiously: characterized by promptness; quick.

Expletive: an interjectory word or expression, frequently profane; an exclamatory oath.

Extenuating: serving to make a fault, offense, etc., appear less serious.

Extrapolate: to infer (an unknown) from something that is known; conjecture.

Extricate: to free from difficulty, to get out of, to disengage or release from entanglement.

Facile: moving, acting, working, proceeding, etc., with ease, sometimes with superficiality.

Fait accompli: an accomplished fact; a thing already done: The enemy’s defeat was a fait accompli long before the formal surrender.

Farrago: an assortment or medley; conglomeration.

Fastidious: very attentive to and concerned about accuracy and detail.

Fatuous: foolish or inane, especially in an unconscious, complacent manner; silly.

Faust: a magician and alchemist in German legend who sells his soul to the devil (Mephistopheles) in exchange for power and knowledge.

Feint: a movement made in order to deceive an adversary.

Felicity: the state of being happy, especially in a high degree; bliss.

Feral: existing in a wild or untamed state; having returned to such state from domestication; of or suggesting a wild animal, savage.

Festoon: to adorn with or as with festoons; adorn; embellish.

Fetid: having an offensive odor; stinking.

Fidelity: strict observance of promises, duties, etc.; loyalty.

Fig leaf: something that serves as a usually insufficient concealment or camouflage.

Fillip: a snap or light blow made by pressing a fingertip against the thumb and suddenly releasing it; something that excites or stimulates; to strike or propel rapidly by a fillip: filliped my ear; filliped the pretzel across the counter; to stimulate or arouse.

Firebrand: a person who stirs up trouble or kindles revolt.

Flivver: an automobile, esp. one that is inexpensive, old, and small.

Florid: reddish, ruddy, rosy: a florid complexion; flowery, excessively ornate, showy: florid writing.

Flotsam and Jetsam: refuse found in the ocean; worthless matters or encumbrances; separate the wheat from the chaff.

Foible: a minor weakness or failing of character; slight flaw or defect.

Foist: to pass off as genuine, valuable, or worthy.

Foment: to instigate or foster (discord, rebellion, etc.); promote the growth or development of.

Fopperies: foolish qualities or actions.

Foray: a quick raid, usually for the purpose of taking plunder; quick attack.

Forceps: pincers or tongs used for extracting or manipulating, as if by a surgeon.

Forlorn: desolate or dreary; unhappy or miserable, as in feeling, condition, or appearance.

Fortuitous: accidental, happening by chance.

Fracas: a noisy, disorderly fight or quarrel.

Fratricide: the killing of one’s brother or sister; the accidental killing of an ally caused by a discharge of a military weapon.

Fricassee: to prepare (poultry or meat) by cutting into pieces and stewing with gravy.

Funambulist: one who performs on a tightrope or a slack rope.

Furbelow: a ruffle or flounce on a garment; a piece of showy ornamentation.

Furlough: Military, a vacation or leave of absence granted to an enlisted person; a usually temporary layoff from work.


Fusillade: a simultaneous or continuous discharge of firearms; a general discharge or outpouring of anything.

Gallic: of or relating to Gaul or France; French.

Gambit: a maneuver, stratagem, or opening remark, esp. one intended to bring about a desired remark; Demarche.

Gaucherie: lack of social grace, sensitivity, or acuteness; awkwardness; crudeness; tactlessness.

Garrulous: excessively talkative in a rambling, roundabout manner, especially about trivial matters; wordy or diffuse: a garrulous and boring speech.

Gelding: a castrated animal, especially a male horse.

Genteel: refined or polite, often in an affected way; upper class; elegantly stylish or fashionable.

Gentile: a person who is not Jewish.

Gestalt: a physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts.

Gilt: (v.) past tense and past participle of gild, to layer in a thin layer of gold; (adj.) covered with gold or resembling gold; (n.) superficial brilliance or gloss.

Glad hand: a warm and hearty, but often insincere welcome or greeting.

Glean: to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit.

Global labor arbitrage: an economic phenomenon where, as a result of the removal of or disintegration of barriers to international trade, jobs move to nations where labor and the cost of doing business (such as environmental regulations) is inexpensive and/or impoverished labor moves to nations with higher paying jobs. Arbitrage: making money w/ no risk

Gloss over: to make attractive or acceptable by deception or superficial treatment: a resumé that glossed over the applicant’s lack of experience.

Goad: an agent or means of prodding or urging; a stimulus; (v.) to prod or urge as if with a long pointed stick.

Gossamer: fine film of cobwebs that is often seen floating in the air or is caught on bushes or grass; something that is light, delicate, or sheer, such as fabric.

Graft: to join or unite closely.

Grandiose: affectedly grand or important; pompous.

Grease the skids: to help matters run smoothly; to smooth the way for something; laying out a vision in change theory to get passed people who resist.

Gregarious: fond of the company of others; sociable.

Grist: grain for grinding; grist for the mill: something that can be used to advantage.

Groundswell: a sudden gathering of force, as in public opinion.

Grovel: to humble oneself or act in an abject manner, as in great fear or utter servility; to lie or crawl with the face downward and the body prostrate, especially in abject humility, fear, etc.

Guile: insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.

Gulag: a network of forced labor camps in the former Soviet Union; a labor camp in this network; a network of prisons used especially for political dissidents; a prison in such a network.

Gustatory: of or relating to the sense of taste.

Gyre: a circular or spiral motion or form, esp. a circular ocean current.

Hagiography: the writing of the lives of saints.

Halcyon: calm; peaceful; tranquil; rich, wealthy; happy, carefree.

Hamas: Islamic militant organization that governs the Gaza strip under sharia law.

Hamlet: a small village.

Handmaiden: something that accompanies or is attendant on another: “the traditional notion that government was the handmaiden of business.”

Hangdog: shamefaced or guilty; downcast, intimidated.

Hapless: unlucky, unfortunate.

Harangue: a scolding or a long or intense verbal attack; diatribe.

Harum-scarum: reckless, rash, irresponsible; Feckless (also means feeble and ineffective): He had a harum-scarum youth; disorganized, uncontrolled.

Hautbois: an oboe.

Hayseed: an unsophisticated person from a rural area; a bumpkin.

Heady: intoxicating: a heady wine; affecting the mind or senses greatly; exciting, exhilarating; rashly impetuous: heady conduct; violent, destructive: heady winds.

Hebdomadal: weekly; hebdomad: a group of seven; a week.

Hector: to bully, intimidate or dominate in a blustering way; swagger.

Hedonist(ic): a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.

Hegemony: leadership, predominance.

Hellenic: of or relating to the ancient Hellenes, their history, or their language; Greek.

Herding cats: an attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are uncontrollable or chaotic; implies a task that is extremely difficult or impossible to do, primarily due to chaotic factors.

