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vocabulary
1000+ books

100 Words Encountered in

Engineering

Other Interests
elegant
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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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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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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Library3 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
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continuous
The national power grid is under almost continuous attack.
continuous = constant (uninterrupted)
DefinitionGenerally continuous means:
continuing in time or space without interruption or irregularity
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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radiation
Ionizing radiation has enough energy to ionize atoms or molecules.
radiation = particles emitted by nuclear decay (i.e., particles smaller than an atom that are sent out due to radioactivity)
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inclusive
as in:
10 to 20 inclusive
I was grouped with students who scored 53% to 64% inclusive.
inclusive = including stated limits
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contract
as in:
the metal contracted
When it is cold, the bridge contracts and the joints are further apart.
contracts = gets shorter or smaller
DefinitionGenerally this sense of contract means:
when something gets shorter or smaller
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Library7 uses in 10 avg bks
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equivalent
At $50 a share, it is equivalent to about a billion dollars.
equivalent = being equal or essentially equal
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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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symposium
I'm excited to attend the symposium on robotics.
symposium = a gathering to discuss a specific subject — generally with shared and breakout sessions in which individual or panels of experts address audiences
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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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sequential
She has a gift for breaking a complex task into a simple series of sequential steps.
sequential = happening in a specific order — especially chronological order
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phenomenon
as in:
The phenomenon was observed...
It is a growing social phenomenon on high school campuses.
phenomenon = something that can be seen and is of special interest
DefinitionGenerally this sense of phenomenon means:
something that exists — especially something that can be seen or sensed and is of special interest
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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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approximate
The state has approximately as many Republicans as Democrats.
approximately = about (but not exactly)
DefinitionGenerally approximate means:
almost, but not exact; or similar
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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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simultaneous
It is published in simultaneous print and electronic editions.
simultaneous = at the same time
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diffuse
When the United States focused on terrorism, the movement went further underground and became more diffuse.
diffuse = spread out
DefinitionGenerally diffuse means:
to spread; or to soften or calm

or:

to be spread out (not concentrated) — sometimes implying a lack or organization or the use of too many words
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static
He was raised in a static village community where most people farmed in the same manner as their grandparents.
static = not changing
DefinitionGenerally this sense of static means:
not moving or not changing
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coefficient
2 meanings
as in:
2x or y(a+b)
Divide by 2 to eliminate the leading coefficient.
coefficient = mathematics:  a number that is multiplies a variable in an expression (such as 2 in 2x)

or:

mathematics:  any factor of a term (such as y in y(a+b))
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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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correspond
4 meanings
as in:
corresponding time period
Eskimos have many words that correspond to the English word snow. For example, there are different words for "snow on the ground", "fresh snow on the ground", "soft snow on the ground", "a crust of snow on the ground" and so forth.
correspond = are equivalent
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
connect or fit together by being equivalent, proportionate, or matched

(Two things are equivalent if they have the same or very similar value, purpose, or result.)
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as in:
corresponding by email
We correspond regularly via email.
correspond = write to each other
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspond means:
communicate by writing letters or email
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as in:
a correspondence course
She took a correspondence course while she was in prison.
correspondence = done from afar via written communication
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspondence means:
done from afar
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as in:
foreign correspondent of the paper
Let's get a report from our correspondent in Mexico City.
correspondent = reporter
DefinitionGenerally this sense of correspondent means:
a reporter — typically from a foreign country or with a particular expertise
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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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propagate
as in:
propagate the idea
The spread of the Roman Empire helped to propagate the idea throughout Europe.
propagate = spread
DefinitionGenerally this sense of propagate means:
to spread
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subsequent
Her guess was proven right by subsequent developments.
subsequent = following
DefinitionGenerally subsequent means:
following something else
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hydraulic
The train uses hydraulic brakes.
hydraulic = relating to liquid — often describing machinery as moved by pressurized liquid
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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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discrete
We collected data from three discrete studies.
discrete = separate or distinct
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essential
The essential feature of the pen is that it writes so consistently.
essential = absolutely necessary; or of greatest importance
DefinitionGenerally essential means:
absolutely necessary; or of the greatest importance

or:

