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vocabulary
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100 Words Encountered in

Religion - Christianity

Other Interests
theology
She studied theology at Yale Divinity School.
theology = the study of religion
DefinitionGenerally theology means:
the study of religion; or a particular system or school of religious beliefs
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Judaism
Jerusalem is a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Judaism = the oldest of the three major monotheistic religions — whose believers are known as Jews
DefinitionGenerally Judaism means:
the oldest of the three major monotheistic religions —  having its spiritual and ethical principles embodied chiefly in the Torah and in the Talmud
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catholic
When the Apostles Creed uses the word "catholic", it does not reference the church headed by the Pope, but rather a universal church.
catholic = universal; or inclusive of a wide range of people or interests
DefinitionGenerally this sense of catholic means:
universal or inclusive of a wide range of people or interests
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doctrine
She challenges accepted doctrine.
doctrine = generally accepted beliefs
DefinitionGenerally doctrine means:
a belief (or system of beliefs or principles) accepted as authoritative by some group
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denomination
as in:
the Baptist denomination
Downtown synagogues, mosques and churches of various denominations joined to assist the homeless.
denominations = a group of religious congregations (such as churches, temples, masques...) sharing distinctive beliefs and belonging to the same organization
DefinitionGenerally this sense of denomination means:
a group of religious congregations (such as churches, temples, masques...) sharing distinctive beliefs and belonging to the same organization

or more rarely (and less formally):  any categorization of people
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disciple
She was his favorite student and disciple.
disciple = someone who believes and helps to spread the teachings of another
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testament
His success raising numerous small contributions is testament to his popularity.
testament = evidence for something
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revelation
It was a revelation to me. Until they gave us those tests, I had no idea that I was better than most people at clerical accuracy.
revelation = something previously unknown and now learned (revealed)
DefinitionGenerally this sense of revelation means:
something that was previously unknown — especially something that is surprising; or making such a thing known
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parable
Many people have heard the parable of the prodigal son.
parable = a short story told to teach a moral lesson — especially those told by Jesus in the New Testament
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baptism
She was baptized at the same church as her grandmother.
baptized = "spiritually renewed" in a Christian ceremony
DefinitionGenerally baptism means:
a Christian ceremony signifying spiritual cleansing and rebirth

or:

a challenging experience that initiates or purifies
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affirm
Maria affirmed that she has complete faith in the other members of the team.
affirmed = expressed a firm belief
DefinitionGenerally affirm means:
a firm statement that something is true

or:

expressing emotional support or encouragement for someone
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reign
as in:
She reigned over England
The arranged marriage solidified the alliance between two of Europe's most important reigning families.
reigning = ruling
DefinitionGenerally this sense of reign means:
rule (like that of a king or queen); or the time during which one ruled
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Protestant
Protestant churches deny universal authority of the Pope.
Protestant = any of the Western churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation
DefinitionGenerally Protestant means:
a member of or relating to any of the Western churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation
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temporal
as in:
temporal world
She focuses more on the spiritual while his main concern is with temporal existence.
temporal = concerned with the material (in contrast to the spiritual) world
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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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canon
as in:
a canonical requirement
Their actions violate the canon of proportional response.
canon = an official or established rule or principle; or a collection of such rules or principles (often in reference to rules or principles of a church)
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monk
a Tibetan monk wearing an orange robe
monk = a male member of a religious order typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience
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monastery
Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries was the largest legally enforced transfer of property in English history since the Norman Conquest.
monasteries = the residences of religious communities
DefinitionGenerally monastery means:
the residence of a religious community
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gospel
2 meanings
as in:
a gospel song
The earliest surviving complete copy of the gospels dates back to the 4th century.
gospels = the four books in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) that Christian's believe tell the story of Jesus Christ's life and teachings
DefinitionGenerally this sense of gospel means:
the religious teachings of Jesus

or:

one of the four books in the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) that Christian's believe tell the story of Jesus Christ's life and teachings

or:

a type of vocal music that originated in African-American churches in the United States
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as in:
they consider it gospel
She takes it as gospel.
gospel = an unquestionable truth
DefinitionGenerally this sense of gospel means:
a set of beliefs firmly held by a group

