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vocabulary
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100 Words Encountered in

Human Behavior

Other Interests
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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Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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anxiety
She suffers from more than the usual pre-test anxiety.
anxiety = nervousness or worry
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Library20 uses in 10 avg bks
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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
Word Statistics
Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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therapeutic
I asked for a therapeutic massage, but it really hurt.
therapeutic = tending to cure or restore to health
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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indicate
These maps are drawn with north to the top unless otherwise indicated.
indicated = pointed out (shown)
DefinitionGenerally indicate means:
to show (point out, demonstrate, express, or suggest)
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Library36 uses in 10 avg bks
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intervene
as in:
intervened in the war
They do not like America to intervene in the Middle East.
intervene = get involved
DefinitionGenerally this sense of intervene means:
get involved — typically without welcome
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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disposition
as in:
a kind disposition
She has a cheerful disposition.
disposition = normal mood or personality
DefinitionGenerally this sense of disposition means:
someone's normal mood or personality
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Library1 uses in 10 avg bks
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accommodate
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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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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insight
The book is full of insight on human nature.
insight = clear understanding of some aspects of a complex situation
DefinitionGenerally insight means:
a clear understanding of some aspect of a complex situation; or a tendency to have such understandings
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Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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mean
We have a mean annual rainfall of 23 inches.
mean = average
DefinitionGenerally this sense of mean means:
an average of n numbers computed by dividing the sum of the numbers by n; for example, 3 for the numbers 1,2, and 6

= (1+2+6) / 3
= 9 / 3
= 3
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Library0 uses in 10 avg bks
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discriminate
as in:
suffered discrimination
We do not discriminate based on race, nationality, social status, age, gender, religion, or sexual preference.
discriminate = unfairly treat of different groups of people differently
DefinitionGenerally this sense of discriminate means:
to treat people of different groups differently — especially unfair treatment due to race, religion or gender
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Library3 uses in 10 avg bks
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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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Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
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bias
She has a bias against young people.
bias = a personal preference that prevents objective consideration
DefinitionGenerally bias means:
a personal preference — especially a prejudice that prevents objective consideration

or:

any tendency to move in a particular direction — such as a car that tends to want to swerve toward the right
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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confront
You must confront your problems.
confront = deal directly with an unpleasant situation
DefinitionGenerally confront means:
to deal directly with an unpleasant situation or person

or:

to challenge someone — often by presenting evidence
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Library21 uses in 10 avg bks
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compulsive
She is a compulsive gambler.
compulsive = done too much because of an uncontrollable desire
DefinitionGenerally compulsive means:
describing something someone does as done too much because of an uncontrollable desire — such as excessive gambling or eating
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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reconcile
as in:
reconciled herself to
After the accident, she had to reconcile herself to life without loving parents.
reconcile = to come to terms with
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syndrome
She suffers from Asperger syndrome.
syndrome = a pattern of symptoms indicative of some disease
DefinitionGenerally syndrome means:
a pattern of symptoms associated with an illness; or any recognizable pattern — especially when undesirable
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habitual
The counseling is to break the cycle of habitual drug abuse.
habitual = done regularly without repeated thought
DefinitionGenerally habitual means:
done regularly
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neurotic
She is mildly neurotic, but is working at developing greater emotional stability.
neurotic = mildly mentally disturbed — usually worrying too much about something
DefinitionGenerally neurotic means:
mildly mentally disturbed — usually worrying too much about something; or someone with such symptoms
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Library2 uses in 10 avg bks
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vulnerable
The computers are vulnerable to cyberattacks.
vulnerable = easily hurt
DefinitionGenerally vulnerable means:
easily hurt; or easily influenced or subject to temptation
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Library13 uses in 10 avg bks
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inclined
as in:
I'm inclined to
I'm inclined to believe him.
inclined = have a tendency; or an attitude or mood that favors something
DefinitionGenerally this sense of inclined means:
a tendency; in the mood; or an attitude that favors something
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Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
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oblige
3 meanings
as in:
I am obliged by law.
The law obliges doctors to report suspected child abuse.
obliges = requires
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oblige means:
require (obligate) to do something
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
I obliged her every request.
She asked for help and we obliged her.
obliged = granted a favor to someone
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oblige means:
grant a favor to someone
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as in:
I'm much obliged for your kindness.
I am much obliged to you for your help.
obliged = grateful or indebted
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indulgent
Indulgent parents risk spoiling their children.
indulgent = treating with extra kindness or leniency (in this case, not demanding enough of the children)
DefinitionGenerally indulgent means:
to treat with extra kindness or tolerance
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Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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sedate
as in:
he is sedate
a quiet sedate nature
sedate = calm and dignified
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objective
By any objective analysis, you would have to agree that...
objective = fact-based (not influenced by personal feelings or preferences)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of objective means:
fact-based without the influence of personal feelings or preferences
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Library8 uses in 10 avg bks
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intuitive
The were perfect partners—one highly intuitive and the other highly analytical.
intuitive = based on feeling or instinct rather than conscious reasoning