Heterodox: not in agreement with accepted beliefs, esp. in church doctrine or dogma; holding unorthodox opinions.

Heuristic: serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.

Hew: ( to make or shape with or as if with an ax: hew a path. (v.intr.) to cut something by repeated blows, as of an ax; to adhere or conform strictly, hold: hew to the line.

Hezbollah: Islamist terrorist group in Lebanon.

Hidebound: narrow and rigid in opinion; inflexible; oriented toward or confined to the past, extremely conservative; Blinkered: subjective and limited in viewpoint or perception.

Hirsute: (adj.) hair, shaggy; and a formerly hirsute friend is now completely bald.

Histrionic: of or relating to actors or acting; excessively emotional or dramatic; affected.

Hobnob: to associate familiarly: hobnobs with the executives.

Hoi polloi: the common people; the masses.

Hovel: a small, very humble dwelling house, a wretched hut; any dirty, disorganized dwelling.

Hysteresis: the lagging of an effect behind its cause, as when the change in magnetism of a body lags behind changes in the magnetic field.

Iconoclast: a person who attacks cherished beliefs, traditional institutions, etc., as being based on error or superstition.

Idée fixe: a fixed idea; an obsession.

Idyll: a poem with an epic or romantic theme, or of an idealized rural/pastoral theme; a scene or event of simple and tranquil nature.

Imbroglio: a misunderstanding, disagreement, etc., of a complicated or bitter nature, as between persons or nations.

Impasse: a position or situation from which there is no escape; deadlock.

Impecunious: having little or no money.

Imperious: domineering in a Haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing see supercilious.

Impetuous: characterized by sudden or rash action, emotion, etc.; impulsive; Madcap.

Imprimatur: official approval; sanction: does their idea get your imprimatur?

Impropriety: the quality or condition of being improper, incorrectness; inappropriateness.

Impudent: of, pertaining to, or characterized by impertinence or effrontery; Chutzpah.


Inane: lacking sense, significance, or ideas; silly; Fatuous.

Inauspicious: not auspicious; boding ill; ill-omened; unfavorable.

Inchoate: not yet completed or fully developed; rudimentary.


Incipient: beginning to exist or appear.

Incisive: penetrating; cutting; biting; mordant; trenchant: an incisive tone of voice.

Incongruous: out of keeping or place, inappropriate, unbecoming; lacking harmony of parts.

Incorrigible: incapable of being corrected or reformed; firmly rooted; difficult or impossible to control or manage; Intractable.

Indigent: experiencing want or need, impoverished; (n) a poor or destitute person.

Indignant: feeling, characterized by, or expressing strong displeasure at something considered unjust, offensive, insulting, or base.


Indolent: having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful.


Ineluctable: not to be avoided or escaped; inevitable.

Inexorable: unyielding; unalterable.

Inextricable: incapable of being disentangled, undone, loosed, or solved.

Ingénue: the part of an artless, innocent, unworldly girl or young woman, esp. as represented on the stage.

Ingenuous: candid, sincere, forthright, without deception, charmingly naïve.

Ingratiating: charming; agreeable; pleasing; kiss-ass.

Inimical: adverse in tendency or effect, unfavorable; harmful.

Inimitable: incapable of being imitated or copied; surpassing imitation; matchless.

Innocuous: not likely to irritate or offend; not dangerous physically.

Iniquities: gross immorality or injustice; wickedness, Depravity.

Insipid: without distinctive, interesting, or stimulating qualities; vapid.

Insolent: boldly rude or disrespectful; contemptuously impertinent; insulting.

Insouciant: free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant.

Insuperable: incapable of being passed over, overcome, or surmounted: an insuperable barrier.

Insurgency: the quality or circumstance of being rebellious; an instance of rebellion.

Interdiction: to prohibit (an act or thing) or forbid (someone) to do something, esp. by a legal or ecclesiastical order.

Interminable: endless.

Interstice: an intervening space; a small or narrow space or interval between things or parts, especially when one of a series of alternating uniform spaces and parts.

Intractable: difficult to manage, deal with, or change; difficult to persuade or keep under control.

Intransigence: refusing to agree or compromise; uncompromising; inflexible.

Intrepid: resolutely fearless; dauntless.

Inveigh: to protest strongly or attack vehemently with words; rail (usually followed by against ): to inveigh against isolationism.

Inveterate: settled or confirmed in a habit, practice, feeling, or the like.

Invidious: calculated to create ill will or resentment or give offense; hateful.

Ipso facto: by the fact itself, by that very fact.

Irascible: easily provoked to anger; very irritable.


Iridescent: displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.

Jaded: worn out, wearied; dulled by surfeit (to overindulge in food or drink, excess), sated.

Je ne sais quoi: a quality or attribute that is difficult to describe or express.

Jejune: without interest or significance; dull; insipid.

Jeremiad: a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint.

Jocose: given to or characterized by joking; jesting; humorous; playful.

Jurisprudence: the science or philosophy of law.

Kindred: (n.) a group of related persons; (adj.) of the same ancestry or family.

Kitsch: pieces of art or other objects that appeal to popular or uncultivated taste, as in being garish or overly sentimental.

Klieg light: a powerful carbon-arc lamp producing an intense light, used esp. in making movies.

Kludge: a clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem.

Knave: an unprincipled, crafty fellow.

Kowtow: to kneel or touch the forehead to the ground in expression of deep respect, worship, or submission, as formerly done in China.

Lachrymose: suggestive of or tending to cause tears; mournful.


Lambent: flickering lightly; having a gentle glow, luminous.

Languid: lacking in vigor or vitality, slack or slow; lacking in spirit or interest.


Laolaiqiao: old people doing young things that young people wouldn’t even do; wearing younger clothes.

Lapis lazuli: deep blue mineral; a sky-blue color, azure.

Laurel: evergreen tree of the Mediterranean region valued for its aromatic ovate leaves, used in cooking; (often laurels) wreath conferred as a mark of honor in ancient times upon poets, heroes, and victors in athletic contests; honor and glory won for great achievement; (tr.v.) to crown with laurel; to honor, especially with an award or prize; (Idiom) rest on (one’s) laurels: to rely on one’s past achievements instead of working to maintain or advance one’s status or reputation.

Lassitude: weariness of body or mind from strain, oppressive climate; lack of energy; listlessness; languor.

Laureate: (adj.) worthy of the highest honor or distinction; (n.) one awarded a prize for great achievements esp. in arts or sciences; a poet laureate.

Leitmotif: a melodic passage or phrase, esp. in Wagnerian opera, associated with a specific character, situation, or element. 2. A dominant and recurring theme, as in a novel.


