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vocabulary
1000+ books

100 Words Encountered in

Architecture

Other Interests
buttress
as in:
a flying buttress
The buttress wall supports the main wall while preserving an open feel in the house.
buttress = an architectural feature that supports the wall of a building
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masonry
Falling masonry is dangerous in an earthquake.
masonry = stone or brick parts of a structure such as a building or wall; or the craft of building with such materials
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cupola
Possibly the most famous cupola is that at Saint Peter's Cathedral at the Vatican.
cupola = an architectural feature at the top of a roof, usually dome-shaped and opened by windows or columns
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landmark
It was a landmark Supreme Court decision.
landmark = very important
DefinitionGenerally landmark means:
something very important

or:

something easily recognized (such as a monument, building, or geographic feature) — especially one that helps one to know where she is; or that is a tourist destination
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symmetry
The building has multiple local symmetries.
symmetries = balance among the parts of something
DefinitionGenerally symmetry means:
balance among the parts of something

or more specifically:

having an exact reflection of form on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane
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piazza
They filmed it at the Piazza Navona in Rome.
piazza = Italian term for a plaza (large open square created or defined by several buildings forming a perimeter enclosure)
DefinitionGenerally piazza means:
architecture:  Italian term for a plaza (large open square created or defined by several buildings forming a perimeter enclosure)
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anteroom
He was searched again in the anteroom before entering her office.
anteroom = a room leading to a larger or more important room
DefinitionGenerally anteroom means:
a room leading to a larger or more important room — especially a waiting room
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postmodernism

with regard to architecture
Postmodern architects may consider many modern buildings to be soulless.
postmodern = aims to please, surprise or amuse by dismissing the logic, simplicity, and order inherent in modernist architecture and by combining different styles or shapes in unexpected ways
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acoustic
She plays an acoustic guitar.
acoustic = not using electricity to amplify sound
DefinitionGenerally acoustic means:
relating to properties of sound or hearing

or of a guitar or other musical instrument:  not using electricity to amplify sound
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insulate
as in:
insulate the attic
We had his bedroom insulated before winter came.
insulated = to cover something with a material to prevent passage of something such as heat, cold, noise, or electricity
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annex
as in:
annex of the main building
The YMCA added an annex where younger children can play.
annex = an addition that extends a main building
DefinitionGenerally this sense of annex means:
an addition that extends a main building

or:

to attach something — especially to something larger or more important
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keystone
the keystone of campaign reform was the ban on soft money
keystone = something of importance upon which other things depend
DefinitionGenerally keystone means:
something of importance upon which other things depend

or:

architecture or masonry:  the central building block at the top of an arch or vault (providing pressure to lock the other blocks into place)
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alcove
a beautiful room with an alcove window
alcove = a recessed or secluded space — such as in a room or garden
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ratio
The ratio of the 2nd to 4th finger length predicts spatial ability in men.
ratio = the relative magnitudes of two quantities — often expressed as a:b (which could also be expressed as the fraction a/b)
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coefficient
as in:
coefficient of thermal expansion
Determine the coefficient of friction between the two objects.
coefficient = physics:  a constant number that serves as a measure of some property or characteristic (such as the coefficient of thermal expansion)
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prominent
She is a prominent member of our community.
prominent = well-known
DefinitionGenerally prominent means:
well-known — especially of a person who is respected

or:

conspicuous (easily noticed) because of position or importance
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compliant
as in:
compliant with the law
The company was fined for not being regulation 4.3 compliant.
compliant = conforming to rules
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pavilion
We're meeting for a picnic under the pavilion at the park.
pavilion = large roofed structure without walls
DefinitionGenerally pavilion means:
a large structure separate from a main structure — in various senses such as:
  • a large roofed structure without walls — often found in parks
  • a temporary structure — such as a large tent to house exhibits at a fair, to provide sports facilities, or to put on a show
  • a section of a large hospital or office complex adjacent to other parts
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basilica
We visited St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City.
basilica = in Roman architecture, a public building for assemblies

or:

a Roman Catholic church or cathedral given certain privileges (typically architecturally similar to earlier Roman public buildings of the same name)
DefinitionGenerally basilica means:
in Roman architecture, a public building for assemblies

or:

a Roman Catholic church or cathedral accorded certain privileges (typically architecturally similar to earlier Roman basilica)
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condemn
as in:
condemned the building
The building was condemned by the inspector.
condemned = found a building not suitable to be occupied
DefinitionGenerally this sense of condemn means:
an official government finding that a building is not suitable to be occupied
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render
as in:
rendered with, or rendered from
The pianist rendered the Beethoven sonata beautifully.
rendered = played (portrayed or gave her interpretation of)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of render means:
to portray or create something in a particular way; or to interpret, translate, or extract from