or:

an unquestionable truth
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testimony
Her emotional testimony moved the jury.
testimony = the statement of a witness at a trial
DefinitionGenerally testimony means:
something that serves as evidence — especially a statement at a trial or hearing
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Jerusalem
Palestinians demanded that Israel halt construction in East Jerusalem.
Jerusalem = capital and largest city of the modern state of Israel; a holy city for Jews, Christians and Muslims
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dwell
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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parish
Are we talking about a governmental or a religious parish?
parish = a local church community

or in Louisiana:  a jurisdiction of government like a county
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apostle
2 meanings
as in:
an apostle for the cause
an apostle of revolution
apostle = an ardent early supporter of a cause or reform

or:

any important Christian missionary — especially the first to a country or region
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as in:
chosen by Jesus
Paul claimed the role of Apostle to the Gentiles.
Apostle = Christianity:  one of the original 12 disciples (followers) chosen by Jesus Christ to preach his gospel
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pious
The cartoon with a drawing of Muhammad outraged many pious Muslims.
pious = highly religious
DefinitionGenerally pious means:
behaving in a highly moral or religious manner

or less commonly:  behaving highly moral in a self-righteous or holier-than-thou manner
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divine
as in:
to forgive is divine
Her pies are divine.
divine = wonderful
DefinitionGenerally this sense of divine means:
wonderful; or god-like or coming from God
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righteousness
extremism fed by unquestioned belief in the righteousness of their cause
righteousness = moral correctness
DefinitionGenerally righteousness means:
morally correct
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providence
On the eve of battle, he prayed that providence was in our favor.
providence = luck; or God's plan
DefinitionGenerally this sense of providence means:
resulting from God's intervention or plan; or lucky — especially with regard to when something happened
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advent
2 meanings
as in:
the advent of
the advent of the computer
advent = an arrival (especially of an important event or invention)
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as in:
it is Advent
Christians began celebrating Advent in the fourth century.
Advent = Christianity:  the period that includes the four Sundays preceding Christmas
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Jesuit
The University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy is an outstanding college-prep school.
Jesuit = a member of the Society of Jesus (known for their schools and missionary work)
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clergy
Under labor law, the clergy can be required to uphold the beliefs of the religion they have chosen.
clergy = formal religious leaders (typically in Christianity)
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atone
To atone for sins is a common religious theme.
atone = make amends
DefinitionGenerally atone means:
make amends for — especially a sin

(To make amends is to try to mend or makeup for a wrong.)
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monotheism
the three great monotheistic religions:  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
monotheistic = belief in a single God
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atheist
While many atheist decline any non-material reality, others have a spiritual outlook on life.
atheist = someone who does not believe in the existence of god
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agnostic
He's agnostic — about the existence of God and the proof of any non-physical belief.
agnostic = someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something — especially belief in God
DefinitionGenerally agnostic means:
a person who believes they lack true knowledge about the existence of God (but believes that God might exist)

or more rarely:  someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something
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consecrate
The priest consecrated the chapel.
consecrated = made holy (typically by means of religious rites)
DefinitionGenerally consecrate means:
make holy by means of religious rites
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omnipotent
She believes God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
omnipotent = all powerful
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omniscient
She believes God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
omniscient = all-knowing; i.e., to know everything
DefinitionGenerally omniscient means:
all-knowing (to know everything)
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beatitude
Her favorite Beatitude is "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth."
beatitude = one of the nine sayings of Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount
DefinitionGenerally beatitude means:
a state of supreme happiness

or:

one of the nine sayings of Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount which begin with "blessed" ("beatus" in Latin)
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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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Puritans
The Pilgrims who we remember on Thanksgiving were Puritans.
Puritans = English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries thought there were too many rituals in worship and who stressed hard work above pleasure
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crusade
as in:
First Crusade to Jerusalem
Resentments date back to the Crusades.
Crusades = any of the more or less continuous military expeditions in the 11th to 13th centuries when Christian powers of Europe invaded Muslims in the Holy Land in the Middle East
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Holy Communion
There are those who would like to deny Holy Communion to pro-choice politicians, but most see such a policy as violating the separation of church and state.
Holy Communion = sharing of bread and wine to remember Jesus' death (also called Eucharist)
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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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venial
If it was a sin, it was venial.
venial = easily excused or forgiven
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Thomas More
The film, A Man for all Seasons is based on the life of Thomas More.
Thomas More = English statesman who accepted execution rather than take an oath against his beliefs; executed by Henry VIII; coined the word "utopia" (1478-1535)
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hubris
another example of hubris preceding a fall
hubris = excessive pride, arrogance, or confidence
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Methuselah
He's as old as Methuselah.
Methuselah = Old Testament:  grandfather of Noah who is said to have lived 969 years
DefinitionGenerally Methuselah means:
Old Testament:  grandfather of Noah who is said to have lived 969 years

or more rarely:  a man who is very old
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abdicate
as in:
abdicated responsibility
You can't abdicate responsibility.
abdicate = ignore
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abdicate means:
to ignore duties or obligations
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abide
3 meanings
as in:
abide by her decision
I can't abide her continual complaints.
abide = tolerate
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abide means:
to tolerate or put up with something
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as in:
abide in the forest
She abides in the forest.
abides = lives
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abide means:
to live in a place

or more rarely:  to live with someone or something
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as in:
an abiding desire to
I have an abiding interest in the subject.
abiding = enduring
DefinitionGenerally this sense of abide means:
to remain or endure
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abject
She grew up in abject poverty; though she didn't know it.
abject = extreme
DefinitionGenerally abject means:
extreme (in a negative sense such as misery, hopelessness, submissiveness, cruelty, or cowardice)
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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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abrogate
She has abrogated her responsibility as a mother.
abrogated = done away with (ignored)
DefinitionGenerally abrogate means:
to abolish (do away with) something
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abstruse
The professor's lectures were so abstruse that students tended to avoid them.
abstruse = difficult to understand
DefinitionGenerally abstruse means:
difficult to understand; or not known by the great majority of people
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abundant
Farmers in the region enjoy good soil, moderate temperatures, and an abundant supply of water.
abundant = present in great quantity
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accomplice
Was she acting alone or did she have an accomplice?
accomplice = person who assisted
DefinitionGenerally accomplice means:
a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan — especially an unethical or illegal plan
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acrimony
The meeting ended in acrimony.
acrimony = bitterness or anger
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adjure
2 meanings
as in:
I adjure you
I adjure you.
adjure = ask for earnestly or command solemnly
DefinitionGenerally this sense of adjure means:
to appeal earnestly or command solemnly
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as in:
I adjure all allegiance
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and adjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign...
The oath of citizenship in the United States
adjure = confirm by oath
DefinitionGenerally this sense of adjure means:
to confirm by oath
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admonish
He admonished the child for his bad behavior
admonished = expressed disapproval
DefinitionGenerally admonish means:
to express disapproval to someone of their actions; or to warn or advise someone
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adroit
She is an exceptionally adroit pianist.
adroit = skillful
DefinitionGenerally adroit means:
skillful in action or thought
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adversary
She is his greatest adversary.
adversary = opponent
DefinitionGenerally adversary means:
an opponent
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affectation
She is comfortable in her own skin and meets strangers without affectation.
affectation = behaving in an artificial way to make an impression
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affront
She considered anything but the very best manners to be an affront to her dignity.
affront = intentional insult
DefinitionGenerally this sense of affront means:
an intentional insult; or to intentionally insult
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Afrikaner
They have Afrikaner support.
Afrikaner = South Africans whose first language is Afrikaans — typically descendants of 17th century Dutch settlers; previously called Boers
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Agamemnon
The 2004 film, Troy, depicted Agamemnon in an especially unsympathetic manner.
Agamemnon = Greek mythology:  the king who lead the Greeks against Troy in the Trojan War
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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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aghast
She stepped back aghast at the behavior.
aghast = shocked with feelings of surprise and dismay
DefinitionGenerally aghast means:
shocked with feelings of surprise and dismay (sadness, disappointment, or worry)
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agony
She was in agony from a toothache.
agony = intense feelings of suffering (in this case from physical pain)
DefinitionGenerally agony means:
intense feelings of suffering — can be from mental or physical pain
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allegiance
We owe no allegiance to the outdated ideas of our political party.
allegiance = loyalty
DefinitionGenerally allegiance means:
loyalty to a person, group, or cause
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allegory
In Plato's allegory, the prisoners in the cave represent people living in ignorance.
allegory = a fictional story whose characters, items, or events are symbolic to express a deeper meaning
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alliance
The Islamic governments formed an alliance to defeat Israel.
alliance = a group of countries, people, or organizations working for common goals
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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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amity
If we cannot be close friends, we can at least live in amity.
amity = a state of friendly relations
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anathema
Coal power plants are anathema to the environmental group.
anathema = someone or something that is intensely disliked
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annihilate
The terrorist wants to annihilate a major American city.
annihilate = to completely destroy or defeat
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anodyne
the anodyne properties of certain drugs
anodyne = soothing or comforting
DefinitionGenerally anodyne means:
a medicine used to relieve pain