or:

easy to understand without training or study
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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contempt
2 meanings
as in:
feels contempt towards him
Familiarity breeds contempt.
contempt = lack of respect
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
lack of respect — often accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike or disgust
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Library10 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
held in contempt of court
The judge held her in contempt.
contempt = the crime of willful disobedience to, or disrespect for, the authority of a court or legislative body
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contempt means:
the crime of willful disobedience to or disrespect for the authority of a court or legislative body
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dispute
2 meanings
as in:
their border dispute
The area has long been a source of dispute between India and Pakistan.
dispute = disagreement
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
disagreement, argument, or conflict
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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as in:
She disputes his claim.
She disputes her landlord's claim that the music was that loud.
disputes = challenges
DefinitionGenerally this sense of dispute means:
challenge, argue about, or fight over
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Library5 uses in 10 avg bks
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composure
After I regained my composure, I thanked her for telling me about the problem.
composure = calm (control of emotions)
DefinitionGenerally composure means:
calm and in control of emotions
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Library6 uses in 10 avg bks
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prejudice
The group works to eliminate racial prejudice.
prejudice = unreasonable and unfair belief or feeling
DefinitionGenerally prejudice means:
to have unreasonable belief — especially when unfair to members of a race, religion, or other group

or more generally:

to have (or create in others) an unreasonable belief that prevents objective (unbiased) consideration of an issue or situation
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Library9 uses in 10 avg bks
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diverse
The college wants a diverse student body.
diverse = varied — in this case consisting of a population of different kinds of people — such as different ethnic groups and genders
DefinitionGenerally diverse means:
varied (having variety amongst things of the same kind) — especially with regard to ideas or members of a population group
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despair
Don't despair—help is on the way!
despair = give up hope
DefinitionGenerally despair means:
hopelessness
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Library26 uses in 10 avg bks
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paranoid
2 meanings
used casually
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.
Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
paranoid = excessively suspicious that others want to harm you; or excessively fearful
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used clinically
She was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.
paranoid = suffering from a psychological disorder characterized by a mistaken belief that others "are out to get me"
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gratification
to my gratification she arrived on time
gratification = great satisfaction (pleasure)
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delude
She is a sincere but deluded idealist.
deluded = with a false belief
DefinitionGenerally delude means:
to convince someone of a false belief
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ego
(Freud's definition)
The ego tries to satisfy the unconscious desires of the id.
ego = psychoanalysis:  the conscious mind
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contend
as in:
She contended with it
She contends with headaches.
contends = struggles
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contend means:
to struggle
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claustrophobia
I avoid elevators because of claustrophobia.
claustrophobia = abnormal fear of being closed in a confined space
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xenophobia
"Xenophobia," as The Economist put it, "seems to be creeping into American politics."
James K. Glassman  --  Threats to Security, Threats to Economy  --  http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.all,pubID.23969/pub_detail.asp (retrieved 06/29/06)
xenophobia = an irrational fear of foreigners or strangers
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indifferent
About a third are in favor of the change, a third are opposed, and a third are indifferent.
indifferent = without interest
DefinitionGenerally indifferent means:
without interest — in various senses such as:
  • unconcerned
  • unsympathetic
  • impartial
  • not of good quality (which may imply average or poor quality depending upon context)
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Library18 uses in 10 avg bks
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autism
She thinks low levels of oxytocin may contribute to autism.
autism = a mental illness most commonly assoicated with undeveloped social abilities, language, and other communication skills
DefinitionGenerally autism means:
a mental illness most commonly associated with undeveloped social abilities, language, and other communication skills
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induce
as in:
induce him to
The baby wasn't getting enough nutrients and oxygen, so we induced labor.
induced = caused (in this case, childbirth to start)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of induce means:
to persuade somebody to do something
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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oppress
2 meanings
as in:
oppressive government
The regime oppresses its people.
oppresses = harshly and unfairly dominates
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oppress means:
to dominate harshly and unfairly (as in "oppressive government")

or:

to deny equal rights to others or make them suffer (as in "The government oppresses minorities.")
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as in:
oppressive heat
The heat is oppressive.
oppressive = uncomfortable (weighs heavily on the senses or spirit)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of oppress means:
to make uncomfortable (weigh heavily on the senses or spirit)
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anguish
I felt unbearable anguish when my 4-year-old child died from brain cancer.
anguish = extreme distress
DefinitionGenerally anguish means:
extreme distress of body or mind
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Library12 uses in 10 avg bks
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compensate
as in:
he compensates with extra effort
She uses several techniques to help compensate for her dyslexia.
compensate = make up
DefinitionGenerally this sense of compensate means:
make up for; or adjust for
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Library4 uses in 10 avg bks
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serene
While I lie awake worrying, she sleeps serenely.
serenely = calmly and peacefully
DefinitionGenerally serene means:
calm and untroubled
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melancholy
Since her dog died she's been in a melancholy mood.
melancholy = very sad
DefinitionGenerally melancholy means:
a sad feeling or manner — sometimes thoughtfully sad
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indignant
She was indignant, but agreed to be searched when they accused her of shoplifting.
indignant = angered or annoyed at something unjust or wrong
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delirium
2 meanings
as in:
fever induced delirium
She should not be left alone in case the fever returns and makes her delirious.
delirious = a usually brief state of mental confusion often accompanied by hallucinations
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as in:
delirious with joy
The basketball fans were delirious.
delirious = in a state of having been taken over by excitement or emotion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of delirium means:
a state of having been taken over by excitement or emotion
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hypochondria
The Internet is a hypochondriac's best friend.
hypochondriac = someone who always worries about imaginary illnesses
DefinitionGenerally hypochondria means:
excessive worry about imaginary illnesses
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hubris
another example of hubris preceding a fall
hubris = excessive pride, arrogance, or confidence
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narcissism
The narcissistic teenage girl spent hours checking her makeup in a mirror everyday.
narcissistic = an exceptional interest in and admiration for yourself
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morose
She drank alone in the corner, looking morose.
morose = unhappy — often with a withdrawn personality
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repentance
Prisoners who show repentance are more likely to be released on parole.
repentance = regret for having done wrong with a desire to be a better person in the future
DefinitionGenerally repentance means:
the feeling or expression of regret for having done something wrong with a firm decision to be a better person in the future
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Asperger's
He does an excellent job in the back office despite suffering from Asperger's syndrome.
Asperger's = a mental disorder most commonly associated with undeveloped social abilities — often associated with an abnormally strong interest in one particular area
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perceive
as in:
perceive the system as unfair
She finally perceived the futility of her protest.
perceived = viewed in a certain way so as to form a belief or opinion
DefinitionGenerally this sense of perceive means:
to view in a certain way so as to form a belief or opinion
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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perceptive
She made a perceptive observation.
perceptive = of something noticed that many people might have missed
DefinitionGenerally perceptive means:
to be better at noticing things than most people
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abnegate
The monk practices self-abnegation.
abnegation = voluntarily giving something up (in this case, luxuries)
DefinitionGenerally abnegate means:
to renounce or reject in various senses, such as:
  • "to abnegate his responsibilities as a father" — to reject or ignore a duty
  • "to practice self-abnegation" — to deny oneself (voluntarily give something up such as a luxury)
  • "to abnegate her faith" — to reject a belief
  • "to abnegate her legal rights" — to give up a claim, title, or position of power
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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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accompany
The nurse accompanied the old woman everywhere.
accompanied = traveled along with
DefinitionGenerally accompany means:
to travel along with; or to be present with at the same time and/or location

or:

to perform with
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Library28 uses in 10 avg bks
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adrenaline
She's an adrenaline junkie. She loves the rush that comes from roller coasters, skydiving, and big waves.
adrenaline = "fight or flight" stimulating hormone
DefinitionGenerally adrenaline means:
"fight or flight" stimulating hormone secreted by the adrenal gland in response to stress (making the body feel excited and ready for action)
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adulation
Don't grow dependent upon popular adulation. It comes and goes and reverses unexpectedly.
adulation = much admiration and praise
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advocate
2 meanings
as in:
to advocate
She advocates stricter gun control.
advocates = publicly supports
DefinitionGenerally this sense of advocate means:
to recommend or publicly support someone or something
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as in:
an advocate
She is a passionate advocate for children's welfare.
advocate = a person who publicly supports and works to advance a cause
DefinitionGenerally this sense of advocate means:
a person who publicly supports and works to advance a cause

or more rarely:

someone acting in the role of a defense lawyer in England's past and in some jurisdictions today
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aggrandize
They made up the story to aggrandize the threat.
aggrandize = make greater in size, scope, or reputation
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aggravated assault
He is charged with aggravated assault.
aggravated assault = a reckless attack with intent to injure seriously (as with a deadly weapon)
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agitate
Our goal is to agitate public unrest, so there will be a cry for change.
agitate = stir up (create or increase emotional unrest)
DefinitionGenerally agitate means:
to stir up — emotionally (such as anxiety) or physically (such as shaking)
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ailment
She died of a heart ailment.
ailment = illness
DefinitionGenerally ailment means:
an illness
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aloof
People who don't know her, think she is aloof from the rest of the team, but she is just focused on the game.
aloof = socially distant as though superior; or obviously uninterested in something that interests others
DefinitionGenerally aloof means:
socially distant — often thinking oneself superior to others

or:

obviously uninterested in something that interests others — often as though thinking it beneath one's dignity or distasteful
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altercation
The physical altercation between opposing players led to suspensions on both sides.
altercation = a noisy argument, confrontation, or fight
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altruism
She is known for her kindness, compassion, and altruism.
altruism = unselfish concern for the welfare of others
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ambiguous
Her answer was ambiguous.
ambiguous = unclear — because there could be two or more interpretations
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ambivalent
Polling indicates the public is ambivalent on the subject. Their opinions change depending upon the latest headlines.
ambivalent = uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow
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ambulatory
the patient is ambulatory.
ambulatory = related to walking — especially to indicate that a patient who can walk
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ameliorate
The drug ameliorates the toxic effects of chemotherapy.
ameliorates = improves (something that is bad)
DefinitionGenerally ameliorate means:
to improve — especially a bad situation
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amorous
She doesn't think of him in an amorous way.
amorous = sexual or romantic
DefinitionGenerally amorous means:
with sexual desire; or relating to sex or feelings of romantic love
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anesthetic
We use a local anesthetic so you won't feel pain, but will remain conscious.
anesthetic = a drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations
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anthropology
She majored in anthropology and just finished a report for the State Department that describes tribal customs in eastern Africa.
anthropology = the social science that studies the origins and social relationships of human beings
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apathy
Seeing too much senior apathy, the high school began having juniors declare a major for their senior year.
apathy = lack of interest and enthusiasm
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aptitude
Hyde's study indicates that girls and boys have the same aptitude for math.
aptitude = natural ability
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archetype
She identifies six boyfriend archetypes.
archetypes = different types of typical examples
DefinitionGenerally archetype means:
a very typical or the original example of something
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articulate
He is thoughtful and articulate.
articulate = has the ability to clearly express things with words
DefinitionGenerally this sense of articulate means:
clearly expressed with words; or the act of or ability to clearly express with words
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assimilate
This country assimilates immigrants very quickly.
assimilates = takes in and transforms to fit into the prevailing culture
DefinitionGenerally assimilate means:
take in and/or transform or fit in:

such as:  a person with differences fitting into a prevailing culture

or such as:  information transformed within the mind into understanding

or such as:  nutrients transformed within the body for its use
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assuage
The panel will have an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to help assuage concern that it could be used for political ends.
assuage = to soothe (make something less unpleasant or frightening)
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asthma
Asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization in children.
asthma = a common lung disorder characterized by wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and sometimes coughing
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atrophy
Muscles that are not used will quickly atrophy.
atrophy = wither or weaken — especially from lack of use
DefinitionGenerally atrophy means:
to wither or weaken — especially from lack of use
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attribute
2 meanings
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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as in:
I attribute it to...
She attributed this quotation to Shakespeare.
attributed = credited (a source for something)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of attribute means:
to credit (a source for something) — such as:
  • to say that something happened because of someone or something else (give credit or blame)
  • to say that an idea or quotation came from a specified source
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beckon
I should be studying, but television beckons me.
beckons = calls (in this case by being desirable and inviting)
DefinitionGenerally beckon means:
to summon (call to join) with a gesture, or to be desirable and inviting
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belittle
The gradualness of the change does not belittle its importance.
belittle = make it less important
DefinitionGenerally belittle means:
to make someone or something seem less important
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bemused
She was obviously bemused by his questions.
bemused = perplexed or bewildered or confused
DefinitionGenerally bemused means:
perplexed or bewildered
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benign
She predicts benign economic conditions through next year.
benign = mild or favorable (kind)
DefinitionGenerally benign means:
kindly, mild, or harmless
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berate
Nobody likes to work with her. She is always berating her colleagues.
berating = criticizing severely or angrily
DefinitionGenerally berate means:
criticize severely or angrily
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