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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protrude
Metal spikes protrude from the dog's collar.
protrude = stick out
DefinitionGenerally protrude means:
to stick out from
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foreman
She complained to the shop foreman.
foreman = a person who is in charge of other workers

or:

a juror in a court case who is selected by other jurors to head the jury
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juxtaposition
Shakespeare often makes us think by juxtaposing contrasting concepts like youth and age or freedom and responsibility.
juxtaposing = positioning dissimilar things side-x-side (usually to contrast)
DefinitionGenerally juxtaposition means:
the act of positioning dissimilar things side-x-side (usually to contrast)
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lattice
The house has a decorative lattice fence in front.
lattice = a pattern made from crisscrossing two sets of lines diagonally
DefinitionGenerally lattice means:
an object or pattern made from crisscrossing two sets of lines — leaving diamond- or square-shaped spaces where they do not overlap

or:

an arrangement of points or particles or objects in a regular periodic pattern
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contract
as in:
legal contract
She signed the contract.
contract = a written agreement that is enforceable by law
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contract means:
an agreement - typically written and enforceable by law
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perimeter
Don't go beyond the perimeter of the campgrounds.
perimeter = the outer edge
DefinitionGenerally perimeter means:
the outer edge — in various senses such as:
  • stay inside the defensive perimeter — the outer edges of the area that is defended
  • on the city's perimeter — one of the outer edges of the city
  • What is the perimeter? — the sum of the length of the sides of a geometric shape — such as a square
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premise
as in:
located on the premises
She was injured on the premises of the defendant.
premises = on the land or in a building
DefinitionGenerally this sense of premises means:
land and buildings together — especially of a business or organization
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deteriorate
The situation could quickly deteriorate.
deteriorate = become worse
DefinitionGenerally deteriorate means:
become worse

or:

gradually wear away or break into tiny particles
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coherent
She is more coherent now than she was just after the accident an hour ago.
coherent = sensible and clear; or describing parts as fitting together in a consistent or pleasing manner
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constraint
Both sides have demonstrated a lack of constraint in the discussions.
constraint = staying within limits (in this case restraining themselves from saying things that make it hard to work together)
DefinitionGenerally constraint means:
something that limits something's motion or someone's actions; or the state of being so limited
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arbor
The arbor provided a shady resting place in the park.
arbor = a framework that supports climbing plants
DefinitionGenerally this sense of arbor means:
a framework that supports climbing plants; or a shady rest area made by such a framework or by trees and shrubs
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medieval
The story takes place during medieval times.
medieval = relating to or belonging to the Middle Ages
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contemporary
2 meanings
as in:
contemporary design
It's easier to find outstanding books when selecting from those that have been in print for a long time, but were it not for that I would prefer modern literature with its contemporary language, issues, and ideas.
contemporary = characteristic of or belonging to the present time
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as in:
they are contemporaries
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were contemporary artists who competed for some projects.
contemporary = lived at the same time
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contemporary means:
living at the same time

or:

something occurring in the same period of time as something else
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renaissance

(with an uppercase "R")
We're visiting the museum to see the exhibit of Renaissance art.
Renaissance = the period of European history known for a revival of intellectual and artistic achievement (14th through mid-17th centuries)
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aesthetic
It was not aesthetically pleasing.
aesthetically = in a manner that is beautiful or tasteful
DefinitionGenerally aesthetic means:
related to beauty or good taste — often referring to one's appreciation of beauty or one's sense of what is beautiful

or:

beautiful or tasteful
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criteria
We're considering five primary criteria as we compare job applicants.
criteria = reference points against which things can be evaluated
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transparent
as in:
transparent shower door
The transparent shower door shows water spots.
transparent = able to be seen through with clarity
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opaque
as in:
opaque shower door
They are engineering a window that can convert from transparent to opaque with the push of a button.
opaque = not able to see through at all
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translucent
I could see a vague form through the translucent glass.
translucent = almost transparent; allowing light to pass through diffusely
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mosaic
The museum preserved a beautiful mosaic floor.
mosaic = art consisting of a design made of small pieces of colored stone or glass
DefinitionGenerally mosaic means:
art consisting of a design made of small pieces of colored stone or glass

or more rarely:

anything comprised of many differing parts of equal importance, but varying appearance
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flexible
The job has flexible working hours.
flexible = adaptable to different conditions
DefinitionGenerally flexible means:
bendable or adaptable in various senses:
  • easily bent without physical damage or injury — as of a hose or gymnast
  • able to adjust readily to different conditions — as of a plan
  • willing to make concessions — as of a boss
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plumb
Don't assume ghosts if your door swings by itself. It is probably not plumb.
plumb = exactly vertical or straight
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comprised
The university is comprised of six colleges.
comprised = made up of (composed of)
DefinitionGenerally comprised means:
made up of (composed of); or included
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vertical
The architect used long vertical lines to pull the eye upward.
vertical = oriented straight up and down (90 degrees relative to the floor)
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horizontal
Paintings in which horizontal lines dominate, tend to be relaxing.
horizontal = in line with the floor, horizon, or another flat base
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derivative
a highly derivative prose style
derivative = something developed from something else
DefinitionGenerally derivative means:
something developed from something else such as:
  • a word based on another word
  • a mathematical value from a function
  • the value of a financial instrument
  • a work of art such as a film or painting that lacks ideas not previously expressed in other works of art
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acute
as in:
an acute angle
Roofs at acute angles are common in snow country.
acute angles = sharp; or an angle measuring between 0 and 90 degrees
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invert
We rode an inverted loop roller coaster.
inverted = turned in the opposite position — such as upside down, inside out
DefinitionGenerally invert means:
to turn something in the opposite position — such as upside down, inside out, or (of two things) in switched position
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fabricate
as in:
fabricate metal parts
A full machine shop allows them to quickly fabricate parts and create test fixtures.
fabricate = make or manufacture
DefinitionGenerally this sense of fabricate means:
to make or manufacture something — especially by assembling components
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ostentatious
Although wealthy, the family is not ostentatious.
ostentatious = showy (trying to attract notice and impress others in a manner seen as in bad taste)
DefinitionGenerally ostentatious means:
intended to attract notice and impress others — especially with wealth in a vulgar way
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utilitarian
She likes plain utilitarian kitchenware.
utilitarian = designed for usefulness rather than beauty or style
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synthetic
The couch is covered with synthetic leather.
synthetic = artificial (man-made rather than natural)
DefinitionGenerally synthetic means:
artificial (man-made rather than natural)

or more rarely:

apparent, but not genuine
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foliage
It's difficult to spot the birds in the foliage.
foliage = plant leaves
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ingenious
It was an ingenious solution to the problem—as reliable as it was easy.
ingenious = showing inventiveness and skill
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elegant
2 meanings
as in:
an elegant gown
She was an elegant bride.
elegant = refined and tasteful in appearance, behavior or style
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as in:
as elegant equation
It is an elegant solution that will reduce complexity and save material.
elegant = a solution that is simpler (and often more comprehensive) than most would anticipate
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promenade
The ladies promenaded along the beach
promenaded = walked leisurely in a public place
DefinitionGenerally promenade means:
a public pathway for leisurely walking — especially one near the ocean

or:

walking leisurely — especially in a public place
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obstruct
obstruct the path
obstruct = block
DefinitionGenerally obstruct means:
to block or hinder

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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linear
a linear measurement
linear = relating to a line
DefinitionGenerally linear means:
relating to a line

or:

describing a proportional relationship that can be graphed with a straight line (described mathematically as an equation whose terms are of the first degree)

or:

more rarely:  a straightforward sequence such as "linear thinking"
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bronze
She received the bronze medal at the Olympics.
bronze = a metal alloy of copper and (usually) tin (that is given at the Olympics for a third place finish)
DefinitionGenerally bronze means:
a reddish brown metal that is made of copper and (usually) tin

or:

the reddish-brown color of the metal (such as a bronze tan)

or:

something made of the alloy — such as a sculpture
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bevel
a beveled mirror
beveled = two surfaces meeting at an angle (that isn't 90 degrees)

(editor's note:  See the Google Images link on the word detail page to see samples.)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bevel means:
two surfaces meeting at an angle (that isn't 90 degrees)

See this href="https://www.google.com/search?q=beveled+edge&source=lnms&tbm=isch" target="_blank">Google Images link for beveled edge to see samples.
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colleague
The surgeon consulted his colleagues.
colleagues = fellow workers — especially in a respected profession such as teaching, medicine, or law
DefinitionGenerally colleague means:
fellow worker — especially in a respected profession such as teaching, medicine, or law
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sheer
as in:
a sheer blouse
She likes sheer silk stockings.
sheer = typically of fabric:  very thin and delicate — often transparent
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ornate
The hotel is decorated with ornate furniture, lots of carved designs, and gold leaf gilding.
ornate = having lots of decorative detail
DefinitionGenerally ornate means:
of a thing:  having lots of decorative detail

of speech:  more complicated than necessary because of unusual words and phrases (fans might call it flowery or finely finished, but most would call it too complicated or showy)
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congregate
People congregated outside of City Hall to protest.
congregated = came together
DefinitionGenerally congregate means:
come together, usually for a purpose
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reconcile
as in:
reconciled their differences
She reconciled her checking account statement.
reconciled = brought into agreement (in this case, the statement from the bank with the record she kept in her check register)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reconcile means:
to bring into agreement