Libido: Psychoanalysis . all of the instinctual energies and desires that are derived from the id (the part of the psyche, residing in the unconscious, that is the source of instinctive impulses that seek satisfaction in accordance with the pleasure principle and are modified by the ego and the superego before they are given overt expression); sexual instinct or sexual drive.

Libertine: a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained, especially a dissolute man; a profligate; rake.

Licentious: unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral.

Lien: the right to hold another’s property as security for a debt owed.

Limn: to describe or depict by painting or drawing; to suffuse or highlight with light or color, illuminate; to describe or portray in words.

Limpid: clear, transparent, or pellucid, as water, crystal, or air.

Linchpin: something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.

Lionize: to treat (a person) as a celebrity: to lionize the visiting poet.

Lion’s share: the greatest or best part.

Listless: having or showing little or no interest in anything; languid; spiritless; indifferent.

Litany: a prolonged or tedious account: We heard the whole litany of their complaints.

Lithe: readily bent, supple.

Litmus test: a test that uses a single indicator to prompt a decision.

Livery: a distinctive uniform worn by male servants of a household; distinctive dress worn by members of a group, uniform. [liveried]

Lodestar: a star, such as Polaris, that is used as a point of navigational reference; a principle, interest, or person that serves as a guide.

Lock, stock, and barrel: all, total, everything.

Locution: a particular form of expression; a word, phrase, expression, or idiom, especially as used by a particular person, group, etc.

Logjam: a deadlock, as in negotiations; an impasse.

Lope: to move or run with bounding steps, as a quadruped, or with a long, easy stride, as a person.

Loquacious: talking or tending to talk much or freely; talkative; chattering; babbling; (v.) Prate.

Louche: of questionable morality or repute.

Luddite: a member of any of various bands of workers in England (1811–16) organized to destroy manufacturing machinery, under the belief that its use diminished employment.

Macabre: gruesome and horrifying; ghastly; horrible.

Machicolations: a projecting gallery at the top of a castle wall, supported by a row of corbels and having openings in the floor through which stones and boiling liquids could be dropped on attackers.

Machination: the act of scheming or plotting; a crafty scheme or cunning design for the accomplishment of a sinister end.

Maelstrom: a violent or turbulent situation; a whirlpool of extraordinary size or violence.

Magisterial: characteristic of a master or teacher, authoritative; dignified in appearance or manner; dogmatic, overbearing.

Magnanimity: the quality of being magnanimous; generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness.

Magnate: a person of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise, field of business, etc.

Major domo: the head steward or butler in the household of a sovereign or great noble.

Malaise: unease

Malefactor: a person who violates the law, criminal; a person who does harm or evil, especially toward another.

Malevolent: wishing evil or harm to another or others; showing ill will; ill-disposed; malicious.

Malign: to speak harmful untruths about; speak evil of; slander, Vilify; defame.

Malthusian: of or pertaining to the theories of T. R. Malthus, which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population or the increase of population is checked.

Manifest: (adj.) readily perceived by the eye or the understanding, evident, obvious, apparent, plain; (verb) to make clear or evident to the eye or the understanding; show plainly.

Maudlin: tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental.

Mar: to inflict damage, esp. disfiguring damage on; to impair the soundness or integrity of, spoil.

Matte: decorative border or dull finish.

Maven: a person who has special knowledge or experience; an expert.

Mazel tov: used to express congratulations or best wishes.

Mealymouthed: avoiding the use of direct and plain language, as from timidity, excessive delicacy, or hypocrisy; inclined to mince words; insincere, devious, or compromising.

Megalomania: psychiatry a symptom of mental illness marked by delusions of greatness, wealth, etc; an obsession with doing extravagant or grand things.

Mellifluous: sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding.

Mendacious: telling lies, especially habitually; dishonest.

Mendicant: pertaining to or characteristic of a beggar (adjective or noun).

Mephitic: offensive to the smell; noxious, pestilential, poisonous.

Mercurial: changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic.

Metastasize: to spread injuriously.

Materiel: the equipment, apparatus, and supplies of a military force or other organization.

Methuselah: an extremely old or long-lived man.

Métier: a field of work, occupation, trade, or profession; a field of work or other activity in which one has special ability or training, forte.

Metonymy: a figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated, as in the use of Washington for the United States government or of the sword for military power.

Mewl: to cry weakly, whimper.

Minutiae: precise details; small or trifling matters.

Minx: a girl or young woman considered to be impudent or very flirtatious.

Mirth: gaiety or jollity, especially when accompanied by laughter.

Miser: a person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money; a stingy, avaricious person; Skinflint.

Modus vivendi: manner of living, way of life, lifestyle; a temporary arrangement between persons or parties pending a settlement of matters in debate.

Mollify: to soften in feeling or temper, as a person; pacify; appease.

Moorings: one’s stability or security.

Moribund: in a dying state; near death.

Mores: the accepted traditional customs and usages of a particular social group.

Mellifluous: sweetly or smoothly flowing; sweet-sounding.

Midwife: to assist in bringing forth or about: Washington’s efforts to midwife a Mideast settlement.

Minimalist: a person who favors a moderate approach to the achievement of a set of goals or who holds minimal expectations for the success of a program.

Mirabile dictu: strange to say; marvelous to relate.

Mooncalf: a congenitally grossly deformed and mentally defective person, a freak; a foolish person; a person who spends time idly daydreaming.

Moratorium: a suspension of activity.

Muftis: civilian dress, esp. when wore by one who normally wears a uniform; Muslim interpreter of shari’a.

Munificent: extremely liberal in giving; very generous.

Muscadine: a woody vine of the southeast U.S., bearing a thick-skinned musky grape used to make juice and wine.

Myopic: unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted; lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded.

Myrmidon: a person who executes without question or scruple a master’s commands.

Nacre: the pearly internal layer of certain mollusk shells used to make decorative objects; mother-of-pearl.

Nadir: the lowest point; point of greatest adversity or despair.

Narcissus: Classical Mythology a youth who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool and wasted away from unsatisfied desire, whereupon he was transformed into the flower.

Nascent: beginning to exist or develop.

Natty: neatly or trimly smart in dress or appearance; spruce.

Necrophilia: obsessive fascination with death and corpses.

Nescient: lack of knowledge; ignorance.

Neophyte: a beginner or novice.

Nepotism: favoritism shown or patronage granted to relatives, as in business.

Nexus: a means of connection, link, or tie.

Nicety: a delicate or fine point, punctilio; a fine distinction, subtlety, detail; usually, niceties: a refined, elegant, or choice feature, as of manner or living: working hard to acquire the niceties of life; exactness or precision.

Niggling: petty; trivial; inconsequential.

Nihilism: total rejection of established laws and institutions; anarchy.

Noblesse: noble birth or condition; the noble class; noblesse oblige: benevolent, honorable behavior considered to be the responsibility of persons of high birth or rank.

Nom de plume: pen name.