or:

something soothing, comforting or mild so as not to upset
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antagonism
the inherent antagonism of capitalism and socialism
antagonism = opposing principles
DefinitionGenerally antagonism means:
hostility or opposition

or:

the relation between opposing principles, forces, or factors
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antediluvian
Someone needs to replace her and her antediluvian ideas.
antediluvian = ancient
DefinitionGenerally antediluvian means:
very old; or relating to the period before the biblical flood
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anxiety
She suffers from more than the usual pre-test anxiety.
anxiety = nervousness or worry
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appalling
The live in appalling conditions.
appalling = shockingly terrible or horrible
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archangel
In the movie, John Travolta played a seemingly irreverent archangel.
archangel = an angel of high rank
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archbishop
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the principal leader of the Church of England.
archbishop = a bishop of highest rank (in charge of other bishops and churches)
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arraign
She was arraigned and released without bail.
arraigned = called before a court to answer an indictment
DefinitionGenerally arraign means:
call before a court to answer an indictment

or:

accuse of a wrong or an inadequacy
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ascetic
The ascetic life has been more pronounced in Hinduism and Buddhism than in other major religions.
ascetic = the practice of self-denial
DefinitionGenerally ascetic means:
someone who practices self-denial (often to encourage spiritual growth); or relating to such self-denial

or:

severely plain (without decoration)
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askance
He looked askance at the offer.
askance = with disapproval, distrust, or suspicion
DefinitionGenerally askance means:
with disapproval, distrust, or suspicion

or:

directed to one side — especially a sideways glance
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assail
Serbian forces assailed Bosnian towns.
assailed = attacked
DefinitionGenerally assail means:
attack physically or verbally
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atrocious
She was alarmed by his atrocious behavior.
atrocious = exceptionally bad or cruel
DefinitionGenerally atrocious means:
exceptionally bad, cruel, or ugly
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attain
She was the first woman to attain the rank of general.
attain = gain or reach something with effort
DefinitionGenerally attain means:
to gain or reach something with effort
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authenticate
The expert authenticated her signature.
authenticated = established that something is real or what people say it is
DefinitionGenerally authenticate means:
establish that something is real or what people say it is
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avatar
2 meanings
as in:
her avatar in cyberspace
The word avatar was selected to describe the manifestation of a player in a computer's virtual world because it described a similar concept—the manifestation of a Hindu god on earth.
avatar = a digital representation of a computer-user in a multi-user virtual reality site
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as in:
an avatar of the god, Vishnu
Many avatars of Vishnu appear in Hindu literature.
avatars = an earthly manifestation of one of the Hindu gods in human or animal form
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baleful
She looked at him with two unblinking, baleful eyes.
baleful = threatening or harmful
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banish
He was banished from his own country.
banished = expelled (forced to leave)
DefinitionGenerally banish means:
to expel or get rid of — such as a person from a community or an idea from the mind
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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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