the defining or most important aspect 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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relevant
It is easier to learn things that seem relevant to your life.
relevant = related in a meaningful way to the issue in question
DefinitionGenerally relevant means:
relating in a meaningful way to the issue in question
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component
It has only three major components.
components = parts
DefinitionGenerally component means:
a part of something
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software
We spend more on software than hardware.
software = written programs stored in computer hardware (physical components of a computer) which instruct the hardware on what tasks to perform
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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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frontier
as in:
the frontier of brain science
She wants to extend the frontiers of voice-controlled computer applications.
frontiers = the most recent understandings and achievements in a changing field
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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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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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solvent
as in:
the company is not solvent
The company is no longer solvent.
solvent = capable of meeting financial obligations
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devise
She plans to devise something to launch water balloons.
devise = invent or come up with a way of doing something
DefinitionGenerally this sense of devise means:
to come up with a way of doing something — typically a creative idea or plan
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calculus
She placed out of calculus in college.
calculus = the branch of mathematics that is concerned with continuously changing values
DefinitionGenerally this sense of calculus means:
any system or process used to calculate values or to reason

or:

the branch of mathematics that is concerned with continuously changing values
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trivial
We're in agreement on the main issues. We just have some trivial details to work out.
trivial = unimportant
DefinitionGenerally trivial means:
of little importance; or describing  a challenge as uninteresting and easy to solve
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reciprocal
as in:
reciprocal numbers
the reciprocal ratio of a:b is b:a
reciprocal = inversely related — especially one of a pair of numbers whose product is 1; e.g., 1/5 is the reciprocal of 5
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plasma
as in:
a plasma gas
In a plasma, electrons and positive ions are attracted to each other, but are too energetic to stay together.
plasma = an ionized gas (typically at high temperature) that is a good conductor of electricity and reacts to magnetic fields
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derive
She likes to win, but she doesn't derive pleasure from watching others lose.
derive = get
DefinitionGenerally derive means:
to get something from something else

(If the context doesn't otherwise indicate where something came from, it is generally from reasoning—especially deductive reasoning.)
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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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abrasion
as in:
abrasion of the rubber
We're convinced the skid marks are from her car because the rubber abraded from her tires is consistent with the length of the skid marks that lead to the crash.
abraded = wear away by rubbing
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attribute
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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commute
as in:
commutative property of addition
As in math, the commutative property works for this recipe. The order in which you add the ingredients doesn't matter.
commutative property = math:  the order in which two numbers are added or multiplied does not change their sum or product (2+3=3+2) and (47=74)
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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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geostationary orbit
She suggests placing mirrors in geostationary orbit to harness solar energy.
geostationary orbit = an orbit that keeps a satellite positioned over one part of the world
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abrasive
as in:
rub with an abrasive
He cleaned it with an abrasive.
abrasive = a substance that wears down another surface (abrades)
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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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acquisition
From the fifth grade onward, most vocabulary acquisition occurs incidentally while reading.
acquisition = to get possession of
DefinitionGenerally acquisition means:
obtaining possession of something; or the thing possessed
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adjacent
We stayed in adjacent hotel rooms.
adjacent = side-x-side (very near)
DefinitionGenerally adjacent means:
very near — often directly beside
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albeit
She is just a person, albeit a very powerful person.
albeit = although
DefinitionGenerally albeit means:
although (used to introduce a phrase that reduces or modifies the effect of what preceded it)
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altitude
The altitude gave her a headache.
altitude = elevation (height above sea level)
DefinitionGenerally altitude means:
elevation (height) — typically above sea level or above the earth's surface

or:

(metaphorically) a desirable height
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ambience
Although in the middle of Dallas, the restaurant has a Maui Beach ambiance.
ambiance = the atmosphere or mood of a place
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amorphous
Her art is as amorphous as the culture it reflects.
amorphous = without clearly defined boundaries
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aperture
The higher the f-stop, the more closed the camera's aperture.
aperture = a small opening  — especially one that controls the amount of light admitted for a camera or microscope

or:

the measured diameter of the opening
DefinitionGenerally aperture means:
an opening  — especially a small one that controls the amount of light admitted for a camera or microscope

or:

the measured diameter of the opening
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appendage
Each injured an appendage in the game.
appendage = an external body part (such as an arm) that projects from the body
DefinitionGenerally appendage means:
an external body part (such as an arm) that projects from the body; or any part that is joined to something larger
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appreciable
Appreciable amounts of hazardous waste are dumped into the harbor.
appreciable = enough to be noticed or important
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apprentice
She is a carpenter's apprentice.
apprentice = one who works for an expert to learn a trade
DefinitionGenerally apprentice means:
one who works for an expert to learn a trade; or (as a verb) performance of that kind of work
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arbiter
She was the final arbiter on all matters of fashion.
arbiter = someone who settles disputes — often because of reputation
DefinitionGenerally arbiter means:
someone who settles disputes — often because of reputation