Nomothetic: giving or establishing laws; legislative.

Normative: of, relating to, or prescribing a norm or standard.

Nouveau: new and different, often fashionably so.

Nugatory: of no real value, ineffective.

Obeisance: a gesture or movement of the body, such as a curtsy, that expresses deference or homage.

Obfuscate: to confuse, bewilder, or stupefy.

Obliquity: divergence from moral conduct, rectitude, etc.; immorality, dishonesty, or the like.

Obloquy: censure, blame, or abusive language aimed at a person or thing, especially by numerous persons or by the general public.

Obsequious: characterized by or showing servile complaisance.

Obstreperous: resisting control or restraint in a difficult manner; unruly.

Obviate: to keep from happening or render unnecessary; prevent.

Oeuvre: a work of art.

Ogee: an arch formed by two symmetrical double curves meeting at a point.

Onerous: burdensome, oppressive, or troublesome; causing hardship.

Opalescent: exhibiting a play of colors like that of the opal; having a milky iridescence.

Opening the Kimono: willingness to reveal what is being planned or to share important information freely with an outside party; suggests the shy timidity of a Japanese woman disrobing publicly.

Opprobrium: the disgrace or the reproach incurred by conduct considered outrageously shameful; infamy.

Opulent: wealthy, rich, affluent.

Ostensible: outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended.

Ostentatious: characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others.

Outré: highly unconventional, eccentric, bizarre.

Pabulum: a substance that gives nourishment; food.

Paean: a song of joyful praise or exultation; a fervent expression of such.

Pagan: one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks (syn: polytheist); a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim (syns: heathen, gentile, idolator, nonbeliever); an irreligious or hedonistic person; a person deemed savage or uncivilized and morally deficient.

Pagoda: a religious building of East Asia and Southeast Asia, especially a multistory Buddhist tower with widely overhanging eaves separating each level, erected as a memorial or shrine.

Palate: the sense of taste; intellectual or aesthetic taste, mental appreciation.

Palaver: idle chatter; talk intended to charm or beguile; (v.intr.) to talk idly or at length.

Palladium: something believed to ensure protection; safeguard.

Pallid: pale; faint or deficient in color; lacking in vitality or interest: a pallid musical performance.

Palpable: readily or plainly seen, heard, perceived, etc.; obvious; evident.

Paltry: ridiculously or insultingly small; utterly worthless.

Panacea: a remedy for all disease or ills, cure-all; Catholicon; an answer/solution for all problems/difficulties: His economic philosophy is a good one, but he tries to use it as a panacea.

Panache: a grand or flamboyant manner; verve; style; flair.

Panegyric: a lofty oration or writing in praise of a person or thing, eulogy; formal or elaborate praise.

Panoply: a wide-ranging and impressive array or display.

Paragon: a model or pattern of excellence or of a particular excellence; someone of exceptional merit.

Pariah: a social outcast.

Parlance: a way or manner of speaking; vernacular; idiom.

Parochial: of or relating to a parish; narrowly restricted in view or outlook, provincial.

Paroxysm: a sudden outburst of emotion or action: a paroxysm of laughter; a sudden attack, recurrence, or intensification of a disease; spasm or fit, a convulsion.

Pars pro toto: a figure of speech where the name of a portion of an object or concept represents the entire object or concept.

Parsimonious: frugal or stingy.

Pastiche: a dramatic, literary, or musical piece openly imitation the previous works of other artists, often with satirical intent; a pasticcio of incongruous parts, a hodgepodge.

Pathology: scientific study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development, and consequences; the anatomic or functional manifestations of a disease; a departure or deviation from a normal condition: neighborhoods plagued by self-perpetuating pathology of crime.

Patina: [pat-in-uh] green layer that forms on copper and bronze; sheen on a surface, such as one made of wood, produced by age and use; a superficial exterior layer, coating; a superficial impression, esp. one considered to be added or acquired.

Patrician: a person of noble or high rank; aristocrat.

Paucity: smallness of quantity; scarcity; scantiness; paucity of resources.

Paunchy: having a large and protruding belly; potbellied.

Peccadillo: a very minor or slight sin or offense; a trifling fault; Venial refers to a small sin.

Pedagogy: the function or work of a teacher; teaching.

Pedantic: characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for academic knowledge and formal rules.

Pelagic: of, relating to, or living in open oceans or seas rather than waters adjacent to land or inland waters: pelagic birds.

Pell-mell: in a jumbled, confused manner, helter-skelter; in a frantic disorderly haste; headlong.

Penchant: a strong inclination, taste, or liking for something.

Penurious: extremely stingy; parsimonious; miserly.

Perambulate: to walk through; to inspect on foot; (v. intr.) to walk about, roam, or stroll.

Percolate: to become active, lively, or spirited; to show activity, movement, or life; grow or spread gradually; germinate: Interest in the idea has begun to percolate.

Perdition: loss of the soul, eternal damnation; Hell; utter ruin.

Perdurable: extremely durable, permanent.

Peregrinate: to travel or journey, esp. to walk on foot.

Peremptory: leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal, imperative: a peremptory command; imperious or dictatorial; positive or assertive in speech, tone, manner, etc.

Periclean Age: of or pertaining to Pericles or to the period when Athens was intellectually, artistically, and materially preeminent.

Perfidious: deliberately faithless; treacherous; deceitful.

Perfunctory: performed merely as a routine duty; hasty and superficial; indifferent, apathetic.

Peripatetic: walking or traveling about; Itinerant.

Peroration: a long speech characterized by lofty and often pompous language.

Perquisite: a perk.

Persiflage: light, bantering talk or writing; a frivolous or flippant style of treating a subject.

Persnickety: over particular; fussy; snobby.

Persona non grata: a person who is not welcome: He has become persona non grata in our club since his angry outburst; a diplomatic representative unacceptable to an accrediting govt.

Perspicacity: keenness (Acuity) of mental perception and understanding; discernment; penetration.

Pertinacious: holding tenaciously to a purpose, course of action, or opinion; resolute.

Pestiferous: producing or breeding infectious diseases; morally evil, pernicious; bothersome, annoying.

Pettifog: to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.

Petulant: moved to or showing sudden, impatient irritation, especially over some trifling annoyance.

Phalanx: (pl. phalanges) a compact or close-knit body of people; finger or toe.

Phantasmagoria: a shifting series of phantasms, illusions, or deceptive appearances, as in a dream or as created by the imagination; a changing scene made up of many elements.

Phenomenology: a philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.

Philander: to have sexual affairs, esp. men.

Philistine: a person who is lacking in or hostile or smugly indifferent to cultural values, intellectual pursuits, aesthetic refinement, etc., or is contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes.

Phlegmatic: not easily excited to action or display of emotion; apathetic; sluggish.