(see word notes for more detailed definitions based on context)
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premier
as in:
premier architect
the premier architect in Saint Louis
premier = the best or most important
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emerge
China recently emerged as a world power.
emerged = came out (became)
DefinitionGenerally emerge means:
to come out, or to appear
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appropriate
as in:
it is appropriate
These clothes aren't appropriate for work.
appropriate = suitable (fitting) for a particular situation
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assess
as in:
assess the situation
They assessed the property's value at $500,000.
assessed = considered and judged
DefinitionGenerally this sense of assess means:
consider something and make a judgment
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attribute
as in:
It is an attribute of...
She described his physical attributes.
attributes = characteristics (of something or someone)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
a characteristic (of something or someone)
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uniform
A diverse committee will provide a better solution than a committee that is uniform.
uniform = the same (does not vary)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of uniform means:
consistent (the same in some way)
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component
It has only three major components.
components = parts
DefinitionGenerally component means:
a part of something
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innovate
Apple is considered one of the most innovative companies.
innovative = introducing things that are new and different
DefinitionGenerally innovate means:
bring something new to an environment
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manor
She inherited the manor, but seldom visited it.
manor = a large house and the land around it
DefinitionGenerally manor means:
a large house of a lord or wealthy person; or the house and the land around it
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conformist
most teenagers are surprisingly conformist within a subgroup
conformist = one who complies with established customs or doctrines
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sublime
as in:
sublime ignorance
With a sublime ignorance of human nature, she set out to save the world.
sublime = pure or extreme
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pinnacle
She wrote the book at the pinnacle of her fame.
pinnacle = highest point
DefinitionGenerally pinnacle means:
the highest point or best stage of development
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tranquil
I love a lake with tranquil blue water.
tranquil = calm
DefinitionGenerally tranquil means:
calm and undisturbed
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detract
I think she's made a good case. I can neither add to it nor detract from it.
detract = to diminish (reduce the value of something)
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convention
as in:
conventional behavior
It was once conventional wisdom that the earth was flat.
conventional = normal or typical
DefinitionGenerally this sense of convention means:
something regarded as normal or typical
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dwell
2 meanings
as in:
It dwells in the forest.
The creature dwells in the forest.
dwells = lives in
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwell means:
make one's home in; or to live in; or to stay (in a place)
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as in:
a modest dwelling
There is a second dwelling unit on the property.
dwelling = a home in which someone lives
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dwelling means:
a house or shelter in which someone lives
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accommodate
3 meanings
as in:
Each room can accommodate four
The lab can accommodate up to 30 students at one time.
accommodate = provide (or have the ability to provide) something desired or needed
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as in:
I will accommodate for your need
She accommodates different learning styles.
accommodates = adjust something to provide for a need
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as in:
hotel accommodations
Overnight accommodations are available.
accommodations = physical space — especially a place where travelers can stay
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simulate
A computer model is used to simulate the effects of wind.
simulate = imitate or represent
DefinitionGenerally simulate means:
make an imitation or representation of
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suburban
She drives from her home in the suburbs to her office downtown.
suburbs = residential districts located on the outskirts of a city (near the city, but far from the center of it)
DefinitionGenerally suburban means:
relating to a residential district located on the outskirts of a city (near the city, but far from the center of it)
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edifice
The corporation was housed in an imposing edifice.
edifice = a building — especially a large one
DefinitionGenerally edifice means:
a building — especially a large one

or:

a conceptual or organizational framework
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harmonious
as in:
live together harmoniously
We work to encourage the harmonious coexistence of different cultures.
harmonious = co-existing peacefully; or having components that are combined in a pleasing way
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opulent
We were impressed by her opulent home.
opulent = magnificent and luxurious — usually expensive
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occupant
The occupant of the home must be warned.
occupant = one who lives in a specific place
DefinitionGenerally occupant means:
one who lives or habitually works in a specific place

or:

someone presently in a room, car, or seat

or:

someone currently holding a position
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predominant
In the summer, our afternoon breezes come predominantly from the southwest.
predominantly = most commonly
DefinitionGenerally predominant means:
most frequent, common, or important; or having more power and influence
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grandeur
The hotel is well past the days of its grandeur.
grandeur = the quality of being grand or magnificent or splendid
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accentuate
It's a difficult situation, but she accentuates the positive and does not get overwhelmed.
accentuates = emphasizes
DefinitionGenerally accentuate means:
to emphasize or draw attention to
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accord
3 meanings
as in:
according to, or in accord with
She will get a fair trial in accordance with the law.
accordance = keeping with; or agreement with
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
in keeping with; or in agreement/harmony/unity with
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as in:
reached an accord
They're hoping to have a stronger climate-change accord by the end of the year.
accord = agreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
an agreement
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as in:
done of her own accord
She was not forced. She did it of her own accord.
own accord = mind
DefinitionGenerally this sense of accord means:
mind — voluntarily (without anyone asking)
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