or:

someone chosen to judge and decide a disputed issue
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arbitrary
It was an arbitrary decision.
arbitrary = based on chance or impulse
DefinitionGenerally arbitrary means:
based on chance or impulse (rather than upon reasoning, consistent rules, or a proper sense of fairness)
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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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arduous
She undertook the arduous work of caring for twins.
arduous = difficult
DefinitionGenerally arduous means:
difficult  — especially requiring great effort over an extended period of time
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arid
My skin dries in the arid desert climate.
arid = dry
DefinitionGenerally arid means:
lacking sufficient water or rainfall

or:

lacking vitality or spirit
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assortment
a great assortment of cars was on display
assortment = a collection containing a variety of a sort of a thing
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asteroid
Many believe that many dinosaurs became extinct when a large asteroid hit the earth millions of years ago.
asteroid = one of the millions of rocks that move around the sun, are smaller than a planet, and larger than a meter in diameter
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atom
The world was forever changed when we learned to split the atom.
atom = the smallest part of any material that cannot be broken up by chemical means; comprised of a nucleus of protons and neutrons surrounded by orbiting electrons
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auburn
She has auburn hair.
auburn = colored a moderate reddish-brown
DefinitionGenerally auburn means:
(of hair) colored a moderate reddish-brown
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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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bar
She just graduated from law school and now needs to take the bar examination.
bar examination = any of the state tests a person needs to pass to practice law in that state
DefinitionGenerally this sense of bar means:
any of the state tests a person needs to pass to practice law in that state

or:

the association of people qualified to practice law in a particular place
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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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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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Big Brother
Be careful. Big Brother is watching.
Big Brother = a person or organization that attempts to exercise total control over people and that invades their privacy to do so
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Bill Gates
Today, Bill Gates devotes most of his time to philanthropy.
Bill Gates = U.S. software entrepreneur who founded Microsoft, became the world's richest person while still in his 30s, and funded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (b. 1955)
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brevity
I'm not sure they appreciated her speech, but I know they liked its brevity.
brevity = the use of just a few words; or lasting a short time
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Brussels
Jean-Claude Van-Damme is called the muscles from Brussels.
Brussels = the capital and largest city of Belgium; seat of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and one of two European Union Parliament buildings
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buoyant
2 meanings
as in:
buoyant force or market
Swimmers are more buoyant in salt water than in fresh water.
buoyant = tending to float
DefinitionGenerally this sense of buoyant means:
tending to float or rise; or making other things float
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as in:
buoyant personality
Students are in buoyant spirits with the start of the winter break.
buoyant = characterized by lightheartedness or a tendency to maintain or quickly recover cheerfulness after setbacks
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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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byline
He uses Jonathan in his byline, but everyone calls him Jon.
byline = a line giving the name of the writer of an article — typically at the top of the article
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calibrate
She calibrated the oscilloscope for better measurement.
calibrated = made fine adjustments
DefinitionGenerally calibrate means:
make fine adjustments; or divide into marked intervals for optimal measuring
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calorie
I switched from sodas and candy to water and low-calorie snacks.
calorie = a unit of energy most commonly known as a measure of the potential weight gain the body gets from food
DefinitionGenerally calorie means:
a unit of energy most commonly known as a measure of potential weight gain the body gets from food
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centripetal
centripetal force
centripetal = tending to move toward a center
DefinitionGenerally centripetal means:
tending to move toward a center

or:

tending to centralize
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chimera
She describes his dream as a political chimera.
chimera = something imagined, but not possible — often an idea requiring an impossible combination
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coalesce
My ideas are beginning to coalesce into a plan.
coalesce = come together
DefinitionGenerally coalesce means:
to merge or bring different things together
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cognizant
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
Edgar Allan Poe
cognizant = aware (having knowledge or understanding)
DefinitionGenerally cognizant means:
having or showing knowledge or understanding
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collide
The cars collided and burst into flame.
collided = crashed together with violent impact
DefinitionGenerally collide means:
crash together with violent impact; or come into conflict
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compendium
RegretTheError.com publishes a regularly updated compendium of mistakes reported in the news media.
compendium = a list of items or a collection
DefinitionGenerally compendium means:
a list of items or a collection — especially a publication containing a variety of works

or:

a concise but comprehensive summary of a subject area
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