Phrenetic: frenetic, filled with extreme excitement; frenzied.

Physiognomy: facial features.

Piacular: making expiation or atonement for a sacrilege: piacular sacrifice; requiring expiation, wicked or blameworthy.

Piedmont: a plateau between the coastal plain and the Appalachian Mountains.

Pillories: wooden framework to which offenders were locked to be exposed to public scorn as punishment; to expose to ridicule and abuse.

Pince-nez: eyeglasses that are worn on the bridge of the nose without supports that go over the ears.

Pith: the essential or central part; the heart or essence: The pith of your argument is controversial; strength, vigor, mettle; significance, importance: matters of great pith.

Pithy: brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible.

Placate: to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures.

Platitudinal: dull and tiresome but with pretensions of significance or originality.

Plaudit: enthusiastic expression of praise or approval; Extol.

Plebian: belonging or pertaining to the common people.

Plebiscite: a direct vote of the qualified voters of a state in regard to some important public question.

Plenipotentiary: invested with or conferring full powers.

Plutocracy: the rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy [plutocrat].

Pogrom: an organized, often officially encouraged massacre or persecution of a minority group, especially one conducted against Jews.

Polemic: a controversial argument, esp. one attacking or refuting a specific opinion or doctrine; a person inclined or engaged in controversy or argument.

Polymath: a person of great or varied learning.


Pontificate: to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner.

Porphyry: rock containing relatively large conspicuous crystals, esp. feldspar, in a fine-grained igneous matrix.

Portmanteau: a large leather suitcase that opens into two hinged compartments; word formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two different words, as chortle, from chuckle and snort.

Posse comitatus: the body of persons that a peace officer of a county is empowered to call upon for assistance in preserving the peace, making arrests, and serving writs.

Posthaste: with great speed; rapidly.

Potemkin village: something that appears elaborate and impressive but in actual fact lacks substance.

Purlieu: an outlying or neighboring area; purlieus: outskirts, the environs; a place one frequents.

Pratfall: a fall on the buttocks; a humiliating error, failure, or defeat.

Praxis: practical application or exercise of a branch of learning; habitual practice or custom.

Precipitously: of the nature of or characterized by precipices.

Precocious: manifesting or characterized by development, aptitude, or interests considered advanced for a given age..

Predicate: to proclaim; declare; affirm; assert; to found or derive (a statement, action, etc.); base (usually followed by on ): He predicated his behavior on his faith in humanity.

Predilection: a tendency to think favorably of something in particular; partiality; preference.

Prelapsarian: of or relating to the period before the fall of Adam and Eve; characteristic of or pertaining to any innocent or carefree period: a prelapsarian youth.

Preponderant: superior in weight, force, influence, numbers, etc.; prevailing.

Presage: to indicate or warn of in advance; an omen: Portent (n.).

Prescience: knowledge of things before they exist or happen; foreknowledge; foresight.

Prestidigitation: sleight of hand; Legerdemain.

Pretense: pretending or feigning; make-believe: my sleepiness was all pretense; a false show of something: a pretense of friendship.

Preternatural: surpassing what is normal or usual, extraordinary; supernatural.

Prevaricate: to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

Prig: a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, especially in a self-righteous or irritating manner.

Pro forma: according to form; as a matter of form; for the sake of form.

Probative: serving or designed for testing or trial.

Probity: complete and confirmed integrity; uprightness.

Procrustean (bed): producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means (an arbitrary standard to which exact conformity is forced); when different lengths, sizes, or properties are fitted to an arbitrary standard.

Profligate: given to or characterized by licentiousness or dissipation; reckless waste.

Profundity: the quality or state of being profound; depth.

Progenitor: a biologically related ancestor; a person or thing that first indicates a direction, originates something, or serves as a model, predecessor, precursor.

Prognosticate: to forecast or predict (something future) from present indications or signs; prophesy.

Prophylactic: acting to defend against or prevent something, esp. disease, protective; (n.) a prophylactic agent, device, or measure, such as a vaccine or drug.

Propitious: presenting favorable conditions; favorable.

Prolegomenon: a preliminary discussion, esp. a formal essay introducing a work of considerable length or complexity.

Proliferate: to reproduce, increase, or produce new growth.

Promethean: (noun) one who is boldly creative or defiantly original in behavior or actions.

Promulgate: to make known by open declaration; publish; proclaim formally or put into operation; Disseminate.

Prophylactic: preventive or protective.

Propitiate: to make favorably inclined; appease; conciliate.

Propinquity: nearness in place, proximity; nearness of relation; kinship; affinity of nature; similarity; nearness in time.

Propound: to put forward or offer for consideration, acceptance, or adoption; set forth; propose.

Prosaic: commonplace or dull; matter-of-fact or unimaginative.

Proselytize: to convert or attempt to convert as a proselyte; recruit.

Prostrate: to cast (oneself) face down on the ground in humility, submission, or adoration; to lay flat, as on the ground.

Protean: readily assuming different forms or characters; extremely variable.

Protract: to draw out or lengthen in time; prolong.

Provincial: belonging or peculiar to some particular province; local: the provincial newspaper.

Proxy: the agency, function, or power of a person authorized to act as the deputy or substitute for another.

Puckish: mischievous; impish.

Puerile: of or pertaining to a child or to childhood; childishly foolish; immature or trivial: a puerile piece of writing.

Pugilism: the skill, practice, and sport of fighting with the fists; boxing.

Pugnacious: inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative.

Pulchritude: physical beauty; comeliness.

Punctilious: strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions. Punctilio: a fine point of etiquette, precise observance of formalities.

Purport: to present, esp. deliberately, the appearance of being; profess or claim, often falsely.

Purloin: to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer.

Pusillanimous: lacking courage or resolution; cowardly; faint-hearted; timid.

Putative: generally regarded as such; supposed.


Quaff: to drink (a beverage) heartily: quaffed the ale with gusto; Tipples: drinks; tipple: to drink in excess.

Quattrocento: the 15th-century period of Italian art and literature.

Querulous: full of complaints; complaining.

Quiescent: being at rest; quiet; still; inactive or motionless.

Quixotic: extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary, impractical, or impracticable.

Quotidian: usual or customary; everyday; commonplace.

Rabelaisian: of, pertaining to, or suggesting François Rabelais, whose work is characterized by broad, coarse humor and keen satire.

Race to the bottom: situation in which companies and countries try to compete with each other by cutting wages and living standards for workers, and the production of goods is moved to the place where the wages are lowest and the workers have the fewest rights.

Ramify: to have complicating consequences or outgrowths: the problem merely ramified after the unsuccessful meeting.

Rapacious: having or showing a strong or excessive desire to acquire money or possess things; greedy.

Rapport: relation; connection, especially harmonious or sympathetic relation.

Rapturous: full of, feeling, or manifesting ecstatic joy or delight.

Rarefied: extremely high or elevated; lofty; Exalted, to glorify.

Realpolitik: political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals.

Recalcitrant: resisting authority or control; not obedient or compliant; hard to deal with, manage, or operate.

Recapitulate: to review by a brief summary, as at the end of a speech or discussion; summarize.

Rectitude: rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue.

Recidivism: repeated or habitual relapse, as into crime.

Reconnoiter: to inspect, observe, or survey (the enemy, enemy’s strength or position, a region, etc.) in order to gain information for military purposes.

Recumbent: lying down, reclining, leaning; inactive, idle.

Red herring:

Redaction: act or process of preparing a document for publication, especially by deleting private or sensitive information.

Refulgent: shining brightly; radiant; gleaming.


Remunerate: to pay (a person) a suitable equivalent in return for goods provided, services rendered, or losses incurred, recompense; to compensate for, make payment for.

Replete: abundantly supplied or provided; filled (usually fol. by with).

Resplendent: shining brilliantly; gleaming; splendid.

Reticent: disposed to be silent or not to speak freely, reserved; reluctant or reserved.

Retrogression: to return to an earlier, inferior, or less complex condition.

Reverie: a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing.

Rollick: to behave or move in a carefree, frolicsome manner; romp.

Riposte: a quick, sharp return in speech or action; counterstroke.

Rote: routine; a fixed, habitual, or mechanical course of procedure.

Rue: to feel sorrow over; repent of; regret bitterly.

Rusticate: to go to or live in the country.

-san: courtesy Japanese title affixed to end of name regardless of age or gender.

Salable: subject to or suitable for sale; readily sold.

Saccharine: of the nature of or resembling that of sugar; very sweet in taste.

Sacrosanct: regarded as sacred and inviolable.

Salacious: appealing to or stimulating sexual desire, lust; Lecherous; Lascivious.

Salubrious: favorable to or promoting health; healthful.

Salvo: something resembling a relsease /or discharge of bombs or firearms, as a sudden outburst of cheers or praise, or a forceful written or verbal assault.

Sang-froid: [sahn-frwa] coolness of mind; calmness; composure.

Sanguine: cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident.

Sapient: having or showing great wisdom or sound judgment.

Sardonic: characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering: sardonic grin.

Saturnine: melancholy or sullen; bitter or sardonic.

Savile Row: a shopping street in Mayfair, central London, famous for its traditional men’s bespoke tailoring. The term “bespoke” is understood to have originated here when cloth for a suit was said to “be spoken for” by individual customers. The short street is termed the “golden mile of tailoring”, where customers have included Winston Churchill among others.

Savoir-faire: knowledge of just what to do in any situation; tact.

Schadenfreude: pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.

Schism: a separation or division into factions; a formal breach of union within a religious body.

Schlep: to carry clumsily or with difficulty.

Schlock: something, such as literature or merchandise, that is inferior or poorly made; shoddy.

Scintillate: to emit sparks; to sparkle; flash; to twinkle; Fulgurate: to emit flashes of lightning.

Scion: a descendant or heir, esp. of a wealthy or prominent family.

Sclerotic: affected or marked by sclerosis, the hardening of a body part, as of an artery.

Scrupulous: having scruples, having or showing a strict regard for what one considers right, principled; punctiliously or minutely careful, precise, or exact.

Scupper: to sink (a ship) deliberately; scuttle; to thwart or ruin: scupper a business deal.

Scuttle: lid or hatch; poke holes in ship hulls to sink them; to thwart or terminate; to scurry.

Secular: worldly, having nothing to do with spiritual or religious concerns: the monk had secular interests like gardening.

Serried: pressed or crowded together, especially in rows.

Self-abnegation: the setting aside of self-interest for the sake of others or a belief in principle.

Self-effacing: not drawing attention to oneself; modest.

Semantic: of, pertaining to, or arising from the different meanings of words or other symbols.

Senescent: growing old; aging.

Septuagenarians: of the age of 70 years or between 70 and 80 years old.

Sepulchral: of, pertaining to, or serving as a tomb; pertaining to a tomb; suggestive of a funeral.

Shambolic: disorderly or chaotic: Its transportation system is in a shambolic state.

Sheik: pronounced “shake.” An Islamic man respected for his piety or religious learning.

Shekel: a coin [Hebrew]

Shibboleth: a peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular class or set of persons; Common denominator.

Shrewd: having or showing clever resourcefulness or awareness, esp. in practical matters.

Simian: (adj. or n.) resembling a monkey or ape; nonhuman ape.

Sine die: without a day specified for a future meeting; indefinitely.

Sinecure: a position or office that requires little or no work but provides a salary.

Sinews: the source of strength, power, or vigor: the sinews of the nation.

Sinuous: having many curves, bends, or turns, winding: a sinuous path; indirect, devious: sinuous questions; characterized by a series of graceful curving motions: a sinuous dance.

Sisyphean: endlessly laborious or futile: the jumble of wet pans and platters made him weary; to dry them seemed a task as Sisyphean as to repair the things wrong with his parents’ house.

Sleuth: a detective, Gumshoe; (v. tr.) to track or follow; (v. intr.) to act as a detective.

Sobriquet: an affectionate or humorous nickname; an assumed name.

Socko: impressive and effective; excellent.

Soigné: showing sophisticated elegance, fashionable; well-groomed, polished.

Solicitude: the state of being solicitous; care or concern, as for another.

Solipsistic: of or characterized by solipsism, the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.

Somnolent: sleepy; drowsy.

Sotto voce: (n) in a low, soft voice so as not to be overheard.

Soupçon: a slight trace, as of a particular taste or flavor; dash; of course, the jewelry was all of her own design, and marked by a soupcon of wit and a large dose of sophistication.

Specificity: the quality or state of being specific.

Specious: having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious; deceptively appealing.

Spigot: a faucet.

Spikenard: an aromatic perennial herb of the Himalaya Mountains, having rose-purple flowers; an ointment of antiquity, probably prepared from this plant. An aromatic perennial herb (Nardostachys grandiflora) of the Himalaya Mountains, having rose-purple flowers. Also called nard. 2. An ointment of antiquity, probably prepared from this plant.

Splenetic: pertaining to the spleen; irritable; peevish; spiteful.

Staid in mien: characterized by sedateness and often a strait-laced sense of propriety; serious and conventional; fixed, permanent: There is nothing settled, nothing staid in this universe (Virginia Woolf). Bearing or manner, esp. as it reveals an inner state of mind: a colonel with an imperious mien; an appearance or aspect.

Stalwart: strongly and stoutly built, sturdy and robust; strong and brave; valiant.

Stanch: to stop.

Statute of limitations: enactment in a common law legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated.

Stave off: to keep or hold off; repel.

Stellated: arranged or shaped like a star; radiating from a center.

Steward: one who manages another’s property, finances, or other affairs.

Stolid: not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive.

Strata: layers.

Striate: to mark with striae (thin, narrow grooves or channels); striped, grooved, or ridged.

Stricture: a limitation, criticism, or constriction.

Stultify: to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous; to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means: Menial work can stultify the mind.

Sturm and Drang: turmoil, ferment: a book’s historical roots represent another barrier; so does the personal Sturm und Drang of the author“; a German romantic literary movement of the late 1700s whose works typically depicted the struggles of a highly emotional individual against conventional society.

Stymie: a situation or problem presenting such difficulties as to discourage or defeat any attempt to deal with or resolve it.

Sublunary: situated beneath the moon; of this world, earthly.

Subterfuge: an artifice or expedient used to evade a rule, escape a consequence, hide something, etc.


Succedaneum: a substitute.

Succor: assistance in time of distress; relief.


Summum bonum: the greatest or supreme good.

Sundry: various, miscellaneous.

Supercilious: haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person or a facial expression.

Supererogate: to do more than duty requires.

Supplicate: to ask for humbly or earnestly, as by praying; beseech [supplicant].

Surreptitiously: obtained, done, made, etc., by stealth; secret or unauthorized; clandestine.

Svelte: slender, especially gracefully slender in figure; lithe.

Swashbuckler: a flamboyant swordsmen or adventurer.

Sword of Damocles: constant threat, imminent peril: “the Latin American debt, overhanging American banks like the sword of Damocles.”

Sybarite: a person devoted to luxury and pleasure; a voluptuary.

Sycophant: a person who attempts to gain advantage by flattering influential people or behaving in a servile manner.

Tableau: a picture, as of a scene; a picturesque grouping of persons or objects, a striking scene.

Taciturn: inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation [tacit: implied].

Tactile: relating to, involving, or perceptible by the sense of touch.

Talmudic: characterized by or making extremely fine distinctions; overly detailed or subtle; hairsplitting.

Tantamount: equivalent, as in value, force, effect, or signification.

Tawdry: gaudy and cheap in nature or appearance; shameful or indecent.

Temerity: excessive boldness or rashness; foolhardiness or recklessness (see impetuous)

Tempestuous: characterized by violent emotions or actions; pertaining to a storm.

Tendentious: having or showing a definite tendency, bias, or purpose.

Thespian: (often lowercase) pertaining to tragedy or to the dramatic art in general.

Thrust and parry: to enter into verbal combat, to compete actively. [fencing term]

Tithe: one-tenth of income devoted to clergy; a tax of one-tenth.

Timorous: full of fear; fearful.

Titivate: to make decorative additions to; spruce up.

Torpor: a state of mental inactivity or instability; lethargy, apathy; dormant state of a hibernating animal.

Totemism: establishing affiliation through totems.

Tranche: a portion of a total, esp. of a block of assets such as cash or securities.

Transmogrify: to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.

Trawl: an act of searching for or examining something; to search for or try to obtain something: a contractor trawling for day laborers.

Treacle: contrived or unrestrained sentimentality; treacly: cloyingly sweet or sentimental.

Tremulous: marked by trembling, quivering, or shaking; timid or fearful.

Triage: sorting patients based on need or likely benefit of treatment; a system used to allocate a scarce commodity, such as food, only to those capable of deriving the greatest benefit from it; a process in which things are ranked in order of importance or priority; (tr. v.) to sort or allocate by triage.

Trifling: of very little importance, trivial, insignificant; frivolous.

Tripartite: composed of or divided into three parts.

Triptych: a hinged three-leaf tablet written on in ancient times with a stylus.

Trite: lacking in freshness or effectiveness because of constant use or excessive repetition; hackneyed; stale; picayune; boiler plate.

Trollop: an immoral or promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute.

Trope: a figure of speech using words in nonliteral ways, such as a metaphor.

Troubadour: one of a class of 12th-century and 13th-century lyric poets in southern France, northern Italy, and northern Spain, who composed songs in langue d’oc often about courtly love; a strolling Minstrel (a medieval entertainer who traveled from place to place, especially to sing and recite poetry).

Tousle: to disarrange or rumble, dishevel; (n.) a disheveled mass, as of hair.

Troika: a Russian carriage drawn by a team of 3 horses abreast; a team of 3 horses abreast.

Truculent: fierce; cruel; savagely brutal.

Tryst: an appointment to meet at a certain time and place, especially one made somewhat secretly by lovers.

Tyro: a beginner in learning something.

Tyrolean: a region of the eastern Alps in western Austria and northern Italy. Inhabited in ancient times by Celtic peoples, the Tyrol constantly passed back and forth, in whole or in part, between Austria and Italy in the 1800s. Its present division dates from the Treaty of St. Germain in 1919. The Tyrolean Alps are a popular tourist area.

Ubiquitous: existing or being everywhere, esp. at the same time; omnipresent.

Ukase: an authoritative order or decree; an edict; a proclamation of a czar having the force of law in imperial Russia.

Unadulterated: not diluted or made impure by adulterating; pure; intemerate.

Unctuous: excessively ingratiating or insincerely earnest; excessively smooth, suave, or smug.

Ungainsayable: undeniable, irrefutable.

Ungual: resembling a hoof or claw; pertaining to fingernails or toenails.

Unguent: a salve for soothing or healing; an ointment.

Unheralded: not announced beforehand; not acknowledged or acclaimed.

Unjaundiced: devoid of distorted or prejudiced views.

Unnerve: to deprive of courage, strength, determination, or confidence; upset.

Unremitting: not slackening or abating; incessant.

Untenable: not capable of being defended or maintained: an untenable position.


Urbane: polite, refined, and often elegant in manner.

Usurious: practicing usury; charging illegal or exorbitant rates of interest for the use of money.

The V & A (Victoria and Albert Museum): world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, it was founded in 1852, and has since grown to cover 12.5 acres and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.

Vacillate: to waver in mind or opinion; be indecisive or irresolute.

Vade mecum: a useful thing that one constantly carries about; book, such as a guidebook, for ready reference.

Vainglory: excessive or unwarranted pride in one’s accomplishments or qualities; vain, ostentatious display.

Vagabond: wandering from place to place without any settled home; nomadic.

Valediction: an act of bidding farewell or taking leave.

Valetudinarian: a sickly or weak person, esp. one who is constantly and morbidly concerned with his health.

Valises: a small piece of hand luggage.

Vanguard: the foremost division or the front part of an army; advance guard; van; the forefront in any movement, field, activity, or the like; the leaders of any intellectual or political movement.

Variegated: having streaks, marks, or patches of a different color or colors; varicolored: a plant with variegated leaves; distinguished or characterized by variety; diversified: her variegated experience.

Vassal: a person who held land from a feudal lord and received protection in return for homage and allegiance; a bondman, slave; a subordinate or dependent.

Velleity: volition in its weakest form; a mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.

Venally/venal: willing to sell one’s influence, esp. in return for a bribe; open to bribery; mercenary.

Venerable: commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity.

Verboten: forbidden, as by law; prohibited.

Verdant: green with vegetation or in hue; lacking experience or sophistication, naïve.

Verdure: greenness, especially of fresh, flourishing vegetation, grass; freshness in general, flourishing condition, vigor.

Verein: a highly flexible limited liability structure in multinational partnerships, which facilitates separate profit pools, effectively parks the issue of the major profits-gaps between US and UK firms, and also facilitates a degree of autonomous local management, which is helpful in maintaining post-merger integrity. It also – crucially – insulates the stronger partner against aberrant profit dips on the part of the weaker partner.

Vernacular: the language or vocabulary peculiar to a class or profession (also adjective).

Vertiginous: turning about on an axis; revolving or whirling.

Vex: to irritate; annoy; provoke.

Viand: an item of food; a very choice or delicious dish.

Vices: evil, degrading, or immoral practices; foible; corrupt or wicked habits.

Vicissitude: a change or variation occurring in the course of something.

Vignette: a decorative design placed at the beginning or end of a book or chapter of a book or along the border of a page; an unbordered picture, often a portrait, that shades off into the surrounding color at the edges; a short, usually descriptive literary sketch; a short scene or incident, as from a movie; (tr.v.)to provide (a photograph or image) with indistinct or fading edges; to describe in a brief way.

Virility: of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or befitting a man; masculine; manly.

Virulent: actively poisonous; intensely noxious; violent or spitefully hostile; intensely bitter, spiteful, or malicious.

Visceral: characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect.

Vitriolic: very caustic; scathing.

Vis-à-vis: in relation to; compared with.

Vitiate: to impair the quality of, make faulty, spoil; to impair or weaken the effectiveness of.

Vituperate: to use or address with harsh or abusive language; revile.

Vivisection: cutting into or otherwise injuring animals for scientific research.

Vociferous: crying out noisily; clamorous.

Volition: the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of willing.

Volte-face: a turnabout, especially a reversal of opinion or policy.

Voluble: characterized by a ready and continuous flow of words; fluent; glib; talkative: a voluble spokesman for the cause.

Vouchsafe: to grant or give, as by favor, graciousness, or condescension.


Wanderlust: a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Warble: to sing a note or song with trills, runs, or other melodic embellishments.

Watershed: an important point of division or transition between two phases, conditions, etc.

Wellspring: a source: a wellspring of ideas.

Whipsaw: To cause to move or alternate rapidly in contrasting directions: the bond market continues to be whipsawed by fears of rekindled inflation.

White elephant: a possession that provides few benefits and is an inconvenience or a financial burden to maintain.

Winsome: charming, often in a childlike or naïve way.

Winsorize: transformation of statistics by limiting extreme values in the statistical data to reduce the effect of possibly spurious outliers.

Woebegone: feeling, showing, or expressing deep sorrow, or wretchedness; of inferior or deplorable condition: a woebegone shack.

Wraith: an apparition of a living person supposed to portend his or her death.

Writ large: signified, expressed, or embodied in a greater or more prominent magnitude or degree: the man was no more than the boy writ large.

Zeitgeist: the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.

Zephyr: the west wind; a gentle breeze; any of various soft light fabrics, yarns, or garments, especially a lightweight, checked gingham; something that is airy, insubstantial, or passing.

Zero-sum: of or relating to a situation in which a gain is offset by an equal loss.

harem, scipio and carthage, stentorian, pyrrhic, badinage, cotillion, thraldom, bugbear, verities, nictitate, fructification, staid in mien, apprise, ossify, cloak and dagger, pariah state, largess, mettle, anemic, Hitherto, wry, chivalry, perpetrate, imbibe, harrumph, jihad, fiduciary, malaise, gambit, fainaigue, premium, keplerian factors, life of riley, stasis, bellwether, gilded, veritable, modicum, ectoplasm, fiat, maw, enjoin, cognoscenti, Baedeker, prefecture, gestalt, diegesis, attaché, scourge, pall, leaden, melodrama, meager, prefiguring, bestial, argot, renunciation, reproach, mauve, anchorite, cavalcade, truncate, goad, pustule, steampunk, raconteur, repertory, chanteuse, throes, saturnine, swarthy, wanton, appositional, syllogism, diachronic, effete, crepuscular, somnambulatory, yen, droll, impugn, weltanschauung, asunder, diapason, masticate, androcentric, proscription, extirpate, remiss, auger, eschew, inchoate, wont, cabalistic, mephitic, hermetically, infibulations, uxorious, eudeamonistic, imbue, lacuna, obloquy, parvenue and arriviste, pecuniary, venal, penumbra, garish, flounce, fescund, autodidact, elision/elide, sepulchral, draught, implicature, boondoggle, foist, quip, odious, unction, churlish, goyish, balefully, schlocky, farrago mixture, emollient, janus word, pear shaped, ersaty being a fake, traduce, lucre, puissant, saturnalian, pleonasm, aleatory, obverse, concupiscent, excelsior, tautological, hirsute, ossify, supine, postrate, askance, gossamer, sententious, nostrum, intimation, purview, adduce, deracinate, consanguinity, ululations, sibylline, whorl, flanged, unguents, suppliant, sieve, stodgy, clemency, gendarmerie, autocrat, confab, staccato, Hezbollah, hamas, olfactory, pare back, reprisal, largesse, earmarks, relegate, minatory, appellation, gait, rollick, mousy, lieder, chromaticism, blandishment, vlocker inflation, cretomathy, blasé, troika stanch, pendent, paltering, lacunae, adamantine, cataleptic, gendarmes, dowry, perambulators, catacombs, cataract, leonine, triolet, ignominious, constable, laity, prurient, raillery, diablerie, cicerone, inured, levities, palsy, equine, infirmities, audit, solecism, appliquéing, chauvinism, extempore, grandees, sauterne, syzygy, piquant, faux-naif, bibelot, miter, jalousie, virtu, couchant, folie de grandeur, cognoscenti, patrician, aperitif, flambé, sciatica, cachet, fiefs, hoodwink, sodalities, plied, arears, prosody, indivious, foulard, invidious, taramasalata, proviso, retsina, rouge, vertiginous, maitre d, distaff, glabrous, videlicet, lapidary, simulacrum, sedulous, methamphetaminic, sommeliers,agoraphobe, belletristic, in delicti, raison, corrugate, rasputinish, rictus, progeny, old-fogeyish, aforethought, bargees, nom de lens, flaeur, raffish, iniquity


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